Day 4: Friday, April 4, 2014 – 223.0 – The Flub

Day 4: Friday, April 4, 2014 – 223.0

Things were going well. Cheese, a burger, low carb ketchup, a Fage yogurt. All to plan.

And then they weren’t.

As a two-income household, teo long commutes, two kids, no maids nor nannies, having th breathing room for a sit-down meal is an infrequent occurrence. As both kids were asleep, tired from the day’s activities, that meant my wife and I could dine alone – an even more unusual occurrence.

She wanted me to open a bottle of wine for her. She’s a light drinker. I thought the rareness of the occasion might allow me to bend my rule and have a glass of wine with her.

Bad move.

The meal itself was fine: some hot Italian sausage stir-fried with broccoli rabe along with a small lobster tail that was on sale. She had a side of Quinoa with corn – I steered clear of it.

It was all very nice. Due to homework issues I pulled the plug on the TV and the house was quiet. We drank our wine and ate our meals and talked and I was quite satisfied.

Relaxed.

She didn’t finish her glass so I finished it for her as she went up to bed, leaving me alone in the kitchen.

Relaxed after a long week, defenses down and putting away the remaining food began the fall from low carb grace. A few dumplings from the other day were had, and then some of the Quinoa – that being followed up by not one but two ice cream sandwiches.

Wilson – what I had named the bunny-shaped sugar cookie that haunted my bedstand – got it next. Only his head remained, his countenance one of blank complacency – much like a real rabbit.

He was gone – and so was my low carb streak.

As cheats go it wasn’t a big one. It should slow things down – certainly – but it’s not the end of the world.

Let’s see if I can keep this an isolated incident.

The April Fool Day 3: Thursday, April 3, 2014 – 221.4

Day 3: Wednesday, April 3, 2014 – 221.4

Down 4 pounds ever since I started. 36.4 lbs. away from my ‘ideal’ weight. This would me a BMI of 26.5, which is technically ‘overweight’ but I think below that I’d look gaunt.

Seems a far way away…sigh.

No matter. I’ve been here before. I just keep repeating to myself: ‘patience is a virtue’.

After my pure fat & caffeine breakfast, I ate mid afternoon. Two baby cucumber about 4 inches long wrapped in cheese – that’s a first for me and it wasn’t half bad – I’ll have to remember that trick.

I got a link today – how much coffee would it take to kill you? (http://www.todayifoundout.com/index.php/2013/06/how-much-caffeine-would-it-take-to-kill-you/)

given my tolerance for the noble bean, I’m (probably) OK.

There’s also this tidbit:

Numerous studies have shown that moderate caffeine intake can protect you against neurodegenerative diseases. 3-5 cups per day at midlife will reduce your risk of dementia, Parkinson’s and Alzheimer’s later in life. The mediating factor is thought to be the effects caffeine has on the A1 adenosine receptor site.


(Please note: the studies I agree with are always sound science. The one I don’t agree with were done by shoddy researchers.)

Before leaving work there was a Fage yogurt with EZ-Sweetz.

Home proved to be somewhat tough to navigate. First, my own plans were thrown off because my wife asked me to take the kids to class. When I got home to take them, there was leftover baked ziti that my wife had brought in. I was already going to be late for the class and had to leave without grabbing a bite to eat.

And class is next to a grocery store. So here I am, walking the aisles of a grocery store, hungry, with baked ziti at home – and my wife calls and asks me to pick up some dumplings at the very awesome Shanghainese restaurant that’s close by.

I had plenty of things to eat at home – but no plans, nothing unfrozen to cook – and the earliest I would be home would be 8:30pm.

I bought 2 pounds of ground beef and as the family dug in to the ziti and dumplings, I took the package of meat, placed it on tinfoil on the convection oven tray and with a piece of Saran wrap covering it, mashed it down into a very flat meatloaf of sorts. Then using a plastic knife, I slicked it up into 6 pieces. I put it into the convection oven with a little steak sauce and salt on top and waited 20 minutes. W

When ‘ding’ it was done, I had 3 of the burgers wrapped in cheese with the low carb ketchup – I could have lived with two, really.

I also had 2 very large glasses of the almond milk, as well as the Lindt 85% dark chocolate.

I had to put away the ziti and the extra dumplings. I resisted the temptation to have ‘just one bite’ – Hell – this is day 3! I can do better than that.

The sugar cookie was still on my nightstand from the night before.

I read with my sugar cookie until I nodded off.

 

The April Fool Day 2: Wednesday, April 2, 2014 – 223.4

Day 2: Wednesday, April 2, 2014 – 223.4

Small 2 lb. drop. Given I felt I ate a lot the night before I was slightly surprised.

38.5 pound to go to reach my September 1 goal of 185.

The morning was my typical coffee and cream as well as coconut oil and cream a bit later.

My first meal of the day (aside from caffeine and pure fat) was some of the lovely Applegate American cheese and a mini brie. I also ate fruit – an avocado.

I’m feeling that ‘weird’ feeling that means the onset of ketosis. It shouldn’t be hard – I haven’t been exactly binging on carbs for a good part of the previous month. My carb intake might have been higher than I’d have liked bit it was probably less than half of the average person’s already.

