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Keto Chow in Women’s World Magazine

Women’s World was doing a story about using Keto Smoothies – they contacted us here at Keto Chow to see if we knew people that had experienced success using Keto Chow. They also wanted to get some information from me regarding the efficacy of shakes/smoothies and a ketogenic diet. There’s a bit of a disconnect between my original responses and what was published =) Don’t get me wrong: I think that if 1 woman reads the article, starts doing Keto, and changes her life then the article and interview were a resounding success.

If you want to read the whole article, it should be available on newsstands right now.

Anyway, I thought my original responses to their questions were pretty good so I’m going to publish them here:

First, I need to know a little more about you. I read that you lost weight yourself (and your wife as well!) Can you tell me a little more about that including how much?

As of right now, I’m maintaining a 40lb weight loss over 4 years. Outside of ketogenic diets, that’s so infrequent that I’m considered a “unicorn” =) I started keto back on Oct 21, 2014. My wife was doing Whole30 (which is a lot like Paleo) and decided to join in on the fun when she saw my success (and her best friend went Keto, so they could meal-prep together). She’s down 30lbs.

Our story is about women who used keto smoothies to lose weight. They turned to keto smoothies because they’re easy to prepare, kept them feeling full and they could take them on the go. Jumping right in: Are smoothies/shakes a great option for busy people who are following keto? Why or why not?

One of the biggest problems with doing keto can be learning what you can and what you cannot eat. You’re turning the dietary recommendations on their head: you need to eat healthy fats, especially quality saturated fats. You need to get more salt. Whole grains are off the menu. It goes on! For people new to doing keto it can be daunting and potentially dangerous if they aren’t getting the right amount of electrolytes. This causes the so-called “keto flu” that’s one of the chief reasons people try keto and stop within a few days. It’s entirely avoidable by simply adding more salt to your diet but people may not know that. I see using a well-formulated smoothie or shake that is specifically designed for a ketogenic diet as an extremely useful tool, both for people new to a ketogenic way of eating, as well as experienced users that need something to get them through the “boring” meals and on to cooking a fantastic meal with family or friends. Having something you can turn to that you KNOW will be getting you the right nutrients is very nice!

Studies have shown that using smoothies/shakes as meal replacements can help dieters lose weight faster and without hunger. Do keto smoothies/shakes as meal replacements have the same effect? Why or why not?

I think they can, and in my experience (and the experience of thousands of people I’ve interacted with) it holds true. I think one of the main reasons it can help accelerate weight loss is that you have your nutrition tightly controlled for the meals you’re using a well-formulated keto shake. It should have ⅓ of your daily nutrition and the correct amount of protein and fat for what you need. Getting the right micronutrients (vitamins, trace minerals) lets your body have what it needs to heal; and when your body is healthy, weight loss comes along! Now I want to be clear on this: I’m talking about shakes that are designed for keto and have the right amount of nutrients in them, this isn’t just randomly throwing ingredients at a blender and drinking it. You’d need either a well-researched recipe or a product that’s been engineered and tested to be complete. A random shake/smoothie would only be suitable for occasional use (maybe 3 times a week and not more than once a day) whereas one that’s complete can be used as often as you feel like it. Personally, I’ve used the recipe I came up with for all 3 meals with absolutely no other food for up to 6 weeks and I know of others that have gone as long as 6 months for various reasons, but for most people: 1-2 times a day with some baked salmon or a steak with their family is more appealing!

Do you think keto smoothies/shakes might help a keto newbie do a better job of keeping carbs down and fat up?

Oh, absolutely! Both are particularly difficult as carbs tend to be in everything that’s convenient, and at the same time, they’re usually low fat! Having a shake that you can control the amount of carbs, and mix in some delicious heavy cream, avocado oil, or even straight-up avocados is phenomenal. Hit the right balance and you’ll be satiated and happy and look forward to the next one.

Can overeating keto-friendly foods slow results—especially in older, sedentary women?

