First, since you’ve all asked. Here’s a link to my favorite ketogenic cookbook.
I do not eat peas, so before I added the peas to the leek, peas, saffron and cream sauce, I set aside a portion for myself. I’d like to say I smothered the creamy butter sauce over some chicken thighs, but I did not. I likely ate it straight from the pan, right off the wooden spoon. I can’t remember because I was in a food haze of love. Yes, I still want to bed down food and have my way with it, but now it’s my way, not Oh, God, look at what I weigh.
When I first started, I felt like I must’ve had the flu. They call it “keto flu,” when your body goes from burning carbs for energy to burning fat for energy. I felt like shit; it’s no lie. And the best advice I can give is “DO NOT FEAR FAT. IT WILL NOT MAKE YOU FAT.” UNLESS… you also eat sugar. If you eat sugar and fat, expect to soon resemble a doughnut.
Above, ingredients for Braised Lamb Chops. The recipe from Anne Burrell’s Cook Like a Rock Star
While it’s not “Keto compliant” exactly, Anne Burrell’s recipe for Braised Lamb Chops is close enough (recipe below). I mostly ate the lamb and enjoyed a smaller portion of the browned soffritto (basically pureed vegetables). I should’ve made a shit pile more lamb. It’s my favorite meat. It actually would’ve been better without the apple; my whole family agreed.
People want to know, “So, like, what does a typical day look like?” As I live today, I’ll update this post and include everything I eat. This is what I’ve eaten today, so far. Some mornings I’m hungrier, and I’ll devour full-fat cheese, whole eggs (not whites only!) with a sliced half of avocado, heavy cream in my coffee or tea. Bacon if I’m ambitious.
I’m not going to pretend that I’m an expert (so please check with your doctor before starting any weight loss or exercise program), or that I’ve been perfect (my ratios aren’t always what they should be). But I will tell you this: it’s been alarmingly easy. The best part, and I’d never thought I’d say this, is that I’m not even tempted to eat sweets. I’m not repulsed by them or anything, but I can easily bake for the kids now (they need to gain weight) without licking my fingers or tasting the finished product. I know myself and don’t want to open those floodgates. I’ve been baking from Christina Tosi’s Milk books (Her key ingredient to amazing cookies? The addition of non-fat milk powder).
Last night, I devoured a butter-fried New York Strip steak with Boursin cheese and pan seared asparagus with hollandaise sauce. Other nights it’s shrimp scampi (sans bread crumbs) with burnt broccoli. Tuna tartare. Crunchy grilled chicken thighs with the skin. Zucchini noodles with carbonara sauce (eggs, cheese, bacon, and black pepper). Loaded cauliflower casserole (bacon, chives, cream cheese, cheddar, sour cream). Cowboy chili with sour cream and scallions. You get the drift. Tonight, I’m making meatballs and spaghetti for the kids and Phil. My version won’t have breadcrumbs but will have fresh, no sugar added, tomato sauce. On occasion, I will hasselback a sweet potato, rub it in bacon fat and shower it with salt, minced garlic, and thyme, roasted for 50 minutes at 425 degrees. I probably eat 3 whole sweet potatoes. Not good, but again, floodgates.
When the scale doesn’t move and I’ve been “so good,” I cut back on the dairy, and the weight slips right off. I love my full-fat dairy (heavy cream has 0 carbs), especially since I get no sugar! But, if you really want to cut the weight fast, cut the dairy, too. I, however, could never sustain this without my dairy. I’d feel way too deprived. But it’s hard to feel deprived eating garlic parmesan smothered wings.
Eating this way, I’ve eliminated most processed foods (save for some cheeses). When I feel “snacky,” I grab a Bel Gioioso Fresh Mozzarella 70 calorie snack pack (sold at Costco), or eat some smoked salmon, or grab a few nuts, or eat some berries, or eat half an avocado with Maldon salt. I don’t count calories, but since they show up on MyFitnessPal, I generally eat 1200 calories a day.
I purchased a Withings Scale, which doesn’t just automatically add my weight to MyFitnessPal progress chart (and to my cell phone), but it also gives me a body fat reading (since that’s all I actually care about). I love the ease of it. How accurate are the body fat readings? I don’t think they’re very accurate, and have a feeling it changes based on how hydrated you are, but it does give me an overall set point, so I have a general idea of what’s going on.
Over the past 8 weeks, I’ve lost 16 lbs., and for once I know that I’m losing fat, not muscle or water weight. That does average to the safe “2 lbs. a week” suggestion, which is frustrating if you want to see the weight “melt off.” If you cut out the dairy and don’t eat too many nuts, you’ll lose it a lot faster than I have. I feel much healthier and leaner, and I feel like I could genuinely stick with this forever. When you know it’s working, you don’t want to get in your own way. And when I head out to one of our favorite restaurants, I still enjoy eating the entire bowl of panna cotta and two glasses of wine, but the next day, I’m 100% back on. I think once you cut the sugar, the urge to binge is curbed.
Recipe: Braised Lamb Shanks, from Anne Burrell’s Cook Like A Rockstar
4 lamb shanks
Extra virgin olive oil
2 onions, coarsely chopped
4 carrots, coarsely chopped
4 celery ribs, coarsely chopped
4 cloves garlic, smashed
1 cup tomato paste
2 cups red wine
2 tablespoons fresh rosemary, finely chopped
4 bay leaves
1 thyme bundle, tied with butcher’s twine
1 Preheat the oven to 400˚F.
2 Season the lamb generously with salt. Coat a large sauté pan with olive oil and bring to medium-high heat. Add the lamb to the pan and brown well on all sides; this may take up to 20 minutes. This is an incredibly important step—it’s where all the big brown flavors start to develop—DON’T rush it.
3 While the lamb is browning, put the onions, carrots, celery, and garlic in a food processor and purée to a coarse paste; reserve.
4 When the lamb shanks are very brown on all sides, remove them from the pan and transfer to a roasting pan. Ditch the fat, add a bit of fresh olive oil to the sauté pan, and add the puréed veggies. Season generously with salt, and cook until the veggies are very brown and a crud has formed on the bottom of the pan, 8 to 10 minutes. Scrape the crud and let it reform. Don’t rush this step.
5 Add the tomato paste and cook, stirring frequently, until it starts to brown, 1 to 2 minutes.
6 Add the wine, bring it to a boil, and stir frequently to scrape the crud from the bottom of the pan (this is the big-money flavor). Continue cooking until reduced by half, 3 to 4 minutes.
7 Add 3 to 4 cups water to the pan and stir to loosen the mixture. Taste to make sure it’s delicious and re-season if needed. It will by no means be done, but it should taste good. Pour this over the shanks in the roasting pan. The liquid should come two-thirds of the way up the shanks; if it doesn’t add more water. Toss in the rosemary, bay leaves, and thyme bundle, cover with aluminum foil, and cook in the oven for 2½ to 3 hours. Check the shanks every 45 minutes, turn them, and if the liquid has reduced significantly, add more water. When the meat is done, it will be very tender but not falling off the bone.
8 Remove the foil for the last 30 minutes of cooking time for maximum browning and to allow the liquid to reduce and thicken up. Serve with lots of sauce.
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