Keto Day 5

I know, I stopped with the “What the hell? Why not?” thing. Honestly, I’m just feeling too lazy to type it out. What’s that you say? I just typed it out? Nobody asked you.

Today is my first day going to work and trying to use the things that they have there to fit my new keto mold. As you can see, my percentages are not what they were yesterday, so I’m going to have to try and remember to actually bring the food that I put into a Tupperware container from home. My dinner from last night was delicious, and the leftovers are still sitting in my fridge. Clearly I’m killing it today.

I’m not sure if I had a harder time moving all of the 30 cases of beer into the basement and 10 kegs into the walk-in cooler because I’m tired from Jiu Jitsu and potentially have a serious rib injury, or because I’m feeling some fatigue as a result of the diet. Either way, today was fairly difficult. Granted, those are difficult activities, but normally I don’t have as much trouble.

There’s all kinds of cool life stuff going on that has nothing to do with this keto diet, but I think I’m just going to keep you in suspense until this keto trial period has ended, and hit you with it all at once.

Keto Day 4 and The Irish

So yesterday I waited anxiously for my new frying pan to arrive (I gave away all my old ones), which I was particularly excited about because this is the first adult pan I’ve ever owned. It’s from Germany and it’s infused with ceramics and shit, and it matches my kitchen appliances. So I get a notice from Amazon saying the delivery driver is only a few deliveries away from my house, which is perfect because I was about to leave for work, and I had just enough time to put together the dinner that I had planned earlier in the day. I watched that delivery driver sit completely still about 3/4 of a mile from my house for upwards of 45 minutes, then I watched him get about a block away, then I watched him drive 2 miles north. No fucking pan. So I stuffed three slices of bacon, some cheese, and a handful of almonds into my face before running out the door to catch the train to work. I was not happy.

It was Tuesday, so it was the night of The Irish. About 500 of the drunkest 21-22 year old Irish exchange students Chicago has to offer cram themselves into the bar for Top 40’s music, $3 Bud Light pitchers, and $4 vodka drinks. These adult-sized children grab each other violently in jubilation, douse themselves (and me) in alcohol, scream, jump up and down, and occasionally throw some fists right up until they’re very unwillingly ushered out the doors at around 3:30am. I personally escorted five of them out early for repeatedly taking off shirts, general drunkenness, and aggressively grabbing me when I tried to break up a fight. They collectively leave various pieces of jewelry, hills of discarded plastic cups and pitchers, puddles of vomit, and a pond of beer in the center of the dancefloor a quarter inch deep and twelve feet across. After the last ones are out and the cleaning is done, I usually get out of there around 5 in the morning, hop on the train, and am home by 5:30. Then I walk my dog, so I’m not asleep until 6:30am Wednesday.

I woke up around 12:30 this afternoon. Still no fucking pan. I used a cheese stick and almond butter (separately) as bandaid solutions, plus the butter and the MCT oil in my coffee act as an appetite depressant, which got me through my morning of studying and my 3:30pm coffee meeting. When I got back home at 4:30? Frying pan! It was everything I had hoped it’d be. I very quickly fried up a couple eggs, ate some cottage cheese (I did not realize I bought the low fat kind until that moment) then ran out the door to catch the train to jiu jitsu.

I had small bouts of nausea and fatigue throughout the day, but it could’ve been a result of my night and my initial lack of real food in the day, or because I didn’t drink enough water today. I think my history of hangovers and my appreciation for discomfort make me uniquely adept at suffering through some of the difficulties associated with cutting carbs from your diet all at once. I saw a number of articles saying that weening yourself off slowly is preferred, but that’s just not my style.

Speaking of which, I’m more certain that I’ve caused some serious damage to my ribs, as it now hurts to do things like move or breath, but without health insurance, I’ll just have to ride this one out. Hopefully the keto diet is good for your bones. I’m sure I could Google that, but I’m comfortable sticking with ignorance and optimism for now.

What the hell? Why not?: Keto Day 3

Uh… I love fats. I cooked all the chicken thighs for my lunches in one go, and before I tore off the meats to put in my salad, I ate the skin and congealed fat with my fingers, and it was heavenly. Also, I threw some coconut and MCT oils into my protein shake, and that kicked ass, as well.

