Lose 20 Pounds on a Keto Diet – But You’re Probably Not Going to Like This Post – Part 2

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Note: for those of you that didn’t read part 1, read part 1 – ‘k?

Sorry for the cliffhanger. I’m nearing 10 weeks in ketosis and have written 84 pages journaling my experience. Dumping that on you would be a bit much – but trying to summarize has been a bear. This is my second shot at it.

I’ve been doing (at least trying) to do a low carb / keto diet since 2003. In this go-round I have done a number of things radically different than in the past.

I made health – not weight loss – my goal. I have spent 15 years reading and researching this diet. I truly believe it to be the best diet for me. As I am focused on the health aspects, the moving of the scale is a nice perk – not the main goal. If the scale doesn’t move it might frustrate me – but it is not a failure. Eating off-plan is the failure.

I immersed myself in everything I could about the ketogenic diet. There are way more books, audiobooks, and podcasts with new information. Keto has become a ‘craze’ again and there’s a lot of new and interesting information and many people in Facebook groups discussing it. I personally don’t completely agree with *any* of the approaches I have seen, but have borrowed things from many of the approaches to forge my own version. I did a lot of experimenting and learning – and while I have been in ketosis for nearly 10 weeks now, how I stayed there has radically changed from the way I did it in 2003 – and the way I did it in April 2018.

I have started taking supplements again. When I looked I back to 2003 and asked myself what was different from when I first lost 80 pounds and now,  one big difference was I didn’t take supplements anymore. Back in the day I had taken a plastic film canister’s worth each day. I became disillusioned with vitamins (read ‘Do You Believe in Magic?‘ like I did to understand why) and had cut back to just a multivitamin – and only a few days a week. I began taking it every day and began to try to figure out what other supplements might improve health and am building up a ‘stack’ of supplements to see what impact it might have. I’m still experimenting here but will discuss this further below.

I fast 16 hours per day. I do what’s called a 16:8 intermittent fast daily. I skip breakfast – only having black coffee. This used to bother my stomach but I’ve apparently healed whatever the reason was for that and now it’s not a problem. I then have my lunch around 1pm and my dinner between 8-9pm. I don’t have hunger issues nor do I have food fantasies. Being in ketosis this long simply removes constant hunger from the equation.

I don’t snack. Here’s a really interesting notion I am experimenting with. While removing carbs reduces blood glucose, it’s not really blood glucose that is at the heart of the problem – it’s insulin resistance. Insulin is an energy storage hormone. When you eat carbs, your pancreas squirts out insulin to get the excess glucose out of your system, driving it into your fat stores mostly. After decades of abusing this system, your cells no longer respond to insulin and your pancreas has to squirt out more and more to get the same effect. So you can check your blood glucose levels and everything looks fine – but your insulin is through the roof.

So you give up carbs and your blood glucose goes down. That’s great, but you still have this insulin floating around. Know why? Because protein also stimulates an insulin response, you are STILL promoting insulin resistance.

So here’s an idea that seems to make sense: what if you were able to give your body an ‘insulin holiday’ – would being able to allow your body to not have insulin constantly in your bloodstream give your cells a rest and allow them to increase their insulin sensitivity?

Some people think it does, so I’ve decided to experiment with this. I’ve read that an insulin response can last up to 8 hours after a meal. This would mean that doing a 16 hour fast – with no calories coming in – gives me at least 8 hours per day where there is no insulin in my system.

The notion of snacking means you NEVER stop producing insulin. So the notion of a ‘snack’ is not part of my life.

There’s a second part to this which I will go into next.

I make sure my meals contain enough protein. What I read was that a particular amino acid – leucene – in adequate amounts – produces ‘Muscle Protein Synthesis’ or MPS. From what I read you need at least 3 grams of leucene in a meal to produce this effect – and leucene is approximately 10% of the amino acids in a piece of meat. From what I’ve read this will prevent muscle loss during weight loss even is you sit on your ass. A 16:8 fasting schedule provides me with 2 doses of this effect per day and maximizes the efficiency of the protein I take in per day. Remember that a properly formulated ketogenic diet is supposed to be an ‘adequate protein’ diet. If I have between 40-50 grams per meal I am well within the ‘adequate range’ but making every ounce of protein count.

I don’t add fat to my food. What kind of screwed up keto diet is it where you don’t add fat? Here the idea is that if you want your body to burn fat, you want it to burn your CURRENT BODY FAT – not the fat you ingest. I calculated my macros (carbs, protein, and fat using one of the many ‘keto calculators’ out there. This one at https://www.ruled.me/keto-calculator is adequate – and instead of aiming for an exact target I came up with my own ranges – these are mine:

Calories:     1200 – 1892
Carbs:        20
Protein:    94-124 (104 is ideal)
Fat:        77-155

This give me a wide latitude to play in and not have to worry about being so damned exact about things. I typically meet my minimums at lunch and have a larger meal in the evening. I tend to be at the low-end on fat – which comes from the meat. I very rarely add fats to my cooking – maybe olive oil to a salad though I don’t eat salad as often as maybe I should. And this leads to another interconnected point.

I have a very limited and simple diet. OK – this is where you stop reading. I get it. But if you are interested in how my relationship to food has changed, keep reading.

If you join the keto groups on Facebook, you will frequently be exposed to keto food porn on some of them. The inventiveness in these groups is boundless and you can find bread recipes, pizza, ‘fat bombs’, all sorts of snacks, and could happily avoid most carbs and still have your favorite indulgent foods. The problem is two-fold for me: these recipes take a lot of time to prep, and sometimes the calories are through the roof.

I don’t do this. I’ve stopped frequenting these groups that post the food porn. Instead, I’ve chosen to follow a very simple diet dominated by the following foods:

  • Chicken thighs
  • Chicken breasts
  • Grass-fed beef
  • Hot Italian sausages
  • Grass-fed, nitrate-free hot dogs
  • Nitrate-free bacon
  • Broccoli
  • Lettuce
  • Kimchi (Korean fermented cabbage)
  • Avocados
  • Arugula
  • Olive oil
  • Ghee (also called ‘clarified butter’)
  • Less than 4 oz. of cheese per day.
  • Salt
  • Trader Joe’s 21 Seasoning Salute

I’ve certainly had other keto-friendly foods (pickles, tomatoes, eggs, cauliflower, a little pasta sauce, salsa, among others), but the above list predominates.

