my KETO journey – let’s eat

I AM NOT A DOCTOR NOR A NUTRITIONIST.  WHAT I AM SHARING ON THIS POST IS SIMPLY MY PERSONAL EXPERIENCE.

breakfast

Less than 6 months ago when someone mentioned the word breakfast, I usually ran out the house – I HATED BREAKFAST.  Those endless bowls of oatmeal, the dry toast, eggs (only 4 per week allowed) missing the delicious yolks, and a cardboard-like substitute for real bacon.  YUK, call me back into the house when dinner is ready.

As many of you have done, I trusted the USDA (US Department of Agriculture), AMA (American Medical Association), and AHA (American Heart Association) to provide guidelines for a healthy path to good nutrition.  We suffered through those soy products pretending to be real meat, the array of sugar-free cookies, and the cups of decaf, decaf and more decaf coffee.  Lastly, to add insult to injury, we endured the fat-free dairy products.  Have you ever tasted anything as tasteless as skim milk on a bowl of bran flakes or fat-free cottage cheese with a dash of cinnamon?

Like the wise men of old used to say, “the proof is in the pudding.”  My pudding wasn’t anything like the homemade tapioca or chocolate pudding which Grandma made years ago using real food.  Enter the miracle of KETO.  Yes, after 60 years of suffering, the American dieter now has scientific, nutritional, and medical research to support a return to the real foods of yesteryear.

It’s more than a diet, it’s a new lifestyle.  I now fast about 18 hours between supper at 6:00 PM and the first meal of the next day around noon time.  I no longer have cravings just an hour after supper leading me to forage the refrigerator and cupboards in search of something that will satisfy – usually candy and chips.  I eat when I am hungry during the afternoon hours and don’t eat if I am not hungry.  The biggest challenge was to eliminate sugar and grains entirely.  No compromising!

I’d be a fool to give up KETO.  I have another 15 pounds to lose (already lost 22 pounds), I am no longer pre-diabetic, energy levels are up and recent blood work was outstanding.  Skin tone and insomnia have improved as well as attitude.

Okay, let’s talk about my standard fast-breaking 1st meal of the day.

  • 3 strips of bacon
  • 3 whole eggs, free range when I can afford them
  • 2 cups of fresh, chopped kale
  • 1 cup of broccoli
  • 1/2 cup chopped onions
  • 1 clove chopped garlic
  •  chopped fresh tomato or sweet pepper
  • a handful of berries, blueberries are affordable this time of year
  • a cup of bullet proof coffee with a tsp of butter rather than cream

Heating my favorite 8″ cast iron skillet on the stove, I cut the bacon strips in half and fry until crispy.  Plate the bacon, then add to the bacon grease the garlic, onion, broccoli, and pepper and kale.  Cook that for about 5 minutes stirring once or twice.  Make a nest in the kale and slip the eggs into the nest.  Cover with a lid, cook for 3 to 4 minutes or until the eggs are set.  Salt and pepper to taste.  Eat hearty, it’s a man sized meal guaranteed to keep the hunger at bay all day.

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my KETO journey – tada!

I AM NOT A DOCTOR NOR A NUTRITIONIST.  WHAT I AM SHARING ON THIS POST IS SIMPLY MY PERSONAL EXPERIENCE.

Am I thrilled?  Pretty dang close.  My scale this morning told me I now weigh in at 180 pounds.  ONE-HUNDRED AND EIGHTY pounds – 81.6 kilograms.  I began my renewed effort to lose weight about 4 months ago when my doctor called me borderline obese at 202 pounds.  My BMI calculation was more blunt.  That 28.2 calculation told me I was over the line meaning I had joined millions of other American men who sported a spare tire.  My ultimate goal is to weigh in within six months at 165-170 pounds.  That would put me at a BMI of roughly 24.

But even more significant is the lifestyle I have discovered through keto-genics.  I initially became interested because of my arthritis pain and the conviction that diet plus lifestyle change could address this pain without the use of pharmaceuticals.  This continues to be the reason for my adherence to keto, but the other benefits are amazing.  I am no longer pre-diabetic, I no longer struggle with food addictions, my general health has vastly improved, my emotional health is stabilizing…..AND, did I mention I lost 22 pounds of fat? 😁

Here is one of Dr. Berry’s videos addressing diet and arthritis pain.

my KETO journey – nightshades

I AM NOT A DOCTOR NOR A NUTRITIONIST.  WHAT I AM SHARING ON THIS POST IS SIMPLY MY PERSONAL EXPERIENCE.

No, I am not writing a post about the window blinds we pull down in the evening for privacy and security.  Nightshades are vegetables and fruits which belong to family of Solanaceae plants of the Solanum genus.  There are more than 2000 species.  Ta-da!  Here are the most common.

