Sunday, December 23

Meet Meatballs!

OK, this is my next Ode To Meat = Food post.

Yesterday we did The Great Meatball Experiment (me and Ry, my 11 year old daughter).

We used this:

2.5 lbs ground meat (I got the cheaper kind, not chuck, it's about 85/15 I guess)
1.0 lb 'hot' breakfast sausage
1.0 lb 'mild' breakfast sausage

I let it sit briefly on the counter, as the colder it is, the harder to mix it up.

Break/pull/cut it into small pieces mixed up in a big bowl, then use your fingers and mush it all together so it's all well blended.

Then I tossed in:

1 handful of flax seed meal (ground seed - this is a binding agent, works like egg)
1 handful of almond meal
1 handful of parmesan cheese (powdered)
1 egg

and used my hands to mix all that stuff up.

You could leave out the flax and almond, this is just what I chose to use.

Then I added:

a bunch (yes, that's the technical measure. Whatever you like!) of:

Garlic powder
Onion powder
sea salt
cracked black pepper

and used my hands to mix all that stuff up.

Had I not been cooking for the kid too, I'd have added a ton of red pepper flakes. I can eat pepper flakes on nearly everything.

I imagine you can cook this on a cookie sheet. I bought an oversized roasting pan at the dollar store, sprayed it with pam, and put the meatballs in there.

It made about 48, 1.5oz meatballs (about golf ball size) from that 72 oz of meat.

We made most of these just as-is above.

On a section of 8 (we used some foil to create a 'section' in the roaster so the juices wouldn't run into each other), we mixed in a bunch of A1 Steak Sauce because I couldn't find the worcestershire I wanted to use.

On another section of 8, we mixed in a bunch of soy sauce (a gluten free sort).

And just for kicks, on one oversized meatball we add rosemary and caraway seed.


Standard meatballs: tastes astounding like a heavy meatloaf, and a good one. I didn't realize that the flax, almond, parmesan and egg would have that effect. I actually like meatloaf, but no-bread-crumbs on lowcarb made it off-limits. I see I could use this recipe approach for it. We liked them well enough to eat them plain and like it.

But we like 1-carb ketchup, so we dipped over half of them in some of that.

Soy-sauce meatballs: this adds carbs of course, but the kid liked these best.

Steak-sauce meatballs: this adds carbs of course. I like it, but they ended up tasting pretty sweet all things considered.

My buddy Amory suggests:
...baking meatballs, and tossing them into a crockpot with a mixture of Heinz 1 carb Ketchup, Walden Farm's Thick n Spicy bbq sauce, Sweetzfree, spicy mustard, and a little garlic powder. This creates a sweet, thick, spicy Swedish Meatball-like sauce.

That sounded good enough I thought I'd put it here even though I haven't tried it yet. I don't have any barbecue sauce so I'll have to wait until I get some.

Rosemary-Caraway Meatballs: this was a really interesting combination. I liked the taste of it, but it was a sort of 'strong novelty' that I don't think I could eat very many of.

Amory's original recipe used ground turkey and turkey sausage. I didn't have any but when I do, I hope to try adding some chicken-flavored bouillon and shredded cheddar cheese to one, and then dipping it in mexican green salsa. I know that sounds bizarre. I used to make tacos out of chicken stuffing, with cheddar cheese and green taco sauce. It was a weird combination, but everyone I had try it actually liked it.

I had planned to dip these in ranch or blue cheese dressings, they just never made it that far. They would be good that way, though.

Me and the kid managed to eat an embarrassing quantity of these last night, and we finished them off by about noon today.

I think some soft-boiled/fried eggs in the morning, chopped up and mixed with some nuked cut up meatballs (so the egg got all over them), would be really yummy too.

Amory also once suggested that you could use spaghetti sauce and some cheese with these too. I suppose, if you wanted, you could use enchilada sauce and some cheese also.

We are making this one of our constant staples now. I love the idea of having stuff frozen or fridged that we can just nuke and dip as something yummy but also nearly solid protein/fat and super low carb.

Did I mention even the kid is getting smaller? The scale actually went up (probably from eating more protein the last 3 weeks than in any 2-3 months of her life, and super minimal carbs), but her size is reducing, we can both tell. Yay!!

Friday, December 14

Proletarian Patties

Not long ago I was rereading the fabulous chef Karen Barnaby's book The Low-Carb Gourmet. It costs more than more recipe books, and it was written a few years ago so I think it probably has more soy in it than a modern book (which might be more likely to employ more almond meal, coconut meal, flaxseed meal, etc. for example). But it is really a very good cookbook. It's not just a bunch of versions of quickies that most of us know from hanging out in lowcarb forums, but some really elegant meals and photos to make anybody drool. Some terrific LC foods I think Karen invented include the 'cauli-rice' that is surely one of the coolest dishes ever, especially since it can be anything from dill to chicken stir-fried.

On 12/3 I began another 12 week cycle of lowcarb intent. It's been quite awhile since I've been properly LC, although I did some for a week or so before the 12/3 date to first drop the water weight. I'm keeping a food log which, in general, is fairly predictable. So are my taste buds.

So today I was thinking about my recent eating. I went and got a 5 lb. thing of hamburger, I divided it into 12, 7oz chunks, wrapped in foil and dropped all the foil things into a ziploc with '7oz 85/15 ground beef' on the front. Every night I take out a couple and toss them into the fridge. 2 days later they are ready to eat. I just flatten it, add sea salt and cracked black pepper to both sides, spray a pan and fry it. When done, I put a couple tablespoons of homemade blue cheese dressing on top of it. Yummmmn.

My 11 year old and I have eaten more 'hamburger patties' -- her with some ranch, me with some blue cheese -- than any other food for the last two weeks. Peasant food, I suppose, proletarian fare compared to the glamorous glory of Karen's stuff! But I really am acquiring a taste for the things at this point. Probably in great part because it's just EASY.

So far, stuff I can smear on an ordinary burger patty:
blue cheese dressing
ranch dressing
any kind of cheese
lowcarb ketchup
pesto (yum)
sauteed mushrooms-onions

Anybody have any other ideas? Since this seems to be becoming one of the staples of my diet, I figure variety is a good thing. A sauce/topping needs to be thick enough and/or strong tasting enough to really mean something in this case. (I don't put gunk on steaks. Only on meatloaf and burgers. ;-))


Friday, December 7

Low-Carb: Meet Meat!

Reading Gary Taubes' "Good Calories, Bad Calories" has been a minor epiphany in several different areas. It's a 'research review', which is not 'general' reading, you'd have to be a serious reader and seriously into the subject to enjoy it -- but I am.

I feel like someone who has been wandering through the desert for a lifetime, constantly tempted by rapidly vanishing mirages of weight loss promises, distracting myself from the hopelessness by focusing on my feet, and finally I tripped over something real. Something that revolutionizes the way I think about quite a few things, something that makes me look up from the book and holler, "Of COURSE! Yes, that makes sense!"

I've always felt fat was probably a 'symptom' of something (and no, not "eating 12 pounds of bonbons a day" as most seem to assume). Since obesity is associated with all the "diseases of Western Civilization," it makes sense that obesity is a symptom (an illness of a sort) just like all those diseases -- diabetes, heart disease, cancer, alzheimers, etc. -- and that they probably all have the same core causes. It turns out there is over a century of research demonstrating exactly that.

The amazing part isn't that fat is a hormonal, endocrinal, metabolic problem on display. Most of us knew that. The amazing part is how much evidence for this, and against the "healthy high-carb low-fat" hypothesis there really is, that has managed to be marginalized in one way or another.

At this point the agriculture chemical industry (huge), the modern food manufacturing industries (huge), the modern food retail and grocery industries (huge), the the modern pharmaceutical industries for heart issues (huge), diabetic issues (huge), cancer issues (huge), and even pharmaceutical industries for psychological issues research suggests are probably also 'diseases of western civilization' from the same root (depression, schizophrenia, etc.) all have a "vested interest" in keeping the global brainwashing going strong against meat and in favor of carbohydrates.

I think it's making me paranoid on low-carb's behalf: I'm beginning to see new "press releases" on research as literal propaganda. The rift of disconnect between what these studies actually say, and what they are proposed to have said, is getting wider and more astonishing by the day. Quite literally it is getting to the point where I see media examples regularly where a study that specifically did NOT find in favor of carbs, is promoted widely as having done exactly that. "The Big Lie," this is called in politics: say something often enough and loudly enough, and people will accept it. It will seem impossible that anything so "pervasive" could be wrong.

On an only slightly separate topic, Regina Wilshire's blog article "Don't Buy Their Snake Oil" is a good look at a research presentation that nicely examples something not uncommon nowdays: something presented so badly that the word "wrong" doesn't even sufficiently address the issue.

Moving on.

So basically, when you stick food in your body, lots of stuff happens, but concerning fat, it simplifies to one of two things happening:

1 - It is used for energy, or
2 - It is stored as fat.

Pretty simple. So when you see someone fat and sedentary, the obvious (and research supported) conclusion is: that person is not getting the energy from their food. Their body is essentially hoarding it in fat cells, refusing to give it to them.

So, the person will be driven to eat, as they have less energy. They will be more sedentary, because they have less energy. They are likely to eat carbs, because that is 'energy', which will only make things worse, as their insulin-resistance increases. Eating carbs even causes depletion and/or greater need for a variety of vitamins (some Bs, C and E so far, maybe more) which can cause body problems.

All of this not because the person is some kind of societal moral failure, but because their body is processing and reacting to insulin differently than it used to. Some people it starts in early childhood, some not till they are 60, some for genetic reasons, some for 'everything you ingested that came before' reasons, etc.

The bottom line, as Taubes explains, is that most people do not get fat because they keep eating; they keep eating because they are getting fat -- because the food they're taking in is, quite literally, not feeding them the energy they need.


After reading about carbs through the entire book, I had a realization at the end. And that is:

Food = meat.

Meat including fish, poultry, etc. of course.

Pretty much throughout history, that's what men ate. Until 10+ thousand years ago when agriculture graced our world.

