Pyramid Scheme

In 2005, the USDA issued an updated food pyramid, and created an entire website of clicky-links to peruse in 2011.

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Someone even put the two charts side by side for comparison.

First, the new food pyramid recommended exercise, where the old one only suggested what you put in your mouth.  Yes, that’s a distinct improvement on overall population health, as there’s more to being a healthy human being than what you shovel in.

Second, the new guide gives recommended amounts, whereas the old food pyramid only listed ‘servings,’ leaving the consumer free to wallow aimlessly through the confusing fine print, tastefully photographed ‘serving suggestion’ graphics, and slick advertising offered by various manufacturers to figure out what an actual ‘serving’ was.

Third, they gave some additional information on what to eat within each category (half of grains should be whole grains, sub-categories of vegetables, limit deep-fried products, etc…), where this was also lacking in the original.

Soooo…baby step improvements…

But for the actual ‘meat & taters’ of the content?  Not only am I deeply concerned, but more than a bit frustrated with what the USDA is STILL telling Americans they aught to eat.

this would be the beginning of a mild rant, fair warning…

Take a closer look…

Grains:  The recommended daily allowance is 6 oz, with half of that in whole grains.  If you dig further, choosemyplate.gov offers further advice:

In general, 1 slice of bread, 1 cup of ready-to-eat cereal, or ½ cup of cooked rice, cooked pasta, or cooked cereal can be considered as 1 ounce-equivalent from the Grains Group.

So – 3 oz of whole grains could be 1 cup cooked cereal (think oatmeal) and 1/2 cup cooked rice.  The other three ounces could be 1 cup ready to eat cereal (think cocoa puffs) and 1 cup cooked pasta.

3.5 cups of grains a day – the largest single portion of your intake out of the different food groups.

ALL.  Carbs.

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Milk:  This weighs in with the 2nd largest portion of your daily consumption with 3 cups.  They further clarify:

Most Dairy Group choices should be fat-free or low-fat. Foods made from milk that retain their calcium content are part of the group. Foods made from milk that have little to no calcium, are not.

You wanna know what’s left when you remove the fat content from dairy products?  Milk sugars, calcium, and a bit of protein.  In other words – carbzilla disguised as a glass of fancy words.

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Vegetables:  The recommendation is 2.5 daily cups, with the stipulation being to ‘eat a wide variety of different veggies.’  If you dig further into choosemyplate.gov, you’ll see they’ve broken down the veggies into sub-groups:  Dark Green, Red & Orange, Beans & Peas, Starchy, and Other.

They spread veggies out further, with suggested weekly intakes within each sub-category…so you get that ‘wide variety’ throughout your week, and additional breakdowns according to age and sex.

The basic ‘ranking’ of veg, from most to least:

Starchy   /    Red & Orange   /   Other  /    Dark Green   /   Bean & Pea

 

 

Starchy is the highest amount throughout your eating week.  “Eat more starch!” says the USDA.  As in potatoes.  As in corn.  As in shelled green peas.

As in pure carbs.

Their second category – reds & oranges, contains things like carrots & pumpkin and tomatoes.  While these do have some redeeming value – the red & orange list is still, for me, mostly avoided, as these are still sweeter vegetables and can easily turn into carb-bombs.

 

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Fruits:  There should be 2 cups of fruit matter on your various plates or in glasses throughout the day.

In general, 1 cup of fruit or 100% fruit juice, or ½ cup of dried fruit can be considered as 1 cup from the Fruit Group.

Say it with me, folks…fruits=sweet=sugar=carbohydrate.

See a pattern here?

So far – there are 11 cups of various foodstuffs on your plate – with, if I’d hazard a guess, a 95% carbohydrate load.  The bits of insoluble fiber, protein & trace elements making up the other 5% has been tossed in there to convince you the USDA actually knows what it’s recommending.

The last two groups, proteins & fats, are laughable in their recommendations.  The two groups total get a recommended allowance of roughly 3/4 cup a day…served with a sermon of how horrible fats are for your body, how they ‘hide’ within other foodstuffs, and how you should seek out and account for these sneaky substances before adding any pure fats to your daily intake.

Think about that – protein (ie:  what ALL muscle material is made of), limited to 5.5 oz per day (and that meat better be lean, son!) & run screaming from any pure fats.

Still wonder why Americans are getting fatter & sicker???

