When I started this Keto thing it was done sort of blindly. In the six weeks that I’m now ending (and will continue), I have done a lot of research and learned one primary thing – there are a LOT of misconceptions about the Keto diet.

In this age of Fake News and over saturation of information, I think we can all agree on one thing, a lot of dissemination of fake news is in the self interest of an opposing opinion. In this case, the opposers to keto would be many in the medical and pharmaceutical industries. After all, they are more interested in sick people seeking treatment via drugs and procedures than finding health through natural means.

So in this six week update I will cover not only where I am (at the end), but also the misconceptions I’ve learned that make keto seem so bad.

Misconceptions

You will be eating nothing but lots of fat from eggs, bacon, meats, and dairy. In truth, you will be eating a lot of that for the first week or two, but as you burn out all the sugars and convert your body to burning fat instead, your fat consumption decreases.

That’s the first part of this misconception. If you do keto properly, the fat consumption is used to just keep you feeling full so that you don’t crave and cheat on other foods. My keto calculation is 20 g carbs, 65 g protein, and 85 g of fat. I don’t have to eat 85 g a fat a day if I don’t need to.  I only need to watch my carbs and protein and then eat enough fat to keep me feeling full and keep away any food cravings.



The second part is the decrease of the consumption of fat as you become fat adapted. As your body learns to burn fat for fuel instead of looking for sugar, and because you are not as hungry anymore, it turns to burning your own fat instead of needing you to consume fat. That’s how people lose weight on this diet. Their bodies start consuming their own fat for fuel.

So part three of this misconception would be regarding the types of fat being consumed. This is where many people, even those following keto, can get into trouble - the type and quality of the fat matters. You should be eating healthy fats like fish, avocados, and other high quality fats such as coconut and olive oil. I think people rely a little too heavily on dairy, which is high in calories and could contribute more to bad cholesterol.

I can eat all I want as long as it is no-carbs and high fat. In actuality, keto folk pay attention to carbs first and foremost. The standard goal is not to eat more than 20 g of carbs a day, which can be hard for people, especially when sugar is in everything these days. The second piece to this misconception is that calories do still count. If your goal is to lose weight, you are still faced with a calorie intake goal that you shouldn’t go over. Fat has calories, so just because you kept low in carbs doesn’t give you free rein elsewhere. You still need to stick to your calorie goal and not overeat.


Fasting

As of Christmas I had no belief that:

- I could go through a day without snacking or feeling hungry.

- Easily say no to carby things – especially sweets.

- That I could actually survive 18 hours without a single bite of food without my stomach crying out in rebellion.

- Have any interest in continuing past my six week mark.

Yet here I am with this daily routine now…


I get off work at 6pm and I go home and consume my dinner by 7pm. The next day I drink green tea and water until my lunch hour, which isn’t until 1:30. That’s 18.5 hours, if I can wait that long. And it’s been easy! I would never have thought I could go without eating that long on a daily basis!

I issue now is considering going 20/4. The reason? I'm finding I'm not hungry! But that does mean you have to put extra emphasis in eating hearty, healthy, meal. Many people even do 24 hour fasts or, rather, one meal a day!

So where am I now at six weeks?

My goal was to: go to six weeks, get my blood work done and then see how I felt. I wanted to get increased energy, rid of my tendonitis, check my gluten sensitivity, and lose a few pounds. I also planned to enjoy some sort of carby meal to celebrate/cheat at the end.

Yesterday I got my blood work done, which I’ll go over in a minute.

I actually had no desire to go out and celebrate/cheat. I was a person who thought about food all day long, contemplating what I was going to eat for my next meal, and thinking about sweets all the time. I am now a person who doesn’t think that way at all anymore. It’s all because I’m just not hungry. So at this point I figure I’ll wait until something comes up where I sort of need to cheat because I’m out with friends or something. Otherwise, I’m keeping with what I’m doing.

I’ve lost 10 pounds.

The tendonitis is gone.

It doesn't seem that gluten is the issue, but rather carbs and blood sugar levels.

I’m sleeping really deeply and better than I have in years. Keep in mind that last year they gave me a c-pap machine and told me I have mild sleep apnea. This may be true, but I’m not using my c-pap machine and I’m sleeping great now!

Not only that, I used to be falling asleep at my desk at noon and need a nap every day during my lunch hour. I’m no longer falling asleep at work and I can easily make it through the day without my nap! (I still like to take them often though.)

Now to my blood work

I’ve always had high cholesterol and so I have put off getting any blood work done for three years in the typical tendency to ignore it so I don’t get bothered by my doctor. I got my full blood work done yesterday and while the overall results were good for thyroid, potassium, metabolism, etc, my cholesterol was worse than ever.

The thing is, they say it can take quite a few months for your body to adjust and start switching to outputting of more good cholesterol than bad. So I don’t want this test to deter me.  It actually kind of makes me more determined to continue this keto journey further to see how my blood work changes month to month.

