A Guide to Keto-Friendly Meal Prep

 

Let's be honest. Changing our eating habits is hard. No matter how inspired and gung-ho we may feel when we first decide to go keto, inevitably, we will face temptations and frustrations. Whether you're brand new to the low carb or ketogenic diet or you've been following it for ages, adopting a meal prep habit can help traslate that initial enthusiasm into success. It can even save time and money along the way!

What is Meal Prep?

Meal prep is the practice of preparing a number of meals in advance, typically all at once on one day per week. I enjoy doing this on Sunday and trying to involve my kids as well! You can be flexible with this to fit your schedule. For instance, you can prepare and freeze an entire week of food, or make only certain meals or plan for only a few days at a time. 

Why Meal Prep?

It saves you time.

The more you prepare in advance, the less time you spend running to the grocery store, and my personal favorite, less day to day clean up! While yes, you prepare about the same amount of food, efficient meal prep typically relies on multitasking to significantly speed up the process.

It cuts your food bill, sometimes drastically.

Meal prep can save you a lot of money on food. How? Consider that the average U.S. consumer will dish out $5,400 on impulse purchases each year. Having a grocery list and sticking to it can dramatically decrease the likelihood that you will give into these types of impulse purchases. (anyone can make a list, but can you stick to the list? Seinfield reference anyone???) Also, preparing a week's worth of food at once makes it easier to buy in bulk, which is often more cost-effective. You'll also find it a lot easier to form your shopping list around sales when you're forced to plan in advance.

It helps you avoid impulse decisions about food.

When you're busy, it's very easy to give into carb-laden fast food temptations. When you're drained after a long day of work, you may think, Whi has time of energy to make dinner? That can lead to less healthy take out choices. Meal prepping helps you avoid this kind of impulsive decision because you'll always have a healthy meal ready for you at home. Just walk in the door, heat it up and viola, dinner is served.

It can facilitate your keto diet.

Since staying in ketosis depends on a certain percentage of macros each day, a meal plan can be invaluable. By planning your meals in advance, you can be certain that you won't get to the end of the day and realize you've gone way over your carb allotment. Meal prep makes it even easier to stick to your meal plan because you can reuse the same base components in multiple meals, making the macro calculations much easier. You're also less likely to deviate from a meal plan when the food is already in your fridge, ready to eat.

 

How to Start Meal Prepping

Getting Started

As with any lifestyle change, when you first start out with meal prep, it's important that you start slowly so that you don't overwhelm yourself. You don't need to prepare an elaborate menu with a different entreé each night. Instead, try the following steps to get acclimated to the habit.

  1. Start by picking two keto-friendly protein options that use different cooking methods. For instance, if one requires the oven, pick something that you can prepare stovetop for the other recipe. You may also pick a side dish or two if you'd like.
  2. Buy enough ingredients to make at least 3 servings of each recipe. You might also consider buying some extra meat and vegetables that you can prepare early and use throughout the week for lunches (think salads and lettuce wraps).
  3. Set aside enough containers to hold your meals for the week. You'll likely want to pre-portion the meals to keep your macros consistent, so you'll need one container per individual meal (Tip: glass is much better than plastic).
  4. On your chosen meal prep day, Sunday in my house, prepare your recipes. Be sure to prep your ingredients all at once and find ways to complete multiple tasks simultaneously. While your chicken is in the oven, for instance, you can be steaming or stir-frying some veggies.
  5. Cook any extra meat and vegetables as well, if you chose to purchase some. A slow cooker can be extremely useful here to free up your other kitchen appliances for your main recipes.
  6. Once you've finished cooking, portion out the meals into their containers. Consider freezing half of the meals to prevent any issues with spoilage. Put the extras into larger containers to portion out as snacks or side dishes.

Refining Your Routine

Throughout the first week, pay attention to the following questions:

  • Did I prepare the right amount of food? If you don't eat all the meals, consider cutting back. If you run out early or don't feel like you've saved yourself any time, consider preparing extra next time.
  • Am I bored with these meal options? If so, next time try preparing slightly different variations on the same recipe or add another entreé entirely.
  • Did meal prepping benefit me this week? Think in any terms you want: time, money, healthy decisions, etc.

It will take some trial and error to determine how often to meal prep and how much to prepare each time. Experiment with different schedules and menus until you are completely satisfied with the answers to these questions.

