Keto Diet vs. Kitchen Renovation

If your kitchen suddenly went away for a few weeks – no refrigerator, range, dishwasher or sink – can you still eat keto? I’ll find out in T-minus six days. That’s when the demolition of our 35-year-old kitchen starts.

With no refrigerator, range or sink for potentially a few weeks, it’s time to get creative when it comes to eating healthy. It isn’t uncommon for us to eat one meal a day a few days out of the week. So naturally it makes sense for us to extend that during the entire demolition. Could be it’s time to pull the trigger on moving to a 42-hour fasting schedule, hmm?

That leaves me with managing two meals a day for four days out of the week.

No Cooking Available for First Week
Most families undergoing a kitchen renovation rely on the microwave to prepare meals. That won’t work for us for two reasons. First, microwave cooked food tastes horrible. Second, we don’t have a microwave…yet. Six years ago we tossed our microwave. We found that the convenience of warming up leftovers meant we were eating more than we needed to.

We’re not buying a microwave just to cook food for the next three weeks. However, we did buy a low-profile microwave to install over the range. It’s sitting in a box in the basement. Since it’s part of the install, it is not available to us.

I thought about using my slow cooker. But given our bathroom sinks are too small, I have no way to clean it. Plus, keto dishes are high in fat and I’ll have no way to dispose of the excess grease.

The only option for cooking is also our favorite – grilling! But a quick check of our extended forecast shows nothing but rain next week. Ugh!

Coffee Station to the Rescue!
I’m setting up a coffee station upstairs away from all the dust. The station will include our bullet blender for protein shakes (lunches!) and a large cooler packed with ice, cream, almond milk, berries, hard boiled eggs and cold cuts.

Finding Balance
With lunches taken care of, I’m still working on a high protein solution for dinners. I’m trying to keep eating-out to a minimum. That means I’ll have to tap into our grocery store’s prepared foods. Since I don’t know how they cook their meat, I’ll stick to sushi and rotisserie grilled chicken for our protein needs. Veggies will come from the prepared salads.

We may get our refrigerator back by the end of the first week and possibly our grill if the weather improves.

If not, it’s going to be a long three weeks. (First World problems, I know, lol)

Sidelined by Knee Pain, Turning Focus to Keto Diet

I did everything right. I eased into my new workout routine slowly to avoid injury. Yet, my knee decided that it does not like 15-minute daily walks. Technically, it isn’t my knee causing the pain. It’s the iliotibial band (IT band), a flexible fascia that runs from the hip to the knee. I’ve felt this pain before. The band is rubbing inside my knee and is starting to swell.

Shifting My Focus to Keto
As I nurse my leg back to health, I’m turning my full attention to getting into ketosis. I screwed up by not doing a menu plan this week. As a result, we ate out way too much. I let my busy schedule became an excuse to go out rather than stay home and cook.

If you want to get healthy, you must put in the work. This week, I didn’t.

My mistake was not planning. I knew how busy I was this week. All I needed to do was make a casserole and use the slow cooker a couple of times.  Leftovers are a busy gal’s friend when you are trying to eat healthy.

Lesson learned.  Last night, after another long day, I browned some ground beef while dicing an onion, garlic cloves, tomatoes and peppers. My keto chili will last a few days. Tonight, I’m whipping up a bacon cheeseburger casserole.

Time to Start Food Journaling Again
I have my target macros and am recommitting to a realistic menu plan for my schedule. What is missing is my food journal. I have no idea if I’m hitting my daily macros, eating too many carbs, or in ketosis.

I know a lot of people think keeping a food log is unnecessary. “Just eat real food until you are full!” I’ve heard this many times. Sound advice for someone whose hormones are in balance and metabolically sound.  But as someone who hasn’t been consistently keto for a few years, I need more discipline. By tracking what I eat, I’ll become more mindful of my choices. In addition to tracking my carb count, I’ll figure out how to course correct if my daily energy level starts flagging, or I’m stuck in a plateau.

For a tracking tool, I’m going old school: pen and paper. At least until I have a chance to research any new apps out there. As you may know, I haven’t been a fan of certain food log apps, like My Fitness Pal. Much of the data is incorrect, and I usually end up doing more work than the app had promised. Which is fine.

Tracking My Blood Ketone Levels
Finally, I’m going to start tracking my ketone levels. My new Keto Mojo arrived.

Although I’m starting today to track what I eat, I’m not going to start tracking my ketone levels until February 1st. I want a solid week of cooking at home, menu planning, and food tracking under my belt before I start pricking my finger with a needle.

I’m rebuilding my good habit routine. I won’t be perfect (I wasn’t this week!). But if I worry about perfection, I’ll never reach my goals.

Getting Back Into Low Carb Menu Planning

Menu planning always kept me on track with my health and fitness goals. Given my weight gain over the last few years, it’s clear that I made a huge mistake not sticking with this habit. Well, that changes this week!

