Some Changes In Content Coming!

https://www.publicdomainpictures.net/pictures/360000/nahled/time-for-change-black-stamp-text-on-blue-1594663689u6q.jpg

It won’t be much of a surprise to regular readers of this space to hear me announce some coming changes. I really appreciate your patience as I try and find my groove. A few months ago, I used this space for my Paranormal Investigations Podcast. Sadly, that only lasted a few months. It just didn’t catch on. I went back to posting mostly about my Keto Diet experience. I must admit, there have been a lot of readers of that information. Thank you. I’m going to continue it, just not quite as much.

I intend to use this space to write about my experience and life with purebred dogs. I’m in the middle of writing a new book, called, “Life Lessons Form a Lead Dog”. The book is going to be a collection of stories and adventures from my 32 years showing and mushing sled dogs. It’s a lot of fun reliving those stories. But I’ve also spent a lot of years working with rescue dogs, and other purebred canines. And I want to launch a podcast and maybe a YouTube channel, built around my experience, and to use it to promote purebreed Rescue agencies.

There are thousands of purebred dogs, in these Rescue Centers looking for homes. There are lots of people looking for a purebred dog but not knowing about these rescue agencies. I want to connect the seekers with the providers. This way, everybody wins.

I want to talk to people about how to feed, exercise, and train your rescue dog. The posts, and podcasts will not be designed for people who want to compete with their dogs, though I’ll provide the resources to do so. It will be mostly about people who want to have an excellent canine companion.

I will still post quite a bit of stuff regarding my Keto Diet experience. And I will include the occasional money management diatribe.

I’m getting close to retirement. Yikes. And I want to spend a good deal of time working with dogs and the people who love them. I don’t want to start a bunch of different websites and blogs. I will use this one. The search engines already know this site. It makes the most sense.

Please stick around and enjoy all the discussions. If you subscribed for the Keto posts, don’t panic. I will post plenty of food stuff. If you subscribed looking for Paranormal discussions, I’m sorry. I’ll only rarely post about that. Although, I expect a couple in the next month or so. But no more podcasts. I recommend you try Paranormal Round Table. Check them out on YouTube, and on Facebook.

For those who want to follow me on Social Media, I’m on FB, Twitter and Instagram as @samburtonga. I’m fairly active on them all. I post a lot of Keto related stuff on Instagram. On FB I’m all over the map. On Twitter, I have been fairly inactive, apart from replying to posts, but I’m about to kick that up with ‘Life Lessons…’. And I’ve started a new Instagram page, @lifelessonsfromaleaddog. That page will be only related to dogs, dog stories, dog photos, and dog products.

I think that will do it. You are updated. I really appreciate all of you who have stuck with this page through all it’s iterations. Have a great weekend. I’ll talk to you soon.

Did You Miss Me? Or Did You Even Notice I Was Gone

Cash register clipart 20 free Cliparts | Download images ...

I’ve been away for about a month. My laptop was down for repairs, and there was no way in the world I was going to write a blog post on my phone. Nope. Not going to happen.

I noticed that interaction from readers stopped within a week. I was not surprised by that. But things started to pick up again about a week ago. I got lot’s of likes, and even a few new followers. Thanks so much you all. Now my laptop is home, safe, sound, and working.

Let me give you an update. While I was away, I tried another experiment. I have been in touch with a lot of people who have said that Keto is just too expensive for them these days. It seems that a combination of a certain virus, and recent inflation, have hit incomes and outgoes, and a lot of people are hurting. I totally get it.

The ketogenic diet is not the only way to lose weight. I think it’s the easiest, but there are lots of ways to lose weight. I would recommend the South Beach Diet, or even the Mediterranean Diet. But if those two are also too expensive for your budget. You could do, what I did.

I started eating 1800 to 1900 calories a day of whatever I could afford. There were a few rules. I ruled out sugar. I honestly believe that processed sugar is the number 1 poison we eat. I also saw recently that between sugar cane based products, and high fructose corn syrup, it’s the number 1 food eaten on earth. Hmm.

