Tales from the front lines: keto prep day

Fuck. Me.

This is going to be so so much harder than I thought it was going to be. I mean, I knew it would be hard, but this is next level hard. Planning the shopping list took multiple hours across multiple days. Shopping itself took 3x longer than it usually does (and cost twice as much); and prep… well, let’s just say that even with Olivia’s help, I’ve admitted defeat for the day and will continue to prep items through the week.

I know things will get easier as we progress. (They have to, right? Right?)

It’s hysterically ironic that in my effort to release control, I’ve taken on a diet that requires precision to a point of obsessive. I brought a scale with me to the grocery store, for crying out loud. Am I replacing lack of control in one area of my life with another I can control? I suppose that’s the point (control what I can); but the verdict is out on how sustainable this will be. I’ll sidebar that for my therapist.

45 ounces of cheese.

Some things I’ve already learned:

  • Conversions are a pain in the ass. And I completely messed mine up this week. (I’m returning 3 heads of extra lettuce from an already obscene amount of greens, AND I didn’t even buy as much as I was supposed to, because I kept thinking to myself, “That’s a lot of lettuce.”)

    So you don’t make my mistake, when converting cups to ounces, make sure you use the dry measurement. Because it’s half what the liquid equivalent would be. (Dry = 4oz; wet = 8oz.) You’re welcome.

    SO much spinach. This isn’t even all of it. I am an idiot.
  • I don’t trust other people’s plans. I hoped following someone else’s meal plans would remove a bulk of the work, and if I followed blindly, that might be true, but I’m married to Kenji, so that means I need to have facts and figures, and rock-solid data. During my lettuce fiasco, I figured out the macros listed in the recipe didn’t match my tracker (MyFitnessPal), which now has me second guessing everything else on the menu.

So… Fuck it, I’ll make it work this week and reevalute for week 2. This is a process, and not one that I’ll be “good at” right away. There’s going to be a learning curve as we navigate this new reality.

UGH. SO much spinach. Sonofabitch.

7 thoughts on “Tales from the front lines: keto prep day

  1. Apparently my children’s dislike of spinach is genetic. (I hated it as a child.) HOWEVER…we all prefer it RAW. I use it instead of lettuce (and especially instead of the ubiquitous Iceberg-no-nutritional-value-here-lettuce) both in salads and on sandwiches. If it is just barely cooked (“wilted” is the chef term), I like it with malt vinegar–or in a lovely cream sauce. Nutmeg is actually a good spice for spinach–and I use fresh grated. It only takes a tiny bit! (Not kidding; you can “overdose” on nutmeg and get quite sick.)
    I have also been known to eat other dark leafy greens, such as beet greens (which oddly enough taste like beets) and escarole. (Escarole is the green used in the Italian dish of “beans and greens”; it is escarole, onions, butt-tons of garlic, Italian sausage and cannelloni beans; red pepper flakes are optional and/or can use hot Italian sausage; saute garlic and onions, adding in the sausage to brown that up, then the beans; get that all real hot and then put the escarole in the pan (way more than you think you should, you know that greens shrink worse than the Wicked Witch of the West under Dorothy’s house when you cook them) and put on a lid, steaming the escarole down to cooked yumminess. Stir all together and serve. *Modify as you need for this particular diet.)
    You can also use fresh spinach leaves as wraps for other food, getting more (spinach) in that way. You know, like little green burritos since bread is no longer welcome in the house. 😀
    You wouldn’t be human if you had this down perfectly before ever doing it. Glad to know that you are indeed human. The learning curve is annoying, to be sure. We went through that with the change over to organic–when you’re eating nutritionally dense foods (organic), you don’t need to eat as much as you do of IFLP (Industrial Food-Like Products)–we literally had to throw out food that had gone bad because we bought too much to eat it all before it did.
    And if the control necessary to get the diet into line helps you regain control over things in your life…maybe that’s not a bad thing. Just don’t let it take over. I have learned that the only thing in this whole wide world that I can control? Is me. And how I react to things. Nothing else. Stare at your bellybutton and contemplate that, m’dear, haha!
    You’ve got this. You’re further along in the ketosis diet than you were a week ago. And you guys are super smart…you learn from your mistakes and thus gain much wisdom. I will say that based upon the photos, it looks like it’s mostly spinach and cheese. Hmmmm cheesy spinach soup? I love to cook and I consider any limitations on ingredients to be a challenge that I will accept! I’m going to go out on a limb here–without knowing the fine details of ketosis diets, I’m going to give you the pork saltimbocca recipe I made a couple of weeks ago; it’s effing amazing and I hope that you can use it, adjusting as you need to:
    (Not my own recipe, from online; link included)

    4 7-to-8-ounce boneless center-cut pork chops (about 3/4 inch thick)
    Kosher salt and freshly ground pepper
    4 large sage leaves
    8 thin slices prosciutto
    3 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil
    4 slices provolone cheese (about 3 1/2 ounces)
    1 pound baby spinach
    Juice of 1 lemon, plus wedges for serving
    1 large shallot, finely chopped, or 1/3 cup finely chopped red onion
    2/3 cup low-sodium chicken broth


    Preheat the oven to 425 degrees F. Season the pork with salt and pepper. Top each chop with a sage leaf, then wrap in 2 slices prosciutto. Heat 2 tablespoons olive oil in a large skillet over medium-high heat. Add the chops, sage-side down, and cook, turning once, until the prosciutto is crisp, 8 to 10 minutes. Transfer to a baking sheet, reserving the skillet, and roast until a thermometer inserted sideways into the center of a chop registers 145 degrees F, about 8 minutes. Top each with a slice of provolone; return to the oven until the cheese melts, 1 to 2 minutes. Meanwhile, put the spinach in a microwave-safe bowl; add the remaining 1 tablespoon olive oil, 1 tablespoon water and a pinch of salt. Cover with plastic wrap and microwave until wilted, 3 minutes; drain. Drizzle with half of the lemon juice and season with salt and pepper. Heat the reserved skillet over medium heat; add the shallot and cook, stirring, until soft, 3 minutes. Add the broth and simmer until reduced by half. Stir in the remaining lemon juice and season with salt and pepper. Divide the pork among plates; drizzle with the shallot sauce. Serve with the spinach and lemon wedges.

    From: http://www.foodnetwork.com/recipes/food-network-kitchen/pork-chops-saltimbocca-recipe-2121021

    **Note: 1 pound of baby spinach was barely enough for the two of us; I’d have eaten a lot more if it had been there. Consider this a way to use up at least 2 pounds of spinach.

    Cheese freezes, although only to thaw out for cooking use and not so much for eating raw (texture change). If you grate the cheese ahead of time, add about 1-2 tablespoons of flour (nut flour, like almond) or corn starch and coat all the pieces. Then put it in a freezer bag and keep it in the freezer until needed. It’s just a small amount of flour, just enough to keep the cheese from sticking together. It also helps to thicken the dish in which you’ve put the cheese. (Also found this recipe for BREAD for your diet: https://www.ketoconnect.net/recipe/best-keto-bread/)

    Bon Apetit!

    Hugs to you both.

    Liked by 1 person

  2. I’ve been doing a somewhat modified version of keto for a couple of weeks now. I’m not as strict as I should be, but it really is a learning curve. Plus, it’s a crap ton of fat for us poor gallbladder-less people. I’m kind of afraid to go full force with the fat!
    Good luck and give yourself some grace! Freeze some of your extra spinach and cook it up next week, and eat all the cheese 🙂

    Liked by 1 person

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