It’s Not Keto

What a great day! The sun is shining, the temperature is in the seventies, and I am sitting cooped up inside writing this post. I’m busy eating snacks made with my Keto bread that I baked yesterday. Today, at the Dollar store, I bought a smaller bread pan for my next try. I am convinced that I can make a bread that will satiate my hunger for bread.

It is the time of year when the days grow shorter and the body craves food. I feel like a bear who is eating anything and everything to get ready for winter. The problem is that the bear loses all the weight he put on while he hibernates, but I won’t. My weight and waistline will continue to grow all winter. Unless of course, I fight off the urges and continue with my Keto diet.

Without my bike riding activity, I have packed on an extra thirty pounds and it really affected me in many ways. First, I was so heavy that riding my bike was a great effort. I had to buy clothes that fit at least three times, and I felt crappy all the time. My back aches increased in frequency and severity, nothing I did would make it go away worked. I was afraid to bend over for fear of getting the pain that resembled an ice pick in the back. The more I ate the more I wanted to eat. I was sleepy all the time, even after sleeping for ten hours. I tired easily on walks, therefore I didn’t walk. The weight gain was a death spiral for me. I had to do something.

One of Peg’s grand daughters who is skinny told me she was on a Keto diet. I asked her why she wanted to lose weight when she didn’t have any to spare. She told me it wasn’t for weight loss, but for feeling better. I liked the name Keto and began looking into it. I learned that in my lifetime I had used the Keto diet several times, and each time I lost substantial weight. In my day it was referred to as the low carb diet.

Ketogenic Foods

People now get sick of me telling them “it is not Keto” when they tempt me with some scrumptious pastry or potatoe dish. I do it as a positive reinforcement for myself. I notice that as soon as I stop saying it is not Keto that I begin to cheat. I cheat enough as it is because I refuse to give up drinking wine. I gave up wine for a month and it didn’t affect my weight one ounce, so I continue to drink wine in moderation. I also find myself switching to the hard stuff which is Keto. The hard stuff like vodka or scotch has a noticeable effect on my feelings. Like I get hangovers after a night of martinis. Although I felt weird and had a hangover after drinking more than my usual glass of wine after my last Lions Club meeting.

One day soon I will reach my weight goal, and I wonder what I will do then? In order to stay Keto, I’ll also have to cut calories to match my activity. In other words, I’ll be be starving, and starving is not a good feeling.

What I need is Keto.2

. . . and that is all I have to say about that.

One Lonely Day = 15 Cigarettes

This summer has been wonderful, and strange at the same time. Weather-wise I couldn’t ask for anything better, but Labor Day weekend was a big disappointment. It felt like Frankfort celebrated a weekend off. For forty years we have had a Fall Festival on Labor Day weekend. This year it was cancelled because of COVID. We will eventually recover from this shock, but it may take a long time, like several years.

Suddenly, fall is sneaking in and the weather is changing. Temperatures are dropping rapidly. It seems like I just got acclimated to living in ninety degrees when all of a sudden today it was sixty. Next week we will have some warm days but in general the temps will swing downward. Fall is in the air, the leaves are dropping from the trees and changing color too. Flowers and plant life are withering from the recent drought. I called it sneaking in, but it seems more like a thud, and its here.

The weather change has me thinking about wintering in a warm climate. I haven’t had that urge for several years, but now I do. I need to get away and shock my life into something new. The one problem I have with this plan is that it is the stress of distancing that has caused me to want to seek out a new life somewhere else, and COVID will be with me anywhere in the world I might want to escape to. I have a lot of thinking and researching to do before I make any reservations.

One scary thought is that my friend base in Phoenix is smaller now than it was six years ago. Being alone will not help to improve my attitude at all. I read a short article published in September, 2020 issue of Departures magazine titled “Happiness” by author Eviana Hartman on how happiness affects people’s lives and one sentence stunned me.

“Happy people are less likely to catch a virus, and loneliness can be as damaging to physical health as smoking fifteen cigarettes per day.”

I quit smoking forty-two years ago, and it scares me to know that I can wipe out the benefits by feeling lonely. Loneliness is one of the biggest problems I encountered after each of my life partners died. It took a long time to be happy again, and I worked hard at changing my life in order to reach a happy state. So far, I haven’t reached happiness after Peg’s passing, but it’s only been fourteen months.