I just posted my first menu for 2021. Going forward, I plan to post  my weekly menus here every Saturday morning. Thankfully it wasn’t that difficult to jump back into planning my meals. Thank God for muscle memory. However, I wasn’t quite on the ball when it came to food prep for these delicious meals. That’s my chore this afternoon.

The meals I’m making this week are all focused on hitting my new macro-nutrient (protein, fat and carbohydrate) targets, which you’ll find below. However, those are just targets and my menu is only as good as my hunger.

For example, today (Sunday), the menu shows I’m breaking my fast at lunch time with a New York strip steak, sauteed mushrooms and cabbage and onion noodles. That sounds delicious. Just one problem. It’s nearly 3:00 p.m. and I’m still not hungry.  This is a very good thing!

You see I got into a habit of eating when my husband wanted to eat. And his eating time was driving more by time of day rather than actual hunger.  So, I’m eating when I’m hungry, and ONLY when hungry.

I’m sure the hunger will kick in during my food prep time. If so, then I’ll eat a larger dinner than expected. That should help carry me into my 24-hour fast tomorrow.

Dot’s New Macros
I used Keto Gains’ Macro Calculator for my macros. I added the fiber information as I’m incorporating elements of Dr. Ted Naiman’s P:E Diet into my keto lifestyle. Fiber is one of these elements. For now, I’m tracking net carbs. That means I’ll eat vegetables high in fiber to keep me at the 20g net carb mark.

Calories (kCal): 1,661
Protein: 168g
Fat: 101g
Net Carbs: 20g
Fiber: 30g

I’m planning a post on the P:E Diet this week.

Updated Dot2Trot’s Menu Page
I removed my old menus from the site. Having gone through them, I noticed a few of the carb counts are out of date. Yes, the nutrition content of food changes thanks to adjustments in farming and the food manufacturing process.

Foods are routinely tested to determine if the nutritional information is accurate.  Those changes are reported using the US Department of Agriculture FoodData Central database, and updates to food labels.

So remember: Periodically check the labels of your favorite foods!

Whole Lotta Cookin’ Going On

chicken zoodle soup

Evenings are quite cold now. Time for my carb chicken zoodle soup.

Sorry for the lack of posts recently. The husband and I decided to pack up the pup and take a road trip to Texas to visit my sister. We loved the trip and it’s always great to see family. But once home, I got back into the kitchen. The thought of eating out again made my head spin.

So over the last few days I’ve whipped up some of my favorite and easy dishes: chili, chicken zoodle soup, Scotch eggs, taco omelets, and huge Cobb salads.

I also had a good time trying out a few new recipes. The biggest mistakes I made with my garden this year?  Not enough low carb/keto recipes for all the food I grew.  Planning is well ahead for 2020. I finally figured out what I want to grow. Now it’s time to start concocting some tasty and keto friendly dishes.

taco casserole

Layering the first test of my taco casserole. A few more tweaks and it’s a go!

This week I tried out 3 recipes. Two need work. The third…a disaster never to be spoken of again.

  • Shredded chicken taco casserole (too many eggs, not enough smokey salsa!)
  • Roasted poblano soup (too many carbs!!!!),
  • “What was I thinking” casserole (always make sure the diced zucchini you grab isn’t actually cucumber instead).

After several days of cooking, experimenting and cleaning, the itch to go out for dinner hit me real hard. Thankfully my husband just ignored my hints and I went back into the kitchen to cook some Peruvian chicken with green sauce and green beans.

hungry pup

My constant companion while I cook. Just waiting for morsels to fall or a few scritches.

Dinner was delicious. We saved money. Most importantly, I’m loving being back in the kitchen.

And the timing is good with Thanksgiving just weeks a way. Let the cooking (and recipe testing) commence!


Book Review: The Ketogenic Cookbook

My new cookbook. The recipes taste amazing. This to this book, I'm even more inspired to get into my kitchen and start experimenting!

My new cookbook. The recipes taste amazing. This to this book, I’m even more inspired to get into my kitchen and start experimenting!

Since going ketogenic, I’ve struggled with getting more healthy fat into my diet. Yes, I love butter. But I’d like to think I’m a little more creative in the kitchen than just adding a tablespoon of butter on top of my steak. That’s why The Ketogenic Cookbook is a godsend!

The recipes are high in fat, easily allowing me to hit my daily goal of consuming 75-80% of my calories in healthy fat. The recipes look amazingly delicious. And like my Julia Child’s cookbook, it inspires me to get into the kitchen and play with ingredients.

I’m working my way through the book, busily making lots of sauces and dressings in the book’s “Condiments, Dressings, Broth and Other Basics” section. The tomato sauce and yellow marinara sauce recipe were more than worth the price. This week I’m testing out the “compound butter” recipe using beef tallow and duck fat! Read More

Homemade, Low Carb Marinara Sauce

Last night we used the yellow marinara sauce over meatballs and zoodles. Absolutely delicious!

Last night we used the yellow marinara sauce over meatballs and zoodles. Absolutely delicious!

