Same Resolutions, New Resolve?

I know it’s been quite a while since I’ve posted. Partly, because business has been good, for which I am extremely grateful (and busy). Partly because I haven’t had anything funny, motivational, or even remotely positive to write. Somehow, I didn’t think it was great advertising for my health-related food business to say, “hey guys, I gained 5 pounds this month eating my own food, wiping out a fifth of my progress this year, how about you?”

I’ve always prided myself on not cheating over the holidays, and this year was no exception. I brought low-carb sides and desserts to every holiday party, even bringing a bunch keto tamales to our Christmas taco party so that I wouldn’t be tempted. I have a knack for gaining weight during times of extreme stress over past years – when I moved from NYC to Texas, when my son nearly drowned in our swimming pool, and during my ugly, drawn-out divorce. So when Covid happened, knowing my habits, I vowed to learn from history and stick strictly to my diet. And by November, I had lost another 25+ pounds! With everything else falling apart, it felt really good to have control over something, and in addition to losing weight I had also gained this new business – an unexpected blessing!

Then, the holidays came. With 8 kids, Christmas is always more military operation than celebration, but this year things were especially challenging for me. My mother-in-law passed away this summer, so it was my husband’s first holiday season without his mom, and instead of making things better for him, I wallowed in the fact that I hadn’t been able to see my own family all year, thanks to the pandemic. I felt guilty about wallowing. I complained about how much money we were spending and how over the top we were doing presents. I felt guilty for being the family Scrooge. Instead of feeling lucky to find two awesome home-based jobs after stepping back from my job as a teacher, I whined about how exhausted I was to be working two jobs while trying to plan family holiday trips, parties and gifts. It was our first Christmas morning with all 8 of our Santa-believing kids here at the same time, and instead of excited I felt completely overwhelmed by the prospect of getting truckloads of presents under the tree, filling stockings, and writing notes from elves and Santa while keeping everyone asleep.

I still didn’t cheat. I didn’t eat any non-keto food, but I taste-tested every last dessert I made for customers – and there were A LOT. I didn’t go over my carb limit for one day, but I drank every 0 carb alcohol there was, from homemade keto eggnog to sugar-free grinch punch (a wonderful invention by my sister-in-law). I didn’t relax or sit around the house, but I gave up my daily workouts to make time for extra shopping, cooking, and wrapping.

And, as one might expect, the weight crept back.

So now I am ending this holiday season five pounds heavier, many dollars poorer, and much less content than I entered it. And it’s really my own fault, because looking back there is nothing I ate, said or did that was worth feeling like this after 11 months of Herculean effort to get myself into better physical, financial, and mental shape, despite a pandemic and all of the life changes that came with it.

I know from talking to many of my customers that I am not the only one struggling with falling off the motivational wagon this Christmas, and can only hope they know how much it means to have met so many like-minded people this year, some whom I am now fortunate to call customers and friends.

My resolutions for 2021 are the same as they often are. Lose weight – it was supposed to be 21 pounds for 2021, which I thought was really catchy, but now it’s more like 26 or 27. Swear less, drink less, complain less. More workouts, more gratitude, more patience, more savings. And, as always, the ketogenic diet is my driving force. When I’m in ketosis, I am accomplishing many of the above goals at once – losing weight, more energy, less anxiety, less drinking.

I didn’t accomplish everything I set out to in 2020, but I didn’t fail. Finding the right food is only part of the equation, so it can only be part of my success. And just like all of my amazing customers who have already planned for their fresh keto start (and chicken soup cleanse) next week, so have I.

So for 2021, it’s the same resolutions, new resolve. New year, new hope.

Breaking News: ABC Kitchen owner reported MIA, found in the middle of a “cleanse”

Sorry, everybody. I’ve meant to keep you updated on my progress, but have found myself surrounded by chips, dips, and more recently, eggs.

I’m super excited to report that I, and three others, have recently completed the second trial of the Chips&Dips “cleanse,” and all of us lost weight! I lost 2.2 lb this time, but the others lost 5-7 pounds each over 5 days!! Just unbelievable!

I thought I would celebrate by taking the quotation marks off the word “cleanse,” but I just can’t quite make myself call anything that revolves around bags of chips and dip a cleanse, so in honor of this thing actually working, I am going to rename it the Chips&Dips 5-Day Plan, which is a little boring, but more scientifically accurate.

This week, I’m in the middle of an egg fast, my first ever. I started Monday morning and am down 3.6 pounds so far! At first I was really nervous to live off of eggs, cheese and butter, for any length of time, so I planned to do it for 3 days. However, I have actually found the variety of things I can make out of eggs to be endless (chaffles, pancakes, custard, shakes, deviled eggs) so I’m extending my egg fast through Friday for maximum results, I’d love to lose 5 pounds in 5 days!

