I’ve had several requests from family and friends over the past few years for information about my diet and exercise routine. So, I created this page to provide everyone with the information that I typically share (in person) on a regular basis.
Please note that I am not a doctor, a nutritionist, or a physical trainer, so the information that I am providing is not medical advice. This information just explains what I do personally that has worked well for me over the past several years to reduce my weight and maintain a healthy lifestyle.
My diet can be best summed up as a low-carb, mostly ketogenic, Mediterranean diet with one-meal-a-day (OMAD) intermittent fasting. I eat lots of vegetables covered in healthy fats with moderate protein. I eat a lot of dietary fiber, very few net carbs, and almost no sugar. I eat out about once a week on average.
I exercise first thing in the morning every day — it’s non-negotiable. However, I take one day off each week — typically on the weekend. I do a 30-minute workout of elliptical, cycling, swimming, or weights, and I walk or jog 10,000 steps (~ 5 miles) each day. I also go on long bike rides (e.g. 30+ miles) each weekend.
I meditate for 30 minutes each day immediately after I finish my morning exercise routine. I sit on a meditation cushion, focus on my breath, and when my attention wanders, I gently return it to my breath. I use biofeedback, neurofeedback, and neuromodulation to assist with my meditation sessions.
When I properly maintain my diet and exercise routine, I drop about 1/2 a pound of weight per day, continuously, until I reach about 200 lbs. Then it becomes progressively harder to lose additional weight. So, as long as I’m under 205 and I’m feeling good, then I’m generally happy with my weight and health.
My Diet Rules
Below are the rules that I adhere to with my diet and exercise routine. I developed these rules over many years of trial and error. However, there’s no one-size-fits-all diet or exercise routine. So, you need to discover your own rules and determine what works best for you through trial and error.
Run Experiments… Not Diets
Rather than going on diets, I run continuous experiments by making small changes to my diet each month. I see what works and what doesn’t. Then, I keep doing what works well, and I discard the rest. Expecting a bunch of small successes and small failures isn’t demoralizing like failing at fade diets.
Drink Water… Not Calories
I don’t drink any liquid calories on a daily basis. No soda, no milk, no juice, no beer, etc. Instead, I drink water. Just plain water. I drink it with every meal and have a glass about once every two hours at work. However, I will typically have a beer or a glass of whisky (with water) once every few weeks if I’m out with friends.
Eat Whole Foods… Not Processed Foods
I try to maximize the amount of all-natural whole foods that I eat as the bulk of my diet. This means fresh vegetables, pasture-raised meats, pasture-fed eggs, etc. I try to minimize processed foods; however, I often use some minimally processed ketogenic foods to scoop, wrap, or otherwise contain whole foods.
Minimize Net Carbs… Not Fat
I try to eat as few net carbs as possible. Net carbs are total carbs minus dietary fiber and non-digestible sugar substitutes (e.g. Erythritol, Allulose, sugar alcohols, etc.). This means the bulk of my diet is healthy, fiber-rich vegetables, fats, and proteins. There are very few breads, grains, starches, sugars, etc.
Invert the Food Pyramid… It’s Upside Down
I derive most of my calories from healthy monounsaturated fats (e.g. extra virgin olive oil, coconut oil, etc.) I eat a moderate amount of healthy proteins (e.g. eggs, salmon, seafood, chicken, etc.) I minimize net carbs, and I consume almost no sugar — and when I do, I prefer natural sugars contained in fruits.
Fast Intermittently… Don’t Snack or Graze
I eat one meal a day six days out of the week. The rest of the day, I don’t eat or drink anything except for water. My ketogenic diet keeps me feeling satiated and fuels me all day long. So, I don’t need additional meals or snacks throughout the day. However, I do eat a light meal before long bike rides, public speaking, interviews, exams, etc.
Exercise for Fun… Not to Weight Loss
I used to spend an hour every day at the gym and hated it. It was grueling, I didn’t lose weight, and I was still not healthy. However, in my 30s, I bought a bicycle and started cycling. I haven’t stopped since — I love it! Now, I only do the exercise that I enjoy, like cycling, walking, jogging, yoga, swimming, and elliptical.
Below is a list of the top meals I eat regularly with my low-carb, (mostly) ketogenic, Mediterranean diet. I’ve ordered each meal based on how frequently I eat them, with the most frequent meals at the top.
