Maybe It’s Not The Food You Eat, But The Dish You Eat it in, That Causes Disease



Maybe it wasn’t all those ice cream sundaes that gave you diabetes, but rather the dish it was served in.

And that plastic water bottle gave you cardiovascular disease.

We live in surreal times, so I’m not particularly surprised to find that BPA, a chemical that is used in the production of plastic, and found in most plastic bottles and food containers – as well as in the plastic linings of many cans, might contribute to diabetes and heart disease. 

Here’s a link (now fixed) to the Wall Street Journal easy-reader edition of the story.

Here’s a link to the Medscape hope-you-don’t-glaze-over edition.

Maybe I’ll switch to stainless steel and glass…

Thanksgiving, Greek Toast, and More Seemingly Pointless Food Journaling


This was a long and stressful day, with a lot of running around and even a confrontation or two. It wasn’t to be a great day outside of low carb – and it wasn’t a great low carb day either. 

Recollect is I had lunch around noon – and that was my first meal. Next was a hot dog with cheese at home about 2pm – I had to leave work to pick up house guests at the airport. I then had nothing until an Atkins bar at about 9pm. 

When we arrived home, there were goodies that the house guests brought and I gave in. The cheat was a particularly rare type of cookie unavailable anywhere near here – so of course I had to have 4 or five of these large carb bombs.

I also had low carb toast with butter. A seemingly pedestrian thing, I had just bought the first toaster we had in over a year. Our toaster broke, and I replaced it with a ‘toaster oven’ which did a lot of things, but made lousy toast.

The toast was a welcome treat.

Not so welcome was the number on the scale the next morning: 207.0.


No Atkins bar in the morning again – I have been having a large dollop of cream in my coffee, so perhaps that fat injection is staving off hunger? Anyway, I had one of my frozen meals – the chicken and bacon – at about 1 pm, then was hungry mid afternoon and had a large handful of macadamias. 

When I got home, things were in disarray with the guests here and the holiday approaching. I grabbed a hot dog and cheese prior to going out food shopping, and didn’t arrive back home until 10pm when I had some wine and some toast, yet another of the wondrous cookies the guests brought, and sat in a chair and read a Greek cookbook lent me by a coworker. There were some beautiful and simple recipes in there – some that were naturally low carb, some I thought I could recreate as LC. I munched on a very tasty bit of Camembert cheese that we pick up shopping, and nodded off in the chair.

The morning scale laughed at me and my pathetic attempts to avert a fat and bloated future of wearing stretch pants and shopping at the big and tall clothing store – 208.0 was the reading. The cookies they brought had a magical ability to make me swell up apparently, as the previous day was not particularly immoderate or terribly off my usual low carb tack – except for that one cookie.

These cookies are of the type where you can say: don’t bother even eating it – might as well just staple it to your ass – it will be quicker.

Tomorrow is Thanksgiving, and I can only hope to keep the weight from not going up more – and my goal number is looking like a distant and delusional fantasy.


Thanksgiving! A day devoted to too much food. Exactly what I need right now. I can only hope to stem the tide – there will be no success on the weight loss front today. I need to change something – I’m not quite sure what it is. Maybe a few days of vacation off the treadmill of wake up, get kids ready, drop off kids, commute to work, meetings, research, writing, emails, phone calls, more meetings, commute home, dinner for wife and kids, cleanup, get kids ready for bed, then jump in exhausted myself – might provide some clarity – and a clearer approach to getting rid of this extra blubber that wants to hold me close and not let go – and invite friends.

I first made the cranberry sauce – a bag of fresh cranberries, cover with water in a pot, 8 packets of splenda and 15 minutes on low heat on the stove top. Easy peasy. I think I might make more of this going forward. While not super low carb, it’s pretty low, and cranberries are good for you. A little of this sauce would go nice with my frozen chicken and bacon, perhaps – or add a zing to other dishes that could benefit from a slight sweet/tart note.

For breakfast I was inspired to take an idea from the Greek cookbook. I read that the Greeks on the island of Crete might start their day with some black bread drizzled in extra virgin olive oil, sprinkled with oregano and a bit of salt. I tried this with a piece of my low carb bread toasted, and it was a great piece of toast.

