Posts Tagged ‘ridiculous diet fads’

Some people mentioned an interest in my current Keto Experience, and since – as when on any diet – I think about Keto a lot, I am happy to oblige. 

However, I keep feeling blocked when I try to talk about it. I feel like I have to have an explanation for trying Keto again. And the explanation (I want to lose weight) feels unsatisfactory to me. 

For one thing, the subject of weight is so FRAUGHT. My experience of my body should have nothing to do with anyone else’s experience of their body, and yet weight is so comparative. It is almost impossible to say that a person who wants to change her body is not passing judgment on someone whose body is different from her own. I think we all know that both things are true: I can look at myself and find fault, while seeing absolutely no fault in others. I can know that, experience that, but also feel judged by others who are on their own personal paths. I would never want my decision to lose weight make someone else feel bad. And I don’t want to TALK about weight a lot, either – I had an acquaintance who recently lost a lot of weight, and I am very proud of her for achieving a goal she set for herself and happy for her that she feels so good, but literally EVERY conversation we have includes weight talk and I cannot handle it. So beyond a few posts, which I will clearly label as Keto adjacent, I promise to avoid weight talk. Maybe I will come back and update you on progress, if there is any, but maybe not. 

Another thing that makes me feel conflicted about Keto is that I have tried – so hard – these past two years to love my body the way it is. I’ve tried to accept its changes, to eat intuitively, and to buy clothes that fit me. I feel like I should love my body. But I don’t. So wanting to lose weight feels like a failure. 

But the fact is, I DO want to lose weight.

Plus… I feel like I’ve been instructed to lose weight, which makes me feel both resistant and ashamed. When I went to my new gynecologist earlier this year, she told me I needed to lose weight. Those weren’t her exact words – and I don’t think she even brought it up. I think I may have made a comment about gaining weight during the pandemic, and she said something about how it would be a good idea for me to lose [obscene amount] of weight. When she said that, I felt crushed with despair. I think we can all agree that it’s one thing when you know that you need to do something “for your health.” But it’s entirely another when a medical professional tells you the same thing (especially when she is suggesting it to you in a reasoned and compassionate way). 

When I went to my new primary care doctor, I mentioned what the gynecologist had said. My new doctor (I love her so) shrugged and said that the gyn was going by OLD rules, and that I was really fine. There is a wider range of “healthy” weight/BMI than medical science previously prescribed, and I was within that range. But then she said I might be more comfortable if I lose [less obscene amount] of weight. 

She was the one who recommended Keto. And because I am nothing if not A Rule Follower, I felt like I had to at least give it a try. (As I explained it to my husband: if I ask for advice in solving a problem and then don’t follow that advice, I can’t complain to you later about the same problem.)

I told her that I had done Keto before, and that I hated it in part because – as with all diets – you had to think about food all day every day. My husband and I went All In, the first time. We were super strict. We tracked all of our macros – protein, fat, and carbs – and made sure we were getting the prescribed amount of each. It was a constant battle to get enough protein and fat without drastically overreaching one or the other. It was just as bad as calorie counting, and I hated it. It feels disordered to me, to be constantly wondering if you’re eating enough or too much. I never wanted to do that again.

My doctor claimed that she didn’t track every little thing. She simply stays under 20 grams of net carbs per day. 

I was suspicious. But it sounded appealing, to only think about the carbs. And I wondered if maybe I could fit Keto/low-carb to my needs rather than the other way around. 

I have been much more relaxed, this time. And – not surprisingly – the weight is coming off much more slowly. But it is coming off. (It went right back on when I ditched Keto over my vacation, though. So I will have to figure out how – or if – I can ever add carbs back to my diet without gaining everything back. But that’s a problem for the future.) 

The first time I did Keto, I lost about 10% of my bodyweight in about six weeks. 

This time, it took me about six weeks to lose 6% of my bodyweight. BUT I was taking at least one weekend day “off” of Keto during that time. 

It’s clear to me that if I want to supercharge the results I want, I need to stick to it more strictly. But my husband thinks that it might be more sustainable to do it the way I am – slowly, without feeling overly restricted.

I don’t know. It still seems like early days – especially since I took a week off for vacation and it feels almost as though I am starting from scratch. We’ll see how it goes, I guess. 

