Making a Lifestyle Change


Surely by now you have heard about the low carb, moderate protein and high fat diet that is so popular.  I mean… it’s been around for a long time, but it is in the spotlight at the moment because it is working for so many people. All the famous actors are doing it, it’s working for them and they’re looking amazing. I have some great friends doing it as well and feeling better than ever before.

It has brought me to a point of some serious research. I wanted to know more. I wanted to know why it works so well. I wanted to know what you were allowed/not allowed to eat.  Mainly, I wanted to know if it was something I’d be able to maintain as a lifestyle. I’m ready to make a lifestyle change and be at a healthy weight.

Who’s with me?

Are you so sick of losing, then gaining it all back? Plus 10? I know I am.

After many hours of researching and taking notes, I’ve decided to go all in. And I’d love for you to join me if you think it’s a fit for you as well.

But first, let me fill you in on some information about the Ketogenic diet. It really helps jumping into something if you’re well-informed.

It really makes sense to me.

keto diet pie chart

This is the breakdown of the Ketogenic diet in a nutshell.

By eating a low carb diet, you will have proper nourishment from whole foods and your body can continue burning fat for fuel. And who doesn’t want to use your fat as fuel to lose some unwanted pounds?

When our bodies are in that fat burning state, it is called “ketosis”, thus the “keto” or “ketogenic” diet.  Your body at this time (in a state of ketosis) breaks down fat molecules into ketones to provide energy. You cannot achieve ketosis with a high carb intake.  Essentially, our goal is ketosis.

If you’re taking in too many carbs, you’ll instead be in “glycolysis”. This is where carbs are burnt for energy. Your body will use those carbs for energy and will never have the chance to get to the fat. This just means that your fat stays right where it is… and grows there too.

What is it exactly that will put your body into ketosis?

Reducing your carb intake as drastically as is necessary to put your body into ketosis will naturally reduce your insulin resistance. This is a HUGE benefit of putting your body in a ketogenic state.

Add some exercise and it’s even better. Although I am reading many different statements saying weight loss is possible without much exercise.

When your body is in a ketogenic state, you no longer have cravings or get hungry unless you should be. Your body only wants food when it’s required for nourishment. Naturally you won’t intake nearly the calories because of the natural appetite-suppressing state your body is in so you will lose weight even faster.

The one thing I’ve learned thru all of my research is that you are destined to get the keto flu during the first little part of your diet change. Aches and pains and flu-like symptoms occur while you are breaking away from your addictions, namely sugar and carbs.

I hear that by making sure you take in the proper amount of electrolytes, you can help correct and sometimes even avoid these issues. Also, during this time, the caloric count isn’t as important as just making sure you are eating very low carb and high fat foods. Whole foods.

Many pros of the keto diet suggest drinking chicken broth when you are having symptoms of the keto flu. And salt your food.  I have been lucky enough not to get the keto flu. I have actually felt amazing since day 1.

Most people losing weight on the keto diet look more fit naturally because the weight loss doesn’t affect muscle. You lose the fat but you keep your muscle. Doesn’t this sound better all the time?



keto food pyramid

These foods are suggested on your diet:

  • Red Meats– Beef, Goat, Lamb, Venison, Veal
  • White Meats– Pork
  • Poultry– Turkey, Chicken, Wild Chickens (grouse, pheasants, etc)
  • Fish– Pretty much all fish
  • Fruits– Berries and avocado
  • Vegetables– I think all GREEN vegetables are good choices. Stay away from starchy vegetables.
  • Nuts & Seeds– Almonds, pumpkin seeds, walnuts, pecans, sunflower seeds, etc.
  • Dairy Products– Cheese, yogurt (Greek is best), sour cream, heavy cream. Full fat. Avoid any lowfat or fat free dairy products.
  • Fats & Oils– Peanut Butter, Other nut butters, flaxseed oil, avocado oil, EVOO, almond oil, BUTTER.
  • Eggs


Do your very best to avoid these foods:

  • Grains– Wheat, oats, corn, barley and rye. This includes most breads and pastas.
  • Artificial Sweeteners– sucralose, equal, aspartame, Splenda, etc…
  • Processed Foods– everything processed, avoid it!
  • Low-fat products– stay away from pre-packaged low-fat meals, drinks, diet sodas, etc.


You do need to keep hydrated and it is very important to drink your water!!

drink water

(I love the little flavor packets you put in water but do my best to avoid them after realizing they have carbs in them!)

A LCHF (low carb high fat) diet reduces your hunger greatly. This makes it so much easier to not snack throughout the day. I have found myself forgetting to eat because I am simply not hungry. However, if you do get hungry between meals, it generally means you need to add more fat to your meals. Instead of counting carbs, eat until you’re satisfied.

