Lets talk Breakfast…

Everything Keto Bagels.JPGAs a child we are always told that breakfast is the most important meal of the day.  I grew up eating scrambled eggs, toast, french toast, pancakes, waffles and if we were really in a hurry a giant bowl of cereal.  As adults many of us just opt for the largest cup of coffee we can make and forego a traditional breakfast. When I started my keto journey I decided that I would also do a 16:8 intermittent fast each day. I did this because I was used to skipping breakfast so it wouldn’t be any different from a normal day for me. I also noticed that I was relying on my cup of coffee in the morning to keep me full until I had my first meal at 2 pm. So I loaded it with almond milk or heavy cream. For a while that kept me full until my meal. After a while I noticed that my weight was up and down the same 3 lbs or it just stayed the same. So I decided that I would try something different and eat 3 meals a day but continue to stay in my macro count. I also decided to give up coffee. (Insert shocked face here). YES I gave up my morning coffee. I’ll be honest…..that was NOT easy but after I got through the first few days I noticed how much better I felt and it really sunk in how much I was depending on coffee to get me through the day.

Since I didn’t have my morning caffeine jolt, it was tough getting out of bed in the morning to cook a full breakfast. I needed to find something that I could prep before hand and would be an easy grab and go breakfast. I started off with just eating hard-boiled eggs, half an avocado and maybe some bacon or sausage that I could just reheat. That got boring after a while so I took to my best friend Pinterest and came across this amazing everything keto bagel recipe! So I jumped in my car, drove to the store and got everything I needed to make these amazing round pieces of heaven. After I tried these bagels for the first time, I was immediately hooked and I now make these every Sunday for the week.

The recipe came from an amazing blogger and cookbook author Kyndra D. Holley or Peace, Love and Low Carb (https://peaceloveandlowcarb.com/). If you do not know her….you NEED to jump on your computer or phone right now and check it out! I purchased her Craveable Keto cookbook last week and I plan on trying every recipe in this book! So….here it is….the infamous Everything Keto Bagel Recipe!

Ingredients:

2 Cups blanched almond flour

1 tablespoon baking powder

1 teaspoon garlic powder

1 teaspoon onion powder

1 teaspoon italian seasoning (I omit this but that is just my preference)

3 large eggs

3 cups of shredded low moisture mozzarella cheese

5 tablespoons cream cheese

3 tablespoons Everything Bagel Seasoning (I get mine from Trader Joe’s)

Directions:

  1. Preheat oven to 425 degrees. Line a baking sheet with parchment paper or a Slipmat.
  2. In a medium mixing bowl, combine the almond flour, baking powder, garlic powder, onion powder and the italian seasoning (if you chose to use it). Mix until well combined.
  3. Crack one of the eggs into a small bowl and fork whisk. This will be the egg wash for the top of the bagels.
  4. In a large microwave safe mixing bowl, combine the mozzarella cheese and cream cheese. Microwave for 1 minute and 30 seconds. Remove from the microwave and stir to combine. Return to the microwave for an additional minute. Mix until well combined.
  5. To the mixing bowl, add the remaining 2 eggs and the almond flour mixture. Mix until all ingredients are well incorporated. (I found that it is easier to mix with my hands once the cheese cools down a little). If the dough gets to stringy and unworkable, put it back into the microwave for 30 seconds to soften and continue mixing.
  6. Divide the dough into 6 equal portions. Roll each portion into a ball.
  7. Gently press your finger into the center of each dough ball to form a ring. Stretch the ring to make a small hole in the center and form it into a bagel shape.
  8. Brush the top of each bagel with the egg wash and top with the everthing bagel seasoning.
  9. Bake on the middle rack for 12 to 14 minutes or until golden brown.

Here is the link to the recipe as well: https://peaceloveandlowcarb.com/low-carb-keto-everything-bagels/

I’m telling you that you will not be sorry if you try these!! If you try these…..please let me know how you like them!!!

xoxo,

Jen

Lets talk about PIZZA!!!

Cali'Flour Pizza CrustsA few posts ago I mentioned that I was on the Ketogenic diet. Everyone keeps asking me whats one thing I miss the most….my answer is always PIZZA. Until now! I had the worst craving for pizza that I turned to my trusty friend the internet and searched and searched for hours for the best keto pizza recipe. I found a few that looked promising so I marched out to Whole Foods and Trader Joe’s to get all the ingredients needed. After hours in the kitchen I had successfully made 3 different pizza crusts all of which were absolutely GROSS!!!! I’m not sure if it was me or the recipes but I just couldn’t handle the taste and how soggy these crusts were. I’m a crispy crust kind of girl. So my search continued.

