KetoLife: Carnivore Forefather Vilhjalmur Stefansson

For a Harvard anthropologist, Vilhjalmur Stefansson was an exciting kind of guy. He was an Arctic explorer, and since rugged Arctic explorers weren’t cool with being chained down by having to haul tons of ‘civilized’ food wherever they went, he and his men ate what the Inuit— the Eskimos— ate. 

According to Stefansson, the tribes he travelled with ate mostly caribou meat, with fish, seal meat, polar bear, birds and bird eggs making up the rest of the dietary. The Inuit mostly ignored the plants in their environment as ‘not proper human food,’ but they would eat knotweed roots if they were short of food. 

Stefansson lived with the Inuit, eating as they did, for a decade and observed that the Inuit who ate this way were healthy and vigorous people, not weary lethargic souls suffering from scurvy, pellagra, and other deficiency diseases. 

Stefansson believed that the diet the Inuit ate, and that he himself had eaten for so long without bad effect, must have been a healthy and ‘balanced’ diet. And he was willing to put himself and a fellow explorer, Karsten Anderson, on the line to proof it under scientific observation.

In 1928, the two men became the subjects in a year-long experiment to settle the all-meat-diet controversy. For three weeks, they ate a mixed diet of fruits, grain, vegetables and meat while getting medically tested.  Then they moved to Bellevue Hospital and were fed an all-meat diet while under observation, Stefansson for three weeks and Anderson for 13 weeks. After the observation period they were sent home to live on all-meat diet for the rest of the year. Their urine was regularly tested for ketones and so the researchers would know if they ‘cheated’ on the all-meat diet. 

The men ate many types of meat— all cooked, even though the experimenters wrongly assumed that the Inuit ate only raw meat. The men remained healthy for the full year, with no loss of physical or mental vigor and not vitamin or mineral deficiencies. 

Later, Stefansson wrote a book, Not by Bread Alone, about the all-meat diet, and the researcher who supervised the experiment wrote the introduction to the book. (I have ordered the book from Amazon, where it is available.)

Modern nutritionists tend to ignore this experiment, Stefansson, and the Inuit, in their insistence that you need to down serving after serving of fruits and vegetables to ward off scurvy and other deficiency diseases.

There is a modern movement toward a carnivore diet. The noted health podcaster Jimmy Moore said on a few recent podcasts that he’s doing mostly carnivore now. Since Jimmy Moore often shares his medical test results on his podcasts, with commentary by his physician co-host, it seems likely that the carnivore diet is not causing Mr Moore any active health problems.

I haven’t tried actual carnivore myself. Being dependent on a rural grocery store for my meat supply, I can’t get grass-fed beef regularly, or get any big variety of cuts of conventionally-produced meat. Being low-income, I can’t exactly afford to have hundreds of dollars of grass-fed shipped to me without giving up such luxuries as electricity and winter home heating.

In addition, my (very conventional) primary care provider insists that my level of chronic kidney disease demands that I cut down on protein and that I eat more ‘plant-based’ protein— in other words, more over-processed fake meat and milk products. The fake milks are usually sugared, as well. I’m not sure how much I trust the advice of a non-doctor who lied to me about my test results before I insisted that the clinic mail me a print-out of the results. Though she does seem to approve of what my low-carb ketogenic diet has been doing for my blood sugar control (my A1c is currently on the low end of the prediabetic level.)

Since I now have home test strips so I can test my urine for protein myself, I can see for myself whether extreme protein restrictions are helpful to deal with that aspect of my health. So it’s possible that I may try some carnivore days or weeks in the future to see what happens.

Meaty good wishes to you,

Nissa Annakindt

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Recipes: Keto Parmesan Eggs & Keto Parmesan Sauerkraut

Today we have a recipe twofer, Parmesan Eggs, which is a great ‘breakfast’ food (remember any meal that breaks your overnight fast is a ‘breakfast’ meal.) And Parmesan Sauerkraut, which is a great way to turn healthy sauerkraut into a food that even people who don’t normally eat sauerkraut will like. The cabbage in your sauerkraut counts as part of your low-carb veggies you are allowed even on the Induction (strictest) level of lowcarb/keto eating plans. 

A few words about parmesan cheese— the common kind of grated parmesan cheese in big plastic shakers sold by Kraft— it’s not the best. It’s not the worst, either— that would be the stuff in similar shakers that is cheaper that doesn’t even claim to be parmesan cheese that is just processed junk food. I’m using a generic version of the Kraft parmesan at the moment, but better is the kind that is just regular parmesan cheese, either pregrated for you or grated yourself at home. (I haven’t been to the grocery store that carries it for a few months.)

