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A conspiracy of ketones

Eating Keto on the cheap in bizarro Tulsa

Mitch Gilliam and his bounty of Keto foods

Greg Bollinger

We have slipped into a better timeline.

The world is still on the brink of nuclear winter, but weed is (kind of) legal in Oklahoma, and people everywhere are losing weight by eating bacon on the Keto diet.

I’m convinced CERN knocked us into the Heavy Cream-iverse about a month ago, but—just like it was always “Berenstain,” and Sinbad never made a genie move in the 90s—people have actually been slimming down on “fat bombs” and actual butter in their coffee for decades. Whatever explains this shift in perception, one thing is clear: Keto works.

I’ve lost 15 pounds in less than a month.

I shouldn’t have to explain Keto to you (since everyone in this timeline is on it already) but for the sake of journalism, here’s a quickie:

You can’t eat carbs or sugar. Or you can eat very little, at 20 grams a day. Your body burns its glucose stores in about two days, and once they’re depleted, bam—you’re in ketosis, baby. That means your body starts running on ketones, which are produced by fat. Your body switches from burning starch, to literally running on fat. So you eat fat.

You can pee on a stick to see if you’re doing it right.

An added bonus of the Keto diet: there are plenty of nerds, like physicians and nutritionists, who hate it. It’s sort of a “stick it to the man” diet, because you literally turn the food pyramid on its head. Fats form the base, and grains are revealed as the all-seeing eye of the Starch Illuminati on the capstone.

I’ve had a very easy go at Keto. I’m a rare breed who can literally eat the same thing every single day and not get sick of it, provided I dig it.

Bacon and eggs? Duh. I’ve had about 300 pounds of that shit in the last month. Add an avocado? I’ve put away at least two thousand. If you like seafood, you’re in luck. The diet emphasizes high fat and medium protein, and fish is a great way to accomplish that. Of course, salmon—even when it’s farm-raised and spray-painted high visibility orange—is very expensive, but sardines are a buck a can at Reasor’s.

But if the idea of cheap canned fish and bok choy disgusts you—or as my Keto Komrade, Josh Merrick says, “your mouth gets bored”—here are some tips for eating K in T-Town.

For starters, type my name into the search bar on The Tulsa Voice website and read my food articles. Not only can you see why I had to go on a diet, but everything on there (minus a bun or tortilla) is Keto!

Lot-A-Double bacon cheeseburgers, El Burrito fish soups, that eight-pound sandwich from Tortas Del Rey: they’re all Keto compliant without the starch.

If you’re on the go and not sick of bacon and eggs, QuikTrip breakfast bowls are a fast fix. The Made in the USA breakfast bowl at Chimera is an upscale, locally-sourced version of this. Lone Wolf can turn any Bahn Mi or rice bowl into a salad. The Brook has a low carb buffalo chicken wrap which can be served with steamed vegetables. (Surprisingly, Mazzio’s ranch is Keto, so do what thou wilt.)

For less charted territory, you can head to Shuffles Board Game Café, where chef Matt Shipley is already working on a Keto menu. “I’m reading more and talking with friends about the diet,” he said. “I'll make tenders with no breading, burgers with no buns, grilled or blackened chicken topped with house cheese and bacon over sautéed spinach.”

Shipley says servers can modify most things at Shuffles to match dietary restrictions, and the fall menu will feature multiple Keto items. If they’re anything like the secret plates he’s whipped up for me, they’ll be worth the wait.

Lots of dishes can be modified to Keto compliance in Tulsa, but Flo’s Burger Diner has something special ready to order. The Flo’s Keto Burger is revelatory: two patties, bacon, avocado, cheese, spicy cream cheese, jalapeños, and a fried egg. The clerk at the counter told me they’re working on Keto sides but haven’t gotten the recipes just right yet.

There's no Keto bun substitute on Flo’s burger now, but here’s an alternate route: go to Braum’s, order a burger at the drive thru, ask the attendant to unwrap some low-carb bread from the market, piss them off, and remind yourself you should be cooking at home.

While eating out is fun—and our advertising department would encourage you to visit any of the fine restaurants featured in our pages—the universal key to Keto is meal prep.

That’s easy to do in Tulsa. You can get some cheap meat at Sav-A-Lot. You can buy some steaks from that one dude’s trunk that my friend told me about. You can steal a gallon Ziploc bag of cooked bacon from your family reunion—sorry, Gran Gran—and you should absolutely buy your avocados from Las Americas.

Eating Keto on the cheap here is a breeze, but if you’re ever in a bind, remember: Hot dogs are free during Soundpony happy hour.

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