There are also many health benefits of this lifestyle change and so many people are seeing life-altering benefits! I am not a doctor. I am not a nutritionist. I’m not claiming to be. I’m just passing on the information that I am reading. Please be sure to talk to your doctor before starting any diet or exercise regimen.


Don’t fear fat…. Fat is our friend now!  Make sure to keep it to the healthy fats!

I know…. I keep going on and on but I am trying to give you all the information I have so that you are well informed if you decide to take the plunge with me. Just bear with me for a few more minutes.  There are just a few more tips I’d like to share to help you with this lifestyle transition.

I keep my carbs at or below 20 g per day. By eating LCHF Whole foods, this is pretty simple. I’ve been seriously shocked!

There are so many different apps for your phones or tables to help you track your carb intake. I suggest getting one of these and keeping track of your carbs. The app with this little pig is the one I use and I love it!

keto app

Mine keeps track of proteins, fats, carbs and calories. I don’t pay attention to any counts other than the carb counts for now. But as long as my carb counts are where they’re at, the other counts have been just fine.

Also… there are so many good reads on the internet.  Use them all to your advantage. And Pinterest is a fantastic place to find additional information and recipes for the keto diet.

There are so many different ways to track ketosis.  I have ordered these ketone strips off Amazon.  They are like $7.50 for 125 strips. You just pee on them and you’ll know if your body is in a ketogenic state or not. I have read several places thru my research that it generally takes a couple weeks of eating LCHF to obtain ketosis. Today I am on day 5. My ketone strips should be here day 8. I will test daily and let you know when I fall into ketosis.

There are also some amazing products that help you put your body into immediate ketosis.  I have tried them. I like them. But they are pricey. So, if you can afford to add this supplement to your diet and want to lose weight even quicker, then message me and I’ll be happy to point you in the right direction.

Have I mentioned that you need to keep hydrated? It really is super important. You may also want to add a stool softener or Metamucil to your diet until your body adjusts.  All the higher fat foods may stop you up a bit. So drinking even more water should also help with this issue.

Brewing tea is great! Use sugar free sweeteners if you need to sweeten them up a little. I love Passion tea. I brew a cup. Let it cool. Pour it over ice, add a little sugar free Torani French vanilla syrup, and a splash of cream.  This is a super refreshing drink. Adds a little fat and a lot of flavor into your day. It’s my kind of treat.

If you’ve been a soda drinker, find something else to calm the soda craving. Take it from me. I LOVE my Coke! I also thought it was going to be much harder than it has been. I have drank Coke Zero & Diet Coke here and there to help with the craving. I used to drink at least a couple 44 oz Coke or Dr Pepper drinks a day. Now, if I drink it, I drink diet or Coke Zero and I’m good with the smallest cup available and there are times I can’t finish it. It really hasn’t been difficult to wean off of.

I am now doing my best to replace my Soda addiction with other drinks. I’m getting at least 200 oz of water in every day. And I’m adding teas and flavored Sparkling waters to my menu.  Always check the nutritional facts and ingredient lists. Make sure you’re not replacing carbs with more carbs.

Okay… I feel like I’ve thrown out all the information that my brain has been hoarding for this post. I’m sure as I go thru this process that I’ll have much more to add in the future.


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Much love,



It’s that time again…

hello spring.jpg

I have always loved flowers. I love warm weather.  To me, the new beginnings of spring is like breathing new life. Every blooming flower makes me happy and fills my soul with happiness and warmth.

I planted some spring flowers in pots in the house so that I could enjoy them while I was healing up from surgery.  They have all bloomed now so today Kenzie is going to help me plant them outside so they can continue making me happy for years to come.

They deserve to be able to be outside reaching for the sunshine.

Happy Spring everyone!!

Much love,



A bump in the road….

Every once in a while, in the middle of an ordinary life when you think you’re finally on top of your game, the doctor throws you a curve ball and tells you he needs to operate in 5 days.

And that you’ll be down for 6 weeks.

Ummmmmmmm. It’s finally springtime and I NEEED to do some serious yardwork.

Well, I was expecting the surgery. And honestly I was thinking of asking for it.  I had it all planned out what to say to him. Like…. “Come on. I have good insurance. Let’s do it now.” Or “I’m not leaving here until you agree to just taking it all out.” But he beat me to the punch.

But because it was necessary. NOW.

And still. I was shocked and speechless.

I have had my fair share of issues over the years but this last little while has been awful and I knew that I was eventually going to be needing surgery.


I’m a week out of surgery now and I feel crappy. I really thought I’d bounce back faster than this and I’ve been seriously irritated that I really have had to spend so much time in bed feeling like crap on crackers.

– – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – –

A hysterectomy….

I’m still young….. or am I?

I mean, I realize I have 2 teenagers, 1 being an adult teenager! He graduates in 2 months! What? I know that my child bearing years are over for sure.

