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

The Rock

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Nope – not the wrestler/actor…although, it certainly FELT like I’d been body-slammed.

I’m talking about a kidney stone.  I had one make its way down from the kidney to the bladder yesterday.

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For the record, I did hit 12 yesterday.  Max Suckage.

 

When they say ‘You never forget your first,’ a kidney stone may have been what they had in mind.

But – I did survive my trip to the ER via an ambulance, after scaring the bejezus out of my co-workers – and survived the stone’s travel from the kidney to the bladder.  I even survived a brief episode of ‘bumper beds,’ when the lady who was wheeling me from the CAT scan room back to my ER room banged the bed into a wall.

I now get the lovely task of waiting until it takes the final leg of its journey, out of my bladder and into (hopefully) the strainer the ER provided to catch it.  They want to analyze it and find out what substance it’s made of, so dietary recommendations can follow.

I already made some changes in the daily diet on recommendations I found on the web…going meatless for my work lunches (I still get cheese & butter, though, which is an acceptable substitute for the Keto-me), looking for protein/fat sources with a little less sodium, and seriously amping up the water intake.

I also have magnesium and potassium citrate supplements on their way.  Both are recommended in the prevention of future stones.

I have a feeling there’s gonna be a fight with a nutritionist in my immediate future, though, because I’m not willing to give up ketosis.  A year of no heartburn after 20+ years trying everything under the sun to alleviate it – yer damn straight I’m gonna fight to keep my diet.

 

Should be interesting.

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These Shoes are Made for Walkin’

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I LOVE my crazy socks

This is it…

I’ve been watching the weather for the past 2 weeks – waiting for the temperatures to rise in the morning.

I’ve got a backpack to stuff all my work stuff in, so I don’t have to carry things in my hands.

The iPod will be on the charger Sunday night…

Because Monday, it’s supposed to be in the 40’s at 7am, without the threat of rain.

I’m walking to work 😀

Funny, how I’m actually excited about this.  Me.  The person who, just a year ago, had serious worries about my heart bursting through my chest by walking A BLOCK to get to my car…is gonna walk over a mile…

in the morning…

before the coffee has kicked in…

and then work a full day, turn around, and walk home.

Who am I, and what have I done with myself????

 

 

When the Romance is Over

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Something just dawned on me.

**Cue celestial music**

I rifled through my mailbox yesterday, standing in the hall, like I always do.  I pulled out the obvious advertisements and marketing come-on’s, and stuffed them in the recycling bin conveniently placed right next to me, just like clockwork.  Better than having to haul that paper up the stairs so I can toss it in the comfort of my apartment.

Well, yesterday, one of the things I pitched was an advertisement for Catherines.  It’s a clothing boutique-y place in this area that caters to ‘women of size.’

Last time I was in Catherines, in January (I got a gift card), I couldn’t find a thing that fit me.  I ended up getting some socks.  Since then, I’ve been tossing the brightly-colored light cardstock in the recycling without noticing anything other than the name.

In short…I’ve shrunk myself straight outta the woman’s equivalent of ‘Big & Tall’ stores.

YEA, ME!!!      All praises to Ketosis!

Sorry, Catherine(s)…It’s not you…it’s me.   The magic just isn’t there anymore…

 

**should I send flowers?**

Flirting With Potatoes

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I think I have a problem…

I’ve been doing the keto thing since May of last year.  It hasn’t been without its ups and downs, but far more ups, than downs.

Lately, though…I’ve found more and more entries in my food tracking spreadsheet…

yes, I’m an Excel Junkie – if it needs monitoring, it goes on a spreadsheet

…for potatoes.

When the boys of the Beltempest had their live show – we had burgers & fries for dinner at the bar.  No bun on the burger – and I didn’t eat all the fries…but I had SOME.

For S’s birthday celebration, we went down to Mainstream Bar & Grill – again, for burgers & fries.  Still no bun on the burger – but them sweet potato fries ended up once again on my plate and in my stomach.

Earlier in the week, the kids made their dinner, and on the menu were tater tots.  I snuck 4.

