Food

Life Stuff

I have not been around for a few days. This may be a fairly length blog post, so if you want to know what has happened and what will be happening to me, please read ahead to find out.

First of all, the good things. Tina and I recently returned from our babymoon in San Diego. It was a great last trip before we have the baby. Baby Logsdon is still doing great (although our last ultrasound revealed he was going to be a very LONG baby – I’m not surprised; his mother and I are both six feet tall).

Other good things – my entire family is still with me, even though if things had been just a little different the other day, I couldn’t say that now.

I’ll explain that one, first.

My mother is a Type 2 Diabetic. She was diagnosed when I was in middle school. I’ve watched her struggle with it my entire life.

I got a call from my father at 7:30 a.m. yesterday morning, a Saturday. We were all going to meet up later that morning to go to my nephew Clint’s graduation. He was calling to say they would not be able to make it, and he further explained why.

My mother almost died in bed early Saturday morning. Her sugar crashed in the middle of the night, and she was unable to wake herself up to consume orange juice or something else with sugar. Dad only knew it was going on because he heard her trying to scream to get his attention.

He tried to get her to drink orange juice, but at that point, her sugar was far too low. He called 911, and the paramedics were able to get her stable. She didn’t have to go to the hospital, and now, she is fine.

Her sugar has certainly crashed before, but it has never crashed that drastically or caused her to have that dramatic a reaction.

This is the part that scares me. If my father had not been there, my mother would be dead right now.

Just a few weeks ago, my dad left the house at 2 a.m. for a week straight because a nonprofit agency he is the head of was doing security at the Kentucky Derby. If this had happened then, when my mother was alone, she would have had no one to call 911 for her, and she probably would have laid in bed and died, alone. The nonprofit agency is a Rescue Squad, and that means they frequently go out on calls in the middle of the night to search for people who have been reported missing. If he had been out on a call, she would have died.

I may be 34 years old, but I’m not ready to give up my mom yet. She’s only 67. She should still have many years of life left in her.

I called her Saturday afternoon, and we talked for a while. She knows she has to get her health under control. She did Weight Watchers with me in the past, and she was successful at it. But as circumstances change, she stopped going.

She wants to be around for the birth of my son. I want her around to watch my son graduate college.

She and I are going to start going to Weight Watchers again. There is a meeting in my city every Saturday morning at 10 a.m., so she is going to drive up and we’ll attend together. With the structure of the meetings and the weekly support and weigh-ins, I feel very confident that she’ll overcome this obstacle. I hope, sometime shortly down the road, I can write a blog post about how her type 2 diabetes is completely overcome.

Just as importantly, I know that the group support of Weight Watchers will be useful for me, too.

Something else has been going on, too. Let me explain this one by explaining my thoughts on dieting. (It’s relevant, I promise.)

I am a huge fan of moderation. That’s why I can’t ever subscribe to ONE diet plan, because I want to eat… well, everything. I can’t commit to being vegan forever because I like meat and cheese. I can’t commit to being paleo forever because I like cheese and bread. I can’t commit to Atkins forever because I like fruits, veggies, and bread.

But, that said, there is one food that I will never, ever, ever, as long as I live, consume again.

Artificial sweeteners.

They are literally poison, and I am suffering from the effects right now.

Before I explain, let me give a little back history.

When I was in my mid-teens, I was diagnosed with juvenile rheumatoid arthritis. It primarily affected my upper body, mostly my hands, and it was painful, crippling, and embarrassing. I remember my fingers swelling up so large they wouldn’t bend. I went to a doctor, was put on some anti-inflammatory meds, and by the time I was 15, it was over and in remission.

In my late twenties, I began having pain and swelling in my right knee. I truthfully ascribed it to my obesity, and kept saying, “Well, when I get to goal weight next year, it won’t hurt anymore.”

I’m now 34, and I’m still not at goal weight. My knee still hurts. It typically painfully swells about two to three days out of every ten. The other days, I’m fine. My chiropractor even told me she suspected it wasn’t because of my weight, as if it was, both knees should have been affected. Regardless, she agreed losing weight would help it.

