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The Divine Low Carb



An opportunity to eat awesome food, never be hungry, lose weight, feel great, and be healthier. What's not to love?



Updated: 2017-12-10T21:10:08.483-06:00

 



A New Life, a New Start

2016-11-28T03:42:35.001-06:00

I almost died!They sent me home to die.But now I'm alive! And better than in years! And getting better all the time.It's been a long time since I posted. In order to catch the blog up properly I would need to write a book, literally. So I'm going to skip that, and even skip the reader's digest version, and just go right to a single post that summarizes some things, to get my blog up to date.Then, from now on, we'll see how my current plans work out!LIPEDEMA1. Lipedema (sigh). Visions, voices, dreams, and yet-more of years of pubmed and web reading to try and figure this out, have brought me to a couple of realizations I have not yet had time to implement, but will. For those in that boat with me I'll share a summary. Might be worth what you're paying for it but hey, nobody else has a cure, so...Some agriculturalists say we "broke the sulfur cycle" in the 1940s in our nation and that people have been chronically deficient in this mineral since. Sulfur is in every cell and is what makes the membrane properly permeable and flexible. Without sufficient sulfur, the body has to allot what little it's got, and some cells will have to have rigid exteriors which do not allow oxygen respiration and waste disposal which will lead to bloated, toxic, unusable cells. Which also may have trouble being broken down properly as well. It's only theory but it would make sense the body would do this to fat cells since they are the cells most disposable in the body, and since they can easily be redistributed away from the vital organs. As rigid membranes would mean some cracks and leaks, chronic inflammation, pain, and so on in the areas where the body is storing those en masse makes sense.My body had suggested sulfur. At the same time (same night) it suggested quercetin. It turns out the membrane surface of cells needs to be conductive so that energy can pass between them (not just on nerve pathways but cell to cell). I looked in pubmed and this is what quercetin does. I believe an ongoing supplement of a quality MSM and quality quercetin will not harm me, and eventually may help. Who knows? I'm just sharing what I've gotten.SERRAPEPTASE2. I had an ongoing period where I took a great deal of the supplement serrapeptase, with a little bit of nattokinase as well, before bed. I did this in the hopes that it might have some effect on too much fibrous growth in the lipedemic areas (hips-thighs for example). After a little while, my eyesight improved notably. Turns out that's one of the things it's used for.I'd had a significant health issue: I'd had whooping cough, and though it finally (took forever!) went past, my lungs never fully healed. Even the teens around me who had it, their hadn't either, we were having a talk about it over a year after we'd all gotten it. Although my lungs had partly healed, never fully and I could not sing as a result -- air control issues. Some time after the eyesight bit, I started coughing, for no apparent reason -- not sick -- but it genuinely felt like I was coughing up crap from the very bottom of my lungs. After about ten days of doing exactly that, my breathing was better, and I eventually realized I could sing again. I looked in pubmed and it turns out both of these things -- eyesight and lung healing -- have successful research on them with serrapeptase.Meanwhile my friend's sister began taking it and after some months was able to reduce and finally ditch the cane she'd had to use for six years, for her knees. There are lots of stories like this it turns out. Worth looking into.Co-Q10 (and other supps)3. For reasons I'll mention below, I began taking the supplement Co-Q10, a few hundred milligrams a couple times a day. I was in a situation where I had cause to know: this supp really, really helps if there's a heart issue. The difference in energy and recovery of my heart, specifically, was very notable based on when I'd taken it vs. forgotten to take it (I suck at being consistent with supplements).There are only few supplements that I have found in my life where I really NOTICED a difference -- most we just[...]



Accelerating out of the Curve

2014-05-13T19:52:30.285-05:00

When I was 16, I took my boyfriend Chris to meet my grandfather, Robert Bourbon Bunyan Maples (aka "Bob") of Ojai, California. Bob came from Texas to California in a covered wagon in 1904, when he was four years old -- and he was a character like something out of a book.Two decades later, Chris told me the main thing he remembered about the man was his repeated insistence to us (having watched some inspiring documentary just before we arrived) -- while dangerously waving his large cane for emphasis -- that we have sheep in our eyebrows!I can see how that might stay with someone.It embarrassed the hell out of me at 16, but seemed hilariously sweet in retrospect, when grandpa was gone.From the time I was five years old, he'd make me read the newspaper to any fool crazy enough to get near.  ("She's smart as a whip!" he used to say to everyone.) And he loved to give advice. When I got older and I was around 17, he loved to opine to me while driving. Especially about driving."When pulling out of a turn," he intoned as he took the circular curve of an on-ramp, "You have to feel the car," he says, as the 'pull' from the end of the hard curve took us. "Then accelerate out of the curve." To example this, he promptly accelerated to about Mach 2 just as we reached the 101 Freeway. (Given its daily percentage of PI lawyers, drug lords and movie stars, this went totally unnoticed.)I felt both terror and trust. We were like my once-favorite Roadrunner cartoon, but in an old American car only slightly smaller and lighter than an Abrams tank.I later came to consider his advice an aphorism of sorts:After all the twists and turns one goes through, when you finally see the road is straightening out ahead, that's not the time to relax from the stress, it's the time to get ready. Use the stress at the end as something to push off from, put some power into it and get yourself on the straight and narrow.Well, it makes sense to me, anyway.I'm just about there now, with health and nutrition. I won't lie, I am frankly exhausted, emotionally, from the effort it has taken over years to try and figure out what went horribly wrong with my body, my diet, my health, where my energy went (where my damned hair went!) and so on.But this isn't the time to let go or relax. I think I may actually see the highway up ahead.My Poster Child License Has Been RevokedI quit blogging here for a long time. Even for years before that, it was nothing but barely.  That's because I began this blog waxing-on about low-carb. VLC helped me lose 170 pounds and feel awesome.Until it didn't. I "crashed" into fatigue and other health symptoms so severe I'm lucky I've survived.Of course, you know what it's like: One day I'm the Poster Child for VLC and the next day you must have been doing it wrong. Well, clearly whatever I was doing was wrong for my body. But I was pretty damn successful with eating the expected foods and getting the expected results... initially.We could back-seat drive the "what-if's" all day to no useful end.I am fairly rejecting of the medical system. This is due to my being a little bit 'Type A' personality ("I'm fine!" I once hollered as nicely as I could at a nurse, while ordering an overnight delivery of a new laptop computer to my hospital bed so I could continue work. Seriously). But it's mostly due to my having utterly lost respect for allopathic medicine's expertise on anything beyond rescuing one from the most acute version of poison or injury or something gone amuck to the far extreme. And even in those categories, it's more that they simply hold the legal monopoly of access and power for the equipment and elements needed. They still rate very low on the common sense list of treatment strategies in my view, even then.My family loves doctors. They believe everything they see on TV or are told by someone in a white coat. They all end up on chronic medication (sometimes multiple), missing minor organs (as if any organ is minor), and gradually getting sicker at a financially-lucrative-for-pharma slo[...]



Teenage IF and Nothing Left to Lose

2012-11-02T06:39:28.505-05:00

Insanity is relative.Insanity is MY relatives. Let's talk about the teen.Ry is 16 years old now. She is amazing, awesome, beautiful, and also miserably infuriating, and capable of making me want to rage, weep, despair, and implode with love, within any 15 minute time-span.My parenting sucks. I need to work on being much more disciplined with her; she is horribly inconsiderate of me in so many ways, that 'entitlement psychology' that drives me mad.A lot of it really IS 'energy' issues on my part.  When you barely have the energy to get up and pee, never mind take a shower or drive to the store, then having the energy to fight with your teenager (and constantly get up and stalk them to make sure they do stuff and nag them for the 1.2 billion things they screw up or half-ass do) is easier said than done. But, I know it is what it is. My not feeling particularly up to it most of the time does not excuse me from being responsible for it.Sometimes I get so angry and everything about her behavior just seems so wrong. One day, in the middle of ranting at her about something I can't even recall, I remembered the lyrics to a Linkin Park song I like -- archetypal teenage angst. The lyrics, made succinct here:Tired of being what you want me to beFeeling so faithless, lost under the surfaceDon't know what you're expecting of mePut under the pressure of walking in your shoesEvery step that I take is another mistake to youCan't you see that you're smothering meHolding too tightly afraid to lose controlCause everything that you thought I would beHas fallen apart right in front of youEvery step that I take is another mistake to youAnd every second I waste is more than I can takeCaught in the undertow just caught in the undertowAnd I know I may end up failing tooBut I know you were just like meWith someone disappointed in youI've become so numb I can't feel you thereBecome so tired so much more awareI'm becoming this all I want to doIs be more like me and be less like you-- 'Numb' by Linkin Park And I realized that what I really wanted to do was shake her while yelling, "Be more like ME dammit!"At that point, I realized the black humor of it all.Teenage Fat and Self EsteemShe has fought obesity, eventually to morbid obesity. I can't take back the past and my own ignorance and thinking that a lot of stuff was "not a big deal," and thinking that my inability to lose weight in the areas that turn out to define 'Lipoedema' and my inability to handle carbs without weight gain was unique to me. Like I was some alien circus creature and surely "everyone else" wasn't that way. After all, I was surrounded by people who ate 10x worse than I did and they were normal, or at least much smaller. So much for that logic. Some of them are now huge.I didn't get fat until my early 20s. I had a little chub that hit hard and fast at 13, but it fell off me when I hit 15, 'baby fat' they called it. And she seemed to have more her father's body shape and coloring than mine. So I never expected it of her. By the time it was overwhelmingly obvious that something had gone wildly wrong in her metabolism, she was a pre-teen and the damage was done.Our house was already mostly low-carb and mostly gluten-free by then. At that point it was more a matter of  wanting to support her and let food focus be her own decision. Wanting to NOT be like mothers of my friends, who told me that their own mom's response to their weight when young was far more horrifying than the weight itself. I told her everything I could about low-carb but how too much of that for me had been an issue so maybe it should be moderated; about emphasis on fresh foods, good fats like coconut oil, and lifting weights. Basically, the things I was reading about at any given time.That doesn't mean that she has been able to do something successfully before now. Or be willing to do something even 'with me', even when I was willing just for the sake of helping her. It has to come from her, I have learned that the hard way.To say tha[...]



