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 – fresh beets

A dear friend of mine is an exercise freak.  When she’s not cooking a scrumptious omelet or mixing a Greek salad, she is jogging or working out at the gym.  I asked her, ” Why the strenuous activity and attention to a healthy diet?”

“When I die,” she responded, “I am being cremated.  I don’t want to be a grease fire.”

Okay, okay, you’ve heard it before.  I just couldn’t let that little snippet pass without sharing it with you guys.  But, it is a great bit of advice to heed.  Obesity is becoming a leading health concern in the United States.

I’ve been enjoying fresh red beets ever since my boyhood days on the farm.  The sweetness surpasses anything that comes in a can with a beet label.  When I bought a few at the market today, my friend said he loved beets but did not know how to cook them.  I’m sure most of you know what to do with beets, but for the few who don’t, this post is for you.

The beetroot is the taproot of the beet plant known in North America as the table beet, garden beet, red beet, or golden beet.  It is a cultivated variety of Beta vulgaris.  They are a powerhouse of beneficial nutrients including vitamins A, C, E, K, and the B vitamins thiamine, riboflavin, B6, B12, pantothenic acid and folate.  They are also high in calcium, iron, magnesium, phosphorous, potassium, sodium, zinc, copper, manganese and selenium.  Additionally, beets contain important phytonutrients and dietary fiber.

Beets are not recognized as a super food as much as kale or blueberries, but these roots can hold their ground against the best of super foods.  Check the link

your wellness guide

for all the great health benefits available.  And if you are not yet convinced, BEETS ARE CONSIDERED AN APHRODISIAC.  Yeah, I can see those busy little fingers tapping on the keyboard now.  The high content of boron boosts sex hormone production and the nitrates increase blood flow to the organs.  Guys, y’all know what that means.  Hey, I’m just passing along information available on the great link I provided above.

There is a simple method to cooking those great roots.  I learned it from my grandma who pulled bushels of red beets from the garden and canned them.

ingredients

red beets

directions
  • If you are lucky enough to buy beets with the tops, cut the tops off about 1 ” above the root.  DO NOT CUT INTO THE ROOT.  The tops are delicious cooked or in salad.
  • Scrub, scrub, scrub the roots
  • Place in a pot large enough to cover them with cold water
  • Cook for about an hour.  It depends on the size of the beet
  • Refrain from piercing the roots until you think they have cooked long enough
  • Pierce one beet for tenderness
  • Remove from the heat and run cold water over them
  • When cool enough to handle slip the skins off.  You will be amazed how easy they skin
  • The top and the root ends will have a coarse texture.  Slice them off

Now you have fresh, cooked beets ready to prepare according to your favorite recipe.  Honestly, I keep a bowl full in the refrigerator and eat them like snack candy.  They are that sweet.

GABBY COOKS – pickled beef tongue

Hey, if you haven’t tried it, don’t knock it.  This is not the time to be squeamish.  The major problem with this recipe is finding a fresh beef tongue in your neighborhood.  I highly discourage anyone from raiding farmer Brown’s beef herd for that tongue.  My favorite butcher shop which sold beef tongues and hearts went the way of other mom-n-pop stores in my neighborhood when the corporate stores moved in.  But, I have wonderful memories of a pickled beef tongue sandwich slavered with a horseradish sauce and a bag of potato chips.  Gabby says, “It don’t get any better than this.”

here are the ingredients

 

  1. 1 beef tongue scrubbed, rinsed, then scrubbed again
  2. about 4 quarts of cold water
  3. 1 onion sliced
  4. 1 carrot sliced (optional)
  5. 1 1/2 cups white vinegar
  6. 1/4 cup sugar
  7. 1 TBS pickling spice
  8. 1 tsp mustard seeds
  9. 1/2 tsp peppercorns
  10. 2 bay leaves
  11. 1 tsp salt
directions
  1. In a large pot cover the beef tongue with 4 quarts water
  2. Add the onion and sliced carrot.  Simmer for 3 hours and reserve 3 cups of the water
  3. When the tongue is cooled, remove the outer skin
  4. In the cooking pot combine the remaining ingredients with 3 cups of the reserved cooking stock
  5. Add the tongue and simmer for about 15 minutes
  6. Place the tongue in a plastic container, cover with the cooking liquid, cover the container and store in refrigerator for 3 or 4 days

When pickled, the tongue can be sliced and stored in mason jars in the brine.