As is usual during the ketosis conversion, my head is clear and I feel OK – just weird.

If I was in ketosis, though, it was only light ketosis. Not what I expected.

I finished up that tiny bit of chicken / bacon / sour cream combo from the night before, then made a tuna salad with scallions. I put in what amounted to 3 tablespoons of mayonnaise but it seemed a bit dry, so I tried adding a bit of sour cream – my thinking here is the sour cream is a better choice than another 3 tablespoons of mayonnaise – and perhaps it will add the creaminess without eliminating the flavor notes of the mayonnaise. I also added about 4 shakes of Worcestershire sauce.

It came out good. I’ve come to find that Worcestershire sauce works well for more than a steak.

I ate this on pork rinds and left it unfinished – again, trying to get into the habit of not eating to the container. I washed this down with the ‘comfort food’ flavor of almond milk sweetened with EZ-Sweetz.

I went to bed early as the wife was studying there and my younger daughter was doing her homework in bed with her. My wife was watching some concert on Youtube – I don’t share the same musical tastes as my wife usually. As of late I’ve been listening to Caravan Palace (I love the cartoon on this one):

She was watching Chris Botti with the Boston Pops. I usually tune out whatever she’s listening to, but this particular concert was unique: a symphony orchestra backing up a jazz ensemble, with appearnaces by Yoyo Mah, Sting, Steven Tyler, and John Mayer, among others. That’s not your usual lineup. The music was eclectic and unexpected – and the musicians truly looked like they were enjoying themselves.

I had no idea who Chris Botti was before this – I want to check him out further after seeing the concert.

I’m reading Do you Believe in Magic? (http://amzn.com/0062222961) which details nicely my concerns with supplements and how we have come to a place where entirely unregulated pills can make whatever wild claims they want and get away with it. As with most things I read in this area, the book is not without its own biases, but the information is interesting.

For example:

On October 10, 2011, researchers from the University of Minnesota found that women who took supplemental multivitamins died at rates higher than those who didn’t . Two days later, researchers from the Cleveland Clinic found that men who took vitamin E had an increased risk of prostate cancer. “It’s been a tough week for vitamins,” said Carrie Gann of ABC News.

These findings weren’t new . Seven previous studies had already shown that vitamins increased the risk of cancer and heart disease and shortened lives. Still, in 2012, more than half of all Americans took some form of vitamin supplements.

Offit M.D., Paul A. (2013-06-18). Do You Believe in Magic?: The Sense and Nonsense of Alternative Medicine (Kindle Locations 613-616). HarperCollins. Kindle Edition.

I have a funny feeling that some of you are feeling a distancing from me as I quote the above. Most people love their vitamins and herbal supplements.

My choice in music might also distance you. When I add details like this that don’t jibe with your preferences it prevents you from projecting things onto me that, since I typically leave them out, you can be free to assume.

“Let’s see – this guy listens to Chris Botti and Caravan Palace – and he thinks supplements are dangerous – I’m outta here!”

Oh well – unlike most bloggers, I’m not trying to get the most hits – this is an experiment in authenticity in a world of posers and I want to see where that takes me.

The concert completed with the book as I stopped to watch some amazing performances.

In bed, reading and watching the concert, I finished off the evening with a few squares of the Lindt 85% Dark Chocolate and a Fage Yogurt with EZ-Sweetz. I was up a bit later than usual reading after the concert was over, then quickly fell asleep.

Another giant rabbit-shaped sugar cookie appeared on my bed stand – my younger daughter snacking on it as she did her homework between Mom and Dad. I almost reach for it a number of times when going for my iPhone.

Sugar cookies are following me.

The April Fool: Day 1

Day 1: Tuesday, March 1, 2014 – 225.4

On day one of my ‘real’ diet I had my usual breakfast of coffee and cream – that’s not changing anytime soon. I did read an article that said that drinking dairy with coffee and tea blocks the absorption of antioxidants, but I don’t care. I take nutritional supplements only on occasion. While I was once quite a believer in supplementation, I’ve come to think of it as modern snake oil. Besides, there have also been studies that have shown antioxidants in our diets either have no effect on our health or even a negative effect on our health. Here’s just one example.

Since there’s an almost endless supply of studies from both sides of this, we can debate this endlessly if we like – but I’d rather stay out of the fray, skip the supplements except for a multivitamin every few days, and take the approach that a diet of high quality unprocessed foods, with even only a moderate amount of variety, is probably adequate. The body manufactures its own antioxidants – and it is also believed that oxidation is used by the body to fight infections as well as cancer, so perhaps I’ll not concern myself with an obscure body process we are yet to fully understand, skip the pills, and get on with my life.

There’s also the ‘Magic Amulet Effect‘: if I eat supplements they will magically protect me from my diet of Twinkies washed down with beer.

Like I said: I used to be a big believer in them. Searching this blog might still turn up the massive list of potions I used to take.

Now it’s a multivitamin every few days at most. It’s a personal choice, based on drawing my own conclusions.

Feel free to agree or disagree if you like: I’m not trying to convince anyone of anything.

Anyway, when I got to work I grabbed a sheet of copy paper and did the origami to make my little 8 page book. (There’s instructions here on how to fold it.)