In short, IF intake recommendations have changed at all from the ones I was force-fed as a child, it’s a turn for the worse.  Of the three micronutrient categories,  fats are bad – severely limit them.  Proteins are only slightly less bad – so limit them, too.  Most of your daily intake then has to come from the only remaining category:  carbs.

Coming soon – the new USDA Nutritional Guideline Soundbyte:  

“When in doubt, sweet & starchy eat out.”

What Keto does is take that food pyramid, and turn it upside down.  If the USDA says it’s bad, don’t eat it, Keto says chow down, son!  If the USDA recommends you pile that stuff on your plate, Keto suggests you toss it in the bin and EAT BACON.

Being a person who’s subliminally bucked the system for most of my adult life, is it any wonder Keto makes a twisted kind of sense to me?

 

 

But here comes the weird part:

That ‘recommended by the USDA,’ carb-heavy, ‘master plan?’  It will work – if you’re EXTREMELY active.  I’ve done it.  You’ve done it.  EVERYONE has, at one point in their life or another, eaten their way straight up the pyramid without deviation, and has been active enough to offset the load of starches in their diet.

The last time I lost a significant amount of weight, I was eating mostly raw foods & breads (read, veggies & starches), managed to maintain a strong Pepsi addiction, and even allowed myself time to socialize at the local bar. (burgers & booze & fries…oh, Myyyyy!)  When you live alone without any romantic interests, in a tiny studio apartment that’s easy to keep clean, the gym is an acceptable substitute to having the walls close in around you.  I spent 4-5 hours a week swimming laps in the pool when wasn’t out exploring my town on foot.

If you’re going to eat the Standard American Diet (S.A.D. yea, I know…a perfect summation!) – you HAVE to keep your body in a near-constant state of movement to prevent ballooning into size 24 pants.  While this is perfect for those who have an active job (construction, assembly, service, landscaping, etc…), are socially isolated, or into body-sculpting…this is NOT representative of the majority of citizens living in the States who are either too busy, too tired, or too jaded to keep their asses moving.

As people age, they tend to move out of extremely physical jobs and into more sedentary ones.  Over time, people generate a wide circle of friends with backyard BBQ’s, built in kegs & really comfy lounge chairs.  They go tailgating with ‘naughty’ cuts of meat, liquid bread (aka:  beer) and crunchy starchy things.  They pour gallons of pure sugar water (aka:  soda) into their over-carbohydrated digestive systems while sitting in front of the computer at work, and spend thousands of recreational dollars in S.A.D. eating establishments, sandwich shops, and sun bathing on pristine beaches.

Most people don’t consider the local gym a second home or have an after-work schedule that prevents the activity needed to support the recommended carb-heavy diet.

Think housework.  Think kids.  Think quality time with a significant other, an artistic endeavor, or the boob tube and Facebook if you’re missing the disposable income necessary to indulge in recreation.

When real life gets in the way – our dietary guidelines turn from helpful to hell-full.

WHY????

I want to know why there is only ONE recommended guideline, and everything else is considered fringe, fad, freaky, or just f*ckin’ WRONG.

Why does the USDA insist that the same diet which works for a 20-something who likes to participate in extreme sports will work for the 40-something housewife with 3 kids who spends 6 hours a day in her mini-van shuttling those kids around to their various academic and sporting activities?

And I really want to know WHY society has been programmed to demean that housewife for having a butt the size of Tex-ass?

Well, she’s just lazy and doesn’t deserve buttcheeks you can crack walnuts between…

 

What happened to body sciences in this country, and where is the quality information this kind of research was developed to distribute?

I suspect its buried in a mountain somewhere – replaced with a useless, flashy graphic and fat-shaming programming.

Finally, I want to know why I’m getting cynical in my old age???

food-pyramid

 

Oui, mes oignons sont le français

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Why, yes…my onions HAVE been French-ified.  Thank you for noticing!

Anyone else love French Onion Soup?  Thick beef stock, freshened with Thyme & Basil, crammed full of caramelized onions, topped with crusty bread & melty cheese?

Oh…yum.

Sadly, French Onion soup isn’t exactly keto-friendly.  First – onions.  They may be a low glycemic index food, but the sheer volume of onions in a good French Onion soup is going to pack onto any daily carb count.

