Recipe – Bacon, Egg and Cheese Scramble

OK – I’m trying to reduce the what I call the Atkins ‘junk food’ – things like bacon that might be low carb, but they might not be good for you, though I have seen reports that the nitrates used to preserve bacon might actually be good for you – but that’s a post for another day…

Anyway, this is not haute cuisine in any way, but it satisfies some part of me that wants to simulate a junk food experience while on low carb.

Maybe someday mainstream science will look back and say this is health food – but it just tastes so good (and so trashy) that it seems like it has to be bad.

  • 8 eggs
  • 6 slices American cheese (try to get the type that isn’t individually wrapped – it’s typically lower in carbs)
  • Big handful of bacon bits.
  • Half-stick of butter

Spray the pan with non-stick spray, though it doesn’t help – you can use a Teflon pan if you feel you aren’t getting enough Teflon in your diet. On high heat, throw in the butter, then the eggs (no shells please) and break the yolks. Separate bowl and whisk? Forget it.

Now, while the eggs are cooking away, get out the cheese slices and place single layer on the top of the egg. Try not to touch the edge of the pan. Let it cook for another minute until the cheese is soft, then start to mix the cheese in to the egg mixture – you want to do this before the eggs are set.

Now take a big handful of bacon bits – you can get a massive bag of the stuff from Costco for a reasonable price – and sprinkle on the top. Mix the bacon into the now gooey mixture.

This dish has finished cooking when the entire bottom of the pan is so coated in a seemingly impossible-to-clean crust of brown.

I have made this many times and there have never been leftovers.

Let the pan soak before you try to clean it.

Safe for induction, though the thought of this will scare the living hell out of your low-fat friends.

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Kitchen Experiment #5 – Italian Chili with TVP

Am I out of my mind?

My last post was about the potential harm soy can do to you – then I experiment with the stuff I just said was harmful?

What that makes me I’ll leave to you to decide, but the facts are the facts…you can reach your own conclusions.

THE EXPERIMENT: Anyway – at Whole Foods the other day I picked up a lb. of Textured Vegetable Protein in their bulk section. When they call it ‘vegetable’, they mean ‘soy’ – so why isn’t it called TSP?

Actually it is, but not usually. If you aren’t familiar with TVP, read the following about how it’s created – I’m sure your mouth will water.

TVP is made through a process known as “extrusion cooking”. A dough is formed from high PDI (Protein Dispersibility Index) defatted soy flour and water in a “preconditioner” (mixing cylinder) and cooked during passage through the barrel of a screw type extruder such as the Wenger. Sometimes steam from an external source is employed to aid in the cooking process.

Upon exiting the die, superheated steam escapes, rapidly producing an expanded, spongy yet fibrous lamination of thermoplastic soy flour which takes on the various shapes of the die as it is sliced into granules, flakes, chunks, goulash, steakettes (schnitzel), etc., by revolving knives, and then dried in an oven. Had the raw material been high in carbohydrates, extrusion cooking could have produced puffed corn curls or puffed wheat.

‘Spongy yet fibrous lamination of thermoplastic soy flour’ – boy – that sounds delicious – doesn’t it?

Anyway, as I’m sure you’re aching to try this, let me tell you what I did:

  • I took about 1-1/2 cups, put it in a frying pan, and covered with water.
  • Added a can of tomatoes
  • Added a can of olives
  • Added basil and oregano
  • Added some Tabasco sauce
  • Added some salt and pepper
  • Added some garlic powder
  • Added 4-5 dashes of Lea and Perrins steak sauce
  • Added some olive oil
  • Added a 1/4 cup of pasta sauce from a jar

Then stood back and let the thing cook – about 10 minutes. It didn’t resemble anything I’ve ever seen before – I called it ‘Italian Chili’ because the ingredients remotely suggest something like that.

After the 10 minutes, I put some on a plate, covered it with parm cheese and some ricotta on the side, stuck a spoon in and took a bite.

I thought it was pretty good, actually. TVP has no taste – it’s all about texture. After I finished my bowl, I went back for more.

A member of the Low Carb Confidential Taste Panel came home from work, looked at it and said: “Another recipe for your blog?” Despite her suspicion, she tried a small bit with rice – then went back two more times for more. I’d take that as it is edible.

THE AFTERMATH: We’re all adults here, right? Well, soon after consuming this, it became apparent that perhaps human beings are not supposed to be eating ‘Spongy yet fibrous lamination of thermoplastic soy flour’. I had eaten this stuff frequently before going low carb, so it’s been maybe 4 or 5 years since I last had it.

I had forgotten the havoc it can reek (and I am purposely using the word ‘reek’ instead of ‘wreak’) on one’s digestion.

I believe that the effect is caused by the inability to properly digest some of the components of TVP – similar to the effect beans can have on one’s digestive tract. Sulfurous gases are formed – and these, dear reader, can clear a room.

THE VERDICT: it’s a one pan meal that can be tossed together in 15 minutes, TVP is dirt cheap, low carb, high protein, and probably stores for nearly forever. I could see this as a ‘rescue meal’ – those nights where you need something quick and easy, no meat is defrosted, and you are hungry NOW.

It does need to be noted aftereffects can be troublesome for both yourself and especially loved ones. I would recommend experimenting with the use of Beano prior to trying this – and do not try this experiment prior to going to an event that will occur in an enclosed area.

Some childish part of me that enjoys pranks thinks that this would make a wonderful dish at a pot-luck dinner – the result would certainly be a conversation-starter – and filming the result with a camcorder could make a great YouTube video.

Perhaps it would even be appropriate as a dish brought to a repast – the get-together after a wake – especially if the deceased had a warped sense of humor.

Is Soy Good For You?

If ever there was a ‘perfect food’, the humble soybean was on track to take the crown. The FDA allowed food producers to state that it reduced heart disease risk. Vegetarians love it because it it a great protein source – and can be produced to have a meat-like texture to help stave off the blood-lust of former carnivores now embracing the vegetarian lifestyle. It also works great for us folks living a low carb lifestyle as it is very low in carbs in many of the forms that it is produced and soy flour is the cheapest alternative to real flour that a person living a low carb lifestyle can find.

I also like soy and it’s various forms. Geez, even the simplicity of a block of tofu, covered in sesame oil and soy sauce, garnished with scallions makes my mouth water – I like the stuff. While flavorless by itself, it’s pretty darn versatile.

