Happy World Carnivore Month!

steak

My typical carnivore dinner: 2 eggs over easy and a rib-eye steak. Yummy.

I’ve designated 2020 as an awesome year for my health. The husband and I went carnivore a week before we rang in the New Year. Although we hit a few snags – namely wine – we found our groove in time for World Carnivore Month (WCM).

Does this mean I’m no longer eating veggies and berries? Nope. I should be back to filming delicious keto (and carnivore) dishes soon. It’s just that my husband needs to get serious about his gut health and the Carnivore Diet is the ultimate elimination diet. I’m joining him for support and as a reset, and God knows I need one.

Hardcore Carnivore
There are many ways you can do the carnivore diet – with limited diary, no dairy, lean meat with added fats, fatty meats only, grass-fed & free-range meats only, all beef, keto carnivore, 90% meats and 10% vegetables, etc.

I know there will be comments to proclaim what the one true carnivore diet is. Well I call “Shenanigans” on you. Like all healthy eating lifestyles, make it your own as far as what works for you.

Per my husband’s suggestion, we are going all-beef, with eggs. No spices, herbs or seasonings with the exception of salt (obviously!).

The only plants we’re consuming come in the form of coffee and tea. That means the only dairy is heavy cream for coffee, and that is limited.

brisket

Last night’s dinner – a lovely beef brisket.

How Much Meat Do I Eat In A Day?
I don’t usually measure my food on carnivore. I’m really focused on eating when hungry only. However, I have noticed a gradual increase in how much beef I’m eating. So I did some measuring.

Before carnivore, I typically ate about 14 ounces of meat in a day. The first week of carnivore I was eating roughly 20 ounces of beef/day. I’d say right now I eat between 24-36 ounces (1-1/2 to 2 pounds)/day.  If I’m super busy doing physical work I can easily eat 2 pounds/day. But If it’s a lazy day, it’s a struggle to eat 24 ounces.

I’d guess that my husband is between 3-4 pounds of beef a day. But he too had to build up to that amount.

So Far I Feel Awesome…When We Don’t Mess Up
My energy level is up and I’m experiencing fewer aches and pains in my problem hip and knees when I stick to carnivore. But we’ve had some slips due to very poor planning and bad habits. Things like wine and very anti-keto snacks (popcorn is the devil!).

I don’t beat myself up for those slips…I don’t have to. My body punishes me with:

  • Poor sleep
  • Low energy the following day
  • Hip pain
  • Swollen legs

For me, slip-ups happen with boredom. If I’m not busy I’m my own worst enemy. Thanks to physical therapy and gardening my mobility improved. But once that first frost hit, I didn’t have a plan to stay as active.

Bad habits came back with abandon. And I’m feeling it in my hip. Not good.

shed

We had to tear down our old shed last summer. Now we have a ton of work to do to get our backyard ready for the new shed.

Rather than waiting for spring (47 days away in case you were wondering), I’m focusing my efforts on some DYI projects around the house:

  • Painting the basement
  • Cleaning up the backyard
  • Finishing the raised beds
  • Redecorating the spare bedroom/office
  • Organizing closets
  • Replacing plants in our landscape

Some of these projects, I kept putting off. Others are more urgent with spring fast approaching (like clearing out the space for our new shed).

What I love is all of these projects are needed, take time to get right, and keep me active physically and mentally. There is no reason to get bored and eat something I don’t want to eat.


Just Accept It & Move On

Well it’s day 5 of our keto-carnivore challenge and I can honestly say yesterday was the low point. Coming off of a very bad day at the office, the husband ordered gluten free pizza. And yes, I had some.

Talk about textbook emotional eating. It doesn’t take much for us to decide we need to “blow off steam” by eating out or bringing home a bottle of wine. After a couple of glasses, you do dumb things…like order gluten free pizza.

Oh, and it wasn’t very good pizza either!

I was upset with both of us last night as I went to bed. My last thought before drifting off: “Well, Day 1 just starts tomorrow.”

This morning the frustration is gone, replaced with resolve.

Day 1 of our reset was September 21, not September 25. We messed up. Badly. We’ll do better at the next meal.

Accept it and move on.

The only change we’re making to our keto carnivore challenge is no alcohol of any kind allowed. Period.


Sick Again!

Ugh! Either this cold is tougher than I thought or I caught something else. Runny nose, sore throat, sinuses throbbing, and an overall crappy feeling. To make matters worse the hubby is now officially sick.