Second – caramelizing those onions.  There are different schools-of-thought on caramelized onions.  Some diabetics will experience a blood-sugar spike (thus needing more insulin) when consuming prepared onions, far more of a spike than when eating them raw, so their (diabetics and the nutritionists who advise them) thought is, caramelizing onions concentrates the sugar in the vegetable, recommend DO NOT CONSUME.

The other camp disagrees – using logic:  You can’t make more sugar (and therefore, more carbs) than the raw vegetable already has by cooking it.  They believe that caramelizing the onions has more to do with portion control than sugar concentration.  A cup of raw onions is a lot less vegetable matter than a cup onions that have spent the better part of an hour having their fibers broken down and a portion of their water content removed with the application of heat and friction.

Me?  I’m in the portion control camp.  It’s easy to overeat the caramelized carby goodness that is onions in their fully broken-down state.

And, let’s face it – French Onion soup is ALL about overeating decadence…

Third – the type of onion.  For a good French Onion soup – all the recipes suggest using sweeter onions such Walla Wallas, Mahis, Sweet Spanish, Yellows and Vidalias. Not only are these bred to be huge, they’re modified to be less astringent, milder, and sweeter than their more natural counterparts, such as greens, whites, and shallots.  Of course, when you take away some of the sulfurous compounds and force the bulb to create more sugar, you increase the carbs right along with it.

What is it with us humans???  Take a perfectly good plant and muck about with the genetics to favor sweetness.  No wonder we’re addicted to sugars.

Fourth – a thick slab of crusty bread topping the individual serving.  Bread?  ‘Nuff said.

What brought on this daydreaming of French Onion souper-stardom?  An overabundance of onions picked up at the local farmer’s market this weekend.

I can’t resist good deals on locally-grown produce!

I had to do something  –  it would be a sin to bring all these beautiful white orbs into the house and let them rot… So I broke down about half of them, and set to cooking.

I feel the need to apologize to my neighbors – the early stage of caramelizing onions never stays in a single apartment!

Pot o soup

 

Once nicely bronzed, the onions were paired with a good beef stock, thyme, basil, and a generous shot of pepper.

 

Letting the heat do its thing, turning this pot of stuff into a dinner of legend, I searched for something keto-friendly to top the soup with – bready, but not carby.

 

I found:   these.

I gotta thank Sugar Free Mom for sharing her wonderful recipe for low-carb English Muffins.  You struck gold (nut butter) with this one!

I did make a tiny alteration – I switched out the almond milk for half water, and half heavy cream.  I simply couldn’t justify buying an entire container of almond milk in what could very well have turned out to be a catastrophe.

My earlier experiment with mug cakes left me cautious, OK???

 

I needn’t have worried – these were perfect for the soup.  They had a distinctive baked-good texture to them, not so much nook & cranny-y like wheat-based English muffins, but denser, like a good cake – and (vitally!) missing the grainy bits that come from ground flax or hemp protein powders.

Once slathered with butter and toasted under the broiler, they didn’t disintegrate when floated on top of the hot broth, held up under the weight of the good provolone cheese I topped the crock with, and even retained their weight and texture after the broiling was completed.

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Unlike some wheat-based products I could mention…

Dinner.  Was.  GOOD.

I even had leftover bread to pair with bacon & eggs in the morning!

Brekky

 

 

 

 

I only hope the bacon forgives me for upstaging it’s glorious salty goodness for the bread…

I’m Lion about Witch Wardrobe

 

I came home from work last week Friday, intent on my closet.  One of my co-workers mentioned that the jeans I was wearing looked like they were ‘a bit loose,’ and that the Keto must be doing well.

I beamed like a lunatic.  I know my waistbands have become looser, and the legs of pants baggy, but to have someone else confirm it?

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So instead of taking in the Friday night festivities in the downtown area (it was raining, anyway…) I spent the night in my closet.  One thing I’ve come to realize is there are many, many different wardrobes within what many would call a pretty unremarkable little wall-space designed to hold clothing.

My garments are arranged, from left to right, in a semi-organized fashion.  Now, I’m not gonna lie and claim there aren’t times when I get home from the laundromat and just shove stuff on hangars, but it’s never long before I’m in there, making sure none of the more esoteric bits of my clothing collection have strayed from their assigned areas.

