Second Helpings – Getting Back on LCHF

Great low-carb recipes for dirty, lazy keto, paleo and other LCHF ways of eating

Product Review: “Know Better” Brand Cake Mix — January 21, 2019

Product Review: “Know Better” Brand Cake Mix

If you love to cook but don’t have time — and you want a treat but you’re on keto — it’s like a double whammy. Will this cake mix solve for this conundrum? Here’s the skinny on this keto cake mix (found at Wegman’s). It’s available online but for a horrific price. $9.00 for a cake mix? I found it at Wegman’s and thought I’d give it a shot.

Know Better Brand Chocolate Chip Cake Mix

I’ve tried the “Simple Mills” almond flour cake mixes but man, seventeen carbs per cupcake or muffin! Nooooooo. If you’re doing low-carb (but not keto), those mixes are okay. If you have forty or fifty carbs, then a 17 carb muffin is not going to blow your whole day. But if you’re striving to hold the line at 20 or 30 carbs like me, that dog won’t hunt.

I found the Know Better brand chocolate chip cake mix at Wegman’s — hey, this looks better! Only 5 grams of carb per muffin or snack cake serving. Yes, it says it’s cake mix but really, it’s very much a “muffin” consistency. Here was something I could throw together on a moment’s notice when I wanted something chocolate. Perhaps something to smuggle into the movies.

I made the mix as directed. One and quarter cup of water. You can’t get simpler than that. After giving it a good mixing, you put it in a pan–I would highly recommend you line that pan with parchment paper. This is a sticky dough.

The instructions tell you to let the dough rest for fifteen minutes after you put it into the pan or (in my case) the muffin cups. Chia seeds take the place of eggs in this product. The dough has to rest in order for the chia seeds to “bloom.”

I made about six of the muffins in the approved fashion, then I decided to amp it up, to see if my non-keto son would approve of the muffins. I baked the first six as directed at 425 F — a pretty hot oven.

The muffins came out tasty, but with a dryish texture even though I took them out promptly at the 25 minute mark.   Perhaps the cake pan might be a better idea if you’re only going to use the cake mix as is. The oven seemed to have been too hot. The bottom of the muffins were very dry. For nine dollars, roughly a little less than a dollar a muffin– I expected better. But they were acceptable with the typical heavy keto density. Not all that much better than other almond flour products, but convenient.

The Better Version

I added in 1 1/2 tablespoons of cocoa powder and an equal amount of Swerve to the remaining dough to create a “chocolate” version. I also added about 8 mini-chocolate chips to the top of each muffin, to enhance the chocolate flavor. This way I would have a “as-is” version and an amped up version.

The better version was by far the favorite–but I also cut the baking time down to 20 minutes. This reduced the dryness — these muffins are easy to overbake!

The next day, I both WANTED and ENJOYED this amped up version. But there are cheaper and better recipes for keto muffins. This is an acceptable convenience product (for a ridiculous price).

Keto Cheese Crackers! — January 19, 2019

Keto Cheese Crackers!

The other day I discovered that parmesan crisps (store bought at Whole Foods) are excellent as a cracker replacement for tuna salad. I had also seen some yummy pictures of cheese crackers made from the “ultra thin” slices of cheese. BOTH kinds are easy and delicious. Here’s the recipes and the tips!

Cheese in the Oven – Five Minutes – What could be Easier (or Cheesier?)

I got some parmesan cheese crisps from the store (Whole Foods) over Christmas and meant to use them on a cheese and sausage plate I was going to take to the family “do.” They were great for tuna salad. Crispy like a cracker, held their shape well under the weight of a topping. I definitely will buy those again, but how would they stack up against home-made — which is definitely cheaper? On this rainy Saturday, I tried to find out!

Parmesan Crisps

  • Shredded parmesan — doesn’t have to be fancy — I use Walmart’s store brand!
  • Rosemary (optional) dried (1 tsp more or less) or fresh rosemary, snipped into small pieces. Italian seasoning would be another good idea.
  • Salt & pepper

First thing: Preheat the oven . Some people use a much cooler oven and bake for a longer time. My first go-round I went with the hotter oven: 425 degrees F. The second batch I used a cooler oven: 300 degrees F.

