Wednesday, February 29, 2012

magical Medicine

Here i go ... getting carried away with my own cleverness, and formulating a Personal Theory -- hear those echo-chamber sound effects!  ;-)  I've always been opinionated, but i'll try not to fall into the "it works for me so it must be UNIVERSALLY APPLICABLE" trap.

No.  NO.  I'm too put off by others who think that THEIR dietary path is The Only Path; i would despise myself if my ego let me sink into the same quagmire.  Now, where was i?

"The 'magic resetting' aspect of the SMD regimen"....  These are just speculations, mind you -- i have none of the credentials which a lot of COMPLETELY MISTAKEN "experts" do.  i just enjoy thinking about old ideas in the light of new science, and modern ideas from a vintage point of view. 

Dr. Donaldson tells us that 75% of his patients stuck with the weight-reduction instructions he gave them and did a great job (25% are non-compliant from the starting line).  He doesn't tell us outright that they all reach their goal weights but he kinda implies it.  Nor does he claim that they all maintain their losses afterward, but we know he had an enviable record -- i.e., better than the 2-5% successful dieters these days.

My thoughts about the mechanism of success:

It takes a lot of energy to metabolize protein, and it takes awhile to do it. Add those yummy animal fats, and the situation spells S-A-T-I-A-T-I-O-N (and satiety) in big letters.  This is how someone can lose a lot of fat without hunger.

Enthusiasts of the "food reward hypothesis" will say that the limitation of foods bolsters their argument; i contend that it goes much further. 

This diet breaks carbohydrate addictions and de-conditions snacking/craving behaviors.  More important, it EMPOWERS the person who employs it.  You feel you could conquer the world, it's so easy, mindless and effective.  Fast, too -- losing more than one plodding pound per week is encouraging.  I can't speak for everyone, but MY mood is great on this program.  And you don't have to spend hours carefully planning meals, shopping for arcane grocery items, and cooking.

You can easily avoid allergens and toxins on a mostly-meat diet, too -- just choose meats you don't have a problem with!  ;-)  Duh.

We know that one can get every required nutrient from "fresh fat meat" as Dr. Donaldson repeatedly expressed it ... with the caveat that organ meats are occasionally necessary for certain vitamins and minerals.  Therefore, the "Strong Medicine" prescription could easily be resolving nutrient deficiencies that people don't even know they have.  As a result the overeating-in-an-attempt-to-become-properly-nourished (well covered in The Perfect Health Diet -- lets call it OIATBPN) is solved -- there is much less temptation to overeat.  Your nutritional needs are thoroughly satisfied.

Chronic low-grade malnutrition (and i'd argue that most people in the western world suffer from it) MAY be behind the recidivism problem that dieters have.  Going off a low-carb or low-fat or low-calorie diet, one is extremely likely to progress to a diet that is not "perfect" -- people are too eager to be able to eat things they've denied themselves during the weight-loss process!  Going from a limited diet to a doubtfully-nutritious one WILL be problematic:  one has loosened one's inhibitions, and one will be missing dietary necessities -- how can this NOT be a recipe for OIATBPN?

Yeah -- i'm happy with THIS hypothesis,  Strong Medicine works because it's:
   nutritionally replete during weight loss
   nutritionally replete after weight loss
 =reset fat/weight setpoint

Tuesday, February 28, 2012

we interrupt your regularly-scheduled program for this announcement

Sunday was a busy and discombobulated day.  Flying may take less actual travel-time than pursuing the same course on the ground, but it's far more upsetting to the routine.  Had i driven for the eight or nine hours which that  evening's trip monopolized, it would have been a piece of cake (piece of steak?) for me to comply with the Strong Medicine requirements.  Three half-pound chunks of meat and three coffees, a quart and a half of water.  Done.

Instead, i ended up eating a lot of cheese (for the first time this year), a little shrimp and smoked salmon, melon and nuts, and one glass of red wine for dinner.  Since then, not only is Ralph giving me more pain than usual, but my hips and legs in general are aching.  And one shoulder.  Even my eyes have been dry and itchy (not from the flying -- that's different), which i learned is a common symptom of this sort of food sensitivity.  It doesn't look good for casein!

I remember my surprise and delight after a stiffness-free drive of some 12 or more hours, two different days last month.  Opposite situation here, and one gets to move around a LOT more in a plane than behind the wheel of a car.  My mood, energy and sense of well-being have been disrupted too, though i concede that i had way too little sleep on Sunday night, to blame it ALL on diet.

New dietary conclusion and rule:  being freshly self-diagnosed as dairy-sensitive, cheese must be eaten IN EXTREME MODERATION.  Butter seems to be fine.  Cream definitely requires a careful test period.  Ditto for yogurt/kefir.

[sniff, sniff, pout]  Dammit, i love cheese....

Monday, February 27, 2012

synthesis (or lack of it)

I took "The Shangri-La Diet" on the plane with me yesterday; i thought i might be able to soak in and muse upon "the science behind the diet" in the enforced environment of low distraction.  It didn't work very well.

The philosophy seems to be based upon three unrelated research themes plus a generous helping of n=1 experience, and i'm darned if i can get any sense out of the stew.  Most of what Roberts put in the book is more of a "story" than an explanation.  ...So why the hell does it WORK???  I guess i need to find a better "explainer" online to approach the idea from a different perspective.

Also puzzling -- he described the use of the unflavored source of calories as a means of resetting the weight setpoint, but clearly warned that if one ceases to employ the technique, one will regain weight (i applaud him for telling the whole truth, as well as giving credit for improvements to those of his followers who tweaked and shared).  To me, this is not really RESETTING the "fat thermostat" -- it's more like the constant re-entering of the desired "temperature" on a thermostat which has lost its ability to store the programming which has already been entered.

I compare that to the results of the Strong Medicine technique, in which the long period of time that the patient has been eating the prescribed food list automatically makes him/her resistant to weight gain, once the ideal weight has been achieved.   Now, THAT is a reset.

While waiting for the shuttle at the San Francisco airport i started formulating my own version of the setpoint theory -- then the damn train arrived.  If this hotel has a hot-tub (i do my best mental work in water), i'll work on that line of thought again, from this starting point: 

Lean individuals have a very strong system in place which keeps their body composition remarkably balanced.  Many overweight individuals do too, at a higher number of pounds.  What they have in common is TIME SPENT AT THAT WEIGHT.  Most dieters are different because their weight is constantly on the move.  Perhaps homeostatic systems REQUIRE stability for awhile, to really function appropriately?  And the more one has dieted, the more this system is damaged, and it takes longer to make the body "confident" that this weight is the one it should be maintaining?  hmmmm....

I'm going to have to develop this theme more in a second post -- this one is getting a bit long already!  I was about to start speculating on the "magic resetting" aspect of the SMD regimen, and there's a lot of material there!

Sunday, February 26, 2012

another challenge

Oh, i was BAAAD last night -- too much sake, which led me to get into the cashews.  BAAAAAD tess!!!

