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My ketogenic challenge diary

Wed, 12 February, 2020

After forty days and forty nights...

Forty days and forty nights I abstained from carbs, and been sorely tempted too. And so it’s time for a summary. Mind you – this is my personal opinion and as everybody is different, what works (or not) for me, might work (or not) for you.

I have lost 3.1kg, of which the first 2kg shifted in the first week and 0.4kg went in the last three days of Keto Extreme. The in-between period was annoyingly up-a- little, down-a-little. I ingested max of 15g carbs a day (except Keto Extreme when I tried to not consume any) to the best of the Internet’s and food labels’ knowledge. Am I pleased with the result? Well – better than nothing I guess but I have in the past achieved better results on ordinary Eat Less programmes.

Question time!

Does it work for weight loss?

Yes – as any calorie restricting diet does. Unless you limit your daily intake, you won’t lose any weight.

Do you lose weight fast?

Yes you will lose weight quite fast (~0.5kg per week) if you keep very strict diet with next to no carbs. That requires tremendous self-discipline and as I said here before, if you have such good discipline skills what are you doing here in the first place?

Is it tough?

The hardest thing is the tedium of it, so it’s not screaming cold turkey gimme-cake hardship.

Does it give you bad breath?

Occasionally.

Does it give you constipation?

Hell yes.

Does it make you energetic?

Yes – at times I was positively hyper, bouncing around and wouldn’t shut up. So not sure if The Weather Man would deem it an advantage.

Does it stop cravings?

No, but it’s all in the mindset: as in any food-related restrictions you have to brainwash yourself to a certain extent in order to persevere.

Does it stop sugar crashes?

Yes, but it did occasionally give me a fat slump.

So now what?

Now I’m going to devise my own version: let’s call it not-so-keto, or common-sense diet. I’m going to continue avoiding sugars except naturally occurring (bloody hell, still no cake!). I’m going to allow fibre with impunity and starch with caution. I’ll restrict my calorie intake to between 1000 and 1200 cal a day, allowing for 1500 at the weekend, as this nifty calculator suggests. And we’ll see what happens after, maybe, another forty days and forty nights!

I’ll report on progress every now and then but no pics – my food is going to be boringly varied…

Incidentally, forty days and forty nights means merely ‘a very long time’ in biblical lingo. So it could mean a week or a month, relatively speaking. When you’re on keto, it means about three days.

Day 40

Third day of super-keto, -0.3kg on the scales. Yesterday’s suspicions half-confirmed: still no marked difference on the peeing ketone sticks but on the other hand my breath smells. If I am only now entering ketosis, it’s all a sham or I’m uniquely keto-immune. Carbs? I AM a carb. Eggs with smoked salmon for breakfast, carb content: 0. I am not feeling particularly energetic afterwards but make myself do my yoga in case I slump horribly later on.

eggs and salmon 
cuisinefiend.com keto diary

I was certainly feeling much better overall when on sensible keto, eating decent amounts of greens and fibre. On the other hand my weight is down by almost a pound from Sunday but the tie break will be tomorrow. Wait and see. In the meantime, I’m checking how inventive one can get with just eggs, cheese and meats. This time it’s kabanos sausage with spicy cheese melt. Okay, that’s a fancy name: it’s just melted cheese with chilli powder. I seem to be eating exclusively yellow and red things, plus all are gone really quickly. That’s another thing: it takes some time to chomp through a bowl of lettuce or some tomatoes; meat and cheese don’t take any time at all. Carbs: 0.7g, tut-tut.

kabanos and cheese melt 
cuisinefiend.com keto diary

A pile of fried sprats with mayo for dinner which is lovely, but would benefit from a/ spiced flour coating and b/ a salad on the side, even plain, mean and austere. Carbs: 0. Overall short on calories today (read: HUNGRY) so a chunk of cheese for afters, at nil carbs as well. Back to life tomorrow – cautiously.

fried sprats cuisinefiend.com keto diary

Day 39

There’s certainly something wrong either with the keto diet or with me: after the whole day of zero (NUL, ZILCH) carbs, my keto measuring stick still refuses to turn purple. And that day, let me remind you, follows thirty-seven previous days at 15g carbs max each. Somebody please explain?