You might be thinking: what a restrictive diet!

that is exactly what I thought as well – until I tried it.

I find it LIBERATING.

Nearly everything I cook is baked. I cook enough meat and veggies for 2-3 days. I measure out my portions into sandwich bags on a scale for lunch, then weigh out my dinner. Since I don’t snack, I have what I would call a natural and normal hunger response when I do eat – and I enjoy my food. I even find my portions to be almost too large at times – though my total calories for the day can sometimes be as low as 1200 calories. While you might think this is a rather bland set of flavors, my response to flavor has changed since I removed what I some call ‘hedonic’ foods with complex layering of flavors. I thought I never could wean myself off of my Orange-Tangerine artificial sweetener, but after a few miserable days, I didn’t miss it anymore. My palate has adjusted, I love my meals, shopping is a breeze, cooking is a breeze, lunch is a breeze – and now I know what it feels like to ‘eat to live’ rather than ‘live to eat’.

“I don’t eat that.” I’ve given up a lot of things – all grains, nuts (portion control problem), sweeteners, a lot of dairy (portion control problem), and so many other things I can’t count. I don’t have willpower nor do I believe in willpower as something that can be sustained over a lifetime against something as primal as hunger – and there is a bit of a mind trick I use to deal with this.

I have a lot of respect for ethical Vegans. They have made a decision that eating animal products is wrong and they do not eat them. They simply say: “I don’t eat that.”

there’s no negotiation here. Ethical Vegans don’t have a ‘cheat day’. It is black and white for them. I’ve decided to do this on my diet. I have foods I eat – and a very long list of foods I don’t. If offered, I say: “I don’t eat that for health reasons – and I can’t even have a taste.” If a further explanation is needed, I am eating this way to avoid getting full-blown diabetes and the best way for me to do that is not having the smallest cheat. As soon as you open the door to a small cheat, a larger one can easily creep in, and BAM! There goes all your hard work. This has happened to me too many times to count.

Like Vegans, people will think you’re odd – even odder than Vegans because their way of eating is better known. My diet is for health reasons first. I have my reasons for eating this particular way that most people won’t care about – and I won’t bore them.

I can easily sit and watch people eat all this stuff in front of me and I don’t care. My older daughter tried tempting me with bread at the steakhouse but my reaction to the bread was like a rabbit reacting to a slab of beef: utter indifference – because I don’t eat that. If I allowed cheats I would exhaust myself with the ‘how much can I have’? then having even a little taste will turn on cravings in the brain I don’t have anymore for 72 hours after the cheat, according to one doctor. So even one bite will at least make me miserable for 3 days – and at the worst, completely derail 10 weeks of hard work.

If I eat the way I do now, I don’t have diabetes. If I eat like a normie – I do.

I watch my salt, magnesium, and potassium. When you start a low carb / keto diet you lose a lot of water weight quickly as the carbs in your system bind to water molecules. No carbs and you lose that extra water – good – but as you lose the extra water you begin to mess with electrical pathways in your body and have the potential for problems if you don’t watch your electrolytes. This is how you get the ‘Atkins Flu’ as it was called years ago, or the ‘keto flu’. You get a headache, you get shaky, you get a head rush. This is your body’s electrolytes going screwy.

With salt, I make sure to salt all my food. Then I will have a glass of salted water if I feel weird – or just because I haven’t eaten in a while. I also take a magnesium supplement daily.

From what I’ve read, I am leery of taking potassium supplements. People on these keto Facebook groups usually use a product called ‘No-Salt’ – a salt substitute, but what these online groups don’t tell you is that some people – like me – are on ‘potassium – sparing’ blood pressure medications where is says on the damn label not to use this stuff. So I don’t. Potassium also seems to be the one that can also fuck you up the most – causing your heart to beat wrong. That’s something that can kill you and I am not going through all this trouble to die! I usually get my potassium through foods – an avocado is a great source.

Being this deep in ketosis also means heavy exercise or being out in high heat can mess you up way faster than normies walking around with excess water weight and electrolytes. I’ve heard people say they steal salt packets from restaurants and make sure they have a couple on hand – and some water – in case they feel weird during activities like these. This electrolyte issue also calls into question the bogus medical advice of drinking 8 glasses of water a day. For regular folk – so what – it gives them something to do other than eat, makes them feel full, and makes them feel good about themselves. Folk in heavy keto lose extra electrolytes like this. I will frequently drink a liter of seltzer on ice in the evening, or water during the day – but I really don’t count and do it because I’m thirsty.

I take ‘weight loss’ naps. Sleep is real important. I know a lot of people struggle with sleep – I don’t usually have a problem. One less thing for me to worry about as poor sleep can prevent weight loss – and is certainly not good for your health.

But here’s something I noticed in me by accident. Occasionally, on a weekend, I find the opportunity to take a nap. Lazy shit that I am – I take it. What I have found more often than not is if I weigh myself after the nap, I’ve lost a pound or two. It’s the damnedest thing. I’ve seen no one else mention this, but it does happen to me.

I measure my meals using Cronometer. None of the diet tracking apps are just right. Some can’t count net carbs. Some have nutrient values that are not based in reality. Some are just not designed very well. I’ve recently started using Cronometer and while the free version has annoying advertisements that can make you wait a few seconds before entering your values on certain screens, it is my current fave. I particularly like how you can set your own macros, clearly show net carbs, and view your micronutrient counts. There’s some things I don’t like – and some things that don’t work as expected, but here’s the thing: because I eat pretty simple, it’s pretty simple to enter my macros in a minute or two. Another app called Carb Manager is also good – I just prefer Cronometer.

I mess up at pretty much all of the above. Think of all of the above as the bullseye on a target for me. I aim for that center. Sometimes I don’t hit it – but that’s what I keep aiming for. Example: after a very good meal where I had two martinis (which I should not have had!), when putting away the food I ended up having some of my kid’s leftover mashed potatoes. While this didn’t cause me to go out of ketosis, it *did* cause my blood glucose to spike – my morning fasted glucose the next morning was 138. the day after it was 40 points lower.

Lesson learned: The way I eat determines if I am a diabetic. This one cheat helps reinforce the reason I have a ‘no cheat’ rule. I still drink from time to time. Usually red wine. It does not knock me out of ketosis and doesn’t raise my blood glucose – but it does increase insulin resistance and does slow weight loss – and does make me feel crappier the next day. I’m still working to minimize, if not eliminate this.

