I’m delighted to announce, that one week after my weekend of carbohydrate-busting dining in Charleston, S.C., I weighed and found I’d lost all the carb weight I’d picked up on that trip – plus a pound more! One solid week of focused attention on my carb intake, and it happened. The ketogenic way of eating made it easier than I thought – all the fat content of my meals kept me reasonably full. I’d lying though, if I said wasn’t hungry sometimes. I’m still not used to eating only a salad and grilled chicken for lunch, especially when you’ve spent years snarfing up fast food and bready sandwiches.
But I did get back on track. To celebrate, tonight I made a burger with a fried egg on top.
I dined on a pared-down version of this burger: I forgot to buy avocado, skipped the onion, and I rushed the last bit and flipped my perfect sunny-side-up egg into an over-easy mess. Patience is hard to come by when you’re hungry!
Keto living means upping your fat intake – and that’s easy to do when you love cheese as much as I do. (One of my friends is giving up cheese for Lent – he’s made of stronger stuff than I am.) I’m eating slices of cheese by themselves, when I’m not grating or shredding cheese into every dish I can. What’s an omelet without cheese?
To make my dishes sing, I’ve been looking for the right tools. That old-fashioned box grater I was gifted from my mother still works beautifully, but it is a pain to clean. After a little looking around on Ebay I found the answer: a Holland cheese slicer, with painted scene on the handle. Both functional and stylish. In the words of William Morris, “Have nothing in your house that you do not know to be useful or believe to be beautiful.” It doesn’t so much slice the cheese as grates it in thin strips.
And then there’s the ultimate shredding tool: the Microplane grater. Could I have shredded Parmesan before I got this? Yes, but it was large strips, not the fine shreds I wanted. And zest – forget it. My grocery story zester smushed every peel I tried to zest. If you want quality, yes, you will have to pay for it. But this tool has paid for itself. I love finely shredded Parmesan over salads, soups, and in so many dishes. The Microplane makes it happen.
For the second weekend in a row, I fell out of ketosis. This time, I was done in by the homemade tortilla chips – not just any restaurant tortilla chips, but chips at what my friend swears is the best Tex-Mex this side of New Mexico.
We had traveled to Charlotte for a shopping trip. After a latish start, we got there about 11:30 – time for an early lunch. My friend had been telling me about this wonderful Mexican chain in Orlando (of all places) that she swore had the closest thing to Tex-Mex that she’d found on the East Coast, ever since she left Albuquerque. I said, look it up, see if there’s one in Charlotte. And yes, there is a Chuy’s in Charlotte.
A Tex-Mex take on the 21 Club
We drove to the one Charlotte location on the south side of the city. The place had a kitschy vibe with the Chihuahua bar decorated with pictures of Chihuahua dogs, the checkerboard floors, and colorful furnishing. The ceilings drew inspiration from New York’s fabled 21 Club. Instead of toys hanging down, the ceiling of the room where we dined was decorated with shiny hubcaps of all shapes and sizes. There was some serious money in rims above our heads.
For about two minutes I thought hard about staying on my Keto program. I could order a taco salad and eat around the shell. I could order fajitas and skip the tortillas. But then they brought out those homemade tortilla chips with salsa and creamy jalapeno dip. The lightly fried, non-greasy chips crumbled in the mouth, melting as fast as my resistance to the carbs. My friend couldn’t stop exclaiming over the food. She eagerly ordered the Hatch Chili salsa to go with her lunch. My tastes run more to my WASP background. I gotta be me: I’m more at home with bland, creamy comfort food, not hot & spicy. I chose from the mild side of the menu. The enchiladas with tomatillo salsa were perfect. I did try to restrain myself: I didn’t eat most of the tortillas wrapping the chicken inside. And I left most of the rice and beans (something I’ve never done before in a Mexican restaurant.) Not because they weren’t delicious; I was reining myself in. And because I was stuffed full of chips.
Note to all my Keto post readers: Every once in a while I post something else. I also like gardening and books, in addition to Keto. If you only want to read Keto posts, just click on the “Keto” category in the top menu.
In Drawing Lines: Why Conservatives Must Begin to Battle Fiercely in the Arena of Ideas, Kira Davis issues a call to action: take your stand, make a difference in the fight for our culture. For the past few decades, our society has defaulted to liberal values everywhere: media, books, television, and universities. Kira is telling conservatives it is time: time to stand up, speak out, make your position known. Push back whenever and wherever you can. Her writing voice is the same as her podcasting voice: friendly, encouraging, with stories from her own life that make you laugh and make you think.
Kira weaves her personal story in between chapters on women’s rights being pushed aside, schools and corporations going woke, and critical race theory. Growing up a liberal, she believed everything that left taught, and she thought the Right was just as evil as they were painted by mainstream media commentators. Volunteering at an afterschool tech center program for kids made her start to question how effective the education system was. No matter how much money was poured into the schools, test scores and passing grades never improved. Worse, the only solution that the left offered was “spend more money.”
After realizing that, Kira started questioning more of her political positions. For the past several years she’s been a conservative commentator, one who has “built a brand on reaching out to the other side, on giving people space to be wrong, the space to discuss, the space to tolerate.” Sadly, she admits that it is now time for conservatives to question the liberal zeitgeist.
In each chapter she gives suggestions for how you, the reader, can make your voice heard. Whether it’s going to a school board meeting, running for office (like she did) or writing to your representatives, she outlines the many ways conservatives can say, ‘hey, we’re here. This is our country too, and you can’t cancel us.’
