One Year on Ketosis!

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I zipped right past my anniversary!

On the weekend of Memorial Day, 2016, I decided, rather on a whim, to give this Keto thing that my friend was on, a try.

Soooo…like all good diets, I made a spreadsheet.

Wait a minute???

One of the things that ketoer’s harp on is consumption tracking in the beginning.  In order to figure out what to cut from your dietary intake, you gotta first know what             -exactly-   you’re putting in your mouth.  In this age of smart phones and apps, most suggest my fitness pal to track their intake.

I’m not romantically, physically, emotionally or mentally tied to my smart phone.  In fact, the more I can ignore the demonic little piece of tech, the better I like it…so nix on the whole “there’s an app for that” thing.  But I am a self-confessed excel junkie – so a spreadsheet to track daily, weekly, monthly intakes was right up my alley.

A year later – I’d say I’ve had some very noticeable results.

I don’t know how much I weighed when I started, as my SOP was to avoid scales like the plague, but I’m gonna guess it was upwards of 260.  At 5’4″ and that much poundage, yea, I was a ball.  But, hey…round is a shape, right?

I know I went from size 22-24W pants to a size 16  – and even those are now starting to bag.  Ditto on some of my favorite shirts.  I went to the local Goodwill a couple of weeks back, and went mad in their shirts department…I can now wear a ladies size large.  I’d have been lucky to find 2x or 3x that fit before.

People I haven’t seen in a while are starting to tell me “Man…you’ve lost a LOT of weight…”  I usually tell ’em “Keto done me good…”

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I made a choker necklace for S a year+ ago – it didn’t buckle around my neck then – it does now.  And even my ring (featured a couple of times here on the T&T) got too loose to wear without emergency reinforcements!

 

 

 

 

 

I won’t discuss the underwear…you’re welcome!

Am I curious enough to actually step on a scale to see how much tonnage I’ve removed?  Maybe.

Anyway – here’s me before and a year into Keto… and looking forward to year 2!

 

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Before….

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1 Year Low-Carb

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I’m Walking Around! – or – Alright…who conjured a demon?

 

It’s interesting how life things just…happen.  I had started out today’s posting by putting words on the screen Saturday.  I knew it was gonna be about the first, triumphant walk to work…and I wanted bragging rights.

Then Sunday night happened – an unfortunate incident involving a pan of freshly hard-boiled eggs and my sock – and I started a second post for today growling about the vicissitudes of fate and rapid disrobing techniques.

Hence – the double title for today’s post.  I wasn’t sure until this morning which one was gonna go up…I couldn’t pick a favorite, so they both did.

 

First – I believe Spring has finally gotten Mother Nature firmly back on her meds and moderating her off-the-wall mood swings…we had a beautiful day here in Wisconsin on Saturday.

I got to take a walk, and solidify my work route.  According to the map – I got in 1.8 miles for the round trip.  The route to work is only 1.5 miles, so I’ve proven to myself that I CAN walk the distance.

Today – I got that nice morning.  It was in the high 50’s at 7am – a bit of a breeze and overcast, and a slight chance of rain for the walk home.

I took to the streets.

Downtown Summer 2016

 

First, there was the march through the downtown district – pavement, pavement, pavement…but our buildings are pretty cool, so I’m OK with that.  If I didn’t like all the paving, I wouldn’t have moved to the center of downtown in the first place.

 

 

I got to the Fox River…this is where the pavement shrinks and the green starts.

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Who doesn’t love a walk in the park?  Especially when there’s moving water involved?  The green and growing and the flowing water generate a very in-tune-with-the-Natural vibe that’s evident even just off the center of the bustling downtown district.  It’s one of the reasons I focus so well in downtown Waukesha – the river winds through it and tamps down the oppressive “Buy more shit now” energy generated by humans caught in the throes of capitalism.

So…the 2nd leg of my walk is through Bethesda Park, following the Fox River.  Right now, the trees are still bare, but the grass is greening up so it shouldn’t be long before we have buds springing from those sharp branches.

Beetle Bridge

 

This will forever after be called (in my mind, at least) the Beetle Bridge.  What I love about this is, even through there is other tagging work on it – nobody has bothered to molest the faces.  Under this bridge, there’s additional artwork which has also remained clean of hostile influences.

 

Directly after the bridge – there’s a home with an overabundance of little purple flowers in the front lawn, and I can see the iris plants poking their green blades up from the leftover fall leaves.  Spring is aggressively on its way here.
a IMG_3861 clean grass

 

And here we go for the third and final leg of the trip – up to say hello to my greenspace, and continue up the street to land at work.

 

1.6 miles – before coffee – DONE.

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But…this trip very nearly got delayed again…because sometimes…eggs happen.

Personally, I think the remnants of my fat cells have gone out and summoned a demon in protest.  They’re sick of the ever-shrinking living accommodations my butt is providing, and have taken it into their own hands (or a reasonable facsimile thereof…) to right the wrongs of this ‘damnable Keto diet thing.’

