Tuesday, November 26, 2013

yes, i'm still alive

I had another living-history event last weekend (finally) so I've been busy as a hustler with two bunks.  ;-)  How do you define "comedy of errors"?  Well, consider this....

Many weeks ago I requested the job of preparing the Saturday lunch at this event, which was "hosted" by "the Oklahoma gang" of which i'm an honorary member.  When I hadn't got my confirmation (with time running out) a week before i'd need to SERVE IT, I sent a prompt with a deadline attached -- unlike most of the rest of the participants, I have to dedicate an entire day to get to the venue!  Finally heard, YES, I was doing the meal.

Now, for the first few years I attended MBS* the only meal with individuality was Friday dinner -- one breakfast is usually pancakes and the other eggs (both including bacon or sausage), Saturday lunch used to be either carried-in fried chicken or build-your-own sandwiches, and Saturday dinner is still (and always will be) STEAK.  :-D  As you can well imagine, the only meal I count on eating with the rest of the town is the latter.

Whenever I have the opportunity, I volunteer to be the primary cook for Saturday lunch (or Friday dinner, but there's more competition for that).  I don't try to impose my lowcarbism on nonbelievers, but I do try to reduce the damage, and to stick as close as possible to the paleo religion.  But this is just an "aside."  The comedy part is the way I had to scramble to get my menu prepared and to get where I needed to be.

In my refrigerator's freezer was some leftover meat from a previous MBS lunch (meat pies -- leftover filling); I determined to use it up somehow.  The character/persona I planned to portray to serve this meal is French, so a recipe from my beloved Picayune Creole cookbook was definitely in order, and delivered as promised.  It's a wonderful thing that old cookbooks often have recipes for what they called "cold meat cookery"....  I adapted the recipe for rissoles, and was pleased to add to the frozen meat some small portions of leftover sausages and some coconut-rice I had in the freezer -- got a pretty good cleanout, actually!  :-)  Then I found out how many people we expected to attend; I was going to need twice as much main-dish as I had.  I went downstairs and dug around in the BIG freezer....

Three big packages of Costco ground turkey!!!  My croquettes were less "miscellaneous" than my rissoles were, but i'd still be challenged to replicate exactly how I made them!  The technique was identical, however -- muffin tins filled with one dip from my old ice-cream scoop, baked in the oven, made for a PERFECT alternative to the frying that the book recommended.  I made a hundred little meat patties, and went looking for mini-croissants to serve with them.  ...Failed.  Improvised.  I baked the crescent rolls that fat little dough-boy pre-mixed for me.  Not something I was proud of, but economical, and J helped me get them ready for the oven.  Bless his little heart, he wanted to help more, but the configuration of our kitchen and limitation of tools stood in the way.  I also decided to provide a potato-based side dish -- Saratoga chips are a period-correct but too-common choice for MBS lunch -- I wanted something different.  Seasoned mashed potato cakes with cheese, made the same way as the meat cakes, turned out beautifully.  Dessert was easier -- I asked the ladies to make cookies, which provides variety as well as assistance.  Selfishly, to have a low-carb choice for myself, I also made a batch of "oatmeal" cookies from a recipe by Dana Carpender, and they were FABULOUS!!!

I bagged up everything and put them in the freezer.  Ready for the next challenge!

My poor old Volvo has been unreliable for way too long.  Last spring, on my way down to Texas, I experienced the last straw, and I've been unwilling to take it on ANY road trips, however short, by myself.  I arranged to rent a car for this event, and on Wednesday, J went to pick it up. 

Now, when you're facing an 11-hour drive, your comfort and safety are going to depend on some subtle details in your vehicle.  Different cars are designed for different physiologies, and if you have a mismatch going on, your trip will be less than optimal.  I DO NOT recommend the VW Passat if you are less than 5'8" ... and the dashboard lights, icons and information screen were invented by someone from another planet.  I THOUGHT I was getting an Altima.  :-(

It was mizzling when I left home, an hour later than I planned (no comment).  Parts of the trip, it was raining so hard I couldn't see the stripes on the road.  I had a completely disappointing dinner, and when I had to fill up the gas tank I got drenched.  I couldn't raise my friend on the phone to make sure the road into MBS was passable, so ten miles up the road I decided to be a wimp and get a hotel room; there were bugs.  Or, at least I saw one bug, and that makes one suspicious....

