Book Review: Dirty, Lazy Keto

What’s dirty, lazy keto?  I have to admit, I was so curious about the dirty part! 😀  Dirty, Lazy Keto  is a new “mini-guide” to keto by Stephanie Laska.   It’s one of those books where there is a Guy behind it (in this case a Gal) with her own version of keto,  her own website, Facebook group and Instagram.  Published in 2018, it’s a new thing (already available on Kindle Unlimited for free), a cheap, self-published book.  Nothing wrong with that–it just explains some of the quality issues.  I have to say, I didn’t want to like her or this book. 🙂  Skinny blondes tend to annoy me ( a personal bias). But I do like her spunk, her attitude toward the Keto Police, and her attitude toward keto.

Perhaps because she was not always skinny, nor blonde, that she began to grow on me as I read her stuff.

Dirty, Lazy Keto: The Blog and the Book.

The blog , DirtyLazyKeto.Com, is somewhat better than the book.   The book meanders in the first pages (and repeats itself).  The book needs editing in the first couple of chapters.   The blog, however, clearly and concisely sums up her approach right from the start.

She writes:

The traditional ketogenic diet is strict. Twenty carbs per day max. Artificial sweeteners like Splenda are frowned upon by the keto police, so fat bombs, Diet Coke, and HALO ice cream are definitely out of the question (who invited THAT guy to the party?) Of course, I’m speaking generally here. I’m sure there are exceptions, but that’s pretty much the gist of keto. Traditionalists take their keto commitment to the next level by monitoring not only their intake of fat, carbohydrate, and protein grams, but also count calories. Most utilize apps that generate tidy graphs to show off meeting personalized nutritional goals. Needless to say, this sounds like a lot of work (not to mention those graphs are super annoying by people bragging on Facebook).

Sometimes a girl just needs a Diet Coke. Please don’t call the keto police!

Perhaps that trash talk about the keto Traditionalists may be a bit harsh. I have not experienced personally those Lost Souls who also count calories–as well as fat, carb and proteins. Most keto enthusiasts are not calorie-counters.  But I have experienced the painful bragging and app-wielding discourses that can gradually turn into hair-pulling, snarling cat-fights over nothing.

Laska goes on to explain:

Lazy keto followers believe in the keto lifestyle, but say to hell with all that tracking business. Before you rush to any judgement, understand these folks can be just as successful as strict keto. Lazy keto doesn’t mean they are relaxing by the pool somewhere. Rather, “lazy” is just a coined term that describes a way of focusing on carb count only (not fat, protein or calories). Lazy keto dieters usually aren’t documenting every bite they eat with some little calculator or app. In general, lazy keto followers choose lower carb, higher fat foods to enjoy while staying “under” or “around” their carb goals/limits for the day.

Hmm.  That’s close to my own approach! And what about the dirty part?

Laska gives us the “dirt” on the “dirty”:

So, what is all this “dirty” business about? Is there some X-rated version of keto out there in cyber space? (Probably). Oh, we are a fun group, but not THAT kind of fun. Dirty keto dieters like to break the rules now and again with our ingredient choices. We are open to using sugar and grain substitutes to make a recipe feel more “like we are used to” and not afraid of artificial anything. We are wild and crazy in that regard! We may not be strict, but… SURPRISE, we are sustainable and successful!

Have I found my tribe?

Dirty Keto is a thing

I went on over and joined the Facebook group. It currently has over 4K members, with three admins and a moderator.  It averages 72 posts a day — and it’s only six months old.  That’s a pretty healthy community. Facebook then recommended other groups (as it does): dirty keto (with 7,100 members) and dirty keto for beginners (with 3,896 members). Huh.  This is a New thing–not something that I was at all aware of when I began this journey in 2012.

Back to The Book

Laska is fun and often funny.  And she seems to be really kind.   The book itself is uneven in quality; Laska has a master’s degree in education, not a master’s degree in writing. All the photographs in the book– every single one — are pictures of her and her husband, with the younglings scattered about.  But the writing style is breezy and yes, entertaining.  Her explanations of the key terms are sound and sensible.

This is a good guide for anyone considering keto.  By chapter 3, I was lovin’ Ms. Stephanie to pieces.  She was also pretty lucky. Losing ten pounds a month is an amazing result. She admits to having been a ridiculously high consumer of carbohydrate before starting keto.  Pasta, bread, cereal and rice were her staples.  She’s under 40, I would guess and no longer having babies (that really messes with body chemistry!)

Laska also went very low carb: 20-50 grams of net carbohydrate a day. I personally have never had that kind of willpower or control over my food.  When it’s that low-carb, it is definitely keto.

