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5 Tips for Eating Keto on a Budget!

5 Tips for Eating Keto On A Budget

Keto can be a bit pricey but I am definitely a frugal guy so I am always looking for ways to cut the fat from my food budget to get more fat in my food.  Once I made the commitment to fix my weight issues and other health problems I was highly motivated to figure out exactly how to eat for as cheaply as possible.

Here’s what I’ve learned.

Use Coupons

Believe it or not, there are tons of coupons out for real and keto-friendly food all the time.  In fact I update a list of these coupons once a week here.  There are also several smartphone apps that will give you discounts on groceries, especially meat and produce.

Don’t be Afraid of the Cheap Meat

The nice thing about keto is because the whole world is deathly afraid of fat, the high fat meats are generally cheaper than the leaner cuts.  Steer clear of those boneless skinless chicken breasts and buy those thighs with the skin still on.  Or better yet, buy a whole chicken, you can make several meals out of it including a very nice broth and it’s cheaper per pound.

Shop in the Mornings

Most grocery stores will put the previous day’s meat on clearance in the mornings, that’s when you will often find steaks and pork chops for 20-40% off.  This varies a bit from store to store but if you will ask the butcher when at your store when that happens, they will usually let you know.  Here are some other frugal tricks you can use for meat.

Order Produce Direct From Farmers

Once every 2 weeks, I get a big basket of produce from Bountiful Baskets.  Not only is this cheap but I get a much wider variety of fruits and veggies than I get at Walmart.  There are probably several different CSAs to choose from in your area.

Start a Garden

I am amazed at how much my tiny little garden produces considering the original plants I planted were less than $2 each.  At the very least, you can start a little herb garden on a window sill and have fresh herbs every day.  Right now I swear I have basil coming out of my ears and can’t give it away fast enough.

Buy a Dehydrator

I would never have guessed how helpful a dehydrator would be until I had one.  Your store put more meat on sale than you can eat and you don’t have room in the freezer?  Dehydrate it and make jerky!  You garden pumps out more herbs than you could ever possibly consume?  Dehydrate it and store it for the winter!  It’s such an awesome tool.  Here’s the one I use and I’m pretty happy with it.

Cook for Yourself

Doing your own cooking is the #1 way to save money.  Not only can you control what goes into your food but you aren’t paying someone else to cook it.  Here’s some great recipes you can try.

Hope you found these tips helpful!  If you did, sign up for my daily email and get my 28 Day Meal Plan and join our 28 Day Sugar Free Challenge Facebook group to be a part of a community of people who are losing weight and getting healthy.

What’s for Breakfast? What’s for Dessert? Click here to get our Breakfast and Dessert Recipes ebooks!

Keto Tip: Eating Too Much Protein Can Be The Same as Eating Too Many Carbs

Keto Tip: Eating Too Much Protein Can Be The Same as Eating Too Many Carbs

Today’s keto tip is one that took me a little while to understand in my own weight loss journey.  In the beginning I pretty much thought of food as either one of two things, either I could eat it or I couldn’t.  I didn’t really understand that I could eat too much of a “good” thing and it would cause problems for my weight loss.  At first I had to realize that eating a bunch of nuts, nut butters, and dairy was slowing my down but then I learned that eating too much protein would do the same thing.

What is Gluconeogenesis?

Gluconeogenesis is a metabolic process where the body makes glucose from something other than a carbohydrate, typically excess protein, which will knock you out of dietary ketosis.  There is no hard and fast amount of protein that I can tell you to stay under to avoid gluconeogenesis because each person has a different tolerance level.  I know that for me personally, I got in to trouble if I had more than about 10 oz of meat in the evening and really had to be careful to increase the total amount of fat I ate during the day to be sure I didn’t hit my limit.

How to Avoid Gluconeogenesis

We tend to think of a ketogenic diet as a High Fat, Low Carb diet but you really need to add “Moderate Protein” in the middle of that list.  There are a few little tricks I had to learn to keep my protein levels at the right level.

#1 Track Your Food and Weight – It was so helpful for me to track what I ate and how my weight responded the next day.  This was the the most important thing I did to discover both my protein tolerance and what foods affected my bodies in different ways.

#2 Test Your Ketones – I wish I could afford this Ketonix breath ketone analyzer because it seems like a much easier way to do it but these ketone strips work as well.  It’s nice to be able to see immediately how what you ate affected your ketone level.

#3 Eat High Fat Meat – Don’t be scared of protein but if you are choosing a cut of meat, eat the one with the highest fat content.  So rather than have that boneless skinless chicken breast, eat the leg or thigh with the skin still on.  Get the steak or pork chop with the big strip of fat or the most marbling.  Choose sardines, salmon, Chilean Sea Bass, or anchovies over catfish, cod, or flounder.  Wrap your meat in bacon and slather it in butter.  Just consistently try to eat as much fat with your protein as possible.