The last few days I’ve been running myself ragged trying to get my mom’s apartment ready for her. I’m making sure she can move around with her walker easily. That means moving furniture, reorganizing rooms and putting things in storage.

Then there is the issue of the 2nd bedroom, which was being used as storage. I have to box everything up before we can set up my sister’s bed.

So of course, it is the perfect time to get sick all over again.

I think my body is telling me something. So I’m going back to bed for a little R&R before the packing frenzy begins.

The good news…I never want to eat much when I’m sick. So this can help my keto reset.

 

 


Keto Day 5 — Feeling Horrible

Yesterday I attributed my low energy level to purging the last bit of bad carbs out of my system (A.K.A. The Low Carb Flu). Well today I woke up with a sore throat. After drinking lots of hot tea, taking medicine and napping on and off today, my sinuses are a runny mess. Ugh!

Fingers are crossed that it’s just a mild head cold.  The silver lining in being sick? I have no appetite.  Well that’s one way to shed some re-gained pounds.

Off to bed again.


Keto Reset Day 1: Dot By The Numbers

As promised, below are my metrics for the start of my 30-Day Keto Reset Challenge. These are my baseline numbers that I’ll use to measure my progress against. I should note that I plan to track everything.

  • Ketone Levels
  • Measurement & Weight
  • What I eat
  • Water Intake
  • Energy Level
  • Menopause symptoms (which ones, when they hit & triggers)
  • Stress/Emotional Level (stress eating got me into this mess)
  • Body Fat
  • Workout/Stretches
  • How I Look (before, during & after photos)

To me, this reset is one big science experiment.  I’m looking to re-break bad habits and re-enforce the good ones. I can’t do that unless I track, track and track some more.  With that, let’s see where I’m starting at.

This morning was a mixed bag of fun. I pricked my finger for my keto meter AND stepped on the scale for the first time in over 4 months. All before that first cup of Joe.

Sept 10 weight

My weight at the start of my 30-Day Keto Reset Challenge. As expected, I’m up after 4 months of stress and bad eating.

The Bad News
Four months of stressing out, eating bad and not taking care of myself took it’s toll on my waistline. I’m up 25+ pounds since May. Well I lost that weight before and I’ll do it again.

The Good News
First up, mentally, my head is in the game (finally!). No freaking out. The number is the number this morning. That’s it. Now the work begins.

Second, while today is Day 1 of the challenge, yesterday I cleaned up my act.

  • No snacking
  • No eating out
  • No drinking alcohol.

As a direct result, I was rewarded with being in very light nutritional ketosis.

As of this morning my ketone level was 0.5 mmol/L.

Granted I’m at the low-end of the scale, but I’ll take it. I’m shooting for optimal ketosis and it is going to take a while to get there. But that’s what this little reset is all about.

Nutritional Ketosis Range
KETOSIS

Measurements
My husband left for work early today so I’ll post my measurements tomorrow morning. Yes, it’s on Day 2, but I’m not expecting to drop inches overnight. I’ll just update this post with the numbers.

FitBit Data & Exercise
My workouts are zero! Nothing. Nada. So the only data I have right now comes from my Fitbit Ionic (and I don’t even wear that everyday). Right now I’m averaging 2500 steps a day.  That’s it. That’s my exercise. Sad!

Until my injury, I could easily do 15,000 – 20,000 steps a day. Well now I’m committed even more to following my physical therapist advice to the letter. Fingers crossed I can get to 5000 steps/day by the end of the month.

The good news is that I’m testing the leg this week with a spin class. PT thinks it shouldn’t be a problem. I certainly hope so. It is very frustrating when your movement is restricted.

Week 1 Menu is Live
I posted my Week 1 menu for the curious. The macros are off, but I tend to look at macros as more of a guide. I’d go nuts trying to hit everything spot on.

You’ll notice I didn’t include calories. At this point they just are not that important to me. Calories will come into play at a certain point. I just want to get back into the habit of eating right.

Tomorrow I will post my plan of attack when it comes to what I’m eating. Needless to say, there are lots of variations on the ketogenic diet. Rather than create my own thing, I’m following the guidelines of a doctor I respect and trust.

But like I said, that’s for tomorrow.


Dot’s 30-Day Keto Reset Challenge

It’s time to get back on track. Since mid-May, everything’s been on hold. That’s when Mom broke her hip and I got busy helping her get back on her feet. Those familiar with my blog know how easy it is for me to put everything else ahead of my own health, and that’s exactly what happened.

