Still?!

I’ve gotten multiple comments like, “You’re¬†still¬†doing keto?”¬† Wow, my friends and family apparently don’t have much faith in my ability to stick things out!¬† ūüėõ

Honestly, I am a bit of a bandwagon jumper.  I see something that catches my eye or interest and jump right in.  Only to lose interest and move on to the next thing.  But keto is different for me.  What started as a plan to lose a few holiday-chocolate-truffle-cookie pounds morphed into so much more.

The pounds melted off quickly, yes.¬† But that wasn’t the end point.¬† Because I’m sure the weight would creep back up if I went back to carbs and sugar… but I’m sticking it out because I genuinely enjoy my keto foods and¬†especially¬†the way I feel on the plan.

This is a lifestyle and one that I plan to maintain.

I’ve been pretty vocal about the fact that I’ve struggle with depression and anxiety.¬† No shame in my game because I know that so many others do as well.¬† For me, a good hunk of it is genetic.¬† I believe, at the moment, my three most closely related relatives are on anti-depressants and anxiety meds.¬† My grandma still texts me anxiously whenever there is a storm front in my neck of the woods.

I am stubbornly naturally-minded person though and I’m determined to live my happiest, healthiest life¬†naturally.¬†¬†Please don’t hear me condemning the use of meds.¬† This isn’t that.¬† Some people need them.¬† Period.¬† My depression/anxiety is mild enough that I am able to function well with some lifestyle adjustments, or “hacks”.¬† That’s my own conviction but I certainly don’t judge people who use meds as a well-rounded approach to supporting their mental health.

I am a generally happy person but I would get slammed with periods of depression on a regular basis.¬† I’ve always used exercise and a healthy lifestyle to combat that.¬† I am also a person of faith so I practice that every day as well.¬† This diet, and the effect of ketones on my brain, has filled in the missing pieces for me.¬† It’s hard to explain but I feel much more confident, much¬†less¬†anxious.¬† Things that used to bother me horribly I am able to shrug off now.

There is evidence that the brain runs more¬†efficiently on ketones over glucose.¬† For one thing, it upregulates mitochondrial biogenesis.¬† bfb5f95c29a922587cf7bfe1a6dd684ecc7dbe603add9b7ffc7246984dcdfff0¬†Mitochondria are like the tiny power plant powerhouses that we have in every single cell.¬† They basically power our bodies at the cellular level.¬† For example: cyanide works because it shuts down our mitochondria.¬† Without them, we die pretty quick.¬† Ketones in the brain (or elsewhere) leads to a process where the weaker mitochondria die off and stronger ones replace them.¬† It’s literally an anti-aging process.¬† Forget wrinkle cream.¬† Put MCT oil in your coffee instead.

That’s why so many people fast and end up feeling better and getting relief from chronic pain and other conditions.¬† Any time you’re fasting your body is making ketones.¬† The ketones cause rapid autophagy- basically a cellular deep cleaning where weak old cells get gobbled up and replaced.

The good news is that you don’t have to fast to get the benefits.¬† A very low carb diet with provide the same benefits, in a much more sustainable way.¬† If you’d like more info check out¬†this article¬†from Mark’s Daily Apple.¬† There is also evidence that ketosis can reverse dementia and other forms of mental decline.

Any plan where copious amounts of cream, cheese, cream cheese is encouraged while your brain gets sharper and your bum gets smaller- is a winner in my book! ūüėČ

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Red Unveiling

So guys, I promise this is going to be the LAST post in my week-long hair saga.

Even after multiple toners my hair was still just not a shade of blonde you would find in nature.  I was surprised how much it affected my self-esteem.  However you feel about beauty standards, we feel so much better when we like the way we look.

If only for your own confidence, do things that make you feel good about yourself so that you can move about your life with the confidence that you should!

