Diet Fail 2019 – Day 10: I Failed as Expected – But Look at This Yogurt!

OK – everybody’s got ‘stuff’ they have to deal with. If you want to avoid this:

  1. Don’t love of care about anyone
  2. Sell all your possessions
  3. Move out of your house / condo / apartment
  4. Live on a mountaintop

Or be this guy. He’s probably worth hundreds of millions of dollars. He’s (as far as I know at present) homeless, has one bag of possessions, and sleeps on friend’s couches.

Like Thoreau, it’s kinda not real. Thoreau also talked about living a simple life, but as I understand it, Walden was not far from his perhaps not rich but comfortable family’s home (they made pencils, if I recall correctly). At any time, he could have called it quits and gone back to the Real World. Same as the guy above. At any time he can give up his minimalism, buy a mansion and a yacht, and be done with his couch surfing.

Most of us don’t have this luxury.

We’ve built lives step-by-step and for most of us, riches do not appear. People came into our lives and we allowed ourselves to love them, though love almost always leads to heartbreak in some form. For some of us our love created new people who will always break our hearts as they grow up and grow away as they must to become their own persons. The great psychoanalyst Erich Fromm said that a child’s love is the most tragic as it must always fade or the child becomes a cripple of sorts – a Norman Bates. It does not mean they stop loving their parents, but that golden time where Mom and Dad were their entire world must pass as they grow and we are revealed as human and fallible.

We invested our time in careers and the money that came from that work into possessions, experiences, and investments. Most of the possessions seem of much less value after owning them than before. The experiences fade from memory and become a series of photos that form some narrative that provides glimpses of the truth – or just provide an image from the past with no memory at all. Our investments are a hope for our future but can disappear in an instant as the future holds no certainties for those of us that inhabit the middle class.

So I failed because ‘reasons’. I haven’t given up, I’ve just had a setback. I’m not going anywhere – I’ve been here – failing – since 2007.

But let me tell you about my latest batch of yogurt!

It was done today and – wow – what a beautiful batch! People who make this yogurt often complain about it being watery. Take a look at this pic:

This is how thick the yogurt comes out

My aged yogurt used as the starter after more than a dozen batches still got the goods and made a fine, beautiful batch.

Now, when I get back on my diet, it’s waiting.

Diet Fail 2019 – Day 8: More of the Same but There’s Yogurt to be Made…and Terror in Tummyville

As I haven’t been on any sort of diet for a while prior to my restart 8 days ago – unless you consider shoveling as much crap into your maw a ‘diet’ – I have not been eating my ‘magic yogurt‘. I frankly do not recall how old the last batch is – maybe a month or more? I keep it in the back of the fridge where the veggies freeze (because GE Profile refrigerators SUCK!) and had a cup the other day – it looked and tasted fine.

So I decided that on this day I would try making another batch according to my obsessively-detailed instructions and hoped the age of my yogurt would not cause me to wait 36+ hours to find a massive Instant Pot-full of Yogurt Fail.

Actually, I learned a bit of trivia: what I’m making isn’t yogurt, at least in the US. Yogurt is a legal term for fermented products using very specific bacteria – not the bacteria L. Reuteri that I’m using. Instead, it’s a ‘fermented milk product’ that just so happens to look like yogurt. I believe – but have not tried – you can take any probiotic with active cultures, run it through this process, and end up with something similar. I was thinking it might be an interesting way to see if other probiotics actually contain live cultures – or as another hack: if you’re paying through the nose for a probiotic and you can grow it yourself, you’ve now got an endless supply of your favorite probiotic and never have to pay those price-gouging bastards ever again! (I have no idea if this would work – mere speculation).

As yet another aside to an aside, the probiotic I currently take – than name escapes me because they all have names that sound the same – just like every Chinese restaurant is ‘Happy Lucky Golden Red Dragon*’ or some random collection chosen from a set of about a dozen words…but I digress within my aside of an aside.

So my probiotic with the name that sounds like every other probiotic claims ‘100,000,000 live cultures. Guaranteed’.

Just WHAT THE HELL DOES THAT MEAN?!?

How could I – or anyone else including them for that matter – know if there is 100 million live cultures in that capsule? And How can I possibly take them up on their guarantee? “I’d like to return these as there wasn’t 100,000,000 live cultures in the capsule I took and you guaranteed there would be.” Their claim is utterly preposterous. It would be an interesting conversation.

Do they think we’re idiots?