Soooo…..

I plan to keep on going and I’ll keep you updated along the way. OK?

Some of my favorite food events are coming in the next two months. They are definitely pricey, but if you can afford a special culinary treat to check off your bucket list, then either of these will do. 



Cochon555 at AT&T Park - March 4


I love pork and this has always been worth the money. A couple of times local favorites have participated - Kelly McCown and Michael Tuohy.

Cochon555 is a culinary competition to promote local family farming and whole pig cookery through the eyes of five notable chefs. Each tasked with the goal to win votes from celebrity judges and participants, chefs have one week to prepare a 200 pound pig and present a “Judge’s Plate” scored on utilization; technique; and overall flavor. The winner of the local competition is announced the Prince or Princess of Pork and advances to the national finale, Grand Cochon on September 30.  Grand Cochon spotlights the 'Best 3 Bites' from all Cochon555 regional events in a head-to-tail, winner-takes-all showdown for the crown.


Tickets for general admission start at $130; VIP tickets (early admission + exclusive access to cocktail competition and allocated wines and spirits) are $200. Guests can purchase a $400 ticket that includes VIP and the Silver Oak "Swig for Swings" Vertical Tasting and Seminar with winemaker Nate Weis in the Press Box paired with four of the Giants' "Greatest Moments" on the big screen.
Where:           AT&T Park, 24 Willie Mays Plaza, San Francisco, CA 94107
When:              Sunday, March 4, 2018
Time:               4 p.m. for VIP entry, 5 p.m. for General Admission, 3 p.m. “Swig for Swings” Seminar




Yountville Live - March 15-18

Last year I went to Yountville Live and really enjoyed it. The location is, of course, beautiful, the food and music are wonderful, and it wasn't too crowded!  I think it's the best little secret right now and will be sad as it grows each year. Sometimes you want things to stay secretly your own.

You can enter a chance to win a VIP experience here.

Yountville Live will feature James Beard celebrity chef Stephanie Izard, chef and Food Network host Bob Blumer and local renowned chefs including Bob Hurley, Chris Kollar, Morgan Robinson, Nick Ritchie, Nate Lindsey, Cindy Pawlcyn, Anita Cartagena and more. The four day event will include headline performances by X Ambassadors, Foy Vance, and NEEDTOBREATHE and intimate performances throughout the weekend by Dave Barnes, Emerson Hart, Marc Broussard, Jon McLaughlin, Logan Brill, Corey Harper, Keelan Donova, High Noon and more. Health and  wellness guru from the Today Show, Joy Bauer and “Eat Travel Rock” TV host Kelly Rizzo will host events throughout the weekend. Also set to be featured are some of the most celebrated wineries.






It's rare for me to go into San Francisco for a weekday event, but when I got an invitation, I decided to schedule work at our Bay Area location for that day so I could stay late to go to dinner at Old Skool Cafe.
Old Skool Cafe is a faith-based, violence prevention program, providing marketable employment skills in the restaurant industry to at-risk youth ages 16-22. Old Skool Cafe provides the opportunity to transform the loop of incarceration and recidivism into healthy life loops. Youth come from jail, foster care or situations of abuse and neglect into a supportive environment. 
The invitation had piqued my interest because the program reminded me so much of Saint John's Program for Change, which I had written about in 2015. Both programs help those struggling and in need of assistance with support and education. Both use restaurant programs to teach skills that will lead the participants to jobs in the industry. 

Old Skool is a much younger program in terms of age and, of course, its participants. Back in about 2004, Founder Teresa Goines came up with the idea. The first few years she was operating the program from her own home and with help from caterers and people who were able to give them spaces to do occasional popup dinners. As word spread, she was blessed when a church gave them an old building to use with minimal rent. In 2012 Old Skool Cafe opened in the Bayview Hunter’s Point neighborhood. In 2014 they purchased the building and over the last six months they've been closed for renovation. 



I was invited to a soft opening as they prepare to reopen in the next few weeks. We were treated to a menu of International Soul Food that included gumbo, ribs, a Tongan ceviche style dish, and a West African peanut butter stew. Everything was executed very well, from service to the tasty dishes. Please watch my short video with interviews with the founder and one of the participants.




Old Skool Cafe
1429 Mendell St
San Francisco
shrimp alfredo

Like pretty much everyone, I overindulged during the holidays. Plus, December is my birthday month. By January 1, I had reached my heaviest weight yet. I decided, like so many, to go on a diet. I started with a 3-day juice cleanse from Nekter because I had liked it the last time I did it and I kind of wanted to shrink my stomach in readiness for dieting. Then I started Keto.

To jump directly to why and how I'm doing, you can scroll down. 

