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My ketogenic challenge diary

Mon, 27 January, 2020

Why diet?

Because I’m not very fond of those several kilos of fat attached to my body here and there. Also, too much body fat in over 50s (damn – now you know) is seriously bad shit.

Why keto?

Because I need to have an opinion on the ketogenic diet. I can’t diss what I’ve not tried, can I?

Why challenge?

Because I’ll be subject to major temptations, having to create, cook and shoot non-keto stuff to be posted on these pages. That might involve cakes. Also, TWM isn’t going keto and I don’t expect he’ll be having all his meals in the under stairs cupboard.

I’m not scientific but I’m a geek enough to find appeal in counting percentages and grams. And I love mascarpone. Wish me luck and off I go!

Day 25

How long am I going to continue my keto diet? Good question. I was hoping it would be a miraculous three-week spell from which I’d emerge, like Venus (or Ursula Andress) from the sea, slim and deeply impressed with keto magic. Now things are not exactly magical in everyday life as we all know so at the end of the three weeks I’m far from slim, further still from Ursula Andress and a million miles away from impressed.

It works, as any diet does, through calorie restriction i.e. the bottom line of absolutely every diet there is. Limiting carbs is sensible because they are usually calorie-rich, plus eating sugar isn’t all that healthy. But all this hocus- pocus around ketosis is precisely that: hocus-pocus. If I stuff myself senseless only with eggs and olive oil I’ll still gain weight – unless I eat so much of it I throw up.

I’ll keep on until I have lost another 2-3 kilos only because I’m stubborn. The one plus side of it for me is good energy levels but I suspect I would still get that benefit even if I wasn’t furiously converting grams of fat into percentages and memorising nutrition data from food labels. So there, and now back to my eggs. It’s an omelette, but still eggs.

For lunch it’s a smoked mackerel paste with mayo, crème fraiche and radishes and tomatoes.

And beef burgers with cheese for dinner, with a side salad. Cheeseburger without ketchup is so wrong.

burgerand salad cuisinefiend.com keto diary

Day 24

I am feeling much better today, bouncy and won’t shut up. Red wine appears to have less sugar than white (why can’t they label wine with nutrition data? because that would take away all the pleasure from drinking it) which means I drink less of it, when wine I drink, because I don’t like it as much. A keto benefit.

Also discovered new breakfast fodder – frankly, anything which isn’t eggs is a discovery – hot dog sausages which I grill under a cheesy blanket. I was surprised to see those frankies contain no carbs. I thought they had a load of rubbish stuffed into them instead of meat? Clearly cardboard (or carb-board, forgive me, couldn’t resist) is carb-free.

frankfurters with cheese cuisinefiend.com keto diary

Langoustines with mayo for lunch which turn out to be rubbish, with crunchy cabbage salad which turns out to be awesome, especially because there’s a carrot in it and proper dressing, with a drop of honey. Don’t buy frozen langoustines unless you know something about cooking them (boil? in water? briefly?) that I don’t. I wish I’d made more crunchy cabbage salad.

langoustines with mayo cuisinefiend.com keto diary

And of course, as on a Sunday, a supper of cheese plus some of those posh ham crisps I’d written about on Day 20 to bump up protein intake.

ham crisps and cheese cuisinefiend.com keto diary

Day 23

I’m beginning to detest this diet. Like a flatmate you initially loved for being clever and chatty you gradually come to realise is an overbearing bore, keto is just so monotonous. Cheese, egg, cheese, egg, butter. Meat, egg, meat, egg, cheese. I don’t miss sugar, that’s the positive of keto I’m standing by, but I miss rice and grains and fruit! I want fruit, a little piece of apple or a chunk of melon! I want to go to my local excellent Thai and have honey duck and fried rice; heck – I want to go out and NOT HAVE STEAK!

And don’t start me off on those ‘keto’ recipes for bread, cakes and pizzas. There will be nothing but substitutes in them and substitutes are a plastic spoon in your mouth. That’s firstly, and secondly it’s massive cheating because all those coconut and almond flours, pumpkin and avocados still contain carbs and having one meal of keto waffles or pancakes means you eat cheese, egg, cheese, egg, butter for the rest of the day if you want to be strict. And things like erythritol, xantham gum and whey protein make me shudder: surely all those are not EDIBLE. Plus cocoa butter is just vile.