I also didn’t eat snack foods, like potato chips. I also didn’t eat margarine. I just can’t do it anymore. But that was pretty much all I deprived myself of. I was trying to lose weight and save money. I opted for sale items. If bread was on sale, I bought it. If frozen pizza was on sale, I put it in my shopping cart. It was on sale for pennies. I bought frozen meat that was on sale. I bought lunch meat that was on sale because it was about to go off. I bought potatoes and onions.

This takes work. You have to know what time of day, and what days your supermarket has specials. You have to count your calories and measure your food. Calories count. So count them accurately.

The results are mixed. First, I was hungrier than on Keto. Cheap food, filled me up, but didn’t stick with me. I saved a ton of money. I mean my grocery bill was cut in half. And, I didn’t end up losing any weight. Oddly, for the first three weeks I lost some inches.

The last week I gained some water weight. I am losing it now. So not a problem. But that result, scared me, and I went back on strict Keto this morning. I’m going to try and figure out what happened.

One of the things I notices was, some processed foods, like frozen pizzas were really cheap. Our local shop had a major sale on their store brand. And I mean a major sale. So I bought 3 of them for less than I would usually pay for one. But I found that they are just too high in calories. There are none left over to be used for other food. So I conclusion is, you can eat them and save money. But not save money, eat them, AND lose weight.

Bread was a problem. On the sale shelf, it was literally pennies. I instantly froze the loaf and buns so they wouldn’t go off. But I realized right away, that I still have a major addiction to white flour, and I can’t do that. The only bread I can eat, without going nuts, are small, taco sized flour tortillas. There are lots of cheap bread options, and you can always make your own. But I have a major addiction, and can’t control how much I eat. That made me really sad.

In conclusion, I was able to count calories and save money. A lot of money. But in the end, I didn’t lose weight. Mostly, due to the pizzas. I think it would be possible, but there’s a learning curve, and I didn’t want to work that hard.

I have learned when my local shop has meat on sale. It’s first thing in the morning. I go at 8 a.m. right when they open. I’m going to make that my regular habit. I’ve gotten some good deals that way.

Also, here in Scotland, sardines are really cheap. And I love sardines. Tuna is pretty expensive. Chicken thighs, and legs are pennies. I mean pennies. Chicken breasts are really expensive. Whole chickens are cheap, too. But thighs and legs top the cheap meat. Cheese is well priced, as is whole milk, and cream.

Ok, you don’t need to hear about how much every food item is here in Scotland. I just want to tell you about my experiment. Now I’m back on Keto, but I’m going to see what cheap meat and veg keto is like. I’m here for you, my friends. πŸ™‚

Time For An Experiment!

Download free photo of Hungry worm,knife,fork,eat,caterpillars - from  needpix.com

Something weird is happening. For the last two weeks, I have been hungry. I mean really hungry. I’m not sure why. Part of it might be that because I’m eating in people’s homes a lot, it means I’m getting a lot of carbs on those days. Usually it’s Wednesdays and Fridays. I try hard and limit my carbs the day of, and at least the day after. On weekends, I might go totally carb free on Saturday and Sunday to help redress the imbalance.

Keep in mind, that this Keto thing is a lifestyle choice, and not a prison sentence, so I don’t feel guilty when people fix me rice or potatoes. I live in northern Scotland, in potato country. I’m going to be served potatoes when I eat out.

But that can’t explain the severity of my hunger. It’s like I’m starving. I can’t figure it out, and I can’t get it to go away. As a result, I’m eating too many calories. I try and use fat to curb my appetite. Veggies don’t do it. A salad will bore me as a snack. So I will use cheese, or pork rinds, or something equally high in fat to ease my appetite. Pork rinds are kind of perfect for easing hunger. But essentially they’re pure fat, and very high in calories. So I’ve been going over on my calories and not losing weight.

So I’m trying an experiment for two weeks. It’s not wild or crazy. But it’s a step back in time. About 9 months ago, my wife’s success with intermittent fasting, intrigued me, so I tried it. I would start eating at noon, and not eat after 8 in the evening. It worked. My body adjusted almost instantly. I didn’t even think about food until lunch time.

