Until Next Time…

“In the absence of clearly-defined goals,
we become strangely loyal to performing daily trivia

until ultimately we become enslaved by it.”

– Robert Heinlein, American Novelist

As regular readers know, the ‘ol diet thing has not been going particularly well. I’ve decided that it’s something bigger that needs to change in order to make the diet work.

As part of that change I am taking an extended vacation from the blog.

I’m not giving up on low carb, but I want to experiment in a different direction – and part of that experiment is giving up the care and feeding of this blog.

I will continue to write, but I’ll be keeping it to myself for the time being.

I am going dark for at least 6 months. Check back then.

Good luck to you all.

Does Fluoride In Your Water and Toothpaste Make You Fat and Screw With Your Brain?

[Update: I got one comment: “What does this have to with low carb??? Do NOT send this crap. And… I disagree with your logic.”]

I am old enough to remember the 60s when crackpots were labeled as such because they thought water fluoridation was some sort of government conspiracy. I don’t consider myself a crackpot, though your opinion might differ.

What I AM doing is taking the tack that modern science, particularly when it comes to our complex biological processes, really has little clue what is good for us and what only appears to be good for us, so my only defense is to minimize the number of ‘modern marvels’ – processed foods, man-made chemicals and the like, and try to eat as little of them as possible. For me, that means eating organic as much as I can afford it, avoiding the household cleaner aisle – or at least staying away from the nastier stuff that lies there and using more old-fashioned cleaners, using glass containers for food rather than plastic, not drinking bottled water that comes in plastic, and putting a water filter on my tap water to remove the God-Knows-What that is contained therein.

It is not that I am convinced beyond a doubt that these things matter – it more that I believe the jury is still out on, say, if the plastic in plastic water bottles leaches into the water and screws up our internal chemistry.

I don’t know – so I’ll avoid it as much as I can.

So I went to purchase a new replacement cartridge for my Pur water filter the other day. When I got it home, I just happened to read the box, which listed it’s features. One jumped out at me (here it is on their website – search for ‘fluoride’):

  • Removes 95% of mercury, while leaving beneficial fluoride in the water.

Beneficial flouride. Hmmm… I did a little digging, and came across a website named Flouridealert.org. I found this on their page ‘50-Reasons to Oppose Flouridation‘:

In the first half of the 20th century, fluoride was prescribed by a number of European doctors to reduce the activity of the thyroid gland for those suffering from hyperthyroidism (over active thyroid) (Stecher 1960; Waldbott 1978). With water fluoridation, we are forcing people to drink a thyroid-depressing medication which could, in turn, serve to promote higher levels of hypothyroidism (underactive thyroid) in the population, and all the subsequent problems related to this disorder. Such problems include depression, fatigue, weight gain, muscle and joint pains, increased cholesterol levels, and heart disease. It bears noting that according to the Department of Health and Human Services (1991) fluoride exposure in fluoridated communities is estimated to range from 1.6 to 6.6 mg/day, which is a range that actually overlaps the dose (2.3 – 4.5 mg/day) shown to decrease the functioning of the human thyroid (Galletti & Joyet 1958). This is a remarkable fact, particularly considering the rampant and increasing problem of hypothyroidism in the United States (in 1999, the second most prescribed drug of the year was Synthroid, which is a hormone replacement drug used to treat an underactive thyroid). In Russia, Bachinskii (1985) found a lowering of thyroid function, among otherwise healthy people, at 2.3 ppm fluoride in water.

The above was written by a Paul Connett, PhD – a Professor of Chemistry at St. Lawrence University. He appears to be a legitimate professor (at least he was when I first wrote this 6 years ago – it appears he has since retired).

Oh, Jeez – here’s another thing I know nothing about. Another thing to make me seem even crackpottier than I already am. There is a huge crackpot element that opposes fluoridation. Here’s a comment from Yahoo Answers that shows the kind of nuttiness that gravitates to this subject:

Fluoride is accumulated in your pineal gland. This gland absorbs more fluoride than any body part and in very large quantities; it is now thought it has a lot to do with many of our health problems like early onset puberty in girls. As i have been able to awaken my pineal gland in the past thus access the crown chakra I will use my own self for the control. I do not know another person who has accessed the crown chakra or achieved christos. The feeling of oneness with the Creator and of travelling as if in deep space is gorgeous. The feeling of unconditional love and of peace makes me want to be able to do it or go there more often. Once awoken it is always awoken but you can fine tune it.