Yes. Most “keto friendly” snack foods are low in carbohydrates and work great for occasional use, but you eat 4 or 5 and suddenly you’ve blown through half your carbs for the day. Also, many are high in protein and low in fat, not having the fat in there makes them less filling and too much of the protein can hamper your progress. This effect is especially amplified in older women who will often have to work especially hard to stay on track. They’re really facing an uphill battle. One thing that helps everyone is to eliminate snacking. Try to only eat at mealtimes and let your body enjoy having a rest from elevated glucose and elevated insulin. If you can, you might even try grouping your meals together: skip breakfast, eat a late lunch and an early dinner. That “intermittent fast” will get food out of the way and let your body heal!

Would keto smoothies be a good way to help prevent overconsumption of keto foods?

If you’re not experiencing the results you want with a keto diet, using a well-formulated shake or smoothie will indeed help keep you from having too many “keto friendly” foods. Especially if you’re adding the right amount of fat for your needs to the shake, you may even have a hard time finishing it all because you’ve gotten your fill.

Do you think keto smoothies have the potential to help some women lose weight more quickly? If so, what type of women might benefit most?

I think that women who have a busy schedule, don’t know how or what to cook, or that simply need a convenient go-to meal would benefit the most from using smoothies as part of their keto diet. Having the nutrition, calories, carbs, and more so tightly controlled gives women the opportunity to meet or exceed their goals or better health and weight loss.

What are some guidelines for making a keto smoothie? (ie: ? amount fat, protein, veggies to use or not use, fruit to use or no use, etc)

The key to making a good keto smoothe right is going to be to get the right amount of quality fats, adequate protein, keeping the carbs as low as possible, and getting the right micronutrients. There are a bunch of online “keto calculators” that can help you establish how much fat, protein, and carbs you need in a day and you’ll want to plan accordingly. You’ll need to limit the amount of fruit, remember: it’s nature’s candy and your liver doesn’t care if the sugar is “natural” or “organic” – it just sees sugar. Adding a few berries for a touch of flavor usually works well and doesn’t add too many carbs. Mind you: we’re talking about 3-4 blueberries or a pair of strawberries, not a full container! Avocados are excellent and full of potassium (way more than a starchy banana!). If you can tolerate dairy, look for heavy cream or unflavored and unsweetened full-fat yogurt. Milk, especially skim milk, is loaded with sugar and should be avoided. Unsweetened almond milk is OK to replace water but it’s low in fat so plan accordingly. Green leafy vegetables are a good addition but you need to avoid tubers and other vegetables that grow in the ground like CARROTS – the plants store sugar and starch in the roots and you don’t want that! Don’t be afraid to add salt to your smoothie too. That salt is vital to keeping the “keto flu” from ruining your day. Avoid seed/vegetable oils, they aren’t what you want – olive, coconut, and avocado oils are actually fruit oils and work great!

Any particular ingredient or ingredients that you feel would make a keto smoothie particularly powerful?

  • Avocados are absolutely amazing and work great if you’re mixing up your smoothie in a blender. They have high-quality fats, lots of potassium, are very low in carbohydrates and taste pretty good (to me!)
  • MCT Oil is a fantastic source of great fats made from refined coconut or palm oil. Your liver turns it right into ketones which can help get you into a deeper state of burning ketones (or “ketosis”). Be aware that most people can only tolerate 1 tablespoon at a time of MCT oil, trust me: you don’t want to overdo it!
  • Almond or other nut butters are also a great addition in limited quantities. They give a great taste and add some quality fat and protein. Make sure you don’t go overboard, they have a fair amount of carbs.
  • Erythritol is probably the best thing to use to add some sweetness to your own smoothie recipe. It doesn’t hurt dogs like xylitol, doesn’t raise blood sugar, and pretty much counts as 0 carbs for most people. The powdered version dissolves more easily.
  • Heavy cream is fantastic (and what I use for most of my own shakes!) It adds an amazing taste, great creamy mouthfeel, is low in carbs (0.4g per tablespoon), and the fat profile is exactly what you want. People with lactose intolerance can often handle as much as a half cup per meal without problems.

What are the best fats to add to a keto smoothie and why?