Eating a ketogenic diet has absolutely been a god-send for me as I was totally incapable of losing weight until I found it.  It has taken a little tinkering to figure out the ins and outs but it has resulted in a consistent weight loss of over 150 lbs so far and I know it will work for you!

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Keto Tips: Get In The Habit Of Reading The Ingredients List

Keto Tips: Get In The Habit Of Reading The Ingredients List

As the weight continues to come off, I am frequently asked questions about what I’m doing to lose it.  After I give my pat answer of “I don’t eat sugar or anything my body can quickly convert to sugar” the questions usually become more specific.  Now I’m going to try to give the little tips and tricks I’ve learned over the last few years to help answer those questions.

Keto Tips: Get In The Habit Of Reading The Ingredients List

It was difficult for me when I first started at eating this low-carb high-fat diet to really get a handle on exactly sugars were being added to the foods I was buying.  Did you know sugars have over 40 different names?  If you don’t know what they are it makes it tough to know what is in the food you are buying.

When I first started eating a low-carb high-fat diet I was looking at the sugar content on the nutrition label on the back. Unfortunately it didn’t differentiate between added sugar and the natural sugar that might occur in the food that I was trying to buy. I didn’t so much care about the natural sugar from, say, a tomato but I wanted to know if there was any sugar that had been added to the food during the preparation or packaging process.

So what I begin to do is to read the ingredient list to find out if any of the 40 different names for sugar showed up there.  That way I would know if any sugar had been added to the food that I was buying.

Of course as I progressed and the weight continued to come off I quickly realized that the best type of food is the food that doesn’t have a nutrition label or ingredients list at all.  I now mostly eat real food like produce, meat, or dairy. However, I still make a point reading the ingredients list every time I buy something in those “middle aisles” at the grocery store.  I am always surprised at the companies that feel like they need to add sugar to my stewed tomatoes or garlic salt.

Also, we are being promised new nutrition labels that we should start seeing pretty soon that will tell us the amount of added sugar in our food but until that comes, we still need to be diligent about keeping as much sugar as possible out of what we eat.

What to Do When You Hit a Weight Loss Plateau

What to Do When You Hit a Weight Loss Plateau

What to Do When You Hit a Weight Loss Plateau

Weight loss plateaus happen.  They have happened to me and they will happen to you.  Believe me, if there was a way that I could ensure that the little tracking line in my weight loss app was one smooth consecutive downward line, I would be doing that but that’s just not how weight loss works in the real world.

Before we get in to this, I want to address the Mayo Clinic’s advice which is:

When the calories you burn equal the calories you eat, you reach a plateau. To lose more weight, you need to either increase your physical activity or decrease the calories you eat. Using the same approach that worked initially may maintain your weight loss, but it won’t lead to more weight loss.

This is absolutely terrible advice and should not be followed.  Weight loss is not a Calorie In/Calorie Out proposition and all eating less and exercising more will do is make you hungry.  Weight loss is primarily about your hormones and the most important hormone is your insulin which is your “fat storage” hormone.  If you decrease the amount of insulin your pancreas has to secrete, you lose weight over the long run.  It’s this one simple truth that has enabled me to lose 150 lbs over the last few years and 50 lbs so far this year.

So let’s take a look at some simple action steps you can take to fight through when you hit a plateau.

Don’t Panic

Seriously, take a deep breath.  I totally know how it feels to see the numbers on the scale begin to inch back up and wonder if you are about to undo all the hard work you’ve put in to your health.  That’s not going to happen.  Stick with the program, keep eating real food, make sure to avoid carbs like sugars, grains and starches and relax.  It will come, I promise.

Plan your meals

One thing that was very helpful to me in the beginning especially was to plan out what I was going to eat the next day in a little notebook.  I could visualize my meals and take the necessary steps to make sure I had access to the healthy food I needed the next day.  Sometimes that required me to make meals in advance, sometimes I had to run to the store to get the food I needed, sometimes I looked at my plan and realized I was planning on eating the wrong foods.  It was incredibly helpful to see that information on paper beforehand.  Then, once the day was over, I looked back at the plan and assessed what I actually did.  Did I eat a snack that wasn’t on the plan?  Did I cheat? Why?  Answering these questions day by day gave me a better understanding of my cravings and how to deal with them.

Check Your Water Intake

In the early days of cutting the carbs out of your diet, you are going to lose a lot of water.  As you burn through the glycogen stores in your muscles, your body also releases the water the glycogen was stored in.  It’s not uncommon to double your trips to the bathroom in those early days so be sure you are replenishing your water as you go.  Also, the bowels and kidneys are 2 of 4 ways your body expels toxins and excess fat,  (The other 2 are through the skin and exhalation) and water is a key component to making sure that process happens quickly and efficiently.

