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.

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Instant Pot L. Reuteri Yogurt – The Exact Instructions

(Note: this post contains links to products I used. I DO NOT make any money off these links. Buy ’em – don’t buy ’em – I don’t care.)

UPDATED 08/13/19 with a few more tips.

The big first tip: It’s really easy to make once you get the hang of it! I make it sound awful but when you take the time to get it right the first time, it’s easy after that.

I have read Dr. William Davis’ Undoctored and decided to finally take the plunge and go the full monte. In a nutshell, he recommends a ketogenic-ish diet and specific supplementation so it’s not far from my usual attempt. It’s a ‘clean keto’ where grains are prohibited as well as artificial stuff. I think it is well thought out and I like how he presents it: as a cardiologist, he sticks to science and where he prescribes a certain course of action that might not be accepted science, he notes that his approach is experimental and as new information comes in he will refine his approach.

That’s the kind of scientific thinking I like to see. I don’t take is as he’s pushing snake oil as much as he’s saying: “Try this. It might work for you and it’s unlikely to harm you. Let me know your results and I’ll continue to refine my protocol.”

Alas, it is a fussy diet in that the doc states it must be followed in full to get the synergistic benefits – doing it only halfway gets you far less than half the benefits.

One of the trickier aspects – at least to me – is you have to make what I call his ‘magic yogurt’. Even Dr. Davis refers to this as ‘wacky’ in one of his videos. I’d even say it sounds ‘quacky’ given all the benefits he attributes to it (you can read them here). I have no idea if the stuff actually does anything or if Dr. Davis is full of shit, but I don’t think so – at least I believe *he* sincerely believes it helps – and I’m up for a new experiment.

This was the one part of the diet that I waited until now to try. I started the  diet 15 days ago and have been dialing in all the different parts. The yogurt is the last piece, I think.

To me, the instructions to make the stuff I found on the Internet were vague and a lot of people were spending a lot of time to fail at the attempt and throw out batch after batch. I did a lot of Google searches, came across recipes that didn’t provide me the details I wanted, and even did a chat with Instant Pot which yielded little help.

The problems with the instructions are that they try to cover too many different scenarios. I found it confusing (maybe I’m stupid).

This week I took the plunge and made the yogurt. I’m detailing here the EXACT steps I took for my own records and thought I’d share.

Continue reading “Instant Pot L. Reuteri Yogurt – The Exact Instructions”

Lose 20 Pounds on a Keto Diet – But You’re Probably Not Going to Like This Post – Part 2

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Note: for those of you that didn’t read part 1, read part 1 – ‘k?

Sorry for the cliffhanger. I’m nearing 10 weeks in ketosis and have written 84 pages journaling my experience. Dumping that on you would be a bit much – but trying to summarize has been a bear. This is my second shot at it.

I’ve been doing (at least trying) to do a low carb / keto diet since 2003. In this go-round I have done a number of things radically different than in the past.

I made health – not weight loss – my goal. I have spent 15 years reading and researching this diet. I truly believe it to be the best diet for me. As I am focused on the health aspects, the moving of the scale is a nice perk – not the main goal. If the scale doesn’t move it might frustrate me – but it is not a failure. Eating off-plan is the failure.

I immersed myself in everything I could about the ketogenic diet. There are way more books, audiobooks, and podcasts with new information. Keto has become a ‘craze’ again and there’s a lot of new and interesting information and many people in Facebook groups discussing it. I personally don’t completely agree with *any* of the approaches I have seen, but have borrowed things from many of the approaches to forge my own version. I did a lot of experimenting and learning – and while I have been in ketosis for nearly 10 weeks now, how I stayed there has radically changed from the way I did it in 2003 – and the way I did it in April 2018.

I have started taking supplements again. When I looked I back to 2003 and asked myself what was different from when I first lost 80 pounds and now,  one big difference was I didn’t take supplements anymore. Back in the day I had taken a plastic film canister’s worth each day. I became disillusioned with vitamins (read ‘Do You Believe in Magic?‘ like I did to understand why) and had cut back to just a multivitamin – and only a few days a week. I began taking it every day and began to try to figure out what other supplements might improve health and am building up a ‘stack’ of supplements to see what impact it might have. I’m still experimenting here but will discuss this further below.

