Friday, May 22, 2020

Lowcarb/Keto Plus Other Restrictions

The Lowcarb/Keto eating plan already restricts you from eating a lot of things which most people think of as ‘normal.’ As I have found now that I’m having to eat low-protein due to a bad kidney test, adding even more restrictions can be hard. In my case, it seems to be necessary for my health right now. It can be hard to cope.

The problem is to understand the reasons behind your restrictions so you can make good choices. The reason you can’t have two bananas for breakfast is not because bananas are evil or Satanic, but because they are high in carbohydrates. (If you utterly adore bananas perhaps you can split a banana with a family member once a week or so.) The reason I, personally, can’t eat three chicken thighs for lunch is because even ONE chicken thigh can take me over my protein allowance for the whole day. Knowing the ‘why’ can really help.

Getting firmly into ketosis (MEASURE YOUR KETOSIS DAILY!!!) and adding more intermittent fasting to your life makes coping with multiple restrictions a lot easier. (I would not recommend doing more fasting without being in ketosis. It’s hard!)

Sometimes you can cope with restrictions by finding substitutes for problem foods. If you are lactose-intolerant, perhaps you can use coconut milk or cream, or nut milks of different kinds. If you can’t handle butter, you might try ghee, which does not have the milk solids from butter, or if you can’t handle that, try extra-virgin olive oil or coconut oil. 

If you have to be on sodium restriction (I am experimenting with that right now,) you can learn to add more spices to your food. If the food is spicy enough, you can hardly tell whether it has salt or not! You have to find the spices and herbs you personally enjoy to flavor your food that can help make unsalted food taste great. 

Multiple restrictions are a challenge, but if you have already learned how to cope with one needed set of restrictions, adding another isn’t as much as a problem as it may seem at first. I’ve used OMAD (one meal a day) or OMAD plus a ’snack’ to cope with the protein restriction without exceeding the carb limitation. I also alternate days. On one day I don’t worry if I exceed the protein max by a bit. The next day I eat very light on the protein. (I tend to NOT exceed the net carb limit most days, or even get very close to the limit.)

Here’s hoping you joy in spite of restrictions,
Nissa Annakindt

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Wednesday, May 20, 2020

Chicken, Eggs, & Lowcarb/Keto

Like a number of lowcarbers, I keep chickens. I live in a rural area where chicken-keeping is even kind of expected. In the spring, we chicken-keepers get showers of eggs, some of which we can put in incubators to make new chickens. 

Last year, all but one of my chickens died in a winter storm, and neighbor provided me with some fertile hatching eggs. They hatched out in good proportions— I have 5 hens and a rooster. They live with my gander, Attila, who protects them from predators and chases the cats away from the chickens. My shy little mommy-cat Moxie hisses right back at him, though.

You can’t get organic eggs unless your local feed mill carries organic chicken feed. Mine doesn’t. Even the chicken-and-egg natural-production guru Joel Salatin can’t get organic feed, and must be content to keep his chickens grass-fed by keeping them in movable pens.

I have had portable chicken pens in the past but made a stationary pen as I can’t drag pens around like I used to. My standard chicken pen consists of a used calf hutch and some cattle panels covered with chicken wire. I also have a couple pens that use chain-link, 6 ft panels, but these pens are not very portable on a daily basis.

During the spring egg rush, it’s hard to keep up with the egg production. I feed my baby poultry some hard boiled eggs, chopped up, to improve their diet. Still, I have to consult my many and varied recipe books to find ways to eat eggs. 

By using the right seasonings, scrambled eggs can substitute for rice and rice-a-roni dishes (savory seasonings) and for flavored outmeal (apple extract & sweetener, or English toffee stevia and cinnamon.) Baked eggs can be good, and are quick to fix in the morning. I use Dana Carpender’s Creamy Parmesan Eggs recipe from 200 Low-Carb High-Fat Recipes (2015.)

Plain old sunny-side up or over-easy eggs are also just fine. I tend to fry up a ham or Spam slice or two in the frying pan first, then fry the eggs, and dip my meat into the yolk (since there is no toast to dip in it.) Some people love to make omelets, and Dana Carpender does explain how to make one, but I honestly prefer to scramble my omelets— it tastes less dry that way. But that’s a matter of taste, I guess.

Eggy days to you,
Nissa Annakindt

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Monday, May 18, 2020

Kidney Disease, Lies and Prediabetes

As I mentioned on this blog before, I had some medical tests done and according to the non-doctor PCP I have, everything was ALL  bad and my life was over and I had to make arrangements for an animal shelter to take in my pet cats when I go. And then the paperwork from my medical tests finally arrived.

I found that my non-doctor had lied to me. She claimed that I now had stage four kidney disease. The tests clearly show that I am still at stage three. Perhaps she exaggerated to force me to go to a nephrologist? I’d go if they ever get around to making the appointment, so long as they don’t send me back to the incompetent nephrologist in the city of Iron Mountain they sent me to before. Iron Mountain is too far a trip to go to see someone who claims there is no way to improve CKD, you just have to wait until you are bad enough to go on dialysis. 