But is it good for you? Or asking another question: can it be bad for you?

I haven’t heard much in the popular press – not that I pay much attention to the popular press – but if you type the words ‘soy’ and ‘health’ into Google, the first page of results are a mixed bag of inconclusive research as well as downright scary potential adverse reactions to soy.

It seems that soy has a number of issues – which I have seen reported consistently from a number of sources:

  • While there is evidence that it can reduce the risk of cancer, there is also evidence that it might increase the risk of cancer.
  • Soy contains phytic acid, which reduces the absorption of a number of minerals, including zinc and magnesium. Phytic acid is known as an anti-nutrient. While the husk s of almost all seeds and grains contain this – one reason I take my fiber therapy in the morning and my vitamins in the evening – soy supposedly contains a lot.
  • Soy contains compounds very similar to the female hormone estrogen, which might not be the best thing for the men out there – and while women sometimes supplement with these isoflavones as a means of reducing menopause symptoms, there might be other risks involved with this – like maybe cancer?
  • There is also a substance called goitogens that can depress thyroid function.
  • The Israeli Health Ministry supposedly says that soy consumption is downright dangerous and should be limited. You can read a petition on the FDA’s website here, but I’d prefer to read exactly what the Israeli Health Ministry said – which I couldn’t find – only reports on other website. There was an issue regarding a soy infant formula in Israel killing babies because it lacked vitamin necessary B1 supplementation, but that’s a whole different kettle of fish. I did find the Health Ministry website, but I don’t read hebrew, so it short-circuits my investigation…

Now, there are many, many resources out there for you to check what I found and, as always, don’t believe a word I say – check it out yourself. Here’s a link to one of these articles to get you started – do a little sleuthing to find more, since you shouldn’t believe anything he says either – just because he has little numbers next to his facts doesn’t mean his facts are facts – check it out.

OK – so am I going to give up soy?

Nah.

Very few foods are ‘perfect foods’ – in fact, you can think of yourself as a car and everything you eat as miles on your car. You have ‘highway miles’ which is easy on the car, and ‘city miles’ which causes more wear and tear. Using the car means you use it up. Eating puts ‘mileage’ on your body – the act that sustains you also wears you out. If fact, numerous studies have shown the one way to increase your lifespan is to reduce the number of calories you intake.

Maybe soy is the food more like the ‘city miles’ than the ‘highway miles’. So is pizza, cookies, cakes, pies, soda, bologna, pasta and lots of other things that I try to avoid – but I still have on occasion because I like them.

I’ll have soy, but I won’t act like it’s some sort of health food and eat unlimited amounts thinking I’m doing myself a favor. I’ll probably avoid going out of my way to give my daughters soy especially because of the estrogen-like compounds, but if they happen to have some, it’s probably OK. It’s also said that fermented soy, like miso, is a much better health choice – the fermentation having altered a number of the chemical properties to reduce the potential for harm, as well as the process adding a number of healthful compounds.

Like canned tuna, which I love but is known to have mercury, I’ll make a conscious choice to limit consumption without an outright ban.

Life is meant to consume us – we want to reach the end of our lives having been consumed by a well-lived life – one filled with energy, joy, and as few regrets as possible. It’s wise to do everything possible to ensure that we take reasonable care of ourselves so we can achieve that goal, but don’t forget to live while you’re at it.

So you people out there who hate soy – you’re off the hook – it might not be all that good for you – don’t eat it!

Recipe – Easy Fried Chicken Breast with Spinach

I haven’t made this in a while, but it was a staple of my weight loss the first time around. As is typical for me, it is easy to throw together very quickly, a single pan is used, with little prep and little cleanup. Good for induction and the non-low carb folks like it too.

  • 1 large package chicken breast
  • 3 packages frozen spinach (I used the boxes)
  • Salt
  • Pepper
  • Red pepper
  • Oregano
  • Cilantro
  • Butter
  • Olive oil
  • Parm cheese

Cook chicken breasts for 10 minutes on high in butter and olive oil while defrosting spinach on microwave. Flip and add spices and the spinach. Reduce heat and cook for 20 minutes. Take chicken out and cut up on cutting board, or leave whole if you choose.

Serve with parm cheese. You can also add pasta sauce – or even serve it with pasta for the rest of your family. Mozzarella cheese goes nice with this too.

Dining Out – Low Carb Dining at PF Chang’s

Hey – this page is WAY out of date. Use this link for the sparkly new for 2018 post: 

https://lowcarbconfidential.com/2018/05/20/pf-changs-menu-sorted-by-net-carb-count-for-may-2018/

 

UPDATE 4 – 01/16/16: Phew – time flies! Since this post was written PF Chang’s has reformulated their menu dramatically – and updated their site so none of the links below work. Their latest nutrition info can be found here – until it can’t. I still like the place though until I have a chance to review their new menu, I have no idea what is low carb there or not – I’ve given you the link – now you’re on your own.

UPDATE 3 – 01/29/11: The Northern Style Ribs have been reformulated and are NOT ‘low carb’ anymore. Check their latest nutrition info here.

UPDATE 2: Since this original post, the company has updated their website, and now the page with nutrition info is here.

A year later, I still enjoy PF Chang’s – my fave is their Northern Style Ribs with 6 grams of carbs. Their seared Ahi Tuna is great as well.

One of the things that is great about low carb living is that you can dine out and eat quite well. You just have to be careful. Recently I went to PF Chang’s – a Chinese ‘casual dining’ restaurant – PF Chang’s is to Chinese food what The Olive Garden is to Italian food.

Problem with that is I am very close to a number of Chinese people and we dine out regularly, and we approached going to an ‘Americanized’ version of the cuisine with some unease – how bad would it be?

Well, not every Chinese might agree, but the three I went with thought it some of the best Chinese food they had – ever. I had to agree.

Problem is – Chinese food – with much of it depending so much on rice, noodles and corn starch, doesn’t lend itself to a low carb lifestyle, so when I went I took the menu and looked for something I could have. I chose the Wok-Seared Lamb, which was served on lettuce with a sesame sauce. It was very good, but I wondered just how many carbs were hiding in the meal.

The next day I checked – 29. Ok – maybe not induction-friendly, but not even close to the absolutely staggering 376 grams of carbs in the ‘Great Wall of Chocolate’ dessert.

I didn’t do bad, but I checked out their site, where they list their dishes and, more importantly, the nutrition facts – including carbs. What I found was that – even if in induction, you can still go out and enjoy yourself with friends there.