I fast 16 hours per day. I do what’s called a 16:8 intermittent fast daily. I skip breakfast – only having black coffee. This used to bother my stomach but I’ve apparently healed whatever the reason was for that and now it’s not a problem. I then have my lunch around 1pm and my dinner between 8-9pm. I don’t have hunger issues nor do I have food fantasies. Being in ketosis this long simply removes constant hunger from the equation.

I don’t snack. Here’s a really interesting notion I am experimenting with. While removing carbs reduces blood glucose, it’s not really blood glucose that is at the heart of the problem – it’s insulin resistance. Insulin is an energy storage hormone. When you eat carbs, your pancreas squirts out insulin to get the excess glucose out of your system, driving it into your fat stores mostly. After decades of abusing this system, your cells no longer respond to insulin and your pancreas has to squirt out more and more to get the same effect. So you can check your blood glucose levels and everything looks fine – but your insulin is through the roof.

So you give up carbs and your blood glucose goes down. That’s great, but you still have this insulin floating around. Know why? Because protein also stimulates an insulin response, you are STILL promoting insulin resistance.

So here’s an idea that seems to make sense: what if you were able to give your body an ‘insulin holiday’ – would being able to allow your body to not have insulin constantly in your bloodstream give your cells a rest and allow them to increase their insulin sensitivity?

Some people think it does, so I’ve decided to experiment with this. I’ve read that an insulin response can last up to 8 hours after a meal. This would mean that doing a 16 hour fast – with no calories coming in – gives me at least 8 hours per day where there is no insulin in my system.

The notion of snacking means you NEVER stop producing insulin. So the notion of a ‘snack’ is not part of my life.

There’s a second part to this which I will go into next.

I make sure my meals contain enough protein. What I read was that a particular amino acid – leucene – in adequate amounts – produces ‘Muscle Protein Synthesis’ or MPS. From what I read you need at least 3 grams of leucene in a meal to produce this effect – and leucene is approximately 10% of the amino acids in a piece of meat. From what I’ve read this will prevent muscle loss during weight loss even is you sit on your ass. A 16:8 fasting schedule provides me with 2 doses of this effect per day and maximizes the efficiency of the protein I take in per day. Remember that a properly formulated ketogenic diet is supposed to be an ‘adequate protein’ diet. If I have between 40-50 grams per meal I am well within the ‘adequate range’ but making every ounce of protein count.

I don’t add fat to my food. What kind of screwed up keto diet is it where you don’t add fat? Here the idea is that if you want your body to burn fat, you want it to burn your CURRENT BODY FAT – not the fat you ingest. I calculated my macros (carbs, protein, and fat using one of the many ‘keto calculators’ out there. This one at https://www.ruled.me/keto-calculator is adequate – and instead of aiming for an exact target I came up with my own ranges – these are mine:

Calories:     1200 – 1892
Carbs:        20
Protein:    94-124 (104 is ideal)
Fat:        77-155

This give me a wide latitude to play in and not have to worry about being so damned exact about things. I typically meet my minimums at lunch and have a larger meal in the evening. I tend to be at the low-end on fat – which comes from the meat. I very rarely add fats to my cooking – maybe olive oil to a salad though I don’t eat salad as often as maybe I should. And this leads to another interconnected point.

I have a very limited and simple diet. OK – this is where you stop reading. I get it. But if you are interested in how my relationship to food has changed, keep reading.

If you join the keto groups on Facebook, you will frequently be exposed to keto food porn on some of them. The inventiveness in these groups is boundless and you can find bread recipes, pizza, ‘fat bombs’, all sorts of snacks, and could happily avoid most carbs and still have your favorite indulgent foods. The problem is two-fold for me: these recipes take a lot of time to prep, and sometimes the calories are through the roof.