Trying to whip up some interest in my breakfast, I’m having a whipped egg Parmesan omelette. A miserable pun.

souffle parmesan omelette 
cuisinefiend.com keto diary

For lunch I’m having a prawn salad, whoop-de-doo. With cucumber, mayo and sriracha sauce, the last ingredient I like best. Also feeling tired without any particular reason. Revenge of the carbs?

prawn and cucumber salad 
cuisinefiend.com keto diary

Now this is what I’m having tonight and I promise I’m not taking the mickey: keto pizza. Base of seared haloumi, a smear of tomato sauce (homemade) covered with a little mozzarella and salami, briefly flashed under the grill and piled with rocket salad leaves and Parmesan. So basically: cheese, cheese, meat, cheese. But actually really tasty especially with a glass of Merlot (allegedly lowest carb content). Cheers!

keto pizza cuisinefiend.com keto diary

Day 22

NO CHANGE in weight over last week. It’s in fact 100g up. And I’m getting fed up with all this fat and missing cereals and grains so much. Keto stinks. Literally, actually, if you consider bad breath.

I’m sticking with it, no fear, but this must be a low point. I’m thinking of taking a different approach from next week: stop this idiotic percentage twiddling, just watch the carbs to be under 20g per day and let the rest flow. To be honest I don’t give a flying squirrel about whether I’m in ketosis or not – incidentally my pee recently indicated deep purple on the measuring stick, i.e. high ketosis – I just want to lose weight and appreciate the lack of carb-crashing. All there is to it. But I’ll see how it goes over the weekend and decide then. Eggs for breakfast. And now I have heartburn.

scrambled eggs cuisinefiend.com keto diary

Also notice a curious symptom: I get AWFULLY hungry before meals, especially the evening one, but fill up pretty quickly as I eat. But it’s not all good (weight loss-wise) because I’m then hungry again pretty quickly, or at least fancying a nibble. Keto fact: nibble cravings don’t go away. Lunch is a bowl of radish, cucumber and tomatoes topped with cream cheese and seeds.

salad with cream cheese and seeds cuisinefiend.com keto diary

It’s a sort of weird thing to have for dinner but smoked mackerel looked at me pointedly from the fish stall this morning in the market. You know, all those omega-things, fatty acids and fatty fish, it is a good thing to eat so I’m re-creating my Grandma’s smoked mackerel paste she used to fill my sandwiches with. I pile it on lettuce not bread. What’s ‘bread’?

smoked mackerel paste on lettuce cuisinefiend.com keto diary

Day 21

I’m twiddling with my calorie target – at the end of the day, let’s be honest, frankly, to face the truth: this only works because I’m consuming a restricted amount of calories. As everyone else these days I expect instant gratification so if my weight isn’t dropping overnight, I lower my calorie goal a little. Okay, not overnight – I’m not that daft. I’m also aware of the fact that there is a simpler, less time consuming and completely natural way of controlling your calorie intake: eat when you’re hungry and stop when you’re sated. Ha ha. Indeed. Scrambled egg this morning, what else.

scrambled egg cuisinefiend.com keto diary

I confirm: I have more energy, at times I’m positively bouncing like Tigger. The carbs crash doesn’t happen. I easily keep my eyes open even mid-afternoon. Still, even though I don’t CRAVE sugar and can happily resist any forbidden foods in my proximity, my life with cake in it was more interesting.

Lunch is lettuce sarnies: salami and cheese wrapped in lettuce leaves, with Mexican crema for topping. And a little saucisson to top up fat and protein.

lettuce sarnies 

cuisinefiend.com keto diary

Gammon for dinner, with – by my standards – carb loaded ratatouille. To make it keto-acceptable I skip peppers and skimp on tomatoes. Who knew aubergines contained sugar?

roast gammon and ratatouille cuisinefiend.com keto diary

Day 20

Yay! Something new, something blue for breakfast: blueberries! Freeze-dried, but still an ACTUAL FRUIT! I should have soaked the dried berries in the mascarpone (soak? in fat?) overnight as they didn’t dissolve (dissolve?! in fat?!) but still it is a pleasant change from eggs.

almonds and blueberries with mascarpone cuisinefiend.com keto diary

I’m being put to trial again, at the mercy of catering industry for my lunch. I REALLY don’t want steak. I love a steak but had it each time I ate out since keto. I know the menu of the place I’m going to inside out already but it’s like an encrypted message: fishcakes, but what with? bread? potatoes? Meatballs in tomato sauce – but how will the sauce have been cooked? with sugar? flour? That on top of finding a dish with at least one acceptable side or garnish. Might go for a burger but I am such a lover of burgers my heart might break if I have to dissect and discard half. I thought keto diet was a thing, so why in restaurants are there no dishes marked *ke or, I don’t know - *kt among the plenty *gf, *v and *vg? No trouble at all if you’re a fricking vegan. It all smacks of ketism!