In ascending order, here is the carb count of some their dishes with a carb count of 30 grams or less – note that without a fiber count, I can’t do a net carb calculation, so this is more or less worst case:

  • Northern Style Spare ribs – 6g
  • Shanghai Cucumbers – 8g
  • Spinach Stir-Fried with Garlic – 16g
  • Seared Ahi Tuna – 21g
  • Cantonese Shrimp – 21g
  • Garlic Snap Peas – 23g
  • Wild Alaskan Sockeye Salmon with Ginger – 23g
  • Shrimp with Lobster Sauce – 24g
  • Cantonese Scallops – 26g
  • Mongolian Beef – 29g
  • Wok Seared Lamb – 29g

So if you have the opportunity, and care to spare the carbs, try the place out. Steer clear of the rice, skip the dessert, and have coffee while your friends eat the ‘Great Wall of Chocolate’ and have 2 weeks’ worth of carbs in one sitting.

They might be happy, but their pancreas isn’t. Smile smugly in your superiority as you sip your coffee with cream.

Someday…someday, they’ll understand…

Change Your Weight, Change Your Life – Chapter 1

Everything you are about to read is bullshit.

Having got that out of the way, I am going to give you a number of things that you can consider as food for thought. The first thought is: not only is everything I’m saying here bullshit, but everything that you think, that you believe, is bullshit too.

Fact of the matter is: we don’t have a clue. We’re born into a world we don’t understand, for reasons that are unclear, and we try to make sense out of it. We’re mostly wrong in our attempts to make sense of things, lead our lives in quiet desperation, and leave the world wondering what the point of all of it was.

One wag once said: a person who thinks he knows what’s going on doesn’t have a grasp of the situation.

Our brains have more neural connections than the number of stars in the universe – have a little humility. Play along with me for the time being. You might read something here and say: I know that, but as someone said: those who know but do not act – still do not know.

This can be very disturbing to people, and your mind’s defenses probably are saying: he’s right – this is bullshit! So if you’re still with me, feel free not to believe a word I say. I’m just putting it out there. Maybe some of the things will resonate with you . Maybe they won’t. We are, as the psychiatrist Erich Fromm said, unique and alone.

Losing Weight is Just the Catalyst

To lose weight you can go on a diet, the weight comes off, then you go off the diet, and the weight comes back. Most of us have done this.

Over and over.

To lose weight and keep it off is freakishly rare. I want to change that. I think that to begin, we have to change the word ‘diet’ to mean a permanent change. You need to change your lifestyle in order to make any long-lasting change in your life.

The next thing to recognize is that some of you out there might be dealing with more than just weight issues. You might have an entire life that is out of control. You might have problems in so many areas that you feel utterly helpless, depressed and in despair. You are thinking that if perhaps you can lose a few pounds that you’ll at least feel a bit better.

I believe that what follows will help you lose those pounds – as well as accomplish the seemingly impossible across all aspects of you life – more than you thought possible. It is possible to change, to reinvent yourself, and become the person you want to be – happy, contented, and comfortable in your own skin. Weight loss by itself doesn’t make this happen, but the act of losing weight can have a powerful effect on the rest of your life if you understand the four forces at play that can combine to make you unstoppable.

The Four Forces
I think that there are four forces that can interplay to make your desire to lose weight change everything you’ve ever wanted to change:

  1. Desire – You are reading this because you want to change. You might not know exactly how, which is why you are sitting here reading this. You are hoping for something that will ‘click’. You’ve probably tried more times than you can remember to lose weight. For some of you it might have worked – for a while – but now you’re back where you started – and most likely a little more. Your desire is your fuel to get started, but this fuel won’t last for the duration. Where do we get the energy to succeed?

  2. Leverage – If you go to the store to buy two items, do you make two trips? Of course not. I can guarantee that there is more than just weight that you would like to change about your life – improve your relationships, get a better job, make more money, etc. – and this might sound strange and counterintuitive, but your desire to change your weight can be leveraged at the same time to make substantial changes in other areas – the reason?

  3. Focus – Sometimes you just don’t want to be on a diet anymore. The inner child rebels – and wants cake. If you fight this enormous struggle and at the end of it, give in and have the cake, you had put all your eggs in the diet basket, so to speak. You had one goal – and you failed – and you’re exhausted to boot. And you probably didn’t even enjoy the cake. But – if you are actively working on other areas of your life, eating the cake has less significance. You are learning a new skill, or working to achieve other goals in your life. No great loss then – you got momentum – ‘The Big Mo‘ – you ate the cake, enjoyed it, and you’ll go back on the diet tomorrow. Doing it this way doesn’t deplete what you need – energy.

  4. Energy. Our inner child wins one and eats the cake. We can let it go because we are making changes in other places. We might be disappointed in ourselves, but it doesn’t turn into this energy-sucking, all-encompassing self-loathing. So today wasn’t all that great a day in the weight loss department. So you’re not going to lose the weight you wanted to this week. So your diet progress slows a bit, but maybe you’ve had successes in other places. In business, it is wise to have multiple streams of income – more than one business – if one business isn’t doing so well, chances are some of the others are doing OK – or great. So in the business that is your life, the energy is still coming in, and that energy can help you meet your diet goals tomorrow.

See how these work together to not only help you lose weight but complement each other to help you achieve almost anything you set your mind to?

To Lose Weight, Put Your Mind On A Diet First

Step 1 of this ‘weight loss program’ has little to do with food – you can eat whatever you like during step 1 if you choose to, because we are going to put your mind on a diet first and ease you into the food part of the diet. While there is real work involved in the way I’ve designed this system, the four forces of desire, leverage, focus and energy work together to make the effort less of a struggle and more of a joy.

You are about to do great things, and that should feel joyous.

You’re Not What You Think You Are – What You Think, You Are

Just like your body ingests food and that food impacts your weight, your attitudes, and your health, your mind ingests information and it, too, impacts your weight, your attitudes, and your health.

Just like a food diet where you take stock of what you are eating, I want you to take stock of what your mind is ingesting. Take out a pad and a pen and write down where your mind gets it’s nourishment and approximately how much time spent getting this nourishment. Start with sleep and work through your day. Seriously: stop reading and get an old-fashioned pad and a pen. There’s going to be a number of things that you’ll have to write down, so find a decent-sized pad or notebook with at least a few dozen sheets. This will do for now.