Keto-Specific Meal Prep Tips

Making meal prep work for any diet is all about planning, and keto is no different. The key is to prepare foods that will help you comply with the diet.

Add variety.

One of the main objections to meal prepping is that people don't want to eat the same meal over and over throughout the week. People who aren't following keto will often use a different carb with each meal to change things up. This isn't possible when following keto, unless you use alternatives such as spiralized or riced vegetables. If variety is important to you, consider one of the following ideas that take less time than adding a whole extra recipe to your prep day.

  • Prepare the same marinade, sauce, or seasoning, but use it on different proteins.
  • Stir-fry different combinations of vegetables with the same sauce or spices.
  • Portion your protein, vegetables, or both into sections and season each differently before baking or frying.

Don't skimp on snacks.

Pre-portioning keto-friendly snacks during your meal prep time can help ensure that you always have healthy options to keep you from dipping into the office candy jar, or in my case, snacking on the muffins and doughnuts in the doctor's lounge (I know that's absurd, but that is what they serve in the hospital!).

Label your food containers.

You should always label your food containers with the dish and date it was prepared. It's also helpful if you're following keto to mark the net carbs and other relevant macros in case you end up mixing and matching your recipes you can still stay on point.

With these tips, you should be well on your way to an efficient and effective meal prep routine. Once you see how much easier it is to follow the ketogenic diet with meal prep, you'll never go back.

 

Alcohol and Low Carb Diets: Can they Coexist?

Enjoying an alcoholic beverage or two is a normal part of daily life for many people. For some, any meal – other than breakfast – is not complete without some sort of alcoholic beverage, whether that's hard liquor, wine, or something more exotic. But did you know that what you drink can affect not only your health, but also your weight loss goals?

Is Alcohol Healthy?

Overall, it depends on the amount imbibed. Health centers, such as the Mayo Clinic, suggest that it's safe for women to drink one standard bottle of beer, one glass of wine, or 1.5 ounces of liquor every day. Men, on the other hand, can have twice that amount. Of course, these are just general guidelines. Large women may be able to drink more, while men with a slight build are generally better off having a bit less.

At this rate, alcohol can actually be healthy. Experts say that it can protect the heart, possibly reduce stroke risk, and surprisingly enough, it may reduce the risk of diabetes. That said, you shouldn't start drinking (if you don't already) just to get these benefits. And it isn't clear that the benfits are alcohol specific, they could be more lifestyle related or due to other factors. So tread carefully with the "benefits of alcohol."

When Alcohol Isn't Healthy

As almost everyone knows, alcohol is a toxin. The dose determines the poison. It certainly isn't healthy to have so much alcohol that you get drunk. It also isn't healthy to drink so much, or so often, that you develop an addiction to it. Alcoholism is well-known for causing problems with the liver, and it can be a contributing factor for cancer and other problems with the throat and stomach, as well. Not to mention how the addiction can ruin someone's life.

There are several other situations, some of which are surprising, that you should be aware of. Beer, for example, is the highest-carb form of alcohol – and therefore, the type that will wreck your low-carb eating plan the fastest. Clear hard liquor is better, but wine is the best in moderate amounts.

According to a recent WSJ article, consumers are learning of these differences and adjusting their buying habits to suit. Beer sales are on the decline, while spirits and wine are becoming more popular.

Alcohol and Your Diet

Alcohol has one other big negative: It can torpedo your low-carb diet. This is because typical drinks are high in calories and carbs. The body also metabolizes alcohol before anything else, so its punch can knock you out of ketosis for several hours or longer. While some people won't notice any ill effects from this, many do notice that their weight loss slows or stalls when they indulge.

Too much alcohol can also lower your inhibitions, and this means that you'll find it harder to stick to your diet. All of the high-calorie, high-carb foods that you'll have available at a party or in a restaurant will suddenly seem far more tempting than usual. For this reason, it is normally advised to either avoid alcohol altogether in such situations or keep intake to a very moderate level.

Drinking too late in the day can also keep you from getting a deep sleep. This interferes with your body's ability to repair itself, and therefore, can also interfere with an exercise program. Since both diet and exercise are generally recommended for weight loss, it's wise to stop drinking several hours before you intend to go to bed.

