Location Changes!

Change Requires Change!

I returned to the USA almost two weeks ago. I have lived in northern Scotland for the last 4 plus years. I also lived there from 1980 through May of 1993. I love that country and her people. I could write forever about my time there.

My first stop back in the States is Jacksonville, FL. The weather has been amazing. Correction, it has been freaking hot. We didn’t get over 80 degrees in NE Scotland where I lived. Here in Jax, it’s been close to 90 every day. Yikes.

The first thing I noticed, is how swollen I am. The humidity has not affected me the way I thought it would. I thought I would sweat a lot, and wouldn’t have to use my Blood Pressure diuretic. I was dead wrong. I have sweat when I’ve worked outside, but mostly I’ve been inside, and I am swelled up like the Michelin Man.

Now to be fair. I ate out a lot the first several days. I ate all the food I’ve missed for 4 years. I didn’t eat mass quantities of anything, but I did eat out a lot. And I had a lot of bread at lunch. I still haven’t been eating breakfast, and since my sister and brother in law, are eating Keto, our suppers have definitely been Keto.

But here’s what I have noticed. Most of the restaurants use a lot of sugar, and I’ve noted a great abundance of MSG. I am utterly astounded at how much of both of those substances are in everything. That breaks my heart.

I’ve grown accustomed to what I eat. Now I’m shopping at different places. I have to read every label, on every product.

I’ve also noticed whole rows of products with “Keto” or “Keto friendly” labels on the boxes. As I read the ingredients, I’m thinking, ‘Keto must mean something different over here.’ Many of the products are full of things I don’t want in my diet. I’m not necessarily against the idea. It’s capitalism. Companies see a market and go for it. Yay, creativity.

However, my whole eating plan is based on whole, natural foods, and all those rows of boxes strike me as counter productive. Like I said, I’m not against them. I just don’t want them.

Another thing that makes me sad, is, nearly all the meat in Scotland is grass fed, or free range. And that includes pork. All the pigs are raised outside. They have fresh air, they roam around for acres, they wallow. Cows eat grass, hay, and roam the green fields of my adopted homeland. I have never seen a feed lot in that country. They might exist, but I’ve never encountered one.

Even non organic vegetables have minimal pesticides and fertilizer. The European nations just have a better grasp of the connection between our diets and our well being. Sure, there are tons of pre packaged, highly processed cheap goodies. I’m just talking about meat, and fresh, as well as frozen produce.

The price of food has gone through the roof since I’ve been gone. Holy Smokes. Price increases are certainly one way of making sure humans eat less meat!

One thing I know for sure. Wherever I finally settle down, I will be growing as much of my produce as possible.

Anyway, I’ve had two weeks of free eating. It’s been fun to party, but now it’s back to the program. I’m honestly glad.

And hopefully, I’ll be back to staying better in touch.

Some Observations Re: My Blood Pressure

About two weeks ago, I decided to adjust my diet, again. This time to help me get off of blood pressure medicine. The simple truth is, I’m kind of anti pharmaceutical. I think there are drugs that are good for you, don’t get me wrong. I’m a fan of moderate use of antibiotics, aspirin, and certain pain killers after surgery. You get the point. But I am pretty much a conspiracy theorist when it comes to pharmaceutical companies. I think many meds are addictive, and many are for short term use, yet we are prescribed them for long periods, or for life.

I could rant about this for days, but won’t. For now! I started thinking about my blood pressure medications. I take 3. They are called; Atorvastatin, Felodopine, and a blood thinner, Rivaroxaban. The Felodopine, makes me retain fluid, so I’m also on a diuretic, Furosimide.

I’ve been on this stuff for four years this month. I was put on it after my heart attack and some small strokes. I had a triple bypass three years ago. I’m still on all the medications. I haven’t seen a doctor in nearly two years, due to Covid. They just put my prescriptions on auto renew. I phone the doctor’s office and they phone the pharmacy.

Well, I got to thinking, ‘wait a minute. I’ve lost over 50 lbs. Why am I still on such a high dose of a Statin (twice what it was in the beginning), and such a strong blood thinner?’ Originally, I was on an aspirin tablet once a day. So I started to read. And the more I read, the more suspicious I became.

First, I learned how much I could do with diet. I was a good way there with the dietary changes I’d already made. I just needed to tweak a couple things.

I’ve been on the Keto diet for a couple of years. It’s been great. But I read that some of the fats I’ve been eating, like butter and cream, for the sake of my blood pressure, I should modify. Sadly, I’ve cut back. I use more olive oil in my cooking, and milk in my coffee. I haven’t cut them out, just cut way back.

I also learned I should probably cut back on my caffeine. That one was hard to think about. I start every day with two cups of coffee, then switch to tea, both hot and iced. I think decaf tastes weak. I’ve tried it before. But I have switched to one cup of regular, and one of decaf in the mornings, then I drink mostly decaf cups of tea the rest of the day. So far, my iced tea, is still caffeinated, but I’m down to about 1.5 litres a day. Plus I drink that much plain water. The decaf is weak tasting. But after two weeks, I’m getting used to it.