I’ve found there’s an art to this: too many things and it becomes overwhelming and I don’t look at it. I also find that writing things in a particular style helps. Next, the act of writing seems to make it more powerful than typing it. Lastly, each book is designed to last for a week and then put into a pile. I have hundreds of these going back years and they act as a diary of where my head was at in any particular week.

It’s cheap and easy and less ephemeral than an electronic task list where tasks disappear when done. I have tried every app there is – a piece of folded paper and a pen has given me the best results so I’m doing it again.

I start the book by putting the span of time it cover on the front: 4/1 – 4/7/2014.

On the first inside page I list my goals – big goals. Not unachievable goals – realistic ones. I try not to write negative goals – ‘I won’t do X’ – negative goal are harder to wrap your head around than positive ones. As much as possible I try to quantify them with numbers and dates.

Here’s some of what I came up with:

  • I am 185 pounds by September 1, 2014

  • I eat mostly unprocessed foods

  • I swim twice a week

  • I eat until almost full. If there’s leftovers I store for later or toss

  • I only drink martinis – and only outside the house

  • I avoid nightshade vegetables

  • I cook more

Now I’ve broken my own rules here on some of them – how do you quantify ‘mostly’ or ‘more’?

That’s the beauty of this system: next week I will write my goals down again – without referencing these goals. Every week you rewrite them – and each week you restate and refine your goals based upon your experience the previous week. It’s a great way to internalize and constantly tweak and perfect your goals. The ones that are wrong for you can disappear or change – the ones that are right for you get more focused.

During the week I attempt to reread what I wrote. As I also keep mundane things in the book (‘fertilize lawn’) I have to reference it just to run my life – but my goals are alway in the front.

Considering it costs a sheet of copy paper and a little ink each week and take up as much space and a few folded dollar bills, I recommend you experiment with it – you might be surprised where it takes you.

One other note should you try this: don’t write anything down that could be potentially embarrassing should it get lost. I don’t write my name in it or put other information that would identify me. I also don’t write things like: ‘buy cream for rash on ass’ just in case it is found and associated with me. I follow the rule: don’t write anything down you wouldn’t be willing to stand up in court and defend.

My entire eating at work consisted of two hard-boiled eggs with ketchup. I’m glad nobody saw me. I kinda like hard-boiled eggs with ketchup, but I need to be cognizant of not eating it again for a while. I’ve paid lip-service to variety and taken the easy way out and went along with a natural tendency to enjoy the same thing over and over, but perhaps I’ve taken it a bit too far and a focus on variety might be one of the tricks I haven’t really explored yet.

At home there were more eggs but I didn’t go there. Instead, I found leftover chicken legs. I cut the meat off, crumpled in some leftover bacon and nuked for a minute and a half. Then I ate with sour cream – and did not finish the bowl even though only a tiny bit was left. It went in the fridge and I finished up with two baby cucumbers with a little salt.

A little later I had a Fage yogurt with a little vanilla and sweetener, then munched on some dark chocolate and a bit later after that, munched on some pork rinds.

So on day one I succeeded in three of the goals on my hit list: variety, veggies, and not eating to the container. I might have eaten a bit much but to expect to be firing on all cylinders the first day out is perhaps unrealistic for me.

After getting into my bed, I noticed that my younger daughter had left a large rabbit-shaped sugar cookie on my nightstand. It’s as if I live my life in a novel at times. Of course the character on the low carb diet finds a rabbit-shaped sugar cookie on his nightstand after starting his diet – it’s a symbol that temptation follows the character throughout the narrative – he can’t escape it.

Except this isn’t a novel.

The April Fool

Day 1 – Tuesday, March 1, 2014 – 225.4

OK – maybe the last month was a ‘test’ – a baseline to see where my problem points were.

It was also a month that saw a decade’s worth of work end for me as it was turned off, and a new system turned on. I sweated the details of this cutover and all the work seems to have paid off so far. Still some kinks to fix, but on the whole I think we’ll come out fine.

I’m going to lay my abysmal performance last month on the diet to that.

There. As if by magic, I am blameless.

Unburdened now from any guilt in my flubbing it for the past 21 days, I can review my spreadsheet and come away with a few observations:

1. I keep trying to prove I can drink and lose weight but I can’t drink and lose weight. Sucks but true. Alcohol is it’s own ‘nutrient’ with 7 calories per gram. Its high in calories and those calories have to be dealt with ASAP by the body. When you are burning those calories, you ain’t burning fat. Alcohol can also trigger hunger for me. If I have a martini out at dinner here and there, that’s fine – but the number of times I have it per month should be less than the fingers on one hand.

2. My chart for last month that showed how many days I ate a given food revealed that I ate about 70 different foods – only half of them I consider to be good for my diet. It also showed I ate way too few different ‘good’ foods, as can be evidenced by my having roast beef 13 times. No wonder I am *sick to death* of roast beef. The chart I made for this month lists over 40 foods that aren’t a problem on a low carb diet. I am going to make a conscious effort to increase variety as I believe this was part of the problem. I am going to try to not eat the same foods more two days in a row – with the exception of cheese and dairy, which I could eat every damn day in all it’s varieties.