But wow.

Okay. Well I just never had thought about it.  I’ve kinda had these parts my whole life. I mean, I was born with them. Which must mean I’m supposed to have them for life, right?

I remember that awful moment in elementary when they bring out the granny panties with an already attached big old pad and give you the “talk” about how to deal with your female reproduction parts you were born with. And the fear that’s put in place about what’s yet to come. Oh my. I still remember being so worried about the blood bath that was in my future. It all seems so dramatic and life threatening at that age.

As women, we just know that this is our life. We deal with it.

And now I don’t have to anymore. That part, I’m not complaining.

Okay… but really. I am so very glad to have it over and done with and I’m a week into the healing process. And I’m so grateful for my amazing doctor and his staff and their care they showed for me. I had a couple setbacks and am so glad I had such talented and caring people around me to make sure I was okay.10 things I learned about me

10 things I have realized thru this process:

1. I can do hard things.

2. I was blessed to carry 2 beautiful healthy babies in my womb. And so very grateful to have been able to do so.  So many women never get that chance.

3. I have an amazing support system.

4. I am hard on myself. When I’m forced to sit down and do nothing, I realize how much I actually do.

5. It kills me to watch my daughter and husband cook dinner and do the dishes and run to the store and run all the errands. They work and school all day. I’m home. That’s hardly fair.

6. I knew I was going to die to be outside in the yard so I planted tulips, hyacinths and daffodils that I bought for $1 each at Walmart in my pretty little indoor pots. They’re beautiful and all starting to bloom. So glad I thought to bring spring in the home so I could enjoy it.

7. I think my little Bella has earned her Service Dog cape. She is too smart for her own good and she has watched over me super close. She’s always walking in front of me while looking back over her shoulder making sure I’m okay. And Daizee, she is just my snugglebug. Bella has a way of making me giggle…

Bella smile

8. I don’t have a care in the world to who doesn’t love me because there are plenty of people that do.

9. My lack of appetite has helped me kick my soda pop habit.

10. I will never ever be a drug addict. Oh how I hate the way they make me feel. Pray I never have to do Benadryl thru the IV again. Not only does it burn like hell and leave your arm aching for days, but those planes bombing the hospital with flying cartoon foxes were brutal.

Thanks for being a part of my journey.


Much Love,



Shepherd’s Pie


I’m an Idaho girl.  My husband has lovingly called me “Spud” a time or two at dinnertime.  I guess this means I make more potatoes than he was used to eating before we were married. I use potatoes in my meals quite a bit. When you’re surrounded by potato farms in the summer and fall, it’s a good reminder to stock up on potatoes for the winter months.

Add some meat and veggies and a meal is made…. right?  Well it’s almost that easy.

I keep my freezer, fridge and pantry stocked with staple foods and I just love when I’m able to use these items to make a good healthy and hearty meal without making a trip to the store. And it’s even better when the meal makes it on the top 10 favorite list in our home.

We have had so much snow this winter and it’s been coooolllllllddd.  I, of course, just want to make warm comfort foods and make it all better.  This makes everything all better!

But… my favorite part of this meal is its nickname here in the Hawkes’ household.  It’s ‘Derek’s Pie’. Yes.. we are fans of Grey’s Anatomy.


Shepherd's Pie


  • 1 Tbsp butter
  • 1/2 large onion, diced (approximately 1 cup)
  • 4 carrots, peeled and sliced thinly
  • 2 fresh cloves garlic, minced
  • 1 lb lean ground beef
  • 3 tsp sea salt, divided
  • 2 Tbsp flour
  • 1/3 cup beef stock
  • 3 Tbsp Worcestershire sauce
  • 4 or 5 medium russet potatoes, peeled and cut into chunks
  • 1/4 cup butter
  • 1/2 heavy cream (you could use milk)
  • 1/2 tsp black pepper
  • 1 1/2 cups frozen peas
  • 1/4 cup grated cheddar cheese


  1. Bring a large pot of water to a boil.  Add the potatoes and boil them for 10-15 minutes or until they are tender when you stab them with a fork.
  2. Meanwhile, in a large skillet, melt the butter and add the onions and carrots. Cook them over medium heat until they start to soften.  It should take about 10 minutes. Add the garlic and ground beef, using a spatula to break it up as it cooks.  Add 1 tsp sea salt.
  3. Sprinkle the flour over the top of the beef and stir well. Add the beef stock and Worcestershire sauce.  Let it simmer until the juices thicken.
  4. Drain the potatoes and return them to the pot.  Mash the potatoes to break them up. {**I use a Pampered Chef Mix ‘N Chop to mash my potatoes} Add the butter and heavy cream.  Continue mashing until the potatoes are smooth and the cream and butter are incorporated fully.  Season with the black pepper and 2 tsps. salt.
  5. Add the peas to the meat mixture. Place meat mixture in pie pan or 9×9 pan, whatever you have available.
  6. Top the beef mixture with the mashed potatoes and spread them into an even layer.  Sprinkle the grated cheese over the top of the potatoes.
  7. Turn the oven to broil. Place the pie on a sheet pan and place under the broiler.  Let broil just long enough for the cheese and the potatoes to become golden around the edges.
  8. Remove from oven and serve.


adapted from girl gone gourmet


Much love,






White Bread 101

I am fascinated with baking bread.