We’re a household of hard-boiled egg eaters.  I have egg salad from time to time, S likes her HB Eggs with a shot of mustard, B takes three to work each morning, and D will grab one on occasion – even though he worries about the cholesterol content.  Eggs are perfect for keto, ideal for gluten-free, and a low-sodium, very low-cost complete protein source.  Every Sunday night…I put a dozen & a half to the pot.

Well…last night, while transferring the pot of freshly boiled eggs from the stove to the sink to shock them cold, those fat-summoned demons caught the bottom of the pot on the counter.  It did this crazy jiggle – which a vessel filled with water likes to do – and I ended up slopping boiling water down my front to soak happily into my shirt, pants, and left sock.

I swear – I heard the demonic little fat cells cheer over the successful completion of their evil plan.

Well…while saying a few -less than polite- words, I did my own crazy little jiggle I like to call the ‘hot pants dance.’  It’s amazing how quickly the clothing comes off when pain is involved.

I think I got off lucky.  The last time I ended up with near-boiling water in my lap, I was 5 – and had 2nd degree burn blisters all up and down my legs.  This time, I have some bright red and puffy spots on my stomach and top of the left foot, but no blisters.

So what’s a freshly-boiled girl to do?

I slathered the burns with coconut oil.  A nice, thick layer over my belly and foot.  And I went to sleep.

This morning – nothing short of fabulous…the foot barely hurts at all, and is only slightly red along the top.  The belly is still just a bit twitchy, but the redness and puffiness diminished markedly from the night before.

I’ll continue to oil up for the next couple of days, but…I’ve defeated the demons and I FINALLY got to walk to work!

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TAKE THAT, FAT CELLS!

 

 

 

Feed me, Seymour!

Been a while since I put in a Keto update…

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I had a rocky 3 month anniversary on Keto.

I couldn’t get full.

No matter what I ate, an hour later I was starving.  The two block walk to get to my car was once again making me out of breath.  My knee was grumbling over the stairs again.  I could feel a tightness around the shoulders & chest, and I couldn’t think my way out of a paper bag with the end cut open.  It was like going through keto-flu all over again, where my body was demanding glucose and throwing a hissy fit when denied.

Imagine the frustration – an entire week, yelling at my digestive system, demanding to know WHATINHELL you want???  It was almost frustrating enough to order a large, hand-tossed, extra cheese, double EVERYTHING pizza and eat the entire thing on the spot.

Don’t worry – I behaved.  I drank chicken bouillon like water, ate a lot of cheese, and attempted to mollify the demands of my gut with bacon, sausage & nuts.

I think I finally figured out WHY my body went crazy on the 3 month mark.

Protein.

I had been averaging around half of my macro’s recommended 100 grams of protein a day.  Yes, I had been warned.  The dire prognostication of ‘OMG, you’re going to lose MUSCLE!’ is quite common on a lot of the Keto sites, and a lot of the threads I’ve seen on reddit fairly scream “Go eat a gahd-damn steak, ferkristssake!”

But, up until this point, I felt great on keto, so I figured the doom & gloomers were just blowing fear out their rear.

Guess I still gotta learn some things the hard way.  I now know what happens when your body starts to cannibalize proteins from within…

The breakthrough finally came Friday.  After 5 days of intense hunger-pangs, I bowed to the inevitable, and picked up some Quest Vanilla Milkshake protein powder.  Now, when I ran to the store after work, I was almost desperate enough to grab any old tub of powder, but I still reviewed nutrition information, and the Quest stuff seemed to be the best.  23 grams of protein per serving, 2 net carb, not a shit-ton of dietary fiber (which sometimes give me those ‘never trust a fart’ moments with the Quest bars), and a mix of whey protein (fast acting) and casein protein (slow-to-digest).

I’m finally back to my ‘I really don’t have much of an appetite,’ happy-on-keto self, and slowly working through the last echoes of protein-deprivation.  The knee has ceased threatening to go on strike, at least…

And it’s pretty damn tasty mixed like this:

 

Iced Quest Coffee

3/4 scoop Quest Vanilla Milkshake (about 1.5 T)

2.5 T Heavy Cream

Cold Coffee

Pour heavy cream in the bottom of a standard drinking glass (around 20 ounce).  Pour quest powder on top of cream, fill the glass with cold coffee, leaving room for ice.

Drop a wire wisk into the glass, and spin between your palms while simultaneously raising and lowering the wisk until everything is well mixed.  Add your ice, and caffeinate yourself into wakefullness.

 

I might just try blending it into full frothiness next…stay tuned!

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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???

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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…

 

 

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.

,,,

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…

quest bar copy

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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Is it Cold in here?

Why, yes…it is.  Downright Chili.

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You generally don’t hear about chili being made in Wisconsin in the middle of the summer.  The heat and humidity that hammer down on this state in July make it far, FAR too dangerous to cook something in the house that requires the stove burner to be on more than a few minutes.

Each minute you’re generating heat within the house requires 5 minutes of cooler temps from somewhere (like…the fridge) to get the indoor temperature back down to a reasonable number.

