Sunday, April 29, 2012

Keto: Week 3 Summary

Weight Loss: 2.3 pounds 

This week has been somewhat of a rollercoaster for me. That probably helps to explain the low weight loss. It started with the leftovers of my son's sickess, and me stressing about the two days of him not feeding as much as usual. My biggest concern was, of course, this affecting my supply and then Nathan not getting enough to eat. 

After that, I noticed the back of my neck is somewhat sensitive/itchy and I was worried that my keto lifestyle had introduced something I'm allergic to into my daily diet. However, I am allergic to very little and I have still not tried anything completely new. The one thing I've increased my intake of the most is artificial sweeteners. Specifically, my sweetener of choice is Splenda. I looked it up and it appears as though many people have bad reactions to Splenda. So, I cut it out of my diet for several days. I saw very little improvement. Small enough that it could associated with me not scratching and simply using Cortizone lotion. Meh. One possibility is that, while burning the fat that has accumulated over years, it has introduced the toxins into my body from that fat, and this is the way for it to escape. Not exactly sure how to explain it. Basically, some people get a "keto rash".

My weight loss is painfully low this week. I first noticed this around Wednesday, and on Thursday I started looking into weight loss plateaus on keto.  One very helpful post is by humbled on r/keto here.

However, I believe that my low results can be attributed to my body finally trying to put a stop to my weight loss in a type of preservation mode for breastfeeding. 

In any case, I've switched to partial fasting days, where I can eat during an 8 hour time period and I fast for the other 16 hours. 

The benefits for fasting are (directly copied/pasted from r/keto's (link)KETO FAQ):
 Fasting and Exercise are metabolically the same. In detail, fasting leads to low insulin levels and high growth hormone. When those two are inverse, (one low, one high) more free fatty acids are released in your blood. This leads to increased fat burning. ("increased metabolism") This, in turn leads to increased amino acid movement through your muscles and means more energy and more efficient use of nutrients for the muscular tissue. In addition, your body increases in epinephrine and nor-epinephrine production which results increased alertness and mental clarity. This means that exercising in a fasted state is preferable and powerful.

In addition, I've started measuring myself in the case that I am losing inches but not weight.

Whatever, still learning I guess! :-)
Recipes __

This week was low on new recipes, a lot of the good old classics and a couple of encores of previous ones.

Keto No-Bake Bars 

We substituted 1 tsp granulated Splenda for each drop liquid sweetener since that is the only sweetener we had. This recipe was alright, but just not sweet enough. I think we expected it to be more similar to "the real thing". Perhaps if we had liquid sucralose or stevia it would have a better taste!

Make it again? Probably not.

"Breaded" Chicken tenders

This was less of a followed recipe and more of an idea a few redditors posted about using ground up pork rinds as the breading on chicken tenders. We were having so much chicken (and, you know, other meats) that I was definitely getting sick of plan old chicken. Same texture all the time. Blegh. This actually was quite good! I was worried it would get soggy quickly (like in the nachos scenario) but it worked well!

Make it again? Definitely.

Wednesday, April 25, 2012

The Sickness

Edit: Fixed the formatting

This past few days has been quite stressful! Starting last Friday, Nathan had a fever. I did the normal stuff of trying to give him acetominophen to bring down the temperature, kept him dressed lightly, all that typical stuff to help him feel comfortable. However, when it spiked that afternoon to above 102 and he was completely inconsolable, I went to the doctor. 

"He's fine, just a virus" says the doctor. 

My mother, who accompanied/drove me (typical, the one day I am without a car my baby gets sick) asked "At which point do we go to urgent care/ER, if his fever goes up?" 

Something along those lines. The doctor didn't really answer, basically saying that it wouldn't happen. His fever wouldn't go up too much and in a couple of days it'll be just fine. The next day, luckily, Jason did not have work. I say luckily, because Nathan's fever spiked up again - this time above 104 degrees. He was vomiting and would not stop crying. Generally a miserable baby. We couldn't even get him to keep down medicine to try and bring down his fever. 

