Atkins Diet Recipe: Low Carb / Keto Thanksgiving Prep 2017

In this video, I wanted to give a behind the scenes look at Thanksgiving in the Altena household. Most extended family holiday meals are done at my house or with my prepping the meals for the 15 people in my wife’s family. (in-laws) Not all of the family members are low carbers, so I typically have 5 or 6 main meal items that everyone enjoys and can eat. I then also include some items that only the high carbers will eat, like Company Potatoes.

In this video, you will see my Spatchcocked turkey (i.e. butterflying a turkey), my favorite low carb sausage stuffing, broccoli bacon salad, smoked BBQ ribs, jalapeno poppers, fauxtatoes, and low carb smoked ham, covered in mustard & LC BBQ rub. I also made a low carb gravy for the Turkey.

In the end as always, the meal was a hit for everyone. They had their high carb desserts to round out the meal, while I had my share of poppers. This meal would work well whether on Induction for Atkins or following a Ketogenic diet.

Note: my sweetener of choice is liquid sucralose, but feel free to substitute one of your choosing. I try to give the dry sweetness equivalency to know what you should try to match, but of course sweetness levels are to taste.

Final Note: I fixed the originaI version of the video that my video editor created issues. This version should be a bit less cringey, but in the future, I might do voice overs with my Yeti Blue Mic if the wireless mic doesn’t get better.

Atkins Diet: The Journey Back (the “short” answer)

I discovered how much harder making a video describing my own failures at maintaining my weight after 11 years at goal weight. I am typically not a guy that likes to focus in the bad and rather would focus on the future. I however thought you guys deserved the truth that I had told many people who had asked on Facebook where I was or why hasn’t there been any new videos recently.

If you are interested in the “longer answer” video, you can view that one here:
Facebook Fan Page:
Blog post from 2015:

All I can say I am on my way back, and I am definitely thankful for everyone who still cares about my success and videos enough to watch them. I am looking forward to making recipe videos in the near future because they are immensely easier to make and less soul dredging. (which might have contributed to the blinking in the video)

Post-trip report

The trip to Europe (Amsterdam, Munich, and Prague) went fantastic.  With the exception of the day in Prague, the weather was blue skies and sunny. We spent many hours walking Amsterdam and sight-seeing in the Central Ring area.  We also made it out of to the country-side the last day in Amsterdam and saw perhaps closer to what our ancestors left back in 1910s.  We were pretty jet lagged however in Amsterdam and kept waking up at 3 am with nothing to do, but read and occasionally live stream a KC Royals game.  I even got out for an early morning run one day and saw dawn breaking across the city without getting lost too much in the canals.  The only near disaster came the last day as we prepared to leave Amsterdam, the German railway workers announced their labor strike, which initially meant we had no way to Munich.  After a stressful hour in the Amsterdam Centraal rail station, we found an alternative rail plan to Munich and quickly hopped on the next train.


Keukenhof Gardens



View from our Amsterdam apartment









Kent after the climb up to Castle Neuschwanstein


Schloss Nymphenburg in Munich


Laura on the Mary’s Bridge


Hofbrauhaus dark brews













By Munich however, we understood the local mass transit system and how to get around.  The food was simply fantastic from the famous Hofbrauhaus to our visit to the rural picturesque village of Mittenwald.  The sauerkraut (white and red) was beyond measure.  We loved the wursts (sausages) and the schnitzels. We enjoyed just simply walking through the English Gardens, the German streets, and touring the country-sides.  We did however start with a sobering trip through Dachau concentration camp to provide perspective.  In our last day in Germany, we took a trip south to Fussen and Neuschwanstein Castle.





In Prague like I mentioned, we had our first not ideal day weather-wise.  It was rainy all day we had set for touring the city, but we didn’t let that hold us back. Prague definitely wasn’t as clean as the other cities, but it definitely had its own charm in terms of being well-preserved, having survived largely untouched from World War 2.  We didn’t have much time in Prague, so we probably didn’t give its history its due deserve.  Being the home of Pilsner beer, the Pilsner Urquell was simply phenomenal.  I drank more “masses” of beer than I have in the last 5 years.

