Keto Chat Episode 86: Pennie’s Success Story

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Pennies journey with obesity began when she was 19 years old. Between the ages of 19-50 she gained over 350 pounds. During those 20+ years she tried every diet plan out there, short of invasive stomach bypass. For the most part, all the diets she tried worked – for a period of time.She even lost over 120 pounds doing the Optifast liquid diet plan. But as with all the the other plans, she was unable to sustain the diet and once she went off plan she would gain all the weight back AND THEN SOME!

At 500 pounds and as she approached her 50th birthday, she knew she had to make one last attempt so she tried a low carb diet called South Beach. It worked very well and over the next 8 years she lost over 200 pounds, she stalled for over a year and her doctor suggested she have a lap band procedure which helped her to loose an additional 100 pounds, totaling a loss of over 300 pounds.

However, when the lapland began to fail, she disabled it and immediately began to gain weight. After gaining 40 pounds and fearful of gaining all the weight back, she did some research and found out about Keto. She knew she could be successful on a low carb diet so she decided to give it a try.


Well, hello. Today I’m here … Oh, by the way, I’m Carole Freeman. I am here with Pennie. She is one of the amazing clients that I got to work with over the last year. She is here to tell her story of before keto and the experiences she had and the transformations she’s been experiencing too. Welcome, Penny. Will you share a little bit about who you are?

My name is Pennie. I am a 64 year old grandmother/mother and keto enthusiast.

Love that now.

I really think that I could be on this way of eating for the rest of my life. It’s so easy once you understand it. I just love it, but I … I’m sorry. I forgot the question. Already, I’m doing this.

You’re doing great. I know that it can be … A video interview feels intimidating, but you’re doing great.


Let’s go back to before keto, before you discovered keto. What was your story of struggles with health and weight? Where are you coming from?

I got married at 19. The first year I was married, I gained 100 pounds. That continued. It’s a long and ugly story about trying. I’m sure there’s 100s of people out there that have the same story. I would go on a diet, lose, then go off and gain and then gain more. That continued until I was well over 500 pounds. I can say over 500 pounds, because at that time, I couldn’t find a scale that would go above 500. I just know I was at least 500. Then, when I was about 45 years old, a dear friend of mine was starting a Bible study. It was weight related. I didn’t want to do it. I went kicking and screaming, because at that time, my big mantra was, “I can’t go on a diet, because every time I go off, I gain even more.” I was scared to go on a diet.

She really encouraged me to come. I went, changed my whole thought, but mostly it changed my whole life support wise. I think the biggest thing I learned with that was I can’t do it alone. I don’t think most people who have a huge amount of weight to lose or even a few pounds if they’re having a struggle with it, you need support. That was the big thing I got from the Bible study. That group remained together for about 20 years. We supported each other through the whole thing. In that group, we each chose our own diet. It wasn’t a set eating plan. I chose South Beach. I had heard a lot about low arb, so I tried … sorry, South Beach and lost about 200 pounds but then stalled, just completely stalled. No matter what I could do, for about year, I wasn’t able to lose.

One of my doctors suggested that I try a lap band, which I did. It was successful for me. After about a year and a half or two years, the lap band started giving me a lot of gastric troubles. I struggled with the gastric troubles for about a year and a half and finally decided this is no way to live. I had them disband the band. I still have it, but it doesn’t function. Then, immediately started gaining weight. Gained about 50 pounds. The whole time I was just getting more scared and scared. I tried things. I tried Weight Watchers. Finally, I said, “Okay, I’m gonna go back to South Beach, because I was successful there.” That was successful for seven or eight pounds, but what I now know is it just was too many carbs for me. I just don’t do well with that.

My daughter, who’s a real whole life person, whole eater said she had been doing some research on keto and suggested I look into it, so I did. I looked into it. Totally was like my head spinning, turning around going crazy, like, “This has got to be wrong. I’ve all my life just been taught that you just don’t eat that much fat. It’s bad.” The whole lean mean me was like going crazy, but I started to wrap my head around it. The more I read, the more confused I got because there’s so much conflicting stuff out there. A lot of the programs just make it confusing I think.