After the first two sentences, utter and complete New Age nonsense. But because whack-jobs gravitate to it, does that mean that it’s untrue? So now I’m led to the question: how did the notion that fluoride was so good for us that it should be put in most water supplies in the US come about? Think about it – that’s a massive health experiment – making everyone, young and old, with a vast spectrum of health concerns, all take a mandatory medication – that’s essentially what it is, isn’t it? So a visit to Wikipedia gave me an answer:

Community water fluoridation in the United States is partly due to the research of Dr. Frederick McKay, who pressed the dental community for an investigation into what was then known as “Colorado Brown Stain.”[8] The condition, now known as dental fluorosis, when in its severe form is characterized by cracking and pitting of the teeth.[9][10][11] Of 2,945 children examined in 1909 by Dr. McKay, 87.5% had some degree of stain or mottling. All the affected children were from the Pikes Peak region. Despite the negative impact on the physical appearance of their teeth, the children with stained, mottled and pitted teeth also had fewer cavities than other children. McKay brought this to the attention of Dr. G.V. Black, and Black’s interest was followed by greater interest within the dental profession. Initial hypotheses for the staining included poor nutrition, overconsumption of pork or milk, radium exposure, childhood diseases, or a calcium deficiency in the local drinking water.[8] In 1931, researchers from the Aluminum Company of America (ALCOA) concluded that the cause of the Colorado stain was a high concentration of fluoride ions in the region’s drinking water (ranging from 2 to 13.7 mg/L) and areas with lower concentrations had no staining (1 mg/L or less).[12] Pikes Peak’s rock formations contained the mineral cryolite, one of whose constituents is fluorine. As the rain and snow fell, the resulting runoff water dissolved fluoride which made its way into the water supply. Dental and aluminum researchers then moved toward determining a relatively safe level of fluoride chemicals to be added to water supplies. The research had two goals: (1) to warn communities with a high concentration of fluoride of the danger, initiating a reduction of the fluoride levels in order to reduce incidences of fluorosis, and (2) to encourage communities with a low concentration of fluoride in drinking water to add fluoride chemicals in order to help prevent tooth decay. By 2006, 69.2% of the U.S. population on public water systems were receiving fluoridated water, amounting to 61.5% of the total U.S. population; 3.0% of the population on public water systems were receiving naturally occurring fluoride.[3]

So it seems that dentists and an aluminum company thought it would be a good idea for everyone to take unmeasured and varying amounts of a toxic element because it appeared to prevent tooth decay. I have nothing against dentists, but they are tooth-centric, and aren’t exactly the health professionals I want to advise me about a substance that might impact other parts of my body. And why ALCOA, the aluminum company, would be involved is beyond me. This question puzzled me, so I thought to look at who supplies the fluoride. I found this page on the CDC website, which talks about shortages of fluoride, though it mentions. If you read the CDC page, it makes it appear that lack of fluoride is an immediate health crisis – enough to make you panic:

Adjusting the fluoride content of water is a safe and healthy practice that provides significant oral health benefits for a community. For the greatest benefits to occur, it is important to consistently maintain optimum fluoride levels. The three fluoride additives used for water fluoridation are derived principally from phosphate fertilizer production. Although shortages of fluoride additives for water fluoridation are infrequent, they do sometimes occur.

[You will note that some of the links referenced above don’t lead anywhere. Perhaps the CDC has quietly had a change of heart on the ‘safe and healthy’ practice?]

I wrote the above maybe six years ago and never published it. I thought it a bit too crackpot – but during that time I’ve eliminated as much fluoride as possible from my diet and my family’s diet. We still get dosed with the stuff – I still use the water filter that lets through the ‘beneficial fluoride’ but I don’t get fluoride treatments from the dentist for my kids and don’t buy fluoride toothpaste.

Then an article hit the news cycle  about common everyday chemicals that are affecting our brains – and fluoride was one of them.

I don’t consider The Atlantic to be a crackpot site, so I thought maybe I can be comfortable in letting this post see the light of day.

Here’s a link to the article – The Toxins That Threaten Our Brains.

And here is a recent bit of writing I did on the topic. It interweaves with the first part and a good writer would integrate the two to craft a single, coherent article.

