As a woman, being bombarded by media-driven body ideals becomes all too familiar. New rumors, fad diets and false information find their ways into our ears and onto our computer screens every day. That’s why when I heard about the ketogenic diet I was skeptical but instantly curious. Afterall, who would believe you can lose weight eating all the bacon and butter you want? It’s not exactly that simple, but not that far from the truth either! How did the ketogenic diet lead me down the path of becoming a work-from-home, avid traveler and entrepreneur so quickly anyway?
A short background on the ketogenic diet is in order. The ketogenic diet was first discovered as a weight loss tool when patients with epilepsy who were following the diet ended up losing weight quite efficiently. The keto diet was tested against the traditionally “healthy” low-fat diet, and it was discovered to be more effective for weight loss 1-6. It involves limiting your carb intake and getting most of your energy through fat and protein. In fact, only about 5 percent of your daily calories would be coming from carbs. The standard American diet (SAD, as it is so appropriately abbreviated) usually consists of about 300 grams of carbs or more per day; the keto diet, only 25-50 grams daily.
Keto’s benefits branch beyond those of just weight loss. It’s been shown to reduce risk and reverse Type 2 Diabetes, heart diseases, stroke, Alzheimer’s, epilepsy, and more7-13. Losing weight doesn’t necessarily mean you’re healthy, we all know that. Restricting your calories to nearly nothing just to see those numbers on the scale decrease is a dangerous way for women and girls to eat. The keto diet stresses enjoying real food. None of that low-fat, chemically-laden garbage. I’m talking about organic meat (red and white), fish and eggs, full-fat dairy and cheeses, nuts, real, low carb vegetables, etc. and in high quantities! We don’t limit calories; we limit certain types of calories.
Photo Courtesy of Live Love Fruit
My research and self-experimentation using the ketogenic diet as an aid started in 2014. I saw results almost immediately, not only in my weight but my mood, hair, skin, nails, appetite, cravings, energy, sleep, you name it! The PCOS (polycystic ovarian syndrome) I had been battling with cleared up nicely too. Goodbye, raging hormones! The keto diet got me into the kitchen cooking my own meals more and got my creative juices flowing. Making food wasn’t challenging per se, but to continue enjoying the food I so loved (like chocolate desserts) I had to make some changes and learn to incorporate new ingredients into the mix.
I no longer had (or have) any of the following in my kitchen/pantry: pasta, potatoes, bread, cereal, rice and any grains, beans, flour, sugar, honey, candy, basically anything in the dessert category. Before you run for the hills, I can tell you I eat better than ever and made it my business to show people how to do it themselves. There are ways of recreating all your favorite foods, especially desserts, using low carb ingredients and pairing them with keto-friendly foods to help you lose weight and feel all-around healthier and happier.
To help people start feeling this way, I started Tasteaholics.com, with my partner, Rami Abramov in 2015 and now find ourselves full-time bloggers and entrepreneurs in the health and diet industry. Tasteaholics has grown to be one of the leading resources for low carb and ketogenic diet information and recipes, and we did it all from our own home and for just a $12 investment. We quit our day jobs a long time ago and never looked back.
Food blogs are popular, to say the least. The low carb niche is gaining popularity, and it feels like we got in at a very opportune time. We started from humble beginnings: with a domain name, a simple theme and lots of content to be written. From diet basics to “how-to” guides and recipes, we wrote up anything and everything we knew about the keto diet. After our website was full of information, it was time to start networking and meeting the peers in our industry. We offered recipes for their sites, help with social media shoutouts and even starting creating recipes and videos for a few sites. Slowly, we grew our brand and made keto our day jobs.
Today, a typical day in the life of a Tasteaholic starts with lots of correspondence and maintenance. I answer blog comments, emails and social media replies every day - it’s usually my morning warm-up! I move on to working on the several blog posts I have in the works at any time.
It’s important for me to be able to take a break from one project and move on to the next, if only for a few minutes. It keeps things fresh and moving!
Photo Courtesy of Dr. Mike Diet
Beyond imagining and testing new, low carb recipes, I’m also managing the company’s entire social media presence, ebook and physical cookbook productions, and video shooting and editing. All these things, of course, done from home!
That’s not to say we have to stay at home. As long as our laptops are fully charged, we can do our jobs from anywhere in the world. And we have! Last year, we lived abroad in 8 different countries in 6 months, working and exploring all at the same time. We got busy in our Airbnb kitchens in-between touring new cities and seeing the world with our own eyes. I’m happy to report our business is still afloat, even though we weren’t “in the office” in 6 months.
Tasteaholics is now a successful company pulling in more revenue than I ever would have seen with that Speech Sciences degree of mine laying around somewhere. It seems like an ever-changing environment that’s so fun to keep up with. We’ve got projects in the works in all directions. Cookbooks, both digital and physical, a free Android app that’s soon to be available for iOS, and an Amazon store where we’re starting to sell our own line of low carb products!
