The Personal Stuff: A New Furry Family Member, More Keto Info, and What I’m Listening To

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 majority of any meal (by volume) should be vegetables.

On a ketogenic diet, you want your ratio of calories to be somewhere around 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.

For me, that person is Dr. Eric Berg. He has a Facebook page, a website, and a YouTube channel with over 2000 videos on the topic. And no, I have not watched all of those videos. 🙂

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. 😀

And now…

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.



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  1. Welcome to the blog Felicity Smoke!!😍So happy that you are finding success on Keto. I am too and really like Dr. Berg’s teachings. I was actually just googling last night “ Dr. Berg probiotics” haha Keto has given me hope again and control over my food cravings. I have been a sugar addict all my life but no more. 😃🎉 I don’t think I have the courage however to listen Dr Death I’m a scaredy cat 😬😄 enjoy your weekend!

  2. I absolutely love your beautiful new kitty. I am sure she will warm up to Cooper in no time.
    I really like the idea of your personal posts, how fun it is for us readers to hear about what’s going on in your world. Thank you for sharing with us.

  3. Love your new family member! She looks a lot like my daughters’ kitty, who she is constantly trying to get me to take home! But hubs says NO, so I will not fight that battle again. I hope she continues to warm up to the king and queen of the house, and not try to boss them around. They will need to put her in her place gently.
    I don’t follow any “type” of diet at my age, I’ve seen most of them at this point. I just try to be mindful of what I am taking in, and keep in mind the benefits/downfalls when choosing what to eat. I do find that I feel better when I have less carbs, but cannot leave them out totally. More veggies and less meats these days!
    Funny you mentioned doctors today. I awoke in the middle of the night last night, and for some reason started pondering my M.D. and his lack of interest in me lately. It makes me wonder if there are any doctors anymore who take time with a patient to get to know them, as well as wondering how much they really know?

  4. Note to “the Hubs”: I was delighted when Kristi announced you would be protecting her from hurtful comments—thank you! Will keto help your MS? I’ve been on keto since the first of June, and am still learning, but had an almost immediate loss of inflammation. I never understood all the ways sugar is bad for us. My best to you both.

    1. Hey Brenda!
      I too started Keto, but not until Sept 24, but I TOTALLY AGREE that the reduction in inflammation is such a welcome additional benefit!!! How about you Kristi? Is that something you’ve experienced as well? And btw, 29 lbs in 2 1/2 months is fantastic!!! If only! I HAVE lost weight, but only about 7-8 lbs, but I’m actually pretty happy about that because if I had decided to go on a low fat diet, I’m pretty sure my weight loss would be around 2 lbs. AND I only have 20-25 total to loose, so 1-2 lbs/week for me is pretty good.

  5. Thank you for telling us about Dr. Berg. As soon as I read your previous post that mentioned him, I googled him. Both my hubby and I started the Keto way of eating. I ordered some of his supplements, and we’re both taking them. My sugar cravings went away the first day! My goal is to lose weight. Hubby is Type II diabetic. His goal is to go off insulin. Thank you so much for setting us on the right path to healthy eating!

  6. Love your personal posts – your humor really comes out! Question about the Keto diet – did you have difficult withdrawal symptoms when you started? I, too, am a sugar and carb addict, and wonder what to expect when cutting those from your diet (at first). I know it gets better and eventually you feel great, but does that take long? And welcome Felicity Smoke!

    1. Hi Kim. I’m in South Africa and had the following experiences when I first started. The first 3 days are the worst, after that you are okay with the sugar and carbs. BUT……if you have IBS be aware that you get thè worst diaree. I ended up in hospital for 5 days. After that you get constipated due to no fibre as with IBS you cannot eat cabbage, kale etc that is high in fibre.

    2. For me, it took about three days. I wanted to eat carbs, and also felt tired and run down. Some people get what’s called “keto flu” which is much worse than what I felt, thank goodness. Around day 4, I started feeling much better, with increased energy, and I no longer had the cravings for sugar or other carbs.

  7. My PCP of over 30 years retired and I was forced to find a new one. Best unplanned step I ever took. My old PCP, although nice did me and my health few if any favors. My new PCP has opened my eyes. I’ll never just assume regarding my Dr. Patient relationship anymore. Do your own research and ask questions. I’m now a staunch believer in Keto. My best friend for a long life.

  8. Loving Matt’s increased involvement with the blog (at least to us from the outside). Maybe a future post or two from Matt??

      1. Go for It Matt! I’m sure It will be really interesting. And congratulations on the new family member. Felicity Smoke is so cute!!!😍😍😍

  9. sweet cat – looking forward to her photo bombing your DIY posts as Peeve does 🙂 I love the idea of Kristi posts on Saturdays!!