Here are the main “rules” I am following this time around:

  1. I try to limit my intake of net carbs to 18 grams per day. I use the free version of Carb Manager to track my carb intake. I think it’s a very user friendly app, and the database of foods is vast and fairly accurate. 
  2. I try to eat foods I like as often as possible. Salmon vs. eggs, for instance. And I am trying to continue to make and eat recipes I like. For example, I will still eat stir fry, just without so much sauce and with no rice. 
  3. When it comes to veggies, I try not to be too restrictive. One cup of raw broccoli, for instance, is 4 grams of net carbs. If I have only 8 grams of net carbs available for dinner, but I want to eat a third cup of broccoli, I eat the extra broccoli. 
  4. I prioritize protein over fat. True Keto is a balance between protein, fat, and carbs. But when I did Keto before, I found myself forcing down things I didn’t want in order to get the “right” amount of fat. I would add MCT oil to my tea, for instance. It was awful and made me feel sick. Now, if I don’t get “enough” fat, oh well. 
  5. I try to drink a LOT of water. I have found that I feel more full if I start the day with a glass of water than if I go straight into tea/breakfast. 
  6. I do not think about calories. When I look at my Carb Manager app, my caloric intake is all over the map. 1400 calories one day, 1100 the next, 1500 the next, 584 calories the next (which obviously is not sustainable or healthy, and the low calorie content was certainly not intentional), 1350 the next. The carbs are my focus, not the overall calories. This helps, I think, keep me from the feeling that I am constantly thinking about food and tracking food all day long. I mean, I do track my food. But it’s much less of an ordeal than it was either in 2020 or when I’ve done things like calorie counting and Weight Watchers. My attempt to be less consumed by this diet is, so far, working pretty well.
  7. For the most part, I try to stick to “real” foods, rather than processed snacky things. For the most part, because I definitely have bought some pre-packaged helpers, which I will tell you about next time. But I find that I feel happier and more satisfied when I am eating things like shrimp and zucchini noodles or pork tenderloin and asparagus than when I am eating 100% hot dogs and freeze-dried cheese. The cheese thing is interesting to me, because one thing that’s great for Keto is cheese. But I eat a LOT less cheese this time than I did in 2020. 

Okay. That’s enough. If you are still reading, first of all, bless you, and secondly, let me know if you have any questions. 

I will do another post about the Keto purchases I have made that I like. And maybe a post about what I eat in a typical week (mainly for Future Me). And then I will stop talking about it. (Mostly.)

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I keep encountering things that seem like they would be perfect for discussing with you. And then I promptly forget them. Perhaps I should keep a list on my phone, alongside my Target List and my Books to Look Into List and my Excellent Words List and my Grocery List. 

The one topic I did remember – the ongoing stress of figuring out how best to interact with our neighbors and their dogs – is one I have posted about before. Lucky for us all, I read the previous post before sitting down to type up my angst. Not only did I discover that things have not improved AT ALL, which is quite discouraging, but I also prevented myself from writing (and saved you from reading) pretty much the exact same post, just three years later. So now I am out of a post topic, which is also discouraging. 

But I am feeling chatty despite not having anything to talk about. 

These are the lovely flowers I informed my husband I required for Mother’s Day. While I am not particularly pleased by having to ask for them, I am pleased by the end result. Very cheery, especially in light of the dreary weather.

My Mother’s Day was fairly lovely this year. Sunday is our normal cleaning day, which we moved to the day before Mother’s Day. But I was the only one who did any cleaning, so my house remains un-vacuumed, which is irritating and sneezy. (To be fair, my husband did fold the laundry.) For the day itself, I asked specifically for what I wanted (flowers, a book, Mexican takeout) and I got those things, plus my husband got me a couple of other goodies. Carla made me a coaster in school, which made me tear up at the thought of her teacher instructing all the children to make coasters for their parents. I lounged around and read all day. The only hiccup was dinner. Somehow I was the one who went to pickup the takeout, which annoyed me in retrospect. And apparently EVERYONE IN THE MIDWEST had decided to take their mothers to this specific Mexican restaurant for Mother’s Day, so it was very busy. None of the staff would look at me or address the long line of people waiting for takeout unless specifically asked (even though bags of takeout kept appearing on a long table near the cash register). And, worst of all, I did not get the margarita I had been looking forward to. They were listed as “sold out” online, so I hoped to order one in person. When I finally got a staff member to speak to me, she said I could order one at the bar. But after sitting at the bar for ten minutes, the bartender informed me I had to order the margaritas at the cash register. And it just wasn’t worth it after that. I waited for forty minutes for my food, and then only when I got home did I realize that they had forgotten the guacamole. OH WELL. It was still a nice, relaxing day. I know Mother’s Day can be fraught for SO MANY REASONS for SO MANY PEOPLE, and if yours was crummy, please know I understand just how crummy it can feel, and I hope that you have better days ahead.