I feel better, but think I could feel better still. I still have a lot to learn not only about a long-term ketogenic diet as so much new research and thinking has been done in the past few years, but I have to learn about Me – my personal physical and emotional makeup at the present time in the context of a ketogenic diet.

Let’s face it: I’m 55. I’m probably late to the game of optimizing health – and there is certainly no shortage of people who want to tell me the right way to do this. Dr. Jason Fung, in the book ‘The Obesity Code‘ wants me to go on extended fasts lasting days.

I don’t know about that. I’ve read that there can be positive benefits – autophagy is one example – which is a recycling and cleaning of your body’s cells when you fast. (Here’s a link to some online doc I just found that discusses why it’s good for you.) Sounds good, but I’m not sure that I can’t get some of that same benefit with my 16 hour fasts – or occasionally eating once a day (which I can pull off with little effort). Or Dr. William Davis’ book and website ‘Undoctored‘ where he suggests you add raw potato as a prebiotic to a smoothie. Not too sure about *that* one, Doc – though I *did* take his advice to NEVER take calcium supplements with vitamin D because adding calcium to the diet has never been shown to help reduce bone loss – but there’s some evidence that this calcium ends up on you artery walls. I’ve got more to learn here, though to fully understand what he is saying.

I recommend both books. Dr. Fung’s makes a strong case that the focus on health for most of us fat folk leads to minimizing insulin resistance. Dr. Davis has a grander goal and proposes an entirely new medical model where patients educate themselves to treat the underlying causes of disease, be smart enough to know when to involve a doctor, and to establish a doctor-patient relationship where they are partners in decisions because the patient might just know more about their disease state – and physicians stop acting like they know it all when the hours they work and the volume of information makes that impossible.

Right now my goal is to have my next blood work 6 months (October, 2018) from the start of my diet. It can take that long for numbers that can go out-of-whack as you begin the diet to normalize. During that time I will hopefully be able to lose more weight – which should help those numbers. I’d like to further explore supplements. Some I’m taking now I could not give you a clear explanation as to why I am taking them. For example: I’m taking 6000IU of vitamin D3 per day. Why? Because my Retinologist – a ketogenic nutrition nerd like myself except way smarter – told me that’s what he takes since he read the book ‘The Vitamin D Solution‘. I have the book, but haven’t read it yet. I am going to supplement with a small amount of iodine – 300mcg – because from what I’ve been reading from multiple sources, I have some symptoms of a sluggish thyroid – and most clinicians do not run the proper tests to determine this – and even the test they do run they misinterpret. But too much can also be bad and actually *cause* hypothyroidism. I have a lot of researching to do here. I want to study this area more closely and understand why I need a TSH test, a Free T3 test, a Free T4 test, a Reverse T3 test, a TPO antibodies test, and a TgAb test. *I* also need to understand the current thinking on how to interpret the results because docs won’t order test they can’t interpret.

I also need to understand a great deal more about why a standard lipid panel is not adequate for someone living a keto lifestyle. I know the short answer: the LDL-C. The ‘C’ in the name means ‘calculated’. It’s not an actual count but a calculation that isn’t particularly accurate for people on a keto diet. The NMR test actually counts the different LDL subfractions and provides a lot more precision as there are only a few of the LDL subfrations that are dangerous. I have to be able to convince my doctor so when *he* gets second-guessed by the health plan as to why he is ordering a more expensive test, he doesn’t have to hear them bitch about it.  Or I have to convince him to write me a prescription for it and then pay for it out-of-pocket – and it doesn’t even appear that I am legally allowed to order my own blood test in New Jersey – I’ll have to drive to PA to be allowed to get a blood work I will pay for myself as New Jersey thinks it is too dangerous to allow me to make these decisions for myself?

There’s also potential dangers to the diet – depending on who you listen to. Of course, a normal diet will most assuredly give me a case of Diabetes with complications of kidney disease, blindness, dementia, and amputations being some of the wonderful complications I can expect from that. But still – if not done right – keto can potentially cause pancreatitis, gallstones, kidney stones, and dangerous heart rhythms. All this leads to the my last point.

Don’t follow me – I’m lost. Ever see the bumper sticker that says that? It’s probably the best advice – the wisest advice I can give you. Don’t go on a ketogenic diet. Don’t do this. Don’t try this at home. Most people just want to be told what to do – they don’t want to do all this ‘thinking’. Ketogenic diets are poorly understood – or even considered dangerous (often for the wrong reasons) by most doctors.

There are people who learned about the keto diet 2 years ago, lost weight, set themselves up as an expert, and run blogs and Facebook groups signing people up for expensive courses on how to lose weight. They sure *act* like they got it all figured out…but I’m not sure.

I see one group contradict another. how do you calculate your protein intake? One group says calculate it using your current body weight – the other say by your *ideal* body weight. Some say saturated fat is great – others say it’s OK, but any added oil should be monounsaturated olive oil. Some think seed oils like corn oil and soybean oil are OK – I avoid them like the plague. I don’t see much discussion about the Omega-6 to Omega-3 ratio. This is important. I see some people recommend taking a ton of fish oil – but don’t mention that it is a natural blood thinner and could be dangerous to people already on blood thinners.

I could go on…is your head spinning yet? My wife just asked me “What do you do all the time on the computer?” I explain that I spend most of my waking hours reading and researching nutrition and ketogenic diets. I don’t think she believes me – or if she does she thinks I am crazy.

I spend all this time – it’s my hobby/obsession – but the more I learn the more I know I don’t know squat. That is why a long time ago I got out of the advice business. Please read my disclaimer if you even remotely even consider applying anything here to your own life.

I could go on but I’m sure you’ve had enough.

 

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PF Chang’s Menu Sorted by Net Carb Count for May 2018

Let’s be honest – you don’t go to PF Chang’s for their low carb items – you go there because there’s a friend having an event you can’t miss, or some other social necessity. It’s nobody’s fault except yours that you are on some weird diet where you count ‘net carbs’ – whatever that is. Your goal is to go and participate in as normal a fashion as possible while maintaining your diet.

Below is the current PF Chang menu from their website as of May 2018. They have almost 180 different items you can order – and they really go overboard in giving you all the detail on every menu item – check out the page yourself and be prepared for the wall of noise as they overshare information on every item.

