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.

Starting Over….Again!

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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!

STUCK!!

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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.

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

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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. 🙂

Plateaus Happen!

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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

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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!

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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.

Danger Ahead – Comfort Eating Approaching!

Weight this week 229, Yep, No change. Oh well.

Image result for stress, public domain images

Later this week I will be facing one of my greatest temptations, Comfort Eating. My wife is going back to the States alone! That’s tearing me up. She has some work commitments, and needs to get away. The vaccination protocol right now is pretty light, and she doesn’t want to be forced to take the Covid vax. Neither do I, but that’s all for another time and place. Don’t bother to comment about it either way, I will delete the comments. Anyway, she found a phenomenal rate to fly this week, and took it. We have no idea when she’ll be able to get back. It could be May, it could be next May. It’s all up in the air. I hate it. But it’s going to happen. We’ve had a few uncomfortable discussions, but this is the best way to avoid problems. So on Wednesday, I’m taking her for her Covid test, then we’re driving down to Edinburgh, where her flight leaves at 6 a.m. Thursday morning. Blah!

Here’s the deal. I love my wife. I hate spending a single night apart. I used to travel for my work and would be gone two weeks a month. We did that for a year. She had to go to Maine for a month back when we lived in GA. We thought she would be there longer, but things didn’t work out like we planned and she came home.

The point is, we should be used to it. Military people do this all the time. We have the internet. We’ll be able to stay in touch. It’s not like it was 30 years ago, where people are dependent on phones and the postal service. Still, I am hating every moment of this. Obviously, she’s pretty excited. She will get to see her folks, her brother, her sister, one of my sisters, and other friends and family. I will be here. Alone in lockdown.

And there’s the rub. I will drive back Thursday, and get home mid afternoon. I will be tempted to attack my loneliness food first. I will want to eat carbs like crazy. Carbs are a comfort food for me. Mac and Cheese, Pizza, Cheeseburgers, with bun of course. No one will be around. No one will stop me. And if I start, I might be on a two month binge. And that’s a fact.

That’s why I’m telling you about it. For accountability. I have a daily schedule of activities. I pretty much have every hour of every day spoken for, but evenings are when I get most lonely. Everything is closed. Everyone is at home. That’s when I’ll be tempted. I know, though, that if I start gaining weight, I’ll have to answer to you, my readers. So help me out. Keep reading week after week. I’ll tell you how I’m doing.

Lots of people have trouble with comfort eating. Stress is a real diet killer. We’ll eat too much, drink too much, and months or years of hard work can be lost. If you’re a stress eater, I feel your pain. I don’t know what I would do if something happened to my wife, or one of my kids or grandkids. What about losing a job? Or, what if a doctor gives a bad diagnosis and prognosis? There are a thousand traps hidden in the road ahead. We don’t know where they are and we don’t know the future. We can prepare the best we can, but when we hit that thing buried in the road, we don’t know whether our preparations were adequate.

If you find yourself binge eating, out of stress. Just stop. Don’t beat yourself up. Be grateful that you’ve awakened before it’s too late and all your work is lost. Get right back on your program and start over. Day 1. If you need someone to talk to, I’m here for you. Or find one of your friends or a family member. I believe in you.

That’s all I’ve got for now. I’ll tell you next week how I did. Wish me luck.

Keto Heresy – The Potato Is Not Your Enemy

Image result for potatoes public domain images

There I said it. I know I’ve referred to it in several posts, but I’m going to dedicate this one to my friend. I will say it again – The Spud is your Bud. In moderation.

Potatoes are high in carbohydrates. No question. A hundred mg portion has 17 grams of carbs. That’s a lot. But with 2.2 grams of fiber, that brings the carb total down to 15. The story doesn’t end there. First, that same 100 mg of potato only has 77 calories. It has 32% of your daily vitamin C. It has 15 percent of your vitamin B6, and 12% of your daily potassium. In fact, potatoes alone supply every vital nutrient except calcium, vitamin A and vitamin D.

