By Annie Phenix
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I am Keto-Adapted Certified Health Coach who has been ketogenic for four years. I’ve lost and kept off 40 pounds. I cured my own pre-diabetes with keto as well as my husband’s non-alcoholic fatty liver disease. If you need help with a keto way of living, please contact me. Here’s my website: Happy Fat Mouth

After the Holiday Rush

So – how were the holidays for you food wise? Did you stay on the keto straight and narrow or did you chuck it all and eat a traditional carb and sugar-loaded meal? Did you do something in between those two options?

healthy Thanksgiving food keto diet low carb meals

How did you choose to eat over the holidays?

Because I was a well-educated canine behavior expert for the past twenty years, I look at the human condition first and foremost in terms of our behavior. What makes us “give in” to social pressure at times like Thanksgiving? Conversely, what gives some the strength to say “no thanks” and resist the carb-age? Neither way of being is a judgement from me. Behavior is behavior. What is crucial from my point of view as a health coach is this: can you sit back and look at your own behavior this past week and see any lessons to learn for the future? Holidays, family gatherings and parties will keep coming, after all. It is crucial that you know you have choices to make. You are nutritionally woke when you understand that what you eat will affect your life, your lifestyle and how you feel.

I’ll tell you what I did for Thanksgiving this past year.

I made a healthy, low-carb, no sugar (I used Monkfruit sugar for any recipes calling for sugar), healthy versions of my favorite traditional Thanksgiving dishes. I did not feel one bit deprived or that I was missing anything. All the food was delicious and we all had happy fat mouths! I also ordered a huge brisket from my favorite Texas barbecue (Cooper’s in Llano, Texas). I did that because I love good brisket and it’s nearly impossible to find here in Northern Utah. It was a huge brisket and gave us at least 10 meals. I also ordered it as a big turkey is a lot of work! I would want to brine a turkey for several days and that would be after waiting for it to thaw out for several days and then it takes hours to cook, not to mention it is the center piece and if it’s undone or over done you have a big problem. Not having to make a turkey gave me hours to make the side dishes I wanted to make.

healthy brisket ketogenic diet meat

Brisket is a terrific food any time of the year!

This option isn’t for everyone one but again it is about choices, behavior and what is important to you. You do not have to be the one who works that hard to make a turkey if you do not want to. Either ask someone else to do it or order a cooked one! There are almost always options and solutions but you have to be in a head and body space where you can make the best choices for yourself. And you have to have a backbone and strength to say no to the sugar and carb pushers who may be sitting at your dining table.

Here’s another thing I did that had consequences for me that I am reflecting on. I did have some carbs that are not part of my daily diet. I made fresh guacamole and a salsa for a neighborhood party. I love good tortillas chips so I decided that I would need to try the dips (for quality control, of course) with the chips as a special treat. I probably at 10 chips. Last night I finished the chips off and enjoyed cheesy nachos. I do often make crunchy keto chips/crackers/tortillas to scratch that itch but didn’t feel like making them after so much cooking. Earlier in the week I ate one whole breakfast bagel from a local restaurant. And then while Christmas shopping I ate three unique and delicious chocolate truffles made from a Utah company. I made these choices fully conscious of what I was doing. I didn’t have a migraine (has happened in the past with too much carb-age) nor did I feel any effects at all . . . until I did.

inflammatory food can cause arthritis

Inflammatory foods can cause arthritis. A keto diet will help!

Over the Thanksgiving weekend, I suddenly had an old familiar pain return in my shoulder. I could not lift my right arm. I have had this problem in the past and it was nearly constant when I was a carb-age eater. I spent a lot of money on supplements, massages and chiropractor care dealing with it. It hurts like hell. I forgot I had a “frozen shoulder” until it came back. I haven’t done any extra lifting or extra heavy use of my arm. I have been eating extra carbs/sugar here and there. It adds up. I believe it kicked the arthritis in that shoulder into an inflamed state.

Perhaps the thing that really kicked off my shoulder pain was the meal I made us the night before Thanksgiving. I had several red and green peppers I needed to use so I roasted them in a lot of avocado oil in the oven. They were fantastic!

red peppers are in the nightshade family healthy foods vegetables keto diet

I love red peppers. They do not love me back!

Peppers are in the nightshade family. I knew that but enjoyed them anyway. Nightshade plants are not my friend. Here’s a terrific article about nightshades from Dr. Will Cole. Another thing that could have been the cause of inflammation were the high oxalate foods I consumed this week, including peanuts (not keto!), coco powder and sweet potatoes. Oxalates are defense mechanisms for plants. Anyone suffering with kidney issues — including kidney stones — needs to be well versed in oxalates. One of the symptoms of oxalate overload is joint pain. Ding! Ding! Ding!

This past Sunday I ate very clean keto with about 10 carbs for the day. And as if by magic, my shoulder pain went away!! It really is that simple to help yourself but first you have to be woke.

Do I regret my cheats? I do not. I made the choices knowing I might pay the piper. I didn’t expect it to be a shoulder issue but there it is. And there it goes: BYEE! My choices and my behavior this past week will be ever-present when 2020 holidays get here and will serve as a sharp reminder and allow me another opportunity to make better choices.

Isn’t it interesting that I eat so few items from a SAD (Standard American Diet) that I can recall them all for a week? Also one or two of these problematic foods would most likely not have a noticeable effect but altogether they gave me a wake call. Isn’t it something that I worked hard to create a healthy Thanksgiving for myself and then rewarded myself with little cheats that caused me a bigger problem? Human behavior is complex! The important part of behavior is that we learn what works and what doesn’t.