I had the steak. Only because there was a 50% off main course offer at the place and if you can get a half price fillet steak you go grab it. Besides, there was nothing else safe enough. Thought: the amounts of butter and red meat I’m consuming are mildly terrifying. I can almost feel my arteries harden when I think about it. So I went to have the blood sugar and cholesterol levels test, which ideally I should have done at the start of this project but hopefully it’s still early to call quits if there are any anomalies. Will update on results.

Big lunch, small supper (tea, dinner, evening meal). You know those tiny bags of posh ham and salami crisps that cost something like £6 per 100g? I’m making my own – at half the cost. Set the oven to absolute minimum and spread fresh prosciutto and salami on a rack; leave for a couple of hours, bingo – crisps. With a piece of cheese to reach the fat target.

keto crisps cuisinefiend.com keto diary

Day 19

Note the small fork I’m using at most meals. It makes the meal last longer and seem more fun. I think there is also a subliminal connotation with cake as it’s in fact a dessert fork. Smoked salmon and scrammies for brekkie. No cake.

smoked salmon and scrambled egg cuisinefiend.com keto diary

As you do when you’re pregnant, I start seeing articles and opinions about keto diet everywhere (when pregnant it's seeing other ladies up the duff, obvs, not keto stuff). Separating science analyses from Internet chaff is hugely tough these days but the general impression is that it works short term, as a weight loss tool, benefits of weight loss potentially outweighing the risks of a fat-overloaded diet. But it would be ludicrous and dangerous to take it forward as a long-term nutrition guideline, let alone adopting it as lifestyle. All of the above I wholeheartedly agree with – as I keep repeating here, my target is to lose a few kilos in a novel, fun (to an extent) way. Anyone who would believe the legends of keto lifestyle sharpening your brains and curing your anxieties must be soft in the head.

For lunch, something different. Breadless sandwich, ham and cheese lettuce wraps with yesterday’s crema (SO bored with mayo). It’s also excellent because by adding or leaving out a lettuce leave, a slice of ham or some crema I can wonderfully fine tune my macros intake. Believe me, getting right the percentages of fat, carbs and protein for my daily fodder is tougher than Sudoku.

lettuce ham and cheese wraps 
cuisinefiend.com keto diary

Dinner of fried fish fillet, creamed spinach and grilled lettuce, and I have some free fat and a couple of spare carbs left so treat myself to dessert: half a tin of coconut cream. It’s pretty gorgeous; so much so that I worry the label lies about its carbs content.

fried fish with gem lettuce and spinach cuisinefiend.com keto diary

And my luscious dessert:

coconut cream cuisinefiend.com keto diary

Day 18

I skip breakfast today, just because. Not particularly hungry after, of course, scarfing a tad too much cheese last night and (shhh! don’t tell!) a baby-handful of almonds. So it’s just coffee. Plain, vulnerable (as opposed to bulletproof, heh) coffee. Interestingly, I’m not faint, dizzy or doing a sleeping dog instead of downward facing dog: energy seems okay sans breakfast. Plus for keto but still: I hope there’s cake at the end of the tunnel.

coffee cuisinefiend.com keto diary

No breakfast means wreaking havoc with my nutrients’ allocation; my daily macros goal is 1351 calories with 110g fats, 15g carbs, and 74g protein. I’m suddenly short on protein. I’m risking it – the idea of boiling several egg whites and snacking on them is not terribly appealing, and every other food is annoyingly more balanced. But on the positive side I get to have lunch AND breakfast for lunch. Feast! Salad for starters, radish, cucumber and tomatoes followed by cheesy mushrooms with bits of bacon. Delishhh. A sugarless île flottante on vanilla water for dessert? Maybe not.

salad and cheesy mushrooms cuisinefiend.com keto diary

Dinner is roast lamb breast which is a frugal keto heaven: a cheap, very fatty cut that needs long roasting to turn it into pulled lamb. It’s delicious; seek it at the butcher’s as supermarkets spurn it. God knows why since pork belly (and it’s the same bit of the animal) reigns supreme. Stir fried cabbage for side and Mexican crema for sauce.

pulled lamb and cabbage cuisinefiend.com keto diary

Recipe: mexican crema

  • 120ml soured cream
  • 120ml double cream
  • ½ tsp fine sea salt
  • ½ tbsp. lime juice

Whisk both creams in a bowl, whisk in the salt and lime juice, cover and leave at room temperature for 6-12 hours until thickened.

