One Year Later- RESULTS!

My photos from a year ago popped up on my phone this morning.  I saw a pic of where I was at then and I had to of course compare it to now, 6 or so months into a ketogenic lifestyle.

The second picture was this morning.¬† Of course I had to make a dorky face.¬† Might as well if you’re taking bathroom selfies, and flexing no less.¬† I think I look leaner and more defined.¬† I’m probably only a couple pounds lighter.¬† I started lifting heavier and increased my lean muscle mass while cutting a bit of body fat.

In the “before” pic I was very fit, working out very hard but not getting the results I wanted.¬† I remember thinking I should be getting more out of the work I was putting in.¬† I wanted to be leaner but, as much as I knew about health and fitness, I wasn’t sure how to go about it.¬† I knew just cutting calories wasn’t a great plan because cutting calories is a sure fire way¬†to slow your metabolism¬†which is like shooting yourself in the foot.

I have to admit this all pure vanity stuff.¬† Of course I want to be healthy but when it’s five pounds plus or minus it’s pretty much aesthetics.¬† I’ve had three babies but I really wanted great abs.¬†¬†20180608_1309022006147604.jpg

Goal: accomplished.

I don’t do crunches or count calories.¬† I just keep my carbs low, eat plenty of healthy fat and protein, and lift challenging weights.¬† When I do cardio I keep it very short with HIIT style workouts.

My belly button looks wonky and I have plenty of stretch marks, but they’re badges of honor.¬† I just want to be the best version of me and honor what my body has accomplished.

 

Simple Perfumery

I finally did it.

I created an instagram account.¬† I know, like 6 years late to the party.¬† For a blogger I am a bit (LOT!) of a technophobe.¬† But I really like photography so I figured I might as well get on with it.¬† Feel free to follow me and watch me try to figure it out ūüėȬ†sierraroseschwartz

This morning I am whipping up some easy, DIY perfume.

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I love smelling good but I am very allergic to perfumes and colognes.¬† I’ve tried and I end up with a headache.¬† I won’t go into it too much but virtually all the scents you buy commercially are¬†toxic and bad for your health.¬† Thankfully it is super easy, much cheaper and healthier to make your own!

When I first started a couple years ago I read up on it and tried to do it “right” with heart notes, base notes, balance, etc.¬† But I realized for me, it isn’t really necessary.¬† I just do scents or combo of scents, that I really love.¬† For winter I was doing a heavier scent with frankincense, myrrh, cedarwood and vanilla.¬† For summer I am making a lighter scent using “Blues Buster” oil blend from Plant Therapy.¬† It’s a fruity, floral blend with tangerine, grapefruit and geranium bourbon.¬† It smells ah-mazing!¬† Light, fresh, heady and intense all at the same time.

My perfume is as simple as combing this oil blend with vodka.  Vodka because it is almost odorless and gives the scent staying power.  Because it is also a natural disinfectant you can use this natural perfume as deodorant.  I even spray it onto my hair as a natural, wonderful-smelling hair spray.

I bought my perfume atomizer bottle on amazon for around $12.  It came with a tiny funnel to make filling easier.  First I add my vodka (everclear would work too) and then about 20 drops of essential oil.  You can do more or less for a stronger aroma.

You are “supposed” to allow the the scent to rest for a few weeks before using, but what fun is that???¬† I use mine right away!¬† ūüėõ

Chilly Keto ColdBrew Mocha

Guys, I was doing a flex-keto approach and doing high and low carb days along with some intermittent fasting.  Which worked well for awhile until I found myself eating TWO big ole gluten free smores last weekend and then realizing I had gained, or was well on my way, to gaining back all the weight I had initially lost.  *sad face*

So I did what I usually do to atone for too many dietary sins.¬† I started tracking¬†every single gram of carb¬†with my fitness pal.¬† It’s still amazing to me that calories don’t really matter.¬† 1,500 calories with over 100 grams of carbs will have me gaining weight while 1,800 with less than 30 grams of carbs will have my body fat quickly dwindling away.¬† This may not hold true for all but I know it certainly is for me.

20180603_0941431091780791.jpgI’ve said it before but I’ll say it again- one of the best things about keto is the fact that you can still have creamy, delicious treats.¬† Like this cold brew based coffee drink I am sipping right now.¬†If you’ve read the blog for awhile you’ve probably figured out that I am a bit obsessed with both coffee and chocolate.¬† So I love finding new, low-carb ways to combine them.