I still do have protein in the urine, which is why my non-doctor recommended that I cut the protein in my diet. I started using the Carb Manager app on my phone to track the protein. It’s hard. One chicken thigh, if it is one of the heavier ones in the pack, can send me over my protein allowance. It’s kind of hard to figure what protein allowance to set because the ones recommended in a kidney disease book I have are less than the amount of protein needed daily. I set a goal close to the needed amount since it IS cutting down. I need to do a lot of intermittent fasting (partial-day fasting) to keep in line. But worrying about my protein seems to make it easier to cut the carbs. I rarely reach anywhere near my net carb limit for the day. 

The good news on my medical tests is that according to my A1c, I am no longer diabetic but prediabetic. And if I can go down by another two-tenths of a percentage point, I won’t even be prediabetic any more. Victory! 

I’ve been stricter with my eating plan since hearing from my non-doctor about the test results. I’ve started using the Carb Manager, cut back on both carbs and protein, am experimenting with going lower sodium, and am doing more intermittent fasting. I did have 2 carb indulgences, but they were small, only put me slightly over my net carb limit, and didn’t kick me out of ketosis.

Here’s wishing you healthy eating,
Nissa Annakindt

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Friday, May 15, 2020

The Lowcarb/Keto Learning Curve

Starting the lowcarb/keto eating plan without enough information can lead to bad results. Someone learns that eating lowcarb will lead to ‘quick weight loss,’ lower blood pressure and lower blood sugar, and so they get started. They’ve heard you can’t eat bread on lowcarb. So they eat pasta, or English muffins, or Froot Loops— all also high-carb foods. 

Some people are so afraid of dietary fat they are afraid to eat any meat except an ounce or two of dry, lowfat turkey. They eat egg white omelets— and wonder why they get so hungry. Other folks pig out on bacon and won’t eat any salads because they think veggies are not allowed.

Don’t be like that. The best way to NOT fail at lowcarb/keto is to learn what lowcarb/keto really is. Don’t rely on short magazine articles on ‘keto,’ or a random web site. You need to begin a reading plan to get up to speed on what foods are really allowed and not allowed, and you need a little of the science behind it— especially if you can’t get a doctor who knows about lowcarb.

I suggest a plan of reading, for a short time each day, some material that will help you get started. Recovering alcoholics often make a practice of reading AA’s Blue Book every day; we may need to do the same thing, both to learn and to keep inspired. I have done this for some years, reading my most recent lowcarb book for inspiration daily. (Do each Stage for about a month.)

  • Stage One. To get started, you need to learn the basics. I recommend getting ‘Dr. Atkins’ New Diet Cookbook’ and read chapter two, which tells how the Atkins diet, a lowcarb/keto way-of-eating, works and what foods are allowed. Read this every single day. Yes, it’s boring and repetitive, but after about a month you will know very well what you can eat and not eat. Another good book to have is the original Atkins diet book, ‘Dr. Atkins’ Diet Revolution.’ The chapter on how to do the diet is the twelfth chapter— not numbered in my copy of the book— titled: ‘The Revolutionary Never-Hungry, No-Limit, Steak-and-Salad Plus Diet.’ Read that chapter also for a few days.
  • Stage Two. You now know what foods are allowed better than most, so it’s time to expand your reading. Get out your ‘Dr Atkins Diet Revolution’ and read a chapter a day during your reading time. When you are finished, try Jimmy Moore’s ‘Keto Clarity’ and Gary Taubes’ ‘Good Calories, Bad Calories.’  Be willing to re-read these books once in a while. And read your Stage One chapters once a week or at least once a month to refresh your memory.
  • Stage Three. Podcasts are a good way to learn without having to read books. Jimmy Moore has had a number of good lowcarb podcasts which often have featured well-known doctors and researchers and other well-known people in the lowcarb community. Moore’s old podcasts were still available online some time ago, so you can find interviews with a lot of folks you may have heard of by now, like Gary Taubes.
  • Stage Four. By now you will have a lot of knowledge. You will have heard of other books to add to your reading list, and you will be able to tell when you are reading a book that is less science based than the others you have read. 

Can you ever stop learning? I have let my daily lowcarb/keto reading sessions lapse— but when I do that I am more prone to be tempted into renewing my carb addiction. I would suggest that after you have gone through the stages for some time, you might cut back to reading or podcast listening only 3 days a week and see if that keeps you inspired enough to keep on lowcarbing.

Wishing you happy lowcarb learning,
Nissa Annakindt

Wednesday, May 13, 2020

Understanding the Science Behind Lowcarb/Keto & Diet

We live in a world where people are confused about what science is. Some people think they are being all sciency when they call people they disagree with ‘science deniers’ for not accepting things like global warming, evolutionist philosophy, or the diet-heart hypothesis by blind faith.