About three and a half weeks ago, I went through a two-day binge of Diet Dr. Pepper. I drank maybe twenty ounces of water over those two days. My food was fine and spot-on. My diet soda consumption was three two-liters over those two days. Not good. It was, in my mind, an acceptable, calorie-free binge.

On day three, I woke up with the most painful swollen knee I have ever experienced. I took four ibuprofen and the hottest shower I could stand to even be able to move around somewhat easily.

My wife has been trying to get me to give up artificial sweeteners for years. I made a very clear association – my sweetener binge led to a swollen knee. I was done.

I threw away my Crystal Light and poured my last 2-liter down the sink. If I want soda, I’ll have the regular kind and count the calories.

Well, an interesting thing happened.

My body lost it’s freaking mind.

My right knee, which is the only joint I’ve been having troubles in for YEARS, decided it wanted company. Left knee. Both ankles. Alternating elbows. At one point, my left elbow was so stiff, I couldn’t straighten my arm out more than about 120 degrees. Two days later, my left elbow was fine and my right elbow was so stiff, I couldn’t touch my right ear.

Oh, and the newest pain to join my old-guy-aches? Fiery hot nerve flare-ups on the back of my left hand.

I was beginning to believe I had developed rheumatoid arthritis, fibromyalgia, or lupus. Or all three. I couldn’t exercise. I could barely walk, and this was with me taking MULTIPLE ibuprofen a day. You know how the bottle says you shouldn’t take more than six a day? Some days, I took sixteen.

I scheduled an appointment with my doctor, fearing the results but knowing I had to do something. But then, on a lark, I visited Dr. Google, and I got the best news I had ever heard.

I wasn’t alone. I probably didn’t have RA or lupus.

I was experiencing the common after effects of going cold turkey on artificial sweeteners.

Except for headaches (which I never get), the symptoms were like a checklist of what was wrong with me. Other people had gone cold turkey and their bodies suddenly hated them. I kept my doctor’s appointment, but I felt a great relief.

But then I got some bad news. Most of these people said it took two to three months to get back to their normal, pain-free lives.

Crap.

So at over two weeks out, I was still hobbling. I was still in extreme pain.

It sucked. My wife and I went to San Diego, and I was in extreme pain for the entire trip.

I did a little research on diets that would help with inflammation.

Time and time again, I kept coming back to various forms of paleo. Give up the grains and the inflammation will disappear.

Paleo, as many of you know, is giving up grains, dairy, and legumes (beans and peanuts).

Last Monday, I decided I would start a paleo-ish diet. I can’t say that I am paleo, because I’m not being too strict on dairy. I don’t really drink cow’s milk anyway, so I have cut that out, but if I want cheese once a week or so, I’ll have it, provided it is a hard cheese. Basically, my “paleo” is giving up grains, legumes, and most dairy. I know some paleo people would call me a heretic, so if people ask, I mostly say I’ve just given up grains.

Giving up legumes is not a big deal. I hate beans and literally eat them only for the health benefits. It’ll be no trouble cutting them out. I do like peanuts (a legume), but I’m going to give them up, too, just because saying sayonara to peanuts or peanut butter won’t be that difficult.

As I said, last Monday, I started giving up all grains, all legumes, and most dairy. By Wednesday, I was taking only two ibuprofen a day. My results were anecdotal only, but I felt SO much better. My daily weigh-ins showed that weight was coming off fairly steadily, too. My suspicion for this? Without eating starches, it is fairly difficult to eat high calorie. I was eating proteins and fats (along with LOTS of veggies and some fruits), and I had no trouble getting satisfied and keeping my caloric intake low. It was clear that I was walking better. I still had soreness, but I felt tons better.

You’d think it would be easy to just keep giving up grains, wouldn’t it? Well, I gave up grains for five days, and I fell off the wagon on Friday. I ate a slice of pizza and had two breadsticks.

