Monthly Archives: October 2020

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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Recipe: Triple Threat Keto Baked Chicken Thighs

Chicken thighs are a favorite of mine. They are much cheaper than chicken wings, and are meatier and not as nasty-dry as chicken breasts can be.

I buy bone-in, skin-on chicken thighs, and I drain off the schmaltz — chicken fat— after baking, and freeze the bones to make bone broth.

Triple Threat Keto Baked Chicken Thighs

2 chicken thighs for each serving

Get out a baking pan with a rim to hold the melted fat, big enough for the amount of chicken you are making. Spray it lightly with olive oil pan spray, or grease it lightly with any healthy fat to prevent sticking.

Preheat the oven to 350 degrees F. Place the chicken in the pan upside down, and bake for 20 minutes.

Take pan out– it is hot! — and flip the chicken pieces over. Bake for 40 minutes more.

Remove chicken from plate. Pour off schmaltz into canning jar from pan, filtering through a coffee filter or a non-gauze milk filter from the feed mill.

When you eat the chicken, salt to taste, and add a bit of nutmeg or paprika, or a bit of soy sauce or coconut aminos. We don’t add this stuff before baking, so it doesn’t affect the schmaltz. When I eat it, I remove the skin first, and save it to eat last, as dessert.

When you finish eating, get out a gallon-size freezer bag. Write ‘chicken bones’ and the date on it. Put the bones in, put it in the freezer, and put in future chicken bones as well until the bag is full and you can make bone broth.

Variations: If you use frozen chicken, take it out of the freezer the night before and store in the fridge.

Use other chicken parts– you may be able to get whole chickens at a good price. Or you may be able to get pastured poultry, or butcher your own young hens. (Stewing hens need cooking in a crock-pot.)

You may also use a warm home-made sauce to flavor your chicken. I rarely bother– I think the baked chicken is wonderful with just salt.

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Recipe: Bulletproof Bone Broth

Bulletproof coffee is a thing. I even started drinking coffee over it, because I didn’t want to put stuff in my tea.

But I’ve been reading up on the carnivore way-of-eating lately, and some of the books discourage coffee. What to do? A good alternative is bulletproof bone broth.

There are many recipes for bone broth out there. Most involve cooking the bones in a crock-pot for up to 48 hours to get all the bonely goodness out. I’ve made bone broth from beef, pork, and leftover chicken bones. It’s all good.

Bulletproof Bone Broth or Broth

1 cup or more bone broth (or 3/4 cup bone broth and 1/4 cup water) or ordinary broth

1-2 Tablespoons fat- tallow, bacon fat, lard, schmaltz, butter or ghee, extra-virgin olive oil, coconut oil or MCT oil for the plant-eaters.

Optional – 1 -2 Tablespoons heavy whipping cream, unwhipped. May substitute coconut milk or cream.

1/8 to 1/4 teaspoon sea salt or Himalayan pink salt. (Omit if you really have to.)

Optional– herbs or spices for flavoring.

Put the ingredients in a saucepan. Put it on a stove burner set to low for at least five minutes or until any solid fats melt. Stir a little if you like.

When time is up, pour the broth into a mug. You may need to wait a couple of minutes for it to cool to drinkable temperature.

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Why Original Atkins is Best

I’ve been doing the low-carb thing for over 20 years now. It started when I bought the original Dr Atkins Diet Revolution in a thrift shop. I had heard bad things about Atkins, but I was desperate to lose some weight, and figured I could just quit when I became thinner.

I never did quit. My goals changed when I saw low-carb/keto helped with health problems. I managed to accumulate many other Atkins books, as well as others about our way-of-eating.

I liked the original Atkins the best. In the time when that book was written, few folks had access to specialty grocery stores and specialty foods. Atkins knew most followers would be limited to the foods they could get in a regular grocery. Big city people don’t realize it, but many people have similar limitations even today.

Original Atkins was also free of the Atkins corporation which had not been started yet. Later Atkins books feature recipes calling for Atkins brand ingredients, some of which are no longer made, others which are not available in all areas.

I am troubled how the current Atkins products brag about their low ‘sugar carbs’ on their labels. We don’t count ‘sugar carbs’ on Original Atkins but carbs. They also talk about their protein content and never mention fat. Well, a corporation is a life form that lives to sell product. We can’t expect it to do anything that would hurt sales.

Another difference is that Later Atkins has you counting ‘net carbs.’ This tends to reward people for eating high fiber foods. In Original Atkins you just counted carbs, and so you couldn’t exactly chomp down two heads of lettuce at a meal, or use a high fiber ‘low-carb baking mix’ that can cause painful constipation.

