Whole Foods Haul

Sundays are typically grocery day in our household. On ideal Sundays, we start our day off off at church then stop by Whole Foods on the way home. Depending on the length of our grocery list, we either ALL go in and take over the store (sorry Whole Foods) or I hop out of the car while Alex drives the kids through the downtown parking garages (their favorite). Buckling/unbuckling three car seats is no joke.

What We Eat

We keep a fairly simple diet. With the two of us working full time and three kids, there’s no room for anything beyond simple but I’d argue that simple and delicious are not mutually exclusive.

My and Alex’s meals generally consist of a base of raw greens with other veggies added, topped with protein and finished off with avocado. Sometimes we add cheese, nuts or seeds too. The kids’ meals are similar but we add in jasmine rice or sweet potatoes for them. We all eat the same foods, though we sometimes present the kids’ food differently for them (ex: dicing spinach up into tiny pieces and mixing it into their rice, rather than making it their base).

Here’s a typical weekly haul from Whole Foods:

  • A few types of greens: kale, arugula, spinach, spring mix and/or romaine
  • Broccoli & cauliflower
  • Cucumbers & Peppers (kids love them with ranch dressing)
  • Cilantro
  • Lemons/limes
  • Avocados, avocados, avocados
  • Bananas (kids)
  • Eggs
  • Black Beans (kids)
  • Butter
  • Coffee
  • Brain Octane Oil
  • Goat, Parmesan and/or mozzarella cheese
  • Almond milk
  • Almond butter (this kind is a great, non-WF choice!)
  • Raw nuts (macadamias, cashews, almonds)
  • Frozen Berries
  • Other fresh/frozen fruit

Alex typically grills 2-3lbs of meat to last us a few days and after the kids go to bed, I wash and prep all the greens/veggies so that they’re ready for use throughout the week. We make large batches of rice so that we always have that on hand too.

By mid week we’re usually in need of a few items so I use the world’s greatest mom hack, Instacart to get us what we need. Instacart is an app based subscription service that allows me to do my grocery shopping virtually. I select all of my items on the app (it even remembers my favs) and within two hours, IT’S AT MY HOUSE (!!!). There is no greater thing, you guys. You can have groceries delivered anywhere that the service exists so I often use it when I travel for work. Instead of going out for a meal, I have stuff from Whole Foods delivered to my hotel.

Instacart has been a game changer for our family. No one paid me to say that, it’s the truth. I’ll sing their praises all day long. If you want to try it, use my code to get $10 off. And Instacart- if you’re reading this and you want to pay me to sing your praises, I’m all yours.

Food Freezing

I’ve never been one to meal prep or make freezer meals but lately I’ve been freezing cooked, extra food and it’s been so nice to have. My experience has been that rice, chicken thighs and ground beef freeze and thaw very well. I need to remember to do this more often (note to self!).

I find that I fail most often when I’m not prepared. If I get hungry and don’t have something healthy on hand, I tend to make poor food choices. Having good food ready to go makes it easier for me to make a good choice about what I eat.

Bananas aren’t keto, but the kids love them!

Dinner Time Philosophies

When it comes to family meals, we have a couple of philosophies:

1. Everyone eats whatever we serve. We are not short order cooks. If the kids don’t like the meal, they understand that their options are to eat what was served or to to wait for their next opportunity to eat, which is breakfast the next day. One of Alex’s favorite lines is “you don’t have to like it to eat it.” This has worked for us!

2. We don’t make our kids finish all of their food. Yes, really. We don’t want to train them to ignore their satiation signals (the messages your belly sends your brain to let it know it’s full!) in order to follow rules. They do have to finish all of their vegetables though, and they only get dessert if they finish their entire meal.

I’d love to hear how your families eat! We sometimes get in a rut, especially for the kids’ breakfast so would love some fresh, healthy ideas!

Photo Credit: Bri Watkins Photography

What I Ate

I’ve been fairly flexible regarding my diet since Christmas and I’m yearning for the energy and clarity of ketosis, so this week, I’m working on getting back into it! I’ve had periods of ketosis since Christmas but they’ve been broken up by lots of cheating (#balance!). I am ready to get into a several day streak, and then cycle out intentionally (another topic, for another day).

