I just realized that I had not yet put up the photos from our trip to Low Carb Denver last week! Without further ado, here it is:
I was intrigued talking to a friend about the first generation Ōura ring he had and decided I wanted to try it out for myself. I also had a Fitbit Charge HR and an Android Wear (not WearOS because they didn’t update it, I’m not bitter) watch that I was using. I figured a comparison is in order! All of the following data can be found on this Google Docs Spreadsheet.
One feature that Oura champions is heart rate tracking. Because the ring is snugly on your finger, they can do some cool stuff with tracking how variable your heart rate is, they also use the HR data for tracking sleep (just like Fitbit does). So here is how the Resting Heart Rate compares with the Oura and Fitbit:
It looks like the Fitbit is taking a longer average rate, while Oura is doing a shorter sample window but I’d say they’re both showing similar things.
Speaking of heart rate, let’s see how sleep tracking compares. In this graph, I’ve added the values from Sleep As Android, a sleep tracking program that I run on my phone as an alarm clock and tracks sleep. I actually have data going back to 2015 (I sleep more now since I quit my day job and stopped going to work at 5:30 am). Sleep As Android added support for using an Android Wear/Wear OS watch for tracking movement and heart rate to indicate sleep cycles, otherwise you stick your phone on your mattress and it measures the movement.
The plots for Fitbit and for Oura are REALLY close. Easily within a reasonable margin of error. SAA + the watch tracks at about the same, except it shows me sleeping about 0.5-1 hours longer on a given day. I suspect that the Fitbit or Oura data is more accurate since both are far more consistent with their heart rate data. SAA will often not show HR data at all.
OK, what about activity tracking? I’m right-handed and have Google Fit tracking on my left hand with Fitbit and Oura on my right. Fitbit has an option to select “handedness” – if you wear the tracker on your dominant wrist, it lowers the sensitivity to account for more non-step movement from that hand.
I’m guessing that having my Fitbit on the dominant hand with the lowered sensitivity accounts for the consistently lower numbers from Fitbit.
So what’s the take-away from this? It seems that the Oura ring is a very comparable sleep and activity tracker. The Fitbit has some other features that are lacking in the Oura (Social challenges against other users, differences in workout tracking, no way am I wearing the Oura while weight lifting) but I think I’m done wearing two watches – the Oura works good enough. If you happen to work in a profession where the ONLY allowed jewelry is a ring, the Oura would be phenomenal.
Alright, we just got everything lined up. We’re going to be going to Low Carb KC – October 19-20, and then the following week we will be going to Low Carb Houston – October 25-27. If you’re going to be near Kansas City or Houston, please come by our booths and say “hi!”.
Coming up next year we’ll be at:
I have people asking for solutions they can use for doing keto while camping, hiking, staying in a hotel (with or without refrigeration), or otherwise traveling. I thought I’d share some of my recent experience. The headline image above is from when I was making Keto Chow for 2 of my kids and my wife.
July 2018 has been a little crazy for me; with Keto Con, a 4 day-30 mile hike, family vacation, scout camp, Ketofest, and Low Carb USA all strung together. Particularly challenging was the hike, and later the scout camp with my oldest son since I wouldn’t have any refrigeration nor anything resembling a kitchen. The camp also wanted $6 a meal for amazing dishes like spaghetti, or grilled cheese sandwiches. My plan for the days I would be at camp was to bring:
- A bag of Chocolate Keto Chow
- A bottle of avocado oil
- A blender bottle (I ended up with a couple but only used one)
- A bottle brush
- Some soap in a tiny bottle
They did have lots of clean, cold, mountain spring water available. The basic routine every meal went like this:
- I would grab my dry blender bottle.
- I’d put in the amount of avocado oil I wanted, it was marked on the side of the blender bottle with a marker to make measuring super easy.
- Add a scoop of Keto Chow powder.
- Add the water.
- Shake it up – from step 3 to step 5 you want to minimize time as much as possible to avoid clumps, try to hit fewer than 5 seconds.
- Go help some kid with something for 5 minutes (this lets the protein dissolve more so it’s not gritty).