I thought about this a lot, and came to the conclusion that culturally, I've been brainwashed into expecting several different foods at a time (especially at dinner), and starches constantly.

But in reality, FOOD, is a piece of steak or burger or chicken or pork or fish. Everything else (except fats) is just the details, just the seasonal add-ons.


This helped me in a surprising way. I've long had a problem with protein powder, which due to my size and difficulty with eating meat 5x a day, I need to use. But I have the ability to taste the stuff (any brand--I've tried many, good ones) no matter how "buried" it is in other stuff. It is vile, vile, vile, that is all there is to it. Even ice cream and chocolate syrup, when I once went off lowcarb, could not mask the vile taste of protein powder. So since last September when I went lowcarb I have wanted to drink this but I balk. "I don't LIKE it. I don't WANT to eat food I don't like."

Ta-da! Presto, I changed my way of thinking, and protein powder fell out of the food category. Now it qualifies more like maybe a medicine for fat and weakness. Those are supposed to taste bad--big deal. So now I've been having generally two protein drinks a day, adding 76g of protein to my day that is making all the difference in how I feel.

And now when I think about food, I think about -- food. I have burgers, steak, chicken, pork chops, gourmet sausages, I'm planning meatballs. I make eggs, with shredded hard cheese, or sometimes an egg-cream cheese bowl muffin, but generally, I'm eating MEAT. I'm not "Paleo," I'm not avoiding dairy or veggies or anything like that. I'm simply considering food to be MEAT, and if I can't have that, having some protein powder.

For the first time since September 06 when I began low carb, I have actually made all my nutrient counts, ideally no less, for some time now. I've been eating so that I am totally satiated every day, and so I have enough protein to feel strong, and I'm eating truly yummy foods (even a little something fairly sweet), and yet when I really push my food intake to the max, I make nearly 1500 calories, 120++g protein, 60++g fats, and generally less than 20 carbs. And I'm willing to eat 40-50 carbs a day, it's just amazingly easy, when I eat "real food", to keep them low.

My carb intake will be increasing next week with my zucchini and cauliflower experiments in the kitchen, and several new muffin and cookie experiments (using almond and coconut flours, as I now make just about everything gluten-free as well as lowcarb). Still it will remain low and my protein and fats will remain high.

And it's easy. I don't know why it wasn't easy before. I have an old blog post, "Don't Have a Cow, Man" about my issues with getting enough protein. And yet somehow now I'm looking at 160g a day when before I couldn't seem to make 80g very often. Since I can really track my sense of well-being and leg-strength to the protein quantity I've ingested in the 1-3 days prior, that's really important.

And I find that if I have something sweet to eat, I can eat literally 3-4 bites of it and feel like, "Ok, that's enough." I'm not hungry; but I'm not stuffed, either. This is the first time in my life I recall simply feeling "satiated". I'm good at ignoring hunger, and I'm good at feeding hunger, and I'm good at feeling stuffed, but those were the only three options for me until now. Now suddenly it's like my body is just where it needs to be.

Being back on lowcarb again (before long I'll update my on/off LC graph, which as always shows the story so much more eloquently than any words), I'm already reaping the rewards. I can sleep, deeply and fully. I can wake up without feeling I'm under the sea. I can think and function when I wake up. I have energy and feel like getting up. With one exception I have gotten up earlier than usual and done far more for my day by 9am than I used to get done by noon.

And the main thing is, I can get up and cook/eat 5x a day because I want to do well at this -- but mostly, because I have the energy.

The more meat I eat, the more like a stealthy hunter I feel. :-)


Wednesday, November 21

Sunday, October 21

A Do It Yourself Life

The older I get, the more I understand that nearly everything I learned without trying in my life ranged from irrelevant, to inaccurate, to utter bilge from which I would someday have to de-indoctrinate myself.

Or as musician Paul Simon once put it in his song 'Kodachrome',
When I think back on all the crap
I learned in high school
It's a wonder I can think at all

The same sure seems to go for nutrition, exercise and metabolism. Everything I ever learned by accident, by default, or from official sources, is so bogus. Not until I actually began pursuing information on my own did I start running into stuff that even made sense when questioned a little. Let alone that explained a lot of the questions.

My stepmother once told my kid the memorable line:

Eat your french fries. They're a vegetable.

I couldn't make up something like that. It takes all kinds...

Good Calories, Bad Calories by Gary TaubesRecently a guy named Gary Taubes published a book called Good Calories, Bad Calories : Challenging the Conventional Wisdom on Diet, Weight Control and Disease. He's a journalist for SCIENCE magazine who spent six years reviewing the research in these areas, and finally put it all together in a way that other people with brains can understand. The realizations and conclusions he came to, based on the actual research (not just what was popular or assumed) pretty much suggest what I should have known all along:

Since the government and school were telling me to avoid red meat and fat and eggs and to eat a diet dominated by grains and carbs, I probably should have figured that once I applied my brain to discovering the real facts, they'd be the polar opposite of the Official Party Line.

Taubes was allegedly interviewed on CNN recently. Instead of interviewing an author about the book, they brought in several other people they felt would disagree with him to make it a lynching instead. The host and one or more of the guests so consistently interrupted the author that I had to stop reading halfway through, because his inability to get a single complete sentence out -- NOT EVEN ONE -- finally drove me nuts. Link to the interview transcript is here. (And not surprisingly, the Fat Is Evil cult of culture and its bazillion adherents want to dog him. So if you read his book, please, write a review, and post it at and any other bookseller you know of.)

So if you buy one book this year, let it be this guy's book. It is allegedly one of the most concise-yet-depth reviews of the real research, and the real story, on a lot of topics that have huge relevance and impact on our lives. It's bucking the trend of nearly everything. It's contradicting the authority of nearly every official politically correct source -- with, ironically, the authority of scientifically valid, hands-on research, and many decades of it, as a big heavy bat.

And it means the author has to suffer through innumerable talk shows where bozos won't let him get a word in edgewise because they KNOW EVERYTHING IN THE UNIVERSE THERE IS TO KNOW ALREADY, which is why, of course, the diet industry spouting exactly what the bozos do makes dozens of billions a dollars a year in a country where half the population is still too fat.

The wisdom that Atkins had to share survived in great part solely because of the popularity of his book. He had every source against him, there was insane amounts of literal disinformation and outright falsehoods widely broadcast in media, but the one thing that kept his books on the shelf, kept his ideas in the circuit of the population, was that his book sold a LOT of copies. In other words, the government can say what it wants, but in the end, people vote with their pocketbooks when it comes to what they're interested in.

Vote for this guy. I'm delighted to see a serious, intelligent, concise yet with details, overview of a ton of research, put together in one package. I'm delighted to see real science get real attention. And I hope he does really well with his effort. He genuinely deserves enough sales to support the cause of truth.


Saturday, October 20

"You Are Feeling Very . . . HUNGRY!"

This post is going to be really politically incorrect in the obesity world, I can see that coming already. This is just an honest thought; I may be wrong. It's just an idea, the associations of which seem so strong to me I have to mention them.


A long time ago, I spent several years obsessively studying hypnosis, as well as some related fields (Neuro-Linguistic Programming or 'NLP', graphoanalysis & graphotherapeutics or 'handwriting analysis', cult psychology, etc.).

One of the most fascinating, I mean mind-bending, ass-kicking, that-is-freakin AMAZING things of all that study was the subject of "post-hypnotic commands."

Let me give you an example. Say that under hypnosis you tell a subject that when the clock strikes 8:12pm, they are going to suddenly stand up from their chair, hop on their left foot three times, take off their right shoe, pound it on a table a couple times, run out the door and yell into the hall "Hey everyone! I'm a chicken!" and then come back and put their shoe on, and sit down like nothing happened. I'm making this up but it's a fair example, though complex. You also tell them they aren't going to remember being told to do this.

If the hypnosis goes well, all of this happens exactly as planned.

Now here's the part that still fries my brain to this day:

Ask the subject why they did that. And they will intellectually rationalize up a reason on the spot. You see, they had a rock in their shoe, and they were just kidding around to wake up this boring quiet office space, and...

Consciously, they would ARGUE to SUPPORT their rationalized-invented reasons because they totally believe them. Anything they can project or associate as a 'reason' for their behavior, they likely will, and they BELIEVE it. As far as they were concerned, it was a decision, and they made it.

This still blows my mind.

(I should add I'm in the top 1-2% of hypnotically suggestible subjects myself. Anybody unfamiliar with this who thinks that only weak or stupid people are suggestible is ignoring billions in annual marketing money that proves otherwise.)

Here is the question that has got to come to mind:

"How much of our lives are motivated by subconscious impulses that we simply do without thought, and if we need to come up with a reason, we consciously rationalize something to explain it?"


There is something that has been bugging me about stuff I've been reading in the weight-loss world, mostly lowcarb is what I read but sometimes other stuff. Let me put it together so you see how I'm coming to this point.

1. Research from a variety of sources is clearly suggesting and even saying that eating is actually driven even at the *cellular* level, definitely at the subconscious level. It isn't about 'willpower'; it isn't 'merely psychology'. See my past posts from this summer such as 'The Skinny on Being Fat' for several great quotes from a leading researcher on that subject (and a few other posts around that time for other quotes).

2. Research is also suggesting that when people exercise, they generally eat to compensate for it naturally, and worse they often eat more calories (or food types they respond badly to like carbs for example) than they burned off, so aside from weight lifting building muscle, the whole concept that doing aerobics is gonna make you skinnier is pretty much bunk. So I consider that kind of exercise, though healthy for 'conditioning' reasons, kind of moot when it comes to weight loss.

3. Research is showing that some people at the same weight, can eat less calories and maintain that weight as someone else the same weight. So far I don't think it's clear whether this is across the board or only people-who-lost-weight compared to people who were already that size. But it does make the point that people at the same measure do not USE the same measure and hence need different intake.

4. Jonny Bowden talked about how when people at his old health club were put on the machine that measures, physiologically, exactly how many calories are being burned during exercise, the readings were radically different depending on the person. This ties into #3 actually; people simply use different quantities of energy to do things, and hence need different quantities of energy on food intake.

