Kara's Keto Plates

Fatty Food Blogging

Category: Cerebral (page 2 of 2)


Sticking to a diet when traveling can be particularly difficult – and it seems to me to be all the more important. How I eat affects my mood and my sleep and traveling tends to aggravate both of those issues for me, so being able to eat well is a worthwhile endeavour for me.

Michael and I made a weekend trip to attend the wedding of a friend of his, and I was anxious about it beforehand. Why so anxious? Because weddings mean champagne toasts and cake. And cake is my kryptonite. I knew the best way for me to refuse the cake was to have tasty things back in our hotel room.

So what did I bring?

Goodies to pack

1. Salty snacks (to ensure we got sufficient sodium; iodine and fat): Annie Chun’s seaweed snacks (sesame oil flavor); pre-packaged individual cups of green olives with pimentos (3 servings in one cup); Jack Link’s Beef and Cheese sticks; Roasted Macadamia Nuts

2. Atkins Shakes and Bars: for protein and fat. I criticize Atkins products for what I believe to be messed up net carbohydrate counts on their products (since they subtract all sugar alcohols from that figure). That being said, with the information Atkins provides on their labels, we can generally reverse engineer a more accurate figure for the net carbohydrate count. The nice things about the Atkins products: lots of fat; a reasonable quantity of protein (many protein shakes provide way more protein than I need); the meal and snack items are fortified with vitamins (but not the Endulge line); they’re convenient and portable. And Atkins Endulge has a Chocolate Coconut Bar which is so good that I pretty much eat one a day.

3. Chocolate. Because I figured if we resisted cake and champagne, we would deserve some chocolate. It was Lily’s original chocolate.

4. Rye Whiskey – not pictured. Because everyone deserves some whiskey and I figured it would be easier for us to find no calorie mixers in the hotel that would go with whiskey than it would be to find the same for gin. It was – I mixed my rye with coke zero, Michael mixed his with ice.

5. Electrolyte mix (Alacer brand – mix one packet with a liter of water) – not pictured. This product provides much more magnesium, potassium and calcium than most readily available products like Powerade Zero which has almost no potassium, magnesium or calcium in it although somehow they still get to advertise those nutrients prominently on the label – thank you, US labelling laws…

We didn’t just eat those snacks for the weekend, we also hit a couple low-carb friendly places to eat meals while we were on the road: Buffalo Wild Wings (traditional wings with garlic parmesan sauce); Red Robin (lettuce-wrapped burgers + bottomless broccoli) and Qdoba (Mexican Gumbo minus rice, tortilla strips and beans).  We also had a hot breakfast included with our hotel stay – which meant omelets and coffee for breakfast. On the one day we weren’t in the car for hours, we visited a zoo, which made for at least 2.5 hours of walking.

Neither of us tracked what we ate, but when I came home I found that I had kept losing weight. Maybe the bigger emotional win: neither of us felt particularly compelled to “cheat” while at the wedding. For me, at least, that win was due partially to the knowledge that I had a Chocolate Coconut Bar saved for when we got back to the hotel that night.

Initial Labwork

In an entry on blog.4d2.org, I wrote a bit about the labwork that I have done yearly and additional labwork which was requested by my physician, which I did not have the results for yet.

Every year, I have blood drawn to check the following things:

– Lipid Panel / Cholesterol
– Fasting Blood Glucose
– TSH (thyroid stimulating hormone levels)

The cholesterol and blood sugar tests are the basic tests my primary care physicians have always run on me, I guess as a check to make sure my obesity hasn’t led to any invisible secondary health problems. The thyroid hormone is checked yearly as a result of hypothyroidism, which I was diagnosed with in 2010. My dosage of synthroid (thyroid hormone) was increased once in 2011 but not since then and my yearly TSH tests actually show a decreasing level from year to year since then (this is a good thing – less TSH indicates my thyroid is functioning normally). My fasting blood sugar has always been in the normal range. My cholesterol tends to be in the normal/good range except that my triglycerides go up when I am losing weight (which is to be expected).

My physician, in light of her belief that I am insulin resistant and may have PCOS (Polycystic Ovarian Syndrome), ordered a round of additional labwork last month.