I picked up some starbucks brand cold brew at target.¬† If you get some, make sure it is unsweetened.¬† Most kinds come pre-sweetened.¬† Definitely don’t want that!

I blended about a cup of cold brew with half and half (food of the gods!), cocoa powder and my monk fruit sweetener to get this delicious, frosty treat.¬† You can also add ice to make it more frappuccino-esque.¬† I think for future versions, I’ll have some coffee ice cubes on hand to add in.¬†¬†20180603_093440940081504.jpg

Keto ColdBrew Mocha

  • 1 Cup Cold Brew Coffee
  • 1/2 Cup Half and Half ( you can sub in filtered milk, almond milk, or heavy cream)
  • 1 tbs. Cocoa Powder
  • 1 tbs. Natural Sweetener (such as stevia, monk fruit, or¬†erythritol)

Combine ingredients in magic bullet style blender and enjoy!  This refreshing treat is sure to put some pep in your step at 182 calories, 8.7 grams of carb (about 6 net carbs), 14.5 grams of fat and 4.6 grams of protein.

 

Keto Family

I posted awhile back about wanting to try the keto diet for the whole family.  20180524_181823894515596.jpg

Reasons being, I now technically have three special needs kids.  One with severe eczema/TSW, one with aspergers, and my youngest now with autism and/or ADHD.  All three struggle with anxiety to some extant.

One unexpected perk I experienced going keto was a drastic reduction in my own anxiety, along with an increase in mental clarity and focus.

They are all three very thin so this would technically be a therapeutic approach and I’d have to monitor their weight to make sure they weren’t dropping any.¬† It’d be wonderful if we were able to avoid perscription drugs for my youngest, and get my oldest¬†off¬†of his.¬† I really believe in the therapeutic value of ketones for brain health.¬†¬†keto for ADHD

Either way, it can’t hurt to cut out refined sugars and empty calories.

We’ve been slooowly easing in by having keto-style dinners.¬† Thankfully, my kids generally like veggies and meat.¬† I decided, for the sake of my sanity, to wait until school was out before going full-bore.

A high fat diet is great for¬†¬†developing brains.¬† Not to mention fresh veggies and good protein.¬† Admittedly, it’s probably going to be a tough transition so we’re just doing a trial period to see if the potential benefits are worth it.

There’s one week of school so I have time to start meal planning.¬† I’ll post as we go!

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The Magic Pill

Last night my husband and I watched¬†this film (on netflix) called “The Magic Pill”.¬† My husband, Tim, was actually the one who wanted to watch it.¬† Which was surprising because it’s all about the keto diet and it’s role in reversing all kinds of health conditions. This is a man that would eat mac and cheese every day of his life if I didn’t intervene.

It was really good, very informative.¬† It centered around people in crisis mode with their health and using the keto diet as a life-saving intervention.¬† One woman was able to get off her antibiotics and rescue inhaler for her severe asthma and respiratory infections.¬† One woman gained back her clarity from descending into dementia.¬† One little girl started to talk for the first time and stopped seizing.¬† Most shockingly, a woman was able to completely cure herself of a metastic breast cancer- with no other interventions!¬† Sorry for the spoilers, but really, it’s a must see!

Not only that, but these people got their joy back.¬† Their zest for life.¬† By the end of the movie they not only looked different, but they¬†were¬†different.¬† They weren’t trudging through life anymore.

My husband got up and dramatically tossed his box of cheezits into the garbage.¬† He doesn’t need to lose weight, but he does want to feel his best.¬† We both agreed we should try it out as a family.¬† It might really help our kids with their various issues.

I just had my daughters IEP meeting this week.¬† They classified her under the autism spectrum.¬† I think she has more signs of ADHD but they aren’t allowed to diagnose that anymore for political reasons.¬†¬†Image may contain: 1 person, smiling, outdoor

I do still think that vaccines are the leading cause of neurological problems in children.  The aluminum adjuvant is in nanoparticle size and gets deposited in the brain- causing all sorts of damage.  My daughter only got one, at her birth.  But we also live on very tainted land.  For years we lived next to big GMO fields where they sprayed pesticides, herbicides, fertilizer and that was poisoning our water, soil and even the air we breathe.  We live in the upper midwest in a smallish town, so a GMO field is only a stones throw away from even where we live now.

I think all these things are affecting us and our children in ways we can only begin to understand.

