We’re all on a journey of sorts, and the journey never seems to stop. When you hear the word journey, you automatically think “well, where are we going?” Most of us have destinations and goals we’re trying to reach, but what happens when you get there?
I’m thirty-three years old now. As I sit here and type, while looking at my notes and outline for this post, a reel of highs and lows flash through my mind. I’ve always been good at making plans, studying, practicing to make perfect, and I’m realizing that all my journeys connect. Every moment, every event, every choice that you make, all feeds the path you’re walking.
Managing my health and fitness, successfully and unsuccessfully, is one of the many links on my journey’s chain that has taught me this: The journey never stops. No matter what you have going on in your life, there will always be moments of growth and development. You don’t have to want that promotion, or to lose a few pounds to be traveling your life’s path. Simply living and existing is pushing us towards what’s next or what isn’t, but it’s up to us how we handle what’s ahead.
At the top of 2020 everything seemed to be on track. Work got a little busier, I was diving back into some schooling I’ve been working to complete, and my workouts were happening; to say the least. My healthy living habits that I’d spent years developing began to fade, along with my workouts. Every year, particularly during late fall through early winter, it seems I’m on a rollercoaster of sorts with my health. Allergies kick my ass as Fall progresses, and I experience a severe lack of motivation as soon as it gets cold outside.
We’ve been low-carb and keto for eight years. Eight years! Well before keto was so trendy. We took the time, read so many books, put in the effort, and most of all we know the lifestyle works for us. Every year we seem to slow down during the cold months and we’re determined to stop that cycle this year.
It’s a great practice to set your intentions at the top of the year. Make a mood board, set a goal, and strive for it, and see how well you did at the end of that same year. I don’t want to cycle through each year, barely reaching my full potential, and using “busy” as a reason to put anything off, and I know you all know what I’m talking about.
To help make 2020 my year, I’ve started setting quarterly intentions. At the top of March I made a list of items I wanted to focus on – items that need love and care, but items I couldn’t apply too much pressure to. One of the items on my list was to work towards getting my nutrition on track and activity back up to what it once was. You can do this too! It’s easy. Think about a goal you have in mind, no matter how far out or close it is, and jot down ways you can achieve it.
For example: Instead of saying “I want to lose 10 pounds this month” I list ways I can propel myself towards that goal. “I need to focus on my nutrition and start working out at least two times a week.” Keep it light, people! The less pressure you put on yourself, the more successful you’ll be.
Since starting my quarterly intentions approach, I’ve been able to get back into my school work, side projects, and have been keeping to my goals with little to no stress. Ideally, I’d like to be somewhere between 200 lbs and 210 lbs. I’m just under six feet tall, and I’m black. I bring up my race because the medical field is too quick to say “based on your height and age, you should be here” and that’s not how it works. Genetics is a thing! When I was a cardio monster back in 2011, I managed to get down to 205 lbs, but I looked like a skeleton. Not cute.
I’m currently at 246 lbs. I was at my lowest weight since being low-carb and keto last April: 219 lbs. Look at how close I was to that goal! I’ll save what happened there for a separate post, because that is something I want to dive into, but enough of that! Let’s get into some of the keto foods and munchies that have been helping me stay on track.
Disclaimer: I do not share recipe details that are not my own. If I find a recipe on Pinterest or anywhere else, I’ll be sure to let you know where I found it and share a link to the original content if I’m able. Most of the recipes you’ll find on Gays in the Life were created by the amazing Maria Emmerich. I’m just now getting into forming my own recipes, so stay tuned.
This pizza is magical. It’s not dairy-free, but this recipe could not be any easier to make. I’m no wizard in the kitchen, but this one is foolproof. We use almond flour when we make this crust – nothing against coconut flour, we just prefer almond – and are always on the lookout for a good low-sugar pizza sauce. One day we were feeling extra crazy and used guacamole instead of pizza sauce, with bacon and cheese as the toppings… YUM. Major yum, and super keto. Find the fathead pizza crust recipe here. Bonus – you can even use the crust to make a tasty calzone!
Protein Pancakes & Waffles
This is a recipe by Maria Emmerich. These pancakes and waffles are so easy to make and they don’t take long at all to complete. If you have time in the morning before you head into work, you can totally make these with plenty of time to spare, OR have a cute breakfast moment on a Saturday morning. Sandwiches used to be my favorite food. These pancakes and waffles make the perfect bread substitute if you’re craving a bacon, sausage, ham sandwich. We’ve made the waffles for years, but I’ve been using updated recipes from Maria’s “Easy Dairy-Free Ketogenic Recipes.” Use sugar-free syrup, or try Maria’s cinnamon syrup; also in the linked book.
Homemade Bacon Burger Lettuce Wraps
Who doesn’t love a burger?! People think lettuce wraps are boring, but they couldn’t be more incorrect. If your lettuce wrap is boring, well Sharon, you may want to get more creative with your fixings! Red meat is very nutrient dense, and you can put any low-carb/keto topping on them that you wish. If you don’t do red meat, try fish or chicken! I get annoyed with people who say they’re “tired of eating the same things” after beginning a new lifestyle. It’s probably safe to say those people don’t care enough to make it not boring. If you want success in anything, you have to do the work. Learning how to make new foods and updating your options can be fun and definitely keep things fresh. With these wraps, I’ll make my own patties – I need my meat seasoned properly – or I’ll buy pre-formed patties if I want to save a little time.
Okay – we never get tired of wings. Any day of the week we could have wings, homemade or ordered in, and be all the way satisfied. If I make them at home, we bake them in the oven, or use our NuWave oven. You can also grill wings, or fry them in a healthy fat; like beef tallow! I’ve never been into wings that are overly sauced. If we grab wings to-go from WingStop or Buffalo Wild Wings, I’ll get a dry rub. Louisiana rub or Chipotle BBQ, please!
Ham, Egg, and Cheese Wraps
These babies are fast and tasty. Scramble some eggs, mix in cheese if you wish (skip that step most of the time), spoon the finished eggs onto a couple to a few slices of ham, roll’em up, pop them in the oven for a good fifteen minutes, broil for five minutes, and they’re done! If you want to save some time, fry the ham slices on the stove in a little coconut oil and use them as little street-style taco shells for the eggs. Don’t forget the hot sauce.
Some quick tips for you, reader:
- Don’t be afraid to grab a recipe book and start to practice in the kitchen. Start small and take one recipe at a time. It’s fun!
- Use Pinterest. My favorite search on Pinterest is “keto meals under 30 minutes.” There are a ton of options for anyone’s taste, and you’ll save yourself some time when it’s time to cook. Check out my low-carb and keto pins here to get started.
- Drink water, cut out processed foods, and quit sugar. Keto and low-carb are part of my lifestyle. I’m not here to convince you to go keto. Do what works for you! Just don’t forget to do your research. Cutting corners will only set you back in the end.
So remember, readers – set your intentions and do your best to stick to them. No one gets anything right overnight, especially adjusting your health habits, so give the process time to work. I’m very motivated to become the best version of myself that I can be, so I’m working on a way to share my process with you all on the site. It’s time to get off the rollercoaster, people! Now, who’s with me?