Kira ends the book by ‘taking it to church’, as she says on her podcast. Her strong Christian faith undergirds everything she does. One of her core beliefs is that just below the surface of each societal fad is a soul longing to take the place of God, to make himself God. Having a faith in something greater than yourself allows you to reject the notion that government or politics is your Lord. As she says:
It’s very freeing when you can accept perfection is divine, and you have no way to get there on your own. It’s no wonder progressives are always so cranky. They sense they’ll never get to where they’re going.
Every month my team goes out to eat at a different restaurant. This week, it was the locally famous all-you-can-eat barbecue restaurant Little Pigs. It’s a patriotic country place that features the flags of each branch of the Armed Services on the walls, along with the “Thin Blue Line” flag and a flag for MIA-POWs. And they serve the three styles of barbecued pork sauce predominant in South Carolina: tomato-based, mustard-based, and vinegar-pepper.
Buffet means minefield
Unfortunately, meat isn’t all they serve. There’s also the tantalizing display of casserole-type foods and starches that are mainstays of the Southern diet. Here’s what I had to pass by in order to stay on my Keto way of eating:
Macaroni and cheese (this is considered a vegetable in South Carolina)
Mashed potatoes and gravy
And for dessert:
What did you eat?
Believe it or not, I was able to dine quite nicely at the BBQ restaurant, and not feel too deprived. (Although I did sigh several times over the tomato pie I couldn’t have.) I filled my plate with broccoli salad made with cheddar cheese and mayo, green beans, and three types of pork: mustard-based BBQ, vinegar and pepper-based BBQ, and plain pulled pork. It was divine. And best of all – my teammates who ate all the carbs were falling asleep later that afternoon at work. Me? I had no problem powering through the day.
Today I got a new book in the mail, written by one of my favorite people – Kira Davis. Her book “Drawing Lines: Why Conservatives Must Begin to Battle Fiercely in the Arena of Ideas” looks like a wonderful discussion on the current moment. From the inside cover: “Kira Davis has built a brand on reaching out to the other side, on giving people space to be wrong, the space to discuss, the space to tolerate. She sincerely believes there are many reasonable people in America from all ideologies who are still willing to talk with ech other, people who are quite happy to live and let live. Unfortunately, none of those people are controlling the conversation right now.”
What did you recently finish reading?
I just finished tonight “Dipped, Stripped & Dead,” by Elise Hyatt (a pen name for Sarah A. Hoyt.) It’s the first in a series featuring Dyce Dare, a clumsy young girl who though she wanted to be a ballerina, ended up refinishing furniture and dumpster diving to supply her business. Then she stumbled over a dead body…. This is the perfect light-hearted read, an entertaining yarn which takes you away from the craziness of today. Dyce is both independent entrepreneur and slightly ditzy dame, who doesn’t want to realize the gorgeous cop is in love with her, and also keeps mum about the antique coffee table she found next to the body. See, she’s got to raise her young son, and find a way to make more money from refinishing furniture to keep them in something other than pancakes.
What do you think you’ll read next?
I know I said after Dipped, Stripped, and Dead I’d read this book, a mystery with some political overtones, set in a farming community: The Gentleman Farmers. But it’s going to have to wait until I can finish Kira’s book.
Rule 1: Never go on a girls’ trip to Charleston without an extra-strong dose of willpower.
Rule 2: If you’re going to cheat, don’t cheat at every meal!
Rule 3: See Rules 1 and 2.
One good thing
My friend and I went off to explore the city of Charleston, S.C. over President’s Day weekend – and that meant LOTS of walking all over the gorgeous historic district. In fact, on one day alone we walked six miles by my Fitbit. That was the shining moment of the weekend. We saw everything from the beautiful Battery to the downtown Market to scores of houses with those magnificent, long Charleston-style porches designed to catch the breezes.
One not-so-bad thing
We decided to take a break from the walking (12 miles total over the weekend) by taking a Carriage Horse tour. That gave us the chance to see more of Charleston – but also kept me from some more much-needed exercise!
All those delicious meals – and the grits! Oh, my word, the grits and the biscuits (So NOT Keto) were out of this world at Miller’s All Day, a wonderful breakfast and brunch place. I think there was a way to eat keto-friendly here, but it would have broken my Southern heart.
All told, I weighed again this morning and found I’d gained 4 pounds. Ugh. Yuck. Oh, well – back to salads, lean meat and keto-friendly oils! A few final pictures of the Charleston trip:
It’s that time again … time to set myself up for a good week of Keto Living by planning ahead and shopping conscientiously. It feels like I do this all the time! Now that I’m doing Keto, I’m cooking at home more than ever. So, time to plan out some menus. As always, I’m turning to my new favorite cookbook, Simply Keto.
Shopping my freezer
I’ve got so much meat from my last Butcher Box delivery that I need to use up. More filet mignons mean I’m making Filet Mignon with Gorgonzola Sauce! Other dishes I’m going to re-make this week:
Twice-Baked Cauliflower Casserole (it’s the faux potato dish I love so much)
Sometimes, you just have an itch that fat or protein won’t scratch. Another fat bomb won’t do. And eating yet another devilled egg doesn’t appeal either. Sometimes, you just want a cracker. To the rescue – once again, my new Bible of Keto cooking, Suzanne Ryan’s “Simply Keto” cookbook. (Seriously – go buy this book!) I found her Keto crackers recipe – and it offers two ways of making these wonderful snacks. I choose the cheese cracker option. They don’t even need dip. They’re delicious all by themselves. See below for my photo essay of my first attempt to make these crackers.