The Mediterranean Low-Carb ‘Diet.’

Among the many low-carb/keto books in my book hoard is ‘Conquer Diabetes & Prediabetes: The Low-Carb Mediterranean Diet’ by Steve Parker, MD.


The book seems to be self-published, and Parker is not, so far as I know, a well-known name in the low-carb community, so I would not recommend this book as your first or only book on low-carb/keto.


What I think it is good for is this: if you have been doing low-carb for a while and want to try something that’s still low-carb but feels different, or if you’ve been doing Atkins and your ignorant family and friends are nagging you to quit because they think Atkins will kill you, this may be something to try. Imagine telling those pushy family members ‘I’m on the Mediterranean diet’ and watching their objections go away.


Parker’s diet (he calls it a diet, sadly) has two phases. One he calls the Ketogenic Mediterranean Diet, which is similar to Atkins Induction— it is more strictly low-carb and can put your body into the healthy state of ketosis.


The other phase is less strict, and is called Low-Carb Mediterranean Diet. Like the Atkins levels, this phase adds a bit more carbs, and so may cause increases in blood sugar, and slowing or stopping of desired weight loss. 40-100 grams of carbs are allowed — though many of us can’t do such levels and still control our blood sugars.¬†


Some of the recommendations may not be too palatable to some of us. Using olive oil to cook eggs, in my own experience, results in eggs with an off taste I do not enjoy. I would rather cook eggs in coconut oil or butter, and have eggs with a better taste. I have to eat low-carb long-term, and so I prefer avoiding olive oil when that ruins the taste of a meal. (I use it when cooking my kebabs and my bun-free burgers, though, and couldn’t taste the difference.)


Both phases of the diet allow the use of 6-12 oz of wine daily. I was never a drinker, but a small amount of wine with my low-carb, ketogenic meal has a good bit of appeal to me. (Needless to say, problem drinkers should not try this.)


Some of the carbs Parker suggests adding back in the Low-Carb phase seem a bit impractical for some people. He recommends eating 1/3 of a medium apple or 1/3 of a banana. Which means there is 2/3s of that apple or banana still around, and if you like those fruits you might be tempted to eat the rest. Particularly since a cut-open apple or banana does not improve when you set it aside for the next day’s serving.


It also suggests 1/2 a slice of ordinary whole wheat bread or Ezekial 4:9¬†bread. This leaves another 1/2 slice lying around, plus you have a whole loaf of bread around somewhere. I find that when I resolve to eat only 1/2 a slice of bread, I eat the whole slice or perhaps two, and then my carb-cravings are triggered and I’m likely to eat a few more slices later on. Which is why I prefer to stick with low-carb bread (Aunt Millie’s Carb Smart, 1 net carb per slice) and to eat it only at the last meal of the day.


Parker also allows 3 Tablespoons (1/4 cup) of cooked brown rice. I own a rice cooker, and it just does not work to cook up such a small amount— so you will have a larger batch of cooked rice on hand. Will you be able to resist eating more? I can’t. And after triggering my carb cravings with the rice I’ll have plenty of cooked rice on hand to have a carb binge on. NOT a sustainable low-carb/keto practice.


Right now I’m pushing my low-carb/keto routine in the direction of the Ketogenic Mediterranean Diet. If I go on to the higher carb levels of the second phase, it will probably be only one extra serving of the less problematic carbs, done on one or two days a week, and only on days when my morning blood sugar has been good.


My problem is that for the past few months I have had difficulty getting my desired low-carb food supplies due to vehicle problems. My friends, none low-carbers, offer to go buy me groceries, but none are willing to pick me up and drive me to the store. I had one dear friend bring me a load of things that included 5 or 6 loaves of ordinary white bread, loads of pasta, but very little of what I should be eating. And, with limited food in the house, I ate it.


Which brought my carb cravings roaring back, and when I could get to stores I found myself getting ‘treats’— and then lacking the energy to make myself proper low-carb meals, which lead to more ‘treats,’ and as a result my weight has gone up quite a bit.
SO— I need to get back on my keto/low-carbing life, and I’m using the Ketogenic Mediterranean eating plan to do it. Since it’s hard for me to get the salad veggies I need in my rural area, I’ve cleaned up my Victorio sprouter and started my sprouting seeds so I can have daily sprouted salads. I’m consulting Parker’s book for some fresh ideas on what to eat— I’ve already tried his Easy Tuna plus Pecans yesterday, replacing the nasty-and-sugared Miracle Whip with real mayonnaise (would have used avocado oil mayonnaise but can’t get it.)