I started using my Carb Manager app to track my macros again. I’ll post what I eat on here for the next few days for accountability and to show examples of what I eat on a daily basis when I’m on track.

I’ll also test my ketone levels daily and post the results.

Here was my day yesterday 1/13/2019. The frozen blueberries were worth every carb.

I tested at 10:45am using my Keto Mojo Ketone MeterKeto Mojo Ketone Meter this morning and was pleased to see the results below. I feel great! People often ask what a “good” ketone level is. My response is based on my personal experience… I think that everyone has a different sweet spot. I typically feel best  between 1.2 and 1.8, which is not considered a deep level of ketosis. Alex feels best in the 1.5-2.5 range. I’ve been higher than this but found that I did not feel as great as when I was in a lower range but I keep experimenting!

1/14/19 Log

I would not usually eat pork rinds but all of the Epic products were on sale at Whole Foods this weekend and they were sampling them and I got suckered in. They were delicious but I probably won’t buy them again because I don’t think that fits into my “clean keto” vision. I’ll test my ketone levels again in the morn.

11/15/19

I’ve felt great this morning. I definitely felt like I was in ketosis. I went to the gym and was excited to text when I got home. When I first tested, my ketone levels read 0.6, which surprised me. After a convo with my husband, he encouraged me to measure again later since ketone levels tend to lower after a workout. I measured at 1pm and was at 1.8.

Bulletproof Coffee Recipes

There are many variations of Bulletproof Coffee (BPC). I like the classic recipe, as outlined in the Bulletproof blog, with added collagen. My husband likes to add a bit more to his BPC in order to increase the caloric value. He has trouble keeping weight on  and wants to make sure to not lose weight while keeping a keto lifestyle (we all feel bad for him, right?).

Here are the his and hers (but in reverse) of our coffee:

Classic BPC (plus collagen)

  • 8-12oz coffee (we like the actual Bulletproof brand coffee)
  • 1 tablespoon Brain Octane Oil
  • 1 tablespoon grass fed butter
  • 2 scoops collagen (Vital Proteins is my favorite)
  • Blend together for one minute (we started with a Ninja, “upgraded” to a Vitamix, then found we liked the Ninja much better)

Alex’s BPC

  • 8-12oz coffee
  • 2 tablespoons cacao butter
  • 2 tablespoons Brain Octane Oil
  • 2 tablespoons grass fed butter
  • Sea Salt
  • Blend together for one minute

Terrasoul Superfoods Organic Cacao Butter, 1 Pound (Raw, Keto, Vegan Friendly)

If you find that you get an upset stomach when first drinking Bulletproof, try using less Brain Octane. Start with one teaspoon and work your way up to a full tablespoon over time. It’s a lot of fat for a body that isn’t used to it!

The drink doesn’t need to be made with coffee, it can be made with tea or any hot beverage. In fact, Dave Asprey developed this recipe after trying “yak butter tea” during a mountain trek in Tibet back in 2004.

On The Go

I fly a good bit for work and had to figure out how to make my BPC portable in order to have the right fuel for my jam packed work travel days.  Luckily, the Bulletproof Brain Octane Oil,collagen are available in single serve packets. Two of four ingredients accounted for right there!

I bought ghee to travel with since it does not need to be refrigerated but TSA TOOK IT (!!!) during my last trip of the year. I tried arguing that it’s not a liquid or a gel but they weren’t having it. They tossed it. Ugh.

It’s very hard to find real butter at airports, FYI. If you really look at the “butter” you’re given in airport restaurants, it’s usually a spread with random ingredients. Gross.

So here’s what I do — I have a S’well traveler (or 3) that I am obsessed with. I load it up with 1 tablespoon of butter at home and go. I’ve gone through airport security with it several times without issue. Once I get past security, I get coffee at Starbucks and add my single serve collagen and Brain Octane. Then I give it a vigorous shake. It does not taste nearly as good as when it’s blended together but it gets the job done. If only I could find a portable blender?