The Pear-Shaped Secret of the Obesity Epidemic

2012-05-24T12:05:41.179-05:00

I remember the shocking and memorable photograph that science writer Gary Taubes showed in his book "Good Calories, Bad Calories," to help make the point of obesity as "a disorder of excess fat accumulation" -- a concept and phrase I had never heard before his book. The picture showed a woman who was nearly emaciated on the top half of her body, and more than just plus-size on the bottom half, a drastic difference that left her looking like some old-style carnival attraction. Which half of that woman "ate too much and moved too little?"I recall I had to take time out of my ranting to friends about what I was reading, to sit in stunned silence over some of the profound "reversal of paradigms" about health and obesity in that book. They were ideas I had never heard before. I credit him for educating me, but the writing was a tribute to the fact that a lot of things have been known for decades, even over a century -- but are carefully ignored, like that elephant in the living room on AA commercials, where everyone pretends the overwhelmingly obvious problem is not there.Apparently the Germans were on the right track, 75 years ago, but the world was so yonked about the war, the USA just started much of obesity science all over again, this time in English -- and this time, from the armchair of emotional psychology, rather than from the science lab of biochemistry. Oh sure, that's what the world needs -- more Puritan-guilt about biblical sins such as gluttony and sloth, to displace any objective reasoning -- like how some animals have similar metabolisms  and results, even though they can't buy ice cream when upset and they get along very well with their mothers.Until the Taubes book, my maternal family's experience with being obese, morbidly obese, and severely obese, was as much like the "official government and health agency" story of fat as my seriously dysfunctional, lower-middle-class family was like television's Brady Bunch. I watched that surreal sitcom as a child with the kind of fascinated awe normally reserved for ancient pyramids and alien-looking sea creatures. How bizarre! How does that happen? Is that real?? Tell me more!  It was a lot like the official version of dieting, where in inspired frenzy, desperately hopeful people can calculate precisely how many calories they will be not-eating, and allegedly burning-off, for that simple formula and a promised happy ending. Except you never get your money back with that guarantee.There is only one body-theology in the church of whole-grains and calories amen. The government-ordained priests of health are now the High Interpretive Intercessors between the layman and science. Doctors in white coats shake their heads at how you cannot possibly be telling the truth or the magic would have happened, and when your 4.9 minutes of personal attention are up, you can get a prescription for statins that for most people won't much help (and for many, especially women, do actual harm) -- drugs that are, except in rare cases, ridiculously unnecessary since several nutrients you need anyway and an eating plan called "real food" will fix you. But the world is expected to abide by the mantra of "eat less and move more," and if that doesn't work out any better for you than it does for most of the rest of planet earth, the front desk can provide a new photocopy of a diet that'd make even perky Marcia Brady want to leap from a ledge.Then, call it gut-instinct, but you know when it's coming: a nurse (often obese) will express astonishment when you say no, you are not planning to have someone slice open your guts and profoundly screw up your ability to digest nutrients in the name of your being less fat. (Not lean. Just less fat.) Not counting the majority of people you may know who tried it and who are now dead, miserable or as fat as they ever were, there's that little thing about months or years of ongoing nightmare 'complications' followed by doom. As the ultimate in black irony, all those eons[...]



Food Angst and Holidays

2011-11-19T18:48:18.326-06:00

My aunt should have owned stock in Diet Shasta. She's been dieting with every option she could find since probably around 1969, and she's still morbidly obese--she got fatter over time of course. That's a lot of options and there's a lot of trying and it not working.Sure, she lost weight. She just regained it of course. See this post on research related to weight regain. Concise summary: "Nearly inevitable." My theory: Moreso the more fat you begin. Caveat: entire amount may not be regained (so, that's something positive).It is her daughter, my amazingly artistic cousin, who gained weight about as rapidly as I did and ironically at about the same age I did (I never thought of that until just now), and who eventually took up cocaine as the only hope for a solution for her wailing grief and mortified shame about her body. Now she is on the federal prison diet. That didn't end well.I remember when I was 18 I went to a big celebration of my grandfather's 80th birthday. Family had come from around the country for this, and it was the first and probably the last celebration of its kind. My aunt was frustrated because she wanted to eat some of the food she'd spent 3 days cooking for it -- the smell of garlic bread wafting through the house was knee-weakeningly wonderful.  But she was on this diet at the time which was mostly about drinking so much water it's retarded and dangerous.And... I could tell she felt like everybody might be "thinking" that she "should" be on a diet.She might be right.When I was at most 15# overweight (I didn't feel overweight, but I wasn't as thin as is considered proper today), age 19 or so (this is the 80's), I went to my stepmom's parents' house for the Thanksgiving family meal. She has 3 brothers. The entire family (except the brothers, and her at the time) was diabetic. I don't mean borderline. I mean losing eyes and limbs and dying over it eventually. At that time, several people were alive and whole who aren't now, and they were there.Did anybody make LC versions of anything for them? No. The idea was, it's a special occasion, you stuff yourself on food that will kill you and then use insulin to compensate. Don't get me started on People Killing Their Diabetic Family Members By Making No Efforts To Help Them as that's another rant.So, we are all eating. I was mostly scarfing down stuffing and white meat turkey which I love, despite it is dry and tasteless, go figure. Everybody else was eating more food than you can believe a person can shovel in. Plate after plate of macaroni salad, potato salad, mashed potatoes and gravy, twice-baked potatoes, brown sugar yams, fruit salad, on and on and on. I was sitting there feeling concern and pity for the fact that these people were diabetic and all the food seemed deadly. I considered eating some yams (love 'em!) but then I saw the dessert table! I decided that I wanted to have some pie instead, so I go get a slice of cherry pie. And I am walking back to my seat with it when her youngest brother eyes me with disdain and says, "Not like you NEED that, you know."I was mortified. The other brothers laughed. I looked at him in some confusion, because a quick look around the room showed me that aside from those 3 young men, there were only approximately 3 other people in that entire seriously overcrowded house that were NOT fat, more fat, or hugely fat, plus diabetic: that would be ME, my dad, and my stepmom. So why he would say this to ME, when I weighed about 140 or so (~5'6), in that environment, compared to everyone else!, was a total mystery. I ate the pie (after saying something quietly unprintable to him) but I felt horrible then.So the thing is, maybe people at that family gathering really WERE thinking that my aunt "should have been" on a diet. Maybe she wasn't just paranoid. Maybe she'd lived long enough fat to know what to expect.It seems to me that this is often the perception people have about anyone fat. It doesn't matter how we[...]