Day 17

Making a bacon and cheese omelette for breakfast trying to fool myself it’s not just EGGS – AGAIN. Coffee. In case you wondered, I’m not having bulletproof (coffee with whisked in butter or MCT oil). Don’t see the need; to keep my target balance of nutrients I can just eat less of everything. Ha! ‘Just’! As I said before, if I’m so disciplined in my keto regime, how come I let myself go and am having to do it?

cheese and bacon omelette 

cuisinefiend.com keto diary

I swear to heaven I’m trying to have a varied ketogenic diet but it seems like those two words have an oxymoronic relation. I seem to eat eggs and cheese all the time. Every single slice of cucumber and a green bean is a massive treat. Unlike previously, I save those on my plate for last. However stupid and reckless it would be to put your child on a keto diet (and I reiterate I couldn’t oppose such an idea enough), there’s the magic way of making them appreciate veg. ‘Mum, if I eat up my sausages, can I have some broccoli for afters?’

fish and greens 

cuisinefiend.com keto diary

Because Sunday, breakfast was late and lunch merged into dinner – though not doubled up in volume. Snacking on cheese and nibbling kabanos sausage for my evening meal.

cheese and sausage cuisinefiend.com keto diary

Day 16

After over two weeks, time for a review. My weight has gone down by 2.3kg over two weeks. It started with a massive plunge (which I believe is due to loss of water normally bound by carbs intake) following a small and steady decrease over week 1. Week 2 was more of a down-a-little, up-a-little pattern, possibly because I became a little too relaxed in my relationship with cheese (NOTE: it isn’t magic, if you scarf too many calories overall you won’t shift the lard). I’ve been trying to stick to around 15g carbs a day, and have found eating out feasible albeit a nutritional hazard (Day 15).

I’m feeling fine, I am a little over reactive: bouncy and hyper, won’t shut up but a little irritable and prickly at times. I don’t sleep well, but then it isn’t an issue that has arisen with keto.

No reliable result on ketosis urine sticks but slightly whiffy breath shows that some ketones are being expelled from the body. Stock up on chewing gum; make sure it’s sugar free. And today, just for a change, egg for breakfast!

egg cuisinefiend.com keto 

diary

Lunch is tomatoes with mascarpone and seed topping. It’s unseasonal – tomatoes, not mascarpone – and I resent that. But what to do if all the (root, mainly) vegetables that are seasonal right now in my geolocation are choc-packed with carbs? Tomatoes are the least of all evils, and I desperately need some freshness after all the butter and meats.

mascarpone seeds and tomatoes 

cuisinefiend.com keto diary

A treat snack now: cocoa butter buttons. They look like white chocolate and if I hold one before my eyes while eating another I might JUST persuade myself that they don’t taste like soap or solidified body balm. Well – they aren’t THAT bad but they won’t be replacing cheese as my means of bumping up daily fat amounts. Especially at the price three times an average chocolate bar.

cocoa butter buttons 

cuisinefiend.com keto diary

Footnote to cocoa buttons: they make you feel slightly sick and burp long after. Not awesome.

What a delightful dinner! Roast goose fillet (a post-Christmas bargain at the butcher's). Me: roast goose fillet and green salad. The Weather Man: roast goose with apple and raisin sauce, roast potatoes and a green salad. Zut alors! Looking forward to reaching my carbs limit in a liquid form when going out later tonight.

roast goose breast and saladg cuisinefiend.com keto diary

Day 15

An abysmal rollercoaster of random cheese and egg – that’s what today is. I am away, hotel breakfasts can be keto-friendly as long as you realise that black pudding is full of carbs. I did – when the plate was already in front of me. A small fried egg and three (that’s THREE, very small as well) mushrooms were not able to convince me to leave the pudding on my plate (I love black pudding). And forgot to take a picture.

Sandwich lunch is served to me and the people I’m with – with lots of cake and cream-topped scones that I try not to look towards (oh but I did look). I set about scraping fillings from an egg and a tuna sandwich, surreptitiously, so I don’t put others off their food, when a kindly serving lady offers to bring me some egg salad and grated cheese in ramekins. I’m being civilised again even though scoffing my cheese and egg with a teaspoon (no forks available). Sneaking slices of cucumber from the garnish, taking no pictures, obvs.