Verifying the contents of my fridge with the nutrition app: looks like it’s got to be eggs. Having them on a heritage Royal Doulton plate, but still taste like eggs. Carb content: 0.

scrambled egg cuisinefiend.com keto diary

Frankies with cheese for lunch; the thing to do is NEVER to boil them but bake, with cheese. No better simple food exists. Of course, that’s frankies with cheese and ketchup but the latter unavailable to me. Crème fraiche mixed with mustard just narrowly misses the spot. Carb count: 1.5g

frankfurters with cheese cuisinefiend.com keto diary

Interestingly, I’m feeling really sleepy after lunch. Like a genuine post-feeding slump; plus I’m experiencing none of the recent energy bounce and sparkle. Does anyone think what I think? Which is I’m suffering a sugar crash after a gram and a half of carbs? Am I mad or is this? Or is it actually ONLY NOW keto-flu, because the only way this will work is if you ingest next to ZERO carbs? And all those articles about keeping below 20 or even 50g carbs a day really mean ‘below’ as in ALL THE WAY BELOW??? Because otherwise nobody in their right mind however hell-bent on weight loss would try living on eggs and butter?

Either way I’m feeling really tired in the afternoon even though I slept well enough. Have to cut my exercise short as feeling woozy and faint like a Victorian maiden with a case of the vapours. While I should be more like a ruddy-cheeked farm hand with all the eggs and sausages I’m eating.

Dinner is a real quandary as I’m cooking chicken wings I’d bought ready-marinated. What the hell is in the marinade and do I need to scrape it off? Considering my meal tonight is merely the wings, no sides or fillers, I decide against and allocate 2g carbs against dinner, if this lonely and miserable plate of chicken wings deserves to be called dinner (yes, I had a little more than just one rack and the wings were pretty enormous).

chicken wings cuisinefiend.com keto diary

Day 38

Keto and me – the final confrontation. Dog eat dog. I eat keto or keto eats me. I'm giving keto one last opportunity to persuade me that it works, drastically: from today I’m going to go Keto Extreme for three days: have virtually NO carbs, as few as I can manage. WARNING: DO NOT TRY THIS AT HOME, I'M BEING AN IDIOT AT MY OWN RISK.

I’m giving keto the last final chance, with a generous advantage, to see whether it will get some significant weight off me. Significant meaning the loss trend being some more noticeable than so far over any random three days. It’s your last chance saloon, keto!

So far, plus ça change. A fluffy omelette with cheese for breakfast; carb count: 0.

cheese omelette cuisinefiend.com keto diary

Not looking forward to lunch. Fish, which is lovely, with nothing on the side, which isn’t. Prevaricating whether or not have a little lettuce (carbs: 1.5 per 100g) but deciding not to. Considering having a piece of sausage as a side dish to my haddock but deciding against it. Fish it is then, with capers and blue cheese sauce of sorts. Carb count: 0. Never has my dinner plate looked so lonely before.

fish with blue cheese cuisinefiend.com keto diary

I’m having cheese as a snack tonight – this is still a perk of the regime, but I don’t pounce quite as greedily at my tranche of Camembert as I did a month ago. Still, carb count: 0.

Eating just fat and protein is a bit like having to swallow boiled quail’s eggs whole. There’s no softness or chewiness, nothing nicely mushy or squishy. The textures are all smooth or firm, and the softness is only that of very tender meat – not soft in the real sense. But basically, the worst thing about it is the same main drawback as veganism and all the mononutritious diets: it’s bloody boring.

cheeses cuisinefiend.com keto diary

Day 37

To quote my favourite TV show, this is bullshirt. I have gone through 36 miserable (more or less) days of eating animals and fat, and what do I have to show for that? Just about 2.5 kilos. I have lost more and quicker than this on my usual, periodic Eat Less regime. You don’t need to count calories and you’ll lose weight – bullshirt. You stop craving and snacking – ditto. Last night I was actually craving some nibbles after my virtuous fish and salad dinner, so I thought I’d put it to test and had a handful of almonds (1.8g carbs), some coconut cubes (1.2g) and my (now famous) ham crisps (0g carbs). Overall, I clocked in at 16g carbs which is pretty strict. Result: over half a kilo up on the bathroom scales this morning.