Now, I’m making a mess of things by eating too much, so I’m going to eat three meals a day. I will have breakfast between 9 and 10 a.m. I will have lunch between noon and 1 p.m. And supper between 5 and 6 in the evening. I will have a snack, if I need one, just before 8. I will still eat about 20 grams of carbohydrates daily, along with around 1800 calories. Those are the two items I track. I don’t worry about protein. I know I will get enough of that. I love eggs and meat. And the calories also keep my fat intake in check.

Let me be clear. Fat is not an enemy. It is my friend. My very close bosom buddy. People are amazed by the fact that I use full fat milk in my tea, and cream in my coffee. I actually avoid anything that is advertised as low fat. That means low flavor. And many food items replace the fat with sugar. I’m not falling for that trick. Fat is indeed my friend, but it is extremely high in calories, and has to be watched

Oh, yesterday, as I was walking home from Church, I had a rather uncomfortable experience. First, my undershorts, slipped down to my knees. No one would notice that but me, of course, but it made walking a bit awkward. Then my trousers started to slip. It seems my belt needs a new notch and since my trousers are all a bit large, the belt wouldn’t hold them high anymore. So I had to quick step it home before I got arrested. πŸ™‚

Now, to be fair, those were my largest pair of under pants. They have also been my favorites for many years. The elastic is still good. But, they have now graduated to rag duty. The belt is new. I only wear it on Sundays, or to funerals, I have another one that I’ve punched many holes in that I use for daily wear. It appears that it’s time to invest in a new one. Oh well, belts are cheaper than trousers. I want to wait a little while before I start buying new trousers.

I mention this in the same article about hunger, because while the scales are saying I haven’t lost any weight the last two weeks, I’m still losing inches. Around here, that’s a win. Some of that has to do with the fact that I have started some body weight exercises. Nothing dramatic, it’s just that I’ve reached an age where exercise isn’t something to consider, it’s become a requirement to avoid aches and pains. I will never be buff, I already did that one, about 30 years ago, I don’t want to go back to the gym. I may buy a set of resistance bands when I order a new belt. We’ll see.

How are you all doing with your weight loss and fitness? I’m wondering because, around here, a lot of people talk about our weight loss, and ask how we’ve done it. When I tell them, they say, oh, I could never do that. It’s too hard.

I can honestly say that eating a keto diet has never been hard since the second week. My body went through some serious shock when I cut out carbs completely. But once I got over the sugar addiction, it’s been pretty easy. And, tasty.

So let me know how you’re doing. And feel free to ask any questions. This site is FREE. I will not try and sell you anything.

CBD – It’s legal, it’s healthful, and it’s Keto

CBD, marijuana and hemp: What is the difference among these cannabis  products, and which are legal? | Kiowa County Press - Eads, Colorado,  Newspaper

I am a serious law abiding citizen. I am an even more serious Bible believing Christian. For most of my adult life, I’ve believed the law was all wrong in it’s campaign against Cannabis. And for that matter, Peyote, Psychedelic Mushrooms, and even Opium. It is, and has long been my belief that God built everything we need into creation. We just need to look for it. And not abuse it if we find it. I believe that if it’s natural, and naturally made, that it has benefits. For example, aspirin was discovered because some explorers found natives eating the bark of trees. The locals had found the healing benefits of the tree long before Bayer ever existed. Tobacco was for calming people. In the early 1800s it was prescribed for cancer patients to help them relax and sleep when the disease had seriously progressed. Need I tell you the benefits of Opium?

With magic mushrooms, doctors have found that by using micro doses it dramatically helps many mental illnesses, including PTSD. I could go on and on, but I think you get my point.

God put healing benefits into His creation. All we need to do is find them and their benefits. Even the fermentation process of Alcohol, has great benefits. Wine can be extremely beneficial. As can, oddly, beer.

The trouble with all these substances is human abuse. The human race has found that opium is not only an amazing pain reliever, but a great way to forget emotional pain, and life’s difficulties. And even more so than Alcohol.