So now i'm going out of town for a week again, this time with no scale to help keep me honest....  I vow i shall stick to Donaldson's program when i'm "in" and Kresser's when i'm "out," with a little Roberts thrown in for insurance.  I would HATE to waste all the great progress i made last week because of carelessness.

California, here i come -- wish me luck!

Saturday, February 25, 2012

damn, i love "Strong Medicine"

Another half-pound of loss, and i almost regret the contemplation of going out for sushi tonight!  ALMOST.  ...Naw, i don't, because i'm sure that occasional carb refeeds are a good plan, to keep one's system on its toes.  Kinda like hormesis.

Now that i've ironed out a few difficulties i found with this high-protein-high-fat regimen, and the weight is still coming off, i feel like i could conquer the world!  Although it calls for what other dieters might call "sacrifice," i don't feel deprived AT ALL.  Most western-world dietary practices are nothing but habit buttressed by bad science and corporate propaganda.  My appetite is satisfied and i feel great.  My nutritional needs are met -- i don't need to use food for any other purpose.

Friday, February 24, 2012

yes, it still works

The scale was down about the amount i predicted yesterday (it measures in 0.2 pound increments, so "half a pound" is a ballpark figure, not "documentable").  Success!  I'll continue being (almost) "perfect" today.

I confess to have had some concerns -- are you familiar with the concept of the One Golden Shot?  :-)  It's when something-or-other worked GREAT the first time, but you can never seem to replicate the success.  The first time you tried the diet it went swimmingly, but another time it totally let you down; the first time you made the recipe or sewed the pattern it turned out spectacular, but when you tried to do it again (for "company"!) it was a flop.  You know....

In the weight-loss realm, i suspect this happens because when we first learn about it our excitement level boosts our metabolism a bit, making it easier to lose, AND we are absolutely faultless in our application of the guidelines.  Later, we tweak (i'm BIG on this myself).  We remember what we were able to get away with the first time, and we start at that point, instead of at the prescribed beginning.  Furthermore ... we're older!  At this time of our lives, a LOT changes, and FAST.  I've already warned my daughter that she needs to be careful to maintain her normal weight, because losing it later is much harder.

So after the rule-bending i did yesterday (salting my meat, having full instead of half-cups of coffee with my meals, even drinking the last 3 tablespoons of wine that didn't QUITE get finished last week), i was pleased and yes, a little relieved to find that the formula still worked.  I'm counting my blessings, and vowing to be even better today.  Now that i'm caught up on my salt, i'm scaling it back (not omitting it -- that didn't work so well).  I'm continuing to use the stationary bicycle because it's kinder to Ralph while still elevating my heart-rate.  And since that wine bottle is now safely empty and residing in the recycle bag, i won't be teased by it sitting unfinished on the kitchen counter any more.  :-) 

I confess, i WILL still indulge myself with the full cups of coffee.  ...Since beginning to drink it without even coconut milk, i'm dumbfounded to find that i prefer my black coffee without the single drop of liquid sucralose that i tried last week -- who would have thought!  Am i going to end this experience by finding that only simple, plain foods suit me anymore???

Thursday, February 23, 2012

back to the definitive program

I found the "limitation of matter" yesterday, lol....

The scale was down a scant 1/4 pound this morning.  Yesterday's intake consisted of the last patty of my chuck/liver/parsley/pepper mixture WITH SALT, four full cups of black coffee (half decaf), 3 glasses of water (plus the amount i drank while taking my supplements), 6 oz. of pot roast with salt and pepper, half a cup of german-style potato salad, 4 ounces of sake and 2 of traminette.  I didn't "exercise" at all (besides the innumerable stairs i climb as a daily necessity, in this house).

I woke after 8 hours or thereabouts, with more enthusiasm for compliance with the "Strong Medicine" than i have the last couple of days.  Between the lower calorie/protein intake and the splurge in wine, i saw on the scale what i wanted AND expected -- a small loss.  It's comforting to be able to predict what will result from one's actions!

So, this morning i DID get my before-breakfast activity (stationary bike), my single cup of coffee and fatty-meat ration.  Brother, does it make a difference when the meat is cooked RIGHT -- i put a nice marbled chuck roast in the crockpot yesterday instead of doing it on the stovetop.  (My stove is impossible to turn down far enough, even using a "flame tamer"!  Frankly, for any kind of "cheap" roast, the crockpot does SO MUCH BETTER a job of getting it tender....)

I'll continue to follow the program today, and anticipate a 1/2# loss tomorrow -- it will be reassuring if i'm right, but if the scale is even lower, i certainly won't cry!

Wednesday, February 22, 2012

appetite still down

The scale read 3/4 pounds lower AGAIN today -- not that i'm complaining!  :-)   I DO find it exceptionally interesting.

It has occurred to me recently, how artificial are our eating cues these days.  If a paleo/primal outlook should do anything, it's to bring to our attention what natural human behavior really is, and how we have perverted it.  Not only is WHAT we're eating out-of-phase with the natural:  HOW we're eating is just plain WARPED.

     "I'll eat when i'm hungry, i'll drink when i'm dry,
         and if the moonshine don't kill me, i'll live till i die!"


Except ... we DON'T.  We eat by the clock, and we eat what is lying around handy, and we try to eat as much as we can get away with.  WHY?  Why do we feel compelled to eat when we're not hungry?  If a certain foodstuff is labelled "healthy," why do we feel like we have to consume it, even if we don't have an urge to do so?

The ancient peoples whose health and fitness we want to duplicate would not feel inclined to find something to eat if they were already satisfied, unless it were stuffing on fruit in autumn, to put on weight to last the winter (which is apparent from our disinclination to stop eating glucose-supplying foods when we once start).  The other day, when i was overfilling myself on meat, this was a prominent thought.  As an experiment, this behavior might be interesting and instructive, but as an everyday occurrence, i can only believe that it undermines health. 

Now, here's where someone with decades of experience has a breadth of understanding that young "obesity experts" may never obtain!  I clearly remember being constantly unsatisfied on a low-fat regimen, and the bliss of Atkins lay in the ability to eat to appetite and still lose weight.  Perhaps this is why some "new" low-carbers overdo (and fail ultimately) -- they are so hungry from before, and their bodies react so gratefully to consuming animal fats, they lose track of their natural appetites when they have permission to eat these traditional foods. 

That, and all the low-carb treats which seduce one into thinking one CAN eat one's cake and have it, too -- quite literally.  [shaking head]  superfluous foods -- junk calories -- are something to avoid no matter what they're made of.

Appetite is something we need to listen to very carefully.  You have to be able to distinguish belly-hunger from mouth /imagination-hunger.  If we ignore it and restrain our eating to save calories, we set ourselves up for mistakes later -- i think this applies to pretty much everybody!  Beyond that, i believe one has to know one's body very well indeed, because they DON'T always perform predictably.  THIS is the problem with the medical business' "one size fits all" prescriptions.

