February Food Challenge: Ketogenic Paleo…With A Twist

The carnivore challenge is wrapping up this week for my husband, but I stopped it for myself a little more than a week ago. I enjoyed carnivore, but my hip pain took a lot of my enthusiasm out of it. I honestly believe that you need to seriously work out while doing carnivore — something I can’t do right now. Anyway, I’ve already begun my next food challenge: a keto version of Paleo’s autoimmune protocol (AIP).

Back in December I started reading Robb Wolf’s Wired to Eat: Turn Off Your Cravings, Rewire Your Appetite for Weight Loss, and Determine the Foods That Work for You.

While some of the concepts are not necessarily new to me, I loved that he explains the science behind food, cravings, and appetite in easy to understand terms. I’ll have a full review of the book next week. Needless to say, it has me all fired up.

How fired up? I signed up for Wolf’s 45-Day Keto Master Class and am currently reading his The Paleo Solution: The Original Human Diet.

Originally, I’d planned to try Wolf’s 30-day reset as my January 30-Day Challenge. Wolf spends a lot of real estate in his book on gut health and IBS. His 30-day reset sounded perfect for my long-suffering husband. I also hoped the reset could help me rediscover my keto mojo.

But alas, the husband suggested we do Carnivore first, and I was so happy about his enthusiasm that I decided to wait a month and do carnivore instead.

With my hip pain and subsequent arthritis diagnosis, inflammation is my new enemy. I feel the AIP approach is just what I need.

Our Macros For This Challenge
I used a combo of the the KetoGains and Dr. Ted Naimen’s calculators to determine our macros for this challenge. We’re upping our protein and lowering our fat intake. We learned from the carnivore challenge that protein keeps us satiated way longer than fat. If you’re curious, this Robb Wolf video explains why I’ve been feeling hungry and snacking way too much (hint: not enough protein in my diet).

As for reducing our dietary fat, we want to burn our own fat rather than the dietary fat we eat. While most keto folks live by the 70% fat, 20% protein and 5% carb numbers, it just isn’t working for us.

Our dietary fat is coming from lean meats, offal, seafood, the healthy fats we use for cooking (just enough prevent food from sticking), and dressings.

So, no more extra pads of butter on meat. My hubby’s really bummed about that (lol).

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Looking at the numbers, I’m sure you’re asking “Why is John eating 40g of carbs? What about ketosis?”

Remember: this challenge is about eating for health, not chasing a number. In John’s case, eliminating his IBS symptoms and healing his gut is of primary importance. The expected weight loss is a nice side benefit.

Food List: What We Can & Can’t Eat
Because we’re focused on foods targeting autoimmunity and inflammation, our menu seems restrictive (and it is), but I’m confident I can still make awesomely tasty meals.

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Foods to Avoid List – Coffee & Chocolate Make the List

  • Nightshades – Tomatoes, potatoes, sweet & hot peppers, tomatillos, goji berries, and eggplants; spices from peppers (paprika, cayenne, red pepper, chili, black pepper, etc.). Also pimentos are verboten. So careful when eating olives. This is not an all-inclusive list.
  • Nut & Seeds – Includes all nut butters, flours and oils; coffee (!!!), cocoa (no chocolate!) and seed-based spices such as: allspice, anise seed, all peppers, caraway, cardamom, cayenne, celery seed, chili pepper flakes, chili powder, coriander seeds, curry, cumin seeds, dill seed, fennel seed, mustard seed, nutmeg, paprika, poppy seed, sesame seed, all peppercorns, star anise, vanilla bean.
  • NSAIDs – These are anti-inflammatory meds, such as aspirin, ibuprofen (Motrin, Advil), diclofenac, diflunisal, etodolac, and maproxen (Aleve). It’s not a complete list so check you’re medicine cabinet.

Foods OK To Eat List – The Specifics

  • Lean Meats – It isn’t necessary to eat grass-fed, pasture raised, organic meats, but when budget allows, it is our first choice.
  • Fish & Shellfish – Wild-caught is preferred, but if budget only allows farmed, that’s OK. Our goal is 2-3 times per week.
  • Vegetables & Fruit
    • Colorful vegetables & fruit (red, purple, blue, yellow, orange, white – the more color the better!)
    • Leafy Greens
    • Cruciferous Vegetables (broccoli, cabbage, cauliflower, Brussels sprouts, kale, etc.)
    • Root Vegetables (carrots, beets, celeriac, parsnips, radishes, ginger, turnips, and swedes)
    • Edible fungi (mushrooms!)
    • Because my husband has a larger daily carb allowance, he can have up to 2 servings of fruit each day. As I am doing the ketogenic version, I can have fruit, but I need to stay within my daily carb allowance. Also, fruit fructose needs to stay below 20g.

