As I’ve mentioned previously, I’m dropping OMAD (one meal a day) for a bit.  Changing it up.  With this, means I now have to care a bit more about lunches again.  Also, I’m trying to add a bigger variety of food and hitting some home runs!

My biggest issues with keto are two items: pizza and cheesesteaks.  Everything else I’ve found a 100% substitution for.  In my definition, I feel 100% substitutions are items that I have swapped out and then do not miss the original.  For example, I like my zucchini noodles with sauce about as equal as pasta and sauce.  This might not be your result, but for me, I used to eat pasta 3-5 times a week.  Prior to keto, I watched an episode of “Good Eats” over a year ago where Alton Brown cut his pasta to one time a week and he ended up losing 60 pounds.  There was a bit more to his other movements, but that was the very beginning of me losing weight in September 2016.  Cutting back my pasta.  My diet was probably 65-75% carbs most of my life.  Therefore, it has been important to me to find things that seem to work well for me in substitution.

I have also come up with other “100%” substitutions

  • lasagna (with zucchini)
  • cheeseburgers (ground beef on salads)
  • tacos (taco salads)
  • filet mignon (ribeye)
  • mashed potatoes (cauliflower mash)
  • chicken noodle soup (chicken thighs and cabbage)
  • pot roast and starchy veggies (pot roast and cabbage)
  • sandwiches (skip altogether, I cut out bread)
  • starchy veggies as sides (replaced with green beans, broccoli, mixed non-starchy veggies)
  • chocolate/peanut butter (keto chocolate/almond butter)
  • desserts (raspberry cheesecake made with swerve, berries, chocolate)

But I still have not had great results with pizza, until now.

  • fat head – I had problems with it being too salty, not staying together, not “bread like”
  • cauliflower – mealy, mushy, hard to stick together.  Flavor is most definitely not pizza.

The recipe I found on youtube calls it “KeDough”.  It is kind of like the fat head with cheese, but it adds two ingredients I’ve not seen before and does not microwave the cheese.  Those ingredients are non-flavored whey protein isolate and baking powder.  I baked at 350 for 23 minutes and the results are a pizza that handles like pizza, is “bread-like”, and very filling.  A pizza this size with normal bread I could normally crush the whole thing.  After half of this pizza, I started hurting a bit.  I used Victoria pizza sauce and another 3 ounces of mozz cheese as well as some pepperoni to top.

I would rank this as a 75% solution.  In a pizza pinch, I can dig this.  I think in future variations, I will NOT add the 1/2 tsp of salt (the cheese I get are salty enough) and probably add more meat like Italian sausage.  The pizza comes out to be about 12″ wide.  I made this on a pizza stone with parchment paper.  As you can see, the calories escalate.  You can make this into 2 smaller pizzas or split this pizza with someone and have a side. You want to brown the crust sufficiently prior to taking out of the oven.  For me, as noted, this was 350 at 23 minutes.  Here is a link to the recipe and how to make it.

 

Sauce

With respect to sauce, anyone doing Keto for a period of time has looked into Rao’s and Victoria sauce, which are really low in carbs – and as it turns out, better tasting than the other jar sauces you will find.  I would then add fried onions/ground beef to these.

I found a recipe which is from Julia Childs.  It’s essentially whole tomatoes coupled with butter.  It takes about 45 minutes and has 4 smaller servings which I then use on my zoodles.  You can prep 4, 8, 12 etc servings from this and freeze.  On a night you just don’t want to spend and hour cooking, you can make zoodles from scratch in under 15 minutes and heat the sauce up.  BAM!

Simple recipe:

  • 1 can Rienzi Italian plum tomatoes
  • 5 TBSP Kerrygold butter
  • 1 onion
  • 1 pound of organic grass fed 85/15 ground beef

 

To make:

  • place can of tomatoes in sauce pan
  • add 5 TBSP butter
  • Add 1/2 of a whole onion, peeled.

