My first week of a low carb diet.

April 30th, 2012 1 comment

The first week of this round of Low Carb is done (this round anyway, I’m no stranger to the low carb lifestyle).  It went really well, my body got into ketosis really quickly this time.  I thought that gave me a pass on “keto flu” during ketogenic induction, but it didn’t.  Even though my body jumped into burning fat instead of carbohydrates right away, I still had some headaches throughout the week.  All that is done now, all I’m left with is constant energy levels and a great menu plan (for a diet at least ;) ).

One huge win this week for me was finding low carb “cupcakes”.  They’re not actually cupcakes in the traditional sense, but bacon/egg/cheese cupcakes.  I saw them in a post in /r/keto and decided to give them a shot.  I can’t find the exact post now or I would link to it.  I’m going to make them again with my Digital SLR in hand next time to make a blog post about them.  They are great.  I had two for dinner last night, and two for breakfast this morning.  Each cupcake contains one piece of bacon, one egg, and some cheddar cheese – salt and pepper to taste.  I love these things!  I plan to make them by the dozen and refrigerate them so I can have easy zero carb breakfasts in seconds.  Just 45 seconds in the microwave and I’m transported to a baconny eggy cheesy heaven! :D

Oh, I lost about 5.5 pounds this week, while eating bacon, eggs, steak, ice cream, etc.  It’s been fun!

 

Easy and Delicious Five Minute Low Carb Steak Salad

April 30th, 2012 No comments

low carbohydrate steak saladI was looking for something really quick and easy to make for lunch the other day. Something that would taste great, be filling, but not take long to make. I give you, the Five Minute Steak Salad with only 2 net carbs and 482 calories. Like the title says, this only takes about five minutes to make. It’ll taste great and fill you up too!

I found out when setting this up in my meal diary at MyFitnessPal that there are some real errors in the food there. If something doesn’t seem to make sense, it’s likely wrong. Check your food’s nutritional info periodically on MFP, just to be safe.

All you need is: some steak; some romaine lettuce; some butter (to fry the steak in); and some salad dressing. Here’s what I used:

  • 8 ounces of steak (450 calories, 28g fat, 50g protein)
  • 1 Romain Heart weighing 200g (32 calories, 1g fat, 2g protein)
  • Walden Farms Ranch Dressing (0g calories, 0g fat, 0g protein)

I would have used blue cheese dressing for this but I was all out. You can use whatever you like, my recommendation would be blue cheese :) Walden Farms zero calorie foods can be hit and miss, but I find that their salad dressings are great! If you can’t find them at your local grocery store then get them from The Low Carb Grocery like I do.

That’s it, that’s all. I had a piece of steak in the fridge, left over from some other meal, that’s all you need. It doesn’t matter how much you use, just make sure to track the nutritional information accordingly. I used an 8 ounce piece, as seen here:

low carb steak salad

Slice it into thin strips and pan fry it. I used some butter to fry it in but didnt’ count the calories for the butter. Most of the butter will stay in the frying pan. You’re going to lose some fat from the steak while frying as well, this will (in my opinion) make up for any fat gained by the butter. Salt and pepper it to (AWESOME) taste.

low carb steak salad

It only takes a couple minutes to fry, tops. Steak this thin cools almost on contact with heat :D Once it’s done, plate it and let it cool for a bit while you prep your lettuce.

low carb steak salad

After that, just rip up your romaine heart (ripping is better than cutting as cutting splits the cells and can make the lettuce bitter while ripping keeps the cells intact – or so I’m told). Toss on your steak, and drizzle your salad dressing over top, and EAT UP!

low carb steak salad

Here’s the salad dressing I used for this salad. This isn’t the very best salad dressing you’re ever going to taste, but for zero carbs and zero calories, it’s amazing!

low carb steak salad

There you have it, a quick and delicious low carb lunch with only 2 net carbs!

Enjoy! :)

 

Do I need to eat fat while I’m in ketosis / on a ketogenic diet?

April 28th, 2012 1 comment

bacon

Obviously, eating very few carbs is how you get into ketosis.  Beyond that though, there there seems to be some confusion on this issue of dietary fat.  On the Dr. Berstein diet plan, you force your body into a stat of ketosis, making it metabolize stored fat for energy.  While on the plan, you eat a low calorie, VERY low fat diet.  This effectively (it would seem) makes your body consume only stored fat to power itself.  This explains how you can lose three to five pounds per week without lifting a finger! :D

Other schools of though (like /r/keto) suggest that to stay in a stat of ketosis, you need to ingest a  lot of fat.  In the /r/keto FAQ, we read “One of the importance of keeping a proper ratio is ensuring that your protein levels do not exceed that of fat in calories”.