3. I am still going to try to steer clear of nightshades – peppers and tomatoes – for the month and see if I notice a difference.

4. I’ve added more veggies to the list. There was a paucity of veggie variety last month – I’m going to try to add more.

5. I have a deep-seated disinclination to throw food away. I am going to have to work on this one because, while noble from a ‘people are starving’ standpoint, it does me no good in the weight department. I am going to make a conscious effort to not eat to clean the plate of empty the container, but consciously leave a little food for the trash. Ugggh – just *writing* that makes me cringe.

6. In my blog I’ve detailed over 150 recipes – most of them relatively fast and simple to make. I’m going to go back and resurrect some and maybe try to make them faster and easier.

7. I’m going to allow myself a few processed crutch foods to help me out. I’ve got the EZ_Sweetz – a true zero-calorie sucralose as a sweetener. Low carb ketchup as a low-brow favorite. Almond milk – a processed food and I am somewhat suspect of ALL processed foods, even those that claim to be healthy – but I love the stuff and it works as a great low carb alternative to milk, which has always been a comfort food for me. And my old friend mayonnaise – high in Omega-6 fats which I avoid, but if it’s the only component of my diet high in Omega-6 I should be OK.

8. I’m not going to measure quantities – at least yet – but just become more aware of them. My food tracking system only counts the eating of a given food as ‘I ate it’ – it doesn’t care if I had a bite or a case. I don’t want to pull out my electronic scale and start weighing stuff, nor do I want to fire up my calorie-counting app just yet.

9. Lastly, I’m going to revive an old habit of keeping a tiny little paper booklet where I kept long-term and short-term goals, my to do list, a shopping list, and things I was waiting for. Despite all the iPhone apps I’ve tried and being surrounded with computers that will happily track this stuff six ways to Sunday, there was something empowering in this little booklet.

Let’s see how THIS goes.

 

Fat, Dumb & Happy Day 19: I Screw Up

March 25, 2014 – 222.8

(Continued…)

I ate lunch at noon – two ‘sandwiches’ consisting of mortadella between slices of the Kerry Gold Irish Swiss cheese with mustard. Satisfying. Mid afternoon a wave of tiredness made me get more Dunkin Donuts coffee.

Late in the afternoon I had perhaps 20 macadamia nuts before leaving work.

Today was the day I screwed up. I had some wine, then went to the fridge to grab some pork shoulder after making pasta for the kid. I had a little bit of the mortadella left and was going to finish it up.

There was leftover toast by the fridge, made by one of the kids, untouched. Without thinking, I ate it – then the ‘What the Hell Effect kicked in. A tiny bit of pasta and Trader Joe’s mini meatballs, 2 small bread rolls with butter, and 2 regular chocolate candies later, I went to bed.

As binges go, this was small potatoes (small potatoes….yummmm). I had been waiting and waiting for when I would screw up – then stopped waiting for it. It wasn’t stress or even a particularly strong craving. Like a lot of criminals, it was a crime of opportunity.

Maybe the ‘reward’ of the mortadella had something to do with it. I love the stuff and it’s certainly low carb, but I don’t believe that it’s good for you. I’m not even saying I know that as a fact or not – maybe mortadella has life-extending properties unknown to science for all I know – it’s the *belief* itself – in it being a ‘reward’ and being ‘bad for you’ that might be the culprit here.

I didn’t want to go all ‘pop psychologist’ in watching for the steps that lead to a failure, albeit a small one. There’s nothing much to see here: maybe some moral licensing mixed with opportunity, with a dash of the regular stress and fatigue thrown in. Boring.

Maybe the interesting part is not preventing the fall off the horse but ensuring you get right back on after the fall?

March 26, 2014 -223.6

Still in ketosis – at least this morning. Sometimes there’s leftover ketones that will disappear from the afternoon measurement. What’s concerning is the blood glucose: 135. I believe that’s an out-of-shape glucose regulation mechanism responding to a small amount of carbs.

I could have recovered there – but I didn’t. I thought I was going to. I bought more cheese and roast beef and was prepared to get back on the horse…but there’s no pizza on the horse, so I stayed off the horse and had 2 slices of pepperoni pizza after having my low-carb-friendly cheese and roast beef with what turned out to be a not-so-friendly leftover salad dressing that was obviously sweetened with sugar.

Then, to ensure that I screwed up big for the day: 2 crappy energy drinks and a small bag of chips for the ride home.

I felt wasted and bloated by all this. When I came home I didn’t have much of an appetite. The kids had some coconut shrimp, and I had a few of those – and that’s it except for water.

March 27, 2014 – 225.6

Any reasonable person, assessing the current situation of my diet, would most likely throw in the towel and begin looking elsewhere. There’s plenty of new diet books out there – there always is.

I suspect that diet books have become a trope: there are standard devices and conventions for these things, and all you need is a good ‘hook’ – the diet book equivalent to the guitar intro to ‘Smoke on the Water’ by Deep Purple – or a celebrity, or a reasonably attractive and slim author for the cover.

Lastly you need a good title. ‘The End of Dieting’, currently on the bestseller list, is a common title convention: the ‘This-is-Not-a-Diet-Book Diet Book’. It promises something different, but it’s another diet book.