Strategies for Single or Lone Ketonians

Low-carb and live alone? Or are you the only one living Atkins in your house? It’s hard to do elaborate cooking multiple times every single day. Sometimes we don’t feel like it. We need to find strategies to let us eat without fuss.

The first strategy I use is bulletproof coffee. I add a good fat— butter or coconut oil— and sometimes heavy whipping cream or coconut milk (from cans.) The fat makes you feel full and helps with weight loss (think of the Kekwick and Pawan study.) If you don’t like coffee, you can bulletproof up some tea or bone broth— or plain broth from cans.

Frozen beef patties are good to keep on hand. Check labels when you buy already frozen beef patties. Cheap ones may be Soy-and-beef patties and contain carbs. I usually cook up two patties, with whatever allowed toppings and seasonings I’m in the mood for. No buns, of course. I fry them up either in a frying pan or my George Foreman contact grill.

Atkins drinks are a processed food, and the Atkins corporation is free to change the formula at any time. But when I had a health crisis, and my pipes froze and needed replacement, I ended up in an anti-Catholic homeless shelter which fed a mostly-carb diet. I managed to walk with my walker to a nearby CVS and buy some Atkins drinks so I didn’t have to get hungry enough to eat crappy carbage.

Eggs. You can get cheap eggs at a grocery store, or keep chickens/ducks and get eggs that way. Hard-boiled eggs are easy to fix, especially if you have a Cuisinart egg cooker like I do— it makes hard-boiled or soft boiled eggs or poached eggs. You can eat hard-boiled eggs sprinkled with salt, Vege-Sal or spices, or make them into devilled eggs.

Cheese. You can have many kinds of cheese on our eating plan. Check the carb count. Add to foods, or use as dessert or snack.

Low-carb bread. My rural grocery in Stephenson MI now carries some low-carb bread. Small loaves, and $5, but easier than making it myself when I’m not feeling like running the bread machine. You can put on nut butter, cheese slices, scliced meat and whatever you like that’s on our eating plan.

I’m sure that once you’ve been doing our eating plan for a while, you will find some more easy foods that you like. Also, if you have a favorite low-carb recipe and make it often, it will seem easy to make even if objectively it’s a bit complex.

Do you have a low-carb easy food solution? Share it with us!

You Really Do Have To Eat Low-Carb

One of the constant temptations of the low-carbohydrate, ketogenic way of life is deciding that there is some sort of gimmick out there that will let you eat ‘normal’ high carb junk food and still have the health benefits of low-carb and ketosis.

If you don’t come up with this bad idea on your own, merchants are willing to sell it to you. I’ve seen an ad for powdered MCT oil which claims that if you buy and use their product, you can continue to eat high-carb bread, pasta and fruit and magically somehow still have the same benefits as if you had eaten a healthy low-carb diet.

This is the sad and sorry truth. You cannot outrun a bad diet. You cannot buy a product that will magically undo the effects of a bad diet. You will have to eat healthy for your whole life if you want health benefits for your whole life.

On the bright side, knowing the science about the low-carbohydrate way of life means you don’t have to be trapped in the miserable ‘Hunger Games’ of the unscientific calorie-counting method which fails 90% of the time. We can eat actual tasty food— three meals a day if we like— and not have to suffer through hunger pangs.

But we have to limit our carbs. That means there are foods we just may not eat any more. Maybe because we’d have to eat such a tiny portion of them it’s not worth bothering to do it. Or because it will just cause more carb cravings than you want to deal with. Or you were only eating those nasty bananas because someone told you they were healthy, and it’s and actual relief not to have to eat them any more.

When you have beaten any carb addictions you have, you may decide you like the way you feel on low-carb a lot better than you like the momentary pleasure of having a high-carb food in your mouth. But you have to break those addictions first, by following your low-carb plan until it is your way of life.

NOTE: to learn about the low-carb keto way of life, don’t rely on strangers on the internet who may not have good knowledge. Get a good book, by an author whose name is well known in the low-carb keto community. Since a lot of the current crop of keto influencers started off doing Atkins, and Atkins is ketogenic and low-carb, ‘Dr. Atkins Diet Revolution’ is the book I recommend that you start with. Read it all the way through. Read the chapter with the instructions on how to do the actual diet every day for at least two weeks. Get the rules into your head.

Recipe: Low-Carb Caraway Rye or Whole Einkorn Bread (Bread Machine)

When I still ate carbs, I was a bread lover. I have TWO bread machines even today. I beat the high cost of commercial low-carb or keto bread by making my own.

I found the base recipe in Dana Carpender’s 2002 book, 500 Low-Carb Recipes. There are a lot of bread machine recipes, and my favorite is the Rye Bread recipe on page 128.