POTATOES
TOMATOES
PEPPERS
EGGPLANTS
TOMATILLOS
GOJI BERRIES (WOLFBERRIES)
GARDEN HUCKLEBERRIES ( BUT NOT BLUEBERRIES)
GROUND CHERRIES
CAPE GOOSEBERRIES

If you have a nightshade allergy, your body thinks the proteins from the nightshade vegetable or fruit is a harmful substance and attempts to fight them off.  In contrast, with a nightshade sensitivity, you are unable to fully digest the nightshade vegetable or fruit , leading to digestive complications or other symptoms. nightshades

I did not want to see this, but I am willing to chase down any garden path to fight my arthritis pain without the use of pharmaceuticals.  According to one of my keto-genic advisors, DR. KEN BERRY, nightshades could be a culprit in joint pain and other inflammation problems.  My favorite side on my dinner plate for many years has been tomato slices.  When setting next to the mashed potatoes, I am close to heaven.  And then the diced peppers in my morning omelette – oh Lord, have I been that displeasing in your sight to warrant an allergy to tomatoes, potatoes and peppers?  Please say it isn’t true.

Yes, I will sacrifice the nightshades for 3 months to determine my lot.  Why couldn’t it be only eggplant? I hate eggplant.

my KETO journey – the beginning

I AM NOT A DOCTOR NOR A NUTRITIONIST.  WHAT I AM SHARING ON THIS POST IS SIMPLY MY PERSONAL EXPERIENCE.

Yes, it has been several months since last posting on this site.  Transitional doesn’t adequately define this time period.  Perhaps transcending, revealing, inspiring would be better descriptions.

In 2003 I experienced a ‘cardiac event’ which resulted in angioplasty and a stent put in place.  I truly regret allowing that to happen.  Since then, a succession of doctors has insisted on a statin regimen and an approved ‘heart healthy’ diet consisting of volumes of whole grains, fruits & vegetables, reduced proteins, and virtually no natural fats.  Encouraged were refined seed oil fats along with polyunsaturated fats.  The BAD BOYS became butter, whole dairy, and any saturated fats.  Also on the bad boy list was refined sugar (yeah, honey, and supposedly ‘natural’ sugars were fine).  The goal was to improve my lipid profile by reducing total cholesterol to less than 200 and also lowering my LDL and triglycerides while raising my HDL.  I was repeatedly warned that a heart attack or stroke would be my demise if I did not obey doctors’ orders.  The statins did work, but not without side effects.  I exercised to the point of exhaustion, I starved myself of the whole foods on which this farm boy was raised, and instead substituted the AMA, FDA approved heart-healthy nonsensical way of eating.  I also tried to lose the belly fat.  Finally I realized, “Hey, I feel like crap and I will not spend the last years of my life living this way.”

Enter keto-genic.  I watched a few YouTube videos by Dr. Ken Berry, read books by Dr. James Dinicolantonio and Dr. Joseph Mercola and I was off and running pursuing an alternative (but familiar from meals on the farm) dietary plan and lifestyle.  That happened on June 23, 2019.  The results have been nothing short of amazing.

Most difficult to transition were the sugary snacks and night-time, TV viewing, refrigerator foraging.  But as I followed my new lifestyle as closely as I could, the cravings did indeed disappear as the doctors said, and I left the dinner table satiated.  No longer a continually hungry man in search of a sugar fix, I was able to implement a 16-18 hour fast between supper and breakfast and I was completely satisfied with 2 meals a day incorporating the foods recommended by the doctors.  It was immensely more successful than the other diets I had tried – BLOOD TYPE, ATKINS, ZONE – and it was not a scenario of nail-biting, daunting deprivation.

I was advised that the initial weight loss would be about 8-10 pounds of water weight.  I assume that to be true.  And that was accomplished on a renewed effort with the ZONE diet prior to keto.  However, since beginning keto, I have lost an additional 12 pounds of belly fat and I feel great.

Two weeks ago I reviewed with my Medicare doctor the latest lab results.  He stormed into the treatment room and informed me that he was increasing my statin dosage to lower my LDL and total cholesterol and warned that if I did not comply I would probably die of a stroke or heart attack.  Truly, as predicted by the keto advocates, my total cholesterol and LDL had increased albeit not significantly.  After I allowed the doctor’s rant, I pointed out to him that my HDL had risen by 20%, my triglycerides had decreased by 40%, my glucose had dropped from 109 to 81, and I had dropped about 20 pounds of weight since the last visit.  After years of being termed pre-diabetic fighting off the doctors who wanted me on Metformin, I was no longer pre-diabetic.  He was momentarily speechless and we then began a meaningful dialog about my health care.