I like to know where things are in the morning, when clothing comes before coffee…

For those of you out there who have trouble organizing your closet (and I’ve seen some REAL disasters out there!), I offer the following guidelines for subdividing your wardrobe:

 

boston-film-door-2093774-o1- The Closet of Shame.   These are the pieces in your wardrobe you were wearing a year into your 3-month cake depression.  Stretchy waistbands, harem pants, and over sized tunics.  In a dark corner, a few maternity outfits lurk alongside a full-length Hawaiian print Mu-mu.  You don’t dare toss these out, because someone might look through your trash, and you can’t donate them because the local Goodwill doesn’t accept puptents.  You’re pretty sure that you AND your significant other could both slide into any random piece at the same time, but you can’t bring yourself to dig any of these out, for fear they might fit better than expected.

 

2-  The Grunge Collection.  Got a messy project?  Perhaps you’re painting the living room, assisting in the delivery of a baby elephant, or burying a jealous, former-lover in the backyard?  These ensemble pieces are stretched out, faded, disintegrating, stained, punctured, mutilated, or otherwise rendered unacceptable to wear in polite society, but they are just the thing to wear when you KNOW your clothing is going to be completely destroyed upon completion of the task at hand.  These are also acceptable to wear on those occasions when laundry procrastination has you down to your last pair of clean underwear.

 

iron bra copy3-  The Comfy Couture.  When you come home from selling your soul for a pittance (see:  The REAL Cost of Your Job) chafing (both literally and figuratively) in business-casual pants which are specifically constructed to be the exact opposite of comfortable, these pieces of your clothing repertoire are quick to alleviate irritation.  Fuzzy socks.  Sweat pants.  That Tee-shirt with a rubber ducky screen printed across the chest (What the Duck?), and imitation (soft as) Cashmere sweaters.  Bras are NOT allowed in this collection.

 

4-  The ‘Wardrobe Malfunction’ Emergency Purchase.  We’ve all had it happen.  You go to Six Flag’s huge theme park, squeeze yourself into a seat on Batman:  The Ride, and happily scream your way through the 90 second ride you just stood in line 2 hours for.  Upon descending the exit ramp, you feel a curious breeze on your backside, casually run a hand toward your back pocket, and find that your hasty patch-job has not only failed to hold together, but expanded into a rent from waistband to crotch.

Adding to this sudden em-bare assing over-exposure is the realization that the last pair of panties you want to be wearing while experiencing this type of catastrophic malfunction is the snake-skin print micro thong you selected that morning.

I don’t care how much I paid for the pair of Great America branded, sweat-pant cutoff shorts – they ended the unintentional mooning of my Brother-in-law in particular, and the population of the park in general.

 

5-  The Uncomfortable Denial of Truth accouterments.  Ahhh, the memories of when these fit well, and you looked good in them.  These vestments have been slid into the dark recesses of your closet not because they no longer fit (ummmm…they don’t) but because you don’t want to be reminded that you’ve given up on your promise to yourself to go for a walk each evening after work so they will.

 

custom-font-b-jeans-b-font-labels-woman-fashion-trousers-hang-tags-brand-garment-hang-tags6-  The Bribery Ensemble.  These outfits shine on near-center stage within your wardrobe.  They look great.  They cost a FORTUNE (as evidenced by the tags you haven’t cut off yet).  And you’re going to look fabulous in them…as long as you stick to the latest fad-diet that you tortured yourself with for 2 months, 2 years ago, before sliding into the year long, 3-month cake depression.

 

7-  The I have a Dream Trousseau.  Buried in the bottom of your underwear drawer is an acid-washed, denim mini-skirt you wore the summer after graduating high school.  It’s old.  It’s (a few) decades out-of-style.  It’s carefully preserved in a clear poly bag and only gets brief glimpses of sunlight when you run afoul of Laundry Procrastination (see ‘The Grunge Collection,’ above).  But you looked like a Goddess in it, had so many amazing adventures while wearing it, and even random strangers loved you while you were in it, so you can’t possibly throw it out.  This single piece of clothing holds the very distillation of your youth, and is the one you’ve sworn a blood oath under the light of the full moon that you WILL WEAR AGAIN.

 

8-  Your Current Wardrobe.  Sadly, this segment of your clothing arsenal has no space within your closet, but hangs haphazardly on the treadmill in the corner of your bedroom.  It is comprised of (5) wrinkle-resistant cotton blouses in acceptable business-muted colors, (3) pair black, business-acceptable dress pants, (2) business-acceptable-length skirts, (2) power-bras, assorted control-top stockings and panties, and (3) pair business-casual loafers.  You may substitute heels for loafers, but I tend to choose comfort over style.

