Low Carb Jump Start!

So, it's Friday and you're going to start low-carbing Monday.  Excellent!  If you're not accustomed to a low carb diet it's pretty hard to stick with it more than a few days, in my opinion.  More than the first few days, that is.  It definitely gets easier the longer you do it; after I'd spent six months on low carb (low enough to be in ketosis constantly) I found that I could spend a few days eating carbs again and easily get back into low carb mode.  Those first couple of weeks were a struggle, though, so here are suggestions that I think are key to getting started.

First, one of the easiest excuses for dropping out of low carb is, "I don't have what I need to make low carb food right now."  Plan ahead to avoid that.  Go to RuleMe.com and AllDayIDreamAboutFood.com and /r/ketorecipes and all the other great places to find low carb recipes.  Find some that look good, and go out to get the ingredients NOW.  Get eight blocks of cream cheese.  Get meat.  Lots of meat.  And eggs, and seasonings.  Stock up on keto-friendly cooking stuff now so you aren't caught unprepared later."

Next, figure out your favorite salad stuff and again, stock up.  I eat a salad with baby spinach leaves, ranch, feta cheese, and some kind of protein (turkey bacon bits, shrimp, or chicken) at least once per day and ideally twice.  It helps you feel full so you don't get hungry between meals.

Snacks!  Snacks can be the bane of low keto.  I found I really like the Atkins bars and some of the Atkins candy.  They're really convenient if I'm in a hurry, and I can sneak them into the movie theater.  Likewise, I like the store bought cheese crackers (Moon Cheese and Cello Whisps) and recently started making my own in the dehydrator.  Have that stuff nearby so that when you have to snack, you can do it low carb.

Quantity in cooking.  If you're going through the trouble of making a new recipe, make enough that you'll be able to eat for the next few days.  I love the cheesy chicken and pepper soup recipe I found, and I make it in batches that will give me four meals.  Combine that with having some other stuff already prepared, and I can go four or five days without cooking, but without relying on Atkins bars and cheese to get by.

Finally, find a tracking app and use it religiously.  I started out using MyFitnessPal, but now I'm using Fitbit's app for both my exercise and calorie intake tracking.  Which is good, since it easily shows me my calorie deficit.  Most important, though, is that tracking your calories and carbs keeps you really aware of what you're eating.  If your goal is to stay in ketosis you need to make sure your carb count is very low.  If you're working on weight loss, you want to be tracking the calories as well.  This was a big one for me -- after six to eight weeks of tracking nutrition to stay in ketosis, I found it much easier during my carb-ful breaks to stay in a good calorie deficit despite eating carbs.

Most important note -- keep getting back on the horse.  Remember, it's a long haul, not a sprint.  If you can sprint for a while, great, but overall, health is something you're maintaining over decades, not days.  If you deviate from your desired course one day, just get back on track and try again.

Low Carb Hot Dog Fettucine Alfredo

That's right.  Hot dog.  I already had this excellent alfredo sauce made from a recipe in Quick and Easy Ketogenic Cooking, by Maria Emmerich.  Someone really cool bought me this book a few days ago and I didn't want to wait for Christmas to start using it.  I made some of the alfredo sauce a few days ago to eat with some chicken and shrimp and loved it.  That same day I ordered some Miracle Noodles, which I also learned about in said book.  They arrived yesterday, and I was really eager to try them this morning.

Four miles of running this morning (which included most of Episode Six of The Man in the High Castle) made me quite ready for some alfredo for lunch.  Alas, I discovered that the four ounces of leftover chicken I had in the fridge was actually zero ounces.  Apparently I ate it yesterday...

I did, however, have hot dogs.  Another of Ms. Emmerich's recipes, Pigs In A Bacon Blanket, called for hot dogs, so...why not try them in alfredo sauce?  The noodles took two minutes to boil, the sauce and dog took about a minute to heat.  Since the noodles are zero calorie, zero carb, the whole meal came to about 310 calories and around 1 gram of carb.  (Oscar Meyer Premium Beef Franks are 130 calories each.)  I'm re-reading Dune right now and I'm happy to report it goes just fine with hot dog alfredo.

Cheesey Chicken and Shrimp Soup

No, I don't plan on sharing recipes on a regular basis.  However, I'm very proud of myself.  This is the first time that I've significantly altered a recipe to the point where I feel like I made my own.  Other than making sushi.  I've been making my own weird sushi combinations for years.


5 oz chicken
2.5 oz shrimp
2 T butter
1/4 cup chopped onion
1/2 cup chopped bell pepper
A lot of garlic powder
1 tsp ground cumin
4 cups chicken broth stock
8 oz light cream cheese
2 cups shredded cheddar cheese
5 oz chicken
2.5 oz shrimp


  1. Pre-cook the chicken and the shrimp. The original recipe has you cooking these in the broth, but I was splitting these between multiple people in different food formats, so pre-cooking was easier. That's also why I ended up with 5 ounces of chicken.
  2. Cut the chicken and shrimp both to 1/4" to 1/2" chunks and set aside.
  3. Melt the butter in a large sauce pan, medium heat. By large I mean, "Everything's going to be in here by the time we're done, so make it big."
  4. Toss the onions in and let them cook a bit.
  5. Add the garlic powder, the bell peppers, and the cumin. Then add more garlic powder. Stir all of this stuff for about five minutes, adding more garlic powder until your entire downstairs smells like sautéed garlic. Yum.
  6. Stir in the chicken broth. Add some salt and pepper if you like, or possibly more garlic. Oh, yeah. Bring it to a boil, then reduce the heat and let the whole thing simmer.
  7. Add the chicken and shrimp. Since I already cooked these I didn't have to wait for them to cook now. If you didn't cook them already, you need to let them cook. Guessing about 10 minutes for the chicken to cook thoroughly. I can't stand the thought of raw chicken, so I regularly take pieces out and cut them in half to check for thorough cooking. Then, when you're eating later, it seems like you have more chicken.
  8. Add the cream cheese chunks. It'll start to melt, but breaks up even better if you stir it with a whisk. I know, the whisk is really a pain in the ass to clean correctly, but it's the right tool for the job. Deal with it.
  9. Add the cheddar cheese. Keep stirring. You want the cream cheese to break up and everything to mix together nicely.
  10. Serve. I divided it into fourths, since according to my counting that gives me serving sizes of 500 calories and 3g of carbs. Also, that was just the right amount to fit in one of my dinner bowls. Go figure.

Nutrition Info

I think I got this right, but there's certainly some variance online about the calories and carbs in each item, so there's room for some error…