Oh! Here’s something: I got my first haircut since February 2020! It is… barely distinguishable from what it looked like before the haircut. Although it FEELS 10,000 times better. My hair had grown quite long – nearly to my belly button – and I like the length. But it was at the point where, every time I brushed it, I would pull out huge brambles of tangled hair. The bottom edge was all raggedy looking and the whole mop was so lank and heavy. Now, I have some new layers and new movement to the whole thing. I wish I had been brave enough to ask her to whack more of it off. A friend of mine had similarly long hair and chopped it to chin length and it looks great on her. I could never do something that drastic – for one thing, my hair does not do chin length, it does triangle – but I was thinking about shoulder length, which would have gotten rid of a good eight inches. Oh well. It took all my courage to go INTO the hair salon during a pandemic; I didn’t have any left over for significant style changes. 

Being A Good Blogger, I had Carla take a picture of my Before Hair as we were leaving for school. But we were already late and I didn’t think about how posing in front of a tree with leaves a surprisingly similar shade to my hair would make it difficult to see. (The leaves are a very dark reddish color, not green.)

I don’t consider my hair to be this color, but it looks virtually identical in the photo. Perhaps the Madison Reed folks should consider naming one of their hair dyes Crimson King Maple in light of this coincidence.

The other problem with the photo was how startlingly large I am in it. Listen, I am under no illusions about my current size. But it’s one thing to regard yourself in the mirror every day and another thing entirely to see yourself from behind, in a photograph. Well. I am working hard on Accepting Myself, because – as I mentioned in a previous post – I just cannot fathom engaging in another 1,200-calories-per-day diet, and the mere thought of trying keto again exhausts me. I do not want to think about food every second of every day, which is what happens when I diet. 

We seem to finally be getting some sunshine in these parts. I tend to turn to the topic of weather when I need to transition away from topics that make me uncomfortable. I do this in person, too, just in case you thought I reserved this particular quirk for blogging. Weather. The great conversational neutralizer! It has been cool and springy, which I appreciate. I do not like when the weather goes from winter straight into blazing heat. But we’ve had so much rain (and snow on Mother’s Day!) that I am feeling extra delighted by the sun’s appearance. 

Carla and I went to the garden center last week to pick up some plants. I have a couple of planters in the front of the house and a few in the backyard, and it was pleasant to fill them with flowers last summer (instead of with vegetables that are eaten by vermin the second they appear on the stems), so we filled them with flowers again this year. Carla really, REALLY wanted us to buy some variety of flower that said it would attract hummingbirds. I don’t think we get hummingbirds in this part of the country, and the flower was $17 which is too much for me to pay just to SEE if we could attract hummingbirds to our yard from wherever they normally live. But we did pick up some supposedly deer resistant varieties of flowers, the names of which I have promptly forgotten. We planted them, and then, of course, we got snow. And have had two separate frost advisories since, so I’m hoping they will survive. 

If they do, somehow, live through the frost, they will also have to thwart the very brazen rabbits that live in our yard. 

A little presumptuous, to just make oneself at home in a pot already occupied by flowers!

Oh! I thought of another thing I wanted to tell you. I read a very good book recently. I don’t think I’ve felt as strongly about a book as I did about The Friend by Sigrid Nunez. That book was, to me, a real masterpiece. But that may have something to do with the subject matter, which was extremely well-suited to my particular personality and situation and career goals. ANYWAY, buy The Friend, the paperback is under $10 right now, but that is not what I want to recommend today. And, in fact, I don’t know why I am even bringing UP The Friend, because this other book is NOTHING LIKE IT IN ANY WAY. I am going to need a new paragraph here, to distance myself from The Friend.

There we go. The book I would like to urge you to read is A Burning by Megha Majumdar. Three things to know before rejecting it: First of all, it’s a fairly short book – 304 pages, but the book itself is somewhat smaller and narrower than a typical hard-bound book – plus, the chapters are very short, so it goes by quickly. Secondly, this book is described as a thriller, but I think that’s a mistake; it implies things about the way the book will unfold that aren’t actually true. I’d call this literary fiction with some elements of suspense. Third of all, if you read the description on the dust jacket, you get one sense of what the book is about… but it is not really about that. (This reinforces my usual practice of not reading the jacket copy before I read something.) Here is what the book is about, according to amazon: “Jivan is a Muslim girl from the slums, determined to move up in life, who is accused of executing a terrorist attack on a train because of a careless comment on Facebook. PT Sir is an opportunistic gym teacher who hitches his aspirations to a right-wing political party, and finds that his own ascent becomes linked to Jivan’s fall. Lovelyan irresistible outcast whose exuberant voice and dreams of glory fill the novel with warmth and hope and humorhas the alibi that can set Jivan free, but it will cost her everything she holds dear.”