I tried it, put my foot in the water, and tried it and lost some weight, but I never felt comfortable. I think I lost maybe seven or eight pounds. I just … Every day was, “Am I doing this right? Am I in ketosis? What am I doing?” Finally, that’s when I said, “I need someone who can help me,” and did some research and found Carole, found you. That was an amazing step for me. Your program makes keto so much simpler, so much more understanding. I love the way you take it step by step. You kind of wash it all away and then bring it back in. For me, that was the perfect formula.

That’s wonderful. Oh my gosh, thank you so much for sharing all of the details of your past. There’s going to be so many people that will identify with that. Truthfully, so many of us women have tried every diet out there. For decades, this has been a struggle trying to figure out. I love actually that you came to the realization that diets were making you gain more weight.

Yeah, yeah.

Most people don’t get that far. They actually think that well that diet worked really well, because I lost weight, but they ignore what happened afterwards. They blame the after on themselves, but you were wise enough to realize that it was the diet that was leading to that.

Keep trying. I did keep trying for a long time, but it is what it is I kept telling myself. I learned what I learned in those years was I always thought I didn’t have enough willpower. What I learned in that time was that I had too much willpower. My bad willpower was taking over my good willpower. That’s what I love about keto. There really is no willpower needed. Once you get in ketosis, there’s not someone screaming in your head, “I want that ice cream. I want this. I want that, because I just don’t crave anything.”

That’s great. That’s great. Let’s talk about the results. You went through my program, which is several weeks. We’ll just say that. What results did you see during your time working with me?

Physically, I lost about … I think I ended up losing 15 to 20 pounds in the time that I was in the actual bootcamp, but mostly … and I lost a lot of inches. I could looking my journal. I think totally I lost like 15 or 16 inches overall, a lot of it around my waist, which was the best part for me. Mostly, I gained an understanding of the program. I think the resources were one of the keys that helped me really understand macros. Some of the other programs that I’d looked at put so much emphasis on the macros. It was like, “Oh my God. I’m a percentage off here. Oh, dear. Oh that.” You just laid that out and said, “Look, just eat this way, and it falls naturally.” You were so right about that. All this stuff about I have to have butter coffee, and I have to have fat bombs. I was taking in calories that I didn’t really need just because, “Oh my gosh, I’ve got to do this.”

You just simplified it. The program simplified it for me, making it just so much easier to say, “I don’t have to make this huge recipe. I can just have some roast beef and a salad.” Making it simple really helped tremendously. I really enjoyed the weekly meetings and talking to other people. That, again, the support is such a key to me and I think helps anyone be so much more successful.

Yeah. Wonderful. Wonderful. The support, the resources that I’ve got, the community that you found, just simplifying it too. You’re talking I’ve got the meal formula that you follow that makes it really, really easy. It’s not about having to do all that math and percentages and trying to get enough fat and all these other things that can be really crazy making too. Yeah, alright.

Another thing that was very helpful for me, I had been using an app, a different one, a couple of different ones. They made me even more confused. Cronometer is a great tool. It takes a bit to learn it, but it’s a really great tool. I really enjoyed learning that and relying on it as well.

Wonderful, wonderful. What would you … Let’s see. What would you say to somebody that’s considering like, “Should I try to do keto on my own?” They’re struggling. They’re considering getting a coach for some help or maybe considering one of our programs, working with us.

Right. You know, of course you have to know your own personal finances. You have to know your own personal what’s best for you and your priorities. If it is feasible, it’s the best money I’ve ever spent. Unfortunately, you have to got there, but sometimes as women, especially those in my generation, we forget to put ourselves, the importance of our health and ourselves on the list and make it a priority. That would be my first thing. Of course, everyone know their own situation, but that is a great thing to do is put it on your list. If you were raised as I was raised, this is such a turn around for the way of thinking. It’s so hard to really wrap your head around it, getting a professional that points it out and lays it out and tells you, “Yes, it’s okay to eat butter. It’s okay to do this and that.” I would mostly say do it for yourself. It’s the best thing I’ve done for myself probably in 50 years. I just feel so good and my mental health. I’m so tired of beating myself up, and I don’t have to do that anymore. That is a big thing.

I love that, Penny. That’s so huge. I love that you’re sharing, too, about how women are conditioned that we should just be able to figure it out all on our own. We’re told we can have it all, but it really means to do it all. What was that experience, then, putting yourself first, taking care of yourself, experiencing this transformation? How has that rippled out and affected those around you?