Powering through my new ketogenic cookbook, I spent a lovely evening making a marinara sauce for two dishes I’m making – Meatballs with Zucchini Noodles and a Pizza Casserole (recipe coming).

I love tomatoes, especially tomato-based sauces. While I’ve tried making my own sauce, it was mostly cooking down diced roma tomatoes in olive oil for a few minutes. Nothing to write home about.

Typically I’d just hunt the grocery store for the lowest carb sauce I can find. Not an easy task as many include added sugar.

Then I discovered the Yellow Marinara Sauce in The Ketogenic Cookbook. Intrigued, I was nervous about trying this recipe. Why? Peeling tomatoes. I’ve never done that before. It always seemed like an impossible task. Read More

Roasted Garlic – Keto Style

I'm loving The Ketogenic Cookbook. I picked roasted garlic as the first recipe to try.  Easy to make, I'll use all of the garlic pictured over the next few days.

I’m loving The Ketogenic Cookbook. I picked roasted garlic as the first recipe to try. Easy to make, I’ll use all of the garlic pictured over the next few days.

While flipping through The Ketogenic Cookbook I was trying to decide which recipes to try first. Turns out nearly every recipe I picked called for roasted garlic, one of the first recipes listed in the book.

As much as I love garlic I never tried roasting a whole bulb. This one calls for an even dozen. Why so much? Apparently you can preserve roasted garlic in the freezer. Who knew?

I don’t know why I never tried roasting garlic before. The recipe is so simple to follow. The garlic tastes amazing. Plus you’ll love the fragrance that fills your kitchen.

Cooking With MCT
The big surprise for me with this recipe was the use of MCT oil. For some reason I viewed MCT oil as something I use when making my morning Bulletproof Coffee. I never thought of using it in cooking. Silly Rabbit! Read More

Meat & Colon Cancer: Not What You Think

With our first nice weather of the year, I picked up some rib eyes and we fired up the grill. I like keeping the grill temperature low not just for taste, but for health reasons too! Image courtesy of and artur84.

With our first nice weather of the year, I picked up some rib eyes and we fired up the grill. I like keeping the grill temperature low not just for taste, but for health reasons too! Image courtesy of and artur84.

The Diet Doctor is on the case…again! This time around he tackles why red meat eaters get more colon cancer. Before freaking out and deciding to toss out that delicious cow meat, keep a couple of things in mind:

  • The studies conducted are observational. Meaning that correlation does not equal causation. Most findings from observational studies are typically proven wrong, exaggerated or misleading.
  • The associated risk is with processed meats. We’re not talking about prime cuts or ground meat. Think bagged pepperoni, ham and nitrate-loaded bacon.

The problem with these “findings” has more to do with researchers’ bias and bad reporting. We’ve been eating meat since man stood upright (and even before then). Yet now we’re seeing a slight increase in colon cancer. Hmmmm…something is afoot. Read More

Gobble, Gobble! Dot’s Healthy Turkey Day Menu

low carb thanksgiving, weight loss,

What am I thankful for this Thanksgiving? To have the smarts to plan my menu before Turkey Day arrives. A food strategy is the best way to make sure you don’t pig out! (Image via

Well Turkey Day is upon us and that means its time for another low-carb holiday menu. We’re staying put for Thanksgiving so that makes it easier for me to control the points and carb count. My goal for my weigh in after Thanksgiving is to maintain my weight. That means I need a menu that is both filling and delicious.

You can take a look at a snapshot of my menu with the carb and Weight Watcher point count. Below you’ll find either the recipes or links to the recipes for my Turkey Day menu.

Building My Menu
I’m allowing myself to eat up to 25g of net carbs. I have 29 daily Weight Watcher points. Because I plan to have wine and dessert, I’m going to tap into a handful of my weekly allowance points. But that doesn’t mean I go crazy. I’m allowing myself between 4-7 extra points. No more. I need to keep control. Just because it’s a holiday doesn’t mean food is the most important thing. Being with family is what it’s about…oh god, maybe I need to budget more points for wine! Read More

Paleo Challenge Week 2: Rethinking Recipes To Avoid Triggers

Wisely, veggies and fruit make the base of the Paleo diet food pyramid. I just need to keep in check the high-carb produce that sends my sugar cravings into overdrive.

Wisely, veggies and fruit make the base of the Paleo diet food pyramid. I just need to keep in check the high-carb produce that sends my sugar cravings into overdrive.

Many of the Paleo recipes I used over the last two weeks called for vegetables I normally skip or use in small amounts, due to their high sugar/carb count. I think that’s what kicked my cravings into high gear this past week.  I never would have guessed onions, carrots and sweet potatoes are my new trigger foods.

Let me say up front that the issue is more my choice of recipes and not the Paleo diet. I chose recipes that sounded the most appealing. I made the mistake of not running the recipes through My Fitness Pal to get the carb counts before going to the grocery store.  It’s clearly a case of my eyes being bigger than my stomach. The meals sounded so appealing and healthy (which they are) I didn’t see any consequences to adding-in foods with higher carb counts than what I normally ate.

Read More