I have also added fruit to my diet. I eat berries, an apple, a banana, or an orange daily. Always organic. It was hard to adjust to, because Keto doesn’t allow fruit, other than a few berries. My system was squemish about it. Additionally, I eat a couple of small sweet potatoes a week.

So far, those are the only changes I’ve made in my eating plan. So I’m still low carb, but not fully keto. I have added a couple of different medicinal mushrooms (lion’s mane, and shiitake) to my daily routine. The lion’s mane I take in capsules, and the shiitake right now I’m using to cook with. I may eventually go to capsules for those as well. But since I like mushrooms in omelettes and most things with hamburger, I’m just using those rather than the much cheaper button shrooms from the supermarket. I

I added Quercetin supplements, and Zinc to my daily routine. The zinc I have to watch, because Alzheimers runs in my family. I will only take it for a short time. The Quercetin has a double purpose. First, it helps with blood pressure. I get a lot from all the veggies I eat, but the supplement should help. Secondly, it works as a prophylactic against Covid. Seriously, and it’s regularly used by doctors in treatment for light and moderate cases. It’s natural, so why not? I take some other prophylactic stuff, but won’t discuss it here. It’s not illegal, it’s just not politically correct. I don’t want to start a big agument.

I first reduced my meds to every other day. Now I’m on my fourth day in a row. On my off days, I do take an aspirin tablet. I take my blood pressure two to three times a day. The most consistent time, is when I first get up in the morning between 6:30 and 7:00. Ironically, my blood pressure has slightly dropped since I’ve been doing this. It is in the upper range of normal. There is no difference between days I take the medicine and when I don’t. Now, since I’ve started doing this, my heart rate has gone up slightly. Still well within the normal range. I haven’t studied that at all, other than what the range should be.

The only other thing I’ve noticed, is my sleep pattern has been interrupted. I still get up at the same time, but I’m not sleepy when I go to bed. This is despite the serious reduction in caffeine. And I drink none after 5 pm. I don’t know how to attribute this change, except I have taken a half hour nap about 1pm the last three days. But I’m staying awake an extra 1.5 hrs at night.

This post is not offering any medical advice. No way. I’m a doctor, but not a medical one. LOL. I’m just sharing some of the things I’m doing. Please consult your medical professional before making any decisions about what medications you take or decide to stop taking.

P.S. I have started a You Tube Channel, SamBurtonPresents. From time to time it may have diet related stuff, but not too much. It will mostly be related to the Paranormal, and to Dog breeds. And some vlogging. I’m telling you this because I will announce some episodes here on the blog from time to time, and I don’t want anyone to panic.

Getting Personal: I Need To Sweat!!

I will turn 65 in October. Holy Smokes! It breaks my heart. Mainly that’s because I realize how many more miles I have behind me than I have in front of me. I love life. Looking back, my life has been an amazing adventure. Yes, it has had some terrible, I mean awful, periods of pain: physical, emotional, spiritual, and even financial. But when I look at the places I’ve been, the people I’ve met, the relationships I’ve developed, the number of people I’ve led, and learned from, I am amazed. I have been fortunate.

The time has come for another change. It’s scary. Really scary. At the end of September, I’m moving back to the USA. I’m retiring, or at least, mostly so, and I’m going to travel, write, and podcast. I will travel at least until January of 2022. I will hopefully find where I want to settle by then.

As a part of my preparations for this coming change, I’ve been researching my health challenges and how I will treat them going forward. I should have done this years ago. In many ways I did, which is why I became a farmer to begin with. I wanted to eat organically, and wanted to eat grass fed and free range meats, eggs, and dairy. But there were specific things related to my heart condition and my blood pressure that I have mostly ignored.

I had my open heart surgery three years ago. And I’ve been on blood pressure meds since my heart attack and strokes, four year ago. Only recently, have I started studying how to naturally treat those conditions.

I have learned a great deal about which foods I should eat. Many of them are already incorporated into my eating plan. There are some kinds of fruit I need to eat more of, like bananas, apples, oranges, and grapefruit. There are some things I should cut back on, like butter and cream.

Those of you who are Keto Purists, will see those fruits to add, and the fats to cut, and shake your heads. You will think I’m abandoning the program.

I’m not. I’m modifying it, because of my needs. I have high blood pressure. Sometimes it has been very high. I no longer want to be dependent on pharmaceuticals. I want to practice what I preach. And that means I need to tweak and modify my eating plan.

I will still eat low carb. I may have to lean more on the South Beach Diet, than strict Keto. I have been researching their overlap and compatibility for a while now. And I think I have a plan on merging them. I will keep you well informed.