If you're belly-hungry, EAT (that is, eat something which YOU have found truly nourishes YOU).  If you're not, DON'T.  I'm going to eat within Donaldson's guidelines, but not more than appetite allows -- that should improve the program.  I'll let you know....

Tuesday, February 21, 2012

i can't bear eating all this FOOD!

The scale is down 3/4 pound again, and i even allowed myself half a cup of cooked white rice with my beef tenderloin last night.

But my discomfort level has risen:  between the lack of salt and the high meat intake (about 50% higher than it was a month ago), my stomach is not at all happy, even with daily use of betaine-HCl.  Today is a day for readjusting the formula.  (I just took a 1/4 t. of sea salt, washed down with water, as a good beginning.)

I was VERY comfortable on the IF technique of coconut milk in my coffee for breakfast, and only two real meals per day.  The only trouble with that was, i wasn't losing any weight, despite consuming fewer calories than i am now.  (So THERE, CICO people!)  When one of Donaldson's patients reported in without having lost any weight on one occasion, it turned out that he had begun skipping breakfast in hopes of reducing faster....

Yesterday, i DID feel improvement in my bad knee, and the other felt pretty much normal again.  I did my half-hour of walking on the treadmill upstairs instead of around the neighborhood, because i suspected the cold was affecting my knee badly.  Treadmills aren't perfect walking-machines, though -- posture and muscle use don't mimic REAL walking (see Dr. Wong...).  Today i'm going to walk outside at a warmer hour, or use the stationary bicycle; i customarily use it for my Tabata sprints, as it's MUCH kinder to the knee.

...I just resolved to name my knees -- "my once-injured knee" is so unwieldy -- so it'll be Ralph (the "bad" one) and Louie.  ;-)  I'm so original!

Volume of meat is going down!  Instead of 8 ounces, it's going to be 6, and i'm going to put salt on it.  Truly, it hasn't been my taste buds that missed the salt, it's been my stomach-acid missing the chlorine!  In all the agonizing over sodium in the last few decades, "experts" predictably overlooked the other important ingredient of table salt.  Without a good source of chlorine, less stomach-acid is produced -- and contrary to what "everybody knows," an awful lot of indigestion is due to LOW acid, not high.  As a hypothyroid, i'm already inclined to have low stomach acid (which is why i keep the betaine supplement on hand), and i've been exacerbating it.  That stops now.

On the positive front, allergic symptoms are reduced on my lower-toxin diet.  I was surprised to see, under the strict PPC regimen, that i still showed a little cheek-flushing in the evenings -- something that i hitherto blamed on wine.  The most likely suspects were nightshades (which i took it very easy with), eggs (eaten in moderation), and nuts (mostly consumed in the form of coconut milk).  Last night i took stock, and found the flushing significantly reduced. 

Well, today is going to be a low-intake day, just to reset my system.  I WILL stick to the approved food list in "Strong Medicine" though!  Considering that i lost approximately 3 pounds in three days, there's no doubt that Dr. Donaldson was onto something, even though the medicine seems to be a little TOO strong for ME.

p.s.  Despite the dire warnings of reduced thyroid function on a VLC diet, i've noticed no such reaction -- and believe me, i know what it feels like.  I hypothesize that:  1) sufficient protein ingestion raises insulin levels enough to allow the receptors to work just fine, and;  2) being well-adapted in ketosis with plenty of glucose made by the liver from protein AND fat (as confirmed with my glucometer) provides all the glucose necessary for T4 conversion.  Dare i suggest that the trials where thyroid function was impaired took place in particularly-established glucose burners...?

Monday, February 20, 2012

shades of Stefansson....

Even though i've been a "locarber" for years now, i seem to be following the classic pattern old Vilhjalmur described in his men:  they take to the fatty meat-eating enthusiastically enough, but soon have a lapse in appetite for a couple of days before regaining their relish.  I'm in that middle phase.  The first day i easily ate and drank the quantities prescribed, but yesterday i had a heck of a time choking it all down! 

I was tempted to reduce the volume, and wondered if Donaldson's recommendation of half-pound-beef-eating might have been the male version of the diet -- one case history he discussed was a stout young woman, whom he directed to eat two two-rib frenched lamb chops three times a day -- exactly how many ounces would that be?  Tempting to do exactly the same, but EXPENSIVE.  Other women cited DID have comparable prescriptions to that of the men, though....

Soldiering on, i managed to consume 1/2 pound of home-made pork sausage for breakfast, another patty of my home-ground chuck/liver/parsley/green-peppercorn burger, and an appropriate amount of the over-large KC strip steak, each meal accompanied by a short cup of coffee, interspersed with the six total cups of water.  Damn, i felt my stomach was overloaded all day!

This morning i woke with a reasonable appetite and the scale a pound lower than yesterday.  The before-breakfast exercise took a goodly amount of my appetite away, though, and i had little enthusiasm for the half-pound of leftover pot roast i ate.  Stuffed again!  ...On the other hand, it beats hell out of my low-fat days, when my stomach could be overloaded but my satisfaction level inadequate.

Allergy symptoms are lower than they were yesterday, but not gone.  I'll be sticking to ruminant meat today (i have goat and lamb in my freezer as well as beef), and if i decide to sneak in a little starch at supper, it'll be white rice.  I predict less sinus inflammation tomorrow.

This remains an interesting experiment!  Like the Atkins "fat fast," i think it makes for a reasonable method of getting past a frustrating plateau. 

Bette Davis (LOVE that actress...) once said, "Getting old is not for sissies."  I'll go a step further and say, losing weight WHILE you're getting old isn't for the weak, either!

Sunday, February 19, 2012

second day of extra-clean eating

Actually, my diet yesterday wasn't as "pure" as Donaldson suggested for his patients, but not as wicked as ANY of my days last week.  :-)  I had some tomato slices with my breakfast steak yesterday, and a small piece of Japanese sweet potato with butter, with my dinner's lamb rack half.  The chuck roast i ground into hamburger (lunch) had some lamb liver added in, too.  He recommends no added salt*, and the steak and the lamb were cooked with some.

I slept better last night than recently, and awoke a little less stiff.  I feel a little touch of upper-respiratory inflammation, so i'll delete those vegetables from today's menu.  My right knee is still giving me trouble, and the left is even a little unhappy -- i blame last Thursday's dinner (Valentine's Day celebration) for the distress!  Even though we dutifully avoided the bread, some flour must have snuck in somewhere.  ;-)  Ya just gotta do your own cooking....

At any rate, this regimen isn't as easy as the basic PPC, but i'm going to hang in there for the week, as i suspect doing without eggs and nuts might be prudent -- this way, i'll figure it out for sure.  I weighed a pound less today than yesterday; we'll see where i am tomorrow.

*  no reason is given for banning salt in "Strong Medicine" -- i wish Donaldson had been more explanatory!  Potassium balance (with sodium) in plain meat is decent, and i seem to remember reading somewhere that increased meat intake requires increased salt, though i can't find it again.  Perhaps he's just referring to excessive salt use that some people DO indulge?  It's hard for me to believe that this guy falls for the kind of pseudo-science that had other doctors avoiding saturated fat....