All I can say is that I’m working on it, and that is all I want to say about that.

Remembering Etsy

This afternoon I flipped through my card file and the word Etsy flashed past my eyes. Almost instantly I remembered using Etsy to buy something for Peggy. I had heard that people with Alzheimers loved to doodle with things in their hands. Peg was already two years into her decline so I did a little digging and learned about something called a fidget blanket. I searched everywhere and finally found one that I liked on Etsy. I never heard of Etsy before. I decided to try it out. I found a lady in England that made fidget blankets by hand. She incorporated all kinds of gadgets into her design. It took a few weeks to get to us but when it arrived I gave it to Peg who almost instantly latched onto one of the ribbons and wouldn’t let go. Success! It was worth the forty dollars and the long delivery time.

Fidget blanket for people with Alzheimer’s dementia

After that day, it became routine to give Peg her fidget blanket everyday when we sat her in the wheelchair. She found every ribbon, zipper, tinkle bell, buttons and loved the feel of them. What went through her mind when she felt these things one will never know, and I didn’t really care I just loved that she loved the thing.

About four months before she died the fidget blanket fell apart in the washing machine. By that time she was spending less time in the chair, and I regret not having bought another one for her to play with.

Strange how the mind works, just an instant nano-second look at the word Etsy triggered this recollection.

Falling Off the Wagon

Well, yesterday I truly fell off the wagon and hit hard. The KETO wagon is what I refer to. After religiously following a strict KETO diet for weeks, (to be honest I was really only close) what did I do to take such a fall? I cheated and went for a cherry milkshake at an old fashioned soda parlor. God was it good! I haven’t had ice cream or anything sweet for months, but this week I went for it.

It all began mid-week when I cooked a batch of stroganoff. I didn’t even attempt to make it KETO, I used real flour to make the gravy, man was it delicious. Then, to top it off I skipped the lame zucchini wide-noodles and cooked real flour based wide noodles. I’m still reeling in the deliciousness. By yesterday, I craved a summer treat hence the shake.

I’ve been on KETO since last summer and have lost some weight, but for the past six months have not lost an ounce. After analyzing the situation I concluded that I am only thinking I am on KETO, and not really practicing faithfully. I swore that today I would begin anew and really count carbs and calories and stick to low carb fruits and veggies. Except there aren’t too many fruits I can choose from. It seems that all the stuff I love has serious sugar in it. Sugar and KETO are incompatible. Sugar converts into serious carbs.

At least I learned how to make buns that I substitute for bread and they allow me to make a sandwich which I will thrive on. Making the buns using shredded mazzorella, cream cheese, eggs, and almond flour is simple enough and keeps me semi-happy. I was, and still am, a sandwich eater, but the bread part is substituted by lettuce leaves. I now call the sandwich a wrap. I watched a half dozen youtube videos on how to make lettuce wraps and am getting better at making something that holds together fairly well.

KETO is a lifestyle. I don’t like to refer to it as a diet, even though KETO is a way of eating. Actually, it is a lifestyle change on what you use for fuel. Instead of burning carbs I burn fat. A different body chemistry is involved. One benefit I derive from this chemistry is less dependance on insulin to convert carbs into body fuel. Being on KETO as a type 2 diabetic is a good thing, I think.

Since last June, I have shed twenty-five pounds, but I haven’t lost anything in the last six months. What that tells me is that I was more serious when I began and then started playing the system after getting accustomed to the foods. I also drink too much. Alcohol is allowed in strict moderation, but if you’ve been reading my posts you understand that when it comes to imbibing my favorite adult beverages moderation is redefined.

Anyway, beginning today I return to counting carbs, and eating only KETO approved foods, with no cheating. I will measure my ketone level to insure that I am on the right track. I will also remind myself of what is KETO and what is not KETO. Those who know me already know that I will vocally point out a food is “not KETO” then swallow it anyway.

Wish me luck, I’m going for the ring and have set my goal to weigh what I weighed in 1978. Most of us gain a pound a year after adulthood, so that means I am sixty-one pounds over weight. Subtract the twenty-five I’ve lost and I only have thirty six more pounds to go. Oh shit, that means I will weigh what I weighed when I married my first wife when I was a scrawny boney, pimple-faced kid.