By Saturday morning, I was a crippled old man again. It hurt to lay in bed. It hurt to sit on the couch. It hurt to hobble around the house.

Dare I say it? Grains are the devil.

This can’t be a coincidence. Tina asked me if I thought it might be psychosomatic.

If it is, sign me up for crazy pills because I’ll take relief in whatever healthy form I can get it.

I plan to keep eating grain-free. I know that I will eventually have bread again. I’m hoping that someday, I’ll be light enough with healthy joints so I can occasionally have a slice of bread or pizza without being crippled. But for now, at my weight, that is not an option, so if my options are pain-free days or eating bread, I’ll take the pain-free days.

Upcoming Plans

I need to blog more often. It keeps me sane, and it provides an outlet. I know this blog isn’t widely read, but it’s useful for me. (And to those of you who comment or read without commenting, I thank you for being there for me, even if we’ve never actually spoken.)

I’ve come up with a schedule for blogging. I want to blog daily, at least until such point that it becomes a chore. I have a proposed schedule I’m going to try.

Monday – Motivational Monday
Tuesday – Healthy Recipe
Wednesday – Wednesday Weigh-In
Thursday – Geeked Out Weight Loss Review
Friday – Open Letters (a.k.a. Stellar Path Stalks Celebrities)
Saturday – Photog Friday (a photo recap of the previous day)
Sunday – Horror Movie Weight Loss Review

As other things occur that I want to blog about, I am, of course, at liberty to abandon this schedule as I see fit.

Starting this upcoming Saturday, my mother and I will begin attending Weight Watchers. I will continue eating grain-free, and I’m still trying to decide if I’m going to post my Weight Watchers weigh-ins (late on Wednesday, obviously) or if I’ll just continue weighing in at home.

In Conclusion

I realize this was a long, slightly random post about a lot of different things, but I had a lot to get out at once. Thanks for reading.

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A New Way of Thinking Weigh-In

Just so you know, I am still doing PhysicsDiet. I am keeping up with my daily weight. But I missed my weekly weigh-ins, so here we go again!

May 2, 2012
Weight: 362.2
Change from All-Time Highest: -40.6 pounds! (Woo hoo!)

I’m not going to post a change from my last weigh-in, as that was SEVERAL weeks ago, but my weight is significantly down. It’s finally starting to sink in. I have to change more than just my diet. I have to change my thinking, because otherwise, this won’t be a permanent change, and it has to be.

There is only one thing I’m doing different at the moment, and it’s very grade school, but so far, it’s working.

Tina and I are eating the rainbow.

If you have kids, you know what this means. If you don’t, it’s basically this.

We eat vegetables and fruit in the color of the rainbow. Just by making sure we get in all five colors (technically, there are seven, of course, but blue, indigo, and violet are lumped together), we automatically ensure we get in at least five servings.

For instance, for red, today, I ate strawberries and tomatoes. For yellow, I had a banana and an ear of corn. For orange, I ate a sweet potato and some oranges. For green, I’m going to have cabbage with dinner. And for blue/violet, I had purple grapes.

Understand, this is by no means ALL that we are eating. It is just a surprisingly easy, fun way to get our fruits and vegetables in. And yes, it’s lame, but I’m a dad now. I think I have to be lame.

Lastly, I want to point out a great sale going on right now for anyone who is thinking they may want to start their own business. I JUST now bought this package myself. Only72.com periodically hosts 72-hour sales for a HUGE package of various ebooks. This package is all about small business start-ups (essentially). This is the second one I’ve taken advantage of, and while I just got it, if it is even an iota as good as the first one I took purchased, it will be worth every penny. The links in this paragraph are my affiliate link, but if you are wary about that, you can google Only72 and find it pretty quickly. This one has a huge perk – you are going to be getting an actual hard-cover in-your-hands book as well.