Once a week, I pre-make six spinach and microgreens salads and store them in 48 oz storage containers. For my dressing, I use lots of extra virgin olive oil mixed with a bit of Simply Dressed Ranch or Caesar dressing. I often top it with shredded cheese, diced eggs, crushed keto nacho chips, or some fatty crushed nuts (e.g. walnuts, almonds, etc.)
Once a week, I cook up a batch of vegetable slaw to eat through the week. I either buy the vegetables pre-shredded or dice them in my Brevel food processor. My go-to vegetables are Brussel slaw, broccoli slaw, diced leeks, and riced cauliflower. I sometimes add shredded carrots, red cabbage, etc., for flavor, antioxidants, and color.
Egg and Cheese Wrap
Each week, I pre-make a few plain three-egg omelets in a small frying pan. Then, when I’m ready to eat, I grab a zero-carb tortilla wrap, add some shredded cheese, add an omelet, and some random seasonings. I might also add a small amount of beef, chicken, pork, or some other protein for flavor as well.
One of my favorite go-to meals is spicy salmon poke. I either purchase it fresh from our local poke shop, or I buy some sashimi-grade salmon and cut it into cubes. Then I add Hellman’s mayo and a bit of sugar-free sriracha sauce and mix it all together. I skip the rice entirely and use zero-carb shirataki rice noodles instead.
About once two couple of weeks, I eat steamed salmon with a side of vegetables. I purchase fresh salmon from the grocery store, wrap it in aluminum foil, put it in a steam basket for 20 minutes with some vegetables, and then season it when it is finished. Super quick, easy, and healthy.
I eat a lot of soups, especially when it’s cold, or I’m not feeling great. I like Pho Dac Biet (i.e., Vietnamese beef soup), Tonkatsu Ramen (i.e., Japanese pork soup), Simin (Hawaiian noodle soup), and Motzaball soup (Jewish penicillin). However, I always skip the noodles or replace them with zero-carb shirataki noodles.
Besides salmon and poke, I eat a lot of other seafood dishes. For example, baked white fish with macadamia-nut and almond-flower crust, shrimp with homemade keto cocktail sauce, and scallops with butter.
Other Noodle Dishes
I eat a lot of keto noodle dishes by substituting high-carb noodles with zero-carb shirataki noodles. This includes keto mac and cheese, keto spaghetti with no-sugar-added tomato sauce, and vegetable stir fry with shirataki noodles.
Other Meat Dishes
Other meat-based dishes I eat include turkey tacos with sugar-free taco seasoning, sous-vide tri-tip with sesame oil, turkey stuffed peppers, smoked beef rib, and chicken in a variety of styles and preparations.
All of my go-to meals typically take less than 15 minutes of prep time per meal and very quick clean-up time — especially if I pre-make them in a batch at the beginning of the week.
I don’t eat breakfast very often — typically once a week before (or after) a long bike ride. However, these are the breakfast items that I make most often. I’ve ordered them by how frequently I eat them, with the most frequent items at the top.
Bacon and Eggs
I use pasture-raised eggs and thick-cut bacon with no sugar added. I keep it simple — nothing special. I eat my eggs hard-boiled, scrambled, basted, or as an omlette. This is my go-to breakfast for long-distance cycling. It fills me up, and I have energy for the entire ride.
I use Birchbenders Keto pancake mix. However, I don’t use their recipe on the back. Instead, I use 2/3rds cup of mix, 1/2 unsweetened almond milk (or sugar-free whole-fat milk), and two eggs. Then I top my stack of keto cakes with butter and sugar-free maple syrup made with allulose.
Keto French Toast
I start with Oroweat keto bread, or homemade keto brioche that my wife makes from scratch. I mix up a few eggs, add some unsweetened almond milk or sugar-free whole-fat milk, then add a bit of cinnamon and vanilla. I soak the bread in the mix, fry it up, and then add butter and sugar-free maple syrup. or sugar-free honey.
I don’t eat cereal very often, but when I do, I eat Magic Spoon Keto Cereal. They have a bunch of different flavors that are all high protein, low carb (only 4g net carbs per bowl), and they taste like real cereal. I add unsweetened almond milk or sugar-free whole milk. The frosted, cocoa, fruity, and maple-waffle flavors are the best!
Keto Toaster Pastries
On very rare occasions, I like the nostalgia of eating a toaster pastry without all the guilt of the sugar and carbs. So, I keep a few Legendary Foods toaster pastries in my cupboard for these occasions. They come in a variety of flavors and are all under 5g net carbs per serving.