Net carbs are the number of grams of carbohydrates MINUS the number of grams of fiber in a food. Laska also subtracts the grams of sugar alcohols.  I’m not sure if she’s correct in saying that these are not digested the same as other carbohydrates — but it has been standard practice since the days of Atkins to subtract grams of fiber.

Personally, I have tried (in my tumbling down the hill days) to make sure I didn’t eat more than 100 grams of ANY kind of carb;  I haven’t done the net carb “thing”

Her secret? Learning to love vegetables

Eat vegetables as if your life depends on them! Use butter, ghee, cheese, sour cream — anything to make them better

My page 45, I’m loving Stephanie.  She explains that her use of sugar alcohols is part of the “dirty” side of her approach to keto.  She admits to needing the sweet crutch–and that real sugar is just off the table for her.  Sugar is her krytonite.  As a stress eater myself who struggles with sugar addiction, I feel her pain.  It’s good to know what your personal kryptonite is.  (Mine is white potatoes.)

Her diet advice seems sensible and fairly easy to follow.  She offers some of the standard advice about cleansing your kitchen of high carb stuff and cooking once, eating twice (planning for leftovers),  some standard meal planning advice and a good overview of keto  (with a little hand wringing about the artificial sweetener controversy.)

In this “mini-guide,” Laska also covers IF (intermittent fasting) and the question of cheat days or cheat meals.  (She’s for one, against the other.)

In Sum:

This is a good book for a keto beginner intimidated by the charts and graphs and data-obsessed hypotheses of traditional keto practice.  There’s not much here on the science, no recipes, and not much in the way of meal plans or suggestions.  Her personal story is great, her results were fantastic.  But it’s a bit thin and would never make it as a professional publication. Enjoyable enough, but I’m glad I got it free on Kindle Unlimited.  Worth the ten bucks?  Probably a no.

Now, that said, for a self-published, amateur publication, it’s pretty good.  I would’ve been happy if the price point had been, say, 3.99 for the Kindle version.   She did some research on this and tries to explain in very plain terms the essential ideas and concepts of the keto way of eating.   She doesn’t go into the ins and outs of ketosis much and most topics are covered at a fairly superficial level.

The blog is good but also not one for recipes or  regularly kept up. Posts seem to be monthly.   I’ll let you know about the Facebook group. 🙂   I do want to hang out with Stephanie Laska and her dirty, lazy keto folks.










Five Personal Guidelines for LCHF/Paleo

Imperatives are “things ya gotta do” –stuff you can’t get around not doing.  So if you’re going to be a ballerina, you have to learn all those foot positions. If we’re going to improve our daily fare, (a word much better than “diet,'” IMHO), we’ll be dealing with new requirements.  Specifically we’ll be dealing with planning, cooking, and shopping.  When re-starting this lifestyle, these are good issues to consider.

LCHF and paleo lifestyles involve cooking.  There’s no getting around that.  Oh, there’s the constant reading of labels-in-tiny-tiny-fonts (such fun on a Saturday morning–damn, still no sarcasm font), and there’s the eternal question, what am I going to eat today, tomorrow, right now? etc. Cooking and preparing one’s own food is, however, the key to making this work.

When we cook, we have better control over our fooding.  Okay, fooding isn’t a legitimate verb, but my late husband used it all the time, and it has fond memories for me.  In our family, fooding means having a meal as in, “So what’s the plan for today’s fooding?”   Would we be having lunch or brunch?  Eating in, ordering in or eating out?  Did we have to go to the store or were we all set?   (My husband died young of leukemia, and I miss him.  We keep our memories alive in small ways and large).

WHAT we cook is, of course the Key Problem.  If you stumble into the Beginner’s Roundups of “How to Paleo” and read the books, you will find tons of rules. In the early days of ardent conviction, one reads everything and tries everything and ends up with a list of “no-no’s” that make going to the grocery store arduous and even angry-making. Sugar is everywhere. Wheat is in everything. Starches are often large parts of our various cuisines (unless you’re a Native Alaskan. I’ve had muktuk. It’s an acquired taste and unlikely to be found at Harris Teeter or Whole Foods.)

Moving Toward Better Fooding

If one can’t cook, this is a real problem and many a would-be paleo enthusiast has stumbled on the path because of this. Paleo definitely made me have to up my game.  There are excellent food blogs and videos and resources out there for learning to cook, but oh, my, the amount of time!  The amount of energy!  Yes, it is an investment, a real investment of time, money and then there are the horrible cooking disasters.