The best fats for your body are going to be the ones that don’t oxidize and that means saturated or mono-unsaturated fats. Poly-unsaturated “vegetable” (seed) oils react easily and cause all kinds of stress on your body and damage to your cells. It’s a bit much to go into here, but there’s never been a link between saturated fat and heart disease (though they’ve spent 50 years trying to prove, unsuccessfully, that there is one!). To the contrary, studies show that eating more saturated fat is associated with lower MORTALITY or lower risk of dying from everything (which is really the goal, right?). That means dairy, avocados, coconut oil, butter, and olive oil are what you want and the processed seed oils are what you do not want. It’s pretty much the opposite of what the dietary guidelines USED to say back in the 80s, they’ve been slowly changing those guidelines over the last few years without calling attention to the changes.

If someone wants to purchase a pre-made keto shake, what should they look for and what should they avoid?

Look for something that’s not just a protein “snack” – too often you’ll find a shake that’s been rebranded as “keto” just because they added a little MCT oil, or they’re adding lab-created ketones. For a smoothie to be something you can use consistently, and not have it leave you hungry and with a vitamin deficiency, it needs to be designed for complete ketogenic nutrition. The label will have a bunch of vitamins and minerals that may be hard to pronounce but don’t let that deter you, all vitamins are “chemicals”. I’d recommend staying away from shakes that have “BHB” or ketones added to them, those are great for performance athletes or seizure patients; but if your goal is to lose weight, you want your own body to be making ketones for you (for free!). Look for “nutritionally complete” and I wouldn’t be worried if it’s not “organic” or “all natural” – with a keto diet you’re eliminating the stuff that should concern you simply by getting rid of processed carbohydrates.

If someone is replacing two meals a day with a keto smoothie/shake, how much would you say they could lose in 48 hours?

For optimal success, keto needs to be an all-in thing. You can’t have two keto meals, then eat french fries and donuts and expect it to work. Doing 2 meals using a quality keto shake and then having a good keto dinner is a great way to go. When you first start doing keto, there’s often a “whoosh” of water weight loss that can happen in 48-72 hours. It’s your body using up sugar bound to water in your muscles and liver – yes it’s water weight, but it will stay off so long as you stick to keto. Now: not everyone experiences the “whoosh,” so don’t get discouraged. I’ve seen people healthily lose 8lbs right off the bat and continue losing 10-15lbs a month, but your results may vary and it’s much harder for women than for men. Men tend to lose pounds and women tend to lose inches, especially at first. Your body is doing a remodel and that may not show on the scale at first. The key is to Keep Calm and Keto On (or “KCKO” as we say)!

And why would you say this would be a great jumpstart for someone who is just trying out keto for the first time?

Using smoothies is a really great way to control your food and give you something actionable you can work on. Especially at the beginning when you’re new to everything and unsure what you can or can’t eat, it can lead you through the rough patches to success.

If women start this before an event do go to during the holiday season will they be able to drop weight in a short time? Why or why not?

Many women will be able to use keto to quickly drop weight before an important event, it’s the release of the water weight that goes along with starting keto. Usually even more important than the initial weight loss will be a reduction in water retention, inflammation, puffiness, and looser clothing. If you’re planning on starting a keto diet, take some measurements and some “before” photos so you can track your progress. The scale isn’t the only measure of success, so don’t get discouraged if your husband loses 10lbs after a week of keto and you don’t. And be aware that for greatest success, keto is a way of life – not just a quick diet. You can’t expect to keep off the weight if you go back to eating what made you heavy to begin with!

What’s the most you’ve seen someone lose in 24 hours on keto?

I know a lady that lost 5lbs in 24 hours (and kept that off).

In 48 hours?

8lbs

What’s the most you’ve seen someone lose in total on keto?

I know several people that have lost over 100lbs (and kept it off for years!), I think the most weight loss I’ve seen is 250lbs.

What words of advice do you have to readers who are interested in adding a smoothie/shake as a meal replacement to their keto diet?

  • If you’re making your own recipe, I’d recommend adding the ingredients as well as your other food into a good tracking app like “cron-o-meter” so you can make sure you’re getting the right nutrition, keeping your carbs down, and getting enough electrolytes.
  • If you’re using a recipe you found, pay attention to the nutritional information provided, and you might want to do the same “track it in an app”!
  • If you’re thinking about buying a pre-made shake mix, make sure it has the nutrients you need and that it’s not just a protein snack. Look for shakes that allow you to customize the amount of fat in each meal so you’re not getting too little or too much.

