low carb

Keto, Low Carb & Quarantine

I want to start by saying that Keto is not for everyone. It’s a diet that takes a LOT of planning. It takes a LOT of tracking. You have to be on top of things or you are not doing the keto diet.

I was doing keto and basically maintaining at this point, not losing, which was frustrating in a lot of ways.

Then this covid-19 thing happened and things changed. Suddenly, the grocery store felt like a battle ground. You had to wear a mask, wipe everything down, try to avoid touching things as much as you can, avoid people…we were working from home and I was only going to the grocery store about every 9-12 days instead of weekly (or twice a week).

So my buying habits had to change. We were pretty stocked up on proteins because of Costco (in our freezer we have: frozen chicken thighs, burger patties, pork chops, salmon, shrimp, scallops, bratwursts). I had frozen veggies (cauliflower rice, green beans, cauliflower mash, etc). But fresh produce does not last long so I had to be creative.

For awhile there eggs were hard to find in my grocery store. We were never OUT of them but had to ration (now stores have them fully stocked).

So for breakfasts I rotate: one day I do my plain greek yogurt with blueberries (frozen, from Costco, defrosted) with almonds, chia seeds and keto granola. Another day I will do keto toast with cream cheese or avocado and two fried or scrambled eggs. Sometimes Michael will make a hash (sauteed sweet potatoes topped with smoked salmon, arugula and fried eggs). Logan has frozen waffles, eggs, toast with applesauce or fruit or oatmeal. He’s also on a rotation. πŸ™‚

Dinners are largely the same when we were doing keto but once a week we are doing a pasta or rice dish to help stretch the pantry items and make it so I don’t need to go to the grocery store as often. One night I wanted an easy dinner and made rice, beans, avocado, salsa, with sour cream and jalapenos. Basically a vegetarian bowl. Another night we had pasta with cajun shrimp.

It’s definitely harder to stick to a keto or low carb diet during the quarantine because we can’t have fresh items as often. And we have to be creative with meals sometimes. I do see a lot of keto people sticking to it, and I commend them.

So far in the 6 or so weeks that I’ve been home I’ve been working out 5 days a week still and I gained 2-3 pounds. I guess from eating carbs. There are days here and there where I am a little “snacky” and eat junk (like crackers or chips) but I try not to buy junk food at all to not have the temptation in the house!

I have started up doing sourdough bread again.

Which is fun. It’s something to do as a family, too. Logan helped!

And Michael even tried his hand at doing his very own loaf!

It’s been a struggle with the weight and exercise thing (more mentally than anything). But right now is not the time to focus on that–now is the time to give ourselves grace and be patient with ourselves while the world is a scary place.

QUESTION: How has your diet/exercise mentality changed during the covid-19 pandemic?

Keto Reader Questions

Reader Questions

I’ve gotten a lot of questions and comments and I wanted to address some of them here. I also wanted to share a few products I found (Amazon affiliate links) that I’ve liked so far! But first, on to the FAQ:

Cheat Days

One question I get is do I have cheat days? My answer is no. Not so far, anyways. I am planning on having a “cheat day” in a few weeks for Logan’s birthday. We are having pizza and cake. But other than that I am not having cheat days. Since February 1st when I started this diet I have been on the plan. I’ve had a few bites here and there of things that were not “on plan” but no cheat days. I don’t want to get out of ketosis. I don’t know if that one bite of Logan’s banana or a few M&M’s I had in a month and a half were enough to knock me out of ketosis, but I hope not!

I don’t think cheat days are necessarily the right route to take in the initial phases of Keto. I think once you lose the weight, or get to whatever goal you want to get to, making a modified Keto schedule is a good plan. Maybe planning a cheat day or cheat meal is a good thing. Or having a carb cycling schedule….something. That’s something I plan on doing once I get to my goal. We’ll see.

Alcohol

The biggest question/comment I’ve gotten is that people are curious about keto and want to give it a try but they don’t want to give up their weekend glass of wine! I was totally in the same boat. About 8 months ago, I decided on a strict no-alcohol during the week rule and went back to my old “only on the weekend” treat rule. It’s easy for the “creep” to start and before you know it, you have a glass on a Tuesday night without even thinking about it.