Certainly nothing wrong with upping the extra virgin olive oil in ones diet, eh? Especially if it’s in a new and tasty way.

While waiting for the turkey to come out of the oven, I had some cheese with a few bits of leftover chicken.

While waiting, I also had a few glasses of wine while tidying up. 

The turkey dinner I had consisted of the turkey, some gravy, the cranberries, some mashed cauliflower, and some fried yellow and green squash. 

I did cheat with some small portions of high carb stuffing and potatoes – as well as two more of the amazing weight-gain cookies my house guests brought. 

Oh – by the way – they haven’t seen me in over a year, and commented that I am looking ‘meaty’ and ‘old’ – THANKS! 

Stop pushing the damn cookies on me then.

I also had the pumpkin cheesecake and was disappointed. The ground almond crust was too strong a flavor and overpowered the filling, which didn’t seem sweet enough. 

If I were to make this again, I’d up the Splenda considerably.

I was very pleased with the cranberries – and my wife even enjoyed the mashed cauliflower. She did NOT like the cranberries as I told her it had Splenda in it – she says she can taste it, though I think if I told her I used sugar, she wouldn’t have been able to tell the difference.

The scale was unforgiving – at 210.0 this morning, I’m on the road to fatville.

So today – AGAIN! – I’ll pick myself up, dust myself off, and start all over again.

Food Journal 11-23-08 – 11-24-08


I first ate around noon – yes, I do eat late compared to when I wake up, which is usually between 4 and 5 am. I’m somewhat reticent to say what I ate, but here goes: pork rinds with French Pate. 

Yeah – I bet I might be the only person in North America that had that this morning…

I followed that up with a pickle spear chaser and some water.

The morning consisted of putting together the Ikea dresser, which had more than 350 pieces. As I kind of like putting things together, it wasn’t that bad, but it still took me almost 3 hours.

The rest of the day was work, work, work around the house. I did have the time to whip up the pumpkin cheesecake with my daughter. It’s in the fridge. Perhaps it will make it til Thanksgiving – perhaps not.

My wife bought extra expensive steaks – and there was quite a difference. The meat was so much more tender than the regular grocery store fare. Times are tough, however, and this is rare indulgence.

I did have another cheese and lettuce – and wondered why I can eat this just about every day. Then I remembered my one-and-only trip to the Automat.


My Dad had worked in New York City at the original Abercrombie & Fitch when it was a sporting goods store – a real sporting goods store – one that outfitted Teddy Roosevelt for his run up San Juan Hill. After leaving the store, he went back for a visit and took me. I couldn’t have been more than 4 years old, so we’re talking the mid 1960s here.

On our way there, we stopped at the Automat, and the only thing I could find to eat was a cheese sandwich with lettuce inside the wall of dispensing machines shown above. As with most 4 year olds, the thought of anything green was intolerable, and I remember thinking how these people ruined a perfectly good cheese sandwich with that lettuce stuff. 

But being on an adventure, I gave in, threw caution to the wind, and ate it – and loved it. 

Here we are – more than 40 years later. The old A&F is long gone and forgotten – replaced by a snotty-boy clothing chain with adolescent sexual innuendo as its market differentiation – something Teddy Roosevelt would not have approved of, certainly. The Automat closed in the 70s. 

And here I am, more than 40 years later, addicted to a cheese sandwich with lettuce.

But I digress.

The remains of the day were nibbles of steak, some wine, some breakfast sausages, and probably one-too many clementines … and my weight this morning was 206.8…sigh.


I was hungry in the morning and had the Atkins bar upon arrival at work. Next was the chicken and bacon with Brussels sprouts – the aroma of which made my boss hungry. I was hungry on the way home, and had another bar. Evening was 2 cheese sandwiches, some pork rinds with salsa, and half a pomegranate. 

Weight was the same as yesterday – 206.8.

One poster stated that the sudden weight gain from a cheat during a low carb diet is from a combo of: fat, water weight, and glycogen stores being replenished. Question: where is glycogen stored, and how much does a full complement of the stuff typically weigh?