It calls for a bread machine that makes a 1 pound loaf. My second bread machine only makes 1 1/2 pound or two pound loaves. So I have adapted the recipe to larger loaves. I cut the loaves with my good bread knife when cool, and pack most into 1/2 loaf packages in the freezer.

Caraway rye uses whole rye flour, and tastes like regular rye bread. Einkorn is a more primitive and less addictive form of wheat, available in whole grain or white varieties– we use whole grain here.

All of the bread machine recipes in Carpender’s book call for vital wheat gluten. As you can guess from the name, it is not gluten free and has wheat in it. This ingredient is essential to getting your bread to rise. I buy ‘Anthony’s’ brand. Vital wheat gluten is sometimes sold under other names, like wheat gluten or high-gluten flour. This last name can also mean regular flour with some vital wheat gluten added. The stuff we want has 4 to 6 grams carbs per 1/4 cup or 39 gram serving. Check your label!

Caraway Rye or Whole Einkorn Bread Machine Bread.

Amounts given for 1 1/2 pound loaf, 1 pound or 2 pound in brackets.

1 1/2 cup [1 cup, 2 cups] warm water.

3/4 cup [1/2 cup, 1 cup] wheat bran.

3/4 cup [1/2 cup, 1 cup] rye flour or whole einkorn flour.

1/4 + 1/8 cup [1/4 cup, 1/2 cup] whey protein powder.

1 1/2 teaspoon [1 teaspoon, 2 teaspoons] sea salt.

1 1/2 Tablespoon [1 Tablespoon, 2 Tablespoons] butter or coconut oil.

1 1/2 Tablespoon [1 Tablespoon, 2 Tablespoons] caraway seed for rye bread, omit for Whole Einkorn.

2 1/4 teaspoon [1 1/2 teaspoon, 1 Tablespoon] bread making yeast.

Save yourself trouble- copy out the ingredients for the size on loaf you want onto a scrap of paper.

1. Put in the paddle! Spray the loaf pan with olive oil spray.

2. Put the ingredients in the pan in the order given.

3. Set the machine to French bread or Whole Wheat bread settings, and input the size of loaf you are making. When your settings are all correct, press the start button.

4. If your machine beeps at you at the right time to remove the paddle, remove the paddle at that time. Otherwise, remove it before the baking starts. Or not.

5. When the loaf is done, pull out the loaf pan with oven mitts, and place it somewhere your cats can’t get to it to cool.

6. When bread is cool, slice it. A 1 pound loaf should have 12 slices, bigger loaves should have more. A one slice serving should have about 4.8 grams of net carbs. If your slices came out thick, you may need to use 1/2 slice as one serving.

7. I pack the bread into freezer bags, 1/2 loaf per bag, and thaw as I run out of unfrozen bread.

I currently have both my bread machine running, each making a 1 and 1/2 pound loaf. Often I make rye in one bread maker and whole einkorn in the other.

The carbs in low-carb bread count! Ration your consumption. Make open-face sandwiches to save a slice. And if you fear you might be gluten intolerant, try egg-based bread substitutes from time to time.

Have you ever made low-carb bread in a bread machine? Or are you considering trying it? Please share in a comment your experiences or your questions.

We count Carbs, not Calories

On any good low-carb/keto eating plan, this is the rule: we restrict carbohydrate grams, not calories! If you have a choice between eating a hundred -calorie pack of a high carb food and 400 calories of zero-carb steak, our eating plan says eat the steak.

Some detractors of our way-of-eating claim that Atkins, low-carb and keto only cause weight loss in people who also cut calories. From a scientific perspective, these people are wrong.

A scientific study by Kekwick and Pawan compared three 1000 calorie diets. One was mostly carbohydrates, one mostly protein and one mostly fat. If the common beliefs about calories were true, we would have expected all three groups to have the same outcomes.

But that is not what happened. The carbohydrate diet did not produce weight loss. The protein diet did, and the fat version had even better results.

This study shows that in the body, not all calories are treated in the same way. Which is a big ‘fail’ for the calorie theory.

But some people persist and try to mingle the two approaches. Which is likely to leave you hungry, malnourished and miserable.

Think about a typical ‘dieting’ day. You’re hungry, and you only have about 100 calories left. So you eat one of those 100 calorie packs of high-carb food, you get hungry again very shortly, and you have to hope a magic dose of willpower kicks in so you won’t eat again until morning.

The same situation on low-carb/keto: you are hungry, you’ve eaten all your carbs for the day— and so you have yourself a nice zero-carb steak. Maybe that’s 300 calories, maybe 400, but you don’t have to care about that. You don’t count calories, you count carbs. And the carbs are zero.