But since I don’t have the time nor inclination to do so – nor do I feel the burden of wanting to be seen as a ‘good writer’ – I’m just going to put this out there:

Imagine this. Allergists, in conjunction with a technology company, find that a poisonous industrial waste, when given in very very small quantity, prevent people from developing allergies. Sometimes even severe allergies. What these groups decide to do is lobby the government to have this chemical put into the water supply so that everyone can benefit from the allergy eliminating effects of this substance. Now it is known that it does not work 100% of the time. It is also known to have some side effects. Additionally, depending on how much water you drink you might get a lot or a little so dosing would vary across different people. Children, adults the elderly, the very big, the very petite would all be getting essentially random doses of this chemical. It is also known that not everyone has allergies and so people who have no need for this chemical would also be getting it.

Would you think this is a good idea?

Believe it or not this more or less has already happened. The only difference is instead of allergies its cavities and the chemical is fluorideFluoride has a bizarre story. In the early 1900s a group of people were discovered to have spots on their teeth. These people also had no cavities. Investigations show that the water that they drank had a very high level of fluoride. This caused the speckles on their teeth as well as their lack of cavities. Then the story seems to get a bit murky. Somehow we went from a situation where it was found that a particular chemical could prevent cavities to putting a unregulated dose of a chemical that essentially is like a medicine with side effects and indications and potentially contraindications for people who shouldn’t be taking it and putting it into the water supply. How the hell did that happen?

My understanding of the events in so far as I feel like researching it at the moment has to do with World War II. During the draft of World War II so many potential soldiers were rejected for service because of bad teeth that a decision was made to add fluoride to the water.

This is also a time where we decided to take American citizens of Japanese nationality and lock them up in prison camps. Not every decision that we made because of World War II was a smart one.

The problem with labeling fluoride as somehow bad for you or the results of poor thinking suffers from one big problem: crackpots love this. Dissing fluoride has become a sure fire way to label yourself a crackpot fool. You can’t even question this without people immediately labeling you as slightly unhinged. Why is that? Why can’t we revisit this without being labeled a crockpot? We know a lot more now than we did then and we even know things now that were known then that but weren’t brought up as part of the discussion.

Remember: World War II was a war like no other. Hitler’s plans for America was to essentially turn us into a slave colony. There was a real potential that this could happen. We haven’t had a war since that mobilized the entire country to focus like we did then. We can be excused for the excesses of that war because it truly was a war of good and evil. Studs Terkel the famous author wrote a wonderful book about World War II with that exact thesis: The Good War.

Perhaps almost 70 years later it’s time for us to revisit some of the assumptions without being labeled a crackpot.

Fat, Dumb, and Happy: Day 3

photo (1)
A rather scary looking roast beef and cheese in romaine lettuce leaves wrapped in saran wrap

Wednesday, March 12, 2014 – 4pm

I made a ‘wrap’ for lunch. I’ve always found it a big problem replacing the utility of something between 2 pieces of bread that you can eat on the run. My solution was to use romaine lettuce leaves as a ‘wrap’, fill with roast beef, cheese & Mayo, then wrap it in saran wrap so it looked like a cucumber.

This worked surprisingly well for dining ‘Al Desko’ (aka eating at your desk).

Not much in the way of a headache, but the keto cutover can be bumpy as energy levels go up and down – sort of like a car backfiring, or a car with a little water in the fuel line, there’s a certain inconsistency to how you feel which I could imagine would feel scary to one doing this for the first time.

I’ve been through it at least 100 times. It’s the normal abnormal. If I continue like this, the ups and downs will diminish as my body acclimates, and there’s usually an overall energy level boost after a few days to a few weeks. Despite the physical feeling, my minds feels clearer – and I am doing a lot of brainwork. The neurons are firing like they should even if the body is balking a bit at the moment.

So the big question that looms ahead – and the reason why I am trying to chronicle this a bit more closely is: just what is going to screw me up? As I’ve probably gone into ketosis 100 times, I also went OUT of ketosis 100 times – why? Unless the 100th time’s the charm, it will happen – and I’d like to catch clearly what causes this so I can hopefully avoid it. All the goodies still surround me in the house, the work stress is still here.

In the evening I ended up at a diner with my younger daughter and had 3 eggs, bacon and a sausage. I could have eaten more but I didn’t. Home late, I went to bed after getting my younger daughter ready for bed.

