Stepping into the Keto Diet

My husband decided to join one of those weight loss contests that pop up at work after the New Year. They had set a pretty aggressive amount of weight to lose by 28 days. I had heard people were having great success on the Keto Diet and thought that this, along with the fasting we were already doing, might work best for him. So I suggested he give it try. Then I set off to learn as much about it as I could so I could help him. I was amazed by what I learned.

To start, I began looking for recipes. Keto friendly things I could make and have in the freezer, so he would have yummy, healthy food to eat while I am on the road. There are a tremendous amount of recipes available out there. The premise behind keto is high fat, moderate protein and very low carbs. It forces your body into a ketogenic state or ketosis, which causes it to use fat for energy rather than carbohydrates. According to Wikipedia; this diet was first developed in the 20s for treatment of childhood seizures.

This way of eating is in sharp contrast to the “Stop the Insanity” low fat diets from the 90s.

There is a documentary (which is available to watch on Netflix) called ‘The Magic Pill.’ Watching this documentary inspired me to also try the ketogenic diet as well. Sure I would love the weight loss but the health benefits demonstrated in the movie were my real motivation. This show follows several people for a few weeks as they switch to this way of eating. The results they had were miraculous. Cancer, Autism, Diabetes, and Asthma were all demonstrated life changing improvements because of it; not to mention weight management. One of the ‘ah ha’ moments for me was right at the start of the documentary. When they said; “Every animal controls its weight naturally, other than humans and animals fed by humans”. My goodness! I never stopped to think that there are no obese deer or even pump lazy sloths.

As a pescatarian (vegetarian who eats fish) the idea of going on a diet, without the American staple of carbs, seemed like a difficult choice. It takes away so many of the things I am able to eat on the road. I also have difficulty with my blood sugar, that can dip to low and cause me to not feel well, if I do not eat the right thing or go to long without eating. This has made me believe I need a high protein diet. I was about to learn that was not true! As I stepped off into the world of ketogenic eating, my first challenge came when I went to a German restaurant with friends. Their vegetarian dish was pasta and the fish/seafood dishes were with pasta or breaded. Hmmm… what to have? I elected for the green beans with almonds and a cucumber salad. I also ate a few pieces of cheese off a friend’s appetizer plate. I was full. Challenge accepted and completed. Next morning, eggs and veggies are a very normal breakfast for me, so that did not even require a change. Lunch was riced cauliflower made into fried rice with eggs and plenty of olive oil. Yummy!

Do you know what I discovered? My blood sugar has remained stable. I have not had the shaky or woozy feeling that I often get when I don’t eat enough protein. Here, all this time, my need for high protein was a result of a diet high in carbs. I am on my third day of this new way of eating and I feel great. I am also doing this in conjunction with the intermittent fasting I have been doing since June. The two seem to work well together.

With the combination of intermittent fasting and Keto Diet, my husband has lost 11 pounds in 6 days. Isn’t that amazing? One of his favorite treats on the Keto Diet is the Fat Bombs. They are a nice little treat but also help to keep the consumption of fat, good and high, as required for ketosis. There are lots of fat bomb recipes but the ones he likes are made with natural unsweetened peanut butter, cream cheese, a tiny bit of stevia, and rolled in semisweet or dark chocolate. They are rolled in balls about a quarter’s diameter and are delicious. You only need to eat one to feel like you had a treat and quite satisfied. After all, that is what eating fat does. It helps us feel satiated.

Whether you are curious about the ketogenic diet or planning to try it yourself, there seems to be potential benefit for amazing results. If you enjoy documentaries, I recommend you check out ‘The Magic Pill.’ It is very interesting.

Thank you for reading my blog today. I love you. May you find healthy eating that works for you, as if by magic.

*Photo was taken in Palermo, Sicily

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How I Learned to Love My Body Again

Think about being a child, care free in your appearance. How free that must feel. I watch my stepson and grandchildren. They will put on some goofy thing and know they look good. Body image is such a struggle for so many today. How can we heal this within ourselves?
My own struggles with body image started very young. I can remember being in elementary school and thinking I was fat. I am not sure where the initial problem started from. Was it my grandmother saying I should wear dark colors because they were slenderizing? Was it the kid on the play ground who called me a 2000 pound Tyrannosaurus rex? Could it have been noticing that clothes did not look on me the way they looked on my Barbie Dolls? Whatever the reason, from a young age, my body image sucked! It started a vicious cycle of dieting and binging that carried on until my late 30’s when eventually I had gastric bypass surgery. I lost 113.5 as a result of the surgery. I looked amazing, at least with my clothes on. Without them my skin hung and sagged. Without the fat I had way more skin than I needed. Stretch marks from years of weight gain made a map across my body. My breasts hung, more than a little, lower than were they belonged. I still felt disgusting. I consulted with a plastic surgeon to have skin pealed off of my body so that other skin could be pulled up and the folds would be decreased. Even after the surgery my body would not resemble those molded plastic fashion dolls of my youth. At least my body would be a little less gross. I scheduled the surgery.
At that time I was doing online dating. It struck me sometime before the plastic surgery that this was not the correct option for me. I needed to learn to love myself as is, otherwise how could anyone else love me? The kind of man I was looking for was the kind who could look past people faults and love the beautiful soul inside. I canceled surgery and decided any man who wanted me would have to be able to love this body with all of its mileage. I started working on loving myself. I started working on improving my feelings about my body.
I started small. Noticing aspects of my body that I did like was a way to begin. My toes are cute. I have strong legs. Parts of me that were easy to love paved the way to loving all of me. I found a great hair stylist. Which taught me my frizzy, out of control hair was actually full of really fun curls. Then the shopping began. The jeans and t-shirts were pushed to the back of the closet. Dresses now hung in the front. Pretty girly things that made me feel like a woman. I embraced my femininity. Changing my dating profile from “a few extra pounds” to “curvy” really helped me embrace my body as sexy, even if I still felt it was imperfect.
I did find a man who loves me as is. He is a beautiful and kind soul. The year we were married, Emy and I were planning our annual BWCA (Boundary Water Canoe Area) trip. These trips have morphed from fun adventures into an opportunity to work on wellness and self improvement. We still have lots of fun but they are now so much more. In the bags I included a pack of metallic pastel colored pertinent markers. “A fun activity for our trip, awaits in the bags”, I told Emy. Letting the anticipation of surprise speak to the little girl in her. All the while the little girl in me was relishing this idea.
As we sat on our private island in the BWCA, near our campfire, drinking tea, and watching the sun glisten off the lake, I produced the markers. “We are going to write message of love to our body”. She lit up. We set to work covering our bodies in words of appreciation and things we wanted to manifest for ourselves. When we were done the metallic ink sparked in the afternoon sun. Words such a strength, love, beauty, temperance, feminine, courage, and support adorned our bodies amidst peace symbols, flowers, vines, hearts, and other symbolic drawings. It was a transformative experience.
I am more comfortable with my body now than I have been since I was a very young child. I still have moments, but for the most part, I love my body. I love every line and fold. Even that parts that don’t sit as high as they once did, receive appreciation and loving kindness from me.

What struggles do you have with your body image? Do you have helpful tricks you can share with others?

Thank you for reading my blog today. May you have loving kindness for your body!

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The Boundary Waters Canoe Area, like so many beautiful areas, may be at risk from exploitation. If you feel so moved please sign the petition below to save this amazing natural resource!
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