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Last night – it was time to once again replenish my sock drawer – so it was off to the laundromat.  Laundry always equates takeout.  I went to Jimmy John’s for one of their unwiches (meats, cheeses etc…wrapped in lettuce instead of a loaf of bread) – and bought a bag of potato chips.

Ate the whole thing.

Oh…the shame…

 

I’ve only myself to blame.  Potatoes are my Kryptonite  carb-bomb…and I’m reaching for comfort foods again for a variety of reasons.

It’s coming up on the Fiscal Year End at work (for those who work in accounting – I apologize for making you shudder) so the tension level in the office is high.

My boss is once again in one of HER moods, which translates down into even higher stress levels, because flying to the Left Coast to slap some sense into her would result in both being fired and arrested.

Spring is TRYING to come to Wisconsin, but Mother Nature is a biploar bitch and has tripped out off her meds again.  The continual warm, cold, warm, cold cycles play merry havoc with my sensitivity to the Natural.  It doesn’t know if it’s time come out of winter hibernation or not…so mystical energies are at their all-time low.  There’s nothing to reach for to replenish my personal stock against the weather cycles.

And…I’ve been in a keto stall for about a month.  The pants aren’t getting any tighter, but they aren’t getting any baggier, either.

Are you SURE I can’t just sleep until after March 31st?

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Foot Loose

 

I just HAVE  to put this little tidbit of info up for the world & sundry to see…because if you don’t check with the internet in when doing something fitness-related, it doesn’t count…right?

This weekend, I took advantage of an INSANE weather pattern which settled over my patch of Waukesha.  Our temperature monitoring devices registered over 60 degrees.

 

**glances at the calendar & map**

It’s FEBRUARY.  In WISCONSIN.

So I did what any sane/slightly winter-sick person would do under the circumstances.  I gave the heavy winter garb the finger…walked out of the house in a sleeveless shirt & flip flops, plugged the earbuds into the iPod, and took a jaunty little stroll.

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I.  Wore.  Flip Flops.  In February.  In Wisconsin.

 

 

 

I walked 1.5 miles.  It took me 30 minutes.  I didn’t have to stop with my feet cramping up, my heart threatening to jump outta my chest, or my lungs laboring to convert enough O2 to fuel the continuing mechanization of my muscles.

 
By an amazing coincidence…I live 1.5 miles from my employer.  I drive to work because, up until this point, I’ve been fat and flabby and the only shape I’ve been in is geometric.


In Shape

 

When the weather turns nice for good this spring – I’m leaving the car at home.  I’m walking to work.

 

 

 

The Ring: The Sequel: Escape Artist

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I love my little circlet of white gold.  Housed on the middle finger of my right hand…a perfect (albeit obscure) reminder of my first Ex Husband.

It’s always been a bit big for that finger.  There’s some resistance in getting it over the knuckle, but not much.  It rolls around my finger effortlessly, yet is still secure enough to sleep, shower, do dishes, housework, etc…with it on.

Not anymore…

The kids and I went for our traditional laundry day at the ‘mat on Tuesday.  Nothing special about it – grabbed some takeout, shoved clothing in machines, added detergent & coins, spun some poi (the kids) & read the kindle (me).

When I pulled my stuff out of the washer, I heard the familiar scraping of metal in the bottom of the tub.  My first thought was:  Must have left a quarter in the pocket of one of my pants.

I was a bit shaken to find my ring.  It had slipped off without me being the wiser to its loss.

It escaped AGAIN when unloading the dryer – it wanted to hang with my socks and ended up at the bottom of my laundry bag.  I found it the next day (after being convinced I’d lost it on the walk home) when sorting the underthings.

JOY for second reunion, but – when am I gonna lose it for good???

I’ve been doing the ketosis thing for around 9 months, and this is the first serious snag I’ve found in losing some of the tonnage…my FINGERS are shrinking, too.

So what’s a girl to do????

Now…I didn’t want to have the ring resized…the ring snuggies out there look both damn uncomfortable and unsightly, and I can’t switch it to a different finger, as they’re ALL losing their pudge.

I went shopping.

Found a new 3mm band, in my size, and slipped that in front of the larger ring.

Disaster averted..yea!!!!

 

Mr. First Ex Me’s ring now has a partner in crime 😀

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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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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…