  10. I love your new cat. I think you can call it a win with both cats engaging in play so soon. Whenever I introduced a new cat, I would never scold the existing cat(s) if they delivered a few paw bats at the newbie. As long as it wasn’t a full on grab, growl, back leg thrust thing, I let them sort it out.

    Felicity Smoke (love that name!) will take her cues from Peeve as it relates to the dog. It sounds like you’ll have happy pet family in no time.

    I had a cat that I called Bugs Bunny because he had these powerful back legs that allowed him to jump at incredible heights. And even though I named him Bugsy, I always called him Mister Bugs Bunny. So I love the full name of Felicity Smoke.

    Thanks for sharing about your experience with the ketogenic diet. I always thought it was a reinvention of the Atkins diet which I always thought was unhealthy. I think I’ll look into this diet myself.

  11. I love Felicity Smoke. I hope she and Peeve become friends. I’ve been wanting to ask you to remind me of the name of the mat you ordered to go outside your litter box. I hope you and Matt continue to do well on your diet! Good Luck.

  12. I totally agree with your comment about MD’s often thinking that any ailment is caused by a lack of pharmaceuticals! I am a retired RN and you are certainly correct in your assumption!

    I had a question but unrelated to your current post 🙂 Where did you get those gorgeous double doors that have the black design on them? I can’t stop drooling over them!

  13. Happy to hear that your keto diet is working for you, although I personally believe that any system that involves detailed thinking and planning your eating along with no standard American processed crapfood (my word) will help anyone. I agree with your distrust of western medicine since as someone who practiced as a nurse practititioner for over 30 years I learned early that much of what is recommended has never been adequately researched and many doctors think that what is new is the best thing ever, but it is what the Big Pharma rep tells them. And welcome to Felicity Smoke! Love a dilute calico to pieces! If she’s as smart as her namesake she will figure out that she has struck gold moving in with you and just be happy.

  14. I so enjoy all of your blogs…as a side note have you ever considered trying f CBD oil? It seems to help different issues for different people but I am sleeping like a ROCK! Keep blogging!

  15. I have never commented much on your DIY, but have followed you for years (I love and admire you). Congratulations on the new member of your family and the occasional Saturday posts.

    Like you, I started with Dr. Eric Berg then came across Dr. John Bergman to explain how the body actually works – he studied Human Anatomy, and Physiology. Dr. Bergman is a one of a kind chiropractor, holistic doctor and a brilliant researcher who has dedicated his life to teaching and helping people with various, serious health conditions. They are my go to pod casts for everything and both are proponents to the clean fuel of keto.

    I love the ketogenic lifestyle and it has been my way of eating since my PCP said “at your age, I think you should be on a Staten drug, it may save your life” (I didn’t have a cholesterol problem or a blood pressure issue and I was not on any prescription medications). Needless to say, most medical doctors are not very popular in my book either.

    Again, congratulations on all the new additions in your life and I wish you and Matt the best in everything you pursue!!!

  16. Congrats on keeping with your diet! Just want to give you the heads up if you don’t already know. There’s a blog called Wholesome Yum. She’s Keto, low carb healthy cooking. There are a few hundred recipes on her blog and she’s tried every one of them. I use her recipes a lot. Check it out when you get a chance. Even has wonderful desserts, of which I have tried many and they’re all good! Easy recipes, also.

    Love your new furbaby!

  17. I don’t share your dim view of U.S. medical care, but I can appreciate the value of good nutrition and exercise. I’m glad that you’ve found something that’s working for the two of you.

  18. Congratulations! A new family member is always a bit of an adjustment, but so worth it. Fi is such a beautiful Diluted Calico.

    Here’s a little known hint you might want to try in the future. When introducing cat’s to each other put a dab of vanilla flavoring on their noses first. I put a tiny dab on our cat, Jeeves’ nose before going to pick up his new sibling, Hastings. On the way home with Hasting’s I put a small dab on his nose. When introductions were made they smelled like they were from the same pack. It makes introducing two cats much easier.

    Wishing you, Matt and the gang all the best!

    1. Ooh, I am going to remember that vanilla trick for when we get a couple more cats. We recently moved to more of the country and the property came with an amazing hunter cat but he’s getting a little old and the critters are multiplying faster, while our other cat doesn’t catch much.

  19. Felicity Smoke is adorable! Glad they are starting to make friends. My son’s kitty is extremely skittish but she & my golden lab mix made friends & slept & played together. Kitty Kuru McKitster would only drink from Riley’s water bowl. No idea why. Riley died last November but Kitty still only drinks from her bowl in his spot.

    I look forward to your life posts.