When I got to town the next morning, it was lovely to see my friends, and the condition of the ground wasn't nearly as bad as I HAVE seen it.  :-)  But it was cold, windy and wet all weekend.  Meg's and my little cottage was pretty snug, with the bedrooms' excellent insulation and the wood-burning stove in the parlor/kitchen allowing hot water for washing.  Our rooms were adequately heated by just our Aladdin oil lamps -- those things are amazing!  We have small kerosene heaters, but got along without them this time.

To my delight and relief, my lunch was very well received!  I made enough, but not too much (something that doesn't always happen when you're cooking for 50).  Even my cookies were favored!  I plan to make the recipe a little more historically correct and name it the Banting Biscuit, in memory of the first published low-carb diet.

It was excusable, I believe, to cheat and use some modern technology this time.  Bad weather was moving in on us, and I kept track of the storm's progress and the forecast for the area and our routes home (Meg lives in Kansas just northwest of Wichita).  She ended up bugging out on Saturday night.  I woke up horribly early on Sunday, and decided to consider it fortuitous and packed up, myself -- it takes some time to get everything packed up and loaded, and to ready a cabin for two months of non-habitation.  I take down my curtains and store them in a trunk so as to have a less-dusty place to sleep, and make sure there's nothing that will attract vermin or insects in my absence:  windows nailed shut; chamber-pot cleaned and aired; vessels turned upside-down; hats dust-covered; foam mattress inverted in such a way as to discourage mouse-nesting....  I had awakened just before 4, and headed out at 7.  It was cold but still and dry, and my drive was uneventful for about four hours.

I clipped the oncoming edge of the storm front right where a lake borders the highway for a number of miles.  For some reason, the traffic had gotten pretty thick, too.  For 20 miles I crept along at 50mph, keeping my fingers crossed as I changed lanes to pass people who probably had less practice than I have, in driving in winter weather!  Topping it all off -- my gas tank was very low.  I feared the rest of the drive was going to be hell, and calculated when I could reasonably expect to check into a hotel....  Finally had a chance to stop for gas, and by the time I did so, used the restroom, and texted my position to J and Meg, the precipitation had pretty much stopped.

The road wasn't even horribly slick, but I must say the car was pretty sure-footed on that sleety day!  The rest of the trip was uneventful except for having to take measures to stay alert.  I got home before dinner and had a lovely hot bath and a delicious rack of lamb before tucking myself in for a 10-hour sleep!

So that's why I've been "missing" for the last week!  Busy times, mostly good....

*  i'll use the common abbreviation to protect the anonymity of our "resort"....  ;-)

Sunday, November 17, 2013

allergen advocates

The second thing i read this morning which yanked my chain was YET ANOTHER report of how chocolate is good for us and contains SOOOO many good properties.  Certain paleo/primal sites ring its praises constantly.

Unfortunately, it's also a very common allergen.  So are wheat, dairy, citrus, tomatoes, and even eggs.

I wonder how many people try low-carb and/or paleo/primal, and give it up because they feel bad BECAUSE they've been told how good for them certain foods are, and they eat a lot of things they're actually intolerant of without even knowing it.  I occasionally see people note that they love cream or chocolate or whatever, but after a whole-30 they reintroduce things only to find that what they love has betrayed them.  ;-)

Then there is the question of sweet potatoes.  And brassicas.  And nightshades.  A lot of "paleo darlings" have a dark side, especially to hypothyroids and the histamine-intolerant.  It's a real pain in the ass to have to learn what foods are widely problematic THE HARD WAY.

We all know that "just because it's natural doesn't mean it's benign," and the converse as well.  But it's truly shocking how many foods lurking in your friendly neighborhood grocery -- even your local farmers' market -- are downright health-damaging.

If you find, as a lot of people do who have Chronic Fatigue/ME, hypothyroidism, and most of the gastrointestinal problems, that you have whole strings of dietary intolerances, you probably start investigating the things you should avoid eating.  The easy things are the ones which paleo proscribes:  grains, legumes, industrial seed oils, and maybe dairy.  Then you get into finer points -- hypothyroids also need to avoid goitrogens like cruciferous vegetables (broccoli, cauliflower, kale, mustard and turnip greens, collards, cabbages of all kinds, rutabagas and turnips, radishes, maca, and even condiments like mustard seeds and horseradish), AND cyanide-containing fruits and vegetables (including cassava/yucca, cabbage again, sorghum, flaxseed, peaches, apples, cherries, almonds...), AND glycosylflavones like millet, AND animal-fat sources of excessive omega-6 fats, AND ... and ... and ....