But I was wanting to lose the Prozac Weight, and so I went back to my old rule. (And not seeing any weight loss, see previous post about my struggles.) When I decided to try Keto, I was reluctant to COMPLETELY give up my weekend wine. I mean, in my mind I was going back on the super restrictive (aka MISERABLE) low carb diet, and I did NOT want to give up my Friday glass of wine on top of that.

Thankfully, I found out I didn’t have to. Like everything–it just means moderation. And make sure you are choosing a SMART adult beverage. So since starting keto, I’ve restricted my intake to weekends and keeping it to one or two glasses tops (which was my norm before anyways) and I stick with Pinot Noir or a sparkling white or Pinot Blanc. I tend to like super dry/crisp/not sweet wines anyway, so that works for me!

I do kinda miss beer a little bit, but oh well!

Websites

What websites do I use for recipes? I use Instagram a lot of the time. I find recipes on there and then I will use these websites:

Diet Doctor

Cast Iron Keto

Low Carb Yum

Nom Nom Paleo

 

Snacks

Another question I’ve gotten from people are what to have for easy snacks, especially on-the-go snacks or snacks that are easy to take for work, etc. Here are a few of my favorites so far:

Cello Parmesan Whisps – We buy these at Costco. They are an easy and tasty “chip” substitute and low in carbs.

LonoLife Grass-Fed Bone Broth – I’ve tried a few different brands and so far this is by far my favorite! I really like it! It actually tastes really good. One packet is 50 calories, no carbs, 10g of protein. If you buy it on Amazon and do the subscribe and save option, it’s cheaper.

Quest Bars – I’m not a huge fan of processed bars but I tried a few different flavors of the Quest bars and they were actually ok. The good news is that they were under 200 calories for the whole bar and usually around 4 or 5 net carbs. I tend to split the bar in half and have half of it as a snack.

Atkins Bars – Like the Quest Bars, the Atkins Bars are low in net carbs and high in fiber and quick and easy treats/snacks. Depending on which flavor you get, they taste ok. I got the chocolate mint wafer ones and all I could taste was the chemical/fake sugar flavor. But the caramel chewy one was really delicious. So experiment and see which ones you like.

Nuts – I buy these at Trader Joes. They are the best priced. I buy the roasted/salted sunflower seeds, macadamia nuts and the raw walnuts. Those are my go-to nuts for snacks. I usually eat 1/2 a serving of whatever the package says with some cheese as my snack.

Cheese – Cheese sticks are a great snack (and paired with nuts are great!). It’s nice to have some variety, too. So Michael gets the Babybel rounds at Costco and then I buy different flavored cheese sticks at the grocery store (currently going through a habanero phase).

Plain Greek Yogurt with Berries and Flaxseed – I use the Fage Full Fat and add some frozen raspberries and 1 Tablespoon of ground flaxseed. It’s delicious, high in fat and high in fiber! This snack is great pre-workout because it’s a little bit higher in carbs than my other snacks.

Keto Bark – Holy crap is this delicious!!! I gave it a try and got it on Amazon in a two pack. It is so good! Individually wrapped, which is nice. 120 calories, 10g of Fat, 2g of net carbs…the perfect snack or dessert if you are watching carbs. And it actually tastes SO good!

Other Finds

Liquid Stevia– I wanted to give this a try because the regular Stevia packets has some carbs in it but this liquid version doesn’t have any carbs in it. Plus I thought it would be easier to use liquid stevia in cooking some keto recipes I’ve found that I want to try.

Primal Kitchen Collagen Fuel Vanilla Coconut – I got this to try in my coffee. I was interested in seeing if it was a good alternative to putting stevia in my coffee. I liked that it was in individual packets so I could take it to work easily. It mixed well, but I did notice that some of it did settle to the bottom of my coffee cup so that last sip was a little gross in texture.

The flavor was really nice. I tasted mostly vanilla, not so much the coconut. I made my coffee with the collagen packet and some heavy cream.

If you have any other tips or questions, please leave a comment! Thanks!