So governments came in and made it illegal to possess or consume products that God put here on earth for our benefit. We’ve gone about the whole drug war the totally wrong way. But I digress badly.

With Cannabis, we have found that not only does heating it, produce THC that allows humans to relax beyond what’s natural, but we’ve also discovered that it’s stems and leaves have natural oils that relieve pain, help us sleep, provide beneficial vitamins, and also do things like assist children with severe conditions, like epilepsy, lead much more normal lives. It helps adults with Parkinson’s disease not tremor, or reduce their tremors dramatically. Until recently, to take this medicine, that God provided for us, meant risking your freedom, or the freedom of a loved one.

Fortunately, we’re beginning, however slowly, to learn how to navigate this minefield of our own making. I have personally experienced the benefits of CBD oil.

As I’ve mentioned before, I have a bad case of sciatica. The only way I could ever expect to get over it, is via surgery. And even that’s risky. I’ve taken many things over the years. The only time in the last 6 years, I have been pain free from it, was when I was on strong opiates after my heart surgery three years ago.

The doctor then gave me a very mild opiate, dihydrocodeine. I am allowed up to 4 a day, but only take one at night, to ease the pain enough to sleep. But recently, I tried some CBD oil from our local pharmacy. It helps as much as the prescription medicine. Plus, I have major insomnia during the full moon cycle. The CBD helps me relax enough to sleep. And does so without impeding any mental or coordination abilities. I don’t understand it. I’m not a scientist. But I KNOW it works.

Here’s the rub. Here in the United Kingdom, CBD cannot be sold if it comes from marijuana. What a shame. However, if it is derived from hemp, it’s legal. And hemp CBD is just as good as cannabis CBD. So you can buy it off of Amazon. Which would be great for people who don’t want to ask their pharmacist for it. But not all of the hemp based CBD is real. Much of it, is hemp seed oil. Hemp seed oil is an awesome source of vitamin E, and a great way to get additional omega 3 fatty acids. But it has no CBD. You have to read all the ingredients. If it says, something like, hemp extract, then it’s good. That means it comes from the stalks and leaves. If it says hemp seed oil, it’s just expensive vitamin E.

I have read through every single label on Amazon.co.uk. And I can tell you, that there are a ton of companies out to take advantage of the millions of uninformed members of the public who are looking for medicine. I find that, despicable.

Yes, there are sites where you can buy CBD and know for sure that it’s genuine. You’re also going to pay a lot more for it. That’s the price of integrity. I’m a cheapskate. I will read every label I have to in order to get the best deal I can find.

I found this out, by buying the wrong stuff once. After I bought the bottle from my local pharmacist, I wondered if I could save a few pounds from Amazon. And I got a decent bottle for a great price. When it came I was very excited. I had not yet done any of the research I’ve just told you about.

I noticed that it was oilier than the other bottle. It was supposed to be slightly stronger, so I thought that was it. Then I noticed I didn’t get any sleep benefits or pain relief. I was heart broken. Then I read the label. I saw it said hemp seed oil. So I went to my search engine and searched Hemp Seed Oil vs CBD. Suddenly a whole new world was opened up to me. I learned the benefits, the drawbacks, and the scams that are out there. And I spent the rest of the evening lost down the rabbit hole of search engines looking for answers to questions.

Since that time, I have found a nice product on Amazon that it genuine CBD, and priced somewhat more effectively than from my local pharmacy.

It is my belief that we’ve only scratched the surface of the possible benefits of CBD. Right now, we are caught in a maze of drug laws, scientific discovery, human need, and shameless con artists. Many of the best discoveries are made in private labs, and are not yet available commercially. Sadly, the big pharmaceutical companies are trying to get control of the industry so they can profit unmercifully from something that grows naturally. This is a story to watch closely.

I found it worth the risk, and effort, to let you know what’s going on out there. The short version, which I’ve saved for last, because that’s how I roll, is, CBD is available. It can be beneficial. It’s got a good as it will be in a few years. It will not get you high. No matter how much you want it to. You can buy it off of Amazon, or in many local stores. Read the labels very closely. There are lots of scammers out there.