Now, I’m a huge fan and active member of /r/keto.  I just don’t understand how the Dr. Bernstein diet can preach one way (no eating fat), and work.  And /r/keto can preach an opposite idea (eat lots of fat) and also work. I’m hoping that the ketogenic geniuses at /r/keto can explain it to me :)

I’ll update this post with a good answer when/if I get one :)

Edit:  Well that was fast!  Thanks to Rhesonance over at /r/keto!  I misunderstood the advice I read in the FAQ, my bad! :)   Eating 35% protein is suggested to keep your body from digesting muscle mass to get the protein it needs.  60% of your daily calories from fat is there to keep you feeling satisfied and not deprived while you lose weight.  This makes great sense to me.  I feel like I’m eating enough so I’m not tempted to cheat on the diet.  When I was counting calories I was eating a 1200 calorie per day diet.  This left me feeling pretty deprived.  As a result, I allowed myself a cheat day once a week to release some pressure.  This was OK, but often that cheat day would start the night before, and end up bleeding into the next day.  Saturday was my cheat day, and sometimes I would lose control and start on Friday night and roll right on through Sunday.  This left me playing catch-up every week.  On the ketogenic diet set out by /r/keto, I’m not feeling deprived, so I don’t mind not “cheating”.  For example, today is Saturday and would have been my cheat day.  I’m not missing it at all though, I had a large breakfast that filled me up and was well inside my meal plan at MFP.

Thanks again to Rhesonance!

TL;DR You don’t need to eat fat on a ketogenic diet, but if you do it’ll keep you feeling full and still allow you to lose weight without feeling deprived or starved.

 

Zero Carb Home-Made Beef Jerky – Easy, Fast, and TASTY!

April 26th, 2012 No comments

Beef jerky is great when you’re trying to avoid carby snacks.  If the craving hits, chew some jerky, it’ll keep your mouth busy and it’ll fill you up just enough to chase away the snack craving you’re having.  Making your own beef jerky is REALLY quick and easy – and you can make it to your tastes (I don’t usually like store bought jerky because they never have quite the right flavor for me).

The actual time involved in making this is only about 10 or 15 minutes.  There’s about 7 hours of soak time and about 8 hours of dehydration time that you can sleep through :)

Basic ingredients:

  • 2 pounds of thinly sliced beef
  • 3/4 cup soya sauce
  • 2 tsp salt
  • optional: 3 tbsp sugar free sweetener (I used Walmart’s store brand)
  • optional: 1 or 2 cloves of garlic, minced
  • optional: ground black pepper to taste
  • optional: 1/2 cup chili garlic sauce

The optional ingredients are yours to swap out and change all you want.  I like spicy jerky, so I go with these.  If you prefer something less worthy of Ron Swanson, then by all means, remove the manly spices ;)

Aside from the ingredients above, all you really need to get started is a dehydrator.  I lost my last one in a recent move, so I went out and picked one up new for about $49. You can find them for as little as $34 at Walmart.

Head to your local grocery store and buy about two pounds of cheap sandwich steak or any really thin fresh beef.  I’ve seen some butcher shop roll them up into tubes.  You could even buy a cheap roast and slice it yourself.  Take it home and slice it up on a cutting board into strips.  You can cut them long and thin if you want or short and fat, it’s up to you!

If some of your pieces of beef have large veins of fat, cut them out!  Some fat is GREAT on a steak on the BBQ, but pretty damn disgusting in beef jerky!

Once they’re all cut, put them in a ziplock back and start putting together your marinating ingredients.  Again, for two pounds of beef I would recommend the following:

  • 2 pounds of thinly sliced beef
  • 3/4 cup soya sauce
  • 2 tsp salt
  • optional: 3 tbsp sugar free sweetener (I used Walmart’s store brand)
  • optional: 1 or 2 cloves of garlic, minced
  • optional: ground black pepper to taste
  • optional: 1/2 cup chili garlic sauce

Even if you don’t like salt, it’s important to have enough soya sauce/salt to keep bacteria from forming on the surface of the beef until enough moisture has been removed to prevent bacterial growth.