I mean, that sounds (potentially) appealing, right? And, sure, the book addresses all those things. But it is just so much MORE than that. It’s told from three perspectives – you get chapters in Jivan’s voice, in PT Sir’s voice, and in Lovely’s voice. And there’s the underlying story of Jivan’s arrest and trial. But it’s really about the three characters, who live totally different lives from one another in the middle of contemporary India, and whose lives intersect because of the case against Jivan, and who all share the desire to better themselves and rise above their current stations. Ugh. I don’t even want to say too much about the plot, because I don’t want you to think, “Oh, I don’t want to read about a terrorist.” or “I have no interest in another book about ambition.” It is exquisitely written – beautiful, descriptive writing without being flowery AT ALL, and, in fact, being rather spare and simple. The characters are so different from one another and so distinct in behavior, voice, and morals. The depiction of contemporary India was, to me, utterly fascinating; I have never been to India, and know very little about day-to-day life there. And the commentary on morality and social aspiration was cutting and concise and never preachy or overbearing. It’s not even commentary, which implies that Mujamdar was sitting above her characters and pointing out how what they were doing was amoral or justifiable or whatever. She was masterful at allowing these characters and their actions to speak for themselves. I don’t want to push too hard, because of course we are different people and you may not like it all. But I really really recommend it. I found it simultaneously crushing and deeply hopeful. 

Oh, by the way, I have a separate book blog and book Instagram if that sort of thing appeals to you. I feel weird bringing it up but also weird keeping it from you, but I would love to discuss books and writing with you, so there it is.

I am resisting the urge to start discussing the weather again.

My husband and I have a few small projects in mind for the coming weeks/months. One of them is to finally make progress on the gallery wall that I have been putting on my New Year’s aspirations list for YEARS. The other is to install a new mailbox. The snowplow people hit it sometime in mid-winter, and it listed sideways for awhile until the arm holding the mail box sagged away from the main post. The post is half-rotten and the whole thing looked very precarious. The person who came to trim the giant oak in our backyard kindly secured it with a bungee cord. And then during one of the April snowshowers, the snowplow people hit it AGAIN, knocking the entire mail box off the post. I nailed it back into place. But we need a new one. In fact, we HAVE a new one; it’s sitting in our garage, alongside a bag of quick-setting cement, waiting for us to install it. Perhaps we shall tackle the project this weekend!

Carla is done with school the second week of June this year. I keep thinking it’s still so far away, but we have less than a month now! I still feel grateful, every single morning, that she has been able to attend school in-person for the better part of this academic year. 

Well, I am going to go pour another cup of tea and work on editing my manuscript, so come by and chat with me. I want to know what projects are in the works, what you’re reading or watching, how your hair is doing, what you’re eating for dinner or right this very minute, or literally anything else you want to tell me. 

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Do I write about anything besides food? Is this a thing where I have A Serious Problem and I am just breezily unaware of it? I’m hoping it’s just Keto, which forces me to think about food waaaayyyyy more than I want to, and way more than is probably healthy.

Right now is my food witching hour. Well. Witching Hour #1. (The second takes place after Carla goes to bed when I flop onto the couch and watch something ridiculous.) This is the period of time between when I am starting to get hungry for dinner (about 4:00/4:30) and when we actually EAT dinner (anywhere between 6:30 to 9:00, depending on my husband’s schedule and/or my ability to time the dinner correctly). 

(This is also some sort of mating witching hour for a local… chipmunk? bird of some sort? other creature that makes repetitive clock-ticking – but, like, a loud cuckoo-style clock-ticking sound, not a tiny click that a normal wall clock makes – noises every single day at right about this time?)

(Well, now whatever it is has finished his business and has moved on. Soon the neighbors will release their dog into their backyard where he will bark persistently until they let him in. Which takes MUCH longer than it reasonably should.) 

Anyway, I am typing this post right now to avoid snacking. I have already snacked on my Allotted Keto Snack, which is an ounce of cheddar cheese, and which was delicious. I have been doing Keto for one week and two days and it has been going fine – you know, as fine as it goes when you hate it and all food seems super sad and/or requires too much chewing. But today I have been smacked right in the face by Severe Cravings.

Maybe if I write them down here I will transfer some of the craving energy from my belly into the Internet. That’s a thing, right? Like how if you post about your baby sleeping through the night, she is guaranteed to wake up seven times the next night and for every night for the next three months? Maybe it’s like that with cravings: I tell you all about them, and then they disappear. Yes. That is going to happen.