Two people of the same size eating the same things and exercising the same way, could result 5 years later in one person being fat and the other not. And of course, once all those extra or larger fat cells exist, there are other internal body side effects generated by that alone, to continually add complication.

So what I am getting to here is that the body in order to be what we consider healthy has to be SELF REGULATING because there is no way for us to measure exactly what each person needs. We can 'try' but as the above demonstrates, we really don't know anything exactly, and if you add in the variable responses to different foods, you come up with a pretty unique situation for every individual.

Well, it should be self-regulating. Apparently something has gone wrong with that regulation mechanism. (Or it's a reality creation issue, ala Jane Roberts/Seth, and it's working fine, but our core 'belief systems' are screwed.) But since nobody knows how to deal with that invisible, hypothesized "self-regulation mechanism" for weight, we look to what we can SEE and try to figure it out.

(It reminds me of the thyroid thing. The pituitary gland manages other glands including the thyroid. When the thyroid screws up, it would be reasonable to look to the pituitary for the problem, just like in business you don't yell at the guy on the line for production issues, you look to management. But we really don't know jack about the pituitary, so medical science is totally unhelpful on that subject. So, they address the thyroid directly, even though its misbehavior is possibly (at least in some cases) a symptom of something we don't understand, not a root cause.)

OK, so now follow me here:

A) eating is driven at the cellular or at least subconscious level.

B) our whole culture intuitively believes it's about psychology/willpower.

C) hypnosis easily proves that people will invent a conscious "reason why" they do something even if it's motivated at the subconscious level. Hence our culture at large and individually is likely deluded on this point.

So I propose that,

D) individuals who "emotionally eat" may actually be masking the whole process. By this I mean that they are driven to eat for physiological reasons but they are "grafting on" genuine (real) emotional issues as the "driving reason" why they feel they should and/or did eat. Rationally coming up with something to explain a behavior motivated at fundamental levels that actually have nothing to do with the surface psychology.

I think this is important, if it has any potential truth at all, for a few reasons.

1. I don't think psychology alone can successfully treat this problem if this is the case. If the person actually resolved the emotional issues but still had the subconscious, body-driven eating drive, they would simply put something else in the reasoning list, or the caloric intake might shift its form (more even and not so binge oriented) but still amount to the same net result. Alternatively, they might actually subconsciously lower metabolism to get the same end result.

Believing that a person has emotional issues, and they eat when they're emotional, so if they get therapy surely they'll lose weight, there may be some truth to this, but if my theory is correct, it's not going to solve the problem, because the root of the cause was not psychology to begin with.

2. The attempt to project obesity as a "mental condition" because in many people it is associated with a "compulsive eating" behavior, becomes more ridiculous in this light, because in reality, ANY personal issue an individual may have is likely to be "grafted on as a rationalized explanation" for why they eat badly.

An attempt to understand and treat obesity makes knowing the cause critical, and if we are looking at the eating as a cause when in fact the eating may be a *symptom* of the self-regulating body, then we wouldn't even be looking in the right place.

3. If we really want to understand and treat the problem of being driven to eat too much or driven to eat the wrong foods, then we need to look at that issue squarely and, since if we wait for science funding that genuinely helps us we'll likely all be dead, laymen need to do their OWN experimenting to see what works for them.


Some people recognize that they can eat 40 carbs a day no problem. Unless more than 25 are vegetables, in which case they actually find they are more prone to eat (or at least want) more carbs the NEXT day. (Eating them in eggs/cheese might not do that. Or vice-versa.)

Some people can eat whatever but if they eat more than about 8 carbs in sugar alcohols, the next day or two they're more likely to want sweeter and slightly carbier things. Or just more food, period.

I think it would be good if more people actually tracked how they FELT on a given day as far as eating--for those who plan food and don't deviate. The consistency of food may mask what one's body was actually trying to drive them toward. There may be certain offbeat correlations that are common, such as one food invoking more 'need to eat' than another.

Everybody who tracks their food intake knows that sometimes you want sweeter things and sometimes you just want more food and so on. We respond as if all of this stuff is the will of God or some whim of nature. It'll be lightly cloudy today, ok, as if we have nothing to do with it at all.

But I suspect that if researchers are right and eating really is motivated as low as the cellular level, that the stimulus-response ameoba-level issue is involved here, and what we DO eat -- and what we DON'T eat -- is probably a great part of WHY our body responds demanding more food, or sweeter food, or whatever. Not all of it, but maybe some.

What if for zillions of human years carbs were temporary but over a certain number indicated a certain food available in bulk, and the body got used to eating as much as possible and storing it while it existed, a great opportunity. Maybe the body reacts to a certain number of carbs, or carbs from a given kind of nutrient, based on something offbeat like that. This is a wild idea, I'm merely saying we don't know, but it doesn't seem like much attention is being paid to that, either.

If the body is genuinely driving eating, I'm not saying that 'willpower' doesn't matter; most people can do all kinds of things their body is unhappy about in the name of discipline. But I suspect that the ability to override your body's request with willpower, is rather like pain tolerance -- quite different for each person.

(There may actually even BE a form of pain at the cellular level that is unconscious but still affects us, in fact.)

(I personally wonder if applied hypnosis for days could create any change in the metabolic burning rate of a person--it is not conscious driven, but might be influenceable anyway.)

I'm using too many words which always means I'm having a hard time getting my own head well around an idea.

But one of the points I'm going for is that I think the entire edifice of "EMOTIONAL EATING" that is such a big thing in the diet world may be inherently fallacious.

I think people may be just applying conscious stuff to their subconscious drive to eat and believing that association, when it's a psychological artifact, not reality.

(It's even possible that the drive to eat could help create ongoing emotional problems -- or any other condition that gets a person to eat, including decisions about daily life stuff that affects the food around us or our habits -- in order to ensure its own maintenance. That's how complicated this could be.)

Just a thought for the day.


Thursday, October 18

The Circle of Gluten and Bad Decisions

Today I'm thinking about the things that ought to make me "think", but usually have to glide by, fly by, and then finally bite me on the butt before I actually make the trouble to think about them.


No matter what I eat that is lowcarb, I don't usually overeat, if anything I have trouble eating enough per day of nearly any nutrient. EXCEPT. If I eat something like tacos or burritos using lowcarb tortillas, I overeat. I know I'm overeating because I feel 'dark inside' and too stuffed to move for quite awhile after.

Why do I overdose on this and not other things? I had to think about it for awhile.

I think it's possible that the combination of hamburger meat (spicy in this case), shredded cheese, and the fiber from a lowcarb tortilla, is simply a lot. ONE medium burrito, or two medium tacos, is PLENTY. Yet, I usually eat twice that. Why? Because I can. Because I love the taste. Because once you get the basic stuff made and set out, it's easy.

But really, it doesn't matter why. What matters is that I get conscious enough about my eating habits to say, "Hey, will you look at that. I consistently overeat if the meal is tacos or burritos. Next time I make those dishes, I will be sure to plan my portions in advance." That wasn't so hard, was it?


Gluten-free stuff is high carb. Lowcarb stuff is higher in gluten. This is God's way of telling me that rather than finding a way to have "cheat-breadishes" I just need to adapt my diet so I no longer think I NEED that kind of thing.

Here's proof that I have not adapted to kicking sugar 'really': when I do carb cycling, why do I want to have high protein pasta, rather than extra broccoli?



I think I can now say with some certainty that the chance of my choosing to eat something lousy when I am officially lowcarbing, is nearly always trackable not to what is tempting me, not to my mood, not to anything in that moment --

-- but to what I ate 24-48 hours PRIOR TO THAT MOMENT. Yes. I'm saying that I think the body totally sets us up. I eat something and I think I am ok with it, it did not throw me out of ketosis, it did not cause instant cravings, all appears to be well. But then, 1-2 days LATER, I end up making some decision about food that is, shall we say, not the kind that is easy to "own responsibility for" later.

So when people are talking about how to stay on plan, how to be disciplined, how to resist temptation, the answer is not really, "when you have an overwhelming craving to go face-down in the pie, don't do it." By the time they have that overwhelming craving, there are physiological issues behind it... it's mostly too late for moralizing about willpower. The real answer is, "Get so far off sugar in every form and anything else that saps your energy that you will not GET to the point of that overwhelming craving."

Willpower starts at the 3-carb level.


When I eat gluten, it gives me asthma anywhere from 12-36 hours LATER. Not at the time! Before I went lowcarb, I never tracked gluten to asthma because I ate it all the time, so it was a chronic condition. After I went lowcarb, I knew that asthma was from something I was eating previously, probably the breads, because lowcarb forced me to stop them entirely (the first time I went lowcarb there were incredibly few 'lowcarb' breadish products).

The irony, of course, is that my entire life I've lived on bread products. "Whole grains!" I was a vegetarian for nearly 5 years. Gained weight, mostly lived on bread products and dairy since I didn't much like fruits and vegetables. Probably torqued my hormonal balance good through serious amino/protein deprivations.

Once I was lowcarb and controlling that kind of thing better -- rarely eating a breadish product, and only the lowcarb variants -- I was finally able to begin to find the correlation. Eat gluten -- and lowcarb bread products often have MORE of it because of the way the grain is processed to favor the protein -- and not that night, but the NEXT night, and the day after that, I'd be wheezing totally.

Now, take a person who has sleep apnea -- scratch that, just "apnea," I've had "shallow breathing" problems even when I was a teen and thin, I think it's a subconscious emotional suppression thing, totally aside from the physical issue that causes breathing problems mostly in overweight people -- and then add heavy lung wheezing to the equation, and you get someone who is seriously oxygen deprived.

Tip: oxygen deprivation, while quite fascinating especially in serious degree, has the same effect as things like a thyroid problem or low potassium can. It can make you exhausted, sluggish, seriously forgetful (short term memory really gets blitzed, the sort of, "yes and -- um -- what were we just talking about??" sort), etc.

