“You can’t do the keto diet, it’s not sustainable”. This is what a lot of people think. “I can’t do it because it’s too hard”. “But what about all that saturated fat”. People will get in your head. We have been conditioned over the last 40 years to eat foods out of boxes that are high in garbage and “low fat”. Well, this is pretty much the worst mistake civilization has made which has probably cost hundreds of millions of lives and national budgets in most civilized countries to be stretched well past national defense level of concern.
But the root question is, is this sustainable? I’d like to answer this in several parts.
- Does it address hunger?
- Do the foods doing this lifestyle leave me satisfied?
- Are there good substitutions for my favorite foods?
- Are there positive health benefits to eating this way over my old ways?
Hunger – yes, this most definitely addresses hunger. 2-3 weeks in, I just stopped being hungry a lot. I’ve now just completed 4 months and 1 week of keto, and 3 months and 1 week of this, I am on OMAD (one meal a day) for the weekdays. I have some hot unsweetened tea over lunch which keeps my hunger at bay. And, when I do get hungry – it’s a gentle hunger that lets me know to eat, not the ravenous hunger that had me living out of drive thrus on my way home.
Satisfied – when you eat this way and get rid of a lot of the processed foods, carbs, and other additives, a funny thing happens. Your hormones that signal you are “full” actually work. Yeah – this is new for me. Most of my life eating tons of pastas, breads, and processed foods – the “off” switch doesn’t exist. With this way of eating, I get “full” signals accurately and I can then stop eating and save whatever is leftover for another day.
Substitutes – a funny thing happened to our food supply 40 years ago. Since the food pyramid, the AHA, and the FDA went after fat, it was taken out of foods. Since food tastes like crap without fat, they added sugar by the droves to make it taste better. All we are doing now is going back to the way we used to eat. And fat tastes AMAZING. One of my friends wanted to start keto and she’s like “ground turkey” and “low fat bacon” – I’m like, “you’re doing it wrong – go full fat everything”. Once you then eat the full fat things, you start to realize how food is supposed to taste. And it’s amazing.
Health benefits – this has been entire posts by me, so I won’t get into it much here, just know that this can reverse type 2 diabetes, choke off food to cancer cells, and unclog your arteries – as well as help prevent alzheimers, obesity, and a litany of other issues.
So – yes, this is sustainable. I would add that this diet, in my opinion, is a LOT of veggies (no to the starchy ones), LOTS of salad, some meats, cheeses, and nuts. I DO NOT NEED TO EAT 3-6 TIMES A DAY. Meaning, I’m not spending 10 hours a week cooking like I used to be for all kinds of meal prep. So, often times I will cook for 30-60 minutes on day 1, then have part 2 of that meal on day 2. This probably now has me cooking 3-4 hours total per week.
I’m going to break this down into:
- All stars – these are my favorite. They might be a pain in the ass to cook, expensive, or time consuming. These are the items I shoot for a Saturday evening when I want a nice hearty meal or have the time to cook.
- Staples – this is what I am doing day-to-day. These are the majority of my meals
- Less used – these are when I have a hankering for something.
- Ehhhhh – maybe. These are items I’ve tried and will do occasionally to try and improve.
The all stars (drum roll please…)
With keto, I believe there is a massive movement coming where the citizens will change the food recommendations by supply/demand. My facebook now has 20 or so of my 300 friends doing this, with many others having friends doing it. So, maybe almost 10% of my friends are doing it. If you’re doing it right, it’s easy (after the first 3 weeks). Some of these items may start showing up in restaurants as well – if the citizens demand it!
- Zucchini lasagna (middle picture) – this is my favorite of all. How to make? I have an 8×8 or so dish to build my lasagna in. you can add a lot of items to this, but ultimately, you are baking at 350 for 40 minutes, taking out, and adding some cheese, then putting back in for 10 minutes. Let cool for 5 minutes, makes 4 big goddamn pieces. To make:
- Using a mandolin, slice 4-6 zucchini up. Salt for 10-15 minutes. Pat dry.
- brown 1 pound of 85% grass fed ground beef (I try to maximize omega 3s and minimize omega 6s).
- Fry up one onion in olive oil on medium-low heat. Olive oil at high heats may transform into trans fats. Try cooking with “solid” fats like butter, tallow, lard at high heats. Use olive oil only to do things like saute at medium/medium-low heats.
- Using a jar of Rao’s sauce, add ground beef and onion (Rao’s is by FAR the lowest carb of all sauces, only joined by Victoria – and it tastes the best).