St. Vitus Cathedral

St. Vitus Cathedral

Together behind St. Vitus Cathedral

Together behind St. Vitus Cathedral

St. Wenceslas Square

St. Wenceslas Square

Laura providing the statue a bit of modesty

Laura providing the statue a bit of modesty



More photos can found here:  Prague Photo Album   -=- Munich Photo Album  -=-  Amsterdam Photo Album

I largely expected coming back from Europe having regained all the 17 pounds I had lost before leaving.  I ate relatively lower carb not eating most of the bread, but it was not strict at all.  I enjoyed my aardbei (strawberry) desserts while in Europe.  The pidgeons in Europe enjoyed my -wurst buns more than I would have, but I had a lot of beer (for me).  We did walk a ton while there, and that was my one hope to counteract what I did eat.  I came back and was exactly the same weight.  In the last ten days since returning, I have dropped another 4 pounds to bring my total to 21 pounds down.

Atkins Diet Recipes: Low Carb Lasagna (Ham Pasta) – IF

WP_20150507_001I made this recipe last night for the family. It was such a hit that Brooke said I couldn’t make it again — too good. She said the cream cheese layer was her favorite. I liked the combination of ground beef and Italian sausage, which we have high quality ones in Iowa.  For a lower carb count, simply use ground beef.  You might reduce the net carb count by 2g per slice.


Atkins Diet Recipes: Low Carb Lasagna (Ham Pasta) - IF
Recipe Type: Low Carb Entree
Cuisine: Italian, Low Carb, Entree
Prep Time: 
Cook Time: 
Total Time: 
Serves: 8 slices
A family favorite and certain to please your kids -- whether or not low carbers
Meat Mixture
  • 1 pound ground beef, browned
  • 1 pound Italian sausage, browned
  • 1 cup of spaghetti sauce, no sugar added
Cheese Mixture
  • 2 eggs
  • 1 cup cottage cheese
  • 3 oz cream cheese
  • 2 tbsp parsley flakes, dried
  • Salt/Pepper/Oregano to taste
  • 8 oz Mozzarella cheese, shredded
  • 4-6 oz deli-sliced ham (thin)
  1. Preheat oven to 375F.
  2. In a large frying pan, brown the Italian sausage and ground beef. Drain any excess oil from pan. Add no-sugar-added marinara or spagetti sauce when fully cooked. Heat, and set aside.
  3. In your food processor or by hand, add eggs, cottage cheese, cream cheese, parsley, and desired spices. Process until smooth.
  4. In a large 9x13 baking dish, layer the ham across the bottom until covered. Pour the cheese mixture over top and spread to even. Add one layer of the meat mixture. Add Mozzarella cheese layer. Repeat process with ham layer, cheese mixture layer, meat layer, and Mozzarella cheese on top.
  5. Place in oven and bake for 25 minutes. Increase temp to 425F and bake another 5-7 minutes until cheese is golden brown on top.
  6. Remove from oven, and let rest for 5 minutes.
Nutrition Information
Serving Size: 1 piece Calories: 507 Fat (g): 37 Carbohydrates (g): 7.8 Fiber (g): .3 Protein (g): 38


6 weeks report – 17 pounds down (or weight loss is not linear)

When I last reported, I had seen some quick results and was 6 pounds down.  I also laid out 4 things I was going to do:

  • Track in MyFitnessPal every day as closely as possible
  • Stick with 20-25g net carbs per day (Ongoing Weight Loss phase of Atkins)
  • Give up all diet sodas sweetened with aspartame and limit any diet sodas to only a few per day (drink lots of water)
  • Work out nearly every day (320 minutes per week) including 2 runs per week.

I wanted to provide a little feedback after another 4 weeks being focused on the diet.  I have nailed #1 and #2 resolutions.  With #3, I am good with my water intake every day – often in the 80+ ounces per day, but a few days I have exceeded my 3 cans of Diet Coke with Splenda.  With #4, I have nailed the workout each week, but this week I needed to bail on the runs due to a sore ankle.  Running while 300+ pounds is tough on the ankles, and this week it felt like I had a flat tire without the same bounce.  I would call #3 and #4 directionally very good.  With this in mind, I have lost another 11 pounds in the last 4 weeks.

I am constantly reminded however how NOT(!) linear weight loss is.  I will routinely see weight loss bounces of 2-4 pounds above my low weight for the week — weighing at the same time each day.  One particularly frustrating day was the weigh-in after we went hiking at Ledges State park.  For nearly 2 hours, we went up and down good size hills; sometimes carrying the dogs we had with us because they were scared of the hill climb.  My net caloric intake for the day was actually negative, and my total Calories for the day were only in the 1500 Calories due to not being around food.   You would imagine a big drop on the scale. I actually saw an increase of 2 pounds.  I was very frustrated at that and really considered rewarding myself with food (massive amount of wings) — was traveling for work, but decided to eat what satiated me instead. Within two days, I saw the bounce leave the scale.  While the overall direction is downward, I do intentionally not record the bounces midweek.