And finally, here is what was condensed out of my responses:

By |2019-02-08T01:40:45-06:00December 14th, 2018|Categories: Future Foods, Keto Chow|Tags: , , , , , , , |0 Comments

Comparison of Keto “Meal Replacement” nutrition, costs, net carbs, fat, and more

in 2017, when we went to our first KetoCon in Austin Texas, I noticed that quite a few of the vendors that were going to be there offered “meal replacement” products marketed to the keto eater – so I decided to do a comparison of the available options, mostly for myself so I could speak intelligently about what’s out there but I thought it would be of value to the community at large.

You can view the spreadsheet I’ve put together here. The table is sorted by whether it’s nutritionally complete and then by cost for 2000 calories. I put “meal replacement” in quotes for a reason: many of the mixes do not give you a nutritionally complete meal, rather they are more of a snack – honestly, you’d be better off grabbing some string cheese (you’ll notice I have an entry in the table for string cheese! =). You cannot use any of the non-complete products for more than an occasional “meal”, once a day at the most though you might want to limit consumption to 2-3 times a week.

The ones that are nutritionally complete are designed to give you all your nutrition for any given meal. Meaning you should get all your vitamins, electrolytes, fats, everything. In theory, you could replace a single meal, multiple meals in a day, or even go nuts and replace all of your meals without suffering from nutritional deficiencies. Personally, I like to call them “engineered staple foods”.

Earlier today, we got an email from a guy using Keto Chow that thought it was remarkable the change in how many supplements he no longer takes when using Keto Chow, you can see that at the top of this post. That email got me thinking about a photo someone posted on Facebook showing the difference in nutrition between their old “meal replacement” and Keto Chow using Cron-O-Meter (which I think is the BEST app for tracking a keto diet, period). I thought it would be good to show a similar comparison, I simply loaded up Cron-O-Meter and selected a meal of 8 different “Keto Meal Replacement” options to compare with Keto Chow, here’s what you get:

None aside from Keto Chow even come close to providing 1/3 of your daily vitamins and minerals, and most are extremely low calorie and low fat – like they’re not sure about this whole “keto” thing. I have no problem at all living for weeks or months on Keto Chow alone, I doubt that any of the creators of the other “Meal Replacements” would even attempt such a thing (and for good reason). I believe that if a product isn’t good enough for me, it isn’t good enough to sell to other people either.

Two of the nutritionally complete options in the spreadsheet require you to buy your own fat source (Keto Chow and Keto Fuel) and that’s included in the cost per meal based on Great Value Heavy Whipping Cream for Keto Chow, Chosen Foods Avocado Oil (also for Keto Chow), and Great Value Olive Oil for Keto Fuel. Your costs may be higher or lower depending on how much you use. Putting in the cost for 2000 calories on these two was weird. If you use 157ml of heavy cream in Keto Chow, it costs $10.86 – use 118ml (for 1600 calories a day) and the cost for 2000 calories goes up to $13.10. The same sort of thing happens with Keto Fuel (which could also use heavy cream instead of olive oil, that’s just what’s in the directions). You could also use your own fat source to amp up the other products to a higher calorie. Anyhow, because of this confounder, I’ve also included a cost per day for how much it would cost to get a full day’s nutrition based on the number of meals per day the manufacturer recommends.

By |2019-02-25T06:43:22-06:00October 24th, 2018|Categories: Future Foods, Keto Chow, Ketogenic|Tags: , , |0 Comments

42 Days of Keto Chow – Day 33 – finalized plans for “carb week”

This entry is part 33 of 44 in the series 42 days of Keto Chow Experiment

Based on the way I’ve been feeling the last few days I think I was “lucky” enough to have a run-in with the stomach flu at the same time I started the liquid coconut oil. Anyhow, I am feeling better today, likely in no small part from me doing the Savory Chicken Soup flavor of Keto Chow for breakfast and lunch.