At some point, I hope to have a relationship with Keto that is less restricted. Where I can take little breaks. Or even… eat regular amounts of carbs on the weekend or something. I don’t know. But right now, everything feels very fragile and precarious, and I’m worried that one rogue glass of wine is going to tip me right off the wagon and into a bag of tortilla chips.

(Here is where I note that this weekend, we have not one but TWO [outdoor, masked-except-while-eating] family get togethers [of the exactly three families we have gotten together with since March, these are two of them] and so I am already sure that I will be pretty lenient with myself. My husband is making these amazing cookies, for one thing, and for another, we will be watching football [outdoors, on their deck; I don’t understand how this will work either; do they have an outdoor TV?] and football goes so very well with beer. Maybe I will take some Michelob Ultra with me?)

(Also: TWO get togethers??? That seems so incredibly extravagant. But it is also coming at a good time; this is the anniversary of my friend’s death and I am feeling wan and tearful, so being with other friends should be a lovely and welcome distraction.)

I am slightly surprised by the things I am craving most fiercely; for one thing, “chips” is not up there. Not that I’d throw a plate of nachos out of bed, mind you. But I have other carbs on the brain.

  1. Bagel. This is my top food fantasy right now. A thick bagel, soft on the inside, crunchy on the outside, perfectly toasted. Coated in a slick layer of butter with salt and a nice gooey topping of honey. Oh my GOD. 
  2. Wheat thins. We have a box in the pantry and I ate one this past weekend and it was SO GOOD and I have been thinking about gobbling up its brethren ever since.
  3. Triscuits. We also have a box of these bad boys because I was eating cheese with Triscuits all summer when I needed a little pre-dinner snack. So now when I eat cheese, there’s a Pavlovian Triscuit bell that rings in my head.
  4. Apple anything. A nice, crisp, juicy apple. Apple cake. Apple crisp. Apple pie. ANYTHING WITH APPLE.
  5. Mango smoothie. I think this is a spite craving and will be therefore fleeting; I made a smoothie today with raspberries but before I did that, I looked up how many carbs mango would set me back and it was A LOT. My raspberry smoothie left a lot to be desired, so I have been really jonesing for the mango version I used to make for myself and Carla on nights she had ballet.
  6. Bruschetta. I would love a nice crusty baguette, sliced into pillowy rounds, and coated with wonderful things like spinach and artichoke dip or a mushroomy tapenade. YUM.
  7. Garlic bread. Droooooooool.

I thought for sure I would really want pizza, because I love pizza with all my heart. But I have been making a Keto version (with fathead dough) and I guess it is an adequate-enough stand-in that I am not missing pizza too much. (Yet.) (Adequate is the absolute highest praise I can give the fathead pizza dough. I think all the people who say it tastes just! like! regular! dough! have either been on Keto for too long or have never eaten really good pizza.)

I would also love a big glass of Sauvignon Blanc. And a Coke. 

I have thinking about Coke so intently today that I may temporarily suspend my “no artificial sweeteners” rule and drink a Coke Zero. We’ll see. 

What are you craving right now?

Thank you for joining me on this cravings journey. It is now time to put my dinner in the oven and feel resentful toward our neighbors and their dog who has, right on cue, begun to bark in their yard.

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I promised I wouldn’t talk about it a lot, and yet here I am, talking about it immediately after I made that promise. Well. Feel free to skip straight to the meals below if you want. Or to skip reading altogether and come back in three months when I will be DONE with this.

It has been one week and two days and I can officially say that I hate the Keto plan. It is miserable. I am miserable. I feel constantly nauseated – a low-level nausea that has persisted since I finally made it past the absolutely dreadful “Keto Flu,” which I would say lasted until Friday and consisted of constant nausea, terrible headache, full-body aches, and brain fog. I hate eating and cooking, which makes me deeply sad because I love eating and cooking. I am irritable and snappy, particularly just in advance of meal times. I am constantly on my phone – looking for recipes, trying to figure out what I can eat and how much, logging my stupid water intake. My brain is absolute mush – I cannot remember ANYTHING, I am clumsy, I am flaky. I am peeing ALL THE TIME because a) you are supposed to drink a lot of water, so I am, and b) because I am constantly thirsty. My jeans are not fitting any better. My joints hurt. I have no extra energy. I get restless legs in the evenings, which – for me – can only be treated with sleep. But then my sleep is fitful or interrupted (I woke up at 3:00 for NO REASON the other morning and then couldn’t fall asleep for ninety minutes). Which, of course, could be related to Current Events (evergreen statement), but I am fine with blaming everything bad on Keto. It is torture. Purely voluntary, I can literally quit at any time, torture.