I’ve been crazy getting the Thanksgiving menu out (found here), and prepping for a tamale weekend, so the egg fast menu items and Chips&Dips 5-Day Plan are not up on the website yet, but if you’re interested in either please don’t hesitate to reach out and I will email you the details!

The Results Are In: Call For Volunteer Dippers!

Last night, to celebrate the end of my chips and dips experiment, I may have gone a little overboard. We had chips and loaded pizza dip for dinner, with a side of buffalo cauliflower bites and a bucket of blue cheese. I can honestly say that I didn’t count how many chips I ate, but it was a lot, because that dip was darn good! I had only consumed beef, mushrooms and butter during the day and I knew I wasn’t about to eat 40 chips so I figured I could let the counting go for one night.

Back to the dip. Or should I say dips? Because after loading a chip up with pizza dip, I dipped that mess into the bucket of blue cheese and oh-my-goodness it was heavenly. I also ate until I was a little sick-full, but it happens to the best of us from time to time.

Pizza Dip Recipe: Mix a softened block of cream cheese with garlic powder, salt, pepper, oregano and basil to taste. Spread over the bottom of a glass 8×8 casserole dish. Lightly spread Rao’s arrabiata sauce over the cream cheese. Light coating of mozzarella, add any pizza toppings you want, then cover everything with a couple of handfuls of mozzarella. We did pepperoni, jalapenos and black olives. Bake at 350 until cheese on top is bubbly with brown spots.

This was not full at the beginning of dinner, I swear.

I’m only slightly embarrassed to say that between the two of us, both dips were gone at the end. Because I was down 0.4 lb this morning, which puts me at a grand total of 2.9 pounds lost for the week!! Honestly, it took me a minute to get over my private OCD rage due to the fact that I did not quite hit the 3 pound arbitrary goal I set for myself, but I decided that a loss in a week of eating this way is something to be celebrated!

It’s over – what’s next? I need to figure out if this was a fluke. Because I really like chips and dips, y’all – if I could lose even 1-2 pounds every week eating like this well, then, I’m onboard for slotting this into my rotation of M-F keto cleanses, even though this is definitely not a cleanse.

So….. anybody interested in eating some chips? If you are doing keto and want to join me in chips and dips for a week, reach out!! I figure there’s two ways of doing this: 1.) I either ship you 5 full days worth of chips ($38 including shipping) and the recipes for the dips, or 2.) if you are a local weekly customer, I build you a chips and dip kit (kind of like the soup cleanse kit). We can dip together M-F, then compare results and see if I lost this weight from following a careful regimen of dipping chips into cheese, or if the moon was aligned correctly this week.

Email or message me if you want to try it!

All dips are not created equal

I bet you think I’m going to rave about this awesome green chutney I made last night. I am not.

I gained back 0.3 lb over the last 24 hours, and while that’s not enough to slow me down, the chutney definitely wasn’t worth a gain of any kind. I love Indian food – curry, tikka masala and saag paneer are some of my favorite meals. I was trying to impress my husband with my worldly cooking skills, but I got all carried away by the fresh herbs and conveniently forgot that chutney wasn’t really my favorite. And then I had made it and it was all fresh and the chips were right there… but, what the heck was I thinking? Chutney doesn’t even have dairy in it! Also, did I mention I hate weighing myself daily?

No naan, but I needed to dip something in this curry sauce!

Of course, it might be that I ate way too much of the chicken curry (also with chips) but it was practically 0 carbs per serving and I’ve missed Indian food, so maybe it was worth it….

So my first day with a gain this week. In the interest of science, 100% honesty, and the fact that only 12 people might actually read this, I ate more chips yesterday than any other day this week. The batch I made turned out especially good, so instead of the 20-25 I usually end up eating, I probably ate closer to 35, but still didn’t go over my daily allowance.

Tonight is my last night on this chips and dips experiment, and I have no idea what I’m making yet. I’m torn between something super easy and tasty like spicy queso blanco, and something more complicated but meal-worthy like pizza dip. Since I’m cooking all weekend I’m leaning toward easy, but either way I’ll post my final results in the morning.

I’m hoping to have lost at least 3 pounds, so I’ll need at least a 0.7 lb loss or more by tomorrow. I don’t know why I’m aiming for 3 pounds, I don’t even know what I’m accomplishing by promoting chips and dips as a weight loss method, but I do know that I won’t waste any more chips on chutney when there are cheeses out there waiting for me.