Then there’s ‘Hungry Girl Diet’. Since most diet book purchasers are women, they take the risk of leaving the fat guys behind by making the women feel like it’s especially for them – a girl’s club. It’s worked for this title – it’s #1 at the moment.

Where’s the diet for the guys? Oh, there it is: ‘Super Shred Diet’ – that sounds macho. And there’s a manly man on the cover.

Then there’s the nerd diets that blind you with science: ‘Wheat Belly’. Cute, yet sciency for the folks that want real data. Invent a disease, then cure it with your diet. I haven’t read this one, but I might add it to my collection as this is the one that most appeals to my particular sub-genre of diet book reading.

For those of us that want to hear from an actual doctor, there’s ‘The Doctor’s Diet’. You buy that one on the basis of an authority, though doctors have failed to halp anyone lose weight for 50 years, so I don’t necessarily see the allure. It’s probably for people who haven’t thought this proposition through.

Smoothies are cool. They’re fast to make and convenient for busy folk, so of course, there’s a Smoothie diet on the bestseller list, as well as a Paleo diet book. There’s also a book on dieting with Intermittent Fasting – as well as a ‘fast’ diet – we fat suckers *always* fall for that one: “In a couple of weeks i’ll be in Speedos just so long as I buy this book!”

Anywho…end of rant. I ain’t goin’ nowhere.

I bought Applegate Farms american cheese and when I had it today for the first time, I was blown away. Delicate flavor, yet distinct – not what you think of when you think ‘American cheese’, with it’s in-your-face-sloppy-wet-dog-jumping-on-you-bold-dumb flavor.

I had family duties and drove home eating some to pick up my kids for class after school. I also stopped at McDonalds. (Doum-Dum-DUMMMMMmmmm.) I bought 3 double cheeseburgers and they were gone in a flash. I also had 2 energy drinks because I was tired and was not going to make it through the evening. Got home with the kids after nine and was shortly in bed where I quickly fell asleep.

March 28, 2014 – 226.4

Ate mostly the Applegate American cheese, which has a wonderful flavor. I think I ate the entire pound of the stuff in work and on the way home. I also had a Fage yogurt with EZ-Sweetz – and if I could find any more of them, I would have had some macadamia nuts.

In the evening the family want to a steakhouse. I indulged in a vodka martini as well as some of the bread brought to the table. I had a salad, then the main course: a prime rib steak with wasabi mashed potatoes. I had ‘em – they were good.

At home afterward I had some frosted flakes that the kid left out on the counter and some soft sweet bread of some sort with Nutella.

Not low carb. No point in testing for ketones, eh?

I did lose 2 pounds the next day – but that’s for the next post.

 

Fat, Dumb & Happy Day 14 &15

March 23, 2013 – 221.8

Still in ketosis. The weight gain was half of what I expected so I’m not particularly disturbed by this.

The overaged kielbasa has not had any ill effect on me. Of course, if the kielbasa was contaminated with listeria, that bacteria can incubate for weeks before symptoms show up.

The package was sealed, however, so if there was no listeria in it to begin with, none could spontaneously generate.

Got up 6am, had my coffee and cream and did a few hours work. Then it was time for some chores and playing taxi for the kids.

5pm

Had my first meal of the day: 3 avocados with a little salsa and tabasco, drizzled with olive oil, on pork rinds. I like avocados but they are a pain. The time window for ripeness is a small one – and they tend to ripen all at once. Forget about them for a few days and they’ve gone from too hard to eat to too rotten to eat. I had four. One was DOA – the rest became my dinner.

I took a vitamin after eating. I realized that I probably hadn’t had much in the way of vitamin C for a while and would like to avoid a case of scurvy (great name for a vitamin deficiency, don’t you think?)

 I had to work in the evening and had a 2-hour conference call from 8pm to almost 10. I had put a dry-rubbed pork shoulder in the oven and expected the call to end earlier, and almost burned it. It came out good, though.

I was tired and wired after the call and didn’t get to sleep until nearly 12am. I did have some strawberries and whipped cream – the real deal. The carbs are low enough that having some doesn’t matter much – especially given what I had all day. Strawberries are also cool – again, not too many and not every day and I’ll be fine.

I also had wine and chocolate before bed.

March 24, 2014 – 221.4

Down a wee bit. I’m fine with that. What I wasn’t fine with was getting up at 5am and having to work for an hour before work. Today was the day of the launch of a 6-month project and I had to be there – getting a case of the runs was NOT helpful to my getting to a meeting at 9am.

Four Immodium later I somehow made it and the launch began. This is going to span a number of days and then there will be lots of testing to be sure everything is working as expected.

Tired, though.

I had a Fage yogurt at around noon, then some cheese and roast beef around 2pm. Still hungry, I thought I needed a ‘reward’ for six-months on the project – and almost nothing but this project every day, all the time, for the last few weeks. I thought about a lot of things not low carb, but settled on an old fave – mortadella. That hit the spot.

As I write this (4:30pm) I am waiting for the Dunkin Donuts coffee to kick in but it isn’t working.