I’m not just yet scoffing bananas and marshmallows yet (egg in glass for breakfast) but I’m really pissed off. To think that it may be wreaking havoc with my body as well, it’s bad crap. Okay – it might be me; maybe keto just doesn’t suit me. At least three of my friends swear by the diet and have loose clothing to show for it. But I can’t help sniffing a rat in the whole premise of the keto project.

egg in glass cuisinefiend.com keto diary

I’m not a quitter (a pint of prawns for lunch, with homemade crème fraiche) but toying with the idea of transferring onto my usual weight loss programme, as maybe the only thing that works for me is starvation (heh – that takes you into ketosis better than anything). And I could compare the results, plus I’d be off the keto hook for Valentine’s Day – defo a positive? Hmm – low-carb food for thought.

a pint of prawns cuisinefiend.com keto diary

Dinner is chaotic as Alice and Mouse arrive to be fed; I’m cooking two versions of chicken Milanese (aka chicken Millie’s knees) since I need it sans breadcrumbs, and I’m also shooting said chicken and risotto. Oh well – let them eat cold. My chicken is coated in ground almonds mixed with a little Parmesan - it works really well. And salad. And some plain whipped cream for dessert while enviously watching the lot bolting down their tropical pavlovas.

chicken milanese and salad cuisinefiend.com keto diary

Day 36

Out for breakfast as often on Fridays. It is vibrant: scrambled eggs and spinach. This is the item off the menu that’s Eggs on Toast but they know me there as getting ‘eggs on toast, no toast’. Spinach or mushrooms or salmon are added on just to be sociable.

eggs and spinach cuisinefiend.com keto diary

Finding some unexpectedly forbidden vegetables in veg drawer clearout: celeriac root, red cabbage, carrots are a complete no-no but I thought celery stalks were gorgeously carb free? It turns out not so free, likewise chicory that I don’t even like so much but bought it thinking it will be good for ketosis. Well, you know – the only thing really GOOD for ketosis is butter. Still, got to eat that chicory now so lunch is an array of salads with chicory, cheese and salami canapes.

salad with chicory cheese and salami cuisinefiend.com keto diary

Fish for dinner; recipe tip: add a chunk of blue cheese at the very end to your fish frying. Makes excellent half-sauce. Who said cheese doesn’t go with fish? And I’ve made a mountain of salad, recklessly drizzling it with balsamic vinegar. I reassure myself most of it is left in the bottom of the bowl.

fish with blue sauce and mixed leaf salad cuisinefiend.com keto diary

Day 35

Breakfast: a keto version of a blueberry yoghurt. That’s coconut cream (I KNOW it’s supposed to be stirred into Thai green curry but I just eat it so get over it) with freeze-dried blueberries, sat in the fridge overnight. I thought it was a great idea, also – not eggs. But it’s kind of meh.

coconut cream with blueberries cuisinefiend.com keto diary

I completely forgot about tinned sardines! It’s perfect keto food as well as actually healthy, sweetly cheap (but buy responsibly fished!) and tasty. I’m having those with radish, cucumber and tomatoes. A little mayo and then I’m going to mash it all up like baby food. A devout ketovian would probably drink the oil from the tin but I’ll pass.

tinned sardines and salads cuisinefiend.com keto diary

I’m amazed – although really I shouldn’t be, not at my age – how snake oil sales prosper. I was wondering the other day if you could measure carb content of wine, with something like a pH testing strip. Idly googled, hey presto! nutritional analysis scales aplenty, all on Amazon of course (it’s the prime snake oil market). You’d think some super-sensors touch the food and measure contents? a laser-like scanner? a little wise gnome sitting inside tasting what you’re weighing? Hell no. It has a booklet with a list of food codes that you’re supposed to key in and weigh the stuff. Clever? Clever, a mega-clever way to make money.