The Legos of Low-Carb

2011-11-19T22:33:47.814-06:00

In the end, it's all about each person putting together the building blocks of what they find works best for them. Like legos, it can be fun, it can be creative, and it can hurt like hell when stepping on them.Comments here and in a forum about the 'Truth About...' post have given me a lot of food for thought. From the back of my brain, up popped my Evil But Occasionally Right Twin, to have a little talk with me about the long list of Where I've Gone Wrong, Where I've Gone Right, and Why I Owe It To Readers to post that. It seemed to feel that other post translated like, "You're dooooomed! Doomed, I tell you!"I explained to the Little Voice that the post was just fine on its own, and that I have the noted info in other posts here and there. But IT thinks that while I'm depressing the crap out of everybody, I should at least provide a succinct list of what really does work for me, what doesn't, and maybe most importantly, what I haven't tried, and considerations I haven't addressed.  That way, people can say, "Ha! You see! She has not investigated (thyroid disease, pancreatic tumors, or eating only fish eggs while living at 30,000 feet elevation and fasting only days of month that start with the numbers 1 and 2), so how can she possibly say that for the super-obese there is a limit to fat loss or that regain is close to inevitable? She hasn't tried everything!"In what time I've had, I have been completely redesigning the blog. I added pages, if you see the tabs up top, "collections" of posts, like recipes, fat politics, or psychology, for example. But this was nagging me, so, let's see what we've got.Stuff that is critical to my feeling well.This may or may not relate to fat loss (does when I am losing, doesn't when I am regaining). But it certainly relates to my being functional, as much as possible.1. Protein protein protein. Animal Protein = amino acids = the building blocks of life. The difference between my body after 10 days of 100++g/day animal protein, vs. say, 60g, is unbelievable. It's running up my porch steps instead of two feet at a time like a little kid, holding on to a handrail. It's walking to the store and making dinner, instead of starving because it's too much effort to get up and go to the kitchen.Issues: It takes energy to intake the protein, but without protein I haven't energy to go get it. This is hugely affected by my lack of appetite. There is a limit to the protein you can eat as food, even trying.Caveats: Allegedly we should intake gelatin to get the 'other' amino acids; the ratio is imbalanced if you eat mostly muscle meats. You can buy a type that doesn't "gel" and can go in cold or hot liquids. It still has some taste unless it's very small amounts in a strong tasting food. Probably a great thing to put in say, sauteed mushrooms/veggies/sauce that you want to make a gravy, or in thick blendered drinks. Alternatively and preferably, make tons of "bone broth" as this has gelatin and those amino acids in it.If you have issues with arachidonic acids (I cannot see that word without thinking of spiders. How did these words get so similar??) then red meat is probably not for you. Animal protein also includes fish and eggs and cheese in my book. I don't even count plants.Misc. Details: Drinking whole or 2% milk for all the protein did not work for me. I had more energy than 'none' but felt quite weak, not only that I had no 'motive energy' but even had to ask my kid to open jars for me. I also got deep/cystic acne near lymphs with that (from two separate periods of trying it, so I do think that's what it related to), so unless you have access to raw milk, the processing may have some less than ideal effects, done in mass dosage. (That was another experiment that was not low-carb.) Sometimes eating meat for all the protein doesn't work ideally either, because it's a ton of meat, which is a ton of mone[...]



Sacrificing Competence in the Name of Perfection

2011-11-16T03:04:14.530-06:00

My second-biggest problem (after not-eating for a long time, then later over-compensating), is not buying/making "less than perfect" or slightly higher-carb food... only to result in my not having food at all when I don't have energy, time, money, defrosting time, or hating what I have because I'm sick of it (or more often, my teen is).So for the sake of not buying pinto beans or peas for stew, or deli meat, or almond meal, because those are not ideal foods, instead I either starved (usually), or (if I let the teen talk me into it) ordered pizza.Oh yeah... that helped.I suppose it's better to be less than ideal sometimes, than off-plan when you haven't time, money, energy, or other elements in place for the ideal.For a long time I have not had certain foods in my house like beans and peas and carrots for adding to stew (I swore off legumes for no good reason except they were 'a little' carby and the eating plan folks I like seemed to add them to grains as the devil), deli meats, almond meal, soft cheeses for making salad dressings, because they weren't sufficient protein/fat and hence were less than perfect, higher carb, etc.As a result, my food options ALL require cooking and have such a tiny range of variety that my teenager keeled over off the edge of boredom long ago.I have a lot of smart journal friends who try to course-correct me on this regularly. Being rather type-A, and a bit of the "anything worth doing is worth overdoing" sort, I am prone to sacrificing being relatively competent at my eating plan in the name of being as close to perfect as possible.Additionally, I'm neurotic about not affording grass-fed meat/eggs/dairy. I think that worsens how I over-compensate everywhere else.I can't eat enough meat/eggs/cheese to make 1500 calories and 18 carbs most the time even when I try. My food options are going to have to expand a LOT if I want to raise both to whatever 'max' level turns out to work for me. Actually right now my mind is still boggling over that concept. Short of living on bacon and avocado (which really, is not such a horrible fate...) I don't know how that's going to work out. We'll see.* I've been thinking about a new approach (and more common posting) for this blog.I think it would be nice to see more focus on Low-Carb just because it's awesome and healthy, and not just because people are despairing over being fat and hoping it will bail their ass out of it. That's great, but that's not the only reason it's cool.Sure, it might be great for fat loss, but it's also great for lean gain, and it's also great for health reasons that aren't accompanied by obesity, and it's also great for just being very tasty, non-commercially processed food that doesn't hurt you. It's the divine food!I also think it'd be nice to see more focus on the range of Low-Carb (let's say <80 carbs -- which is still lower than top Atkins or a lot of diabetic plans, which is what, 120?).One reason I rejected everything down to VLC or ZC, in addition to the fact that a) I like meat and b) I was desperate because weight loss and stopped and I felt crappy and I thought doing LC "harder" was the answer...  is because I felt guilty about the occasional thing like almond muffins, or coconut meal. They were too low on good fats or protein to count as food at all I felt.I had the same theory about big-ass salads I might add -- my prejudice was less that sweetener was involved in some dishes, as the lack of O3/protein.Yet dropping to VLC and even ZC repeatedly didn't help me in retrospect, did it? And aside from the macronutrient element, for me at least, eating that way has a variety of side-effects that are problematic, from major food boredom, to the fact that I end up with every food requiring shopping/defrosting/cooking/cleaning.If you look at most LC recipes online, with rare exceptions they are so LC per serving that I could eat 5 meals a day and still be i[...]



The Truth About Super Obesity and Weight Loss

2011-11-16T03:04:42.012-06:00

A little background on me and general stuff, before we begin.I lost 170# on low-carb, which migrated to grain-free whole-foods a-little-dairy fairly primal, minus the 'grass-fed' element which is not do-able for me for several combined reasons. I have re-lost the last 50-100# of that repeatedly. I am, by category, 'super-obese'. When it comes to being fat, there is overweight, obese, severely obese, morbidly obese, and super obese. These are based on body fat percentage.*I have come to understand that my expectations and my plans and my approach to eating, were not realistic.I have come to understand that my experience, with the normal human variations, is echoed throughout basically all super-obese and many (not all!) of the higher-edge morbidly-obese people I have met in in person or online. I have also come to understand that what the science experts say, and the stats about fat loss and fat regain, echo my experience.In short, if you remove the starry-eyed hope from the equation, you realize that pretty much all the facts from all directions say the same thing.That's what this post is about. At the end, I have suggestions.Take the best eating plans out there, for health, for sanity, for satiation, for nutrition: which for me amounts to basically "from moderate to zero carb depending on the person, grain-free, legume-free, minimal-fruits, whole-foods" eating plans.Expect to lose fat. Whether you keep that weight off is another story entirely, but you can lose it.If you are super-obese, expect to lose 'some' weight. Probably a lot less than you'd expect.They're good plans. It's just a matter of inappropriate expectations.I've come to consider these truisms.1. Eating few carbs, with not-excessive calories, in whole unprocessed foods, does not solve super-obesity. It very rarely solves morbid obesity either, but that does happen sometimes.There is no known solution for super-obesity. In fact, even severe gastric bypass will still only take off about the same weight you could lose just by eating awesome LC food, without screwing yourself up for life with nutrient absorption and other problems, so you might as well just eat decently instead.2. The odds of losing all your extra fat are inversely proportional to the degree of your highest-weight bodyfat percentage. The odds of your keeping it off are very poor no matter what your starting weight, but are more remote in direct proportion to your highest bodyfat percentage.The fat your body is likely to allow you to lose will still leave you severely if not morbidly obese. Women: up to 200 pounds, +/- around 20. Men: Up to 300 pounds, +/- around 20. It might be less. This is what can probably be 'affected'.You will find that eating well (if you stay away from grains/fructose) is easy and in fact hunger is not only not an issue, but eating enough is. These kind of eating plans aren't hard. The food is awesome.You will have energy while losing weight, which will change your life.You will return to having none when you are not losing weight, which will screw it up again.You can eat carbs for some energy then, when you must because lack of fat loss means you have no energy and makes you feel crappy if your carbs are too low. The body regains weight at truly breathtaking speed.It's a cycle. It's predictable. You can see it coming. Feel it changing. You can plan for it.You just can't do anything about it.It's a Flowers for Algernon tragedy, except with bodyfat.*I know most people don't want to believe it because they hope it's not true for them.  I know the rest either figure their eating plan surely works perfectly for everybody, and/or works indefinitely when it does, or that -- especially given I'm a fatso after all -- I'm probably just lying.(I saw a study recently that said not only did the half of the subjects that were obese lie about their intake (yes. All of th[...]



