Sunday, September 29, 2013

Food Stuck in your Throat? Try Butter

Why didn't I think of this before?

Yesterday, while munching on a carrot, some of the carrot got stuck in my throat. Realizing that this never happens when I eat vegetables with butter, mayonnaise or salad dressing, I had the bright idea to put a pat of butter in my mouth and let nature take its course. It greased my throat and the carrot went down.

As a preventive measure, I find taking a magnesium supplement helps. (I take 200 mg of magnesium glycinate daily.) Magnesium is needed for proper involuntary muscle function: it's a standard cure for constipation, and doctors give it to patients having a heart attack.

Saturday, September 28, 2013

Wavy Chicken Fencing

Why didn't I think of this before?

The structural strength of an object is affected by its shape. Think of an I-beam or a piece of paper folded accordion style. This could be held in place with metal stakes and reinforced with triangular wood braces to keep my dog out. The perimeter has concrete and flagstones around it.

This will be far cheaper and easier than portable fencing. (I haven't gotten any further than the one panel I built.)

Wednesday, September 25, 2013

Keep Calm!

Are people panicking on stationary bikes? You'd think so from the signs in window of a local gym: "Keep Calm and Cycle On." Is the human equivalent of an exercise wheel so stimulating that people need a reminder to keep their wits about them? Maybe it's reverse psychology: up until now, it's been all about pumping us up with motivation a la Richard Simmons to keep up a routine that's as exciting as proofreading retirement plan financial statements.

What some people really need is encouragement to continue avoiding carbs in the face of low-fat fuddy-duddies or the Atkins flu. I'm not a fan of motivational fluff, but someone in delicate health could really be frightened by low-carb scare studies and misguided advice to avoid fat. A pithy phrase might help more than a lecture on glycation, endocrinology or lipoproteins. Suggestions:

Keep calm and keto on
Keep calm and Kerrygold on
Keep calm and tallow on
Keep calm and Grok on

Saturday, September 21, 2013

Denver Chicken Coop Tour

Some scenes from the Denver Chicken Coop Tour:

The owner built top nesting boxes because the chickens couldn't find the lower ones.

A simple run from scrap material.

A run for a manicured yard.

The Chicken Plaza.
The view from my house isn't as nice as the view from this chicken house.
I'm still working on my own chicken jungle. It's not a unique concept--one place on the tour provided so much cover for the chickens in the form of lamb's quarters (a weed) and a tree that the chickens could free range. After the heavy rains last week, the ground was soft enough to dig trenches around the chicken area so that I could put wire fencing below the ground to keep predators (such as my dog) from tunneling their way to a chicken dinner.

While I was at it, I collected the earth worms and started a worm bin to compost kitchen scraps and junk mail and have some protein for the chickens. But as the worms go for $20 a pound, I may sell them instead--as soon as I have a few pounds.

Sunday, September 15, 2013

Saving Almost $800 a Year on Snacks

It may not be fashionable in the low-carb world, but I like to snack. I feel better when I snack. I don't feel good when I eat big meals and don't know how people put away three-egg bacon-cheese omelets with a bullet-proof coffee. The good thing about low-carb snacking is that by definition, you avoid eating junk like potato chips and fruit pies. The bad news is that low-carb snacks from the convenience store are expensive.

Time was when the only two kinds of coffee I drank were free and home-brewed. When I realized cream gave me problems, I started taking it black and then realized that the office coffee was terrible. But the little shop on the first floor made a wonderful cup for $2.11. An equally wonderful home-brewed cup is about 12 cents. Sleeping in an extra ten minutes, the time it takes to brew a 12-cent cup of coffee, is costing me almost $500 a year. I've set my alarm earlier.

The convenience store sells Kind bars for around $2.50 and large diet Dr. Pepper for $1.84; for me, that's 92 cents for one serving of soda. The grocery store sells diet cola and root beer $2.99 a six-pack, or 50 cents a serving. From now on, I'm bringing my own soda to work (and supporting a company I own stock in). That's $100 a year in savings. Yes, I could just drink water, but realistically, I want a soda when I'm stressed out at work, which is often.