Not surprisingly, when people feel exhausted and sluggish, they don't move as much. That doesn't just mean they don't run marathons as often. It also means they are less inclined to get up and go make eggs or a protein drink... if they aren't really hungry, they might not bother. It also means they may be less inclined to do any number of things that contribute to their eating well, or a tad bit of exercise that has other life side effects (like a cleaner kitchen for example, which may affect whether 3 hours later they decide to make gluten free lowcarb highprotein muffins, vs. not doing so).

Of course, when I eat insufficient protein, I'm less energetic, I'm not retaining my muscle mass as well, and so have some of the same not as inclined to be energetic side effects.

It's a downward spiral! It's a catch-222.

No-brainer: When I am more exhausted, I am more inclined to seek energy from food. Read: carbs in one form or another.


OK, so there it is, the thought at the back of my brain trying to get my attention:

1. I eat gluten and I shouldn't, which
2. Causes lower oxygen a day or two later, which
3. Causes more exhaustion, which tends to up my carb intake as I seek more energy, which
4. Brings on more rounds of #1 until several spirals are operating at once here, which
5. Eventually means I'm not energetic enough to go make divine lowcarb foods because either I'm too exhausted, or not energetic enough to clean my kitchen and don't feel like cooking when it's not clean, or I just don't bother eating at all, which then drops my protein and nutrients, further depleting my energy, adding more to the spirals, which
6. Eventually means I'm likely to eat something offplan or simply go off lowcarb entirely.

This could be summed up like: Lowcarb is where you have lots of energy because you're living off your plentiful fat cells. Screw it up, though, and you will naturally start eating more because humans are primal-driven to eat more when they lack energy.

Lesson: Don't screw it up.

Additional note: the very food that has the gluten that keeps screwing it up for me (lowcarb tortillas) also happens to be part of the main meal that I am most likely to seriously overeat.

I grew up on tacos and burritos. You'd think I was mexican, in fact until lowcarb, mexican food of a variety of things was the only thing I knew how to cook! Not 'real' mexican food (half a roasted chicken and black beans, or spicy pork in masa wrapped in corn husks, or homemade 1/2" thick little breads called tortillas) but 'American' mexican food (thin tortillas from a package and a ton of cheese! rinse and repeat in 14 variations).

I'm trying to be repetitive to get it through my own brain here.

GLUTEN IS KILLING ME. It seems like no big deal when I eat it! It seems like only a little thing even when "Oh, I have stuff in my lungs, asthma" a day later. But the SIDE EFFECTS are part of an overall downward spiral-cycle that is consistently taking me OFF/OUT of lowcarb eating.

All because... wait for it... I feel like I can't possibly be expected to survive lowcarb if I can't have, as a regular meal, the easy to make, kid likes 'em too, burritos.

I should make a sign, WILL DIE FOR BURRITOS. Would this make it clear enough?

Maybe I should reframe it. Would I be sad to go overseas, be in a war, and get killed for the sake of a long list of relatively good reasons ranging from freedom to economic survival of my country? Yes, I probably would. That would be scary! That would seem like such a tragedy for me, for my family losing me. And yet, I'm willing to continue on an eating plan lifestyle that is just as certain to kill me, but in some slower, more expensive way, all so I can have a freakin BURRITO?



Tuesday, October 16

Love, Life, and the Mirror

I have been on vacation for some time, and offline to LC for awhile before that. I've really missed my blogging and I hope y'all are doing well.

Recently, I fell in love.

This wasn't nearly such a big deal until I finally met my internet/phone obsession, and spent some serious quality time with him in a remote cabin in the foothills of the Ozarks, and some at home where he and my child fell in like with each other pretty quickly. That shifted it out of being one of those "Yes I totally love him but then again we haven't met so you can't be 100% sure of course" and into, "Why did my house never feel empty until he left it?"

Something happened that has had a fairly radical effect on my self image and how I think about everything, including my eating plan, exercise, goals in life, etc. And that is:

Someone fell in love with me.

I don't mean to be a complete nerd, but somehow, the effects in me of feeling genuinely loved by someone are nothing short of astounding. It is as if for the first time, instead of seeing myself through the eyes of the only adults around me, family who are either apathetic or highly critical, I am seeing myself through the eyes of someone who genuinely loves and cares about me. Someone who expects good things from me, who assumes the best of my intentions and outcomes, and who totally expects me to be treated well -- including by myself.

For the first time, I'm stopping in the middle of a day (or night) and asking myself: why am I doing this? Why am I not sleeping when I need to, pushing and pushing myself? Why am I not eating when I know I need to? Why am I sitting around when there are things I would like to accomplish? Why am I letting my bad behavior toward myself, that has become automatic and unconscious, run my life? Don't I deserve better than this?

In a burst of new enthusiasm (never let it be said that finally getting great sex for the first time in your life, let alone after not having any at all for ten years, isn't a great motivator!), when I got back from vacation, I worked out a daily schedule. You know, the sort totally impossible to keep without a drill sargeant and a stopwatch, but the kind that sounds really good on paper.

Last night I was pondering my interesting results with it so far. Which is kind of like, "I'm completely ignoring it, but intending to get to it Real Soon Now." And I had this typical, automatic thought, "I'm screwing up, and I'll never be getting healthier if I don't do X daily, and ..." and I suddenly realized: you know, that isn't the point.

The point of eating well is not so you get skinnier or stronger. The point of practicing your arts is not so you get better at them. The point of doing these things is the love of doing them. Every moment of life is precious, not because we can take a photo of it, not because of what it means to our future, but because of the life-experience in-the-moment, RIGHT NOW.

I should eat well because eating well is its own reward, in the moment. I should practice my arts because doing so means that I am living the kind of quality in time that make life an enjoyable thing for me. The action of an art, whether it is music or sketching or psi work or a physical discipline, makes those moments of our life different than if we had spent them sitting still, washing dishes, doing taxes, or whatever. Every minute of our day compiles to the end result, and the net result of our days is what makes our habits, our character and even our destiny.

But the living of a day isn't for the destiny, any more than eating low-carb is for some dreamed-of body of the future. Any more than loving others is for promise of heaven or fear of hell: one should 'be good' because being good is its own reward. The living of each moment is a quality opportunity. Not an obligation. Not just something to schedule or plan. Not just something to fill the time. An OPPORTUNITY to live, for that moment, to truly live--in a way that makes us feel fulfilled.

Live well, and the goals take care of themselves.

No matter what goals one may have (and goals are good), the PRACTICE, the in-the-moment, living-it, has to be focused on the appreciation of the moment. The quality of the moment, and of the end result, depend on that "Zen" ability to truly live in the moment.

In other words, if I base my today on my future, only strict and constant self discipline can get me there. But if I base today on my love of today and living well in it, I not only enjoy my day a lot more, but the future brings itself to me--and possibly with better results than I would otherwise have had.

I realized that planning to spend an hour a day with my little girl isn't something I do because I must and because when it's over I can send her to bed without making her feel neglected. It's for the joy of it. Of course! But for some reason I hadn't applied that understanding to everything else in my life. Like eating well, lifting weights, etc.

This brings me back to why I began this blog in the first place. Not because I wanted to lose weight, not because I'm a lowcarb evangelist, not because I needed another blog. But because I was delighted with how wonderful good food could be, how fun and creative it could be to work out new options for it, how exciting it could be to explore a new avenue in my life.

As a matter of course, things like goals and plans and charts and schedules and more eventually dominate most blogs including mine. But as a matter of inspiration, this blog was born because I loved the moments: the moments of discovering new stuff, of creating more new stuff, of cooking something I knew was good for me, of eating something that tasted great AND was good for me. As a side-effect, all that was good for my health and my future.

The point of a mirror is not to show us how we look to ourselves. It is show us how we look to OTHER people. When we look in a mirror and we project all our own fears and doubts and angers upon it, when people around us have contributed their own as well, it's 'through a lens darkly' at best. But when the mirror changes, when it truly shows you how someone else perceives you, and they think you are smart and lovely and creative and kind and overflowing with potential for good things, that's a different reflection altogether.

Suddenly I don't feel so much like, "I gotta do X so someday I won't see this horrible reflection!"

I feel more like, "Hey, that's a reflection of me, a nice person worth treating well. I should do X because it would feel good and I deserve that. How nice it would be to be nice to me. It's nice to be alive."

Every morning I say, "God, thank you for my life."

Maybe all along I should have been reminding myself that the life wasn't just a schedule of obligations which, if I had discipline, would eventually get me to some happier, skinnier, healthier place where then I could allow myself ... something, I'm not sure what. Am I waiting to be happy? Am I placing some barely-defined assumption of happiness on some hopefully thinner future 'when I deserve it'?

Maybe I should have been reminding myself that every moment of life is a gift, an honor, and an opportunity. Not for 'the future' but for THAT moment.

Love is the true motivator. Not fear of bad things, not greed for good things, but genuine love, whether for self, God or others.


Tuesday, September 18

Ode to Pesto

If there was ever a lowcarb taste-bargain, it's pesto.

Now, in quantity, pesto can be pretty carby. But it has a pretty strong taste, so you don't need much. Usually it has around 4 carbs per 1/4 cup, but especially if the food is temperature-hot (so the pesto gets a bit thinner), it mixes very well for flavoring into pretty decent quantities of food.

My favorite chicken-pesto recipe is the Pesto Chicken Salad. Now I have a favorite morning-food:

Pesto Quesadilla with Scramble

2-3 eggs
spices: oregano, salt, pepper
some sliced hot peppers (or onions if you prefer)
scramble it.

1 lowcarb tortilla (or 2 taco-sized ones)
1-2 oz shredded cheese (whatever you like)

Spray pan and scramble the eggs, spices and peppers. Heat LC tortilla slightly (like over the gas flame or the emptied hot pan). Re-spray pan.

Spread about 1-2 Tbsp of pest on 1/2 of one side of the tortilla. Put the tortilla in the pan (pesto side up obviously) and sprinkle on some cheese, spoon in your scramble mix, add the rest of the cheese, and fold the tortilla over. Grill until melty on the bottom, flip, grill until melty on that side, serve.

It's so ridiculously good.

