Tag: Chapter

10 Restaurants

10: Restaurants

Where & What to Eat, Away From Home – a list in progress


1. Five Guys

Burger in a bowl. Nah – call it Bacon Cheeseburger Salad 🙂 Get the app for your phone!! Here’s my order (the app doesn’t offer extra bacon, ask for it at the counter, they’ll add it for FREE 🙂

2. Chipotle

Meat. Sure, you can do a “burrito bowl”, skip the rice, beans, etc. The thing is, they will serve 4 or 6 ounce “sides” of their meats without any of the add-ins. I order 6 ounces of chicken and 4 ounces of carnitas or steak, with a side of sour cream and sometimes some guacamole. Filling, and very low-carb 🙂

9 Resources

8 Recipes

8: Recipes

My favorite YouTube channels for Keto-friendly recipes:

Recipes I Make Often:

FatHead Dough

This may be the key food that launched my success in this journey. In the past my brain has always refuted any notion of life with out bread. What if bread was made of cheese, rather than those inflammatory processed flours, though?

This is a link for the basic recipe & process I follow, with some modifications, for FatHead products: Carl’s Fat Head Pizza. For pizza crust I use garlic powder rather than garlic salt, substitute flaxseed meal for 1/4 of the almond flour, and add some dried herbs like oregano & basil. (Note, Carl is not a relative, as far as I know 🙂

Here’s my Fathead Pizza Crust Video: Video Link

Sesame Seed Buns

I have never gotten into the idea of the ‘lettuce bun’. I know you can order a burger and many shoppes will serve it between 2 lettuce leaves, just why? (I do like a legit ‘lettuce wrap’, like those at PFChangs).

140g Almond Flour
50g Psyllium Husk powder
1 Tbsp Baking Powder
1/2 tsp Salt

2 tsp Apple Cider Vinegar
240g hot water (1c)
3 egg whites (90g)

2 Tbsp Sesame Seeds

Preheat oven to 350°
Whisk dry ingredients together. Mix in vinegar & egg whites with spatula. Mix in hot water in 3 additions. Use spatula to fold/knead dough until well mixed.
Divide into 8 equal portions and shape as desired (these will rise!) Brush rolls with egg white or melted butter and sprinkle with sesame seeds.
Bake for 50-55 minutes. Cool completely before serving (interior of rolls will finish cooking as they cool).

(see additional bread-ish recipes over in the left sidebar)

Simple Guacamole

I eat fresh guacamole almost daily. As a side dip with some FatHead Chips or on a burger or chicken breast. Here’s how simple it can be (I do sometimes scratch up the ‘salsa’ myself): find a flavorful fresh-made-in-store salsa in the produce section of your market. Mash 1 ripe avocado in a bowl and add 1-2 tablespoons of that fresh salsa. I like to add some pink himalayan salt. Give it a good mix. Dig in. With these chips:

CopyCat Cheeze-its (coming soon)

I’m avoiding a lot of things that are found in store-bought chips & crackers…

Cheese Chips/Crackers

My new favorite snacky is almost too easy. I buy deli-sliced Gouda, cut each of those slices into 2 triangles (chips) or 4 squares (crackers), sprinkle with paprika (or cumin), lay them out on parchment-lined baking trays and put them in a 200° oven for 25 minutes. Then raise them oven to 375° for 10-12 minutes for browning (keep watch!). The original recipe (see video link following) says they’re done, I find they crisp up more if you turn the oven off and leave them in a while. I also, sometimes, like to place a pickled jalapeño slice on each softened cracker before cranking the heat up. Or use pepper jack cheese…

Video link

Bacon

The experts I follow endorse bacon. I like that. I like to pre-cook bacon so it’s ready to use. I prefer Alton Brown‘s method for doing a pound or more at once. If I just need a couple slices I’ll microwave them between a few paper towels on about 50% power until they reach desired doneness destination (lower power lets the rashers ‘render’ rather than toast, imho).