Saturday, February 18, 2012

off to (another) good start

My week of loosened discipline left me with significantly more joint and muscular pain than i was feeling three weeks ago.  It's been a revealing lesson!

A comment in one of the blogs i've begun reading recently led me to a VERY interesting book called "Strong Medicine" -- a revelation by a doctor who practiced in the early- to mid-twentieth-century, and did a lot of work with weight loss (among many other things, notably allergy).  Significantly, he talks of the many practitioners of his era who used a low-carbohydrate diet to treat many ills, which these days we would call the diseases of civilization.  It clearly shows that Lindlahr was in step with his colleagues, and Atkins wasn't really proposing anything new!

I didn't see any reason why this Dr. Donaldson's suggestions should be modified, so decided to plunge right in and try him out.  This morning, after about 7 hours of sleep, i hopped out of bed and got ready for my half-hour walk before breakfast (my husband and Spenser were delighted).  Afterward, we went out for our usual Saturday morning breakfast at the City Diner, where i ordered an espresso and the steak-and-eggs breakfast, with sliced tomatoes instead of potatoes (to keep the omega-6s down), hold the toast -- and then i put the eggs in a container to take home to Spense.  The six-ounce sirloin didn't fill me up because it was low on fat, so when i got home i took a shot of coconut oil (yuk -- shooting oil makes me shudder like shooting whiskey!).  I put three cups of my doubly filtered water into a pitcher, and it's sitting at my elbow; i have to drink it before lunch, and an identical one between lunch and 5:00pm.

Meat and a demitasse three times a day!  I can do this for a week -- then we'll see.  ;-)  It's radical, but not unheard-of, by any means.  In fact, Donaldson mentions meeting Vilhjalmur Stefansson, the twentieth-century poster-boy of the all-meat diet....  One reason i'm particularly game to try it is that i had indications that i STILL had allergens in my diet, even on the comparatively strict Personal Paleo Code regimen.  My most suspicious item of consumption was eggs -- this will help me to find out for sure.

I believe that an occasional "carb reload" is called for when doing something of this nature.  A daily multivitamin may also be a good idea, though in general i suspect they're pretty worthless.  I expect this will at least end a plateau -- i'll keep you posted!

Friday, February 17, 2012

being able to ensure appropriate intake is important

What with one thing and another, i haven't been eating very "cleanly" the last day or so.

My mood is distinctly impaired, and i blame my diet.  If you ever read Dr. Emily Deans' blog "Evolutionary Psychiatry," you'll find many instances of documentable (because, God knows, she's a Harvard-trained and -approved "limb" and dares not break the old lockstep...) effects of nutrition (or lack of it) on mental function.  Don't get me wrong -- i think well of Dr. Deans' work and respect her intellect and ability, and i understand why she has to cover her ass, but i deplore the good-ol'-colleagues' system, and she DOES belong to it....

If my experience with the Personal Paleo Code has taught me anything, it's that "clean" eating makes me feel exceptionally good, and that consuming an inferior diet makes me feel bloody awful.  Most of my acquaintance doesn't believe this.  My best friend, although she is also convinced that diet is important, doesn't share in my rejection of grains.  I'm sure she doesn't think the same of dairy as i do (forgoing it with regret), either, and nor is she inclined to abjure aspartame.  I think i've corrupted her a bit, though:  i'm pretty sure she's already ordered "Paleo Comfort Foods"!  :-)

Even when my husband is in town and we're eating out, i make every attempt to eat a diet that does not contain things i know are deleterious.  That's not good enough for optimal nutrition.  One can't be sure of what is in restaurant food, even in the best places.  I have to do my own cooking -- and if that's not easy for me, it's got to be INCREDIBLY difficult for most other people. 

But again, it's time to take things into my own hands once more.  For the sake of my health and well-being, nothing less is good enough.  Tomorrow is Day One again, and i will be deleting even more -- because self-indulgence only delays achieving what i know to be worthwhile, and indulgence isn't THAT rewarding, after all.

Thursday, February 16, 2012

on willpower

For decades, we were all told that the only thing we had to do was to eat a small amount of non-fattening foods and exercise like maniacs, and we WOULD be thin.  When we were younger and our metabolisms more robust, it seemed to be true.  With a little determination we could drop a few pounds pretty quickly, though when we stopped paying strict attention to what we were doing, those pounds returned rather fast.

As i approached literal "middle age" (half of the "threescore years and ten"), and weight loss was becoming more difficult, the low-fat paradigm took over and i naturally jumped on the pasta-wagon.  And remember the "Rotation Diet," ladies?  :-)  "Eat to Win," if you participated in any sports?  (I was a fencer in those days.)  One lenten season, i vowed to keep my daily fat intake within 10 grams, and i managed to lose one pound per week, eating all i cared to.  ...Trouble was, i was always unsatisfied on the low-fat regimen no matter how much i ate, and when weight loss stalled, i had no incentive to continue, so i never reached my goal.

Atkins was a blessing, because i was even older and harder to reduce, and on it, hunger no longer was a problem.  Yes, weight loss stalled eventually, but it's easier to be "good" when you're not obsessing over food every waking hour.  I "fell off" when my husband's job had me spending a goodly amount of time in New Orleans, where the food is HEAVENLY, and staying out of the french bread, Handgrenades and Hurricanes is darned difficult.  OMG, how i LOVE NOLA!

Sounds like i've been digressing from my proclaimed topic, but no -- i just have a habit (a bad one, my husband thinks) of having to indulge in a lengthy prologue before i can get to my point. 

What with all my diet "failures" and a lot of other things in my life, at which i haven't been as successful as i should like, i took society's judgement of people like myself and came to believe i had poor willpower.  When the going gets tough ... Tess moves on to something else.  In many respects, it HAS been true, but i've reassessed the subject in the recent past -- more on that later.

In one of J Stanton's articles in his OUTSTANDING series on hunger, he discusses willpower and what happens when you exercise it to limit eating.  Not only is it highly stressful, therefore making one secrete extra cortisol and thereby inhibiting fat-burning, it also puts a drain on our blood glucose levels, and until those are normalized, willpower is lessened because we have less fuel on board to sustain it.  Yes, you got it -- exercising willpower makes you more hungry and lessens your ability to exercise it some more!  In this sense, exercise makes you weaker, not stronger.  Read the article linked above -- it's excellent!  His conclusion is that a successful weight-loss program must minimize the requirement of willpower, and i couldn't agree more, but that's not where i'm going with this....

If you've ever been accused of being stubborn, chances are you have all the willpower you need -- if you really value the goal you've set.  When a cookie derails a person's low-carb or paleo diet attempts, that person doesn't want to be thin and healthy as much as s/he wants pleasure in the short term.  It's natural in human beings and i'm not in any position to cast stones -- i cave in far too often, myself.  But i no longer brand myself with the "lacking in willpower" label.  I know better. 