I'm not including counts 'cause it's something folks should figure out based on the labels of their tortilla, pesto, and what other stuff they put in it.

I might add this is really good even without the eggs, just as a cheese pesto quesadilla, but there's more protein with the eggs. It's also pretty good even without the cheese and just with the eggs (...but not as much :-) it doesn't have the "melty") if you're trying to cut calories or dairy.

I have a dilemma in that I'm sensitive to gluten yet gluten-free flour is high carb. I'm sensitive to carbs but low-carb breadishes are higher in gluten even than normal stuff. Gah! I do have a crepe recipe I need to try again--they were surprisingly good--but that's so much work compared to taking something out of a bag. ;-)


Sunday, September 16


This is a bit off topic, but just in case you ever wondered how email gets from your computer to someone else's computer, now you know:


Tuesday, September 4

A Buncha Random Things About Me

This began as the 8 Random Things About Me blog-tag. Special thanks to Online Christian, Regina Wilshire, Breadless Mrs. B and Diet Pepsi Girl (?blogless?) overlapping the same tag, it is now the Buncha Random Things About Me.

  1. I love red coats, red shoes, and red cars. At this moment, I have none of them.

  2. I loathe nearly all politics and politicians. I am closest to libertarian but not that either. I am however fanatically a believer in all the stuff they indoctrinated us with when we were 6 about what America stood for. My biggest political gripe is that it doesn't reflect reality. I want my first-grade version of America back dammit.

  3. My boyfriend lives on the Hawai'ian island of Maui. Somehow, I have managed to not yet visit him. Someone please slap some sense into me.

  4. I've been devoted to Archangel Michael for nearly 20 years. It's difficult to explain but a powerful driving force in my life.

  5. I once spent nearly a year training formally in hypnosis and NLP. I am in the top 1-2% of hypnotically suggestible subjects.

  6. When I was 5 I had a stuffed-something I called 'black baby'. My parents left it by accident when we drove off from California and moved--by way of Oregon and New Mexico--to Oklahoma. I'm still kinda mad about it.

  7. According to informal family poll, I am at least 14 different nationalities. The native american part isn't on the rolls so they aren't even 100% certain what tribe it is. Cherokee, they guess.

  8. I named my daughter Rykah. I started with Rayka, the name of a pretty girl in a 'Lethal Weapon' movie. But she died, and I didn't want to name my kid after some movie character that got murdered, so I changed it. My daughter's middle name, Nadine, is after my grandmother. Grandma's name is Norma Nadine, so of course, everybody knows her as Susie.
  1. When I was 10 I was constantly in trouble at school for unreadable writing. I got pneumonia and nearly died. When I came back to school my handwriting had changed radically and I won the class award.

  2. I've worked on computers nearly all my life, and am on them the majority of my waking life, but I never, ever play video games.

  3. When I was 19, I accidentally turned my hair a screaming magenta which literally glowed with a halo under the lights at my workplace. The looks of shock and horror from a couple office girls I didn't like, were so rewarding I pretended I'd done it on purpose and didn't dye it back for months.

  4. I once had a sort of spiritual experience with a spider "deva" and now am nice to them, even though it took me 3 months at age 18 to condition myself out of a genuine phobia of the things.

  5. I once took a ten year vow of celibacy. I broke it three months early to get married.

  6. I've been deeply involved in a very practical approach to conscious psychic work for a dozen years now. 99.99% of anything you ever hear about that subject is bogus: wishful thinking, actual fraud, marketing, confusion, etc. The .01% left over is not woo-woo, it's not evil, and it's not imaginary or stupid. It is however, very inconsistent, albeit astounding at times.

  7. I used to want to name a son Dennan, and have sometimes used that as a net alias.

  8. I look horrible in black and mustard. I look amazing in deep rust. I'm told that makes me an "Autumn" in the 'seasons' approach to skin tone and colors.

OK I found even twice times 8 exhausting for some reason, so I am stopping there! Tomorrow when I get off work I will go find some victims other bloggers to tag. ;-)


Cliff Climbing

Any time I stop doing something I've been doing deliberately for awhile, I tell myself, "I'll revert to my better habits in a day or so." You know that feeling?

Then time goes by, and more time goes by, and eventually I realize I am completely off the wagon, and don't particularly feel like getting back on it. So there.

And then eventually I realize that I actually kind of miss the wagon, miss feeling better, miss feeling like I'm accomplishing something, miss feeling like there is hope. I find myself mourning the loss. I find I want to get my act together.

And so then finally I actually DO it, I'm back on the wagon, I'm happy to be there, and I have a fresh enthusiasm that I obviously lacked previously around the time I hopped off. I might add that I stopped my 12 week cycle 1 week and 6.5 lbs short of my goal. I mean that's just stupid. It's been basically six weeks I've been 'off the wagon' and eating high-carb and not much exercising.

So today, I find myself looking at this straight-up cliff that seems somewhere between impossible, ridiculous, and unfair.

"Didn't I already climb that cliff?" I ask myself. "I could swear I recognize how few handholds there are in that stretch, and how hard it was going up that place over there."

"Why, yes," says my Conscience. "As a matter of fact PJ, you DID climb that very cliff once already. Possibly twice. But then you went off the wagon, see. So those very same pounds of cliff will have to be traversed yet again. So there."

Actually, to be honest, I'm astounded that I am only 21 lbs heavier six weeks later. I believe the majority of that is probably water/glycol-weight and likely to come off in the first couple weeks of a solid induction, taking me back to where I was when I left off. We will see.

Now, I am at 392.5. I was at 371.5 on July 25 when I basically lost interest in everything that related to "me" which happened to include my food, weight, exercise, etc. Of course just around that time, the governor was out declaring my county a disaster area, the 'walking park' was like 30 feet underwater from the flooding, but that is no excuse for not lifting weights or eating right.

As I mentioned previously, I've had a lot of time to think about the stuff I blogged on a few months ago, the "fat politics" stuff. I am going to be taking my weight and the whole "weight loss" angle off the face of this blog. It is not a 'secret' and my info can be found at my lowcarb journal, or a link I'll put on an 'about' page to my weight tracking spreadsheet. But I do believe that lowcarb should be about health, and if a person is to be appreciated or congratulated for how they eat or exercise or whatever, it should be first and foremost because they are making a genuine effort toward health and happiness.

For me, that means losing weight, simply because I am not comfortable weighing nearly 400#. I feel much better than when I weighed nearly 500#, I'll give you that. But I suspect that if I continue reducing that, I'll be better able to do fun things like karate and rollerskating again eventually, and I would really like to do that.

I don't want the lowcarb focus to be "weight loss." First because "fat, not weight" is much more important to focus on. Second, because lowcarb is a health regime. If a person were underweight, they would gain weight on a sufficient protein lowcarb eating plan! So it isn't about a 'diet' to 'lose weight'. It's about improving your life via health. For me this means I lose weight. Others might gain it. Many others might not change that much, but might feel better, feel stronger, increase muscle to fat ratio.

What matters is that lowcarb is cool. The food is great, the recipes are often droolably divine, the health improvements are awesome, and the people are the greatest collection of supernice humans I've met in ANY field online (and I've known quite a few). So my blog will be changing ever-so-slightly over the next week, to shift that emphasis toward health and away from weight-loss. Just so ya know, it doesn't mean that I am not continuing on a journey that includes that pretty front and center. It just means that lowcarb is a larger-vision that deserves a better context than the one I've been giving it.

But I am back on the wagon here.

Stupid freakin cliff. Now I have to climb it AGAIN.


Sunday, September 2

LC Blogger Humor

OK, now, this is actually pretty funny. You know the joke about how when some employee is not in the room, they get volunteered for everything? "That'll teach YOU to use the restroom when the VP is visiting!"

Well, never let it be said that the lowcarb world of bloggers doesn't have its own sense of humor. I used to just think that a surprising number of lowcarb bloggers were smart and witty people. But after spending just over a month "out of the loop" of my lowcarb stuff -- i.e., "out of the room and not looking" -- now I see that they are also mischievous sorts, like little lowcarb gremlins who probably went back to their blogs and snarkled their little LC-made-it-smaller-butts off.

In blogging there is this meme called "tagging", where one blogger will be asked to post on a given topic, or whatever, and they are supposed to do so and then go "tag" several other people. This is basically like a chain letter, for blogs. The difference is that most bloggers by nature love to talk about themselves, in fact can hardly be shut up about it or they wouldn't be bloggers to start with, so the blogging world (aka "blogosphere") regularly invents nifty games to allow bloggers to talk about themselves and then go tag other bloggers to do so as well.

And it works out well for everybody, because usually the people who are reading blogs have at least a tiny bit of interest in either the blogger or their writing, or they wouldn't be reading it to begin with.

So the blogging tag-game of the moment is "8 Random Things About Me." The idea is you tag one blogger and they gotta tag 8 more. As a given with this meme, a blogger can only be tagged once.

Now in lowcarb, this is easier said than done. There are not exactly hundreds of lowcarb bloggers. In fact we are in a position to, in some respects, help define our niche of the genre, as a result. There are the earliest blogs, I suspect that Jimmy Moore's is one of them. And there are the most influential blogs in terms of "credentials" or "technical aspects", I suspect the blogs of Dr. Mary Dan and Dr. Michael Eades and Dr. Mary Vernon are a few, though I personally think Regina Wilshire should be on that list too--proof you don't have to be a doctor to have intelligent, well-written, factual stuff on a blog regularly.

Theoretically, a blogger is only supposed to be tagged once. But apparently this only applies if the blogger is PAYING ATTENTION. Like, had I been BLOGGING, I would have seen the first tag, posted on it, and that would have been it, right?

But sneaky blogger-friends saw that PJ was obviously ignoring her blog--a blogger sin if there ever was one. So, I imagine while cackling with hilarity, I got tagged again. But wait, I still didn't respond! Well, we'll teach THIS blogger something about paying attention to the blog--I was tagged again. AND AGAIN!