I was so focused on helping my mom that I never thought about how difficult it would be on me. While dealing with hospitalizations, doctor appointments, home modifications, managing finances (ours and hers), to the more personal tasks like cooking, dressing, bathing, managing meds … well, I ended up putting my own health (and life) on the back burner.

Thankfully, mom is much better now. Her hip is healing. She regularly does her exercises and goes to PT. She’s gained about 5 pounds (10 more to go!). Overall, I’d say she’s getting stronger.

That means it’s a perfect opportunity to re-focus my energies on Me. Ah, but what a crawl back it’s gonna be…

I haven’t taken care of myself these last few months. I’m frequently sluggish, not sleeping at night, and too quick to anger. My hot flashes rage unpredictably. Every little thing stresses me out. And you may have seen, I’m packing on the pounds again.

That said, I still cook healthy low carb meals. But I’m also cooking meals for my mother. Since 2012, what I cook, both me and my husband eat. But low carb eating isn’t necessarily the best thing for my mother. She’s way too thin and her doctor ordered that she gain weight – fast. That means that foods I stopped buying more than 6 years ago are back in my pantry and fridge. And let me tell you: when you’re a stress eater, that’s not a good thing.

To deal with all this, I’ve decided to do a complete reset – nutrition, mental and physical.

To succeed, I’ve come up 7 rules I’ll need to follow.

1. No Snacking!
I snack when I’m bored or stressed. Since mid-May, I’ve become a major snacker. It doesn’t matter if I’m hungry or not. Initially, my go-to snacks were nuts and cheese – both keto friendly foods. But other things started creeping in, like my mom’s potato chips, popcorn, ice cream. That stops today.

2. Counting Total Carbs
I’m sticking to 20g of carbs, or less, per day. And when I say 20g I mean total carbs, not net carbs. What’s the difference? Net carbs is total carbs minus fiber and sugar alcohols. A lot of low carbers count net carbs, and that’s just fine. But for me, I really need a swift kick in the you-know-what.

Truth is, since the end of May, I’ve essentially been carb cycling, but not in a good way. Some days I’d be more moderate, eating about 50g of carbs. Other days I’d eat +200g of carbs. Yikes!

Clearly, I need to go strict and enforce some serious discipline. Also, this change will be permanent, or at least until I hit my goal weight.

Recently, I heard a podcast with Dr. Eric Westman, one of the top low carb doctors and researchers around. He had the best definition of the difference between total carb and net carb counting:

“Total carbs is prescription strength. Net carbs is over the counter medicine.”

Nuff said!

3. Eat 1 or 2 Meals A Day.
Intermittent fasting helps, not just with weight loss, but with mental clarity and concentration, increased energy, sleep, lower blood sugar levels, and of course fat burning. Basically my eating window will be from 1:00 pm to 7:00 pm (lunch and dinner). Which means 18 hours of fasting. Perfect!

4. Test My Blood Ketones Daily.
If I’m doing a keto reset, then I’ll have to know whether I’m in ketosis. I’m not expecting to be in ketosis overnight. It’s going to take awhile since I need to get all of the carb-loaded junk I’ve been eating out of my system.

I have 2 ways to test: urine strips, and a ketone/blood glucose meter. The urine strips are good, but not as reliable as the meter. Nonetheless, it isn’t as painful as pricking my finger. And it allows me to test more than once a day.

For more accuracy I’ll use my Keto Mojo. This requires blood samples from pricking my finger. I’ll do this in the morning before any coffee or water.

5. No Alcohol.
This was a goal I’d set for myself at the beginning of the year … and I failed miserably. The truth is, I really like wine. But I’ve been relying on it too much as a way to help me de-stress or wind-down from a busy day. I really can use a break, and so can my liver.

6. Take My Measurements (& Weigh Myself).
I need to know where I’m at. ‘Nuff said.

7. Daily Stretching & Flexibility Moves
This is a big one! In June, I put work with my trainer on hold. Unfortunately I didn’t have another stress-relieving outlet, thanks to my chronic calf injury.

I’m not allowed to go for walks, hikes, or train for a 10k. I can’t even do yoga because of the risk of rupturing my Achilles tendon. Standing and walking for more than 15 minutes can be downright painful. If I sit for too long, my ankle becomes stiff and painful.