I had a feeling I could make snacks similar to a Kind bar for less money. I made maple paleonola from 500 Paleo Recipes today, weighing the ingredients, and figured out it costs 90 cents a serving. Bonus: each serving has almost 400 calories (including 35 grams of fat) compared to 200 calories in a Kind nut delight bar. Ninety cents is cheaper than what 400 calories worth of free-range eggs costs me; all those nuts only seem expensive. Savings: about $192 per year.

Total savings from making, brewing and bringing my own: $792 a year.

Friday, September 6, 2013

The Tao of Low Carb

Readers may be familiar with the Tao Te Ching, a classical Chinese text of philosophy. It has some common themes with stoicism--to live in harmony with nature, to not be concerned with things outside your control. It reminds me of Bible verses about a soft answer turning away wrath and the meek inheriting the earth; of Mihaly Csikszentmihalyi's work on flow. Maybe that's as dull as watching the grass grow, but I'd rather do that than bang my head on my desk.

From Verse 38.
The Master does nothing
yet he leaves nothing undone.
The ordinary man is always doing things
yet many more are left to be done.

Or as we say here and now, the faster I go, the behinder I get. My own experience is that once I started low-carb, I spent a lot less time exercising and cooking and got better results--twenty pounds of fat and a bunch of health problems, gone.

From Verse 58.
Try to make people happy,
and you lay the groundwork for misery.
Try to make people moral,
and you lay the groundwork for vice.

How much misery have well-meaning low-fat, whole-grain guidelines caused? How many people will look at calorie counts and get the most calories for their money? (I'm one of them.) How much guilt do people feel when they can't stick to diets that slow down their metabolism or leave them hungry? (I'm not one of them. I've never felt guilty for eating anything. Regret at times, but not guilt.)

From Verse 63:
Confront the difficult while it is still easy;
accomplish the great task by a series of small acts.

Keep track of your weight or your size often, and nip weight gain in the bud. If it's too late to nip it in the bud, you can still build good habits and watch your body's response.

Other readers may be familiar with the book The Tao of Warren Buffett. Buffett is no paragon of healthy eating, but he's very smart--especially about what a person shouldn't do. I think he's funny, too; maybe that we're both ISTJs (at least, he's thought to be that type) has something to do with it.

No. 18: My idea of a group decision is to look in the mirror. 

True on a couple of levels. Looking in the mirror (especially naked) doesn't leave much room for self-deception about your size and fitness. But more importantly, going by your own results is better than following experts, friends or family who don't have to live with ill effects of diets they recommend for you.

No. 16: It's not necessary to do extraordinary things to get extraordinary results.

Much of the good results are from what you don't eat and don't do on LC. Sorry, Jillian Michaels.

No. 57: Never ask a barber if you need a haircut.

Sad to say, but many doctors are like barbers.

No. 61: There seems to be some perverse human characteristic that likes to make easy things difficult.

Scientific shenanigans, anyone?

No. 28: Managing your career is like investing--the degree of difficulty does not count. So you can save yourself money and pain by getting on the right train.

Monday, September 2, 2013

That's Funny, but isn't it Easier to Just Count Carbs?

Have you seen the trailer for That Sugar Film? It's funny and smart, and I'm glad the film is being made, but it talks up reducing or eliminating added sugars. If you're going to try this at home, how do you know how much added sugar a product contains--unless it doesn't contain any? For example, the almond butter I buy lists as ingredients dry roasted almonds, honey powder (sugar, honey), palm oil, sea salt. My 80% dark chocolate is made of organic chocolate liquor, organic raw cane sugar, organic cocoa butter, organic ground vanilla beans. They both list total carbohydrate and fiber content, but how in the world are you supposed to distinguish how many carbs came from the sugar and how many came from the other ingredients? Without knowing the amounts of all the ingredients, you can't.

By the way, at nine grams net carb per half a chocolate bar and five grams net carb per two tablespoons of almond butter, these products with sugar added come in at a fraction of the net carbohydrate load of one cup of oatmeal (28 grams), a food that the trailer touts. All those lovely complex carbohydrates in the oatmeal are broken down by your digestive system into sugar.