Cooking involves recipes and there’s the rub. The “easy” recipes are often just plain terrible. And the tasty recipes?  Well, they may say they are paleo but you’ll see all kinds of ingredients to make your blood sugar go a bit whack-a-doodle (or worse, skyrocket like Fourth of July).  Probably fine if you’re twenty and your pancreas is in tip top shape, but oh, gads, if you’re trying to lose weight or control your blood sugar, then um. Not a good idea.  A brownie recipe that relies on gluten-free flour, for example, is simply a gluten-free brownie. It is not paleo, no matter what the chowderheaded blogger says.

My Own Personal Rules Guidelines

After folks have read and read and read, and come to their own informed opinions about how they will be approaching paleo/LCHF, people tend to start merrily off in a thousand directions.  Some people get very Puritanical and even cultic, which leads to magical thinking, endless agonizing, and becoming a complete and utter bore on the topic, especially at dinner parties. 🙂  On the Internet, people just love becoming smug gasbags of superiority.   Then there are those jump-on-the-bandwagon people who think gluten-free is the same as paleo and sugar is “natural” so it’s paleo too — and people get led down the garden path of tasty sugar-laden, blood-sugar busting fooding.  Even my beloved Simple Mills baking mixes contain coconut sugar, as if that’s somehow more allowed than cane.

Low Carb, High Fat is mostly about upping the healthy fat and lowering the carbohydrates.  Paleo is a compatible lifestyle and the recipes CAN be interchangeable so long as one as one has guidelines.  Some LCHF groups and eating styles are VERY quantitative about what is “low” in terms of carbs and what is “high” in terms of fat.  I’ll be going over some of that in later posts.

For now, I’m introducing my own personal guidelines for re-starting (and re-learning) LCHF and paleo lifestyles–as suited to a mild diabetic intent on getting better.

I’ve laid before that my new way is a kinder, gentler (and admittedly eclectic) LCHF/paleo lifestyle.  There are no absolute no’s.  There are guidelines.

  1. Try to have at LEAST one egg in the morning for breakfast. The better the breakfast, the better the rest of the day is likely to go, food-wise.  I can control breakfast, even if breakfast is a protein shake with a raw egg cracked in for the extra fat.
  2. Limit sweets.   I use stevia– and allow a little sucralose from time to time.  It’s far easier to get sucralose if I forget my little stevia packets, and a decaf coffee with a bit of sweet is my go-to cravings extinguisher.  I also allow myself at least some sugar for baking as it is a requirement for browning and other important chemical processes.  I look for work arounds all the time, as this means I really have to limit baked goods, which brings me to Guideline 3.
  3. Limit gluten-free products.   These can be just as bad as sugar for making blood sugar soar to the moon, but sometimes, well, they can help get me through a difficult day.  A gluten free tortilla that I have in the house (and debate about daily) has 24 g of carbohydrate.  There are low carb tortillas, made with wheat, that have a whole lot less than that!  I’m going to be trying those and other products out.
  4.  Limit wheat as much as possible. I began this journey as an ardent follower of Dr. Bill Davis and his Wheat Belly movement. He wants people to ERADICATE wheat from their diets and for several years I did.  My migraines?  Disappeared!  My general health and appearance?  REMARKABLY improved.   I highly recommend people who start this lifestyle to Wheat Belly it for at least six months.  Losing the wheat cravings is very helpful in many ways. How-some-ever, wheat is in EVERYTHING and it’s very hard to eradicate unless one establishes total control — and then we begin turning into those picky people who won’t try Grandma’s cake.  My charming daughter endured me all those years and tried to make foods without wheat — stunningly good dishes, mind you, but what a pain for her and her growing family.   And I hate the salads typically provided as the offerings to those with wheat allergies at business lunches.  My life is full of business lunches. I couldn’t seem to make myself create my own salads (that is going to change this time around).5. Limit carbs.  I am going to make some exceptions, such as low-carb tortillas, that will help me to make this way of eating more sustainable for me, personally–and keep my carbs down to no more than 35g per meal.

    These guidelines should make for a livable, sustainable way of life for me — and importantly, a path out of diabetes.  Diabetes can’t be cured, but it can be driven back into remission.  My goal is to see blood sugars around 112 (100 is normal) after  meals.  It’s a big goal as currently they are around 150, when I eat according to these guidelines — but I am JUST re-starting.

Off to figure out lunch. And this week’s fooding plan.  Namaste ~Lola





Creating A Kinder Relationship With Food

Everyone has a relationship with food.  The question is: Is it a GOOD relationship? 