Many, many people have lost weight with low-carb eating more calories than one would dare to consume on a calorie-counting diet. Others do eat less on keto, but that’s because being in ketosis makes you unhungry.

So don’t believe it when they say low-carb only works when you are counting calories as well. The science backs up low-carb, and the idea that on low-carb you can actually eat food when you get hungry. It’s not a semi-starvation plan.

Bulletproof Mornings on Keto/Low-Carb

Many of us drink bulletproof beverages on low-carb. A bulletproof beverage is a hot beverage like coffee, tea, bone broth, or very-low-carb hot cocoa or carob, to which a good fat has been added.

The original fat for a bulletproof beverage was butter. MCT oil is also popular— I used to use that when I could afford it. Heavy whipping cream (NOT creamer) is used both as a fat source and a ‘lightener’.

Coconut oil, bacon fat, beef tallow and extra-virgin olive oil are all fats I have used in bulletproof beverages. Recipes for bulletproof coffee tend to call for 2 Tablespoons of fat and 1 Tablespoon of heavy whipping cream. I tend to use a bit less fat than that, and omit the cream when I’m out of cream.

Why do we want fat in our bulletproof coffee? Both fats and proteins are essential for humans. It’s the carbohydrates which are non-essential. That old ‘fat will kill you’ mantra is NOT science based.

One thing fat does for us is make us feel fed and unhungry. High-carb, low-fat foods, on the other hand, are easy to eat and eat and eat.

Sweeteners are usually not added to bulletproof beverages, except that I do add a few drops of Sweetleaf liquid stevia to the cocoa, cacao or carob in hot cocoa/carob.

Dr. Jason Fung in his book on fasting sometimes makes it sound like you can have full bulletproof beverages while fasting, and in other parts of the book it seems like you are only allowed one very lightly bulletproof beverage with only a teaspoon of fat.

I translate that into 2 kinds of fasting— strict fasting with only one lightly bulletproof beverage, and bulletproof fasting with full bulletproof beverages allowed.

I do one kind of fasting or the other most mornings, and only open up my ‘eating window’ at lunchtime. On days I have bulletproof morning fasting, I am at least giving my body a break from carbs.

I stay in ketosis most of the time, even when I have a carb indulgence. I really think my bulletproof beverage custom helps with that. They are so low carb you can even have them on Induction! (They are NOT low calorie— but we count carbs not calories.)

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Reading: Good Calories, Bad Calories by Gary Taubes will help you understand why our society is so fat-phobic yet unworried about high carb even for dieters and diabetics.

Your Daily Morning Walk on Low-Carb/Keto.

In his 1957 book Eat Fat and Grow Slim, Richard Mackarness gave a low-carb plan which required a half-hour morning walk at the start of each low-carb day. This is mentioned in Appendix C of his book.

I’m not that big on morning exercise myself. My mornings have been mostly sedentary, sitting around, writing, feeding cats….

But because of a health problem I had a while back I need to recover my strength and activity level.

Walking is highly regarded as ‘the best exercise. You don’t have to drive to a faraway gym past every fast-food seller in the area. You don’t have to be able to afford a gym membership. You just put shoes on your feet and start walking.

Doing your walking early in the day gets you started being active right from the start. It makes you feel a little more like not-just-sitting.

There’s a saying in the low-carb/ketone community – you can’t outrun a bad diet. Which means, if you are still eating carbs, exercise won’t make you thin or healthy. And if you think your exercise means you have ‘earned’ a doughnut or a Twinkie, think again. No one deserves that poison.

When you do your walking, you don’t have to do it down your street or in a special place. You can walk in your house, around the kitchen table or in place.

I live in a place where winters get snowy and I don’t like to get out in snow when I don’t have to. I’m not thrilled with walking in place, either. So I have an old elliptical trainer for bad weather days or weeks.

My morning routine has added some morning exercise. I put on some music, and get going. Just a little, I have stuff to do in the morning. But when I get going, it makes my day just a bit better.

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Do you have an exercise program or routine? Please share about it in a comment!

Making Tallow & Cracklings at Home

Recently I followed the recipe for beef tallow and cracklings given in Maria &Craig Emmerichs’ The Carnivore Cookbook.

The key ingredient is beef suet (pronounced ‘sue-it’) which I got from Gary’s Market in Stephenson for about a dollar a pound.

The recipe calls for putting it in a heavy kettle with a lid. For the first time period you melt the cut-up suet in the kettle without the lid. When it’s mostly melted down you cook it for thirty minutes with the lid.

At the end of this time you harvest the ‘cracklings’ out with a slotted spoon. Cracklings are a little like pork rinds but softer.

