Well, hey there! I know it’s rare for me to be here on Saturday, but that might change from here on out. When Matt saw how much positive feedback I got on the last “personal stuff” post, he suggested that I continue to do those, but keep them to Saturday. That way y’all don’t feel like you’ve been robbed of a DIY post if a personal post shows up during the week, and you’ll just know that if a post shows up on Saturday, it’s going to be a non-DIY post. Sound good? 🙂
Anyway, to the first topic of the day….
We have a new furry family member!
I think she’s about 18 months old, and she’s been living at my sister’s house. But that just wasn’t working out because this cat refused to get along with my sister’s other two cats, so she needed a new home.
We decided to take her on a trial basis, and as I’m sure we could have predicted, we fell in love with her the first day. She’s spunky and hyper, but also loves to cuddle and get her head and belly rubbed.
Her name was Karma, which I absolutely hated, so we were determined to find a better name for her. I said to Matt, “We could name her Chameleon! Get it? Karma Chameleon? And we’d call her Cammie!” I thought I was so clever. 😀 But after about two hours of trying out that name, I wasn’t sold on it.
So Matt suggested Smoke. I didn’t like it. I suggested Smoky. He didn’t like that. Then somehow he came up with the name Felicity, and I said, “Felicity Smoke! That’s it!” So her name is Felicity Smoke, after the DC Comics character Felicity Smoak, but with a twist (because, you know, she’s gray, like smoke).
It’s a mouthful, and so her nickname is Fe (i.e., Fi) or Fefe. But so far, I’ve been calling her by her whole name, Felicity Smoke. I don’t care that it’s a mouthful. It makes me laugh. 😀
Her first day here (Thursday) was not pleasant. She would hiss and growl every time she saw Peeve, and she spent most of the day hiding under the chair. I tried to introduce her to Cooper, too, but Cooper is just so big and scary (and careless, and he doesn’t realize how big he is), so he had to spend most of the day in the bedroom. Yesterday was better. Cooper calmed down a bit (although I still kept them separated most of the day), and Felicity Smoke didn’t growl and hiss as Peeve nearly as much. And Peeve is so curious about her that she followed her around all day long, keeping a comfortable distance, but always keeping her within sight. And this morning, they’ve actually been playing together in very short spurts! I’m so relieved!
I didn’t need them to be friends. Peeve and Powder (our flame-point Siamese who died four years ago) were never friends, and yet they lived together for 11 years and peacefully co-existed in the same house, so I was hoping that Felicity Smoke and Peeve could at least do that. But it looks like they might actually end up being friends!
Now let’s talk about keto for a minute.
How do I get started on the ketogenic diet?
That was the main question several of you had after I shared my progress on the ketogenic diet in the last personal post. I agree, it can be overwhelming in the beginning. There’s soooo much information out there, and it’s hard to know where to start. So for those of you wanting to give the ketogenic diet a try, I’ll give you some very basic pointers on where to start, and where to go from there.
But let me back up even further and give you a basic overview. The general idea behind the ketogenic diet is that fat is a better, cleaner fuel for your body than glucose. And in order to convert your body into a fat-fueled machine, you have to cut out all sugar, flour, and almost every other carbohydrate from your diet. That includes almost every fruit.
I know you’re thinking, “What? Cut out desserts? Cut out bread? There’s no way I could do that!”
Yes, you can. I can assure you that if I can do it, anyone can. I was the biggest carb/sugar addict ever. I simply could not get enough sugar throughout the day, to the point that I made myself borderline diabetic. But I didn’t care, because the pull of sugar was much stronger than my desire to live without it.
But here’s the thing I’ve learned about carb addicts. We’re addicts because we’re not getting the nutrition our bodies need, and therefore, we’re always wanting more. And when that doesn’t satisfy, we want more. And the process continues, on and on and on and on. But when you give your body actual nutrition and healthy fats, those cravings go away.
But here’s the interesting thing. I didn’t have to give up my desserts. I still have a dessert with my (one) meal every single day. But it’s very small, loaded with good fats, contains no sugar, and is super filling. Once I have that, I’m done, and I no longer crave more and more and more.
So here’s how I suggest getting started…
1. Begin immediately by cutting out all sugar, flour and fruit from your diet.
This will at least get you started in the right direction as you give yourself a chance to learn more about keto. Later on, you will be able to add some very specific fruits back into your diet, but for now, just get rid of all of them until you have a better understanding of how keto works.
2. Now that you’ve done the very basics, you need to understand “macros” — the ratio of carbohydrates, fats and protein you should eating.
I mentioned this in my last post, but this is crucial. THE KETOGENIC DIET IS NOT THE ATKINS DIET. A ketogenic diet stresses balance in your diet. At no time should you sit down with a plate full of bacon or a 20-ounce steak and call it a meal. I mean, you can call it a meal, but it’s not ketogenic.
