2015 in review

2015 has been a year of transformation in my life and I’ve shared most of it here with you. The WordPress.com stats helper monkeys prepared a 2015 annual report for this blog. My heart is filled with gratitude for my readers and I’m really excited for even more in 2016!

Here’s an excerpt:

The concert hall at the Sydney Opera House holds 2,700 people. This blog was viewed about 11,000 times in 2015. If it were a concert at Sydney Opera House, it would take about 4 sold-out performances for that many people to see it.

Click here to see the complete report.

7 Month Update on My Ketogenic Diet


This is an article in a series about my ketogenic diet, which I started May 18, 2015. If you’ve missed the other posts, you can read Month 1, Month 2, Month 3, Month 4, Month 5Month 6, Month 8, Month 9, Month 10, Month 11


Summary of Overall Improvements

In early 2014, I was in a serious car accident and spent nearly three months in bed due to crush injuries to my legs. I started to develop a chronic, progressive, and debilitating pain syndrome in my legs called Chronic Regional Pain Syndrome. Additionally, that fall I started showing symptoms of Post Traumatic Hypopituitarism, which included debilitating fatigue and constant dizziness, along with a long list of other debilitating symptoms. When numerous doctors offered no treatment options, I turned to a ketogenic diet, and in a few weeks, my symptoms began to subside. Along the way, I experienced a lot of other unexpected benefits as well. I am hooked on this way of living!

Here is a summary of the health improvements I’ve experienced from “going keto” thus far:

  • Pain and swelling gone from my legs, hips, and ankles
  • No more heartburn or gastroparesis
  • No more migraines
  • No more urinary incontinence
  • Hypoglycemia symptoms gone
  • CRP dropped from 10 to 2.69, 73% improvement!!
  • Fasting blood glucose went from 96 to 70
  • Triglycerides from 220 to 162 (still room for improvement here)
  • Normal appetite
  • Lots of energy
  • Dizziness/lightheadedness nearly gone
  • Soft, radiant skin
  • Sense of well being, peace, and happiness
  • 56.8 lbs lost (7.2 lbs over the last month)
  • Nearly 9 inches off my waist
7 Month Keto Progress
7 Month Keto Progress
7 Month Keto Progress
7 Month Keto Progress

 

90 Day Keto Challenge

Are you ready to experience keto for yourself? Do you have any of the symptoms I had, like chronic pain, metabolic syndrome, high blood pressure, or an ever expanding waistline? Might you enjoy eating bacon, butter, and burgers (no buns) while feeling better than you have in a very long time?

I’m offering an online 90 Day Keto Challenge program that includes everything you need to start and be successful on a nutritional ketogenic diet. I’ll lead you through exactly how I’ve been successful on a keto diet, sharing all my secrets, tips, and tricks to success.

Included in 90 Day Challenge:

  • Weekly live webinars
  • A comprehensive workbook
  • 90 days of easy-to-make menu plans
  • Shopping list
  • Private, online Facebook support group

For more info, or to enroll, click here.


What Do I Eat?

This is still the most common question I get! I record all my food on Instagram for this very reason. The other day I was meeting a new acquaintance for coffee and even after telling her that I started using Instagram to document what I was eating, she then asked, “But, what DO you eat?” I had to LOL. It is so much easier for me and for you to just have a look there. So if you’re curious, please follow me there.  Take a look @hypnoticnutrition

Keto Thanksgiving 2015 (dairy-free, too!)
Keto Thanksgiving 2015 (dairy-free, too!)

Thanksgiving and Birthday Celebration

Over the last month, two occasions happened in my life that might have thrown some people off plan: Thanksgiving and my birthday. And certainly in my past, these would have been occasions for me to overeat and overindulge. The whole time I’ve been keto, I have stuck to plan and stuck to 20 grams or less of carbs per day. This month was no exception! And to enhance the challenge of staying keto for these special occasions, my son and I had decided to do a dairy-free month for November. (He made it the whole month, I made it some of the way).