I mixed up the 191g of dextrose I was planning on using for each meal next week… yeah, it was a LOT, so much that it wouldn’t even dissolve in the water and it was WAY too sweet. So I’m going to take a page out of Dave Feldman’s book and use some candy. I spent a bunch of time at the 7-11 across the street and ultimately decided that I’m going to use skittles, sprite, unsweetened almond milk, and a daily bag of M&Ms. It’s funny to me that using dextrose straight is unpalatable but put it in soda and candy and it’s just fine.

  • Why candy and Sprite? Same reason I’m using dextrose: pure carbs with no other nutrients. My other nutrition is covered by Keto Chow, I’m just looking for calories (in this case from carbs).
  • Why the Almond Milk? to make the Keto Chow taste better in the absence of heavy cream.
  • Why the M&Ms? to break things up a bit but mostly to add some fat, otherwise my fat intake is excessively low and I might start to get weird effects. I’ll be hitting 16% fat which is about right per the AHA and ADA recommendations.

Here’s what each day should look like:

42 Days of Keto Chow – Day 09

This entry is part 9 of 44 in the series 42 days of Keto Chow Experiment

I wasn’t very hungry at all yesterday doing Grape Seed Oil, so I drank my 3rd one after we went bowling. This morning I woke up to my guts making gurgling noises – which was kinda weird. Anyhow, today I spent almost all day getting speakers installed into the walls of our family room in the basement. Working like that I usually don’t get hungry either but I remembered to eat to keep the data from the experiment valid.

Tonight I mixed up 7 meals of Keto Chow with grape seed oil using a test batch of Keto Chow 2.1. Didn’t take long to mix (which is good since I’m rather tired).

Doing oil instead of heavy cream has my net carbs for the day exceptionally low and my blood ketones show it. Last night I hit 1.8 mmol/dL and tonight I was up to 2.2!

By |2018-01-14T21:08:48-06:00January 13th, 2018|Categories: 42 days of Keto Chow Experiment|Tags: , , , , |5 Comments

42 Days of Keto Chow – Day 06

This entry is part 6 of 44 in the series 42 days of Keto Chow Experiment

Day 06. I had a pretty bad dehydration headache this morning. I actually stopped on my way to work and grabbed a small jar of pickles, ate them all and drank the juice. USDA reference database says it had approx 33.6 calories with 3.7g net carbs. I’m still counting it as “Keto Chow only” though. I do feel better, pickle juice always makes me happy =)

My blood ketones are still hanging out in the 0.4-0.6 mmol/dL range. I expect in 2 days that’ll jump up quite a lot when I start my week of GrapeSeed Oil. (more…)

4 years of DreamForce, this year: Keto Chow only

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.

Keto Chow has been added to the Cron-O-Meter Database, KC 2.0 update

This entry is part 160 of 208 in the series Ketogenic Diet

I like Cron-O-Meter. I think it works better than MyFitnessPal and has some really cool features designed specifically for doing Keto. You can read how to use Cron-O-Meter to track your net carbs in this post from January 2017. That post used to have links to files you could import into Cron-o-Meter database so you wouldn’t need to enter all the info from the label into a custom food. Dunno what alerted them but a few days ago I received an email through my site’s contact form – it was one of the guys from Cron-O-Meter saying I should publish my custom entries to the database so people wouldn’t have to import the files anymore. Well, yeah but I did that months ago and didn’t see anything happen, but I decided to give it a go, expecting things might move this time! Indeed they did. You can now find in the Cron-O-Meter database all of the different flavors for Keto Chow 1.9 and 2.0, plus the fish pills and the Base Powder. If you have an account, try it out! You can search for Keto Chow by name, or if you have the mobile app, you can use the barcode scanner because I got those in there too!

I’m super excited about this. It’ll make tracking easier for me and for the general public (mostly I’m excited for myself because I’m lazy =)

Now the question comes up: “When is Keto Chow 2.0 going to be ready?!” Better be soon, I just finished my test bags of 2.0 yesterday and I want more! We farmed out 4 of the bags we got in the first test batch to some of our employees and all of them really liked it. Of the 63 meals worth I was sharing with my awesome wife, I probably consumed 40-45 of them – enough that I am completely confident in Keto Chow 2.0. Anyway, I just talked to the manufacturer, he says the protein supplier “confirmed they have the Purchase Order” which doesn’t mean much. He says he’s going to try to get better info from the supplier today if he can. He did say they’ll be starting on the Base Powder early next week though.