Parmesan Bacon Eggs

For this recipe you will need a ramekin. I’ve had a few ramekins which I’ve always called ‘mini casserole dishes.’ Two are 16 oz capacity, one is 24 oz. Recently I bought 2 made-in-France 8 oz ramekins. For this recipe it is usual to make an individual ramekin for each person. The recipe is for one individual ramekin with one serving. You can make more ramekins or make enough for two people in one larger ramekin.

1 Tablespoon (15 ml) bacon bits (or chopped cooked ham or Spam)

2 eggs

1 Tablespoon (15 ml) heavy whipping cream (or coconut milk/cream)

1 Tablespoon (15 ml) grated parmesan cheese

1/2 Tablespoon (7.5 ml) butter or ghee, dotted on top

(optional) 1/8 tsp (0.63 ml) Himalayan pink salt

Spray your ramekin with olive oil cooking spray, and add the ingredients in the order listed. Preheat oven to 325 degrees F (170 degrees C.) Bake for about 17 minutes, depending on how well-done you like your eggs and the size of your ramekin. (I use the 16 oz or 8 oz ramekins, the smaller ramekins need more cooking time.)

Nutritional info: carbs & net carbs: 2.4 grams; fat: 24.9 g; protein 16.4 g.

VARIATIONS: Make with 1 or 3 eggs depending on your hunger level, leave out the meat or replace it with tuna or salmon or some other meat; use a different kind of cheese, use EVOO or coconut oil in place of the butter or ghee. 

Parmesan Sauerkraut

Break out your ramekin for this one as well. Fermented foods like sauerkraut or kimchee are good for you, but a lot of us don’t care for the taste of plain sauerkraut. I love it this way. Double or triple the recipe for more eaters— use a bigger ramekin or casserole dish if you do.

1/2 cup (125 ml) sauerkraut

1 Tablespoon (15 ml) heavy whipping cream

1 Tablespoon (15 ml) grated parmesan cheese

1/2 Tablespoon (7.5 ml) butter, ghee or extra-virgin olive oil

(optional) 1/8 tsp (0.63 ml) Himalayan pink salt

Preheat oven to 325 degrees F(170 degrees C.) Spray your ramekin with olive oil cooking spray, and add ingredients in the order listed. Bake for about 12 minutes until parmesan topping is golden. 

Nutritional info: carbs: 6.3 g; net carbs: 1.9 g; fat: 13.0 g; protein: 3.3 g. 

VARIATIONS: Use kimchee instead of sauerkraut. Use home-made sauerkraut or kimchee using the recipe in Real Food Keto (by Jimmy Moore, Christine Moore, and Maria Emmerich.) OR do a combo of the two recipes by adding 1/4 cup sauerkraut/kimchee to the Parm Bacon Eggs recipe above (add before all the other ingredients.)

With parmesan-fingered salutations,

Nissa Annakindt

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Try These Lowcarb Keto Podcasts

If you are ‘doing keto’ or lowcarb, whether for ‘fast weight loss,’ diabetes control, help in Aspergers/autism or ADHD, or other health reasons, your first order of business is to learn more about the lowcarb/keto eating plan. You don’t want to be one of those sad cases who thinks ‘keto’ means giving up regular bread and eating tons of pita bread!

I am lucky on the lowcarb/keto learning curve. I am an obsessive reader anyway, and I am blessed with good intelligence & education, so I accumulate and read books about lowcarb/keto. But some people— even well-educated people, even teachers who are SKILLED at teaching reading to children— don’t learn as well by reading.

That’s where the podcasts come in. A good podcast with a well-informed host and guests cut through all the internet keto rumors the same way a sound book does. And you can listen while doing other tasks— I’m listening to a podcast right now while writing this blog post. I listen both on my laptop computer (a Mac) using iTunes, and I download podcasts onto my fleet of mp3 players so I can listen to podcasts while doing my daily walks or hauling water buckets to my critters. 

The down side is that ANYONE with the right equipment can set up a podcast and say any old thing about keto or lowcarb. That’s one reason why many new lowcarbers are so ill-informed. It’s best to be selective about which podcasts you listen to at first. Here are some that have passed the Nissa test— the information they give matches what I have read in the best books.

