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It’s been two weeks of no carbs.  What an interesting ride.  I am not going to lie, there are a lot of foods I do miss.  First of all, bee r–Liquid bread as I have heard it called, and the second tacos! My first craving, popcorn.  At the mall with my son and he wanted some of that gourmet popcorn stuff.  Damn it smelled so good.  I didn’t have any though.

I made hamburgers for the family.  Though I thoroughly enjoyed the hamburger patty, cheese, etc.  I missed that burger setting inside a soft bun with mayonnaise, etc. nom. I am still good though, I am not close to giving this up.

So what is it that I am not giving up on?  It’s a ketogenic diet. The ketogenic diet is a high-fat, adequate-protein, low-carbohydrate diet that in medicine is used primarily to treat difficult-to-control (refractory) epilepsy in children (1).  Do I have epilepsy, no, but this is a life choice that I am making to be healthier and hopefully be able to maintain my weight better.  The diet forces the body to burn fats rather than carbohydrates (glucose).  The body does this naturally by a process known as ketosis.

Ketosis is a state where the body gets it energy from ketones instead of glucose. Ketones are created from fats and glucose is provided by sugars and carbohydrates.  There is a lot of information about a ketogenic diet, my main source is the keto sub reddit.  I highly recommend you start with the FAQ.

So why did I chose this? There were two main reasons.  The first is that I know someone who has been following the diet for six months and has done quite well on it. Not only has there been weight loss, but a great up-tick in available energy.  The second is that my doctor had instructed me to cut out all bakery goods.  I had slight high cholesterol and blood pressure and he mentioned that glucose created by the breads, etc. can increase cholesterol in the body.  This information and all that I have read about a low carb, high fat diet prove to me that this is worth doing.  Plus, since I am not a sweets person, eating meat, leafy vegetables, and fats are all the things I really enjoy eating.  This is what has made this new way of eating so easy for me.

So, how are the results, well, flat. Though this is somewhat expected, especially since I lost a weekend on two weeks into this.  It was a company outing and there was much whiskey involved.  🙂

Over the first week I lost 8 pounds (I suspect water weight) and a noticeable slimming in my face.  I have stayed pretty stable at this weight the rest of the time.  Even after that weekend, I returned to that weight the next day.

I started this with the thought of how I felt in one month.  If things are going well I will continue, if not I will reanalyze things.

How have these last few weeks gone? Besides being a bit tired (which is more that a lack of sleep than anything else) this Keto Flu everyone talks about has not bothered me.  I get the occasional headache, but that is about it.  Perhaps my reading and keeping electrolytes up is keeping it away.  Of course I am also worried I am doing it all wrong and not achieving Ketosis at all!  Since Keto flies in the face of what doctors have told us to do since the 60’s there is always the worry, if you do this wrong you will mess yourself up. The science doesn’t lie, I will be fine.

 

I am not going to get into details now, but basically I have changed my diet to remove almost all carbohydrates.  The plan is to consume 20g of carbs or less a day.   Some will know this as Keto. I am trying to record my experience but have no idea how well I will keep up with posts.

September 25, 2015

My first day started out real easy, I ordered an omelet from the little place on the first floor.  I had them put bacon, spinach and mushrooms in it.  Besides them overcooking the eggs (so many places do), it was good. Well, I love eggs :).

By the time I got to lunch I could feel my sugar levels drop and I was getting a bit of a headache.  I decided to head home for lunch.  There was a good amount of chicken left over from the other night.  I warmed it up with some coconut oil and giardiniera.  I poured it over a pile of mixed dark greens.  It was a good lunch. I can get used to this.

After lunch I was already getting a little foggy and I could feel a difference.  The difference, obviously, is that I have consumed less than 10mg of carbohydrates today.  And usually by this time I would be way over 100mg.

Reading Reddit I checked what was needed to keep the symptoms down.  I went over to Meijer and picked up some supplies.  Light salt for the sodium and potassium, magnesium supplement and some nuts and seeds to snack on.  I can’t wait for dinner.