By |2017-03-21T14:48:45-06:00March 21st, 2017|Categories: Keto Chow, Site or Store Stuff|Tags: , , , |0 Comments

On track with my New Year Resolutions

This entry is part 151 of 208 in the series Ketogenic Diet

I have two health-related resolutions this year:

  1. Strength training 3x a week (StrongLifts 5×5).
  2. I’m not eating anything until it’s ALREADY logged into Cron-O-Meter.

So far, so good, on StrongLifts 5×5. I did it 3x last week (which is the recommendation for the program): Monday, Wednesday, and Saturday because Friday was a crazy evening. I did StrongLifts regularly last year but we remodeled some bedrooms in the basement and the workout area was turned into a bedroom with the power rack cage becoming a closet. That’s all done, as well as the Christmas mayhem so it’s time to get back into lifting! These first few weeks are relatively easy since the SL5x5 app had me “deload” all the way back down to starting weight. I see that as a good thing since even squatting an empty bar that first time made me sore for 4 days. There’s an excellent article over on Art of Manliness about various fitness programs – he didn’t like StrongLifts as much as he likes Starting Strength due to the number of reps. I might check that one out at a later date if I hit a wall. SS has an app but it’s $9 and I doubt it has the amazing Android Wear integration SL5x5 has. It’s seriously awesome to track my workout entirely on my watch.

As for tracking my food in Cron-O-Meter, I did this 100% all last week, I have a perfect record for 2017 =). Writing down what I eat before I eat it has an interesting effect on reducing what I’m eating. Either I decide not to eat something because I’m too lazy to write it down; or I write it down, check to see how the addition affects my macros and decide “yeah, not going to eat that after all.”

Due to the aforementioned laziness, all but one of my meals last week were Keto Chow. It’s pretty easy to enter 3x “Rich Chocolate with 50ml heavy cream and MCT” from the list of frequent foods. Saturday evening we needed to drop off some kids for a thing and then hang around for 2 hours until they finished, so we took the remaining children to dinner at Red Robin. I knew this was coming so I messed around with their nutrition calculator page (requires flash) and decided on the Guacamole Bacon Burger. I added the standard one in Cron-o-Meter, then edited a copy to change the values for carbs, fat, protein etc… I haven’t tried to do that on mobile, doing it in a web browser with multiple windows open was quite simple. Red Robin is pretty proud of the fact that they can make any burger “wedgie style” (lettuce wrap), and you can do bottomless steamed broccoli or side salads instead of the fries. I opted for the salads, ended up getting 3 of them by the time I was done =) You can see the spike in calories consumed:

Anyhow, looking at the averages for the last week, I’m quite happy with the 18.9g net carb average. I could probably go higher than 20g/day but I’m going to keep it low.

In the end, one of the big ones is: how is this affecting my weight? I’m happy to report that: Hey! I’m losing weight again! That big spike (banana for scale) in the graph below was the morning of Sunday, January 1 2017.

We had a New Year game party with our friends (who are also doing keto) and our kids (not doing keto). We made individual “fathead” (keto) pizzas for us and regular dough pizzas for the kids. I ended up eating a lot of salt and it clearly shows that following morning in water weight. I didn’t eat anything that wasn’t keto friendly that night but you eat too much keto food and you’ll be over your macros easily. I also noticed that my weight doesn’t fluctuate as much when I’m mostly eating Keto Chow and the mild heartburn I had in the morning since mid-December is gone.

So, here’s to a successful new year for everyone! May the odds ever be in your favor!

