Bestketonetest.com / Keto Mojo / Keto Clarity Club Blood Ketone Meter Review

If the title of this post isn’t confusing, then you are missing something.

A far as I can determine, The one-man keto juggernaut Jimmy Moore, who wrote a book ‘Keto Clarity’, has some relationship with a company that is able to sell blood ketone testing strips for a little over $1 each if you join the ‘Keto Clarity Club’. The site is https://bestketonetest.com/  and has Jimmy’s smiling face on the bottom.

There is *another* site – https://keto-mojo.com/ – that is essentially the same but doesn’t have any mention of ‘Keto Clarity’ and no Jimmy Moore. You get the same deal except that you join ‘The Founder’s Club’.

So yeah – a wee bit confusing. Jimmy Moore must get a cut from the first website and maybe nothing from the second.

Good for him. I’ve concluded that Jimmy Moore is far too valuable to the keto community to NOT wish him success in building a brand that generates enough money for him to continue doing what he does.

All of this aside, I bought the meter and joined the ‘Club’. The meter is expensive at $60, but if you really plan on testing for blood ketones, at a little over $1 a strip, you will save in the long run.

Yes – it’s pricy – but it is the most accurate way to measure ketones.

The pee strips that you can find at the drugstore are great to start and cheap, but their major flaw is the damn color change. It’s worthless in measuring how deeply you are in ketosis. They could be dark because you haven’t drunk enough water, or they can be light because you did.

The only thing the keto sticks are good for is a simple yes or no answer to: am I excreting ketone bodies? If the answer is ‘no’ you can fine-tune your diet to see what’s messing you up. Once you start seeing color, then you know you are on the right track.

The problem is that you can only use them at the beginning. If you succeed at getting into ketosis and stay there, the type of ketones excreted change and don’t show up in the urine anymore.

Important: you don’t need a meter to lose weight on a keto diet!

I lost 80 pounds without one.

But…for those of us that can afford one of these things, I think it’s a great product. To be clear: I’m not being paid in any way to write this, I have no connection to the company, and I wasn’t given anything for free. I bought and paid for this myself.

I find the device to be very well-built – perhaps the best-quality meter I’ve encountered. It is easy to use – if you don’t mind stabbing yourself and bleeding of course.

And for a numbers guy like I am, I find the ability to get precise number to be very helpful in staying keto.

You can also save money on the test strips in the long run by a simple testing routine:

  1. At the start of your keto diet, test once in the evening to get a 0.0 reading to prove you’re not in ketosis and the damn thing works.
  2. Don’t test on day 2.
  3. Start testing once in the evening on day 3. If you’re doing things right you should begin to see the numbers go up. They tend to be higher in the evening. It might take longer then 3 days so if you know you’re eating to the keto way and not filling up on processed low carb crap and you’re watching your protein intake, save your strips and wait until day 5.
  4. While you’re in ketosis if the number is above 0.5, the ‘sweet spot’ for weight loss is supposedly between 1.5 and 3.0. At the end of a week without cheats, test yourself throughout one day to measure how your body’s ketone levels fluctuate. Write these down and keep these as your reference levels. If you are not at least at 0.5 at each reading, you might want to examine your diet to see what food might be messing you up.
  5. After that, if you’re numbers are good, there’s little reason to obsessively test except to see if a new food has an impact, you cheated, or your usual routine was disrupted in some other way.
  6. After a month, do another round of testing throughout a normal day. As you become keto-adapted the numbers might change.

Following this plan you can get those 50 strips to last you 3 to 6 months and still have good, solid numbers to reference.

One last note: while I also check my blood glucose, I don’t recommend the Keto Mojo glucose test strips because they are double the price of the meter I use.

I’ll leave that discussion for another post.

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Fat, Dumb, and Happy: Lost 7 pounds in 36 Hours

[I thought I might try a bit of an experiment. What if I just post what I write? It’s the editing that kills me – most of my stuff ends up on the cutting room floor, unpublished. Instead, I’m going to just post what I’ve dashed off. It’s a bit of a ramble, but let’s see if it leads anywhere interesting. It’s only a blog, you know.]