I could barely drag myself home I was so tired. I was too uninspired to cook – even eggs – so I took 3 raw eggs and nuked them in a microwave-safe dish with butter, salt, pepper and cheese. Three minutes with a stir in between will do it.

I wanted to jazz it up with something and thought of salsa. I put in a generous amount – not sparingly like the day before. Let’s see if I have a reaction to it.

I enjoyed it with the salsa, but the meal was really too much to eat – I should have put the 2nd half away. Really, it was my stomach that was sensitive. Perhaps that ancient kilebasa was having a delayed reaction on me?

I was also really thirsty had had glass after glass of water. The mortadella, probably. That’s why, despite it being low carb, it went on my ‘bad food’ list.

I had my chocolate then went to bed and read – the first time I did this in a while – I’ve been too distracted by work as of late to concentrate.

This project will drag on for months – but it feels good to be in the next phase.

March 25, 2014 – 222.8

A bump in the weight – no doubt from the water.

The most telling thing is that I was so stiff I couldn’t get out of bed.

The salsa. Remember the thing about nightshades and solanine from a few days ago? It really does seem to have a correlation. I wasn’t stiff all those days I *didn’t* have nightshades.

Still – it could be a coincidence. I’ll still have to play around with this one.

Oh – got my glucose test strips – it was 116 this AM. I did not have wine last light – just chocolate. I can begin testing my ‘wine and chocolate lowers fasting blood glucose’ now.

TBC…

Fat, Dumb & Happy Day 12 & 13

March 21, 2014 – 219.6

What was different than yesterday? Little. Same hectic day. Maybe more tension. Didn’t eat all day. Went out mid afternoon for coffee and to clear my head a bit. Dunkin Donuts had a power outage and I had to make due with Starbucks – not a huge fan of their coffee but I compensate by adding cinnamon & nutmeg, which I like a lot. No nutmeg though – they were out of it.

At home, had my roast beef and cheese with mayonnaise and had some wine before bed. I also had a few small pieces of watermelon and a big mug of almond milk.

March 22, 2014 – 219.2

I have to work this weekend.

My weight is *slowly* creeping downward. Today is the lowest weight during this go at ketosis and the lowest weight in a month. It seems to be inching down somewhat slower than is usual but bodies do not like to change their weight downward.

At this point, however, I feel OK, have few cravings, mood seems to be less volatile, mind is clear and productive and I don’t feel particularly deprived. It’s really not a bad place to be.

I’ve been keeping tabs on the news in between everything else and there’s been a few articles worth noting – I might sprinkle future posts with brief mentions.

News: Woman treats brain tumor with low carb diet

It has been said that ‘sugar feeds cancer’. Cancer cells apparently don’t thrive in people on a ketogenic environment because cancer cells are carb addicts.

As this particular woman is the director of operations at a biochemistry research firm, I can only assume that she has the smarts to make an informed decision when she decided to forego normal cancer treatments for this approach.

Ditching traditional cancer treatments is a game of ‘You Bet Your Life’. Steve Jobs tried this and lost. I’m sure this was a tough personal decision and I wish her the best.

Here’s the link: http://www.examiner.com/article/woman-battles-deadly-brain-cancer-without-chemo-using-low-carb-ketogenic-diet

(If anyone can explain to me why Examiner.com is almost always the source of pro low-carb news in my news feed, let me know.)

11am

I had made my kids eggs and toast for breakfast and thought: why not have a breakfast yourself? If I was at work I probably could had done a day 3 of not eating all day but I’m still not sure it’s necessarily good for you.

I made myself 3 eggs in lots of butter and grated cheese over the top. They were lightly cooked. I play the odds, betting that the extra $ I pay for top-notch eggs makes the odds greater that I will get salmonella.

Way before former New York Mayor Michael Bloomberg instituted nanny-state laws like regulating the size of sodas, my great state of New Jersey was in the vanguard of this trend and in 1992 banned ‘runny eggs’ being sold in restaurants. New Jersey is a nice state that gets a bad rap because parts of the state have some curious pecadillos. It’s a complex place – the same state has one of the richest counties in the country – and one of the worst cities. Organic farmers dot the bucolic central region. The Jersey Shore suffers from multiple personality disorder: we have a hippy-dippy nude beach (I think the only one on the east coast), uptight law & order beaches that are quiet because no radios or food is allowed like Spring Lake (also known as the ‘Irish Riviera’ because of the enclave of Irish that inhabit the area), and then we have what the word thinks of as the ‘Jersey Shore’ – Seaside Heights – tawdry, tacky, and tasteless.

But for our legislators to broadcast to the country their laser focus on fixing problems that don’t need fixing instead of focusing on the problems that actually matter and making ‘runny eggs’ illegal made New Jersey a laughing-stock at the time. The law was quickly repealed and whoever came up with that waste of taxpayer dollars probably wore a fake beard and sunglasses so as not to be recognized.

Here’s the story: (http://photos.nj.com/star-ledger/2013/04/eehdiner.html)

4 pm

Worked, did some errands and was hungry. I’ve drank surprisingly little coffee in comparison to most days and I’m tired. Looking for something to eat I found a polish kielbasa in the meat drawer. I cooked it up and ate maybe 8 or 9 ounces with mustard.