1. Jimmy Moore podcasts – Jimmy Moore is a lowcarb/keto superstar, even though he’s not a doctor or scientist. He’s a formerly 410 pound man who lost weight on lowcarb, learned as much as he could about it, and made a long running health podcast about it. His main podcast, The Livin’ La Vida Low-Carb Show, is the longest-running health podcast, and has had most of the lowcarb world’s superstars as guests. Jimmy’s good at explaining the science behind lowcarb to ordinary people. He also does other podcasts, such as Real Talk with Jimmy Moore.

2. The Fat-Burning Man Show – This is the one with Abel James. I learned about this podcast from a Jimmy Moore book. I’ve listened to it a few times and it’s good and sciency. Presumes you are big on doing workouts, which is great if that is what you are doing. (At my current age and state of health I need gentler exercises myself.)

3. Dr. Berg’s Healthy Keto and Intermittent Fasting Podcast – This podcast is in short bits mostly of about 4 to 7 minutes on one topic or question. If you listen mainly on your laptop and get impatient listening to longer podcasts, this might be the right one for you. I’m listening to this one a lot lately.

4. 2 Keto Dudes – Now one of the Keto Dudes is a Keto Lady, and this one doesn’t seem to be updating much lately, but I enjoyed the episodes I have heard. 

These are the podcasts I’m listening to at the moment. Do you have any different ones you would recommend? Please let us all know in a comment! I’m always looking to learn more, especially as I’m currently writing a book about the lowcarb/keto way of life, specifically on the accusation that ‘Keto’ is a ‘fad diet.’

Personal Update: Still trying to figure out how much I need to lower my protein count, if any. Using Carb Manager to track stuff. Made ghee today, double batch in 2 kettles since last time I made a double batch in a big kettle it didn’t turn out as good. Trying to get more fasting & intermittent fasting in my life. Been in ketosis for 27 straight days now. Life is good.

Wishing you the best in podcasts and life,

Nissa Annakindt

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Lowcarb Keto Recipe: Free Bone Broth!

Bone broth is a healthy food— wouldn’t you like to get some chicken bone broth for free? I get mine free all the time— because I eat a lot of chicken thighs and I save all the bones in freezer bags until enough accumulate to make some bone broth. Currently I get my chicken from the grocery store, but I AM plotting against the lives of some chickens right now. Which, alas, means I will need to learn to eat chicken parts that are not chicken thighs.

Free Chicken Bone Broth

Accumulate enough leftover chicken bones in your freezer to fill a Crock-Pot or slow cooker. When you have enough, put some (optional) veggies into your Crock-Pot.

4-8 cloves of garlic, crushed

One onion, chopped

thumb-sized bit of fresh ginger, chopped

chopped fresh parsley (or 1 teaspoon dried parsley)

Next, add your bones to your Crock-Pot and add

1/4 cup vinegar (I use Bragg’s Apple Cider Vinegar)

Water to cover bones

Cook on your Crock-Pot’s Low setting for 24-48 hours. Unplug and cool for about an hour, then strain the broth through a strainer to get the bones and other bits out. Pour into quart canning jars, and put in fridge overnight. The fat will rise to the top, and you can take it out, boil it a bit to get the last of the broth out, and use it for cooking fat. The defatted broth you can store in the freezer until you are ready to use it in cooking or bulletproof beverages. 

I DO NOT add salt or seasonings when making the broth— I can add these things later when I prepare the broth for consumption. 

VARIATIONS: I use the same recipe with beef or pork bones, which, sadly, I have to buy. I have been trying to get my deer-hunting friends to save me some bones, but they insist I don’t really want the bones, I want the meat. My best beef bones come from a local farmer who sells at a farmer’s market in Menominee, MI. I can’t save bones from my grocery store beef and pork because my local grocery sells mainly boneless meat.

USES: I cook my quinoa in bone broth, and it adds a great flavor. It’s a good base for soups. And you can drink a cup of bone broth, heated, as a beverage. Dr. Jason Fung even allows it as a fasting beverage— which is great if you fast in a household full of worried family members. Just make yourself a cup of bone broth, call it your ‘soup,’ and your family will calm down.

So, this is the way I get my bone broth for nothing. If only the chick hatcheries would send me my chicks for free, I’d be a song.

Bone-brothy greetings from

Nissa Annakindt

Fasting Update: Reading a book by Dr. Jason Fung, he talked about ‘modified fat fasting,’ but never explained what that is exactly or how to do it. Dear Jason can be disorganized like that sometimes! So I looked around the internet and found very little until I came across the concept of ‘bulletproof fasting,’ which allows you some bulletproof coffee on a fasting day. Or other bulletproof beverages, I assume. So I’m doing bulletproof fasting today (Thursday) and hope to do regular (water) fasting tomorrow (Friday.)  I’ll let you know how it goes!

