Moving right along with my trial program, today was my first day of the Keto diet. Keto refers to the state of ketosis your body enters where instead of burning carbs for energy, you burn fat. You accomplish this by producing ketones in the liver to be used for energy. Lowering the amount of carbs you intake reduces the glucose and insulin and means fat is used instead of being stored in the body.

I was first introduced to keto by my good friend, Erica, when I visited her in Florida. It had been several years since I had seen her, but I noticed more than anything how confident she looked. She told me she had lost almost 40 pounds (WHAT?!?!) on the keto diet, and she felt fabulous. She looked fabulous. I tried to select the restaurants where we ate out to have options for her, and I was impressed with how great she did even with bread on the table and me guiltily getting dessert.

“I honestly have no cravings,” she explained. The keto diet doesn’t allow for any sugar, natural or otherwise. It doesn’t allow for grains, natural or otherwise either. But the foods I eat are very filling, energy boosting, and satisfying.” I’ll admit I was slightly skeptical (I mean, NO sugar?! Not even honey? I LOVE HONEY!). But I admired her sticking to a lifestyle which agreed with her. It’s all about sustainability with me, and if it helps you achieve your goal, and you enjoy it, who am I to judge?

Not too long after my visit, my husband, who had just been diagnosed with kidney disease, was watching some videos from our favorite fitness and lifestyle mentor Brian Johnson (seriously, why haven’t you checked him out yet, he’s the best). Turns out Brian’s brother was diagnosed with cancer. But rather than succumb to it, the Johnsons fought hard to get his brother to a better place, physically, emotionally, and mentally. One way they tackled his illness was through nutrition, specifically the keto diet. They lowered his processed and high sugar carbs and increased his healthy fats. Avocado, olive oil, nuts and seeds, and yes, unprocessed meats. You are shooting for adequate protein levels, not high or even moderate. But meat is keto-approved.

Seems this nutrition regiment did the trick. I don’t remember the actual quote from Brian, but his brother’s doctor basically said if he hadn’t known his brother had cancer, he wouldn’t think he had cancer.

The success of keto is mostly surrounded by the correct scientifically proven fact that sugar is candy for cancer. Kick the sugar habit and live a longer, healthier life.

With Chris needing to cut his protein quite significantly, and needing extra calories, we decided to give keto a trial. However, there is one small caveat to the keto diet. You should not try a strict low carb, high fat diet (even healthy fats) if you have high blood pressure, or that’s right, kidney disease.

But we still incorporated some aspects of keto into our lifestyle. I decreased our sugar consumption, and increased our healthy fats. Chris discovered he DID like avocados, and started making his own salads with avocado and homemade Italian dressing. I make his favorite keto breakfast casserole most weeks for his breakfast, and we have switched to mostly keto-approved flours to make bread (coconut bread is our favorite).

Keto is well known for it’s weight loss benefits (as my beautiful friend can attest). This is because with keto, you burn fat rather than carbs. Now, just a week of keto won’t really do the trick of seeing your fat melt right off your body. These week trials are to give you a taste for what you can eat on these dietary lifestyles, and hopefully give you a better idea if it might be the right one for you. It can take a month or more to see the results.

Today, I went just a little over my goal for fats, but not by much. My carb count was a little too high, my protein a smidge too low. This is probably because I was practicing Meatless Monday and some cheeses have a little more carbohydrates in them than other food. As I’ve stated before, too, this is a trial, and I’m figuring out a lot of challenges and potential issues each meal plan has. I fixed quite a few from last week, which is why I am really glad I’m doing this trial.

But I digress a little. Keto is known for more than it’s cancer-fighting, weight dropping power. It’s also known to reduce your blood pressure and cholesterol levels. It’s great for managing and preventing diabetes, since it eliminates so much sugar. People report having tons more energy on the keto diet, and clearer skin as well.

This is an interesting week for me to try keto. We’ll see if my cravings get the best of me, or if keto keeps me satiated and satisfied. And if it helps keep my face from breaking out too much.

Today:
Weight- 182.5 (what? that’s down 2.5 pounds for the week!!)