I don’t do this. I’ve stopped frequenting these groups that post the food porn. Instead, I’ve chosen to follow a very simple diet dominated by the following foods:

  • Chicken thighs
  • Chicken breasts
  • Grass-fed beef
  • Hot Italian sausages
  • Grass-fed, nitrate-free hot dogs
  • Nitrate-free bacon
  • Broccoli
  • Lettuce
  • Kimchi (Korean fermented cabbage)
  • Avocados
  • Arugula
  • Olive oil
  • Ghee (also called ‘clarified butter’)
  • Less than 4 oz. of cheese per day.
  • Salt
  • Trader Joe’s 21 Seasoning Salute

I’ve certainly had other keto-friendly foods (pickles, tomatoes, eggs, cauliflower, a little pasta sauce, salsa, among others), but the above list predominates.

You might be thinking: what a restrictive diet!

that is exactly what I thought as well – until I tried it.

I find it LIBERATING.

Nearly everything I cook is baked. I cook enough meat and veggies for 2-3 days. I measure out my portions into sandwich bags on a scale for lunch, then weigh out my dinner. Since I don’t snack, I have what I would call a natural and normal hunger response when I do eat – and I enjoy my food. I even find my portions to be almost too large at times – though my total calories for the day can sometimes be as low as 1200 calories. While you might think this is a rather bland set of flavors, my response to flavor has changed since I removed what I some call ‘hedonic’ foods with complex layering of flavors. I thought I never could wean myself off of my Orange-Tangerine artificial sweetener, but after a few miserable days, I didn’t miss it anymore. My palate has adjusted, I love my meals, shopping is a breeze, cooking is a breeze, lunch is a breeze – and now I know what it feels like to ‘eat to live’ rather than ‘live to eat’.

“I don’t eat that.” I’ve given up a lot of things – all grains, nuts (portion control problem), sweeteners, a lot of dairy (portion control problem), and so many other things I can’t count. I don’t have willpower nor do I believe in willpower as something that can be sustained over a lifetime against something as primal as hunger – and there is a bit of a mind trick I use to deal with this.

I have a lot of respect for ethical Vegans. They have made a decision that eating animal products is wrong and they do not eat them. They simply say: “I don’t eat that.”

there’s no negotiation here. Ethical Vegans don’t have a ‘cheat day’. It is black and white for them. I’ve decided to do this on my diet. I have foods I eat – and a very long list of foods I don’t. If offered, I say: “I don’t eat that for health reasons – and I can’t even have a taste.” If a further explanation is needed, I am eating this way to avoid getting full-blown diabetes and the best way for me to do that is not having the smallest cheat. As soon as you open the door to a small cheat, a larger one can easily creep in, and BAM! There goes all your hard work. This has happened to me too many times to count.

Like Vegans, people will think you’re odd – even odder than Vegans because their way of eating is better known. My diet is for health reasons first. I have my reasons for eating this particular way that most people won’t care about – and I won’t bore them.

I can easily sit and watch people eat all this stuff in front of me and I don’t care. My older daughter tried tempting me with bread at the steakhouse but my reaction to the bread was like a rabbit reacting to a slab of beef: utter indifference – because I don’t eat that. If I allowed cheats I would exhaust myself with the ‘how much can I have’? then having even a little taste will turn on cravings in the brain I don’t have anymore for 72 hours after the cheat, according to one doctor. So even one bite will at least make me miserable for 3 days – and at the worst, completely derail 10 weeks of hard work.

If I eat the way I do now, I don’t have diabetes. If I eat like a normie – I do.

I watch my salt, magnesium, and potassium. When you start a low carb / keto diet you lose a lot of water weight quickly as the carbs in your system bind to water molecules. No carbs and you lose that extra water – good – but as you lose the extra water you begin to mess with electrical pathways in your body and have the potential for problems if you don’t watch your electrolytes. This is how you get the ‘Atkins Flu’ as it was called years ago, or the ‘keto flu’. You get a headache, you get shaky, you get a head rush. This is your body’s electrolytes going screwy.

With salt, I make sure to salt all my food. Then I will have a glass of salted water if I feel weird – or just because I haven’t eaten in a while. I also take a magnesium supplement daily.

From what I’ve read, I am leery of taking potassium supplements. People on these keto Facebook groups usually use a product called ‘No-Salt’ – a salt substitute, but what these online groups don’t tell you is that some people – like me – are on ‘potassium – sparing’ blood pressure medications where is says on the damn label not to use this stuff. So I don’t. Potassium also seems to be the one that can also fuck you up the most – causing your heart to beat wrong. That’s something that can kill you and I am not going through all this trouble to die! I usually get my potassium through foods – an avocado is a great source.