But if we can medicate ourselves with dietary interventions instead of resorting to potentially dangerous medications, we certainly should.¬† Please don’t hear that I’m condemning meds.¬† My oldest son needs concerta to get through his school day.¬† But the hope is that we could find a natural intervention that would eliminate that need.

I need to figure out how to approach this, and do it the healthiest way.¬† I’ll probably wait until summer break starts, so I don’t have to worry about packing keto-friendly lunches.¬† It’ll be tough for sure, but I believe 100% in the neurological and health promoting benefits of the keto diet- even for the most extreme and dire conditions.

 

Flourless Chocolate Muffins

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These muffins are so good that even my kids love them!¬† They are keto-friendly and gluten free.¬† I found the original recipe here¬†https://peaceloveandlowcarb.com/keto-chocolate-muffins/ on a sidenote: I will always share my original recipe sources unless it is completely original.¬† I think it’s common for bloggers to plagiarize other bloggers but I don’t roll that way.

I just changed the recipe a bit to suit our needs but the basic recipe rocks.  The muffins are flour free and packed with protein, nutrients and fiber but have a taste and texture almost identical to chocolate cake!

You’ll need-

  • 1 1/2 cup natural creamy peanut butter
  • 2/3 cup natural low-cal sweetener (like monk fruit or erythritol)
  • 3 tablespoons unsweetened cocoa powder
  • 2 tablespoons peanut butter powder
  • 3 large eggs
  • 4 tablespoons melted salted butter
  • 3 tablespoons water
  • 1 1/2 teaspoons vanilla extract
  • 1 teaspoon baking soda
  • 1/2 teaspoon sea salt

Melt the peanut butter and butter together till soft in a microwavable bowl.  Add the rest of the ingredients and blend till well mixed.  Spoon into greased muffin tin and bake at 350 for 12-15 minutes.  Be careful not to overbake!!  It will dry them out.

You can add in low carb chocolate chips but they don’t need them.

These muffins are delicious dipped into coffee or fairlife filtered milk!!  And they are so good even your kids will eat them up! 20180508_07134956793713.jpg

Age in Reverse

Yesterday I came across this photo of my husband, his mother, and I from 2011.¬† This was 7 years ago.¬† I would have been 24 or 25.¬† Still a youngin’ by any reckoning.¬† I was taken aback though, because I seriously look younger now, at 31.¬†oldcicic

Yes, I know, my husband is really tall.  It leads to awkward hugs and a constant battle over the driver seat settings in our cars!

At the time I was dealing with severe chronic fatigue.¬† It was starting to dawn on me that I had celiacs disease.¬† But it took a long time to give up wheat.¬† It took time to grieve the fact of all that I had to give up.¬† I loved pizza and pasta and sandwiches…and just eating like a “normal” person.¬† Plus, at the time, the gluten free options were limited and pretty gross.

I knew my potential future though.¬† I come from a very large Irish Catholic family and virtually all of my dad’s 10 sisters had MAJOR auto-immune health problems.¬† Lupus, celiacs, hashimotos, R.A. just to name a few.¬† I didn’t want to live sick and die young.

I gradually made changes as I learned.  I went from eating a standard american diet to a more natural anti-inflammatory diet.  I cut back on sugar (I was a major sugar junkie!) till I eventually cut it out together.  I also have to avoid preservatives, MSG, carageenan, nitrates and soy lecithin.  If I eat any of these triggers I will feel like absolute death.  My body is just hyper-sensitive to inflammation.

Instead of feeling sorry for myself because I have to eat a very limited diet, I choose to see it as a gift.¬† It forces me to be accountable and eat well.¬† I mostly embarked on my health journey in order to feel better.¬† I’ll be honest, I’m not there 100%.¬† I still have days were I feel exhausted.¬† I still slip up and eat food I shouldn’t.¬† But I’ve come so far.¬† My health issues started me on a path not only towards healing, but towards optimized health.¬† The journey has been tough at times, but I’ve learned so much along the way.¬† For that I am grateful.

Not to toot my own horn (ok, maybe a little!) but I think I look younger now then I did then.  When you take care of yourself, it shows.  Especially as you get older. 20180510_0909142132568400.jpg

Make smart choices to feel better today.¬† Make those smart choices into your habits and routine.¬† Those smart choices will have a cumulative effect, one of them being a more youthful appearance, and who doesn’t want that?!