Then I looked at the label: ‘Use by December 29, 2013’.

Will I be in trouble?

It tasted fine. I’ll guess we’ll find out.

9pm

A somewhat troubling day from the diet standpoint – and it isn’t done yet. The kielbasa has produced no ill effects so far, but I’ve had a powerful thirst – no doubt from the salt. The kielbasa had no nitrates and proudly proclaims only 5 ingredients – all ones you don’t need a chemistry degree to understand.

I drank a LOT of water and almond milk. I don’t like to overdo it on the almond milk but I would say I did. My younger daughter came back from a friend’s house around 6 and was hungry. My wife and older daughter had taken a day trip and nothing was prepared for dinner. I asked the kid what she wanted:

“Pizza.”

I thought to myself: “You’re up to this.”

I bought her three slices: plain, pepperoni, mushroom.

The kid did the usual: pulled off a lot of the cheese and toppings.

At the risk of drawing the wrong conclusion, the kielbasa was a bad idea. I’ve had this unquenchable thirst after other meals – and this usually signals for some reason my eating everything in sight and gaining 5 pounds at least. Kielbasa goes on my ‘Bad Foods’ list. Not a great loss if I’m wrong and some other thing caused this. I eat this maybe three times a year, tops.

There were more than a few times I wanted to snatch one of the kid’s slices. She ate slow and kept the box open. I’d close it so I didn’t have to look at it.

Then my wife and daughter came home with leftovers from Legal Seafood.

As this is the best seafood restaurant ever, all this was a bit much for me. I did have a taste of their fried cod – excellent – and some of their fried calamari – also excellent. I did NOT have the french fries, any pizza, nor the bread rolls.

I did have their tartar sauce that might have contained some sugar as well as a bit of their coleslaw.

Considering my day of living really low carb, the small amount of carbs shouldn’t put me out of ketosis.

I ate my chocolate before bed and also had wine. I do not have my glucose meter to determine if this works long-term as a blood glucose control or was just a fluke that after this combo the other day when my blood sugar was normal in the AM without meds, but I should have it in a few days.

Fat, Dumb & Happy Day 9

March 18, 2014 – 223.2

Feel much better today. Still in ketosis. I’m thinking perhaps the ‘healthy veggies’ in my soup were perhaps not so healthy. I’ve come to distrust almost all general health and nutrition advice  – and the more emphatic the announcements the more I distrust them – and feel very on-my-own to sort things out.

On my way to work I picked up more roast beef and Kerry Gold swiss cheese. The woman at the deli counter said about the cheese: “Good, isn’t it? I can only order it around St. Patrick’s Day.” How did she know I liked it? Perhaps my walking up and asking for that particular brand without hesitation showed her that I had it before and knew what I was buying.

“You mean you can’t order it after?”

“No – but I can still order it now – maybe I’ll buy another case before it’s unavailable – you’re not the only one who likes it.”

“If you buy it, I’ll keep coming back to get more.” I smiled.

As this is my new favorite cheese – I mean it.

5:30pm

All I ate today was the Kerry Gold Irish Swiss cheese and roast beef – and I feel a hell of a lot better than yesterday. I might have been able to eat more after the 2 servings I had, but I wasn’t obsessed with eating like the past two days – it’s a world of a difference.

Can I really have a food allergy? I’ve always thought of myself as someone who didn’t have allergies to *anything*.

(Well, maybe you can say I’m ‘allergic’ to carbs.)

If I keep experimenting and find this reaction to these vegetables consistently happens…well, that sucks. I love tomatoes and tomato products. I love the spice of peppers. I like artichokes but they aren’t a ‘core food’ – if you told me I could never have one again, I could deal with it.

Tomatoes and peppers, however, leave me somewhat mortified – though as I once heard from a toxicologist: ‘the toxin is in the dose’.

Perhaps I can still have these in limited quantities and not have problems – and not make myself ‘Solanine Soup’ again. Another experiment.

8:30pm

Dinner was more of the roast beef and Kerry Gold Cheese – this time with mayonnaise. I also had a Fage yogurt with some sucralose, and some wine and dark chocolate. I have been blaming wine for carb-fests for years – was it really the culprit? Or something else in my diet? I had the wine, the carbs all around me were left untouched, and I went to bed the regular hour without any noticeable hunger.

Maybe it’s more complicated than I thought.

Fat, Dumb, & Happy: Day 8 – Solanine

Monday, March 17, 2014 – 225.8

6am

Nice jump in the scale. I attribute it to a lot of bulk and water from yesterday’s meal, as well as less fat overall. I’m not concerned. I think I’ve shown my actual weight, minus the water I am retaining, is maybe 219. If the scale does not follow a smooth path downward I won’t be worried – you need to give your body time to adapt to the new regime. The scale is a handy tool when it doesn’t become an emotional rollercoaster that dictates your mood for the day.

What jazzes me is the ketones. Both yesterday and today they are running dark – great. Every day in ketosis means another day of my body adapting to it – and another day where I did not given in to carbs. You can’t fake this test, and while imprecise, it does tell you you’re in the zone.