The 10,000 Ways That Don't Work

2011-11-15T23:41:49.495-06:00

I've worked 20 hours a day, 7 days a week from last December 9 to May. I worked more like 16/6.5 since then. Starting just at the beginning of November, a bit over a week ago, I have actually been taking time off. I've had 1.5 weekends entirely off now, and 1.5 days (Wednesdays) entirely off now. I've gotten more sleep in the last 10 days than I have gotten in any 30-40 days in about a year.This has led to the understanding that if you sleep 3 hours a night, you are not going to lose weight, for several good reasons.I was re-reading my blog, like a 5-year review. I summarized many of the best/worst things I have done since I began this journey:The things that failed abysmally (cheat days aka the worst version of carb cycling. Fruit+dairy. Lots of legumes. Anything with gluten). The things that worked best when I was able to actually do them (hyper-nutrient supplementation. Bulk cooking of stews, quiche, and meat in general. Lifting weights, when I had the energy). The things that were great ideas on paper but I was never actually able to sustain for more than 10 minutes (eating veggies, besides the occasional carrots/peas/potatoes in stews). The problems that I had related to my eating (reactive hypoglycemia, particularly to things like eggs for breakfast. Addictive reactions to a lot of stuff. Total 'crisis' reaction to VLC). The solutions that I eventually found for those (Ray Peat's adding-carbs if you eat eggs, like a little fresh squeezed orange juice, as if to 'soak up' the extra insulin that eggs in particular generate. Not eating the stuff I react to but more importantly not eating other things like gluten which makes me react to dairy, which I don't if I'm not eating gluten. Not doing VLC, or adding enough carbs to keep me out of major ketosis, or not doing it so suddenly anyway and not for long-term). The good advice I couldn't take: like Regina Wilshire's excellent well-balanced nutrition plan which requires a well balanced person with a well balanced schedule, neither of which fit me. Like "everyone's" advice to eat grass-fed meats/dairy because store-bought is so high in Omega 6 which causes hormonal and other problems, but it's not for sale around me, I haven't had a car for a long time (not a big deal unless you need to leave the city), I don't much like the taste of the stuff as it turns out, and I can't afford it anyway.The bad advice I took, or perhaps, the good advice I implemented so badly: weekends are for carbs, it's the 80/20 plan, it's carb cycling.The advice I still haven't figured out the value (or not, or depends on the person) for: avoid deli meats (processed food yuck), avoid diet sodas (fake sweet causes body reaction, plus it's toxic chems), eat veggies/don't eat veggies, eat less carbs/eat more carbs, eat on interim fasting/eat lots of small meals per day.The foods I seem to do best on: for LC, eggs, burger patties, chili verde, chicken, cheese. Everything else is too much trouble. Not-more-than moderate amounts of beans/peas if in a meat stew. Whole milk, fresh squeezed OJ and potatoes and corn tortillas when on the Peat-ish eating approach (which is not lowcarb). The foods I seem to do worst on: milk as sole protein source (since I couldn't get decent meat, it was a suggestion by Peat--and it was ok, I just didn't feel "strong" at all. This could be partly related to additives in the milk, not the milk itself). Legumes as primary carb source. Gluten of any kind. Veggies which I will starve and let compost before eating. Lovely food that takes time to prepare which I will starve and let go bad before making time/energy to prepare it. The foods that most often reflect my utter see-food diet downfall: gluten-free homemade cookie dough. Pasta with pesto. Order-in pizza with major gluten-ease pills all through eating it. Thing they have in common: they are really fast, easy, an[...]



Veggies, V-Slicers and Very Bad Ideas

2011-11-15T23:47:07.814-06:00

This is cool.I bought a V-Slicer Mandoline I've wanted for a long time. It's the affordable sort but it's pretty darn good. It slices thin, thick, or tiny (matchstick) julienne, or larger (McD french-fry size) julienne. Or you can use it for slicing 'cubed' stuff. It's superfast to clean up (just rinse off), easy to use and has its own holder you can mount it on the wall with if you like. It has reduced the 'prepping veggies' part of these dishes to vastly, vastly less trouble and better outcome.I've been reading about everything from OTC supplements to illegal steroids geared toward fat loss. This is probably indicative of my state of mind in some fashion. It's unfortunate that most stuff is so much better for men than women. Everything mucks with hormones which is a big deal, but what the hell, if my hormones were anything akin to balanced I would not weigh what I do anyway.A recent agreement between the 14 year old and I, resulted in my agreement that we would go on a "mostly Salad and Stir-Fry" diet for awhile (she lasts on any plan about 3 days, sigh).She just doesn't like meat and eggs enough to eat enough of them IMO or eat them 'mostly'. So I figure I will get her to take some protein powder and amino acid supplements, eat what meat I can stuff down her, she does eat cheese, and otherwise the 'salad and stir-fry' will have to do. She likes vinaigrette dressings blessedly, and Penzeys provided me some nice spice mixes to add to those, and anything to rein in the amount of junk food she eats is good. Maybe if I keep her stuffed with veggies she will not have much desire to eat everything-else.Lowcarb lost me what, about 170# total. I have regained and relost the last 70# of that several times now. That is really exasperating to me. I can't believe how FAST my body gains weight. I don't even have to eat hideously. When I'm LC, I am really lowcarb and I am really low calorie too, just by default (I like meat and eggs and cheese more than I like everything-else that I could eat 'in moderation'). But if I'm not doing that, I'm gaining weight. It's so frustrating!Maybe lowcarb 'normalizes the metabolism' for some people. It didn't for me. It just got the mega chronic insulin issues taken care of. And that did work for that part of it. But obviously there is a lot more than that involved.My big wonder is why the hell it works differently at different times, I mean what is going on with my body that it is so unpredictable?I have had cycles where I went on LC, lost 13# in water weight the first 24 hours, and 25# the first week (water of course), this is normal, this is the 'extra' I carry (not all of it, but most of it).I have had cycles where I went on LC, and after 4 weeks had lost all of 8# and that includes the water weight. In other words I did not even lose the WATER -- let alone any fat. (So I did not lose 8# you understand. I lost 1/4 to 1/3 of the water weight I should have lost the first week -- that is all.)Why? Why would it be so different?It's surprising how much of "drive" takes the part of "hope". If I have hope that I can lose some fat and feel better, then I find myself planning it and counting the days and that sort of thing. If my results make me feel like I have no particular hope of losing even the water weight never mind anything more at any speed where I'd reach even 300# prior to age 412 if I dieted consistently, then I completely lose all volition for wanting to bother at all.April Fool's Day is the big day. The kid and I begin her "salad and stir fry" eating plan tomorrow. I will probably live more on eggs and meat as usual since I like that better.I am hoping to resume lifting weights though. I guess I'll see how my energy does for that.PJThe Divine Low Carb[...]



Intermittant Fasting - 2 Week Update

2011-11-15T23:50:58.565-06:00

Alrighty then. In the end, I began intermittant fasting on Oct 24. I started 'tracking' Monday 10/25. It's been two weeks since then. The plan is a 4-hour window for food each evening. Generally, it's about 5pm-9pm. It's allowed to shift if my schedule does, but it's a 20 hour fast period.So here's a summary of the reactions and results so far:Hunger > I was hungry the first two days of it. This is ridiculous because normally I can fast for 1-2 days at a time without having hunger bother me. I am far closer to anorexic with occasional see-food frenzies, than anything troubled by meal-skipping. So I concluded that it was probably just some psychological side effect of telling myself I wasn't allowed to eat during the day. From day 3 on that wasn't an issue.Food limits > I did not set a limit on options except: very-low-carb, whole-foods, no grains, few or no legumes (peas and green beans in our case), and trying to keep the dairy (cream and cheese, no limit on butter) reasonably low. I could eat as much as I wanted, I have tracked in general all my intake, but I haven't worried about quantity being too high (it hasn't been, but I was willing to allow it to be).Eating to appetite > There is no issue of not being full on this. I was willing to eat as much as I wanted but, since I am mostly eating proteins/fats, that really can only be so much, anyway, until I am not only satiated but a bit stuffed, and never want to see a strip of bacon again. Well, for 24 hours, anyway.Adherence > How well did I do? Well, let's see. On Oct 29 I let my kid talk me into eating some halloween candy that night. On Nov 6 I ate at a restaurant, still only one meal, and meat/veg (fajitas), but then utterly blew it by eating a Ghirardelli's vanilla-bar and milk later that night. Aside from that it has gone ok.Problems > I'm undereating. I really TRY to eat enough to be a day's worth of calories. Even at the lowest imaginable end for someone who weighs 400#, no matter how much progress I've made from above that. But it's hard! Seriously there is just only so damn much food you can eat. Meat is FILLING. I think I need to consistently work on ingesting larger portions of my primary meat (chuck burger 80/20, commercial, or, organic chicken thighs, or commercial chicken breasts).I find that if I up my fats the way I want to, it's even harder to eat more meat. For example, if I am having a plain chuck burger patty (with Montreal seasoning -- this is salt, black pepper, garlic, and red peppers, granulated together) and nothing else, I can eat a really BIG one. We're talking, 12-20oz (the top one, I have to make myself eat, and I'm stuffed, but it's possible; I'm happy with the 12). But if I put some butter on the top and melt as much butter into it, when it comes out of the pan, as I can before eating it (which is very yummy), I eat about 6-9oz max and I'm happy. More than that seems like stuffing it down just for the sake of it.I like slab bacon, and try to eat some of that just because it's yummy. But there is not a lot of meat on bacon once it's cooked, so this is more a thing on the side than any serious meal contribution.I had this realization at one point that somewhere in my past, media has indoctrinated me with this idea that any meal over ~280 calories was hugely fattening. Of course that's because they're trying to get you to live on grains way too many meals+snacks a day. And that conveniently dismisses "real food" -- like meat and even low-sugar dairy -- from being a worthy consideration if it's in any quantity at all, as the fat content would usually kick it up to that or higher.So, I aim for getting "over 1200 calories a day". I'd like it to stay under 2300 but I won't stress if it goes higher. At this point, the highest I've ever gotten it was around 1[...]