I was able to make it through 20 minutes of stretching, 45 minutes of weight lifting, and an hour of jiu jitsu practice yesterday with no dips in energy whatsoever. I might have bruised or fractured a rib during practice, but that’s neither here nor there. When I’m not getting seriously injured, I seem to have a real knack for the sport, and I’m really looking forward to immersing myself in the culture. Today I’ll do my stretches again and struggle through my ab exercises before going to work babysitting 400 drunk Irish exchange students. I’ll tell you more about them tomorrow.

It looks like I’ve got a better handle on the ratios today, and I think that’s largely due to the addition of butter and olive oil, which are exclusively fats. I tried compensating with cheese yesterday, but there’s protein in cheese, so it didn’t really affect my macronutrient percentages at all. Same is true of avocado – too much protein to skew my daily values considerably.

I forgot to include my calories yesterday, but I’ve remedied that today. I’m sort of banking on my frying pan getting here in time for me to make dinner before going to work, but assuming that happens I’ll be getting about 2,000 calories for the day. Could I be consuming more given my level of physical activity? Yes, absolutely, by I’m from Los Angeles and I hold low BMI is high esteem.

The more I think about it, the more appealing it sounds to make a YouTube channel and start vlogging in addition to this. I’ve got a lot that I’m doing in terms of physical exercise and reading that it would be insanely easier to tell you about via video. Then I’d have to edit it and make myself presentable, though, which are the two daunting aspects of vlogging that have kept me away thus far. *sigh*

What the hell? Why not?: Keto Day 2

Okay, so it’s more like Day 1 than Day 2, but I already committed with the title of the last post, so we’re all just going to have to live with it.

I went out to see my coworkers perform in their family band last night, and they kicked ass, and I had three beers and a shot of whiskey over the course of my time there. Also, as part of their show, one of them tore open a piñata and threw the candy all over the audience (rock and roll, motherfucker). So, in solidarity with the rest of the folks there, I ate some of the ground candy. It was a necessity. But today I’m totally on track, and I’ve got all my meals planned out (you can see the breakdown in the photos below). The only thing I’m not getting enough of percentage-wise is fat, which is insane because I feel like I’m eating so much fat already. I’ll have to come up with creative solutions for that.

They weren’t kidding when they said you pee a lot on this diet. I mean, I drink a lot of water and a lot of coffee, but still… this is ridiculous. I’ve been adding Himalayan salt, cayenne pepper, and freshly squeezed lemon juice to my water in the hopes that my body is able to absorb as much of it as possible, but clearly a lot of it is still going straight through me. I don’t feel dehydrated, so I must be compensating okay, but we’ll find out after I do my exercise and go to my Jiu-Jitsu class this evening.

HUGE shout out to the MyFitnessPal app that I mentioned in a previous post. They added a feature that allows you to scan the barcode of your foodstuffs, then it pulls up all of the nutritional information for that food. Holy shit – what a game changer. I expected to be spending considerably more of my time today typing in individual values, and now I get to waste that time more enjoyably.

I know I just started, but so far I’m a fan of keto. I don’t feel any crazy urges, and I enjoy and feel sated by what I’m eating. We’ll see how well that enthusiasm holds up. 🤞

Pretty pie charts make it all worthwhile.

What the hell? Why not?: Keto Day 1

Many healthy eating experts recommend going through your kitchen, and getting rid of all the enticing, bad-for-you foods. Luckily, having just moved, and being a single male who doesn’t often go to the grocery store, my fridge and my cupboards were already barren. I figured that Whole Foods was the place most likely to have everything that I was looking for on my shopping list, so I headed north to Evanston this afternoon.

Pretty much everything I purchased goes in the fridge, or at least that’s where I staged it for the sake of the photo. Looks nice, right? Thanks. As you can see if you look closely, I forgot grass-fed butter, which is a staple of any keto diet. Also, I don’t have a frying pan, so there will be a second trip in the near future. I’ll probably also invest in the Bulletproof brand collagen protein powder sometime next week, but that shit’s like $50, so it’ll have to wait.

I’m reluctant to call this Day 1 for a few reasons. First, although I will be eating foods that are strictly within the bounds of the classifier “keto,” I’m not tracking any of my macronutrients today to be sure that I’m getting the percentages that I’m supposed to. Second, I totally railed on a lack of creativity in just titling something Day 1 yesterday. But, ya know… Fuck it.