After years of tolerating a college major I cared nothing about and trudging along in a dead-end job, what I’ve learned from Tasteaholics was that passion stirs everything! Without it, work feels like just that: work. It’s cliche to say, but I never feel like what I do is work, because I enjoy it so much. I found a way to turn my passion for health, cooking and photography into something I can grow and learn from. Tasteaholics can help people begin their journey into wellness and improve their lives and I’m thankful to have had the opportunity to be a part of it.
Starting with a little background, I am an anti-bullying advocate and have recently graduated from The Parent Leadership Training Institute, where as part of our studies we were asked to come up with a community project close to our hearts and put it into action. My cause was bullying, and I began a blog and Facebook page to address issues pertaining to all forms of bullying. Implementing this project was followed by a thre- minute speech to my peers, and, after all this, here is what I have learned about bullying.
Bullying makes people feel bad about themselves, leading to feelings of inadequacy, low self-esteem and even physical symptoms. The repercussions of bullying can cause people to miss school or work as well as countless other negative side effects.
I have been bullied both at school and at work, and I know of others who have suffered the same plight. It is not fun!
My first bullying experience was in seventh grade as a young teen. There was a group of three "mean girls" who harassed me and, I later found out, several of my friends; they thought it was funny to pick on others about their clothes, their looks or whatever else they could come up with (who knows). It felt awful at the time. Supposedly, I was chosen to get picked on because they claimed I bought my clothes at the Goodwill. That wasn't true, but really who cares? Why they were picking on me was never really the point. Luckily, after a while, the meanies went on to the next victim(s) like a never-ending cycle. I tend to think once a bully, always a bully, which goes to show how good a lifestyle that is, because those "mean girls" never amounted to much. In hindsight, I feel sorry for them. Watch the movie The Gift if you're really curious about what happens to bullies when they grow up.
And bullying was not just an issue when I was a teen, since then nothing much has changed. My own nephew was bullied in eighth grade, and he recently talked to me in depth about of how the bullying took a toll on him. Especially because I had the same experience, I could relate to him in ways that some others couldn't. Like reliving my own memories, I was incredibly broken up to hear how it made him feel.
Even worse than that, bullying does not end in the school yard. Employees are being bullied on the job at an alarming rate. When you are bullied on the job as an adult, it taken an even bigger toll. Further it doesn't just go away like those middle school "mean girls." Unless you can quit your job, you might just be stuck. There are all kinds of physical symptoms, stomach pains, migraines and even panic attacks. Beyond the physical, people's mental and emotional state is extremely sensitive to bullying, and as a result work performance might suffer. Furthermore, it might feel like there is no recourse, no one to believe you. You can hope that the HR Department is willing to listen and do something about it, but the whole process can be so disheartening. And in the hierarchical corporate environment, sometimes the bully seems to get ahead and you are left lagging behind in a subservient position. This is what happened to me as a victim of workplace bullying. It started with me being told by a co-worker that my boss was following me to the bathroom, staring down the hall whenever I left my desk to make sure I came right back to my seat. Then it was standing over me as I typed, ordering me to get in a car with them, not allowing me to sit somewhere if it wasn't within their sight. The list of offenses could go on endlessly. There were times I felt like I couldn't breathe. And then, the bully torturing me got a promotion. Like the character of Miranda Priestly in The Devil Wears Prada, the classic bully is revered by her peers, despite the fact that all of her employees are terrified of her. Yet, she is in a role of high stature and praised as a bully. We live in a culture that is not only complacent in the existence of bullies, but one that actively allows them to thrive.
It makes you realize how unfair life can be. Of course, no one said that life would be fair; maybe you just assumed that bad people would not get ahead. But, they do. Even now, I cannot help but to shake my head in disbelief. I often wonder what makes a person feel the need to laud their power over another. Are they insecure? Were they bullied themselves? They must feel bad about themselves in some way? Do they feel the need to do this to make themselves look good? Whatever the reason, it certainly isn't nice at all. I have found myself at different times in my life standing up for people who have been bullied around me. And I certainly do not allow anyone to treat me in any way that I find disrespectful. I truly believe in karma, and I tell myself that at some point in time, the bullies will get it back in some way. I have seen it happen, and in the meantime, I just say to myself "What goes around, comes around."
Bullying shows no sign of slowing down, and in this day and age, it's even worse than I have experienced in the past. Cyber bulling, rumors, fist fights, knifes, guns and other forms of both mental and physical cruelty, it truly sickens me. I know that I cannot save everyone, but I try to be an advocate as much as possible and encourage others to do so as well. NO ONE SHOULD BULLIED! It is disgraceful to say the least. You should always practice grace as much as you can. With every person who chooses to do so, the world gets a little bit better. I will be writing more on this topic on a regular basis; I feel it helps to talk about this subject aloud and spread the word. and, if nothing else, be kind.