We called a nurse's hotline (SO helpful, especially for a first-time mother), who recommended we go to the ER. What a stressful day! The doctor there said basically the same thing, but gave Nathan some medicine to help prevent him from vomiting up the medicine, and then gave some ibuprofen and acetaminophen to bring down his fever. After an hour, Nathan was actually smiling! Thank goodness. The next day was spent rotating medicine through him to keep him comfortable, and allowing him for tons of sleep and TONS of nursing. Jason was incredibly helpful and switched off with me throughout the night sleeping in our recliner/nursery floor because Nathan would not sleep on his own. He vomited a few times and more than once I was pretty sure that there was no milk for me to give Nathan to make up the difference. Sunday night I slept in my own bed! And finally on Wednesday he is back to his normal self 100%! Glad it is over.

Wordless Wednesday

Sunday, April 22, 2012

Keto: Week 2 Summary

Weight Loss: 4.3 pounds (10.3 total!)

It certainly has continued to be a learning experience to maintain a Keto lifestyle. I still have been facing a few cravings for carbohydrate-heavy foods. Mostly sugars! However, I am feeling great. My weight loss was quite a bit less this week, and I expect that is due to me being a breastfeeding mama. My body is probably going into emergency mode and attempting to shut down my metabolism and hold on to all fat stores. This is just an added bonus for those who choose to nurse our babies. The important thing, really, it that there is some improvement throughout the week, and that I am staying in ketosis.

Speaking of ketosis, I finally received my ketostix and of course immediately ran to the bathroom to take one of the tests. I don't know for how long, but I am definitely in ketosis! All the way at the largest amount, too. So no more wondering for me :-)

I have been having more feelings of hunger this last week, but I am attributing that to switching up on my mealtimes. Since my husband works so early, we have dinner early too. About an hour and a half to two hours earlier than prior. Guess when my hunger pangs occur. Right when dinner used to! So I'm sure that will pass within a couple days. What really helps me get through them without caving (I'm trying to get at minimum 12 hours between dinner and breakfast) is to just drink some water. So simple and yet it works.


This Week's Recipes: 

Cheese Crust Pizza (Cheese Crust Pizza)

This pizza tasted good (and how could it not?) but the cheese-only crust never really crisped and hardened up to make it really great. The texture reminded me of when I undercooked a pizza before and the dough was still partially raw. Blegh. This upcoming week we might try a different crust recipe!

Make it again? I don't think so.

Pork Rind Nachos (Low Carb Nachos)

This one really does not require a recipe, but hell with it I'll link to where I found the idea! The pork rinds are the chips, and then you really just add whatever you'd like on your nachos! One tip that I found particularly helpful from the OP was not to pile them up like regular nachos. Instead, just dip the pork rinds! The difference in using the pork rinds is that they can get soggy quickly, hence the no-piling-toppings recommendation.

Make it again? Definitely. It is a decent replacement for a nacho craving!

KETO RESTAURANT - Mongolian Grill - 2xchicken, brocolli, celery, jalapenos, sesame oil, hot chili oil, garlic, no rice or sauce. Mixed sriracha, butter, and soy sauce. (Split between 2 people)

Now, I know that Mongolian Grill restaurants are typically franchised, but the several near me all carry these items. At least most of them. Basically, just pile up your bowl with green veggies that aren't starchy, and some flavorful oils (we chose garlic and hot chili oils). Remember, no noodles, and ask for no rice! We wanted it to be extra filling and ordered twice the chicken. Also, NO SAUCE. I'm sure all of the ofference sauces have some sort of sugar in them so steer clear! We mixed the sriracha and soy sauce to make a tasty sauce instead! If you take it home, I recommend mixing the two with a little butter to get a bit of fat into your meal as well.

Order again? Definitely! If it weren't (somewhat) pricey we would order this weekly, at least!

Cinnamon Minute Muffin w Cream Cheese Frosting (KETO Cinnamon Roll)
Forgive the terrible picture quality! 

Oh. My. Goodness. This muffin is delicious! It makes a great breakfast, a high calorie count and quite filling! Also, super quick and easy to make.

Make it again? Hell yes. I'm struggling to not have it 4+ times a week. Oh man.

Bacon Wrapped Chicken (Stuffed with Cream Cheese and Pepperoncinis)

Delicious! And seriously easy. I didn't have chicken breasts, but instead tenderloins. This actually made it easier. No cutting raw chicken involved! I baked the tenderloins for all but the last 15 minutes, wrapped them with bacon around a pepperoncini (this recipe says jalapeno but we didn't have any) and some cream cheese. So good!

Make it again? For sure. I could easily have this meal weekly.

