By Annie Phenix
Certified Keto Coach badge

Thanks for reading!

I appreciate your opening and reading this newsletter. I love it so much when people are WOKE and they take the first steps to regain their health.

It takes courage to do what few others are doing with their diet and you are. Keep taking steps — even baby steps as all steps forward will eventually get you to where you want to be.

Newbie Corner

Do you feel tired? Aren’t you tired of being tired?

As someone who was very, very ill back in 2005, I am forever in search of ways to keep my daily energy sustained. I have found that energy thanks to keto. Most days I am flying around and never feel tired getting all that I put on my long list of “To Do’s,” and I love that feeling. If you feel bloated and lethargic, what you are consuming every day is a HUGE factor in how you feel and what your energy levels are like. If you eat the Standard American Diet (SAD) packed full of grains, sugar, horrific seed oils and fake food, you will feel like crap.

You are not eating a human appropriate diet. In her amazing big (500 pages!) book Deep Nutrition, Dr. Catherine Shanahan says outright that the processed “food” in most groceries stores is literally equal to kibble dog food!

Here is a short, good article from my keto guru Maria Emmerich on why you should try this way of living.

If you are going to tackle one major change in your diet, I suggest eliminating seed oils such as refined palm oil, soybean, canola, corn, cottonseed, sunflower, sesame, grape seed and rice bran oil. Also steer clear of anything hydrogenated. Dr. Shanahan breaks down how these nasty oils are made here. Some up-to-date nutritionists say that eliminating seed oils from your diet is THE most important step!

Here are just a few “food products” that contain these harmful oils: margarine, shortening, McNuggets, restaurant fried food, chips and crackers, protein bars, mayo and salad dressing, granola and cereals, and store-bought pastries. Please know that MOST restaurants cook with (often rancid) grape seed oil or rice bran oil.

So what the heck do you cook with? Any of these: avocado oil, coconut oil, peanut oil, real butter or ghee, unrefined palm oil, tallow and lard, palm kernel oil or almond oil.

Is Dairy Good for You?

Short answer: Yes, dairy foods are very healthy for you! Hooray! Who doesn’t love cheese or (keto) ice cream? The long answer is: dairy can cause inflammation and gut issues for many people. Dairy products can stop or stall weight loss, they make some people break out and can cause sinus issues. Dairy can also cause constipation for some.

Dairy is also calorically dense. Canadian keto guru Leanne Vogel doesn’t consume dairy products in her keto way of eating. Here is a video of her explanation.

The many pluses in dairy include:

  • excellent source of calcium
  • generally low carb
  • excellent source of saturated fat
  • excellent source of protein

Good keto sources of dairy include cheese glorious cheese, Irish butter (or any real butter), Ghee, heavy cream, and Greek yogurt. As always, be a label reader and check total carbs and sugar levels on everything.

Dairy contains two types of protein. It’s 20% whey and 80% casein. I happen to despise whey. If I get too much, it makes me immediately bloated and then comes “disaster pants.” Whey protein is often used in protein shakes. I don’t recommend many protein shakes because of that and also because it’s far healthier to chew your calories than it is to drink them. Most shakes also have a lot of added sugar.

For the past ten years, I assumed I was lactose intolerant based on the upset stomach I’d always get after consuming dairy. Then I did the 23andme DNA test and it came back with no signs of being lactose intolerant. When I went keto a few years ago, I decided to give dairy a try after about six months. Low and behold, I tried cheese glorious cheese again within a month as I felt so great. Today I can enjoy cheese, yogurt, sour cream, keto ice cream and more. It does not stall my weight loss or cause any discomfort. I find that this kind of change in what you are able to consume happens with a great deal of frequency when you go keto. I think in part it happens because you are fixing your gut and making it stronger.

Shopping Lists

It is true that being healthy requires a lot of at home cooking. The sooner you embrace the need to shop and cook, the faster you will get to good health. Hopefully you can share the shopping and cooking duties as family health should not fall on one person alone. You can make  your life a lot simpler by stocking keto staples in your pantry and fridge.

The top ingredients you need are:  coconut oil, avocado oil, real butter, bacon grease or lard, almond and coconut flour, vanilla, your favorite spices, Monkfruit or Swerve sugar (or your favorite kind), farm fresh eggs, all kinds of meats including bacon and sausage (free range is the goal), fatty fish, dairy products, nuts and seeds, low carb vegetables and fresh berries. BAM! You are done shopping and now it’s time to get cooking. Keto does not have to be complicated. It does have to be real, whole, fresh foods.

Of course, you can add many other items to your keto shopping list. Here is a great list from Ruled.Me. 

Some of My Best Kitchen Tools

I really do love to cook. If you knew me my first 45 years you would get a huge laugh out of my saying that. I hated to cook or shop for groceries. On a scale of 1 to 10 I hated it at 100. It felt like the last chore I ever wanted to do.

All of that changed as I researched and read about what constitutes healthy foods. It is fair to say we have been taught the exact opposite of good health by “the powers that be.” Once your eyes are open to this fact, it becomes a bit easier to accept that grocery shopping and cooking at home is the path to restored energy and health.

As I have learned to cook over these past five years, I go back to the same important cooking tools over and over again. Here are some tools that I think every kitchen needs:

Sharp Chef’s Knife — if you have seen a Gordon Ramsey television show where he cooks, what is the thing he does before cooking? He sharpens his knife. I sharpen my knife every day as well with a Sharp Shark from QVC. I used to think that a chef’s knife was way too big and it felt intimidating. Two things are important about knife use: that they are sharp and that you hold them correctly. Here is a tutorial on how to properly hold a knife.