Food Journal 11-21-08 – 11-22-08


The morning did not start with an Atkins bar – in fact, none were had this day. It was a crazy day of meetings and much mental work, which left me drained. In between meetings I ate my lunch – the chicken bacon with Brussels sprouts, and stayed an hour late to finish up some work.

Coming home, I had a generous share of the sausage and meatball dish with some wine. I also had a smallish cheese with lettuce and mayo sandwich. 

Forgot my vitamins and went to bed maybe 10pm – perhaps too tired to to be hungry (Is that possible?).

Weight: 203.6


Breakfast – at about 10am, was a large serving of the Italian stew. We needed to go to Ikea, the massive furniture store / Swedish cult / theme park/ restaurant / abattoir. If you look beyond their couches and cups, this is an operation obsessed with every last detail – and every detail is designed to make you see every last pie plate they make, in the best possible light, and to buy as much of their stuff as possible.

It’s like going to visit an interesting friend for a few minutes – and leaving 7 hours later. You don’t say: “I’m going to run in for a few things” at Ikea – it’s not a store as much as a presentation. 

If I had gone alone, I would have executed a quick commando attack on the needed items – a comforter and dresser – but the family came along and what could have been 1/2 hr. max shopping became 4+ hours. 

We had lunch there – and surprisingly, Swedish furniture store food ain’t half bad. The kids had Swedish meatballs and mac & cheese. The wife had smoked salmon. I had shrimp and egg with mayo on a slice of bread. I tossed the bread and ate the rest. It’s a good combo, egg and shrimp – I forgot. I’ll have to whip that one up myself some time.

I missed the exit coming home and we arrived back later than expected. We’re preparing for house guests, have a lot of work to prepare, and now wasted an entire day shopping, which kind of stressed me out.

I suppose if I was to deconstruct what happened next, due to my fighting a cold, being tired, getting lost, wasting a good part of the day shopping, and feeling the weight of all I have to do in the remaining bit of the weekend, I let my guard down and carbed out on some pasta, some leftover souffle, and some other small itsy-bitsys as I cruised the fridge. I also had an open-faced cheese and lettuce sandwich with lettuce.

To prove the notion that low carb is a ‘hack’ to your body – and to demonstrate how it allows a person to weigh far less than their body naturally wants to weight, this indiscretion made me gain close to 4 lbs. – I’m now 207.0.

It’ll peel off fast, if history is any indication – if I watch myself today. If the indiscretion continues, however, it might set me back more than a week.

Share Your Recipes for a Low Carb Thanksgiving

I’m drawing a blank right now. Our Thanksgiving will no doubt have the obligatory turkey – and for the carbers there will probably be mashed potatoes, stuffing, cranberry sauce, bread and gravy.

But what can I make for lil’ ol me?

Right now I got one: the tarragon mashed cauliflower one poster inspired me to conjure up.

So – since I got my only idea from the folks reading this – got any other ideas?

It doesn’t have to be a super-strict low carb dish – let’s call it ‘carb-conscious’.

Extra credit for proven recipes that carbers like, too – there will be 5 of these folks at the table, and I don’t like to evangelize low carb living through holiday meals.

Any ideas?

A Birthday Miracle

Today’s eats were an Atkins bar around 10am – of course I had my coffee with cream at 5am, however – does that count as breakfast?

Lunch was the last of the frozen london broil with Brussels sprouts. It was just OK – maybe I’ve had enough of this for a while. Prefect timing – there was zero waste on this one. I’ll roll this recipe out again in another month or so.

There was a birthday in the family, so it was a night out to dinner. We went to a local steakhouse and started off the meal with my 2-year old spilling a Shirley Temple on my wife’s lap. Spilling stuff on Mom and Dad is my younger daughter’s specialty – and she got right down to business.

I had the prime rib and it was the best piece of meat I had in a long time. I also had a martini, which I enjoy on special occasions. I had a small salad that I picked the croutons out of, and switched to water after the martini was drained.

The prime rib came with mashed potatoes mixed with horseradish, which was very good – I had a few forkfulls – my daughter had a good portion of the rest. I also cheated on some bread and butter – the butters where flavored with herbs and very delish.

When we got home, we had the cake and sang ‘Happy Birthday’. I had more of the cake than I wanted to, but it was a Whole Foods cake, and they do a good job on this sort of thing – they had better at their prices.