TripPhotoWith this in mind, I also wanted to talk about being strict.  I have made time or worked hard to ensure I stay strict to the diet and getting my workout in.  I am fortunate in that my daughter also wants to work out at the gym with me, so even if I might consider bailing on the workout, she is asking me at night when we are going.  I traveled to Minneapolis this week.  Saying no to beer when everyone else is having one happens often at off-site.  My wife Laura and I are leaving tomorrow for our 25th Wedding Anniversary trip to Europe.  We are going to Amsterdam, Munich, and Prague.

The plan right now is to loosen up the diet while traveling to Europe — dealing with language issues will be challenge enough.  As I try always to be transparent with my viewers, I will say there will be a time I will sample a Dutch pastry in Amsterdam or have real wienerschnitzel while in Munich. I will also have a mass (tankard of beer) while in Munich and a real Pilsner while by Prague.  I haven’t been to Europe since the early 90s and Laura has never been there.  It should be an adventure, and hopefully the miles we walk will counteract some of the consumption of carbs.


Atkins Diet Recipe: Low Carb Green Curry Chicken (IF)

I made this one last, and it turned out well.  I didn’t have a chance to photograph it, but my kids were dying for some Thai foods.  I am a big fan of curries there, and the heat of this one was non-existent until I added Red Chili flakes to mine.

Atkins Diet Recipe: Low Carb Green Curry Chicken (IF)
Recipe Type: Entree
Cuisine: Thai, Low Carb, Chicken
Prep Time: 
Cook Time: 
Total Time: 
Serves: 6
Chicken and Veggies
  • 2 lbs chicken breasts, boneless and skinless
  • 2 tbsp. soy sauce
  • ½ small onion, thinly sliced
  • 2 bell peppers, thinly sliced
  • 2 tbsp. butter
  • Salt/Pepper to taste
Green Curry Paste
  • ½ small onion
  • 1 can green chiles (5 oz)
  • 4-5 cloves garlic
  • ½ cup coconut milk
  • 3 tbsp. lemon juice
  • ⅓ cup fresh basil
  • 1 tsp ginger
  • 1 tsp curry seasoning
  • 1 tsp coriander
  • ½ tsp white pepper
  • ½ tsp cumin
  1. Slice chicken breasts into thin strips and place into a Ziploc bag. Add soy sauce. Let marinate for a minimum of an hour.
  2. Slice the onions and peppers into slim strips.
  3. In food processor bowl, add onion, green chiles, lemon juice, coconut milk, basil, ginger, curry, coriander, white pepper, and cumin. Process 1 minute until smooth.
  4. Into a large frying pan over medium - high heat, add butter and heat until melted. Add chicken, onions, and peppers. Add salt and pepper.
  5. As chicken reaches approximate doneness, add green curry paste. Continue to cook chicken until completely done and sauce is warm. If the sauce is too thick, add a little water to thin.
Nutrition Information
Serving Size: 1 cup Calories: 285 Fat (g): 13 Carbohydrates (g): 9.5 Fiber (g): 2.3 Protein (g): 34.5


Atkins Diet Recipes: Italian Sausage Meatballs (IF)

I made this recipe this week, and it turned out really well.  Brooke enjoyed them plain, and my non low carbing wife ate them on a hoagie bun. Overall, it was a great recipe and left enough left overs for the week.


Atkins Diet Recipes: Italian Sausage Meatballs (IF)
Recipe Type: Entree, Low Carb
Cuisine: Italian
Prep Time: 
Cook Time: 
Total Time: 
Serves: 18
Great meatball recipe and serves great with a low carb, sugar-free marinara sauce or by themselves.
  • 1.5 pounds Italian sausage (standard or hot)
  • 1 pound ground beef (85/15%)
  • 2 eggs, beaten
  • ½ onion, finely diced (or processed in food processor)
  • ½ cup Parmesan cheese, grated
  • ½ cup Mozzarella cheese, shredded
  • 2 tbsp. parsley flakes, dried
  • 1 tbsp. Italian seasoning
  • Salt/Pepper to taste (1-2 tsp)
  1. Preheat the oven to 375F.
  2. In a large mixing bowl, add Italian sausage, ground beef, eggs, onion, Parmesan cheese, parsley, and seasonings. Mix together thoroughly by hand until well incorporated.
  3. On a sheet pan, line with aluminum foil. Take roughly 2 oz portion of the meat mixture, and roll into a ball in your hand. Place on sheet pan. Mixture will make roughly 16-18 meatballs.
  4. Bake for 20-25 minutes until internal temp is above 165F.
  5. Serve with covered with a good sugar-free marinara sauce.
Nutrition Information
Serving Size: 2 meatballs Calories: 454 Fat (g): 37.8 Sat Fats: 14.4 Carbohydrates (g): 2.6 Fiber (g): .3 Protein (g): 24.8