I don’t eat snacks very often at all. However, if I’m going for a bike ride, delivering a presentation, or preparing for an exam, I will often have a quick snack to make sure I have sufficient energy. These are my top go-to snack that conforms to my (mostly) Mediterranean ketogenic diet.
If I need small to tide me over, my go-to snack is healthy nuts high in monounsaturated fatty acids. I prefer (in order) macadamia nuts, pecans, almonds, walnuts, and pine nuts mixed with sunflower seeds. I avoid peanuts and cashews (which aren’t actually nuts) because they are much higher in net carbs.
I use hard-boiled pasture-raised eggs. Then I mix the yokes with Hellmann’s mayonnaise and yellow mustard. Finally, I dust them with paprika. I typically add a pinch of salt before eating. I avoid using any mayo or mustard that contains added sugar or added carbohydrates.
My go-to dip is guacamole. I peel and mash avocados and then add fresh garlic and salt to taste. I sometimes add pico de gallo. However, I never use any pre-packaged mixes — since they typically add extra sugars and preservatives. Instead, I just put the unscored pits in the bowl and keep it sealed.
Keto Tortilla Chips
My go-to snack food for scooping guacamole, salsa, and dips is keto tortilla chips. I buy the Carb Balance low-carb tortillas and I cut them into 8ths. Then I spray them with ghee and salt them. Finally, I put them in the toaster oven on “bake” at 425°F for 12-15 minutes.
I eat pork rinds whenever I’m craving something very crunchy and salty. I use them for scooping guacamole and other dips, for making nachos, and as a substitute for popcorn. I prefer Baconettes original flavor, and then I add my own seasonings if needed.
Keto Peanut Butter
I eat Left Coast Performance Keto Peanut Butter. It’s 1g net carb per tablespoon, so it’s about as keto as peanut butter can get. Much better than regular peanut butter — which should really be called “peanut-flavored sugar butter”. I eat it with celery, keto cracker, pork rinds, and/or pickles — yes, I know “peanut butter and pickles” sounds weird, but it’s honestly delicious!
My Food Pyramid
The bulk of the calories in my diet are composed of healthy fats and leafy-green nutrient-rich vegetables. I eat a moderate amount of minimally processed proteins and dairy. I eat very little grains and almost no fruit — except for avocado. Below is my food pyramid with the food groups I eat the most at the top.
I consume a lot of healthy monounsaturated fats like extra virgin olive oil, sesame oil, avocados, pecans, etc. I consume a moderate amount of polyunsaturated fats like omega-3s, MTC oil, fatty fish, and walnuts. I consume moderate saturated fats in coconut oil, meats, and dairy. However, I avoid all trans fats like vegetable oil and other partially-hydrogenated fats and oils.
I consume a lot of leafy-green nutrient-rich vegetables (e.g. spinach) and cruciferous vegetables (e.g. Brussel sprouts, broccoli). I consume a moderate about of allium vegetables (e.g. onion, garlic) and edible plant stems (e.g. celery, asparagus). However, I avoid starchy vegetables (e.g. potatoes, yams, pumpkins).
I consume a moderate amount of eggs, nuts, fish, and seafood (e.g. salmon, whitefish, shrimp). I consume a bit less chicken, beef, pork. I prefer wild or pasture-raised, minimally-processed meats. I avoid most beans, legumes, fried meats, breaded meats, or highly-processed meats.
I consume a moderate amount of dairy in the form of cheese and butter. I consume a bit less sour cream and cream cheese. I avoid milk, yogurt, and any dairy products with a lot of sugars or net carbs.
I consume a lot of avocados — yes, they are actually a fruit. I consume a minimal amount of low-carb fruit, like berries. I generally avoid all fruit with lots of sugar and carbohydrates. However, I will eat an apple or a banana before or after a long bike ride, a presentation, or an exam for quick energy.
I consume minimal grains. I avoid bread, cereal, rice, and pasta. Instead, I eat low-carb, ketogenic substitutes for all of my grains, including keto wraps, riced cauliflower, shirataki noodles, keto bread, keto cereal, etc.
Healthy fats are the foundation of my (mostly) ketogenic Mediterranean diet. I consume a significant amount of my daily calories in the form of monounsaturated fats, mostly from extra virgin olive oil. Below are the top fats I consume listed in order based on the frequency I consume each.
Extra Virgin Olive Oil
I consume a lot of extra virgin olive oil (EVOO). It’s in almost every meal I eat. I pour it on salads, vegetables, proteins, and soak it up with keto bread. I consume at least 4-5 tablespoons a day, which means I go through about a half-gallon each month. The higher the amount of resveratrol and polyphenols, the better. I use Napa Valley Organics as my go-to EVOO.