Intermittant Sanity

2011-11-15T23:54:08.614-06:00

When I first began serious lowcarb -- devoid of much info about nutrition or what ought to qualify as 'real food' vs. 'that will probably kill you too' but at least it was low on carbohydrates -- I wanted to try Intermittant Fasting.I had protein requirements, at the time. As I mentioned in Don't Have A Cow, Man!, they were pretty significant. And as I sadly concluded in IF only I could do IF and still get enough protein, it just wasn't working for me trying to do "induction" and at the same time get "enough" nutrients and at the same time only eat once a day.Over the last few years I've been through so many variants I'm totally losing track. High protein! High fat! Carb Cycling! VLC! ZC! LC with fruit! with grains! with legumes! Go Team Go!All of these work for people. Nearly every imaginable variant of eating plan appears to be working for at least someone, and often many someones, and often those someones have lost a LOT of weight and have kept it off a long time and their health markers are great -- so who can argue with success?Yet I think it's safe to say if any of those truly worked for me in the LONG run, I'd be somewhere different today. Well, wait. I don't mean that I've been perfect with something and it failed -- that wouldn't be fair to say, ok, I utterly suck as the poster child for "consistency" when it comes to good eating, and I cannot fairly represent ANY eating plan as a result. But clearly nothing was eternally right for me.SOME of these things like mostly-meat/eggs/cheese VLC worked really *well* for a period of time at least. I felt fantastic on VLC and lost a lot of weight and felt strong and everything was just rocking. Until suddenly I didn't feel ok let alone good anymore, and couldn't do it at all without my body feeling like if I didn't eat carbs within minutes it would be a disaster.Weight lifting would stop abruptly, mid-move, when my body suddenly said my battery was on E, although sometimes it would stop and I would burst into tears, feeling literally panicked. I honestly thought I had some inexplicable emotional problem for awhile. I searched for any possible internal emotion to connect to that, and of course, I found it -- see, confirmation bias works in psychology not just science! Hey, this super-morbidly-obese person DOES have a few things that cause them great emotion related to their body; gee, who knew? (Oh brother.)I finally realized this was my body's reaction to a sense of huge immediate crisis, I mean perceived as nearly life and death. Maybe in the wild of history when we were running from that predator once upon a time, it really WAS that degree of issue: find a solution within 10 seconds or you'll die from your body, never mind the tiger.I tend to ignore my body. I'm sure that is somehow related to my size, or maybe that gradually caused it. I tend to put off eating, even peeing, or even realizing I have some kind of ache or pain, until it is SO severe it's ridiculous. Whatever I am doing, I am utterly focused on that, and if that is my plan (write code for this file, lift this weight), almost nothing else even comes into my conscious awareness if it does not support that goal. If I am actually trying to do something "despite anything else" that's even more pronounced. My kid will walk into my room and say, "Mom, you're bouncing. Go pee!" I won't have even NOTICED if I'm doing something that takes focus.So that means I ignored the feelings of growing panic when I was lifting and abruptly ran TOTALLY out of energy, and finally I burst into tears, which DID get my attention and make me stop!It was at least a year before I realized that I should have recognized this pattern. When I was a kid, my dad (just a little passive/aggressive) used to tickle me, and I'd beg him to stop and[...]



Pesto Salad v1.0

2011-11-16T00:07:32.874-06:00

(image)
When finished, it looks attractively like glop.
Tastes good, though.

If it's fast and tasty, it's my kind o' food.

This is just a simple thing I threw together that I thought was yummy. Kid doesn't like pesto. I have been eating once a day separately from her so it's a chance for me to eat the things I like that she doesn't (read: that's nearly everything).

dairy-free, gluten-free, high-protein, high-fat

6 hard boiled eggs
6oz cooked chicken breast, diced (you could probably use shrimp if you prefer)
6 scallions, diced
7 oz pesto
1 small jalapeno pepper, diced
~1/3 large red bell pepper, diced

Mix it together. Eat it. This is cooking at my level for sure!.

Servings:
normal world: 6
my normal world: 4

Click the numbers image to pop up one large enough to read.

(image)



Food versus "Food" for Breakfast

2011-11-16T00:11:03.510-06:00

Low-carb seems pretty reasonable, healthy and do-able until you are wrangling with a 14 year old 8 minutes before she's got to be out the door to school.Much of the time I make her a scramble, or an omelette. She doesn't like eggs much and tends to not eat more than a bite, sadly, to make me feel better. Sometimes I make grilled sliced kosher dogs or gourmet sausages (the apple-gouda or jalapeno-jack or chili or cheddar types). She doesn't really like that either. (Had I put them in a bready bun with ketchup and mustard, ok, but sliced and grilled, no.)Sometimes I make her a mock -- slang for a sort of distinctive food-ish-thing you make in a microwaveable bowl. 1 egg, 1+ oz of cream cheese depending on how much you really want to eat it as cheesecake, some flavorings, spices, sweeteners, a drop of fresh fruit puree, broken pieces of dark chocolate bar, whatever. Soften cream cheese, stir with everything else, you can leave little chunks of the cheese, then nuke -- in my microwave it's about 1.5 minutes, might vary. Note that this can also be done savory with leftover chicken and rosemary, or cumin and taco meat, or crisped pepperoni and shredded mozz, or whatever. The sky's the limit. Over at the ACL forum (lowcarber.org) "kitchen" board there are a couple threads on "mock danish" and "bowl muffins" that probably have 200 variants. Some add almond or coconut or flax meal... depending on your ingredients this can range from a heavy muffin to bread pudding in texture, from an instant chocolate cake rather molten in middle to a garlic-caraway-flax-thing you can put a topping on.I normally avoid things like the above because years of low-carbing refocused me on "whole foods." Well, mostly. I did mention previously that I'm relaxing more than I used to and being willing to do some processed meats and such for the sake of time/ease and that seeming better than ending up offplan entirely.The one I made the other morning had some sweetzfree and truvia for sweetener, 1 egg, 3oz cream cheese, a little bit of pineapple extract, and a small handful of chopped toasted macademia nuts (from the bag in the baking aisle in market). She said it was fabulous. I felt guilty because it was 'sweet' and it seems like breakfast shouldn't be sweet. What is that? I don't know where that guilt came from. Like if it's sweet or you really enjoy it, it's the moral equivalent of a cinnamon roll, it must be bad!Food for her is really a pain! She doesn't like the meat/eggs much and that is what I am just fine with and gravitate to. She likes veggies but often only if drowning in something like a dressing.Tonight I sauteed a little bacon in tiny pieces, a bunch of crimini mushrooms, and some sliced leftover baked chicken, and then gave her a tiny bowl of butter for dipping the rather dry chicken. She said it was fab. I was trying to think of what would be better for her than the (bad-oils) ranch we currently have, I guess that worked.I had my parents get me a big chunk from a roll of Amish butter recently. Honestly I did not taste anything improved over store butter and in fact I think I liked the taste slightly less. I'm sure it's healthier though. At 4x the price it should be.An online buddy gave me a recipe for a morning smoothy the kid might like, which reminded me that we have protein powder and frozen berries and, as soon as I replenish a couple more jars to bring it back to life fully, kefir.Part of me says this isn't food. I dunno, does chopping something to tiny bits in a blender make it less food? If the ingredients were eaten separately would it seem more like food? If there wasn't a bit of sweetener (which may be its own food-karma but aside from that, what's wrong with the rest of any g[...]