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KetoLife: The Careful Carb Diet & Kidney Disease

I have been on low-carb for years, especially since I developed T2 diabetes. And it helps. My latest A1c test has me at the low end of the prediabetic scale, and I didn’t even ‘study’ for that blood test by being super-strict low-carb like I often do.

I have had bad kidney tests which indicate I have chronic kidney disease (CKD.) Not as bad as what my nondoctor PCP (primary care provider) insisted. I had the clinic mail me my test results and found to my relief I am NOT at stage 4 kidney disease but still at 3. My nondoctor claimed I was at stage 4 on the phone. 

But still, my nondoctor wants me to restrict my protein. And since I need to restrict my carbs to control my blood sugars, that leaves me with one macronutrient: fat. Which I’m sure my very conventional nondoctor doesn’t want me to eat, either. So: a food-free diet???

OK, so I’ve done a major search of all the low-carb and health books I have, including my 3 books by Dr. Jason Fung, a nephrologist (kidney doctor,) in search of information on combining low-carbohydrate and low-protein. I found very little until I got out an old Dana Carpender book and found ‘The Careful Carb Diet’ in Chapter 14 of ‘How I Gave Up My Low-Fat Diet and Lost 40 Pounds (2003.)’

Dana (who is not a doctor, nurse, dietician or ‘health coach’) developed this diet for a man with severe health problems including kidney disease. (This man was under constant doctor supervision and had extensive blood tests every 3 months.) 

First step is figuring out your protein requirement which you have to eat every day (except when fasting, I presume.) In Chapter 8 Dana said you take your ideal weight (not a super-skinny anorexic weight goal) and divide that number by 2. The result is the number of grams of protein you should get in a day. So for a 130 goal weight, you should get 65 grams of protein a day. 

Dana says you should not exceed your protein requirement by more than 20 grams, so for me, with a requirement of 65 grams a day, my max should be at 85 grams of protein. Which I set as my protein limit on my Carb Manager app, which I recently downloaded because I didn’t have a book that gave the protein counts of foods. 

Dana presumes you will be having three meals a day (I’m so over that way-of-eating now I’ve been doing intermittent fasting/partial-day fasting for a few years.) In addition, you are allowed certain ‘low-impact’ carbs, 2 to 3 servings with your 3 meals a day. Among the foods allowed is brown rice, cooked, (1/2 cup serving) or whole grain barley, cooked (1/2 cup serving.)

My problem is that rather than having 3 meals a day I usually do OMAD or have one full meal and one small bit-of-something, or perhaps a bulletproof coffee or two. And I don’t think having 2-3 servings of a carb food at my OMAD meal is going to be good for my blood sugar or my long-term low-carb compliance. 

But the idea of adding back a bit of carbs sounded a bit fun so I started my Great Quinoa Experiment. Now, I don’t know if quinoa counts as a low-impact carb, but it does have quite a bit of fiber in it, and I actually OWN some quinoa, in the back of my cupboard. 

My daily ‘dose’ of quinoa has been 1/8 of a cup, dry measure, which comes out to a little over 1/4 cup, cooked. So about 1/2 of one serving according to the Careful Carb rules. I’ve had it every day for a week, doesn’t send my carbs over my limit, doesn’t make me get heavy carb cravings. I cook my quinoa in bone broth and pretend it tastes just like Rice-a-roni, a major high-carb love of mine from childhood on. 

For the coming week I’m thinking of upping my daily quinoa dose up to 1/3 of a cup, cooked, just to see what happens. After all, on Dana’s Careful Carb I’m allowed more than one 1/2 cup servings of a cooked grain in a day. 

The real test will be once I finally get an appointment with my new nephrologist and get new tests to see if I’ve improved on restricted protein, or if I have to restrict still more. 

Yes, I’m doing the keto-lowcarb thing back on this blog again. Hope some of you folk enjoy it.

Low-carbily yours,

Nissa Annakindt

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T2 diabetes – Type 2 diabetes, adult diabetes

A1c – a blood test of your blood sugars over the past couple of months

prediabetic – elevated blood sugar, but not enough to qualify as diabetes

CKD – chronic kidney disease, comes in 5 stages, #5 being the worst

PCP – primary (health) care provider. Government jargon.

macronutrients – protein, fat, carbohydrate

micronutrients – vitamins and minerals

nephrologist – kidney doctor

OMAD – one meal a day— a form of IF (intermittent fasting)

KetoLife: Bone Broth & Sprout Soup – Smoothie in a Vita-Mix

For some years now I’ve been making bone broth, and saving bones for the purpose when I don’t buy soup bones from the store (Jack’s Market in Menominee, MI.) But I often forget to drink my daily cup of broth.