Science is not about blind faith. It’s about things we know by testing them out, often by double-blind experiments where not even the scientists involved know which patient is getting the shiny new drug and which is getting an inert pill (placebo.) We need to know the science behind our way-of-eating, even if the learning curve may be difficult. Here are some things to remember.

  • Doctors’, nurses’ and dieticians’ opinions are not pure science. Dr. Jason Fung, a nephrologist (kidney specialist,) estimated in his whole medical training he got about 4 hours worth of lectures on nutrition— and he is a kidney specialist, and the number one cause of kidney disease is Type 2 diabetes— a condition that all acknowledge is diet-related. I once had a nephrologist tell me that diet had no effect on kidney disease and that I should prepare for my coming dialysis by taking home a DVD even though I told her I had no DVD player. And I had a nurse tell me that continuing my low-carb way-of-eating would make my brain non-functional because brains need glucose from dietary carbohydrates. Remember, medical people are people, too. Their opinions MIGHT come from reading medical journals, but they might also come from a WRONG magazine article they read in their teens or something their grandmother told them.
  • Case studies are good, but… A case study is a good start in developing scientific knowledge, but it is only as good as the quality of the observations. If a doctor tells a heart attack patient to eat ten bananas a day, and the patient eats bananas but also quits smoking and exercises more, the fact that the patient goes ten or twenty years without any further heart problems might be due to quitting smoking and being more active rather than being a proof that bananas cure heart disease. And what if the patient SAYS he’s eating all those bananas but isn’t, really, or doesn’t tell the doctor about the smoking and the exercise thing for some reason? 
  • Scientific studies on lab animals don’t always apply to humans. I’ve read about an early study on dietary fat where the researcher fed some rabbits a lot of fat and the rabbits had higher cholesterol. But rabbits don’t normally eat a diet like that, and humans have been hunters and meat eaters for a long time so fat IS part of OUR natural diets. 
  • Scientific studies must be well designed and without preconceptions. Suppose a scientist is keen on strict vegetarian diets. He does a study— but finds the vegetarians for the study from posting notices in health food stores and gyms, and gets the control group from a random group of middle-aged blue collar workers. His vegetarian group probably has far fewer smokers and couch potatoes than the control group, and are perhaps younger. If the scientist does not control for those factors, he does not know if the vegetarians are healthier because of their lesser-smoking, more-exercising, and younger status or because of the diet. 
  • Understanding a scientific study may require using a dictionary. Scientific studies in scientific journals are not written in regular English! For example, studies on a low-calorie diet may call it a ’Semi-Starvation’ or even a ’Starvation’ diet— not what we say in normal English. And it may have scientific terms you don’t know. Keep a notebook beside you, write down words you don’t know, and look them up in a good dictionary. 

Even if you think you are not particularly smart or well-educated in regards to science, you can learn more about the science behind the low-carb way-of-eating. I have found that the book ‘Good Calories, Bad Calories’ by Gary Taubes, a science journalist, is a good way to learn more. Taubes references scientific studies by the boatload, and explains what they mean. The book IS rather challenging, so if you find it hard, read just a few pages every day and keep a dictionary handy when you read. 

Sciency greetings from,
Nissa Annakindt, nutritional science geek

Monday, May 11, 2020

Kidney Test and the Food-Free Diet

Last Wednesday I got the results back on a kidney test and my results were worse. At least according to my PA. She wants me to eat less protein & less sodium. Since I need to be on low-carb to control my diabetes and I’m sure my very conventional PA presumes that everyone needs to be low-fat, that adds up to a food-free diet. Luckily I already have a couple books about that diet.

I have ‘The Complete Guide to Fasting’ by Dr. Jason Fung and Jimmy Moore, and ‘The Obesity Code’ by Dr. Jason Fung. Dr. Fung is a nephrologist (kidney doctor) and if fasting (or low-carb) were deadly for people with kidney disease, I assume he would know it. Perhaps be in jail for killing patients by now.

I ordered another of Dr. Fung’s books, ‘The Diabetes Code,’ which I intend to read cover-to-cover repeatedly even though Dr. Fung doesn’t write as well when he doesn’t have Jimmy Moore as a co-author. I also ordered 2 books on kidney disease and low-protein diets, both written by doctors. I need information!

Low-protein shouldn’t be THAT hard for people on the LCHF eating plan. Even though commercial sources brag about the grams of protein in meal bars and meal ‘shakes,’ our way-of-eating is supposed to be MODERATE protein. Because our clever bodies can turn protein into glucose. Also, protein intake can raise your insulin levels even if you eat it without carby foods— and that can make insulin resistance worse.

I have had fun calculating how many grams of protein I can be allowed on this new diet madness. First, I had to convert my weight from pounds into kilograms. Since I’m still hoping to lose weight and I don’t want to get in an eating pattern that I will have to make more restrictive soon, I used 160 for my current weight even though I’m at 182 at last check.