I engage my stubbornness (aka, WILL) when i want to accomplish something difficult or unpleasant.  I say, "this is MY goal; screw the forces which try to derail or distract me.  Temptation can't get the better of ME!"  Here is where exercising willpower does make you stronger:  you use your stubbornness to want an outcome greatly enough so that you override petty temptations.  When the month of "being perfect" taught me how good i can feel without dairy, sweeteners and alcohol in my diet, it fueled me to want to feel that good some more (as well as continue losing weight and gaining health).  My stubbornness is a match for the difficulties of the path.  Hell, my stubbornnes is a match for just about anything if i get it wrought up enough.

Wednesday, February 15, 2012

a day off -- kinda

This has been one of those days when nothing gets accomplished.  :-P  Went out for a mediocre breakfast and did some grocery shopping, spent the afternoon waiting for the cable guy to arrive, then install boxes and the new modem, then went out for a mediocre dinner -- this just wasn't our day!!!

"Mama told me, there'd be days like these!"  ...Well, actually, she didn't, but it IS to be expected.

With any kind of luck, tomorrow will  be more productive AND satisfactory!

Tuesday, February 14, 2012

happy St. Valentine's day!

...or not, as the case may be....

Back at the time of the Chinese New Year, i posted of my enthusiasm for celebrating all sorts of holidays.  This one, on the other hand, is one which i rather wish could evaporate into the aether.

It's a "loaded" day, and i strongly suspect that very few really enjoy it.  For a lot of people it's bound to be "Christmas revisited" -- WHAT to get one's best-loved-one that will be appreciated and not break the bank (the winter holiday bills not forgotten, and tax-time just around the corner...).  For the single, it's got to be even harder:  choosing a gift which is not indicative of too much affection, nor too little.  My sympathies are most strong for children at those appalling school parties -- if you're not among the popular crowd, you HATE reminders of how little you're regarded by your contemporaries!

It's tempting to point the finger at modern entertainment media, for deleterious and unrealistic visions and expectations.  One of my most-despised films is "The Truth About Cats and Dogs."  It's got an amusing variation of the Cyrano story going on (anytime you add animals, you add charm), but the message of the movie itself is highly disturbing:  if Janeane Garofalo is too "ugly" to be a possible recipient of affection, how must REALLY homely girls feel while watching this movie???!!  My husband, in fact, finds her MUCH more attractive than Uma Thurman....

Unfortunately, classic literature is full of "bad" love stories, too.  One of my favorite "discouraging" books is Charlotte Bronte's "Shirley":  published in 1849 (and written during the time her siblings were dying right and left), it was set during one of the worst economic times in recent British history, 1810-11.  Both of the heroines are having romantic troubles; one, who is beautiful and sweet and "perfect" cannot get together with the man she loves (and who apparently loves her too) because she has no fortune and he desperately needs money for noble purposes; the other, also very attractive but charmingly-flawed and rich, cannot get her man because he's poor, humble and proud, though totally crazy about her.  Bronte writes movingly about women's positions in such times and situations -- "Shirley" isn't her best book, but i recommend it wholeheartedly.

Then there are the poisonous stories that so many find romantic, like "Wuthering Heights"....  Heathcliff and Cathy were a pair of unevolved, selfish asshats who SHOULD have ended up with one another -- so as not to ruin anyone else's lives!  "Gone With the Wind" is not much better.  I (and some other friends -- hello, Jules!) absolutely DEPLORE whoever first wrote about the glorification of the "bad boy" and all the STUPID women who want to "fix" them.  This moronic trend got a new lease on its bad life in 1950s films.

Even in comedy....  We just re-watched "Shrek" the other night -- entertaining fantasy for adults as well as children! -- but it wasn't the movie itself that i'm referring to.  Oh, NO, it's a cartoon, for heaven's sake -- one isn't supposed to find it a rational guide to life.  It's that brain-dead song, "I Need a Hero."  :-P  THINK ABOUT IT!  In modern society, the qualities which make a great classic HERO (warrior) are not going to result in anything but trouble.  "Heroes" in this sense make appalling husbands and fathers.  And yet, silly young girls still want their knight....  BAD CHOICE!!!  Short of the zombie apocalypse, he'll be a millstone rather than a benefit -- and there IS no zombie apocalypse, kids -- that's FICTION!!!


Everyone wants love, but the kind that's promoted in this season is a phantom seducer.  It's exciting in theory, but it has a bitter aftertaste and it can't last.  The more people go hunting for it, the more it will elude them, because a truly desirable partner isn't needy in that fashion -- needy partners can be a nightmare!  The best thing everyone can do is cultivate self-esteem and universal benevolence, love your TRUE FRIENDS, appreciate the ones who care for you, and practice tough-love on the ones who would take advantage of your good nature without reciprocating in kind.

Loving oneself is NOT selfish; looking out for oneself is a serious responsibility.

p.s. -- for the record, i have a husband who IS a friend and a blessing, affectionate, responsible and mostly considerate.  ;-)  he only drives me crazy some of the time.

Monday, February 13, 2012

what's working, revisited

I went to bed early last night, and today i feel great!  :-)  Part of the credit for that, i feel, is the half-dozen raw oysters i had last evening as a first course (the rest of the meal was a lobster tail with butter, roasted okra from the "Paleo Comfort Foods" cookbook, sweetener-free raspberry-orange sorbet and coffee -- yum).  We ate comparatively early, which always agrees with me.

I had a few ounces of a good sake with the oysters -- it seemed to call for it!  That, or champagne, or vodka....  Now, i haven't added champagne back into my diet yet, as i had "trouble" with chardonnay.  On Saturday afternoon i had a short bloody-mary made with a bacon-flavored potato vodka, tomato juice and hot sauce, and i felt draggy the rest of the day.  Perhaps even potato-based vodka isn't going to agree with me -- i'll try it again sometime later, in a mixture that doesn't include the nightshades.  Sake, though, continues to be comparatively non-toxic.

My discovered "tricks of the trade" may not work with everybody.  I strongly suspect that if one's middle-aged body resists weight-loss when all of the "neolithic agents of disease" (NADs) are removed, then low-carb is definitely the way to go.  Some people say they've tried it and they felt terrible, but i suspect they weren't eliminating a "sensitive" food that they should have.  HOWEVER:  i'm not in a position to say they're wrong, either!  Not everybody's body functions the same way -- a young, healthy, athletic male body's physiology is entirely different from mine:  female, middle-aged, thyroid-challenged, food-sensitivity-ridden, and moderately overweight.