I am picking up this package for a few reasons. One, my wife wants to become an event planner, and that is definitely a small business. Two, I want to be published. And three, I’d like to grow my blog. There are literally thousands of reasons why this sale might appeal to you, but it’s almost over. As of the time this is published, you only have about sixteen hours left. At 12 pm (noon) Eastern on May 3, 2012, this sale ends. Take advantage before it’s too late!

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Breads of Panem: District 1 Brown Sugar Cinnamon Knots

I am absolutely, positively infatuated with The Hunger Games.

Katniss is my hero.

I grew up on a farm with a dad who hunts, and this summer, I’m going to have him refresh me on archery. (I learned how to shoot a bow fairly young, but I certainly didn’t keep up with it as I’m just not a hunter.)

The movie was great. The book, as the book always is, was better.

The universe created by Suzanne Collins is a fascinating place.

On my 35 Goals Before I Turn 35, I mentioned that I wanted to bake the 13 Breads of Panem (one for each of the 12 districts and the Capitol).

If you have read the books, you know that bread, in the Hunger Games universe, is life. Quite literally. Katniss’s entire outlook on living was changed by a loaf of bread. She was thanked with bread. Her fellow tribute from her district is a baker.

Bread is a big deal.

But what got me really interested was the fact that the characters, in the first book, were discussing how each of the 12 Districts of Panem produce a different type of bread. Only fourare described. District 3’s bread is described as bite-sized, square-shaped rolls. District 4 is fish-shaped with a fishy, salty taste and a green tint. District 11 is dark, crescent-shaped rolls with seeds. And lastly, District 12, home of our heroine, is just meager drop biscuits. Although we weren’t privy to their conversation, Peeta and Katniss discussed how the qualities of the districts coincided with the type of bread they made.

Okay, if you haven’t read the books, at this point, you probably think they are only about bread and the Hunger Games must be some reality television show about baking. It isn’t. I promise. Read the books. You won’t regret it. (And I’ll try to avoid spoilers in my descriptions.)

I’m by no means the first person to try to recreate the food of Panem. Admittedly, most recipes I’ve seen involve reproducing groosling (a type of bird), the lamb stew that Katniss raved about, or the very unique fishy bread of District 4.

As I mentioned, I want to create 13 breads in all, and I am going to start with District 1.

District 1 is the district that produces luxury goods for the Capitol. As described in the books, the citizens of District 1 are extremely loyal to the Capitol. Winning the Hunger Games is a huge honor for people from District 1, so much so that children there train to complete. While in other districts, becoming a tribute basically means becoming a corpse, in District 1, it is a thing of envy.

They are well-fed in District 1.

District 1 produced such tributes as Glimmer (super hottie) and Marvel (bastard who killed… well, just read the book.)

I had nothing to go on from the books to make their bread. So, knowing that they were close to the Capitol and created luxurious things, I envisioned their bread as being less of a dinner staple and more of a treat.

As such, I present to you my take on the bread of District 1.

Brown Sugar Cinnamon Knots

The recipe was adapted from one given by Elise at Hungry Hungry Hippie. Modifications are my own.

1. Mix together 1 ½ cups of warm water, 1 tablespoon of sugar, and 1 packet (or 2 ¼ teaspoons) of active yeast. Stir together and let sit for about five minutes until bubbles form on the surface of the water.
2. Add in 2 cups of all-purpose flour and 2 ½ cups of white whole wheat flour. (Rather than make the entire batch out of all-purpose, I thought that District 1 might have to supplement cheaper flour. Even if they make luxury goods there, their products still have to go to the Capitol first.) To this, add 1 teaspoon of salt and 2 tablespoons of oil. (I used olive oil.)
3. Knead all this together. Knead hard. If it gets too dry, add a little more water. Be VERY sparing with your water. Mine was a big ball of hard, dry dough, so I wet my hands with warm water and resumed kneading. Just the water on my hands was plenty to get it where it needed to be. Mold it into a ball.
4. Grease a large bowl with oil, put the dough ball in it, cover with a towel, and let rise in a warm place for two hours. (Be warned – because of the whole wheat, it won’t rise as much as all white flour would.)
5. After two hours, punch the dough down and form back into a ball. Let it rise again for one hour.
6. At this point, you have a big wad of dough. Take a cookie sheet and either grease lightly or place down parchment paper. Tear off chunks of dough, roll out into “snakes” (you know, like you did with Play-doh as a kid), and sprinkle with brown sugar. (I kept a bowl of brown sugar near me, and I dipped each snack in the dry brown sugar.) Then, tie it into a knot. Don’t worry if it isn’t pretty. They’ll rise as they bake and still turn out awesome.
7. Once you’ve made your knots (I ended up with 15), brush with melted butter and then sprinkle cinnamon on top.
8. Stick your rolls into a 425 degree oven for 15 minutes (or until brown on top). Fifteen minutes was perfect for me.