Cooking Ahead

2011-11-16T00:12:35.008-06:00

I felt like such a whiner after my last post. I nearly deleted it but it had already hit RSS and feedburner so I didn't bother. Many thanks to the commenters for being so kind and supportive. Actually, I have to say the lowcarb community is probably the most friendly genre of the several I've been in online over the last 17 years!F O O D F O O D F O O DSo after thinking about it I decided the first and primary problem is that if I get lazy or work too much so I'm not prepared, I end up running out of food that is decent to eat or that doesn't take eons. Worse, it only takes going without food for awhile or even worse eating badly, to ensure I have no energy for a major cooking job anyway. I know what I can do, should do, I know a whole list of steps that are ideal for making this sort of thing easier, but following them is another story!The Cook-Ahead Plan:Chicken breasts are easy.Last week I cooked 5# of chicken breasts ahead and used them in stuff all week.Stir-fried veggies are a little more time consuming. But versatile.Then at some ungodly hour Monday morning-Sunday night, I used the wok to sautee onions, peppers, sliced zucchini, sliced yellow squash, and sliced crimini mushrooms. I dislike veggies. I can eat peppers in any way, and tomatoes in most, and I love mushrooms sauteed, but if I'm to eat zukes or squash, it will only be sauteed so it kinda blends in with other stuff. I make zero effort to eat anything outside this group.I use organic nonhydrogenated palm shortening from tropicaltraditions.com on this. I only buy the gallon if it's on sale, when it's about half price, or I just can't afford the stuff at all. I love it though--it imparts a 'warmth' but has no real taste, is more solid than bacon grease at room temp but softer than coconut oil, and has a really high smoke point so is ideal for stir-fry. I have a slightly oversized grease-holder on the counter that I keep full of the stuff.I'm wondering if adding it (melted but not hot) to bacon grease for homemade mayo would work. I'm not sure what the real diff is between the shortening and the oil.I put the veggies in a storage bowl and Monday nuked a little and dropped it inside an omelette for the kid's breakfast. Tuesday did the same thing and made one for me. And Thursday I used the remainders, pureed with some water in the blender, to add to my beef stock and spiced tomato sauce/paste soup. (Even just sauteed mushrooms dropped in are awesome with that.) Friday we added shredded baked chicken and let it simmer a long time, and then it was gone. We serve that soup with some cream mixed in the bowl on serving... it's wonderful.That worked very well as a 'food ahead'. I had thought of cooking actual 'food' ahead like the chicken, but hadn't before given too much thought to cooking 'ingredients' ahead. That worked out really well and gave me some options. For example I could have shredded a chicken breast, added some of the veggies, heated it up in a small sautee pan, and then put some pepperjack cheese over the top till melty. That would have been good too. There's lots of options.I am hoping to do another batch of fresh veggies in the wok tonight, for this coming week.Mountains of PorkToday I prepped 11 pounds of pork loin for my big 8.5 quart crockpot. I am making carnitas meat. I've never done this before. I usually make chili verde with the pork, but it requires cubing it -- a huge process as there is a lot of meat -- then braising it, yet more work -- then sauteeing the onions and peppers -- all before I can even turn on the crockpot. With the carnitas recipe, I just had to add a bunch of spices to chicken stock, I cut the 5.5# loins into 5 pieces each, and put in the pot a[...]



Mellowing with Age

2011-11-16T00:16:24.905-06:00

Over time I got to where I was wiping out so many foods from my diet--and I've little experience with most any food that is 'real' so not much variety was left--that instead of feeling enthused about recipes and issues, the way I did when I began this blog a few years ago, I just felt kinda demoralized. Like, even if I were eating on plan, how could my plain burgers and plain baked chicken breasts be of interest to anybody else?Despite my occasional success with my teen, the most common event is that she doesn't want to be on lowcarb and whether via drama-queen or pleading, eventually I make the lousy decision to agree with her 'somewhat' and then slide completely off the wagon, UNDER the wagon.As my insane weight when I began all this makes clear, my metabolism is not particularly normal. Normal people do not weigh 520, not ever. I lost a lot of weight, not remotely enough, but I'm still pretty huge. And I don't really need to eat horribly to gain weight. I just need to eat. But it's worse because if I'm not pointedly eating lowcarb, which amounts to 'mostly fats/protein', it's not merely that I'm eating carbs, it's that I'm not eating protein, and eventually I will start to overeat, simply because my body's starving for amino acids. I know that by now. Why this is ever still a problem is beyond me.I considered not posting. Figured maybe I should close the blog and forget it. Being somewhat Type-A in personality, I would sooner gets shots and bruises than confess to any weakness, or be forced to spend any time around medical places. I think it's important if one's going to blog for a given 'thing' -- lifestyle, food choice, whatever -- that they be a positive and decent example of it.Right now I'm kind of an example of someone who got demoralized, gave up, got it together again, then screwed up / got careless, shrugged it off, kinda forgot about it on purpose for awhile, repeated several times and several different approaches, and then realized I felt horrible, I was fatter, and had gained enough weight to make my eyeballs fall out on the scale, bounce a couple times and roll across the floor. I'm shocked and horrified it's that much. I honestly didn't think it would be that much.So I can't decide if I should wallow in my pathetic failing so much that I just close the blog and let people who can actually maintain the eating plan as good examples do this, and spare people my clearly imperfect  example, or if I should just get over myself and start where I am and use the blog to force myself to pay more attention for awhile, to what I eat, to issues, to positive thinking about it all. Emotionally I want to do the former, but intellectually I know it would be healthier to do the latter.***Meanwhile, I noticed tonight that I must be mellowing with age. Tonight I stir-fried a bunch of stuff to dump into omelettes or on burgers over the next 2-3 days. Zucchini, squash, anaheim chilies, white onion, portabella mushrooms, a small red potato. I would not previously have allowed the potato. But the kid likes them. Small amounts of small ones now and then are my little compromise.I am working on being less extremist. Less of the "I MUST eat X and I CANNOT eat Y" and more of the "PJ, just plan something to eat that is relatively decent and move on. Nobody is going to die over 7 slices of potato mixed into a big bowl of other veggies, only a big spoon of which is used with any meal serving. If this small compromise helps the kid like it a little better, and it's not severely harmful, isn't her being content on LC more important?"Will people relate to me? Or find it pitiful and embarrassing? (More likely, not a single pers[...]



Teenage Low Carb, Part 2

2011-11-16T00:28:39.421-06:00

"Why is there no cream cheese?""I dunno.""Did you eat all the cream cheese?""I don't remember.""Well who did??""I dunno.""There are only two of us living here! It wasn't me. So...""I was hungry!""You're always hungry!""Yes! I am! So what!"It's the Mystery of The Disappearing Yummy Foods.Now, Regina Wilshire once counseled me: Don't deprive a growing child of nutrient-foods; their body drives them to intake nutrients so they have what they need to grow. They need to have free access to the healthy foods so they can eat as needed. I agree that seems like a sound philosophy.But what do you do when the growing child only wants to eat all the peanut butter and cream cheese and any possible yummy snack (even homemade LC stuff), instead? In the night? Without mentioning it?So I go to make something that for example has a little cream cheese, a quick meal on a break from work, and discover that while I bought half a dozen 8oz blocks of the stuff not long before, we now have... count them... none.And while I don't tend to put much emphasis on calories as long as the carbs are kept low, the reality is that an 8oz block of cream cheese has 765 calories and 17g sugar carbs -- her eating it like candy with a spoon is unlikely to result in visible fat loss anytime soon, that's for sure.But if I don't keep such things in my house, if I can't have any 'ingredients' like that lest they all disappear in the night, then MY diet totally sucks. It's not that I eat it a lot. But sometimes I want to have it around, dang it! I already have a diet which, compared to the cultural norm, is profoundly restricted. I already don't really care for veggies or fruits so they're minimal, don't eat grains or legumes at all, I despise seafood, must avoid gluten, and work to maintain low-carb. Sheesh, the food segment of the universe I have access to is not real broad anyway. It's important that I be able to make a quick bowl muffin or whatever it might be. When I do NOT eat, THAT is when I end up making "poor decisions" that take me offplan. When I feel angry and deprived, that doesn't help either.It doesn't have to be this food item. It's less the specific than the overall point. Versatility and variety is really important when you're a full time job single mom trying to survive an eating plan where nearly everything involves shopping prepping cooking cleaning.I got bent out of shape about this, because it was so repetitive and it seemed like no amount of griping on my part changed it at all.If we had stew (it doesn't matter what kind of stew really) that I made in a crockpot? -- she would add tons of cream and shred cheese to it. By the time she is done, it is not only not a particularly lowcarb stew, but it's got enough calories for two entire days of food. The kid never met a carb or a cheese she didn't like, but she also avoids ever learning to get used to and like many foods, because she buries it in so much crap you can't taste anything but that.Although this issue is not completely solved, it is better than it used to be. Here's the things we did to improve it at least to the point where it is now.1. When we eat, I make a point to be sure there are LOTS of proteins and fats involved in our food. Not just some. A LOT. Enough that in a perfect world, she is as stuffed as possible, and less likely to be wandering around the kitchen noshing the minute I'm not looking. If we're having roast beef or steak, I put lots of butter on it, or mix butter into any sauce, to add some fats and calories. If we are having hamburger patties, I make sure to make it a good size and add cheese. If we're having various kinds of chicken, [...]