Once I get to my destination and get a break, I go find butter for my hotel fridge. If I don’t have time to go myself (which is often) I use my Instacart account to have it (and other snacks) delivered. Instacart is the greatest thing to ever happen, especially for working/traveling moms.

In the morn, I make my concoction and ask the hotel restaurant to blend it. They say no 90% of the time (but it’s worth the ask!) so I give it a shake and get on my merry way.

If anyone has any BPC recipes I should try, or ideas for my BPC on the go, let me know!

A Keto Story

New year, new you, right? As we all think about how to live our best 2019 and beyond, I’ve had several friends reach out to share that they’re considering keto but want to know how to start and what to eat. I LOVE this topic so will answer anyone’s questions, any time, but I thought it might be helpful to put together a more comprehensive response to share with you.

Since starting keto in June of 2018, I’ve lost 22lbs, (but gained a few back during the holidays), going from 138lbs to 116lbs (at my lightest). I have more energy than I have ever had my entire adult life  and for the first time since becoming a mom, I feel like my brain works like it used to. I heart keto.

Disclaimer: What’s below is simply what worked for me… I am not preaching or telling you that you should or shouldn’t do or eat this or that, it’s just the path that worked for me. Also, while my brain works much better these days, I’m still not a doctor, so keep that in mind.

My Keto Story

Me: I am a mom of three kids four and under. I work full time in a sales job that requires me to travel. I’ve been eating generally healthy food and have exercised with various degrees of consistency for as long as I can remember. With each year and each babe, my new “regular” weight crawled slowly upwards. While I never reached a level of being overweight, I didn’t like how I looked. I did not feel like my exterior matched the way I felt on the inside, so I was not in alignment with myself.

The Decision: There was a day in June when a friend of mine invited me out for a girls night. It was a day when I was feeling particularly pudgy and didn’t like my outfit (the worst, right?). We went out for blowouts followed by dinner. I ate all the things at dinner and came home looking bloated to the tune of seven months pregnant. I looked in the mirror with defeat. That feeling, that night, was what did it for me. I made a decision to never feel that way again.

My husband, Alex, had been doing keto for over a year at that time and he was all in. He felt great, energy and brain function wise and he’d been encouraging me to try it. I’d read at some point that keto isn’t recommended for pregnant or nursing moms so I dismissed the idea of trying it myself because at the time he suggested it, I was still nursing baby #3. Plus, it was a diet idea from my husband and if you’re a wife and your husband has ever suggested a diet to you, you know how well that goes.

After my “I feel so fat and ugly” night, I decided to give it a go. (You were right, babe. There, I said it).

How I Started

The beginning of keto is not easy. But! Don’t lose heart, it’s short. To start, I downloaded the Carb Manager app to help guide me. I filled out my height/weight/etc and my goal weight in order to determine my macros. It suggested 13g of net carbs, 80g of fat and 64g of protein per day for me to reach my goals. In full transparency, I typically ended up around 20g of net carbs  per day and I didn’t pay as much attention to the other macros but looking back at my app, I usually ended up close to the target.

The app helped give me a perspective on how many carbs certain foods had. After a few weeks, I had an idea of what I could eat and how much of it so I found that I didn’t need to log everything anymore.

As my body started adapting to burning fat instead of glucose, I didn’t feel great. You can google “keto flu” if you want to understand what I am talking about but I definitely had some symptoms of it. Once I got over that initial hump, the process was much more enjoyable.

During the first few weeks, I was drinking bulletproof coffee for breakfast, eating a salad with protein for lunch around noon and a similar meal for dinner.

I’ve never been a big breakfast person. I used to drink black coffee until lunch so not eating breakfast was not a big change for me. If the thought of giving up breakfast breaks your heart, don’t fret, keep eating breakfast (you do you!). Don’t drink bulletproof coffee AND eat food on the same morning though, because that’s a lot of calories (my BPC has a few hundred calories).

On the rare occasion that I do eat breakfast, I stick with pasture raised eggs, avocados and veggies. We eat a clean keto diet (because long term, optimal health is the goal for us) so while you’d still lose weight if you traded your carbs for bacon, sausage, etc., it’s not the way we went about it.