Being this deep in ketosis also means heavy exercise or being out in high heat can mess you up way faster than normies walking around with excess water weight and electrolytes. I’ve heard people say they steal salt packets from restaurants and make sure they have a couple on hand – and some water – in case they feel weird during activities like these. This electrolyte issue also calls into question the bogus medical advice of drinking 8 glasses of water a day. For regular folk – so what – it gives them something to do other than eat, makes them feel full, and makes them feel good about themselves. Folk in heavy keto lose extra electrolytes like this. I will frequently drink a liter of seltzer on ice in the evening, or water during the day – but I really don’t count and do it because I’m thirsty.

I take ‘weight loss’ naps. Sleep is real important. I know a lot of people struggle with sleep – I don’t usually have a problem. One less thing for me to worry about as poor sleep can prevent weight loss – and is certainly not good for your health.

But here’s something I noticed in me by accident. Occasionally, on a weekend, I find the opportunity to take a nap. Lazy shit that I am – I take it. What I have found more often than not is if I weigh myself after the nap, I’ve lost a pound or two. It’s the damnedest thing. I’ve seen no one else mention this, but it does happen to me.

I measure my meals using Cronometer. None of the diet tracking apps are just right. Some can’t count net carbs. Some have nutrient values that are not based in reality. Some are just not designed very well. I’ve recently started using Cronometer and while the free version has annoying advertisements that can make you wait a few seconds before entering your values on certain screens, it is my current fave. I particularly like how you can set your own macros, clearly show net carbs, and view your micronutrient counts. There’s some things I don’t like – and some things that don’t work as expected, but here’s the thing: because I eat pretty simple, it’s pretty simple to enter my macros in a minute or two. Another app called Carb Manager is also good – I just prefer Cronometer.

I mess up at pretty much all of the above. Think of all of the above as the bullseye on a target for me. I aim for that center. Sometimes I don’t hit it – but that’s what I keep aiming for. Example: after a very good meal where I had two martinis (which I should not have had!), when putting away the food I ended up having some of my kid’s leftover mashed potatoes. While this didn’t cause me to go out of ketosis, it *did* cause my blood glucose to spike – my morning fasted glucose the next morning was 138. the day after it was 40 points lower.

Lesson learned: The way I eat determines if I am a diabetic. This one cheat helps reinforce the reason I have a ‘no cheat’ rule. I still drink from time to time. Usually red wine. It does not knock me out of ketosis and doesn’t raise my blood glucose – but it does increase insulin resistance and does slow weight loss – and does make me feel crappier the next day. I’m still working to minimize, if not eliminate this.

I feel better, but think I could feel better still. I still have a lot to learn not only about a long-term ketogenic diet as so much new research and thinking has been done in the past few years, but I have to learn about Me – my personal physical and emotional makeup at the present time in the context of a ketogenic diet.

Let’s face it: I’m 55. I’m probably late to the game of optimizing health – and there is certainly no shortage of people who want to tell me the right way to do this. Dr. Jason Fung, in the book ‘The Obesity Code‘ wants me to go on extended fasts lasting days.

I don’t know about that. I’ve read that there can be positive benefits – autophagy is one example – which is a recycling and cleaning of your body’s cells when you fast. (Here’s a link to some online doc I just found that discusses why it’s good for you.) Sounds good, but I’m not sure that I can’t get some of that same benefit with my 16 hour fasts – or occasionally eating once a day (which I can pull off with little effort). Or Dr. William Davis’ book and website ‘Undoctored‘ where he suggests you add raw potato as a prebiotic to a smoothie. Not too sure about *that* one, Doc – though I *did* take his advice to NEVER take calcium supplements with vitamin D because adding calcium to the diet has never been shown to help reduce bone loss – but there’s some evidence that this calcium ends up on you artery walls. I’ve got more to learn here, though to fully understand what he is saying.