It started with Online Christian of Low-Carb Lollygagging.
Then Regina Wilshire of Weight of the Evidence joined in.
Then Breadless Mrs. B (and her Fat-Cat-Fergie) thought that looked like WAY too much fun to resist, and then
Diet Pepsi Girl apparently got carried away and tagged me too, which was funnier still since she doesn't even have a blog so go figure that one out.

So... should I do 8 Random Things About Me--four times? One time? Hey, if I do it once, three people get a free ride on tagging. And how many people do I have to tag as a result? I have no idea. I've never seen a blogger get tagged more than once for the same meme. It's hilarious. It's like a funny tease for someone spending way too long away from their blog.

I will do it.

Friday, August 31

Pastafarian Groove

Before I say this, I need to point out that PASTA WILL PROBABLY KILL YOU. OK, my moral duty is done.

Next, I also want to point out that Big Daddy D has a zucchini-as-pasta recipe he rates as his #1 lowcarb favorite recipe, which since his website is stuffed full of awesome recipes is probably really saying something.

I just wanted to mention kind of a trivial thing here.

Long before going lowcarb, before the carb thing was even a conscious issue for me, I had a problem with pasta. The problem was, even in my blood-sugar-oblivion of those days, I knew very well from repeat experience that pasta would make it spike and crash. For some reason, I could eat three times the carbs in other foods and not seem to have too major an effect, but eat pasta, and I would literally get dizzy and lightheaded, or if sitting down like on my bed with my laptop, might literally just pass out into sleep without ever going through the conscious decision to do that first. It was frightening.

Some time ago I bought "Dreamfields" pasta. This is said to be "lowcarb" pasta. It's got hype all over the box, and all over the internet.

See the idea is that the processing of the grain makes the protein count much higher, and the fiber count much higher -- rather like in Wheat Protein Isolate for example (a flour-type that products like CarbQuick utilize) -- and hence, the resulting pasta made from that flour has enough of both to offset the more limited carb count and slow down its digestion so that it has a lesser impact on your blood sugar.

The problem is, for me, it doesn't work.

I am not diabetic. I do seem to be insulin resistant. But there are only a couple of foods that so kick the ass of my blood sugar regulation that shortly after eating them I all but pass out, and pasta -- even in limited doses -- is one of them.

Since pasta with pesto was hands-down my favorite food in the universe next to pizza, the other food-that-will-kill-me as irony would have it, this is just SUCH a bummer.

I tried Dreamfield's pasta. And I had the same blood sugar response as I get with regular pasta, basically. If it was reduced in any way, it was not measurable to me -- since I'm not literally measuring the "high" of the blood sugar as diabetics do, merely reporting on my physical "nearly passed out" response to the later blood sugar drop.

I've heard other people report this on the lowcarb forums, including diabetics who were measuring: that Dreamfields pasta spiked their blood sugar in a way it was heavily advertised not to.

So, my 30-second hope that maybe teeeeny amounts of pasta on my higher-carb cycling days would be do-able were dashed.

But then....

Had to buy some pasta for a dinner I promised to make for the kid and her friend. Standing in the grocery, I see this pasta called Barilla Plus. Now, Barilla is the primary manufacturer of pasta in the world. They've probably induced more gradual diabetes than any corporation except the soda makers. But this "Plus" version, as I read it, appears to be the equivalent of Dreamfield's: high protein, high fiber.

It doesn't actually make any big deal about the lowcarb aspect, but that is the essential result, is less blood sugar impact from the carbs which is the whole point. So I figure since I have to buy something for the kids, I'll try this -- I'm mixing it with meat so hopefully they'll at least have more protein.

Dinner -- hamburger meat, newman's spaghetti sauce, and penne pasta of the Barilla Plus variety, with parmesan cheese and some oregano on top -- looked and smelled so amazingly good that I fell completely off the wagon and ate a bunch of it. Not just a little. A bunch.

Oddly, the "dizzy nearly passed out" feeling never happened. I felt perfectly normal and hours later, marveled.

Probably a fluke, I figured. And there was lots of meat in that dish to try and 'balance' the carbs better and... and it was probably a fluke. I'd love to use that excuse to try and explain why, about six hours later, I nuked a bunch of this concoction (which was very thick, between the meat and penne) and ate a whole plate of the stuff.

And still I had NONE of the "blood sugar crash and burn"-effect that I get with any other form of pasta -- including dreamfields.

I ate some more of it the next day. For whatever reason, this ghoulash-like thick mix in the fridge called me like a siren -- something that carbs in general don't do, by the way, when I'm on lowcarb I am not really tempted by carby food in general. It just tasted really GOOD and was great as a quick heat-up munchie food. But still no measurable effect.

Here's the more amazing thing. I ate two big portions of this one day, and another big portion of it the next day. And it did not seem to affect my ketosis at all.

Whether this is the meat, or the improvement of the pasta, I have no idea. But since even lowcarbers sometimes make pasta dishes for others, or have carb-cycling high-carb days, I thought I would mention this stuff.

Barilla Plus. Make it with white sauce and lots of chicken, or red sauce and lots of beef burger, if you must have it at all. (I'm sure the preference is not to have it at all, on lowcarb plans -- especially if you are gluten-free!) Given that it didn't make my blood sugar crash as-prepared, and didn't seem to interfere with my ketosis, I think I may plan this as one of the foods I have on my higher-carb days -- not in excess, just as a nice change.

I don't really like the idea of programming myself to eat high-carb-variants, as I feel that sorta defeats the purpose of learning to eat well, but my kid is a pasta freak and it's difficult for me to resist that particular temptation. From now on, if and when that might happen, I'm using that stuff instead.


Thursday, August 30

20,000 Leagues Under the Sea

Hey! I AM alive. Hard as it is to believe some days.

Right now I am working like 8am to 2am. It's nuts. So I don't have much time to write and it's kind of hard to formulate ANY thought, let alone a decent blog post. But I will be back soon!

I have several major focuses in my life which tend to take up about 98% of my attention when they are present. At which point, everything else falls away. I go through these focuses one at a time. And when I am with focus X, everybody in focus Y and Z think, "What on earth happened to her?!" and my friends get irked at me and so on.

I guess the reality is that I am a chronically over-committed sort and I can only be with any program "cyclically".

Alas, that seems to include an eating program. I've been ignoring Lowcarb for awhile now but AS OF MONDAY 9/3 I am back on a 12 week plan. I have a nifty spreadsheet for that as well as one for general tracking that I will link on my next post in case anybody else wants to use them.

I haven't had any money for awhile (when I say that I am being quite literal) but I get paid tomorrow so can finally go shopping for REAL FOOD. Not the carbfest nightmare (Ramen is 6for$1) I've been eating while in temporary poverty. I know, some great bloggers have exampled how LC can be done on a budget (Regina at Weight of the Evidence) has more than one good post on that) but I don't think I budget well enough to do it on twice that budget. It's a good thing I have a job is all I can say.

Meanwhile back at the... er, mental world of PJ, I've been doing a lot of thinking about the stuff I blogged on some time ago regarding society bias against fat, and "fat activism" and things like that. It really moved me and made me feel quite differently about my lowcarb public stuff than I used to.

I eat lowcarb--not as often as I should--because for me, it is healthy, it tends to avoid gluten, it definitely avoids carbs, it increases my protein, and I like the food. I am much healthier when I'm eating lowcarb. I feel so sorry for people who, when they diet, are really doing nothing more than being miserable and underfed for awhile but otherwise see little benefit to it besides a slow wasting of muscle that reads on the scale as weight loss so they're happy.

Totally aside from weighing some insane amount I am too frightened to step on the scale to rediscover, I would eat low carb because it's good for me in so many ways. It isn't really about weight loss. Yes, I *want* bodyfat loss -- absolutely! But I want about a dozen other things just as much frankly, all of which matter too. Putting the focus on 'weight loss' first, is kind of misleading because it ought to be about bodyfat, not just pounds. Second, it's kind of overbalanced because it ought to be about health, not just size. And third, it's just incomplete, because LC is as good for me for other reasons as it is for gradual weight loss reasons.

So I think when I get some time (in a day or so--by end of this weekend latest I hope) to come back and blog properly (I have several taggings I must respond to!), I think I am going to take my weight off my blog. I'll keep it on my journal on the forum so anybody can see it if they want, as I link to it with my screen name from here; it isn't that it's a secret.

Recently there was a big drama (actually I think it is quietly continuing) about an eating plan that is, off-paper and into the hands-on practice, basically a starvation diet. Well, I really want the focus on this blog to be "healthy lowcarb yummy stuff and life", not, "the contest to lose scale-pounds by eating a certain way", and partly that's because this mentality about "eat this way to lose weight!" is really part of the same problem that drives people to starvation diets to begin with.

If the focus were on what is healthy for you, what makes you feel good and strong and mentally clear and physically able, then there would never be any confusion about why living on 400 calories a day might be ok. I say this as a person who regularly, if not forcibly on a lowcarb eating plan, lives on sometimes that many calories a day. That is why I'm hugely fat. I ought to be a walking testimony-of-terror to anorexic groups about what mucking up your metabolism in the most serious way can do to a person.

So I'm not saying I don't understand. Eating is inconvenient and time consuming and in general a bother unless I have time and interest. If someone fed me, I'd eat all the time. When my laziness and busy-ness (I am over-"focused" as attention goes) has to compete with food, it often loses. So I am no saint on the food front. I'm just saying that the whole focus on butt-size compared to what goes in your mouth is really part of the problem to begin with, that causes people to starve themselves or live solely on cabbage or all kinds of other bizarre and stupid acts of hysteria to deal with fat. And meanwhile, it means that even the people who should most support the acceptance of 'size' in our society, no matter what it is, are basically playing the same game as those against it, when the primary focus isn't "Hey I'm healthy and happy and isn't this eating plan great" but rather, "Here's how much of that nasty ugly weight I've managed to lose."

Maybe in reality we shouldn't congratulate people for losing scale weight--but for improving their health, which is just as hard-won an effort for people who do this in ways like removing cream from their coffee, or getting off gluten-containing foods, or improving their vegetable intake, as for people who do it by "officially losing weight."