Also, as you know, I have long believed that if God made it (for food), it can’t be bad for us. It’s what we do with what He’s give us, that will determine whether it is a boon or a bane. Let’s take sugar for example. In it’s natural forms, like fructose in fruit, it is a benefit to us. The same is true for honey, and things like sorghum. When we strip it of all it’s natural benefits by highly processing it, like white sugar, or commercial honey (feeding sugar water to bees for example), we have taken what God has given us, and turned it into a monster.

I won’t go on and on, but that’s what we’ve done with wheat. We have changed the way we grow it, altered the varieties, changed the way we dry and process it. All to our detriment. Perhaps one day soon, I’ll write all about it. The end result is, bread, that was once called, the staff of life, is now, a poison, practically devoid of nutritional value.

The same is true of much of the fruit we buy at the grocery store. It has been altered for commercial purposes.

I have studied and studied, and found a plan that will work. Now I have to make it affordable. Eating well (healthily) should not be limited to the 1%. Eating well, yet affordably, was much easier when I had a farm. Now it will require work. But my health is worth the effort.

We all want stuff cheap and in easy reach. Sometimes it isn’t. Sometimes, eating cheap so we can have all the nicest stuff in life, is a major flaw in our priorities. I am sensing another book. I have so much to say, and no space here to say it. Beware!

One of the things I have been noticing for the last several months, is, I don’t sweat in this country. My work is not physical. Even when I go out and walk, it’s never hot. It’s the 27th of August as I write this. Many of you in the States are still experiencing temps in the 90s and higher. I’m wearing a sweater. The temps and humidity rarely cause me to sweat. I miss that.

I have to take a diuretic several days a week because my blood pressure meds make me retain fluid. I don’t sweat enough to get rid of it. I never had that problem when I lived in Florida or Georgia. In fact, I remember, years ago, I had to take an extra T shirt and dress shirt to work with me in Florida, because by the time I walked from my car in the parking lot, to the office inside, I was soaked with sweat. When I farmed in GA, retaining fluid was not a problem. Making sure I stayed hydrated was the challenge. That was when I switched from sweet tea to unsweet. I needed the fluids without all the sugar.

I see an increase in sweating in my future. That’s why the potassium and magnesium, from things like bananas and sweet potatoes, may well benefit me. I’m not looking forward to sweating like a horse, which I will. But I am eager to experience the benefits it will bring.

I’d love to hear your thoughts. Drop me a note or a question. I know this has been an odd post. I’m processing more than giving out info and advice. Thanks for lending an ear.

High Blood Pressure And Keto – Yikes!

I’m in a pickle. I have high blood pressure. I’ve had it for years. My mother had it. I don’t know about my grandparents. Mom was always told to take meds and cut back on salt. Like me, though, there was no way she was going to give up bacon and ham. She died of lung cancer, but her blood pressure was very high as well.

Over the last few months, I’ve been very concerned about all the meds I’m on. Let me back up. 5 years ago, I had my first stroke. It wasn’t a big one, but it was really scary. My mind was a mess. I couldn’t even hold an intelligent conversation. I could understand everything people said to me, but I couldn’t formulate a response. I used to be really quick with my memory. I was good at trivia games and stuff like that. Suddenly, my memory was in the slow lane.

Over a couple of months, things got better, and I could at least hold a conversation, and preach a bit. I had to teach myself to prepare sermons and speak publicly. It was a gradual process. Honestly, I preach and teach completely differently than I did before my first stroke. It’s not the same at all.

Anyway, this time in 2017, late August, I had a heart attack, and had two strokes while in hospital. It was so scary. Eventually, after much trial and testing, I had open heart surgery in June of 2018. The reason I didn’t die from the strokes was because of a birth defect. One of my arteries, doesn’t flow from the heart. It is attached to one of the other arteries. How weird is that? But because of the way my heart valves are misformed, one artery was not blocked. It attached to the other one before the blockage. God was looking out for me.

Anyway, while I was on the table, having triple bypass surgery, I had another stroke. Fortunately, and obviously, I didn’t die. I am, however, partially blind in my left eye.

While I was waiting for surgery, I was put on blood pressure meds, including a statin, and also a blood thinner. I was also given dihydracodeine for my very serious sciatica. I was told I could take 4 of those a day. I only take one, at night, an hour before bed.

After all that background, here’s the point. It’s been three years since my surgery. I’ve lost over 50 pounds., thanks to Keto. And I’m still taking every medication I was prescribed all that time ago. I don’t want to. I’m a believer in all things natural. These medications are not natural.

Here’s what I’m trying. First, I’m going to reduce my dihydracodeine to ½ a day. And try to wean myself off of it. It’s not very powerful, but it is an opioid. IMO, I should never have been kept on it this long. But because of Covid, I haven’t been able to see a doctor in person for almost 2 years.

For the BP meds, I’m going to start by reducing it to every other day, and monitor my blood pressure twice a day. Then I will quit the statin, followed by the Blood Pressure meds. Those, BTW, I discovered, have some side effects that are not good, including water retention, and brain fog.

I will eventually switch my blood thinner to a daily aspirin. I will also take my diuretic as needed.