For Thanksgiving, I was at home with my son and his girlfriend and we planned a full keto feast, since my son is keto, too. I made turkey legs confit (cooked in fat) bacon grease, mashed cauliflower, bacon fat gravy, ultimate keto buns, olive oil roasted broccoli and mushrooms, plus keto pumpkin and chocolate cream pie.  Everything was dairy-free, low carb, sugar free, grain free, gluten free, AND it was all delicious, too. I had not made anything with psyllium up to this point, so I was very curious how the ultimate keto buns would turn out. I was also curious how eating them would make me feel, since I’ve only made a keto bread one other time. And I found that the texture, while very bread-like, was not very appealing to me. I ate a couple of mini buns, but had no desire to eat any more. In fact, I had to put them in the freezer (where they still are) to avoid mold because they were not being eaten fast enough. (My son did enjoy them quite a lot, however, and ate a few too many, as evidenced by his multiple trips to the bathroom the next day!)

Like many people, I had a second Thanksgiving to attend on another day. I didn’t sweat staying keto on this one either, since I took leftover cauliflower and a stick of Kerrygold butter and block of cheese. And it turned out that a distant relative at my second Thanksgiving was keto as well! It was really exciting to “talk shop” with someone at this family event, and it was awe inspiring to hear his story of how it has transformed his life by eliminating the chronic pain he’d had in his back.

The weekend before Thanksgiving I gathered with friends to celebrate my 45th birthday. It was a full day event at our new local McMenamins brewery-hotel-movie theater-etc. compound. In the past, I was a huge microbrew fan, but since going keto, I have had almost no desire to have beer. The mere thought of consuming it makes me feel bloated and foggy, which makes it very easy to not even be tempted. I found food menu items that worked, both for dinner and breakfast the next morning. Really, it was a lot of fun and a piece of cake. OK, actually no cake for this birthday! In fact, it wasn’t until someone asked me about cake on Facebook the next day that I even thought about missing cake for my birthday. I entertained the idea of making a keto-friendly birthday cake for myself the next day, however it just seemed like a lot of work for something that I really wouldn’t enjoy all that much. My tastes have changed tremendously over the last 7 months. I don’t crave sweet things, don’t crave bread, either. Cake did not appeal to me at all.

It feels great to be steadfast in this keto lifestyle that I can navigate any celebratory challenge. There has not been a restaurant or party I’ve attended yet where there wasn’t something I could eat and enjoy. And I can always grab a block of Kerrygold butter and cheese along the way to take along, when in doubt.


Green free 7 day menu banner

Keto Success Stories: Beka

It’s really easy to find ketogenic diet weight loss success stories online. What gets me even more excited, though, are success stories about amazing health transformations. Like, stories where people were really sick, disabled, bedridden. Like, you know, people who have seen countless doctors, but no one can offer any hope of recovery. A story like mine (which you can catch up on here: Month 1, Month 2, Month 3, Month 4, Month 5, Month 6)

Last week, in my keto Facebook group, I asked members what things in their past, pre-keto, that they were happy to have in the past. One of the members, Beka, had a lot to share. And her health transformation is one of those success stories that gets me really excited about keto.

Beka's health had deteriorated to the point that she often needed a wheelchair to get around.
Beka’s health had deteriorated to the point that she often needed a wheelchair to get around.

Here is what Beka shared about her life before adopting a ketogenic diet:

Symptoms pre-keto: constant pain, digestive issues, extreme fatigue, hypoglycemic crashes, high blood pressure, high inflammation, constant lightheadedness, digestive issues, heartburn, migraines, and seizures. Also, emotional sensitivity, insane ringing in the ears, inability to focus/pay attention, and memory loss. I experienced such extreme weight fluctuations during the course of a day due to inflammation/swelling that I had 6 different sizes in my closet at once, and had to change multiple times a day to adjust for swelling. I was really depressed because despite going to multiple specialists, the docs couldn’t figure out what was wrong with me. 