My point is that the whole concept of an eating plan is life-wide. It shouldn't really be about your butt. It should be about your health in 1001 ways, your longevity, your quality of life. Person X who is eating broccoli and roasted chicken but not losing weight if that's the case, is working JUST AS HARD on improving his life as person Y who is eating pepperoni and frankenfoods but losing weight on the scale.

A focus on health would circumvent a lot of problems and put the lowcarb focus where it belongs. I believe this issue of putting the health goals first and weight issues second is the way it ought to be, and I plan to do that with my exercise blog as well. Which I forgot I even owned until recently. Damn, I am such a scatterbrain! Can I blame this on eating all those carbs?! :-)


Sunday, July 22

Cocoa Muffincakes v 1.10

I've been gradually mucking about with a recipe for something that vaguely resembles "chocolate muffins", somewhat more than strawberries resemble iguanas, but somewhat less than these things resemble any form of bread- or cake- based item in the world.

These are low-carb and gluten-free.

It uses mostly healthy ingredients: nuts (almond meal), seeds (flax meal), protein powder (Designer Whey Vanilla), eggs, butter, cream cheese, and quality cocoa. Optionally you can add other nuts or berries.

The processed items (aside from protein powder) include artificial vanilla extract, baking powder, sweetzfree (liquid sucralose), DaVinci syrup and Fiberfit for combined sweeteners.

The current recipe makes 40-44 "mini-muffin" sized items. I warn you that baking anything containing flax seed meal is SO much better done in a spray-it-first silicone baking pan. You can toss in half a walnut or a blackberry or couple blueberries to each muffin before adding the batter if you like, that is yummy too.

1 serving I count as 3 of the muffin-things.
Calories: 293g Fat: 23g Carbs: 6.85g Fiber: 3.33g ECC: 3.52g Protein: 16.32g

For a sweet-thang, 3.52 ecc and 16.32 protein is not bad!

They are munchy enough to graze on, but so high in protein/fiber that once they start digesting I lose interest in eating any more of them for awhile.

My favorite part of these things is that I can put them in a ziplock and keep them with me through a long day and evening. (A paper towel in there will reduce moisture.) I don't have to refrigerate them, I can just munch on them when I want to. Since the number of fairly low carb high protein items that do NOT need to be refrigerated or cooked on the spot is very low, I consider these very cool.

These are fairly sweet and you could put cream-cheese frosting on them and use them as cupcakes. I've also had these with a few lowcarb chocolate chips dropped inside each muffin, that is good too but makes them more candy-like. This particular recipe version tastes like a semi-dry, subtly-flavored brownie sort of. I think I will add a little more oil next time.

I might add that a *quality* cocoa, oil, and protein powder are obviously important to the end-result of stuff like this. I used Penzey's 24% butterfat baking (non-dutched) cocoa, macademia nut oil, and Designer Whey Vanilla Praline protein powder.

Special thanks to the fabulous Niki at Oh.2.B.Fit whose wonderful raspberry cream muffins gave me the idea to switch out my cream for cream cheese and increase my almond meal, which made this version of these muffins the best in texture so far out of all the versions.

I'm going to see, another time, if I can drop the cocoa and aim for making these fruity in a way that I can combine both extracts and real fruit for stronger flavor. I'm thinking lemon-blueberry, or orange-raspberry maybe.

Click below for a full-size image you can save or print.

Happy munching!


Saturday, July 21

10 Tenets of Online LowCarbing

It's no surprise that sometimes lowcarb, in discussion, can become almost like a religion or something. For a ton of people, including me, lowcarb 'saved me' and 'has changed my life'. I'm sure you get the analogy. Anything that has that powerful an effect on people's lives is going to at least occasionally be a hot-potato topic. (Not that we would dream of eating potatoes.) There's "spirited debate"... at the least.

I care about the lowcarb 'field' online, because it's mine, because meeting and communicating with others about it is important to me. I care about the lowcarb 'image' in media, because I deal with the social result of miseducation in others every day. I care about lowcarb eating 'accuracy' in practice, because I've come to understand how unhealthy eating can mess up lives, and because I've seen the grief and physical problems it has caused in people I care about. I just care about lowcarb, period, because I know how helpful lowcarb can be when done well.

Like any major "guiding force" in my life, I feel that I have certain physical, ethical, psychological, and behavioral obligations to meet concerning That Thing I Hold So True. When you love something, it is an honor to serve it. When you truly care about something, you care about more than the here/now of it. It becomes a larger topic; it becomes a way of life, a "path you walk", a life-philosophy.

Recently I've been thinking about what this means to me, in the context of my communications online. The internet is the primary media doorway for legitimate lowcarb information. There are good books, but they are nearly buried in the quantity of bad books and misinformation. There is typical "media", but it is so dominantly skewed in favor of money/corporatism rather than health, it's more harm than help. What is left are people. One by one, and tens of thousands at a time, in giant 'discussion forums' and on blogs big and small, like this one.

After thinking about this for nearly two weeks, and thinking about what I would like to say and how I would like to say it, I think the best way is simply to present what I consider my own beliefs and 'personal standards' for "operating in the lowcarb world." I am just one person, and perhaps others have different standards; well actually, they do, that much is obvious. But these are mine, for whatever it is worth to share them with my friends and potential-friends here on my blog.

Maybe if this kind of thing were considered by more folks on this road, there would be less controversy, contention and frustration in lowcarb's internet homes.

Walking the Path: 10 Tenets of Online Lowcarbing

1. I will be honest about my practice of lowcarb.

  • If I follow a given eating plan "except" some factors, I will say both clearly.
  • If I implement other strategies, such as carb cycling or higher fat or lowered calories, I will say that clearly.
  • If I don't really follow a given eating plan, no matter how popular, I will not claim that I do.

I can easily put this in any forum 'profile notes', on a free blog page, or mention it in passing. If I fail to do this, I misrepresent both what I am doing, and what I am not doing. Lowcarb has enough misinformation, media-spawned confusion, and variants, that it doesn't need me further murking-up the pool of clarity with an inability to just be plain and honest.

It's me putting the food in my mouth--how hard can just being clear about it be?

2. I will be understanding about others' practice of low or controlled carb.

  • If someone is on the Burn the Fat eating plan rather than Protein Power, or South Beach rather than Atkins, I will not be so rude as to interfere with what works for them.
  • Sometimes what works for us requires time and experimentation, so even if what they are doing is NOT working for them, that is for them to realize and do something about, not me. I can only 'advise' gently.
  • I will share what works for me, but I will phrase this as 'sharing' or 'ideas' when talking with others on different eating plans, not as preaching.

This is necessary to any degree of intelligent communication with other humans online, whether in forums, blogs or other. From diabetes to thyroid issues, everybody's body is a little bit unique. What works for me isn't what works for everybody.

Within what I consider "reason" (of something being at least potentially healthy for at least some people), I will respect that this is an individual path for all of us, and I will not mock, scold or scorn someone for choices they have the right to make for themselves.

3. Notwithstanding the above, I will not be a party to advice or environments that encourage people toward unhealthy and even seriously dangerous practices.

  • Everybody has a different level of exposure to information, and a different level of understanding regarding nutrition. I will make an effort to share what I feel is valid information, for those new and enthusiastic souls who are still on a learning curve.
  • I will not allow my own bad habits, such as eating unhealthy food on occasion, to become 'justification' for others new to lowcarb doing so. If I want to ingest nitrates or frankenfoods that's my decision, and I can share good recipes, but counseling people new to lowcarb on why eating this crap is A-OK is not helping lowcarb or them either. Kicking the habit of eating crappy food is half the battle. If I'm selling them on why they don't need to, that isn't helping them, get real, that's just selfish rationalization.
  • Enthusiasm often substitutes for legitimacy in online environments and leads people down dark roads. If I see someone telling others to do something I think is unhealthy for everyone or anyone, such as eating 500 calories a day or starving entirely for example, I will share my contrary views. Politely but clearly, so people have no reason to have a bad association with the info I provide.

Nobody is an expert instantly. I will not willingly allow people new to lowcarb, or who are clearly not familiar with basic tenets of health, to be misled into unhealthy behaviors without at least providing my own input as an alternative.

The decision may be theirs, but for that to have any meaning, they must have some alternatives from which to choose.

4. I will put health and honesty before personal ego or profit.

  • When two people use an eating plan and one does not get the same results, it means they are not the same human, is all. If one acts like the other is lying or cheating, it means they are more vested in their plan being "right" than in anybody's health. I will avoid such behavior, and point it out when I see it in others.
  • Should I have the opportunity to acquire something of value to me based on my communications about lowcarb, from a job to advertising monies to editorial rights to internet 'staff' authority, I will use it for good, not evil. I will consider the first three "points of the path" to be even more important in direct correlation with how big an influence I may have on others.
  • I will strenuously avoid anything even close to a conflict of interest, and I will openly disclose, such as in a constant signature, any formal affiliations I have with any group, company or organization which might potentially bias my communications.
  • If I cannot avoid some major conflict of interest, such as blogging about something that pays me for example, I will make a blog just for that, I will point out clearly near the top what my association / affiliation is, and I will not attempt to run what might amount to "blogverts" (blog posts) or forum posts under the heading of allegedly balanced reporting on a personal blog. If I'm making a serious profit off it or my ego or reputation is tied to it, then it cannot be considered truly unbiased by any stretch.

There is enough misinformation and conflicts of interest in the mainstream media and mainstream medicine. Do I really need to add to that with my own brand of lowcarb greed or disingenuity?

I want to help the lowcarb online world online toward clarity in all areas--not muddy it for my own potentially selfish purposes.