Monday, March 10, 2014 – 10am

I bought the butter and the roast beef – I went for the store-cooked on the off-chance that it might be less processed. Even something like roast beef frequently has monosodium glutamate added. They also had Kerry Gold Irish Swiss cheese and as it’s entirely possible that the Kerry Gold cheese was made from grass-fed cows I bought a pound on impulse.

I am in a very odd mood that I am challenged to explain. I’m neither happy nor sad. Somewhat ‘robotic’ is perhaps one description.

I did weigh myself before leaving the house – 228.8.

Meh. Indifferent.

I wasn’t particularly hungry until mid afternoon when I had some of the roast beef with butter. Perhaps a 1/3rd stick with maybe 2-3 ounces of roast beef. I also had salt with it. I don’t add salt as a condiment normally, but I do with roast beef.

I didn’t try the swiss cheese until I got home. I had this with a leftover grass-fed hamburger and boy, was that good. I also had a glass of vanilla unsweetened almond milk while I cooked some grass-fed beef that needed to be cooked before it went bad. I also stopped at the Whole foods and bought 2 very fatty pork bellies. These will make for very ketosis-friendly meals – one I stored in the fridge, the other I froze.

Is it a placebo effect or do I already feel a little better? I think maybe it *isn’t* a placebo effect as I *have* been doing low carb for 10+ years.

Putting weight loss aside, I feel better mentally on a low carb diet. Not as indifferent – and it’s only a day.

Tuesday, March 11, 2014 –  225.8

I woke before the alarm and felt OK. It was a big contrast from the day before when my back was hurting so much that I had a hard time getting out of bed.

While my diet might seem extreme so far, there’s a reason for it beyond calories and carbs: by narrowing it down so I have a better chance of leaving out the potential that a myriad of food ingredients – natural and man-made – might cause undetectable problems. By undetectable I mean undetectable by doctors – not that there aren’t symptoms.

Low carb bread, for me, is a prime example. Despite the fact the label states 5 grams of net carbs per slice, it seems like more than a slice impacts my weight loss. The same amount of carbs from other sources would not impact me the same.

Atkins bars are another example. When I’ve used them, I’ve found more than one or two a day can cause a slowing or stalling of weight loss.

So here’s the quandary: there is something suspect in some foods that are low carb that impact me. Unless I were to have a battery of expensive and dubious medical tests, I can’t know what they are. So what if I ‘act as if’ these substances are in a lot of what I eat and limit my eating to a few very simple items and see what happens?

There’s no ‘believing’ involved here. I don’t know what these substances are and will probably never know, but by removing as many of them as possible I can test a simple hypothesis: are there substances in my food that affect my mood and weight loss?

Yesterday I consumed 7 items: roast beef, ground beef, swiss cheese, coffee, cream, almond milk and low carb ketchup. Aside from the last two, there’s no ingredient labels – these are minimally-processed foods.

The ingredients more than double when you add in the actual ingredients from the almond milk and low carb ketchup. Together they have about 17 different ingredients (a day of eating processed foods can run into the hundreds). I cannot know if any of these chemicals have an impact on me individually, and it will be damn tough to determine if they have a threshold level below which they are innocuous and above which they cause mischief.

What can be determined is very crude, and one is hard to measure. The first is my weight. A scale can be very accurate, but peoples’ weight varies from day to day based on how much water they retain. A low carb diet causes a rapid drop of water weight because the body needs water to handle carbs. Ditch the carbs and you ditch the water. But there are other body processes that occasionally need to store water and a daily weigh-in will sometimes show a weight gain when there actually was a fat loss – just because the human body is, well, unknowable on a chemical level.

Sure – researchers can do tests, produce papers, and make conclusions, but frequently their methods are suspect and their conclusions don’t match the data. You can’t know this unless you read all these papers, decipher the unnecessarily professorial language, analyze the data, then scrutinize their analytical methods to see if any monkey business went on to give them the numbers they were hoping for.

This whole topic could turn into a very big rant but I’ll stop here and cover the second item that I can measure, though this one is perceptual and even worse than the weight on the scale.

That is hunger.