If you are like a lot of people, the list might look something like this:

  • Sleep – 8 hrs
  • Morning news – .5 hrs
  • Drive-time radio – .5 hrs
  • Work – 7 hrs
  • Conversations with co-workers – 1 hr
  • Drive-time radio – .5 hrs
  • Evening TV news – .5hrs
  • Newspaper – .5hrs
  • Conversation with family – .5 hrs
  • Conversation with friends – .5 hrs
  • Evening TV – 3 hrs
  • Alone (not taking in anything from the outside) – 1.5 hrs

Your list might look similar, or different – doesn’t matter if it is your list – the point here is that we need to design a diet (our new definition) that fits you like a glove and to do that you need to concentrate on getting the above list as detailed and as accurate as you can.

Give yourself at least a half-hour – if you’ve never thought about this sort of thing before it might be difficult for you to detail all your different sources of ‘brain food’. It is also OK if it adds up to more than 24 hours – people talk to their family while watching TV or listening to music, for example – try to catch both. The more time you spend and the more detail you write down, the better.

When you do this, you are going to feel that it is somehow incomplete – it will be – your days vary. Try to capture your typical day. If your days vary greatly – you attend a class every week, or go to church, divide the time by 7 and add it to the list. This doesn’t have to be exact.

NOW – STOP READING HERE UNTIL YOU HAVE COMPLETED THIS EXERCISE!

If you continue to read on, you’re not serious, you’re just here to scoff, be cynical and prove to yourself that I’m wrong and you’re right and this won’t work and you’ll stay fat.

Completed your list? OK. Now go down the list and categorize them as follows:

Nutritious. This is actionable brain food. It has relevance to your life or to you as a person – or the person you want to be. Education that you can apply to some area of your life, whether now or in the future, is one example. Some creative endeavor like writing, playing music, or drawing a picture. Playing with your kids or being with your mate counts as long as it is quality time – if it is the sort of time spent that could become a fond memory, then it’s quality time. Just sitting quietly without your mind racing also counts – unfortunately, most people can’t stop their minds. More on this later.

There might be other areas that fit into this category for you – these are just some examples. Take the time to sort them out – and if you come up with other categories, please post them – this online book is meant to be a dialog – help me make this better for the next person reading it.

Empty Calories. They don’t hurt you, but they don’t help you either. Someone once described TV as chewing gum for the eyes. That’s what this category comprises. This would include ‘quality’ TV and movies, as well as computer/video games, and most news. Surfing the web for similar quality items is about the same.

OK – you just watched a documentary on sperm whales and found out how darn smart they are – isn’t that good? No. It’s not actionable – we’re trying to change our lives here and unless you plan on being an oceanologist, it’s not helpful.

What about the news? Some of this stuff is pretty important, you say. Nope – if you live at the base of a dam and you hear a report that it breaks, that’s important. It impacts you. 99% of even ‘quality’ news doesn’t require you to take action – besides, we’re here to focus on taking action on a personal level – if the world needs to be saved (all indicators show this to be true), you’ll be in a much better position to do so after focusing your energies inward for a while. If you really want to change the world, start with yourself.

Junk Food – This includes the vast majority of the public media – news, websites, entertainment – the stuff we are drowning in every day. Wheels spin, lights blink, people win fabulous prizes, mediocre sitcoms with computer-generated laugh tracks to tell us what’s supposed to be funny. TV news that spends half the time talking about some movie coming out, or interviewing some aging celebrity about their book. Stocks go up – stocks go down. Commercials selling you things you don’t need, and food that no one should eat, back-to-back with commercials for restructuring your credit and expensive weight loss systems owned by the same damn companies that created the crap food that makes you fat in the first place.

Blabbing to co-workers about the horrible TV show you watched last night also counts here. It’s just even more ironic.

Toxic – This stuff is killing you. It is poisoning your mind – it’s like ‘thought-crack’ – infotoxins is another term I’ve heard for it. You are addicted to it, you love it, yet it is sucking the life out of you. Hate-filled ‘Us/Them’ radio, reality TV that turns you into a voyeur, gratuitous violence – people or other creatures suffering should not be your mainstay of your entertainment.

Just yesterday I was standing in line at a store and a girl was buying a movie DVD. A friend, a pretty young girl, said: “You’re buying that? Have you seen it? A lot of people die. Gave me nightmares for a month.” She smiled as she said this.

This really creeped me out. Let me tell you a personal story: as a kid, I too, loved horror flicks – the more gore the better. Then I began dating my future wife, who comes from a background where violence is not considered entertainment. Since she couldn’t bear to watch the stuff, I stopped, too.

Once, when she was on a business trip, I rented one of these movies – I couldn’t bear to watch. Why? Because I had re-sensitized myself to the fact that this stuff is toxic. We are so immersed in a culture where this is considered not a big deal, that we don’t see it is a big deal.

Imagine having a conversation with a cannibal – wouldn’t he take the same ‘C’mon, it no big deal – everyone in the tribe does it’ attitude?

Just because everyone does it, doesn’t mean it’s good for you. Do you really want to walk around every day with these images floating around in your mind?

People in your life can be toxic too – they never have a good thing to say, put down every thing and everyone, and they bring you down as well. I’m sure you can recognize some people in your life that interacting with is like drinking a small amount of poison – you just feel lousy afterwards and it takes some time to recover.

Review Time

Now tally up the number of hours a day that you are consuming other than nutritious brain food. Is it the majority of your day? Probably is – it’s the way most people live and it is so prevalent that it seems normal.

It’s nothing of the sort – it is sapping you of energy, sucking the life out of you, making you miserable, depressed and angry and feel powerless. It might be one way to pass the time, but if you think you have time to waste, you’re a fool – your life is damn short and you’ll reach the end and wonder what the hell you did with it all.

You will find in yourself more willpower, talent, energy, and creativity than you ever thought possible when you put yourself on a mind diet.

Become Friends With Your Internal Dialog

By now you’ve taken stock of your mental diet, but there’s one special brain food that can’t be dealt with like the others. That is your own thoughts. You can turn off the TV, but very few of us can turn off our minds.

If you are overweight, this internal dialog can be all-consuming. ‘I’m weak, I have no willpower, I’m helpless, it’s hopeless, etc.’ Great. Your fat and miserable, and then you tell yourself a bunch of garbage that does nothing but weaken you further. If you had another person in your life talk to you like this, you’d probably get a restraining order against them, but you tell yourself this dreck over and over and over.