If you have Histamine/Tyramine/Salicylate Intolerance, there's a whole 'nother list of foods that cause trouble.  This list includes more PDs (paleo darlings) like fermented vegetables, red wine, and avocados.  Then there's the trouble with FODMAPs (the length of that list is jaw-dropping) ... and also when there are problem biota in the small intestine.  Again -- and and and.

There are probably no foods which are 100% safe for everyone.  According to Dr. Donaldson, fat meat and water SHOULD be, but i know people who swear they're allergic to beef or chicken or whatever.  I rather suspect it has more to do with the feeding and health-maintaining practices of those raising the meat-animals, but that's just the way i think....

The point is, there are few foods which are almost entirely undamaging to modern humans.  Part of it has to do with how things are raised these days, but a good deal is our tendency to want to eat the wrong things in the first place.  We were conditioned by nature to enjoy sweet things, and this predilection has taken on a life of its own now.  The fruits which were wholesome in their wildness have been cultured to deliver a STUNNING level of some of the most toxic micronutrients we can indulge in.  Somehow, "eating the rainbow" has been turned into a big virtue, and why?  Because the poisons in them are so dilute that they seem to put our immune systems on their mettle -- preposterous!  :-D  ...And don't get me started on our fondness for grains.

that dreaded "common denominator"

In my morning reading today, two things got my goat.  The first was one of those sweetness-and-light sites on the "natural" or "paleo" end of the spectrum.  It was linked by someone who is in a facebook group i sometimes read -- not like i had a lot of faith that it was going to tell me anything particularly enlightening, but i frequently skim unpromising articles and am pleasantly surprised occasionally.  This time, i was struck by the "headlines" which repeated paleo/primal truisms ... which are not ALWAYS good ideas.

Something that correlates with a positive outcome in the general population can be a big mistake down at the personal level.  "Good relationships are vital to your health."  To some this might just put a warm healthy glow around their pre-existing tendency to do stuff with their friends and families, and that's fine.  IF you have good relationships, cherish them!  If "relationships" is a word that makes you shudder a little bit -- and i know people to whom this applies -- fercrissake, don't rush out into the world and try to make friends in the wrong places!  I look at that quoted sentence from its flip-side:  bad relationships are HAZARDOUS to your health, so if yours are NOT good, DTMFA (as Dan Savage says).

Not-good relationships undermine your self-confidence, ADD to the stress in your life, keep you on emotional tenterhooks, waste precious time, and suck away your joy.  SEARCHING for good relationships often does the same damned thing.

A lot of people live very full and happy lives in a solitary mode -- don't let some stupid new-agey website suggest otherwise!  Some time ago, i read about a study in which it was found that the most happy group in the US were married men, next were single women, then unmarried men, and most miserable were the married women.  Now, society has always tried to convince women that their greatest fulfillment and joy is to be found in the married state, and THAT IS TOTAL BULLSHIT.  Ask any intelligent and realistic woman (ignore the ones who are obviously trying to convince themselves...) -- would your life be more peaceful and less stressful without ... uh ... you know....

What's good for "everybody" may not be good for YOU.  

Even our best friends seem to bite us in the butt occasionally, and friends don't "have to" put up a pretense of affection, as family members seem to.  And family members!!!  Some of our deepest and most lasting emotional scars come from those who (society says) "love us most."  

The most important relationship is the one we have with ourselves.  THAT is the good relationship we need to cultivate!  We each have to like and respect ourselves, because if we approach an outside friendship/romance WITHOUT this in place, it's doomed to imbalance and misunderstanding. 

Friday, November 15, 2013

pass the tallow, please

I found the information i've been wondering about for a few days....

Wooo and Lifextension have been discussing, on a social-media site, their observations and experiences in weight loss as their intake has contained more or less fat and protein.  Now, Wooo needs to carefully tailor her diet for the sake of brain-function and mood, so i tend to follow her discussions carefully but not emulate her diet wholesale -- my problems are different from hers, and her omega-6-heavier regimen wouldn't suit MY body well at all.  LE has an iffy thyroid like me, and her ideal diet would better match mine, but she's also more than 30 years younger*!