Next Steps
February 1st is tomorrow, so I’m finalizing the first week menu this afternoon and hitting the grocery store tonight. We also need a plan to deal with Sunday’s Super Bowl party we’re attending. Yikes!!

This means I’m going simple for the first week menu: A giant salad for lunch, some protein and cooked veggies for dinner.

For Sunday I’m pulling a trick out of our carnivore diet: big-ass steaks a couple of hours before the party. There’s no way we’ll even look at the big spread of non-AIP food! However, my husband plans to drink a couple of beers. As for me, my goal is to drink a glass of wine early in the game and then stick with water…lots of water.

Easy peasy!


Essential Kitchen Tools For Low Carb Living

Hi all. I put together a list of the top “must have” tools in my low carb kitchen for a video on kitchen tools. Note that these are all affiliate links, which means that if you click on an item and buy something, a tiny portion comes my way automatically, at zero cost to you (and for that I thank you!).

My Cast Iron:

Lodge Dutch Oven: https://amzn.to/2W3r2rC

Lodge Cast Iron Skillet: https://amzn.to/2VGaAON 

Utensils:

Sur La Table Jar scraper: https://amzn.to/2CblXoR

Sur La Table Spatula: https://amzn.to/2D0cfaq

Sur La Table Tongs: https://amzn.to/2RINGa8

Good Grips Fish Turner: https://amzn.to/2D1aYQE

Graters & Peelers:

Cuisinart Boxed Grater: https://amzn.to/2M0I6La

Good Grips Peelers: https://amzn.to/2VG9P8r

Microplane Zester: https://amzn.to/2shrcPt 

Kitchen Measurement:

Ozeri Scale (love this!): https://amzn.to/2SMVRjc

Royal Classique Measuring Spoons: https://amzn.to/2VJH3Uz

KitchenAid Slow Cooker: https://amzn.to/2SRhDCB

Cutting Boards:

Epicurean Cutting Board (stain-resistant): https://amzn.to/2sj2ttX

Teakhaus 24×18 Board: https://amzn.to/2VGNA2f

Teakhaus 14×14: https://bit.ly/2RDjqxz

Pots/Pans/Roasters:

Nordic Ware Baking Pan: https://amzn.to/2CgIPmS

All-Clad Roaster: https://amzn.to/2D2dXZ1

Non-Stick GreenPans: https://amzn.to/2D0NJ9e

Shun Knives:

There are many varieties of Shun Knives, all great, each according to taste: https://amzn.to/2M3FbRK

The brand we use in the video is called “Hikari,” and is available at William-Sonoma (non-affiliate links):

6” Chef’s Knife: https://bit.ly/2VJ0SeG

4” Paring Knife: https://bit.ly/2VEMALY

Honorable Mentions:

Good Grips Juicer: https://amzn.to/2HeoVyy

Cquisinart Mini Food Processor: https://amzn.to/2H3GiSP

KitchenAid Blender: https://amzn.to/2C8tsNo

Cuisinart Stick Blender: https://amzn.to/2CcrICF

Latent Epicure Salt & Pepper Shakers: https://amzn.to/2VG7GJN

Jamie Oliver Mortar & Pestle: https://amzn.to/2H3FMUT

Krups Coffee Grinder: https://amzn.to/2RBdYvf


Keto Challenge Day 9: Weight Loss!

keto week 2Whatever bug I have kept me up most of the night coughing and sneezing. Although my energy is very low this morning, I had enough to pull myself out of bed and stumble onto the scale.

Weight wise I’m down, despite a couple of missteps last week. At the start of my reset I weighed 232.3. Today I’m at 230.8. Not to shabby.

No doubt my low appetite over the weekend (thanks bug!) contributed to my loss. So I look at the numbers with a very skeptical eye. Despite the lack of sleep I am feeling a little better today as my fever broke earlier this morning.

Practicing Mindfulness
As far as getting back on track with keto, I need to correct the problems (stress induced eating & drinking) from last week.