Assuming responsibility for my own health is not easy.  Rebuking doctors who are following 50 years of prescribed ‘heart-healthy’ diets is not easy.  But the proof is in the pudding.  After 50 years of listening to what the food and pharmaceutical industries are pumping into the heads of medical practitioners, Western culture is now in the midst of epidemics of obesity, diabetes, heart disease, dementia and numerous other conditions manifested by the unhealthy foods which we are encouraged to eat.

Not surprisingly, the food industries which promote packaged pseudo-foods loaded with sugar and non-food ingredients, the pharmaceutical industry which realizes billions of dollars in profits through sales of statins and Metformin, and the medical profession which caves to pressure from the insurance and drug companies have made preventive health care a jungle for those of us who refuse to accept the status quo.

Today, I feel healthier than ever and I feel liberated.  Now, excuse me while I go to prepare my fast-breaking meal of bacon, eggs, kale, broccoli and blueberries.

BON APPETIT

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GABBY COOKS – chicken & corn soup

I’m sure I could spend the rest of my life eating Grandma’s chicken and corn soup and be a completely satisfied man.  She always used dark meat chicken for more flavor, but it is equally delicious using chicken breast.  This main course soup is a budget stretcher which complements any shopping list.  Add some chopped escarole and you’ve created a health dynamo.  If escarole is not available at your grocery, curly endive, a cousin of escarole, will work just as well.

Escarole has no fat.  One and one-half cups of chopped escarole has only 15 calories, 1 gram of protein and 3 grams of carbohydrates.  It adds 5.2% to 8% of your recommended daily consumption of fiber which is a critical component of bowel health decreasing risk of constipation, diarrhea and diverticulitis.  We all know that adequate fiber will satisfy hunger with fewer calories, but to avoid bloating and gas work up slowly to an amount of 25 to 38 grams daily.

But wait, there’s more.  This one serving of 1 1/2 cups of escarole supplies 30% of your recommended daily intake of vitamin C and 4% of your DRV of iron and calcium.  A shortage of iron may cause you to feel tired, dizzy and headachy.  We all know the importance of calcium, don’t we?  Yeah, strong teeth and bones.  healthfully.com

here are the ingredients
  • 3 TBS olive oil
  • 1 cup chopped onion
  • 2 cloves chopped garlic
  • 4 chicken legs and thighs or 2 breasts ( or a combination of dark and white meat, it’s up to you whether to use the skin in cooking, I believe it adds additional flavor, but also calories and fat)
  • about 4 cups chopped escarole (Grandma never used greens other than fresh parsley and it was just as delicious)
  • 3 ears fresh corn, kernels removed from cob or 2 cups frozen corn
  • 1 quart chicken broth
  • 3 hard boiled eggs sliced
  • a sprig of fresh rosemary or 1 tsp dried rosemary
  • 3 TBS chopped fresh parsley
  • salt and pepper to taste
directions
  1. heat the olive oil in a stew pot or Dutch oven
  2. add the onions and garlic
  3. cook until translucent being careful not to scorch the garlic
  4. remove from the pot and reserve for later
  5. add the chicken legs, thighs, breast
  6. saute in the oil until lightly golden
  7. add enough broth to cover the chicken pieces and bring to boil
  8. immediately reduce the heat to a slow simmer, cover the pot
  9. cook on low heat about 30-45 minutes adding more broth if needed
  10. remove chicken from pot, set in bowl to cool
  11. add the greens, herbs, corn, and rest of the broth
  12. bring to a boil
  13. reduce heat to simmer and cover the pot
  14. cook about 15 minutes
  15. while that is cooking, skin and debone the chicken pieces
  16. tear meat into bite-sized pieces
  17. add the chicken and reserved onions and garlic to the soup
  18. add more broth or hot water if necessary to keep it soup
  19. season with salt and pepper
  20. ladle into bowls and top with the sliced hard-boiled eggs

GABBY COOKS – white bean & kale soup

Kale is a member of the cabbage family Brassica oleracea.  Of all the super healthy greens, kale is acclaimed as king.  Some of the beneficial compounds in kale have powerful medicinal properties.

A single cup of raw kale ( 2.4 ounces) contains:

  • 206% of DV of vitamin A (daily required value)
  • 684% of DV of vitamin K
  • 134% of vitamin C
  • 9% of vitamin B-6
  • 26% of manganese
  • 9% of calcium
  • 10% of copper
  • 9% of potassium
  • 6% of magnesium

This 2.4 ounces also contains 3% or more of DV for thiamin, riboflavin, niacin, iron, and phosphorous.  This nutrient dense green contains very little fat, but that fat is mostly the healthy omega-3.  And it pumps another 3 grams of protein into your diet.