Yes. Yes they do.

“Heck, Festus, it dun say on the box gah-run-teed! Gotta be true!”

And now for something completely different…

I ate the same as yesterday, but a bit more. I haven’t been getting the necessary calories, the body recognized that, and wanted more. I happily obliged.

What did NOT make me happy was the fact I thought I had escaped the ‘Raging Trots’. It has been my experience in the past that early on in switching over to keto, my gut will get a little…sensitive at least one or two days. It usually happens within the first week and it’s over – once over the hump, my plumbing is usually well-behaved on a keto diet.

This time it came a little late. Glad I wasn’t on a bus, in a meeting at work, or at some public place without public restrooms.

And I sure do pine for the days when matchbooks were everywhere so I could have lit a match – or 7.

It’s another mystery – I can only guess it is a further adjustment my body makes as the ‘keto adaption’ proceeds. As I understand it, you’ve got about 1,000 known (and x number unknown) species of bacteria in your gut that you absolutely need to live. This stuff works – somehow – with your ‘second brain’ – your gut. Did you know your gut is autonomous from the brain in your head? I’ve heard you’ve got more serotonin in your gut than your brain (hence the gastric problems people on antidepressants suffer). The number of neurons in your gut are about the same count as the amount in the brain of a German Shepherd. The complexity is such that there’s only the Vagus nerve that connects your brain to your gut for high-level communications. This is used for things like telling your brain NEVER to let you ever eat potato salad again after you got that food poisoning at aunt Edna’s picnic. You can cut this nerve and sever connections and your gut will continue to work just fine.

I’ve speculated that our gut brain is our true brain. We’re just a tube where food comes in one end and waste comes out the other. Evolution allowed for this second brain in our heads to form and the first brain didn’t mind – as log as it helped to get it fed. The brain in our gut sees our obsessions with things like smartphones, politics, and the Kardashians as pointless irrelevancies – tolerated as long as that fat neuronal swelling at the top of the thing makes sure the food keeps coming.

This second brain acts as a conductor of sorts, trying to manage the symphony of digesting food, absorbing nutrients, manufacturing Vitamin C in the colon, dealing with toxins, etc. – and doing so by negotiating with an unruly mob of trillions of bacteria that all have their own agenda – their own self-interest.

Different foods foster the growth of different bacteria and reduce the populations of others. “They’re goes the neighborhood!” Say the carb-loving bacteria as the bacteria that thrive on a keto diet move in and their kids leave their bicycles out on the lawn overnight.

I imagine the tummy-rumbling to come from this dramatic change – and let’s not forget that all those neurons in the gut suddenly have to get used to ketone bodies instead of glucose as fuel. It’s a traumatic time for everybody in Tummyville: signals probably get missed, valves get opened when they should have been shut, the wrong button gets pressed – it’s just chaos until the systems adapt and get things back under control in the new keto environment.

Until then I form a close relationship with a bathroom I warn others in the household to steer clear of, and become especially anxious about toilet paper inventory.

*After my Chinese restaurant name comment and has a suspicion the Internet would contain a one of these.

 

Diet Fail 2019 – Day 7: I’ve Reached the City Limits

My day started at 6am when I made coffee for the missus and I. Of course I had cream. I weighed myself but don’t remember the number. It was lower than when I started but nothing impressive enough to note. As it was a workday, I worked. I drank about a pot of coffee with cream and only ate around 5pm. I seem to have fallen into a One Meal A Day (OMAD) pattern unintentionally. Some people do this intentionally, some think it’s crazy.

Actually, it’s crazy to see the different keto communities fiercely sweat the details while anyone from the outside world think we’re ALL crazy. I spent some time on the Facebook keto groups and their differences were staggering – at least to me. Dirty keto vs. clean keto. Fat bombs are the dope vs. fat bombs are *for* dopes. 16:8 fasts vs. 20:4 fasts vs. fasting for a week – or a month. I had to give them up as – and you gotta admit it – us keto people can be grumpy at times. Getting all those grumpy newbies asking the *same* questions over and over to the grumpy admins pretty much made me wonder why I was there.

Add to that the fact that some of these groups were about as laid back as Catholic School Nuns. That’s not to say that there were some groups that were pretty chill, but on the whole, I thought I could do better elsewhere if I’m looking for information.

I gave all that up some time ago.

Anywho, by the end of work I was in a sour mood. I ate roast beef and butter, and 2 hot dogs on a slice of goat cheese.