March 13, 2014 – 5:30am – 220.4

Given my diet and the second day of ketosis, the one pound loss is probably indicative that I’ve lost all the water weight and the water that I’m carrying now isn’t due to carbs. Your body simply does not lose fat that quick – it is physically impossible without liposuction. It’s probably fair to say that any loss from here will be mostly fat. Studies can be found that show low carbers are less likely to lose muscle during weight loss than people on other diets. Don’t know if it’s true, nor do I know if that applies to my unique biochemistry.

That’s the problem I have with much nutrition science: it makes generalities that only *might* be true, and if true, might not apply to me because I am not a generality.

If some of you are thinking: if I did what this schmuck did, would I lose close to 9 pounds in 3 days? I have no clue.

All I know is that what I am doing has caused this weight loss. Past experience shows it will continue to slow. It will certainly stop if I eat any significant amount of carbs or start eating stuff like low carb bread and Atkins bars. I will gain if I go to The Cheesecake Factory and order a bowl of pasta.

I will make another one of my lettuce-leaf roast beef and cheese wraps and see how today goes – again watching for: what circuit do I trip that makes me screw up and cheat? If I was talking to you in person, you might try to encourage me: “Aw, don’t think like that – you’re doing fine!”. But this isn’t about positive thinking or negative thinking – it is an honest experiment in trying to identify the series of events that cause me to lose my groove – not because I want to fail, but because I want to pay close attention to how and why I fail when it happens so I can have something to work with and not give myself a vague and useless answer like: I was tired.

Everybody gets tired. If it is ‘tired’ for example, I want to be able to drill into that experience to see the exact mechanism, take it apart, and clearly note the sequence of events and feelings that led to it in the hopes that knowing more will give me clues on how to stop it from happening again – or at least lessening the time between restarts.

I feel OK. Despite the stress of work and the usual stress of an overbooked modern life, I am eating to plan, don’t particularly have cravings that drive me crazy, and am not hungry. Mind is clear, and I will go into work with a very complicated set of tasks that I know need to be done and will probably do them pretty efficiently. My mood is certainly not ‘blissed-out grinning idiot’ – I’m at turns mentally fatigued, anxious, rushing, and trying to solve puzzles with a deadline, yet the emotions I feel about these things don’t feel as extreme as a few days ago where I felt almost as if I was suffering an existential crisis.

Let’s see how *this* day goes.

Running – Day 8

It’s been 10 days since, huffing and puffing like a steam locomotive, I ‘ran’ (for lack of a better word) 0.27 miles.

Big whoop.

Regardless, it has been an interesting experiment so far. I’ve moved the diet from top priority to establishing this new habit. I have been eating so-so for most of that time – mostly low carb, but not to the extent that I would consider my being on a diet – and certainly not a diet where I burn ketones instead of glucose for body fuel.

In the 8 days of running I have noticed a dramatic difference in my experience. While not running fast nor for a long time – 8 minutes has been the longest run – my body has responded to the new routine. My breathing is better. I think my stride is less spastic as my body is beginning to grasp what I am asking of it. The routine of getting out of bed and out the door on winter days where the temperature is in the teens has not been easy but it seems to be getting less tough.

Right now my concern is my knees. I can’t say I’m in pain, but I am noticing a stiffness and a mild discomfort that comes and goes.

This could be the start of me screwing up my knees from sheer stupidity – or perhaps due to eating foods that might be cause of inflammation?

As you can’t do much about being stupid, I’m trying to address the latter and remove from my diet some faves that I believe might be a culprit in inflammation.

I’m wondering if my recent love of almond meal and almond milk – as well as my long-term love affair with mayonnaise is causing me problems and in the past 2 days have embraced a ketogenic low carb diet that excludes them.

Please note this is all empirical experimentation based on assumptions that I am willing to test as a hypothesis and not based on any ‘Facts’ with a capital ‘F’. Nutrition science is very hard to apply in the real world because people vary so much and there are so many factors that can’t be accurately measured.

Now ‘anti-inflammatory’ is a very suspect word as well because a lot of claims are made for it and a lot of foods and supplements claim to reduce it. Inflammation is also not a ‘bad’ word. It is a vital part of your body’s defense system. What is also interesting is that in a quick search yesterday I found that almonds are inflammatory AND anti-inflammatory based on different sources. Ketogenic low carb diets are also inflammatory and anti-inflammatory, depending on who you listen to.

