My 1-Year Anniversary Eating Keto, and What I’ve Learned

Keto 1 Year Anniversary

While I have been developing gluten-free sourdough recipes to replace the recipes my family gave up when we gave up gluten, I have personally been following a Ketogenic Diet.

I’ve noticed that people’s responses to talk about the Ketogenic Diet can be rather strong, whichever way they swing.  So I’m not here to try to convince anyone to do what I’m doing.  I’m just sharing for those who are curious or can benefit.

A Ketogenic diet consists of low carbs, moderate proteins, and a high amount of healthy fats.  In a while, the body switches from using carbohydrates as a primary energy source to using fats.

I first heard of the ketogenic diet about 10 years ago when I happened upon Maria Emmerich’s beautiful and informative website.  I was intrigued by the diet’s therapeutic effect on individuals with Epilepsy, allowing many Epileptics to live free from seizures.  I spent a day reading through recipes and thought I’d return later to to learn more, but it was before the invention of Pinterest and, once I closed my browser, I was never able to find her site again (until last year). Chalk it up to God’s timing.

A decade later I was working with a client who was interested in doing the Ketogenic Diet and wanted help figuring it out.  I had to decline for lack of experience.

Today Keto is quite the buzz word, and there is a plethora of information out there, but I realized that in order to truly understand the diet and to be equipped to help others implement it, I would need some very personal experience putting it into practice.  Didn’t hurt that I still had a few baby pounds to lose.

At this point, I had already cut refined sugar out of my diet.  I took it a step farther by cutting out all grains, potato varieties, squash, high sugar containing fruits, and legumes.  Instead, I focus on healthy fats, clean meats and dairy products (organic and grass fed when possible), low carb vegetables, low sugar fruits like blueberries and raspberries, and sources of fiber such as nuts, flax, coconut and psyllium husks (which help make excellent “breads”).

I didn’t experience any withdrawal, but if you are accustomed to a diet high in refined sugars and simple carbohydrates, expect to go through a period of fatigue and cravings.  Drink lots of water and don’t be afraid of some high quality mineral salt, true unbleached sea salt or himalayan salt.

I have always loved high fat foods, it’s just that eating a carb rich diet makes it necessary to limit fats in order to avoid weight gain.  Eating a Ketogenic Diet trains the body to burn fat as it’s foremost fuel, and so fat becomes necessary instead of taboo.  I pretty much LOVE my food.  🙂  And that’s always a good thing, right?

I track my calories and macros (carbs, protein and fats) using   I use their free version. It also keeps track of the nutritional content of my meals so that if my calcium, for example, is low–I know how to supplement.

The other feature I enjoy about cronometer‘s platform is that I can enter my own recipes and parse them into servings to keep track of nutrient and macros.  I can eat home-made and know exactly what I’m getting!  That is useful, no matter what diet you follow.

I learned how to do intermittent fasting, and enjoy it two or three days a week.  I don’t have to eat until I’m hungry and I can have a larger, more satisfying meal when I do.

I expected to lose weight when I began eating ketogenically.  I was counting on losing the baby fat and the stubborn belly fat, and I wasn’t disappointed.


{Picking up a co-op order.  Do I know I’m wearing a banana sticker?  Why, yes I do, thank you.  Every time my boys get a banana with a sticker, they give it to me.   🙂 }

What I didn’t anticipate when I began the Keto-diet?

