Keto is the Bitcoin of Diets

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For all you folks who do not spend their lives reading charts, a little explanation. This chart is from Google Trends, a tool that lets you see how often search terms are entered into Google. You can also compare one search term to another.

Now what the above chart shows is that the term ‘low carb’ (in blue) has been chugging along and has been steadily been gaining interest. It’s a far cry from the obscurity after the ‘Atkins Craze’ of 2003 popped and people moved on to the next trendy diet.

An interesting thing to note: see those little spikes in interest regularly spaced on the blue line? That happens every January when people decide to go on a diet as a New Year’s resolution.

Now take a look at ‘keto’ (blue line). Back when I started this blog, nobody would have known what Keto meant.

Well, things have changed. Look at that spike – keto is the Bitcoin of diets right now. It used to be called ‘Atkins Induction’ but after Atkins died the term was dropped because it seemed too harsh. Atkins himself recommended a diet of 20 grams of carbs or less, moderate protein, and high fat only for the first two weeks – then you were supposed to begin adding more carbs back in.

I ignored that advice back then and instead tried to stay in ‘Atkins Induction’ indefinitely.

I was ‘keto’ before ‘keto’ even existed.

Today, keto is everywhere. People who’ve only learned about the diet a year ago prop themselves up as experts, start Facebook pages, and build businesses around this diet. I got nothing against free enterprise, but it seems to me some of these folks are going off half-cocked. There’s one guy who advocates eating nothing but bacon for 30 days. Compared to him, this blog expands your choices to meat in general – and water.

The bacon guy is trying to build a nice little business off of this – you can join his special insider program for about $100. I bet he’s doing OK – it’s pretty easy to separate desperate obese people from their money.

I don’t want to imply anything bad about the guy. He seems sincere, came up with a trick that worked for him, and figures he can make a buck off of it. It also seems to work for a bunch of people – so who am I to nay say? Nothing wrong there.

The only problem I would have – and a big reason I have never tried to sell anything nor claim that I am right about anything (read my disclaimer here) – is that I wouldn’t feel comfortable recommending *any* diet to *anybody* because I ain’t no doctor.

Anyway, ‘keto’ – like Bitcoin – is in a bubble. I have spent a lot of time in the past year on these Keto Facebook pages and there’s a lot of hopeful folks who stream in, asking the same questions asked the day before, unwilling to read the pinned posts, who just want a magic bullet. These people don’t want to do the work – they just want to lose weight fast. I don’t blame them, but as more and more people stream in, try the diet without doing their homework, get bad advice from people on the page as ignorant as they are, they will give up, tell their friend that keto doesn’t work – and the bubble will pop and we’ll be on to the next diet fad. This happened in 2003 with Atkins – and has been happening with great regularity for over a century.

The thing is: I believe keto works for a lot of people. I think, like most diets, it can be hard. I think you need to do your homework, and be able to tease out the good information from all the bad information out there.

I will even go so far as to say that there is probably a lot of bad information on this blog. I’ve been writing for 11 years and my thinking on the diet has changed.

If I plan to start posting regularly, I think I also need to go back and either edit old posts or delete them entirely.

So moving forward I’ll be ‘The keto blog with the low carb name’.

Hey – AT&T stands for ‘American Telephone and Telegraph’ – and a telegraph hasn’t been sent in the US since 2006.

Beef and Bacon Keto Chili Recipe

A quick update for the old gang: I’ve been away because, well, I had nothing to write about. On April 2nd, however, I went full-bore into a strict ketogenic diet. I’ve written a whole lot about that, but it’s not ready for publishing yet – but how about a recipe?

I’ve been deep into ketosis and have been very strict for the past 2 weeks. I use the weekends to cook and wanted to have a goto meal for the week so I thought: why not chili?

In the past I have not watched my carbs as closely as I am now, and it has paid off: a 10 lb. loss in 2 weeks, a 20-40 point drop in blood glucose levels, and ketones as measured by a blood testing meter averaging between 2-3 mmol/ml.

So unlike in the past where I might have gone apeshit with onions and other higher carb vegetables, this chili measures nutrients down to every damn spice.