- Use the soap, water, and bottle brush to wash out the bottle – this is easier with hot water but I’ve used cold without problems.
- Leave the lid off and let the bottle dry.
- You’re ready for the next meal.
In the cases that I had access to refrigeration, using heavy cream was also an option instead of avocado oil. That entire sequence (steps 1-10) only takes maybe 5 minutes, not counting however long you take to drink the meal and it’s super handy when it’s raining but you already have your Keto Chow in your tent with you
So, there you go – a week’s worth of Keto Chow weighs around 1000g with 21 meals worth of avocado oil clocking in around 2000g (about a half gallon worth). Provided you have access to water, you can stick to a strict Ketogenic diet easily (oh and depending on the flavor you get, your net carbs for the DAY will be around 1.5-4g (more for chocolate compared to salted caramel and the others).
We recently did a family vacation down to Arches and Canyonlands National Parks. When planning it, we decided to do all keto food for all 10 people going. It actually turned out really well and allowed a few of our children who hadn’t ever tried doing keto an opportunity to give it a try. Sadly they’ve gone back to eating carbs away from home but at least they recognized how crummy they felt eating candy the first time after the trip.
We rented a house (because frankly, it was cheaper than getting 3 rooms at a hotel, more comfortable, and overall better!). The kitchen was quite nice and there were enough beds for everyone that wanted their own bed could have one.
Our staples on the trip included:
- Heavy Whipping Cream – mostly for making Keto Chow but we also used it to cover keto pancakes.
- Costco rotisserie chicken breast – makes the chicken salad really easy, just add mayo and other seasonings.
- Keto Chow – perfect for drinking while driving!
- Far too many almonds.
- Low carb tortillas from Sams Club – they’re 5g of net carbs each so I didn’t eat them frequently but for little kids they’re perfect.
- Carb Control yogurt from Kroger – also 5g of net carbs, not the end of the world but you don’t want them all the time
- Eggs – with 10 people we went through almost 9 dozen Xlarge eggs.
- Cream cheese – for the tortillas and to make keto pancakes
- Sugar-Free syrup.
FYI: the recipe for the keto pancakes is silly easy – 8 ounces of cream cheese + 8 eggs in a blender. Blend. Cook. Done.
Drag around, it’s a 360 photo:
Love the product, and turnaround and service are bar none the best I’ve experienced.
Here’s another, should be noted that I publish all of the reviews that come in – bad or good – as they are, typos intact. The only ones I remove are spam posts from people wanting you to buy pills to “enhance performance” and such:
This is by far the best shake I have ever had. I can drink it every day and not get tired of it. I crave it and look forward to having it. It feels like a treat. I blend it with ice and not as much water and use a spoon to eat it like ice cream. I’ve lost 40 pounds since starting keto chow.
I have the second-to-last test results from my experiment back. To quickly recap: I’m doing a test where I’m only eating Keto Chow and only drinking water. Nothing else. No snacks, no diet soda, no gum, no nothing. I am taking the Keto Chow fish oil pills as they are required to get the right EPA and DHA Ω3 fatty acids, and I was taking a magnesium malate supplement (I need more than normal) but I recently stopped that because the version of Keto Chow that I’m testing (v2.1rc2) has additional magnesium malate in it and the supplement I was taking had a gram of dextrose (which sucks). Here’s my complete food log and information from Cron-o-meter for the experiment so far, and here are my blood tests, updated with the results of my latest blood test.
The week proceeding this test was interesting. The short version is: I was at a tech conference with no refrigeration so I was using avocado oil instead of heavy cream. Because of this, I was getting around 2g of net carbs (or lower) A DAY. On the test, my insulin was low, my glucose showed in the red because it’s so low, my LDL-P is below 1000 and my triglycerides are higher. It’s almost like my body is using lipoproteins to transport energy (adding another data point to Dave Feldman’s hypothesis).