Ok, ok…yes, we do have air conditioning…but we’re too cheap to use it!

Besides…the hot & stickies give us a perfect excuse to NOT cook in the house, but to take things in the backyard, ignite our new flame pits, and char some animal proteins on the altar.

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Quote semi-stolen from ‘The Coneheads’

It also gives a great excuse to suck down large amounts of ice-cold beer, play ‘swat the mosquito’ once the sun goes down…and sometimes, the hose comes out if anyone in the backyard looks like they’re starting to melt.

But I digress – this isn’t about the dismally hot & humid weather which usually occurs in Wisconsin in July & August – this is about a different kind of heat.

Chile heat…

Chili is just one of those meals – a few ingredients, a few spices, and a lot of time in the cooking process so everything ends up a uniformly spiced bowl of stew.  But because it’s a simple meal to toss together, makes the house smell great as it’s simmering, and everyone’s taste buds are a bit different, everyone has THE, undisputed, BEST recipe for the stuff.  All other recipes are worse than recycled dog food.

Chili Wars are amusing.  Texans, in particular, have been raging over kidney beans for decades,

 

Get them damnable veggies OUTTA there – that ain’t chili!

 

While in Cincinnati, chili has an entirely different spice profile,  allows for add-ons after the cooking is done (onions, cheese, beans), and is served over spaghetti.

cincinnati-chili

Anything with this much cheese on top is guaranteed to be a big hit in Wisconsin

I’m no stranger to the Chili Wars.  My ‘BEST EVER!’ chili recipe is a mixture of ground beef & pork sausage, tomato paste & sauce, garlic, onions, kidney beans, and lots of chili powder.   The individual eat-ee is allowed to add more onion, cheese, and/or sour cream to their individual bowl – and it is always served with fresh-baked bread & butter, and saltine crackers.

Mess with this complex cooking and serving method at your own peril!

The wuzband, on the other hand, made a recycled-Franken-dog-food that nobody in their right mind would call chili.  He dumped in ground beef, noodles, peas, corn, carrots, potatoes, green beans, and used V-8 vegetable juice for the broth.

He.  Doesn’t.  Add. Chili. Powder.

That’s bland beef vegetable soup – not chili!

 

Now, with Keto, I can’t use the beans.  I also can’t serve my chili with the bread or the crackers…but I wanted chili.

Needed chili.

Even though it’s a million degrees outside, and I could fry a hamburger by sticking the raw meat on the window.

Must.  Have.  Chili.

So I started digging through the web.  Read up on dozens of chili variations.  Decided against going the Texas route, because chili NEEDS something to offset the meat and sauce.

For Bella

For Belladonna Took

What I came up with?  Kohlrabi.

It’s a lesser-known bulb vegetable in the cabbage family, with a tough and fibrous outer shell.  The meat inside is smooth, crunchy, and very mildly flavored.  It doesn’t mush up (which is a great advantage over beans) when you cook it, but retains the shape you cut it into.

Even after the long simmer-time required for a great pot of chili, It retained a bit of its crunch, all the while soaking up all that fantastic flavor.

With 3.6 carbs per bulb – it’s a delightful low-carb bean substitute!

 

Because I’d been reading so many varied recipes, I decided to tinker with the flavorings as well as the bean substitute.  Chili powder is great and all, but I wanted something a bit more exotic.

Coffee cold from the pot.  And a bit of cocoa powder.

 

I’m sure the chili purists out there are preparing a lynching as I type…

 

It was an amazing bowl of almost-chili, with the earthier flavors from the coffee & chocolate giving a dark and rich ‘barely bitter’ note to compliment the heat from the chili powder & chilies.   You got the earthy/bitter note on the first bite, and the heat gently rose on the back of your tongue after the 3rd.  It was transformative.

I like food that delivers layers of flavors – it’s like reading a book with your tongue.

Here’s how I made it:

 

Keto Kinda-Chili with Kohlrabi
The Stuff
2.5 pounds ground beef
12oz ground breakfast sausage
3 Medium Kohlrabi, peeled and cubed
1 large white onion, cubed
12 oz can tomato paste
14 oz can beef broth
10 oz can Ro-Tel tomatoes with Chilies
1/2 cup black coffee
1/2 TB cocoa powder
1.5 TB chili powder (or adjust for taste)
1 tsp ground coriander  (or adjust for taste)
The Execution
Brown the beef and sausage in a pan until no longer pink.  Drain
the fat, and place in a crock pot.
Add the tomato paste, tomatoes and beef broth to the crock
pot.  Stir until the paste is blended into the rest of the wet
ingredients.
Add the cubed kohlrabi, onion, coffee, cocoa, chili powder
and coriander.  Stir to dissolve the dry spices.
Cook on low heat for 2 hours.  Stir, and check the seasoning
ratio, adding more spices to taste.
Cook on high heat for 2 more hours.  Serve with any extras you want.
Serves 10 (or 1 teenaged boy)