The best was a slideshow on some site that was something like ‘7 foods to avoid if you have arthritis’ which mentioned dairy. A second slide show on the exact same site on ‘foods good for fighting arthritis’ mentioned dairy – and used the EXACT SAME PICTURE.

Let’s face it – the Internet can tell us what we want to hear. What I do know is that I believe that ketogenic low carb diets work for me – and some research thinks they are anti-infmallatory, so I will work with that assumption.

This has meant that I have been faithful to my diet for the past 2 days not because I want to lose weight but because I believe that eliminating carbs as well as some high omega-6 fats might help me run better and with less joint discomfort.

It was interesting how I had this thought and it was as if another part of my mind then said to me: “See? this is an example of the keystone habit having a ripple effect.” The thought to use a ketogenic diet for my knees came from somewhere else than the voice that pointed out the keystone habit. The same happened when last Friday, very stressed in work, I thought of running instead of a cigarette and wine and that other part of my mind pointed out how my thinking had changed in a week as to where to turn when stressed.

I think the short of it is – whatever is up – I have been faithful to my diet for 2 days for reasons having nothing to do with weight loss (my primary goal) by playing mind games with myself.

Monsters

This post resonated with me. It is not about dieting but instead the mind – an all-important aspect of dieting. I hope you see the connection like I do.

The Renegade Press

‘We stopped checking for monsters under our beds when we realised they were inside us.’
-Sam Steven

Confession time: I’ve been on a bit of a downward spiral as of late. Ever since my last post I’ve been struggling to find the urge to even turn my laptop on each day, let alone write something worth reading. In fact I could probably count the amount of times I’ve actually written anything on one hand, and the most I ever managed to produce in one sitting was about two hundred and fifty words. That, my dear reader, is hardly the way to go about finishing one of the multitudes of manuscripts currently sitting half-finished on my hard drive.

So why this complete lack of willpower to create? Why after coming so far with my craft of the past year and a half have I suddenly taken such a momentous step backward…

View original post 626 more words

Low Carb Confidential for 2014

CoolWhip-Frosting-1024x685

When Dr. Oz, Cameron Diaz, Sarah Jessica Parker, and Kim Kadashian all talk up low carb diets, you know that low carb has gone mainstream – again. It did so a decade ago but I think things are different now. In the past decade a lot of new research seems to show that, at the very least, low carb is not the ‘killer diet’ naysayers warned about 10 years ago and a ‘well-managed’ low carb diet might possibly be good for some of us.

For the sciency folks, 2013 brought this viewpoint published in the Journal of the American Medical Association: A Call for the End of the Diet Debates. The central point I take away from this is there is no ‘one-size-fits-all’ diet and divergent diets such as low carb, high protein, veganism, paleo, and even old-fashioned calorie-counting, will work for some subgroup of people based on their age, predisposition, genetics and current medical conditions. It is not the diet itself as much as it is how the person responds to the diet and how well they can manage living on it long-term that matter.

Your doctor might try you on a half-dozen different medications to treat a given condition until you both find one that works – why would we have ever suspected that our diets would be any different?

Yes – the diet wars will continue I am sure. There are a lot of people who believe there is one right way to do things – usually theirs – and will argue endlessly for the self-validating honor of ‘being right’.

Meh. I’ve come to find this excruciatingly boring – except for the blogs of Anthony Colpo and Adele Hite, both of whom argue their (very different) positions with such passion and rapier wit (as well as some well-played cheap shots) that I can’t help but to enjoy their posts.

Me? I do what I do and have little desire to convince anyone of anything. I also don’t recommend you thinking anything I write is ‘advice’ – I’m in no position to advise anyone on anything. I’m just a crazy anonymous blogger who likes to string words together for his own amusement and post them on the Internet for the amusement of others and to clutter up search engines.

Low carb is my plan, and I will continue to play with the finer points, but this past year I have found myself looking at a lot of things in a new light – partly because it’s been an awful year for me from a diet perspective.

For the past few months I wasn’t even trying.

A year ago today I was 210. This morning, January 1, 2013, I am 225. 15 pounds is not all that much, but this minor fender-bender of a year is going to turn into a major car-wreck if I don’t break the current pattern.