I often use coconut oil for sauteing vegetables. It has a higher smoke point than EVOO, so it can work better for cooking vegetables at high heat. It’s high in saturated fat, but that doesn’t make it unhealthy. I prefer very clean-tasting coconut oil, so I buy triple-filtered coconut oil from Trader Joe’s.
I use sesame oil primarily for cooking vegetable stir fry. However, I also use it as a dipping sauce for steak and other meats. It’s great on salads as well.
Butter / Ghee
I will often use butter or ghee as a substitute for coconut oil when sauteing vegetables. I prefer the health benefits of coconut oil, but my wife prefers the taste of butter. I also use ghee when eating most shellfish, including scallops, crab, and lobster. I use both coconut oil and ghee if I’m making popcorn. I also keep a bottle of sprayable ghee on hand for convenience.
I use canola oil, avocado oil, sunflower oil, and MCT oil on occasion. They are not my preferred oils for cooking or pouring on foods. However, I don’t avoid any foods that use them as their primary source of fat.
Fats I Avoid
I avoid all hydrogenated oils and foods high in non-naturally-occurring trans fats. This includes margarine, vegetable oil, soybean oil, etc. These fats are typically found in packaged snacks, premade baked goods, and anything deep-fried as well. So I avoid all of those types of foods as well.
After healthy fats, vegetables are the food group I consume the most. I prefer to eat vegetables that have been shredded, riced, or slawed, then cooked in a frying pan with coconut oil, and finally, covered with lots of extra virgin olive oil and seasoned with pink Himalayan sea salt and other spices.
Below are the top vegetables that I eat as part of my normal diet. I’ve ordered them by how frequently I eat them, with the most frequent vegetables at the top.
I eat a large bowl of spinach and microgreens salad covered in extra virgin olive oil at least every other day. Baby spinach is one of the healthiest vegetables you can eat, so I eat it almost daily.
I put microgreens on top of my spinach salad. Microgreens are much more nutrient-dense than their adult counterparts. So, you’re getting a much higher concentration of nutrients with every bite. I like baby broccoli sprouts the best, but I typically blend alfalfa, arugula, clover, watercress, etc.
I either purchase pre-shredded brussel slaw or shred it myself with my Brevil food processor. However, I also like eating them cut in halves, quarters, or whole. I saute my brussel slaw in a frying pan with olive oil or coconut oil, put it in a bowl, and then drown it in extra virgin olive oil and sprinkle on some salt to taste.
I typically purchase pre-shredded broccoli slaw or shred the broccoli myself in my Brevil. I also enjoy eating broccoli florets whole too. I saute my broccoli in a frying pan with coconut oil and then cover it with extra virgin olive oil and add a bit of salt.
I cut asparagus into thirds, saute them with coconut oil, and then cover it with extra virgin olive oil and a bit of salt. By now, you’re probably starting to see a pretty clear trend with my cooked vegetables.
I either purchase pre-riced cauliflower or I rice it myself with my Brevil. I cook it in a pan with coconut oil and then use it as a substitute for rice in just about any dish that calls for it. You can turn it into fried rice for stir fry by adding a few eggs, soy sauce, and sesame oil.
I often add some lettuce to my spinach salads for crunch. I often add shredded carrots or cabbage to my vegetable slaws for variety and color. I eat celery with keto peanut butter. I eat bell peppers stuffed with ground turkey and cheese. I saute bok choy and season it with salt. I also add mushrooms on occasion.
Vegetables I Avoid
I avoid any high-carbohydrate vegetables. This includes potatoes, yams, corn, peas, squash, etc. I don’t drink any vegetable juices, either — too many liquid carbohydrates for me.
Eggs are my go-to protein. I typically eat one to three eggs (on average) every day with my meal. I pre-make plain three-egg omelets each week to use in my egg and cheese wraps. I make deviled eggs and egg salad. I also eat them hard-boiled. They are almost a perfect food for a healthy diet, and they keep my blood sugar very stable.
My second favorite protein is salmon. I typically eat salmon at least once a week. I prefer to eat it as spicy salmon poke using shirataki noodles as a rice substitute. I also eat it steamed or seared with a side of vegetables. My favorite way to eat it is sushi at a Japanese restaurant. However, the rice adds a lot of carbs, so I save that for weekends or opt for sashimi (sliced raw fish with no rice) instead.