- Maybe cook up some Italian sausage and chop up, add to sauce (optional)
- Make up your ricotta mix – 2 cups full fat ricotta, 2 eggs, 4-8 TBSP of parmesan cheese, garlic powder, oregano
- In the dish, add a little sauce on the bottom, then build your zucchini pasta layers. First layer maybe the meat sauce and some mozzarella cheese, second layer ricotta, third layer sauce, last layer ricotta – then top with mozzarella cheese.
- Takes about 45 minutes to make up, another 1 hour to cook/cool. Eat your face off.
- Nutrition – my version, makes 4 servings. Each serving was 782 calories, 52g fat, 12 net carbs, 60g protein. 548mg of potassium (you need a lot of this!), 55% vitamin A, 23% vitamin C, 69% calcium, 11% iron
- Taco salad! (OK, this is also a staple, but quickly this is becoming one of my favorite meals)
- Get a salad trough and fill with 7 cups iceberg lettuce.
- Make up 1 pound of ground beef and add the taco mix you get at the store
- Add 1/2 of ground beef mix on top of trough of salad. Keep other half for tomorrow or a hungry spouse!
- Add 1 cup “one sweet tomato” cherry tomatoes
- Add 1-2 oz taco cheese
- 1-2 TBSP sour cream
- 1/2 avocado
- 3 zucchini with a zoodle maker
- make up meatballs (no carb)
- use rao’s sauce
- saute zoodles for 5-6 minutes in olive oil. Add salt, red pepper flakes, and garlic powder to taste at start of cooking.
- Plate, add sauce and meatballs. ENJOY!
Staples – I make these every week
- Baby Spinach/chicken – I’ll make up a giant spinach salad with “one sweet tomato” and asiago/parm cheese. I’ll add 1 TBSP olive oil and 1-2 TBSP of Italian dressing. OR just ranch (no olive oil). My chicken that is with the olive oil/Italian seasoning I’ll fire on some paprika, garlic powder, salt, and cayenne. The chicken I eat with the ranch I might just add rosemary, salt, oregano, etc. Keep in mind this is relatively LOW FAT and HIGH PROTEIN. So – this dinner will most likely have a fatty dessert with it to not only get the calorie count higher, but dull whatever insulin spike a large amount of protein might have.
- chicken thighs and cabbage. Before 4 months ago, I never ate cabbage. This meal is one of the most nourishing meals I eat. Similar to me to chicken noodle soup, so it’s really good on cold days. With keto, you need to keep sodium, magnesium, and potassium high. This helps. I make up 1 pack of boneless/skinless chicken thighs (it’s better if you do bone-in and skin on, but it’s too much of a pain in the ass for me with the bone) with 1 big head of cabbage cut up and 2 cups chicken broth in my instant pot pressure cooker for 14 minutes. Makes 3 GIANT meals. Each of these meals is about 700 calories, and you need to unbuckle your pants. Point is, it’s VERY filling, nutritious, and you get a LOT of food for low cost of thighs and a head of cabbage. Most people might make 4-5 meals from this, but with one meal a day, I like the bigger dinners. Each one of these dinners (at 5 servings) would be about $2.00.
- Chicken Caesar salad – I get this at Applebees just off of the base I work at once a month or so. I added this because this is a GREAT alternative when eating out. I know many of us go out to eat for social occasions and with keto there might be some paralysis. Pretty much anywhere you can get a decent Caesar salad – take the croutons off and get the dressing on the side. Again, this is high protein low fat, so if you are doing this for a dinner, feel free to eat the dessert/snacks below.
- Steak/green beans/cauliflower mash – you can buy boxes of the cauliflower mash these days, but they aren’t as good as making yourself. Find recipes for these online, but if you can steam cauliflower – you then try and get the water out of it. Add it to a food processor, and add – heavy whipping cream, sour cream, garlic, salt, butter, and olive oil to taste. When made right, you can make these taste BETTER than mashed potatoes. Even poorly made ones (I’ve failed a few times) are still a decent side dish. I make up the bag of green beans in the microwave for 4 minutes, then fry in butter and add pink salt. The steak is a ribeye – high fat and less cost than filet, but better flavor. NY strip steaks are cheaper, but not as good as ribeye. Brown on the stove, then finish to 135 degrees in the middle and take out to rest for 5-7 minutes. This will get it to about 145 and medium/medium rare.