You should probably interview my husband about that, but I just … I think that old saying that your CNT shirts or on a plaque or someone will say, “If Mama ain’t happy, nobody’s happy.” I think it’s true.


Happiness is such a trickle down. When you are beating yourself up or dissatisfied with mostly your mental health but the way you look too, people feel it, especially if your close to your people. Even if you are hiding it a little bit, they can tell. That just puts a lot of tension and stress in any situation you have. Basically, I think if you asked anyone who knows me closely, they are saying, “Yeah, this is a kinder, more gentle and easier person to be with.”

Wonderful. Taking care of yourself actually does take care of everyone else even better then.

Yeah. Just as they say, it’s not always easy to believe, but I believe it. It is true.

Wonderful. Penny, thank you so much for sharing your story. Is there anything else that you wanted to share or you wanted me to ask about to share with others?

No, just again, I would like to emphasize the support that you get from your … As I said before, the support is so huge for me. That’s why I’m very enthusiastic to be with this group. I incidentally live in an RV and travel around all the time, so I can’t go to a support meeting every week or that kind of thing. Virtually is the best for me. The fact that we’re all of one like mind, one like keto mind is huge.

That’s wonderful, wonderful. I just thought of one more question, too. What would you say about somebody that might be a little bit intimidated about this all being virtual and the technology side of this. How was that experience for you?

I can see why especially someone in my generation might have some issues with that. It’s all very simple. It’s just a click of a button push on here. The chats that I was in … I mean the chat room that we did, what’s it called?

The video platform?

Yeah, the Zoom. Very easy. For some reason, this particular interview, which never happened before, went into my junk mail, so I didn’t see it at first. They always just came to email before, because I happened to look in my junk mail and it was there. That and Facebook is pretty user friendly. They don’t get much more user friendly than Facebook until recently when you have to do all that following. Yeah, that was a great thing too was talking to other people, finding stuff on Facebook. I think as long as it’s an easy format, which Zoom seems to be and Facebook is, it’s a good thing for any age. You just have to have your computer.

We’ve got the support. Did you feel supported too that if were struggling with anything, there was always someone that could-

In fact, I think it was one of your assistants was communicating with me about it. I don’t even remember now what our concern was, but something I couldn’t get to. Oh, and the workbooks and all of that. That’s great. I just left mine all on the computer, but it’s all such wonderful things to be able to go back to when I go, “Okay, was that sweetener okay on keto?” Then, I got my list. That’s a great resource as well.

Wonderful. Penny, I can’t thank you enough for sharing your story transformation. Congratulations on putting yourself first, taking care of yourself. All the credit goes to you for all the work that you’ve done. I’m so excited to be able to share this and inspire others. The waves of us getting this message out, we just never know how many people that we’re going to be able to impact and be able to transform their lives as well.

That’s great and exciting on my end as well.

Excellent. Thank you so much. Thank you for watching. We’ll talk to you soon, bye.

Chicken Pot Pies Keto Comfort Food

Keto Comfort Foods

Maria Emmerich’s newest keto cookbook, Keto Comfort Foods, releases on May 2, 2017, and I got an advanced copy from my publisher! So my son and I decided to do our weekly Keto Chat LIVE Facebook video of us making the Chicken Pot Pies from the cookbook, and you can watch it here.

Get your copy of Keto Comfort Foods Here

Here is the recipe from the cookbook:

Chicken Pot Pies

prep time:10 minutes, plus 1 hour to chill dough, if needed
cook time:15 minutes   yield:4 servings



1¾ cups shredded mozzarella cheese

2 tablespoons unsalted butter

1 large egg, beaten

¾ cup blanched almond flour

¹⁄₈ teaspoon fine sea salt


2 tablespoons unsalted butter

¼ cup diced celery

¼ cup diced onions

¼ teaspoon minced fresh oregano

¼ teaspoon minced fresh thyme

¼ teaspoon fine sea salt

3 boneless, skinless chicken thighs, cut into ¼-inch pieces

4 ounces cream cheese (½ cup), softened

½ cup chicken bone broth, homemade (page 356) or store-bought

for garnish

Fresh thyme sprigs



Preheat the oven to 425°F.