The end. πŸ™‚

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.

Winning Again!

winning success achievement sport public domain image - FreeIMG

Weight 224

The last couple of weeks, I’ve written about problems and obstacles we face, in weight loss, and in life. Things were getting very discouraging, but I stuck with it. I faced my obstacles, and I shared it all with you all, both as a confession, and as a lesson. We all face these challenges.

I got on the scales today, and saw a drop. I haven’t lost weight in three weeks. In fact, I had gone up a bit. But today, I’m back where I need to be. And I’m psyched.

You all deserve a lot of the credit. You kept reading, liking the posts, and some started following the blog because of the articles. You gave me so much support and confidence. Thank you so much.

The changes I made in tracking, and adjusting my calorie intake, really helped. As I have said before, calories count. It’s basic science.

Over the last three weeks, I have found some fat based snacks to help me quell my hunger. I don’t have to eat many of them. And I’ve begun regular exercise. My workout is pitiful right now, because it’s been so many years since I’ve done this, but I’m doing it. And I’ve started to see some improvement in my performance.

I’m doing only body weight exercises. And I’m doing those for a few reasons. 1. Gyms are all closed here. 2. Gyms cost money. 3. Weight sets cost money. 4. I don’t want to spend money. 5. Pumping iron will do more to make me gain weight as muscle, I think, than body weight exercises. I’m trying to tone my body, rather than bulk it up.

Three weeks is not a long time to be stuck on a plateau. I know some of you have been there much longer. Just stay with what you know has worked. Don’t give in. Tweak what you do. Tweak your calories. Adjust your fat vs protein calories. Walk, Run, exercise. Do something to surprise your metabolism. You will get through this.

I know I may have reached the stage where I won’t lose weight every single week. I’m ok with that. I have a goal. But I’m not on a time limit. We’ve got this!

Plateaus Happen!

Fitness Free Stock Photo - Public Domain Pictures

I mentioned last week that I’m on a plateau. I’m not gaining weight, but I’m also not losing any. It’s been about three weeks. It’s starting to get frustrating. If you’ve been there, you totally understand. I have a couple of choices; either I can give up and give in, or I can stay focused and do something about it. As you can guess, I’m not giving in.

I’ve also mentioned, I am in a position where I have to eat dinner in people’s homes twice a week. They don’t fix Keto meals, and that hurts my program a lot. Some weeks, the meals are loaded with Carbohydrates. And usually, there is ice cream for dessert. I’m not grumbling, merely stating the obvious.

It’s probably the desserts that are the biggest problem. A few potatoes in the meal, or some pasta, won’t kill me. But the sugar in ice cream, is a major problem.

First, I am not going to hurt peoples feelings by not accepting their invitations to dinner. That is not an option. So don’t even suggest it.

Here’s my plan. First, the following day, I will have zero carbs. That’s not even hard. It’s just a carnivore day. I can do that without even thinking about it. If I have to, I will do it for two days. Time will tell, and I’ll keep you posted.

Second, as I’ve mentioned a couple times, I believe calories are important. I will watch my calories very closely. A maximum of 1800, should work. It’s really important to track what I eat. To be honest, I’ve been lax the last two weeks. I’m confessing that to you, and will change it. You may hold me accountable. Go ahead and ask me anytime.

Thirdly, I’ve started exercising. I was going to write, regularly, but since I’ve only done it ONCE, regularly is an overstatement. During this lockdown, I don’t have access to a gym, and frankly, I won’t spend the money, even when it’s available to me. I looked up a collection of body weight exercises, and for a man of my age, that will do nicely.

It’s not like I’m new to exercise. Once upon a time, about 30 years ago, I started working out…and running. For 7 years, I went to the gym, and rand at least 5 days a week. I worked out with professional body builders and professional wrestlers. I had excellent coaching. I learned a lot of techniques. I ran 5 k road races. I was fit, even buff. And I was lean.

That was a long time ago, but I still know what and how. It’s the motivation, and loss of muscle and fitness that’s my obstacle. My body doesn’t want to do it.