One day I was just mindlessly flipping through my FaceBook feed when I came across one of those pesky sponsored ads for the newest health food craze but this one caught my attention because it was for a pizza crust. I immediately checked it out. When I opened up their website and clicked on the variety starter pack…..I had instant sticker shock!! These crusts are on the more expense side so I was very hesitant to buy these at first. The more and more I thought about it…..did I really want to spend $40 on 6 pizza crusts that were probably the size of my hand? Fast forward about 10 minutes and the answer was YES!!!!!!

So let me tell you about the brand. Cali’Flour is a California-based company who has perfected the cauliflower crust! Accordingly to their website (https://www.califlourfoods.com/), the owner was diagnosed with lupus and knew she was going to need to make some changes in her diet to keep her autoimmune disease in check. That was when Calif’Flour foods was birthed! I’m so thankful that she had the courage to develop this product and share it with the world because this has been a game changer for me!

So let’s get down to the ingredients and the Nutritional Facts! I ordered the variety pack where I got 2 Original Italian, 2 Spicy Jalapeno and 2 Sweet Red Pepper Crusts. Below are the ingredients for each crust:

Original Italian: Fresh Cauliflower, Mozzarella (Whole Milk, Enzymes, Cheese Culture, Salt), Egg Whites, Basil, Garlic, Italian Spice (Basil, Marjoram, Oregano, Thyme, Rosemary and Parsley).

Spicy Jalapeno: Fresh Cauliflower, Mozzarella (Whole Milk, Enzymes, Cheese Culture, Salt), Egg Whites, Jalapeno, Garlic and Red Chili Flakes

Sweet Red Pepper: Fresh Cauliflower, Mozzarella (Whole Milk, Enzymes, Cheese Culture, Salt), Roasted Garlic and Red Pepper Seasoning (Garlic, Red Bell Peppers, Salt, Roasted Garlic, Red Pepper, Citric Acid, Natural Flavor of Turmeric and Annatto) (Natural Flavor and Color).

Below are the Nutritional Facts label for their Crust and yes you are reading that correct….only 1g of carbs for a third of the crust!!! This is why I don’t feel guilty when I eat the whole thing!!!

Cali

The crusts are easily prepared as well! So if you order these online, you can order the starter pack that comes with a special pan that they recommend. I was cheap and decided to forgo the pack with the pan. So I literally just open the crust and place on a cookie sheet lined with parchment paper. I pop it into a 400 degree oven for about 10 minutes. I let the crust cool for a good 10 to 12 minutes before I top the pizza with my favorite toppings. I love topping my pizza with the Rao’s pizza sauce, mozzarella cheese, pepperoni and banana pepper rings. Once my pizza is carefully crafted, I pop it back into the oven for about 10 minutes or until the cheese is melted. The edges of this crust will be dark and super crispy but overall the taste is AMAZING!! I highly recommend the Sweet Bell Pepper crust as that is my favorite but all three crusts are amazing!!! I will say the jalapeno crust baked by itself with some cheese dipped in some ranch dressing is a great snack!! That’s just how versatile these crusts are! You can easily top them or eat them by themselves because the taste is just that amazing!

If you decide to purchase these…..please share with me your favorite flavor and what you top your pizza with!!! Thanks for reading!!

xoxo,

Jen

Life and Fertility Update

I Will Beat Infertility.jpgWell…..its been a while since you’ve heard anything from me and for that I am really sorry. I’ve had some major events, both personal and professional, happen lately that really required some focus. I do owe you guys a major updated so here we go…