 

red-renaissance-corset-costume-renaissance-pirate-fancy-dress-86524609-  The Party on Wayne, Party on Garth-ments.  These are clothes you wore once, as the occasion of the moment demanded the purchase of a new outfit, and haven’t seen the light of day since.  These outfits are far too strange for work, far too good for slumming at the corner bar, and some are just too bizarre to wear in public.  Clothing in this section includes the outrageous (two full Klingon costumes & one wizard’s robe), leather (biker vest, ass-less chaps, bikini top & cat-o-nine tails), the bridesmaid dress in silver satin & purple taffeta your friend forced you to wear and still owes you a lifeblood favor over, and the corset you picked up the last time you and your girlfriends got trashed at the Renne Faire.  Not included in this sub-section are funeral garments, as they are business-appropriate (in more ways than one).

 

So I have reason to celebrate!  A few pair of pants from Uncomfortable Denial of Truth have happily been reclassified to Current Wardrobe.  My current favorite pair of jeans will be moving to Comfy Couture, and I’m ready to transfer 2 of my work pants to the Closet of Shame.

 

There may have been a moment of almost-asphyxiation involving an over-enthusiastic tightening of corset strings, but no pics were shot, so it didn’t happen…

 

 

Tempest…meet Teapot

Camera Destroyer copy

A long time ago, in a undisclosed location not-so-far-away…

Can you hear the Star Wars music?

I had a camera. (said in dramatic, deep, movie-trailer voice)

 

I think I might have mentioned I do photo work.  Ok…I may have said I’ve done a LOT of photo work…and that said photo-work was the key to the name of my blog.

I may have even alluded to my current photographic hobby being an on-again/off-again borderline addiction.

In this case, recovery is unwanted and over-rated. 

Depending on the time of year, season, or my personal level of boredom, photography is either a passion or a curse (sometimes a bit of both).  There are days I can’t wait to pull the thing out and aim it at EVERYTHING – and there are days I don’t want to be bothered to haul around the poundage associated with the body, the lenses, spare gear, tripods, yadda yadda yadda…

The camera really DOES add 10 pounds…of accessories

And then there are days where the muse smacks me upside the head with a fantastic idea – and I’m compelled to create something awesome.

Awesome moment story/tie in with ‘How’d you name the blog, Peg’ in 3…2…1

 

Remember wavy

The ‘Memory Shimmer’

Because I have the courage to date a musician who’s got ‘starving artist’ down to a ‘T’ and I’m one of the ‘official’ photographers of his band, when he decides he wants new publicity shots for the boys of The Beltempest – camera, gear, and I get enlisted into service.

 

Spring before last – the SQO and I took a critical look at the promotional photos on the band’s Facebook page.  They were all old.  Dated.  Comprised of guys who had walked out of the band due to family commitments, relocation, or just plain pissiness.

We needed fresh images.

Keep in mind that when I say ‘fresh,’ I mean photos and image ideas that hadn’t been done to death in promoting small, unknown, progressive/apocalyptic art-rock bands.

No guys lined up against a brick wall.  No guys in stage lighting pounding on the instrument of their choosing.  No guys in leather and sunglasses and black hats looking all tough and beefy and rebellious.

We floated ideas back and forth for imagery that was odd and eye-catching – a lot that got tossed for budgetary, time, silliness or travel reasons.

The idea that stuck?  A day at the beach.

Now, keep in mind that we’re talking about April in Wisconsin.  The beach is NOT the place to be in this particular timeframe, because when the weather man says ‘Cooler by the Lake,’ he REALLY means it.  Now, it wasn’t January cold (where it actually hurts to breathe) but it was chilly enough to break out the sweaters and semi-winter jackets.

If you haven’t already guessed, in Wisconsin, we have ‘levels’ of winter wear, ranging from “It’s finally starting to get cold,” through “it’s not that bad if you keep moving” and finishing with “I think my feet just froze to the sidewalk.”

Oddly enough, we weren’t the only ones on the beach, proving that we’re not the only crazy people in the state, but are amongst a select minority.

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Now…here’s my little positive thought for the day:  at least the cooler temperatures meant our fellow slightly-crazy beach goers were warmly clad, and we weren’t assaulted by the random mankini or naturalist taking the ‘all-over tan’ to the extreme.