My two main calf muscles are knotted up in a big tight ball and are pulling on my Achilles tendon, as well as causing plantar fasciitis in my foot.

Per my physical therapist, all I need to do is:

  • Calf stretches, at least 3 times a day
  • Ice my Achilles tendon and wrap a heat pad around my calf when inflamed
  • Wear a Strasburg sock at night while I sleep

The stretches won’t stop after 30 days. I’m using this reset to create a habit. I’m scheduling time to stretch 30 minutes a day, 3 times a day. I need to get it into my head that yes, I do have 90 minutes to spare a day. This is just too important. Not being able to walk around isn’t healthy when you’re 50.

Keto Challenge Updates
I plan to post regular updates on this blog about how my reset is going: my challenges, successes, and failures.

Today, I’m working on my first week’s menu, and I’ll post that tomorrow along with the starting data (measurements, weight, ketone levels, etc.).

I’m really excited about this. I know I’ll be successful because I’ve done it before.



Conspiracy To Keep Me Out Of The Gym

fight

I can’t prove it, but I suspect these 2 conspired to keep me at home and away from the gym this week.

After a week of taking it easy so my ankle can start healing, I was ready to hit the gym. Albeit, in a very gentle way.

So what does life toss at me? First up, a lethargic 17-year-old cat who refused food for 2 days.

Spider has kidney disease. We know at some point we’re going to have to make the “quality of life” decision. A few days before kitty stopped eating we noticed his jumping skills declined sharply over the last few weeks. Missing easy jumps. Falling off furniture (and not landing on feet).

The next up he refused food and instead just wanted water. More and more water. Read More


Lots of Physical Therapy In My Future

Strasburg sock

How do you fix chronic Achilles tendon pain? By wearing the Strasburg sock while you sleep. Ugh!

First the good news – no bone spur. Which means no surgery in my future.

 

The bad? According to my physical therapist, my calf muscle is “one big knotted ball.” Which means it can take anywhere from 4 weeks to 6 months to fix…depending on how I respond to therapy.

Limited Mobility
I learned the calf is made up of 2 muscles, the gastrocnemius (upper calf) and the soleus (lower calf). My issue is the gastrocnemius is overly tight and, as a result of that tightness, shortened.

The gastrocnemius is so tight that I’ve lost a lot of mobility in my left foot. My therapist had me sit on a table with my legs straight out and tested how far my foot moved as I stretched my toes towards my body. Normal mobility is between 12-20 degrees.

My right foot is 15 degrees. The left? Four degrees. Read More


Achilles Tendon Fights Back!

Achilles Tendon

After a week of awesomeness in the gym, my Achilles heel decided it’s had enough. But I’m not waving the white flag just yet when it comes to the Gold’s Gym Challenge.

This week is looking promising, no?

I started in earnest on my Gold’s Gym Challenge. My trainer upped the intensity of my sessions (i.e., heavier weights). I’ve enrolled in boot camp and yoga classes, each 3 times a week. And my idea of cooling down after each session is about 30-40 minutes on the elliptical (it’s just too cold to walk outside).

But Sunday is rest day…thank god!

Physical Therapy In My Immediate Future
I’ve hit the wall when it comes to my Achilles tendon.

I’ll have 4-5 really great days. No pain. Oh sure my ankle is very stiff mornings, but it loosens up with some stretching.

Yet one day a week I’m now in intense pain. All day. Eventually my ankle loosens up and the pain isn’t as intense. But that’s not good enough.

I’m now worried surgery is a possibility. Crap!

So this morning I’m putting in a call to the big dogs. My doctor and a physical therapist – someone with an emphasis on sports injuries.

Last night I noticed a bump behind my left ankle…and it hurt…bad.  My right ankle was pretty smooth. I get that swelling happens. But this is different. So there is a possibility of bone spurs.

There are just too many things I want to do. From running a Tough Mudder to ice skating, all require a healthy Achilles tendon.

Pain relief is my first goal. But I also want to make sure I’ve got good movement. I certainly don’t want any unnecessary strain on my Achilles.

Rethinking Gold’s Gym Challenge
It goes without saying that boot camp is out for now. So is walking. My trainer has work arounds when it comes to strength training that don’t aggravate my ankle.   As for yoga, it seems like most poses require ankle power.  I’ll probably have to talk with my instructor to see if there are alternative stretches I can do in class.

That means cycling classes are in my very near future. So tonight I’m digging out the cycling pants and shoes.