Aspirin I trust. It’s natural. And I’m not worried about a diuretic.

I also have to make some adjustments to my diet. First, I need to start using more Olive Oil and less butter. I know butter works for Keto, and it tastes great. But it’s not the best for my blood pressure. I’m not going to switch to margarine, I’m just going to use more Olive oil for cooking. I’ll still put some butter on my cauliflower and my broccoli, fear not.

I have to cut back on cheese. This will be the hardest of all. Cheese is my favorite food. And it’s further ahead of every other food than Secretariat in the Belmont. I will switch to lower fat cheese, and varieties that are naturally lower in fat.

Also, I will reduce the amount of cream I eat. I know that is all contrary to Keto thinking, but sometimes health requires compromise. Besides, I need to cut my calories as I’m stuck on a long term plateau as far as weight loss is concerned. The scales won’t budge.

I’m also going to eat more berries, and a couple of bananas a week. Oh my word. I can hear people now, cancelling subscriptions to this blog. I’m still tracking my carbs, people. I’m just making adjustments so I can get off the meds.

I’m probably going to incorporate more apple cider vinegar, and some occasional citrus. I already drink very little alcohol, other than some red wine. Oh, caffeine. According to the literature, I need to watch my caffeing intake. Yikes. Giving up Dihydracodeine AND caffeine at the same time. Holy Smokes, I’m going to be a grump.

Seriously, I do take in a lot of caffeine. I start each day with two cups of coffee, then have hot and iced tea by the gallon. I will start by switching to one cup of coffee, and maybe have some decaf for the second. I am drinking a cup of decaf tea as I type this post. I don’t love decaf. I think you can taste the difference. But in hot tea, it’s not as bad. As for iced tea, its my drug of choice. I’m not sure yet what I’ll do. One thing at a time.

I already, eat right. I eat plenty of salmon and sardines. I eat mostly chicken and turkey and some lean cuts of beef and pork. All my veg is either organic or frozen. I have cut out sugar, and white flour, including white pasta. I eat no white rice.

I’ve been eating Keto, for a long time now. I’m just making tweaks to cut calories, and improve my blood pressure. I MIGHT have to raise my carbs ot 50 grams a day, knowing that I’m cutting calories at the same time. I’ll keep you posted on that.

I know this all sounds complicated. Sometimes our health is. I don’t want to be on medication the rest of my life. I’m antipharma. I’m one of the most outspoken people you’ll ever meet about it. And yet, I’ve found myself trapped in their chain of pills, prescriptions, and profits.

I have said before, I believe God built healing into creation. I believe in medicine, too. I believe that things like surgical techniques have changed the world. But I also believe, that Big Pharma is killing more people that it is helping. But I believe the same thing about Big Agra. And Big Supermarkets. I believe in farmers, I just believe they are trapped in the grip of big buisness like the rest of us.

Ok, I’m starting to ramble. That means it’s time to go. Thanks to all of you who read these epistles and rants. I don’t put them on Social Media. I’m just letting them grow, idle, or die, without promo. Please, if you get any benefit from them, drop me a note in the comments and tell your friends and family. Subscribe too. That always helps. I never hate disagreement. Just don’t be disagreeable about it. Drop those thoughts in the comments too. And any questions. Thanks for wading through today’s rant. You rock.

The Secret To Beating Pandemics

Take note: I am not a medical doctor. Nor do I play one on T.V. These suggestions are for your general education. Consult your medical professional with any questions you have as they relate to medications or vaccines.

First, we already know that the number one ‘co-morbidity’ with our current pandemic is obesity. As a fat, though not as fat as I used to be, guy, this is my one real concern. Most of my health issues at my age (64), are related to my weight. If we lose weight, we get healthier, or at the very least, stand a better chance against most things trying to sneak under the door.

This is where an eating plan like Keto, or the South Beach Diet, comes into it’s own. Because of the foods I like to eat, this is what works best for me. You may like the Mediterranean Diet, or a Paleo Diet, or you may just want to count calories. They all work. You need to find what eating plan best fits your lifestyle. Study them all. If you’re reading this post, you have access to a computer, so do your homework.

While diet is 80 to 90% of what you need to lose weight, exercise is important in preparing to fight any pandemics that might knock on your window. Aerobic and anaerobic exercises will both work. Some people love to go to the gym and work out. But here’s a secret. A gym membership doesn’t work unless you use it. I’m just sayin’. Don’t join if you’re not going to work out. That’s a waste of money. Some people like to walk, run, or ride a bicycle. I used to run. 25 years ago, that was awesome. Today, not so much. A stationary bike interests me. The former NFL star, Herschel Walker is an inspiration to me. He does not use weights. He was too poor when he was young, so he developed a body weight regimen. I am seriously giving that consideration. Our local gyms are very small and crowded. That doesn’t work well for me. I don’t want to wait in line for the weights or machines. So I’m looking at body weight exercises.