So after a bit of debating, I went and bought a hair dye kit.¬† There was no salvaging the blonde.¬† I decided to cover it up with a dramatic red.¬† I’ve gone red before and I really like it.¬† I did it myself (after a glass of wine!) for under $10 and in under 30 minutes.¬† Yay for DIY.¬†20180309_104808.jpg

I think it looks better, but¬†more importantly;¬†it makes me feel better.¬† I’ve got my confidence back.¬†¬†620c3b22ab2fa50849727b03eeaaf53a92cae398ea83e789e09258055d7d02a6

I think it’ll be a¬†long¬†time before I dye it again.¬† I’ll be doing lots of deep conditioning to rehab the damage from so much processing. *sigh* lesson learned, ya’ll.

Meanwhile, on the keto-front, I am doing really well.  I stopped tracking my food and macros a few weeks ago.  I felt like I had the hang of it, plus, tracking everything you eat is really annoying!  I step on the scale to check in every few days and so far I have maintained my fighting weight.

I feel really good mentally.¬† I am sleeping better than ever and I still feel calm and focused 95% of the time.¬† My only concern continues to be the dreaded “keto breath”.¬† My husband said it’s gotten a lot better but I talk to so many people at work and I don’t want to have bad breath!¬† I am currently experimenting with chlorophyll.¬† It works amazing well to eliminate bad breath and even body odor.¬† Plus there are plenty of health amazing benefits¬†to using it.¬† I’m definitely going to give it a shot and get feedback from my long suffering husband and report back! ūüėČ

Cheesecake Plus Positive Thinking

I love, love listening to podcasts.¬† I do so many menial chores around the house every day that are made so much more¬†enriching¬†with a good podcast.¬† When I vaccuum, I put on my hot pink beats and totally zone out.¬† One of my favorites is Dave Asprey’s bulletproof podcast.¬† The guy is a mad genius.¬† I love it.¬† One thing he really emphasizes on the show, and it’s 100% backed by research findings, is the sheer power of positive thinking.

I thought about that today as I had to go in to work with hair that still makes me sad ūüė¶¬† The ladies I saw at the¬†second¬†salon were able to help, but still…my hair is canary YELLOW.¬† It’s not cute.¬† I tried lots of tricks at home to tone it down.¬† De nada.¬† I even slept with my hair soaked in coconut oil and cocoa powder.¬† All it did was make my hair crunchy.¬† I washed it out and voila!¬† Bright yellow.

I pulled it back and decided that I was just going to have to rock it with confidence.¬† There was nothing to be done and I’m not about to call out of work on account of embarrassing hair.

So I did, and I survived.¬† I decided I’m just going to scrap the whole thing and dye my hair an auburn color to cover up this horrific misdeed.¬† Especially after being told, multiple times, that it didn’t look¬†that¬†bad.¬† Not exactly a look I want!

I did comfort myself with a¬†delicious¬†piece of keto cheesecake for breakfast and that made it all ok for about five minutes! This was so good, guys.¬† This cheesecake, in itself, is worth converting to keto…if you haven’t already! ūüėȬ†20180307_081333.jpg

I found the original recipe at¬†fat for weight loss.¬† Not only was it delicious, but a small (ok, generous, I had another “sliver” after this piece!) kept me full for hours.

The only things I changed was the crust and the cook time.¬† I don’t have shredded coconut so I added much more almond flour.¬† Like 1 1/2 cups.¬† He recommended a cook time of 45 minutes but at that point it was more hot, oozing custard than cake.¬† It needed another 15 minutes at a higher temp. of 345 degrees F.

I’ve never made cheesecake before and I had the impression that it would be hard, but this was really pretty simple.¬† The hardest part is waiting for it to cool before digging in!

 

A Very Bad Hair Day

Sorry guys, this post is going to be incredibly self-indulgent and possibly even whiney….

Let me set it up for you: I haven’t been to a hair salon in an entire year.¬† Partly because it’s been a tough year for us, with my 9 year old and his extended illness.¬† The other part being that I am a terrible control freak and sitting in the chair of a stranger and putting my hair into their hands gives me more than a little anxiety.

My hair had been growing out and taking on it’s usual “bronde” color. It was looking pretty healthy but really needed a trim.¬† A comment from a loved one about me looking better as a blonde tipped me over into deciding I was going to go blonde again, along with cutting off a couple inches.

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My Natural “Bronde”

Problem is, I don’t know where to go, because I never go!¬† So I looked at some reviews online and made an appt. to get in to a local salon that had good reviews.