Dinner is fish, yay! At least fish doesn’t confuse me on this diet – it’s fat and protein but not an enormous amount of calories. Might have fish again tomorrow.

roast sea bass with spinach cuisinefiend.com keto diary

Day 34

Now this has nothing to do with non-digestible carbs or with peeing on the stick but I‘m having a massive sentimental journey, a Proustian moment, a rush of memories about my boiled egg today. I remembered late last night the Viennese style eggs for breakfast: Eier im Glas, eggs in a glass. My Austrian grandmother (hi Granny! hope you’re enjoying an Einspänner with St Peter!) used to make them for me and I totally loved them. Classically made these eggs are soft boiled, peeled and served in a glass or a cup with a knobulette of butter, chives or both. I went further and poached my egg thus saving myself the bother of peeling it – see, Wieners? That’s the way to do it.

eier im glas cuisinefiend.com keto diary

I have two sets of smart bathroom scales, five health-related apps on my phone, I wear a band tracking activity and sleep on my wrist, I have a blood sugar self-testing kit and now I also have ketone measuring urine strips. All those measurements are completely unreliable, obvs, since to get yourself validly tested you need equipment that costs serious money and is operated by people who actually know what mmols and lipids are. The twenty quid scales that profess to measure your protein content (seriously! like you’re an egg! and whatever for would you even want to know that?) are just another example of shop-bought delusions especially that they are super-flattering in their readings (my muscle mass is 44kg! where’s my killer six-pack then?). I’m toying with the idea of chucking all that clobber and measure my waist daily with a tape measure. Just saying.

Lunch is radish, cucumber and mascarpone with seed topping.

radish cucumber and mascarpone cuisinefiend.com keto diary

Dinner is steak to share and I’m cautiously making aubergine parmigiana as everyone knows that’s the best side to steak. Even more cautious considering I might be going out for drinks later and that will mean wine which is a known unknown. Can someone please invent a wine carb content measuring device? Not much to ask since there’s all this similar junk available already, see above, stressing people out or sending them into fat complacency?

steak with aubergine parmigiana  cuisinefiend.com keto diary

Day 33

On the road again. I don’t like the unpredictability of lunch when I travel. I log what to eat in advance (prelog? prolog?) and since I’ve no idea what I’ll be having when I stop for lunch, the control freak in me is very unsettled. I’m taking nibbles for the journey, keto nibbles being as follows: ham crisps (homemade), some dried French saucisson (fantastic: 0 carbs), tomatoes and a small piece of cheese. The danger is I eat it all on the outbound journey and then I’ll be very limited for lunch options. Also, where I’m going they are big on sandwiches and jacket potatoes for lunch rather than anything else. It’s all making me anxious.

ham crisps and tomatoes cuisinefiend.com keto diary

Surprise success: lunch was a roast beef salad, thoroughly decent and pretty keto. I asked for extra Cheddar and mayo. It was very Yorkshire (I’m really not being condescending, just stating the fact): no dressing on the leaves, but that’s all right for me, considering; I just slathered it all in mayo. Logged it as ‘mixed salad, Nando’. It wasn’t at Nando’s. I just had to pick an option from the database suggestions.

roast beef salad cuisinefiend.com keto diary

On the journey back (no pic, because dark in the car) I’m munching through one of those tiny and horribly expensive tubs of coconut chunks. That is one food I can’t get my head around: it is sweet but has no carbs; it’s mostly made of fat but tastes fresh – sort of; it’s rich in fibre but non-digestible, and that’s apparently a good thing. But it has a whooping amount of almost 400 calories per 100g. ‘What did you have for dinner?’ ‘Three ounces of coconut. I’m stuffed.’ Bizarre, isn’t it?