  • A substantial increase in energy
  • Reduction in the amount of sleep I require
  • Cessation of swelling in my gums (almost immediately) and a halt to the recession that had become fairly regular (so far, so good)
  • Younger looking skin
  • Balanced hormones!  Going through school to become a certified natural health provider, I recognized I was on the path to early menopause.  Extremely light, and shortened periods had become the norm.  I was doing everything I learned to do with pH and diet to help swing the hormones back to normal, but no change.  A few months into my keto journey,  my period ceased for a couple months however, it came back, and at my 1 year keto anniversary I can say my cycle has officially returned to a healthy normal.  Just like in my 20’s. 🙂  Yes, this makes me happy.  Menopause will come, but on time, not early.  This took 11 months to achieve.
  • Flexible menus: I didn’t expect it to be this easy.  The longer I do this, the more I learn and the more flexibility I have in what I eat.  I’ve gone beyond just trying other people’s recipes to creating my own.
  • Low fasting blood sugars: Mercola, a huge proponent of eating Keto, suggests that fasting blood sugar levels in the 80’s, and better still–the 70’s, are optimal for health, so the 70’s were my goal.  However, my morning fasting blood sugar levels stay in the therapeutic 60’s with great energy.  This also makes me happy.  Really. Happy. 😀
  • No more joint pain.  I was developing the same pain in my knees and hands that my mom and her mom had when they developed arthritis.  No more.  Also, neck pain from a car accident more than a decade ago has been continuously improving.  Banish the inflammation!
  • The ability to fast on a dime.  When my church sisters have decided to fast and spend time in intercessory prayer, they have complained of headaches, spacey-ness, and plain ole’ ill health on the days they have fasted, making it difficult for them to focus on prayer (and focusing on prayer is the whole reason for the fasting!)  With today’s Standard American Diets, people often need to spend time changing their diets ahead, preparing their bodies for fasting, in order to experience success.  The Bible makes it clear that fasting is part of Christian life.  Sticking to a healthful diet can make it much easier to fast when prompted by the Holy Spirit.  Following a ketogenic or low carb diet that is free of sugars and “fast energy carbs” that spike blood sugar and insulin make it possible for me to fast immediately when prompted, and I never suffer the effects of withdrawal or low blood sugar.  The body is used to burning fat for energy.  It just switches to a different source of fat for the duration of the fast (body fat instead of dietary fat).
  • Keto buddies~ I have found encouragement in unexpected places, not the least of which turned out to be right at home.  My kids.

At Christmas I converted several of our favorite traditional treats into low carb versions that were truly hits.  I rotate my family’s menu between low carb choices and our traditional gluten-free healthy choices.  They enjoy it all.  I know, I am extremely blessed in this way.  No picky eaters at my house.  Makes providing for my family easy and enjoyable!

2 of my oldest girls have decided to eat “Mom’s food”.  That being the case, and me not wanting them to miss out on special food occasions the other kids might have (like lemon breakfast cookies) I have put forth the effort to create low carb versions of the treats they love.  These girls, 14 and 16, have also experienced positive hormone adjustments, clearer skin, and a healthy weight gain where needed. (Yes, low carb does not have to mean weight loss.  The right macro proportions can adjust body weight up when that is what needs to happen.  It’s all about a well formulated diet.)

Has a ketogenic diet hampered my ability to work-out and build muscle?  Not that I can tell.  I work out regularly, 5-6 days a week for 30-50 minutes, and though I’m not aiming to be a body builder, I have definitely rebuilt a LOT of muscle that was lost over the years I spent being inactive.

Do I plan to go off keto any time soon?

No.  I’m enjoying this lifestyle, and have a lot more to learn. I’m thankful for the positive health changes I’ve experienced.  I’m thankful the practical application will enable me to help others when the opportunity arises.  And I’m thankful for the client who pushed me to learn!

What does this mean for future food posts?  It means I’ll not only be sharing our gluten-free sourdough recipes, but also low carb versions. 😉  

My girls have always been concerned that they would have copies of our favorite foods.  In sharing with you, I am getting them all in order, pics and all.  I see full kitchen books in their futures!

Do you have questions about a low carb/ketogenic diet?  I’ll do my best to answer them.

Have a blessed February!  ~Linda

Recipe: Gluten-Free Sourdough Corn Bread

We have had sub-zero temps in Minnesota.  Every few days it warms up enough to snow.  Today our high is supposed to be 4 degrees, but with windshield if feels like -23.  No way around it.  It is just COLD!! 

Storms in recent years have insured we have a surplus of wood.  My husband drug some of those downed trees out of the woods and cut them into the right sized chunks.  The kids have become proficient at loading the logs into the splitter and then stacking it. . . and we have firewood.  😉 I’m thankful for the wood stove in the basement.  Without it, the upstairs thermostat would have the main floor toasty, but the basement would still be cold.

Truth?  I’m praying for a larger woodstove; one that is the proper size for our square footage.  It would supply the blessing of burning all night without anyone having to get up to feed it, and it would warm the whole house sufficiently to turn off the electric heat (a significant $$ saver).