 

The photo shoot went well, as the water was energetic enough to get some good wave movement, and we could still move in the temperature without freezing to the sand. The boys were keyed up, too, with the excitement of a day at the beach, as we tend to take our little pleasures wherever we can get them!

The sky, however, didn’t cooperate, being bright, clean, and sunny, without so much as a whisper of cloud in it. Really! Nothing visually exciting above the horizon at all!

Good thing I’m a ‘shop addict…

So where does the teapot come in?

Mr. Teapot was pure serendipity – the momentary ‘smack upside the head by the muse’ I referred to earlier which was brought on by a chance encounter with a piece of pottery.

The SQO lives with his Aunt and helps her take care of her home. Once the snows start to melt, stuff starts to get donated as she gets caught in the throes of that yearly purge affectionately called Spring Cleaning.

I, too, experience a quasi-religious ecstasy at the thought of clearing clutter…

One of the things she had set aside to donate to Goodwill was my little white ceramic teapot.

He sat there, on the table, all white and shining and perky amongst the other stuff destined for a quick trip to the resale shop  There may have been an errant sunbeam illuminating his belly to wink at me as the wild idea leapt from…wherever it is that wild ideas leap from…to slap me between the eyeballs.

The Tempest:

The word is contained within the name of the band.  A tempest can also be an agitated body of water, a violent uprising, a strong wind storm, etc.  Well…we were going to the Lakeshore on a semi-windy day – so the odds were good that the water would be agitating nicely.

 ………………………………………………………… And the Teapot:

Right there in all it’s tea-steeping white-glazed glory not 5 feet from me…close enough to the teacup in the popular phrase to be a recognizable play on it.

So I saved the teapot from resale uncertainty and took him for a day at the beach.

If any of the boys thought I had a screw loose as I carefully positioned the teapot on the piled stones and started clicking away, they hid it well…professional courtesy, and all that…

And, while I wasn’t happy with the original background – a brief session with ‘Shop later put a wonderful wave-action shot in its place to tie the two concepts into the perfect photographic representation which became the header of the Tempest & the Teapot.

And the band shot?  One of my favorites:

Tempest Coming copy

Questing for the Holy Grail

A Chalice forground Moon behind copy

Keto, like everything else in life,  is all about balance.  You consume the three major contributors to nutrition in a pre-determined and monitored ratio.  This is called (in the keto world) your macros.

My macro numbers (as calculated by this handy-dandy Keto calculator) came out to

120 gram fats,    100 grams protein,    25 grams carbohydrate        per day.

My first concern was, quite naturally, howinhell am I going to eat THAT much fat in a day when I’ve been 1) trained since the 70’s to eat less of it – and 2) trained to swallow any fat that does manage to sneak in my diet with a large side-order of guilt?

Lemme explain…

The food industry has sold this guilt-trip with utter abandon, making everything leaner and drier and stuffed full of inexpensive (read:  more profit!) fillers and carb-heavy sweeteners to make up for the lack of flavor that happens when you strip out all of the fat.

The fitness industry follows hot on Food’s heels with a maniacal grin –  advising millions of people to eat more fruit stuffs & products containing whole grains (and dontchaknow – we have just the thing!) while trotting out their patented, revolutionary, extremely expensive lines of hand-crafted (by blind Tibetan Nuns!) smoothies, cans of sludge, exotic waters, and tubs of strange-smelling white powder…most of them packed with, yup, you guessed it, easy-to-digest simple sugars with names 20 letters long and profit margins 20 digits long.

American Nutrition Recommendations (produced by the US Department of Agriculture) continue to recommend heavy grain/fruit/veggie/LOW-FAT dairy intake patterns (about 80% of your total daily consumption) with 15% lean (again, LOW-FAT) protein, and extremely low (5%) solid or liquid fat intake.

These recommendations allow our Public Health Advisory Boards to moan about how Americans are getting fatter & fatter & sicker & angrier…thus paving the way for the Health Industry to sell us more pills & procedures & therapies (greatly enhancing THEIR balance sheets) while lobbing the ball back to Fitness (who sell more gym memberships, workout apparel, and self-torture DVD’s) who deftly deflect it to Food (who sell more low-fat, high-carb, nowhere-near-natural frankenfoodstuffs) where the defense is “We’re just following the set nutritional guidelines.”  Lather, rinse, and repeat ad nauseaum.

What – you think any of these groups care about YOUR health???