Motorway service stations are anyone’s idea of hell but for us ketonistas they are virtually the seventh circle. Having cruised the whole place I emerge with a Babybel snacking cheese. Still have some kabanos sausages I took with me on the journey the previous day. I expect the worst stepping on the scales tomorrow, and today has not been remotely healthy or even nutritionally complete. Is keto only good for the housebound?

Day 14

Eating my breakfast (egg, what else?) off the frying pan and I stop to think why on earth aren’t eggs eaten off the pan more often? A Proustian memory hits me: I used to always get my scrammies for breakfast in a little pan. I expect the fact we didn’t have a dishwasher had some influence there.

egg cuisinefiend.com keto diary

What do you eat during a long car journey? That’s right: lots of carbs plus the rubbish you fancy from the service stations. My fodder today (for when it’s my turn to ride shotgun) consists of hellishly expensive ham and salami crisps from M&S – this is so far the very first concession to shop-bought keto-designed foodstuffs, and only because I’m journeying – tomatoes and an almost dessert: mascarpone with flaked almonds. I’m entering it all in my app but the evening meal is a great unknown.

nibbles cuisinefiend.com keto diary

The great unknown proves to be simply great: a gorgeous little outfit, The Green Room of Scarborough which is an equal partner to other famous Yorkshire food haunts. They treat me to a starter of wild mushrooms in truffley-creamy sauce with a poached egg atop and the main of superbly executed rib eye steak with excellent peppercorn sauce (no pics; remember I'm a civilised punter). I'm so impressed I have two glasses of Chardonnay to go with it - still within carbs limits, though need to watch the calories too. This is a dangerous zone: euphoric with good night out I could be tempted to a dessert right now or scoff the hotel biscuits on return to my room. Resist and do neither; well done me.

Day 13

Bad breath! It’s not a myth, sadly, and I’ve not been uniquely spared. I’m told my case is mild (or he’s just being polite). Add extra strength mouthwash to the shopping list. Energy levels still fine and I’m not very hungry between meals. On the other hand there’s nothing much I’d fancy and am allowed to snack on: a pat of butter, anyone? Eggs and smoked salmon for breakfast.

eggs and smoked salmon cuisinefiend.com keto diary

I mentioned batwings and stomach wrinkles on Day 7, which unavoidably appear if you lose weight rapidly. To avoid them, I stepped up my workouts when started keto and am hugely grateful to myself for that. For information: my body fat was 23.2kg (what a lardarse, eh?) and now it’s 22.1kg. I do half an hour yoga practice every day plus weights workout three to four times a week. Plus walking. Lunch: chorizo sausage, cheese and tomatoes. Guess which bit of lunch I enjoyed the most.

chorizo cheese and tomatoes cuisinefiend.com keto diary

Fish for dinner, and I struggle with vegetables: why do they ALL have to contain so many carbs? Fancied aubergine but settled on stir fried greens and courgette. Bo-ring.

red mullet with greens cuisinefiend.com keto diary

Day 12

Feeling very good although a bit woozy during my morning workout, but I have the propensity for a wobble due to low blood pressure, keto or no keto. Might test blood sugar levels if it starts to concern me (it won’t). Double cheese omelette for breakfast, with Cheddar inside and Parmesan on top.

double cheese omelette cuisinefiend.com keto diary

If anyone is interested, here’s some info about various props and apps that help me survive on eggs and butter: MyFitnessPal app where I meticulously record all my foods; I use the Premium version but TBH the basic one is enough. I heard good things about Lifesum app as well. I aim at eating 103g fats, 89g protein and 20g carbs (though for this initial period trying to restrict to 15g) with overall calorie amount of 1300-1500 per day. There’s a nifty keto calculator at ruled.me.

To clarify, I’m not sponsored by any of the above (regrettably). And I eat regular food without going near special keto/low-carb products; I just read a lot of labels.