The process of baking bread is easier once you understand the science behind it. So I’ll give you a simple breakdown.

Fermentation occurs when yeast eats all the sugar goodness from starches, like flour, and produces all those carbon dioxide gas bubbles.  Those little bubbles are our friends in bread making.  They are the ‘leavener’ and they give the bread its texture.

Yeast is a LIVING, single-cell plant.  So it needs to grow in order to do its job. No better way to make something grow than feed it, right? Well, yeast eats sugars to grow.  So… let’s think about it for a minute. Flour is a carbohydrate.  Carbohydrates are full of starch molecules.  Starch molecules are made up of oodles and bunches of sugar molecules.  In other words, CARBS=SUGARS!

When you combine the yeast and water, the yeast becomes activated.  Adding a little sugar to the yeast and water will feed the sugar and encourage faster growth. Then you add the flour. At this point, somehow all the flour enzymes break down the carbohydrates into sugar.  The yeast then eats these sugars, which allows it to produce the little carbon dioxide gas bubbles and alcohol.  At this point, you’ll begin to notice that your gassy bubbly mixture becomes stringy. Once you add and knead more flour into the mixture, those ‘stringy’ strands become your elasticity in your bread, also known as gluten strands, or protein.During the baking process, the carbon dioxide gases and alcohol from the fermentation process bake out.

I guess what I’m saying is… don’t be intimidated by the bread making process. It really is quite simple.  And as long as you follow a few simple rules of thumb, your bread should do it’s thing and turn out just fine.

Always make sure you are using good yeast.  I always store my yeast in the fridge in a sealed Tupperware container. It keeps it fresh for a long time. I prefer to buy my yeast in large packages from Sam’s Club. The yeast does not need to be stored in the fridge until it has been opened.

Always use good quality flour.  I don’t use bread flour. I have never tried it.  I just prefer a good All-purpose unbleached flour.

Always place bread in a warm area of your home, free from drafts. You can warm your dishtowel in the dryer to place over the dough to give it a head start in rising.

I have simplified this recipe so whether you are a beginning bread maker or a seasoned one, this recipe will work for you.

White Bread


  • 1 1/2 cups warm water
  • 3 Tbsp yeast
  • 1/2 tsp sugar
  • 2 cups milk
  • 1 cube butter
  • 1/3 cup sugar
  • 3 Tbsp salt
  • 1 1/2 cups cold water
  • 9+cups flour


In a large mixing bowl, combine warm water, yeast and 1/2 tsp sugar. Let set aside for yeast to activate.

In a medium-size glass bowl, combine milk, butter, salt and 1/3 cup sugar.  Microwave uncovered for 3-4 minutes, until butter is melted.

Add cold water to mixture in glass bowl. Combine with yeast mixture.

Add 9 cups flour to mixture.  It should still be pretty gooey, which is fine.

Spread a couple cups flour on your countertop surface. Using a spatula to get every bit of dough out of the bowl, put dough onto floured surface. Sprinkle a cup of flour over the dough. Now knead. Add flour as needed. You want to knead until it’s nice and elastic but not tough. I prefer it to be just barely not sticky.  It will be a soft dough. Knead for 10 minutes.

Grease the large bowl you mixed it in. You can spray it with a PAM spray to make it easy.  Place dough back in bowl. Grease the top of the dough slightly. Cover bowl loosely with plastic wrap and a dishtowel.

Place in a warm place and let rise. Once risen to double, punch down and let rise again. Once the dough has doubled again, punch down and put onto floured surface. Pat dough out onto flour surface. With a sharp, non-serrated knife, cut into 4 equal pieces.

Roll each piece into a roll. (Like a cake roll) Pinch ends together and tuck under ends. Place in greased bread pans.

Let rise until doubled in size.

Bake in preheated 350 degree oven for 45 minutes.

*  If you like a darker crust, bake at 375 for the first 30 minutes, the reduce heat to 350 and bake for 15 minutes.

Immediately remove bread from pans onto wire rack and butter tops of loaves.



This recipe is by far the tastiest white bread I have ever made. I bake a batch every single Sunday. It’s a great sandwich bread and it makes some seriously delicious toast!

Lots of love,