5. I will not abuse any 'power' that my lowcarb communications give me.

  • If I keep a blog, and I allow anonymous (which can also just mean "doesn't have a blogger account") comments, I will not then verbally abuse people for using that option.
  • If I keep a blog, and I allow comments, I will not refuse to post comments with critique (or only post comments with critique that say, 'you probably won't post this', to make it look like I'm honest, but then withhold others). There is a difference between spam/trolls and honest if snarky or angry feedback. For me to "secretly editorialize" by only letting certain comments through would be to essentially lie to all my blog readers by misrepresenting the actual interaction on my blog. This completely contradicts the whole nature of honest blogging and I will not be a party to that.
  • If I blog something, and someone comments negatively on it, and I choose to change that blog content, I will make a note in the blog post itself, such as striking out the old text and then saying, "Edited to:" and then putting the new text. I will not change my text without notice once someone has commented on that part of the text. I will especially not then pretend a commenter was deluded or wrong for having commented on "what I didn't say" if in fact, I had definitely said it when they made the comment. That is not just violating 'honest blogger ethics', it's a form of blog-fraud. I won't do it.
  • If I should be given staff power in any website, whether one of my own or one I work with owned by someone else, I will not modify the content of anybody else's online materials, such as for example taking a negative comment toward me, and rewriting it into a positive comment toward me. This is not mere 'lack of honesty', this is actual fraud. I won't do it.

Communication is all that exists on the internet. If communication cannot be trusted to be honest according to its own alleged policies, that internet outlet is more harm than help to lowcarb as a whole. This kind of thing is sometimes buried in a lot of hype and volume and popularity, but eventually, net-karma comes around.

Staff, editors and bloggers who behave that way will get less support and respect in the very community where that ought to matter most, and to the very people, such as leaders of the field, to whom their reputation as low-carb media online ought to matter most.

6. If I must complain, I will attempt to do so based on issues, not personalities.

  • If person A is a numbskull for suggesting the Cinnamon Toothpick Diet as a healthy alternative to weight loss, I will not attack person A for being a numbskull. Rather, I will attack the Cinnamon Toothpick Diet for being moronically unhealthy. There is a difference, no matter that these things might be related.
  • If Person B has a history and presentation that suggests somewhere there is probably fraud, based on things like their student-success-stories seeming like doctored photos, their own timeline of claims being inconsistent, their own bizarre refusal for years to share evidence of their much-vaunted success, or their own before and after photos appearing to be different people and/or reverse age-dates, then I will pick on all those issues as I wish, but I'll pick on the issues, not the person.
  • It is not my job to stalk Person A or B because I 'suspect' he or she is a cheat, liar, fraud, idiot, etc. It is however perfectly within my rights to question and discuss those "issues" in the lowcarb community at large. Should it turn out those issues find proof, I would then be within my rights to report the person to authorities or expose them in my media, but it still would not be because of the person, it would be because of the issues. Stalking is personal. Issues are not.
  • If someone disagrees with me on a forum, I will take this to mean they disagree with me. I will not take this to mean they woke up this morning determined to ruin my day because they are evil. Debates, no matter how spirited, do not need to be personal. If they are about 'perspective' (opinion) and not 'facts' (information), then yes, they might get a *little* personal, but I will try to refrain from calling people numbskulls. In public, anyway.
  • If I choose to post something on my blog about an issue making me mad and centered on an individual place or person, I will address the issue at large. If I call someone or something a name, it will be something that I simply feel communicates, with humor, my opinion. Such as "Kimorexia" for the insane-lowcal plan variants (and constant advice toward that and fasting) in the Kimkins diet, or "the Fatzi Regime" for the overwhelming cultural bias against fat people. I will not however address individual people or places as Nazis or SOBs because, well, that would be juvenile and ridiculous. One is a statement on a thing; the other is a statement on people.

Conversation with ten other people is difficult enough, never mind with 10,000 other people on a forum. Lowcarb is a great thing, and most self-education people get about it besides a few books, is via online forums and blogs, so keeping those forums and blogs to the point of education instead of nasty flames or abuse, is important.

People do not learn from information packaged in a post that offends them.

7. I will work to walk the fine line of supporting people who need it, yet not supporting dysfunctional or addictive behavior.

  • I am happy to encourage someone to keep on, to start anew, to recognize what they do well. I will not however let my time get sucked into someone repeatedly whining about how they just can't get their act together for their health. I am sorry about that, and I'll work to be a good model and supporter, but I'll not become an internet codependent for their issues. It doesn't help either of us.
  • I will be honest about what I think, within the bounds of diplomacy a given environment requires. If I think someone really should read the damn book before asking everyone to sum up 300 pages in a forum sound-byte, I will say so. I do lowcarb and its people no service by catering to those who refuse to bother with self-education. That mentality is doomed from the start anyway.
  • If I think person A is being unfair to person B, I will make a point to say so if I have time. Both people and all onlookers only know the views of those who share. Too often, people think the world is against them just because one person disagreed in a poor way and nobody else said anything. I will work to be sensitive to how people feel about this kind of thing and to support people who need it when I can.
  • I will work to understand and support that people have unique metabolism and biochemistry issues, lose weight at different rates, and even need or don't need to "fall off the wagon" at different rates. A young person who is busy and lives alone can often do lowcarb far more easily than an older sedentary person who has a house filled with junk for their spouse and others and constant church/social/family eating environments. That is just the way it is. I admire anybody who "keeps on keeping on" with their dietary plan; perfection with it is admirable, but since lifestyles are as different as bodies, it is not fair to bias against those who aren't perfect.
  • I will take full responsibility for my own decisions. If I blow it and eat crappy food, it's because I chose to. Usually the reason has more to do with eating properly in the 48 hours prior to that decision, than it has to do with the 'event' of the decision itself, and anybody lowcarbing for very long ought to realize that. But the decision was mine. I will own my decisions and not try to project responsibility for them onto family members, birthday parties, etc.

Strength of character is part of result of accomplishment in lowcarb as well as anything else. We get nowhere by playing the victim. If we eat well and weight loss is slow or worse, that is fair to whine about. If we choose to eat pizza every 10 days and weight loss is slow or worse, that's our own doing.

Responsibility is the key to power.

8. I will attempt to promote lowcarb in a way that matches the environments I choose.

  • Online forums and blogs all have their own 'mood'. No forum is required to give free reign to people who don't communicate in a way that meets their standards. They own it, that's policy. It's no different than going into the house of someone of a different culture, or religion: while in Rome, do as the Romans do, as the saying goes. I will not use the F-word in comments on family-natured blogs, and I will not be harshly snarky in kinder-gentler forums, although I might do either in areas where that is more appropriate.
  • If I am in the no-carb forum I will not wax on about the glory of Broccoli and avocados. They do not care and they don't really want to hear it. If I'm in the low-carb forum I will not wax on about why vegetables are pointless and unnecessary. They are low-carb using veggies for what they get, not no-carb. If I'm in the journal of someone doing the South Beach diet, I will not wax on about why even brown rice sucks for blood sugar. This is just not the time or place. Being 'supportive' in an inappropriate place usually equates to being argumentative or even a troll. All things in balance.

Even inside the low-, no- and controlled- carb "field" on the internet, there are substantially different approaches. It is possible to support them all, or at least ignore the ones of no interest, without offending others. A lot of people desperately depend on the ideas, education and support they get online. Online-warfare drives a lot of people off, and this can literally affect their likelihood of staying on plan.

Communication is supposed to be for at least two people. If it's only for me, it's just self-absorption.

9. I will not willingly or openly support individuals, companies, groups or products which I feel either do harm to lowcarb, or violate the most basic tenets of online decency that the lowcarb field has a right to expect and well deserves.

  • If I consider a forum's staff abusive, I will not link to them or participate on their boards.
  • If I consider a blogger's behavior unethical, I will not link to them or participate in their comments.
  • If I consider a company or product to be unhealthy or unethically promoted, I will not link to them or let pass their promotion without comment.

There is a saying that goes something like, "The only thing that is required for evil to flourish is for good men to do nothing." As big a pain in the butt as it sometimes is, and as politically incorrect as it sometimes is, I feel morally obliged to do something. Maybe not loudly, maybe not abusively, maybe not while naming names, because I wish to focus on issues, behavior and facts more than personalities.

I will not be a passive party to wrongdoing or things I feel are a detriment to lowcarb's media, online field or communications.

10. I will constantly work to see the positive in the eating plan that is healthy for me, and I will attempt to use any influence I have to display the positive and the healthy.

  • I will not whine about the fact that I cannot have rice, or apple pie. I will rejoice in the fact that cauliflower can make a mock 'chicken fried rice' that rocks, that zucchini can make a mock 'apple cobbler' tht rocks, and do my best to share recipes and enthusiasm both online and offline.
  • I will not whine about the fact that eating Gluten causes me allergic response and gluten-free flours are high-carb. (Ok... not much. :-)) I will instead work on finding and coming up with great lowcarb recipes that are also gluten free and share them with others.
  • I will not whine about the fact that at least mild exercise is eventually needed for decent ongoing weight loss, muscle retention, and general health. I will instead work to find whatever level and type of it I am capable of doing, and share my enthusiasm with others about it. Even if I have to manufacture enthusiasm nightly to get myself to pick up that dumbbell.
  • I will not whine about how lowcarb is just so hard because the world surrounds me with sugar/carb-laden foods and food-based holidays. Everybody is in that situation. The Amish and Vegetarians and Kosher folks manage to eat what they should despite other things calling their names, so why should it be so much more unfair for lowcarbers? If I want sweet crepes and ice cream I will do my best to find or create a lowcarb version of this that allows me to feel pampered and decadent, while not screwing up my health or that of others I'm feeding it to.

Lowcarb isn't a food prison, it's an amazing opportunity to truly explore a lot of awesome food choices here on "God's Green Earth" that most of us completely missed in our Mac&Cheese/McDonalds upbringings. But for most people new to it, or those who have operated mostly alone rather than in big online forums, it can be a sort of sad food experience. This is their lack of education about what is possible, is all, and I can help improve that. That doesn't mean I'll never have a recipe with a processed food ingredient in it. It just means I'll work very hard to have recipes, instead of references to packaged lowcarb junkfoods.

I want to provide encouragement and enthusiasm to others about eating real, healthy foods that not only taste good but do good for their bodies.

There's probably some things I left out. But these are the ten primary tenets that I consider most important to online interaction concerning lowcarb.

If you like them, link to them, to "remind" others. Or make your own.

I think it's a worthy effort. The more we care about the 'online lowcarb field', the healthier IT is likely to be.