A Healthy Wine Alternative for Low-Carb Lovers

 

Dry Farm Wines has recognized that a glass of a typical wine isn't always healthy for everyone. Therefore, they have developed a line of wine that addresses the most common health concerns. Their wines are actually great for low-carb eating plans because they are sugar-free, contain less than 12.5 percent alcohol, and are explicitly made to be friendly to low-carb, keto, and paleo diets. This makes them an excellent alternative to the typical high-sugar, additive-filled wines found on the supermarket shelf.

These benefits aren't all that set Dry Farm Wines apart from others. They also lab-test every wine to make sure that it meets the company's strict purity and content standards. Dry Farm also makes sure not to add or remove anything from their product. Instead, the wines are produced so that they contain all of the good aspects right from the start, and so no unwanted ingredients need to be put in. As you might expect, the wines are also organic. They are sourced from small family farms, as well.

How Wine Can Affect Ketones

In a self-experiment of the type that makes the internet the great medium it is, Mark Moschel of Better Humans decided to fast for several days and measure his ketones vs. how he felt. He found that he was more energetic when he had more ketones in his system.

On the second run of the experiment, he added something new: He would have no food, but would have wine. He found that after one glass, his ketones and blood glucose still remained stable. However, after the second, his ketones dropped a bit and his glucose also rose moderately. Finally, after the third glass of a day, both stats continued their prior trends. It took until the middle of the next day for his levels to return to his usual norm.

As this shows, a single glass of wine can be enjoyed without interfering with ketosis or blood glucose, but more than that can lead to trouble on these fronts. But remember, this experiment was done with Dry Farm Wines. Other brands that aren't as meticulous to quality and low sugar may not have the same results.

Make Your Celebrations and Meals Healthier

Now, you don't have to worry about wrecking your diet, getting headaches, or any of the other negative side-effects of drinking moderate amounts of wine. With Dry Farm Wines, these pesky attributes are gone. You can host a party and raise your glass with no worries – and without looking unsociable. There'll be no more awkward moments caused by the need to turn down a beverage as long as the wine on the menu is from Dry Farm.

Despite all of the benefits of Dry Farm Wines, you will still need to partake in moderation as suggested by health experts. There is alcohol present, so stick to one or two glasses, and be sure to have them early enough in the day to allow for a good sleep that night.

To experience the flavor and healthiness of Dry Farm Wines for yourself, just click here. For a limited time, you can even add a bottle to your order for just one cent!

Leave us a comment if you have tried Dry Farm Wines, or if you know of similar products that are healthy, low-carb alcohol alternatives!

Low Carb USA San Diego 2018 Recap

      

 

This year, I was lucky enough to attend (and speak at!) the Low Carb USA 2018 conference held in San Diego.

 

What conference! From the moment it started until the very last Q&A panel, this conference was packed with knowledge, energy and an amazing community. There is no way I can capture all the highlights, but here are my experiences from the conference.

 

Opening Comments

 

The conference began with Low Carb USA organizer Doug Reynolds welcoming everyone. He asked how many physicians or medical providers were in attendance, and approximately 60% of the hands in the room went up. That’s incredible! It shows how strongly LCHF lifestyle is making its way into mainstream medical practice. It may not be used by every doctor right now, but the tide is certainly moving that way, which I'm very excited about.

 

The Diet Doctor and Dr. Nasha Winters Blew Everyone Away

 

After Doug finished his welcome, the Diet Doctor himself, Dr. Andreas Eenfeldt kicked things off with The Food Revolution. He clearly outlined the obesity and diabetes epidemic we face as a society, and showed how LCHF is an easy and effective solution. As their motto says, they are "Making Low Carb Easy." His talk did just that. It was very motivating and educational, and I know people walked away ready to jump in.

 

 

Later that same day, Dr. Nasha Winters dropped some serious knowledge bombs about mistletoe, moonbathing, marijuana and more. If you haven’t heard Dr. Nasha speak, you have to seek her out. She is a powerhouse of information, of energy and of clear caring and compassion. I was fortunate enough to have recorded a podcast with her and it is definitely one of my favorites.

 

 

Concluding the First Day with Interviews

 

I spent the rest of the day running around doing my initial podcast interviews for my new upcoming project, The Diet Doctor Podcast. I am beyond excited to be part of this team! My initial interviews with Garry Taubes, Dr. Peter Attia, and a joint interview with Dr. Jeffry Gerber and Ivor Cummins really set the tone for how incredible this podcast is going to be. I will keep you updated when they are released.