Original Atkins is not perfect. Aimed at weight loss only, it has multiple levels that by the time you hit Maintainance, have you out of ketosis altogether. Not good if you need ketosis to help you deal with your arthritis, diabetes, autism spectrum disorder or depression on an ongoing basis.

The solution to that is to be smart. Don’t get caught up in a cycle of going up levels to add back more carbs, and lose the benefits of being in ketosis.

As you learn more about low-carb/keto, you may tweak your practice to incorporate your new knowledge. I no longer use canola oil, for example. And I’ve learned to enjoy some zero-carb foods, like pork chops, that I never used to like. I’m also crazy for chicken thighs, because they are cheaper than wings, taste great, and I can make bone broth from the bones.

Adventures in Carnivore

Recently I bought the book ‘The Carnivore Diet’ by Shawn Baker. I mainly wanted to review the book for this blog.

The book arrived— on my birthday as it happened— and I read it through twice. There were more individual case studies than more rigorous science, perhaps because the few studies about meat eating are mostly contrasting people who eat meat plus crappy carbage with Sacred ‘Vegans.’

I tried to eat carnivore for a few days. My blood sugars are better, and I feel more nourished. I haven’t been eating a very high amount of meat because of economic woes.

I’ve had lots of trouble keeping my truck going, but my brother will fix it this weekend. I can go to the store to get what I am running low on— meat, mainly, and butter. My carnivore book suggests replacing coconut oil with butter or ghee. I could also use bacon grease if the bacon’s on sale. I used to make bulletproof hot cocoa with bacon grease and it tasted great. Sounds weird, but it did. And I made the most successful home made mayo ever using bacon grease.

Since I’m a human being not a rabbit or a cow, meat is a big part of what I was created to eat. It’s only sensible that I feel better eating meat than eating processed food carbs or vegetarian dishes.

I think the best thing so far is that when I center my eating plan around the meat, it simplifies things. I don’t need to whip up a half dozen dishes to get the job done.

In my quest for more carnivore knowledge, I found a group on MeWe called Carnivore Tribe. It’s a good group where people actually interact with each other instead of just spamming the group about their service or product and leaving.

In other dietary news, my egg-laying hybrid ducks have finally started laying eggs. Or at least one of the two females has. You can have eggs on carnivore, and it’s good to be producing my own eggs again. This is the first year getting ducks for eggs. I’ve normally kept chickens. But my chicken flock is down to one because of predators. The ducks were safer because I have two geese who think the ducks are their children.

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My Strict Fasting Day

Ever since ‘The Complete Guide to Fasting’ came out I have been trying to get intermittent fasting and even extended fasting into my life. In the book Dr. Fung suggests every-other-day fasting, especially for diabetics and the obese. I’m a T2 diabetic and was obese at the time, so I did try, but I just didn’t like it. I wanted to cram my fasting days together into a bunch.

As a Christian, Friday immediately comes to mind as a potential fasting day. I picked the two days before, Wednesday and Thursday, as my other fasting days. Mainly because it wouldn’t do to be fasting on Saturday and Sunday that are more celebration/feasting days. 

When I had my stroke in February of 2019, that threw off my fasting schedule. When I was in institutions, I never knew how much of my institutional meals I could actually eat. I ate what I could of the meat and vegetables, but carb foods and mixed dishes I didn’t touch. I got fussed at for not eating properly, but admired for controlling my diabetes without any meds. 

That experience threw off my fasting life. I just couldn’t do fasting like I had before. In addition, I was worried about my eating— was I getting enough variety of foods? Times of not-eating got less important.

I learned about the concept of ‘bulletproof fasting’ which was sort of implied in the confusion of ‘The Complete Guide to Fasting.’ I declared Wednesday and Thursday to be my bulletproof fasting days, with only Friday as a strict fasting day. 

[How strict is strict? It’s not water-only, I can have plain tea or coffee, and even add a pinch of salt and a bit of cinnamon to them, and I could potentially have a cup of hot bone broth, or ONE very-lightly-bulletproof beverage.]

Recently a dear but misguided friend, knowing I was mostly trapped out at my rural home due to my increasingly non-functional truck, brought me a load of food items of his choice. There were a lot of loaves of bread, most bought cheap due to being near their expiration dates, some bakery items, lots of boxed noodles including an expired salad/noodle mix, a few canned goods including sugared fruit, and more fresh vegetables than I could use if I even ate beets. (My friend is a Serbian-American and doesn’t seem to understand the rules of my eating-lifestyle very well.)