That gave me the following breakdown:

Calories: 1199
Protein: 41 grams
Net Carbs: 4 grams
Fat: 114 grams

Unusual for me, after eating I felt the urge to finish up some unwashed dishes, scrub stains out of the sink, take out the garbage, then put the cans out at the curb – and even prep the coffee maker for tomorrow. I suppose you could say that I am exhibiting the signs of increased energy even though I don’t feel energetic at all.

Oh yeah – checked my ketones at 7pm and they were 2.3. Above 2 is high for me. I do start to feel an extra-level sort of weirdness at this level. In my estimation it is akin to taking a powerful drug.

This was a day spectacularly mundane – one of those days where you show up – ‘punch the clock’ – do what you gotta do – and finis. I’m pointed in the right direction, I’m making progress, but the road is long and monotonous. Now it is less willpower than perseverance. I’m in the groove, now I just have to show up every day. I might futz with different recipes, meal timing, maybe even (gasp!) exercise, but the real work is walking this road seemingly with nothing ahead but a long stripe of blacktop that leads to a distant horizon. I think I know where it leads, but it takes a long time and each day your progress teases you as the distance of the horizon never seems to become more near.

I’ve reached the city limits – I got out. Now the road is monotonous. It must be. That’s how roads that take you to distant places work.

Diet Fail 2019 – Day 6: Sadly I’m in the Wrong Multiverse and Poems About Donuts

I think I made it to that zone where hunger can be managed with only a smidgen of willpower and cravings don’t grab you by the hand and lead you to the fridge to find that perfect ‘something’ you didn’t know you want.

Running errands with my younger daughter, we found our way to a McDonald’s where she – an athlete in fine shape – ordered a Big Mac and fries.

McDonald’s is *my* temple of cheap comfort food! To walk in there and not order anything was an insult to the congregants.

The fact that I didn’t care that much makes me a heretic to my tribe. There’s was only a small voice in my head that whined: ‘this isn’t fair’. I know that – we should live in a world where I could gorge on fast food pizza, burgers, and sub sandwiches, wash it down with beer, and find improvements in health and weight loss ensue.

If we do indeed live in a multiverse – a theory by some physicists that apparently live in states where marijuana is legal – that there are an infinite number of universes with different properties and an infinite number of ourselves, then there must be one where ‘fast food is health food’.

This ain’t it.

And *of course* the missus brought home donuts – the plain type without frosting – my favorite – and my daughter commented on how heavy and greasy they were.

The Homer Simpson in me sighed but in the grand scheme of things it just didn’t register all that much.

I *did* go out to get a few things to add to my food list and there was an actual vegetable, believe-it-or-not: romaine lettuce. I also bought turkey breast, among other things.

I’m starting to formulate a plan for less chaotic eating – I think some people call it ‘meal planning’, but that’s the future.

Except for coffee with cream, I had eaten nothing all day and it was only at 5pm that I had my only meal of the day. I rarely buy turkey breast and it was an impulse buy. I had some older but still serviceable romaine lettuce – about 1.5 hearts. I split this in 3rds, split the turkey in 3rds, smeared the turkey with avocado mayo, then wrapped the turkey on the outside of the lettuce and ate these rollups.

One thing I’ve always found in keto is the structural integrity of foods can be tough to navigate. That is the genius of sliced-bread: you can put nearly anything between 2 slices and you’ve not only got food, but an edible container in which to convey said foodstuff into your pie hole without bothersome accoutrements like plates and forks.

I found this quite good. I must have been hankering for green veggies and this hit the spot.

It also ended up being my only meal of the day. While later on in the evening I toyed with the idea of eating more, the hunger did not overcome the disinclination to get out of bed so I went to sleep instead.

Being the only meal of the day, it was relatively easy to tally my intake to an accuracy of probably +/- 20%

I use the Cronometer app and this is the breakdown it gave me:

Calories: 1176
Protein: 66 grams
Net Carbs: 19 grams
Fat: 89 grams

These numbers aren’t bad, but they are not ideal. I’m OK with that because it’s the behavior that surround this eating that are more important right now than getting deep into a macro fetish.

I’m indifferent to the donuts that sit 10 feet away from me. They do not sing a siren song that tells me that, warmed slightly in the microwave, they would be *ideal* with a big glass of milk.

It’s not like when I wrote a poem about a donut.

Diet Fail 2019 – Day 5: What I’m Eating and How I Smell

So another day has passed and I’m still at it. Whoo!