The last 5 days since this blood draw, my ketones have come down from the 4.5-5.5 range to the 3.0-3.5 range and my weight loss has slowed a bit too. I’m guessing this is due to using heavy cream as the fat source. Starting today through the end of the experiment, I’m switching from all heavy cream to half heavy cream, half avocado oil. Avocado oil is OK but not nearly as yummy as heavy cream, so I’m hoping that by splitting it I can get the good taste plus lower net carbs. Even with 100% heavy cream, I was still under 10g net carbs though. Protip: heavy cream has half the calories as oil for the same volume. If you’re replacing heavy cream for oil you use 1/2 as much (roughly).
A few days ago a post showed up on the Keto Chow Subreddit: Full month on KetoChow – 13 lbs lost and loving it and this showed up last night: Week 1 with Keto Chow and not much else . . .– looks like I’m not the only one doing this, N=3 then =)
On a final note, I’d like to illustrate one of the interesting challenges with this experiment. The evening after I got this blood draw, I was in charge of preparing the food for a neighborhood game night (I was also in charge of bringing the Raspberry Pi with the 4 player arcade version of Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles). I had previously prepared a brisket with my sous-vide (recipe and more coming =) so I just needed to smoke it, along with the chicken legs and the bratwurst. I also made pulled pork using the InstantPot. It was a truly glorious sight to behold once it was all done.
I didn’t eat any of it.
I had thought about eating some before, but I decided that there were too many variables shifting around (coming back from a trip, switching back from avocado oil to heavy cream, etc…) plus I wanted to keep the inputs clean. I fully intend to do a press release after all this is done announcing that I lived for 4 weeks on JUST Keto Chow and I didn’t want to have to add a little asterisk footnote: “*except that one meal where I pigged out on brisket” (on an aside, anybody know how to do a press release? =) Really, it was just like cooking any other meal I didn’t eat these last 3 weeks (like the CavemanKeto chili I made Sunday). Once committed to this course of action, I just keep going. It’s a little like fasting in some respects. I’m not the only one cooking though, my awesome wife has been feeding the kids some really great keto meals too.
Don’t worry: I put a bunch of the meat in the freezer for lunch on Friday after my final blood draw =)
Every year there’s a really large (over 170,000 attendees) tech conference called DreamForce that’s put on by SalesForce in San Francisco. I’ve been attending since 2014, in fact, it was DreamForce 2014 that catalyzed my resolve to do a Ketogenic Diet. This year I didn’t just stay keto, I stayed 100% Keto Chow. I’m in the middle of an experiment where I’m only eating Keto Chow and only drinking water for all my meals. At first, I thought it was a terrible idea to do that during DreamForce, then I decided it was an awesome idea. Here’s how I did it.
In the past, I’ve stayed at hotels with refrigerators, this time that simply wasn’t an option. Most of the hotels near the conference were all booked up and the remaining ones fell into 2 categories: over $1000/night super swanky, under $75/night hostels with shared bathrooms. I went for the latter, luckily I got my own room without a bunk bed – but there wasn’t a fridge. I had to come up with a plan for preparing Keto Chow using only shelf stable ingredients. I’ve used Trader Joe’s shelf-stable whipping cream but I wanted to give Avocado Oil a shot, but before that – I wanted to give butter a shot!
I’m testing out a new version of Keto Chow, it’s very close to the current 2.0.2, just with some slightly different ingredients and with new flavors. One of these flavors is Savory Chicken Soup – it’s meant to be consumed while hot. If it’s hot, then I can use butter, which has the added bonus of not being liquid so I can make it easily through airport security without problems. I did the math and for my calorie target, I needed either a 1/2 cup of heavy cream, 1/4 cup of Avocado Oil, or a half stick of butter in each meal. So I put a bag of chicken Keto Chow and a half stick of butter into a HydroFlask. After going through security I found a coffee shop and the nice lady filled up my HydroFlask with crazy hot water (for free!). I dropped in the butter and Keto Chow powder and waited for my flight. I finally drank it around lunch time and it was still hot enough to slightly burn my tongue.
I did learn a very valuable lesson for dinner that night: don’t put the powder in with the oil until it’s time to add the water too. If you do, the powder and the oil will not ever fully mix with the water and you get floating crunchy powder blobs. It wasn’t fun, I only drank about 3/4 of it.