Thursday, April 19, 2012

Weekend Discussion: Choosing the Gender of your next child

This is quite a controversial topic when it comes to ethics as well as some fighting for freedom of choice.

Recently, a company in Bellevue, WA has come under fire for advertising that you can "Create the family you want". link

While it seems harmless enough, I am against this practice as I really think it will aide in the discrimination against females. An extreme example of sexual discrimination is in China, where selective abortions have lead to the population in many areas being 1.3 boys for every girl. This has lead to not every straight male finding a partner, and apparently goes on to cause sexual violence, forced marriage, prostitution, and similar acts.

In addition to that, choosing the gender of your future child begins the process of treating a human baby as yet another object of possession. And once they choose this? Are they going to make every choice for the child throughout their life? What if the child ends up being the opposite of their expectations? Parenting isn't about choosing every single thing, it is about nurturing and raising a some one into an independent human being.

In my personal life, while I've known many pregnant women to have a hope for a boy or a girl, the ones who've ended up with the opposite have never been disappointed for long! Especially once they see their beautiful little bundle for the first time.

Here is a link to a debate page for the different sides to this topic, if you're interested.

What do you think? Should we be allowed to determine the gender of our children ahead of time?

Sunday, April 15, 2012

KETO: Week 1 Summary

This has been an interesting week!

Weight Loss: 6 pounds!

I feel fantastic, and only get the cravings for carbohydrates (sugars, mostly) when actively strolling through the bakery or candy aisle. I am nice and full throughout the day. As opposed to all of the previous diets I've attempted, I actually have to try to eat ENOUGH calories because of how filling all my food is! It really is fantastic. The Keto diet has been great to me!

I found surprisingly little information about lactating women and low-carb diets, but what I did find was anecdotal 'evidence'. Most of that, to me, seemed like they were too worried to cut carbs down to 20g per day, so they didn't. Many recommended I skip the initial phase of the ketogenic diet, and start with the maintenance phase - 100g of carbs each day. 

Instead, I am going to continue trying for 20g carbs per day, and keep a very close eye on my milk supply.  After all, carbs are a nonessential nutrient, and thus should not affect my supply!

I'm keeping track of my baby's appetite, mood, any changes in BMs, and his weight. 

The important thing about a keto diet, especially while pregnant or breastfeeding, is getting enough calories and water each and every day. I highly recommend (no I am not paid to say this) to keep track of your calories and everything! I input my recommended nutrient amounts (65% fat, 30% protein and 5% carbs) and it tells me how much more I need to consume throughout my day. Super easy!

And remember: If you aren't hitting your caloric needs, your body might go into starvation/preservation mode and refuse to burn any fat. It can slow your metabolism way down and prevent you from losing weight at all.


This week's recipes:

Bacon-wrapped cheese-filled beef log (aka: Bacon Cheeseburga Roll)

This thing was delicious! And huge, it could feed five people or more, depending on the appetites and side dishes. Our rendition used havarti cheese and pepper jack, and we used garlic and Worcestershire sauce to season the meat. We also mixed a raw egg into the beef to help it hold together better. 

Make it again? Yes, definitely.

Asian Chicken (Simple Asian Chicken Dish)

This was very tasty. We had some leftover chicken and threw that into it, so our chicken itself was a little on the dry side. Certainly not the fault of the recipe, which calls for raw chicken! As I was eating it I was psyched. Delicious for sure. However, later on I had that distinct feeling of being super full, like I felt heavy. This is a recipe I would only be able to eat once in a while.

Make it again? Yes, once in a while.

Peanut Butter Flourless Cookies (Flourless PB Cookies)

Definitely tasty, but you will need a drink! I recommend some delicious Almond Milk :-)

Make it again? Yes! They are a great mini treat.

Cheesecake Cupcakes (Mini Cheesecake Cupcakes)

These were fairly tasty. Don't skip the last step: cool overnight in the fridge. They were not great when still warm from the oven. 

Make it again: Maybe. I'm still undecided.

Sugar Free Chocolate Truffles (Bourbon Chocolate Truffles Sugar Free)

As much as I love this blog, I wasn't a huge fan of this recipe. We did skip the bourbon though, so perhaps that's where we went wrong. They have a great texture and taste quite chocolatey, but the presence of avocado is too powerful for my taste.

Make it again? Probably not.