They found that going lower in protein and too high in fat has not been effective for them, as it has been for Petro (of Hyperlipid) and Jimmy Moore.  Cutting back on dairy fats, particularly, has been beneficial for the body composition and overall wellness of them both.

My husband, who loses weight easily when following a strict low-carb protocol, also found that avoiding dairy is a very good idea.  The last stall he struggled with was resolved when he stopped drinking his coffee with cream.  I too do better avoiding dairy products -- my digestion, weight-loss, AND skin quality are much better without cream, particularly.

Is it a form of dairy intolerance, or perhaps an insulin response?  As we know, milk, yogurt and fresh cheeses invoke a hefty insulin surge, but cream and butter are considered pretty innocent ... but they BOTH contain small amounts of lactose and casein, and it seems to be the latter that is most damaging to our weight-loss efforts.  Well, i was meandering around Hyperlipid's archives yesterday when i found something that looked promising:  http://high-fat-nutrition.blogspot.com/search/label/Butter%20insulin%20and%20Dr%20Davis

Petro was reacting to a post by the WheatBelly guy which pointed out Davis' perceptions of the weaknesses in the Atkins program and how butter is one of the problems ( http://blog.trackyourplaque.com/2010/03/butter-and-insulin.html ).  Now, bearing in mind that a "GLUCOSE and triglyceride test meal" has nothing in common with the way a VLCarber actually eats, it does point up an interesting idea -- that butter actually does something different from other fats.  Not that i think that there's a problem with having one moderate insulin spike after each of two to three meals every day....  In fact, a mixed meal NEEDS a goodly spike just to get that damned BG down in the presence of FFAs in the bloodstream.  ...In a more sensitive population, though, are dairy fats causing a bigger insulin response than in those Spanish test subjects, who are probably young and metabolically healthy?  After all -- most studies DO try to find the least "complicated" subjects possible!

To load up on butter and/or cream in order to artificially raise the blood ketone level, which seems to be the fashion in LC circles these days, strikes me as questionable -- kinda like artificially lowering cholesterol by using a lot of polyunsaturates.  YES you're getting a lab number that correlates with a good health situation, but is that your actual goal?  If HDL, for example, is raised through drugs one doesn't see the health benefits that go along with higher HDL in a proper diet.  Surely, sheer numbers representing ketone levels in the blood don't actually mean we're burning more body fat -- it just means we have ketones AVAILABLE to burn.

If the composition of the diet necessitates that we ARE primarily using fats and ketones for fuel, i can't see that we need to worry about blood or urine levels AT ALL.  Urine ketones indicate that we're managing to "waste" energy, and those strips are a wonderful thing when first starting a low-carb diet, as a tool demonstrating that our body's processes are changing.  Eventually, however, our bodies become more adept at burning the ketones we produce, and our levels can reduce significantly.  Does that mean we're not getting the brain and body benefits of ketones?  Hell, no.

To get back to the butter-and-cream question, it seems that there might just be a little problem with residual quantities of lactose and casein exacerbating insulin response.  If YOU find good results IN YOUR BODY (not mere ketone levels in your blood and urine) when you add plenty of supplementary dairy fat, good for you ... BUT i wouldn't assume that everyone can benefit from it. For myself, the best type and quantity of fat seems to be what occurs naturally in ruminant meats such as ribeye steaks, lamb racks, and shoulders of grass-eating animals with cloven hooves.

[Sigh]  If only margarine were STILL made out of tallow....  (i wonder what they added to make it taste like anything?)

*  on the LCcruise last spring, Jackie Eberstein (Dr. Atkins' long-time amanuensis) stressed how time changes our dietary tolerances, and brother ain't it the truth....

Monday, November 11, 2013

bacon love

Of course i love bacon -- duh.  I believe i've heard it claimed that it's the food that most tempts veg*ns back to the "dark side."  Adding some improves the hell out of almost every dish imaginable -- even some desserts. Just don't try to pretend that it's the ultimate healthy choice.

When manufactured from conventionally-raised hogs, the fat in bacon is full of omega-6 that promotes fatty liver and ruins your physiological insulin resistance -- that property of muscle cells that keeps them from taking up more than their share of blood glucose, and therefore making you more hungry on a low-carb diet.