Eat quality fruits and veg. That means fresh or frozen. And it means organic if you can afford it or grow it. The main thing is, canned veg are not that good for you. I don’t want to start a big argument, but I’ve studied this like mad over the years, and if it comes in a box or a can, chances are, it’s bad. There are some exceptions. Tuna and Sardines I buy in cans. Tomato sauce, I buy in cartons. Freeze dried foods that I keep for long term storage are usually in bags.

If possible, choose grass fed, or free range, meats and poultry. I have not been consistent with this, because meat is sometimes expensive. But whenever possible, I will choose grass fed and free range. That’s the way we raised food on our farm. Chances are, you have access to a farmers’ market near you. Check it out.

Eat with the seasons. It is healthy, and much cheaper. The availability of frozen fruit and veg allows us to stretch that principle. I only buy fresh fruit when it’s in season where I live. I will never buy apples except in the fall. The same with pears and peaches. I only buy citrus when I’m in a place where it grows and it’s in season. Fortunately, I have lots of family in Florida. I love many Florida fruits. When I’m there and it’s season, I fill up. This policy isn’t a law, but one I try and follow.

You will need vitamin C and Vitamin D. The latter, you get best from the sun. Go outside. Even in winter. Expose your head and face to the sunshine. There are also Vitamin D tablets you can get to supplement. Here in Scotland, sunshine is unpredictable. I take a Vitamin D3 supplement every day. I also take Vitamin C supplements. They are cheap and readily available. I have Cod Liver Oil around the house. And a Vitamin B12 supplement. Probably I don’t need those, but I take them. The B12, I only take if I’ve had to use Omeprazole extensively. Fortunately, since I’ve lost weight, I don’t have the heartburn problems I used to, so I don’t have to take the acid reducer.

My point is, if you will eat a wide range of fruit, veg. and grass fed meats, you will likely get all your vitamins and minerals. But any you are short on, you can supplement.

I take Vitamin C and D3 every day as a prophylactic against our current pandemic. I don’t take zinc, because of it’s connection with Alzheimer’s. If I lived somewhere I could get Ivermectin, I would take it as well.

I will not made a recommendation one way or the other for the vaccines. Do your homework. Do it thoroughly. Don’t listen to your favorite for or against it celebrities. Do your homework.

So, the keys are: lose weight, eat right, get fit(ter), take vitamins and minerals if you need them. We can all do this. Every single one of us. Let’s go. We’re in this together!

MSG, I Curse Thee!

A couple of weeks ago, I mentioned some water retention issues I was having. They are back this week, big time. I’m troubled. I have had to take water pills three of the last four days. I got on the scales and didn’t like what they said. I had gained back the pounds I lost. And this, despite the fact that I’ve been very strict on my Keto. I have eaten a ton of veggies the last two weeks. Fresh ones.

As I looked closer at my notes, I see that on Friday, and on Monday, I ate hot dogs. I cooked them on Friday, and ate the leftovers on Monday. Turns out, they are loaded with MSG. Bingo. Nailed it. But what’s going on with my body that I’ve become so sensitive to MSG?

I’m not a scientist. I’m not a nutritionist. I’m not going to attempt to answer those things from a medical perspective. Just doing some research, and using my noggin, I’ve come up with some sad conclusions.

First, MSG is in so many pre packaged things. It’s a flavor enhancer. It makes bland things taste better. I remember as a kid, my mom would buy ‘Accent’ from the supermarket to sprinkle in recipes. It was a little miracle in a shaker. It was MSG. I believe it’s still sold in the USA.

MSG is a staple in Asian Restaurants, at least in the States. I remember there being lots of MSG jokes once upon a time. It’s in, or at least was, many fast food items.

I’m not against it’s existence, or it’s use. But I have developed an intolerance to it over the years. And now that the years have started to add up, the intolerance has increased. I know that when B and I went out to restaurants, I was often swollen and bloated the next day. Heck, sometimes by the time we got in the car to go home.

Now I realize that I have to avoid the stuff. Keep in mind, that my blood pressure medicine already makes me retain fluid, so I’m at a disadvantage from the get go. So it might mean that I have to avoid pretty much all pre packaged food. I don’t know. I never gave a thought to the hot dogs. I did notice they tasted a bit salty.

A couple of weeks ago, I discovered my pork rinds were full of MSG, and I haven’t had any of those in the last two weeks.

My veggies have all been fresh or frozen, mostly fresh, except for some Brussels Sprouts, and they were frozen. It has to be from the pre packaged meats. I will need to check the packages more closely on my salami, sardines, and smoked salmon.

I don’t use bouillon cubes, because of MSG. And I hardly add any salt to my cooking. I might uses a tea spoon for my whole supper, and that would surprise me. I have had lots of diet cola lately. That could be the source of some of the extra sodium.

Some people have said that as they’ve gotten older, they can’t eat as much spicy food. Fortunately, that has not happened to me. But saltiness has become a challenge to me. And apparently, the sodium load in MSG has become almost an allergy. So, I have to watch closely, and read labels thoroughly.