One of the secrets of baking is a good kitchen scale. I got this one on Amazon for 13 bucks and it’s rated highly by the America’s Test Kitchens folks. If I’m making cookies or crackers — I want each cookie or cracker to be the same WEIGHT. This way all the cookies and crackers will cook at the same RATE. This is pretty important since these crackers bake for SUCH a short period of time. We want them to same amount of crisp (not crisp AND burned).

I put a cup on the scale and measured out .35 ounces of parmesan. I then carefully dumped the parmesan on a SILICONE MAT on a baking sheet. You can use parchment paper if you don’t have a mat, but you can get two mats for only 9 bucks or so on Amazon– and they are so useful in keto baking! Very easy to clean and food doesn’t stick to it. Try making these crisps on foil and it just doesn’t work — the crackers will stick to the foil and it’ll be a mess. Parchment paper is “just okay” — as it tends to curl up. But it will work.

After gently tipping the cup out on the mat, I carefully rearrange the cheese so that it’s a round, flat mound, chasing down the stray slivers of cheese like I’m doing some weird game of Jenga. I can get around 10 mounds on a “half sheet” baking sheet (that’s the normal baking sheet size). It is important to keep them at least a half inch apart.

Next, I salt and pepper the cheese mounds.

Finally, I took some fresh rosemary and snipped it into tiny leaf particles, sprinkling them on each mound of cheese.

Into the oven for FIVE MINUTES if using the hotter oven (425 degrees F).

If you’re using the COOLER oven, then it’s more like 7 or 8 minutes at 300 degrees F.

Watch them like a hawk, set a timer because the minutes fly by quickly. When their edges begin to brown slightly, out they come!

Important tip: Get a cooling rack. A cooling rack is going needed to get the baked goods OFF the hot baking pan to a place they can cool quickly. The quicker they cool, they quicker dinner is ready. 😀 I use a spatula and a pot holder to gently slip the entire silicone mat off the baking pan and onto the cooling rack, mat and all. Or you can pick up the parchment paper with oven mitts and slip it on to a platter. Either way, get the mat or the paper off the hot pan and onto a cooler surface.

This makes about 16 crisps from a 1 1/2 cup pouch of shredded parmesan.

Originally I had ten here. Two were sacrificed for tasting purposes. 🙂

These crackers really need a good long cooling period. Twenty minutes minimum. They were still fairly “bendy” — not what I’d call crisp, like the store-bought ones. The taste, however, was on par if not better than the store-bought “gourmet” chips, at half the price.

First I made ten, then another six using the cooler oven. There really wasn’t much difference in their texture. Overall, these are pretty good–but the recipe definitely needs a bit more tweaking. The taste– wonderful. But I want a crisper texture. For that, I’ll probably need another element — possibly a nut flour — I’m not sure.

Colby Jack Thins

Sargent’s and other manufacturers sell “ultra thin” slices of cheese. You can take these cheese slices, slice them in quarters, and bake just like the Parmesan crackers. I used a hot oven for these and the crackers thinned out to become “lace-like” crackers. They were also pretty bendy, but got a little crisper as they cooled. These were very good and very simple. I put them in a 425 degree F oven for five minutes.

I am pretty sure that this is entirely too hot an oven for these crackers. Next time, I will use the cooler oven — 300F for seven minutes. However, I kind of liked the lacy quality — but the cracker isn’t as sturdy.

These crackers were tasty with guacamole or tuna fish.

I’ll update this tomorrow to see if they get crisper overnight. Do NOT expect these crackers to be ready for snacking anytime soon out of the oven. They take time to cool and harden!

Carby Facts

Each chip is about 0.2 carbs and 1 gram of fat.

More soon. ~ Lola

Setting the Macros on Carb Manager — January 7, 2019

Setting the Macros on Carb Manager

Confused about your macros? You are SO not alone! If you’ve just started out on Carb Manager and have found your macros are just not right, resetting them is easy. In this walk through, I’ll show you how to re-set your macros. This is a follow-on for an earlier Carb Manager walkthrough for setting up a brand new account.

Confused about Macros? You’re Not Alone

I think the Dirty, Lazy Keto group has fielded about 100 requests for help with setting Macros, and about a dozen of them have been related to Carb Manager — at least! The confusion is about the formula for figuring out how much you should eat each day.