Frosting is a dip

Instead of cooking, we ended up going out for wings, so I did not make my own blue cheese (which is delicious) or have any chips with dinner. After my lunch of leftover dips and chips, I still had over 20 chips left of my allotment when we got home last night. They couldn’t just go to waste…

It might not be the prettiest picture, but man did these cinnamon sugar chips taste good dipped in knockoff hostess cupcake frosting! What made it even better – the frosting was 0 carbs, so 6 or 7 chips later my sweet tooth was totally satisfied and I only ingested around 2 net carbs.

Even better? I lost another pound as of this morning!!! Which brings me to nearly 3 pounds down eating chips and dip this week. The pressure is on – I can’t help but feel a bit nervous with 2 weigh-ins left to this experiment. I’m losing almost as much weight eating chips and dip as I did on my 5-day soup cleanse last month, which doesn’t seem right because this week is MUCH easier to stick with. I’m kind of waiting for my body to call BS and rebel, wincing every time I gingerly step on the scale each morning – and then excitedly heading to the kitchen to make a fresh bag of chips.

So full steam ahead – I’m thinking Indian for tonight. I’mgoing to slightly undercook the chips tonight, to resemble naan, for dipping into green chutney and chicken curry, and before you say chicken curry isn’t a dip, remember – yesterday’s dip was frosting.

I’m winning right now

No drumroll necessary – I’m down 1.6 lb this morning! I’m happy with a loss of 2 or more pounds each week, so almost being down 1.8 on Wednesday while eating chips and dip is just what I needed during a week of back-to-school-back-home-from-school-because-someone-got-carsick-on-the-bus-but-no-fever-so-maybe-they-can-come-back chaos. But I digress…

For last night’s 7-layer taco dip, I basically heated up cumin-seasoned ground beef and cream cheese, and stirred together for the bottom layer. I frosted that mixture with a thick layer of sour cream, and topped that with hot salsa, shredded lettuce, diced tomatoes and black olives. Yes, I realize it is only 6 layers, but it’s 7 ingredients so a little grace, please. Today we will have it again for lunch, but add avocado, so then it will be 7 official layers. But 8 ingredients. Sometimes you just can’t win (like the whole bus debacle this morning).

For tonight I’m thinking Buffalo Wing tortilla chips, actual chicken wings, celery and blue cheese dip. I realize that means two meals with chips instead of one today, but what can I say? I’m winning right now, and I’m doubling down.

Day 2 – No pain, no gain

That is a picture of what we ate last night – as you can see, we are both a chip-loving and mixed-up football family. And not food photographers. While I didn’t eat my 32 remaining chips, I ate enough of them, loaded with crab rangoon, to feel very full.

For those of you who asked for it here is the “recipe” for the crab rangoon dip we made last night. As you will quickly discover, I don’t really follow strict measurements when I can avoid them, but luckily this dip is very forgiving.

RECIPECrab Rangoon Dip – low carb/ keto:

Mix 1 softened block of cream cheese with a couple of handfuls of shredded cheese, a generous sprinkling of parmesan, a dash of garlic powder, squirt of sriracha, handful of chopped green onion, 1/4 cup of sour cream and a couple of TBSP of coconut aminos or soy sauce. Once everything is well blended, add around 1/4 cup of powdered Swerve for the sweet crab rangoon taste, then fold in an 8oz jar of fresh crab meat – we use the cheapest fresh available. Transfer mixture to a glass 8×8 casserole pan and top with more shredded cheese. Cook at 350 for around 15 minutes or until bubbly. Top with more green onions. Voila!

Macros for 1/2 cup of dip (I definitely ate a couple of servings):

Calories 339
Total Fat 26.7g
Total Carbohydrate 3.6g
Dietary Fiber 0.1g
Protein 21.3g

RESULTS:

This morning, with a little trepidation, I got on the scale to see what my damage was from Monday’s melted cheese bonanza and was happy to see I had lost 0.2 pounds, which we all know is nothing more than a little extra morning pee. But, on to the 7-layer taco dip anyway! Remember, 2 days of weight gain and this experiment is over. No gain? Let’s keep going… I love dips!

WHAT THE FUTURE HOLDS:

In a world where I can control basically nothing aside from my diet anymore, don’t you love knowing what’s going to happen in your day, even if only food related?

Today, I have had my bulletproof coffee, and plan to have a couple of lettuce scoops filled with delicious bacon and chicken salad for lunch, or maybe more chips and crab dip before it goes bad. For dinner, I will have whatever remains of my designated daily chip bag with a 7-layer keto taco dip, which includes ground beef, avocado, sour cream, cream cheese, black olives, diced tomato and shredded lettuce – according to my nutrition calculator here are macros for 1/4 of the pan, which is around 1 cup of dip:

Calories 560
Total Fat 38g
Total Carbohydrate 8.2g
Dietary Fiber 3.9g
Protein 62.2g

So dinner, even with 20 chips, would be around 10 net carbs. Sounds like there might even be room for some dessert chips tonight 🙂 You think melted Rebel ice cream is a dip?