This is one of the reasons I track what I eat. I want to know what goes into my body, and how my body responds to it. My body is changing.

For example, I’ve always liked hot peppers. No, I love them. When I was young, they always affected my bowels; both in terms of volume, and burn. Not any more. When people say, ‘oh, that will hurt tomorrow’, I just smile.

Oh, I just thought of something. I don’t sweat in this country. In America, I used to sweat up a storm. Partly from work on the farm, and partly because summers are just plain hot. Here, I hardly ever sweat. That would get rid of some extra saline. I would need a sauna, and the only one in town is closed due to Covid. Hmm… something to think on.

Ok, I’m starting to ramble. Stay tuned.

An Update Regarding Water Retention

I am finding things rather interesting at the moment. It’s only the 4th day since I renewed my real focus on Keto/South Beach. But I have already noticed some dramatic changes.

First, I haven’t been as hungry. That’s weird. I’ve been starving for several weeks. I had to start eating breakfast again about 6 weeks ago. Obviously, that has something to do with the sugar and wheat that had crept back into my diet. I look at my notes and see that I had donuts at least once a week. Not the half dozen or so that I used to have. But I would have 2 at a time. Sometimes twice a week. And it looks like I had a small frozen pizza once a week for several weeks. I wasn’t paying attention. In fact, I have one in my freezer now. It’s been there for a week, tempting me.

I just ate fat and protein the first two days. I had no vegetables. I paid a price for that. Do I need to go into it? Yesterday, I had broccoli and cauliflower, and I had a little bran. I will do similar today. Figure it out!

But the main thing I’ve noticed, has to do with the water retention I wrote about a couple weeks ago. It got to the point where I was taking my prescription diuretics 5 to 6 days a week. I was getting concerned. Every night, my legs were swollen to the point my socks were uncomfortable.

My refocus began Saturday. On Sunday, I started having a natural diuretic effect. That’s normal when you start any kind of diet. I was surprised it started so quickly. I can’t explain that yet. But I eliminated more water on Sunday and Monday, without the pills, than I usually do with them. Seriously. I’ve even had to get up three times each night to go to the toilet. And it has continued so far today.

I realize that’s a bit TMI, but it’s quite interesting. It makes me wonder how much of my recent weight gain has been water. And what caused it? Does sugar cause fluid retention? Does flour? Is it a combination of my blood pressure medication and sugar or flour? How much MSG has been in the frozen pre prepared meats I’ve been eating?

These questions are worth investigating. But right now I need to get over to the greenhouse and tend to my tomatoes and peppers. I just wanted to share my thoughts with you.

NOTE: I found it. I was just munching on some Pork Rinds, my favorite go to Keto snack, and there it was in the ingredient list, MSG. I threw them out. I had only eaten a few of these, but that explains so much. I have been eating those like they were going out of style. For the last three months I’ve had an individual serving bag of them nearly one a day. That’s a lot of MSG. My heart is broken, but the mystery is solved. Now I just have to figure out what I’ll do for snacks. I don’t like veggies for snacks. Thinking caps on.

Starting Over….Again!

Final Punch Stock Illustrations – 43 Final Punch Stock Illustrations,  Vectors & Clipart - Dreamstime

Those of you who are regular readers, know most of this, but there are quite a few newbies, so a little review of my weight loss journey will do us all some good.

I’ve been morbidly obese since I was 19 years old, except for 7 years, 1990 – 97. I’m 64 years old. I peaked out at 305 lbs a few years back. Yikes. Even the full moon hid behind me when it got scared of werewolves. I was not just big, I was….enormous. At 5’9” tall, you get the picture. I was round. And round IS a shape.

Off and on, all my life, I have lost weight and regained it. And usually a bit more to boot. I lost down to 220, about 20 years ago. Then I ballooned up to 305. I got down to 250, and went up to 25. Rinse and repeat that 275 to 250 several times. Then in 2019 I started the Ketogenic diet. I lost a lot of weight, though I didn’t weigh myself. I know from clothes sizes. I gained it back. I started Keto again in early 2020, and got down to 215. I was cruising. Along the way, I started this blog to talk about it.

But about 5 months ago, and I haven’t talked much about it, something happened that put me into a major depression. I mean big time. For two or three weeks, I just ate and drank myself into oblivion. Eventually, I stabilized a bit, and got my eating mostly back under control. Alcohol, though, was another story. I had several drinks every night of the week except Saturday, to help me sleep. Such was my depression. I didn’t go out and drink. I never drove with alcohol in my system. I did frequently get tipsy. Anything to get some sleep.

The main problem with that was, calories. Beer has calories AND a lot of carbs. The low carb beer tastes awful. The only reason I think anyone would drink it is for the alcohol. Good beer, is loaded with flavor. Flavor, alcohol, carbohydrates, and calories. Wine has fewer carbs, but still a good amount. And whiskey, like tequila, gin, and vodka, is quite low in carbs, but very high in calories.