Red beans, also known as Mexican red beans,  are nutrition dynamos.  They are rich in antioxidants and packed with protein, folate, minerals, and fiber including resistant starch.  Resistant starch boosts the body’s ability to burn fat, aids the full feeling, and controls blood sugar.  A 1/2 cup serving will provide 90 calories and 7 grams of protein.

Great Northern beans per 1/2 cup serving contain 104 calories, and provide 6.2 grams or 25% of fiber DV plus a little over 7 grams of protein.  They are rich in vitamin B-6 and are dense in minerals and amino acids.

I love using dry beans in cooking.  They have a better flavor and are much less expensive.  The process of a soak is easily manageable when planned ahead of time.  My favorite soak method is to place the desired amount of beans in a heavy cookpot, cover with water, bring to a boil for three minutes, turn off the heat, cover with a lid and allow to sit for at least an hour.  When ready to cook, drain and rinse, and cover with plenty of water or broth (at least 2 inches over the beans).  Cook on slow simmer for an hour or until tender.  Then you are ready to add the other soup ingredients.

here are the ingredients
  • 2 cloves garlic minced
  • 1 cup chopped onion
  • 1 tsp chopped fresh ginger
  • 3 tbs olive oil
  • 8 cups fresh kale center ribs removed
  • 2 cups fresh carrots sliced
  • 2 tbs chopped fresh basil
  • 2 tbs chopped fresh parsley
  • 2 tbs chopped fresh rosemary
  • 1 tbs freshly squeezed lemon juice
  • 1 cup dry great northern or red beans
  • 1 quart chicken broth or vegetable broth
  • parmesan cheese to top soup when serving
  • corn chips to accompany soup (optional)
  • additional hot water as needed to keep it soup
directions
  1. in heavy Dutch oven or heavy cook pot heat the olive oil
  2. when hot add the garlic, onion, ginger, and saute about 3 minutes
  3. add the carrots and stir, saute another 3 minutes
  4. add the chopped fresh herbs and kale, cover and allow the kale to wilt about 5 minutes
  5. stir well to mix everything and remove from pot
  6. add the drained and rinsed dried beans which have soaked for at least an hour
  7. add the broth and bring to a boil
  8. gently simmer for an hour
  9. when nearly tender, add the reserved kale, etc.
  10. cook at least 1/2 hour until the beans and vegetables are tender
  11. salt and pepper to taste
  12. if you like a thicker soup use a potato masher to lightly smash some of the ingredients – don’t overdo it

Serve in bowls and top with shredded parmesan and corn chips on the side

 

GABBY COOKS – Elva’s BBQ

Howdy folks, welcome to GABBY’S PLACE.  Hey, did you hear about the young man standing on the pier watching the dolphins frolic in the water with an older woman standing nearby sporting a gorgeous sun bonnet?  A sudden gust of wind whipped along the shoreline and lifted the woman’s dress above her waist.  Unfazed by her exposed underside, she held on adamantly to her sun bonnet.

“Ma’am, don’t you care that everyone can see everything?”

“Young man,” she snapped, “everything down there is 85 years old.  I bought this hat just yesterday.”

Oh no, I hear groans out there in the blogosphere.  Okay, here’s my BBQ recipe handed down for generations of Pennsylvania Dutch folks in my native community.  On Saturdays during the summertime, the premier social event was an estate sale.  Household belongings, farm equipment and sometimes real estate were sold to the highest bidder in a lively exchange of camaraderie.   Drama was added to this scenario when antique dealers from nearby cities competed for the coveted, centuries-old kitchen utensils and furniture.

Always a local church group, the Boy Scouts or the community Grange would offer a wide variety of food at a make-shift kitchen.  For many of us this was the main event.  Lemon sponge and shoo-fly pies, homemade bread, cakes, chicken and corn soup, hot dogs and BBQ sandwiches.  The menu was not complete without those BBQ sandwiches.

Now, when this Pennsylvania Dutch Yankee moved south and ordered a BBQ sandwich at a local eatery, he was severely disappointed.  What is this mass of shredded beef or pork soaked in a tomato sauce and dripping out the bun?  Too sweet, too runny, too spicy.  Not at all what a good, ole Yankee country boy remembers.  And to beat all, some folks actually topped it with cole slaw.

here are the ingredients


 

  1. 1 lb ground beef
  2. 1 tsp celery seed
  3. 2 tsp prepared mustard
  4. 3 tsp chili sauce
  5. 3 tsp Worcestershire sauce
  6. 1/2 cup catsup
  7. 1 small onion peeled and chopped
  8. salt and pepper to taste
  9. 12 burger buns

DIRECTIONS

  1. In a saucepan brown the ground beef and the onion
  2. add the remaining ingredients and mix well
  3. simmer about 15 minutes
  4. Serve up on plain or sesame buns

(Commercial chili sauce is not the same as Grandma’s home-made sauce, but it will work in this recipe.)