Chili garlic sauce is a MUST for my beef jerky.  It ends up not being overly spicy but adds a great flavor and it smells amazing!

Once you have all your marinating ingredients in the zip lock bag, shake and squish it all around until you feel pretty confident that every square millimeter of beef in drenched in marinade.  Then stick it in your fridge for six to eight hours while you go to work, hit the gym, read a book, or whatever it is you do in your down time.

After you’ve had a nice nap and played some Risk with some friends, your beef jerky is done marinating!  Take it out of your fridge and dump it in a strainer in the sink.  Zip that bag up and throw it away, it’ll be pretty pungent!  Strain of all the excess marinade but don’t go too crazy, you want as much of that great tasting stuff on your beef as possible.

Now you can prep your dehydrator trays.  My dehydrator recommends that I turn it on and warm it up for at least five minutes before using it, so at this point I plug it in.  Now take your trays to the counter and PUT SOMETHING UNDER THEM so that the marinade doesn’t get all over your counter.  I happened to find a pizza try in the cupboard that was just a hair larger than my dehydrator trays.

Place your beef jerky evenly on your dehydrator sheets.  Make sure to lay them out flat (they sometimes get rolled up while marinading).  Also make sure not to let any of them overlap.  It’s OK if they touch each other here and there, but overlapping is bad, it’ll cause them to dry unevenly and they’ll end up pretty disgusting.

Keep stacking up your trays and laying out your jerky until you have it all on trays.

Put the remaining empty trays on top of your stack (if any) and put the lid on.  Carry them to wherever you have your dehydrator warming up.

I put my dehydrator in the garage.  Once you smell it you understand why.  Don’t get me wrong, it smells fantastic, but if you run this thing in your house it’ll wreak of soya sauce and chili garlic sauce for months.  In this case, I put the dehydrator on a step ladder in the garage.

Each dehydrator will have different instructions, mine suggests eight to ten hours for beef.  So, call up your friends for another game of Risk and promise the best beef jerky they’ve ever had to the victor!

Eight to ten hours (and one Risk game) later, your beef jerky is ready!  You’ll see that it shrunk quite a bit.  If it’s done, it’ll be crispy and crack when bent.  If there is any wet sauce on it or it feels rubbery at all, put it back in and play some more Risk.

Here are a few pieces of jerky, ready to take on a hike or to hold my appetite at bay at work instead of eating donuts or candy.

Remember, when it’s done it should crack slightly when bent. In this macro shot you can see the white fibers pulling apart where this piece of zero carb beef jerky is bent. That’s what you’re looking for.

This is important.  Store your jerky in a zip lock bag or other well seal-able dry container.

That’s it!  Depending on what you flavored your marinade with, you now have have a TON of zero (or at least low) carb beef jerky :)

Enjoy!

 

 

Low Carb Bacon/Cheese/Egg Sandwiches – with REAL BREAD! (2.6 grams of carbs per sandwich)

April 25th, 2012 No comments

If you’re like me, then you could just about live on egg sandwiches.  ESPECIALLY if they have loads of bacon and cheese on them!  The problem with a low carb diet is bread.  Now, you’re never going to find a low carb bread (and I mean NEVER) that has the taste and consistency of a crusty italian loaf, or wonder bread (if that’s what you’re in to).  However, there are pretty good low carb breads out there, and for me, they make a low carb lifestyle livable.

Enter, the low carb egg sandwich with bacon and all the cheese you can handle.  I should mention upfront that I made 3 of these.  DO NOT ATTEMPT TO EAT ALL THREE.  (Well, ok, you can, but you’ll be pretty full.)  This bread is VERY filling.  It’s not the kind of bread you’ll want to eat on its own, but it makes for a great sandwich and contains LOADS of fiber.

Here’s a pic of the bread wrapper.  You can buy this bread here.

Ten grams of carbs, but 9 grams of fiber, so 1 net carb per slice :)

First step, fry up your bacon, and then fry your eggs in the bacon grease.

When your eggs are nearly cooked (just a bit of “snot” on top), add as much cheese as you want on top and cover again to quickly melt the cheese.  Keep an eye on this.  Fried cheese is nice but soft melted cheese that’s still on top of your egg is better ;)

Once the cheese is melted, drop them on your well buttered toast.

Next, put as much bacon on there are you think your heart can handle.  Then put on more!

Finally, cover with your other piece of toast and serve.  Again, one of these should fill the average adult bear, you don’t need to eat all three!

