Monday, November 26, 2012

Low Carb Holidays - Keeping Everybody Happy

This wasn't our Thanksgiving meal, but it's close. 

We tried to do a low carb holiday this Thanksgiving.  There were just to be four of us for dinner.  I’ve lost fifty pounds on low carb and am stalled right now. My brother has lost fifty pounds, on low carb, but had to fight with his doctor to do it because he had quadruple bypass surgery in 2010. He’s still on a statin and both docs won’t let him off. My sister-in-law has lost thirty pounds on low carb.  We were having one guest who is diabetic and who suffers from GERD. So we were tasked with getting dinner ready by no later than 6pm.  This is hard for my sister-in-law and I since I live about an hour away and am not a morning person and they were going to 9:00am Mass and probably wouldn’t be home until about 10:30am anyway.
I was shooting for 10:30am, but got there at 11am. Not too bad in our book. One time my sister-in-law and I goofed around on Thanksgiving morning, going to her classroom where she teaches to check on a fish, and I think we shopped a bit too. By the time we had everything ready to eat, it was 9:30pm.  My brother was not happy. Although, I will say, that no one helps us with dinner. We make my brother stuff the turkey, but mostly he gets to watch football and complain about our tardiness.  That 9:30pm Thanksgiving was our worst record. So we always feel better if we can beat that one.
So after unloading my car and getting my dog settled in, it was about 11:30am by the time I dropped the butter into a bowl so it could soften for the pie crust.
I used Low Carb bread from Julian Bakery for the stuffing along with the usual sausage stuffing mixture. I knew when I switched from trying to tear the bread into pieces to cutting it with scissors because it was so tough, that I had bought way too much bread.  This stuff was not going to mash down into nothing like regular bread.  To Julian Bakery’s credit, they listened to complaints about their former recipe for low carb bread breaking apart too easily, however, now the stuff is so chewy and rubbery that even with small bites and lots more chewing than usual, it’s like swallowing foam rubber – kind of dry and scratchy.  I hadn’t tried the new formulation prior to Thanksgiving, so I didn’t know this going in.  Anyway, needless to say the flavor was good, but the texture did not work for any of us. I thought it was okay, but I wouldn’t make it again. 
My brother said that he never wanted to try to do a low carb holiday again.  When we questioned him about each dish, everything including the pies was okay with the exception of the stuffing and the biscuits. The biscuits surprised me, because he had liked the biscuits when I had made them before.
Holidays on low carb are all about compromise. So my idea for next year’s celebration would be to use regular bread in the stuffing, but only a quarter as much as I usually use.  Normally I use two loaves of bread if I make the stuffing the carb filled way, so half a loaf of bread and then maybe chop up some apples and throw in some craisins to make up the missing volume with something that has some nutritional value and is not just glucose and all the bad stuff that’s in the engineered wheat that’s only available now.  Maybe some nut meal added to the stuffing would work too.  Or hey, just some chopped nuts.
The menu was turkey stuffed with sausage dressing made with low carb bread, mock potatoes – cauliflower mashed with sour cream and cheese with bacon bits crumbled on top, cheese biscuits made with Carbquik,  and steamed green beans.  Beforehand we had parmesan crisps with flavored cream cheese for dipping and some nut crackers along with some cream cheese stuffed olives. For dessert we had made sugar free pecan pie, pumpkin pie, and dutch apple pie.  I still want to tweak the crusts on those pies, and should have doubled the topping for the dutch apple pie, but they were good.
One of my brother’s arguments for just having the traditional feast and not worrying about carbs is that he has had success with having one day a week where he can eat anything he wants. My sister-in-law was quick to point out that his idea would be fine, if there weren’t a ton of leftovers so that meant you’d be eating a bunch of carbs for several days. We’re just trying to minimize the impact. My argument against carbing out on holidays is that the one day a week pass doesn’t work for me. One meal a week, but not an entire day can work for me, but it’s not optimal. Even with what we were doing I knew we were eating way more carbs than I normally would, so it felt like a treat to me, even though the stuffing sucked.
So that’s the plan going forward. I think I will still make the biscuits because those suckers were gone by the next day and if my brother wants regular biscuits, he can make them. Just pop open a can. If you’re going to complain, then make what you want, I say. I’m willing to compromise to a certain point, but I expect the same willingness from the opposing side. 
The other thing I will say is that I’m doing low carb not just to lose weight but to eat healthier and while I admit that a treat or small break from time to time is not going to kill me, I want to err on the side of health, even on Thanksgiving. Why do that to your body in the name of celebration. I’d rather drink my carbs. Yeah, that’s bad too, but if you’re doing both like we were, I’d rather cut out the sugar and flour, but that’s me. I know Thanksgiving is for families, but even my nephew who is on a baseball scholarship is low carb too.  But I will try to compromise.  And if the next stuffing recipe doesn’t work, then I’ll make mine in a separate dish and he can make his.
As a final note we decided that because my brother does not like white meat, that next year we will just make turkey thighs and layer them over the dishes of stuffing while they cook. That could work for two kinds of stuffing. Yay! But like I said, I will make mine and whoever wants the diabetic coma shock version, can make theirs. 