Atkins Diet Recipes: Low Carb Chicken Bacon Ranch Pizza (IF)

I have made this one multiple times now at home, and everyone likes it as much if not more than the original from Pizza Ranch.  It is the same crust I use on most of my low carb pizza, and like any good pizza, you can hold it with one hand.  One crucial bit of knowledge is to let the crust cool on the parchment paper for 5-10 minutes at least, so it doesn’t stick and remains firm.


Low Carb Chicken Bacon Ranch Pizza

3.0 from 1 reviews
Atkins Diet Recipes: Low Carb Chicken Bacon Ranch Pizza (IF)
Recipe Type: American, Dinner
Cuisine: Low Carb
Prep Time: 
Cook Time: 
Total Time: 
Serves: 8 slices
Fantastic low carb version of a pizzeria favorite
  • 4 oz cream cheese
  • 4 oz mozzarella cheese
  • 4 eggs
  • ⅓ cup cream
  • ¼ cup Parmesan cheese, grated
  • 1 tsp Italian seasoning
  • ½ tsp garlic powder
  • ¼ cup butter
  • ¼ cup Parmesan cheese, grated
  • ¼ cup cream
  • 1 tbsp ranch
  • ½ tsp garlic powder
  • Water to consistency
  • 1 pound chicken breast, boneless & skinless
  • 4 slices of bacon
  • 4 oz mozzarella cheese, shredded
  1. Preheat oven to 425F.
  2. Into your food processor bowl, add cream cheese, mozzarella cheese, cream, eggs, Parmesan cheese, italian seasoning, and garlic powder. Process until smooth or 45 seconds.
  3. Place parchment paper on 14" pizza pan and spray with nonstick cooking spray. Pour mixture onto the parchment paper and spread out to a large even circle.
  4. Bake for 15 minutes until golden brown. Remove from oven, set aside, and let cool for 10 minutes.
  1. Into a small sauce pan, add butter and heat until melted. Add Parmesan cheese and cream, and continue to stir until well combined. Add garlic powder and black pepper, stir. Add water until reaching the desired consistency to spread across the pizza crust. Spread sauce with a spatula on the pizza crust to the edge.
  1. In a large frying pan, cook the bacon and chicken breasts until fully cooked. Chop both into small pieces. Layer on top of the crust. Sprinkle the shredded cheese on top. Drizzle ranch dressing lightly on top of the cheese. Cook for 15 minutes until beginning to golden brown.
Nutrition Information
Serving Size: 1 slice Calories: 456 Fat (g): 36 Carbohydrates (g): 3.5 Fiber (g): .1 Protein (g): 30

WP_20150322_004  WP_20150322_001


Update to update

I just wanted to say thanks to the response to my “Life Update” post.  I knew I was not alone in my struggles, and others had points in their life like I did where life/injuries/work got in the way of best intentions.   I am getting serious about the weight loss, and while it is still not dropping as fast as I would wish it to be, I am down 6 pounds.  Of course, one wishes it would  be a repeat of the 18 pounds I lost the first time.  It is not likely to have happened that way.

MyFitnessPal LogoWhile I am not likely to post many updates on my way down, it is a bit like watching paint dry from outsiders’ perspective.  I will however likely post a few new recipes here or on Facebook as I have been preparing a few new ones — Italian, Indian, Thai, and a few old favorites.  Here is my  plan:

  • Log my food and workouts everyday on MyFitnessPal ( ) as accurately as possible.  There are times when eating out that perfection is not possible, but it is my goal to be as accurate as possible.
  • Right now, my goal is simply 20-25g net carbs and focusing on getting vegetables in everyday.  If I need to speed up the weight loss or get frustrated with how slow it is, I will go back to Induction, which will mean giving up things like peanut butter, almond flour or whey protein powders.
  • I have also given up all sodas sweetened with aspartame, which has been tough.  I was pretty well addicted to caffeine, and as for sodas sweetened with sucralose or other desserts, they are an occasional items not even daily item.  I have significantly increased my water intake from essentially 0 oz to 60-80 oz per day.   This one has probably the toughest one due to habit, and there have been times where I have been simply angry because I wanted to go to QT for a Diet Coke post-workout or on my way home.  If one was to lose simply on amount on will power to say no, this one should have earned me 5 pounds.
  • Continue working out nearly every day with the main focus on cardio currently.  I will try to run at least twice a week.  I ran a 5k at the gym today, and my goal is be able to do that in less than 30 minutes by June.  (I used to be able to do it in 24 minutes.)