Our ‘body’ industries love fat – it’s the big, scary devil on your plate they’ve used to terrify more money out of the average American Consumer than any other scapegoat ever conceived.

And we all swallowed it – hook, line & sinker.

Turns out, fat wasn’t that big a problem once I got off the “fat…makes you fat” guilt-rollercoaster, and found acceptable methods of incorporating more of it into my diet…sautéing my evening veggies in a generous dose of real butter – good egg salads with real mayo – heavy cream instead of milk – full-fat cheeses & the world of fat bombs.

Carbs, oddly enough, were also not that big a problem, once I cut out all the uber-processed junk masquerading as food & got over my body’s attempts to blackmail me with cravings.  I can now grab a single kernel of popcorn out of the SQO’s movie theatre bag, and be happy with the little bit of salty, carb-y crunch.  Or get a single lick of frozen custard from Kopp’s – letting D enjoy the rest of his cone.

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Kopp’s, incidentally, makes Milwaukee’s BESTEST frozen custard, and the SQO & I have a long history with them 😀

Protein, oddly enough, is where I hit my snag.  Not that I can’t cut out enough protein to get down to my macros, but because I can’t consume enough protein to get UP to that target number.

I’ve always found it simple to cut protein out of my daily diet – I’ve been fully veggie (not vegan, as I’ve always allowed myself eggs & cheese) a couple of times in my adult life – with timeframes in years each.  It’s like a switch turns on in my brain that suddenly says:  ‘animal protein bad…do not eat…’ and the appetite naturally switches gears.

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I usually end my veggie stints being seduced by cheeseburgers…

When I do eat meats – I’ve always chosen lower-fat, drier, and/or highly processed products…partly because of the childhood conditioning in the above rant, but more so, if it resembles an actual animal carcass, that little switch turns on in my brain again (animal protein BAD!).  For me, bones & skin have no business being on a dinner plate, and visible fat is only barely tolerated.

Don’t invite me over for BBQ ribs…

Soooo, given the perplexity of my taste buds –  white meat only on chicken & turkey; either lean cuts of (or ground) beef & pork; industrial sausage-products & lunch meats; and the lamb-cicle meat cones for Greek gyros are acceptable protein options.  That’s it. All others – exotic meats like duck, goose, venison, bison, bear, rabbit, etc?  Too weird.  Too greasy.  Too wet.  Too gamey.

And don’t get me started on seafood.  There are exactly 2 different water-based proteins I will eat if forced to – shrimp (if it’s de-tailed, breaded, deep fried, and served with enough cocktail sauce to kill the taste) and cod (again, breaded, deep fried, and served with enough lemon juice to kill the taste).

Finally – all meat products have to be COOKED.  None of this rare to medium-well done nonsense for me.  My meats have to be dry, chewy, and tough as old shoe leather.

Sushi is NEVER an option…

I yell at the TV when I watch cooking shows…

I’m as picky as a 3 year old when it comes to meats…the only exception I can find to my personal rules for eating animal proteins is bacon…visible fat is OK on bacon as long as its crisp.

soft bacon is … slimy…

So what’s a girl like me to do for good protein sources, easily found and within my narrow protein parameters?

Questing for the Holy Grail in 3..2…1…

I tried a hemp-based protein powder and got weirded out with the grainy texture.

Other protein powders?  Too.  Freaking.  Expensive.

Nutmeats and nut-butters are good (Macadamia and Almond are especial keto-world favorites) – but add to overall carbs.  Nut butters are also, with the exception of peanut butter with lots of added sugar, grainy.

Weirded out, take II.

Eggs?  Absolutely.  One of the best (and cheapest) protein sources out there.  But, one can only eat so many eggs before getting sick of them, no matter how you prepare them.  And eggs, I think, have a high-insulin spike included with them – they leave me hungry unless paired with lots of fat (like in egg salad).

Beef jerky/sticks.  Slim Jim’s have a permanent place in both my purse & my ’emergency’ rations (if I’m out & hungry – I’ll grab a stick from the checkout line) to quell hunger pangs until I can get back to my kitchen, but also contribute to carbs.  Plus – like the eggs, one can only eat so many highly processed meat & spice sticks before no longer wanting to ‘snap into ’em!’

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Enter:  The Quest Bar.

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Now, Quest Nutrition bars have a huge fanboi base on the ‘net  –  I’ve read a lot of gushing reviews on them – with people swearing up & down that Quest Bars quell their hunger, replace multiple meals, and cure everything from toe fungus to an exploded brain stem.

