At the End of 2020

The year has been a pretty lousy one for me, and not just because of Covid. I lost a couple of important people.

First, I had to admit that my sister’s strange behavior was not going away. Living far from her meant that our conversations were over the phone, and talking with her was becoming more and more stressful. She would dwell on things and talk about them constantly as if they were the most important things – like a snowstorm. She repeated herself a lot. She told me she was paying her bills twice, or not paying them at all. She was having trouble at work and decided she needed to retire. When I spoke to her son, he knew all about her issues. He took her to see a doctor and she has a form of dementia.

I believe it began years ago, but it creeps up. I dealt with my mother who had Alzheimers and that was a challenge. When I sister began to repeat herself without realizing it, or acknowledging it when I pointed it out, I worried. It’s one of the first things I had noticed about my mother’s behavior.

My sister is younger than I am, but already she has stopped calling or picking up her phone. She does not reply to texts either. I have lost my sister. She was the only thread tying me to our distant family members and she is my only sibling. We talked on the phone nearly every day. My mother died years ago, and my father is estranged from us so my immediate family is now gone.

Another friend, who is much older, also dropped out of the picture and I have no idea why. Her phone is disconnected, and I figure either she went into the hospital and died, or went to live with one of her children. She has not contacted me, so I am left in limbo, and assume she is simply gone from my life.

There is no hope for a happy new year any longer, and I won’t kid myself, but I will be traveling to see my kids in Spring. Masks or not, I am going for an extended trip to make up for the two years I’ve been away. So there is something to look forward to.

This Christmas I will be home with one of my sons and we’ll cook food and have drinks and enjoy the day, just us two. Last Christmas I was dog-sitting and spent the holidays alone – well, with the dog – who was a sweetheart. I didn’t want to commit to that again. It was very lonely. Their neighbors knew the circumstances, that the people were traveling to be with family, and I was alone watching their dog. Yet no one dropped off a meal, or thought of me sitting alone in the house eating a frozen pizza for Christmas. They spoke to me and should certainly have thought that a plate would have been appreciated. It’s quite amazing how strangely people behave.

People have their own busyness to deal with. Family and friends and good times abound, and they all assume that everyone is doing the same types of things. I don’t believe they think too much about it. No one wants to ruin their happiness with thoughts of the poor and lonely.

For those of you who may read this and will spend the holidays alone, or in a very low key situation, know that I am thinking of you. I’ve spent plenty of lonely holidays and some have been downright miserable. This year I plan to make the best of it, which is all we can really do.

2021. It’s coming. I don’t know what to think.

Monday Morning Weigh In After a Month on Keto

I began my Keto eating plan with intermittent fasting on August 24th. I am now finished with week five.

This month (September) I’ve lost a total of six pounds. My waist is smaller by about 1.5 inches. I’ve begun taking my blood pressure once again just to keep track of it now that I’m on this eating plan.

Because of my kidney cysts, my BP is usually high. I recently went to the dentist where they took my blood pressure and it was 155/92 – yup, high. I will be taking it on Monday mornings only to compare as I continue the diet. This morning it was 133/92. I’m not on any medication.

There are ways to measure the ketones in the body. One of the cheapest, and least reliable (so I’ve read) ways is to use urine test strips. I bought the Perfect Keto strips at Amazon (I am an affiliate and could make money from this link) and have been testing my urine at various times of the day. They are relatively cheap.

Keto test strips bottle
This is the brand I bought

At first I was getting a negative color, but soon after – like the next day – I began getting the 1.5 to 4.0 colors. From what I’ve read, that is all you need.

There is a lot of information online about measuring for ketosis and which types of monitors to use. The strips are definitely the cheapest, but after a while the ketones won’t show up in the urine – so “they” say. In other words, the strips won’t be accurate always.

If I had diabetes and really needed to know my levels, I would invest in a good meter, like one that uses blood. I’m not that serious about it. I won’t link to any sites here because so many are just out to make money. If you carefully search good sites (that are not full of ads) you can find decent info.

Ketone urine test strips
Level indicator on side of bottle

My Overall Feelings

I think I was going overboard with the cheesy meals. I do stress a bit about getting my calcium and nutrients. About a week ago I didn’t feel as good as I had been feeling. I lost only a tiny bit of weight that week too. The culprit was cheese and dairy, I believe. Now I have cut down on the cheese.