My lunch today is sacrilege to all the fish and chips aficionados: I’m having no chips, of course, but I’m also stripping my plaice off the gorgeous, golden-brown, so crispy it crackles batter. Naked fish sans chip – even I admit it looks a bit obscene. Trying to regain some respect by having coleslaw on the side.

fish and no chips cuisinefiend.com keto diary

Well below target today so I’m rewarding myself with a fistful of almonds to go with my cheese supper.

cheese cuisinefiend.com keto diary

Day 11

The only side effect of the diet so far is excessive thirst. I drink water by a gallon which is not a bad thing in itself is it? I don’t have cravings as such, and my keto mentor tells me they would anyway diminish further as the body adjusts to getting mainly fat and protein, with trace carbs. I guess it’s a bit like learning to be comfortable while being uncomfortable, one of the key survival skills. I don’t fancy sugar much but am definitely missing complex carbs: oats! rice! fruit! No such chance, so for breakfast I’m having keto granola: toasted seeds with mascarpone.

keto granola cuisinefiend.com keto diary

My lunch is smoked salmon with radish, cucumber and tomatoes. Who dare tell me keto is unhealthy? The black sprinkling is furikake, Japanese seed and seaweed seasoning. Hard cheese for afters, the harder and longer-aged the better so I go for French Comte.

smoked salmon and salads cuisinefiend.com keto diary

Dinner is cold chicken leftover from yesterday. I’m frying mushrooms to go with it: beautiful, nearly carb-less mushrooms with lots of butter (naturally), garlic and chopped parsley; and thus hitting home at 14g carbs overall today. A pat on the back.

roast chicken with mushrooms cuisinefiend.com keto diary

Day 10

I’ve decided to give up on the ketone testing as it seems it’s a very unreliable method, and I’ve no intention of splurging on breathalyser or blood testing devices. I feel good. I’m losing weight. I’m amazed how long a human can last without cake. That’s not to say I would say no to a cake. Scrambled eggs for breakfast – adding a tablespoon of grated Parmesan to the eggs lets me pretend it’s an entirely new dish I’m having.

scrambled eggs with parmesan cuisinefiend.com keto diary

Yippee, roast chicken for lunch! And I’m having skin, fatty thigh and all with no remorse. Roasted cauliflower and broccoli on the side; did someone say ‘where are potatoes’?

roast chicken with cauliflower cuisinefiend.com keto diary

I’m having the dilemma of whether I’m indeed in ketosis at all, considering I have no keto flu, I don’t smell and the blasted testing strips keep showing only trace ketones (I know, I was going to jack them in, but you know how it is: just one last time… Peeing on sticks is clearly addictive). Maybe I’m just losing weight due to some calorie restriction and exercising slightly more? The appropriate question is though: do I care? My goal is to test how effective and how bearable ketogenic diet is, so I’m not concerned about technicalities if weight is dropping and I’m feeling fine.

Late lunch so no dinner, just a few bites of cheese for supper. I’d love some almonds but determined to repent for slight carb overdrive last night and five almonds = 1g carbs. And who would be happy with only five almonds?

Day 9

It’s a hairy ride today because I’m going out for dinner. I have been studying the menu of the restaurant for the last two days, trying to find an option that wouldn’t just leave me with a solitary lump of meat on the plate. On top of that I don’t trust the chef: what if he/she randomly adds honey to meats, flour to sauces and breadcrumbs to vegetables? I don’t want to cause too much fuss on top of the: ‘I’ll have the duck without the polenta or red cabbage and please hold the orange sauce’. Tricky, and that’s before the issue of wine. For the moment, I’m safe with a Parmesan soufflé omelette I’ve made for my breakfast.

soufle omelette cuisinefiend.com keto diary

As the anticipated (dinner out) damage limitation, ham and cheese for lunch. Also, drooling and shivering like a vampire smelling blood whilst making a cake for The Weather Man. This is me: the most selfless creature on Earth.

ham and cheese cuisinefiend.com keto diary

Reader, I have faltered. After the restaurant meal (mackerel with some fennel, a steak with cauliflower cheese, red wine) my count for Day 9 adds up to over 20g carbs which is about 5g over my self-imposed limit. No pics, as I'm not one of those tosspots who photograph their food in restaurants (I am sometimes. But not in company). But – and it’s the big, crucial and my favourite ‘but’ – it was a great night and that’s what matters the most. Tomorrow back on track.

Day 8

I am puzzled why still no ketones show on the test sticks. I am NOT getting any carbs to convert into energy and I’m feeling lively as normal, exercising more if anything. I’m weird?