Teenage Low-Carb, Part 1

2011-11-16T00:27:43.846-06:00

Most people have a fairly difficult time getting, and staying, on an eating plan that is significantly different than what they grew up with. Or, an eating plan that requires major changes to the lifestyle they hold. Even for adults, those "in control of" the money and food and cooking, there are many issues.And then there's having a teenager!  gah!The way I see it, the issues fall into different categories. For example:1. Planning. I used to eat when I was hungry which meant, "I'm hungry, let's buy some food somewhere." Now that I eat whole-foods, low-sugar, gluten-free, that isn't an option anymore. I actually have to think about it, well in advance usually, not only to shop so we have food on hand, but to defrost or otherwise plan ahead.2. Shopping. My grocery shopping used to be a matter of walking through the store, choosing all the things that sounded good. Lots of pasta, lots of things in boxes and cans and frozen packages. Now the shopping is different and follows the 'borders' of the store. Fresh produce, then meat, then cheese, cream, eggs, then a very brief spot-check in the middle where we might pick up things such as canned olives or tomato paste. Everything we buy requires cooking, outside salads.3. Prepping. Sometimes the seemingly simple foods take more time than the big things. I can spend 5 minutes throwing a roast and some details into the crockpot, and 4.5-6 hours later have dinner. But it can take us an hour to prepare a salad and dressing with some stir-fry chicken to dump into it. Cleaning and slicing and dicing simply takes time, and some foods require a linear process. My food prep used to consist of, "get in the car" or "take it out of the box". Now my food prep requires a decently clean kitchen, some counter space, and that both the above factors are already in place.4. Cooking. I didn't start learning to cook until I was 40 and went low-carb. At 44 I am just starting to feel marginally competent. I can now make a steak and a roast that I love enough to rave about, after years of tough dry results. I now have enough recipes in my head to stand in the kitchen and "come up with something," whether familiar or new. We "experiment" regularly. The results are sometimes great, sometimes laughably bad, but usually edible and ok.5. Cleaning. Being able to operate in my small kitchen requires it not be too messy. Cooking everything means that you've got a lot of dishes -- for every stage of prep, for the cooking itself, and for the eating usually. We do sometimes use paper plates and plastic spoons/forks, but most "real" food actually requires "real" dishes and silverware. My kitchen can go from immaculate to armageddon in the space of a couple meals. This is very time consuming, at the least. I have a housekeeping helper but I am gradually working on getting a good handle on keeping things clean as I go, and as we eat, so that it doesn't get to the point where I haven't got any dishes left by the time she arrives.If you put all those things above together, what do they require? ENERGY. You have got to have energy to arrange any, let alone all, of those things. It is difficult enough for me to comfortably do all these things, but only when my protein is sufficiently high (>85g/day, preferably >100g/day) do I have the energy to do them. So my ability to pull off the eating plan is sometimes dependent on my ability to stay ON the eating plan -- and vice-versa of course. It's a cycle, and if I start to eat poorly, that cycle promptly becomes "a downward spiral," starting with my energy level.In the middle of all this comes another complica[...]



PJ's Crazy Theories

2010-04-07T02:54:10.884-05:00

I was talking to a lowcarb journal buddy and nearly posted this tome in her journal, and then thought it should be in mine instead, and then thought that I should post it on the blog, where a larger collection of people could kick it and tell me what's wrong with it so I can improve it.This is a theory. Not a theory like in science. A wild-ass-intuition-imagination from a layman who just had an idea that found justification for its own existence (funny how beautifully facts do that for all of us no matter what we think :-)). I will call it PJ's Crazy Theory since you probably will too.***Food intolerances can cause all kinds of things -- psychological, as well as physical, and then more psychological in reaction to the physical, and then your outer world reacts to your physical and psychological reactions, and it becomes a whole snowball perpetuating itself. All because your body didn't like some molecule in your bagel. Go figure.I am coming to suspect that severe obesity is probably almost inextricably entwined with food intolerances. It may be that, just like poor eating which affects people differently depending on genetics, maybe it is really the same as issues some others have, differently handled.When you think about it, society as a whole would show what amounts to a "spectrum" based on how severely or multi/complex-ly all the people in that society reacted to the common foods. Ranging from people seeming totally ok, through the spectrum to people with rashes, or the horror of cystic acne, to so-called eating disorders, psychological issues, and at the far side of the spectrum, people developing various serious disease. It would actually make sense that the spectrum of people with any given 'condition' are probably on the far side of the spectrum for something else; the condition itself is secondary.Imagine this model in your head where at point A is bad food, and point B is the body and genetics and history and so on, and then point C actually splits into many different paths, one being cancer, one schizophrenia, one diabetes, one obesity, etc. etc. That is how I have thought of obesity until now, mostly after reading Taubes. Basically, like obesity was a disease like cancer, so was schizophrenia. I've sort of changed my mind. I don't think of it like this anymore. Not quite, anyway.I know this theory is nuts. There is no science to back this. It's just some fat woman in the midwest rambling. But WHAT IF...Point A is toxic food intake.Point B is the human body (genetics), its history (environment, plus cumulative stuff).Point C is the immune system.Point D has 3 segments and it is "reactions of the neuro-immune system."(I say neuro because I read a bunch about neuro techs as I'm into brainwave feedback and such, and I am always sort of struck by how it seems to me that in some way the brain is actually having a fight/freeze/flight response. There is no science that I know of that would put it that way. So I guess tonight is just a wild rambling journey through my deviant mind, sorry.)So I'm saying that I think how the brain reacts determines how the immune system reacts. But maybe that is a no-brainer (no pun intended) anyway -- maybe the brain controls everything. Who knows. Let's move on.So we have the immune system which breaks into three branches of point D:Fight, flight or freeze.* the 'fight' point splits off into all these body-attacking syndromes like chronic fatigue, rheumatoid arthritis, celiac, things that seem to attack the body in some way.* the 'freeze' point (like in/under-active) splits off into all these immune br[...]



Teenage Low-Carb

2010-04-06T08:01:34.918-05:00

I'm going to be posting, over the next week, a several-post series summarizing what I have learned, experienced, still struggle with, and have accomplished, in regards to my 13 year old daughter and our whole-foods, gluten-free, low-carb lifestyle.

Basically, a sort of bullet point and narrative summary of our ongoing attempt to improve nutrition, feel better, and reduce body fat, but specific to the issues that relate to her.

If there are any specific questions feel welcome to post 'em in the comments section and I'll include that topic in the posts.

More soon!
PJ

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VLC, Hyper-Nutrient, and Mysteries

2010-03-20T20:33:58.504-05:00

Well my first thought is, "I haven't posted on this blog in nearly six months!" Holy cats! How time flies! I didn't realize. I've lived and worked 'on the internet' for 15 years and I swear it has really mucked about with my 'time-sense'.I've been working nearly like an ancient egyptian slave for a long time, so my time for anything else has been super limited. Also though, I have gone off and on "serious" LC -- and had not yet fully implemented my 'hypernutrient' approach which I wanted to have some follow up to next time I posted on this blog.Today is day 5 on a return to more officially-sane eating. (Usually, my eating is LC by default. It's just that in some periods, there is other HC stuff too. When I go official, anything HC is totally out.) This is the first time I've gotten to my "Hyper-nutrient" approach.It's like ten handfuls of big pills. I do ok swallowing pills but this really pushes my limits! That is every other day. On the alternate days I take only a few of the supplements: a liquid multi (NOW brand), and dropper-bottle under-tongue doses of B-12 (NOW), and two different blue-green algaes (Klamath). I try to "think to" my body, "OK, I'm sending you a ton of elements. Pick what you want out of all these, flush the rest." I actually thought that taking this much stuff at once (always just after eating) would result in digestive surprise of some sort, but it doesn't.I feel more clear-headed and energetic than I have in a LONG time. I noticed it pointedly on day 2.5, and more each day since. Last night I did more stuff around the house than I have in eons, re-read a book on weight lifting, just felt a lot more proactive. Today I did a lot more house stuff, including some hard muscle scrubbing of the stove and various parts of the kitchen, we did prep cooking and then made a quiche, I did a slow lift of really light (5#) weights, sitting on the incline bench, nearly every arm/shoulder push/pull exercise I could remember, just to remind my body what it was like. If my energy keeps increasing like this, I'll be working out for real again by mid next week.This is an anomaly, though. There's something mysterious going on. To recap:About 3 years ago, VLC (that means >30 carbs a day), which I love eating and had lost a whole lot of weight on, suddenly quit working for me. I mean I seriously felt like crap eating that way, which I couldn't understand as it hadn't been that way before. The "feeling bad" was different than my ordinary "lack of energy." Normally, if I'm not eating 85+g protein daily, I have little energy. (Any decent amount of grains/fructose/lactose make it worse.)I don't think people realize just how sedentary someone my size can be. I don't just mean "I don't do the dishes or exercise," I mean literally you'd probably need to be in a coma to be any more "still" -- not using any more energy than sleep probably -- than I can be for really long periods of time, comfortably. It's part of the same health issue that causes the food to store its energy as fat and not give it back to you as energy. But that is not like the 'exhaustion' of an illness, and it is not like being sleepy. I have a LOT of "mental energy" -- more than most people I suspect -- just none for the rest of the body (I think maybe my brain grabs everything available!).But the feeling bad on VLC was more like, feeling seemingly like normal people, plenty of energy, and then at some point in the day -- alas sometimes morning -- it was like I would "hit a wall" and suddenly understand perfectly tha[...]



