Frozen and Cheating

It hasn’t been a great week.

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My oldest son, definitely sums up the week!

In the spirit of being transparent and real (keep it real!)- I’ve been cheating left and right.¬† Popcorn.¬† Easter candy.¬† Chocolate bunnies.¬† I’ve been on the cheating train and that train is a crazy one.¬† In my defense, it has been spring break week.¬† It has also been snowing, freezing, windy and nasty.¬† So I’ve been pent up with three kids with serious spring fever.

We’re not going to kill it 100% of the time.¬† I am working on viewing myself with a bit of compassion, honesty, and of course- humor.¬† I stepped on the scale yesterday to face the music and thankfully, it wasn’t as bad as I feared.

I got super strict with my carbs again and got that rush of ketone-energy that I’d been lacking.¬† The problem with the diet is that it only works as long as you follow it!!

I’ve found that the more I cheat, the more I¬†want¬†to cheat.¬† I just need to be super strict, and it is actually easier.¬† Because a “few” sips of my kids chocolate shake turns into a few chocolates turns into gummy bears turns into feeling awful… you get the idea.

It doesn’t help that my husband thought it’d be a good idea to stock up (and I do mean STOCK up) on clearance Easter chocolate and candy because it was 70% off! ūüėí

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I’m not kidding!!!!¬† This isn’t even all of it!

But honestly, as long as I’m being super strict, the cravings disappear and I can ignore the obnoxiously abundant supply of chocolate-covered peanut butter in my pantry.

It really boils down to getting back in touch with your goals.¬† Then you can decide, is it worth it?¬† Then you just do it.¬† Succeeding long term requires a mixture of being honest with yourself but also giving yourself grace… and believing that you are worth it.¬† That your health should be a priority.¬† Because junk food may taste good but it isn’t worth it.¬† Because feeling good is better than momentary indulgences.

Easy Keto Hot Chocolate

I hope you all had a wonderful Easter.¬† I did.¬† From a diet standpoint I decided it would definitely be a cheat day.¬† I enjoyed a cheesy ham and potato casserole, fruit, and gluten free double chocolate chip muffins.¬† It was delicious and wonderful but I’m definitely ready to get back on track!

One of my favorite (quick and easy!) treats lately has been my keto coco, or hot chocolate.¬† You can get the flavor (and comfort!) of hot chocolate without cheating….20180402_085253.jpg

and get a potent serving of antioxidants and a decent source of protein, but more importantly- a chocolate fix!  And only three ingredients!

I tolerate milk so I heat up about 1 cup of fairlife filtered whole milk and then whisk in 2 heaping tablespoons of cacao powder and about 1 1/2 tablespoons monk fruit sweetener.  You could easily adjust up or down depending on the sweetness desired.  You could also add in some concentrated coffee or espresso for an energizing, polyphenol-packed mocha!

This cocoa tastes like the real deal but only clocks in at 10 net carbs and 290 calories.

Great for days when it’s “spring” but you live in Minnesota and it’s still freezing out!¬†¬†e223bc53a9eb36de358f18f3995b1dbd

Owning Your Health

After realizing I had some symptoms of hypothyroidism I did a lot of research.¬† Aha, that explains the disappearing eyebrows and my growing coffee habit.¬† Because I did a fair amount of research I also learned that most people go undiagnosed because many doctors still only test their T4 hormone- which is more indicative of pituitary gland function than thyroid health.¬† This¬†video¬†by Dr. Ken Berry is particularly helpful.¬† It’s a bit long but really worth it.

So when I went in to get my numbers checked I politely¬†insisted¬†on getting my T3 levels checked as well.¬† It’s so important to remember that your doctor is working for you.¬† If you spend a couple hours researching a concern before you go in, you may (unfortunately) be better educated on that topic than your doctor.¬† There’s no need to be arrogant but be clear on what you want.¬† If I had just my T4 checked, like she suggested- my results would have come back normal.¬† But I told her I wanted to check T3 and that is where the problem was revealed.

