In Part 1 of this three part series, I recounted how the possibility of me in Greece came about and the absolute drama that unfolded at the last minute that nearly (but God!) derailed my dream. In this post, I will share more about my actual experience for the week I was there.
What I thought a Keto Retreat in Greece Would Be
My earliest fantasies about being in Greece started with the food- lamb, olives, cheese, wine- against a backdrop of vivid blue sea and rocky, scrubby outcrops. I had no doubt that a keto retreat would include all of the above, but I also envisioned formal sessions where we would gather round and sit at the feet of Masters and share our victories, struggles and also learn. What happened in actuality was a little different though…
Greece has been on my bucket list for decades now. My vision was clear: olives, wine, lamb, feta, blue seas and dramatic vistas. I didn’t know how or when, but I knew I wanted to visit. Fast forward to July 2022: I made it to Greece! YES!!!! I kept pinching myself and grinning while shaking my head. This post – and two more to follow – will share my (absolutely wonderful) experience in Greece. It explains how I came to be in Greece in 2022 and how I almost never made it at the very last minute. Trust me, what I am about to share is the stuff of movies. Before I get into that drama, however, allow me to share the backstory to how me in Greece became even a possibility.
“Your challenge is to use this fish and come up with a whole meal idea built around the fish. The meal is meant to celebrate something special, a meal for two, you and yours.”
Say less! This was the challenge thrown out by popular media host Miss Kitty one afternoon on her radio programme. I immediately knew I wanted to participate. I knew I’d win too. AND I was going to win with my FULLY KETO meal idea to boot! I immediately called in and miracle of miracles, I was answered and placed in the queue to compete. Bring. It. On.
Spoiler Alert: I won. Of course I did. You’ll see why I was confident of victory in a minute, and why I actually copped the prize. So many people called in requesting my recipes. I also make these dishes regularly, and every time I post a pic, I am asked for the recipes. I decided to simply document the recipes here to make it easy to share whenever I am asked. So ready? Let’s go!
I started my own keto journeyover 4 years ago. During this time, I have also had the honour of working with people who have decided that keto could be their chosen route to wellness as well. We have (re)discovered our livity– that joie de vivre– as we’ve become intentional about our food choices, eschewing sugar and focusing on whole foods, on real food. One of the things I promised myself at the beginning of my journey, was that I would NOT go hungry, nor would I allow myself to feel deprived. I’m happy to say that I have kept my promise to myself. A very important part of my work with clients too, is to show them just how delicious eating low-carb can be. Boredom for those of us who love food (me!) is a death trap, a certain route right back to the foods that made us fat and sick in the first place. I am, therefore, always on the look-out for food options that check all the keto boxes and are also DELICIOUS. So when my friend Roberta from Greek Goes Keto asked me to review her cookbook Greek Goes Keto Pi: It’s all Pie to Me!, without hesitation, I agreed to. And it was everything (and more) that I thought it would be!
I’ve done this. I’ve seen this with a number of persons I’ve had the privilege of coaching. I’ve seen the stories members of our Caribbean Keto Tribehave shared in our Facebook Group. You start off with a fervent desire to lose weight and improve health and your energy matches this desire. Meal prep is done with gusto. You press through the initial uncomfortable days of the “keto flu” and you celebrate with joy & relief with the first 8 pound loss.
Woo-hoo! Your clothes are fitting better and your energy is through the roof, you feel positive and you just KNOW that you’ve found your key to losing weight and feeling good. Then after a few weeks, sometimes it is even a few months, you come off plan for any variety of reasons.
…And then that one cheat meal becomes a cheat weekend, which becomes a cheat week, which becomes a cheat month and before you know it, despite your most fervent desire to return to the heady glory days of your first experience with keto, you remain stuck. You remain unable to consistently eat low-carb even though the weight is creeping back on, even though your energy has dipped, even though you KNOW eating low-carb really and truly worked for you.
So picture it: you didn’t pack a lunch to take to work. You have several errands to run during the course of the day too. It’s noon and you’re hungry. What do you do? Buy 2 Jamaican patties? Turn your car into that fried chicken place drive through? Do you feel cornered into making a choice that you know doesn’t honour your promise to your self and that will derail your progress in the quest for a smaller, healthier body? What if I told you that you can absolutely honour your goals even if you didn’t plan ahead and you’re busy busy busy going here, there and everywhere? The Supermarket Deli has entered the chat!
When my son’s high school principal contacted me and asked if I would be willing to speak to the staff on January 3, 2022 at their annual Professional Learning Community Day for forty-five minutes on: “promoting healthy lifestyle choices” I jumped at the opportunity. She added that she has been following my own keto journey on social media and wanted me to share with the staff how keto has helped me. I was impressed with her vision (a healthy team performs better than an unhealthy one) and I was determined to share in such a way as not to alienate. You see, the keto diet has come in for much maligning from mainstream media. They claim it is unhealthy, they claim it is unsustainable, they claim it fosters disordered eating. All I want is for people to live their best lives ever (as I am doing!) and I KNOW that health & wellness are tied to living a life in alignment & finding purpose. It’s way more than simply looking good and being a certain size.
“I do well all day and then at night I go off the rails!”
“The children’s snacks are my weakness”
“I do well all week and then weekends I just can’t seem to stick to the plan.”
“I need a snack after dinner when we’re watching TV.”
“I get hungry mid-morning and need a snack.”
“At about 4pm I need a little pick-me-upper.”
“I say I’ll just eat 2 cookies and I end up eating the entire pack.”
“If it wasn’t for this sweet tooth I know I could lose some weight.”
Could any of the above statements been made by you? Are any of the above impacting your quality of life? Put differently, are you struggling to lose weight? Are cravings getting the better of you? If not, great! You don’t have to read any further unless you’re simply curious or unless you know someone who is struggling to lose weight and for whom cravings seem to always get the better of and you want to understand what’s going on better. But if you’re like very many of us, trying to lose weight, trying to unshackle yourself from the lure of cravings that you know are unhealthy, read on!
I’ve been on my own keto journey for almost 3 1/2 years now. Yes, I’ve lost weight (YAY!) and yes, my health and livity have improved significantly. I still do all the things I used to do when I was heavier (hike, road trips, cook, etc.) but the difference is that I move around with so much more ease, I enjoy food without guilt or any uncomfortable after effects, my moods are generally more stable and even, and I sleep way better. I’ve been privileged to work one on one with various people who feel that keto is the route to weight loss and wellness for them, guiding them as to what they could choose to eat in furtherance of their personal goals based on their proclivities and lifestyle, and serving as an accountability partner as they break old habits and form new ones. It never gets old seeing them come off high blood pressure and diabetes meds, hearing them report on being able to sleep comfortably again without acid reflux or sleep apnea. I never get tired of seeing their before and after pics, with them modelling new clothing with a broad smile on their faces. And I have been thinking: what do the ones who win with keto have in common? What are their critical success factors?
I am a keto & weight loss coach. It has been my absolute honour to work with people who have decided that a low-carb way of eating is their chosen route to weight-loss and wellness. Many of my clients have lost weight and come off meds for conditions like bursitis, diabetes type 2 and high blood pressure. As much as they say I’ve helped them, I’ve gotta say, they have taught me so much. We are all different, and as I’ve guided and advised them on their own journey, I have had to adopt an open mind and listening ear and heart, in order to make my advice and recommendations meaningful to their specific circumstances. Back in December I had 2 clients who had 2 different approaches to the matter of cheating while keto. What follows are their stories, their choices and the consequences. Read for yourself and extract any learnings applicable.