That’s about 73 kilograms. So at a .3 grams of protein per kilogram I can have about 22 grams of protein, and at .6 grams of protein per day that comes to 43 grams of protein. So my target is between 22 and 43 grams of protein per day. (Though my protein-needed amount is 50 grams per day I calculated.) I ordered a book of food counts that includes the protein & sodium counts to help with that. I also wanted to look for an app for my phone that did food counts, but I cannot find the darn thing at the moment— even though I put St. Anthony of Padua on the job! (Update: found it when the phone rang. Downloaded Carb Manager app and started using it.)

So— my current intermittent fasting plan calls for reducing my eating opportunities to one meal a day, with plenty of fluids in between time, and perhaps a bulletproof beverage to help me overcome hunger (which counts as a ‘meal.’ I’m going to replace my morning bulletproof coffee with a cup of hot bone broth (recommended by Dr. Jason Fung) and later a black coffee (with cinnamon & turmeric added.) 

It’s doable, and I haven’t been badly hungry so far. Just slight hunger pangs which can be ignored or defeated with a glass of water, tea or black coffee. My blood sugars are better— 101 this morning— and today I had a 123/72 blood pressure which is a big improvement. Plus according to my Ketonix I’m in moderate ketosis. 

So— good health and good low-carbing to you,
Nissa Annakindt and her ‘unhappy’ kidneys

Friday, April 17, 2020

Recipe: German Einlauf Soup

This is a super-simple recipe you can make with canned broth, an egg, and a couple of optional spices. It’s rather similar to Chinese Egg-Drop Soup, only has more of a European soul-food tone to it. You can also make it with bone broth of various types, or home-made dashi (Japanese fish/seaweed broth.)

Einlaufsuppe - German Einlauf Soup

One can of canned broth, any flavor, or 2 cups home-made bone broth or dashi.
1 Tablespoon good fat (butter, ghee, EVOO, coconut oil, cold-pressed avocado oil, bacon fat)
1 egg (large, extra-large, jumbo, chicken or duck egg)
1/2 Tablespoon dried parsley (or 1 Tablespoon fresh parsley snips)
1 pinch (less than 1/8 teaspoon) nutmeg
sea salt/Himalayan pink salt or Vege-Sal to taste
black or white pepper to taste

Add the fat, salt and pepper to the broth, put in kettle and put kettle on stove. While the broth is heating, crack the egg into a bowl with the parsley and nutmeg. Whisk or beat the egg with the parsley and nutmeg. When the broth has come to a boil, pour the beaten egg mix into the broth, slowly, stirring while you do so. Cook until the egg threads are set, serve. 

This recipe makes 2 servings of about one cup. You can put one serving in a canning jar (pint size) in the fridge for the next day. The soup should have little to no carbs, except a trace from the parsley and nutmeg, so you can eat it any time, even on Induction. With a salad and perhaps a bit of home-made low-carb flatbread, this is a nice light meal. Turn the bit of flatbread into a flatbread sandwich or two when you are extra hungry.

VARIATIONS: If you are on salt restriction for medical reasons, you can replace the salt with Salt-Free Spike or Mrs Dash. 
The seasonings are not set in stone. If you don’t care for parsley, omit it. If you think it needs garlic and/or onion, add some. 
Bone broth is healthier than canned broth or even canned ‘bone’ broth. I get my chicken bone broth for free. I buy chicken thighs, cook them and after eating, put the bones in the freezer. If I buy some of those frozen ‘hot wings’ I also save those bones, and the seasoning left on them makes the broth a little interesting. I’ve bought beef bones for soup both from a local farmer’s market where a guy sells frozen beef and pork, and from a semi-local market (Jack’s in Menominee, MI.) I’ve been trying to score some venison bones from hunting friends of mine, but so far no luck, though the friends have given me (boneless) venison and pork from the pigs they raise.

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Thursday, April 16, 2020

Learn to Make Keto Foods: Steaks & Burgers

One of the reasons our way of eating is often described as a ‘luxurious’ diet is that we can have steaks— really nice ones— and not have to have half portions or quarter portions because we are counting carbs and not calories and all steak is zero carb. 

Burgers are also good food, especially if you can get some grass-fed ground beef from Walmart. It’s weird to eat them with a knife and fork, on a plate, instead of on those overly-sweet buns the fast-food places are pushing, but it’s a learning curve. 

A lot of people who can’t cook anything else know how to take a steak and a frying pan and make dinner. But some of us have trouble with it. I never knew how long to cook things for, and so either got nearly raw or overcooked steaks. 

What helped me was when I got my George Foreman grill (the one with the interchangeable plates) and the booklet came with suggested times for cooking a lot of kinds of meat. Beef ribeye steak is 5-7 minutes on high, hamburgers are 3-5 minutes on medium, and pork loin chops are 4-5 minutes on medium.