If you’re at all interested, I put my shopping list (and a couple keto breakfasts I jotted down) at the bottom of this post. I didn’t get everything on it because I felt like I had gotten most of what I was looking for, plus what I did get came out to about $170, which I thought was enough. What I also did was spend a fair amount of time standing in people’s way while I read the nutrition labels of different brands looking for fat content, protein content, carbohydrate content, sugar content, and calories to a lesser extent.

I’m a pretty fit guy and I maintain fairly active lifestyle (walking my dog 3-5 times a day [includes going down and back up 8 flights of stairs], an hour of exercise 4-5 days a week, and I’m on my feet for 8-15 hours 4 days a week at work), so I could pretty reasonably consume 2,900 calories a day, but I don’t wanna, so I’m not gonna. I’ll do closer to 2,000 a day if I can manage it while still hitting all my other markers.

Alright, then! Let’s do this nonsense!

Keto Pregaming

Let me start off by saying that I am not a fan of fad diets. Actually, I’m not even a fan of the word “diet” as it’s used most commonly because I think healthy eating is a lifestyle choice, not a temporary solution to a longstanding problem. That said, I’ve seen a lot of people whose opinions I respect advocate the keto diet, so I thought, “What the hell? Why not?” I’ve even taken “before” photos in the hopes that the “after” photos merit posting here. We’ll see.

So why is this post called “Keto Pregaming” and not “Day 1” or some equally uninspired drivel like that? Well, today I’m cramming as many carbs into my diet as I possibly can. I had a huge slice of lemon bread for breakfast, a thick slice of pizza for lunch, pasta after that, and for dinner I’ll be having the fried bologna sandwich at work, which is on delicious, delicious white bread. My thinking was that I’d really miss all these foods over the next 30 days, but what it’s actually done is show me that I really dislike eating like this – I feel bloated and sluggish. Now I have the added benefit of being excited about this shift in my eating patterns, as opposed to wary.

Also, I felt like it was important to go into this with as much information as possible. I’ve been doing some light studying in the days and weeks leading up to this, but I spent a few concentrated hours looking into the what and the how and some of the science behind this high fat diet.

Keto-deniers (they don’t feel that strongly in most cases, but let’s use divisive language for the fuck of it, shall we?) say that much of the initial weight loss is from water weight. Switching to a significantly lower-carb diet causes your body to use its stores of glycogen, which can cause some pretty serious dehydration, and lead to “Keto Flu,” where you feel overarchingly shitty (nausea, headache, drowsiness, etc). Additionally, increases in endotoxins can cause some pretty serious diarrhea. Finally, some studies suggest that you can lose muscle mass if you eat this way long-term.

If you’re doing it right, there are ways to avoid all of these potential pitfalls. First, make sure that you’re consuming appropriate amounts of magnesium, sodium, and potassium. My methods of choice for doing this includes things like adding some Himalayan rock salt to my water, and eating plenty of avocados (as a someone born and raised in California, this will be a nice return to my roots for me). Taking these steps in addition to drinking a fuck ton of water will make sure your body is able to combat how often you’re peeing and ensure that you’re absorbing as much water as you can in spite of the shift in foodstuffs.

Not a fan of diarrhea? What a coincidence! Neither am I! The solution in this case? Bone broth and collagen protein supplements. These will help to ensure that the mucous membranes in your digestive track are well-maintained, and the endotoxins will be less likely to enter your blood stream, where they become problematic. Plus, who doesn’t love bone broth? It’s delicious.

Finally, I won’t be excluding carbohydrates from my diet completely, and I’ll be making sure to get approximately 0.64 grams of protein per pound of body weight per day. This will give my body plenty of the building blocks necessary to not only maintain, but continue to grow muscle. I’ll be damned if I’m gonna slow down my exercising at this stage.

One more note on all of this: use an app like MyFitnessPal to track your calories and macronutrients throughout the day. This app allows me to make sure I’m getting each of those 108.8 grams of protein per day, and maintaining a ratio of 80% fat – 15% protein – 5% carbs with easy-to-read graphics and pretty pie charts because let’s face it, I’m not doing shit unless pretty pie charts are involved.

Does some of this stuff confuse you? Do you wish I had put links to all of the sources I used to come up with this plan? Too fucking bad! Look it up on your own. As a result of the hours/days/weeks of research I’ve done, I’m going into this thing well informed and with a plan I know will work for me. I’m purposefully excluding all kinds of shit from this little review of my reasoning. If you want to make a lifestyle change like this, know why you’re doing it, and make sure it’s right for you. Or ya know… Just ask me things. That would be fine, too.

