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.


Summer of Hip Therapy & Bad Eating

We’ve been so busy this spring and summer. It looks like fall and winter are shaping up to be just as, if not more, hectic. Obviously posting and making cooking videos have taken a back seat. But my cameraman/editor husband and I are fine. We’re just super busy.

This spring we made the decision to put a hold on making new videos. A big work project landed on my husband’s lap that demanded all of his time spent on filming and editing our videos. The project’s end date was late August…but here we are in September and it is still rolling along. Now it’s looking like the end date is closer to November/December.

As for me, the one word to describe the past 8 months is “frustration.” My unstable hip dominates everything I do.  For months on end sitting, standing, stretching, walking or rolling over in bed caused intense pain. It’s been difficult to do basic things like cooking, cleaning, walking to the mailbox, or grocery shopping. I found if I sat for more than 30 minutes I wouldn’t be able to walk more than a foot or two without risk of falling.

No matter the amount of physical therapy or stretching “3 times a day,” it just felt like my hip muscles were getting pulled into a tighter ball instead of lengthening.  I know my orthopedic doctor warned me it would take about 18 months to stabilize the hip. But patience with one’s self goes out the window when you’re use to physically doing what you want when you want.

Rather than being patient with myself and having that laser-focus on my health, self-pity won out this summer. So rather than focusing my time on getting healthy I went back to my old bad eating habits.

To say my carb count “crept up” is putting it mildly. There were days (most) I ate like the old 300+ lbs. me, and days where I was strictly keto (far too few).

So this summer I added a lot more weight…and didn’t care. I was too busy feeling sorry for myself.  I knew what I was doing was wrong and frankly, stupid. But as they say, you need to hit bottom before you turn your life around.

It wasn’t until August that my hip started really responding to therapy. I became more mobile and flexible. The pain isn’t constant. For now it feels like I’m over a hump. My trainer recently cleared me for biking and interval running. That’s huge!

And sure enough, around the same time that mental funk started lifting too. I’m starting to eat out less, cutting back on alcohol, and making better food choices.  In September I decided to do another keto reset (for the zillionth time…but whose really counting) with a 30-day challenge.

Since I’m on a video hiatus, I decided to go back to where it all began for me…this blog. I’ll try to do 1-2 posts a week. The posts will focus on my reset — the successes and failures.

 

 


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).

Screen Shot 2019-01-31 at 3.18.25 PM

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.

Screen Shot 2019-01-31 at 3.21.08 PM

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.