I’ve already written about the different types of hunger: cellular (you are actually hungry), food-based (something you ate actually triggers hunger), and psychological (comfort food, social pressure, and scores of other things). I’ve spent a lot of time analyzing my own hunger and a real, honest-to-goodness symptom of what I’ll call a ‘false hunger’ is having food fantasies even though I know I have eaten an adequate amount.

I notice the difference. Hunger is still present, of course – it’s a natural and necessary reaction to not eating. It feels different, though – it’s of a different type – one that is easier to manage – at least right now.

3/11/14 – 7:30pm

My day consisted of a few tablespoons of cream in my morning coffee, then more coffee at work. Early afternoon I finally got hungry and I started to feel the familiar weirdness that I have come to associate with a ‘high’ because I know what it means.

I had brought 2 roast beef ‘sandwiches’ – a few slices of roast beef with maybe 2 tablespoons of butter, along with salt and pepper. I position the butter carefully, slide it into a sandwich bag and squish the butter with my palm. This leaves a relatively flat sandwich-like object – sans bread – that I can eat out of the bag. I had one of the two I brought. I had a bit more coffee late afternoon with some coconut oil and along with my slight headache – another good sign.

When I got home I tested for ketones. The test strip turned a dark red.

The ol’ roast beef and butter trick works again – within 36 hours I’m in ketosis.

The next things might seem outlandish or preposterous, but I promise you it is true: I weighed myself and was 221.6. I lost slightly more than 7 pounds in 36 hours.

No wonder I feel weird – can you imagine what a profound change this must be for a human body to alter a weight that quickly? Granted – I am a ‘special case’ – I’ve been doing this stuff for years. My body has a LOT of practice with running on ketones. Most assuredly it’s primarilt water weight, but my pants still enjoy the extra room and my wedding band goes on easier.

I throw in the low carb mix tape my body knows so well and it’s ready to party with little resistance.

I was hungry when I got home so I put a few ounces of roast beef and that awesome swiss cheese on a romaine lettuce leaf heart, slathered it in mayonnaise, and topped with pepper and another leaf. I had that with a cup of plain yogurt made from grass-fed milk.

This was adequate. I went to bed.

Wednesday, March 12, 2014 – 221.4

Woke a few minutes before the alarm. This is another curious side-effect I’ve noticed about ketogenic low carb: I seem to need less sleep and wake refreshed.

To be continued…maybe.

Low Carb Dining at the Emergency Room

I’m popping in to relate a little adventure that has a few of those items that go into the bucket list labeled: “prefer not to”.

These items were:

  • first time driving myself to the emergency room
  • first time getting a CAT scan
  • first time getting surgery of any kind
  • having an emergency appendectomy

This was how *I* spent my weekend.

Now, this went about as well as could be expected and is not the point of this post- really. I showed up early before the appendicitis was advanced. That made an already routine surgery even easier. I was completely calm throughout the entire process, with an: ‘oh, well – these things happen’ attitude and an utter lack of drama (which I am sure the hospital staff appreciated). I had laparoscopic – or ‘keyhole’ surgery – and have only 3 tiny holes in my abdomen, took a shower myself the next day and left the next morning.

It was so I uneventful that a ‘get well soon’ card would seem out of place. This was less traumatic than most bouts of the flu.

What this post is about was maintaining my low carb diet. After 2 weeks I had finally gotten in the groove of low carb and I wasn’t about to let a potentially life- threatening condition spoil my diet.

Appendicitis has the benefit for dieters of killing appetite – before it kills you, of course, so eating wasn’t on my mind prior to surgery – getting that damn appendix out of me was my primary focus as I felt like hell.

Later, now appendix-free and out of recovery and into my room, I was brought a meal of ‘clear liquids’.

What garlic is to a vampire and Kryptonite to Superman, this ‘meal’ was to a guy who just got into ketosis that day:

  • iced tea with high fructose corn syrup
  • raspberry ices with corn syrup
  • jello with high fructose corn syrup (noted on the printout I was given with the meal as ‘flavor: red’)
  • cranberry juice with high fructose corn syrup
  • a packet of sugar
  • 1 bowl of low sodium chicken broth

Think about it for a moment: my first meal after surgery and more than 12 hours after eating did  not contain any actual ‘food’ as I saw it. The printout that came with it gave the following tally:

Carbs: 76, fluids: 780, calories: 310, protein: 2, fat:0, sodium: 128, potassium: 61.