What followed was a complete disaster.¬† The lady was obviously used to doing foils, not all over color like I wanted.¬† She did a horrendous job and after washing out the color…the “reveal” was¬†bright¬†orangish-yellow hair.¬† It was truly horrifyingly hideous.¬† Like the worst dye job you can imagine.¬† Like I could have done better with a $4 box kit in my bathroom,¬†in the dark.¬†20180305_143252-1.jpg

I’m not a drama queen (ok, I usually keep it in check) but my eyes welled up with tears.¬† I was¬†devastated.¬†¬†I walked over to the front desk with still almost sopping wet (bright orange!) hair.¬† She looked apologetic but took no responsibility, just offered to blow dry it (like that would help!)¬† As I was loudly proclaiming that it looked terrible and on the verge of an emotional breakdown she told me she wouldn’t charge me as patrons nervously looked on.¬† I grabbed my stuff and ran out, sobbing.

I booked it over to another salon (through a blizzard, at that) with a hat on and eyes puffy from crying.

The new salon ladies (yep, they all pretty much converged to try to fix the disaster) ran copious amounts of two different toners through my hair to tone down the hideous orange.¬† It wasn’t just that.¬† The original stylist had put way more dye on my roots so that they were a day-glow yellow and my ends were¬†much¬†darker.¬† Like a reverse ombre from hell.¬†¬†The end result was still no where near what I wanted but a million times better.¬† I also ordered a blue mask to get it back to an even more natural color and blue shampoo and conditioner.

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End result, still a bit orangish but much better thankfully!

Moral of the story…don’t dye or do anything drastic on an impulse.¬† At the end of the day, it’s just hair, but still….¬† Do your research and if you find a good stylist, make her your best friend!¬† And God bless all you good hair colorists and stylists; like the ladies who worked hard to salvage my hair, you are worth your weight in gold!

Sometimes life hands us the proverbial lemons (or sickly-lemon colored hair!).  Go ahead and cry and throw a pity party.  But then pick yourself up, wipe away the tears, and get on to fixing it!

Keto Flourless Chocolate Cake

I love chocolate…. Like it’s a food group to me.¬† The most important one.¬†¬†11062757_10156302585070074_8547220417261379568_n

If I couldn’t have chocolate, I wouldn’t stick with keto for long!

Luckily for me, there are many great chocolicious keto recipes out there as well as recipes that are easily adaptable.

Flourless chocolate cake is one such recipe.¬† It’s high fat, low carb.¬† It’s rich, dense, sinfully delicious.¬† It’s easily made sugar free with the use of a low-carb sweetener.¬† My favorite at the moment is monk sweet– a blend of stevia, erythritol, and monk fruit extract.

I adapted a combo of recipes to make this delicious and keto-friendly!

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Everything’s Better with Butter, Ya’ll!

You’ll need~

  • a stick of butter (preferably grass fed!)
  • 4 ounces unsweetened baking chocolate
  • 1/2 to 3/4 cup of your sweetener
  • 1/4 cup cocoa (or raw cacao powder)
  • 1 tsp. pink salt
  • 1 tsp. vanilla extract
  • 4 eggs

I started with melting my butter and the broken up chocolate on medium-low in a medium saucepan.¬† I added the sweetener as well, so that the cake wouldn’t be gritty.¬† As that melted down I turned the burner to low and added the rest of the ingredients, mixing after each addition.

I removed the pan from the heat before whisking in the eggs.¬† I poured the brownie-like batter into a greased, round 8″ glass pan and baked at 375 degrees for 25 minutes.

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The result was Ah-MAZ-ing.  I ate a piece with some whipped cream on top.  It hits the spot for sure.  Not only is it keto-friendly but you are also getting loads of antioxidants from all the chocolate.  Believe it or not but chocolate is pretty much the richest source of health-boosting antioxidants that you can eat.

“One study showed that cocoa and dark chocolate contained more antioxidant activity, polyphenols and flavanols than other fruits they tested, which included¬†blueberries¬†and Acai berries.” –¬†health benefits of chocolate¬†

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Chocolate is a superfood in every capacity; high in fiber, iron, minerals… and this is a great way to get the full benefits without the health-degrading effects of sugar.