While convalescing in bed this weekend I made an effort to use my meditation app. Of course, it was easy since I was sick in bed…I mean how much stress is involved with that! Still, it’s good practice. Any time I felt frustrated that I couldn’t do anything, I reached for my phone and listened to some calming sound or music.

That put me right to sleep…almost as good as NightTime NyQuil.


Time To Get Back To Blogging

blog

Image courtesy of FreeDigitalPhotos.net and Stuart Miles.

I’ve been away for a bit. I do love blogging. It’s just that the old, bad habit of being lazy really took hold for many months. Sure, I’m doing cooking videos and vlogging about “My Final 50.” However the idea was to keep a daily written “confessional” about how I’m doing. You know, the accountability thing.

Sigh.

But my beloved lazy mouse kicked in.

“Hey, I’m doing videos. It’s a lot of work and something has to give.”

B.S!

The truth is it’s easy to let things slide. And when I let something I love doing – writing – go by the wayside, then it makes it easy for other things to slide. Things like:

  • Taking a morning walk.
  • Passing on that 3rd glass of wine.
  • Grabbing a handful of nuts when I’m not hungry.

So I’m happy to report that I’m tired of being lazy. This blog is my touchstone. It’s what keeps me honest…accountable…focused when it comes to my health and waistline.

I’m not shooting for daily posts…initially. My plan is to start with 3 weekly posts about my quests for optimal health, fitness, and finally kicking lazy mouse to the curb.

Video: Industrious Mouse Vs. Lazy Mouse

 


First My Ankle, Now My Voice

quiet post itI wake up this fine, sunny morning with no voice. The sore throat hit Thursday night. Now it’s laryngitis. Great. Of course I was going to shoot a cooking video today. Who says my timing isn’t great?

For those who’ve never experienced the joys of laryngitis, it means my vocal chords are swollen and irritated. Potentially it can last 7-10 days.

The treatment is pretty simple.

  • No talking, shouting, singing, whispering. Not one dang peep.
  • Drink plenty of fluids.
  • Breath in humid air – not hard in August.

Well if I can’t make a cooking video, I can at least test out some recipe ideas.


10K vs. 15K Steps? Does It Matter?

Saucony Hurricane ISO

Caution — Shoes are much, much more neon yellow than they appear! More steps a day just wear these puppies out sooner.

Here’s an interesting morning read about mail carriers in Glasgow, Scotland and heart health. Those who deliver the mail are far more heart healthy than their counter parts working a desk job. Why?  Glaswegian mail carriers deliver the mail by foot!  While The New York Times article is focused on whether we should target 15,000 steps a day vs. the current 10,000 step recommendation, I think they are missing another piece: strength.

If the Scots deliver the mail on foot, that means they are also doing a lot of weight training too. A mail bag loaded with bills, letters, flyers and Amazon boxes adds up in pounds/kilograms.

Yes walking is good for you. However, if most Americans can’t even get 10,000 steps in a day, what’s the point of upping the number of 15,000. Also the mail carriers in Scotland deliver by foot. That means they walk for nearly 8 hours a day, 5 days a week and get paid to do so. In the US, somewhere around 100 million employees are sitting at a desk.

Does your manager encourage you to get in a chunk of your 10,000 steps while you’re on the clock?

I’m curious if the study actually looked at their diet. If you had to walk every day for your paycheck wouldn’t you eat better too?  Again walking is healthy, but you can’t out walk a bad diet.

 

 



Time To See An Endocrinologist

bloodtest

Making an appointment with the needle! Actually an endocrinologist to find out which hormones are going wacky since my surgery. Image courtesy of FreeDigitalPhoto.net and watiporn.

I’m waving the white flag. I keep reading so many conflicting things about my metabolism, weight gain/loss, and my menopause symptoms that it’s time to call in the big guns.

About 3 months ago my radiation oncologist suggested I meet with an endocrinologist to help with my raging hormones. Well I’m taking this advice to heart as I’ve come to the conclusion that most LCHF/Keto research is pretty much skimpy when it comes to menopausal women.   We’re just not as sexy as athletes.

Anyway, an endocrinologist focuses on hormone health and can recommend natural remedies – dietary, exercise, supplements, and acupuncture – to rebalance your hormone levels.

Whack-A-Mole Symptoms
I make one change to my diet to end the hot flashes, only to have insomnia rear it’s ugly head. Adjust for insomnia, here come the night sweats. It just goes on.

