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!

Potatoes and Keto– A Second Helping!

Potatoes Free Stock Photo - Public Domain Pictures

A few weeks ago, I posted on a topic I thought would be really controversial. Potatoes. I said that potatoes are not our enemy. I expected to get blasted by all the Keto purists out there, but I did not. Instead, I got a bunch of likes. The article is still getting hits and it seems to resonate with people.

I’m going to follow up on that installment with just a few more comments. Some of them will be kind of repeats, but I want to be really clear.

First of all, I haven’t bought potatoes in over a month. When I do, it’s usually New Potatoes. They are lower in starch that their big brothers and sisters. When I prepare them, I cut them and soak them in water for at least an hour, to get some of the starch out of them. There really isn’t much, but I want to be smart about it.

I will boil them. Sometimes I will mash them. Not too often, because I’m just too lazy. Other times, I will roast them. I love roasted potatoes. I can eat them like French Fries, or like a baked potato. Either way is yummy.

I never fry them. I don’t eat fries. They are too much of a trigger food for me. As a cheapskate, it’s sometimes hard, because fries are so cheap to buy or make, and they are filling, but they will KILL my eating plan. And I know it.

I’m going out to dinner at a friend’s house tomorrow (Tuesday) night. I already know that Mashed potatoes will be on the menu. That just means the Wednesday and Thursday I will have broccoli or lettuce with my meals. It’s really simple to adjust.

The main reason I wanted to write this post, was to emphasize that when I say potatoes are not your enemy, I mean POTATOES. I’m talking about the real things. Whole, fresh, potatoes. I don’t mean potato chips (Crisps, they’re called here in Scotland) from the local gas station. Those are highly processed and often have a whole chemistry set of additional stuff sprinkled on them to make them taste like something they are not. Don’t get me wrong, potato chips are delicious, but they are not Keto friendly.

The other thing I need to warn you about, and I do so with tears in my eyes, because I love them so much, are…instant potatoes. Oh my word I love those things. They are cheap, delicious, and filling. In the old days, I would fix a bag of them and eat the whole thing myself as my supper. It was about a dollar, it filled me up, and I was happy. The problem is, again, they are so highly processed, they are essentially no longer potatoes. Any nutrients they have are loaded back into them.

The problem is, they are so cheap, and many of us are on a strict budget. I assure you, that if you use real potatoes, you’ll save money, and enjoy them more. Yes, it’s more work, but it’s worth the effort.

Remember, be careful. If your food choice comes in a bag, a box, or a can, read the ingredients closely.

Some Changes To My Life and Coming to this Blog

Why people delay software updates, despite the risksHey, y’all. It’s been a while since I updated this. Shame on me. This lock down is driving me crazy. I just wanted to give you a quick update to activate this page again, and to let you in on some of the things you can expect.

  1. We’ve gotten back on track with our weight loss program, but with some changes. Primarily, we are now focusing more on the South Beach Diet, than the Keto Diet. Both are low carb, but frankly, living here in the U.K. we feel like the South Beach Diet offers us more variety than the Keto Diet does. The only tough change has been, South Beach limits fats more than Keto does. But we are allowed some things like whole wheat pasta or brown rice. I’ll write a special post about the changes and why, but wanted to be upfront about it. Mostly, its a cost thing. Keto was getting too expensive for us. Stay tuned for more.
  2. One of the reasons I haven’t been doing stuff is I’ve been focusing on finishing my Doctorate program. Well, I’ve  got that submitted now, so I’ve got some more time. I’m on pins and needles waiting on my final results.
  3. I’m getting ready to relaunch my podcast. I’m planning on kind of expanding it. It will still have Bible and Christian episodes, but I’m looking to expand to cover all the things I’m interested in. Having episodes on dieting, Bible and Faith, dogs, paranormal activity, farming and gardening, and maybe even writing. I want it to become kind of a cup of tea and a chat more than the strict teaching I’ve been doing. Watch for announcements. Give it a listen. And offer suggestions. Again, more later.
  4. Speaking of writing. It’s time to get back at it. I’m going to finish my book, Life Lessons From a Lead Dog. I’ve got the first 4 or 5 chapters done. Well, the first draft. This is a book I’ve wanted to write for at least 20 years. Now it’s time. Watch for updates.
  5. I’m trying to save a few bucks by bringing all my websites under this umbrella. I don’t know how well that will work, but we’ll see.
  6.  I now have a YouTube station for my sermons. It’s just Sam Burton. I’ll probably change the title, but that’s it for now. It’s not complete yet, but will be soon. I don’t plan to really advertise it. At least not yet.
  7. I’m wanting to make a YouTube station for my new podcast, but not sure yet. I don’t want to have to worry about the camera being a distraction. I’m not Joe Rogan.

Ok, I think that should do it. You’re pretty well up to date. Thanks for your patience. Remember, I always appreciate questions and suggestions.  I’m out.