  20. Marvelous! Love your kitty. Ive heard that keto is not a long term thing, but don’t know for sure. I do have friends that have done it and loved it but I guess you have to be careful. I agree on not having much use for allopathic medicine and drs in general. They have their place but I avoid them as much as possible 😀 so happy for you and Matt and your growing “family”!!

  21. I am glad your diet is going so, Do you have a picture the before you started the diet and a picture of the slimmer you. I love to see real pictures of people that do great with a new eating life style. As I have struggled with trying to find a balance with sweets and finding I need to eliminate all of them. I love your addition to your family. We had a cat abandoned from renters that moved out down the street and my son thought it was a boy so he named it Felix when he took it to the vet he found out it was a girl.

  22. What a fun idea to have Matt post his side of the story! You are such a wonderful writer, Kristi, and I find myself drawn in and reading every word. I love the energy and inspiration you pass along to your readers. One never knows what nugget of information one will find. Your home is coming along beautifully thanks to the amazing vision you have. Thank you for sharing with us!

  23. Felicity Smoke looks like a charmer!
    In case you want to hear from a western medicine doctor, I recommend a radio podcast called “White Coat, Black Art.” It is from CBC Radio 1 – easy to find with a search. The doctor is Brian Goldman; he recognizes that western medicine has problems.

  24. LOVE the idea of Matt’s side of the story. When you were taking your bathroom down to the studs I kept wondering if it was bothering Matt. I pictured you putting towels under the doors so he wouldn’t have to breathe the dust.
    And when you finished the carport I was so excited for Matt to be able to go outdoors and sit under that huge tree with you. Love you both..

  25. I appreciate the info on the Keto diet, I always thought it was just the new, trendy Atkins diet. I used to have coworkers that would do the Atkins diet. They’d go to burger king, get a triple whopper with bacon but without bread, tomatoes, and condiments, and that was their lunch. They lost weight, but I just know their organs were crying for help! I couldn’t imagine anyone endorsing eating like that.

    Does Keto completely eliminate root veggies like carrots and potatoes? I could see how people could easily overdo it on potatoes, I’ve personally never met a potato I didn’t like. Just in case there’s a little wiggle room, here’s a tidbit: cutting sweet potatoes into 1/2-inch slabs and roasting them makes a great “bun” for a burger! 🙂

    1. No root vegetables like carrots and potatoes. You need to keep your carbs down to 20 grams or less a day. We do put a tiny bit of carrot in salads, but not much at all. Potatoes are a big no-no due to all the carbs. Believe it or not, you won’t miss them though you think you will. Most cravings are psychological and will actually pass within a few minutes if you ignore them. I am a huge lover of bread, but I haven’t missed it. You can eat cheese and bacon and cream (no carbs) in your coffee which are usually forbidden on other diets so there are some bonuses to this.

  26. Aww, new kitty! Welcome Felicity Smoke. Sounds like Cooper and Peeve will get along with her, just takes time for them to all work out their hierarchy.

    My hubby and I started keto about a month ago after seeing the results my godson got on it. I thought I would miss all the pastas and rice, but not at all. The fats really do satisfy you so you don’t want the sugars and carbs. Since I love leafy green veggies and am not a big fruit lover, this diet makes me happy. I’m like the kale queen.

    Already lost 10 lbs and have still been eating 2-3 meals a day. You do feel so much better on it. Since it took me 10 years to put on all the weight I want to lose, I’m giving myself 6 months to a year to take it all off. I just posted a list of approved foods and foods to avoid on my fridge and cook based on what ingredients are good. We switched to Kerry Gold months ago after visiting Ireland and experiencing how much better their butter is. You do find yourself reading more ingredient labels on foods in the market and paying more attention to what you buy. But it seems to be a good lifestyle choice for us.

    Glad to hear it’s working well for you too.

  27. Hopefully FSL won’t have a taste for faux plants like Peeve does!

    Can we see some pics of Y’ALL in your home? We want to see the fabulous people behind all the magic!

  28. Love, love, love hearing about your family and personal life. I truly hope you continue. I wish Matt would write as well. I have followed you for a few years now and I feel like you guys ARE family to me. I am thrilled about Felicity Smoke joining your family. I already love Peeve and Cooper! Thank you so much for inspiring this old girl to try things I never would have dreamed. You are such an inspiration. I live in Arlington (so close). I think you should just let me come spend a week following and learning from you. JK! Lol! I know you would just love that.

  29. Love the new kitty and the new (to me) information on Keto. I had some vague impressions of it but was never inspired to look into it. I’m so glad it is working for you, Kristi! You sound so much happier with your results than with a previous attempt. I, too, would love to hear more from Matt. He sounds like a great guy! Wise and funny and encouraging! Come on, Matt! You don’t have to blog every day, just chime in every so often with your perspective on a certain project.