I thought I’d pay for my transgressions, but the scale forgave me – I’m down to 204.4 – a pound less than yesterday and 4.4 pounds from my November goal.

This carbing out, then losing happens occasionally. But it’s like the lottery – you can’t depend on it. 

It was a birthday miracle, and there’s probably no more of these miracles in the near future, so back to the low carb grindstone for me.

Food Journal: 11-18-08 – 11-19-08


Had my Atkins bar at about 11 am. Had chicken, bacon, and cauliflower mashers at about 1pm. Had brazil nuts about 3pm. Came home and had some wine and grazed on bean dip, stir-fried pork, and pork rinds. Also had a little of the Lindt chocolate. No cheats.

The morning weigh-in was 205.8 – I’m only 5.8 lbs. from my November weight goal.


I am amazed at how well the freeze meals are working out. I pick something from the freezer the night before, put it in a dish in the morning, and I got my low carb lunch. I also have variety – there’s at least 3 different meals in there right now. I have to come up with some more dishes to make this weekend. I was thinking of trying to make moussaka – it’s a greek eggplant dish with beef – but I need to find a recipe.

It only took me 5 years to figure out that freezing meals ahead of time might be something to try – am I quick on the uptake or what?

My day usually starts between 4 and 5am, when I have coffee. I have begun the habit of using some heavy cream in it. Amazingly, my stomach sometimes doesn’t appreciate half a pot of black coffee on an empty stomach (ya think?) and the cream seems to lessen the offense.

The food for today was an Atkins bar around 10am. I put off eating my lunch until 3pm because I was busy in meetings. It was piano night for my daughter, so I didn’t get the opportunity to eat until 9pm, when I had a small portion of the chicken and bacon with the tarragon mashed cauliflower – I really like that stuff – thanks again to the poster that gave me the idea – I think I’ll make some more this weekend.

I was still hungry, so I had an open face cheese, lettuce and mayo sandwich on low carb bread – and a pickle spear. Then I had an open face almond butter and zero carb jelly sandwich, with the small cheat of half a glass of milk. 

Despite the fact that the evening meal was a bit immoderate – a portion of food and two open faced sandwiches, I shaved off a few ounces and am now 205.4 – 5.4 lbs. from my goal for November. 

It’s going to get a little harder as I’m nearing my internal ‘set point’ – I find there are certain weights that I plateau at – and certain weights I never stay at for any length of time. Historically, my set points seem to be: 175, 185, 200, 205, 215 – each of these weights have been my weight for signifigant stretches of time. 

I am hesitant to say it, but I’ve also been thinking about…exercise. I HATE exercise, and will provide myself any excuse possible to avoid it. But I’ve been reading about how Barack Obama has exercised 6 days a week for 40 minutes a day while campaigning. That pretty much takes away any excuse I might have that ‘I’m too busy.’

I doubt that this will motivate me, but it will make me feel more guilty about it – not a bad thing, necessarily. If you can beat yourself up without feeling sorry for yourself, it can be a tool to effect change.

How to Write a Diet Book

I always have an eye out for new diets, not that I’m shopping around for something new – I’m just interested in what’s out there. It’s become apparent that most follow a formula that’s pretty simple:

  1. Decide whether the diet prohibits certain foods or not. Prohibiting certain foods usually means that portion control is more relaxed. If you decide to allow everything, there’s usually tighter control on portions.
  2. Next up, decide whether there is a ‘magic food’ component. It can be anything. Check out The Cookie Diet or Fullbar for examples.
  3. Build a case for your approach: I’m a doctor, I was fat, I’m a researcher with over: 10 years, 20 years, 30 years experience in whatever you did all that time has made you conclude that your method of losing weight is fast and easy.
  4. Create some ritual that dieters can follow. The Fullbar guy wants you to eat 2 of his bars 1/2 hour before 2 daily meals with 8 oz. of water. This appeals to the tendency for obsessiveness in all of us.
  5. Next, throw in the obligatory chapter on exercise. You don’t even have to think about this one – no one will probably read it. If you’re a sadist, make the exercises impossible for really heavy people to do.
  6. And last, pad 1/2 the book with recipes and meal plans. Extra credit if you’ve actually tested the recipes and the meal plans.