Day 32

Egg, with some slices of cured ham.

egg and ham cuisinefiend.com keto diary

I have doubts, a crisis of faith – well, no, seeing as I am not a believer – a sneaking suspicion that I’m not in ketosis at all. You see I want to trust those keto gurus and diet doctors (not a doctor) who say ketosis blah blah weight dropping quickly blah as body burning fat dramatically. My weight DROPPED only in the first few days. From then on it has been a steadily small, up-and-down loss as on any calorie-restricted diet. Plus, my ketone measuring wee strips staunchly show barely pink which is low ketones.

I’ve read suggestions that if ketosis doesn’t want to happen to you, you need to consume yet fewer carbs and also lower the protein intake. But what to eat for heavens sake in that case? One of the gurus who had doubts like me described what he ate in a day and it included 150g of butter. That’s two thirds of a pack! A day! Dude - seriously?! Like - with a spoon?! I mean – it might work, but rather you than me, mate, have yourself butter trots or full-on bowel overflow. Urgh!

Reluctantly - after the above thoughts - having lunch now; salad leaves topped with fried mushrooms and crispy pepperoni-wrapped cheese parcels. Headache. Incidentally, talking about 150g butter a day – I finally have my blood tests result back and my cholesterol level is up. Going to see Dr as I don't understand those various cholesterols. And that test was only three weeks into the diet!

salad leaves with fried mushrooms and pepperoni cheese parcels cuisinefiend.com keto diary

Cold roast pork belly leftovers for dinner and again it’s problematic: fatty meat, phwoar! you’d think, nothing more keto than this! But actually it has as much protein which might hold back my ketosis. So am I supposed to cut out fatty bits and eat only them, chucking out the lean meat? What a bizarre scenario. Even my hair feels greasy already. The guilty pleasure of eating vegetables does nothing to cheer me up.

pork belly and green veg  cuisinefiend.com keto diary

Day 31

Keto diet, like grief, seems to have several stages: enthusiasm, exasperation, resignation and reverie. I’m currently in the last phase, fantasising about thick but creamy porridge drizzled with golden honey as I eat my eggs. Now I’ll go and look at The Weather Man’s carrot cake for a while.

cheese omelette 

cuisinefiend.com keto diary

I know there are many ‘specialist’ products out there that allegedly let you enjoy bread, pasta and even cake. But what they contain instead of carbs sounds like straight off a Petri dish: I mean, would you REALLY want to eat something called ‘erythritol’? I prefer to remember the wise adage that says not to eat anything your Grandma wouldn’t recognise in the ingredients list. Erythritol, indeed!

I’ve bought by mistake something called Slim Noodles; not so slim as they have 8g carbs per 100g so that’s half your daily carbs allocation slurped away. They are made mainly from konjac plus a few things out of chemistry lab – I don’t really know what konjac is but once had a bath sponge, rubbish by the way, made of it. Would I want to eat my sponge? But the best thing is a label the package is brandishing: New Recipe – No Odour. I’m sorry but food that assures me it doesn’t stink quite as much this time as it usually does makes me want to hurl it right into the wheelie bin. Next, there will be a packet of pasta proudly labelled: Less Radioactive.

My Sunday lunch is as different from Sunday Lunch as it can be: chilli prawns with scorched brassicas: cauli, brocs and Romanesco. It’s not a huge meal so The Weather Man scoffs half a bar of chocolate for afters. I’m painting my nails (couldn’t eat while they dry anyway, could I? Clever or what?) and fantasising about a mega-sized bag of Maltesers.

chilli shrimp and brassicas 

cuisinefiend.com keto diary

Just cheese and a few olives for supper – determined to reach my goal and get this nonsense done with as quickly as possible.

cheese and olives 

cuisinefiend.com keto diary

Day 30

I’m having an egg for breakfast. Notice how I’m eating it out of a bowl with a teaspoon. It makes an immeasurable difference in the whole egg-eating experience: I swear the flavour is totally unlike an egg on a plate eaten with a fork. So many possibilities! Tomorrow I might go really mental and eat it with a dessert spoon off a dinner plate! Can’t wait!