For dinner a 1/3 pound turkey burger w/ muenster cheese on a bed of spinach.  I also added half an avocado and drizzled olive oil on the spinach.  I have one question, How the hell do you measure a cup of spinach? I don’t get it. It is leaves and doesn’t really fit in a cup.  I assume you are not to stuff it in the cup. It should probably be weighed though I don’t know what that weight should be.  I am sure I ate more that the three cups I recorded, but I guesstimated this one.

I felt good after dinner and quite satisfied. A few hours later the headache returned lightly  I wasn’t drinking much water and did feel thirsty and started drinking a lot again.  Overall, a good first day.

So my macros ended up a little off today, but I don’t think they are too bad for first day.  Most of the carbs came from all the spinach.  What can I say, I love spinach (and broccoli!).  Looking again I forgot to subtract fiber, so much better than I first thought.

  • Carbohydrates: 17g (3 under)
  • Protein: 102g (12 over)
  • Fat 102g
  • Calories 1416 (257 under)

I came in  under calories, which is always good.  I will work on the other numbers as I learn to portion out the food better.  I am actually looking forward to tomorrow.  🙂

And yes you measure greens by weight, and the weight is on the bag.  For example the spinach I eat is 85g per 1.5 cups.

September 26, 2015

Day two, and it is the weekend, Saturday.  So far this is pretty darn easy, the foods I am able to eat I trues love to eat and haven’t been able to on current diets and instructions from my doctor based on my past eating habits.

I started the morning with another omelet, which I made myself.  The omelet contained mushrooms, bacon and spinach.  And this time the eggs were not over cooked.  I went shopping today to get food for the week.  I obviously picket up a bunch of meat and fish.  In addition I needed some “regular” food for my sons.  There is no way they are giving up carbs and I can have them ingest so much fat and eat the carbs, that would not be good for them.

When I got home I put the groceries away and cooked the pound of bacon I purchased from the deli.  There were two pieces which didn’t fit on the tray (I bake bacon) which became my lunch.  I cut up the two pieces of bacon and fried them.  Added a tablespoon of olive oil and mushrooms.  I took all of this and poured it over one and one-half cups of spinach.  It was quite tasty.  I still feel that the saturated fat of bacon is not good for you, regardless of what they say.  I am sure this may change over time.  Tough for now, it still doesn’t feel right, but it sure tastes good!

Yellow fin tuna for dinner. Damn I over cooked it again. :(.  With a side of broccoli with butter (real butter!!).  I know I need to add more fat to my meals, but it is going to take some time to get used to.  Going over calories doesn’t seem to be as big of an issue from when I was eating carbohydrates. What I am having an issue with is protein as I blew that number again today.  I need to cut back on the meats a bit and consume more fats.

Today’s totals:

  • Carbohydrates: 18g (2 under)
  • Protein: 117g (27 over)
  • Fat 73g
  • Calories 1541 (257 under)

I have read that consuming too much protein can knock you out of ketosis (or keep you from entering ketosis).  Since I keep going over I worry that I am not doing myself a good service.  The issue is that extra amino acids can be converted to glucose and that is exactly what we don’t want in our system. Glucose raises insulin levels and insulin will store the fat we have been consuming in fat stores while our bodies use the glucose for energy.

September 27, 2015

I will spare you the details from today.  Basically it was a great day, if this new way of eating is for real, it is all for me. I can do this! I hit my macros well today.  Low on calories, but honestly I can’t eat any more.  The food is so satisfying it really is difficult.

Today’s totals:

  • Carbohydrates: 11g (9 under)
  • Protein: 96g (4 under)
  • Fat 114g
  • Calories 1445 (214 under)

There is no doubt, drink water, water, water and more water.  Keeping my fluids and electrolytes up has kept me feeling pretty good.  No real bad headaches or fogginess.

Tomorrow is Monday and my first workweek following this new regime. It will be interesting on how I will do.  Adding a 10 hour day of work changes things and I am not one to eat out and haven’t really figured out how to do that.  Eating out is just too expensive as well.  If I get in a good breakfast I can probably make it to dinner time.  It is pretty much what I did today only breaking down around 16:00 needing a snack.  Next post about this will be on how my workweek(s) goes/go and more details on what I am doing.