Almond Butter Bread (Mr. Peanut Sandwich Bread)

We substituted almond butter, because that's what we had in stock at home. This is good stuff! I'm sure it would be better with peanut butter (it had a faint 'dessert' type taste to the bread with the almonds). Great texture, and seriously easy to make. Our breakfast this morning was a sandwich with egg, extra sharp cheddar, bacon, a sausage patty, and a little mustard. This was a FANTASTIC way to start the day!

Make it again? Oh yes. Every week.

(Yes I know it says only five, started MFP a couple days into the week!)

Created by MyFitnessPal - Nutrition Facts For Foods

Thursday, April 12, 2012

Nathan and his kitties

Today is another post-heavy day!

As the days and weeks pass I am more amazed with the little human being that is growing up in front of my eyes. I am so grateful to be able to spend time at home every day taking care of him. One recent development has been how aware Nathan is of the others in the household. Of course he notices myself and his daddy, but lately he has become entranced with our cats, Kabuki and Kai. They are both black and easy to spot across the room, even when I'm trying to feed Nathan in a darkened room. Despite the regular intermissions in our feeding sessions, it is hilarious that he will drop everything just to watch Kai jump up on to the dresser to get into the window.

If Nathan is playing on the floor, the kitties will often come up to see what he's doing, sniff his face, and mainly just be curious. Nathan loves it. Once he spots them coming over he smiles, and has started raising up his hand to try and feel their soft fur.

Finally, the cats have gotten used to Nathan's grabs (instead of petting he likes to grab a fistful of fur) and are incredibly patient. I mean, he is 6 months old and is already starting to realize not to grab, but to pat (it's a start!).

I love watching them grow close. During our bed time reading, some times one (or both!) of the kitties will come up and rub their foreheads against Nathan's outstretched hand. Adorable!

KETO while BFing Days 1-5

In my last post I started to explain what the Ketogenic diet is. Basically what it means in my reality, is that I can eat meats, cheeses, eggs, fats, and veggies. I can add to that diet a couple types of fruit (those high in fiber to overcome the sugar content - like raspberries) and sugar/flour substitutes in order to overcome my sweet tooth.

Day 1 was actually quite easy, despite the fact that it was Easter. We had some tasty ham, deviled eggs, a fancy salad, and steamed veggies! One thing about this diet is that all of the foods are quite filling, unlike carbs. So once you finish a meal you are definitely full! And if there was one thing that was the downfall of my previous diet attempts, it was me being hungry.

Day 2 was just fine as well, we had made a trip to Costco to make sure we had enough of our meats and cheeses in order to survive this diet. Bacon and eggs for breastfast (who could complain) coffee with heavy cream, and well you get the idea. Love it! The steamed veggies we had were covered in salt and butter (with this diet you go through a lot of water and need to make sure you consume enough sodium to try and hold on to some of it, and the human brain requires fats to function properly, to butter that stuff on up!).

Day 3 was when I felt like I had hit a wall. I woke up with this starving/nauseous feeling in my stomach. My knees were weak as though I had run a marathon in my sleep. I could barely lug around my baby all day long. That is what is known as the Keto flu. Nothing to be concerned with, it simply means your body is beginning to run out of the stores of carbohydrates (didn't know it stored them long-term? Me either!) and is switching its fuel sources. This is the first step into Ketosis, which is when your body begins burning your fat! Switching over to ketosis can happen after any amount of time, from a couple of days to 2 weeks after cutting out carbs. It is different for everyone. One way to find out if you are in true ketosis is to purchase Ketostix, which is similar to a pregnancy test. You pee on a stick, and it tests your urine for ketones (which are present once you hit ketosis). I believe you can get Ketostix at drugs stores, but if not, Amazon has never let me down. *Disclaimer: I haven't yet purchased Ketostix but I plan to in the near future.

Day 4 I was back to normal. I had expected leftover feelings of blegh from the previous day, but I felt great once again! For breakfast I had an omelette with pepperjack cheese, a couple of sausage patties, and a cup of coffee with heavy cream! Lunch was steamed veggies with salt and butter (always, can't get over it!), egg salad,  and some almond butter. I may have had a second cup of coffee somewhere in there. One of my favorite things to ensure I hit my calorie count (very important as a breastfeeding mama) was to have Diet Root Beer (double-check the carbs!) with heavy cream! It is seriously like a root beer float that has melted a little. So tasty! Dinner was the really tasty part. Found a recipe here for a simple asian-inspired chicken dish! It had soy, peanut butter, sriracha. So tasty! And seriously, super easy. If i can keep finding recipes like this, there will be no problem completing my 6 weeks of keto.