Track Your Food Intake and Weight Loss

This one step probably did more for my sanity when I hit a plateau more than anything else I did.  Once I planned my meals out, I then went back and wrote down what I actually ate, then I weighed myself at the same time every morning.  So every time I hit a plateau or even gained a little weight, I was able to go back and track down what caused the issue.  It was doing this that caused me to realize that I was far more sensitive to corn than I ever thought possible.  It didn’t matter if I eat corn on the cob or had a corn tortilla, if I had corn in any form I was done losing weight for a few days.  I can guarantee you that your body reacts differently to different foods.  You may have issues with dairy, eggs, soy, gluten, nuts, or who knows what else and not know it because it’s not a debilitating reaction and the only way to discover it is to go in for a battery of tests at the doctor or start tracking your food and weight in one place.  You won’t have to do it forever, just until you discover the issue.

Change Up Your Exercise

Exercise is a terrible way to lose weight and you shouldn’t rely on exercise as your main means to shed a few pounds.  However having said that, exercise has a lot of other benefits that aren’t directly related to weight loss like increasing your insulin sensitivity and improving your mood.  Change things up but be careful to avoid injuries.  Concentrate on compound exercises that exercise large groups of muscles at once like squats or bench presses.  If you don’t have access to a gym, do the squats without weight, burpees, or just go for a walk but do something.

De-Stress

Cortisol is your body’s stress hormone and is great in short bursts like when you are being attacked by a lion but most of us are under constant stress so we have large amounts of cortisol and adrenaline rolling around in our bodies at all times.  Unfortunately, cortisol not only drives weight gain by triggering cravings but it also tells our body to store that weight in the worst possible place, right near the midsection.  So do something to lower your stress level.  Perhaps thats a walk in the sunshine, or a few deep breaths, or meditation or yoga.  The point is to do something to get that stress out of your system and get back to the business of losing weight.

I hope you found these simple steps to follow to get out of a weight loss plateau helpful to you.  If so, please share it with your friends!

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Keto Tips: Keep a Few Boiled Eggs in Fridge for a Quick Snack!

Keto Tips: Keep a Few Boiled Eggs in Fridge for a Quick Snack!

As the weight continues to come off, I am frequently asked questions about what I’m doing to lose it.  After I give my pat answer of “I don’t eat sugar or anything my body can quickly convert to sugar” the questions usually become more specific.  Now I’m going to try to give the little tips and tricks I’ve learned over the last few years to help answer those questions.

Keep a few boiled eggs in the fridge for a quick snack

Sometimes the questions I get revolve around “What do you eat?” as if a world without bread is totally unimaginable to anyone.  I know what’s really going on in their head though, they can’t figure out how to snack.  The idea of going from lunch aaaaaaaaaaallllllllll the way to dinner without a bag of chips or something seems like some herculean feat that can only be accomplished by a person of the most rigid self-control and will power.

Sometimes I take this opportunity to spell out how little I get hungry anymore.  And speaking as a man that used to be 400+ lbs, I know what it feels like to be always hungry.    My feeding schedule went something like breakfast, lunch, snack, 2nd snack, dinner, 2nd helping of dinner, dessert so I know that if someone told me not to snack I would probably try to do my best but then hunger would almost compel me to leave my house at midnight to run down to Walmart where I would pick up a gallon of ice cream. And Magic Shell. And whipped cream. And maybe some cherries.  And maybe some M&M’s in the checkout lane to tide me over until I got home.  I’d probably shoot some Reddi-Wip into my mouth in the car as well.

So now, hunger isn’t a huge driving force for me anymore but in those early days of my sugar free journey, I tried to always keep keto-friendly food around just in case and for me, the easiest was boiled eggs.  They are crazy cheap, easy to prepare and store for a few weeks in the fridge.  If those 3PM hunger pangs struck, usually a egg and a glass of water was all I needed to feel satiated.

Since those early days, I have also started keeping cheddar and olives around and since my son bought me a dehydrator for Father’s Day, I’m entering the world of making jerky.

But here is the incredible part of the story, now that I’m 150 lbs down, I no longer feel at war with my own body.  I remember being almost in tears because I was just so hungry while being so desperate to lose weight and the Sugar-Free/Keto/LCHF diet has changed all of that.  I eat when I want, as much as I want now.  The only difference is I don’t want very much very often which has been a complete game changer for me.

Want some great meal ideas? Click here to sign up for our daily email and get a FREE 28 Day Sugar Free Meal Plan!

What’s for Breakfast? What’s for Dessert? Click here to get our Breakfast and Dessert Recipes ebooks!