I like PF Chang’s – and I like that they provide so much info – but here’s the situation: I’m on a low carb diet and I have to meet a friend there tonight! What do I pick?

No fear. Let’s keep this simple to avoid panic attacks – OK?

Go past the kid’s sides and you’ll see the  Wok’d Spinach with Garlic, the Egg Drop Soup Cup, and the Baby Buddha’s Feast Steamed from the kid’s menu. Smile sweetly and tell the server you’re a kid at heart. You can do this.

If you can handle a few more carbs there are more options that aren’t bad a little further down.

As has been the same for a dozen years, I do not recommend scrolling all the way down to the bottom where ‘The Great Wall of Chocolate’ resides at 245 grams of net carbs. That’s more than 12 DAYS of carbs for those of us going for 20 grams or less. I’ve had it – and it’s great – but I wasn’t on a low carb diet at the time.

Category Menu Item Net Carbs (g)
SALADS addon – Salmon* 0
KIDS SIDES Kids Steamed Broccoli 0
KIDS SIDES Kids Steamed Snap Peas 1
KIDS SIDES Kids Steamed Carrots 2
SALADS addon – Shrimp 4
SALADS addon – Chicken 4
MARKET SIDES Wok’d Spinach with Garlic 6
SOUPS Egg Drop Soup Cup 6
ADD ONS – LUNCH BOWLS Egg Drop Soup Cup 6
KIDS SIDES Kids Fruit Cup 6
GLUTEN-FREE SOUP GF Egg Drop Soup cup 6
GLUTEN-FREE MARKET SIDES GF Wok’d Spinach with Garlic 6
KIDS MENU Baby Buddha’s Feast Steamed 7
KIDS MENU GF Steamed Baby Buddha’s Feast 7
SOUPS Hot & Sour Soup Cup 9
ADD ONS – LUNCH BOWLS Hot & Sour Soup Cup 9
STREET FARE Edamame 13
SOUPS Wonton Soup Cup 13
SALADS Asian Caesar Salad 17
MARKET SIDES Wok-Charred Brussels Sprouts 17
SEAFOOD ENTRÉES Shrimp with Lobster Sauce 17
GLUTEN-FREE SEAFOOD ENTRÉES GF Shrimp with Lobster Sauce 17
KIDS MENU Baby Buddha’s Feast Stir Fried 18
KIDS DRINKS Kids Milk 2% 18
DIM SUM Handmade Shrimp Dumplings Pan Fried (4) 20
DIM SUM Handmade Shrimp Dumplings Steamed (4) 20
GLUTEN-FREE LUNCH – INCLUDES WHITE RICE GF Ginger Chicken with Broccoli 22
VEGETARIAN ENTRÉES Buddha’s Feast Steamed 23
ADD ONS – LUNCH BOWLS Vegetable Spring Roll 23
STREET FARE Shishito Peppers** 24
DIM SUM Handmade Pork Dumpling Pan Fried (4) 24
DIM SUM Handmade Pork Dumpling Steamed (4) 24
MARKET SIDES Sichuan Style Asparagus 24
CHICKEN ENTRÉES Singapore Black Pepper Chicken 24
BEEF & PORK ENTRÉES Shishito Steak** 24
ADD ONS – LUNCH BOWLS House-Made Egg Roll – Pork 24
ADD ONS – LUNCH BOWLS House-Made Egg Roll – Chicken 24
GLUTEN-FREE CHICKEN ENTRÉES GF Singapore Black Pepper Chicken 24
BEEF & PORK ENTRÉES Pepper Steak 25
SEAFOOD ENTRÉES Kung Pao Shrimp 25
SEAFOOD ENTRÉES Oolong Chilean Sea Bass* 25
KIDS DESSERTS Kids Vanilla Ice Cream 25
DESSERTS Good Fortune Cheesecake – Mini Dessert 26
ADD ONS – LUNCH BOWLS Hand-Folded Crab Wontons (2) 27
DESSERTS Miso Butterscotch Pudding – Mini Dessert 27
MARKET SIDES Sauce Trio 28
SEAFOOD ENTRÉES Miso Glazed Salmon* 28
MARKET SIDES Chili Garlic Green Beans 29
DIM SUM Handmade Shrimp Dumplings Pan Fried (6) 30
DIM SUM Handmade Shrimp Dumplings Steamed (6) 30
ADD ONS – LUNCH BOWLS Mandarin Crunch Side Salad 30
KIDS DRINKS Kids Strawberry Lemonade 30
DESSERTS Triple Chocolate Happiness – Mini Dessert 30
KIDS DRINKS Kids Lemonade 31
STREET FARE Dynamite Shrimp 32
KIDS DESSERTS Kids Coconut Pineapple Ice Cream 32
SEAFOOD ENTRÉES Salt & Pepper Prawns 33
DIM SUM Vegetable Spring Rolls (2) 34
KIDS MENU Kids Sweet & Sour Chicken 34
GLUTEN-FREE CHICKEN ENTRÉES GF Ginger Chicken with Broccoli 34
GLUTEN-FREE BEEF ENTRÉES GF Mongolian Beef 34
CHICKEN ENTRÉES Ginger Chicken with Broccoli 35
DESSERTS Strawberry & Coconut Cream Cake – Mini Dessert 35
GLUTEN-FREE LUNCH – INCLUDES WHITE RICE GF Beef with Broccoli 36
GLUTEN-FREE BEEF ENTRÉES GF Beef with Broccoli 36
MARKET SIDES Brown Rice – individual serving 37
DIM SUM Hand-Folded Crab Wontons (4) 38
BEEF & PORK ENTRÉES Mongolian Beef 38
KIDS DRINKS Kids Orange Juice 38
DIM SUM Handmade Pork Dumplings Pan Fried (6) 39
DIM SUM Handmade Pork Dumpling Steamed (6) 39
SUSHI Lobster Avocado Roll* 39
CHICKEN ENTRÉES Kung Pao Chicken 39
KIDS MENU Kids Honey Chicken 39
STREET FARE Northern Style Spare Ribs 40
GLUTEN-FREE STREET FARE GF Chang’s Chicken Lettuce Wraps 40
SUSHI Spicy Tuna Roll* 41
SOUPS Egg Drop Soup Bowl 41
BEEF & PORK ENTRÉES Beef with Broccoli 41
VEGETARIAN ENTRÉES Ma Po Tofu 41
KIDS DRINKS Kids Apple Juice 41
GLUTEN-FREE SOUP GF Egg Drop Soup bowl 41
VEGETARIAN ENTRÉES Buddha’s Feast Stir-Fried 44
STREET FARE Chang’s Vegetarian Lettuce Wraps 46