Tracking Net Carbs and more using Cron-O-Meter

This entry is part 149 of 208 in the series Ketogenic Diet

One of my main New Year resolutions is not to eat anything until AFTER I have it entered into a tracking app. In the past I’ve used MyFitnessPal (hereafter referred to as MFP) – it works fine, has pretty good social sharing so friends can see what you want them to see; and they have a massive user contributed database of foods. The website and app are free (though they hit you up pretty hard to buy the premium membership). It’s kinda like the wild west so far as their food database is concerned, though: anybody can add any food with any information. If you look in MFP for “Keto Chow” you’ll find several dozen entries, some that I made =) MFP does have some serious shortcomings though. First and largest is that user contributed database, it has a lot of good stuff in there but it also has a lot of junk: entries with incorrect or incomplete information, duplicates and more, including linking barcodes to incorrect products. Sure there’s an entry for food X, but you have to verify the information – it’s about the same as entering it yourself anyway, advantage lost. MFP also doesn’t know how to track net carbs, only total carbohydrates (including fiber). There is a Chrome browser script that you can use to add net carbs to MFP but it doesn’t work with mobile and is a bit of a hack.

By comparison, there’s Cron-O-Meter (hereafter referred to as CM) – free via browser, paid as an app with barcode scanning. The biggest difference with CM is the food database is curated – it only has validated, correct entries. It also has a lot more detailed information. You can add your own foods and recipes that combine foods together – if you buy the “gold” membership you can share foods and recipes with friends. CM also added a Ketogenic Diet mode back in March 2016 (I even posted to /r/keto about it =) – it’ll help you track net carbs and other nutrients. Set your macronutrient targets and go! I recommend CM over MFP for these two features alone. The problem becomes: How do you get custom foods into CM? I have the process for getting Keto Chow officially added to the database going but that could take years! The solution is to add it yourself with some handy information I’ll give you.

To start off, you’re going to want to add an entry for just the 50g of Keto Chow powder. You can refer to the entry I created for Keto Chow 1.9 Rich Chocolate. If you add a new food, there’s a gear icon on the far right that you can import a JSON file with the nutritional information so you don’t have to type it all.

UPDATE: The developer of Cron-O-Meter contacted me and said I should just submit all the flavors for publication in the general database. I had previously tried that but nothing ever happened. About 15 minutes after I submitted them they were approved and ready to use. So you can now simply search for “Keto Chow” in Cron-o-Meter! END UPDATE.

I was excited to find an entry already in CM for “Darigold, Whipping Cream, Heavy Classic 40%” which is the stuff I get from Costco in 2 quart packages. BUT the entry was missing a key element: the 0.48g of carbs per serving I know are in there. The solution was to find the USDA entry for “Cream, fluid, heavy whipping” and edit a copy with the specific values on the Darigold label (since the Darigold has more calories and fat at 40% fat instead of the standard 36%) see here for the complete entry I created.

OK, so you have an entry for the powder and the heavy cream. You can enter the powder and cream separately every day (tedious) or you can bundle the heavy cream into a “recipe” with the powder. I created a recipe that includes the powder, heavy cream and MCT oil (since I use MCT oil, I’ve been at this 2 years =) – you can check it out here. Now every time I want to add Rich Chocolate Keto Chow the way I like to mix it up, I just add 1 full recipe of “Keto Chow 1.9 Rich Chocolate plus 50ml heavy cream and MCT”. What about Chocolate Peanut Butter? Since it’s my #1 favorite flavor of all time you gotta know I have a recipe for that too! I made a custom food entry for “Peanut Flour Light Roast 28%“. I cloned the Rich Chocolate recipe and added 10g of the peanut flour to give me “Keto Chow 1.9 Peanut Butter plus 50ml heavy cream and MCT“. In case you’re curious, here are the entries for KC2.0 Chocolate+heavy cream and MCT and the corresponding KC2.0 Chocolate Peanut Butter. Finally, make sure you are getting your Ω-3 fatty acids – here’s an entry for the new Keto Chow Fish Oil pills .

One thing to note about CM: If you edit a food entry you created, the change will propagate back to previous days. This is handy for fixing an error you discovered but sucks for revisions. The solution is to edit a copy of the food, then “retire” the outdated one. The existing entries will remain unchanged and the old food will not show up as a suggested entry when you add food to your diary.

Here are my entries for yesterday (January 2, 2017):

The target values were derived from the Keto Macro Calculator coupled with some details I got from my DEXA scan last year.

 

 

By |2017-03-21T08:06:11-06:00January 3rd, 2017|Categories: Keto Chow, Ketogenic|Tags: , , , , , , , |6 Comments