Sometimes, a girl wants bread. So, if like me, you have days when you don’t want to give up your avocado toast, try this super easy recipe for keto bread. I like to toast it right before serving.

Even in the first few weeks, the weight started falling off.

Level II

The more my body became adapted to burning fat for fuel, the easier keto became. I stopped craving sweets (seriously), became less hungry (more on that later), and had more energy and power to give at the gym. I call what I do now, level II keto sort of jokingly, but I think it would be hard to start keto this way, without giving your body time to adapt.

Here’s a typical keto day for me food wise now:

I drink bulletproof coffee when I wake up, unless I am going to the gym right away, in which case I drink black coffee and then have bulletproof when I get home. We love the official bulletproof brand coffee but you can use what you like.

Bulletproof Coffee

I am generally not hungry in time for lunch so most days, unless I have a work or social lunch, I delay this meal until about 2 or 3pm (not kidding that I am full until then!). Around 2 or 3pm, I have a salad. Two of my go to favorites are:

  • Raw, curly or Tuscan kale tossed in organic olive oil and sea salt, topped with goat cheese and/or avocado.
  • Arugula tossed in olive oil, lemon juice and sea salt, topped with parmesan cheese.

At 6pm-ish,  we sit down as a family (or, the kids sit down, Alex feeds the baby and I act like a waitress) for dinner.  Dinner looks a lot like lunch but we usually have a source of meat too. Our favorites include:

  • Organic Chicken Thighs
  • Organic, grass-fed, rib-eye
  • Organic, grass-fed, ground beef
  • Wild caught fish

Because I’ve reached my goal weight, I’ve added some additional carbs to my diet, typically in the form organic jasmine rice. I love the Whole Foods store brand one.

We are very simple eaters and we aim for a whole foods version of keto (so more greens and avocado rather than bacon wrapped burgers). I don’t go hunting for complicated keto recipes too often (because, life) but here are two that I love:

There are a zillion (actual figure) recipes for keto meals out there so happy hunting and send me any easy ones you find!

I do love to experiment with fat bombs (treats!). These tend to be bite sized, keto friendly delicacies that deliver a dose of fat and joy. These Cheesecake Keto Fat Bombs are my favorite!

While technically not a fat bomb, I also enjoyed this chocolate pudding (tastes better after being in the fridge a while). Alex’s favorite keto dessert is almond butter topped with cacao nibs and blue berries.

Cacao Nibs

Cacao Nibs

We also add collagen to our coffee and keep good, raw nuts (macadamias!) and some other sources of fat/calories around.

Collagen Peptides

I know there’s a lot of fancy food words up in my descriptions (organic, pasture raised, grass-fed, etc.).  Along with keto, we’ve been on a journey toward overall wellness and as part of that we’re hoping that spending more money at the grocery store will mean spending less money at the doctor or pharmacy. It’s an investment we’re making intentionally.

Intermittent Fasting/Timed Eating 

I consume most of my food between 2pm and 7pm. This means most days I am in a fasted state for 19 hours. I think fasting has been one of the biggest game changers for me. I feel fantastic in a fasted state. It takes all of the above mentioned benefits of keto to the next level. Doing a quick google search on intermittent fasting yields countless results on the benefits of it but you can start with Dave Asprey’s view on it. 

In case there are any keto-pros reading this- I recognize that since I still consume the bulletproof coffee for breakfast, it may not be considered a “true” fast, but for now, I am choosing to be in the camp that believes BPC doesn’t break your fast.

After Christmas and consuming roughly 2,500 cookies (also actual figure), I felt gross so I decided to reset by doing a longer fast. I went about 40 hours and it was awesome.

I work out in a fasted state too. I did sprint triathlon back in October without eating breakfast and I did not feel like I ran out of fuel.

Resources

We love to consume keto/wellness related media (podcasts, blog posts, Instagram posts, etc.). Here are some of our favorite peeps:

I hope this all helps! Feel free to ask any questions or to share your favorite tips with me!

-Jovanna