I tend to take all rabid fanboi cheerleading with a bunch of grains of salt…

jdzitequilla

and a lime…

and a shot of Tequila…

I’ve also read a lot of grumbling about Quest Bars.  That the ingredients got changed, they look like taffy, hard to choke down, threw out an entire CASE of the things, and they gave someone the clap.

Ditto on the bitch-fest.

One Tequila… two tequila… three tequila….

FLOOR.

cat-passed-out-in-food

 

Soooo – discounting both the rave and rage ends of the review spectrum (and my resulting tequila hangover) – I took a read of the label and the macros in the bars.

The first thing I noticed in these bars is the HUGE amount of insoluble fiber, with most topping 12 grams.  Insoluble fiber doesn’t impact your carb macros, because your body can’t digest the stuff.  It just passes it on through.

Don’t make me say WHERE…

The second thing I noticed is the whopping 20 grams of protein from whey isolates.  Now – from everything I’ve read, whey protein isolates are a mixed bag.  It’s a by-product of cheese making – so obviously it has dairy roots and is heavily processed.   Whey isolates also (from what I’ve read) cause an insulin spike – so those who are insulin-resistant or full-blown diabetic may want to avoid them.

The heavy processing and dairy roots don’t faze me in the least, but the insulin spike does give me pause, as I have Geriatric Diabetes in my family lines.  So, with a tentative toe in the water, my personal ‘master plan’ on consuming these will have to be at the end of a regular meal, where insulin has already been put into play, and has plenty of fat to process as well as protein.

Third – they limit (or eliminate) the amount of sugar by adding in Erythiol (a sugar alcohol which also…passes through…) and Stevia to make them a bit sweet.  Both these artificial sweeteners I’ve tried before with no uncomfortable issues.

They sounded like a reasonable but cautiously-workable product that may fit into my Keto diet.  They had the potential to be the Holy Grail of my Protein quest…

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I found some Quest bars at Woodman’s, and picked up a couple of different flavors.  At over two bucks a bar, they will NOT be the Holy Grail.  Sadly, these will end up being confined to an occasional expensive treat…

But price isn’t everything – how’s it taste???

Chocolate Brownie was the first toe dipped into the Quest-water.  Removing the product from its packaging was a bit trickier than I thought it would be – the bar is a long-ish strip of taffy-like, slightly sticky, dark brown glop…more like partially dehydrated brownie batter than an actual cake-like brownie.  Not a surprise, however, because the ‘doom & gloom’ reviews pretty accurately spelled out the look and feel of the product.

It smelled pretty damn good…and the chocolate flavor really came through… so score one for the fanboi seating!  The texture wasn’t too off-putting, and it didn’t stick to my teeth.  In fact, the texture was kinda fun to play with in my mouth with minimal actual chewing absolutely necessary.  By the end of the bar, I was getting the ‘full tank’ feeling in my stomach that says ‘that’s enough…you’re satisfied.’

The second one I tried was the Cinnamon bun.  The consistency, texture and mouth-feel of the bar was the same as the chocolate brownie. There were also little bits of almonds mixed in with the paste.  This one is, by far, my favorite of the bunch, with cinnamon, sweet, and yeast-bread notes.

Next, I tried the strawberry cheesecake.  Yuck.  The missed the flavor on this one – it was waaaaay to chemically.

Finally, I went to the one everyone on the web seems to be gushing over – Chocolate Chip Cookie Dough.  Sorry fellas – but I don’t agree with the masses on this one.  It is also too chemically for my taste buds.

I have yet to try the vanilla nut or the chocolate mint bars, but they’re next on my list…

Now for the important part.

 

All that insoluble fiber has to work its way through the GI tract, down the intestines & bowel, finally ending its journey in the colon.  Because there’s such a large amount of this fiber stuffed into a small serving size – I wouldn’t recommend more than 1 bar every few days – that’s a lot of bulk to process, and my digestive system was rather noisy in its processing.

At least I didn’t have a ‘never trust a fart’ moment…

So – Quest bars have their goods and their bads…which is pretty common for consumables in today’s world.  I’ll probably continue with the occasional bar, either as an emergency foodstuff I can keep in my purse, or a dessert-type bar when I’m craving something sweet.  The cinnamon bun in particular…

 

The search for the holy grail of protein will continue…

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