The first thing to realize is that your thoughts are not *you*. What the hell does that mean? It means that that internal chatter in your head are almost like recordings that pop up – it’s like a radio station that is being changed from channel to channel randomly. Some people refer to them as ‘brain farts’. They are usually junk that people told you as a child that your brain recorded, and your brain ‘helpfully’ pulls them out when you’re down to make you feel even worse.

Just knowing this fact is the beginning of you taking control of your own mind. And once you can control your mind, you can effect change in your life and lose the weight – and do just about anything you put your mind to.

Here’s another way to understand this: ask yourself ‘I wonder what will be the next thought I have?’ There was a moment in time before that next thought occurred – that quiet in your head – that’s who you are.

Now that you know that your thoughts are not you, you can watch your thoughts as they bubble up from the swamp of your subconscious. It can become fun, really, to watch what your brain pulls out of the depths. You’re driving along, 45-years old, and your brain replays for you (in full-color, wide-screen, Dolby audio) an embarrassing episode from when you were 9-years old and you go ‘where the hell did THAT come from?’

You still have these thoughts, but you don’t consider them all that important anymore. You have to think to get through the day, of course, you’ve just awoken to the fact that much of what you think is just junk and let it pass.

How do you know which thoughts are junk?

  • It’s not helpful.
  • It makes you angry or sad.
  • It saps you of energy.
  • It leads you to the false conclusion that things are hopeless.
  • It’s the same thought over and over and over and over.
  • It blames other people.
  • It’s real old – an insult or embarrassment from the dead past that has nothing to do with your present life.

With your new knowledge, you can catch yourself and snap out of it quicker. This doesn’t mean that these thoughts go away – it means that you ‘bounce back’ quicker.

One way I’ve heard of dealing with these ‘brain farts’ is to say to that part of the mind that thought the thought: “Thank you for sharing that.” Suppressing these thoughts – trying to make them stop is too much effort – and if your mental diet consists of the empty calories, junk and toxins we described earlier, it will be damn-near impossible to will then away. Acknowledge them and they become less powerful. It’s like to old mind game: try not to think of an elephant. You can’t do it now that I mentioned it – the harder you try, the more elephants you see – herds of them – stampedes of elephants, dust flying, ears flapping.

Say to yourself: OK – so I’m thinking of elephants – funny thing, the mind. Wonder how long my mind will think about this?

You’ve taken the wind out of that thought’s sails, and the thought will likely diminish, then disappear. You’ve drained it’s power like pulling the stopper out of a sink.

If you understand the way your mind works and apply a little work, you will find that these self-destructive thoughts begin to lessen, and when they do occur, they will have less power and less duration.

Another Way to Think About Thinking – Mind Games Can Be A Good Thing

Mind games are not inherently bad – they have that reputation because they are usually used to drain our energy rather than feed out energy. Like a hammer that can be used to drive a nail to build a house or to destroy something needlessly, it is the intention behind their use that determines if mind games are a good or bad thing.

 

Bad Mind Games

Bad mind games come out of that part of you that doesn’t quite understand what the hell is going on – the stupid, ham-fisted, miserable part of you that actually likes destroying things- that inner 8-year old that decides to have a meltdown in the middle of a store because they didn’t get you to buy that toy they saw and had to have. We all have this in us – it is part of being human – and there is no point in denying it or trying to destroy it – we need to come to terms with it and create a workable relationship with this part of you.

 

Recognizing this part of you is just that – just a part of you – not the whole – begins to put perspective on how your mind really works.

 

It is said that schizophrenics, at least one type, hear voices in their head. We non-schizophrenics – us ‘normal’ folk – also hear voices – it’s our ‘internal dialog’ – that mind chatter that we all have. If we are not schizophrenic, the difference between us and them is that while we both hear ‘voices’ – we, the ‘normal’ people, know it’s us.

 

It’s not exactly true.

 

A Good Mind Game

 

It might be helpful play a good mind game – to view your mind as a boardroom meeting. You are the chairman of the board and surrounding you are a number of voices – each with their own point of view – each with their own agenda. The problem most people have is that they can’t tell the difference between their own voice and the voices of others. So one boardroom member expresses an idea and we confuse that idea with our own ideas – it happens all the time in the real world. Countless meetings in real life have occurred where one person expresses an idea, no one says anything, then the person running the meeting expresses the exact same idea – and gets positive responses all around. I don’t think that this is conscious, intentional, or malicious most of the time – I think that most people, even people in high positions, don’t have a clue as to how their minds deceive them.

 

You are now one step ahead of all of those people. You now know you are the chairman of the board, and you now recognize all these other voices as part of you – but they are NOT you. You can choose to agree with them or disagree with them. The choice is yours. Just because one part of your mind thinks something is true doesn’t mean it is true – and you – as Chairman of the Board, need to separate the wheat from the chaff and take the responsibility to make your own decision. Aristotle said: “It is the mark of an educated mind to be able to entertain a thought without accepting it.”

 

Sticking with the meeting metaphor, each of these board members have a ‘personality’ – one might be a positive personality without any real grounding in reality. Another might be the ultimate pessimist – always ready to show how things will fail. Another could be the fault-finder – they can pinpoint who’s to blame and are excellent at analyzing the past to determine all the missteps that others took.

 

The thing is: each one of these has something valuable to contribute, but none of them should be controlling the meeting. When you allow any of these personalities to control it, reality becomes unbalanced. As the chairman you need to listen to each, respect their views, then come to your own decision.

 

If all of this sounds strange to you, it could be an entirely new way of thinking about yourself – all this time you thought that all those different thoughts were you – they are not you – they are just thoughts. We trick ourselves by thinking that all of our thoughts are somehow important – some are, but their quality varies. Some are junk – and the real you needs to recognize this – and respectfully acknowledge the thought, but discard it.

 

An interesting exercise in understanding you own mind is to try to tease apart these different voices and put together a personality profile for each. Get out your pad or your journal and write down the characteristics of each. Please note – an exercise like this is not the beginning of madness but rather the beginning of real sanity.

 

Create the profiles for each of your board members to the point where when your mind expresses a thought you can easily identify which one of them is talking. Now here’s an interesting exercise: do any of these personalities remind you of anyone? Is one similar to your Mother? Another like your high school coach? Another like a childhood friend? We ‘internalize’ some people who we have been influenced by, for better or worse, and they gain a seat at the boardroom table – sometimes for a short time, and sometimes forever.