I’ve also been going nuts for using my Vita-Mix lately (an old model Maxi-4000 Commercial) and have been getting good results, and am also obsessive about doing my sprouting.

So I’ve combined some obsessions to come up with my bone broth & sprout hot soup or smoothie, which I’ve had for breakfast and hope to have again tomorrow. Combining two superfoods into one hot drink is a good habit, and giving me a chance to play with my Vita-Mix adds to the appeal.


2 cups home-made bone broth, any type

1 cup sprouts

Put the broth and sprouts into your Vita-Mix and blend for about 1 minute. Makes 2 servings. Will foam up some from the Vita-Mix. Pour out the amount currently wanted into a saucepan and heat on stove. Heat gently— it doesn’t need a hard boil, just enough heat to get it to hot-soup temperature. The enzymes in the sprouts will be killed off with too much heat.

Store any leftover servings in a canning jar in the refrigerator.

Sprouts used were salad sprouts— alfalfa, onion, radish & broccoli blend. Legume sprouts such as bean or lentil sprouts may also be used. Lentil sprouts from grocery stores sprout very well so this is a cheap source of home sprouts.

Variations: sea salt, herbs and spices, and other health-improving substances (chia seed, any low-carb ‘superfood’ in small quantities) may be added as well. Good fats (butter, coconut oil, MCT oil, avocado oil, bacon fat) may also be added— one to two tablespoons.

The Vita-Mix pulverizes the sprouts so you don’t even see that there WERE any sprouts in the mix. Common blenders might have trouble with this chore. I don’t know about other kitchen appliances— Vita-Mix is what I have and what I used.

KetoLife: Making Keto Smoothies in a Vita-Mix

With NaNoWriMo starting tomorrow, some of us Ketonians are looking for a way to simplify our eating life without going off the Keto reservation, to gain more writing time. Smoothies are one way, if they are ketogenic smoothies.

Some of us may have it in the back of our minds that drinking smoothies means drinking things full of fruits and dried fruits and honey or agave nectar sugars, and that if we tack the word ‘Keto’ in front of the word ‘smoothie’ the extra carbs will not count.

No, Keto smoothies have to follow the regular Keto rules. You won’t find any frozen bananas in OUR smoothies! Keto smoothies have low-carb vegetables in them, dairy products or substitute dairy such as nut milks, actual nuts, nutritional add-ins like cacao nibs or chia seeds or sprouts, natural and/or allowed flavorings and sweeteners (liquid stevia is recommended— 4-8 drops of SweetLeaf brand liquid stevia, any flavor, is a good place to start.)

There are two major schools of thought about smoothies: one group wants a smoothie that tastes JUST like a chocolate milkshake or other unhealthy non-food, and the other group wants a ‘green-drink’ type smoothie full of broccoli and kale and chia and flaxseed, even if it tastes awful.  I think the better approach is a bit between the extremes. No Keto smoothie will fully taste like a high-carb milkshake because, being low in carbs, it isn’t feeding the carb-monkey on our backs. But a horrible-tasting green drink daily may be a hard habit to continue, and we don’t really need to do it.

I make my smoothies in my Vita-Mix, mainly because that’s what I have. I got it before I discovered low-carb, and in the early days used it to make fruit drinks (’Total juice’) and to grind wheat into bread flour. It makes smoothies well, too. I like the fact that the Vita-Mix is easy-clean-up— you put a drop of dish detergent and some warm water in it and run the Vita-mix for a while. The blending container gets clean, with the dome top needs some washing in a dishpan. (Hint: get in a habit of cleaning your Vita-Mix and any smoothie related dirty dishes immediately after finishing your smoothie.)

To get started with smoothies you probably will want some recipes. Later you can adapt these recipes by adding things, exchanging things, or leaving things out.

Dana Carpender’s 300 15-Minute Low-Carb Recipes has some smoothie recipes in Chapter 16. I’ve tried the Mexican Chocolate and the Super Strawberry recipes and liked them. Both call for 3/4 cup of cottage cheese, which I would cut back to 1/2 cup next time I make them, since the smoothies are VERY filling. I also omitted the sugar-free strawberry syrup in the strawberry smoothie, and it tasted just fine.