I eat shrimp with sugar-free cocktail sauce. I eat scallops with butter. I love both crab legs and lobster soaked in clarified butter (ghee). About once a month, I buy a cajun-seasoned seafood boil from Pier 88 and eat the leftovers for the rest of the week.
I eat chicken in a wide variety of preparations. My wife makes an excellent roasted whole chicken which will last us about two weeks. She also makes a chicken salad with sugar-free mayo and seasoning. I don’t typically eat fried chicken, chicken tenders, or any other breaded chicken though.
My wife and I use ground turkey to make turkey tacos with no-sugar-added taco seasoning. We also use ground turkey in stuffed peppers. It’s quite versatile and is a great substitute for ground beef. We also enjoy eating a giant smoked turkey leg every now and then.
I love beef, but I try to eat it in moderation (even more so than my other proteins). My favorite at-home beef dish is wagyu tri-tip slow-cooked in a sous vide. I just add salt and pepper and sometimes dip it in sesame oil. Smoked beef rib without any bbq sauce is my favorite beef dish when we’re eating out. If I use BBQ sauce, which is rare, I use G Hughes sugar-free BBQ sauce.
I typically only eat pork before long bike rides (i.e. 50 to 100-miles). I eat it in the form of bacon with a side of eggs. I like no-sugar-added thick-cut bacon. It’s densely packed energy with a lot of fat, which keeps me powered for several hours while in a state of ketosis.
There aren’t many types of meat that I won’t eat. I also enjoy duck, lamb, goat, etc. I just try to eat protein in moderation — especially animal-derived proteins. I try to choose meats that are grass-fed, pasture-raised, or sustainably farmed. I try to avoid eating industrially processed animals raised in cages.
Proteins I Avoid
In addition, I try to avoid highly-processed meats, breaded meats, deep-fried meats, meats with added sugars (e.g. ham), and meats with sugary sauces on top of them. I avoid most beans and lentils since they contain a high amount of net carbohydrates.
I sometimes use butter or ghee as a substitute for extra virgin olive oil or coconut oil when sauteing vegetables. I prefer the health benefits of EVOO and coconut oil, but my wife prefers the taste of butter. I also use ghee when eating most shellfish, including scallops, crab, and lobster. Plus, I use both coconut oil and ghee if I’m making popcorn — as a rare treat.
I eat three main kinds of cheese. I eat shredded Mexican 3-cheese blend or Colby jack for my egg and cheese wraps, nachos, etc. I eat sliced dill Havarti or Colby jack cheese for most sandwiches and summer sausage. I also use fresh buffalo mozzarella for Caprese salad.
I don’t drink milk. However, I use it as an ingredient in some foods I eat semi-regularly (e.g., keto pancakes, keto French toast, etc.) So, as a substitute for milk, I use Silk Unsweet Almond Milk. It’s 1g net carb per cup, has a long shelf life, and it tastes the same as real milk when used as an ingredient.
Zero Sugar Whole Milk
I recently discovered Maple Hill Zero Sugar Whole Milk. It contains all of the good stuff in whole milk but has been ultra-filtered to remove all of the sugar. It’s literally a zero-net-carb whole-fat milk — amazing! However, since I don’t use milk very often, the limited refrigerator shelf-life is a bit of an issue.
Other Dairy Products
On occasion, I will eat full-fat sour cream, cream cheese, cortege cheese, and Greek yogurt. You just have to watch out to make sure there aren’t added sugars. They contain probiotics that are really good for your microbiome, so I’m fine consuming a few carbs here and there for the probiotic benefits.
Dairy I Avoid
I don’t drink any dairy in general, I just use it as an ingredient in the food that I’m making. I also don’t use any dairy with added sugar. I don’t eat any fat-free or reduced-fat dairy products either. They are much worse for you than full-fat dairy because they replace the missing fat with extra sugar for flavor.
I eat a lot of avocados — yes, they are a type of fruit. I make guacamole once every few weeks. I mash the avocados, add pico de gallo, fresh garlic, and salt to taste. I don’t buy pre-made guacamole or seasoning packs — they often add extra carbs and sugars. I also slice avocados and put them on various food.
I eat tomatoes in moderation — yes, tomatoes are a fruit too. I sometimes eat cherry tomatoes on my salads. I make Caprese salad — minus the balsamic vinaigrette. I also use fresh tomatoes or no-sugar-added canned tomatoes with Italian seasoning for pasta sauce on my shirataki noodles.