AB’s Oven Bacon Method: Place the strips of bacon onto a sheet pan fitted with a rack and place into a cold oven. Turn the oven to 400º and cook for about 12 to 15 minutes, depending on how crispy you like your bacon. Remove from rack and drain on paper towels. Enjoy.

Cheesecake

Basque Burnt Cheesecake, to be exact. Too easy! No crust, no water bath, no watchful eye. Simply cream up the cream cheese & sweetener, add the eggs 1×1, mix in the liquids, then the dry ingredients. Pour into a baking pan well-lined (2x) with parchment paper. Bake at 400° for 60 minutes. Cool completely. Serve at room temperature. Check the video below to better grasp the simplicity (and pan prep).

My Keto-friendly ingredient list: 2 lb. cream cheese (room temperature); 1 cup monk fruit sweetener; 6 large eggs; 2 cups heavy cream; 1 tsp. kosher salt; 1 tsp. vanilla extract; 1/4 cup almond flour; 2 Tbsp coconut flour

Video Link

The Spinach Milkshake


Drink 4 cups of spinach in 60 seconds, and love it, like Popeye!

Place 16oz of organic spinach + 4 cups water into the blender.
Blend for 60 seconds. Add berry-flavored stevia to taste. Blend.
Transfer to 4 1-pint freezer cups. Freeze until ready to serve.
To serve: thaw 1 pint to slushiness. Pour into shaker bottle. Add 2 Tbsp heavy cream & shake until frothy. Drink down your spinach. >


NOTES:

Macros: I have not included any macronutrient info here. I do recommend you enter the recipes in your tracking app (I use Carb Manager) and the app will calculate the macros as you track your consumption.

* baking powder: I recommend using aluminum-free, gluten-free baking powder. I make my own: equal amounts by weight: baking soda (25g) + cup cream of tartar (25g) + cup tapioca starch/flour (25g)

7 Knowledge is Power

7: Knowledge is Power

Perhaps the number two key to my dedication to this lifestyle change, after the 4 disciplines of execution, is realization of the science of this method weight loss. I’ve never really been a studious person, however having someone explain the science in a way that makes sense to me  encourages me that, if I follow the process, it will work for me. When someone simply tells me what to do,  I am less likely to take action then if they explain to me why it will work. If it makes sense to me, even if I don’t fully understand it and can’t explain it to you, I am more likely to take action.

This is the reason that I appreciate both Thomas DeLauer and Dr. Eric Berg.  Both men give great explanations of the science for the foods and actions they endorse, and the way they present the information brings me a base understanding of what is happening when the body is in ketosis or autophagy, why I need vitamin K2 with D3, the benefits of cruciferous veggies, etc. 

I may not retain the detailed science, yet knowing there is science leads me to take action.

Rather than trying to explain some key concepts in my incomplete understanding, I’ll link to a few videos that demonstrate what I’m talking about. If you want to know more about a specific topic, search YouTube and use either Thomas DeLauer or Dr. Eric Berg along with the topic you want information on. Or click links in sidebar to visit their home pages. Below are a few examples from each teacher.

Dr. Berg on Grass Fed Foods & Keto For Your Brain

Thomas DeLauer on Keto vs Low-carb & Reading Labels

6 Restrictions & Challenges

6: Restrictions & Challenges

Restrictions
One way to deal with restrictions – No Sugar! No Bread! No Pasta! No Soda! No Ice Cream! – is to plan ahead and have substitutes in place. 

The biggest one for me was Coca-Cola – it was my pick-me-up if I was dragging, and just my beverage of habit. I found that water alone didn’t work to replace it. When I started adding a good squeeze of lime juice to the water it became more appealing and helped my avoid the sugary water.