The Spaniards found the natives of Peru and Bolivia eating potatoes as they conquered the continent in the 1500s. They were suspicious, but found the tubers edible. They took some back with them to Spain. Ironically though, the Europeans did not warm to the potato. Some of the Elites and Upper Class did, but the poor, across especially Northern Europe, including Great Britain did not. In general terms, it was 1800 that marked the turning of the taste bud tide, with the exception of Ireland which had adopted the potato during the last half of the 1700s. The entire population started thriving as a result. The population of the island grew immensely. Then in the mid 1800, a potato famine wiped out a good portion of the population.

When I was in Bolivia, they told me they had over 400 varieties of potatoes there. I tasted about 15. That kind of genetic diversity provides stability when one variety has disease problems. Ireland was not Bolivia, and did not have the diversity.

Anyway, the Highlanders of Scotland learned to live on the potato, and to this day, here in Northern Scotland, many potatoes are grown.

The French, the Prussians, and eventually all of Eastern Europe and Russia, came to rely on the spud for it’s nutritional value. In North America, the potato was probably always secondary to corn in value to people. But today, it is a cheap staple in nearly every home, and is usually a part of every restaurant meal.

The potato is healthy. It is our friend. But not the way we eat it. We fry it. And we fry it in poor fats. We mash it with high calorie, high carbohydrate milk, plus we then load it with butter, Sour Cream, Cheese, and, or Bacon. We turn it into the foundation of a dietary tower of babel.

In America, we grow some enormous varieties, that are sometimes a pound in weight or more. Here in Scotland, we don’t do that. We have a few largish varieties, but we don’t go crazy like Americans do.

Oh, we dehydrate them, and process them, and make them instant, and load them with all kinds of ingredients from the chemistry set. Yes, they taste awesome. But those things are poison.

Here’s the way I eat potatoes. First, I will not have them more than once a week. Normally, it’s once a month. But I love potatoes and I know I’m not going to go the rest of my life potato free. So I fit them into MY plan. I mostly buy new potatoes. They are lower in starch. I cut each potato into two or four pieces. I soak them in water to get out any excess starch. Then I will roast them in the oven. They get crispy, like oven fries, with skin. There’s all kinds of good stuff in the skins. I can put butter and sour cream on them, or dip them in sugar free ketchup. They taste great.

Because I track what I eat, I can watch my carbohydrates and calories for the day. If I have potatoes, I will allow more like 40 to 50 grams of carbs for that day, and reduce my calories to 1700. It’s a win win. My taste buds AND the scales both love me.

For those of you on a calorie controlled diet, rather than Keto, I encourage you to eat plenty of potatoes. They will make you feel full without a bunch of calories. Use them in soups, as well as baked and roasted.

Like everything else I’ve learned, it’s the processed stuff we have to avoid. If it comes from a factory, don’t trust it. Read the labels. If it comes from a garden, it’s not going the be your enemy, in moderation. I have had a few potato beds ravaged by moles. But I have never seen an obese mole.

When I started this Keto journey, I avoided potatoes like they were as bad as sugar. Partly because there are few foods that are a bigger trigger for me. Now that I am in control of what I eat, rather than what I eat having control over me, I can have some potatoes.

I never touch potato chips. I could eat them by the bag full, but they are very highly processed. And like instant potatoes, they are coated in tasty chemicals. I just don’t want that. My wife might make home made chips (or crisps, as they’re called here in Scotland) once a year. But because they’re trigger foods for both of us, she also might not. My point is, home made are much better for you than buying them by the bag at the supermarket or the gas station.

Do your homework. Potatoes are not our enemies. It’s how we fix them, and how much of them we eat, that’s the problem. Think about it. There is my heresy. Here I stand. I’m losing weight and I’m having fun doing it.

Let’s finish with some weight loss update information. My current weight is 229. And today I had to put another new notch in my belt. Fortunately, it’s winter and most days I wear a sweater which covers the belt. It’s starting to look pretty worn. Yay. I have another one that I use for dress up occasions. But with this lock down, those are few and far between.