When the temps are this cold, give me hot tea, soup, or chili.  And what goes better with that than corn bread?  I loved the corn bread recipe my mother made when I was growing up, and I’ve converted it into a gluten free sourdough version that my kids think is still So GOOD, and it’s Oh, so easy!

Delicious gluten-free, sourdough corn bread recipe!

I prefer using a 10 inch cast iron skillet for this recipe.  It bakes faster and everyone gets a kick out of the “pie” shaped pieces.  You can also bake it in an 8×8 or 7×11 inch pan and it still turns out perfect.  It just takes a few minutes longer.

To download a PDF of this recipe, Click Here:  Gluten-Free Sourdough Corn Bread.


Stir together:

  • 1/4 cup of butter, melted, but not hot
  • 3/4 cup water
  • stir in 1/2 cup of brown rice sourdough starter (fed in the past 12 hours)
  • 1/2 cup brown rice flour
  • 1 cup corn flour (I use actual corn flour, not meal which is more course)

After combining well, cover and allow to ferment for 7-12 hours.

After fermenting:

Preheat oven to 425 degrees, and put your cast iron pan or baking pan in the oven to heat up.  To your dough, Add:

  • 2 eggs
  • 1/2 tsp. salt
  • 1/2 cup coconut/date sugar, honey, or white sugar  *To reduce sugar, use 1/3 cup of one of the aforementioned sweeteners & 1/8th teaspoon of white, Sweet Leaf Stevia Powder.*
  • 1 tsp. baking soda (add last)

Remove pan from oven and add butter or oil, greasing all the sides and bottom of the pan.  Pour batter in pan and bake.

Cast Iron Skillet, bake 15 minutes and then check… mine is done!

Cake pan, bake 20-25 minutes.Glass baking dishes

I hope you enjoy this corn bread as much as our family does!  ~Linda





Recipe: Gluten-Free, Cranberry Almond Bread (Sourdough)

If there is one food that speaks of Christmas traditions to me, it would be Candy Cane Cookies.  And they’re not even peppermint, right?  It’s almond.  I love it.  I’ve been known to bake out those cookies all year long. . .  just roll them into a ball and flatten them.  No fancy shapes and no food coloring.  I just love the flavor.

So it’s no surprise that when my kids found a Cranberry Almond Loaf recipe in their Focus on the Family Club House Magazine several years ago, I fell in love with that too.  Same delicious, sweet almond flavor, only with cranberries for a bonus.

Cranberry Almond Loaf, original recipe

But then, that Gluten-Free thing happened; and I prefer to prepare foods as healthful as possible.  Therefore, with that criteria in mind, here is a new recipe for Cranberry, Almond Bread.  🙂  This is made with honey and stevia, rather than refined sugar.  The texture of the original bread was rather dry and crumbly, so this gluten-free loaf is more moist (on purpose), and just in time for the holidays!

Cranberry Almond Bread, Gluten-Free Sourdough

I’m not exactly a food photographer.  If you want jewelry photographed, that’s my thing! 

I set my table cloth and delicious loaf of “Christmas Bread” in front of the bay window to catch the early morning light, and the little ones gathered all around me!  The boys were bouncing up and down on both sides, hitting my elbows with their hard little heads while asking, “When can I have a piece?” over and over.  And the almost two year old was standing on a chair, hanging over the table, yelling, “I want some!  I want some!” rather persistently.  So short story?  The photo shoot didn’t last very long, and they made short work of the Cranberry Almond Bread!

Don’t forget to download the Gluten-Free Sourdough, Cranberry Almond Bread PDF   I hope you enjoy it as much as our family has.

Cranberry Almond Bread, Gluten-Free Sourdough at growinggraceful copy


Combine wet ingredients:

  • 1/2 cup butter, softened
  • 1/2 cup brown rice sourdough starter, fed in the past 12 hours
  • 1/2 cup water or milk

In a separate bowl, blend dry ingredients:

  • 1/2 cup sorghum (milo) flour
  • 1/2 cup teff flour
  • 1/2 cup tapioca starch
  • 1.5 teaspoons fine psyllium husk powder (I use Viva brand)

Add to the wet ingredients, mix well, and cover to allow to ferment for 7-12 hours.

