Mistakes I Made When I Began a Keto Diet

I have now surpassed my six month Keto diet anniversary (I began in August 2020). Overall, I am pleased with how I feel. Since I don’t go to a doctor, I don’t have medical results to share, only my own personal observations.

The breakfast I used to eat was something like the one pictured below. Black coffee with lots of coconut oil, and yogurt with nuts, coconut and bananas (or other fruit). I thought it was a great meal, and it’s not bad, except for the carbs in bananas.

The little bananas came from my neighbors backyard here in Florida. They are the perfect size since bananas are a no-no on Keto. (Hint hint, I don’t give up everything because I believe that variety is good.)

coffee yogurt little bananas
Florida bananas in yogurt

Since I began Keto, I also do intermittent fasting so I don’t eat until noon. Sometimes I eat a “breakfast” and other times I eat a regular meal – low carb of course.

Balancing Good Foods and Keto

Which brings me to one of the things that bothers me about Keto. I don’t want to give up fruit. So I have been eating a little, like the tiny bananas. Or I add a few blueberries or a couple strawberries to my yogurt – (Cabot Creek, full fat, plain Greek Yogurt is my favorite.) I’ve stopped drinking juice, but still eat a little fruit. If I eat more carbs than usual for breakfast I am careful the rest of the day.

I don’t count my carbs. For a few days I used a carb counter app but I just can’t spend time entering all the foods I eat to see how many carbs I’m getting. I feel like I know the basic foods to avoid, and I read labels if I’m not sure.

I’m cutting back on the Keto breads and biscuits which really have no nutritional value.

Keto breakfast of quick bread and omelet
My breakfast of spinach and egg with a keto biscuit containing poppy seeds

I Was Eating Too Much Cheese, Bacon and Replacement Bread

After a few weeks on Keto, I stopped losing weight. In fact, I gained a few pounds! This was depressing after having a good beginning and dropping a few pounds every week. Something was wrong.

Lots of online Keto recipes are loaded with cheese and I was eating too much of it. I’ve gone back to eating more normally and using less cheese in my dishes. I also quit eating so many Keto biscuits. Once I did these things, I stopped gaining weight. Keto replacement food can be yummy but loaded with calories!

***Eat healthy, using lots of organic vegetables, grass-fed proteins, and good oils while greatly reducing carbs is the goal. Stay away from processed foods.

Read more about the differences between a clean Keto diet and a dirty Keto diet.

Keto cheese biscuits
Keto biscuits with cheese have little nutritional value and lots of calories

Where to Find Keto Recipes Online

I bought Maria Emmerich’s Keto recipes book (Amazon affiliate link), but she also has a website with recipes. In fact, many popular food sites also list Keto dishes. Just eat sensibly and watch the sodium as many Keto foods don’t worry about sodium content.

Eating to Help My Mind and Body

My original reason for trying Keto is to help with my PKD, so I had to remind myself of this constantly. Since I don’t go to a doctor, all I have to go on is the way I feel, how I sleep, and my own blood pressure readings. I do Keto and think about what is best for my kidneys at the same time.

My mother, and now my younger sister, have had dementia. Before my mother, no one in my family had impaired mental abilities at all, especially at a fairly young age – my sister is only 63! So this is scary. I tell myself it is lifestyle and food that contributes, and I especially believe in eating correctly.

Dementia forgetting puzzle pieces missing
Losing brain power is a scary thing

A big plus from eating this way is that my mind feels good. I do not get tired in the middle of the day, and I am sleeping very well most nights. Because I don’t bother with food for the first five to six hours of my day, I get more work done (I own an online business). I am very focused and do not miss breakfast, nor do I believe it is necessary to eat first thing in the morning.

I’ve actually come to like the fasting part of this diet. It might sound odd, but not eating all morning has been a good thing for me. I stop eating by at least 6:00 pm and that gives me 18 hours total without eating. When I get up in the morning, I make a regular cup or two of coffee then I drink watered down versions of coffee – or Dandy Blend (this is an Amazon affiliate link to a Dandelion coffee replacement drink) – until I can eat. I do get hungry, so when you hear people say “you won’t be hungry on Keto”, if you fast, you will probably get hungry.

Use that non-eating time to think about a healthy meal you will cook for your first meal of the day.

A Keto food shopping trip

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.