PāNu + HyperNutrient

2009-10-05T00:49:47.671-05:00

I wrote in my last blog post about my Hyper-Nutrient plan. That is going fine.Here's a few trivias so far.Vitamin C is not actually a vitamin you need a little of, but a liver enzyme you need a lot of. Somewhere between 'conspiracy' and 'ignorance' is the Vitamin C subject in our world, much like the carbohydrate issue. Google it, and Linus Pauling, and read everything in sight for about 10 nights and a couple weekends, and you will be on the same page with me about it. Summary: I am taking as much of it orally as I can without flushing effects.How much you can take before the 'excess' starts flushing (the runs, to put it plainly) depends apparently on how much there is inside your body for it to take care of. (And it takes care of a LOT of stuff. This is one amazing enzyme.) So far I'm able to take about 16g per day, 3-4g every few hours, without side effects. This implies that there's a lot of work to be done inside I guess. I would attempt actual treatment with larger IV doses, but all the docs I see who do that are in California for the most part.Vitamin D is a hormonal precursor, which as it turns out you also need a lot of (especially if you're very fat), unless you are living naked in Argentina. I take around 5-10,000iu per day, but have taken up to about 50,000 without any noticeable side effects. When I first began taking it (around 5,000iu) I had a marked increase in my "sense of well-being". Haven't really noticed anything specific since then one way or the other.I've also been taking double-doses of calcium, magnesium, potassium, the spectrum of B vitamins, Vitamin E, and vitamin K2. And a multi which has Vitamin A (that has a toxic dose that isn't real high so I avoid much supplementing with that one). Oh yea, and co-enzyme CQ10.More on results further below. Tomorrow starts week three of my eating plan experiment and this is the week that I add in all the "other" supplements. I am already pretty tired of taking pills and this is a zillion more. Oy!PāNuJust before/during the first week of this current eating plan experiment I happened upon the PāNu blog. (I cannot figure out how to make that "ā" with HTML so have had to just 'copy' it from his site. I hope your browser can see it.) This is the website of Dr. Kurt G. Harris M.D. who, after reading Gary Taubes's seminal book Good Calories, Bad Calories ('The Diet Delusion' in the UK), decided to go public with a blog partly in support of the cause.The detail of Dr. Harris's plan is here: http://www.paleonu.com/get-started/In a nutshell, it's lowcarb, with no grains/legumes/sugars, no veggie/seed oils, fairly high-fat, with some degree of Intermittant Fasting, and Vitamin D3 supplementation. Three points on his plan that I am not abiding by currently are 9, 10 and 12, which are grass-fed meats, exercise, and removal of the last shred of dairy (cheese). All the others I am not on track with.Now, nearly everything on that list I have done at one time or another over the last 2.5 years (of not losing any real weight I might add). But I haven't necessarily done them together. So that part, that is a change for me.I have added this eating plan to my "Hyper-Nutrient" plan currently going on and am doing them together.Since reverting back to low carb, I lost from the water-gain (404) down to what I believe is my 'real' weight (384). Anything beyond that I consider actual body mass of some kind lost, not fluid.My eating plan, aside from hypernutrient, had an expected problem: eating very low carb ([...]



Hyper-Nutrient

2009-09-24T07:36:13.400-05:00

I have a theory that maybe the cells of my body are malnutritioned. It's not my original theory, and it's no more than a theory. But to me, intuitively, it makes some sense.I have thought a lot a lot about Regina's Good Sense, as I call it. Her functional, beautiful dietary advice that included a range of healthy foods ought to be enshrined somewhere. Of course, being reasonable, it's impossible for me to follow, not the least of which is I don't like vegetables and eating the same thing constantly is the only thing that makes lowcarb possible for me at all and it's still a pain in the butt.The point about getting nutrients seems important. But think about this for a minute. In today's world, with the limited food variety most people eat, with the dumbed-down nutrient version of produce we have now, and that goes for most meats as well (which often have toxic additives--my walmart chicken is 15% injection, sheesh!)--we [as humans] are not eating hearts and feet much anymore you notice--it seems incredibly unlikely that ANY person can truly get all the nutrition they need from food.(And I don't believe the RDA is anything more than minimums. If I waited for the government to have a clue even about getting-old science, like on Vitamin D3, I'd just expire. I think some things do have toxic levels, like Vitamin A and potassium; most overdose levels like on Magnesium will just torque your elimination experience. But I suspect most things on the official list we need way more of than anybody currently believes.)So even for average sized people, it seems very unlikely that they can even 'maintain' truly adequate nutrition -- especially when you add in the constant environmental toxins/stresses, and assume they're not eating a zillion calories in nothing but pure-foods -- solely on food.So that food could possibly, in addition to maintaining, also "make up for" a very long period of extended cellular-level malnutrition seems rather unlikely.And that it could do all that for a body supersized AND long-term nutritionally-deficient seems impossible to me.In response to this idea-set, I am doing a brief period of what I call "hyper-nutrient". This is not about eating nearly everything in sight in the hopes of nutrifying (I think I just made that word up) the body. I don't think it's possible for a body my size to get enough food to truly nutrify and "remediate existing deficits" as well as current needs, without causing, long before that point, other horrible problems like more-fat, blood sugar issues, etc. just from quantity of food intake.Over the last few months I have been buying, with all my spare cents, a ton of supplements. All of these are things that I have read about somewhere, and decided to try. Some are no-brainers with lots of science. Some are a few people on blogs raving about some obscure extract. Some are amino acids and some are 'alternative' at best. My idea is that I want to 'flood my system with opportunity', consistently, for a little while. Hopefully 90 days. I will be running out of most things long before that so some depends on money to buy more.I have a second theory that my body will grab what it wants as it's passing through. That if my fat intake is high, there is ability for absorption if it is needed, and if my water intake is high, there is ability for flushing if it is unwanted. So a high and constant fat intake combined with a minimum of a gallon a water a day is a primary part of this effort. I am simply t[...]



Birthdays and Goals

2009-09-10T05:19:48.784-05:00

I turn 44 Monday, September 14th.

I've been working hard on 'parsing' immense amounts more stuff out of my house, and the rest much more condensed and organized. The result being vastly less clutter and more space. (Is it just me or is it nearly impossible not to associate house-clutter with bodyfat?)

We're painting a couple rooms this weekend, including my hideously dark blotchy bedroom. That is sure to change my environment drastically and cheerfully.

Here's hoping that as a result of all this effort, I feel more accomplished by Monday. :-) Because I haven't really accomplished anything on the weight front this year.

It occurs to me there are a lot of different ways to set goals. Not just daily but the larger stuff. What the scale says is one but surely there are many others.

So what do other people think? What do you make as your 'goals'? What is the criteria by which you judge if you've accomplished something useful in the previous year's time??

PJ
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August 09 Collected Trivia

2009-09-05T05:10:06.913-05:00

The little things: stuff in August that wasn't big enough deal for a whole blog post.Observations * Quotes * Ideas * Recipes * Links * OtherObservations1. Low-carb not only makes your butt smaller, it turns your hair blonde. The larger you begin and the smaller you get, the more noticeable this effect. For proof of this theory, you need only see the impressive before & after photos of women who lost a lot of weight and got down to their normal size. (Example: the lovely, smart and kind Valerie. But there are so many other examples, seriously!) Someone needs to do some research on why insulin affects hair melanin. (At least it's not as extreme the effect as one gets from "fame" in the entertainment industry, which can actually turn you almost-white, no matter what race you begin. ;-))2. I finally sat down and worked out my weekly/monthly budget for food, as well as other sundries (from medicine to cleaning supplies to cat food to paper plates) that I buy at the grocery store. The number nearly made me just keel over like a cartoon. No wonder I have no money, I am spending a ridiculous amount on food. This has made me determined to better pre-plan everything as I think spontaneous and 'miscellaneous' spending as well as stuff I throw away for it getting out of date is worth changing.Quotes"Beauty is in the eye of the beholder and it may be necessary from time to time to give a stupid or misinformed beholder a black eye."-- Miss Piggy"The man who does not read a newspaper is uninformed. The man who does read the newspaper is misinformed."-- Mark TwainIdeas1. I think my eating habits may be affected by hormonal cycles. Like much of the time eating decently is no problem aside from getting off my butt and doing it. But sometimes it's much harder and I've just noticed that it seems slightly cyclical. I've long known that chocolate cravings went with PMS, but maybe it's more than that?2. Enzymes that help with digestion of fiber-carbs such as 'Beano' for example, actually increase the soluble fiber. That's basically creating more carbs INside the body. I'd never thought of that.3. Turns out the thyroid is the first stop in the immune system, cleansing blood. How is it I didn't know this already?4. I read several long pages detailing digestion from the point of the stomach to exit. While not an appetizing subject it's actually very interesting. It brought me to the idea that maybe the only evil more insidious than high-carbs and fructose is fiber. Who knew. Well, the people who make money on stuff that is both high-carb and fibrous, they probably knew.RecipesThis month has been understated for food, at best. Mostly we've eaten chuck burger patties with something on top like cheese, or pesto, or LC ketchup. I've done a lot of sauteeing mushrooms, onions and garlic together (in bacon grease ideally) and dumping those on a burger patty. If my food life got any more predictable I could just chisel it in stone.I did get a chorizo-spices recipe I'm making with ground turkey but so far it hasn't gone well; will work on it more and if it works out I'll post it later.The only thing I've "made" that hasn't been whole foods is a coconut oil thing. It's just a way of downing extra fat/calories (and coconut oil as the source of them). I don't like it in coffee, can't eat it plain, so this is the only way I can do it. 1/2 cup very-melted coconut oil, 4 Tbsp quality dutched cocoa, a couple diffe[...]