I figured out that since the GF grill heats from top and bottom at once, if I was cooking the meat in a frying pan, I would take the suggested number of minutes and do that number of minutes, flip, and do the same number of minutes on the other side. I would set a timer.  That way, if the meat came out too rare, I could add a minute next time I cooked that kind of meat, Or if it was not rare enough, I could subtract a minute. All to my taste.

To learn more meat-cooking lore, you can check with cookbooks, especially low-carb cookbooks, or do internet searches. That’s how I learned to cook chicken hearts— I found a few blog entries about cooking chicken hearts and I used it when I cooked my own.

Seasoning meat: Mostly you will want to add salt (or salt-free Spike or kelp powder) and pepper to your meat before cooking. Perhaps some onion powder or garlic powder as well, or paprika. Soy sauce or Worchestershire sauce can also be used. In time you may learn to put meat in marinades before cooking. A simple low-carb vinaigrette dressing can do for a marinade. Put a couple Tablespoons of the marinade in a plastic bag with the meat and keep it in the fridge a couple of hours. People also use seasonings at the table. Low-carb catsup or low-carb barbecue sauce can be made at home and are good for this purpose. 

Frozen meat: I freeze meat. I live alone, I buy ‘family packs’ of meat to save money, and I pack it all up into my big freezer on the porch. But you have to thaw the meat before you cook it! In the evening, pull out any frozen meat you need to cook the next day and let it thaw in the fridge. NOTE: I normally freeze single portions. If you have a whole turkey in your freezer it will need longer to thaw out!

Wednesday, April 15, 2020

Learn to Make Keto Foods: Salads

The Wuhan coronavirus has taught us how many people are dependent on others to make their meals— they eat restaurant, including fast-food restaurant, meals not once or twice a month but once or twice a day. And for their other meals they have ready-to-eat or heat-and-eat stuff. 

Being this helpless is no way to do Keto * Low-Carb. It’s like being in a prison where you don’t get to eat what you think is healthy but what a prison dietician thinks is healthy, and what the prison budget can handle. If you want to be a free ketonian rather than a carb-diet prisoner, it’s time to learn to make some food on your own.

Low-Carb eating plans have had a place for salad veggies since the days of the Atkins diet, in which you are allowed 2 cups of salad veg plus 1 cup other low-carb veg even on strict Induction. 

You don’t have to get your salads by ordering them from a restaurant or a grocery with a salad bar. You can put together a salad on your own. You need to make a shopping trip to pick up some salad veg every so often. Or, if you do home-sprouting to get sprout salads, you may have to order your sprouting seeds online. I get mine from Amazon though I’m thinking of looking in to smaller companies that sell sprouting seed.

A salad usually consists of two parts: the base, often lettuce, cabbage or sprouts, and the extras, radish or carrot shreds, bell pepper bits, some green onion, and even bits of bacon or cheese shreds. My sprout salads are often from a salad sprout mix such as Broccoli & Friends, and so has broccoli sprouts and radish sprouts mixed in with the alfalfa and red clover sprouts that are the base.

To prepare a salad, first rinse and dry your base. Cut or tear it into bit-sized bits, or if it is sprouts separate the bits from one another if they are grown together into a clump. Put the base in a clean bowl.

Prepare any extras your salad will include. Rinse and dry veggies, and cut up your radish, bell pepper, green onion or red cabbage. If including, chop up your bacon or hardboiled egg, cooked meat, and shred your cheese. Put the extras in with the base and mix. Each person gets about 1 cup worth of salad for two daily meals, so measure your salad serving accordingly. 

Seasoning: You can use salt, seasoned salt, salt-free Spike, kelp powder and other similar things on your salad. You may also use low-carb salad dressings, especially the home-made kind with good oils like EVOO or avocado oil. Be sure and measure out your portions of salad dressings— just because 1 serving of dressing is OK doesn’t mean you can pour on 4 servings.

Saturday, April 11, 2020

If You Have To Eat Carbs In The Coronavirus Emergency

I remember reading about how in the Holocaust era many Jewish people were trapped behind the walls of ghettos and not given enough food to avoid starvation. The little food they could get might not be kosher. So rabbis ruled that the kosher dietary rules could be suspended for the duration of the emergency.

Our Keto * Low-Carb dietary rules are not about spiritual concerns but about health concerns. So if an emergency comes up, it’s not so easy to suspend the dietary rules that preserve our health. But there are ways to do things that will influence our state of ketosis only minimally. 

The principles I use come from the book ‘The Carbohydrate Addict’s Diet’ (1991) by Drs. Rachael & Richard Heller. This diet plan (which does not substitute for a low-carb eating plan) calls for eating 2 low-fat, low-carb meals a day, and allows you one ‘Reward Meal’ at which you can eat carbs, so long as your meal does not last longer than an hour. 

Now, if you are addicted to carbohydrates, I don’t think taking a ‘hit’ of carbs every single day is dealing with your addiction. It’s like telling a heroin junkie he can have as much heroin as he likes for one hour a day, or a drunkard that he can go on a daily one-hour drinking binge. Not the right way to handle it.