HOWEVER. I have already shed 6% of my body weight. In one week. I would love, in my WILDEST DREAMS, to lose 20% of my body weight. But I would be happy with 15%. And it seems like I am on my way to achieving that goal if I can just hang in there. A friend, yesterday, told me my face looks thinner. (Before you try to beat him up, please understand that he KNOWS I am doing Keto and prefaced his comment by saying, “I really don’t know if I should say this, because I have a policy of never commenting on people’s bodies, but I know you are putting in a lot of work…” And I said, “Go ahead, say it.”) Anyway, I would prefer that my thighs looked thinner (not that I want anyone to comment on my thighs, literally ever), but face is good, I guess. Well. Good, but not my favorite compliment.

(By the way, if it were just me, I would not mention that I am doing Keto to anyone in real life. It makes me super uncomfortable to give people a reason to look at me, and evaluate my size and shape.) (SUPER UNCOMFORTABLE.)

If the pace of weight-loss continues, then I will count this awful, awful, horribleness a great success. But I reserve the right to stop AT ANY MOMENT because it truly is awful. My poor husband hates it, if possible, even more than I do. And he wants to quit So Badly. I keep wheedling him to power! through!, because I am DEEPLY HOPEFUL that there is some kind of Keto inflection point that we just need to cross… and then it will be fine.

Maybe this is like when you start a new exercise regimen. And it hurts and you hate every minute and you dread dragging yourself out of bed to do the exercise. But then you start seeing results, and it becomes worth it. The pain feels like a challenge. You start to look forward to exercising. Or, at least, it becomes more automatic rather than something you have to gear yourself up for. This is what I hope Keto is like. The novelty wore off and now we’re in the thick of it and we just have to keep our heads down and move forward because RESULTS.

To drag this topic out even further: it is also really hard to talk about Keto around my daughter. I try to be open about what we are doing and, instead of talking about desired weight loss, focus on how we are using this method to recalibrate our eating habits. We’d been eating too much of the foods that you need to eat in moderation, and so we are trying to reset the way we think about portion sizes and food. I am also trying to explain to her that we are adults, and fully grown. She, on the other hand, is a child. And her brain and body are still growing and changing and so she needs a wide variety of ALL foods, even those that we are avoiding. Also, I am trying to keep a close watch on my language: instead of saying, “oh, I can’t eat that brownie,” I will say, “I am not going to eat that brownie” or “I am choosing not to eat that brownie right now.” To make it clear that it’s not TABOO or BAD, just not something I am choosing to eat right now. This is more important when it comes to things like mango and blueberries, which are HEALTHFUL, GOOD FOODS. And yet they are foods that my Keto app tells me get an F. (Bacon gets an A.)

Okay, this is way more than I wanted to type about this hellbeast of a diet. Now, it is time to post about dinners. Which I really don’t want to think about, let alone eat. Anyway, here’s my sad, defeated, TOTALLY VOLUNTARY meal plan for the week:

Dinners for the Week of March 2-March 10

  • Peri-Peri Chicken with Roasted Zucchini

Note: Peeps, this is simply a chicken breast marinated in peri-peri sauce. (Which is delicious, if you haven’t tried it.) And then some cut-up zucchini tossed in olive oil, salt, and pepper. I am craving nothing but vegetables, and I could not resist the siren song of the zucchini at the grocery store this weekend. They are carb-heavy – two small zucchini eat up 20% of my daily carbs – but I DON’T CARE. I need vegetables. (By the way, if it’s not clear, two small zucchini is not my desired amount of zucchini. I want to eat two LARGE zucchini. But this – my stereotypical-American perspective on what constitutes an appropriate portion size – is part of the problem I am hoping to address with Keto. Maybe two small zucchini is, in fact, a more appropriate amount.)


  • Taco Salad

Note: I can’t even get it up for taco salad. It just sounds like a lot of chewing.


Note: This sounds like fat overload. I wonder if I can squeeze in some sort of salad on the side?


  • Leftovers


Note: There is absolutely no way this will taste like regular BBQ sauce.


Note: If there’s no good looking halibut, I might use cod or sea bass instead. 


[Edited to add: OMG I forgot about planning something for dinner Sunday. I am telling you, my brain no longer functions.]

Note: Hell, maybe we will throw this diet out the window and go gorge ourselves on chips and beans at our favorite Mexican place.


Tell me about all the delicious meals you are eating this week. Especially if there are vegetables involved.

