6: Restrictions & Challenges

One way to deal with restrictions – No Sugar! No Bread! No Pasta! No Soda! No Ice Cream! – is to plan ahead and have substitutes in place. 

The biggest one for me was Coca-Cola – it was my pick-me-up if I was dragging, and just my beverage of habit. I found that water alone didn’t work to replace it. When I started adding a good squeeze of lime juice to the water it became more appealing and helped my avoid the sugary water.

For years I have had myself convinced I couldn’t live without wheat. For goodness sake, probably 75% of my meals were on a bun or sandwich! I began occasionally ordering burgers with no bun, or lettuce wrapped, or simply stripped the bread off. I still use those tactics often, and I have a new secret weapon – FatHead dough! I make pizza crusts (hard to eat pizza without crust) and sandwich/burger buns from this grainless dough. When I know I’m going to grab a burger out on the road, I pack one of my keto-friendly buns and swap it in. It’s a great tasting bun, and for pizza I don’t think there’s a better crust, with or without wheat.

When I want a sweet treat, a mug cake is easy & quick. I also have made ‘fat bombs’ which are easy to make  & give a boost of good fat. Search Fat Bombs on YouTube, there are many dozens of recipes. I do use some natural sugar replacers, like Swerve & Stevia, on a pretty limited basis.

FYI, fruits, even apples, are high in sugars (natural yes, sugar still), and are to be avoided. Some berries in really small amounts are OK – I’ll pop 8-10 blueberries in a mug cake on occasion.

One thing about restrictions & substitutions – for me they typically mean some labor in the form of prep and/or cooking (I’m not one to spend extra $$ for GF/keto products). I enjoy cooking & baking, so it’s fine for me. I can knock out a batch of buns & crusts in about 30 minutes. 

I will soon share some of my favorite recipes & pantry items needed to make these subs happen.

My number one challenge has been exercise. It doesn’t interest me. I don’t anticipate enjoying it (though I feel great after). And early on I had some challenges with my lower legs & ankles getting stiff & sore, especially after walking. Through some daily stretching and movement therapy that obstacle has improved greatly.  Still, exercise is the one Lead Measure that I consistently miss on.

Vegetables. I always ate my vegetables – potatoes, sweet potatoes, corn, carrots, tomatoes… wait! Potatoes & sweet potatoes are starch (no-no!) and sweet potatoes, corn, carrots & tomatoes have sugars! Arrgh… Kale? NO THANK YOU! Green, leafy & cruciferous veggies are challenging. Dr. Berg eats like 5 cups of salad at a time. I can’t do that… so far.

I have increased my salad mindset, I’ll order a Caesar salad with grilled chicken, or Chick-fil-A’s Cobb salad with grilled nuggets, no corn, no tomatoes. I’ve also become more fond of cauliflower & broccoli, especially since it’s keto friendly to smother them in cheddar cheese (mac/cheese substitute!). I like grilled brussels sprouts, young asparagus, and sauerkraut, which are keto legal. And  actually, carrots & tomatoes are OK in small doses.

Next installment: Knowledge is Power.