Both Dr. Atkins and Dana Carpender mentioned the Carbohydrate Addict’s Diet, but both say that even if your body can handle these ‘Reward Meals’ some days, you shouldn’t try it every day. What I have done is that when I am going to eat some carbs I shouldn’t anyway, I keep the carb-eatings to an hour or less. If I haven’t eaten carbs for a while, it may not even throw me out of ketosis, though my blood sugars won’t be as low as they are when I don’t eat carbs.

In a situation like the local food shortages caused by the Wuhan coronavirus, you may find yourself at the mercy of a family member who ‘scored’ a big bag of rice— and not even brown rice which is a bit better. The thing to remember is that you can not eat rice (or other carbs) at every meal. You can eat a serving of carbs at one meal in the day, so if there is a rice dish on the table you can have some. 

For your other food during the day, you should have meat, eggs, fish, poultry— whatever you can get. It’s spring, there should be eggs somewhere. Spring is when laying hens lay the most eggs.

If you can’t get enough proper low-carb foods to keep you unhungry, make yourself bulletproof coffee or tea a couple of times a day. You can use coconut oil, butter, home-made ghee, EVOO or the fat you drained off from cooking bacon. (I’ve had bacon fat in bulletproof hot cocoa and loved it.)

You probably cannot eat your rice meal every single day and still maintain your health. If your family members complain about you being so picky, remember that the worst cases of Wuhan coronavirus seem to be happening to people with diabetes/prediabetes and obesity. You can’t afford to carb-binge every day and become more vulnerable to a severe case!

An every-other-day plan, when you are eating carbs in an emergency, is probably the best approach. If you stay in a state of ketosis, you won’t be that hungry and can do without big meals when the food is not there. You may need to be on a dull meal regime of canned chicken, canned tuna, & canned salmon plus your daily salads. (If you have a hard time getting salad veg, NOW is a good time to order salad sprouting seeds— Broccoli & Friends mix, or alfalfa sprouting seed— and perhaps a Victoria sprouter though you can use a plain clean jar to sprout seeds. Get in the salad sprouting habit and you can eat salad every day even when store supplies are not reliable.)

If you are offered two or more carb sources on your Reward Meal day, pick things like rice— ideally brown rice— rather than a slice of chocolate cake. It’s easier to stop eating rice. 

Another emergency situation that many low-carb people face every day is that posed by institutional meals— school food, soup-kitchen and homeless shelter meals, non-perishables from a food bank, Meals on Wheels, and other high carb sources people are confronted with. Learn to just eat the part of meals that is allowed low-carb, and do without the rest. If your institutional food source is a little flexible, ask for things like hard-boiled eggs. 

When I was in a homeless shelter last year, I used my small money supply to buy Atkins drinks and bars, since many meals there were fairly free of anything low-carb to eat. (There was also a tater tot casserole once with ice-cold tater tots in it— obviously undercooked— too dangerous to eat even for a ‘Reward Meal,’ and tasted more like a punishment meal anyway.) It’s a tough life if you have to eat institutional food, but staying in ketosis as much as you can will at least keep you from getting hungry. 

Having the right mindset helps. Eating carbs should not be a treat or ‘Reward Meal’ for us, but a miserable emergency measure we use to stay fed and alive in dire situations. You can eat things like rice in those situations without ruining your health, if you do so carefully and not-every-day.

Holy Saturday (& belated Passover) Greetings from
Nissa Annakindt

I do welcome comments, but have to insist that commenters use their Google accounts and comments be moderated because of a flood of spam comments I had. Sorry about that. 

Thursday, April 9, 2020

Recipe: Chilli Chicken & Veggies

Yes! You can turn canned chicken and canned stir-fry or chop suey veggies into an easy ‘chicken-noodle’ dish! An easy meal for those having hard times.  This recipe is inspired by the ‘Chilli Chicken’ recipe in Dr. Paramesh Shamanna’s ‘Indian Low Carb Recipes,’ but it is much simpler and uses canned chicken.

The Chicken
Drain one can 9.75 oz. (276 g.) can of chunk chicken breast and put the pieces on a plate. Sprinkle with:
onion powder
garlic powder
chili powder
ground ginger
garam masala (optional)
ajman seed (carom seed, ajwain seed— optional)

Sprinkle each spice to taste— if you don’t like too much chili powder or can’t get enough garlic, sprinkle the amount YOU would like. Put chicken and spices into a plastic bag or glass jar. Add 1-2 Tablespoons (15 ml) of soy sauce. Keep chicken in this marinade about 1-2 hours. This amount of chicken is good for 1-2 servings, depending on appetite. 

The Veggies
Drain one 28 oz can of chop suey or stir fry vegetables and divide into 3 portions of about 1 cup each. Sprinkle veggies with a bit of salt and pepper, garlic powder, garam masala and ajman seed, and put each portion in a bag or small jar with some soy sauce. You only need 1 portion of veggies for each serving. 