The rest of my meals were made in my HydroFlasks or Blender Bottle using Avocado Oil. I got a great tip in a comment that I should use a large syringe to measure the oil. That worked exceptionally well with a 60 cc/ml syringe. I would pour the oil into a disposable plastic cup and then fill up the syringe, squirt it into the container and repeat for all 3 containers. The only clean-up was wiping off the syringe tip with a tissue. I would have sandwich bags with the powder pre-measured in my backpack; and as soon as I got to a place with either ice water (regular Keto Chow) or hot water (the chicken soup one) I would prepare 2-3 of the bottles.
How is Avocado Oil? Well, if I hadn’t ever tried Keto Chow with heavy cream, I would think it’s awesome, but I have – so I still think it tastes far better with heavy cream and that’s what I’m using now that I’m back home. For shelf stable purposes, for people with issues digesting the heavy cream, for those that are lactose intolerant, or for people that want insanely low net carbs, avocado oil is an amazing option. I’m planning on putting a bunch in my basement for emergency food storage. Coupled with Keto Chow powder and water, I’m set!
Most of my Cron-O-Meter entries for the last week look something like this:
Yeah, that’s 1.4g of net carbs for the whole day! That’s insane. We’re talking 100% of my daily nutrition: with all my fat, all my electrolytes, protein, and more – with 1.4g of net carbs. Along with the low net carbs, my blood ketones were consistently in the 4-5.5 range.
Staying Keto Chow only at the conference really wasn’t that hard. When everyone else was standing in line for a lunch box, I was on-time for my next class. When everyone else was trying to find dinner accommodations, I drank mine (and often headed back to the hostel to sleep!). At the “DreamFest” concert, while all the people were scrambling to get hotdogs or the other food available (yeah like any of it would be keto friendly!) I just went and grabbed a seat – no fuss, no muss. The grand total cost of all my food for 5 days was $55.71 – that’s a screaming deal at just over $11 a day.
The picture collection at the top of this post is the “headshot” photos they offer for free in the “Admin” zone at DreamForce. I’ve gotten one each year I went. The first one was taken about 2 weeks before I started Keto. That year during DreamForce I gained 4lbs. The next 2 years I was, and stayed, keto – but I still gained 2-3 lbs during the conference. This year? I lost 2.2 lbs the 5 days I was gone.
I have the second round of test results from my experiment back. To quickly recap: I’m doing a test where I’m only eating Keto Chow and only drinking water. Nothing else. No snacks, no diet soda, no nothing. I am taking the Keto Chow fish oil pills as they are required to get the right EPA and DHA Ω3 fatty acids, and I was taking a magnesium malate supplement (I need more than normal) but I recently stopped that because the version of Keto Chow that I’m testing (v2.1rc2) has additional magnesium malate in it and the supplement I was taking had a gram of dextrose in it (which sucks). Here’s my complete food log and information from Cron-o-meter for the experiment so far, and here are my blood tests, updated with the results of my last blood test.
Insulin is up a bit though still quite low, my cholesterol is much the same as before other than my LDL-P count continues to drop. At this rate, it’ll be under 1000 around the time the experiment ends. CRP is higher but still in a good range. Still not dead from living on fat.
As discussed in my initial post about doing this experiment, I don’t have refrigeration available so I’ve been coming up with ways to adapt. Primarily I’ve been using avocado oil. I’ll be posting more about this when I’m actually back from the trip, but I’ll say right now that I absolutely prefer heavy cream. Avocado oil isn’t bad, and if I hadn’t ever tried Keto Chow with heavy cream I’d probably think it’s super awesome. For people with dairy or digestive issues, or people wanting something shelf stable it’s an amazing option that works very well. Avocado oil also has 0 carbs, which means my net carb totals for the days I ate only keto chow with avocado oil are a CRAZY low 1.4g – for the ENTIRE DAY. That’s insane, as is the 5.3 mmol/L of blood ketones I’m currently registering, I actually hit 5.5 a few days ago. Weird that the only ongoing biometric I have right now is blood ketones since I don’t have a scale or anything else. It’s going to be interesting Friday morning after I get home to see what happened to my weight this week =)