By Kathleen Swift  |  Photo by Artistic Expressions Photography

The struggle with weight loss is a real one for many people, and John Starchman is no different. Starchman is general manager at Red Onion Cafe, so he knows good food. He also struggled with excessive weight for years.
“Over the years, I had tried products like Nutri System and programs like Weight Watchers with some success,” said Starchman, “but I’d gain back the weight I’d lost every time. They didn’t work for me. I thought being overweight was just the way I was. I figured it was my lot in life, and I accepted it.”
But when blood work revealed Starchman was headed toward a diabetes diagnosis, he wanted to find a way to reduce his A1C and get his blood sugar under control. He knew diet and exercise were key and attended the nutritional meetings offered to him. However, he felt upset and sorry for himself.
Like others, he turned to social media to see what other options might work for him, and on Reddit, he found images of people who had gotten control of their weight using the keto diet. A ketogenic diet is a low-carb, high-fat diet similar to the Atkins diet.
“I looked at the progress pictures of people on the keto diet, and I felt hope,” said Starchman. “I knew I had to do something, so I began researching the scientific data, read articles and decided I was going to do this.”
Starchman started shedding pounds immediately on the keto diet.
“I lost 2 pounds a week for a while, and I felt great. A couple of weeks into the diet, I felt more energetic. When I had lost 30 pounds, I felt so good, I wanted to move. I felt like walking, and it didn’t feel like I was always walking through deep snow when I moved.”
In total, Starchman has lost 146 pounds on the keto diet.
“The popularity of the keto diet has jumped through the roof,” said Starchman.
At about the same time, David Blum, the owner of Red Onion Cafe, was looking for a new promotion for the restaurant. Blum asked Starchman what he would like to eat.
“I told Dave, I would like a menu of low-carb foods. I showed Dave some of the things I had been cooking for myself, and as a result, we introduced the Food for Life menu. It is very popular even with those not on a keto diet, too. Many of those people order the entrées from the Food for Life menu and ask us to add a slice of bread, which we are happy to do.”
Red Onion Cafe owner David Blum is excited about the Food for Life menu.
“I am so pleased with the results of the new menu. John has been the creator and cheerleader, and it has been life-changing for so many people. I think having this menu is the socially responsible thing for the restaurant to do. We want to offer food that is good and good for people, and the keto menu has been wildly popular, and we hope to keep adding new items.”
Starchman agreed. “At Red Onion Cafe, we wanted to be a place where people could go and easily find food they could eat and enjoy. The Food for Life menu is not only keto friendly, it is also gluten free.”
Starchman said his favorite items on the Food for Life menu is the new mushroom rosemary and garlic keto burger and the Prairie Farm pork chop. Also popular is the Ensenada chicken, which is Baja-seasoned grilled chicken with chipotle sauce, avocado, pico de gallo and lime. The entrées on the Food for Life menu are served with a salad and a healthy vegetable.
“We are adding some new vegetables soon,” said Starchman. “We try to rotate the vegetables we use and will add cauliflower and Brussels sprouts along with our salads.”
The restaurant also serves keto-friendly desserts such as chocolate truffle torte, pumpkin and strawberry cheesecake.
“It’s all whole food,” said Starchman. “Nothing is processed, and the fats we use are healthy fats. It’s the best thing in the world.”
Customers have noticed Starchman’s weight loss and tell him how good he looks. He, in turn, tells them about the keto diet. His blood sugar is now under control, and he is healthy.
“I see the change in me, and it’s good to have food for life at the Red Onion Cafe.”