As I ponder my missteps in developing a healthy relationship with food, like most people, I  take an inventory of  “what went wrong” –that’s normal.  We human beings tend to beat ourselves about how we fall short.  This usually doesn’t help anything.  We come up with a list of do’s and don’ts and shouldn’ts.  We listen to other people who JUST LOVE TO mouth off about how successful they are because they are such perfect keto saints.  (Give me a break, please).

There are lots of reasons out there, for falling off the wagon some of them damned good reasons, and some of them, are more, well, eh, who are you fooling, and then there’s the truly lame excuses, (tsk, tsk).  Looking at the reasons and excuses will only get me so far.  I have to understand food and my relationship to it.

The relationship with food is cultural, familial, and sensual (in that it involves the senses).  It is also personal.  We’re all familiar with the personal aspects — that’s where the keto saints preach to use about logging every bite that comes in our mouths,  slavishly struggling to attain ketogenesis (that holy state that seems forever outside our grasp—and always one breath mint away from slipping from our grasp, if ever attained).

This point of view inevitably frames our relationship with food in highly religious terms.  We talk about food sins. We praise ourselves for being perfect and abase ourselves for falling short.   This is the road to perdition, surely.

We have to get over this Puritanical tendency to see ourselves as “good” or “bad”– especially about our relationship with food.

Food and Sex

Back in the bad old days, we could only have ONE relationship with ONE member of the opposite sex, after marriage,  and sex was once or twice a week, at best, in the missionary position.  The survival of the species (and the patriarchy — do not get me started) depended on it.  Over time, things changed, gradually, then rapidly.  Divorce is common, sex before marriage is often a Good Idea, and in general, it’s a much happier place than it used to be for all the genders.

But our traditions remain. We want the white wedding (no matter what our gender or who we love).   We truly yearn for that one somebody to love (and to love us).  We’re socially and culturally built that way.  We often think we are failing (or our partner is failing or SOMETHING isn’t right) when we don’t have sex at least once a week with our spouse (if we are fortunate to have a spouse or significant other).

Sex is a basic drive, hard wired into our neural systems as a want, even a need. Food is actually even more basic than sex.  Just as sex has been wrapped around with all kinds of taboos and rules and mandates, dreams and wishes — eating is just as socially and culturally embellished.     So just as there is guilt about sex, there’s guilt about food.  But food guilt is relatively unexamined and still pretty much stuck in the 1950s America.

Food Guilt and Body Image

I went to look for some free images of big women.  Fat women. Women like me. I haven’t been thin since baby #2 (and my degree of thinness between baby #1 and baby #2 is, ahem, Highly Debatable). Suffice it to say, I didn’t find any.  Most of the images I did find were body-shaming images of one kind or another.  Some were images of big women in gyms, working hard to get rid of their Scarlet A.

Large women are stricken from the record of American images.  Big women pretty much have to be funny, clowns for the enjoyment (and secret derision) of others.  We are the horrible warning.   The fact that our obesity is also killing us is just our punishment for the sins of the flesh.  We are bad girls.  We don’t get the man.  We don’t get the corner office.  Those are for the pretty, thin, young women who will have to Botox to themselves, face horrendous surgeries and injections to stay embalmed to at least a comely forty-something appearance for as long as possible.

I do not want to look like Cher at 72.  Good thing as I will never be able to afford it. Carrie Fisher likely died because of the toll of all that dieting on her heart.  I would’ve preferred a Princess Leia with meat on her bones, lines on her face and grey in her hair–and had Carrie with us a bit longer.  But I digress. Let me start over.

Developing a Yoga Attitude Toward Self Care (and Food)

Concerned by my tingling feet, one of the many signs that diabetes is not under optimal control, I knew I had to get more active.  There are not many good exercise classes for a woman over fifty with thirty pounds to lose. I belong to a gym that I don’t want to go to.   There are mirrors everywhere reminding me I am no longer young, as well as no longer thin–and I won’t be getting any younger (and probably not any thinner, that little voice in my head snorts.)

I love yoga but I am as way out of practice there as I am with LCHF.  Finding a suitable class is hard.  I don’t live in California, no, no, it’s Northern Virginia, in the parochial town of Springfield (just like the Simpsons).  Recently, though, a new yoga studio opened up right next to Whole Foods.   There are no mirrors on the walls.  The instructor is probably ten pounds lighter than me.  It’s a body positive kind of studio. It’s caring.  It’s doing yoga the best one can, honoring one’s current limits and reaching for the next level.

  • If you can’t do a position the way everyone else does, adapt it.
  • Get blocks. Get supports.  Gradually you’ll be able to manage.
  • Rest a little if you need to but keep on going.