I recommend both books. Dr. Fung’s makes a strong case that the focus on health for most of us fat folk leads to minimizing insulin resistance. Dr. Davis has a grander goal and proposes an entirely new medical model where patients educate themselves to treat the underlying causes of disease, be smart enough to know when to involve a doctor, and to establish a doctor-patient relationship where they are partners in decisions because the patient might just know more about their disease state – and physicians stop acting like they know it all when the hours they work and the volume of information makes that impossible.

Right now my goal is to have my next blood work 6 months (October, 2018) from the start of my diet. It can take that long for numbers that can go out-of-whack as you begin the diet to normalize. During that time I will hopefully be able to lose more weight – which should help those numbers. I’d like to further explore supplements. Some I’m taking now I could not give you a clear explanation as to why I am taking them. For example: I’m taking 6000IU of vitamin D3 per day. Why? Because my Retinologist – a ketogenic nutrition nerd like myself except way smarter – told me that’s what he takes since he read the book ‘The Vitamin D Solution‘. I have the book, but haven’t read it yet. I am going to supplement with a small amount of iodine – 300mcg – because from what I’ve been reading from multiple sources, I have some symptoms of a sluggish thyroid – and most clinicians do not run the proper tests to determine this – and even the test they do run they misinterpret. But too much can also be bad and actually *cause* hypothyroidism. I have a lot of researching to do here. I want to study this area more closely and understand why I need a TSH test, a Free T3 test, a Free T4 test, a Reverse T3 test, a TPO antibodies test, and a TgAb test. *I* also need to understand the current thinking on how to interpret the results because docs won’t order test they can’t interpret.

I also need to understand a great deal more about why a standard lipid panel is not adequate for someone living a keto lifestyle. I know the short answer: the LDL-C. The ‘C’ in the name means ‘calculated’. It’s not an actual count but a calculation that isn’t particularly accurate for people on a keto diet. The NMR test actually counts the different LDL subfractions and provides a lot more precision as there are only a few of the LDL subfrations that are dangerous. I have to be able to convince my doctor so when *he* gets second-guessed by the health plan as to why he is ordering a more expensive test, he doesn’t have to hear them bitch about it.  Or I have to convince him to write me a prescription for it and then pay for it out-of-pocket – and it doesn’t even appear that I am legally allowed to order my own blood test in New Jersey – I’ll have to drive to PA to be allowed to get a blood work I will pay for myself as New Jersey thinks it is too dangerous to allow me to make these decisions for myself?

There’s also potential dangers to the diet – depending on who you listen to. Of course, a normal diet will most assuredly give me a case of Diabetes with complications of kidney disease, blindness, dementia, and amputations being some of the wonderful complications I can expect from that. But still – if not done right – keto can potentially cause pancreatitis, gallstones, kidney stones, and dangerous heart rhythms. All this leads to the my last point.

Don’t follow me – I’m lost. Ever see the bumper sticker that says that? It’s probably the best advice – the wisest advice I can give you. Don’t go on a ketogenic diet. Don’t do this. Don’t try this at home. Most people just want to be told what to do – they don’t want to do all this ‘thinking’. Ketogenic diets are poorly understood – or even considered dangerous (often for the wrong reasons) by most doctors.

There are people who learned about the keto diet 2 years ago, lost weight, set themselves up as an expert, and run blogs and Facebook groups signing people up for expensive courses on how to lose weight. They sure *act* like they got it all figured out…but I’m not sure.

I see one group contradict another. how do you calculate your protein intake? One group says calculate it using your current body weight – the other say by your *ideal* body weight. Some say saturated fat is great – others say it’s OK, but any added oil should be monounsaturated olive oil. Some think seed oils like corn oil and soybean oil are OK – I avoid them like the plague. I don’t see much discussion about the Omega-6 to Omega-3 ratio. This is important. I see some people recommend taking a ton of fish oil – but don’t mention that it is a natural blood thinner and could be dangerous to people already on blood thinners.

I could go on…is your head spinning yet? My wife just asked me “What do you do all the time on the computer?” I explain that I spend most of my waking hours reading and researching nutrition and ketogenic diets. I don’t think she believes me – or if she does she thinks I am crazy.