I was so sick at one point that I could hardly get out of bed. I stopped eating. Used a wheelchair when I was up and could barely remember my own name let alone anything else. I would wake up in the morning hearing my kids and didn’t know who’s kids they were until later in the day when a bit of my memory caught up with me. People just don’t get it but I’m never going back to that as long as I can do anything to help it.

This is all now in Beka’s past. She is alive and thriving, thanks to finding keto. Eating a low carb, high fat diet “cured” Beka. She now has her health back, and like she said, she’s never going back to her old way of eating.


 

Are you ready to experience this kind of health transformation? I’m launching a 90 Day Keto Challenge in January 2016. It includes weekly webinars, keto meal plans and shopping list, a workbook, and private online support group. For more info, click here.


 

Keto Diet Success Stories: Sheena

After the amazing health transformation I experienced by “going keto,” or adopting a very low carb, high fat diet, I’ve had many others reaching out to me to share their stories of healing.

(You can read my story in my monthly updates here: Month 1, Month 2, Month 3, Month 4, Month 5, Month 6)

Sheena is a 30-something wife, mom of two, and a personal trainer that lives in the Seattle area.

After using a low carb, high fat diet to end migraines and chronic pain, Sheena can now get back to doing the things she loves, like spending time with family and hiking.
After using a low carb, high fat diet to reclaim her health, Sheena can now get back to doing the things she loves, like spending time with family and hiking.

Here is Sheena’s health transformation story:

For the past 12 years or so, I have struggled off and on (and ultimately daily) with severe, debilitating, chronic migraines and autoimmune joint and muscle pain. Additionally, as years passed, the number of food allergies and intolerances began to multiply to the point where I was literally afraid to eat anything and developed a severe eating disorder. I went from dietitian to dietitian who insisted all of the food intolerances were just a part of the eating disorder, leaving me discouraged and still feeling extremely unwell. My health became worse and worse, when according to all of the health practitioners, it should have been getting better. I knew all along that there was something else entirely going on, but I just needed someone to believe in me, to help me with what actually was going on, not what they wanted to treat. After working through the eating disorder issues with a dual certified nutritionist and therapist (who believed in me) for about a year, she suggested a ketogenic diet to help manage the pain that many traditional doctors had not been able to relieve.

At first, I just kind of shrugged it off, but sick of living in a daily hell of just trying to exist with the least amount of pain possible, I finally decided, what the hell! I want to live, not just exist.  And so, with the encouragement of my nutritionist and Naturopathic Doctor, I began my new journey with this “high fat diet.” To my surprise, it didn’t take more than a few days to see astounding results. The very first day I began to find relief from the digestive discomfort. Within a few days, my energy began to increase, body pain decreased and my migraines started having a start and end point (rather than permanently being a part of my existence). A few days turned into a few weeks, which turned into months. Suddenly I realized I wasn’t sick all of the time. I was enjoying life. Sure, I still had some bad days, but there was time between them, ever growing. Not only had my energy increased, but hope and happiness found their way into my heart again. Looking back a year later, I can clearly see my autoimmune issues, body pain, cold intolerance, digestive problems, anxiety, depression and fear around food have been completely eliminated. I have had a significant reduction in migraines, nausea, fatigue and mental fogginess. My weight has stabilized and been maintained. I have been able to exercise consistently enough to gain strength and stamina. And I have gotten off  almost all pharmaceuticals for all of the above. And with my health turning around so significantly, I have been able to start working again, which gives me a sense of purpose again and brings me joy.  LIFE IS GOOD.

Here is Sheena’s coconut oil challenge from October, 2015.


Are you ready to experience this kind of health transformation? I’m launching a 90 Day Keto Challenge in January 2016. It includes weekly webinars, meal plans and shopping list, a workbook, and private online support group. For more info, click here.