There you go! Now all that remains is to pick a good cover. If a doctor, be sure to be dressed like a doctor, or have some doctor stuff in the background. If you’re not a doctor, you have to be photographed in shape-hugging, clothes (extra credit for shorts and bare midriffs) and always, always, always have an insanely huge grin on you face that says: “You’re fat, and I’m not!”

Done! Just get a publisher, and maybe a vitamin manufacturer to private label some supplements with your picture on it for some extra revenue, and you’re done.

Which one of us doesn’t have at least one book that fits this description somewhere?

Food Journal

Wasn’t hungry til about 11am when I had my Atkins bar. I ate my lunch at 5pm and discovered the Italian stew I made reeked of garlic – and so did I when I ate it. I suppose I’ll have to be careful as to where and when I eat it.

I didn’t have dinner, but picked on some of the bacon and chicken wrapped in lettuce, and had some of the bean dip that is rapidly ageing.

I’ve decided to track my weight differently from now on: it might seem a silly difference, but I am setting weight goals and focusing on moving toward them to where I want to be, rather than away from a weight I don’t want to be. 

This might seem simplistic, but I am rapidly coming to believe that we each harbor an inner idiot that we need to find a way to communicate to. It explains why we might know something intellectually, but not actually follow through – although we know the consequences of our actions.

So I’m setting forth the following goals:

  • To be 199 lbs. by December 1
  • To be 189 lbs. by January 1
  • To be 184 lbs. by February 1
  • To be 179 lbs. by March 1

And my weight right now is 205.8 – 6.8 lbs. away from my goal for December 1 – 13 days away.

Something New…Again


Time to try some new habits. 

I find sometimes a behavior change is a good shake-up for oneself – and it can seriously unnerve people around you when you change a behavior because it requires them to think of you in new ways – and it’s almost always impolite to force other people to think – but it can be fun.

So anyways – the behavior change this time is somewhat slight from other people’s standpoint: 

  • Food journaling
  • Cooking to create frozen meals
  • Portion control 

OK – I have been food journaling for a month – but I never did it in any disciplined approach before. While it certainly didn’t seem to help – as evidenced by the series of posts, I did read that food journaling does help make one more aware of what they eat – and thus eat less

While it would seem I proved that one wrong, I did like the journaling, and commit to it until the end of the year.

I’ve also tried to do something that I’ve never done before, and that is purposely creating a lot of frozen meals. I made a huge pan Italian sausages and meatballs. I also made chicken breasts with bacon. I froze the bacon breasts with some Brussels sprouts, and froze bags of the Italian ‘stew’ – It came out quite good, though there was more liquid than I expected.

I got maybe 15 portion-controlled meals out of this – let’s see what happens. 

The Food

The food parade started today at 8:30 AM with a hard-boiled egg and mayo.

At 2pm my wife came back from the store with some brie, and I had 5-6 small slices with pork rinds.

Right after that my pan of Italian sausages and meatballs was done. I took out the smallest bowl I had and had some. 

At 5PM, my chicken was done. My wife complemented this dish by saying: “What are you cooking? It’s making me nauseous.” 

I had the bright idea that I could throw the bacon on the bottom of the pan, then throw the chicken on top, and let it cook slow. Problem with this plan was that the chicken and the bacon gave up too much liquid, so the bacon couldn’t brown. Thinking quick, I poured off some of the liquid down the drain, ensuring a plumber’s visit some time in the future, no doubt. After that, the bacon and the chicken cooked up nicely, but the bacon needed more time. I took the chicken out, got the bacon more browned, and poured this over the top of the chicken. 

This came out quite good, I must say, though I am torn over my use of nitrated meats like bacon – not so torn up not to do it, mind you, but I would like to give ’em up.

Perhaps when I get near my target weight, I can swap it out for something less controversial, but I’ll lean on this crutch if it helps get the weight off now.

Later in the evening I had more of the Italian stew, and a open-faced sandwich of cheese, mayo, and lettuce. 

No cheats today. To put as positive a spin on this, I could say I’m on a 1-day streak!  