Yesterday, I was only able to complete 3 pushups. You heard me correctly. THREE! I then finished a set of 10, by doing what we used to call ‘girl’ pushups. You know, with my knees on the ground. From now on I will call them ‘beginner’ pushups.

I did one set of a variety of exercises. Today, my upper body hurts. Especially my chest and my lats. That’s where I seem to be the weakest. So odd for a guy who used to be a farmer, but since my heart surgery, my upper body muscles have been pretty inactive.

The other thing I had to do, was stretch. A Lot! When I was younger, I could just start working out, or running. Now, I can’t run, seriously, I can’t run. I have had a bad case of sciatica for 4 years. The stretches are like a work out by themselves. As a result, this morning I am sore. I will only do my stretches today. But this afternoon, I will go walk some dogs. I will beat this plateau. And my goal, is within a month, to be able to jog at least a quarter of a mile when I’m out with the dogs. I know that doesn’t sound like much, but for me, it’s terrifying. I am aiming to be able to jog a mile by August. Stay tuned.

For the record, I’m not trying to be a mid life body builder. I’m just trying to help my metabolism, and to tone my body. I’ll let you know how it all turns out. But what about you? Have you ever hit plateaus? Did they discourage you to the point of giving up? What did you do to beat them? I’m curious. Feel free to write and let me know.

Ok, now it’s time to publish this, and do my stretches…

Real Life Has Obstacles

Obstacles free stock photos download (15 Free stock photos) for commercial  use. format: HD high resolution jpg images

When we first create our plan to lose weight, we see our road clearly. We set our goals. We know what we can eat, and when. We clean out our cupboards and our fridge. We weigh ourselves. We set up our apps or create a notebook to track on paper. And then we get started. For a while, sometimes a long while, everything goes great, then we hit obstacles. When that happens, we’re thrown for a loop. Some of us are thrown so far off the trail, we can’t even find our way back.

I have been facing one of those obstacles recently. Let’s talk about it.

Actually, now that I think about it, I’m. facing several simultaneously, but I’ll tell you about two, and we’ll discuss one of them. They are: 1. I’m on a plateau and it’s frustrating. We’ll talk about that one, once I’m over it. It’s the second obstacle that is bigger, and has been very frustrating.

I am a Christian Minister. I love it. I have been a minister for 43 years. I’ve had other jobs too, but ministry has given me great satisfaction. I love preaching. I love visiting folk. I love doing baptisms, and weddings, and oddly, funerals. My career is a calling, not just a job.

But it can be very difficult for weight loss. Every time you go to someone’s home, here in Scotland, you get offered tea and a cookie, cake, or sandwich. They call them ‘pieces’. The first thing you’ll note, is those are all full of carbs. In the USA, it’s well known that Christians and food are synonyms. There are all kinds of jokes about believers and buffets. Of how in some southern Churches when a person gets baptized they receive a certificate and a casserole dish. Preachers have a reputation of being FAT.

Over the past year, as my Keto journey has progressed, I’ve pretty much gotten folk to understand that I don’t want a cookie. But recently, I have been eating dinner with people in the Church on two days a week. And it’s going to continue for a while. A part of me loves it. I get to interact with folk, enjoy their children and pets, and get to know them better. I wouldn’t trade it for the world.

Folk don’t cook Keto. Everything is loaded with pasta, potatoes, bread, or sugar. That’s the way people eat. And rightly so. Those things are affordable, they make a dish spread, and they taste awesome. Some of our Church folk are great cooks.

They will usually fix huge meals, because I’m the Pastor and they don’t want me to go away hungry. Sometimes they will even fill my plate. When that happens, I will always get a double helping of potatoes.

I could decline the invitations, but I’m not going to. That’s rude. And putting my diet needs above the spiritual, emotional, and social needs of families, it not an acceptable priority. So I go.

For a while this dilemma really bothered me. In fact, it started to consume me. I turned it into a major problem. Then I came up with a solution.