I spend all this time – it’s my hobby/obsession – but the more I learn the more I know I don’t know squat. That is why a long time ago I got out of the advice business. Please read my disclaimer if you even remotely even consider applying anything here to your own life.

I could go on but I’m sure you’ve had enough.

 

How To Make MILLIONS Selling Supplements

Here’s a million-dollar idea for you. Let’s invent a problem and then solve it with a brand new supplement.

It’s super easy and pretty cheap, too. Watch.

I read this article on salt. The article says it frays your telomeres and speeds up the aging process.

(http://www.businessinsider.com/eating-too-much-salt-speeds-up-the-aging-process-2014-3)

Wait a sec – what are ‘telomeres’? They little protective caps on the end of your chromosomes.

Oh. What’s a chromosome? Well, duh – everybody know that its “a threadlike linear strand of DNA and associated proteins in the nucleus of eukaryotic cells that carries the genes and functions in the transmission of hereditary information”.

You *knew* that, of course – right?

Now we’re beginning to go down the rabbit hole of stuff that makes people’s head’s sting. If you can’t dazzle them with brilliance, baffle them with bullshit. I can see it now as a great pitch for some new supplement: ‘protects chromosome damage that leads to aging by protecting and rebuilding your telomeres!’

I’ll pick a few random chemicals commonly found in supplements, put ‘em in a capsule, design a label, outsource it all to China or India using http://www.alibaba.com/, call it ‘Telorepair Magnum’ and make millions.

This article (http://www.wellnessresources.com/health/articles/how_nutrition_makes_anti-aging_possible_secrets_of_your_telomeres/) shows exactly what to put in the capsules:

The important point to understand is that an adequate supply of methyl donors is needed for telomeres to work properly, just like a car needs gasoline. The primary methyl donor for this purpose is called SAMe, which uses nutrients like methionine, MSM sulfur, choline, and trimethylglycine as building blocks. Forming SAMe from these building blocks requires vitamin B12, folic acid, and vitamin B6. Folic acid and B12 actually play multiple roles in supporting telomeregenomic stability.

It doesn’t matter if the article is correct, of course: supplements in the US are not regulated:

On May 11, 1994, the Dietary Supplement Health and Education Act became law. The act defined a supplement as “a product intended to supplement the diet that bears or contains one or more of the following ingredients: a vitamin, a mineral, an herb or other botanical, or an amino acid.” “Breathtaking in its dimensions,” wrote Dan Hurley, “[ the act] would end forever the simple legal dichotomy between ‘food’ and ‘drug’ to create a third, hermaphroditic category that was both yet neither: the dietary supplement. And beyond the usual suspects— vitamins, minerals, herbs, and amino acids— the law would permit manufacturers to define a product as a ‘dietary supplement’ merely by saying so, no matter how artificially derived. Put lamb’s brain in a drug or food, and prepare to spend millions of dollars and a few years on studies showing that it is safe and effective; put it in a supplement and you’re good to go, no evidence necessary.” The New York Times called it the “Snake Oil Protection Act.”

Offit M.D., Paul A. (2013-06-18). Do You Believe in Magic?: The Sense and Nonsense of Alternative Medicine (p. 87). HarperCollins. Kindle Edition.

Here’s the products to buy:

Red beet extract trimethylglycine – $10-20/kilogram $20

MSM(Methyl Sulfonyl Methane) – $1-100/kilogram – $100

Choline – $1-2/kilogram – $2

B12 – $10-100/kilogram – $100

Folic acid – $1-99/kilogram – $99

Buy a kilogram of each, mix, and put them in capsules ($0.0019 per capsule – $3800:

Then in pill bottles (No price, but imagine a 1000 bottle @ $0,50/bottle = $500)

And maybe a nice box ($250 bucks for 500)

So you’ve got all the ingredients to make 500 bottles of the stuff. Get some 5 gallon paint buckets, Mix batches, and have the kids fill the pills for a penny each – it’ll be fun and cost $150 bucks for tax-free labor. Sell them for $40 bucks a pop for a 30-day supply.

Set up a website to peddle the stuff on Godaddy.com for $10/month, then write over-the-top BS copy about how great the stuff is. Give it free to some bloggers to write about, maybe set up a free Twitter feed to promote it, and start posting about it on forums.