There are three kinds of (relatively) low-carb fruit that I eat on occasion. They are raspberries, blackberries, and strawberries. They’re lower in carbs compared to other fruit, and they have a lot of nutrients, antioxidants, and flavonoids. Other berries (like blueberries) are a bit too high-carb for me.
Fruits I Avoid
I only eat high-sugar fruits on very rare occasions. These include apples, bananas, peaches, pears, mango, grapes, etc. I eat them before or after a long bike ride, a presentation, or an exam. They provide me with quick energy for short, physically or mentally challenging tasks. I eat them sparingly.
The title of this section is rather deceiving — a “keto grain” is mostly an oxymoron. Rather, this section would be more aptly titled my daily keto substitutes for high-carb grains. Below are the keto foods that I eat in place of high-carb grains on a daily basis. They are ordered by frequency from top to bottom.
I use Mama Lupe’s zero-carb tortillas as a substitute for flour tortilla wraps, bread, wraps, etc. I use these multiple times a week. However, I use also Mission Carb Balance tortillas if I’m making low-carb tortilla chips since they bake better. They are 4g net carbs for 8 chips.
I use Oroweat Keto bread as a substitute for white or wheat bread. They are just 4g net carbs per slice. However, my wife also makes me keto brioche bread from scratch as well too. If you’d like the recipe, just ask her, and she’ll send it to you.
I use shirataki noodles as a substitute for all pasta noodles. They are zero carbs per serving. In addition, they come in various shapes like spaghetti, fettuccini, angel hair, and rice.
Keto Tortilla chips
For scoping dips, making nachos, or I make my own keto tortilla chips. I slice a keto tortilla wrap into 8ths with a pizza cutter. Then I spray on extra virgin olive oil or ghee and add salt. I place them in my toaster oven and bake at 425°F for 12-15 minutes. Then I store them in a plastic bag and eat them with guacamole, salsa, or dips.
Keto Snack Chips
I often add crushed keto chips to my salad to turn it into a taco salad. I prefer Genius Gourmet spicy nacho keto snack chips. All of their flavors are great. However, I’ll also use Quest protein chips on occasion too.
When I need crackers for meats and cheeses, peanut butter, or for a dip, I use Real Phat Food’s almond flour crackers. They are the best of the keto crackers that I’ve tried so far. Still not close to a traditional saltine cracker, but a suitable low-carb substitute.
Grains I Avoid
I completely avoid almost all grains. I don’t eat any cereal grains, including rice, corn, wheat, oats, etc. I also don’t eat any bread, pasta, tortillas, crackers, muffins, pancakes, etc. — unless they are the low-carb versions mentioned above and in other sections.
I use mayo on my burgers instead of ketchup and mustard. I prefer Hellman’s / Best Foods olive oil mayonnaise. It has zero carbs, and there is no sugar added.
If I need to add flavor, ranch dressing is my go-to. I use Marzetti Simply Dressed Ranch Dressing — which has less than 1g of carbs per two tablespoons. Most brands of ranch dressing are low-carb. Unfortunately, I’ve noticed a trend of name brands beginning to add sugar.
I don’t typically put ketchup on anything. However, it’s the main ingredient in shrimp cocktail sauce. So, we keep a bottle of G Hughes sugar-free ketchup on hand for these occasions.
Soy sauce typically contains 1-5 grams of carbs. So, I substitute it with Tamari sauce. It has only 1 gram of carbs per tablespoon and has an almost identical taste. Liquid aminos also work quite well as a substitute.
I prefer allulose derived from monk fruit as my go-to sugar substitute. It has the closest temporal sweetness profile to real sugar of all of the substitutes. However, if it’s not available, I will also use erythritol or stevia. I avoid artificial sugar substitutes like aspartame, sucralose, and saccharin.
Keto Maple Syrup
I use Wholesome Yum Keto Maple Syrup as my maple syrup substitute. I’ve tried a bunch, and they all tasted weird. However, this one is made with monk fruit allulose, so it tastes very similar to real maple syrup.
As I mentioned in other sections, I typically try to use extra virgin olive oil, sesame oil, butter, ghee, or some other healthy fat as a condiment or sauce. Other condiments that I use in moderation include sauerkraut (which has a lot of healthy probiotics), salsa, and marina sauce with no added sugars.
Condiments I Avoid
I avoid any condiments with sugar or more than 1 gram of carbohydrates per tablespoon. This means almost all ketchup, salad dressings, miracle whip, shrimp cocktail sauce, bbq sauce, teriyaki sauce, honey, etc. There’s a surprising amount of sugar in most of them.