I ordered Dana Carpender’s earlier smoothie book, but it hasn’t arrived yet. Another smoothie book I ordered has arrived: Dr. Mark Hogan’s Healthy Keto Smoothies. The bad side of this book is that it is self-published and looks it. Dr. Hogan should have hired an editor to go over the book with him (or a better editor.) Also, I’m not sure I trust the nutritional information on the recipes, since one has a whole avocado but a carb content far lower than even a fraction of the avocado. But the good side of the book is that it has an early chapter with comprehensive lists of the different types of ingredients you can use in a Keto smoothie. The list is great for figuring out substitutions or creating your own smoothie recipes based on what you like and what you can get.

How do you figure out the carb count of  Keto smoothie? Pay close attention to the recipe’s number of servings— some recipes from my two Vita-Mix books (neither low-carb) seem like possibilities until you notice it makes 5 or more servings and you don’t have 5 Ketonians in your family. (My newest Vita-Mix book, the author says her father used to make up smoothies in advance and store the extra servings in the fridge, but I’m not sure I want to to that— I think many smoothies get worse over time and are best very fresh.) Make a list of the ingredients in the recipe, and look up the carb counts of each in a carb-count book. You may need a calculator to figure out the carb count of the amount of ingredient that’s in your recipe. Then, if the recipe is for more than one serving, divide by the number of servings to figure out the carb count of your serving.

How do you figure out how many grams of your carb allowance you can spend on smoothies? There are two methods. If you are a carb counter, you will know how many carb grams you are allowed in a day. Figure out how many you will need for your non-smoothie meals, and you will know how many you can spare for a smoothie or two.

The other approach is based on the Atkins approach, where the carbohydrates are counted for you. Set aside some of your allowed ingredients, such as part of your salad veg, your cream allowance, your daily half-avocado, for smoothie use. If you are not still on induction, you can dedicate the extra carb grams of your level for ingredients that are useful in smoothies.

NOTE: SMOOTHIES ARE NOT A SNACK. We think of a ’snack’ as something less healthy than our mealtime meals, even if that’s not true in our fast-food, processed-food world (but we’re not doing that any more, I hope.) In our Keto lifestyle, smoothies are a nutrition powerhouse. They may also use up the bulk of our daily carb allowance. Label them a meal— not even a ‘mini-meal’ or use them as part of a larger meal. They are not the same as a bag of Fritos! They are part of our overall better-health plan. Respect them accordingly!

Ketonians = Keto (low-carb) lifestyle followers

Vita-Mix = a blender with superpowers, much famed in the (non-Ketonian) health food movement

KetoLife: Growing Salad Sprouts for Keto

Winter is coming. And that’s not just because I’ve been reading the ‘Game of Thrones’ books. And winter up here in the U. P. (upper Michigan, USA) means snow on the ground and no fresh local vegetables. And our rural grocery stores aren’t that big on having a produce department. We can get lettuce and cabbage heads, celery and (almost expired) bagged salad, but there is not much for us Ketonians who will mostly be eating our canonical two salads per day.

For me, sprouts are the answer. Salad sprouts. Not the store-bought wilty alfalfa sprouts which Gary’s Market has recently begun carrying, but the home grown kind.

To sprout, you need a sprouter of some kind. Some people use bamboo baskets, some those mason jars with plastic screen lids. For salad sprouts, I prefer the Victorio sets of plastic sprouters. These have 4 sprouting trays, one base tray that does not drain (to catch the water) and a topper to keep the lower trays from drying out. The base and the topper are now in green, while the sprouting trays are semi-clear.

An older model of the Victorio set has a white base and no topper. I used an empty sprouting tray to sub for the topper that hadn’t been invented yet. Or else a tray whose sprouts were nearly ready, which do not dry out so easily.

What’s the nutritional information on salad sprouts? One cup of alfalfa sprouts have only trace carbs, fiber, and fat, and one gram of protein. 100 grams of alfalfa sprouts (a lot, four cups?) have 3.78 g carbs, 3.99 g protein, and 0.69 g fat, along with 1.64 g fiber. 100 grams of radish sprouts have 3.06 g carbs, 3.81 g protein, 2.53 g fat, along with .53 g fiber. My guess would be that most salad sprouts are comparable, so that any salad sprouts could be used as your daily salad veg. [Info from Dana Carpender’s New Carb & Calorie Counter 2010 and Steve Meyerowitz’s Sprouts: The Miracle Food 1997]

Sprouters sometimes use one kind of sprouting seed— like alfalfa or broccoli or red clover— and sometimes buy a mix designed for salad sprouting. My favorite kind is called ‘Broccoli and Friends’ and has broccoli, clover, red radish and alfalfa. My current supply of ‘Broccoli and Friends’ expired in 2018, but it’s still sprouting as of this morning. ‘Broccoli and Friends’ comes from Todd’s Seeds and I buy it on Amazon.