March, 1960, University Of Illinois Shequan Parade

Like I said, wish me luck.

Fair Is Fair

Any time we go into a recession or a depression in this country a great number of people suffer. It isn’t easy to cope when you use a salary or a pay check. In order to cope with the situation the government has invented unemployment insurance. It is simple, you are laid off, you apply, and you receive some money, but it is seldom the same money as what you were bringing home. All along I have thought there is a great inequity being perpetrated on the population. There is a segment that is never affected by any kind of economic slowdown, they are the people who work for the government. The argument is that even though we are no longer working police, fire, and emergency services must be available. That might be true, but what about all the non-essential services like the bureaucrats and government officials who contribute zero to the economy? They live off the taxpayer who is now unemployed and can no longer contribute to their support through income tax.

My proposal to even this out is to make these non-essentials take a pay cut during the slowdown just like their non-governmental counterparts. Maybe, just maybe, this pressure on the government might cause the conditions to change. A policy of this nature might make our politicians more sympathetic towards stupid policies like extending the mandated shut downs of businesses to control fake viruses like the COVID-19. Think about a Congressman or Senator getting his pay cut. Any crisis that could be solved by the government would get some serious attention.

In the beginning of the virus I agreed with the shut down. Now that we have more information about it I am totally in favor of opening all businesses, schools, churches, and public gatherings. Why? Because we now know that the virus is not the killer it was being painted to be. In the beginning we had no tests to determine if we had the virus, now we do, and the number of cases keeps growing as more people are tested, but the death rate is still low, and the hospitals can still handle things.

Virus protection infographic. Stop bacteria. Medical examination. Corona virus prevention. Antibacterial concept. Antiviral immunity. Vector illustration.

Some will argue with me that I am a heartless cruel being. That I am a proponent of killing off the older people in the crowd. Frankly, have you seen some of the people we lose all sanity over by keeping them alive? Age wise, I am one of them. I have personally cared for two wives who were in the vulnerable age group. Both could have benefited by a earlier death. My first love, Barbara suffered a heart attack that should have killed her, but science and medicine saved her. I was grateful to still have her. The quality of her life after her release from the hospital was about a one on a scale of one to ten with ten being the best life ever. The complications she lived with for the next two years were many and terrible, but her desire to live out weighed her suffering. Ultimately she realized the life she lived was not worth the effort. One week after she pulled the plug on herself she died. The second wife lived a downhill road with Alzheimer’s. She began losing her memory in 2014, and finally died in 2019 after five years of continuous deterioration. She couldn’t speak, walk, or take care of herself, nor did it bother her to be that way. At the end her body began the downhill slide when her skin deteriorated and she was decaying, but still breathing, and taking some fluids. It wasn’t pretty. Do I sound pathetic? Yes, I do. I loved these women and went out of my way to keep them alive to be with me. I missed them when they finally passed, but death was a gift to them.

I have told this story because I have seen people in nursing homes hanging on but not enjoying life anymore. They suffer but enjoy it. Some of them see it religiously, they suffer because God wants them to. Without suffering they won’t get into heaven.

My current attitude about COVID-19 is that if I get it, so what? Maybe I’ll survive, but if I don’t it is because it is my time to leave earth. I believe that any time man screws with nature as they do with modern medicine we lose something. You will argue with me that modern medicine has extended our life span. Yes, maybe it has, but modern medicine still has a ton of work to do to cure all the diseases that cause death. Each one gets more complicated and expensive to undergo a cure. New diseases are identified everyday, and the job to cure them is monumental. Modern medicine will struggle with saving people with or without COVID.

In the meantime, I will take some precautions to avoid situations that may compromise my health. I will continue to wear a mask in public places where people are close together. It won’t be for my protection it will be for yours. I will use common sense to deal with COVID. I no longer need daily press conference to tell me what is being done to protect me. I read the daily statistics and become confused as to what they mean, therefore I quit looking. The bottom line is that the virus is out there, people will get it, some will get sick, some will die, but the planet will survive. In other words, it is time to use your common sense to guide your life.

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