DIM SUM House-Made Egg Rolls Chicken(2) 48
SUSHI California Roll* 48
MARKET SIDES White Rice – individual serving 48
VEGETARIAN ENTRÉES Stir-Fried Eggplant 48
DIM SUM House-Made Egg Rolls Pork (2) 50
SOUPS Wonton Soup Bowl 50
BEEF & PORK ENTRÉES Beef A La Sichuan 50
DIM SUM Mongolian Potstickers** 52
SUSHI Ahi Poke Bowl* 52
SEAFOOD ENTRÉES Surf & Turf* 53
SUSHI Kung Pao Dragon Roll* 55
STREET FARE Tempura Calamari & Vegetables 56
KIDS MENU Kids Chicken Lo Mein 56
DESSERTS Chocolate Dome 56
GLUTEN-FREE DESSERTS GF Chocolate Dome 56
SEAFOOD ENTRÉES Walnut Shrimp with Melon 57
SEAFOOD ENTRÉES Orange Peel Shrimp 57
BEEF & PORK ENTRÉES Thai Harvest Curry with Pork 58
SEAFOOD ENTRÉES Thai Harvest Curry with Shrimp 58
STREET FARE Cauliflower Tempura 59
STREET FARE Chang’s Chicken Lettuce Wraps 60
SOUPS Hot & Sour Soup Bowl 60
STREET FARE Crispy Green Beans 61
VEGETARIAN ENTRÉES Thai Harvest Curry 61
CHICKEN ENTRÉES Thai Harvest Curry with Chicken 62
SALADS Mandarin Crunch Salad 63
DIM SUM Hand-Folded Crab Wontons (6) 65
SUSHI Shrimp Tempura Roll* 65
DIM SUM Vegetable Spring Rolls (4) 66
BEEF & PORK ENTRÉES Wok-Fired Filet Mignon* 66
STREET FARE Changs BBQ Spare Ribs 67
SOUPS Chang’s Spicy Chicken Noodle Soup 69
CHICKEN ENTRÉES Sesame Chicken 70
DESSERTS Banana Spring Rolls Small 70
KIDS MENU Kids Chicken Fried Rice 73
KIDS MENU GF Kids Chicken Fried Rice 73
STREET FARE Eggplant Katsu** 74
MARKET SIDES Fried Rice (Side) 74
GLUTEN-FREE MARKET SIDES GF Fried Rice 75
CHICKEN ENTRÉES Chang’s Spicy Chicken 76
DESSERTS New York-Style Cheesecake 76
GLUTEN-FREE CHICKEN ENTRÉES GF Chang’s Spicy Chicken 76
CHICKEN ENTRÉES Orange Peel Chicken 77
SEAFOOD ENTRÉES Crispy Honey Shrimp 78
DIM SUM House-Made Egg Rolls Chicken(4) 83
CHICKEN ENTRÉES Sweet & Sour Chicken 83
DESSERTS Vietnamese Chocolate Lava Cake 83
LUNCH NOODLE BOWLS Chiang Mai Noodle Bowl 85
DIM SUM House-Made Egg Rolls Pork (4) 86
CHICKEN ENTRÉES Crispy Honey Chicken 86
LUNCH RICE BOWLS – includes white rice Mongolian Beef Bowl 87
CHICKEN ENTRÉES Korean Fried Chicken** 89
GLUTEN-FREE LUNCH – INCLUDES WHITE RICE GF Mongolian Beef Bowl 92
LUNCH RICE BOWLS – includes white rice Tempura Bowl 94
LUNCH RICE BOWLS – includes white rice Korean Bibimbap with Steak 99
LUNCH NOODLE BOWLS Tokyo Udon Noodle Bowl with Steak 100
LUNCH RICE BOWLS – includes white rice Korean Bibimbap with Chicken 101
SEAFOOD ENTRÉES Chang’s Lobster & Shrimp Rice* 102
LUNCH NOODLE BOWLS Tokyo Udon Noodle Bowl with Chicken 103
MARKET SIDES Long Life Noodles (Side) 110
NOODLES & RICE Lo Mein Beef 120
NOODLES & RICE Lo Mein Chicken 122
NOODLES & RICE Lo Mein Shrimp 122
NOODLES & RICE Lo Mein Vegetables 124
NOODLES & RICE Long Life Noodles & Prawns 124
NOODLES & RICE Lo Mein Combo 125
LUNCH RICE BOWLS – includes white rice Chang’s Spicy Chicken Bowl 125
GLUTEN-FREE LUNCH – INCLUDES WHITE RICE GF Chang’s Spicy Chicken Bowl 125
NOODLES & RICE Lo Mein Pork 126
LUNCH RICE BOWLS – includes white rice Chang’s Honey Chicken Bowl 134
DESSERTS Banana Spring Rolls 147
NOODLES & RICE Fried Rice with Beef 150
GLUTEN-FREE NOODLES & RICE GF Fried Rice with Beef 151
NOODLES & RICE Fried Rice with Shrimp 152
NOODLES & RICE Fried Rice with Chicken 153
GLUTEN-FREE NOODLES & RICE GF Fried Rice with Shrimp 153
GLUTEN-FREE NOODLES & RICE GF Fried Rice with Chicken 153
NOODLES & RICE Fried Rice Combo 154
NOODLES & RICE Fried Rice with Vegetables 154
GLUTEN-FREE NOODLES & RICE GF Fried Rice Combo 155
NOODLES & RICE Fried Rice with Pork 156
GLUTEN-FREE NOODLES & RICE GF Fried Rice with Vegetables 156
GLUTEN-FREE NOODLES & RICE GF Fried Rice with Pork 157
SALADS Vietnamese Noodle Salad 160
GLUTEN-FREE NOODLES & RICE GF Pad Thai Combo 169
GLUTEN-FREE NOODLES & RICE GF Pad Thai Chicken 169
GLUTEN-FREE NOODLES & RICE GF Pad Thai Shrimp 169
NOODLES & RICE Pad Thai Combo 174
NOODLES & RICE Pad Thai Chicken 174
NOODLES & RICE Pad Thai Shrimp 174
NOODLES & RICE Hokkien Street Noodles 219
GLUTEN-FREE NOODLES & RICE GF Hokkien Street Noodles 219
DESSERTS The Great Wall of Chocolate 245

 

PF Chang’s Menu Sorted by Net Carb Count for 2016

IMPORTANT – PF Chang’s has updated their menu -and I’ve updated my post. Check out the updated menu at https://lowcarbconfidential.com/2018/05/20/pf-changs-menu-sorted-by-net-carb-count-for-may-2018/

In 2007 I put up a post – Low Carb Dining at PF Chang’s – that is now way out of date as they have reformulated their menu since then. As we have one nearby, we frequent it often. We love their stuff.