Life Update


Family vacation at Worlds of Fun

First, I want to thank everyone for their support over the years I was making videos on YouTube. Your support inspired me to do better videos and brighten my diet with new foods. I felt the encouragement every time I released a new video, ran a new marathon, or ran an Atkins boot camp. I was able to be published in multiple cookbooks, write for a low carb magazine Carbsmart, speak on multiple low carb podcasts, and more importantly become friends with many low carbers and watch many of your own weight loss journeys. It is for these friends that I wanted to write this missive to let you know how I am doing and where I have been.

I know my final video had big plans for more videos being released, but a couple changes happened at my job. The specifics aren’t necessary, but the short answers I am often working evening hours and doing more travel than ever before. Combine this change with the recognition, I have 3 teenage children in high school. My life has gotten busier, and things have had to be prioritized. For example, I had to reduce my involvement in the fire department, my marathon training has nearly stopped, and of course the low carb videos have stopped. The evidence was pretty clear to all involved I was doing too much.

Albeit the largest reason, busyness is not the only reason though. I would be lying if that was the only case. For the first time in the 10 years, I experienced a serious regain. If I was simply a blogger, it would not matter and I could continue to blog and perhaps ignore the regain while keeping my readers in the dark. However a video maker doesn’t have that freedom, and even looking at the comments of my last video, people are questioning a 260 pound man (6’4″) as “hellaciously fat” making videos. (ignoring the fact I was still 160 pounds down). I am even heavier now, and while not happy with it, my focus on family and job did succeed in those being successful.

I do feel unworthy (edited: better word not credible) or ill-suited at the moment to make videos or even comment much about low carbing. I still absolutely follow the low carb diet with only a handful of days on a Christmas cruise where I was less than low carb. However, the question of the regain is there. Why did it happen? Was it stress related as Lord knows I have prayed about that enough times? Was it hidden carbs? Was it taking long liberties away from exercising? Is my metabolism screwed up for years of low carbing or set wrong due to years of marathon running? Is it because I hit the 4-0 birthday? The answer is probably more complex than I know, and really the only solution is to lose the weight again to figure out what will work this time.

I have tried and attempted multiple different items with little success besides stemming the increasing tide of weight gains to periods of stagnation. I have tried journaling, lower carb, monitoring blood sugar, doing another Atkins boot camp, increasing my workouts to every single day, and even ran and paced a couple half and full marathons. The long term trajectory of my weight has been upwards. It has been frustrating to say the least. I would have loved a simple answer — drop 5g net carbs or run another mile — but it has not been so.

In the past 2.5 years of working for Microsoft, I have made my life and happiness more than simply about my weight though. I have enjoyed my life, and I do consider myself as blessed as ever. I do however know that I can’t remain this weight long term without health conditions returning – like the sleep apnea, the high blood pressure, lack of energy, etc. I have seen hints of what is to come (or return), and it is concerning.

While I am still working out, I am no longer able to run for miles or even a mile at speeds more than a slog. (conjunction of “slow jog”) I now run for 5 minutes and walk a minute. Being considerably over my marathon weight has definitely made running not a lot of fun, and workouts are something I have to do instead of something I wanted to do. Since November of last year, I have been working out consistently even winning a contest with my daughter Tasha for most days worked out. These are not going out in the middle of winter at -5F and running 4 miles workouts though. Motivation has been external than largely internal.   I am still competitive to want to win a contest, but dude, are the workouts a drag! Fake it until you make it hasn’t worked so far.

Where does that leave me? My life is still extremely good. I hate the extra weight I put on, and I know it can’t stay. My family of course remains my first priority and as an extension my job – being the main provider for them. I remain focused to continue to keep working out and putting the minutes in. I don’t have my answers yet, but like I said, I wanted to let you know where I am at right now.

World Series 2015

World Series 2015

World Series 2015

World Series 2015



Order here:

Netrition - 
The Internet's Premier Nutrition Superstore!