The confusion has to do with protein.

Most keto doctors advice that we eat enough protein to sustain your body mass. This means you take your weight in pounds, you multiply that by .36 and that’s your ABSOLUTE minimum for protein for the day. You can go beyond that, but don’t go below. At the high end, multiply your weight by .7 for the most protein you should have (the upper limit). Carb Manager should calculate this for you, but you can check that number to see if it’s right.

At the very least, you should know what that number is so that you meet your minimum grams of protein.

If you weigh, say, 225 lbs, that number would be: 81 grams
If you weigh 194 lbs, that number would be a little over 70 grams.

The maximum amount of protein is your body weight in pounds, multipled by .7:

So if you weigh 225 lbs, that number would be 157.7
If you weigh 194, that would be 135.8

Let’s say we (cough) weigh 225 pounds like someone-very-close-to me (ahem). But for some reason, my carb manager is giving me too much protein.

Re-Setting the Carb Manager Settings

I had my macros set for Low Carb. We’re going to fix them. First in Carb Manager you’ll see a sidebar with choices for what to access. We want to access Settings– at the bottom

The screen changes to something like this — with lots more below it but what interests us is the TOP of the screen. We are interested in two settings: the “My Profile” setting and the Macros setting.   These are found in the two “tabs” at the top of the screen, as shown below:

Changing Your Weight

Because ahem, SOMEONE didn’t put in their current weight, the macros calculated by Carb Manager are off. We first have to correct this. We click on the first tab, My Profile.

The current weight SHOULD be 225 in this case.

We simply edit the wrong number (Start Weight) and also (Current Weight). Then after we’ve entered this, we click on the next tab over, the Macros setting. Here I find my settings are not on Ketogenic, but on Low Carb High Fat. And all my macros are wrong. Sigh.

So first we fix the Carbs: Protein : Fat Ratio

But that’s a bit LOW. On everything. I can adjust the sliders from here to where I want it to be —JUST by changing the PROTEIN slider. But then we’ll see everything else change.

While I was at it, I also set the calculator to have me lose one pound a week. Now it gives me a calorie budget. However, I note that the protein is way too low.

I know that I need at least 81 grams of protein daily. A little more than that wouldn’t be a bad idea. So I just change the protein slider so that I get exactly what I want. Because we are set on ketogenic, the other sliders will move as I move the protein slider up or down to maintain those constant ratios.

I could leave that there and JUST ACCEPT that and go with it. But MOTHER OF MERCY, I am not ready for a ketogenic 20 grams a day MAX. At least not in my head.

Instead I want to set a CUSTOM setting. Instead of choosing Ketogenic, I choose Custom: Grams

Note that I entered 83 grams of protein, 30 grams of carbs (to give me a little room), and the same grams of fat (122) from the ketogenic settings. Because this is how I roll. Mentally, I will be able to work for to keep my carbs between 20 and 30 — which is what I can currently manage with some care. It’s not the perfect formula –but it’s what works FOR ME.

Hit the APPLY button and you’re ready to go.

More soon–Hope this is helpful.

~ Lola

Keto Tuna Muffins! — January 6, 2019

Keto Tuna Muffins!

When I was a girl, my mom would make that 1970s ladies’ magazine classic, “salmon croquettes.” Kind of like a poor man’s crab cake, this dish used the newly available ingredient, canned salmon. This tuna muffin recipe made me think of it. I snatched it out of my Facebook group.

Super-easy and it was getting rave reviews! Of course, I cannot leave a recipe like this ALONE.

First I substituted half a small avocado, mashed, for the mayo.

And then, I added a tablespoon of dijon mustard to give it all a little kick.

Finally I ditched the salt and instead incorporated pre-cooked BACON to provide the salty element, and a tablespoon of chopped in onion for a bit of extra acidity.

I used Trader Joe’s “Fiesta” cheese, a three cheese blend. And it was lovely.

I used cupcake liners in the muffin tin to make them a bit easier to handle.