I haven’t been watching my carb count much in maybe the 6 months prior to Christmas. I need a little refresher on what is an acceptable meal for me at the place – and what isn’t (psst! – avoid the gluten free fried rice combo!).

I hope PF Chang’s doesn’t mind me lifting their nutrition info web page and reformatting it fo us low carb folks- I wouldn’t think so because I’m making it easier for low carb dieters to enjoy a meal with friends at their restaurant.

Yeah – all this info is on their site but I included net carbs and sorted it to make finding the low carb items on their 100+ item menu easier. As I mess with data In Real Life every day, this stuff is probably more easy for me than for a lot of folks, so I thought I’d share.

 

Menu Item Calories Fat (g) Saturated Fat (g) Sodium (mg) Carbs (g) Dietary Fiber (g) Net Carbs (g) Protein (g)
Crispy Green Bean Sauce 2 oz 310 33 4.5 590 3 0 3 0
Spinach with Garlic — Small 120 8 1 400 8 4 4 6
GF Spinach with Garlic — Small 120 8 1 400 8 4 4 6
Shanghai Cucumbers — Small 70 3 0 1270 7 3 4 4
GF Shanghai Cucumbers — Small 70 3 0 1460 7 3 4 6
Spinach with Garlic — Large 160 9 1.5 790 15 9 6 12
GF Spinach with Garlic — Large 160 9 1.5 790 15 9 6 12
GF Shanghai Cucumbers — Large 140 6 1 2920 13 7 6 12
Chicken Satay 250 10 4 240 7 1 6 30
Baby Buddha’s Feast Steamed 60 0 0 50 12 5 7 4
GF Baby Buddha’s Feast Steamed 60 0 0 50 12 5 7 4
Rice Wine Shrimp 430 11 1.5 1420 9 2 7 66
Jicama Lobster Tacos 400 35 11 750 9 2 7 12
Mixed Green Salad with Lime Vinaigrette 90 6 1 55 9 2 7 1
Wonton Soup — cup 60 1 0 730 8 1 7 4
Shanghai Cucumbers — Large 130 6 1 2540 14 6 8 9
Egg Drop Soup — cup 50 2 0 600 8 0 8 1
GF Egg Drop Soup — cup 60 2.5 0 590 8 0 8 1
Sichuan-Style Asparagus — Small 90 4 0.5 1200 11 2 9 3
Asian Grilled Salmon* 610 35 5 1460 17 7 10 56
Hot & Sour Soup — cup 80 2.5 0.5 1750 11 1 10 5
Oolong Chilean Sea Bass* 560 38 9 2240 10 0 10 43
House-Made Egg Roll Sauce 2 oz 70 1.5 0 95 13 1 12 1
Salt & Pepper Prawns Sauce 2oz 70 1.5 0 680 13 1 12 2
Edamame 400 17 2.5 1960 25 12 13 37
Shishito Peppers 150 8 1.5 1760 18 5 13 2
Jicama Kung Pao Chicken Tacos 370 24 3.5 760 17 4 13 21
GF Buddha’s Feast (Steamed) 110 0.5 0 80 22 8 14 8
Kalbi Steak 590 36 9 830 19 5 14 49
Spicy Green Beans — Small 150 8 1 1300 19 5 14 4
Hong Kong Style Sea Bass* 520 38 8 1820 18 4 14 27
Ahi Tartare with Avocado* 320 14 2 530 17 3 14 29
Shrimp with Lobster Sauce* 360 18 3.5 2700 19 3 16 29
Ahi Tartare with Avocado * 450 26 3.5 630 26 9 17 28
Baby Buddha’s Feast Stir Fried 180 8 1 1610 22 5 17 6
Orange Ginger Edamame 440 19 3 4260 31 13 18 37
Dynamite Shrimp 370 30 4 710 19 1 18 5
GF Shrimp with Lobster Sauce* 480 26 5 3010 23 4 19 40
Banana Leaf Rockfish 460 20 9 1560 24 4 20 43
Shrimp Dumplings Pan Fried (4) with sauce 190 6 1 1250 22 2 20 12
Sake Salmon* 780 53 8 1510 27 6 21 47
Jicama Pork Tacos 320 19 4 980 24 3 21 16
Buddha’s Feast — Steamed 260 4 0 300 32 10 22 26
Pork Dumplings Pan Fried (4) with sauce 270 12 3.5 720 25 3 22 15
Sichuan-Style Asparagus — Large 220 8 1.5 2400 30 7 23 9
Pepper Steak 660 37 8 3210 26 3 23 57
GF Pepper Steak 660 38 8 3270 27 3 24 52
Shrimp Dumplings Steamed (4) with sauce 180 3 0 600 24 0 24 12
Seared Ahi Salad* 700 55 8 1490 30 5 25 24
Vegetable Spring Rolls Sauce 2 oz 100 0 0 670 26 1 25 0
Pork Dumplings Steamed (4) with sauce 250 10 1.5 620 25 0 25 11
Kaleidoscope Roll * 280 10 1.5 730 31 5 26 14
Spicy Green Beans — Large 240 8 1.5 2600 38 10 28 9
Crab Wontons (4) with sauce 470 37 8 630 28 0 28 5
Chang’s Kung Pao Shrimp 780 51 8 2790 45 16 29 37
Beef with Broccoli 670 35 8 3260 33 4 29 56
Ginger Chicken with Broccoli 460 10 2 2320 38 8 30 53
Salt & Pepper Prawns 590 30 3.5 2630 34 4 30 48
Mongolian Beef 720 39 9 2700 31 1 30 61
Handmade Dumplings Shrimp — Pan-Fried with sauce 300 11 2 2000 34 3 31 17
GF Ginger Chicken with Broccoli 510 14 2.5 2510 40 8 32 60
Vegetarian Lettuce Wraps 610 36 4.5 2300 39 7 32 25
Wonton Soup — bowl 250 3.5 2 3360 37 5 32 19
GF Mongolian Beef 780 44 10 2900 33 1 32 62
Kid’s Sweet & Sour Chicken 300 11 1.5 400 32 0 32 17
GF Beef with Broccoli 690 36 8 3430 40 7 33 55
GF Chang’s Chicken Lettuce Wraps 530 26 6 3030 39 6 33 34
Korean Steak Bulgogi* 800 30 9 1780 38 5 33 91
Chang’s Kung Pao Combo 830 49 7 2750 46 12 34 50
Handmade Dumplings Pork — Pan-Fried with sauce 420 20 5 1200 39 5 34 23
House-Made Egg Rolls (2) 280 10 2 1210 37 3 34 9
Vegetable Spring Rolls (2) 210 5 1 860 37 2 35 3
Coconut Curry Vegetables 1050 77 24 1220 47 11 36 43
GF Coconut Curry Vegetables 1050 77 24 1220 47 11 36 43
Chang’s Kung Pao Scallops 830 48 7 2600 44 8 36 56
Shaking Beef 800 49 18 2940 42 5 37 47
GF Shaking Beef 800 49 18 2930 42 5 37 47
Handmade Dumplings Shrimp — Steamed with sauce 290 6 0.5 1030 37 0 37 18
Lobster Avocado Roll * 410 19 2.5 740 46 8 38 14
Ma Po Tofu 1030 70 13 3780 44 6 38 60