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After a VERY frustrating month and a half of trying to lose any, any at all, of the weight I gained from eating my feelings all autumn (and, simultaneously, a month and a half of reminding myself that weight has nothing to do with my self-worth and that maybe I am just This Size and should embrace it and worrying that I am setting a bad example for Carla by “dieting” and churning with ALL of the Fraughtness that comes with wanting to be a certain size in our society today and facing a truly insurmountable resistance to buying myself new jeans), I have persuaded my husband to try the Keto plan with me. This is literally Day Three, so please understand that I may give it up any second now and never speak of it again. (I mean, no carbs I can sort-of live with… but NO SAUCES? No BEANS? And the limit on Healthful Vegetables – like, I typically have to restrict myself to two cups of LETTUCE!!!!! to stay within my carb allotment – has me in a panic.) (I understand that I am CHOOSING this, by the way.) (I don’t really plan to speak of keto/diet stuff, that often, but it may shift the tenor of my weekly dinner plan posts and/or the tenor of my general complaining, so I am warning you about it now.)

Anyway, meal planning is newly challenging because I am trying to emphasize fat and protein over carbohydrates. Here’s what’s on the menu this week:

Dinners for the Week of February 24-March 1 (WHAT. HOW IS IT MARCH ALREADY SLOW DOWN TIME OMG)

Note: There were some absolutely beautiful tuna steaks on sale at Costco this weekend, so I snapped them up. We will not be eating the sautéed red pepper portion of this meal; instead I will be sautéing some green beans. This is because I already have the green beans and I don’t want to waste them, not because of some red-pepper-related bias.

Note: I fully realize that the Internet has been swooning over this recipe for eons. I have read about it with suspicion for many years and NOW is finally the time to try it out.



Note: I haven’t figured out what I will pair with this yet. Maybe some avocado?


  • Leftovers of some sort or possibly eggs


  • OUT

Note: My birthday is this week, so we will be going out to celebrate. I am already feeling grouchy about not being able to eat all the things I want to eat — solely because of completely voluntary and self-imposed restrictions! — but I think we have found a restaurant that serves some nice fish options. And the whole point of doing Keto is to reset my eating habits, so a little limitation on the all-out scarf-fest I would otherwise be doing on my birthday is probably not a bad thing.


What’s on your menu this week?

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My friend and I are doing ten days of no sugar/sweeteners, carbs, wine, or dairy because I enjoy self-torture. (Standard disclaimer, I am not a doctor and in any event I do not advocate cutting entire categories of food from one’s diet as a regular part of your longterm eating plan.) Basically, this means that I am trying as well as I can to eat only veggies, meat, nuts, and water for the next ten days. The lack of soda is so far the thing I miss the most, although I’m sure I will start pining for cheese any second now.  Seriously though, I am always up for a challenge, especially if said challenge will help me reset my over-reliance on cheese and chips. It’s just temporary, and I’m only on Day 2 and I hate life already, so we’ll see if I can even make it a week. (Although I made it a whole month without sugar, so I hope I can do this!) (Also, why do I do these things to myself????) Also, we have a date night this weekend and I can’t stand spending money on food I don’t like, so let’s call that a Planned Cheat Day.

Anyway, here is what I’m making for dinner this week (without any sugar/honey/agave, should those appear as ingredients):

Note: This cold weather has me craving two things: pasta and summer food. Let’s go with summer food this time since pasta is a no-go. This recipe sounds delicious. I might spice it up by adding in some bell peppers and throw in an avocado as well.

Follow Up: I don’t know why, but I didn’t follow this recipe AT ALL. Instead, I used this Chipotle Lime Vinaigrette for the salad and this spice rub recipe to flavor the shrimp. Then I followed these instructions for roasting shrimp in the oven. It turned out GREAT. Super delicious. And I didn’t even miss the honey.

Note: I always cut WAY back on the Chinese five spice powder because I find it easily overpowers the flavors. I will use some water chestnuts and leftover bell pepper to add some color to the lettuce wraps. If water chestnuts are a carb, I don’t want to know.

Follow Up: These are delicious but super messy. By the way, I use two whole packages of mushrooms because I love mushrooms. Also, keep in mind that this makes for a killer stir fry sauce after the fact. Usually, we eat all the pork… and then I make a veggie stir fry with the mushroomy sauce for lunch. There is a LOT of sauce left once the pork is gone.

Note: I will probably marinate the steak in the Italian marinade or the garlic and herb option from the link above. This Ten Day Challenge calls for no fruit, but I am making an exception for citrus juice used in marinades/dressings/this spinach recipe because I feel like it.