If you did it right, you make 40 grand off a $5000 investment – less, of course because you have to ship it, but you can always cover that cost with shipping and handling charges. Keep repeating this exercise and pretty soon you are buying yachts and lighting cigars with $100 bills.

Of course, you have to trust that the powders they are shipping from China and India aren’t contaminated with lead or mercury – or are something entirely different from what they say.

But wait – you don’t. you’re not taking this stuff – you’re going to sell it to other people.

Unrealistic you say? People who make supplements don’t mix them in 5 gallon buckets – this stuff has to be carefully measured…right?

Well, there’s this:

Because the dietary supplement industry is unregulated, only 170 (0.3 percent) of the 51,000 new products brought to market since the 1994 Supplement Act have documented safety tests. And it’s not just the supplements themselves that might be harmful, but what’s contaminating them. In 2004 , researchers at Harvard Medical School tested Indian (Ayurvedic) remedies obtained from shops near Boston’s City Hall. They found that 20 percent contained potentially harmful levels of lead, mercury, and arsenic. Between 1978 and 2004, herbal medicines caused fifty-five cases of severe or fatal heavy-metal poisoning.

Offit M.D., Paul A. (2013-06-18). Do You Believe in Magic?: The Sense and Nonsense of Alternative Medicine (p. 91). HarperCollins. Kindle Edition.

And this:

In 2008, more than two hundred people— including a four-year- old— were poisoned by massive doses of selenium contained in Total Body Formula and Total Body Mega. The products were supposed to contain 200 micrograms of selenium per serving; instead they contained 40,800 micrograms.

Offit M.D., Paul A. (2013-06-18). Do You Believe in Magic?: The Sense and Nonsense of Alternative Medicine (p. 91). HarperCollins. Kindle Edition.

Oh. But you can’t mix this stuff in your kitchen…right?

In 2007 , as problems with the industry continued to mount, FDA regulators were finally granted permission to supervise the way supplements were made. Although they still couldn’t force manufacturers to prove that their products were safe or effective, at least they could make sure the product contained what the label said it contained. What the FDA found was appalling. Of the 450 supplement manufacturers inspected, at least half had significant problems. One, ATF Fitness, substituted ingredients without changing the product label. Others didn’t even have recipes for their products. And some manufactured products in buildings contaminated with rodent feces and urine— in one facility a rodent was found cut in half next to a scoop. “It’s downright scary,” said Daniel Fabricant, head of the FDA’s Division of Dietary Supplement Programs . “At least half of the industry is failing on its face.” Cara Welch, a vice president for the National Products Association, an industry trade group, called the findings “unfortunate.

Offit M.D., Paul A. (2013-06-18). Do You Believe in Magic?: The Sense and Nonsense of Alternative Medicine (p. 92). HarperCollins. Kindle Edition.

At this point you might be wondering who this ‘Paul Offit’ character is (from Wikipedia):

Paul A. Offit is an American pediatrician specializing in infectious diseases and an expert on vaccinesimmunology, and virology. He is the co-inventor of a rotavirus vaccine that has been credited with saving hundreds of lives every day. Offit is the Maurice R. Hilleman Professor of Vaccinology, Professor of Pediatrics at the University of Pennsylvania, Chief of the Division of Infectious Diseases, and the Director of the Vaccine Education Center at The Children’s Hospital of Philadelphia. He has been a member of the Centers for Disease Control (CDC) Advisory Committee on Immunization Practices.[3] Offit is also a Founding Board Member of the Autism Science Foundation (ASF).[4]

Offit has published more than 130 papers in medical and scientific journals in the areas of rotavirus-specific immune responses and vaccine safety,[3] and is the author or co-author of books on vaccines, vaccination, and antibiotics. He is one of the most public faces of the scientific consensus that vaccines have no association with autism, and has, as a result, attracted controversy and a substantial volume of hate mail and occasional death threats,[5][6] but also support for his position.[3][7]

Here he is on Colbert Report: http://thecolbertreport.cc.com/videos/35ink0/paul-offit

You are certainly entitled to come to your own conclusion on this subject, but this little exercise is why I personally stay away from supplements.

 

 

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.

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…