So here’s the ingredients and the numbers:

Ingredient Calories Fat Net Carbs Protein
2 lbs. 80/20 ground beef 2272 179 0 152
5 Tbsp bacon fat 570 60 0 0
7 slices bacon 308 25 1 20
1 medium onion 46 0 3 1
1 can Trader Joes Chiles 40 0 8 0
1 14.5 oz can Trader Joes Fire roasted organic tomatoes with green chiles 87 0 14 4
1 large green bell pepper 48 0 8 2
2 tbsp chili powder 42 2 2 2
2 tsp ground cumin 16 1 2 1
2 tsp garlic powder 18 0 4 1
Salt 0 0 0 0
Pepper 14 0 1 1
Total for the entire pot 3461 267 43 184
Total Per Portion (1/10) 346 27 4 18

It was a pain in the ass to pull these numbers together – especially as different sources give different nutrient counts for the same thing, but I think this is about as accurate as I’m going to be able to get it.

The instructions are simple:

  1. Melt the bacon fat in the bottom of a pot
  2. Set the burner to high and add ground beef, black pepper, and some salt (add to taste later)
  3. Let it cook on high while you deal with cutting the vegetables and bacon, stirring occasionally
  4. Dice the bacon and toss in the pot
  5. Cut the onion and toss in the and give it a stir
  6. Do the same for the pepper
  7. Toss in the can of chilis and tomatoes
  8. Add the remaining spices

Now set it to a low simmer and let cook for 2 hours to let the flavors meld.

The verdict: pretty darn good. I’ll be eating this all week. I found it very flavorful by itself, but I’m sure with a little shredded cheese on the top – and maybe a dollop of sour cream – I’d be in some serious flavor territory.

Kielbasa and Zucchini Recipe

IMG_4890Forgive if you will the sloppy recipe amounts as you read below. This started as a way to dispose of mismatched items I found in the fridge by either rendering them inedible by cooking or by pure chance making something edible.

I think this came out so good that I must make this accident again.

While I am listing the ingredients I added, I see no reason why – with one exception – you can’t riff on this with whatever low carb veggies and sausage you find lying around.

I think the secret was the bacon fat. I have kept bacon fat for years but always ended up throwing it out. This was the first time I added it to a recipe – and Oh. Boy.

Ingredients

  • 6-7 medium-sized zucchini, diced
  • 1 Polish Kielbasa, sliced
  • 2 andouille sausages, maybe each 6″ long, sliced
  • 1/2 cup bacon fat
  • Dash of garlic powder
  • Few dashes of salt
  • dash of oregano

Cook all the ingredients in a pan as shown above covered on a high flame for a half-hour, stirring frequently until the liquids come out of the veggies and more liquid appears. This is not a bad thing – this liquid is awesome.

How awesome you say, my younger daughter, who has earned the nickname ‘carbs on carbs on carbs’ because of her eating habits gobbled up 3 servings of this stuff. Her only complaint? the andouille sausage – she preferred the kielbasa.

 

 

 

Short Update

I decided to stop by my site to look up some recipes and thought I’d take a moment to write an update – if there’s anybody out there.

First of all: I’m still alive, obviously. The other day I visited the blog of someone who I used to read all the time and the guy had DIED.

Second: the last recorded weight in a blog post here was 278 lbs. Through hard work and perseverance I was able to get that number up to 283.0 on January 23rd of 2017, but since then I have been ever so slowly losing weight.

Today I am 260.4. 23 Lbs. is not insignificant, though as has always been the case I am bumbling my way to weight loss without much in the way of a real plan. There’s been a bit of a plan I have been following – as always – I’m reporting – not recommending.

My morning always starts with between 1-2 mugs of coffee with heavy cream. I almost never eat breakfast.

My work days pass with me drinking coffee laced with Atkins Chocolate Shakes. They are currently very affordable on Amazon – something like $15 for a 12-pack.

I also have a large glass of water with 4 teaspoons of psyllium husks.

Late in the afternoon I have 3 hard-boiled eggs. I do this in an attempt to feel full as I drive home past at least 50 fast food joints. (No, I haven’t counted, but it is probably close to that if you include supermarkets with takeout food, Chinese takeout, and Sushi places.)

This fails a lot and I typically get a meatball sandwich at Wawa (a local convenience chain with a cult following) or 3 double cheeseburgers at McDonald’s.

Evenings are random chaos. Sometimes I eat whatever is around. Sometimes I don’t eat because I ate on the way home.

What I typically DO regularly is drink about a liter of seltzer water from my Sodastream – I’d say I’ve had that thing for nearly a decade and it’s seen use most of that time. I guess that was one kitchen gadget that was worth the purchase.