Day 1

So far today I have consumed:

  • 2 lettuce scoops with mayo and 2 bacon strips (0 carbs)
  • bulletproof coffee, no cream or sweetener (0 carbs)
  • 8 chips with queso flameado with diced fajita beef (as best I can tell, under 5 carbs with the chips and dip)

I met my husband for lunch and ate as much of the queso as I wanted but only got through about half before feeling full and passing it over to him. It was very rich and really delicious, and I wish I could tell you where we were so you could try it for yourself but I don’t want to get in trouble for sneaking our chips in (as you can see we did in the picture). Maybe email me and I’ll confess in private if you’re local.

Tonight we’ll be having some sliced avocado (2 carbs), a little bit of leftover ribeye steak (0 carbs), up to 32 more chips (around 8 more carbs) and warm crab rangoon dip (3 carbs). Even if I ate 32 more chips, with the dip and avocado I’m still not over my limit of 22 net carbs – and I plan to eat some steak first so I don’t go overboard because this dip is delicious af.

Though it goes against my core belief system and my OCD dependence on routines, I will be weighing myself daily this week to make sure the chips aren’t ruining an entire month of cleanse efforts – 2 straight days of gains and it’s back to chicken soup detox hell, y’all.

On the other hand, if I lose even a pound, it’s 7-layer Taco (dip) Tuesday tomorrow 🙂

The Chips and Dips Cleanse “Plan”

I went off my M-F cleanse cycles and back to regular keto last week, meaning I added dairy, sweetener, nuts and alcohol back into my diet while staying under 22 net carbs. And I only lost 0.6 pounds… I really want to know which of those things are crippling my weight loss, and I also had a little more stomach discomfort than in past weeks. I had a couple of drinks the week before and still lost 3 pounds, so I’m pretty sure it’s the dairy or the sweetener. In any case, I’ll find out for sure next week, because I’m still cutting sweetener but am doing the CHIPS AND DIPS “cleanse,” which is obviously going to include some dairy.

Here’s the plan so far, not approved by any professional, hatched only in my mind, with no proof whatsoever that it will work:

Each day I will limit myself to a total of 22 net carbs or less. I will consume one 6 oz. bag of chips of any flavor except for cinnamon sugar, which is 4 servings of 9-10 chips at 10.4 carbs. I will have 1 serving of chips with a very low carb dip up to 4 times per day, and if I’m still hungry will supplement with egg salad, 0-carb seafood and meat, and other very low carb dipping implements like celery, pepperoni or salami chips, and lettuce scoops. Some of the dips I will be making are blue cheese dip, chunky guacamole, crab rangoon dip, spinach and artichoke dip, smoked chicken salad and chili con queso. Goodness, I really love dips, just writing about this makes me so excited!

I will keep a detailed journal of what goes into my mouth Monday through Friday, and will let you know if this madness results in any weight loss on Saturday. If I gain weight, it was only one week of experimenting, and I’ll just do the chicken soup cleanse the following week to get back on track. But if I do actually lose weight eating delicious low carb chips and dips, I will be EXTREMELY happy (and maybe a millionaire someday).

Is It Time For Another Cleanse?

It’s been a little while since my last post, but that’s because I have been happily, and slightly manically, cooking in the kitchen for y’all! Since completing the Beef and Butter cleanse, I have settled into a happy routine of losing around 4 pounds each week, simply by eliminating nuts, dairy, sweeteners and alcohol Monday through Friday! I usually gain a pound back over the weekend when I go back to regular keto (under 22 net carbs for me), but 3 pounds down each week after such a long stall has completely reset my motivation. I’m feeling more energetic, still get to eat my favorite keto treats on the weekend and have even gotten used to black coffee 5 days a week, which if you know me at all, is miraculous on its own.

Chip sales have really taken off, especially since introducing the new flavors, which got me thinking – if each full bag of chips is 10.4 net carbs (4 servings of 2.6 each), and I made a few super low-carb dips, what would happen if I did a chips-and-dips cleanse Monday-Friday? I could eat one entire bag each day, and paired with the right dips still stay well under the 22 net carbs I aim for. I could still stay away from sweetener, alcohol and nuts but would obviously have to add dairy back for the dips. Wouldn’t it be fabulous if I could lose 3 more pounds next week living off of those amazing chips???

So, over the next couple of weeks I’m going to come up with a few delicious dip options and post them here, just in case you’re wanting to try the Chips and Dips “cleanse” with me. Then, I just have to make sure I save enough chips for myself to do it….