As you already know I decided to try Keto a few months ago and I fell in love with the lifestyle. After following this way of eating strictly, I’ve continued to see the weight just melt right off. Now so many people have told me….”Jen that isn’t healthy” or “Jen Keto is going to give you a heart attack from all the fat”. Let me tell you guys that I have never felt better. My migraines are pretty much non-existent, I’m less bloated, I have way more energy then I use to and overall I feel GREAT! I’ve had my fair share of cheat meals which are full of carbs and after each of those meals….I feel bloated, sluggish and just plain gross. So why would I continue to eat those things that make me feel so bad? End of rant! So with sticking to Keto and working out religiously I kept seeing the number on the scale go down until one day when I hit the dreaded plateau. I did everything I could think of to break it and nothing for about a month…..I didn’t lose a single once. So after plenty of research and reaching out to a few friends for help I figured out my problem. I wasn’t consuming enough water and I was working out TOO hard. Yes that is a thing! I found out that killing myself in the gym for 2 hours 5 times a week was keeping me from losing the weight I wanted to because of cortisol. I found out that my body was creating all of this cortisol that refused to let my body lose any weight. So by increasing my water intake from approximately 80 ounces to 120 ounces every day and by doing minor cardio and weight training, I broke that pesky plateau. I lost 8 lbs that week and as of today I’ve lost a total of 85 lbs. Yes you read that right 85 LBS!!! That my friends is an amazing accomplishment that I am extremely proud of. I weight less today than I did on my wedding day! Not only has this really made me feel great about myself but to see how everyone reacts to me now and sees the progress I have made…..its inspirational. I’ve actually inspired a few of my family and friends to start eating healthier. I have no plans of stopping now even though I’ve exceeded my goal weight per the fertility doctors orders. I see another goal that needs to be exceeded!

So this brings me to the fertility update. So since I hit my goal weight, I went back to the doctor and we started the process of our first IUI which consisted of getting authorized with the insurance company and redoing some of our routine blood work which is pretty standard. So in late August, we started taking Letrozole which is like Clomid in that it induces ovulation which many women with PCOS do not do on their own. So I took 2.5mg of Letrozole for 5 days and went back on day 12 of my cycle for bloodwork and ultrasound. The ultrasound tech measured 7 follicles at this appointment. One at 15 mm, One at 12 mm and five at 9 mm. All was good news as I apparently was responding well to the letrozole. So I had to go back in 2 days later for more bloodwork and ultrasound. On this appointment, the 15mm follicle had disappeared. WHAT….HOW…..WHY??? According to the doctor it appeared to have been a cyst which means there was no egg inside but I still had 6 follicles that were all measuring well. One at 13 mm, and 5 at 11mm. They did explain to me that having to many would mean that we may have to cancel and restart but they wanted to first continue monitoring to see if the 13 grew and the others stayed the same or got smaller. One my third visit, which was 2 days later, all of my follicles were smaller. I was really devastated. I wasn’t sure why my body wasn’t cooperating and I thought I was doing something wrong. My doctor then decided to prescribe me Follistim or what is common called a FSH (Folicle-Stimulating Hormone) to help my follicles grow. So my wonderful and supportive hubby said that he would administer the injections because I’m so fearful of needles that I just wouldn’t be able to do it myself. So after 2 days of injections, I went back in for more bloodwork and another ultrasound. Ultrasound revealed a little growth with one follicle at 15 mm, one at 12 mm and 4 at 11mm. My estrogen levels had spiked up in the 800 range after adding the follistim. So I continued with the Follistim for two more days at a reduced dosage. Went back in for more blood work and another ultrasound. No more 15mm follicle and no additional growth on the others. My doctor called me personally instead of the nurse to break the news to me that my estrogen levels spiked again to around 1200 and with no follicle growth and too many follicles, it was no longer safe to continue with this attempt of an IUI. I just knew this was coming so I had braced myself for this impact but it still hurt. You can prepare yourself for just about anything but when you actually hear the bad news it still hits you like a ton of bricks. I had my hopes set to high that I just set myself up for disappointment. In all reality was I really going to get pregnant on the first IUI attempt…..probably not but it would have been pretty awesome if I did. So my doctor proscribed me provera to help me induce a menstrual cycle so that we could try this again. I told myself that this first attempt was my test run. Now my doctor knows how my body is reacting to the medications he has prescribed and can make the adjustments needed for the first “real” attempt.

So that brings us to the last two weeks of my life. Day three of my cycle, I went in for my baseline blood work and ultrasound for the “real” attempt. Everything came back great estrogen levels went back down to a normal range and I got the go head to start the Letrozole again. Doctor increased my dosage to 5 mg for 5 days and I got in on Thursday October 11th for another round of bloodwork and ultrasound. I’m praying that my doctor has figured out the correct cocktail to get my ovaries to produce the best damn follicles they can and that one or two of them mature to the 18mm mark they need to so that we can really give this a try. I hate to ask this of my readers but I could really use some positive vibes and some prayers over the next few days. I have waited so long to become a mom and I feel in my bones that my time is coming very soon. So here is to being positive and hopeful that this is my time.