When U.S. News & World Report came out with their 2018 ranking of diets, Keto came in tie for last place. That hasn't stopped the huge increase of interest in it as well as the number of success stories regarding it. So what is Keto?

I'm not going to get too technical here because there are plenty of other Keto bloggers (linked below) that can do a much better job than I. So just some basics. The goal of the keto diet is to adapt the body to utilize fat as its primary fuel source instead of sugar

Your body uses two types of fuel - glucose and fat. Glucose (sugars) get used immediately in the body because they are the easiest to access and use. To use an example, if you were a runner, the quick burst of energy you would need for a sprint would be from glucose. Whatever glucose is leftover is then stored as fat for the future. We get fat because we eat too many sugary and carb laden foods. Carby foods turn into sugars during the digestion process and then into fat, so on a keto diet, carbs and sugars are OUT! 

Running a marathon would be attune to using fat for energy. You have a large gas tank of fat that the body can use to keep fueling itself for the long run. In order to access that fat and turn it into the energy, you need ketones. Ketone bodies are molecules that are produced by the liver from fatty acids during periods of low food intake. When your body has no more glucose it goes into starvation mode and turns to the fat in your body for fuel.

The idea of the keto diet is that you eliminate your body's access to glucose forcing it to use fat for energy instead. 

A keto diet means that you eat lots of protein, a good amount of non-starchy/carby vegetables, and a high level of healthy fats. People on keto primarily count their carbs first and calories second. Keto folk want to try to eat no more than 20 grams of carbs a day. A mini fun-size Snickers bar has 10.5 grams and a McDonald's small fries has 29. Even a cup of zucchini, which is a nice vegetable, has 6, so keeping to just 20 for a day is hard.

This post is gonna get long if I get into too much explanation. The real reason for this post is why am I doing it and how is it going. 

While weight loss was my initial reason, I've actually got multiple reasons now, especially as I've researched more.

Lose weight - People constantly say "where do you plan on losing weight from?" or "why do YOU need to lose weight?"  Same as everyone, I look at photos and I look pudgy in them!  So now I'm down 6 pounds in the month, but want to lose another 6. Keep in mind that larger people can drop 15 pounds in a month, everyone is different. Also know that the first drop in weight will be water weight as glucose = more water storage and as your body starts to switch to fat burning, it stores less water.  Drink more!

Gluten sensitivity - I've been wondering for a while if I'm gluten sensitive. I love bread and pasta, but they make me sleepy and anyone who knows me knows that I have to take a nap every day because I get so tired by midday. Tiredness can be a sign of gluten sensitivity. After my 6 weeks are up, I plan to eat a pizza and then see how my body reacts. 

Energy levels - As stated above, I'm falling asleep by noon and have to take a nap every day. I can't figure out why and feel diet could be a big part of it. Keto talks a lot about increased energy as your body learns to use fat to sustain you. Instead of the up and down swings of your body sugars, you have a constant fuel keeping you going. 

Cholesterol - It seems counter intuitive to think eating a lot of fat is going to help your cholesterol, but many people and a few studies have indicated that as your body makes adjustments, it actually switches to producing more of the good cholesterol and less of the bad. "For HDL cholesterol, or "goodcholesterol, higher levels are better. High-density lipoprotein (HDL) is known as the "goodcholesterol because it helps remove other forms of cholesterol from your bloodstream."

Inflammation - More and more these days we hear about how inflammation is stressful to your body and contributes to many diseases. In my case, I have been having a tendonitis issue for years and would love to be rid of it.

What does keto eating look like?

almond flour pancakes
Most people do a Bulletproof Coffee or Cocoa in the morning because the high fat from the grassfed butter and coconut oil helps fuel you for the morning. But other typical breakfasts are bacon and eggs, fritatas, avocado/coconut milk smoothies, and even scones or pancakes that are made with almond and/or coconut flour instead.

Lunch for me is often a salad or celery with guacamole or a cheese dip. I'm thrilled that Chando's has lettuce wrap tacos and Quesatacos where they make the taco shell from a cheese skirt. Very greasy, but keto perfection!

Dinner is often meat and veggies such as cauliflower (riced, mashed, roasted) or kale sauteed in bacon grease. I also love making shrimp pesto alfredo and I put it over either no-carb shirataki noodles or spiralized zucchini.

Yes, there is dessert. Like sugar-free cheesecake! Stevia is your friend on Keto and so I blend cream cheese with whipped cream and stevia. The only keto approved fruits are berries, so cheesecake with berries! Or last night I made chocolate avocado truffles. There are many baked desserts too, as long as you use almond or coconut flour.

Takeaways so far

After the first week of getting used to it (and be warned there is a thing called keto flu), I found that my cravings had all but disappeared. I used to be munching all day long at work, constantly thinking of food, and looking for the nearest Panera. Not anymore. I rarely nibble and saying 'no' to sweets has been easy now. This from someone with a notorious sweet tooth!