I usually drink it with a lot of ice and lately I have been in love with the Target store brand version of MiO. They have an ‘Orange-Tangerine’ flavor. that has become my favorite (until I get sick of it).

I did give up drinking alcohol. Usually it was red wine. I stopped on July 4th. I have never lost weight while drinking alcohol despite numerous tries so I decided to ditch it. I’ve lost maybe 13 Lbs. since.

I have also been spending time on a number of the Facebook ‘Keto’ groups. I’ve got a few good recipes from them but there’s a lot of contradictory info – I pity the poor beginner starting there. I also have NOT been living ‘keto’ I have a higher carb count than 20 grams and don’t know yet if I want to go fully keto all the time.

I can say getting to 260 is a motivator. Let’s see if I can keep this up

Chicken Broccolli Casserole with Cheese

I whipped this up last night with ingredients I found in the house.

  • 5-6 IQF (Individually Quick Frozen) chicken breasts
  • Trader Joe’s 21 Seasoning Salute
  • 3 cups shredded Jarlsberg cheese
  • 1 bag frozen broccoli florets
  • 4 tablespoons butter
  • 1 teaspoon cayenne pepper

In my convection oven, I cooked the chicken for about 20 minutes while defrosting the broccoli for about 8 minutes in the microwave. I then cut up the chicken with kitchen scissors, gave it a healthy coating of the seasoning mix. After a few minutes, in went the broccoli while I shredded the cheese with a cheese grater.

After mixing and cooking a few more minutes, the mixture went into the casserole dish and I then covered the entire top with a lot of cheese. When done I sprinkled the top with paprika more for color than anything and put it in a 350 degree oven for 20 minutes.

I had some for dinner – it was pretty good. The cheese was more hard than gooey, and maybe the cayenne pepper was a bit too much, but I ate it and enjoyed. Trader Joe’s @1 Salute seasoning is a handy blend of seasonings for those of us clueless at the sight of a spice rack.

What surprised me was the family also enjoyed it. “It’s actually pretty good.” was one comment – which shows both the typical expectations of my low carb cooking as well as the review of this particular dish in comparison.

I’d say it’s a keeper and I’ll be making it again.

Creamed Asparagus and Scallion Soup

UPDATE: I’ve been eating this the past couple of days and have a few tweaks to add

I love my immersion blender. 12 bucks or so at most large grocery stores, these things can take the place of a regular blender or food processor with minimal cleanup.

I was searching the Internet for something low carb I might be able to make with some ingredients I have lying about and came up with this idea based off another recipe I found.

Ingredients:

  • 2 bunches of fresh asparagus
  • 10 scallions
  • 1 box (32 oz) chicken broth
  • 4 tablespoons salted butter
  • 1/3 pint heavy cream
  • 2 teaspoons garlic powder
  • 1 teaspoon onion powder
  • 20 turns of the pepper mill
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt

Using a soup pot I melted the butter on high heat while washing and cleaning the asparagus and scallions. I chopped it in 1/4″ lengths. Thrown into the pot with the butter, I stirred on high flame intermittently for about 10 minutes while looking for the rest of the ingredients and the immersion blender.

Be careful with asparagus. While I cut off more than an inch of the bottom stems, it was still more fibrous than I would have liked and might be off-putting to some. My solution: cut the asparagus – especially at the stem end very, very closely together to be sure any fibers will be as short as possible. The immersion blender won’t fix this.

I do this with kale when I make kale soup and use the stems and it works splendidly.

After that, in went the chicken broth. I brought to a boil, then added the garlic and onion powder, turned down the heat, and let simmer for 10 minutes.

Once the simmering was done, I turned off the heat and blended until smooth. Then I slowly poured in the cream with the immersion blender on.

Now it was time for a taste – and I came up with a trick to have a good-sized taste with the extremely hot soup not burning my mouth.

We have some small metal ingredient cups about the size of the business end of a soup ladle. The keyword here is ‘metal’. Using a soup ladle I put a few tablespoons into the cup. It became almost too hot to touch – good. All that heat was being conducted out of the soup into the metal cup. To make something hot, you got to make something else cold. In less than 30 seconds I had a mouthful of the stuff at a temperature that would let me taste it.

It was very good – creamy and flavorful. I did think it needed a little salt and put in a teaspoon at that point and mixed it again with the immersion blender.

Oops – maybe just a teensy-weensy too much salt – the broth and butter brought their own salt and it was *almost* enough. My advice if you try this: be careful with the salt.