scrambled egg cuisinefiend.com keto diary

I’ve had my bowl of (very few) radishes, a (small) piece of cucumber and six (SIX. TINY.) cherry tomatoes. And I was planning on cooking simple stir fried green vegetables to go with my enormous slab of pig belly for the evening meal but guess what – that takes me over the carbs limit! It looks like I’m binging, positively PIGGING on vegetables today! Well, you know – it’s the weekend. But on close inspection in the nutrition app it seems spring onions are the guiltiest party: they almost have more carbs than they have calories. Well okay, I can skip them, but what sort of a world I’m living in that doesn’t let me eat a frigging spring onion? A bleak one, that’s what.

salad bowl with mascarpone cuisinefiend.com keto diary

So it is a (delicious TBH) slab of pork belly that had been cooking for four hours for dinner. But the stir fried veg are without spring onions so I’m sulking about that. Plus The Weather Man has baked himself a carrot cake (the cruel, cruel man) and it came out better than I’ve ever made it. So unfair. I guess only a margarita will make me feel better – a skinny bitch margarita of course, without Cointreau. Salt is acceptable though. Cheers.

pulled pork belly with stir fried greens cuisinefiend.com keto diary

Day 29

Out for breakfast: poached eggs with salmon and mushrooms. Not a good choice. All that protein and fat land in my stomach like a ton of lead. Feeling bloaty and heavy, and I have a headache. It’s all very well to have a solid, rich breakfast if you’re about to dig up an acre of vegetable plot but I wasn’t planning on it today. That’s the problem with eggs and meat and all – it’s brutally dumped into the stomach while oats for instance float lightly and gently flake by flake. Or a croissant – it practically dances and sings gracefully down your oesophagus, playfully chased by a rivulet of very milky coffee. Right – I’ll keep dreaming.

eggs salmon and mushrooms cuisinefiend.com keto diary

Feeling bloated and glutted still at lunchtime so can face only a small bowlful of fresh stuff: radish and cucumber and tomatoes, with a spoonful of mascarpone as a nod towards keto. Ugh.

salad bowl with mascarpone cuisinefiend.com keto diary

Time for a recap: 2.3 kilos down after four weeks which is textbook, maximum recommended per week. It isn’t miraculous, it doesn’t shift your weight faster than any other weird diet unless you starve yourself – but if you do that, it doesn’t matter a dot what kind of stuff you eat. I feel energetic on the whole but do suffer slumps occasionally even thought I eat no carbs. Minor headaches recently, and my regularity has gone south so much it’s probably in Cape Town. Not that great. Still, I’ll persevere. One day, there will be cake.

For dinner, I’m clearing the fridge: a lovely dish of leftover chicken coquettes with mozzarella and creamy spinach. Almost normal.

chicken croquettes with mozzarella and spinach cuisinefiend.com keto diary

Day 28

Blimey, I’ve gone through a dozen eggs in a week with only a little help from The Weather Man. Funnily enough, although I moan and whinge about having to eat eggs every day (I know I don’t HAVE TO), my all-time favourite is scrambled, with a little butter and DEFINITELY NO MILK. It’s not a keto thing; milk added to scrambled eggs ruins them completely. In fact, counter-intuitively, a little water beaten into eggs before scrambling makes the loveliest, fluffiest scrammies in the world. There is also a pretentious school of making eggs where you’re supposed to beat them with nuggets of cold butter then stir and stir forever in a pan over minimum heat. I’ve tried. Nothing special. And today, I have four scraps of crispy bacon to go with my eggies.

eggs and bacon cuisinefiend.com keto diary

I still religiously enter every morsel that passes my lips into my nutrition app. It is frustrating though how unreliable it is: relying on community input creates issues. Search the database for tomatoes and you don’t know which result applies to yours; the entries are maddeningly vague and different tomato varieties have different nutritional content. And that’s a simple basic foodstuff – what if I searched for meatloaf? You’d have to deconstruct every single dish and enter elementary ingredients. Life’s too short for that. I’m having homemade cured salmon for lunch and I’m confident its nutri value is way different from Sainsbury's smoked salmon, 60 gms, 132 calories.