For years I have had myself convinced I couldn’t live without wheat. For goodness sake, probably 75% of my meals were on a bun or sandwich! I began occasionally ordering burgers with no bun, or lettuce wrapped, or simply stripped the bread off. I still use those tactics often, and I have a new secret weapon – FatHead dough! I make pizza crusts (hard to eat pizza without crust) and sandwich/burger buns from this grainless dough. When I know I’m going to grab a burger out on the road, I pack one of my keto-friendly buns and swap it in. It’s a great tasting bun, and for pizza I don’t think there’s a better crust, with or without wheat.

When I want a sweet treat, a mug cake is easy & quick. I also have made ‘fat bombs’ which are easy to make  & give a boost of good fat. Search Fat Bombs on YouTube, there are many dozens of recipes. I do use some natural sugar replacers, like Swerve & Stevia, on a pretty limited basis.

FYI, fruits, even apples, are high in sugars (natural yes, sugar still), and are to be avoided. Some berries in really small amounts are OK – I’ll pop 8-10 blueberries in a mug cake on occasion.

One thing about restrictions & substitutions – for me they typically mean some labor in the form of prep and/or cooking (I’m not one to spend extra $$ for GF/keto products). I enjoy cooking & baking, so it’s fine for me. I can knock out a batch of buns & crusts in about 30 minutes. 

I will soon share some of my favorite recipes & pantry items needed to make these subs happen.

Challenges
My number one challenge has been exercise. It doesn’t interest me. I don’t anticipate enjoying it (though I feel great after). And early on I had some challenges with my lower legs & ankles getting stiff & sore, especially after walking. Through some daily stretching and movement therapy that obstacle has improved greatly.  Still, exercise is the one Lead Measure that I consistently miss on.

Vegetables. I always ate my vegetables – potatoes, sweet potatoes, corn, carrots, tomatoes… wait! Potatoes & sweet potatoes are starch (no-no!) and sweet potatoes, corn, carrots & tomatoes have sugars! Arrgh… Kale? NO THANK YOU! Green, leafy & cruciferous veggies are challenging. Dr. Berg eats like 5 cups of salad at a time. I can’t do that… so far.

I have increased my salad mindset, I’ll order a Caesar salad with grilled chicken, or Chick-fil-A’s Cobb salad with grilled nuggets, no corn, no tomatoes. I’ve also become more fond of cauliflower & broccoli, especially since it’s keto friendly to smother them in cheddar cheese (mac/cheese substitute!). I like grilled brussels sprouts, young asparagus, and sauerkraut, which are keto legal. And  actually, carrots & tomatoes are OK in small doses.

Next installment: Knowledge is Power.

5 A Typical Day on The Plan

5: A Typical Day

Most days I wake up somewhere between 6:00 and 6:30 AM. The first thing I do related to this lifestyle journey is hit the bathroom scale. Once I check my weight, I snap a photo of the reading, record it on my tracking sheet and mark off my scores for the previous day’s Lead Measures.

Next I’ll mix up and drink my ACV cocktail. I believe this elixir truly helps to manage my appetite through the morning. If I have any food prep to do for the day, I’ll usually do it at this time. 

NEWS! Around 930 am I drink 300ml of coffee with 1Tbsp of grass-fed butter, 1 Tbsp of MCT oil and a pinch of salt. I buzz it up with a stick blender and add about 1/2 Tbsp of cinnamon. (I had never drank coffee before last October 2019)

My main meal typically occurs somewhere between noon and 1 PM, occasionally it might be as early as 11 AM, depending on my business schedule for the afternoon. There is some variation in this meal, my most common “break fast” is a two egg omelette with spinach, topped with 6 ounces of sliced beef steak, sautéed bell peppers, chopped jalapenos and colby jack cheese. Honestly, some days lately I only eat about two thirds of this and save the rest for later that day, or the next. I take my supplements with this meal.

Throughout the day I drink water every chance I get. At home I drink filtered water from the tap, usually with a little ice and a squeeze of lime. When I’m on the road, I keep a case of bottled spring water with me, and whenever I finish a bottle I put a new one in my cupholder.