Let simmer for 40-50 minutes.  When done, take out the 1/2 onion.  Apparently, this gives some good flavor

In a separate pan,

  • cook up ground beef, add to sauce
  • use fat from beef to cook up the other 1/2 onion, chopped.  Add to sauce

There you go.  Add items to taste such as salt, parmesan cheese, etc.

 

Stuffed peppers

This one was given by  my trainer on a list of other recipes to try.  Essentially, this is a taco-stuffed pepper.  The pepper comes out firm, yet soft – if that makes any sense.  I’ve never had a stuffed pepper before, and I am most definitely doing this again!  Of interest – remember the cheesesteaks above?  I think my next go around with stuffed peppers will be a cheesesteak-stuffed pepper.  Oh, and you people who don’t live in Pennsylvania, for the record, a PHILLY CHEESESTEAK does NOT have peppers and mushrooms.  This is some sort of national marketing scheme that makes my blood boil.

Find the recipe HERE with a few others.  Tonight I plan on making the pork chops listed.

Where I varied from the recipe?

  • Did not add cilantro
  • I made a mixture of avocado/sour cream and topped them with it.  It adds a creaminess and gets me my avocado fats/potassium in.

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Three of these did me good.  I probably could have forced a 4th or 5th, but making up the recipe to split with someone might work best.  Of note, the ground beef mixture, how they season, is phenomenal by itself.  So, they did a really good job with the seasoning on this.  Note, I did not drain the beef as listed.  Otherwise, it might get a little dry.

 

Bonus – chicken thighs and cabbage

This is becoming one of my favorite keto meals.  5 months ago, I never had cabbage in my life.  Would not have even thought of making it up.  I got an instant pot, which started me down making pot roast in about an hour.  I love me some pot roast.  Well, I can’t add potatoes and carrots, so I decided to just try cabbage with it.  It stinks to hell when making it, but it tastes soooooooo good.  And – it’s high in potassium, so this is something of a massive nutrient boost.  I tried it under the guise of adding potassium, and ended up loving it.

I decided to try this with chicken breasts and cabbage, and LOVED it.  Then, my brother told me about using chicken thighs instead.  Oh my.  Much better than chicken breasts!  And, pretty cheap.

In a big ass instant pot:

  • Chop 1 head of cabbage (season with some salt/pepper)
  • Add 16 oz chicken broth
  • Add 3-4 stalks of chopped celery
  • Add a 3-4 pound package of boneless/skinless thighs.  This is usually 2 layers for me.  I salt/pepper each layer
  • Set for 15 minutes on pressure cook.  The total time from when you close the lid is 45 minutes

For me, this makes three MASSIVE servings.  I like to eat.  One of these servings fills me up to the point of some pain.  But it is sooooo nourishing.  It also helps a lot with fluid retention and potassium if you have any long runs or rides planned.

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Weight update…

My weight loss has slowed a little.  My change since the last month was down about 3 pounds, all with water weight.  One thing I’m going to dial back is the past 2 months, I’ve been eating a good amount of berries.  This month, I’m going to remove them.  Wondering if this might be inhibiting me a little.  Also, I had some long runs in there.  I love me my running and biking, but as Jonathan Bailor puts it – when you up your running/biking, your body will naturally adjust by having you consume more calories.  So – while I love my running/biking, I do NOT do exercise for weight loss anymore.  Get that out of your head.  Weight training and cardio will help your cardio health.  It will help you build muscle.  Long sessions of cardio may take away some of that muscle.  But, for me, long session cardio also helps me a ton with stress reduction.  Ironically, it may also put physical stress on my body that counters it.

This is an n=1, where each of our bodies are different.

Two weeks ago, I won a nice award at a fancy dinner in DC.  I decided to try and eat half  of the dessert, I had a glass of white wine, and an O’douls non-alcoholic beer.  As it turns out, I also knocked myself out of keto for over 5 days.  I didn’t think it would take that long, but it did.  During that time, I was up 2 pounds or so.  Of most interest, the day after I had ZERO energy.  So, be careful with your keto, you might accidentally knock yourself out.  Get back on your horse and get yourself back into ketosis!!

 

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