Remember when i wrote before that a very clever study showed that the thyroid works best in the presence of plenty of saturated fat in the diet, and less well as the degree of saturation goes down?  Pork AND poultry NATURALLY contain less saturated fat and more unsaturates even when they're pastured.  Add to this predilection the fact that almost all birds and swine raised for sale get extra feed beyond what they forage, and you can bet the farm that it won't be as good for a weight-loss diet as ruminant meats, especially grass-finished ones.

When CICO-promoters point out that low-carbers frequently still fail to meet their weight-loss goals, and attribute it to "unsustainability" or simply the incorrectness of the philosophy, i think they're on the wrong page.  I believe that the failure is rooted in the insistence upon using Atkins-approved but deleterious dietary choices -- WHICH ARE INDIVIDUAL in applicability.  Yes, Virginia, we ARE unique snowflakes (or as good as unique, in our individual rarity).

Because of genetic predilection, the diets of our mothers and grandmothers before us, our exposure to a huge variety of potential toxins, parasites, viruses and bacterial infections, our history of particular injuries and allergies, our microbiome, and factors we don't even know about yet, our tolerances to diet are all different.  So are the ideal choices for each of us, to promote the best health we can achieve.  These are things we have to discover for ourselves.  BUT...

...Biology is biology.  We KNOW how certain processes work in the body, and even if they're screwed up in some of us, we can logically predict how some things will work -- things like linoleic acid promoting certain biochemical processes, and palmitic tending toward others.  Things like dairy fats being problematic in weight loss even though butyric acid is our friend.

We all make trade-offs that promote quality-of-life over the HEALTHIEST choice:  i have a pretty good idea of how "clean" my diet OUGHT to be, but i choose to use alcohol pretty regularly and to have dairy products, sugar sources, and even gluten grains from time to time.  I KNOW i'd feel better without all of these, but again -- it's a quality-of-life thing.

But tell myself that these foodstuffs are harmless?  Tell myself i can eat all the bacon, cream, nuts, etc that i want, and they're perfectly healthy?  NO.  I may be ignorant of a lot of things, but i ain't stoopid.

Saturday, November 9, 2013

...and a P.S.

Something that van Konynenburg and others of a similar mind SHOULD have mentioned but didn't....

Reading other discussions on what glutathione is, where it comes from, what it's good for and so on, i happened across an important note!  It seems that when supplementing this important chemical, people often need more zinc, which has itself been the topic of conversation at the Scribble Pad recently.  Now, zinc is a VERY important mineral in the thyroid world, and one which even a lot of "normal, healthy" people tend to be a little short of ... and a significant shortage WILL make you miserable.

THIS is why running out and impulsively adding supplements to one's regimen can be a big mistake. I suppose this is why a lot of proponents of supplementation insist that one should work with one's physician in tweaking nutrients, too -- though the shortcoming with this notion is that most doctors are more ignorant about nutrients than the "interested amateur."  One has to do quite a bit of extra reading to find information such as the glutathione-zinc connection, and that kind of rabbit-trail tracking is time-consuming and nerdier than most professionals care for.

It's been suggested that hypothyroid people who have had trouble with iodine started supplementing too lavishly or without having their selenium bases covered.  I'm in no position to make judgements on the situation, but it IS a valid question to ask.  So many vitamins, minerals and aminos don't operate as lone-wolves;  they need their mates or their entire packs to help do their jobs properly.  Unless one does some pretty extensive homework, "details" like balancing one's A and D are totally overlooked, and some ugly little results can appear.

The homework necessary for success in tweaking one's health through supplementation is far more demanding than merely cleaning up one's diet paleo-style.  A significant variety of sources needs to be accessed, because a lot of websites quote each other without doing THEIR homework!  I look at conventional sources like WebMD and the Mayo Clinic sites (and many others) just to attempt to find VALID naysayers to what i've found in "alternative" circles.  I occasionally read some of the wingnuts too, even if i take their recommendations with quite a few grains of (unrefined sea) salt.  

When we become disillusioned with mainstream medicine and seek to be our OWN arbiters of wellness, we take a responsibility that most sheeple don't.  If good health is our goal (and what else COULD be our aim?), then we have to go the EXTRA distance to learn things that conventionally-trained medical personnel picked up in the course of their educations -- what we excitedly observe as a big revelation is often a "duh moment" for them.  On the other hand, we have a greater incentive to get it right for our particular situation and genome, and to them we're just another statistic or victim of probabilities.