But the key thing is whether it’s working: am I feeling good? Reasonably. No nasty skin breakouts or such? No. Mood swings? Not more than usual. And I expect the answer to the big question is due now: have I lost any weight? My friends: 1.8 kilos over week one. Result? A resounding yes.

smoked salmon, eggs and mushrooms cuisinefiend.com keto diary

I had eggs, mushroom and smoked salmon for breakfast and still not hungry by midday. Energetic though, even a bit hyper. I’m cooking a breadless toasted ham and cheese sandwich for lunch, with an indie salad on the side: cabbage, radish and cucumber with a dressing of mascarpone and olive oil. That’s not just indie, that’s alternative!

toasted cheese and ham with cabbage salad cuisinefiend.com keto diary

Dinner is a bucketful of shell-on cooked prawns, like the old-fashioned ones served in pubs by a pint in the old days. Plus side: it takes a long time to eat. Minus: gets boring at roughly prawn number 5.

prawns with salad cuisinefiend.com keto diary

Day 7

So, hey, body! are you burning fat for energy yet? I speculate that must be literally the reason why someone thought of a weight loss diet based on fat: burning a toast will produce not more than a bad stink; now just think what happens when you pour oil on fire! Whoosh! Maybe I’ve overstretched the metaphor.

Scrambled egg for breakfast. Rather a lot of butter, just like my grandmother used to make for me. Granny proto-keto?

scrambled egg 

cuisinefiend.com keto diary

Up your exercise routine my friends – if you lose weight, especially in your forties or later, there’s the danger that those bingo wings may turn into batwings. And wrinkles on the stomach? Not sexy.

Pretty lunch: cured ham, radishes, tomatoes and a dollop of mascarpone adorned with seed topping.

coppa radish tomato and 

mascarpone cuisinefiend.com keto diary

Note that I’m not eating any suspicious low-carb or no-carb shit like zero noodles or keto biscuits. I’m constructing my meals from the products I’d normally have at home, with added butter. But seriously, it’s not SO different to what The Weather Man eats (apart from the cookies, chocolate and potatoes) so tonight it’s pan fried fish with creamed spinach and broccoli for us both. It's so nice I forget it has no carbs.

pan fried fish cuisinefiend.com keto diary

Day 6

Porridge! My kingdom for porridge!

No takers. I settle for scrambled eggs with smoked salmon. I’m still not showing many ketones in the pee test. Internet tells me that I’m either cheating (I’m SO not!), my test sticks are out of date or I’m a mega-charged keto-blaster who enters the ketone reabsorption stage in a flash. I opt for the latter explanation.

scrambled eggs and salmon cuisinefiend.com keto diary

Lunch is lovely, fried aubergine and courgette with cheese. Afterwards having coffee and pretending I wouldn’t fancy dessert. But to be honest I’m beginning to feel fine: no post-breakfast slump today, I’m hungry hardly any time at all and my digestion is textbook – whereby I defy the rules of keto again as regularity is supposed to be not great in the initial stage. Superketowoman!

fried aubergines and courgettes cuisinefiend.com keto diary

I’m grilling sprats for dinner, even though this is the moment in my life when I should fry everything. But the smell. And an awesome treat for later this evening: a small handful of almonds. Bliss.

grilled sprats cuisinefiend.com keto diary

Day 5

Breakfast is delicious, cheese and mushroom omelette, but I didn’t sleep well. Ketones are keeping me awake?

cheese and mushroom omelette cuisinefiend.com keto diary

Lunch is even better, I’m re-discovering my old lunchtime treat, spicy fried aubergine topped with cheese. But my ketones are low, at least that’s what the stick I pee on tells me! What's going on? After all that effort?? Maybe should have listened to my keto buddy; she thinks that measuring levels of ketosis is pointless, because everyone’s different and ketosis is triggered by various factors? But the measuring and counting and scrupulously recording is precisely what appeals to the geek in me!

fried cheesy aubergine cuisinefiend.com keto diary

We are sharing a roast wild duck for dinner, The Weather Man is having assorted roasted vegetables and I’m picking out only Brussels sprouts. I’ve also made kale crisps for evening television grazing but I over-seasoned them massively so no snacking. Just Dracula. I wonder how many carbs there are in human blood?

roast wild duck cuisinefiend.com keto diary

Day 4

So hungry this morning I forget to take a picture of my eggs scrambled with bacon and lots of butter. And promptly afterwards I slump. Slump! How come if I’ve had no carbs? That’s probably why – no carbs, no energy, until the keto-magic happens. I'm having to bring forward my yoga practice to right after breakfast; that’s one thing that is certainly energising.