 

How has a ketogenic diet improved your health?

Share in the comments below!

Lowest Carb Caesar Dressing with Garlic Coconut Oil

I’m launching a 90 Day Keto Challenge in January 2016. Would you like to join me? It includes weekly webinars, meal plans and shopping list, a workbook, and private online support group. For more info, click here.


 

I’ve been playing around with Nature’s Way’s new flavored liquid coconut oils and created this Caesar dressing from their garlic flavored one. Typically, Caesar dressing calls for up to 6 cloves of garlic, which is a lot of carbs. By using this garlic flavored oil, you can avoid all the carbs while still getting that super garlicky flavor. Don’t let the anchovy paste scare you. It is used as the salty, umami component, so it should not taste fishy, only delicious.

Baby Greens, Lowest Carb Caesar Dressing, and Sardines
Baby Greens, Lowest Carb Caesar Dressing, and Sardines
Nature's Way Always Liquid Coconut Premium Oil Savory Garlic flavor
Nature’s Way Always Liquid Coconut Premium Oil Savory Garlic flavor

Ingredients

Directions

In a small bowl, whisk together the mustard, vinegar, mayonnaise and anchovy paste. While continuing to whisk, add the coconut oil in a slow, steady stream until completely incorporated.

Yield: 3/4 cup, about 6 servings (2 tablespoons each)

Macronutrient information (per 2 tablespoons): 197 calories, 0.3 g carbs, 23 g fat, 0.5 g protein,

Keto Chocolate Cream Pie

I’m launching my next 90 Day Keto Challenge very soon. Would you like to join me? It includes weekly webinars, meal plans and shopping list, a workbook, and private online support group. Everything you need to start (or restart) your keto diet. For more info, click here.


 

This chocolate pie is low carb, high fat, sugar free, gluten free, dairy free, and vegetarian, too. It packs a whopping 477 mg of potassium per slice and is a play on a raw vegan avocado chocolate pie, but to amp up the fat, I’ve added cocoa butter. This makes it really rich, plus as it cools, it has a very firm  yet creamy texture. I made this pie originally for Thanksgiving 2015 while my son and I were doing a month of dairy free keto. It turned out so well that he asked me to recreate it for the holiday party at one of the restaurants he works at.

whole chocolate pie

Keto Chocolate Pie
Keto Chocolate Pie (with optional whipped cream)

Coconut and Hazelnut Flour Crust

Chocolate Cream Filling

Directions

  1. Preheat oven to 425 degrees F.
  2. Grease a 9 inch pie plate with coconut oil. In a food processor fitted with an S blade, combine the coconut oil, eggs, coconut and hazelnut flour. Pulse until dough comes together in a ball. Place dough into the pie plate. Using your fingers, press and spread out evenly in pie place. Bake for 15 – 20 minutes, or until lightly brown. Let cool.
  3. Clean out the food processor and begin preparing the chocolate pie filling. Remove skin and pits from avocados and discard. Put avocado, cocoa powder, salt, vanilla, and Swerve into the processor bowl. Turn processor on low and slowly pour melted cocoa butter in and mix until smooth and combined. Stop blade and scrape down sides if needed and blend further.
  4. Pour chocolate pie filling into cooled pie crust and spread out evenly. Place pie in the refrigerator and cool completely, about 2 – 4 hours, before serving.

Cooks Notes: You could top this pie with whipped heavy cream (as pictured), or in keeping with dairy free, make a coconut whipped topping, or simply eat it like it is. Another addition I suggest is 1 – 2 tablespoons of greens powder mixed into the pie filling.

Yield: 8 servings

Macronutrient Information: 465 calories, 4 g net carbs (14 g carbs, 10 g fiber), 46 g fat, 5.5 g protein

RDA Information: riboflavin 10%, B6 12%, folate 18%, vitamin C 11%, vitamin K 25%, copper 16%, iron 13%, magnesium 12%, manganese 16%, potassium 13%