Short version?  (Too late....)  Don't be in a hurry to invest in the (usually expensive) supplement-du-jour without doing a LOT of reading in a variety of sources!  Just because Oz (or Mercola or Kruse or Rosedale) makes a "new" nutrient or superfood sound like the answer to prayer, checking up with somebody who could easily be an "anti" might be the best idea you ever had.  

Don't believe ME, either.  ...Oh, okay, believe that what i say is what I EXPERIENCED (because i have no incentive or desire to lie about it), but don't believe that what works with me will work for YOU, till you do your own checking up and careful experimentation.  ;-)  

Friday, November 8, 2013

methylation success

The current Mercury Retrograde has really taken a bite out of my communication skills -- i can't figure out the best way to begin this, but i feel the need to share the remarkable results i've been experiencing.

The horrible fatigue and malaise i felt after returning from "back east" in August started me reading on Histamine Intolerance and CFS/ME -- both fields rather in the hinterlands of medical acknowledgement, and not having a long history of study and research.  The latter, especially, is complex and murky.  Chronic Fatigue has no one cause or characteristic, just a set of basic symptoms and common infections that most sufferers seem to share, and because of this, the more stuck-in-the-mud members of the medical industry tend to treat it more as a psychological disorder than a physiological one. 

I was lucky enough to happen upon a very helpful book, though, which gave me an overview of the problem -- "Chronic Fatigue Syndrome: a Treatment Guide" by Erica Verrillo.  SO much material is in it, i hardly knew where to start, but a combination of circumstances caused me to focus on Rich van Konynenburg's approach to treatment.  His simplified program would only make me add a couple of new supplements -- that argument was impossible to resist!  ;-)  I procured a superior B-complex vitamin and some high-powered glutathione (decided i'd add the phosphatidyl serine later if i needed to), and away i went....

And it was amazing.  I felt more energetic immediately, and i could hardly credit that the glutathione could get to work SO FAST, but Sidereal assured me that it really has that ability.  I've been using it for just over a month, and it continues to give satisfaction!

Occasionally i experience what RvK considered detox symptoms, minor flareups of old ills.  A few days i had some recurrence of inflammation here and there, some body aches, some weariness, but NOTHING like i experienced just a couple of months ago.  Mood, endurance, sleep, clear head -- it's been truly rejuvenating.  

I started reading additional sites to learn about the experiences of others, too.  Stumbled across the Freddd protocol as well, and there's a LOT more out there.  Here is a good place to begin, if you'd like to hear more:  http://drmyhill.co.uk/wiki/CFS_-_The_Methylation_Cycle

Sunday, November 3, 2013

back to work, yet again

Being distracted from pursuing my health-and-fitness goals by Life is an ongoing problem with me!  Since my husband retired in May, i've wrestled with this issue and am slowly developing a strategy ... but it's still a work in progress.

A simple low-carb diet suits him fine, though when he wants to accelerate weight LOSS he has to be more strict.  I have to be far more restrictive in every phase of my diet because i have problems that he doesn't.  He doesn't have FODMAP or histamine concerns, fatigue issues, or a lot of other intolerances that i have to work around.  He is, in fact, "disgustingly" healthy.  :-)

But it's back on the LC-wagon for both of us, this week!  For the last half of October, what with being out of town for my mother's 90th birthday party, then her visit with us, then a little whooping-it-up for Halloween, we've both been unusually self-indulgent!  Thursday afternoon, i actually made a batch of popcorn and split it with him -- WICKED!  ;-)  I made some sweet-potato fries, too, to accompany our grilled lamb chops.  At least we didn't buy any candy....

Today we had our last "evil" meal, trying out a new restaurant.  Pat's Bar & Grill offers huge servings, and we're STUFFED.  Tonight we'll have a light dinner, and tomorrow we'll be "perfect" again.  There's a leg of lamb thawing in the sink, and a couple of beef tenderloin steaks in the fridge.  We have smoked salmon ready to be made into cornucopias with cream cheese and capers, and a pastured chicken to be grilled a la diavolo.

As i've observed before, going back on a stricter diet in our house is something to look forward to!  It's only for "convenience" and accommodating others that we start getting sloppy in our food choices.  That's why i like living a "boring" existence, i have to confess -- i just prefer the good physical feeling that comes from eating an ascetic-but-ketogenic diet!  It's not like a traditional ascetic diet of coarse bread, potatoes and unbuttered vegetables, thank goodness.