Eating Keto at a Buffet. Impossible? Absolutely not!

I had the great privilege to attend the first - and not the last - LowCarbUSA conference in San Diego. There were three days of presentations by world experts on health, science, nutrition, , exercise physiology, cancer research and the history of how bad science got us to the sad state of affairs in which the world now finds itself. I'll be writing about the lectures subsequent to this post but wanted to address a topic that comes up a great deal: how can one travel and eat out and stay on a ketogenic (low carb/high fat) regimen?

Here's a tale of one breakfast.












My stay at the Westin Gaslamp was great. High quality establishment for sure. Comfy robe, luxurious bedding, service beyond reproach. And the standard, American fare available at Pinzimini Restaurant & Bar, located in the hotel. While that may seem fine for most, not so for us Keto Warriors. I have not knowingly eaten carbohydrates - other than those found in the few veggies I eat and which I can consume without risking going above 20 grams of carb a day - other than a sliver of wedding cake to celebrate our older son's marriage.

But how to manage when you're not the one in control of the food? It can be a challenge, no doubt. Secret sauces sometimes hold secret landmines. Restaurants serve breaded items like there's going to be a prize for the thickest crust on otherwise safe-to-eat foods. And the potatoes! Dear heaven, the potatoes!

One has to be strong when approaching the buffet line to avoid foods that could throw us out of ketosis or otherwise undermine all the success and benefits gained from keeping to a ketogenic diet. But it can be done. First thing: load up on lovely fatty meats. People around you may look askance as you pass them with a plate brimming with beef tips, steaks, pork chops, sausages, bacon, eggs, ham, etc., but that's ok. The muffins, fries and chicken fried steak will wreak much more havoc on you than dirty looks you might get.

If you feel you really need more food, move on to non-starchy veggies. You can hardly go wrong with salad greens. Some avocado, cucumber and a drizzle of olive oil is a luscious addition to your plate.

That really should be enough if you're listening to your body, eating only when hungry and stopping with satiated. But for good measure - and to make sure you don't feel like you're missing out on the treat of having a large buffet spread laid out before you - have some extra fat. Sour cream? Bleu cheese dressing? Cheese cubes? Go for it. I'll occasionally add some berries.

In the photos above I've shown what was available at the breakfast buffet at the restaurant one morning. Can you pick out the foods to avoid? Keep in mind, this nutrition protocol is not so much 'what can I eat?' as it is 'what do I avoid?'. On this buffet, one would avoid most of it. But there was plenty - and I mean plenty - of satisfying, nutritious food. My plate was full, as was my tummy when I finished. Eggs with cheese and pancetta, bacon, sausage patties, berries and a handful of nuts, coffee with cream. Yum, yum, yum. And I really and truly wasn't hungry for the rest of the day. Good thing, too. I was busy! It's amazing how much more time there is in my day now that I don't spend much of it thinking about, planning, preparing and cleaning up from meals.

Liberation! Now I can pencil in 'conquering the world' onto my calendar. I've got the time - and energy!

The information I present here is based on my own experiences and personal research. While I’ve been fortunate to have much person-to-person exposure to leading researchers, physicians and journalists regarding the ketogenic specifically and LCHF (low carb/high fat) more generally, we are all responsible for our own choices, including what we put in our mouths. I welcome questions, comments and even civil criticism. I’m still learning. So, i you have something to add, go for it. Thanks!  - Casey