It really does matter! I use a Henckels knife and they happen to be having a 20% off sale. I have a couple of serrated Cutco knives that I like, and they famously will sharpen for free their knives. They do have a petite chef’s knife if the larger size causes concern. These make wonderful gifts …. paging Santa!

Quality Spoons, Spatulas, and Tongs — Since Henckels is a great company and they are having the 20% sale, I recommend their 6-piece cooking tool bundle. Trust me when I saw you will want extra tongs in several different sizes.

Kitchen Shears — These are a must-have item. I have several pair. They can open most packaging and most importantly, they open bacon very quickly! Here is a pair of kitchen shears from Henckels.

Whisks — it seems like every other bread or dessert keto recipes calls for some whisking. I love having different sizes of whisks. These days there are brightly colored silicone whisks available and

why not add some color to your kitchen? Here is a brightly colored whisk from Sur la Table. Stainless steel whisks are great, too.

Measuring Cups — a lot of winter keto recipes will call for a lot of bone broth as a base and it takes time to measure out several cups in a one cup measuring cup. I like to have all different sizes to speed things up in the kitchen. Here are some good commercial measuring cups from Rubbermaid. These measure wet or dry ingredients.

Meat Thermometer — Another must have item. After all, you could someone sick with under cooked chicken, pork or fish. Here’s a write up of some good thermometers with different price points. In my experience, none of these holds the battery long enough so might as well purchase the right battery for the meat thermometer of your choice.

Fall Favorite Recipes

Keto Pumpkin Spice Bagels from Wholesome Yum — I’ve made these several times with or without frosting and they are so good. I made them today as bagels just for fun. 

Fathead Pizza from Wholesome Yum — It’s hard to not love a good pizza! You can choose the topping of your choice. I like to make 2-4 pizza doughs at a time and freeze some for later when a pizza urge strikes.

These can get very wobbly in the middle when loaded down with toppings so keep that in mind. I like to make them on the smaller side to help with that.

Oven Baked Chicken Thighs from Wholesome Yum — it’s a threefer from one of my favorite keto cooking blogs! It is definitely worth it to brine your chicken as it makes a HUGE flavor and texture difference. HUGE.

When I get in from grocery shopping I now pull out all the meat and put most of it in a brine or marinade. I get a big package of thighs — you want bone in and skin on — and cook half using this recipe and half using simply salt and lemon pepper. I begin by putting avocado oil over the uncooked thighs as well as lemon juice, then add the salt and lemon pepper. A secret to getting really crispy skin is to add a bit of baking powder before cooking — be sure to use baking powder and not baking soda (been there and done that).

Keto Products I Love

So many tasty keto recipes start with bone broth and my favorite comes from Kettle & Fire. It’s a neat company with lots of gusto. Many people drink bone broth like a warm tea while fasting. I don’t like the taste by itself enough to do that but wish I did as it is a nutritional gem.

Did you know that if your favorite store doesn’t carry a product you can go to customer service or talk to a manager and request it? It helps to have several requests so ask your family and friends to do the same.

So many people share with me that a MD refused to order the tests they requested. I always answer with WTF!? Tell your doctor it is YOUR body and you want certain tests. A non-threatened, mature and up-to-date medical professional should be more than thrilled that you have taken such a large interest in your own health. If you get a NO, please find a better trained and more caring professional.

If you can’t, you can thankfully now order your own test from the privacy of your own home. The company EverlyWell burst onto the scene in the past few years and they are an amazing resource. This company became a huge success after being on the show Shark Tank. If you are unsure of which tests to order, I am happy to help. Please check out my coaching options here.

Nutritional Nugget

The Alzheimer’s Association estimates that nearly 6 million Americans have Alzheimer’s, one of the cruelest diseases there is. By 2030, this organization expects that number to jump to 14 million. Even the threat of getting dementia as we age is terrifying for most of us. I find it sad and telling that not a single expensive, profit-making drug stops dementia. Not one.

Bright minds have been focused on a cure for a long time with not much to show in terms of results. There is a fantastic book by my favorite nutritionist Amy Berger called The Alzheimer’s Antidote.

She reviewed all pertinent research for her master’s thesis and she discovered that in fact, we know what causes Alzheimers and if we know the cause, we can find a cure. On page 19 she quotes Dr. Stephen Cunname: “Insulin resistance is usually at or near the top of the list of known lifestyle-related factors heightening the risk of declining cognition in the elderly. An emerging body of evidence suggests that an increased prevalence of insulin abnormalities and insulin resistance in Alzheimer’s disease may contribute to the disease patho-physiology and clinical symptoms.”

There is that bugger bear again — insulin resistance. The Standard American Diet guarantees you are headed for IR. Alzheimer’s Disease appears to be the result of an inflamed brain, and a brain not running on ketones but one that is having issues with insulin. I call keto my very best Alzheimer’s defense! If you are worried for yourself or a loved one, I beg you to read this book and to follow Amy Berger on social media. Amy is delightful and funny on her You Tube channel. She has an excellent blog as well — be sure to read all of her posts about insulin. It will save your brain.

Inspiration — 5 Mile Hike

My husband, Jeff, took this photo of me last week. We were on a 5-mile mountain hike in Sundance, Utah. The weather was amazing and the scenery was beyond gorgeous.

I relish that now I have the stamina to hike through the mountains because I remember all those years where there was no way I could walk even a mile on flat ground. When you regain your health, you are finally able to do all those things your body couldn’t do before.

This gorgeous view was several miles up the mountain. If I were still sick, I would have missed seeing this.

What are you missing out on?

If you are looking for assistance with a low carb, high fat, delicious way of eating, please check out my coaching website here.