Having discovered, with the help of the Personal Paleo Code, what the worst offenders are against my health and well-being, i can offer this partial list of what helps me most:
  • very low carbohydrate diet;
  • intermittent fasting;
  • sleep!  7-9 hours of it!
  • stress control (i use tincture of licorice when feeling overburdened);
  • supplements, which are entirely individual, though the Perfect Health Diet website makes some good recommendations;
  • high-fat and protein meal early in the day, and any significant amount of carb i allow myself, saved for dinner;
  • avoiding EVERYTHING that actively disagrees with me (all the NADs, and more), no matter how much i like it!
  • tabata sprints, not too often, and walking, as Mark Sisson says;
  • limiting goitrogens;
  • not snacking;
  • progesterone creme (again, it's individual -- but it helps the thyroid, balances estrogen-dominance, and is NOT CARCINOGENIC, California!)
  • ... uh ... i'm sure there's more ... oh yeah, coffee!  i think i need another cup....  ;-)

Sunday, February 12, 2012

...AND allergy complications likely....

Taking stock some MORE....

I needed to use my neti-pot again this morning.

By the time i finished that week-and-a-half visit to TX, i was suffering from the familiar old allergies.  Predictable:  when i lived on the gulf coast, i developed a sensitivity to oak pollen (and always DID have a sensitivity to mold), and Houston in the winter is mild and damp.  I also suspected off-gassing by the new mattress in the guest room.  Driving home, i had the familiar itchy nose which loratadine completely fails to counteract (diphenhydramine is better, but makes me sleepier).  I expected that proper wintertime weather in the midwest would make it better, and it is -- some -- but not good enough.

The tricky bit with allergies is that they're cumulative.  A touch of Bradford-pear-tree pollen in the air won't set me off, but the pollen plus a handful of cashews, plus a lot of time spent in the basement, and i'm running for the Benedryl.  There are endless combinations of irritants.

Allergic symptoms can be extremely diverse, as i learned when i read Dr. Atkins' book so many years ago, AND they interfere with weight-loss.  The fatigue i'm feeling today could definitely be connected with atmospheric and food allergies.  I had macadamias and quite a bit of tomato yesterday, and eggs, a little almond flour, grapefruit and lime today -- all strong suspects in the world of food intolerance (and i'm going to be having shellfish for dinner...).

Yeah -- histamine load.  I should have spotted it before.  I'll start concentrating on eating more fresh meats and vegetables, and fewer histadine-containing things.  :-D  Just writing things down, here, clarifies so much for me!

Saturday, February 11, 2012

need to start being "perfect" again

I think i've mentioned before that i find it easier to be "perfect" than to be moderate.  MUCH easier.  It's time to go back there.

While i was out of town, i had to make a flock of compromises with all the eating out and car travel and such.  I've allowed some of the compromises to continue a bit since i got home.  Taking stock, i observe a few symptoms returning which had evaporated while following the Code to the letter, and i'm not willing to put up with them, so back i go.

Pal Jabekk's blog (Ramblings of a Carnivore) today really struck a chord with me; it talked about how moderation might be the worst thing you could do.  I wish he had gone into more detail but, though brief, i feel his point was made.  Choosing a middle path is frequently a mediocre way to do things, ESPECIALLY when it comes to diet and health.

I was feeling SO GOOD two weeks ago -- it's time to get back to that.  The few things that i've added to my menu are going back into the pantry till i'm "sorted out."  Then, i'll add in butter.  This stuff is NOT hard to do.

Friday, February 10, 2012



I repeated the "trial of the boxed chardonnay" -- and he's been declared GUILTY.  Also, it seems likely that he had accessories to his crimes.

For brunch yesterday, my big bacon-and-egg scramble was accompanied by about a quarter of a cup of grapefruit juice.  Then, for dinner, I had a glass of chardonnay with about a half-cup of oven-roasted cauliflower and a few buffalo wings made from the Perfect Health Diet recipe.  Coffee with coconut milk, a handful of macadamias, and a square of 70% chocolate comprised the rest of my intake.   I woke up this morning with a touch of intestinal gas and bloating, and not only was my bad knee a bit achey, but so was my right shoulder.  Stretching and flexing also revealed a bit of all-over discomfort.

I hope that wasn't too much information, but this blog is all about what diet can do to a 56-year-old body....

The bacon and eggs were found not-guilty a month ago, even though the diet police consider that keeping an eye on them is worthwhile.  The cauliflower is probably completely responsible for the GI issues, even though i still suspect i have a fructose-absorption complication (but 1/4 cup of grapefruit juice sipped while eating the BES???  no way can i imagine that to be significant).  This leaves the wings and the chardonnay....

I had a few of the wings the day before yesterday, when they were fresh out of the oven.  Now, bear in mind the minute quantity of rice flour and rice syrup in them -- five pounds of raw wings were tossed with 1/4 cup of rice flour and there was a lot of this left in the shaking-bag, AND one tablespoon of rice syrup was in the sauce that was tossed with the finished wings.  I ate about a cupful of rice the night we went out for Mexican food in Houston, and had no perceptible problem with it.  Also, several months ago (after i determined that oatmeal bothered my knees) i ate quite a bit of rice without feeling it.  Rice flour/syrup also found not guilty!

Boxed chardonnay -- as Sherlock Holmes said, when you eliminate all the suspects who could not be guilty, whoever is left (however unlikely) HAS to be "it."  You are now to be incarcerated in the basement refrigerator unless there's a darned good reason to let you go free.  I'm going to get "clean" again, and then try some red wine -- but i have a strong suspicion i'll have a reaction to that, too.  ...Maybe i should try potato vodka next, instead...?

I LOVE the Personal Paleo code for how it makes it so simple to figure out what impacts one negatively!  Since the first week, my weight loss hasn't been very impressive, but i feel that i'm learning some important things, and that may be far more significant.

Thursday, February 9, 2012

keto puzzle

After drinking plenty of coffee and water yesterday, and going up and down countless steps doing the laundry, my weigh-in this morning was satisfactory.  Felt a little residual puffiness in my hands and feet still, but after doing a bit of flexing and stretching before leaving the bed, i wasn't uncomfortably so.

My first-thing routine seldom varies; after i get up i visit the bathroom and "lighten the load" before stepping on the scale, and don't start taking supplements till after weighing in.  Just a "superstition" about getting the lowest realistic reading....  When i have reason to question whether or not i'm in ketosis, i use the little keto-sticks i learned about in Atkins.

I only used keto-sticks in the morning, in those days, and i always wondered why i never had a reading more than trace-to-small.  After becoming interested in paleo, i learned a good deal more about ketosis and its benefits, and the fact that merely eating a high-fat diet and using a goodly amount of coconut promotes ketosis and a higher reading on the sticks.  Nowadays, i'm more likely to use them at different times of day, for example after a meal out, as a gauge of carb intake when i'm not doing my own cooking.

The first day i was home from TX, i used them several times to see if i was getting back on the beam after my restaurant meal, square of chocolate and three or four segments of grapefruit.  I got trace readings for the first 36 hours, then finally started seeing a good strong pink color.  This morning, it pursued the pattern i've seen recently, and was lower again.