So a little math shows that my meal was 99% carbs – and the crappiest carbs possible. I would have been better off getting fed via a glucose IV.

I wasn’t going to touch that crap and only had the soup, which I have a strong feeling caused the death of no chickens as it sat at the bottom of the soup water like a fluorescent yellow chemical spill and I had to stir it to make it mix. It was likely a ‘chicken flavored’ bullion cube rather than the real deal.

When the server came for the tray she seemed disappointed in me. “Why didn’t you eat?” She frowned. It almost seemed a personal rejection to her – like she had spent all day preparing it for me.

“It’s all sugar – I don’t eat sugar.”

“Are you diabetic?”

“Not really, but I’m on a low carb diet and I’m not going to eat this.”

“I can get you sugar-free versions of everything except for the berry ice. ”

“Oh – I’d eat that.” I said.

I soon got another tray and another bowl of broth with sugar-free versions of the jello, cranberry juice, a lemon wedge (how I was supposed to use this baffled me) and a packet of Splenda.

While this ‘meal’ covered an entire tray, it had a total of 31 calories – which is kind of amazing. If I wouldn’t mainline simple sugars they were going to starve me to death.

Lunch was another hearty 31 calories.

Mid-afternoon a resident checked on me and asked me if I would like solid food and put in the order. The nurse told me: “now you can order real food. You can get cookies, a sandwich, pasta – anything.”

Thanks for the recommendations, nursie.

Instead, I ordered grilled chicken breast, broccoli, zucchini, tomato soup with a salad and blue cheese dressing.

Finally – real food! 476 calories, 23 from carbs, 32 from fat and 26 from protein. I wasn’t going to starve to death after all.

The next morning I was able to order whatever I wanted and called for an omelette (made with real eggs – you have to ask), ham and cheese and a sausage on the side. I was also able to have some coffee.

This meal totaled 553 calories, 40 grams of fat, 36 grams of protein and 2 grams of carbs as per the printout.

I also noticed that comment had appeared on my printouts: ‘Patient wants sugar free’.

What I found was that it seemed that the individuals that I talked to about my dietary preferences were OK with it – either they didn’t care or agreed with me. The nutritionists that ran the place, however, still held old-guard notions about a ‘one-size-fits-all’ diet.

I’m home now and I’m fine – just sore.

And I can eat as per my plan again – no dietary restrictions.

Making Your Own Mayonnaise for Cowards – Atkins Induction Day 10 (with 07/05/13 Update)

There’s cooking and there’s cooking.

Throwing some chicken on the grill, over seasoning with a store-bought seasoning mix, then checking that it is cooked enough to avoid salmonella poisoning is cooking of a sort. Throwing everything into a pot and cooking until done is also technically cooking, but ‘cooking’ is a discipline that extends across a continuum from the ham-fisted, knuckle-dragging cooking that I do, through an inspired craft, ending at fine artistry in edibles.

I think cooking is a big part of any success I have had over the years in maintaining my (at the moment) 65 pound weight loss – and I’ve made a number of inspired dishes, though a true gastronomic devotee would be generous in saying that it least there was some creativity and enthusiasm.

But then there’s technique – knowing what your ingredients can do, understanding their properties and the proportions that yield something special – something unexpected. Something rising above mere cooking.

Mayonnaise is one of these things.

Continue reading “Making Your Own Mayonnaise for Cowards – Atkins Induction Day 10 (with 07/05/13 Update)”

Atkins Induction – Notes on Day 1

I am thinking that if this amuses me, I might try to do a quick daily  – or maybe sorta daily – chronicle of starting my low carb diet up again. We’ll see how this goes. When I begin a low carb diet I take a very personal and somewhat strange approach – but I’m almost too close to it to notice. I’m going to try to tease these tidbits out, though I give you no assurances that what I do is safe – or sane. It’s not advice – just reporting. Make of it what you will – I don’t mind.