I strained the tallow into small, half pint canning jars which I labelled, dated and put in the freezer.

I pulled out the first jar this morning. It’s a little like coconut oil, but harder. I put some into my bulletproof coffee this morning. It’s not quite as much of a treat as butter, ghee or bacon fat, but it had a good flavor. I shall fry some eggs in tallow later.

Lamb/mutton fat is also called suet and so I imagine that if I got some lamb fat I’d have lamb tallow. I’m hoping to get a lamb butchered next year, and I shall be sure and ask for all the fat, bones and organs I am entitled to.

The best thing about making tallow is that the suet is low cost. Tallow ends up being cheaper than butter. I suppose I could use half-tallow, half-butter to save money and still have some butter flavor.

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We count Carbs, not Calories.

There is a calorie tyranny afoot. Ever where you go, the talk is of calories, calories, calories. The only ‘common sense’ way to lose weight or get healthier is to cut down those darn calories and get used to being hungry.

But the science doesn’t line up with that. People have lost weight, have gotten into ketosis to improve health, all with counting carbs and eating more calories than ‘diets’ allow. But that’s OK because we aren’t on a ‘diet.’ This is our way-of-life now.

When we cut down on the number of meals we eat or even do OMAD or intermittent fasting, we don’t do it for calorie reduction. Mainly we do it because in ketosis we aren’t constantly hungry and wanting food. OMAD or fasting isn’t done to cut those calories. It’s to deal with problems of insulin resistance, or simply because one bigger meal generates less dirty dishes than three smaller meals.

Don’t ever be tempted to do white-knuckle fasting or OMAD with willpower alone. Your body doesn’t manage your eating life with willpower. Make sure you are getting enough food that your body doesn’t think you are in a famine. That’s how you get in a place where you are eating Big Macs with fries again, or coming home with a box of PopTarts.

Low-carb is not like calorie counting. In calorie counting, eating a one hundred calorie portion of candy bar is seen as a victory. On low-carb, we give up that 100 calories of candy for 300 calories of zero-carb beefsteak and feel fed, and lose weight and/or get healthier.

Adding calorie counting to our low-carb way-of-eating can just defeat you. You may be tempted to add more carbs than you should, and end up giving up low-carb for another failed diet.

Or you can just be miserable, unhappy, and undernourished to the point that your body’s signals for more/better food lead you back into carnivore land and from there back into weight gain or calorie counting.

This way-of-eating is science, not ‘common sense’ or internet rumor. You can do this. But you need to be firm that this is a different way-of-eating, not the same old calorie mentality at all.

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From Diabetic to Prediabetic with Low-Carb/Keto

A few years ago, I diagnosed my own T2 diabetes using my mom’s old, discarded glucose monitor. My blood sugar was in the 300 range.

I got an appointment with my mom’s nurse-practitioner and before long was on two different diabetes meds.

I was already on a low-carb way-of-eating, and before long I figured out that in spite of my two meds, I only got good blood sugar numbers when I was strict on my low-carb.

Then, I was threatened into an appointment with a distant, not too great nephrologist. She demanded I get off all the meds and prepare to go on insulin.

I got off my meds, and got stricter about my low-carb, and I had better blood sugars than ever.

Then Jimmy Moore and Dr. Jason Fung came out with the ‘Complete Guide to Fasting.’ I started doing Intermittent Fasting, mostly by skipping breakfast, and did a few longer fasts.

The A1c blood test is supposed to tell your doctor what your blood sugars have been for the past three months. I’ve found that if I ‘study’ for my A1c test by being very strict with the keto in the week or so before the test, I get great results even if I had some carb binges earlier in the three months.

I had my most recent A1c not long ago. Unlike most times, I didn’t ‘study’ for the blood test by being stricter. I made the clinic send me a copy of the results like I normally do.

My blood sugar was in the prediabetic range. And not in the top part of that range. Which made me wonder- if I had ‘studied’ for my blood test, would my A1c have been in the normal range?

So here I am. I was on two diabetes meds and about to start insulin, and now my morning blood sugars are normal and I have a nearly-normal A1c. And I feel healthy and energetic.

If you have T2 diabetes, you will have to work with your health care provider to start low-carb. Your meds may need to be reduced before starting Induction. If your PCP gives you grief over low-carb, ask if he knows of a health care provider with experience with low-carb. It’s better to have a doctor in the know. But I’ve never had one like that myself. They do get more encouraging when you start getting good numbers.

If you are a T1 diabetic you will likely always need some insulin shots. But you should read the books by Dr. Richard K. Bernstein, himself a T1 diabetic, that outline low-carb approaches for both kinds of diabetics.

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