Meals
Breakfast: Keto Casserole
Lunch: Salad with sunflower seeds and Italian dressing
Dinner: Keto approved lasagna, using zucchini for noodles. OMG, this was definitely the recipe to beat. I pressed my zucchini last night as part of my meal prep. I think removing a good portion of the moisture helped them really taste and feel like real noodles. If I hadn’t made it myself, I would have sworn they were actual lasagna noodles. However, one reason I DID know they were zucchini was I decided to cook the lasagna in the crock pot (I love this freaking thing, it’s the best invention ever). And even though I pressed the zucchini, the crockpot loves to gather moisture, so the meal was super soupy. It cut fine and I was able to serve it fine, but there was a lot of liquid in the bottom. I may try it again another time and bake the noodles for about 1/2 hour before making the lasagna and see if that helps. But regardless, I thought this was absolutely delicious.

Keto Lasagna 4 servings- 489 calories; Carbs 30g, Fat 17g, Protein 41g

Ingredients

  • 12- ⅛ inch thick, 9 inches long, strips of zucchini (about 2 medium zucchini)
  • 1 lb ground turkey (optional)
  • 1 bunch spinach, chopped
  • 1 16 oz can tomato sauce
  • 1 16 oz can diced tomatoes, drained
  • 2 cloves garlic, minced
  • 2 Tbsp Italian Seasoning
  • 12 oz cottage cheese
  • 15 oz ricotta cheese
  • 1/2 cup grated parmesan cheese
  • 8 oz mozzarella cheese, shredded
  • Salt and pepper to taste

Directions

  1. Make the noodles- preheat oven to 425F. Brush a baking sheet very lightly with olive oil and arrange zucchini slices. Season with salt and pepper, if desired. Bake zucchini for 5 minutes on each side, then remove from the oven. Set zucchini aside and lower the temperature to 375F.
  2. Make sauce-  If using meat for dish, heat a large skillet over medium heat. Place ground turkey in skillet and cook until completely browned, stirring, breaking up chunks, and turning frequently. Add sauce, tomatoes, garlic, and seasoning to skillet. Let simmer for about 10 minutes, or until veggies are softened, stirring occasionally. (if not using meat, then just heat sauce, tomatoes, garlic, and seasoning in a medium saucepan).
  3. Wilt spinach over steaming water for about 5-7 minutes.
  4. Make cheesy layer- Mix the ricotta and cottage cheese with the parmesan cheese in a bowl. Carefully mix wilted spinach into cheese mixture.
  5. Brush olive oil on a 9×13 baking dish. Begin layering by spreading ⅓ of the sauce along the bottom of the dish. Place a layer of zucchini noodles (about 4) on top of the sauce.. Top the noodles with the cheese and spinach mixture.
  6. Repeat layers until all ingredients are used and casserole dish is full (about three layers total)
  7. Sprinkle mozzarella evenly over the top. Cover dish with aluminum foil and bake at 375F for 45 minutes.
  8. Remove foil and turn off oven, letting the lasagna passively bake for another 10 minutes, or until top layer of cheese is browned. Serve warm.

Workouts:
CrossFit Beginners class at 9- rowing, sumo-deadlifts
Masters Class Coaching- did a little mobility/core work at end of class
ZooFit- Walked Greenbank Farm. About 2.25 miles. I ran a little but my knee started bothering me right at the 2 mile mark. Know your limits, PJ.

I’m pretty pleased with the weight loss. I haven’t noticed if my sleep has improved. I’m spending too much time later in the evening online and it’s a habit I would love to work on, but I’m all about taking things one at a time. I did have a very disturbing dream a couple nights ago which believe it or not, was so anxiety ridden, I actually got anxious last night as I tried to go to sleep. That hasn’t happened since I was a kid.

I feel my mood is good. I have a fairly low-key couple of days until November, and then the shit will hit the fan. Tons of writing classes, holiday prep work, writing for NaNoWriMo. I’m ’bout to be BIZ-ZEE! So I’ll take these calm and quiet days for now.