If I do this, I will have to hit the ‘publish’ button without too much rereading, so if these appear rambling or redundant it might be because they are stream-of-consciousness. My apologies beforehand – there are many things I don’t publish because I over think them.

So anyway…

In work I stuck to roast beef and butter, then a plain greek yogurt. Dinner was 2 pork burgers (ground pork cooked like hamburger), 1 hamburger wrapped with swiss cheese, some low carb ketchup, and a slice of low carb bread, toasted, with olive oil, oregano, and salt.

You’ll notice that except for a slice of low carb bread and the ketchup, which made up maybe 5% of my total calories, all of my foods are pretty perishable. I think eating food that rots easily is an important part of eating healthy.

You’ll also notice there’s not a lot of ingredients. The total number of ingredients in my entire day’s food would be less than on a typical microwave dinner. There’s also cultured foods – both the cheese and yogurt are cultured – or given the change to be eaten by microorganisms before I eat it. Very little of my total ingredients were put into chemical drums and shipped from a chemical factory. The bread and ketchup certainly contain these items, but again, they were only 5% of my calories.

There was also nary a vegetable in sight. I like vegetables – some of my best friends are vegetables – but I personally don’t feel the need to have them every day, all the time.

I also had 2 teaspoons of Carlson’s Cod Liver Oil. This is an experiment on my part. I bought it on a whim and it is too soon to not if I think this stuff is good or if it isn’t, but I will tell you – a little research shows this stuff is, like most things in nutrition, somewhat controversial – but that’s for another post.

I (somehow) maneuvered myself around the paella, the rice, the Chex Mix (‘Mmmmmm – Chex Mix’ Says my inner Homer Simpson.’) The temptations were there, but I managed to avoid them.

As to how I felt, my energy flagged toward the end of the day. Understandable as I worked from 8am to 6pm straight – mostly complicated brainwork. While I had coffee in the AM, I am drinking much less than I used to. I once could go through 3 pots a day – now I am down to perhaps half that. Still a lot – but not for me until recently.

Before bed I took a metformin and an adult multivitamin. I do not have diabetes but I have a strong tendency in my family for it and would like to forestall its onset as long as possible. The ADA (American Diabetes Association) says it’s OK to give ‘pre-diabetics’ metformin for this purpose, and I got my doc to agree.

The adult multivitamin I take because it doesn’t have iron in it. With the meat I eat, I don’t need more iron. I am suspect of ALL supplements – for a number of reasons – and even take this one wondering if it helps or harms. I take it because I most certainly am not a slave to the notion of a ‘balanced’ diet and think that there are probable some micronutrients that I am deficient in – it might help.

I am also sucking on nicotine lozenges. Having used them to quit my brief and intense relationship with cigarettes a few weeks ago, I am now addicted to them. They do not help with weight loss – I have proven that to myself. Apparently many people do believe this as I get many hits to my failed experiments on this. I read on some weightlifter blog that I was ‘clueless and doing it wrong.’

Sounds like me.

My daily totals for Monday were as follows:

Calories: 2,602 – a little high, but I’m OK with it
Fat: 201g (71%) – about the range I shoot for
Net Carbs: 17g  – fine with it
Protein: 169g – a little high

Not a bad first day, and while I don’t obsess about the number on the scale, getting all bent out of shape when it doesn’t go in the direction I like, it did go down to 210.6, which is a 3 pound loss. I’ll take it.

Want to Stop Eating Food? Here’s Someone Working on That

soylent

I was very interested to read about Soylent – an experiment by an individual in replacing eating with a simple drink consisting of all the necessary macronutrients and micronutrients sourced as individual chemicals.

This is all the fellow lived on for a month and he’s taking this ‘on the road’ so to speak as he is offering this concoction with other people to learn more about it through other people’s experience with it.

I applaud his N=1 research in this, as he is trying to solve what is to him, dual issues: optimal feeding as well as getting back all that time and money spent prepping food. He takes the approach that eating is somewhat outdated and might be done only for ‘sport’ in that it remains an option for social events rather than something he must do every day – sort of like people use to hunt and fish to sustain themselves but now mostly do it for the pleasure of the act itself. Continue reading “Want to Stop Eating Food? Here’s Someone Working on That”

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?”