Common salad sprouts are alfalfa, radish, clover, cabbage, broccoli, garlic and onion. Other sprouts such as wheat or mung beans are not commonly used in salads. Also, Steve Meyerowitz (aka Sproutman) says that the big legume sprouts— beans, peas and lentils— should be lightly steamed before eating.

Alfalfa and clovers are also legume seeds, but they don’t need steaming. If you are Paleo and worry about legumes, know that alfalfa and clover sprouts are more like salad greens than like Bush’s (sugared) baked beans. Our paleolithic ancestors would not have turned up their noses at such fresh new tender sprouts.


SPROUTING LOCATION: salad sprouts need a light source, so don’t hide them away in a cupboard. I have a plastic shelving unit I keep in the kitchen, four shelves high. The top two shelves are my sprout garden. The third shelf seems to be where the mama cat wants to nurse her kittens, currently. (They are bigger kittens and can climb up.)

SOAKING: sprouting seed needs to soak for several hours or overnight before sprouting. When I have soaked mine for about 24 hours, it did not drown the seeds, so I tend to do long soaking since I do my main sprout-garden chores in the morning. I sometimes put a pinch of powdered kelp in the water to help stimulate growth.

DAILY WATERING: sprouts need to be kept moist! Dried out sprouts are not growing. I tend to water two to three times a day. If you have a water distiller or purifier, use water from that. You don’t want to use chlorinated/fluorided tap water for your sprouts! You can use a pinch of kelp in the water if you think your sprouts need the minerals.


alfalfa – 7

clover – 6

radish – 5

cabbage – 5

broccoli – 5

turnip – 5

kale – 6

onions and garlic – 14

mixtures – check for instructions that came with the seed, or use the time for a major component of the mixture. You don’t want the mix either under- or over- sprouted.

EATING: You can eat your salad sprouts as a salad— perhaps with a low-carb dressing (home-made) or sprinkled with Himalayan pink salt and or Spike or Mrs Dash. You can use them as only a part of a salad. Or you can eat your portions right out of the sprouting tray. You can also incorporate them into smoothies or green drinks, put them on your bunless burgers instead of lettuce, or sprinkle some sprouts on low-carb soups or stews.


Meyerowitz, Steve: Sprouts, the Miracle Food

Reynolds, Bruford Scott: How to Survive with Sprouting

Beerstecher, Jim: Sprouting, The Beginners Guide to Growing Sprouts! (Self-Published, too many exclamation points)

QUESTIONS: Have you ever eaten alfalfa sprouts or other salad sprouts? Have you ever tried home sprouting? What went well and what went wrong? Do you think sprouting is a good way for Ketonians to get good fresh salad greens?

KetoLife: Minding Your Ks and Cs to Track Your Progress

When you start doing the low-carb, Keto lifestyle, you need to keep track of your progress. The first time I did Atkins, I simply used the scale as my ‘judge.’ If I lost a pound, I was good. If I didn’t, I was bad.

Then I got older, and developed T2 diabetes, and my progress on Atkins/low-carb, as measured by the scale, slowed to a glacial pace. That’s what happens as your insulin resistance gets worse over time. I did start taking my blood sugars daily, and when I was doing my low-carb accurately, my blood sugar numbers went down. Even when I was on 2 different blood sugar medications, the low-carb diet lowered my sugars more reliably than the pills. When a doctor made me discontinue both meds, and threatened me with insulin shots, I got more strict with my low-carb and had just as good blood sugars as I had with both pills.

Some people keep food diaries, either on paper or using an app. If you count your carbs and your fat percentage and the like, this may discourage you from eating real food, since it doesn’t come in a box with nutrition facts written on the side. And real food— meat from the meat department or direct from a farmer, veggies from the produce department or the farmers’ market— is very helpful for us ‘ketonians.’

I could never keep a food diary— I’m too disorganized. But what I can do is mind my ‘Ks’ and my ‘Cs.’ I record them in the notebook where I record my blood sugars, blood pressures, ketosis readings (from my Ketonix breath ketone analyzer) and such.

A ‘K’ is a day in which, when evening comes around, I find that I have kept to my keto lifestyle very well. I don’t fuss about very minor potential transgressions, as when I put a bit of heavy whipping cream in my bulletproof cocoa/coffee without measuring it in a tablespoon so it might have been a bit more (or less) than I am allowed. Or eating an unmeasured serving of salad or cooked veggies which might have gone over slightly. (If I’m having a hard time staying in ketosis, I do measure everything.) I lose my ‘K’ for the day when I have really violated the ketogenic rules— like having a burger with a bun, a slice of toast or a serving of noodles— or a carb binge that includes a bag of chips and a couple of candy bars.