Each knot works out to around 250 calories. As with all treats, enjoy in moderation.

Enjoy the bread of District 1.

District 2 coming soon!

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368 Weigh-In: The Easter Aftermath

Physics Diet has finally given me the reward of ticking off one more pound on my average weight. In fact, this morning, with today’s weigh-in, I am now at 367.92.

If you aren’t familiar with Physics Diet, you may think it sounds like I only lost one pound this week. I did not. In fact, my weight dropped from 369 (the start of my Physics Diet experiment) to 366.2, a loss of 2.8 pounds. For me, that’s freaking awesome. Heck, for anybody, that’s freaking awesome in my book.

I’m still quite content to celebrate my one pound gone, though. As time progresses, my Physics Diet numbers will speed up until they have “caught up” with me. Basically, as I enter more data points (i.e. – daily weights), the system becomes a little more accurate. I’d wager that my next pound will come a little quicker than one week.

You can see in the chart below that my weight (the bottom of the green) is a bit lower than the average (the black line).

But regardless, 369 is gone! Goodbye 369! Goodbye and good riddance! You will no longer torment my joints and make me sweat. And in the next two years, I will say goodbye to 189 more of your brothers. (Holy crap, 189 is a big number. I need to lose more than I want to weigh.)

I’m pretty proud of myself for surviving Easter. Easter is usually an excuse to eat a lot of chocolate bunnies and, my weakness, the Cadbury crème egg.

My indulgence this weekend? A handful of jelly beans.

Screw you, not-so-good-tasting chocolate bunny! (Seriously – they never even taste good. Maybe I’m a chocolate snob? We’ll talk when Godiva makes bunnies.)

My next indulgence? Well, my birthday is in exactly ten days. I plan to celebrate my birthday without binging. Besides, 34, 33, what’s even the difference? I’ve never been a huge birthday person anyway. My mom did all the work on that day, anyhow. I just showed up.

I do have a babymoon coming up in a few months. (For those not in the know, a Babymoon is a lamely-named last solo vacation parents take before their first child is born. We’re going to San Diego!)

So, San Diego might be an excuse to binge (or at least eat too much). For this vacation, I pledge to do a LOT more exercising than usual and watch my food intake. I want to weigh less when I come home than when I left. Let’s see how that goes.

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Vlog 2: A Breakthrough

I would have come up with a witty title, but something so big happened today, I can’t. It just is what it is, and it’s huge.

Basically, I had a significant breakthrough in my “dieting” viewpoint.

If you are in a place where you can’t watch the vlog, this is it in a nutshell. (And would you watch it for me later? Please?)

Basically, I shot my calorie budget for the day early. By noon. Ordinarily, on days when I eat too much, I just view the day as lost, don’t exercise, and I plan to start over tomorrow.

Except today… I didn’t.

Even though my calories were shot, I still exercised. I exercised hard.

I don’t even know if I can express my excitement at this breakthrough. Some of you are probably saying, “Yeah, so what?” Well, for me… this is huge. Gargantuan. Life changing, even.

I’m very proud of myself right now.

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Randomness

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Weigh-Ins
12-31-13 - 412.0
1-3-14 - 407.0 (-5.0 pounds total)