The next level of this would be to substitute canned salmon for the tuna. Since everyone is looking for some easy meals to whip up for lunches and super-quick dinners, this one fills the bill nicely. The whole recipe has 8 net carbs! Divided into five muffins as I did, that’s about 3 carbs per muffin. I only used 1 egg in this and it held together fairly well, but I think it needs a bit more tweaking to get the flavor up and the carbs down. This would be good with a fresh green salad.

Once again. I ate the evidence. 🙂 When I move to the salmon version, I’ll post pics.

Cheers, Lola

Keto Tricks to Good Mashed Cauliflower — January 5, 2019

Keto Tricks to Good Mashed Cauliflower

Potatoes are my kryptonite. Finding a good substitute for mashed potatoes is not enough! I need an excellent one. Like keto baking, getting riced cauliflower right requires some experience–and some tricks. After scanning many recipes, I experimented in making a single serving of mashed cauliflower to try out these techniques.

The Olden Days Before You Could Buy Riced Cauliflower

I remember having my first serving of “cauliflower puree” at a local, upscale restaurant. It was smooth, buttery and craveable. Not exactly potatoes in terms of flavor, but it completely delivered on a starchy, near-potato flavor and texture. This was back in 2012, when I first went LCHF. Back then, you had to buy a whole cauliflower and either chop like a mad thing or invest in a food processor to get mashed cauliflower.

Food processors have learning curves. Making this dish in 2012 was an involved process involving chopping up whole cauliflowers into florets, boiling or steaming them, mashing and squeezing all the excess moisture out of them –and then figuring out how to get the food processor to produce a nice, even “rice” from the florets.

Today as low-carb eating styles have become popular, you can get riced cauliflower in most supermarkets. This is a huge timesaver, but it’s only the first of the challenges. The real issue is creating YOUR WAY of making this “fauxtato” dish with the equipment you have at hand.

The Keto Tricks to Mashed Cauli

Trick #1. Steam or microwave or boil?

Reading over a half a dozen mashed cauliflower recipes, the first problem is getting the riced cauliflower to be sufficiently soft. You don’t want the cauliflower to be even slightly hard (or “al dente”). Some folks say the best thing to do is steam the riced cauliflower, others say you can microwave-steam rice cauliflower.

I’ve found with all of these methods, the #1 danger is getting your fingers or hands burned. The cauliflower gets dangerously, burningly hot. The steam can really hurt you, as in “visit the hospital” kind of hurt. Be sure you have oven mitts or gloves and are very careful with the escaping steam in these techniques!

Keto Old School: Boiling the Cauliflower

In the days before we could buy riced cauliflower, people boiled cauliflower florets and then put them through a food processor. The biggest problem in getting a good cauliflower mash was removing moisture from the boiled florets.

Boiling caulflower florets ADDS alot of moisture, which means we’d have to squeeze the moisture out of them. This process involved putting them into a cheesecloth (after they had cooled) and squeezing them the way one would squeeze moisture out of, say, cheese. I don’t make cheese. I couldn’t do this either.

Unless you’re an experienced cheesemaker or cook, this process is godawful. Or maybe it’s just me. You will risk severe burns if you don’t wait long enough for the florets to cool. It’s terribly messy.

Conceivably, you can simply boil the riced cauliflower. Reportedly, this does not result in as fluffy a result as steaming the cauliflower. At best, you’re going to have bland, wet granules of cauliflower. Not recommended.

Experiment 1: Microwave steaming

Some recipes recommended putting the riced cauliflower in a bowl, covering it in cling film, and microwaving it for 5 to 8 minutes. I found that the steam can burn right through the cling film. The steaming cauliflower gets VERY hot.

I put a plate on top of the bowl instead. In this test flight, I put the a cup of cauliflower in a bowl with 2 tablespoons of water. I microwaved it for 5 minutes, then checked it. The cauliflower was not yet soft and had begun to be a bit dry. I put in another tablespoon of water.

This was a simple method but the cauliflower can begin to burn. You don’t want to have to stop and start checking it, because you will get burns from the steam. You’ll also release the steam, when you check on it. This is exactly what I had to do. I checked it at five minutes, then added another 3 minutes. Microwave ovens vary from brand to brand in how quickly they cook food.

Notice the browned bits? That’s burnt cauliflower.
You want to keep this to a minimum or not go there at all!