After fermenting:

Preheat oven to 350 degrees.  Place your pan in the oven to heat.  To your batter, add:

  • 1/4 cup honey and 1/4 tsp. Sweet Leaf Stevia Powder
  • 2 tsp. almond extract
  • 2 eggs
  • 3/4 tsp. salt
  • 1 teaspooon cream of tartar
  • 1 teaspoon baking soda
  • 1/2 cup dried cranberries

Mix well.  Remove pan from oven and melt butter along sides and bottom.  Pour batter and smooth top.  {If your kids distract you and your loaf sits awhile before going into the oven, the cranberries may sink to the bottom like mine. 😉 } However, bake it immediately and your cranberries will be well distributed throughout the loaf!

Loaf pan: Bake 45-50 minutes  (I use glass.)

In a hurry and want to bake this out more like a cake?  Use a 8×8″ or 11×7″ glass pan, and bake for 25-30 minutes.

Glass baking dishes

Azure Standard has a dried cranberry that is sweetened with apple juice, and I’ve been itching to get my hands on it.  So far, it has been out of stock, but they’re expecting a shipment this month, so I’ll get to try them in January!

If you’re like me and you are doing a low carb thing while your family continues to eat a more traditional fare, All Day I Dream About Food has a yummy Cranberry Cobbler recipe.  Just omit the cinnamon and vanilla, add a teaspoon of almond extract instead, and you can enjoy some low carb Cranberry Almond “Bread” right alongside everyone else.  😉


How My Family Got RID of Allergies, and You Can Too

I know what you’re thinking… I mean, conventional wisdom says that to heal an allergy one must avoid the allergen for years, radically change one’s diet, heal the gut, take buku probiotics. . . Right?  All those things are good, but no, that’s not how our story goes.

Hoe My Family Got Rid of Allergies

Our family has battled chronic allergies forever.  I have nursed my babies a looong time because studies showed it reduces the development of allergies, but my babies reacted to my milk.  They have experienced the WORST colic, and horrible, weeping eczema.  I had to figure out what I was eating that bothered them and then eliminate it from MY diet so that my milk would not be poisoning my babies!

For awhile, we had a chiropractor who did Muscle Response Testing (MRT, AKA: Kinesiology).  With my lists of “Foods We Eat,” he would pin-point which foods were the culprit.

MRT employs resistance on a muscle while exposing an individual to a test item. If the muscle stays strong, it is assumed that the test item is not a problem.  If the muscle gives under pressure, then it’s assumed that the test item IS a problem.  It sounds easy, but it is a little more complicated than just applying pressure to muscles.  If an individual is “out of balance,” as is not uncommon if your health is under assault, testing can be compromised, and it requires a trained practitioner to correct balance to garner reliable results.

MRT worked for us, but we eventually moved away from our chiropractor.  This led to challenging years of eliminating  foods, and then adding them back, in an effort to identify the problems!  😦

There were years that I had to make a meal three different ways just so everyone could safely eat. 


After so many foods had to be eliminated from our table, I prayed for healing.

BEGGED for healing.

It was the onset of a tick born illness that just put me over the top.  As I shared in my posts about my Journey to Health and Weight Loss, Part 1 and Part 2, this led my taking classes in natural health.

Along the way, God steered me to study a Natural Health modality called Health Kinesiology (HK), which uses MRT.  I thought I was learning how to test in order to figure out what we shouldn’t eat, but instead, God did something astounding.

Through Health Kinesiology, God provided a system that  not only allows me to identify allergens, but to correct the allergy.

Immeasurably more than all I had asked or imagined.  Not only can I help our family, but I can also help others.  Thank-you, Lord!!

How does it work?

  1. A trained HK practitioner uses MRT to identify allergens.  A sample of the items being tested must be physically present, however they can be sealed in a plastic bag or more ideally, a glass dish with lid.  In this way, individuals with severe allergies, like peanuts that can be air born, can still go through testing and corrections.
  2. Practitioners help the body make corrections using Accupressure~placing their finger tips on the client’s traditional Accupuncture points; instead of needles, they use only light pressure.
  3. When the correction is completed, the practitioner will retest for allergy, and it should be clear.
  4. Now comes the detox.  Lets make an analogy: Imagine your immune system like a computer that undergoes updates and has to reboot.  We may tell your body that the allergen is a harmless substance, but soldiers already have marching orders to “attack” what was previously identified as an enemy.  Detox can be viewed as time for the body to get rid of everything relating to the prior allergen, allowing all the “soldiers” to go home and get new orders.
  5. After detox has been completed, it is recommended that clients return to their practitioner to be re-tested to find whether a tolerance correction should be made before exposing themselves to the previous allergen.  Low tolerance does not engage the immune system, but can cause similar symptoms as an allergy.