Keep noticing articles about how bad keto is, or at least how unproven-good. I agree totally. Short term weight loss, is all I’m going to do, then just be disciplined. On the other hand, it takes a hell of a lot of discipline to stick with this diet so how come I’m here (and you all) in the first place, huh?

Developing a new recipe full of forbidden things and – OMG! – almost start licking spoons and fingers as usual. A dangerous path I’m treading. Lunch: radish, cucumber, tomatoes with mascarpone and seed topping, a piece of cheese for dessert. Who knew you could actually get bored of cheese?

radish cucumber mascarpone and seeds cuisinefiend.com keto diary

Grilled salmon with broccoli and peas for dinner – heavens, that feels almost normal!

salmon and greens cuisinefiend.com keto diary

Day 3

This is grim. I’m not hungry but all this fat is just boring. And I feel really rubbish after those skinny bitches: keto and alcohol clearly don’t go together, whatever they say about zero carbs in spirits. I’m by no means giving up but I’m not going to do it for longer than a month or so. Lose weight in a novel way, gobble your weight in mascarpone – that’s all there is to it. Note: I reserve the right to change my mind though if I start to feel spectacular.

Scrambled eggs with lots of butter for breakfast made with the eggs I didn’t manage to separate cleanly last night for the steak tartare.

scrambled eggs cuisinefiend.com keto diary

I’m delaying lunch (delayed gratification, heh!) on account of late breakfast and having a chicken stir fry. Looking for noodles in it, in vain. No chance of a piece of chocolate afters; feeling guilty as it is about the green peppers in the wok.

chicken stir fry cuisinefiend.com keto diary

Supper is a selection of cheeses. Hope I won’t have nightmares.

Day 2

Yay! My ketone measuring strips have arrived! Now I mean serious business. I promptly try one out, mindless of the recommendations to measure ketones in the afternoon, and I haven’t felt such trepidation since peeing on a pregnancy stick at nineteen. Trace ketones. Well – that’s a start. They say it takes at least two days to get into ketosis; I just thought I’d be special.

cheesy eggs cuisinefiend.com keto diary

Very hungry in the morning as I went to town before breakfast consisting of one (but double yolk) cheesy egg. It was supposed to be an omelette but the egg knew otherwise. With a sprinkle of togarashi seasoning which turns everything delicious.

charcuterie, mascarpone and lettuce cuisinefiend.com keto diary

Lunch is cured ham, accompanied with mascarpone and a pile of shredded lettuce. Never has lettuce tasted so sweet. And there’s a treat for dinner: steak tartare.

steak tartare keto cuisinefiend.com keto diary

Helas! no onions, just capers, gherkins (risky! there’s sugar!) and egg yolk, of course. The gingerbread cookies leftover from Christmas keep taunting, but I’m stronger than that. Having a couple of tequila and sodas instead, aka ‘skinny bitch’ because – guess what! – strong liquors have no carbs! Tipsy, but pleased with my discipline.

Day 1

Starts okay as I’m going out for breakfast and have what I actually often have off-keto: 3 scrambled eggs, fried mushrooms and smoked salmon. Tasty.

smoked salmon, eggs and mushrooms cuisinefiend.com keto diary

Not very hungry at lunchtime but then breakfast was 3 eggs etc. I’m fondly preparing my lunch bowl of mascarpone, radish, cucumber and seed topping. Originally intended 50g of mascarpone turns into 70g because it looks so good, but I’m cutting down on the seeds. 70g that I’d planned is about a bagful of pumpkin and sunflower – I knew I was rubbish at estimating amounts.

mascarpone, radish, cucumber and seed topping cuisinefiend.com keto diary

Recipe: toasted seed and nut topping

  • 300g mixed seeds and nuts (pine, pumpkin, sunflower, sesame, chopped almonds, chopped macadamias)
  • 4 tbsp. light soy sauce

Stir the soy sauce into the seeds and nuts and spread them over a parchment-lined baking sheet. Toast for 3-4 hours in the lowest oven you can muster (80C). Keep in an airtight jar.

For dinner I’m having tinned tuna mixed with mayo, double cream, shredded lettuce and more salt and pepper than I’d ever used for a single dish before. Painless so far, and I’m not hungry but I can’t say I’m not eyeing up TWM’s baked potato enviously. Hopefully time for bed soon.

tuna mixed with mayo, double cream, shredded lettuce and salt and pepper cuisinefiend.com keto diary

 

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