Scared Sexless

I am considered to be – and in fact am – a person of considerable sexual prowess. I put in the time and effort to hone my abilities, learn how to read my partner, and maximally utilize my physical abilities for everyone’s benefit. Why is it, then, that when I’m watching videos about optimizing the human experience, I find myself avoiding the topic of sex?

At my core, I am a proponent of everything that they’re saying in the videos. I believe in the healing power of the physical, mental, emotional, and spiritual connection that can only come from intimacy with a partner. I believe that through a physical expression of love, we can connect to higher parts of ourselves. I believe that sex is great! So what the fuck?

I’m struggling to write this because I’ve been pushing it to the back of my mind every time it crops up. I am largely happy in my day to day life, and if I want it, I have access to a nearly endless stream of partners as I am attractive, intriguing, and work in an industry that facilitates meeting a lot of viable candidates (not to mention the various online avenues I could pursue). Something is amiss, and I’m having real trouble putting what that something is into words.

Nearly two years ago, one of my exes and I gave it another shot. We were – in my mind – the meant-to-be-together type. We share a bond that goes beyond time and space. As it turns out, we are not meant to be together in a romantic capacity, and are now incredible friends, but I think the dissolution of our romantic potential really fucked with my head in ways that I haven’t been willing to acknowledge. I have no real desire to reignite that flame because we really did put in the effort, and it drove me to actual madness (viscerally screaming at the top of my lungs and pounding on my steering wheel as I spoke with on the phone toward the end) when it became obvious that no matter what we did, it just wasn’t going to work.

It’s worth noting that since then, I have had meaningful sexual and romantic connections, but I’ve let those flames whither while I pursue other things in my life that are more me-centric. What the fuck is it that I’m looking for? What do I want? Why have I lost connection with my sexual self, and how do I go about reconnecting? Am I just destined to be asexual to some degree now?

My dog certainly eats up a lot of my energy in terms of connecting with people. Today, my friend invited me out to just chill on the beach, and instead of doing that, I’m sitting next to my dog typing this nonsense. I feel small tinges of resentment toward my pup for that, but I know in my heart that I’m using him as a scapegoat, and that there’s something inside me that’s causing this. A sadness, I suppose.

As someone in the night life industry, I often see real love pass between the eyes of two patrons at my bar. I see the connection, the softness, the warmth, the kindness, and the longing as two people sit closely together and talk about the nothings in their day. As I am a student of human emotion, I’m good at mimicking shit like that for short-term gains, but I DON’T WANT THOSE GAINS! (okay, I a little bit want those gains, but I also want other things more).

I want to FEEL what’s behind their eyes. I want someone to FEEL that right back at me. I want that next level shit they’re on.

When I was going to Narcotics Anonymous meetings with some regularity, I was encouraged to find a higher power. Initially, I was resistant to the whole notion because I’m an atheist and that sounded like some theist “get on our bandwagon” bullshit to me, but eventually someone told me that it didn’t have to be God or Jesus or Buddha (let’s be real, most of them were just talking about God and Jesus). It could be anything that was bigger than oneself – anything that served as a reminder that there is more than just the individual. My higher power was Love.

Do I have love in my life? I most certainly do. I have the love of my family and my friends and those are real and I express them on a regular basis with the utmost sincerity and meaning. But it’s not the same. It’s not that earth-shattering, time and space nullifying, universe-connecting kind of shit.

Ultimately, I’m afraid. I’m afraid that I’ll be hurt again. I’m afraid that if and when my life takes me toward my next destination, I’ll have to leave it behind. I’m stopping myself from even the remotest potential of real connection because I don’t want to feel that deep sense of loss that stole my sanity. I’m still hurting from the last one, and the thought of jumping in with both feet again scares the fuck out of me.

Hm. I’ll be honest – that last sentence is not where I expected to end up when I started writing about sex. On my walk home from the coffee shop, I mentally wrote out something much more along the lines of, “orgasm isn’t even what I’m after, it’s the tantric, meditative melding of minds I’m looking for.” Still a good, accurate line, but damn did this go deeper than I thought it would.

I’m scared. I don’t know how to address that, yet, but writing it feels like a step in the right direction. Hopefully the next step will reveal itself sometime soon. Until then – I love you. Thank you for being here.

Author’s Note: Had I stopped there, it would have been 969 words, and that number made me laugh out loud.