So that’s it.  An egg and bacon and cheese sandwich in 2.6 grams of carbs (1 carb per slice x 2 + 0.6 carbs for the egg).

Enjoy!

How long does it take to enter ketosis?

April 25th, 2012 No comments

ketostixHow long does ketosis take to start?  That’s a good question and I suspect the answer is different for every person.  I’m not a trained doctor or dietician or nutritionist, but I can share my personal low carb experience.

My first experience with a low carbohydrate diet was when I tried the Atkins diet many years ago.  At that time I didn’t really know anything other than “some doctor claims I can eat bacon and lose weight… cool!”.  I didn’t track much that time, though I did shed some pounds.

My next crack at low carb dieting came later, when I went through the Dr. Bernstein diet program.  That included a LOT of tracking.  The first time I got started on ketosis with Dr. Bernstein it took me about 5 days.  Five very hard days.  The process of ketosis induction is a painful one, and seems to affect everybody differently.  I experience a sense of sluggishness, headaches, moodiness, and a case of the major grumpies.  Some of this (the grumpies) is likely attributable to the fact that I’m going without sugar, bread, pasta, rice etc.  All of the normal “fillers” are gone from your diet, and that takes some getting used to.

Over the years, I’ve been in and out of ketosis many times.  Anybody who’s lived a ketosis lifestyle for any length of time knows that you pop in and out frequently.  If you overindulge at a family gathering, you risk falling out of ketosis and you need to get back in all over again.  My personal theory is that your body gets used to the idea of induction.  As I said above, the first time I tracked it, it took about 5 days.  This time took much less time.  I carbed out on Sunday night and started a hard core induction diet (high fat, very low carbs, multivitamins, 100mg B6 and B12 tablets) on Monday morning.  By Tuesday at bed time I was burning and ketones were present in my urine (I know because I peed on a keto stick :p ).  So, all in all it took me about 36 hours go get into ketosis this time.

The VERY good news is that ketosis feels great!  I can tell (without ketostix) that I’m in ketosis because I get a sudden rush of energy and a real desire to be productive.  I also feel slightly flushed in my cheeks, I’m not sure if everybody gets that or if it’s just me, but it happens every time I’m in ketosis and burning well.  The energy and mental acuity with the accompanying urge to be productive are a huge pay off.  These things last for as long as I’m in ketosis as well, it’s not a fleeting thing.  My personal theory is that once you’re in ketosis, you’ve hacked your body into burning your fat stores for energy.  This means (if you’re tubby like I’m again) that you have PLENTY of ready fuel for your body to burn.  If your body needs energy, it doesn’t need to wait for you to eat some carbs to break them down and use them, it just pulls more fat from your gut, butt, or thighs, and fuels your body and mind.

I’ve heard people say that ketosis makes you sluggish, sleepy, hungry, and slows your mental ability.  This is absolutely not the case in my opinion.  I ALWAYS feel more energetic and sharper of mind when I’m on a low carb diet.  I’ll bet you will to :)

TL;DR I think that your body gets used to induction and enters ketosis faster over time.  Ketosis feels great!

Meaty Cheesy Pasta – Satisfy yourself with less than 10 grams of carbs!

April 24th, 2012 No comments

9 or 10 grams of carbs for dinner isn’t an every day option.  Some days though, if you have some carbs banked at the end of the day, you might as well treat yourself  :)

You could EASILY make this dish with way less carbs.  I added a green pepper and a tomato because I had the room.  The tomato came to about 4 carbs I think, and the green pepper added another 3.  The pasta was only 2 grams of carbs (you can find it here).  I just ate this.  I have a large appetite and I’m stuffed atm :)

So, here’s the ingredients

  • 1/2 pound of ground beef (add more if you’re hungry!)
  • 1 green pepper – diced large (leave this out if you don’t have the carbs available)
  • 1 tomato – diced (again, leave this out if you want)
  • enough olive oil to coat the bottom of your pan
  • 1 entire package of Tofu Shirataki Spaghetti
  • a hand full of shredded zero carb cheddar or mozzarella cheese
  • as much chili garlic sauce as you can handle (THE SPICE OF THE GODS)
  • salt and pepper to taste

That’s it.  It’s incredibly easy to make.  Drain, rinse, and nuke the pasta for 1 minute, then plate it.  Coat the bottom of your pan with olive oil and start frying your tomato and green pepper.  While that’s going add in the chili garlic sauce, salt, and pepper.  After a few minutes, add the ground beef, breaking it up finely.  Cover and let simmer for about 15 minutes, until the beef is cooked and the green peppers are softening.  Pour the contents of the frying pan over your plated pasta.  Toss a handful of cheese over top.  Enjoy!