The final product was delicious. It’s a one-pot meal using only a few utensils and in a half-hour you have a great soup for a cold, possibly snowy day. It’s also suitable for vegetarians who use dairy – not usual for my recipes.

I did find after repeated lunches of the stuff that it was missing ‘something’. I added more salt and pepper at work and it was better, but it could have used some other ‘something’ – but what?

Any ideas out there?

Salmon with Green Beans And Avocado Sauce

My daughter is a natural, instinctive cook and she came up with this. She made potatoes with this, which I avoided, but the rest was an amazing melding of flavors and textures.

I have yet to make this myself, but I can categorically state that it will be a meal worth trying.

Salmon ingredients

  • 5 salmon fillets
  • champagne apple mustard
  • honey
  • salt
  • pepper

OK – I do not buy ‘Champagne Apple Mustard‘ nor can I see any use for such a thing given my use of mustard is exclusively for hot dogs and bologna sandwiches – and store-brand spicy brown mustard is all I need. A knuckle-dragging Cro-magnon like me would never see such a thing in the store – and if I did I would not exclaim: “This will make an excellent sauce for my baked salmon!” – but that’s because I’m a dope.

As for this being low carb – it’s OK – the honey is way worse, but you are still using a minimal amount – substitute if you like – I will probably try some substitute for the mustard and honey when I give it a try, but it will be a risk and might sacrifice some very fine – and expensive – salmon.

The salmon was placed on parchment into a 400 degree oven for 10 minutes.

Green beans

  • 1 bag ‘nuke and eat’ green beans

Lazy – yes. Fast and effective? Yep. This was nuked while the salmon cooked with some salt, pepper, and drizzled with olive oil and the avocado sauce was prepared.

Avocado sauce

This pulls it all together. Again, I’m dealing with someone who channels some magical talent and like a medium possessed by a spirit is not exactly sure what happened while the possession was occurring. This is her best attempt at describing what was in this:

  • 1.5 perfectly ripe avocados*
  • 3 big tablespoons Greek yogurt
  • basil
  • lemon juice
  • paprika
  • chili flakes
  • salt
  • pepper

*I know – this almost never happens.

These ingredients were well-mixed with an immersion blender and was perfectly smooth.

When everything is done, plate the salmon and beans, then slather the avocado sauce on both. Don’t be shy – pile it on.

Everyone enjoyed this, and my daughter – who can conjure up a great meal so easily that she doesn’t bother to write down recipes – now has one documented.

 

 

 

 

I hate when I screw up and lose weight

I hate when this happens.

Despite the fact that I indulged myself on 3 double cheeseburgers at McDonald’s yesterday – as well as ate generously of leftover candy some bastard coworker brought in, I lost almost 2 pounds.

It makes me think I have no *clue* what or how to eat to lose weight.

As mentioned in a previous post, I need to visit a client on Wednesday and want to look somewhat presentable. I am lucky to say that I am accepted as I am by my colleagues – but perhaps still vain enough that I would like to up my image from Old Navy khakis and polo shirts when visiting someone important. This is compounded with the fact that I am going to go with 3 other people and needs to at least attempt to somewhat match.

The good news is my industry is not a dressy, formal one. ‘Business casual’ is the norm, but there’s a spectrum to that and for a visit with someone I have never met, you would like to present yourself on the higher end of that spectrum.

I *hate* shopping for clothes. Even when thin, I was never a fan and would need to fight an urge to bolt from the store, not buying the whatever it was I had gone there for in the first place.

This was going t be made even harder by the fact that it’s pretty hard to find clothes for people as fat as I am. There are special stores of course – but none less than an hour away.

I needed moral support and someone who had a sense of style and lots of opinions on this sort of thing. My 17-year-old daughter was perfect. I asked her to accompany me – and let her pick the stores.

Lord and Taylor was her first choice, but the woman in the sport jacket department looked grim as she told me that she had nothing that would fit. I believe she was more embarrassed by the situation than I was. She did say that while she didn’t want to send me somewhere else, she had heard from other customers that JC Penny had larger sizes.

So we took a walk there. She was right – they catered to a fatter demographic. I found a blue blazer that *just* fits me and a shirt that wasn’t skin-tight. After dealing with a sales clerk who seemed determined to get me to sign up for a JC Penny credit card I did not want – I bolted.

To be honest: if I had gone myself, I would probably have given up after Lord and Taylor.

By the time we came back it was early afternoon and I had not eaten. I had my psyllium, then putzed on my computer and did some chores around the house.