I was having several drinks every night. And sometimes, of course, I got hungry and ate. Most of the time, it was keto friendly food, but not always. I’m just being honest here.

About a month ago, I came to the conclusion that I don’t like the taste of alcohol every night. It was getting yucky. And it was taking more and more to get to sleep. That was getting expensive. So I quit drinking. I wasn’t addicted, I was depressed. There’s a big difference. I was using it to hide from my pain. But I didn’t like my hiding place.

So, it’s been a month since I quit drinking to get to sleep. But I noticed early last week that my belt felt a bit snug. It wasn’t bad, but it was not comfortable, either. Yesterday, it was particularly distracting. And yesterday, I was also in a major funk. I mean a major one. I was depressed all day. I cried a lot. I haven’t done that in a while. I locked my doors about 6 p.m. And just watched Amazon films the rest of the evening. I went to sleep about 1 a.m.

This morning I weighed myself for the first time in several weeks. I was stunned. The scales said, 235. So I weighed myself again. 235. I moved the scales and got on again. Even moving the scales, I got the same results. Well, crap!

So I’ve spent the morning, going over my notes, and figuring out what went wrong. First, those weeks of binge eating probably accounted for some of it. And the months of ever increasing alcohol probably accounted for the rest.

Here’s the deal, alcohol not only has a lot of calories, it slows down your metabolism so that you don’t burn as much. That won’t matter whether it’s carbs or fat. You just won’t burn. And, as I’ve often said, regardless of whether you’re on keto, or some other diet, calories count. The just do. Perhaps not at first, but eventually, they matter. It’s basic science.

I have one other problem. Two days a week I eat in the home of friends. They are good friends. I love going to their homes. But neither of them understand my dietary restrictions. Plus, they fill my plate. I don’t even get to choose what I will eat. And both of them, insist on giving me dessert. They are being hospitable. No one is trying to mess with my weight loss. These are people who actually care about me. I’ve got to figure out what I’m going to do. Maybe just not clean my plate. My mom would be extremely disappointed in me for that, but I might have to.

I’m going to go hard core keto for two weeks, then shift to South Beach phase 2 diet, which is still very keto friendly. I’m bored with keto. Bored to tears. I like vegetables, but I don’t like fancy vegetable dishes. I like steamed and boiled veg. I like them plain or with butter. I have tried recipes from books and the flavor is not worth the extra work. Sigh.

For the next month, I will weigh myself twice a week. Then I will go back to once a week. The scales are there, I might as well use them.

Here’s he deal. I’ve been knocked down. Again. It happens. It’s time to get up again, and start over. I could quit. I could give up and say screw it. I’ve done that before. But not now. Not this time. I’m just going to get up, dust myself off, and fight on. I want to win. Somewhere along the way, this time, my attitude has changed. For the first time, in decades, I have no intention of quitting. Watch This Space!

Water Retention War!

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I’m always amazed at how many rather deeply personal matters I describe to you. It’s like I have no filter or restrictions when it comes to my body and the challenges related to weight loss. So be it. I tell you this stuff, because it’s real. And I want you to know the truth. On Instagram, for example, there are thousands of awesome, motivational, before and after pics of people’s weight loss journeys. I love them, too. They keep me going. Yet they rarely talk about the struggles they faced.

Have you noticed how many more of them are photos of women, than of men? Yes, I know there are men who have Instagram pages. Most of them are guys who have become body builders. That’s cool. As odd as this might sound, I was once one of those dudes. It was long before Instagram. Frankly, it was before the internet. So it was many hairs, and pounds ago.

When we look at Instagram closely, we can see that many of the women are also using the gym to shape their bodies as they lose weight. It’s obvious in the muscle tone. There is nothing wrong with that. But the fact is, some of us are getting a bit long in the tooth for highly strenuous workout routines. And there just isn’t much demand for photos of 60 something individuals on the world wide web. Discrimination! 🙂

In the world of the Great Apes, the big bellied Silver back Gorilla is much more desirable to females than the young, buff members of the society. How I wish….

I digress. Sometimes, I see a rabbit, and just want to chase it for a while. Thanks for your patience.

I told you last week, that I’m stuck. I’m not just on a plateau, my tires are spinning and I’m throwing mud, but getting no where. This week I’m going to address one of the factors contributing to this crisis. I’m retaining fluid. Badly.

Three years ago, this month, I had open heart surgery; a triple bypass. It would have been a quadruple, but one of my valves is in the wrong place. It is connected to another valve rather than to the heart itself. Now that’s weird, and it looks odd on the scans and diagrams I’ve seen, but when I had my heart attack and strokes, that weird deformation kept me alive. It was placed just right, so that it didn’t clog up with plaque, so when the rest of my heart flow slowed down, that valve stayed open.