‘K’ days also get numbers— K1, K2, K3— depending on how many days in a row I have been doing keto correctly. It is a little ‘reward’ to see your K numbers go up, especially if you’ve been doing keto for two or three weeks without losing a pound or seeing an improved health marker. If you keep doing keto correctly, in time you will see those desired results. You just need to keep the faith and keep earning those daily ‘Ks.’

What about days when you don’t deserve a ‘K?’ Many of us have them. It may be that we gave in to pressure and drank a glass of milk or orange juice or ate a slice of home-made sugary cake. Or maybe we had an actual carb binge. I’ve been having trouble with that when I go to the grocery store. I buy a small bag of chips— and then another small bag of a different kind of chips— and then a candy bar. And of course I eat them all when I get home, which triggers my carb-appetite so I am tempted to do the same the next day…..

Those days are ‘C’ days, and, alas, they get their numbers, too. Having to write a ‘C1’ at the end of a day is bad, but having to write ‘C2, C3 and C4’ in the following days is even worse. ‘C’ days happen, but we should try to avoid them and certainly try to avoid having several in a row.

It helps to develop rules for yourself about carb excesses. I try never to eat carbs all day, but finish any carb food within one hour and keep the carb eating limited to that hour (as in the Carbohydrate Addict’s Diet ‘Reward Meal.’) And I try to get back in the groove of eating low-carb meals and drinking bulletproof beverages right away.

Always remember, keto isn’t a temporary diet that you go off and then eat carbs. If you want the health benefits of keto, you have to make it into your lifestyle. Day after day, week after week. After the ups and downs of the initial Induction phase into keto, it gets easier, and as you find foods you like that you can have on keto, it becomes easier still. The results are improved health, less prescription meds with side effects and high prices, more energy, and a better life.

Disclaimer: this blog is not to be taken as medical advice and should not replace consultation with a knowledgeable doctor.

KetoLife: The Joy of Cod Liver Oil

Taking dietary supplements has been a part of the low-carb/keto lifestyle since Atkins’ book in 1972. The idea was that this diet is not perfectly ‘balanced’ in a government-recommended way, and so we had to take supplements as ‘insurance,’ in case we were missing out on any stray vitamins we would have got by continuing with the traditional grain-and-fruit based daily carb binges.

One of the few things that my very conventional ‘health care provider’ (physician assistant) has ever told me was an order to add fish oil capsules to my diet. (She is also OK with my continuing low-carb since she sees it helps with my weight and my diabetes.) I worry, though, since I mostly take the cheap fish-oil capsules I can get at the local dollar store.

I also consume canned tuna (in olive oil, when I can get it) and canned red salmon. But in Dana Carpender’s Fat Fast Cookbook there was an article by Jimmy Moore listing some recommended foods, and one of them was Carlson’s lemon-flavored liquid cod liver oil. I ordered some from Amazon and started to take a dose every day. I finished one bottle already and bought a second, larger bottle.

The cod-liver-oil is perfectly fine to take right off the spoon. The lemon flavor kills any scary or fishy bad taste. The lemon taste isn’t overwhelming, either. Just a trace taste to kill the fear of taking actual cod liver oil off a spoon.

I think this CLO addition to my diet is probably far better than the nasty cheap fish oil capsules from the dollar store, which may be rancid or have other problems I don’t know about. They say that omega-3 fats are very important for heart health. This is my source, since I can’t get fresh salmon on a daily basis or at all and don’t know if I’d even like it. (I do like smoked salmon, however. When I can get to a store that carries it, and can afford it.)

Now, I am not a person who routinely consumes odd or scary ‘health foods.’ I carb-binged on ordinary processed food for most of my life, and still do so once in a while. If I can manage my daily dose of CLO, you can do it too!

As for my other supplements— I have a daily vitamin-mineral pill, low cost from the dollar store, a probiotic, and have recently upgraded the garlic oil capsule I used to get to a better grade of garlic pill from Amazon, since I have high blood pressure in spite of being low-carb. Since I am not a medical or nutritional professional, I’m hopeful you can get better recommendations than I can give from a source near you— maybe even a seemingly anti-low-carb ‘health-care-provider’ you have been assigned to. I mean, I got a good recommendation for fish oil capsules from my ‘health-care-provider’ who is certainly not a low-carb expert.