I’m still adjusting to this new way of eating and with only six hours of the day spent cooking and eating, it feels like I just about get two meals in! Since I don’t eat until about noon time, I have lots of morning hours to plan my two meals for the day.

I’m eating a lot more vegetables these days. I guess that without potatoes and onion rings as sides, I need to fill the gaps, and veggies it is. I really did eat a lot of potatoes. And yes, I miss them! Baked with yogurt, fried, potato pancakes, french fries….it’s probably my biggest craving.

These Keto biscuits are really good. I plan to make more.

Low carb Keto biscuits
Low Carb Yummy Biscuits For the Keto┬áDiet Simple and delicious – really

But I am losing weight, so good things are happening. Even though I eat less food, I never feel tired. Bread and carbs can do that, and I’m eating very few.

I’ve cheated a few times. I made pizza one day – real pizza with normal crust. But all in all I have done well. I’m not saying I plan to eat this way forever but I could follow this plan for quite a while. I want to see kidney changes, blood pressure dropping, and my waistline get smaller. Until then, I’ll keep at it.

Low Carb Yummy Biscuits For the Keto Diet

Cutting bread out of my diet has been the toughest part of this diet change. I suspect it is for many people. We grow up eating bread. Now I have found a biscuit recipe that is really delicious.

I’ve tried a couple of “bread recipes” that replace white flour with low carb almond flour and they were okay. I often eat the quick keto bread for breakfast because it is very quick to make. But it’s more of a corn muffin consistency – not really a piece of bread. It’s fine for breakfast but that’s about the only time I eat it.

I believe very little of what I see online, but these Keto biscuits sounded worth trying. Eating Keto means cheese, butter, and sour cream are good to eat, and these biscuits contain all three.

Low carb Keto biscuits
Simple and delicious – really

I followed the recipe exactly, using sour cream and shredded cheddar cheese. I only had a larger muffin pan that made six muffins, so I made six biscuits. Yup, I ate one, of course. They had to cook longer, by about five minutes. Even in the larger pan they are not huge biscuits, and I oiled it good but they stuck like mad.

See the recipe for Low Carb Keto Biscuits at Kirbie’s Cravings.

Change up the recipe and use yogurt in place of the sour cream. Use cream cheese, or another cheese in place of cheddar. Add herbs and omit the cheese, or cut down, for a lighter biscuit – maybe?

This one is a keeper, and I will be making them again.

Keto White Sauce With Cream Cheese

No recipe is needed to make a delicious casserole with ingredients on hand. Buy Keto-friendly food and then make something up. The basics are meat, vegetables and sauce.

I had a head of cauliflower to use, so I made up a quick chicken and vegetable casserole. All I needed was a Keto white sauce to mix in. There are many ad-filled sites that suggest this basic way to make white sauce, using various ingredients. This is how I made mine with the ingredients I had on hand.

Cook the Chicken and Cauliflower

I cooked the ground chicken in a fry pan.

Simmer the cauliflower heads (I cut them into small florets and discard the bigger sections) for a few minutes. Layer the chicken in the bottom of a casserole dish, and put the semi-cooked cauliflower over it.

Ground chicken
Cook the ground chicken

Making the Sauce

The sauce was made by melting 3-4 tablespoons of butter with half a package of cream cheese (4 oz.). Next time I think I would use more of these ingredients. Then….

white sauce butter and cream cheese
First melt butter and cream cheese

Stir in some heavy cream, half and half – whatever liquid is preferred. Add big spoonful of plain, Greek yogurt (not non-fat) – this is optional, but many recipes called for mayo, so I substituted yogurt. Heat on low.

Add black pepper, grated cheddar cheese (mozzarella could be used), and I added a few pieces of spicy pepper cheese for added flavor.

Simmer and stir on low heat until all cheese is melted. Pour the sauce over the meat and veggies which are layered in the casserole dish.

Bake at 350 for 30 minutes.

Chicken and cauliflower casserole
Ready to bake
Baked cauliflower and chicken casserole
Not bad

A white sauce casserole is a nice change from all the tomato sauce casseroles I’ve been making, like the Poblano peppers and beef, and meatball and zucchini dishes.

Additional Notes

I would prefer this with broccoli, but I had the big head of cauliflower to use up. A nice addition would have been spinach, to give it some color. Any type of meat would work in this recipe, and so would many vegetables.