What does a wolf, pizza, cake, and skunks have to do with, well, anything? Conventional wisdom. You know what I hate about conventional wisdom? It’s so, well, conventional. Boring. Not always based on anything other than going with the flow. Since we are keto – which is about as against going with the flow as possible – why do we still approach meals in a “conventional” way? What I want to do it take conventional wisdom out behind the kitchen, beat it with a stick of pepperoni, and tell it to go pound sand. With me? If you are nodding your head, that makes me happy :D.
Before we dive into breaking down some archaic rituals and conventional thinking, I have to address something that frustrates me. If it frustrates me, it must be confusing as hell AND frustrating to you. How many times a day do you see “that’s not keto” in a post or comment? That word they keep using? It doesn’t mean what I think they think it means (insert Princess Bride meme here, you know you already have in your head 😀 ).
Keto is short for Ketogenic. Ketogenic is the metabolic process where the body switches from glucose created from carbohydrates to ketones from fatty acids as the primary source of fuel (there are some parts of the body that can’t use ketones, which is why you will still have a blood glucose level when testing). You accomplish this by dropping below your threshold of carb intake to kick ketone production into gear (pretty much under 30 will do it, regardless of who you are). That is keto. Unless you are pointing towards a 100g cube of sugar saying “I wanna eat dat,” it’s keto. What they really means is “that isn’t what I want to use in my opinion of a well-formed ketogenic diet for my specific needs.” Right, in other words “I wouldn’t eat that so you shouldn’t either!” 90% of those who say that have in their head there is only one ketogenic diet or way of eating, usually because they started this way of life\eating\nutrition after finding out about it from one source, realizing there was something to this whole “keto thing,” and never looked back. Unfortunately, they never looked sideways or deeper, either. There are, at the time of this post, 26 recognized ketogenic diets for health and\or medical purposes. So, when they say “that’s not keto,” what version do they mean??
Trust me, most of them don’t know the correct answer to that.
Digging deeper into this just for a second or two, while there can be crossover between Wheat Belly, GF, Paleo, Primal, Atkin’s, and Low Carb (different from keto which is Very Low Carb), none of those are “keto” and “keto” is none of those. Each one of those other “diets” include things that aren’t – in any reasonable quantities – going to allow you to stay in ketosis. If we could create the ideal ketogenic diet that covered every application of keto, it would look like this:
Protein and fats from animal flesh and organ sources only native specific to your geographical region. No livestock.
Fluids limited to water.
Limited green, leafy veggies native to your specific geographical region.
No nuts, seeds, grains, or by-products. Right. No nuts. No nut flour. No nut milk. No nut butter. No nut oils. No fun. Oops, did I say that out loud? 😀
No berries, fruit, or other fleshy plant matter.
No root veggies.
Nothing produced commercially.
Yeh, that would be the ideal keto diet. Kinda sucks, to be honest. For us in the House of Hobbit, that means we could eat geese, turkey, crow, blue jay, duck, chickadees, squirrel, chipmunk, deer, moose, bear, skunk, so the meat choices are good (well, except the skunk…) but the veggie part? Screwed.
Plantain (the weed, not the fruit)
Ummm. Yeh. That’s it.
And that would suck.
In a nutshell, we make things work for us. We take an unconventional approach to an unconventional way of eating. We’ve all bucked the system, accepted this ketogenic “thing” as logical despite it being unconventional, yet when it comes to other parts of it, we get all flummoxed. WHY?? This leads us to the real focus of this post – when, what, and how we have our meals. Humans are different than other species, we have more senses of taste. Other species only have a few, and those are not for them to enjoy what they are eating or pick out the nuances in subtle flavors say between a skunk and a porcupine, but to tell them one thing: if I eat this, I won’t die. Taste outside of that has no bearing on what they eat. Want proof?
Big cats pee on their kills to mark it as “theirs” and then will eat it a little later.
Dogs eat poop.
*drops mic and walks away*
Other species will eat when need to eat and stop eating when they don’t. It is instinctual. A wolf won’t pass up a meal just because he’s not in the mood. A lion isn’t going to say “hmmm, that antelope really isn’t doing it for me today, I think I’ll wait for 3-4 days and see if something more tasty comes along.” A humming bird has to feed constantly throughout the day to support its lightning-fast metabolism. A chipmunk will ration its acorns to last the winter. A goldfish will eat itself to death. Humans don’t eat just for survival, we eat as part of culture and for enjoyment. Eating for us isn’t a just a primal instinct. We can fast. We can starve ourselves to death in the name of protest if we want. We can say ‘nah, I’ll wait until later to eat.’ We can say “I’m not in the mood for that.” We can say “I’m not hungry, but I’m going to have a snack with watching The Walking Dead, because I want to.” We can eat a whole box of donuts in the parking lot just because it sounds like a really bad idea and we don’t care anyway.
SIDE NOTE: Some of also eat out of emotions. I hate the term “emotional eater” because I think it is deceiving. Those who don’t “feed their emotions” really don’t get it. Emotional eaters don’t FEED their emotions, they eat to suppress them… they feel too much – just like any other addict. This is a topic for another day.