While I might have been better off to switch to roast beef and butter, I want to finish off that great soup I made yesterday. It’s not bad to add some variety of quality vegetables into the mix also – even if the number on the scale doesn’t show what you’d like it to show.

This isn’t entirely about the scale. If it was, I could go on the ‘Walter White Blue Meth’ diet and be slim and trim in no time – but *how you get thin* is important.

8pm – 223.0

Today was the worst I’ve felt so far. Extremely tired, sore knees, achy legs, couldn’t wake up no matter how much coffee I drank, head not clear. It was a struggle to get through the day. And I was way more hungry than last week. I had more of the soup for lunch and *again* it did not satisfy but left me hungry. For the first time since I started this I was fantasizing about going out and getting a sandwich.

Instead I hit the bag of macadamia nuts hard. I even found my last Atkins bar left over from a business trip in November hidden in my bag and ate that.

Let’s pull back a moment and try to analyze the situation.

First, I’m going to assume for analysis that psychology is irrelevant. I’m not saying it isn’t – I’m assuming it isn’t and see where it takes me.

The crock pot of beef and veggies was very tasty – but more so than any meal I’ve had so far, I was hungry after it – 3 bowls worth in fact.

What’s with that?

A few things come to mind.

– it was the least fatty meal I’ve e had in a week. While low carb for the vast majority of humanity, it probably had, per bowl, maybe 10 grams net carbs. It was also the most fiber I had in a week. Sounds great – right? Low carb, high fiber – where’s the problem? The hunger afterward was the problem.

So what was it about the soup? I had 2 ingredients in large quantity: artichoke hearts and tomatoes. Of lesser quantity were the sweet peppers and 1/2 onion at most for the entire pot.

Was it the high fiber, the overall higher carb count or one of the ingredients that got me?

I’m going to give the stuff I ate and drank afterward a free pass at present. I’m also going to remove the onion because of the small quantity.

I’m going to focus on the artichokes, peppers and tomatoes.

I did a little research as I lay in bed, ready to hit the sack right after I came home. Before that, still ravenously hungry and talking myself out of stopping at one of the half-dozen fast-food joints on my way home by reminding myself I’d ruin the ketosis, I made 4 eggs with a lot of butter and cheese and ate that for dinner. This was after eating lunch, the Atkins bar and a half bag of macadamias so it wasn’t like I needed to eat more.

This meal – nothing but fat and protein – satisfied.

The research came up with this: solanine. It’s a toxic compound found in some plants that supposedly exist to prevent insects and animals from eating them. They are found in nightshade plants as well as a few other plant types.

Here’s some examples of plants containing solanine: tomatoes, peppers and artichokes.

What are some of the symptoms?

From one website:

An enzyme present in the body called Cholinesterase originates in the brain where its responsible for flexibility of muscle movement. Solanine, present in nightshades, is a powerful inhibitor of cholinesterase. In other words, its presence can interfere with muscle function – the cause of stiffness experienced after consuming nightshades. All people are not sensitive to nightshades in the same degree. Research has proved that when an inflammatory condition exists, consuming nightshades is like adding “fuel to the fire”. That said, there is no scientific evidence that for those not afflicted with inflammation that nightshades will cause it.

http://haydeninstitute.com/additional-resources/additional-resources-diet-and-nutrition/inflammatory-foods-nightshades

I also found some evidence, though much less, that solanine might cause hunger in sensitive individuals, but so little it seems tenuous at best. I’ll be the first to say that it’s a bit of a reach to say there’s a cause and effect here without lots of testing – but it’s a worthy hypothesis to pursue. What if I avoid plants with solanine and notice this doesn’t happen again? Outside of a slightly more restrictive approach – what do I have to lose?

From the same link above, here’s a list of the offending foods:

Nightshades – Avoid in order to decrease inflammation:

  • Potatoes, all varieties (sweet potatoes and yams are NOT nightshades. Beware of potato starch used in many seasonings and as a thickening agent)

  • Peppers (red, green, yellow, orange, jalapeno, chili, cayenne, pimento)

  • Tomatoes, all varieties (including Tomatillos)

  • Paprika

  • Eggplant

  Foods that contain solanine although not directly in the nightshade family:

  • Blueberries & Huckleberries

  • Okra

  • Artichokes

  Other Substances to Avoid:

  • Homeopathic remedies containing Belladonna (known as deadly nightshade)

  • Prescription and over-the-counter medications containing potato starch as a filler (especially prevalent in sleeping and muscle relaxing medications)

  • Edible flowers: petunia, chalice vine, day jasmine, angel and devil’s trumpets.

  • Atropine and Scopolamine, used in sleeping pills

  • Topical medications for pain and inflammation containing capsicum (in cayenne pepper)

What’s relevant to me from that list is three of the items from my crockpot meal, as well as eggplant, blueberries and paprika. I’ve had okra and liked it, but I don’t eat it. I don’t take homeopathic remedies, nor do I eat flowers. I *have* used capsicum, but maybe once every few years, so I can avoid that.

So I’ll proceed from here under the assumption that I am sensitive to these compounds and see what happens – at least for a while. This sucks, of course, because I like these foods – and they are low carb.

But if I *do* find a stronger cause and effect link by experimenting along these lines, avoiding these foods might be worth it