– Testosterone
– Insulin
– C Reactive Protein (a measure of inflammation in the body)

I spoke with my doctor’s nurse on the phone today (and have a follow-up appointment for tomorrow), but the results of this additional labwork have been returned. I don’t have the figures, but I was told that my testosterone levels are normal; my insulin levels are slightly elevated and C Reactive Protein is elevated.

So what does any of this mean? In effect, it means very little. My insulin levels are not so high that the doctor would choose to treat me with Metformin or similar drugs. The C Reactive Protein indicates that there is inflammation in my body – but that is often linked with obesity and the doctor believes that as I lose weight, the inflammation will resolve. The normal testosterone level doesn’t necessarily mean that I don’t have PCOS since there are a range of symptoms associated with PCOS. Essentially the most reasonable medical intervention I can make right now is exactly what I’m doing: a low carbohydrate diet in an effort to both lose weight and lower my insulin levels. The diet alone should bring my insulin to a normal level and that should (hopefully) lead to weight loss. As I lose weight, the inflammation should resolve.

Progress Check Numero Uno:

I’ve been following this diet since September 29, so it’s been three solid weeks. Over that period of time, I’ve lost 5.5 pounds. That’s not an insignificant amount and the loss has been pretty consistent but it’s also not as precipitous a loss as many people experience on keto diets.

I also take my measurements every four weeks and was due to update them last Friday, October 17. Since September 19, I’ve lost 2.5 inches from my waist (4.5 inches total from August 22) and an additional inch from my hips (2 inches total from August 22). The interesting thing this time around has been how differently I’ve been losing weight. I’ve gained and maintained significant muscles in August and September as a result of daily yoga and so clothes I have that normally wouldn’t fit for another ten or fifteen pound loss can actually fit now (!). The make-up of my  body is changing, even as the weight may change less significantly. This feels pretty awesome, and taking the measurements helps support the overall sensation I have that my lifestyle is moving in the right direction, even if the scale isn’t always.

You are Here

Chances are, if you’re looking at this blog, you already read blog.4d2.org - the blog I’ve been lucky enough to usurp / share with my husband for the past eight years of its existence.

If you’ve read that blog then you already know more than a few personal details:
1. I’m a fat-ass. I have always been a fat-ass.
2. I like sugar. A lot.
3. I have a neurotic cat.
4. I have bounced from diet to diet for many years, struggling to lose weight.

At the end of September, my physician recommended I undertake a low-carb diet, based on her assumption that my weight gain and difficulty losing weight while on reasonable (read: healthy, reduced-calorie) diets was an indication of insulin resistance.

Most people know of low-carb diets as a result of Dr. Atkins who was likely on to something, even if he got other things wrong. I have come to low-carb after finding success with Medi-Fast (an extremely low-calorie diet which limits carbs and fats and pretty much every other tasty calorie and also costs a pretty penny). Today, I follow a keto diet: low-carb, high-fat. I limit my total net carbohydrate intake to 40 grams daily; aim for 100 – 125 grams of protein a day to maintain my bulky muscles and every additional calorie I take in is tasty, tasty fat.

For many people, a low carb, high-fat diet means loads of bacon; heavy cream and eggs.  All those things can certainly be part of a varied and healthy diet, but my personal goal is to ensure that my low-carb diet also includes a wide variety of vegetables. I find it particularly amusing to watch people eat low-carb tortillas for 6 or 7 net grams of carbohydrate and then hem and haw about eating kale (5 grams net carbohydrate in a cup).  Carbohydrates are carbohydrates, but the kale is *still* worth more nutritionally because of vitamins and micro-nutrients.

My intention is for this blog to serve as a place to:

1. Share recipes and pictures of my meals – at least partially to help support the idea that a keto diet can also be a varied diet. My pictures will *not* be food-blogger pictures: I will never do step by step recipe pictures and I don’t have a light-box to take high quality pictures of my finished meals. My goal is to document what I eat, not to sell cookbooks or generate ad revenue.

2. Review keto-friendly foods: bars, shakes, chocolate bars, food mixes, etc. These reviews will never be “sponsored” (not that I would ever have the viewership to warrant such a thing).

3. Track my personal progress and weight loss. Since I am operating under the assumption of being insulin resistant, my intention is that this will be a life-time diet change so weight loss is not my only goal, but it is certainly the primary one.

Please feel free to journey vicariously with me through Kara’s Keto Plates.

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