I will also try to post more updates as they happen to avoid novel length posts like this in the future. Until next time….

xoxo,

Jen

Eat the pizza!!

PizzaSo…this weekend didn’t go so well for me and Keto. Specifically Sunday. For the past few weeks my husband and I haven’t really had the chance to really spend much time together. Sundays are normally our day to hang out together whether it be date night or just chilling in bed together all day. Well since we haven’t had a Sunday together in about 4 weeks and we’ve both been spending a lot of time away from home we decided that it would be a lazy Sunday where we didn’t leave bed. A day of nothing is exactly what I needed…..except for I had to prepare all of our meals with nothing in the house. We normally do our grocery shopping on Sunday’s. So I had a VERY tough decision….do I go to the store or do I just hang with my husband all day? It didn’t take me very long to make the decision to stay at home with hubby. Luckily I’m doing the intermittent fasting thing so my first meal wasn’t until 12pm anyway and hubby likes to sleep in until about 11 or 11:30 on the days he doesn’t work. When lunch time rolled around I went in search of something that I could make that was Keto friendly. Luckily I still had a dozen of eggs and some bacon. So for lunch we had scrambled eggs with coconut oil, salt and pepper and bacon.

We were both satisfied for a few hours and then the munchies started to take over. I settled for some almonds and a sugar free jello cup….but an hour later I was hungry again. I had nothing to make for dinner because everything was frozen. Hubby suggested pizza….so I said lets order from Domino’s because they have salads….then we started to order and one thing lead to another.  Hubby ordered a Philly cheese steak pizza and the brownie cookie for dessert. I ordered a salad and some wings….completely forgetting that their wings are breaded. Strike 1 for Jen! When the food arrived, the smell of melted cheese, green bell peppers and steak filled the entire room as if it was a sinking ship filling with water. I fought my urge to have a slice and settled for my salad and my wings (which I was already beating myself up over).

Hubby and I decided to watch Son-In-Law with Pauly shore and about 30 minutes in Hubby starts snoring…..the devil on my shoulder seemed to be getting louder and louder. “One piece wont kill you” it kept saying over and over again until I finally caved…….I didn’t eat one but two slices of pizza and then I couldn’t stop. I had two pieces of the brownie cookie too!! I felt so defeated and wanted to sit there and feel terrible about myself but something told me to reach out to a friend who is also doing the Keto diet. She has been my rock through this whole thing and has kept me sane. I told her all about my “cheat day” and what she said to me has given me a whole new outlook on my “accidents”. She said to me: “Its life….get back on track tomorrow. It can’t be all consuming, life has to happen and that includes pizza.” The more and more I thought about it….shes totally right! Being so strict on myself and not enjoying life was just setting me up to fail. I need to enjoy my life and if I want a slice of pizza I should have it because everything is “OK” in moderation. Moral of this story is….DO not beat yourself up for having a slice of pizza, a slice of cake or a scoop of ice cream. We are all human, we are going to make mistakes…..what we do to recover from them is what really counts. Until next time!

xoxo,

Jen

Keto Diet and Me

PCOS and KETOSo I’m sure that by now you’ve heard of the Keto diet. It’s all the rage these days. This diet is very similar to Atkins which I had some really good results on…so naturally I wanted to give it shot but why? Well….I had been working out consistently, eating all the right foods and drinking my water like I’m supposed to but it creeped up on me out of no where….the dreaded “plateau”. I hadn’t lost a single ounce for 3 weeks despite everything that I did….I increased my weights, reduced my cardio, increased my cardio, cut back my calories, ate more calories….but still no budge on that scale. So I sought help on the internet. I joined some fitness groups, read some blogs and some articles. The best thing I read in all my research was this diet is the optimal diet for women with PCOS. PCOS is an insulin resistant syndrome which basically means our bodies do not recognize insulin. The insulin that the pancreas keeps making just floats around in our bodies with nowhere to go. With this surplus of insulin in our systems it leads to elevated testosterone levels which then causes the fertility issues like missed periods, failure to ovulate, facial hair and all of those other horrible symptoms.