smoked salmon and salads cuisinefiend.com keto diary

Dinner is pan fried sea bream with creamed spinach. How healthy today is!

pan fried fish and creamed spinach cuisinefiend.com keto diary

Nibbling cheese in the evening as dinner was not only healthy but also pretty meagre.

cheese cuisinefiend.com keto diary

Day 27

Calm down dearest – let’s be reasonable. So you are disappointed with the keto diet and close to jacking it in? Let’s look at the facts. You have lost (as of today) 2 kg since the start which was just under four weeks ago. That’s about 0.5 kg a week which, by any nutrition textbooks is textbook. Any more than that is unhealthy, leads to weight yo-yoing and leaves you with loose skin pockets. Your weight does climb up and down in a week but a body (even yours) is an organic machine (heh, that’s a good turn of phrase) and it doesn’t mechanically burn the same amount of fuel at the same rate all the time. Even your car doesn’t. And you of all people should know weight loss doesn’t happen overnight and if you’re looking at losing 7-8 kilos, you’re looking at three months.

Now the diet itself: you’re right; it only works thanks to calorie restriction. But you knew that. And you have been impressed with how alert it makes you feel – most of the time, as there are no miracles. Also, it’s been a bit more entertaining than your usual boring Eat Less calorie counting type of diet. And let’s face it: you’ve never been able to eat so much cheese with impunity. Relative impunity as you still don’t know what effect it has on you because the results of your blood tests have not come in now and you don’t want to chase as they're far less important than all the other tests the lab has to run. So basically shut up, suck it up and soldier on.

scrambled eggs with smoked salmon cuisinefiend.com keto diary

Above need a caption? Didn’t think so.

Having given myself some talking-to, I continue. And when lunch is a gorgeous courgette-mushroom-cheese fry-up, it’s easy peasy.

courgette mushroom and cheese fry-up cuisinefiend.com keto diary

I’m making chicken and bacon croquettes for dins; very, VERY tempted to roll them up in breadcrumbs for the proper crunch and for retaining shape as they should but no – stick with it. Parmesan and sesame crust at least looks interesting even if croquettes become lopsided in frying. That pile of seaweed on the side is sautéed chard. I wouldn’t mind a bit of mayo or crema with the croquettes but ran out of calories.

chicken and bacon croquettes with chard cuisinefiend.com keto diary

Day 26

Did I say the one benefit of keto diet is good energy levels? Not so much today: the keto genie must have heard and decided to teach me a lesson for all my keto bitching. But you know what, genie? At least I’ve been trying. I never slag off anything without knowing what it’s really about. At least when food is concerned. Frankies with cheese for breakfast, not so tasty second time in two days, novelty wearing thin. And where is the flipping ketchup?

frankfurters with cheese cuisinefiend.com keto diary

I’m doing a new recipe post today and at least it’s something I can actually taste and even eat up the post-shoots. That means: bits of food mangled through being arranged this and that way on multiple crockery, dried out and covered in decorative rather than tasty garnishes. Home cured salmon, and I’m having it with half an avocado, yippee! Never knew I’d cheer an avocado.

smoked salmon and salads cuisinefiend.com keto diary

Struggling to stay awake in the afternoon. I think it must have been the 6g of carbs in the half avocado. I’m thinking about the diet and eating habits of someone like, say, Henry VIII. It doesn’t half remind me of keto diet. Those whole animals on spits and the four and twenty blackbirds in a pie? I don’t think old Henry cared much for fresh fruit or getting enough fibre in his diet. And we all know how he ended up: with gout, diabetes and extreme obesity.

My dinner tonight is four and twenty sprats, grilled in an oven. With salad. Defiantly, I’m adding half a teaspoon of honey to the dressing as without it the salad is nasty.

sprats and salad cuisinefiend.com keto diary

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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