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.