 

Day Two of the Conference

 

Day #2 Was a powerhouse day! Starting with Peter Ballerstedt dispelling the environmental myths that ruminants are bad news for the environment. His talk shows how limited and short sighted that argument is, and it boggles my mind how pervasive it has become. Thanks Peter for setting the record straight!

 

 

Later that day Gary Taubes and Adele Hite led a discussion to help develop a defined standard of care for using a low carb diet in clinical practice. This is exciting. This is what our medical profession needs to safely and effectively initiate low carb lifestyles for our patients.  The goal is to educate all providers on the benefits and practical implications of low carb nutrition and help them help their patients. It doesn’t get much more powerful than that!

 

My Turn on Stage

 

Then it was my turn to speak, which was fun! I really enjoyed giving my talk on what the evidence says about LCHF diets and impact on our heart health. The question in the contemporary medical community is, “Is the LCHF diet harmful to our cardiovascular risk?” I think the evidence clearly answers that – NO!

 

 

Instead, we need to reframe the question and ask, “Is the LCHF diet beneficial for our cardiovascular risk?” There the answer is most likely yes. Reducing glucose and insulin, improving visceral adiposity, raising HDL, lowering TGs, improving LDL size and oxidation, reducing inflammation, lowering BP, reducing the need for medications, and more! LCHF does all these, and all these positively contribute to reducing our cardiovascular risk. It’s hard to imagine there is still debate about this.

 

The Interviewer Becomes the Interviewee

 

I then had the privilege of being interviewed by Vinnie Tortorich for his upcoming documentary Fat, and by Brian Sanders for his documentary Food Lies.  Seeing the overwhelming interest and the clear production quality encourages me that we will continue to see high-level documentaries exploring the benefits of LCHF.  The public needs a counterbalance to the overly dramatized and misleading documentaries that have populated this space to date, and Vinnie and Brian are both motivated to provide the answer.

 

The Low Carb Community

I could keep going raving about the speakers, but it's one of those conferences you need to attend to see the speakers for yourself. Instead, I want to finish by raving about the community. The energy and buzz from everyone attending was palpable.

 

Whether it was from individuals with a tremendous success story, newcomers eager to understand how their future may be different, or healthcare providers excited to start using these techniques with their patients, it was clear that lives were changing for the better. It is rare to see this level of excitement and energy at a medical conference. I knew right away this conference was unique, and this was going to impact everyone there.

 

In fact, a nutritionist I know came away so charged up that she immediately contacted me saying she "was ready to be part of something bigger!” She was ready to reach more people and help more people. That is exactly what a conference like this should do. Educate us. Inspire us. And help us take action. Bravo Doug Reynolds and the whole Low Carb USA staff. You hit this one out of the park.

 

Thanks for reading.

 

Bret Scher, MD FACC

www.LowCarbCardiologist.com

Dr. Shawn Baker — Creating a Community of Carnivores



This week, Orthopedic surgeon, World Record Holder and Master athlete Dr. Shawn Baker shares his solution for thriving as a human being. He eats meat. Lots of meat, and only meat. He is the leader of the carnivore movement and has created a community of carnivores through his social media efforts. This may have been considered "fringe" or "crazy" a few years ago, but now, thanks to Dr Baker's efforts, the carnivore diet is becoming an accepted diet for health and human performance. During our conversation, Dr Baker addresses common misconceptions about the diet, his blood work results and how he believes the carnivore diet fits into a healthy lifestyle. It may not be for everyone, but there is so much we can learn from Dr Baker's approach. Plus, we get to hear about his online battles with popular vegan doctors!

 

Key Takeaways:

 

[3:54] Dr. Baker describes how moving his patients to a ketogenic diet helped heal them without surgery.

[9:33] The medical system is designed to make money, not prevent illness.

[16:37] Social media is a powerful educational tool for communities.

[19:13] Who is a good candidate for the carnivore diet?

[35:05] How Dr. Baker reacts to the medical community's critique of the carnivore diet.

[41:18] Understanding blood glucose levels.