I do feel my energy levels are better through the day. I'm not falling asleep at noon and if I skip my nap, I'm not as dead feeling the rest of the day as I used to be. 

I'm sleeping more soundly. I'm still waking up a few times a night, but my sleep is much deeper than before.

What now? Will I stay with it? Can you cheat? Can I really go without fruit in the summer?

These are all questions I will be dealing with. Yes, you can cheat, but only a meal at a time and it has to be good carbs like sweet potatoes, not pastries! There are also people who will cycle and do keto for a few months, then paleo, then back to keto. I think this could work for me so I could enjoy summer fruit season.

I seem to have plateaued on the weight loss and so I'm going to tweak things a bit the next two weeks. I think I'll start fasting. Many people on keto do intermittent fasting. You fast 16 hours, eat for 8, for example. My plan is two more weeks of this (6 total) and then go get my blood work done. I'm a bit nervous that the cholesterol will be high and my doctor will frantically call me about it. (He's been bugging me about it.) They say keto adjusting your body can take months, so six weeks might not be enough. 

The reality is that living keto is about making a lifestyle change versus a temporary diet. So far I have found it pretty easy, so I plan to continue as best I can with a cheat meal every now and then. The plan is to save my special foodie events for those cheat days. 

Stay tuned. I'll update in the future.


Healthful Pursuit - has great podcasts and Youtube videos too
Siim Land - great info videos on Youtube
Bulletproof
Dr. Jockers

As podcasts gain in popularity I figured it was time for an update to my list. I listen to podcasts at work where I can stream off my work's wifi. I feel pretty food knowledgable and a lot of it has to do with continuous education - through podcasts.

The best way to find podcasts is through the recommendations of others. So here are my recommendations for foodie podcasts and at the bottom is a list of Sacramento (not foodie) podcasts.

Sporkful - Host Dan Pashman hosts this James Beard Award nominated podcast. The slogan is "It's not for foodies, it's for eaters. These are only half hour podcasts, so usually stay to one interview or topic.

Splendid Table - One of the most listened to podcasts features Francis Lam who talks to chefs, authors, restaurant owners, and food specialists. I like it because there are interviews mixed in with call-in questions and other fun food features.

Milk Street - After Christopher Kimbal left PBS and America's Test Kitchen, he basically copied everything for his new Milk Street. Same format as the old podcast with call-ins, advice, and food information.

Gastropod - This show mixes history and science to bring a new food topic to the show each week. You  might learn about the history and science of ice cream, for example. They interview people who have researched and written books on the subject or others who practice the science involved. An especially good one is the recent one on a sourdough study. I highly recommend that particular one. 

Special Sauce - This podcast is done by Ed Levine, the founder of Serious Eats. He talks with friends and celebrities about food.  

Good Food and Good Food on the Road by KCRW is a podcast covering all sorts of things food. Added benefit, the restaurant reviewer is the famed Jonathan Gold.

Eater - If you follow restaurants and Eater.com, then this is for you. Interviews with famous chefs and restaurateurs about topics concerning the dining industry. 

Bon Appetit - No surprise, this comes from the magazine covering a variety of food discussions.

Spilled Milk - Need a laugh? Then this one is a great one. Two besties talking about a different food each week, cracking jokes. 

Burnt Toast is the podcast of Food52.com and, as they say, includes stuff that they haven't put on the website. Hasn't been active for a few months, so it may be dead. 


Local Sacramento podcasts:

Sactown People (My episode from August 2014)

Serious Talk, Seriously (My interview February 2016)

Finding Sacramento



Are you a chocoholic? Or looking for some chocolatey goodness to give as a traditional Valentine gift? Then you need to go to the Chocolate Salon at the Citizen Hotel on  Saturday, January 27. 


Come and taste a bunch of chocolate, buy some as well, and listen to a couple of speakers. Here are some highlights:


Great presentations, chocolate tasting, and more are taking place at the Citizen Hotel in downtown Sacramento. Featuring award-winning creators such as Amano Artisan Chocolate, 3D Candies, Farm Fresh To You, be a gourmet, Cowboy Toffee Company, The Cocoa Exchange, Raphio Chocolate, Rainy Day Chocolate, New Orleans Bill, Cru Chocolate, Z. Cioccolato, Endorfin, Michael's Chocolates, Tombo Toffee, Kindred Cooks Caramels, Fookie Fudge, Welk Resorts, and more.  

Meet Art Pollard of Amano, recently ranked by the New York Times as the #1 Bean-to-Bar ChocolateMaker in the United States.




Sacramento CHOCOLATE SALON
January 27, 2018
11:00am - 5:00pm 
Citizen Hotel
926 J St
Sacramento, CA 95814
Adults: $20 Advance Tickets, $25 Door