You may stir-fry the meat and veggies in a wok or frying pan. Use ghee, avocado oil, or EVOO as your stir-frying oil. You can add a bit of toasted sesame seeds to it, or a Tablespoon or so of pecan or walnut pieces. (Yes, you can stir-fry pecan or walnut pieces.)

Or, you can cook them on a George Foreman grill using a Baking Plate for the bottom plate— preheat to Medium, with ghee, avocado oil or EVOO on the grill, and add meat and veggies when preheating is done. Cook for about 6-7 minutes. 

You can use any leftover cooked chicken or other meat in about the right amount. You can also use home-sprouted mung beans, zucchini ‘noodles,’ cabbage ‘pasta’ or other veggies. If you use frozen veggies, thaw your portion before cooking— perhaps overnight.
You can replace the onion powder and garlic powder and chili powder with fresh onions, garlic and hot peppers in whatever amount you enjoy. 
You can also change up the spices to whatever you happen to prefer. If you are on salt restriction, you can use salt-free Spike, or up some of the spices so the dish doesn’t seem so bland without salt.

Healthy Holy Week greetings from
Nissa Annakindt

Wednesday, April 8, 2020

Diabetes Control in the Coronavirus Era

Watching a broadcast of the Laura Ingraham show, I heard some doctors who are actually treating patients with Wuhan coronavirus who said that most patients who had serious cases of the disease had T2 diabetes, prediabetes, or were clinically obese— BMI index above 30. 

I have T2 diabetes myself and at one point was on two different pills for it. But then I had a bad kidney test and one of my kidney doctors said I had to go off both pills. The only diabetes medicine she thought my body could handle was insulin injections. I do believe that she assumed I would be on insulin almost immediately, but handling that would be the job of my health-care-providing nurse. 

Well, I got strict with my Keto * Low-Carb eating plan and have not had to go on insulin. Actually I was surprised that controlling my blood sugars with just low-carb was pretty much the same as controlling it with 2 meds plus low-carb. I began to suspect it was my low-carb that was doing the heavy lifting.

If YOU have T2 diabetes, are prediabetic, or are obese, the Wuhan coronavirus pandemic should be your wake-up call to get these things under control with a low-carb eating plan. I know it can be tough. Especially now that some grocery stores are understocked and some normal low-carb eaters have resorted to emergency measures like rice or ramen noodles. And if you haven’t been on low-carb before this is sure a stressful time to start. Though I guess it’s less stressful than having a severe case of Wuhan coronavirus. Here are the steps towards getting started:

If you are on meds for diabetes and/or high blood pressure, you will have to cut the dose when you start Keto * Low-Carb because the eating plan has similar effects to the meds. And you need to have a doctor’s OK to cut your prescription meds, for good reasons. Probably you will have to consult a doctor by phone or online. If your doctor is reluctant to OK cutting your meds dose, perhaps you ask, that if your blood sugar/pressure gets below a certain level, you will be authorized to split your pills in half. In the long term, you will probably want to find a doctor or health-care-provider non-doctor that is experienced with low-carb.

Induction is the first and strictest phase of the Atkins Keto * Low-Carb eating plan. Going on Induction or back on Induction can help you control those blood sugars. After you have done two weeks or more on Induction successfully, you can add back a bit of carbs as in the Atkins levels. Read more about doing Induction in books like Dr. Atkins Diet Revolution (1972) or Dr. Atkins New Diet Cookbook (1994.)

If you have a blood sugar meter, take your blood sugar once or twice a day and write down the results. If you have high blood pressure, get a blood pressure meter and measure that, too. You don’t need to weigh yourself every day, but twice a week is good. I have an electronic scale which also calculates my BMI and body fat percentage, among other things. That BMI is an important number— it marks the difference between obese and merely overweight. (My BMI has been just under 30 usually, but this Sunday it was 30, so I am technically obese again. Must get stricter in my Keto!) 
It is VERY important to track your state of ketosis. Blood ketones are the best things to measure, but the test strips cost money. Breath ketones are the next best. I have an older Ketonix brand breath ketone analyzer. I test my breath ketones every morning. If it is moderate or high, that’s a good level of ketosis and so I put a big K in my  health records notebook, followed by a number— if it is the first day of being back in good ketosis after a low-or-no ketone day, that number will be a one, followed by a two and so on.
If you cannot get a blood ketone or breath ketone meter, you can fall back on ketosis urine strips. It’s not as good a measure, but better than nothing. You can probably buy either the urine strips or blood or breath ketone meters online right now, if you have internet access in your home.