This is what i find so curious, and it makes me wish i had a significant readership on this blog, to get a variety of input in the comment section....  I customarily chug along happily burning fat for fuel during the daytime, but somewhere in the night, my liver takes charge of the process and starts sneaking enough glucose into my veins, to almost take me out of ketosis.  What's the deal here?!  I bought myself a glucose meter several months ago, and took a series of fasting blood-sugar readings so that i know that my morning glucose is reliably in the 80-90 range.  I wish to heaven it were as easy to get such information on insulin.

I guess i'm going to have to do some googling of what goes on, metabolically, while one sleeps....  If anyone reading this has any insights, i'd love to hear them.

Wednesday, February 8, 2012

wimped out: delayed weighing

...and i feel GUILTY!!!  Well, uh, no, i don't -- i don't believe in doing that.  I just feel waterlogged still, and it's only discouraging to weigh in under such circumstances.  I WAS good yesterday, although i visited my dear neighbors and had a few ounces of sake in their company.

Today i need some fish!  It's been a week since my sushi fix with the girls, and visions of sardines are dancing in my head.  Or i could go the whitefish fillet route, too -- coated with almond flour and fried up in coconut oil -- we'll see what calls my name, later!  I have a head of cauliflower in the fridge, too; time to get creative with it.

The satisfaction of being at home continues, with the renewal of my love affair with my milk frother.  ;-)  I picked up a can of coconut milk of a different brand, but it didn't foam up as well, so i'll be sticking to Thai Kitchen from here on.  Today will also be laundry day -- i have quite a stack of things from my trip, linens and living-history clothes as well as conventional attire to wash, fold, and put away, so i'll be burning plenty of energy running up and down stairs!  With plenty of coffee, i think i can make it! 

Tuesday, February 7, 2012

pleased to report, my dog still loves me

Ahhhh -- home!  :-D  Only the pleasure of spending time with my daughter's family makes it reasonable to stay away so long!

Rolled into my parking spot at about 11 last night -- long day!  Thank heavens for my satellite radio....  Stopped only twice for gasoline and etcetera, including a good steak dinner at the over-halfway point, and the lack of gimpiness whenever i stepped out of the car continued to be a real treat.  I'm going to continue doing without dairy products (except butter), as i consider them the most likely suspects.

I'm going to back away from drinking conventional wines, too, and i'll tell you why:  after allowing the water heater a chance to respond to my turning it up last night, i poured myself a good hot bath AND a glass of chardonnay by way of relaxer, and i almost immediately felt water retention in my hands and feet.  I don't know what made it happen -- does my home box wine contain an additive that the restaurant wine in TX did not have?  I need to do some research.  Meanwhile, it's back to sake ... and i did NOT get on the scale this morning.

Today is going to feature nothing more strenuous than unloading the car and visiting the grocery.  I think i'll take Spenser along, as he's a great traveler and i'll only be running in for coconut milk.  NO (because people always ask) -- it's NOT "like Spencer Tracy" -- that man was an abusive, alcoholic JERK.  The poor dog (American Eskimo, aka White German Spitz) had already been renamed when previously adopted, and i chose not to change it again, but i at least changed the spelling to match the Elizabethan poet, Edmund Spenser (though hardly a faultless character -- ask the Irish...).  My Spense isn't faultless either -- he bites.

Monday, February 6, 2012

long drive home

Time to drive home, so no rant today....  ;-)

I restrained myself quite well at the Superbowl party last night -- the worst thing i can accuse myself of is eating about four hot wings, but they were SO good!  Adrian did them on the grill with a home-made glaze that included sugar, but since they weren't breaded, most of it slid right off.  I had half-a-dozen bites of pineapple which contained a lot more.  Mostly filled up on my own scotch eggs and a goodly pile of celery sticks.  Sake to drink.  :-)  When i weight myself on my own scale tomorrow, i don't anticipate any frights.

There's a pot of coffee on, downstairs, of which i'll take along a big glassful, iced.  (Sure wish i weren't out of coconut milk!  I may have to stop at a store along the way and pick up a couple of cans.)  I have boiled eggs, coppocollo, macadamias, and a little piece of chocolate left for on-the-road; yeah, i'm GONNA have to stop for a real meal somewhere along the line....

Sunday, February 5, 2012

interesting thyroid "discovery"....

I misled you, yesterday:  i had that innocent meal all planned out, but when the kids came back from the birthday party, they were all "up" for going to Marina's for dinner -- and i wasn't about to argue.  :-D 

After mentally juggling whether i might add cheese or rice to my PPC program, rice won (it came with my carne asada -- i DID NOT TOUCH the beans).  Now, here's the interesting part:  all over the paleo blogosphere, you'll hear that a diet too low in carbohydrates will result in lower functional thyroid level.  Apparently, not in me.

The argument is, it takes sugars to convert T4 (the "starter" hormone the thyroid makes) to T3 (the active hormone, converted all over the body, but mostly in the liver).  Therefore, if you run your body on a lower carb regimen, you'll not convert as well.  This has apparently been "proven" in rodent studies (i can't remember if it's been tested in humans).  A certain very lean young male bodybuilder uses this as basis for giving questionable nutritional advice to people like me -- the very opposite phenotype to himself (don't get me started!)....

So, having eaten a VERY low carb diet for the entire month of January, i had a significant serving of starch last night, for the first time since starting the Personal Paleo Code program.  I woke up this morning, curled up in a ball and feeling rather chilly.  Enhanced T4-T3 conversion?  HAHAHAHAhahahah....

Just last month we were reminded (as has been known since the middle of the 20th century, but conveniently "forgotten") that the body IS able to convert fatty acids to glucose, as well as protein-to-glucose.  The body, in its wisdom, has a way to do what it NEEDS to.  Correspondingly, my liver seems to provide me with enough sugars to achieve the thyroid conversion just fine on a low-carb diet, fueled by my own body's stores.  Feed the body in an evolutionarily appropriate manner, and it'll work with you.

Mark this down in the "every body is unique" category, maybe, but i've always been suspicious of the "you need a significant amount of carbs" message, given how good i feel on a low-carb regimen.  I DO NOT believe that more than 50 carbs a day does me anything but ill, based on a half-century's experience living in this body.

Pay attention to your body.  It's less likely to lie to you than someone with a reputation to build (or uphold).

Saturday, February 4, 2012

more indulgence and a postulation

I gotta get back home before i do something (dietary) i'll regret!  ;-) 

Actually, i wasn't THAT bad last night, and i HAD good intentions (in the absence of sake, i was going to drink a white wine spritzer when we met friends for drinks yesterday evening; who would have thought the barmaid was so incompetent that she couldn't make one).  I DID have one or two glasses of wine more than i should have.  I DIDN'T have any of the wicked appetizers everyone else was eating.  I ordered a steak (came too well-done, sent it back, and got one that was a little less overdone than the first), which came with mashed potatoes, of which i probably ate less than a quarter-cup.