The title of this article might be a little deceptive. I only consistently eat one dessert on a regular basis — sugar-free 80% to 100% dark chocolate. All of the other desserts in this section are eaten much less frequently (like monthly) when I’m in the mood for something sweet. Below are the top desserts I eat on a regular or semi-regular basis.
I love chocolate. So, I eat a small 1-ounce piece of sugar-free 80% to 100% dark chocolate most nights right after dinner. I like Lily’s intensely dark sugar-free 92% chocolate (2g net carbs per serving), Skinny Me zero-sugar bold dark chocolate (1 g net carbs per serving), Ethel M’s Sugar-Free Dark Chocolate (2g net carbs per bar), and Kiss My Keto (2g net carbs per serving). But I also eat 100% pure chocolate too.
There are a variety of keto bars out there all with various pros/cons. The bars I prefer most are the Heka Good Foods keto bars — specifically chocolate chip, double chocolate, and birthday cake. I also really like the Kiss My Keto bars — specifically the birthday cake, maple donut, and salted caramel bars.
Brownies are great but finding a good keto version is tough. The best version I’ve found so far is the Keto and Co. Keto Fudge Brownie Mix. It’s just 1.1g carbs per serving (16 servings per container). So, if you need to make a batch of brownies, this is definitely the way to go.
Keto Ice Cream
There are a variety of keto ice cream options popping up in grocery stores in our city. However, I have the luxury of being married to someone who loves making ice cream. So, she makes me low-carb, sugar-free birthday-cake flavored ice cream. I don’t eat ice cream often, so one batch lasts me half a year or more.
I also like to add Enlightened Keto Cookie Dough Bites to my ice cream. They come in a variety of flavors. I also have sugar-free, low-carb chocolate syrup and caramel syrup as an ice cream topping. Russel Stovers makes sugar-free chocolates and candies that are great as well.
I rarely drink liquid calories. Instead, I drink water and lots of it. In fact, I would easily guess that over 99% of all of the beverages I consume are just plain filtered tap water. However, to better inform you about what I drink, below are the beverages I drink daily or semi-regularly.
I drink a large glass of water with every meal. In addition, I drink several cups of water throughout the day. I typically drink a full glass of water right after I take a walk or a jog — which is about once every two hours throughout the day. In general, I would say I drink roughly five full glasses of water each day.
I drink herbal tea on a daily basis — typically one cup a day while I’m working. I don’t add anything to it. I like chamomile tea when I want to relax and decaf green tea if I need a bit more energy. I drink Sleepy Time Extra herbal tea if I’m having difficulty falling asleep.
When I’m going on long-distance bike rides, staying hydrated is very important. For short rides, I just drink water. However, for rides over 30 miles, I add Nuun Sport tablets to my water to replenish electrolytes. They contain 1 gram of sugar, so it’s very low sugar compared to mainstream sports drinks.
The only time I drink soda is when I’m having a mixed drink, which is probably about once every two weeks or so. Unfortunately, Coke Zero, Zevia, and Virgil’s sugar-free sodas are just OK. So, hopefully, someone will create an allulose-based cola soon. In the meantime, I’m happy just drinking whiskey and water.
If I’m going to have a drink, I typically just have a whiskey and water. I prefer Templeton Rye, Bullet Rye, or Gentleman Jack. However, I also enjoy high-end sipping whiskeys every now and then as well.
If I’m going to have a beer, I just drink a single Guinness and call it good. One Guinness doesn’t appear to raise my blood glucose much — unlike other beers. However, two or more causes a noticeable spike.
My Advice for Eating Out
Eating out can be difficult when you’re trying to maintain a healthy diet. It’s much harder to control the quality of the foods you’re eating when you’re not preparing them at home with your own ingredients. However, I do a few simple things to ensure that I maintain my normal diet while eating out.
Skip the Drink
I don’t drink anything except for water when I eat at a restaurant. No soda, juice, milk, beer, or anything else. However, I sometimes drink plain herbal tea (like chamomile) or decaf green tea.
Skip the Carbs
I don’t eat any bread before dinner — unless it’s only being used to soak up extra virgin olive oil. I don’t order any high-carb meals like pasta. I skip the bun on my burgers. I have them hold the rice, potatoes, french fries, onion rings, or I substitute with extra vegetables. Skipping sushi rice is the toughest.
Skip the Sauce
There are a lot of hidden sugars in many of the sauces that they add to dishes in restaurants. So, I either verify that the sauce is low-carb/sugar-free, have them put it on the side, or skip the sauce altogether. I often substitute high-carb sauces with extra virgin olive oil, sesame oil, ranch, or mayo.