A ketogenic meal looks more like this: four ounces of chicken with a creamy cheese sauce served over a bed of cauliflower “rice”, a large side salad filled with leafy greens, cruciferous veggies, cucumbers, a small amount of diced tomatoes, sunflower seeds, and dressing (my preference is buttermilk ranch made at home), and then a small dessert of a keto chocolate chip cookie or a chocolate chip cookie dough fat bomb.
If you look at a plate filled with a keto meal, the actual portion of meat/protein is tiny compared to the amount of veggies you should be eating. The overwhelming majority of any meal should be vegetables.
On a ketogenic diet, you want your ratio of calories to be 75% fat, 20% protein and 5% carbohydrates. You’ll often hear keto people referring to these as your “macros.” “Watch your macros,” they’ll say. That simply means to be aware of your ratio of fat, protein and carbs.
The good thing is that you don’t need to count the carbs in any of your leafy green or cruciferous veggies (at least according to the keto expert I follow, but more about that in a second). Those are “free” carbs, so fill up! The more, the better, in fact.
But understand that the quality of food is key also. I know people are on different budgets, so just do what you can. But ideally, you want to be eating non-GMO, organic veggies; grass-fed, free-range meat and eggs, etc. And as far as fats go, you want to immediately cut out any of the highly processed, mass produced oils and fats, like “vegetable” oil, canola oil, margarine, etc. Stick with the natural stuff and minimally processed fats, like Kerrygold butter, olive oil, and the naturally-occurring fats in your grass-fed meats. (There’s no need to buy lean meats if you’re eating grass-fed!)
3. Use an app to help you keep track of your macros.
There are all kinds of apps available to help you keep track of your macros on a daily basis. The one I use is called Carb Manager. There’s a free version and an upgraded version. I have the upgraded version, but my other family members use the free version and they seem perfectly pleased with it. So you can start with that and then determine later if you want to upgrade.
The great thing about Carb Manager is that you can add your own recipes and save them so that from then on, you just click that you ate one serving of chicken casserole, and it already knows what’s in it.
There’s definitely a learning curve to it, and the first day I had the app, I got so frustrated that I wanted to slam my phone on the floor. 😀 But I finally got the hang of it, and now I love it.
It’s also just very handy to use as a keto cookbook where I store all of my favorite recipes. That way, I don’t have to look them up online every time I want to make them. They’re just stored right there in the app on my phone.
4. Find one keto expert you like and trust, and stick with him or her.
I think one reason there is so much confusion is because of the sheer amount of information out there on this diet, plus the number of keto gurus who all have slightly different opinions and ways of going about this diet (although on the main issues, they all agree).
So I think it’s really important to find one who you like and trust, and stick with him or her. At least in the beginning, try to block out all of the other voices, and just follow your one selected teacher.
The way that I approached (and continue to approach) things was to start off with the basics — learning about macros and getting my ratios in order and cutting out the bad carbs. Then I came across his videos on intermittent fasting and eating one meal a day, so Matt and I worked towards that. Then I started noticing that I was waking up with muscle cramps in my calves, plus I had a weird muscle thing going on in my right forearm, so I googled “Dr. Eric Berg muscle cramps” and watched his video on that topic to see what he suggests, and I made changes based on what he says causes muscle cramps. It worked, by the way.
So it’s a daily learning process. After making the initial major change (cutting out carbs and getting my macros in order), the rest has just been things that I tweak as certain issues come along. Do I find myself getting constipated? (Yep, it happens!) Then I google “Dr. Eric Berg keto constipation” and see what he says about that. Do I find that for the last three days, I’ve been getting hungry right before I go to bed? Then I google “Dr. Eric Berg hungry at night” and see what he recommends.
Again, once I did the main things, the rest is just a daily tweaking of the diet to resolve any issue that comes up.
But I do stick with one person. Dr. Berg is my guy, and I like him because (1) the amazing results that people have by following his plan of keto with intermittent fasting and one meal a day, and (2) the sheer volume of information that he has readily available to answer every single question I could possibly have. But there are many keto experts out there, and you may find another one who better suits you.
Anyway, I hope that give you an idea of where to start! If you have other questions, just let me know. If I don’t know the answer, I’m sure I could point you to a Dr. Berg video that can help you out. 😀
What I’m listening to…
Oh my gosh, y’all. My current podcast obsession has completely and totally freaked me out. I mean, I already have a near-total disdain for western (specifically American) medicine that promotes the idea that every health issue we have is caused from a pharmaceutical deficiency. And as a result, I have a very low tolerance for most people in white coats who call themselves doctors, most of whom promote the above idea while having almost zero understanding of how nutrition affects the body (but I could drone on and on about that for hours…maybe another time 😀 )…
So imagine a podcast about a neurosurgeon who clearly should have never even graduated from medical school, much less performed actual surgeries on actual spines and brains of actual human beings, who destroyed the lives of his patients (some of them, seemingly on purpose), while the system failed time and time again to stop him.
There is such a podcast, and its called Dr. Death. And it will freak you out. It did me. And yet, I can’t stop listening. It’s a six-episode series, and there are five episodes available now. The last one will be out this week.
Just be prepared to be angry. And frustrated. And infuriated. And totally freaked out.