Mistakes Were Made (But Not By Me)

I just finished this. It’s an insightful book – one that makes you take a good, hard look at yourself – but it also has the potential to expose you to parts of your being that you might not want to see. Reading the book was akin to someone informing you that you’ve been walking around all day with a long tail of toilet paper sticking out of the back of your pants – you appreciate the information, but you feel awkward.

I think the premise of the book – that we seek to reduce dissonance in our lives by unconsciously tuning out information that doesn’t feed out preconceived notions – is important when doing low carb. It’s easy to be an evangelist for low carb – especially after you’ve lost a lot of weight. But still, the fact remains that low carb isn’t for everyone. If you read Gary Taubs’ book, he presents a one-sided view of low carb. This was intentional – he stated that the other side had plenty of books to put against his. 

But there is a lot of evidence that might show that low carb ain’t all that good for you. Maybe that’s the case. Maybe it isn’t. Maybe it’s the case for some people or not others. Maybe it’s…whatever. 

Point is – and it’s a point I’ve made a number of times before – is that we’re taking a chance on this low carb lifestyle. It’s as much of a crap shoot as the folks that eat so much soy they screw up their hormones, but they, at least are comforted by the thought that so many other people do it, it must be the right thing. I think it was Voltaire that said: ‘If fifty million people believe a wrong thing, it is still a wrong thing.’

We low carbers, on the other hand, are regarded in the same vein as people who claim to have seen Bigfoot. I think I’ve become more accepting of this, and I don’t speak about it as much as I used to.

I’ll keep it to myself – and this blog.

Welcome to the low carb underground.

Looking for the Reset Button

Right now, I’d say I’m limping along on living low carb. I suppose that, as stated previously, a bad day on low carb for me, with the goal of ketosis in mind, isn’t a bad day on low carb in general. 

So perhaps I’m failing in my short-term goals (20 grams per day of carbs) while succeeding in my long term goal (a general low carb lifestyle).

How’s that for a rationalisation?

Anyhow, I started the day looking for some ideas for stuff to cook over the weekend, using some ingredients I had on hand. I was inspired by one of the comments from a previous post to try something with cauliflower, so I nuked a large bag for 10 minutes, then added 1/2 stick of butter, some cayenne pepper, and tarragon (a spice I know nothing about and never use, but it was mentioned in the comment). 

I mashed this up with an immersion blender, and it smelled pretty good, had the texture of mashed turnips, and reminded me of Thanksgiving. Even my older daughter mentioned Thanksgiving. She reluctantly took a taste when I saw an opening, and ate solemly. I asked her: “Yum or yuck?” Her lack of response signaled the latter. 

I also tried making meatballs. I wanted to do some sort of Italian casserole, and figured I could make the meatballs today, and put them in the casserole I make tomorrow.

The meatballs were a great example of what not to do.

I mixed the ground beef with parm cheese, garlic powder, cayenne pepper, basil, oregano, and 2 eggs, then put my meatballs in a round casserole dish. There were too many, so they went in piled on top of one another. 

400 degrees in the oven they went – I figured an hour – what do I know? I checked after 40 minutes, and the juices had come out of the meat, and the top meatballs were browned nicely, while the lower meatballs were sickly grey.

I took them out of the meat soup, put them on a baking sheet and finished them off for 20 minutes.

Now they were dry. Ugh. I put the juice back on them, which reconstituted them somewhat.

It was late morning, and hungry, I tried the meatballs with the cauliflower – yum! they went together well. This ended up being breakfast and lunch.

The cheating today was a small bit of the kid’s pasta, some fresh baked tomato bread, which was wonderful. My rationalization here was: I usually avoid it the first day, when it’s fresh and still warm. I weaken after it’s a day or two old, and then eat stale bread – why not just eat it now and get it over with?

Yep – that strategy is gonna get me lean and mean, eh?

I also had some 5-layer bean dip on pork rinds. I don’t consider this a cheat of any great severity, as it’s very low carb, but I would avoid this if I was trying for ketosis – which I’m most definitely not anywhere near attaining as of late. 

Weight is up again – 209.8 – and I am trying to find that reset button in me that will allow me to tear in to some of these pounds.