A tall high-five to the employees at Double Fine.  That cool indie game company out of San Francisco headed up by the legendary Tim Schafer.  Why? do you ask. Well let me tell you.  

 

My eldest son just finished the sixth grade where he was in the gifted program.  This year his teacher decided to try the Genius Hour program in her classroom.   Genius hour is a movement that allows students to explore their own passions and encourages creativity in the classroom.  It provides students a choice in what they learn during a set period of time during school. The teacher planed to have a few Genius Hours throughout the year.  The first two Genius hours the students may pick any subject that they don’t already know about.  The third Genius hour the students needed to pick a future career.  After the students learn about their subject they put together a report and short presentation to explain what they learned, etc. to the rest of the class.

Genius Hour Logo

For his first Genius Hour he chose ink as a subject to learn about.  He never really said why, “just because I was interested in it”, he would say.  Okay, cool.  He sure has brought up some interesting ink facts over the last few months I must admit.  I never did see his presentation, but I believe he received a perfect score.

His second Genius Hour was on building games in Unity3d.  He went through one of their tutorials to build a top-down space shooter game.  This was followed by a presentation of what he did and what he learned. One conclusion of his project he discovered he prefers is creating content and story-lines over hacking on code.

Space shooter imageIt’s his third Genius hour, future career, that I am writing about here.  The teacher had the students research the chosen career and interview someone in that field. My son chose, “Senior Developer at an Indie Game Company.”  As a programmer myself, this sounded interesting.  And who wouldn’t want to create games for a living? I know I would love to! It seems natural that he would pick game development of some type. Since he was very young, at least three, he would make up games all the time to play with people.  His Grandmother Debbie played these games with him the most.  She would say they are really creative, though, of course, skewed for him to win.  😉  He has continued to create games with parents, friends, neighborhood kids, etc. and they are much more fair now (so we think… j/k).

As time went on an his deadline came closer I kept asking him how things are going.  He usually responded that he was researching about the job but had not found anyone to interview.   I thought he may be able to interview me, though honestly I am, at best, an aspiring game developer.  I thought of a few friends at work, but they didn’t fit well either.  Until one day I thought of Double Fine. Oh that would be perfect!

I first heard of Double Fine through their Kickstarter, “Double Fine Adventure“.  I have always loved Tim DoubleFine logoSchafer’s games and the fact he wanted to raise money to build one without the bureaucracy and bullshit of production companies. I’m all for it, sign me up!  On top of that they planned on filming the making of the game and provide that movie to backers.  When I saw this, I had to have a copy of the movie. Mostly because I hoped it could give an inside view for my son on what goes in to these computer games he loves to play and design.

So my next question was, how to contact them?  I started with the basics, the about/contact page on their website.  I found a general email address and started crafting an email.  It was a horribly written email, I have no idea what I was smoking at the time. My wife still loves to rib me about my appalling use of the English language.  Though this didn’t matter.  I sent the email on Friday, April 25th at 17:32 Central Time.  I didn’t expect to here back from anyone until the following week.  By 18:02 that same day I received a response which started out with:

“I’ve forwarded your e-mail to the whole company and there are already a few that are more than happy to oblige. You should be getting a separate e-mail from one soon.”

What!? Are you kidding me? That is freak’n awesome!  I really didn’t think anyone would really be interested.  I was flat out wrong.  A few seconds later I received an email From Ben Burbank, a senior developer at Double Fine.  Him and another showed interest and agreed to an interview.  After a while there where a few more who were interested as well.  At this point I was kind of hoping to hear form Tim himself, though I knew that was a pretty tall order.  The overall response from the company’s employees was so warm.  They expressed so much interest in helping.  It was refreshing very appreciated.

I had my son plan out the time and interview with Ben and others.  He needs to learn these things, I got him the contact, he can run with it.  Which he did pretty well.