As I lay on my back, sweating copiously after an hour of the “gentle yoga” class, it came to me that I need to do LCHF in a kinder, gentler, more sustainable way.  This way of life is longterm.  It shouldn’t be punitive or approached with a brute force attitude.  I’ll still be doing yoga when I’m eighty– I’ll just be better at it.  And that should be my goal in my relationship with food.

And so once again, I’m going to be a heretic–this time in the LCHF world.  I’m going to talk about heretical things at times, controversies where Your Mileage May Vary.  I’m going to put together recipes and ideas out there that are definitely NOT part of the keto Puritan hymn book.   That way of seeing the world as good or bad, ourselves as good or bad, that way of punishing ourselves and others — that shit don’t work for me.

My quote of the day:

“The only way that we can live, is if we grow. The only way that we can grow is if we change. The only way that we can change is if we learn. The only way we can learn is if we are exposed. And the only way that we can become exposed is if we throw ourselves out into the open. Do it. Throw yourself.”  (C.Joybell C.)


Nameste – Lola.



Falling off the LCHF Wagon. Gah.

Seven years ago, I changed my life with LCHF (low carb, high fat).  I saved my health, lost weight, and felt better than I had in a decade.  Frequent migraines became very rare once I swore off wheat. I was doing so well, that, like many, I began to take my good health for granted.  And then. . . the slow roll tumble off the wagon began.  But I always managed to get back up –and back on. Until cancer.

Cancer Changes Everything

It started with what seemed like a menopause hiccup — that is, I didn’t seem to be HAVING any menopause–quite the reverse: my body was as full of estrogen as a teenager.  And that was the problem; this situation resulted in breast and uterine cancer. Surgery and treatments followed.  That was a year and a half ago — and recently, a new problem cropped up, mild diabetes.  That’s a huge wake-up call.

I know how to beat this. LCHF is going to be at least part of the answer. Exercise has to become part of my life again in a more organized way. But dammit, I’m older, and tireder and more stressed — and I look at the answer with, well, questions. How do I start over?

Looking around at the blogs and books, everything is geared for the newbie.  They’re all about telling you about the evils of artificial sweeteners, seed oils, etc., and spend lots of time defending their brand of LCHF Against All! Comers! with scientific reports and testimonials and so forth.  I do not need to be convinced. I need to figure out how to start over, get healthier AND BE HAPPY in my way of life.  For someone who loves potatoes, fruit and chocolate as much as I do?  This is a real challenge.

My Food Philosophy

My food philosophy involves developing a deeper understanding of how to make healthy food choices and set oneself up for success. I am not “religious” about LCHF, I am a pragmatist.  Many conversations about diet turn “religious” as people contend with each other about the “purity” of their practice and superiority of their choices.  It’s similar to yoga.   There are those yoga studios with mirrors all over, where people try to attain perfection — and perfection is defined by their particular yogini (teacher) or school.  Dogma on food (especially keto and paleo and other variants of LCHF) is everywhere and people love getting into fights about what practice or beliefs are “best.”  I’m not going there.

My yoga studio has no mirrors.  Its very supportive and allows for lots of leeway in how you do the poses and how you manage your body in classes.  At the end of every class, I feel infinitely better about myself and my journey — and I know I am the worst student in the class but that this is okay with everybody.   I used to be a passable yoga student, but a year, in and out of bed, with surgeries and treatments and, well, the upshot is– the old bod is a hot mess.  I am very fortunate to have a good yoga studio with great teachers.

I am going to apply that gentleness and kindness I get from my yoga studio to my practice of food. I am going to be disciplined with myself but if I need a little adjustment here and there, I’m going to make it.    But structure is very helpful– which is why I go to yoga class.  Sure, I could practice on my own, but the class is fun, energizing and inspiring.  For me, that’s also why I blog, so it’s natural that I start a new blog to help me (and perhaps others) on the way to better health and more abundant happiness.

So, how about you?

I’ve been blogging on other topics for about two years now. I know what I can deliver. Recipes, sure thing.  Tips and book reviews, you betcha. Gadgets and stuff, that’s always fun. I hope to have content here you can relate to, find interesting and engaging that will help you on your journey to better health and better eating without too much dogma and totally no judgement.  We all have our little heresies. (I use stevia. And…occasionally….if there are no other options…sucralose! horrors!)  We all have our moments of falling ass over teakettle for that certain something. The important point is to make good choices  most of the time. And to make sure we don’t sabotage ourselves (oh wow, we so totally can).   This is a blog about getting healthy and staying healthy with LCHF –even after we’ve totally dropped the ball.

We can do this!  And we can get better.

Warm regards, Lola 

Good company in a journey makes the way seem shorter. — Izaak Walton