About 4 PM or so, I’ll have my second meal (or a snack), typically consisting of a mixed green salad, usually including my famous Spinach Milkshake and maybe some grilled chicken thighs, or a hamburger patty (70/30 ground beef). If I do a salad, I like Bolthouse Farms Cilantro Avocado yogurt dressing. Occasionally I will treat myself to something sweet, usually a blueberry or spice flavored mug cake, made with almond or coconut flour and a natural sweetener like Stevia.

I don’t really find myself having hunger much, throughout the day. If I do I’ll drink about half a bottle of water and that helps to satiate me. At the end of the day, close to bedtime I’ll often drink a cup of chamomile tea with a tablespoon of ACV, a squeeze of lemon juice and a dash of cinnamon.

As mentioned previously, during the first couple weeks I experienced some afternoon energy crashes. I overcame them with about a 40 minute nap (sometimes in my car). Since then, I seem to have gotten past the energy issues and feel alert and well through the day.

Next up: dealing with restrictions & challenges.

4 Making Sure It Happens

4: Tracking & Accountability

During my earlier (failed) attempt at this lifestyle change, I went back-and-forth between taking my weight daily and weekly, eventually it was rarely!

With my Lead Measures established, I still wanted to track my weight (lag measure), and, most importantly, I had to track those lead measures every day. I created a simple tracking sheet and hung it by my bedroom door. I placed my bathroom scale in an obvious location, where I see it every morning and get on it. I then record my weight on the tracking sheet , and score myself on each lead measure for the day before. Did I meet my calorie limit? did I take my supplements and ACV? did I avoid the problem foods? did I exercise? did I keep my fasting window?

There are two elements to my “scoreboard“. The tracking sheet is one, it’s posted conspicuously by my bedroom door so I remember to record my weight and lead measures daily, which helps keep those key actions at the front of my mind. I also take a snapshot each day of the readout on the bathroom scale, and keep those photos in my phone. From time to time I’ll look at what I weighed that morning, and I can look back and see where I was a week ago or two weeks ago and be encouraged.

 A few times a week I also post those scale photos to the Accountability group on Facebook*. It might be a day that I’ve hit a goal or made progress, or it might be a day that I had a bounce and my weight slid up some. Letting my accountability partners know how I’m doing allows them to encourage me as well.  On Sunday evenings the accountability group gathers on a conference call and shares the week’s challenges and victories, tips that seem to be working well and new ideas that we’ve come across that could help each of us in this lifestyle journey. Sometimes just knowing that others are out there trying to accomplish the same thing, and going through the same struggles, is the best encouragement, just knowing that I’m not alone on this journey.

We’ve now covered the four disciplines of execution I have kept me motivated in this lifestyle change, and the eating plan and patterns that have brought the results. Coming up I’ll share some thoughts on dealing with the restrictions in the eating plan, what a typical day is like in my journey, some of my favorite recipes and foods, as well as some other ideas and tips.

* if we are friends on Facebook, and you’d like to join the accountability group, send me a message and I’ll add you.

3 Keto + IF

3: Keto + IF

Over the past several years, on those occasions when I entertained the possibility of making some lifestyle changes to lose weight and improve my physical condition, I looked at a number of different “eating plans”. Paleo, Atkins, Low-carb, Carnivore, Vegan-Vegetarian, etc. What landed me on the Ketogenic plan, I think, is the understandable teaching of believable authorities such as Dr. Eric Berg, Thomas DeLauer and Dr. Jason Fung, along with a few others, most of whom I found and follow on YouTube.

Keto is a carbohydrate restricted eating plan, with managed levels of healthy fats and quality proteins. The idea is that the body will use stored fat for energy, and then will produce “ketones” to burn, in lieu of the sugars that are taken in on a typical American diet. There is certainly more science involved then I am qualified to try to explain, so I’ll refer you to the experts mentioned earlier for more about that. Avoiding carbohydrate rich foods such as grains, sugars and some dairy products is a big part of ketogenic eating.