To make the dough, place the mozzarella and butter in a microwave-safe bowl and microwave for 1 to 2 minutes, until the cheese is entirely melted. Stir well. Add the egg and combine well using a hand mixer. Add the almond flour and salt and combine well with the mixer. Use your hands and work it like a traditional dough, kneading for about 3 minutes. (Note: If the dough is too sticky, chill it in the refrigerator for an hour or overnight.)

While the dough is chilling, make the filling: Melt the butter in a sauté pan over medium heat. Add the celery, onions, herbs, and salt and cook until the veggies are soft, about 4 minutes. Add the chicken and sauté until cooked through, about 4 more minutes. Add the cream cheese and stir until well combined. While stirring, slowly pour in the broth. Divide among four 14-ounce oven-safe bowls or ramekins.

Grease a piece of parchment paper. Place one-quarter of the dough on the greased parchment and pat it out with your hands to form a small circle, slightly larger than the diameter of the bowls or ramekins you’re using. Repeat with the remaining dough. Place a circle of dough on top of each filled bowl or ramekin. Seal each pie closed by crimping the dough around the edge with your fingers.

Place the bowls on a rimmed baking sheet and place in the oven. Bake for 15 to 20 minutes, until the pies are golden brown and the dough is fully cooked. Serve the pies garnished with fresh thyme.

Store extras in an airtight container in the refrigerator for up to 3 days. Reheat on a rimmed baking sheet in a preheated 350°F oven for 5 minutes or until warmed through.

Nutritional info, per pie(per pie) nutritional info (per pie)











Get your copy of Keto Comfort Foods Here

Keto Egg Nog

Egg nog!

You love it or you hate it. So this is a recipe for those of you that love it. The rest of you might want to check out my Thanksgiving 2016 Recipe Round-up post instead…

Egg nog is actually very easy to make keto because the basic ingredients are eggs and cream. Before a couple of years ago, I’d only had store-bought egg nog is super high in sugar and filled with fake-food thickeners to avoid all those “bad” foods like eggs and  heavy cream (oh, and probably to save a bunch of money for the food manufacturers). I had no idea that it was something you could make at home! And like most things made at home, it puts store-bought to shame. Most recipes use milk for a good portion of the liquid, but when you’re on a low carb, high fat diet, why not go all out and use all heavy cream?


4 large eggs

1/3 cup Swerve confectioners style sweetener

3 cups heavy cream

3 ounce rum (optional – substitute 1 teaspoon rum extract for non-alcoholic version)

1 teaspoon nutmeg


Separate eggs and place egg yolks into the bowl of a stand mixer. Beat for a few minutes, until light in color. Gradually add the Swerve and continue beating until dissolved. Add the cream, rum (or rum extract) and nutmeg, and stir to combine. Pour this mixture into a pitcher or large bowl.

In cleaned and dried bowl of the stand mixer, add egg whites and beat to soft peaks. Whisk the egg whites into the egg yolk mixture.

Chill and serve.

Yield: 6 servings

Macros: 491 calories, 46.6 g fat, 7.6 g protein, 3.8 g carbs

Olives: The Magical Fruit

Most of us who have been on a ketogenic diet know that fruits are to be avoided, with maybe the exception of those “technically” fruits like avocados and tomatoes. However, olives are also one of those magical fruits that can be worked into a keto lifestyle!


Olives are an incredibly versatile food that have been cultivated by humans for 1000s of years. We’re all familiar with the typical “green” and “black” olive varieties, but the olive rabbit hole goes deeper than you may think. First of all, green and black olives aren’t really different varieties of olives; they’re just picked at different stages of ripeness. Black olives are picked at the peak of ripeness, so they usually end up being softer with a more mild flavor. Green olives are picked at various degrees of un-ripeness, meaning they will be more dense and bitter. This time difference, as well as the region the olives are from, and the method for curing them, is what gives olives their diverse flavor profile.

black olives.jpg

Olives can be cured in different solutions to give them different unique tastes. Many olives are soaked in a solution of lye and water to soften them. This process takes a very short time, but unfortunately also removes most of the nutrients of the fruit. Other olives are cured in a bath of brine water, which can take several months, or air-cured, which causes some wrinkling of the olives but preserves the strong flavor and nutrient profile.