So far, the most important things I've come across with going on a ketogenic diet while breastfeeding are:

1) Make sure you are eating enough calories. I thought this would be the easy part, but when everything is so filling, and your day is so busy, it really can be a challenge to keep track and hit those goals. Make sure you do, otherwise you might risk it affecting your supply, and that is not what we want!

2) In order to hit ketosis, you can only consume somewhere between 20g and 50g of carbohydrates per day. It varies from person to person. To be sure of whether you're in ketosis or not, I recommend ketostix to test for ketones in your urine. My personal goal is 20 carbs per day, just to be safe.

3) Drink tons of water - seriously if you can drink a gallon in a day do it because you will be retaining water like crazy.

4) Add salt. If you aren't consuming particularly salty foods, try to add salt to your veggies or other plain dishes. This also goes towards avoiding dehydrating - which is an easy thing to have happen on this diet.

For some more detailed information on this keto diet, refer to Keto FAQs

For information on low-carb diets and breastfeeding:

Breastfeeding and the KETO Diet TIPS

When I began researching the ketogenic diet, I found very little information regarding being a breastfeeding woman while cutting carbs. I decided I would try to put out my experience for others to take into account when deciding how to lose weight and/or feel better.

If you are the mother of a young baby, under 4 months old, I recommend not yet experimenting with diets. If you can hold off, maybe even wait until their are six months old. At such a young age, the breastfeeding relationship is still iffy, and some women might struggle even without doing some dieting that may affect their supply.

If you cannot bear to wait any longer, and want to start being healthier NOW, then I highly recommend you start with "maintenance mode" of the ketogenic diet. Rather than limiting yourself to 25 grams of carbohydrates in a day, increase that to 100 grams in a day to lessen how drastic of a change it will be. From there, slowly decrease your carbs over time.

In any case, here are some tips.

Tips for Breastfeeding Women on the Ketogenic Diet

1) Keep an eye on your breast milk supply. This is the most important. Because everyone is different, things affect people in different way. To be on the safe side, make sure to keep watch over your output, especially the first couple weeks getting into ketosis.

In my experience, because of my crazy carb-laden (junk food) diet prior, I had a near-constant over supply. This went away when I began having a regular, steady diet of low carb foods. I still produced enough for the little guy, but no longer would have crazy letdowns soaking through my shirts at a moments' notice.

If you DO start to notice a dwindling supply, or if you are nervous about it at all, I recommend maintenance mode: 100 grams/day of carbs rather than 25(see above).

2) Drink TONS of water. Really, this is just as important as number one in many ways. It is important to keep hydrated as a breastfeeding mother, and even more important with the ketogenic diet. This is because carbohydrates, when consumed, grab hold of water molecules within the body. By getting rid of carbs, you are losing this water weight and will have to drink possibly twice the amount of water you drank before.

3) Eat enough (of the right type of) calories. I know, you're thinking to the numerous times you've heard "calories in, calories out" and thought that by eating fewer calories, you will lose weight more quickly. However, the body doesn't always work like that. After a few days of under-consumption, especially as a breastfeeding woman, your body may react by trying to prevent weight loss. Think of all the people you know who tried to consume 1200 calories per day and still couldn't manage to lose weight.

How to know how many calories you need? Here is a handy online tool:

This also tells you how much of what types of calories you should consume in order to hit your macros! Really helpful, especially in the first few weeks.

4) Keep track of ALL your foods and drinks. I highly recommend MyFitnessPal (and their free Android app) to keep track of your intakes. They have an EXTENSIVE database of foods and drinks, and if you can't find your food there, you can grab the nutrition label and add it yourself. They even have a huge number of restaurant nutrition information! Really very helpful. If possibly, invest in a food scale. This will make it much easier to figure out how much of a food you are truly eating.

5/24/15 Update: Newer post here!

Sunday, April 1, 2012

Breastmilk Storage Tip!

I was just browsing through a couple of my favorite sites, and came across this breastmilk storage tip from Green Lite Bites!

All you need is:
A Gift Bag (typical size)
Breastmilk Storage Bags (like Lansinoh)

You put new bags of milk in the top, and create a slit at the bottom to allow frozen milk to slip out the bottom!

Click to jump to the video!
How-To Video