If you added too much chili garlic sauce (too much is a figurative turn because one can never really have too much of it) then add a dollop of sour cream to ease your sissy taste buds.

If you use small to normal sized peppers and tomatoes then this entire meal should be about 9 grams of carbs.

Zero Carb Drinks with SodaStream

April 24th, 2012 No comments

SodastreamI don’t know what everybody else does for zero carb drinks, but I like to make my own soda.  I have a SodaStream machine.  It ends up costing a LOT less than store bought soda, and you can control how it tastes.  I like my drinks a little less flavored, so I mix them with less syrup.  This also means that my cost per liter goes down ;)

Anyway, this isn’t a huge tip, but it might be new to some people :)

Bacon and Eggs – 4.5 grams of carbs (incuding ketchup)

April 24th, 2012 No comments

So, yesterday went well, I had a headache but I can’t really say that one day without carbs did that.  I did some shopping so I have some low carb food to eat today.  I felt like an idiot walking around the grocery store reading the back of everything I picked up – such is live on a diet though.  No matter what diet you’re doing, it’ll almost certainly involve a lot of nutritional information reading! :D

So I started today off with some bacon and eggs.  1/3 of a pound of bacon and 4 eggs to be exact.  The bacon has no carbs in it.  When shopping, make sure to read the nutritional information on your bacon!!!  Many kinds of bacon are either maple flavored or sugar cured – these will have carbs.  There are about 0.6 grams of carbs in an egg, so 4 x 0.6 gives me about 2.5 grams of carbs there.  I’m also using sugar reduced ketchup with 1 gram of carbs per tbsp.  I guesstimate that I have about 2 tbsp here, so I’ll count that as 2 grams of carbs.  Bringing this amazing breakfast up to 4.5 grams of carbs.  Tabasco Sauce has zero carbs, so load up on that when you can!! :D

Reduced sugar ketchup is amazing.  In my opinion it tastes better than regular ketchup, and with less sugar it’s a viable option for a low carb diet.  I can’t find it at any local grocery stores, so I buy it from thelowcarbgrocery.com.  They have some pretty amazing options for low carb diets and for those counting calories as well.

Here are some pics of my amazing low carb breakfast :)

Starting a low carb diet.

April 23rd, 2012 No comments

I’m starting a low carb diet.  I’ve done this in the past, with success.  A few years ago I did the Dr. Berstein diet.  I started at 299 and got all the way down to about 195 – a good healthy weight for my frame.  Of course though, once I was down to weight I started thinking of myself as  “a thin person” who could eat whatever they wanted.   Eventually, that way of thinking got me back up to 350 – with lots of self hatred along the way.

After going on vacation with my family I decided it was really time to cut some pounds.  For those of you who hate to sit beside the fat guy on the flight, trust me, the fat guy hates it too.  The rolled eyes, the whispered insults, the angry huffs, and the not-so-covert requests to sit somewhere else.  All this while I try to suck every bit of me into the smallest shape I can make – while I hold my legs together tightly to try not to infringe on your space.  Don’t get me wrong, it’s my fault and I know it.  I’m the one who over eats and doesn’t exercise enough.  I take full responsibility for my weight.  I’m just pointing out that flying is VERY uncomfortable for overweight people.  For every “I’m fat now deal with it” person out there, there are ten thousand other fat people who hate themselves and agree with you when you roll your eyes about having to sit beside them.

At any rate, I decided to lose some weight.  Again.

My first attempt was counting calories.  IT WORKED!  I lost about 50 pounds over a few months (355 down to about 305) by counting calories, and it wasn’t all that bad.  I allowed myself to cheat and eat whatever I wanted on Saturdays, but I was strict at 1200 calories a day from Sunday through Friday.  After a while I fell off the wagon, and put some weight back on.  That’s where I am now, about 10 pounds back on, and trying to get back on the wagon.  I’ve been reading quite a bit at /r/keto and decided to give low carb dieting a shot again.

I’ll be updating this blog with my progress, tips, idea, and recipes along the way.  I look forward to hearing any feedback you have or ideas.  Comment and write your story as well.  Let’s lose some weight together :)

Categories: Ketosis Weight Loss Tags: