Falling Off the Wagon

Well, yesterday I truly fell off the wagon and hit hard. The KETO wagon is what I refer to. After religiously following a strict KETO diet for weeks, (to be honest I was really only close) what did I do to take such a fall? I cheated and went for a cherry milkshake at an old fashioned soda parlor. God was it good! I haven’t had ice cream or anything sweet for months, but this week I went for it.

It all began mid-week when I cooked a batch of stroganoff. I didn’t even attempt to make it KETO, I used real flour to make the gravy, man was it delicious. Then, to top it off I skipped the lame zucchini wide-noodles and cooked real flour based wide noodles. I’m still reeling in the deliciousness. By yesterday, I craved a summer treat hence the shake.

I’ve been on KETO since last summer and have lost some weight, but for the past six months have not lost an ounce. After analyzing the situation I concluded that I am only thinking I am on KETO, and not really practicing faithfully. I swore that today I would begin anew and really count carbs and calories and stick to low carb fruits and veggies. Except there aren’t too many fruits I can choose from. It seems that all the stuff I love has serious sugar in it. Sugar and KETO are incompatible. Sugar converts into serious carbs.

At least I learned how to make buns that I substitute for bread and they allow me to make a sandwich which I will thrive on. Making the buns using shredded mazzorella, cream cheese, eggs, and almond flour is simple enough and keeps me semi-happy. I was, and still am, a sandwich eater, but the bread part is substituted by lettuce leaves. I now call the sandwich a wrap. I watched a half dozen youtube videos on how to make lettuce wraps and am getting better at making something that holds together fairly well.

KETO is a lifestyle. I don’t like to refer to it as a diet, even though KETO is a way of eating. Actually, it is a lifestyle change on what you use for fuel. Instead of burning carbs I burn fat. A different body chemistry is involved. One benefit I derive from this chemistry is less dependance on insulin to convert carbs into body fuel. Being on KETO as a type 2 diabetic is a good thing, I think.

Since last June, I have shed twenty-five pounds, but I haven’t lost anything in the last six months. What that tells me is that I was more serious when I began and then started playing the system after getting accustomed to the foods. I also drink too much. Alcohol is allowed in strict moderation, but if you’ve been reading my posts you understand that when it comes to imbibing my favorite adult beverages moderation is redefined.

Anyway, beginning today I return to counting carbs, and eating only KETO approved foods, with no cheating. I will measure my ketone level to insure that I am on the right track. I will also remind myself of what is KETO and what is not KETO. Those who know me already know that I will vocally point out a food is “not KETO” then swallow it anyway.

Wish me luck, I’m going for the ring and have set my goal to weigh what I weighed in 1978. Most of us gain a pound a year after adulthood, so that means I am sixty-one pounds over weight. Subtract the twenty-five I’ve lost and I only have thirty six more pounds to go. Oh shit, that means I will weigh what I weighed when I married my first wife when I was a scrawny boney, pimple-faced kid.

March, 1960, University Of Illinois Shequan Parade

Like I said, wish me luck.

Okra

Strange thing okra. I learned of it some years ago and have developed a taste for it. Okra is not found on grocery shelves very often where I live. It is listed as a fruit, but used as a vegetable. Many people dislike it because of the seeds. They are described as being slimy. I kind of like that taste.

My first introduction to okra was at a Country Kitchen restaurant where it is served as a side dish. They slice the fruit into disks, battered and fried. My first taste was that of nothing special, yet I kept ordering them as a side for my usual entree.

This summer, I have been finding okra in the vegetable section of my local grocery chain. I buy a package of the green pepper-shaped fruit and eat them raw. By the and, they work well as a KETO snack. A cup full of this fruit provides the following nutrients:

  • Calories: 33
  • Carbs: 7 grams
  • Protein: 2 grams
  • Fat: 0 grams
  • Fiber: 3 grams
  • Magnesium: 14% of the Daily Value (DV)
  • Folate: 15% of the DV
  • Vitamin A: 14% of the DV
  • Vitamin C: 26% of the DV
  • Vitamin K: 26% of the DV
  • Vitamin B6: 14% of the DV

Okra is grown in sub-tropical climates such as Africa and South America, although I have grown it in my salad garden just to learn what it looks like on the green. I planted six seed clusters and got six robust thigh-high green plants resembling those of green pepper. I got lucky while exploring in the garden one day by looking under the leaves and found some rather attractive large pale yellow flowers resembling hibiscus blooming there unseen. That is when I began to watch more closely because I didn’t know when to pick the fruit or how they would present. Sure enough the long skinny green fruit developed from the flower. The next step was to learn when to pick them. I started picking when they were very young, maybe two inches long. Because I like them so much I tasted what I picked right off the plant. They were tender and delicious. In a couple of days they were between three and four inches long, and still tender. I picked more and learned it was time to harvest; except they never made it to the table. I ate them all as I picked. They were luscious. I let the plants rest for a week and picked again. This time I learned that if they are too aged they turn into fibrous pieces of rope. Ugh! The older longer fruit develop an outer layer of very stringy, tough, hard to chew fiber. I likened it to hemp rope. The time to pick okra is when it is young, tender and delicious. Maybe old okra can be saved by cooking it in a stew or gumbo, but I would prefer not to use it at all.

There are many ways to use okra. One is in fresh green salads, or french fried, or in a gumbo with other vegetables like tomatoes, onions, and peppers. Some people grill okra until it is charred, others broil it, then there are those who roast it. I am at a point where I will try it any way it comes.

Farmer’s Market Covid Version

How does a person continue to write for a blog when his mind and heart are not in it any longer? After seventy some days without missing a single day of writing I became blocked. The past two days I spent as off days and enjoyed myself by walking and talking. I attended our newly opened Covid friendly farmer’s market and was pleased. The Village Father’s put some thought into it and I think they have succeeded in remaking it to close to where it was. The Frankfort Farmer’s Market had become the social event of the week. We had farmers from within a 110 mile radius selling fresh vegetables, fruit, flowers fresh baked bread, tacos, and what not. In addition there were booths selling slushies, lemonade, and other hand made drinks. My favorite was a Nun who drove in from Chicago with newly baked French pastries and breads. She and her fellow nuns are from France in Chicago on a mission living in a a converted old warehouse and doing charitable work among the indigents of the city. Another favorite is a lady who bakes pies. My favorite is her apple, cherry, or blueberry pies. She sends her husband to the market with a minivan loaded with pies. His instructions are not to return until the pies are all sold. He never takes any home and he leaves early.

Since the bouncer at the gate controlled the flow of people coming into the market area it was never crowded and lines at the booths were all very short. The line outside the market however, was very long. That is because the people were all spacing themselves six feet apart. The line never stopped. There were always people leaving to allow new people in.

On a normal Sunday, the market wraps around a building we call the Grainery. The booths are stacked next to each other closely to allow the most vendors into the least amount of space. In the Covid scheme the market was split into two areas, i.e. two parking lots across the street from each other. The second section was controlled the same way as the first, the bouncer lets you in and keeps the flow moving.

All in all, the market was the highlight of my day. I walked three and a half miles, and wound up carrying my slushie home before I could drink any of it.

Day 62-SIP-Stupid Fun Makes Dollars

This stay in place business has made me light headed. very morning is a hangover. I must be enjoying the wine by consuming more than usual. The hangover gets me going much later in the day. It seems like I drag my sorry ass behind me like an anchor.

Yesterday, I finally accomplished a new goal, I cooked another one of Mom’s favorite dishes, toltutt kaposta with umlauts over the o’s and an accent over the a. In our language it is simply stuffed cabbage. I watched my mother roll these beauties out in the kitchen too many times, but when it came time to remember what she did, I drew a blank.

As usual, I watched videos of my favorite cook Oma making stuffed cabbage. Oma is currently ninety-two years old and reminds me of my mother. She concentrates on Hungarian and German recipes. What a piece of cake this is, I thought. Wrong! I never handled a cabbage before and got into serious trouble with blanching. The pot I used for this gimongous head of cabbage was just a tad too small. Blanching is a pretty simple process, but since this was the first time I was doing it I made it hard to do.

Mixing the meat with rice, and spices was easy, but when it came to handling the cabbage leaves I was all thumbs. Mom’s recipes leave out all the basic stuff you need to know when cooking. Like how to trim the main rib of a cabbage leave to make it more pliable. The next thing she left out was stuffing the leave and closing it around the meat. That is a practice thing. Mom had been stuffing cabbage leaves since she was twelve, and for her it was an automatic process. Here hands and fingers were so well conditioned from repetition that it was automatic. For me it was a comedy of errors, I was all thumbs. I managed to make about twenty rolls and learned my next mistake was also my first mistake, the pot was a tad too small. I had cabbage rolls stacked to within a half inch of the rim.

Miraculously, I completed the job and ate stuffed cabbage for supper last night. It is not 100% KETO, but it is close. The only non-KETO ingredient is rice. The whole process got my mind off the COVID-19 b-s for a few minutes while I struggled with stuffing and wrapping the rolls.

The kitchen was a mess after I finished as it always is after making something for the first time. Lucky me, the dishwasher was broken and the repair man didn’t come until today so I had to wash all the stuff by hand.

At my Tuesday Night At The Stray Bar Club Zoom meeting yesterday I learned about two things:

1. CD&Me a local entertainment venue is going to open under strict guidelines the first week of June. It will be a parking lot event limited to one hundred cars spaced one car apart. There will be a live band entertaining and a roll out bar for food by the Dancing Marlin. Adult beverages will not be sold but will be permitted (bring your own). Admission is by ticket bought online.

2. One of our group told us a story about her great grandson who is making a ton of money off videos on Youtube and Tik-Tok. I searched Youtube for him and found his videos. They are stupid of course, but he is a very energetic and out-going personality and pulls off his stunts with his girlfriend Mariah. As an example the video I watched had 39,000 likes. As another example this blog GrumpaJoesPlace is lucky if a post gets ten likes. I guess I’ll have to start doing dumb stuff if I want to make some money doing this. The funny thing is I feel like I am doing dumb stuff when I write these posts. Another example is my own grand daughter who writes for a blog called Fan Fiction and gets 5-10 thousand views per post. While my daughter-in-law in Michigan has a blog about her horse hobby and will get hundreds of views for a post. On my best day if I get fifty views and two likes I feel I’ve reached the pinnacle of success.

Making money in the digital world is for the very young. We old folks will only shake our heads in wonderment as to how it can be. I see it happening, I believe it is happening, but I’ll be damned if I can make it happen.

Day 27-Quarantine-Not Camelot

It is hard to believe that I am one day away from  four weeks of Stay in Place. Last week I ordered a list of groceries for home delivery, and they were due to arrive today between 3 and 5. I patiently delayed going for a walk and did other things to fill the day. At the same time, I searched my freezers for something to eat. I have consciously been working down my inventory of food supplies because I had too many things that were freezer burned and discoloring from age. It was my habit to keep plenty on hand while Peg was still with me, and when I went grocery shopping I always came home with more than I really needed. Needless to say the supply was pretty big. It has taken me about six months to work it down. The freezer is two days away from empty, but the order was going to arrive today. I am using a just i time process to buy and keep only what I need. The supply is so close to home that I needn’t have huge backlogs of stuff, except there is COVID-19, and stay in place. The problem is that ‘just-in-time’ is ‘almost-too-late;’

At about three-thirty, I was getting anxious about when to expect the order to arrive so I went online to check it out. Surprise, surprise, somehow I never really finalized the order and nothing was coming. Oh boy! I discovered where my mistake was and reordered but the earliest delivery is six days away. I reordered and this time got a confirmation number and a delivery date and time. Then it became a scramble to rush to the grocery story to buy some stuff to bolster my supplies. At the same time, I called a friend and asked if there was anything she needed. Of course she did. No one passes up an offer to bring groceries. Her last words to me were “be sure to wear a mask.”

So tonight, I had the last tv dinner from the freezer and tomorrow I will cook something fresh to use up the last pork roast I defrosted today. As I cleaned up after supper, the sun was setting low in the western sky and sending beams of bright light into the house. The sky was turning into a blaze of colors which I haven’t seen for a few days because of cloudiness, maybe I’ll get to see the moon tonight.

Last night I watched a public service announcement by our mayor. He talked about the importance of social distancing. He related a personal story about his neighbors, one to his right and one to his left. The man on the right was in Silver Cross Hospital with COVID-19 and on a respirator, the one of the left had COVID-19 and died. He displayed a map of our area in Will County and it was loaded with red dots where all the reported cases were reported. It scared the pants off me. I aways envisioned Frankfort as Camelot. In my mind the red dots would surround the village boundaries but never cross into our little piece of heaven. Well, my vision is totally wrong, we have lots of COVID-19 all around us. Time to tighten up and heed the recommendations more strictly.

 

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