So, back to us and how\when we eat. Since you have been able to open the fridge or grab a box of Cocoa Puffs, you’ve been feeding yourself. Hopefully, as you matured, Cocoa Puffs didn’t become your only food . Most of your adult life you’ve been making meals. No matter if you got them from the freezer section in a carton that kinda tastes like sour milk (yes, I’ve accidentally-on-purpose eaten the box. Hey, don’t judge me…) or baked up a chicken parm in the oven, you’ve been making food. Why then, does this WOE throw everyone off? I mean, do you start keto and forget how to human? Does a breast of chicken suddenly become some exotic item that you’ve never seen before? Does the thought of the word “dinner” sound like something from a foreign film with no subtitles?
You are overthinking things.
If you are the type of person that has always meal planned – either because it is part of your lifestyle due to schedules, work, etc or because it is how you keep “on target” – then meal plan away. If you are like me and cannot meal plan, where meal planning is a gateway drug to overeating, making bad choices, etc., then don’t. Those of you in the former might not understand us in the latter. That’s ok, we don’t understand you, either . Do what works for you. For example, the other day I took some turkey leftovers out of the freezer for dinner the next day. Woke up and was not in the mood in any way, shape, or form for turkey. Nope. Didn’t want it. I wanted pizza. This created stress for me. Stress is bad for my health. Stress is an unnecessary response and completely within my control. I didn’t want to waste the turkey – that would piss me off and stress me out – but I didn’t want to have turkey sandwiches, turkey soup, turkey pot pie, turkey in my big brown shoe. I wanted pizza. I knew that if I made one of those turkey meals, at some point in that same day I was going to have pizza. Probably have pizza when I wasn’t even hungry. Not just not hungry, but I was going to eat ALL THE PIZZA because I WANTED PIZZA. Remember that “humans eat not just for survival” thing when you read that…
So I made pizza.
Turkey leftover pizza.
I took my non-fathead pizza dough recipe for the crust, I mashed cauliflower for the “sauce,” I fried the skin up because turkey skin fried tastes like bacon and I love bacon on my pizza, cut up the leg meat, and tossed it all on the pizza with some cheese. Pizza that I wanted, turkey that I didn’t want to waste. Game. Over. Be creative. You know how to make pizza, why is pizza just red or white sauce, cheese, and a small selection of meats and\or veggies? Conventional wisdom. You know what is quick and easy to make for dinner after a long day at work, with the kids bitching about their homework, your spouse\partner already grumbling about not wanting to do the dishes, and the dog curled up on the couch he’s not supposed to get on. Ever?
Omelets. Scrambled with bacon or sausage, some sautéed greens and mushrooms on the side. Fried on top of corned beef hash. Fast. Nutritious. Cheap. Easy. Why are eggs always only for breakfast? Conventional wisdom not based on reality. There is absolutely NO meal that is more important than another. That means there is no food type that NEEDS to be eaten only at a specific time. Know why eggs are “breakfast” foods?
Obsolete practices. In the days before getting a carton of Eggland’s Eggs from the supermarket, you got them from your chickens. In the morning. Since eggs had a very short shelf life before Westinghouse and GE put fridges in every home, people decided that food poisoning sucked and tried to eat them while they were still fresh. Right. The very next meal. Breakfast. Now, with pasteurized eggs and the miracle of big boxes that keep stuff cold, there is no reason other than habit and flawed conventional thinking to have eggs only in the morning. You know what I had for breakfast the morning of Turkey Leftovers Pizza?
Oh, I can hear it now. “HOBBIT!! CAKE FOR BREAKFAST? That’s soooo wrong!”
I’ve said I’ve had cake\pie\cookies for breakfast in the groups before. Some I’m sure think I was joking. Others thought “damn Hobbit, here he goes again, pushing unhealthy stuff in the name of having more sweets!” Nope, that is exactly the opposite of what I am doing. I’m trying to get people to embrace what might be unconventional but works for them doesn’t mean it is bad. A healthy meal is what? Balanced with protein, fat, and micronutrients (minerals and vitamins). A “healthy” meal could be eggs with a side of 90-second bread and maybe some greens sautéed in butter? That sound good? Eggs, with eggs and nut products in the bread, then greens for the vitamins and minerals to supplement what you are getting from the nuts\seeds in the bread, right?
What is in my cakes? Go ahead, read my recipes, I’ll wait. Or, I can tell you:
Yes, eggs for protein and fats, nut flours for fats and minerals, and squash for vitamins and minerals. The sweetener has ZERO effect on the nutrition. NONE. Making something sweet by adding non-glycemic ingredients doesn’t suddenly subtract all the good stuff from the other ingredients. This is a HEALTHY cake. Not one made with zero-nutritional value white flour and high glycemic sugar. Nope. Healthy stuff. Hey, if it isn’t your thing, rock on with your eggs, bacon, sausage, protein shake, avocado, steak, burger, fathead pizza, whatever, I won’t judge you. I promise. Don’t judge me (and if you do, honestly, that’s your issue and not mine. I’m empowered :D). If you want to think outside of the box, if it works for you and your meals for the day, if you want\need to mix things up a bit? Hobbit says it’s ok to eat cake (as long as it is healthy like I described). If you roll over in the morning and decide that you really want a burger instead for breakfast? Do it. Waffles for dinner (protein waffles of course). Do it. Last night’s leftover chicken and broccoli casserole for Saturday morning?
Remember, empowering yourself is to take YOUR power back. Break the grip of flawed or sheeple thinking. Conventional wisdom is limiting. It forces us to conform to an ideal set by someone(s) else, not ourselves. Unconventional is empowering, freeing, and a sign of strength. Make unconventional work for you. Be YOU. Do for YOU what YOU need.