 

A real good question that you might have right now is – which voice is mine? I think the answer is: none of them. The real you is the listener – you listen to the input of all these voices and decide or not decide to act upon what to do. You are ultimately responsible for the actions taken by you – your voices are advisers and you must cultivate the wisdom to know when to listen to certain voices and when to ignore them.

 

Hiring More Qualified Board Members

 

If you are with me so far and you’ve profiled your board members and have come to realize that most of your staff is a bunch of losers, you need to hire new ones. To do this in the business world we would recruit new people, check their background and previous history and skills, see what they bring to the table, and hire the ones where we find the greatest need.

 

You can do the same thing with your mind. Expose yourself to new inputs – books, tapes, videos – again, the focus should be on something that will provide actionable, quality input – a chairman of the board that hires his friends just because he likes them will have a great time at the meeting while his business goes down the toilet. Not everyone you invite to the table you need to necessarily like. You might find them boring, or uncomfortable to be around, or hard to understand. You might not even know why you would want their presence – but if your gut tells you that they might be necessary, then try them out.

 

It is hard to fire your mind’s board members – they come and go through a mechanism that you cannot completely control – but you certainly can influence. Your influence comes from inviting these others to the table. Now you begin to hear the losers less and less as other voices are raised – ones that provide quality actionable information.

 

Being Smart and Acting Smart

I have heard that the inventor of the intelligence test himself said that it should never be used to measure a person’s individual intelligence. They do this anyway, and we live in a culture where a person with an IQ of 120 is considered smarter than a person with an IQ of 110.

This is absurd. You can’t condense the complexity of the human mind into one number – any fool – even a scientist, can see that.

And they do know that, but we fall into this thinking because it’s easy and convenient.

Understand that there have been people with high IQs that have swept floors for a living and people with low IQs that have gone on to do great things.

Your IQ is about as important as your eye color when it comes to your ability to achieve the things you want to achieve. The real definition of intelligence is: acting smart. If you do smart things, you are smart.

So what is smart? Anything that moves you toward your goals is smart. Anything that moves you away from your goals isn’t.

That’s simple – isn’t it?

Feed Your Head

If you are with me on this so far, you might have noticed that, as far as your brain is concerned, if you avoid all the crap I mentioned above, your mind might be on a starvation diet. We need to feed your head some healthy food to replace the crap food you are leaving behind.

Start At The End to Begin

So we’ve discussed what we’re not going to feed our brains. So what are we going to feed our head? In a word: goals.

You are going to need your pad and pen – and some quiet time for this next exercise. If your life doesn’t allow this, make the time. Personally, I get up at 5am to write this – that’s how I find the time.

On this pad you are going to start out by writing out your top 10 goals for your entire life. Work backwards: imagine you’ve reached the end of your life and you are looking back over what you consider to be a well-lived life with no regrets. What would it look like? What would people say about you? What would your life contain – and what wouldn’t it contain?

It’s important how these get written because these goals will literally reprogram your mind. Think that’s rubbish? Think how effective telling yourself: “I can never lose weight, I am weak, I have no willpower, etc.” has been over the years in programming your mind to make you feel worthless, useless, powerless, miserable – and fat.

A few rules about these goals:

  • They must be written as if they have already happened.

  • They must be personal.
  • They must be obtainable.
  • They should be quantifiable if possible.
  • They should not be expressed as a negative.
  • They should have a reason as to why you want this.
  • They shouldn’t concern themselves with how you are going to do this.
  • When you write them you should feel a burst of energy and excitement because these are goals that really resonate with you. They aren’t goals someone else thinks you should have – they are yours.

Now, as you are reading this primarily to lose weight, you should start with your weight loss goal. Get a BMI (Body Mass Index) calculator and determine what your ideal weight is for your height (you can click here for one).

In my example when I started my weight loss as a 6 foot male, I found out I should weigh at the upper limit 176. I decided that 180 is close enough. I was 260 lbs. Now, in the long run, losing 2 lbs a week is pretty aggressive. You can lose weight faster with a lot of superhuman effort, but I had other things in my life that had to be dealt with so I had to conserve my energy. Hey – it took a lot of time to put the weight on, so it’s reasonable that it will take some time to come off. It’s healthier, too, and increases your chances of keeping it off. So my goal was:


I weight 180 lbs on September 1, 2004 because I want to see my daughter grow up

Notice how it is carefully worded. It is a positive statement of fact, clearly measurable, with no ambiguity. It doesn’t say:

  • I will lose weight…

  • I wish I weigh…
  • I will try to lose…
  • I am going to…
  • I am not going to…

None of these have the same power as the statement above. I also didn’t mention anything about low carb, or Atkins, or how much I am going to exercise – these are all the hows of achieving your goal and you want to keep these separate from the goal itself.

I also recently learned about adding the reason you want something to you goal. This energizes it. Think about it: if you want a million dollars, but you can’t articulate why, it has much less power than stating you want a million dollars because you want your children to go to good colleges without having to work their way through school.

Now there’s a need you can hang your hat on! One that has far more energy in it. A million dollars is just a number – your children are your children.

The eerie thing about setting goals this way is that you don’t need to know how you are going to achieve it. When you set a goal like this, it activates something in you that seeks out a solution to the goal. It works on a subconscious level, and is a powerful tool.

There have been a number of times in my life that I set goals that I hadn’t a clue as how to achieve – I wrote these down, and they happened. Here’s one personal example: in the 1990s I first heard about goal setting and the recommendation was to write down where you want to be in 5 years. I wrote down a number of things that didn’t even seem possible, and kept that in my drawer. Every couple of months, I’d remember the list and take it out, give it a quick glance, then put it back.

I was very casual about it – didn’t really give it much thought – I would find it occasionally while cleaning out my drawer, read it, then put it back.

It was amazing that when I stumbled over that paper after the 5 years were over that more than half of the items had come true! And I was making progress on a few of the other items as well.

I wasn’t even trying.

Now it’s your turn. Write down your weight loss goal following the guidelines I gave on your pad.

Now for the rest of your life

It is critical that in this weight loss program that you have other goals than just weight loss. As I mentioned before, it is harder to focus on just one thing. You are not a fat person – you are a person who is fat – along with any number of other challenges in your life. You can be fat and miserable – and you can be thin and miserable.