And as microwaves vary, expect to to have to do an experimental batch–or two–before you find the right formula for HOW LONG you microwave HOW MUCH cauliflower. I was working on a formula for a large, personal serving. If you’re going to make this “family sized” (or for several days), I recommend regular steaming (see below).

Note: I recently found some “vegetable steaming bags” which may be a nice shortcut. I plan a future post on making a whole batch of mashed cauliflower, suitable for four to six servings. I will be using this product for that, as well as scaling up the “regular steaming” technique for that future recipe. But for now, I’m doing test batches, to get the technique down.

Option #3: Regular Steaming

This method involves putting a strainer above a pot of boiling water. The boiling water should not touch the bottom of the strainer. I used a tea strainer for this experiment that used just one cup of cauliflower. You can get a cheap strainer at the dollar store, if you don’t have one. This method is easy. It takes a little longer than the microwave, but it scales up for larger batches.

After the water got to boiling, I tented the pot with aluminum foil. It took about fifteen minutes on just one cup of riced cauliflower.

Trick #2. Let the cooked cauliflower sit for about 10 minutes.

Untent the cauliflower and poke it with a fork to make sure it’s soft. Take the tent off carefully so you don’t get burned by the steam! Letting the riced cauliflower sit for awhile allows the release of excess moisture as well as cooling the cauliflower down to where it can be more easily handled.

Trick #3. Use an electric hand mixer or an immersion blender.

Just whip the heck out of them. It took a good five or six minutes of serious whipping, adding the butter and the heavy whipping cream and salt. Some people recommend an immersion blender — and that’s another good option. But I grew up making mashed potatoes with the old reliable hand mixer –and it works very well.

The Results

Once again, I ate the results before photographing. :* I took both the steamed AND the microwaved cauliflower, which started out at two cups, and put them together in the same bowl. They were pretty much indistinguishable from one another. I added a tablespoon of butter, or so, and a tablespoon of heavy whipping cream and used the hand mixer. I got maybe a cup and quarter, pretty much one serving, out of the two cupped of riced, raw cauliflower. I plan another go at this in a couple of days — to make a much larger serving suitable for photographing.

Here’s a handy recipe I plan to use for my next try at cauli-mash.

Bon Appetit! ~Lola

Starting out with Carb Manager — January 1, 2019

Starting out with Carb Manager

Over on the Dirty, Lazy Keto Facebook Group, I’m seeing folks having trouble with dealing with my favorite tracking app, Carb Manager. Here’s a walk through for getting started.

What is Carb Manager?

Carb Manager is a food tracking app that is tuned for keto and low-carb diets, though you CAN track almost any way you want. You can get started with it here and follow along. It’s free, but there is a great premium version with meal plans and recipes. I love it. I use it every day.

Set Up is Quick and Easy

Then comes setting your profile. The first screen is pretty much fine as is for most US folks doing any kind of keto diet.

You won’t need to change anything here, unless you want to go “metric.”

Next, the dreaded Profile.

Next, enter profile. The weight is going to impact your “calorie” recommendations. Most keto followers pretty much ignore calories, but if you want to track calories too, then make sure you put in your current weight.

Next, they try to be “helpful.” I pretty much ignore calories as this is going to cause me too much stress. I’m on dirty, lazy keto, after all. But you can set it for a desired weight change. Will that help? Honestly, your mileage will vary on that. The only real concern is setting the macronutrient goals.

Then the Goal Setting thing.

However, if you DO want to count calories, then you need to set the Weight Change Goals.

Set the Weight Change goals by clicking on the down-ward pointing triangle to get these options. This will then set your calorie goal.

The Important Part: Setting Your “Macros”

Macronutrients or “macros” in keto language consist of only three things: Carbohydrates, Protein and Fat. In ketogenic diets, this is a ratio of 5% Carbs, 25% protein and 70% . This adds up to 100%.

On the little down-pointing triangle, next to the Carbs, Protein, Fat Ratio line, you can click that triangle and get many choices. It will look like this:

Keto way of eating folks choose the 5:25:70 (Carbs to Protein to Fat) option. Low Carb High Fat, a gentler way to lose weight (but often more slowly) is also a good option. The rest are for other ways of eating –or you can create your own with Custom.