One of the unspoken truths in Keto, is that ultimately, and eventually, calories matter. It’s a simple fact that if you consume more calories that your body is using, you will gain weight. It doesn’t matter whether that is meat, cheese, eggs, broccoli, or potatoes. And as we lose weight, our calorie requirements reduce. I need less calories at 224 pounds, that I did at 305. I wish that wasn’t true, but it is. And I have incorporated that fact into my diet plan.

I need 1800 calories a day to lose a pound a week. If I’m doing full keto, I’ll probably lose it faster, because my body can more easily burn the stored fat. So, as long as I’m eating 1800 calories a day maximum, I will be ok.

Remember 5 days a week, I’m full keto. On these two days a week, I have one non keto meal a day. If I can serve myself smaller portions, I’m golden, but like I said, sometimes, my hosts serve my meal. Then I just have to track the calories and carbs and make the best of it.

One other thing I do, is on those days, I eat a very small lunch. That helps.

My point in all this is, life needs to be enjoyed. Our diets have to be made to fit our lifestyles, not the other way around. Sometimes we’re thrown challenges, obstacles. Think about it. Find a work around, and go with it. Food is not a crime. Carbs are not demons from Hell. We can do this. Relax!

How Growing a Garden Can Assist Weight Loss

Yeah, it’s a little bit click baity. But it’s also true. First, nothing tastes like fresh, home grown vegetables. The stuff you buy at the grocery, is better than what comes in a can, or heaven forbid, a box, but stuff that you grow yourself, or get at a local farmer’s market, is night and day different.

Almost everything you buy in the grocery store, has to be picked early, and shipped, before it’s ripe and full of flavor. Often the truck is loaded with a kind of gas bomb to help the produce ripen. So it looks ripe, but the natural sugars, and vitamins, as well as minerals are often missing, or certainly depleted.

Strawberries from your own garden, or freshly picked from a U pick, are world’s apart from what you buy at the grocery store. The same is true of tomatoes, cucumbers, even Jalapeno peppers. It’s even true of lettuce and cabbage.

People often comment on the difference in taste when we give away excess veggies. BTW, it’s even true of meat, but I’ll save that for another post.

I don’t know about you, but if I’m going to have to change the way I eat, I at least want it to taste good. And I discovered years and years ago, that nothing compares to growing my own.

I never liked salad. I would always turn it down. I liked the blue cheese dressing and the bacon bits, but the salad was tasteless and boring. But when I had one with my home grown Black Seeded Simpson lettuce, onions, bell peppers, tomatoes, and Jalapenos, I couldn’t believe the flavor jump. It was delicious. I could even eat it without immersing it in Blue Cheese Dressing.

Home grown cucumbers and squash are as different as night and day from the ones sold in the supermarket. I didn’t even like the word, zucchini, now it’s my favorite vegetable to grow and cook. It tastes amazing grilled, stewed, baked, fried, and broiled. Fresh grown green beans and peas are so much better than store bought that I can’t even describe the difference.

My favorite thing to grow, and eat, are hot peppers. From Jalapenos, to Carolina Reapers, I love them all. I have to be careful right now, because we don’t have a lot of room to grow peppers. I used to grow over 20 varieties every year, now I only have room for 5 or 6 plants. This year I will grow, Poblano, Jalapeno, Fresno, Bhut Jolokia (Ghost), and Moruga Scorpion. Those last two are among the hottest peppers on earth. I had to choose between my favorite hot varieties, and this was what I chose. First, hot peppers are good for you. The help you burn calories. They also help prevent cancer. I eat hot peppers, or hot sauce every day.

Tomatoes are also not your enemy. Some diets, like the Mediterranean, are very high on them. Some keto purists, frown on them. I have never had a problem. I don’t eat them in major quantities these days, but they are full of vitamins and minerals, and are good for my heart. Again, due to space issues, I can only grow about 6 plants. So I choose wisely. Here in Scotland, Tomatoes, Peppers, and Cucumbers have to be grown in a greenhouse, so that has to be figured in.

I only grow one kind of cucumber, Socrates. They are 5 to six inches long. They taste great, and the plants are abundant with fruit. They are parthenocarpic, meaning they don’t need a pollinator, which makes growing them in a greenhouse easy. Two plants is all I have room for, and all I need.