By they way, if any of you are feeling somewhat uncomfortable with all of this so far – that is great. That means you are beginning to understand. Discomfort is often the beginning of growth. You are going out of your comfort zone, and that part of you that likes you miserable, that likes you fat, that tells you all these terrible things about yourself is beginning to get worried. This is beginning to threaten their existence. It’s one of those loser board members I mentioned before. If your mind tries to give you all these reasons why this is stupid, why it won’t work, you are wasting your time – shoo it away – tell it: “I’m only taking a short time to do this, there’s no harm in it.”

So what else defines you as the person you want to be? Don’t short-change yourself, and don’t let that internal dialog short-circuit this when it says “you’ll never do that!” If the goal is ‘reasonably unreasonable’ – higher than you can imagine being possible for you but not impossible because other people have done the same, then you are OK.

Some examples that might resonate for you might look like this:

  • I earn $75,000 a year as of August 1, 2008 so my wife can stay home and raise our children.
  • I own my own business as of August 1, 2008 so I can work alongside my family and be together more, all working toward the same goal and becoming closer.
  • I take a 2-week vacation with my family twice a year as of August 1, 2008 because I want to show my family the world and leave my children great memories of their childhood.
  • I have a bachelor’s degree in [subject] As of June, 2010 because I have always regretted never finishing college and have an intense interest in the subject.

Right now, you might be completely paralyzed by this exercise: you don’t have a clue what you really want out of life. Don’t feel bad – systematically setting goals like this is something that about 5% of the population have ever even tried.

I asked you to come up with 10 goals. Only if you are completely unable to come up with 10, are you allowed to write: “I will write down 10 goals that really energize me within 30 days” – and you will give yourself 30 days to do this.

It’s also OK to come up with 20 goals, or 32 goals – the number doesn’t matter. What matters is that the goals energize you and excite you. Also, don’t act as if you’ve written these goals in stone and they can’t change from day to day. If you write a goal, sleep on it, and the next day it doesn’t excite you, put it on another list – maybe it’s a goal for sometime in the future – just not now.

Another trick that can be very powerful in you connecting with what you really want in life is to get a notebook and rewrite your goals every day – without looking at the previous day’s goals. This way, the goals without ‘staying power’ will probably disappear.

Work on your goals for 30 days – see how they change. This time spent might be the first time in your life that you have ever had the chance to know the real you – the one behind all the chatter and the noise.

For more on the power of goals, I strongly recommend Brian Tracy’s Ultimate Goals Program. It is currently on sale at his site for under $70, but I have seen it for sale for $12 used on Alibris.com. Of all this type of thing I have listened to or read, I think this series of CDs contains so much information that you will need to listen to it a dozen times to extract all the value you could possibly get out of it.

Remember – I don’t have any relationship with anything I recommend – I don’t get a penny from the fellow. Don’t want one. I want to remain unbiased. I hope he sells a lot of these because he obviously put a lot of work into it – and it’s great stuff.

This set of CDs inspired a lot of what you are reading here, except he goes much further into the art of goal setting.

Working on the HOW

You have one solid goal of losing weight, and are working on coming up with goals in the other areas of your life. You are beginning to fill that void left when you cut out the junk brain food. This should actually be kinda fun, so you don’t miss the junk too much. Remember, we’re into leverage, and even working should be fun, and discomfort is a sign of growing strength and the agent of change. You are starting to get ‘The Big Mo’ – momentum. It’s work alright, but it’s work that should be pleasurable, and it should help to begin to crowd out some of your negativity simply because you can only think of one thing at a time, and you are filling your brain with some very nutritious food.

Old habits die hard, but you should find a natural progression toward a healthier mindset, little-by-little, through this work.

Now we’re going to add another element that will add a whole other dimension to this, one that will contribute more energy and focus.

You have at least one goal – losing weight – the one that brought you here – that you want to work on now. We’re going to tackle the how of this now – and how we tackle this, the methods and the formula, can be applied to all the other goals you are working on now. See how the leverage works here?

Because this is about going on the Atkins diet, go out and buy ‘Dr. Atkins New Diet Revolution‘ and read at least up to the recipes – it’s about 144 pages, if I recall. I recommend that you just buy this one straight out, though if you want to save a few bucks, a website I highly recommend is Alibris. they sell used books, and if you don’t need the book the next day, you can save a lot of money – as well as find books long out of print. I buy all my books here, if I can help it.

Read the book and do your best to understand the medical stuff explained there. If you don’t understand it, don’t skim over it. Ask questions.

The website that I used when I lost weight was www.lowcarber.org. Sign up – it’s free, and find out as much as you can about other people’s experiences with low carb and ask a few questions.

More on Self-Sabotage
You are trying to make a big change and anytime you try to make big changes, there are forces that want to hold you back – both internal and extrenal. You are not superhuman, nor can you eliminate them entirely. What you can cultivate is what I call ‘Bounce-Back’.

If someone makes you angry – how long does it take for you to ‘move on’? A few minutes? A few hours? A few years? Never? Sadly, there are people that hold on to anger and humiliation from a single event for their entire lives, and let these accumulate until they are crippled and bitter in a way that makes them almost beyond help. The trick here is to surrender to the past. the past is what it is and no force in the universe can put the toothpaste back in the tube.

It’s been said that life is like a car in that you have a huge windshield in order to see what’s coming and a small rearview mirror to see what’s behind you, and while both are important, the size of the windshield shows the importance of focusing most of your energy on what’s ahead – yet many people spend all their time looking into the rearview mirror – then wonder why they can’t get anywhere.

Go On a Diet Before You Go On a Diet

I’m going to make a strange recommendation: don’t start your diet yet, but begin eating like you are on the diet.

Huh?

Because I believe that eating as if you are in induction while having lots of carbs is dangerous, get a copy of Atkins for Life. This is the maintenance phase of Atkins, which does not emphasize weight loss, but rather healthy low carb eating to maintain you weight. If you’ve never done low carb, this will show you what life will be like when you reach your goal – and life is pretty good there. You are essentially easing in to a low carb lifestyle, and again making the attempt to squeeze out the bad habits by slowly incorporating good habits little by little.

It’s also time to do research on some recipes that you like when you do officially start your low carb diet. find things you like, make them, see how you like them. I have seen so many people fail on Atkins because they don’t know what the hell to eat – that won’t be your problem because on day one of induction, you will have a basket full of recipes.