I’m trying to tackle this without knowing what it is I need to tackle. Do I have a thyroid problem? I’ve gained weight since surgery so are my fat cells producing too much of the bad estrogen? Is my cortisol level too high or too low? What about progesterone or testosterone? My resistance to insulin must be even more weakened now, right?

I just don’t know. It’s time to find out.

 


Changing The Workout Routine

sleeping peekabu

Peekabu demonstrating how I physically felt after being back with a personal trainer after just two sessions.

This weekend I was sore from head to toe — shoulders, arms, chest, back, hips, gluts (oh, man!) legs — and it felt awesome! At my husband’s urging, I’m working with a personal trainer again. I wasn’t happy with my last trainer. Her aversion to both sticking to our scheduled appointments and using free weights soured me on personal trainers. I loved my first two trainers, but her attitude left an indelible impression with me.

Plus the hubby and I carved out a little area in our basement for workouts. Why should we spend the money on a trainer?

The hubby made some strong arguments for going back to the gym.

  1. Despite my 3 muscle workouts a week, the husband noticed no difference in my, strength, attitude or stamina. He didn’t see how I could meet my fitness goals for the year.
  2. While diet has more to do with my menopause symptoms, what I was doing in the home gym (yoga and weight training) wasn’t having an impact.
  3. Soreness…or lack of it. In his view, I wasn’t pushing myself as hard as I could.
  4. Most importantly, I was happier when I was going to the gym than I have been working out at home with all the distractions.

He’s right, of course. I’m not pushing myself. I certainly feel good after I workout, but the overall boost in energy just isn’t there. While I agreed with his arguments, No. 4 really hit me.

When I’m at home I find there is so much to do and so little time. So everything becomes a choice. Go for a walk in the cold or clean the kitchen? Do yoga or get a jump on laundry?  Get 20 minutes with the dumbbells or try to fix the dishwasher?

Yet those 18 months I when I belonged to a gym, I never chose chores over working out. Back then working out was a habit, like brushing my teeth. It was never an “either/or” decision.

Finding The Right Fit
After I agreed to go back to a trainer, I thought the challenge was going to find the right person. The Gold’s Gym near our home wasn’t the one I quit more than a year ago. I was leery of going back to Gold’s. But my husband assured me we’d ask a lot of questions to  find the right trainer.

Turns out, not all Gold’s are equal. Some are franchises (my not so great experience) and corporate (my new gym). The corporate Gold’s are all about free weights. Yes they have weight machines, yoga, spin and HIIT classes, but free weights are their focus.

My new trainer had no problem starting me with barbells.  During our first session he evaluated what I could do: planks, push ups, crunches, dead lifts, presses, squats, rows.  Immediately he spotted that my hips and lower back are problem areas (something my physical therapist told me to work on).

Actually my whole core is weak. I haven’t really focused on them post-surgery. Right now I’m about 75% healed, so I’ve been nervous about pushing myself. The problem is I’m not pushing myself at all. So my schedule is upper body on Tuesday, lower body on Thursdays, and rebuilding my core for 20 minutes on both days.

Setting 3 Month Goals
Afterwards we talked goals. I’ve signed up for 3 months (two 1-hour sessions a week). We discussed target goals by the end of that time.

  • 60-second plank
  • Standard push ups (no knees!)
  • Strengthen my core (includes back and hips) which is pathetically weak after surgery
  • 10-15 pound increase in bench press
  • Recapturing some of the definition and tone I lost post surgery

All are very doable if I’m willing to put in the work…and I am.

For the first time in more than a year I’m really excited about working out. Yes, I was sore over the last week. But I’m asking my body to do things I haven’t done in a while.


Recent Gains Have Me Doubting Myself

lane-bryant

Nearly 2 years and 100+ pounds ago I “broke” up with Lane Bryant. Clearly they miss me. The feeling is not mutual.

I’m fast approaching my two-year anniversary from saying goodbye to Lane Bryant.  I vowed never to shop there again. To do so meant failure. However, my recent weight gain has me doubting myself and resolve.

It was time to replace an old pair of jeans. And for a fleeting moment, I thought about picking them up at my old stomping ground.

Thankfully something woke up inside of me and yelled “Hell no!”

Despite those damn menopause pounds I’ve added back on, I’m not going back to Lane Bryant. Ever.

I don’t know if that was the kick in the pants I needed, but it worked. I’m making a bunch of changes right now (post coming later on those changes). But I’m excited and finally feel energized. Something I haven’t felt in a long time.

Oh, and I picked up my new jeans at Old Navy.