Hunan-Style Hot Fish* 650 32 4.5 2910 42 4 38 50
Handmade Dumplings Pork — Steamed with sauce 390 17 2.5 1050 39 1 38 17
Chang’s Chicken Lettuce Wraps 530 24 6 2090 47 8 39 32
Almond & Cashew Chicken 640 25 4 3780 46 7 39 61
Northern-Style Spare Ribs 1120 63 18 3070 41 2 39 97
Egg Drop Soup — bowl 260 9 1.5 2900 39 0 39 5
GF Egg Drop Soup — bowl 290 12 2.5 2880 39 0 39 6
Stir-Fried Eggplant 1010 88 13 3790 50 9 41 7
Saigon Summer Rolls 370 15 2.5 790 45 4 41 12
Spicy Tuna Roll * 280 3 0 930 45 4 41 17
Buddha’s Feast — Stir-Fried 420 12 1 3440 52 10 42 29
Kid’s Chicken Lo Mein 340 11 1.5 1590 45 2 43 16
Hand-Folded Crab Wontons 700 55 12 930 44 1 43 8
Hot & Sour Soup — bowl 380 11 3 7980 48 4 44 22
Sichuan Chili-Garlic Chicken 1290 88 15 2180 51 6 45 66
Citrus Chicken Teriyaki 710 25 6 2320 50 5 45 67
Handmade Dumplings Vegetable — Pan-Fried with sauce 320 8 1.5 1050 50 5 45 11
Rainbow Quinoa — Small 300 5 0.5 700 52 6 46 11
Cantonese-Style Lemon Chicken 750 37 7 1140 47 1 46 53
GF Cantonese-Style Lemon Chicken 750 37 7 1140 47 1 46 53
Steamed Korean BBQ Chicken 580 24 4 1400 53 6 47 50
Dynamite Scallop Roll * 400 12 1.5 1190 52 5 47 20
Vegetable Spring Rolls (4) 330 11 1.5 1090 50 3 47 6
Chang’s Kung Pao Chicken 1070 64 10 2410 56 8 48 70
California Roll 340 9 1 1140 54 5 49 13
Lemongrass Prawn & Papaya Salad* 640 26 3.5 2980 60 10 50 35
Beef à la Sichuan 680 32 7 2820 54 4 50 47
GF Beef à la Sichuan 720 34 7 2980 56 4 52 48
Handmade Dumplings Vegetable — Steamed with sauce 310 6 0.5 990 54 1 53 9
Chang’s Chinese Chicken Salad 620 27 4 2270 66 11 55 30
Crispy Green Beans (no sauce) 760 55 8 520 63 7 56 7
Kid’s Honey Chicken 410 11 1.5 650 56 0 56 17
Pepper Crusted Steak Frites* 1860 128 52 2880 77 17 60 100
Walnut Shrimp with Melon* 1380 104 16 1830 74 14 60 39
Thai Steak & Noodle Salad 790 43 10 1990 70 10 60 38
GF Flourless Chocolate Dome 570 33 23 280 66 5 61 6
Brown Rice 6 oz 310 2 0 5 66 4 62 6
Orange Peel Shrimp 660 28 4.5 1950 79 16 63 27
Chang’s BBQ Spare Ribs 1230 64 18 3750 67 3 64 98
Korean BBQ Chicken Stir-Fry 870 44 7 1400 70 5 65 60
Salt & Pepper Calamari 710 37 4 1860 68 2 66 26
White Rice 6 oz 300 1 0 5 68 1 67 7
Kale & Quinoa Yogurt Dip served with Sesame Salt Wonton Chips 650 27 4 1570 77 9 68 19
House-Made Egg Rolls (4) 560 20 4 2420 75 7 68 18
Handmade Butternut Squash Dumplings 1110 86 53 2980 72 4 68 12
Chang’s Chicken Noodle Soup — bowl 620 22 3.5 2720 74 4 70 33
Rainbow Quinoa — Large 470 8 1 1190 82 9 73 17
Chang’s Spicy Chicken 820 34 6 1810 73 0 73 59
GF Chang’s Fried Rice (6 oz without Protein) 460 11 2.5 820 76 2 74 16
Sesame Chicken 890 35 6 2250 82 6 76 66
Orange Peel Chicken 980 42 7 1560 87 8 79 67
Crispy Caramel Chicken Wings 1530 115 23 1930 82 3 79 41
Sweet & Sour Chicken 770 32 4.5 760 85 2 83 40
Vegetable Lo Mein 490 6 0.5 2870 94 6 88 19
Vegetable Lo Mein 490 6 0.5 2870 94 6 88 19
Lo Mein Vegetable 490 6 0.5 2870 94 6 88 19
Lo Mein Shrimp 610 13 2 3150 96 6 90 29
Lo Mein Chicken 710 18 2.5 3040 98 7 91 42
Lo Mein Beef 720 22 4 3180 97 6 91 40
Sweet & Sour Pork 710 25 6 1460 94 3 91 30
Chang’s Lobster Rice 1010 48 14 2120 98 5 93 43
Orange Peel Beef 1130 60 12 1960 108 14 94 44
Lo Mein Pork 760 25 5 3130 100 6 94 37
Lo Mein Combo 880 31 6 3400 101 6 95 55
Kid’s Chicken Fried Rice 610 15 3 1020 98 2 96 25
GF Singapore Street Noodles 710 13 2 1720 105 8 97 21
GF Chang’s Spicy Chicken 710 13 2 1720 105 8 97 21
GF Kid’s Chicken Fried Rice 580 10 2 1120 99 2 97 26
Apple Chai Cobbler 620 22 16 320 101 2 99 7
Crispy Honey Shrimp 760 28 4 1320 108 2 106 13
Crispy Honey Chicken 1140 49 7 1270 114 1 113 57
Chang’s Quinoa Fried Rice Shrimp* 940 27 4.5 3090 130 15 115 47
Chang’s Quinoa Fried Rice Beef* 1050 36 7 3120 129 14 115 56
Singapore Street Noodles 920 21 3.5 2750 127 11 116 29
Chang’s Quinoa Fried Rice Chicken* 1040 32 5 2980 132 15 117 60
Chang’s Quinoa Fried Rice Combo 1230 45 9 3200 134 15 119 73
Chang’s Quinoa Fried Rice Pork* 1080 38 8 3060 133 14 119 55
Chang’s Quinoa Fried Rice Vegetables 990 31 5 2820 144 19 125 38
Garlic Noodles 720 11 1 2990 136 5 131 23
Pad Thai Chicken* 1160 30 5 3720 153 11 142 45
Pad Thai Shrimp* 1070 26 4.5 3840 152 10 142 33
Pad Thai Combo* 1110 28 5 3780 153 10 143 39
Chang’s Fried Rice Combo* 1210 36 8 2440 157 4 153 62
GF Chang’s Fried Rice Vegetable* 980 21 4 2070 168 9 159 28
Chang’s Fried Rice Vegetable 980 22 4 2150 169 9 160 26
Chang’s Fried Rice Shrimp* 1140 21 3.5 2160 204 6 198 44
GF Chang’s Fried Rice Beef* 1220 26 5 2380 204 6 198 51
Chang’s Fried Rice Beef* 1240 28 6 2180 203 5 198 53
GF Chang’s Fried Rice Chicken* 1210 22 4 2240 206 7 199 54
GF Chang’s Fried Rice Shrimp* 1120 18 3 2350 205 6 199 41
Chang’s Fried Rice Chicken* 1240 25 4.5 2050 206 6 200 57
GF Chang’s Fried Rice Pork* 1260 29 6 2330 208 6 202 49
Chang’s Fried Rice Pork* 1370 41 8 2130 207 5 202 51
GF Chang’s Fried Rice Combo* 1360 33 7 2580 209 6 203 62