You Get What You Pay For

If you’ve gotten to this point and you have begun taking the steps I’ve outlined, and see the potential that this program has to help you create change across all aspects of you life, there is a way to gain even more leverage – as I’ve tried to show, all of the pieces act and interact to strengthen each other. There is one more way to reinforce what you’ve learned here – pay for it.

I have seen over and over that it is human nature to devalue what is given for free, while placing great value on things of little or no value just because they cost money. Because you are reading this for free, on a blog, a part of your mind will not take this seriously. So here is what I believe:

Your mind will more clearly see the value of the ideas presented here when you place a real dollar value to it.

I’ve seen this before – I have been on both ends of this. I was given a very expensive bike that is a pleasure to ride – but I don’t. My very generous friend meant well, but because I received it for free, I gave no value to this very valuable bike. If I had paid even a fraction of what this bike was worth, I assure you that I would be much more motivated to ride this bike.

I also have a friend who expressed an interest in learning about a particular subject and in fact, was part of a group that was also interested in this topic. I happened to have a CD set of lectures on this topic that had cost me over $60 and I told him that he could have it – free and clear – if only he listened to the CDs and shared them with his study group. I told him: “My only dread is that they end up sitting in someone’s basement.”

I am pretty sure that’s exactly what happened. I see him every day, yet he’s never mentioned it again. He was very excited to get it, but I think that once it was his, the value disappeared. There was desire, but no commitment.

This thought arose as I very recently was talking to someone and I recommended purchasing the set of CDs on goal setting I mentioned above. He asked if he could borrow my copy. I agreed, but as I thought about it more, I realize that because he received it for free, I’ll bet you he’ll never listen to it.

That’s a shame, because as I mentioned above, I believe it is worth every penny, and you can even buy it used for the price of a few packs of cigarettes.

Then I began to think about this online book, and the shame that it would be if I provide you with all this great information, but you never use it because you never put a value on it.

Here’s what I think you should do:

  • Pick a dollar amount that you believe that this is worth to you and that you could just afford.
  • Take that amount and make it 50% higher.
  • Click the link below and send me that amount via Paypal. It’s secure and takes all major credit cards.

Click Here To Pay For This

It will tell you that your shipment will be sent to you, which is untrue – I’ll be sending nothing – it’s all here.

Whatever the dollar amount is, it has to impact you. I don’t want the money you would have spent on the kid’s shoes, understand what I mean? It comes out of your life, your comfort, your necessities, your hard work, and shouldn’t have a scrap of impact on other’s lives – or it will not work.

An interesting aspect to this is – you can’t steal the money to pay for this! It might be the only thing in the world for sale that you can’t steal something to obtain. It must be an act of sincere sacrifice in order to work. It can’t be faked.
Now, for this amount of money, you get absolutely nothing extra than I’ve already provided. You get no guarantees of future installments, no secret info, no access to secret areas with the good information – I already gave you the best that I have at the moment.

I want to make clear that this isn’t about me whining that you should pay me for all the hard work and research I’ve put into this. If I was doing that, I’d have gotten the money first, then given you the info – I’m not that stupid.

While I retain ownership of what’s here, I have shared this with you, completely free, with the sole purpose of hoping that I can maybe leave this world a slightly better place. When I lost the weight and saw others around me who watched my success and yet had no ability to lose the weight that was ruining their health and their lives, it made me mad and frustrated and has led me to research exactly why I succeeded where others didn’t – especially since most times they were putting much more effort into it than I ever did. That has led first to my blog and now this online book, because I set myself a goal maybe two years ago:

I want to help other people lose a million pounds.

When I set that goal, I had no idea how I would achieve it. What you are reading right now is where that goal has led me up to this point.

I strongly suggest that you follow the payment suggestion outlined above because I think that it will help you reach your goal – as well as me reaching my goal.

Whether you pay or not, I’m glad you read this far, and I hope that you try some of the things I’ve mentioned – especially if you are not familiar with them.

The next chapter will focus more on the nuts and bolts of the diet itself – and tailoring it specifically to you and your particular personality traits.

I have the notes and an outline – I just need the time to write.

Until then, please take the time to write me at lowcarbconfidential@gmail.com and feel free to comment on your experiences with what I’ve written – help me to make this better. Also – this is most certainly a draft – it could be written much better than it is. I will most likely rewrite this at some point in the future. You are welcome to write me regarding editing – I don’t mind.

I look forward to hearing from you.

The Atkins Flu

In my last post describing how some people feel sick when doing Atkins induction, I was describing what’s called among low carbers ‘Atkins Flu’. I’ve heard of it, and experienced mild versions of this in the past – but now for the first time, I have the full-blown version of it: body aches, feverish feeling, chest cold – you would think I have the actual flu – but who gets the flu in August?

So – did I take my own advice? In a word, yes. I was not at my best yesterday, but I still did my normal routine. I did turn down an invitation to play tennis, but accepted an invitation to go out to dinner. I really didn’t want to, since I felt pretty crappy, but Life’s An Experiment, so what the hell?

I’m glad I went. We had a great time, and I had a great meal that was pretty low carb so I didn’t  break my diet. Also, while waiting for a table, I went to Starbucks and got a large coffee. Coffee isn’t for everyone, but boy, did it help reduce my symptoms.
Do I feel great this morning? No. The primary symptoms changed from sore throat to chest congestion, but I still got up 5am to write this and will probably get through the day without being at death’s door.

So anyway – why am I experiencing these symptoms this time? I just did hard core induction a few weeks ago. I can only speculate:

  • I have a real cold. Coincidence. I rarely get sick since living low carb, but I’ve been eating a lot of carbs lately, so perhaps my immune system is running at at less than ideal.
  • Because my body is burning fat, and a number of toxins are stored in your fat, these toxins are released as your body burns your fat as fuel, and my ‘cold’ is my body reacting to the toxins. That sounds very plausible and scientific like, eh? I don’t think it’s that. I lost 90 lbs of body fat after years of eating crap food and never felt like this.
  • I’m getting old. Well, I’m certainly older than last week, but not by much. I think the ‘I’m getting old‘ excuse is a bit of a crutch for people who feel lousy. Maybe some lifestyle changes would make them feel less old?

My conclusion? Probably the first one and maybe a bit of the second and third. I’ll never know for sure, and a battery of doctors couldn’t guess better than I just did. I’ll survive.