 

Mentioned in This Episode:

Low Carb Cardiologist Website

Dr. Scher on Twitter

Dr. Scher on Facebook

Dr. Shawn Baker

The Human Performance Outliers Podcast

Meat Heals

 

This Episode is Sponsored by LowCarbCardiologist.com and Your Best Health Ever! The Cardiologist's Surprisingly Simple Guide to What Really Works,
by Bret Scher, M.D., FACC

 

My Journey to The Low Carb Cardiologist Podcast

My Journey to The Low Carb Cardiologist Podcast

 

Sometimes change is hard, and sometimes it just feels right.

 

Changing my podcast from The Boundless Health Podcast to The Low Carb Cardiologist Podcast was a little of both.

 

To be fair, this wasn’t exactly the biggest, most impactful decision I have made lately.  The perspective is not lost on me. It’s a podcast name, not heart surgery.

 

But it was meaningful for me personally, and it exemplifies the current atmosphere of health and nutrition, and that is why it is worth exploring with you.

 

I still remember when I started my podcast. I was so afraid that I wouldn’t get any guests, that I was simply happy anyone would agree to come on the show and talk to me! As soon as the interview started, I was so grateful they were there, I just wanted to support them and thank them for their time.

 

But that doesn’t do much for challenging them, or digging deep to determine fact from fiction, or deciphering reasonable recommendations from those that are…..well…..let’s just say not as reasonable. Luckily, my friend HD from HormonesDemystified.com was there to set me straight.

 

HD helped me focus on my relationship with my listeners, and helped me realize that my listeners were my primary responsibility. My job wasn’t to give my guests the best experience. My job was to give my listeners the best experience, and to give them the best information I could.

 

With a clearer mission, I set out to refine my role and my niche.

 

That is where nutritional and health science started to look more like religion to me.

 

When I interviewed a vegan, I got push back from my low carb supporters wondering how I could support his views. When I interviewed a meat proponent, those who appreciated my vegan interview were up in arms about my hypocrisy.  They felt as if I had misled them.

 

What I failed to get across was that my interviews were not about me! These interviews were supposed to tease out the nuances of my guests’ viewpoints, to help determine what is backed by science, what is backed by emotion, and what can we learn from it. Yet many listeners equated my guests’ opinions with my own, and thus were upset at me for supporting both a vegan and a meat advocate. They were left wondering what I stand for.

 

I understand this does not encapsulate everyone. But it does highlight the world in which we live. Far too many people hold so strongly to their nutritional and health beliefs that they cannot bear to listen to the “other side” or even consider an opposing view point. The importance of detail, nuance, and scientific integrity is far too easily lost in the emotion and vigor of belief. And that is a sad reality for the world of reason, debate and scientific “truth.”

 

Which brings me back to the name of my podcast. What do I stand for? Which side of the aisle do I sit?

 

I believe some people can be healthy as vegans. I believe some people can do well restricting their fat intake and focusing on calories.

 

I also believe that the vast majority of people cannot achieve their health goals limiting fat and counting calories.

 

The most generalizable and most effective intervention that I have seen in the past 20 years is without out a doubt the low-carb lifestyle. Thus, the change to The Low Carb Cardiologist Podcast. No confusion there. My guests and my listeners know where I stand.

 

But that doesn’t mean I am going to stop looking at differing views, or trying to find the common ground between healthy vegans, healthy carnivores, and everyone in between. I will continue to tease out the nuances behind endurance athletes, crossfitters, and power walkers.

 

We all need a reminder to look outside our field of view (me included!), to go outside our comfort zone, and to explore the “other side,” even if it is simply to help us feel stronger in our convictions. The exploration is part of the process.  

 

My promise is that I will continue to explore health from any and every angle that I think will help you, my listener, improve your health for a lifetime of Your Best Health Ever!

 

The name has changed, but the mission remains the same.

 

How can I help you on your health journey? Please visit me at www.LowCarbCardiologist.com  and let me know how I can best help you achieve your health goals, or feel free to provide feedback about what you would like to see from The Low Carb cardiologist in the future.

 

Thanks for reading!

 

Bret Scher, MD FACC

Founder, Boundless Health

www.LowCarbCardiologist.com

 

Bret Scher, MD FACC

Dr. Bret'sExclusive Wellness

Newsletters

Receive valuable articles and tips to help
you achieve your best health ever!

Final Step

Where should we send your FREE

Exclusive Wellness

NEWSLETTERS

858-799-0980Dr Bret Scher