There is also this “Ease into this Diet” Option. If you want to work into this slowly, this is a good option.

Click on the downward pointing triangle and you get these options:

This will automatically adjust the carbs to protein to fat and the calorie options over three days, over a week or over TWO weeks. If you’re brand new to keto or LCHF, this can be pretty helpful.

A Note on Protein

It’s widely believed that you should eat enough protein to sustain your body mass. This means you take your weight in pounds, you multiply that by .36 and that’s your ABSOLUTE minimum for protein for the day. You can go beyond that, but don’t go below. At the high end, multiply your weight by .7 for the most protein you should have (the upper limit). Carb Manager should calculate this for you, but you can check that number to see if it’s right.

That’s all there is to setup. If there is interest, I’ll provide walk-throughs on how to track. 🙂

Best, Lola.

Three Types of Intermittent Fasting — December 27, 2018

Three Types of Intermittent Fasting

Many folks just pass right on by when the topic of IF (intermittent fasting) comes up. It sound hard, even punitive–when you’re already low-carbing for the first time, it sounds scary! Isn’t giving up potatoes enough? IF is a tool in the dietary toolkit. For some people, it is an essential tool. For Type 2 diabetic cancer survivors like me? There’s too much riding on good health to pass up on a potentially life-changing habit!

As I do with anything I want to learn, I write about it. I’m sure it won’t get the kind of traffic that the crispy pork with palmini noodles gets, but if the only person I help is myself, then “keto on.”

From the Hype to the Help

Intermittent fasting is concerned with constraining the time window in which we consume calories. This gives the body a needed break as I explain in the previous post on IF. Researchers (and many keto proponents) suggest that IF helps speed weight loss, breaks weight loss “stalls,” and helps us turn our bodies into “fat-adapted” calorie-burning machines! Booyah! Sounds amazing but we have to get beyond the hype to the health.

My first experience with IF was intermittent indeed! It seems like I would start, then life would get hectic, and I’d miss one of the appointed days, then a week then bam. I wasn’t doing it. It’s hard to remember, I lied to myself. (No, it was hard to give up my midnight snack habit. That’s what was hard). After about three months, I chucked it in. But I hadn’t had cancer and wasn’t diabetic back then (in 2012). I was losing weight regularly and I felt so much better, that I was happy without doing anything further.

There is much more research evidence that IF is good for T2 diabetes and for fighting cancer.

Now, older and having put back on the weight after REALLY falling off the wagon during the cancer surgeries, I know I’m going to need more tools in the tool kit. I am using CarbManager to track. I’m going from simple LCHF eating to full on dirty, lazy keto. I’m adding more exercise. I’m determined to get up to my best health ever.

The question is: What KIND Of IF is right for me?

There are short forms of IF and there are long forms. The longer forms are a 24 period or LONGER of abstaining from food. One would eat dinner and then skip breakfast and lunch the next day. But you’d get to eat dinner that day. I could do that maybe once a week but probably not twice or three times a week that’s often recommended. (This is how I failed my first go-round). Thirty-six hour fasts–where you eat dinner on day 1 and then skip breakfast, lunch AND DINNER on the second day, eating again at breakfast on day 3, seemed like too far a reach!

A second form (popularized by Dr. Michael Mosley in his book, The Fast Diet) allowed you to eat 500 calories a day on the fasting days. You had to fast two days a week. It’s called “5:2” in the hipster discussions of IF. 🙂 I failed at this one too–because 500 calories is simply not much food. I barely gave this one a shot before giving up in frustration. Figuring out satisfying 500 calorie meals was an overwhelming task. LCHF foods tends to be higher in calories. I never developed the knack for this one (though I must admit, I didn’t try real hard.)

Lots of different kinds of IF diets are referred to by the formula of X:Y with X being the fasting time (in days or hours for short-form IF) and Y being the size of the time window that you can eat.

Newer forms of short-term IF (less than 24 hours) are much more sustainable by most people. They are very popular. Research seems to indicate that all forms of IF can provide weight loss and health benefits. It’s a matter of choosing the right style.