Ketones measured by the meter are at 1.0 in the AM. They usually climb to their highest by late afternoon. My Blood glucose was 116 – down by 10 points from yesterday morn.

I’m not really enjoying it though. I had been going great guns at keto during the summer. I lost about 20 lbs., but then I took a new job that I really like, but it is all-consuming. There’s just so much interesting work to do! Even given it has been a good experience, there was an upsurge in stress and this (mostly) was dealt with through food. Bad food. I find nothing can calm the soul better than 2 slices of pepperoni pizza from a local place that knows how to make pizza – not this Domino’s crap or the other chain faux pizza. Adding bread back into my diet also stimulated the dopamine I craved to battle jangly nerves. I’m not a sweets person – my problem is burgers, sandwiches, and pizza. There was also red wine mixed in there as well.

The problem with this way of eating for me is that I become ravenous. I am hungry even when uncomfortably full. There’s biochemical reasons for this – a bunch of ’em – but I won’t go there now. At present, all that needs to be known is when I eat like I want to, the weight piles on, my appetite goes through the roof, and I am one fat, sluggish, cloudy-headed dork.

That sucks. You only live once and for me, the evidence is clear: I can’t eat as I’d like because I’d like to eat crap every meal, every day. I also don’t have a well-developed ability for ‘moderation’, which many do and they helpfully try recommending it – but it is not in my DNA.

So here I am doing keto. There’s worse ways to go through one’s life, I suppose, but it still sucks. I am also not a big fan of trying to make concoctions to simulate high-carb foods. If I hit the lottery and could hire a personal chef, then perhaps it would be an option, but I’m not someone who looks forward to cooking so my meals tend to be simple and austere.

My meals don’t follow a schedule as I eat when hungry and our family does not adhere to formal mealtimes. I eat when hungry and, at least at present, don’t measure things. Right now I’m just starting to dial-in the foods I need to eat and the quantities. Baby steps.

So what have I been eating to get into ketosis fast? My first goto was an old trick: deli roast beef wrapped around a third of a stick of butter. This is pretty radical, but when I do this early on, I very quickly go into ketosis. I also notice that cravings go away in 72-hours – at least the physical aspect. the psychological aspect still remains. I still miss cigarettes every day and I stopped last decade.

This is making me a bit mopey.

Have you noticed yet that I’m not the most motivational of diet blogs? Where’s that cheery, peppy, positive vibe, dude? Sorry – you ain’t gonna find it here – at least now.

Other things I’ve allowed myself is tuna salad made with avocado mayo that costs a king’s ransom. I ate it on pork rinds. Pork rinds are NOT a particularly quality food as I’ve read the proteins are damaged and can’t really count toward your necessary protein intake, but they do have a cracker crunch available nowhere else in the keto universe – at least not without some kitchen magic or costly store-bought substitutes. You can get a big’ol bag of the stuff at Walmart for two bucks.

I’ve also eaten hot dogs wrapped in a slice of cheese with mustard. I’ve eaten the magic yogurt with inulin that I make myself. I also oven cooked chicken thighs with oil and seasonings and ate this with melted provolone cheese as well as topped with cream cheese. I’ve also made burgers and had them on a slice of cheese without ketchup. Not doing ketchup really sucks. There’s stupid-expensive ‘Primal Kitchen’ ketchup I simply don’t have the heart nor budget to buy. As part of my diet I also try to eliminate all artificial sweeteners – again, I got my reasons but don’t feel like explaining now.

I allow myself small amounts of real sugar as I will eat Ghiradelli 92% Dark Chocolate as my only sweet. Think of it as a palate cleanser more than anything as I will only have a few squares at most in the evening.

For drinks, I am fond of coffee with cream – perhaps too much as I can drink a pot, a Trader Joe’s Turmeric and Ginger Tea that can soothe a stomach that just drank a pot of coffee, and Trader Joe’s seltzer.

This isn’t sustainable. There was no mention of vegetables and I *am* fond of them. Some people believe they are good for you, too. I need to cook more and plan more. hopefully that will start next week as I let the ketones do their appetite killing work and my brain fog lifts. I mean , last night I actually found myself motivated to tackle a few projects I’ve been putting off. I resisted the urge, but *did* find myself tackling some tasks rather than avoiding them.

By the second day, my Tums addiction disappeared as my chronic indigestion went away. That always happens, too.

I also noticed that it was late in the afternoon when I asked myself: did I eat today?