Anyway, I am on blood pressure medicine. I take three kinds. One statin, one actual blood pressure med, and a blood thinner. As a side note, the thing I hate most about the blood thinner is when I cut myself shaving or get a scratch on my arm, or, a nose bleed. They bleed forever. They just don’t want to stop.

I have changed the blood pressure medication a couple of times, because it causes me to retain fluid. My legs were swelling up and felt like they were going to explode. My doctor, switched medications and gave me a diuretic to help relieve the retention. It worked great. In fact, I usually had to take the diuretic only once, sometimes twice, each week.

But in the last month, I’ve had to take one on Monday, Tuesday, Wednesday, Thursday, and Saturday. I only skip Friday and Sunday, because my schedule is so full that I don’t have time to stop and go to the toilet every ten minutes. But the next day, I’m desperate for a pill.

It scared me at first. I was afraid something was wrong with my kidneys. But according to tests, they are working just fine. Relief. Unfortunately, my blood pressure is still so high I can’t wean myself off the medication. I need to lose more weight. Grr….

By tracking my food intake, I have found a possible factor, salt. Let me explain. I don’t use much salt it my cooking. It’s already in my butter and cheese. I will sprinkle a little on my hamburger as I cook in, or on my chicken thighs, pork chops, etc. But not much, and not often. I use a lot of hot sauce, and mustard, and those are also full of salt. I don’t like the taste of over salted food.

But over the last few months, since my wife has been in the USA working, I’ve been cooking for one. So I’ve often bought frozen meat products. Things like Pork Tenderloin, frozen cooked hamburgers, chicken kiev, things like that. Those are loaded with salt. Some of them even have MSG.

The biggest culprit of all, has been my consumption of pork rinds. Pork rinds are highly recommended on the Keto Diet. They are full of fat, but have no carbohydrates. I love the things. I will crush them a bit and use them in salads to add some crunch. I will eat them with homemade dip. But it turns out, that here in the U.K. They are chocked full of salt. I’ve eaten them at least 5 days a week for a couple of months.

So, what am I to do? First, I have to cut back on my Pork Rinds. I found a variety that doesn’t have as much salt. Unfortunately, those are not always available. I’ll have to stock up on them next time they are available. But I’ll also have to go back to cooking ‘raw’ meat. No more, frozen pre made stuff. It has other carbs, I know, but I factor those into my daily allowance. I just hadn’t factored in the salt. Hot dogs will have to be reduced, too.

The main disadvantage of this, is, cost. Those frozen meats, and hot dogs, are so cheap. And they taste great. Calories and carbs have not been affected. But this water retention is becoming troublesome. So I have to do what I have to do.

I will track this for a couple weeks, and get back to you on the results. I’d love to hear from you. Do you have any problems with water retention? If so, what has caused yours? I know some other people here who have had it caused from their blood pressure medication. The good news is, the water pill they give me is called Fouresemide. It can be taken daily with no side effects or addiction. I have asked often about it. I don’t want to risk my kidney function.

One other thing I need to do, is sweat. I need to exercise in the heat, and maybe visit the sauna. I’d love to hear your tips. Talk to you soon.

STUCK!!

Blogged Down: A bogged down blog, stuck in the mud - Craig ...

Have you ever been in a vehicle stuck in the mud or snow? I mean really stuck. The more you try to do, the worse your situation becomes? Sometimes you have to get out with a shovel. Sometimes you have to put something solid under the wheels. Sometimes you just have to call for help.

Well, that’s where I am with my weight loss. I am not on a plateau any more. I am now stuck. My wheels spin and throw mud, but the hole just gets deeper, and my situation gets worse. Yikes.

In the past, I would just give up, say the heck with this diet crap, and go back to eating what I want to eat. But this time, it’s not the past. I’m happy with my Keto/South Beach diet, and I’m not going to give up.

I’ve done a lot of reading this week. It seems that scientific studies are starting to show that there really are some people who become obese for biological reasons. It’s in their DNA. And those people often cannot lose weight. It was an interesting read. I’m not buying it, but I see the connections between DNA and my weight.

Three of my four grandparents were obese. Both of my Dad’s parents were morbidly so. My maternal grandfather was also chunky. In fact, I am built like both of my grandfathers. I have no waistline. I have a chest, a gut, and hips. Even when I am fit, I have no observable V shape. My chest and back have gotten big, but my waist will not shrink much.

I have about 50 pounds still to lose. I’ve lost about 70 or 75. But I am seriously stuck. Nothing works. I know this was about the weight I was for 15 years. I think my body got used to it, and thinks it’s normal. I have been thinner, but not for 20 years. In my opinion, I have hit the brown, hard fat that takes a lot of movement to shake it.

Starting Monday, I’m going back on a level one, South Beach, or a very strict Keto diet. Same thing. I’m also, gulp, going to increase my exercise and track that along with my food, to see what happens. I need to do something dramatic. I am dialing 911. I don’t like working out. I’m 64, not 34. But I hate this weight. So I’m taking action. Watch this space.