Follow Up: I used the garlic and herb marinade and it was super yummy. I used top sirloin steaks, which I prefer to flank steak. And I followed the instructions for oven roasting steak from this site to cook it. (I can’t stand searing meat first — yes, I admit it tastes better when you do that. But it makes such a huge splattery mess and my kitchen smells like Cooked Meat for days afterward.) The sautéed spinach was a huge disappointment. This is the second time I made it. The first time, I only made a little because I don’t typically like spinach and I was afraid I’d hate it and waste it. But I LOVED it. Then the next time… it was not good. My husband and I discussed it, and we think the first time success was a combination of low expectations and novelty. Too bad. Well, I can keep this on the back burner for if I’m REALLY sick of our standard broccoli, green beans, zucchini rotation.

Note: This is a new-to-me recipe but it sounds simple and tasty.

Follow Up: It WAS simple and tasty! Man, I love cod. It is pricey though. I got just over a pound of it for $16.95. (I got to the store so early, the fishmonger was just setting up his display of fish and didn’t yet have the prices up. And the last time I got there that early and asked him what the price of cod was, he got snippy about how he hadn’t had a chance yet to put up the prices. So this time I guess I would have spent WHATEVER IT COST just to not annoy him.) (I failed, by the way. I asked for a pound of cod; he put a piece that was a pound and a third on the scale and asked if it was okay that it was “a little over.” I said, no, I’d really rather it be closer to a pound. So he tried again. This time, it was a pound and a quarter. Still too much, I said. A) That’s an extra $4 and B) My husband and I can’t eat more than a pound of fish, even though we cut off a small piece and cook it for Carla who ignores it completely. Third time, it was 1.17 pounds and he didn’t even ask me, he just wrapped it up for me. SIGH.) (I know it was early and he was probably doing the very best that he can.) ANYWAY, this dish was delicious and easy. And it looked very pretty, with the little pile of asparagus on top of the fish, decorated with scallions and basil. The only thing that could have possibly made it better is if the “sauce” (literally just soy sauce) were a little thicker. I added a big blurp of sriracha to mine and that thickened it a little, but my husband is less interested in spice and he found it too thin to properly flavor the fish. Not quite sure how to fix that issue, though.

Note: I will be omitting the honey from the recipe above, but otherwise this sounds yumster. Or maybe I will marinate it in the chipotle marinade from my “steak marinades” link above. Hmmm… This is gonna have to be a game time decision.

Follow Up: I did end up using the chipotle marinade and it was DELICIOUS. Also, since my husband was on call and his arrival time was unpredictable, I sliced the zucchini lengthwise, cut up some red onions, put them all on a baking sheet, and drizzled them with olive oil and salt and pepper. Then I baked them at the same time that I baked the pork chops. The pork chops may have been a little overcooked by the time my husband got home, but everything was still very tasty. I doubled the chipotle in the marinade so that there was a little extra “pan sauce” to drizzle over the cooked pork. I love me a pan sauce.

  • Note: This week, I will skip the brown sugar in the sauce. Crud. I just looked and there is also sugar in the oyster sauce. Perhaps I need to rethink this meal…

    You know what? I can’t do this. It won’t taste good. I am going to swap this out with good old Taco Salad.


I am also doing a Valentine’s baking project with Carla and one of her friends. You know, because I like torturing myself so much.

Follow up: These did NOT turn out well. I will NOT be making these again. Carla and I made a test cookie, and THAT worked fine. But the batch that Carla and her friend so lovingly made burned, so I had to real-quick make all their cookies again and shove them in the oven so they wouldn’t notice. And half of THOSE stuck to the cookie sheet or fell apart. Then I made a third batch and the cookie expanded into the “stained glass” part so that you couldn’t even see it was a heart. Also, I couldn’t taste them because of my stupid challenge. FAIL.

SG cookies 1


SG cookies 2

Baked, second batch because the first batch failed. And they are so messy and definitely are going to stick to that cooling rack.

SG cookies 3

The girls frosted them and made them look 1000 times better than they did straight out of the oven. Still sticky though.

SG cookies 5

I tried to make some plain round cookies with small hearts cut out of the center and they STILL looked bad. The bake was better, though. I am nowhere near as good a froster as the girls.

Look for a repeat of these meals next week because it is REALLY hard to find recipes that fit my overly rigid and ridiculous ten-day challenge. No YOU eat eggs — I refuse.

Anyway: please tell me all the decadent, cheese-and-sugar filled foods you are eating this week, Internet. So that I may live vicariously through you.

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