Forgetting to eat is one effect of my body running on ketones

This is the magic of ketogenic living for me.

Not so magical is the stench I give off the first few days. Day 2 and 3 I smelled pretty ripe. This has been a standard side effect of going into ketosis for me (which I have done a hundred times since 2003). It lasts a few days, I do not know the reason why, but it does subside. I’m much less odoriferous now.

TMI? Remember – I’m not asking you to read this…

Diet Fail 2019 – Day 4: My Supplement Stack

Hello, weary traveler of the Web!

Perhaps you are looking for a quality resource for ketogenic diet information and thought you’d take a look around?

Boy, are you in the wrong place!

I’m more of a ketogenic ‘performance artist’ as is evidenced by 500+ posts since 2007.

Still fat, by the way.

I *did* lose weight on a keto diet and kept a lot of it off for nearly a decade, but for some unknown reason, having my appendix removed in 2013 caused the weight to pile back on and I’ve never been able to get back to that 200 lb. weight that, while still a bit hefty, was OK.

I’m at 264lb. right now and would like to get rid of the ’64’ part of the above number.

I went on Atkins in 2003 and in 2 years went from 260 to 180. That was 16 years ago. I was keto before the term ‘keto’ was coined.

I’m way the fuck older, but given my success that first time, have perhaps deluded myself that keto is the only way to go. I’ve never bothered to try any other diet since.

There’s a few reasons why. I won’t be exhaustive, but put out a few things that draw me to this approach:

I don’t need that much willpower. Ketones in your body are an appetite suppressant. By day 2 doing this I was in ketosis and my hunger calmed. I still get hungry, but not ravenous. Carbs make me hungry even while I’m eating them – I’m thinking about what I’ll eat next even before I’m finished eating what I got. If I can get through the first few days it becomes way easier.

I can either prevent diabetes or manage it with fewer (or no) meds. Even the American Diabetes Association says this now, with a kind of ‘oops, I pooped my pants’ look on their faces after years of saying it’s dangerous and doesn’t work.

I like the way my brain operates on ketones. This is a weird one to explain. Believe it or not, people actually pay me to think (I’m still amazed at that fact). I have years of proof that when my body is in ketosis and a good part of my brain is using ketone bodies for fuel instead of glucose, I think clearer. I’m calmer and more motivated. I gotta keep those paychecks comin’!

I can lose weight if I apply myself. I can easily stay fat eating keto. I need a calorie deficit to lose weight. The appetite suppressant effects of the diet make it easier. The brain effects make me stick to it even when the scale does not move.

So with that brief intro, I’m going to segue into my supplement stack. I don’t feel like going into the ‘why’ at this moment, but I just set up my supplements for the next 30 days and thought I’d document it.

Now I’m gonna warn you: don’t do what I do! This is not a recommendation. I don’t give advice. I don’t have the background to give advice. In fact, this could be VERY BAD advice for some people. Fish oil is a blood thinner. If you are already taking blood-thinning meds you could trigger a Hemorrhagic stroke! Iodine can be bad for people with certain diseases of the thyroid. Those Brazil nuts? I take them for the selenium in them. The stuff has a very narrow window where it’s healthy – too little is no good, but too much over time can lead to selenosis, which can cause hair loss, nail loss, nausea, irritability, fatigue and some nerve damage.

And the potassium?

potassium levels can rise to high levels, leading to dangerous heart rhythm problems and even cardiac arrest. Because of this potential danger, the FDA limits over-the-counter potassium supplements (including multivitamin-mineral pills) to less than 100 milligrams (mg).

I’m taking 10 times that amount.

So remember: I am a Stunt Dieter. Do Not try This as Home!

Supplement Dose Amount Active dose Cost/Day
Magnesium Malate 1250mg 3 450mg $0.19
Vitamin K2 MK7 Version 200mg 2 200mg $0.33
Costco Vitamin D3 6000IU 3 6000IU $0.07
Iodine 300mcg 2 300mcg $0.05
Probiotic n/a 1 n/a $1.24
Carlson’s The Very Finest Fish Oil 2tsp 2 3200mg $1.26
B12 Sublingual 5000mcg 1 5000mcg $0.07
Mature Multi 1 pill 1 n/a $0.03
Brazil Nuts 1 nut 1 68-91mg $0.05
Potassium Citrate 1/2 tsp n/a 1000mg $0.05

The total for the above daily dose: $3.34 US.

Until next time.