So I’m sure by now your asking…..so what’s so special about Keto? So the Keto diet is a high fat, moderate protein, low carb and sugar diet. Yes you read that right “HIGH FAT?!?!?! WTF???”. I know that it’s so hard to think that eating more fat will in turn cause you to lose weight and that’s because over the years all the health professionals brainwashed us all to think fats are bad and healthy carbs are optimal to fuel our bodies. Well now carbs are bad and fats are good! With the Keto diet your diet should consist of 75% fat, 20% protein and 5% carbs which for my calorie allotment is roughly 125 grams of fat, 106 grams of protein and 25 grams of carbs. So when on this diet you are basically teaching your body to use fat as fuel instead of carbs which in turn lowers your blood sugar levels and improving your insulin resistance. So to sum this up lower carbs, lower sugar…..improved/relief of PCOS symptoms.

My Results so far…

So I started the keto diet on Monday April 16th and today when I stepped on that scale….I did not believe what I was seeing. I lost a total of 7.8 lbs!!! That’s right….I lost almost 8 lbs in 7 days! I immediately jumped off the scale and back on again…and again…and again….and again. Each time my weight came back the same. This now brings me to 6.8 lbs away from my goal weight to finally start fertility treatments. My dream of becoming a mommy is within my grasp and I am both nervous and excited at the same time. It’s like that first day of school when you are so excited to see all of your friends but your so nervous for the actual school work to start. I’ve been waiting so long for this to become a reality and I’m so happy that all of my hard work and dedication has finally paid off. You all know that I’ve given up and started over numerous times. My mental state had taken a turn for the worse and I was losing hope fast….the thought of just giving up completely had crossed my mind a time or two but one morning I woke up and said “NO”…..I’m going to do this and I’m going to reach my goals. As of today, I’ve lost a total of 70 lb….yes getting to this point may have been slow but I did it on my own terms. No surgery, no pills, no miracle cure…just hard work, dedication and discipline. I’ve never felt better than I do today. My spirit, my mind and my body have overcome so much over the course of my journey. I learned a lot about myself throughout this journey and I’m loving the person I’m growing into.

So here’s to kicking those last 6.8 lbs to the curb! Stay tuned…..

xoxo,

Jen

Gym Update and Progress Photos

The Gym….what can I say about the place where everyone kills theirselves to look better than yesterday? Well I’ve consistently tried to go to the gym at least 4 times a week as that is what my schedule will allow. I’ve kept to that as best as I could with the exceptional day where I had appointments after work that left it impossible for me to get to the gym. The entire month of December was a wash for me only getting to the gym one or twice a week because of the type of job I have. I have lost 25 lbs since I joined the gym on October 15. Are those phenomenal results? No but they are still results….it’s still progress. I’m getting stronger and leaner everyday. Am I losing hope anymore? NO!! I have finally found something that I can stick with and get results! Even on those days where I’m exhausted and really just want to stay in bed….I still push myself to get up and at least get an hour of cardio in for the day! All you have to do is remember your “why” and it makes the decision to go to the gym so much easier! I recently posted these photos to my Facebook group for my blog and I was amazed at the support and encouragement that all of you have given me! I am so blessed to have amazing people in my life and in my social media life! So thank you all! Here’s to the next 25 lbs!!!

Xoxo,

Jen

Christmas Cookie Temptations

Gingerbread CookiesSo…..I’m sure that by now you have noticed that Christmas is right around the corner. As if all the lights, Christmas music and Christmas tree vendors didn’t give it away! All joking aside….Holidays are definitely the time to spend some quality time with family. I’m not sure about your family but with my family that involves FOOD and lots of it…specifically COOKIES. I grew up in a household where my mom loved to bake Christmas cookies and over the years watching and helping her, I too fell in love with baking. I will bake from the moment I wake up to the time I go to bed on the weekends. Baking for me started out as something my mom and I could share but it soon turned into a stress reliever for me. There is just something about following a recipe and measuring everything out to the exact measurement that is just so satisfying.

Obviously being around all of that sugar and amazingness can cause temptation to rear its evil head. Dealing with that constant temptation isn’t an easy task. I would love to say that I have the worlds strongest will power but let’s be honest……I’m weak! SOOOOOO WEAK! I refuse to be that person who goes through the holidays depriving myself to the point where I dread the holidays. So yes….I will have a cookie or two but never three……never (insert sarcastic eye roll here). So how do I keep myself from eating the 20 dozen cookies I just baked….I give them away. I will keep a few dozen for me and the hubby to enjoy because you can enjoy all things in moderation which I have had to teach myself. Hubby however…..I can’t control him! He is known as the cookie monster in our home.

I hope that everyone enjoys the holidays and spending some quality time with their families.

XOXO,

Jen