Three Kinds of Short Term IF

The most helpful article on IF is this detailed guide to IF from the Diet Doctor blog. This blog post explains that we need to take a break from the “feasting” state to allow our bodies to fall into a “fasting state” — where our insulin levels are lower and we’re more likely to begin consuming our stored fat. There are three popular methods covered in this article (and I’m sure there are more beyond that!) But these three are certainly interesting!

Leangains or 16: 8

This is the most popular form of IF and is supposed to be done every day.  I am given to understand that people do take a day off of this regimen (probably on Saturday or Sundays, depending on what’s “party nights”). This diet (popularized by a body builder, Martin Berkand) involves skipping breakfast. Coffee, tea, water or other no-calorie beverage can be had for breakfast. The rest of one’s “feeding period” needs to be squeezed into an eight-hour time window. So if I skip breakfast (but have coffee with stevia) and don’t eat lunch til, say, 11.30, then I have 8 hours to eat the rest of my food (til 7.30).

This seems more or less do-able. SIX DAYS of this though? Every week. Hmmm. This would seriously change how I eat (which might be a very good thing).

The Warrior Diet or 20:4

This is an “alternate day” fasting for three days a week. It involves skipping breakfast AND LUNCH and collapsing all of one’s eating into a four hour period at the end of the day. Created by Ori Hofmekler, this schedule is said to result in “a deeper level of fat adaptation” and improvement of insulin sensitivity.

I might be able to manage this twice a week. It’s under consideration–but only if I find some way to deal with Lunch Hour at work –which is a social time at least once a week (and it’s spur of the moment so hard to plan). I also really treasure lunch, often my biggest meal of the day. This one would require more significant changes in my daily routine. But maybe — if only twice a week. 

Eat Stop Eat or, if there were a hipster shorthand, 24:24

This involves going entirely without calories for 24 hours, then eating whatever you want for dinner the next day. This is another fasting schedule from a body builder. (How this is going to work for a ‘mature,’ and pillowy woman like myself? Hmmm.) This is quite difficult and should only be done two (NON-CONSECUTIVE) days of the week. Like the Warrior diet, it’s supposed to provide deeper levels of fat adaptation.

The idea is you eat dinner at 8, then don’t eat again until the following day (at 8pm). This might be good for dealing with a company dinner but it’s hard to plan. Our Christmas dinner was supposed to be at 2pm — it didn’t really get started til nearly 5pm. (And there were all day long appetizers–what I think of as the Cavalcade of Calories!). Not do-able if you’re dealing with MY family! 😀

Some Tips on Fasting

The best advice is from the Diet Doctor blog post by Dr. Tom Naimon, MD. This post REALLY gave me the reassurance that I needed to even consider IF as part of my journey. He writes:

With all of these fasting methods, the goal is to skip breakfast, avoid snacking, and consolidate calories near the end of the day. All of these methods are quite effective, and you can in fact mix and match these as much as you would like. I would highly recommend keeping it flexible. Fast for as long as is convenient on any given day, and break your fast whenever you need to or want to. Anything beyond a 12 hour window is going to be at least somewhat beneficial towards anyone’s goals.

If you planned on fasting 16 hours but only make it 13, that’s ok and you are still much better off than if you had eaten all day long with early and late calories plus lots of snacking. I think a good goal would be 24 hours per week of additional fasting (additional to the standard 12:12 baseline). This could be 2 days of 24 hour fasting (Eat Stop Eat), 3 days of 8 hour fasting (Warrior Diet), or 6 days of 4 hour fasting (Leangains).

You could also mix and match as desired. Keep it flexible and go with whatever best suits your schedule and your lifestyle and your current level of fat adaptation.

Dr. Tom Naimon, MD, “Time-Restricted Eating: A Detailed Intermittent Fasting Guide. In Diet Doctor Blog. Updated 14 September 2018. Accessed 27 Dec 2018.

My Current Plan

I’m planning on starting with the 16:8 plan, FOUR days a week–and try to stretch it out to fit in at least 15-18 hours a week of additional fasting. It’s all about the babysteps for me. If I do this every other day for a whole month, then it will be easier to stretch out until it’s routine. My real problem remains the late-night snack. That is really going to need some adjustment on my part! But I know it’s a needed change.

Happy New Year! Here’s to our (improved) health!