In October I wrote that I was taking a break until my weight got under 200 – then promptly dropped all but the most superficial pretense of low carb dieting and here I am on the eve of 2014 – fatter than I’ve been in a while.

Meanwhile, this year, perhaps more than in others, I’ve read less and less on the science of low carb itself and more on the history of diets, the psychological and social aspects of food and nutrition, as well as the nature of science itself. Among the books and lectures I have read and listened to – and sometimes struggled to understand – are:

So – yeah – the diet part, the science stuff with all the molecules and compounds, micronutrients, macronutrients and the like have not ceased to be important, but even if you full well knew with 100% certainty what to do in order to lose the weight, slay the dragon, get the girl (or guy), and bring about world peace, it doesn’t matter if you’re still eating Cool Whip Frosting out of the container with a spoon. (Which I did last night – I was amazed how this nightmare of partially-hydrogenated oils and sugars bound together with a panoply of other multisyllabic ingredients was able to produce something that tasted so real – it was devilishly good.)

All this research has led me in new and interesting directions. It’s not just the diet, stupid – it’s how you diet – aside from the food – that has intrigued me the most this past year. Just a few of the things, to be specific, are:

  • The mind game that surrounds dieting. This mind game is played by us as we think we know what a diet is, as well as the mind game played upon us by a society that – especially in the US – worships indulgence and excess while promoting a body type that can only be attained by waifish teenagers and photoshopped celebrities. Where did this paradox come from?
  • What different diets do to the brain. I myself noted a mental change when I did a prolonged bout of ketogenic low carb – what’s up with that? I did some research on that subject and while the science is new, it is intriguing.
  • I have also been researching human disgust. Yes – this is actually a branch of science. Disgust is a fascinating human emotion because while it is universal like fear or anger, each culture defines it differently so foods that elicit a ‘yum’ in one part of the world elicit a ‘yuck’ in another. What this has to do with diets is that often you need to abandon certain foods and try new ones to make a diet work but some people find the notion of new foods truly puke-inducing to even think about. Their choices then narrowed to only a few items, their diet becomes unsustainable and they fail. Why is one person’s delicacy another’s food dare – and can we change this about ourselves or is it fixed and immutable? And another thing: why CAN some of us eat the same thing over and over and not be bothered by it?
  • Habit and willpower. How do we quash old habits and replace them with new ones? How do we stick to our plan when fatigued, stressed or distracted? What exactly *IS* ‘willpower’, where does it come from and how can we make more of it?
  • Exercise. I’ve long-held that exercise is useless and counterproductive for weight loss because it burns such a tiny amount of calories that you would have to spend hour after hour exercising to lose weight. I still believe this, but what if ‘burning calories’ isn’t the point of exercise as part of a weight loss program at all? What if the last thing you ever want to do is try to count the calories burned after exercise but you still should consider it because of other properties it has to promote weight loss?

My hope is that in 2014 I will tackle some of these interesting aspects in more detail and make some sense of them – at least to me – and get to my goal weight of 185 partly because of low carb and partly because I intend to apply some of this new thinking.

Low Carb Potato Salad Recipe

OK – there’s no such thing as ‘low carb potato salad’. It’s like a potato salad but it uses cauliflower as a substitute, which is a perfectly acceptable low carb vegetable, and mild enough to be a decent substitute.

This is an unusual variation because it contains Polish kielbasa and eggs, but it’s really easy and worth a try. It’s also a crowd-pleaser, so you don’t have to let on that it’s ‘low carb’ if that ruins it for some folks.

Continue reading “Low Carb Potato Salad Recipe”

Low Carb FAQ

[UPDATE: I am busy with a number of things and thought I might leave this post in place for a while, updating occasionally with new questions. Let’s see how this goes]

A lot of people get to this site through search engines, and I can see what these folks entered into the search bar to find me. A lot of these form questions, and I thought I could save you the miserable experience of reading through my site and instead provide a short FAQ of my answers to popular questions.

Please note I said my answers – not the answer. I am no expert. Consider me just some schlub answering your question and not any authority on the subject. Do your own research: I might be a loony.

At present they are in no particular order – and will probably stay that way. I’ll put the most recent at the top so the readers who keep tabs on me don’t have to dig.

Continue reading “Low Carb FAQ”

Making Your Own Mayonnaise for Cowards – Atkins Induction Day 10 (with 07/05/13 Update)

There’s cooking and there’s cooking.