As is typical with me, as the day progressed, things went downhill. Not that I ate particularly bad, but I didn’t eat low carb.

I gave up on Sunday and didn’t try at all. Again, I did not go out of my way to binge – I just ate when hungry. I did have orange juice which I didn’t need. That was probably the largest of my sins.

Monday wasn’t a particularly bad day either, but Tuesday morning I was 278.

Oh well.

 

 

I’m not hungry…and then I am

What was it – day 3?

I felt better in subtle and not so subtle ways. It’s not like the weight was flying off, but my head felt, in general, more clear. I didn’t seem to be craving carbs that much – and I passed the new White Castle being built along my work route home not with excited expectation – I had fully planned to be among the first to go there – but with a sadness that comes from Things That Will Never Be.

It’s hard to notice things that *don’t* happen and feelings you *don’t* feel. It seems I am not hungry – well, as I’ve written before, hunger feels different on a low carb diet. To me it feels less urgent – even when present.

I also find that breads and other savory carbs don’t dance in my head like they did only a day or two back. It’s way early to say I’m over them – but it does feel different.

It was 1:30pm before I had my first solid food – 2 tablespoons of butter wrapped in a slice of roast beef – and a string cheese. I did have coffee before that along with some Atkins shake I use as creamer. A container lasts me a few days. Regardless of what the label says I do not refrigerate after opening. It’s usually fine, though on a fe occasions it turns into a semi-solid – which is my signal to ditch and get another one.

I have plenty. I have Amazon auto-ship 48 to my house every month. I started this awhile back as I took a few furtive steps toward dieting again. I find they help.

Things quickly deteriorated late afternoon. First, some nimrod brought in extra Halloween candy and let it unattended in the kitchen. I can assure you that my higher cognitive powers were surely snoozing or out playing golf because no conscious thought went in to my decision to eat some. I didn’t even attempt to rationalize it.

It got worse as a few of my coworkers had a little going away party for a departing colleague. There was beer and champagne as well as chips and dip. I had a beer and some champagne, and a few chips and dip before heading out the door to go home.

And then, I stopped at McDonald’s and bought 3 double cheeseburgers.

Again, the troublesome part was the complete lack of my higher cognitive functions from even *commenting* – it stood by and did nothing.

After the feeding my higher powers of reasoning came back online. They assessed the situation calmly, assigned no guilt I could detect, and went back to doze in a corner.

It pretty much stopped there. I did have 2 large glasses of milk but other than that, did not eat the rest of the night. A voice inside of me said ‘we’ll pick this up tomorrow’ and that was about it.

I think I know what’s going on. I won’t speculate here and now, but I think I need to manage the Executive Function of my brain better.

I don’t travel well

So I was 275.8 and went to 273.6. Big deal.

I can say I did feel a might bit better in the AM. I know full well I feel better on a low carb diet and just a day proves it.

I have vacation time and took a day before I lose it to catch up on a few things around the house. Of course, the opportunity of being in the house by myself – with Halloween candy still by the front door – added some challenge.

I had a few slices of the mortadella wrapped around a few tablespoons of cream cheese as a late breakfast. and 2 hamburgers with melted cheese and Tabasco sauce as dinner.

I tried to avoid work – it should be able to get along without me for a day – but I saw something appear on my calendar – and it looks like a meeting at a client. This sucks. I don’t travel well – and I don’t believe I have any decent clothes that fit.

Later in the evening I sat with a drink and had the most profound sense of despair descend upon me. Where did this come from? It felt as if everything wrong with my life, all the tasks I needed to get to, all the shortcomings that humans have and need to deal with about themselves on a daily basis suddenly appeared together to torment me.

That’s not me – usually. I’m more accepting of the imperfections of life and myself.

I chalked it up to lack of carbs. Carbs mess with your brain – as do the lack of carbs. My brain was reacting to a different diet and this explained why the exact life I had a day before and was sanguine about now seemed unbearable.

My drink – another vodka – seemed unbearable as well – I tossed it, unfinished. I followed it up with a psyllium in water chaser.

Hungry before bed but still not completely having my footing yet with low carb eating, I found some frozen roasted cauliflower in the freezer. I nuked that and ate it. It was just roasted cauliflower but the roasting made it flavorful enough to stand on its own.

I went to bed but had indigestion – I think the large glass of water with psyllium was the culprit. I had a few Tums, noting that from the moment I started my diet my need for them plummeted.