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.

Starting Again – Again

If there is one thing I would like to banish from the diet community mindset it’s that you can’t ever, ever eat the way you used to and not gain all your weight back. As I’ve surely said before, much of nutrition science isn’t ‘science’ like physics is ‘science’ – it’s folklore.

Perhaps not exactly folklore. Yes – plenty of researchers have run many test on many rats, mice, rabbits and people and discovered interesting things about nutrition along the way. Even assuming that all of it is true, things start to get very fuzzy very quick when at the end the researchers draw their conclusions. Conclusions very frequently find very subtle tendencies that come off as much more definitive in the conclusions drawn. Sometimes the conclusions don’t match the data collected at all. Then herds of people who collect particular types of conclusions to validate their preconceived notions find the studies that best validate their points of view and collect them like trading cards, inflating the points that support their view, and poo-pooing the ones that don’t.

I have been spending a lot of time lately reading books on the history of food, diet, nutrition and digestion, and let me tell you: while the researchers might have more modern lab equipment and no long wear frock coats to work, much of what eventually comes out of all the measuring and probing looks no different from what was concluded 100 or even 200 years ago.

Atkins himself only popularized a diet that had already existed in a number of forms for years. He learned about low carb reading research by another doctor, and that doctor was, no doubt, inspired by a chain of others going back to the 1800s when a fat undertaker lost a lot of weight on a low carb diet and wrote his ‘Letter on Corpulance’.

This has all left me rather suspect of ‘nutrition science’ in general and ‘weight loss science’ in particular.

I think I have arrived at the point where each of us must not seek the perfect weight loss guru, but rather find that guru in ourselves.

The next question that surely arises is: how do I find this guru then? You find it through experimentation and patience, trying this and that until you find what works for you. Edison was said to have tried 10,000 different materials as the filament in his light bulb before finding the one that actually worked – at least for a few hours.

I am sorry to say, that you, my dear dieting friend, probably need that same sort of tenacity and ability to fail over and over without discouragement in order to attain your goal.

The good news is that this does not mean a grim life of deprivation unless you choose to hitch your wagon to those sort of gurus that propose a grim life of deprivation. Life might be a puzzle to most of us, but one thing is clear: we were meant to enjoy food. And there are ways that we can eat and be satisfied and even lose weight, but as of yet there is no single royal road to this goal.

We are biologically different enough in the ways we have adapted to eat, and contain very different chemical oceans inside of us. Low carb has been very good to me and my health so far. I am certain that my way of living might have proven fatal to others.

It’s with these thoughts that I begin yet again to rein myself in so that I can pull off some weight. At 213.6 I am at my highest. I got here because I chose to – not so much as a bizarre proof of my dieting prowess but simply because I wanted to eat pizza with the works, ice cream bars and a juicy steak and wasabi mashed potatoes at the Mother’s Day dinner yesterday. I ate without guilt, and to the point of bursting. It was fun. I love food, and the inch-thick steak went well with the dipping sauce and the potatoes. The two baskets of bread before the dinner did not stop me from polishing off my plate, though toward the end I must admit that, like a marathoner, I wondered if I was going to be able to reach the finish line.

It was close – but I did it.

To further set the stage, this year has been a doozy in terms of stress – and I am a stress eater. The stress got so bad that I even started smoking again for 3 weeks, and was quite heavily drinking Trader Joe’s cheap red wine on an almost daily basis. These got old pretty quick, however, and I stopped both – I made myself sick of both, and am now only sucking on nicotine lozenges – better than cigarettes, certainly, but another annoying habit I will have to kick in the near future. I don’t see it as something bad, however – it’s just ‘something to deal with’.

Diet, nutrition, health, longevity and exercise have all gotten too wrapped up in morality. Both Hitler and Gandhi were vegetarians – I think that makes the point sufficiently.

And what about ‘health’? Should we reach the end of our lives ‘preserved’ or ‘spent’? And does what we eat really matter too much in all of this? Genetics play a big role in this. Years of ‘good eating’ might still land you in an early grave, and it is well-known that many centenarians have been found to have a fondness for cigars, booze and rich foods.

Your name is in that book and there’s a date next to it. You might be able to move it around a bit, but I don’t think that you can move it much. And even if you could – is a long grim life of deprivation worth the trade-off?

As Mae West said: “You only live once, but if you do it right, once is enough.”

One thing I am pretty sure of is that eating ‘virtuous foods’ – ones that proclaim their healthiness on their boxes or packages – is about the surest way to RUIN your health.

So today, with no guilt and no regret, I will again begin my diet. I’m going to start with an old favorite: roast beef and butter. Mostly fat and a little protein. I’ll also bring yogurt to work.

If I know me, I’ll probably fail – but then I’ll begin again. And again, if need be. It’s not the diet that works, it’s the constancy of diet. That ability to begin over and over and not let failures discourage you that seem to lie at the core of whatever success I have had. First and foremost, it’s about learning to lose weight without making yourself miserable.

So I start again. Let’s see what happens.

A Mayonnaise Replacement with Greek Yogurt

I am a slave to mayonnaise. I love the stuff. I love it so much that I can eat it by the spoonful. The problem is the types of fats typically used in mayonnaise. I typically avoid seed oils like the plague because they are chock full of omega-6 oils, which are necessary to health, but the amounts in seed oil are way beyond what we need and have the potential to be harmful – this, at least, is what I believe.

As omega-6 fats are found in scads of other foods – avocados, meat, eggs, and scores of other stuff – there’s little concern of not getting enough. It’s the ‘too much’ that could prove worrisome.

Now, for those of us with culinary skills, you can make your own authentic mayonnaise from olive oil – but I’m not talented enough – or persistent enough – or maybe just too darn lazy.

So I have been on a quest to come up with a ‘replacement’ – rather than a substitute. While it might seem like just semantics, calling something a ‘substitute’ sets you up for disappointment as a substitute will always prove lacking. Continue reading “A Mayonnaise Replacement with Greek Yogurt”

Review: Nutiva Coconut Manna

manna

[NOTE: This ain’t a paid review – and I wasn’t bribed with Rolex watches or free trips to Bermuda to write this. The manufacturer doesn’t know who I am – and probably wants to keep it that way.]

My wife bought this during one of her frequent ‘Random Acts of Purchasing’. I don’t think she knew why she bought it though if I asked her I am sure she’d confabulate an reason that sounded plausible. Nor have we been able to determine where she bought it as she doesn’t remember and we haven’t been able to find it again. I think much of her buying stuff occurs in a somnambulistic haze, but that’s just a typical ‘jerk husband’ thing to say.

The problem with coconut manna (link here), which is just ground up coconut, is the same problem with coconut oil: the stuff is an unusable block of fat at room temperature. Oils from tropical plants are different from plants in climates that have winters because they never have to worry about the temperature going low enough that the fat would solidify and kill the plant. This, apparently, is why tropical oils tend to be high in saturated fat – which likes being solid at room temperature.

Continue reading “Review: Nutiva Coconut Manna”