Some allergens require a long correction (called a SET), which requires a trained practitioner, but some only require what is called an “Allergy Tap,” which takes just minutes, and is available for you to learn how to do at home by requesting a copy of the PDF entitled, “Cure Your Own Allergies in Minutes.”  Request the manual at THIS ADDRESS.

I have used the allergy tap in emergency situations to reverse hives and stop allergy induced nausea within minutes.  It depends upon the individual and each allergen; some require the longer correction, and some are good with the Tap.  If you have an allergy that requires the SET, you can locate a practitioner near you by contacting the International Headquarters of Health Kinesiology.

If you have an allergy that causes a life threatening response, it is not recommended that you try this correction at home.  See a practitioner who has a lot of experience.

I am so grateful for this tool which has been an answer to many desperate prayers!  It is amazing to eat without fear and be able to hold a cat without trouble breathing! We’ve cleared dozens of allergies.  

If you live with chronic or life threatening allergies, doing this is so worth it Life changingin a good way!

Blessings! ~Linda




Recipe: Gluten-Free Sourdough Biscuits

I was resistant to going gluten-free for a long time.  I had spent so long cultivating good sourdough recipes using spelt (which is glutenous 😦 )that I couldn’t bear the thought of having to learn something new All.Over.Again.

As it turned out, my oldest daughter loves baking and so she scoured Pinterest for recipes and got busy in the kitchen.  I hardly had to do a thing to find new favorites, but the thing we all really missed was a good biscuit!

Oh, we tried several recipes, but nothing really measured up.  They tended to be dry, gummy or gritty.  I just didn’t enjoy them.  And then I got a gluten free starter going and discovered psyllium husk, and voila! We have biscuits!   🙂

The sourdough fermentation makes them soft and easy on the digestion.  The psyllium husk holds moisture, acts as a binder, and keeps the texture real, not gummy.  They are soooo GOOD! THis has become a tried-and-true recipe at our house.  Everyone gets excited when Mom makes biscuits!

Biscuits, mmmmm


Are you ready to try them?

To print a PDF of the recipe, click:Gluten-Free Sourdough Biscuits.

Use starter that has been fed in the past 12 hours.

In a medium sized bowl, combine:

  • 1/2 cup buckwheat flour
  • 1/2 cup tapioca starch
  • 1 cup sorghum flour
  • 1/4 cup rice flour
  • 1-1/4 teaspoons fine psyllium husk powder (6.25 grams)

GF-Biscuit Flour

When these flours are well combined, cut in:

  • 1/2 cup butter

Then add:

  • 1/2 cup brown rice sourdough starter
  • 3/4 cup un-chlorinated water or milk of your preference (Take note that milk reduces the fermentation. )

GF biscuits before fermenting

When well combined, cover and allow to ferment 7-12 hours.

After fermenting:

Preheat oven to 450 degrees.

Sprinkle 1 teaspoon of baking soda and 1/2 tsp. salt over the dough and then mix thoroughly.  It will take on an airy feeling as the baking soda reacts with the acidity, neutralizing the sour flavor and adding a small rise to the dough.

GF-biscuits after souring

Roll out to the thickness you desire.  It will not noticeably rise in the oven, so decide now how thick you want them.  I have not noticed it affecting the bake time.  My kids like them about a half inch, smaller, so they can have “more” and feel like their servings are generous.  I have also rolled them out to approximately 1 inch.  I get between 8 and 12 biscuits depending on whether I make them smaller or taller.

GF- biscuits, cutting

Use a spatula or other flat utensil to lift off up and place on a baking sheet.  You can use parchment paper if you’d like, but it’s not necessary.

Bake for 8-10 minutes on a traditional baking sheet or 10-12 minutes on a stone pan.

Allow to rest for a few minutes and then slice, butter, and enjoy!