Throwing some chicken on the grill, over seasoning with a store-bought seasoning mix, then checking that it is cooked enough to avoid salmonella poisoning is cooking of a sort. Throwing everything into a pot and cooking until done is also technically cooking, but ‘cooking’ is a discipline that extends across a continuum from the ham-fisted, knuckle-dragging cooking that I do, through an inspired craft, ending at fine artistry in edibles.

I think cooking is a big part of any success I have had over the years in maintaining my (at the moment) 65 pound weight loss – and I’ve made a number of inspired dishes, though a true gastronomic devotee would be generous in saying that it least there was some creativity and enthusiasm.

But then there’s technique – knowing what your ingredients can do, understanding their properties and the proportions that yield something special – something unexpected. Something rising above mere cooking.

Mayonnaise is one of these things.

Continue reading “Making Your Own Mayonnaise for Cowards – Atkins Induction Day 10 (with 07/05/13 Update)”

Atkins Induction Day 9 – Actual Atkins Induction

I can usually feel it coming on – but not this time. I suppose I’ve gone in and out of ketosis so many times recently  that, like an athlete, I have been conditioned to do this to the point I don’t even notice it anymore.

If you are new to this – you’ll notice.

When I notice it, it feels like a heaviness. It doesn’t conjure up any particular emotions, nor scramble my brain – in fact, my mind feels clearer when I am ketogenic. I do get a mild headache sometimes, though nothing that I can’t ignore.

For those of you new to this, ketosis, (what used to be called ‘induction’ by the Atkins folks though I believe they’ve retreated from calling it that as the name sounds somewhat harsh), is the product of eating so few carbs that your body cuts over to its backup fuel system and you burn fat and begin excreting ketones in your urine as a byproduct.

I am 5 pounds down from a week ago, but no accolades: I’m apt to screw up and this might be temporary.

I was in ketosis last night as well as this morning. I am 208.6 – a terrible number because it means that I’m not the 193 I briefly got down to in the fall, but a wonderful number because according to the stupid BMI scale I am no longer ‘obese’ but just overweight.

“Obese’ is such an ugly word. In comparison ‘Chlamydia’ sounds like a beautiful girl’s name and ‘Syphilis’, the name of a Roman general.

I’ve found myself as of late focusing on one thing: the percentage of fat. I like seeing it in the 70% range or over when I do my calorie and nutrient count. To do this is not an easy feat, I’ve found. You need to be mostly carnivore. It doesn’t leave much room for veggies, and this doesn’t concern me because, hey, who came up with this ‘balanced diet’ shit in the first place?

Perhaps the notion of ‘balance’ is in the eye of the beholder?

For the most of humanity, people ate whatever the fuck was available, or died of starvation. These people didn’t know what a vitamin was and didn’t care. Even today, one culture might argue that the other’s is unbalanced. A Hindu or Buddhist vegetarian diet seems unbalanced to me – there’s no meat. Some cultures think ‘a day without rice is like a day without sunshine’.

And through all these cultures and their different ways of eating, the lifespan mentioned in the Bible – ‘threescore and ten’ pretty much held until the advent of modern medicine that has proven quite well at adding years to life but the quality of those years? Not so much. I see it in my own Dad: kept alive by a spectrum of medications, his heart beats while his mind is gone from Alzheimer’s – or maybe the medications. He doesn’t recognize anybody, and talking to him is like listening to a series of short recordings of my old Dad – the one I want to remember – randomly played back. He’s reduced to a series of disconnected sound-bites – a human Furby.

Hell – I’ll take my threescore and ten and be happy eating my meat and butter and die at 70, to the great pleasure of the people who prognosticate that my diet will kill me, rather than end up like that.

For me, a day without butter is like a day without sunshine’. I am also still taking Carlson’s ‘lemony’ cod liver oil. I have my suspicions about this stuff, but that I’ll leave for another post, except to say that I wrote to them last week asking just how the stuff was produced and never got a reply.

I set what I believe is a reasonable goal for Saturday – get to 205 pounds again. It’s possible, but there’s no guarantee even if I stay in ketosis.

While I hope I get there, it’s OK if I don’t. The reason?

I actually feel better when I am in ketosis. Fewer mood swings, my mind is clear, I have more energy. Regardless of my weight, it’s all good.