So treat yourself to this recipe with zero guilt!

ADHD and Diet

Aye aye aye…it’s always something, right?

My young daughter has always been, ahem, “unique”.¬† She has the face of an angel and the temperament of a feral raccoon.¬† She’s sweet, silly, fun but she has zero impulse control.¬† Have you heard of the marshmallow self control test?¬† Where the researcher tells the child not to eat the marshmallow and then leaves the room?¬† Well, Shiloh would not only eat the marshmallow but then she’d toss up his file of papers into the air.¬† She’d find a pen and scribble unicorns on the wall.¬† She’d dig through his briefcase and doodle on the leather.¬† She’d do all this with great joy until she got busted at which point she’d wail with impassioned (feigned) heartbreak at her own naughtiness.

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She only looks angelic!

She’s always been kind of nuts but we’re pretty used to it.¬† From the time she could crawl she was getting into everything¬†with a destructive twinkle in her eye.¬† She’s my third so I’m chill with my parenting almost to the point of being negligent.¬† We just kind of accept and love her for who she is.¬† She routinely makes us laugh as we struggle to maintain a straight, disciplinary face.¬† Like the time she decided she needed to smear zinc diaper cream¬†all over her entire body.¬†¬†

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This is why I drink, people

 

In a leather chair, no less.  Why?  Well because the tube was there and supervision was not.  Of course she was extremely apologetic after the fact.

So this has been a running joke in our family.¬† But it got considerably less funny when her kindergarten teacher started dropping heavy-handed hints that she is severely A.D.D. and struggling big time in school.¬†¬†giphy (1)Since I’m really not keen on medicating my 5 year old I am going to try to deal with this the way I usually do.¬† Denial.

Haha just kidding…. seriously though, I’ve been doing research (everyday I’m googling!) and I’ve decided to put her on a gluten free diet, at least for a month long trial run.¬† For two reasons; I have a genetic predisposition to gluten intolerance.¬† It’s highly likely it got passed down to her as well.¬† And apparently there is a huge link between gluten and ADHD .

So it makes sense to start there.¬† And because I’m an overachiever I’ve decided to force all three of my precious little, anxiety-ridden angels on a gluten free plan for at least a month.

I know I’ve greatly reduced my anxiety and general nuttiness through diet manipulation.¬† It makes sense that I could use a special diet to improve their health and especially their mental health, as well.¬† I’m not going to push keto on them, because it is so extreme.¬† But cutting down on grains and junk food definitely can’t hurt.

Son of a Biscuit

I love (really love!!)¬†that I am able to incorporate baked goods into my ketogenic lifestyle.¬† This makes me incredibly happy.¬† I’m an ok cook but an enthusiastic baker.¬† I’m not incredibly talented or anything, I just enjoy it.¬† The warmth of the oven, the aroma wafting through the house, tasting warm and gooey creations… it make me happy.

My latest creation was a recipe I adapted from chocolate chip cookies at perfect keto.  Can you think of anything nummier than a warm, freshly baked chocolate chip cookie?  Me neither!  20180221_184356.jpg

If you’re into cookie dough, this is one recipe where the dough is almost better than the finished product.¬† I might have helped myself to a few bites…and this recipe may have been my dinner last night. ūüėČ

I didn’t want my recipe to be too dry (as recipes with almond flour can be) so I reduced the “flour” down to 2 1/2 cups and did equal parts almond and coconut flour.¬† I also added almond and vanilla extract.

For my chocolate I chopped up a 90% dark chocolate bar.

I also found that I had to “nuke” my butter and coconut oil.¬† They said room temp, but my room temp is a bit too chilly for coconut oil to blend.¬†¬†20180222_081614.jpg

The end result was delicious.¬† Still a bit dry so have a cup of steaming coffee or cold milk to wash these down.¬† The texture is a bit more biscuit than cookie, but the taste is¬†pretty¬†close.¬† This is a more sophisticated, grown up cookie.¬† Just sweet enough to be a treat, minus the guilt.¬† Your kids won’t steal them.¬† Win-win.¬†cookies