As I mentioned earlier, I will grow several zucchini bushes. Oh I love those things. And they are expensive in the supermarkets here, so they’re great the give away to neighbors. I will also grow several spaghetti squash plants. My wife and I both love spaghetti squash. Giving up pasta was tough, but these squashes, make it much easier.

I’ll also grow beets, beans, lettuce, and some herbs. Oh, I’m going to grow a few cauliflower. They take up a lot of room, and you only get one head of fruit, so it’s not wise to grow them. They are fairly affordable at the grocery store. If you have a lot of room, I recommend growing plenty of Cauliflower and Broccoli. I’m only going to grow two or three cabbages, for the same reason. Just no room.

So far, I have started my hot pepper, tomato, cauliflower, and cabbage seeds. They are growing under lights right now. They will go out in May.

Another benefit of growing your own, is it provides exercise. And exercise is mission critical to good health. You will need to prepare your garden. That will take a while. You will have to plant your garden. You’ll have to go out and water your garden. And you’ll have to weed your garden. That’s daily walking, bending, lifting, and etc. It’s like a gym membership you don’t have to pay a monthly fee for.

Yes, seeds cost a little. But if you select correctly, you’ll save on your groceries. And if you save seeds properly, you’ll only have to buy seeds occasionally. And you’ll be able to give excess to your family and friends. Even with my limited space, I will give away, lettuce, onions, zucchini, tomatoes, peppers, and beans.

You can order your seeds off the internet, or you can pick them up at a big box store. Heck, even dollar stores carry seeds. If you’re interested in eating well, and eating right, I encourage you to try and grow some of your own vegetables. You’ll be glad you did. If you have any questions, send them my way.

For those who are following my progress, my current weight is 226.5. I have slowed down a lot. My goal to reach 200 by Easter will not happen. I will set a new one on Easter. Stay tuned.

I Cannot Tell A Lie!

Parson Weems' Fable" by Grant Wood – Joy of Museums Virtual Tours

We’ve just had President’s Day, so this seems kind of appropriate. But last week I said I was afraid I was going to Emotionally Eat, and probably binge, because I was upset. And I did. Kind of.

I’m not going to go into the reasons this happened. It’s very personal and difficult for me, so don’t ask. But on Thursday last week, when I was feeling bluer than cheese, I had Pizza Sandwiches and watched a movie. I cooked up a couple mini frozen pizzas, put butter on bread, parmesan cheese on the pizza, and made sandwiches. This has been my favorite depression binge food for 30 years. It’s cheap, full of flavor, and carbohydrates. By Friday, I was back on the program. I wallowed in Self Pity, then started moving forward.

I knew it was going to happen. I’ve been living with me for 64 years. I pretty much know how I’m going to react to things. One of the things that surprised me, was I didn’t get ice cream for dessert.

Because I’m under stress, I have had some other side effects. First, my nerves are shot. I’m on edge constantly. Secondly, I haven’t had a BM for 4 days. Tomorrow I will take a laxative. My sleep is messed up. And we can’t get melatonin here in Scotland. So I’ve had some keto friendly adult beverages before I go to bed. The problem with those is they are loaded with calories. And I don’t want to become dependent on anything.

This is only temporary, but it will be an extended temporary. These things happen in life. I had the good fortune of knowing what was coming so I could prepare for it a bit. I don’t know what I would have done had I been blindsided. I encourage you to prepare for emotional emergencies, just like physical ones. Think ahead about how you will feel, and how you will behave. Write it down.

And, this one may cost me readers, pray about it. God wants to hear the desires and concerns of your heart. I know He is with me through this time. He will hold my heart as well as my hand. And He will do that for you, too. Hard times come. That’s a fact. Tough people are strong and courageous. And that does not mean they aren’t scared spitless.

So, for the reasons above, I haven’t lost any weight this week. But I’m back on my program, watching my carbs and calories closely. If you’re going through a tough time, I feel your pain. Feel free to drop me a note and tell me about it.

Next week, I’ll tell you about how things are going getting ready for my 2021 Keto Diet Friendly Garden.