Skip the Dessert
Dessert is the biggest source of processed sugar I encounter while eating out. So, unfortunately, I just have to skip it. If everyone is sharing a dessert, I might have a spoonful — just one. However, as my reward for skipping dessert at restaurants, I reward myself with two squares of sugar-free dark chocolate when I get home.
Keep it Simple
Often, it’s better to just keep things simple. I order scrambled eggs or an omelet when I’m eating at a breakfast restaurant. I order basic protein and vegetables at a restaurant for dinner. Typically, the more complex the food, the more likely there are hidden carbs and sugars. Sushi is the toughest one for me to skip though. I love sushi, but the rice has a lot of carbs. Sashimi, however, has no rice though.
Ask for Options
Unfortunately, meals provided by flights, hotels, conferences, and other events are often very high in carbohydrates and sugars. So, if the option is available, I’ll request the special meal option in advance. However, I will only do so if it’s not taking a meal away from someone who needs it for dietary reasons.
My Dietary Supplements
I try to derive most of my vitamins, minerals, and nutrition from the food that I eat. However, I think it’s important to take supplements for the molecules that we don’t produce naturally and that we aren’t getting enough of. So, I take the following supplements on a daily basis.
I take a daily multivitamin supplement to make sure that I’m not missing any important vitamins or minerals. I prefer whole-food vitamins with probiotics and no binders or fillers. So, I take two Vitamin Code multivitamins at dinner to maximize bioavailability.
Unfortunately, modern humans don’t get enough vitamin D for optimal health. In addition, my daily multivitamin doesn’t provide enough vitamin D to meet my needs. So, I supplement with an additional vitamin D capsule every day. I take it in the evening with dinner.
I’ve been following the science of microbiome health for several years now. It’s becoming clear that many modern diseases are correlated with a lack of healthy and diverse bacteria in your gut. So, I take frequently take a probiotic supplement to help my microbiome. I take Garden of Life Ultimate Care (refrigerated).
I take 500 mg of pharmaceutical-grade trans-resveratrol each day to activate sirtuins and promote NAD+ biosynthesis. In theory, this helps to minimize the effects of aging on my body. I take 500mg at dinner before my meal.
I take 500 mg of nicotinamide mononucleotide (NMN) each day to increase NAD+ levels in my body. NAD+ works in combination with sirtuins as fuel for cellular repair processes. I take 500mg at dinner before my meal.
I take 500 mg of berberine as a non-prescription substitute for metformin. Metformin has been shown to protect the body from a variety of age-related diseases, including diabetes, cancer, inflammation, etc. I take all 500 mg at dinner before my meal to minimize its impact on protein synthesis from my morning exercise.
My Exercise Routine
My daily exercise routine is pretty basic and easy to maintain. I exercise five times a week and give myself a day off each weekend — whichever day I don’t go for a long bike ride. Below are the exercises I do regularly, with the most frequent exercises at the top.
I go for a 1-mile jog around our neighborhood about every two hours when I’m working from home. I typically average around 10,000 steps (which is about 5 miles) each day. Jogging gets me away from the computer and moving.
If I don’t feel up to jogging or need to give my knees a break, I walk instead. It’s the same 1-mile stretch around our neighborhood, just at a slower pace than jogging.
I start each day with 15 to 30 minutes on an elliptical machine. I set the grade to 10% and leave the resistance at level 1. This seems to be the best balance for getting a good workout and not adding stress to my knees. I typically watch educational videos while I’m on the elliptical.
On weekends, I go for a long (30-mile plus) bike ride on multi-use trails around Las Vegas or out in the desert. Once a year, I ride over 100 miles in a single day, and I try to ride 500+ miles across the state of Iowa in a single week for RAGBRAI.
When I get bored of the elliptical, I go for a 15 to 30-minute swim in our backyard pool. I alternate between breaststroke and crawl stroke going forward and alternate between backstroke or side-stroke on the way back.
Lifting weights is my least favorite exercise, so I only do it to give my legs a day off from cycling, walking, and elliptical. I use a set of Bowflex SelectTech dumbells. I do seated bicep curls, hammer curls, lateral raises, shoulder presses, and front raises. Then, I lay down and do bench presses, flat chest flies, and tricep extensions.
I used to attend a power yoga class three times a week. However, I’ve developed issues with my knees and wrists, so many of the standard power yoga poses cause me pain. I still do light yoga from time to time, but I can also see myself doing more of it again as I get older.