Eating low-carb is restrictive enough, without a misguided attempt to do low-fat at the same time. Good fats are not only healthy for you, they help you to feel not-hungry. That’s why I can stick to a low-carb eating plan while I couldn’t do low-calorie/low-fat for one full day. 
Read Good Calories, Bad Calories by Gary Taubes (2007) to get an account of how wrong science led to the ‘urban legend’ that eating foods with fat in them would clog your arteries and make you die of heart disease. Valid science does not support this, but supports the LCHF (low-carb, high-fat) eating plan. The book gives loads of references to actual scientific journal articles and so is useful for medical doctors and ‘health-care-providers’ who can look up and read the actual articles and evaluate them.
My very conventional ‘health-care-provider’ ordered me to begin taking fish oil supplements, which shows that even the conventional medical industry is starting to learn that all fat is not bad fat. 

Keto Intermittent Fasting is not the same as white-knuckle fasting which I picture as someone curled in a ball, moaning from hunger pangs, just waiting for the moment when he can eat some food again. I tried fasting that way once or twice, and didn’t get through more than a day.
Keto Intermittent Fasting happens once you get into ketosis. You are not hungry, you have more energy than you are used to, and you end up skipping a meal or two because you are too caught up in a project to eat a meal. 
Intentional fasting on Keto is a pleasure because it is easy. And it sure brings down the blood sugars. I used to never eat breakfast on Keto * Low-Carb, but after my health problems last year it’s mostly supper I can do without. 
The down side of fasting is that it can make you experience hunger again when Keto has made you unused to feeling hunger. Also, you tend to feel virtuous because you have fasted for hours or days. This can lead to a carb-binge that can spoil all the gains you have made.

Blood sugar control and ending your obesity are more important now than ever during the Wuhan coronavirus pandemic. The Keto * Low-Carb eating plan is your best ally in overcoming the insulin resistance which leads both to diabetes/prediabetes and to obesity/overweight. Sticking to this plan— in spite of the stress of current events— can be essential for your health and safety.

Saturday, April 4, 2020

Bulletproof Coffee with Cinnamon & Turmeric

Bulletproof coffee (& other bulletproof beverages) are especially helpful in these times. I’ve changed up my ever-changing bulletproof coffee mix to add some healthful spices. Cinnamon is helpful to maintain good blood sugars. Since diabetics and prediabetics are at greater risk to get a severe case of Wuhan Coronavirus, controlled blood sugars is a good thing!

I use instant coffee— Folger’s on weekdays and Jacobs (from Germany) on the weekends. I also have Sanka decaf for afternoon & evening, but don’t usually use it as I think it doesn’t taste very good.

I mix my bulletproof beverages in a 16 oz ceramic cup. Since I often use MCT oil or coconut oil in my bulletproof beverages, which you cannot put in styrofoam cups due to a chemical reaction, it is worth having to wash out the cups.


2 teaspoons of instant coffee
pinch of Himalayan pink salt or sea salt (optional)
1 Tablespoon MCT oil
1 Tablespoon EVOO (extra-virgin olive oil)
hot water to nearly fill cup

After the hot water is added, stir it a little, then add:
1/2 teaspoon cinnamon
about 1/16th teaspoon turmeric (half filled 1/8 teaspoon measure)

Stir well and drink. I do NOT add my usual heavy whipping cream to this bulletproof coffee as I have given up cream for Lent. At first I added coconut milk to my daily bulletproof coffees, but lately I don’t bother.

With Brewed Coffee: Replace the instant coffee crystals and the hot water with brewed coffee
Bulletproof Tea: make enough tea to fill the cup (in a different cup) and replace the hot water & instant coffee with the brewed tea.
Bulletproof Hot Chocolate: Replace the 2 teaspoons of instant coffee with 2 teaspoons Hershey’s (unsweetened) cocoa or cacao powder. You may use up to 8 drops of Sweetleaf liquid stevia, plain, vanilla, or English Toffee flavor. But I made some without any sweetener and it was quite good.
Bulletproof Chocolate Mocha: As above, but use 1 teaspoon instant coffee and 1 teaspoon cocoa/cacao.
Bulletproof Carob: As above, but use 2 teaspoons carob powder. Sweetener may be even less needed than it is in the chocolate version. 

NOTE: I don’t like the taste of EVOO in my bulletproof beverages. But mixing it half-and-half with MCT oil and adding the spices, especially the turmeric, kills that EVOO flavor I don’t care for in my drinks. Since EVOO is not only healthy, it is recognized as a healthy oil by doctors and family members who insist everyone should avoid fat sources like MCT oil in their diet, adding it to your bulletproof beverages may be an acceptable compromise.

OTHER FATS: Butter was the original fat in bulletproof beverages. When I was in a rehab center after my stroke last year, I saved the tiny pats of butter allowed for my coffee since the food it was meant for was too lukewarm to melt butter. It was delicious, even though I had to do without cream or sweetener. Coconut oil contains some MCT oil, and thus is a low-cost substitute. I have used Ghee in bulletproof beverages as well, and when I had a small jar of bacon fat recovered from cooking bacon I used that in my hot chocolate (weird but delicious.) DON’T use rapeseed oil (‘canola’ oil) or other inflammation-causing vegetable oils in your bulletproof beverages.

Wishing you health
during this Lenten/coronavirus season,
Nissa Annakindt