Woke up at 3am -- this was the first time i've done THAT in quite awhile.  Took some benedryl and went back to sleep.  "Slept hot" again (wine!).  After i got up, i felt the need of more benedryl -- whether i should blame the damp weather or the wine, i don't know.  Looks like i should drink only sake till it dries out, then try chardonnay again. 

I find this interesting -- i hadn't thought that white wine might be an allergen for me....  I suspected red, but not white.  This could be significant for weight loss.

Today, i'll be "more good."  I put a rump roast in the crockpot, and when it's barely done i'll slice it thinly, make a gravy from the drippings, and put it in the oven to tenderize.  The two humongo artichokes will be done by my daughter's recipe, and i'll probably make a cauliflower mash to go along with it.  :-)  Sounds pretty good, huh?

Incidentally, the banana bread recipe from "Paleo Comfort Foods" turned out great.  Amazing, with no added sweetener besides the very-ripe bananas!  My daughter, who clings to a reduced-carb version of a low-cal diet, calculated how fattening she should consider it, and it came out a lot more innocent than the Atkins zucchini bread recipe.  I don't have any nut-butter on hand here, to spread on it, and i haven't added real butter back in, but the bread is so moist it doesn't really need "lubricating."

Friday, February 3, 2012

i, too, am a ghrelin junkie

Sitting here, reading my morning blog-fix, i've been luxuriating in an atmosphere of contentment, punctuated by the occasion growl of my empty belly.  :-)

When i started reenacting, over 15 years ago, it came to my attention that i had been missing out on some creature comforts for most of my adult life.  There is NOTHING more viscerally satisfactory than warming oneself beside a roaring fire when it's cold enough to snow.  Nothing.  If there's something that comes close, though, it's eating something exceptionally nutritious when you're very, very hungry.

Most people in the western world don't allow themselves to become very hungry.  Either they've been brainwashed to think that eating frequent small meals is the optimal way to fuel oneself, or their high-carb WOE piques their appetites shockingly often.  Maybe, even, social pressures encourage them to eat when they're not that hungry, so they never get an opportunity to REALLY work up an appetite.  They don't know what they're missing.

I won't try to recap the benefits of allowing oneself to get significantly hungry -- J Stanton has done that already, and he's immensely readable.  I'll just dangle this carrot in front of your salivating mouth....  I'll describe how good it feels when Meg and i have spent the day demonstrating to busloads of school-kids, what life was like for a Civil War laundress; the kids have gone and it's cooler and quieter; the stew we put to cook hours ago is full of tender chunks of beef and vegetables a-point (after hours of just grabbing a nibble -- think foraging...).  We serve it up so hot you can't eat it at once, but you can't resist tasting, and burn your tongue, and slice some (nut-based) bread to go along with it, with gobs of lovely butter, and a glass of red wine.  This is intentionally-delayed gratification at its best!

So, yes -- i'm ENJOYING being hungry, because the trade-off is so good.  Good for the diet, too (check out this one, as well...)!

post-scriptum:  Re-reading another Stanton gem found me this:  “The synthesis rate of brain serotonin was about 30% lower in rats fed for two hours than in rats fasted for 24 hours.”  ...Which, in context, implies that i get a bigger ADDITIONAL "high" out of eating when i delay it.  We've all heard that "hunger is the best sauce" -- and now we see that it's been supported in the laboratory.

Thursday, February 2, 2012

indulgence and irony

At the four-week-point weigh-in yesterday, results were disappointing but nothing to discourage me from continuing with the paleo program.  If my weight loss has stalled, part of the problem is the inflammation in my injured knee, and additionally, all the travel has encouraged water retention.  Nevertheless, i DID give myself permission to anticipate the 30-day minimum of perfect conduct:  i went out for sushi with my daughter and three friends at Chitsuru in Houston, and i had a great evening -- with sake.

I perused the menu before going -- i always like to do that when trying a new restaurant.  Sometimes, it's just impossible to read a menu with full comprehension when people are around.  I pretty well decided what i was going to eat beforehand (pending changes of mood or an enticing special...), and ended up sticking to my conclusion:  hot sake, pickled vegetables, mackerel sashimi, yellowtail, and a rice-free roll with cucumber, masago, avocado and eel.

With the first nibble of my appetizer, i was sold on this place!  I have never been a pickle enthusiast -- the nasty, vinegary stuff that comes in jars at the local supermarket has ALWAYS left me cold -- but sometimes ethnic restaurants have pleasant surprises in that department.  This outshone the best.  True lacto-fermented radish, squash, and a sweetish mystery vegetable truly blew me away.  Not only were they delicious, but my digestive tract has been thanking me ever since.  :-)

The mackerel was wonderful -- mild and meaty.  Whoever thinks mackerel is exceptionally strong, obviously hasn't had it prepared or handled right.  The yellowtail was delectable and beautifully presented.  The roll was delicious as well -- gave me a taste of the eel i love without a big dose of the "naughty" sauce that frequently accompanies it.  A taste of Gina's seaweed salad proves that this restaurant does THAT well, too.  Chitsuru is going to be a return-to place whenever i'm visiting here!

That said ... I WAS NAUGHTY.  I drank sake and used a little soy sauce (i asked after tamari, but it was not to be had).  I also had a couple of tastes of the rolls my daughter and a friend had ordered (i.e., i had a little rice).  I rationalized to myself that the small amount of sugar from the eel and the digestion of the tablespoon or two of rice was not significant, in that i had no fruit yesterday.  I "know" rice to be non-toxic to me (part of the reason why i ordered sake instead of chardonnay).  There IS no excuse for the soy sauce, though.

Last night, i didn't sleep quite so soundly as i have been doing since i arrived in Texas.  I tossed a little, and "slept hot" (had to keep my feet out from under the covers), and had another of my trademark "interesting" dreams -- i credit the sake for that.  I frequently feel hot while metabolizing off alcohol as fuel (the body has to burn it before sugar or fat, because it can't be stored).

The ultimate irony, though -- i stepped on the scales to survey the damage this morning, and found myself two pounds lower than yesterday.  It seems like an encouragement to vice, but i'm not going to fall for it.

Wednesday, February 1, 2012

four-week check-in point

Today's weigh-in was distinctly disappointing, as my weight is now where it was at the end of week 1.  :-(  The caveat, of course, is that i used my daughter's scale this time.... 

I AM still retaining a good deal of water, too.  VERY annoying, as it doesn't seem to me that i'm consuming more salty things; yes, yesterday's chicken was over-salted, but then i haven't eaten nearly as much bacon as i do at home, either.  I've drinking more water when i think about it, to try and flush myself out, but at home i only drink to thirst.

Well, discouraging as it is today, the water has GOT to go away eventually.  Although i feel uncomfortably bloated and draggy right now, over the weekend i felt like a million bucks, with good energy and excellent mood.  This will discourage me from having a glass of wine tonight (as i was contemplating), and will DEFINITELY prohibit any inclination to order nigiri instead of sashimi.  Keeping my fingers crossed that the seaweed salad will be "good"....