- Cheeseburger surprise – this is good for 2 nights (this one burger batch is to be split in 2)
- make up 4 pieces of bacon, set aside
- in bacon grease, fry up small onion, set aside
- make up 1 pound ground 85% grass fed beef
- when burger meat is done, add bacon and onion in. Top with 4 pieces American cheese, melt.
- Serve over trough of salad. I add one sweet tomato, ranch dressing, and parmesan cheese.
- Cheesy broccoli – you can make this up or buy this in frozen bags. What you want to do is get cruciferous veggies in you and eliminate/reduce any soy products you have. This will help men increase their production of testosterone and reduce the estrogen. This will assist in muscle growth, weight loss.
- (not pictured) breakfast for dinner! Any combination of the below
- scrambled eggs (feel free to make with lots of butter)
- eggs with cheese
- sausage links/patties
- ham (low fat, good protein source)
Less used. I love these, but not something I eat daily. Special treats/hankerings.
- chicken wings (not pictured). I make up BETTER than restaurant quality hot wings. I make these in a big batch about once a month. I’ll make these on a Saturday and eat the leftovers on a Sunday.
- 1 pack of chicken wings. I cut these myself with a sharp knife, it took a few minutes to learn how to do this myself, and I’ll never go back. Pat dry. Place on a rack on your cookie sheet. You know, those things you see baker-types rest cookies on? This will drain the fat off of the chicken as it cooks. I pat the wings dry to start to ensure they get a little crispy. Salt. Cook at 375 for 35 minutes. Flip, turn heat to 425 and cook for 15-20 minutes more. Flip one last time and broil 3-5 minutes.
- After you put them back in at 425, start the sauce. Frank’s red hot is 0 carbs. Melt 2-4 TBSP of KerryGold Grass Fed butter in a pot over low-medium heat. When melted, add 6-8 oz of Frank’s red hot. Optional – I then add 1-2 TBSP of cayenne pepper. This gives it some heat. The butter gives it a nice texture.
- When chicken is done, take out and put in big bowl. Let sit for 2 minutes to let the chicken rest a little. Add sauce and toss.
- Eat your face off. When I first did this, I ate 24 and tapped out. The last time I did this after keto took effect, I could not eat more than 16. Keto reduces your hunger, but it also helps with satiety.
- chicken drumsticks (not pictured) – I make these the exact same way I make the wings. I use the hot sauce with them too.
- Chicken parm – I use Rao’s sauce and full fat mozzarella. I would butterfly the chicken, then cook to 165. Take out, add sauce and mozzarella. Put back in oven for 3-5 minutes. Make up green beans and fry in butter.
- Pan deep dish pizza – look up the recipe on ketoconnect. It takes some time to make, but this is a serviceable pizza. Add bacon, sausage, etc.
- Wrapped sandwiches – here, I tried to make cheesesteaks. The cheesesteak filling was amazing, and this is nice on the romaine wrap. You can also do this with ground beef, chicken, turkey. I’ve been off of breads for maybe 2 years, so I don’t really miss it too badly. However, this is not a 100% swap. You can eat quite a bit of these!
- Pot roast and cabbage! Make up the pot roast (chuck roast) over about 45 minutes in the instant pot, when done, add the cabbage for 7 minutes on the pressure cooker, and then you’re good. I make this with beef broth. You brown first in the instant pot, perhaps add some fried onions. 2 cups beef broth.
ehhhh-maybe – I’ve made up the below and while it LOOKS like pizza, it’s not a 100% swap. I’ve tried the fathead and cauliflower crusts. Not a massive fan of either, but you might have better luck than me. Still willing to try again with the right recipe.
Snacks/desserts – I don’t eat these every day, but with OMAD, it’s HARD to eat 1600-1900 calories in a single meal that is healthy on keto. Most of my dinners are 700-1200 calories and then I supplement with some of these, as needed. Both of the below I got from ketoconnect.com
Cheesecakes – I don’t add the chocolate ganache to it or the crust. However, I also add raspberries to them (and you must use swerve).
Chocolate – same thing, use the swerve for this. I also add almonds. Sometimes I put them in condiment cups with some almond butter and while you’re putting it together, crackle some pink Himalayan salt on it.
Macadamia nuts – high in fat, low in protein and carbs. These are terrific! Kind of expensive, but still amazing to help
Sugar Free Jello – occasionally I’ll eat 2-3 of these after dinner
String cheese – these are great to have!
cheese cubes – I get these occasionally, I’ll maybe eat 4-8 of these.
Raspberries/strawberries – I may eat 1 whole cup of these at a sitting. Lowest in net carbs amongst all fruits.