The day of the interview Ben and others spent close to one and one-half hours on Skype with my son.  That was so completely awesome.  I am so happy I reached out to Double Fine, the results turned out better than I had hoped.

My son finished his interview, wrote up his paper and completed his presentation all on time.  He “winged” the presentation, which I wasn’t too happy about.  Though he needs to learn in his own way.  His score reflected his input.

It is now a couple of weeks into Summer break and he has not stopped creating.  He put together a mod pack for Minecraft to design some mini games around. And just today, designed some floor game using dice and army men which he said he really liked the outcome of and plans on writing up rules/instructions.

Needless to say, but I will anyway, I am so proud of my son.

I have real simple advice for him, “Never stop being awesome.” Everything else will fall in to place.

 

To the great people of Double Fine:

Thank you so much for taking time out of your day, your life, to give a little of yourself for the benefit of my son. I really appreciate you. And hey, you never know, maybe one day he may be the Senior Developer in an Indie Game Company at your company.  🙂

If you are every in the Chicago area, give me a call, I’ll buy you a drink.

 

I had a bit of a realization today and I am not exactly sure what my next step should be.

I make a pretty decent living for what I do.  I work hard and provide value to my employer.  It is no secret that I have been looking to expand my professional experience within this or another company, though finding a new career has proven to be much more difficult than I could imagine.

After a recent interview, which I thought went really well (and was told, ‘thank you but not a good fit’) I had a conclusion.  I am really good at what I do and have been paid accordingly for it. Though to go somewhere else and ask for the same salary the employers are looking with someone with more experience driving businesses.  I have worked more hands-on and have not been looked to for big-picture ideas and scope.   I can have all the ideas and passion in the world, but without the experience, it seems no one is going to take a chance on me.  And why should they, there are another 105 people applying for the same position.

So now my next question for myself is, what is your next step to move toward a better career path (a personal target condition)?

 

It’s Earth Day which has grown into Earth Week.  Hopefully by the time my kids are my age it will be Earth Month or even Earth Year! I mean it needs to be part of our everyday lives.Earth Picture

So for Earth Day I have a list of 25 ways to help keep this beautiful blue ball stay that way.

  1. Recycle all the paper, plastic, glass and metal products you can.
  2. Always put garbage in its proper place–garbage can or recycling bin.
  3. Write or draw on both sides of a piece of paper before recycling it.
  4. Print sheets of paper from your computer only if you really need them.
  5. Use sponges, rags and cloth napkins instead of paper products.
  6. Carry your lunch in a reusable box or bag.
  7. Bike, walk or ride the bus instead of taking the car. Plus its cheaper than the gym.
  8. Check to see that your car’s tires are properly inflated.  I hear nitrogen assists with gas mileage as well.
  9. If the car you are in is going to be stopped for more than a minute ask the driver to turn it off.  Probably not at stoplights though.
  10. Replace burnt-out bulbs at home with compact fluorescent light (CFL) bulbs. I hear these may contain mercury, any truth to that? Can they be recycled?
  11. Turn off the lights, computer, radio, stereo and TV when you leave a room.
  12. Sit near a window when you read instead of turning on a light
  13. Set the thermostat a little lower in the winter and a little higher in the summer.
  14. Wash clothes in cold water and hang them out to dry.
  15. Don’t turn the dishwasher on until it is full.
  16. Take short showers to save energy and water.
  17. Turn off the faucet while you brush your teeth.
  18. Put leftover food in reusable containers, not in plastic wrap or foil.
  19. Wash and reuse glass jars, plastic containers and plastic utensils.
  20. When shopping, look for items made out of recycled materials.
  21. Bring your own reusable bags when shopping.
  22. Mend and repair clothes and toys rather than buying new ones.
  23. Create a compost pile of food scraps and plant cuttings
  24. Buy food at local farmers’ markets.
  25. Volunteer for community events, such as a cleanup day at the park.

How many of these do you follow regularly?

Any you disagree with?

Happy Earth Day and remember to take care of our home!

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