The result of the gift plus my lack of transportation meant that I actually ate some of these things daily for a while. I tried to keep it to one serving daily, but even that amount isn’t a great idea, not daily, and the food cravings spilled over into my fasting days. I even ate butter-noodles in the afternoon of my fasting days!

Yesterday, though, I finally had a good fasting day and it was my strict day. This is what I did: I started the day with a big cup of water (as I do every day) and then I had a cup of tea. I make my tea in a 16 oz. cup with two teabags— Prince of Peace brand, either Oolong or Pu-ehr tea. This time, I put 1/8 teaspoon each of sea salt and cinnamon in my tea. I had several of these cups of tea during the day. 

I felt a little hunger near the end of the day. I had decided I could have a lightly-bulletproof coffee if hunger hit, but I wasn’t hungry enough to bother. And so I completed the strict fasting day on tea and water. 

The result that my blood sugar was down to 76, and I had ‘moderate’ ketosis according to my Ketonix. That’s what I do fasting for— lower sugar numbers and a boost to my ketosis.

Since I was hungry in the morning I had two scrambled eggs with sardines— the first time I put sardines in scrambled eggs. Next time, assuming I can get more eggs, I will use three eggs. I might also try using tuna instead of sardines— both canned items are available for the same price, and the tuna has more ounces in the can. 

So, that was my fasting adventure last week. Have you tried intermittent fasting? How did it go for you?

What’s for Breakfast on Keto?

One question a lot of people have is what they can have for ‘breakfast’ on keto/low-carb. By ‘breakfast,’ they usually mean ‘the morning meal.’ My old morning meal habits certainly weren’t low-carb! I would have a bowl of breakfast sugars (“cereal”) with milk, maybe toast, maybe Pop-Tarts, and orange juice. Crappy carbage city!

Many books on low-carb give you meal plans that include breakfasts. Try an Atkins book or the Mackarness book mentioned in a recent blog post (from 1958) or any other low-carb book you have on hand. Some foods allowed on low-carb that are seen as ‘breakfast foods’ are eggs, bacon, ham, sausage (if very low carb) and similar things. There are low-carb pancake recipes as the one in Dr. Atkins Diet Cookbook (1974,) which calls for cottage cheese and soy powder (I substitute unflavored whey protein powder, and bake them in a muffin top/Yorkshire pudding pan.)

But you are not confined to ‘breakfast’ foods in the morning! What about a steak or pork chop? A hamburger (bun-free?) Any other food from any other mealtime? Look at any meal plans you have in any low-carb book you own. You can adapt lunch and supper from the meal plan to your morning meal.

We might also point out that ‘breakfast’ literally means the meal at which you break your fast. If you have been doing some intermittent fasting you may not eat in the morning. If your first meal of the day is at noon or suppertime, that is your break-fast meal.

I have a habit of consuming SOMETHING in the morning. Most mornings, it’s a bulletproof coffee. On a strict fasting day, it might be tea, plain coffee, or lightly bulletproof coffee. If I did water-only fasting, I might drink a big glass of water first thing. Well, actually, I do that anyway because I need water to swallow my supplements and meds in the morning. It’s a good hydration habit.

When I used to stay over at my mother’s house (she’s now in a nursing home,) I’d make some tea or coffee in the morning so she wouldn’t freak out over me not eating. That’s a good social habit, if you have people around who fear fasting or who think breakfast is ‘the most important meal of the day.’

Many of us find we are not even hungry in the morning because we ate supper the night before and then slept for some hours. It’s not like we were digging ditches all night long! Many people don’t eat at breakfast time to extend their overnight fasting by a few hours. This is not for calorie-counting reasons! We don’t restrict calories on keto/low-carb! 

The reason for intermittent fasting including breakfast-skipping is that each time we eat, our bodies have to make insulin to handle the food, and if we have insulin resistance, it makes too much insulin because our bodies have learned to ignore it. Adding a few hours to our overnight fast gives the body a few more hours of NOT having to deal with this. It seems to improve our insulin resistance, and also T2 diabetic high blood sugars. 

The main point is: don’t panic over breakfast when you start keto/low-carb. There are loads of things you can eat, and in time— when you are used to being in ketosis— you might not bother having breakfast at all. You might make simple breakfast items in advance and freeze or otherwise store them, to make mornings easier. Or use a baked-egg recipe. That’s a pretty quick morning fix.