During my weight loss phase, my daily “macros” are 1,858 net calories, 116 grams of protein, 145g of fat, and 23g of net carbs. Net carbs are total carbohydrates minus fiber. Using an app like Carb Manager makes tracking these categories pretty simple. Since I’ve reached my initial body weight goal, I’ve actually found myself staying pretty close to the same macros, without hunger pangs or any adverse effects.

Intermittent Fasting (IF) is an eating pattern which supports and enhances the benefits of the ketogenic program. The prolonged periods without consuming any foods encourages the body to enter a mode called autophagy, which clears out damaged cells from the body, enhancing ketogenic processes. 

The eating patterns associated with IF are identified by the lengths of two windows in a 24 hour period, the fasting window and the feeding window. The most common pattern seems to be 16/8 – 16 hours of fasting followed by an eight hour window for eating. IF also can include longer fasting periods of 24 hours or more. At the time I’m writing this I am typically restricting my meals to a 4-6 hour window daily, which gives me between 18 and 20 hours of fasting daily. Early on I did a couple of 24 hour fasts, however lately I have not done a prolonged fast.

According to both Dr. Berg and Mr. DeLauer, it is important when following a program of IF + Keto, to manage your intake of minerals and certain vitamins. Using Dr. Berg’s guidelines, I currently take supplements of vitamins D3 and K2, along with magnesium and potassium, every day. Both of these men are proponents of Apple Cider Vinegar (ACV) and Pink Himalayan Salt. The studied benefits of this special salt, which contains 84 different minerals, include increased energy, pH regulation in the blood and increased nutrient absorption. Some of the purported benefits of Apple Cider Vinegar are lowering of blood sugar levels, lower cholesterol, appetite suppression and belly-fat loss.

Every morning I drink an ACV cocktail created by Thomas DeLauer, and most evenings I will take another tablespoon or two of ACV in a glass of water.

One of the most important pieces of advice that got me started on the intermittent fasting program came from Dr. Berg. He asserts that there is no reason to get out of bed in the morning and go have breakfast. Breakfast does not mean a morning meal, it means the meal you take to break your fast. Dr. Berg suggests that you don’t eat in the morning until you are hungry. I found that, for me, real hunger didn’t begin until close to 11 AM, and as I have managed to my fasting window, I find I don’t need to break my fast until noon or maybe 1 PM most days. I have also benefited from Doctor Berg’s advice to move from three meals to two meals per day, and shortening the window between those two meals to maximize the fasting window. I currently am eating one good meal when I break my fast and then another small meal, or sometimes even just a snack, to close my meal window.

This intentional combination of ketogenic eating with planned fasting, along with the supplements mentioned, have empowered me to drop nearly 10% of my body weight in the first six weeks of my journey. The first couple weeks I experienced some energy issues, some serious energy crashes a couple of afternoons. Since that time I truly feel more energetic and alert throughout every day than I have felt in many, many years.

I am encouraged that I am able to maintain this lifestyle to reach my ultimate physical condition, and that this can be a permanent way of life.

In the next installment, I’ll share about my tracking system and the all important accountability of peers and mentors.

2 The Lead Measures

2: Lead Measures

Lead Measures are the measurable actions that I can affect to accomplish my Wildly Important Goal. So with my WIG set, I needed to identify the things that I have control of that would lead to my desired result – 50+ lbs of weight loss.

Based on information I already had, from trusted sources and authorities, I knew I wanted to follow a ketogenic eating plan coupled with intermittent fasting. This combination, according to the experts, promotes fat burning in place of carbohydrate use for energy. I’ll bring more detail and talk about some of the resources in the next installment of this series. Additionally, I have decided to avoid gluten as much as possible, based on its reputation for causing inflammation throughout the body.