In 1910, a process was discovered in order to can black olives, which previously were different to transport because they would discolor. This involved lye-curing green olives in an oxygenated solution to turn them black, then treating them with ferrous gluconate to preserve the color. If possible, avoid buying canned black olives that have been “stabilized” with this substance – they will be almost completely devoid of nutrients! Look for organic brands of olives, as these will more likely be treated using a brine solution instead of lye, and will be much more nutritious.

All of that to say, olives definitely make for a great keto treat. They can be eaten by themselves as a snack, or used to enhance dishes like salads, dips, casseroles, or even some keto friendly pizza! At a small enough serving size, most olive jars will claim “zero” carbs, but all fruits and veggies have a small amount of digestible carbs: one large olive will be about 0.5 grams of fat to 0.2 grams of carbohydrates. With a little planning, these delicious salty fruits can be easily worked into any keto lifestyle.

Check out Carole’s Olive Taste Test Video for a breakdown of the different flavors of olives from all different parts of the globe!

Yes, Heavy Whipping Cream has Carbs

If you want to start a hot debate on an ketogenic diet Facebook group, post a photo of your “zero carb” heavy whipping cream (abbreviated HWC). Many people simply look at the label on their HWC and conclude that it has zero grams of carbs, so they can consume it to their soon-to-be-fat-adapted heart’s content. But slow down, dairy-lover! I have some important news for you: your HWC does have carbs. All HWC has carbs even though the labels says it doesn’t.


Why heavy whipping cream has carbs even though the labels says it has zero.

In the United States (and perhaps elsewhere) there is a labeling loophole (many of them, actually, but we are only talking about HWC for now) regarding carbohydrates. Food manufacturers are allowed to label a food as having zero grams of carbs if it contains 0.5 grams or less per serving. That last part is important – PER SERVING. The serving size for HWC is 1 ounce, or 2 tablespoons. One ounce of HWC actually contains 0.4 grams of carbs. So to most of the population, 0.4 grams of carbs means nothing, so counting it as zero is fine. But to someone working to keep total daily carbs under 20 grams, 0.4 grams is a significant amount. And more importantly, most people following a low carb or ketogenic diet will consume more than one serving of HWC, especially if they think it contains no carbs. So that 0.4 grams of carbs quickly turns into 2, 4, or even 6 grams of carbs. Or more.

No, your HWC is not special. All HWC contains carbs even though your label says it doesn’t.

I often see people arguing online about whether or not HWC contains carbs. People love HWC so much that they really want to be able to consume cups of it without any consequences. They so desperately want to cling to the hope that HWC doesn’t have any carbs that they come up with excuses. The one I see the most often it, “Well, maybe YOUR HWC contains carbs, buy MY HWC doesn’t.” Just because you want it to be true does not make it true. HWC all comes from the same place (cow’s milk) and there is no special cow that makes milk with zero carbs (but perhaps some cow breeder is working on it…). Yes, concentrating the milk into HWC greatly reduces the carb count, but there are still carbs that remain. So no matter if your label says zero carbs, or your food tracking app says zero carbs, or that recipe you saw on Pinterest says zero carbs, all HWC does have 0.4 grams per 1 ounce.

When in doubt, look it up.

When any food label states 0 grams of carbs per serving, I automatically assume that it contains some carbs, unless it is a pure fat, like coconut oil, olive oil, red palm oil, MCT oil, etc. If you see 0 grams of carbs on a label, I encourage you to look it up on cronometer.com or nutritiondata.self.com to check for yourself. While I think My Fitness Pal (MFP) is a very useful and a handy app that works well for most keto dieters, it has limitations on the level of detail for carb counts. A lot of the foods in MFP simply re-state the macros listed on a food label. So if a food label says 0 grams of carbs, MFP is going to tell you that an entire cup of HWC contains zero carbs. But that is a lie.

This is why I recommend that my clients use cronometer.com or nutritiondata.self.com  to look up and track their food intake, because both have robust and highly accurate carb counts on most foods, including HWC. Cronometer, for example, correctly shows that HWC contains 0.41 grams of carbs per 1 ounce.

Or if you don’t want to look it up, assume 0.5 grams per serving. But don’t fool yourself into believing that HWC is carb-free and that you can consume as much as you want.

Where were you surprised to discover hidden carbs?

Share your carb revelations in the comments below.

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