I learned that T4 results can be normal for years while a patient is still suffering from hypothyroidism and that testing T3 is far more accurate.¬† I was able to look over some old results.¬† I had went in a couple times a few years ago to get checked out, because I was feeling tired.¬† They only checked my T4 at that time, which was “normal”.¬† We are really privileged to live in this day and age when there is so much information available at our fingertips.¬† It just takes a bit of time and being proactive to educate yourself.

I also learned that the typically prescribed medication; synthroid, only addresses boosting T4 levels.¬† Many people go on it and don’t feel any better.¬† The natural (and superior!) option is taking dessiccated animal thyroid.¬† With animal thryoid, you get all four thyroid hormones in a natural form.¬†¬†The article¬†goes more indepth on the benefits of natural thyroid over synthetic.¬† Doctors have been treating patients with dessiccated thyroid for over a century.¬† So guess which option I’m embracing? ūüėõ

Did my keto diet cause my hypothyroidism?¬† I don’t think so.¬† I’ve had symptoms for a long time.¬† I used to boost my energy with a lot of sugar and caffeine.¬† Maybe since cutting out the sugar I’m just feeling the effects more.¬† I had¬†hyperthyroidism as a young adult and a doctor told me then my thyroid would eventually burn itself out and I’d become hypothryoid as I got older.

Treating and medicating yourself may be a bit too much for some.¬† And it has it’s risks, for sure.¬† You don’t have to “prescribe” yourself anything but you can still take steps to be proactive in achieving your best health.¬† Don’t look to the doctor for a pill for everything.¬† If you can lower your cholesterol with oats and bergamot, why not do that over taking a pill with a laundry list of side effects?¬†¬†dreadzen2

Anyways, much love guys and thank you for reading and hanging out with me on my journey! ūüėė

 

 

Cycling in Carbs

Disclaimer: I’m just trying to figure this all out as I go.

Lately I’ve been feeling¬†really¬†tired and rundown.¬† This past week I’ve had that awful zombie-esque feeling I get sometimes.¬† Lupus and auto-immune disorders run in my family.¬† My grandma died young and a major factor was her lupus.¬† Because of my genetics and family history, my body is just incredibly sensitive to inflammation.¬† If I eat something inflammatory, I’m feeling it,¬†big time.¬†¬†The chief inflammatory offender being gluten, of course.¬† But also carrageenan, soy lecithin, MSG, preservatives….

It keeps me eating a mostly clean diet, so it’s good in that sense.¬† But I have been eating¬†pretty¬†clean and still, the feeling persists….

I happened to listen to this¬†podcast specifically on women, inflammation and the keto diet.¬† It’s the “wellness mama” herself (she’s kind of a legend!) and Thomas Delauer- an expert on all things keto.¬† It’s a great podcast, check it out.¬† If you want to know fo sho that this Thomas guy knows his stuff; just check out his transformation-¬†woah

He lost 100 pounds and now models on magazine covers.¬† So¬†pretty¬†sure he knows his stuff.¬† But anyhoos, one thing he discussed is the topic of “cheating” on ketosis.¬† He cycles in carbs when he stops feeling great.

See, our bodies do store reserves of glycogen that can last for weeks.¬† But those levels do get depleted eventually.¬† That’s when you start feeling run down, achey, tired, etc.¬† Bingo.

I’ve been at this for three months with only one official cheat meal (haha I did “cheat” eating some mediocre leftover gluten free mac and cheese but we won’t discuss that!).¬† Maybe at this point I need a cheat meal or two to rev up my engine.

I’m going to give it a go.¬† No crappy restaurant food this time, though.¬† I’ll probably make a homemade meal with some rice or potatoes- all in the name of replenishing glycogen stores, of course! ūüėČ

With the keto diet, as with anything- you need to listen to your body.  What worked well at one point might need tweaking in the future.  You have to be flexible. 1950s-blond-woman-winking-eye-vintage-images

 

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

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!