With these parameters in place, I identified the following Lead Measures to monitor daily, along with my lag measure – the change in my body weight.

Caloric Intake: less than 1858 calories per day, established using the Carb Manager tracking app.
Exercise: at least 5000 steps daily, strength training 3x weekly
Supplements: taken daily to maintain important mineral and vitamin levels
Apple Cider Vinegar: 1-2x daily, many benefits including appetite suppression, without affecting the fasting window
Fasting: meeting daily minimum of 16 hours fasting, preferred window 18-20 hours
Avoiding Problem Foods: Grains, Dairy, Sugar

These six Lead Measures are keys to successfully achieving the fat burning objective of my plan. One other measure which I did not track, is H2O intake. I have developed a good habit of drinking plenty of water, however I do have my days where I slack off, and it certainly wouldn’t hurt to include that in the tracking.

In a later article, I will share more about my daily monitoring (Scoreboard), and the Accountability elements that have been a great help.

1 Discipline for Execution

1: Discipline for Execution

Last fall (2018) I set out to get my body weight to a healthy, maintainable number. I was at 262 lbs, and at 5’-10”, the experts say I should be in the 175-185 lb range. Wow. But… I knew that, really.

So, I started out using meal replacements, and cutting down on breads and pasta, and sodas mostly somewhat kinda sorta went away… and I lost 20 lbs! Then things happened (holiday meals & events are my scapegoats here), and I got off track. Way. Off. Track. Ten pounds back, and I just wasn’t serious about it, wasn’t making any more progress, because I was not committed.

On June 4, 2019, my friend Jay told me about a book he was reading – mainly a business book, not a health book, called The 4 Disciplines of Execution. Jay had used the principles from the book to focus and execute on some vocational and personal changes. As he described the book, I realized I had a copy on my shelf, and may have never cracked it open. The disciplines in the book have truly been the catalyst for my weight loss and life improvement journey. 

Briefly, the four disciplines are: setting Wildly Important Goals (WIG); Identifying ‘Lead Measures’ (measurable actions that can be affected to accomplish the goal); Keeping Score (tracking the Lead Measures and WIG progress, in plain sight); and, Accountability – someone to encourage and help in the journey. 

So, I set my Wildly Important Goal for my health – to be under 200 lbs by Thanksgiving 2019. Then I broke the WIG down into some interim targets – I feel that this has been a key, shooting at a smaller goal on a shorter timeline, making progress feel real. So target 1 is under 230 lbs by August 5 2019*. That’s an eight week window from my June 17 start, and 22 lbs loss from my start of 252. * target attained 18 days early!!

Next I determined the Lead Measures I needed to track to make sure I was doing what is required to hit the goal. In the past I had tracked ‘Lag Measures’ – monitoring the goal, rather than the actions needed to reach it. For target 1, the Lag is 22 lbs weight loss, which is tracked on the Scoreboard, however, the Lead Measures I track are: Calorie Intake; Exercise; Avoiding Problem Foods, Taking Supplements & ACV drink Daily, Keep Fasting Window. I’ll go into detail in some of this in future installments of this story. 

My Scoreboard is posted by my bedroom door. It’s a simple grid where I record my weight each morning and confirm my Lead Measures for the previous day – a check or X in the block for each. I also keep a spreadsheet, where I have created a daily check of my week over week progress as well, and photos of my scale readout. 

For Accountability, I am thankful for my good friend Mike, who organized a Facebook group, and a weekly conference call, for a group of us who are on this journey together. These compatriots have been a big encouragement, even in the times that I was not properly engaged in this process. During that time, seeing others progress in the lifestyle journey, even when I wasn’t really making a good effort, kept me in the hunt. 

So, in summary, while there are important changes that have been made, utilizing these 4 Disciplines of Execution have really been the key to my success so far.

In the next installment, I’ll outline the 6 Lead Measures I’m tracking, and how these components seem to affect the positive changes I’ve seen.