Low Carb Diets Don’t Work and Bumble Bees Can’t Fly

I'm the one to the right...
I’m the one to the right…

I remember as a kid, whenever the popular press reported something people didn’t want to hear – oh, let’s say that all that margarine that was supposed to be good for us was suddenly pronounced bad for us – there was always a person who would trot out this old saw: “You know, science says that bumble bees can’t fly.”

This was supposed to be a way to diss science, call it a poopyhead, and use what is known as the ‘poisoning the well’ logical fallacy. “Well, science goofed on that bumble bee thing because every dope knows bumble bees DO fly. So this particular fact of the day must be wrong as well.”

It’s flawed reasoning.

(By the way, ‘science’ never said bumble bees don’t fly. This oft-repeated comment was stupid on so many levels.)

Science DOES get it right – a lot. Think of rockets, moon shots and even your humdrum jet flight. Those things weigh 400 tons and routinely leap into the air, serve lousy food, and bore the crap of everyone onboard, including the crew, until landing hundreds, if not thousands of miles away. Plane crashes make the news because they are so rare. Continue reading “Low Carb Diets Don’t Work and Bumble Bees Can’t Fly”

Low Carb Dining At The Cheesecake Factory

If there was ever a place that was more of an anathema to a low carb diet, the very definition of a low carb den of inequity  – it’s The Cheesecake Factory. There are plenty of restaurants that are tough to navigate, certainly, noodle houses and pasta places are a rough spot to be caught in when out with friends and trying to maintain your low carb mojo, but The Cheesecake Factory somehow shines through these pikers in high carb dining because of their ability to hide carbs in nearly everything.

The worst part is the low carb cheesecake. Yes, it’s low carb – but it is a trap to lure low carbers in the door – then whack them upside the head with bread at the table, yummy appetizers, and carb-laden entrees. By the time you get to the low carb cheesecake, it’s too late – you might as well buy the high carb version because you’ve probably trashed your diet for a few days and will need a few days of low carb rehab to recover.

Continue reading “Low Carb Dining At The Cheesecake Factory”

Fat Fast Asian Stewed Pork Belly Recipe

Not my picture, and I didn't use eggs - but now I'd like to try.
Not my picture, not my recipe, but mine looks a lot like this – but without the eggs. Click the pic to see this person’s recipe at Happy Home Baker.

I have been playing around with the notion of a ‘fat fast’ where you attempt to get your percentage of fat really high. Of course, I never follow directions, so I have been aiming for 80% fat and have so far eaten 10,000 extra calories this week according to my LoseIt! app – but I’ve lost almost 5 pounds.

Freaky – huh? Continue reading “Fat Fast Asian Stewed Pork Belly Recipe”

Should We Have Laws Against Large Sodas Served in Restaurants?

If you have any interest at all in petty local politics, a well-meaning gentleman by the name of Michael Bloomberg, who happens to be mayor of New York City, would like to ban ‘super-sized’ sodas from being sold in city restaurants because they are bad for you.

I’m OK with the ‘bad for you’ part. A legal ban on a large soda? Not so much. Continue reading “Should We Have Laws Against Large Sodas Served in Restaurants?”