Friday, November 16, 2012

Technological Difficulties

As you know I hate technological difficulties. I’m good at it. Hating them that is. Not really doing anything about it. Avoiding the problem for weeks including (gasp) retrying something, because if I try it, then I will know that I have to do something out of my comfort zone, like go somewhere and ask for help, or get on the phone and ask for help, or do something on the internet that is pretty much like asking for help. I guess I don’t like asking for help.

 Ok, number one, I hate making mistakes even though I know it’s the best way to learn and that you can’t learn to walk without falling down. I love, absolutely love reading books and articles that tell you how do things, but directions, I kind of read piecemeal or scan, because reading directions is stick-a-pen-in-your-neck boring. Because directions are  some of the most boring stuff ever written. Boring, but necessary.  I think there should be two types of directions included with anything that needs directions which is just about everything. One should be the boring painstaking step by step instructions for functionality most of which you don’t ever intend to use like all those extra buttons on the remote control.  Who uses all that shit? But they’re there, so there has to be instructions for them. Then number two, there should be a pared down instruction booklet, where all it tells you is the bare minimum of what you need tp do to get whatever gizmo it is to do what you want it to. And that pared down instruction manual should be funny and interesting. Crap, I’d pay a couple of bucks extra to have a short fun manual included.  But of course, I’ll want my money back if it’s not funny or short.

The answer to the question “Hey, did you get your glucometer working?” is no.  Not yet. Because I had other technical difficulties going on in my life this last week. I have Norton Anti-Virus installed on my computer.  When I go on the internet I can see the Norton approved icons next to links in a web search, but other than that I really don’t notice the program that much which is how I think it should be. It should only talk to me if something’s wrong, like malware, or hacking, or stuff I don’t want on my computer. The rest of the time it should just hum along doing its job quietly in the background. But for some reason this week or maybe last weekend when I got on Google Chrome which I do a lot, it started saying that it detected an error and then said it was looking for a fix. Fine go ahead. But then it kept looking for a fix and making the computer run really slow and, get this, it never found a fix. It just kept looking. I finally finished what I was doing and shut it down. The next day, same scenario, except this time, it doesn’t find a fix, but directs me to the website which tells me to just restart the computer.  K, I already did that but hey, I can do it again. So I do. I get back on Chrome, and it does it again, but this time it’s still looking for a fix by the time I’m done, so I just shut down again.  Get the picture? The third day I just try to cancel the looking for a fix thing since it just slows down the computer and then this time SOMETHING NEW (oh joy) I get repeated messages that Norton Identity something or other has crashed. Every time I open a new tab or click on any button in any window already open, I get this message and have to wait when the operating system asks me if I want to continue something even though the program isn’t responding and I say no. It asks me so many times, I’m screaming at it.  Then I get done with what I wanted to do in about 10 times longer than usual and I restart the computer and get on Google again, just to see what it says to do if you’ve already restarted the computer and it keeps being a pain in the ass. So after about 10 minutes when it doesn’t find a fix again, it goes online to the Norton website like before, and I read that if restarting doesn’t work, that I need to download their uninstall software and uninstall Norton and then reinstall it. WTF!!! This was their problem all along and that’s their answer?  Screw that. I’ve had this software on my computer for 5 years. I pay for upgrades.  What the hell happened? I close down thinking that this is just weird, but crap, I may have to do that whole thing. I really don’t want to. Really don’t.

But I gotta have my internet, so I get on my iPhone and get on the internet on it and do a search on Safari for the problems I’m having with Norton and there are a bunch of posts from that day talking about the same issues I’m having with the whole uninstall software thing as the answer. So I think, well, that sucks. But I gotta do it. Of course, I decide that it would be better to wait to do this uninstall and reinstall thing tomorrow. Where's my procrastination award?

So today I get on the computer and get on Google Chrome and wait for the Norton error detecting message to come on. And get this. It doesn’t.  Either they fixed it, or it fixed itself without me having to do a bunch of downloading and uninstalling which as everyone knows is no fun. So any chance my glucometer might have just fixed itself like a good little glucometer?  Guess I’ll have to find out, damn it. 

WooWoo Alert: Then I realize that this whole thing happened during a Mercury Retrograde. I'm interested, but skeptical about this New Age stuff, but you have to admit, it's weird. Just saying.

Thursday, November 8, 2012

Ketogenic Diet Apologies

I have to admit that I haven’t posted for a while because I just don’t want to deal with blood ketone monitor and my probable wrecking of it. Sometimes I just don’t have the patience for dealing with gadgets. When I first got my iPhone and was trying to tap in my password in to activate it, it took forever because I wasn’t used to the tap screen. At one point I was actually screaming, “I hate this thing.”  I know a friend who took her new iPhone back because she was so frustrated with it. But I was determined. And after 10 tries. Yes 10, I got it activated. And I’ve never looked back. Love my iPhone which I sometimes call My Precious.

So why don’t I have the same determination with the blood ketone monitor?  Well, I guess it’s because it’s not something that’s fun. So anything that seems to be more fun or easier, ends up being what I do instead. I’m not proud of it. I recognize that I will have to deal with it if I want to take my game to the next level. So instead I’ve been trying to eat more fat and less protein. I’ve been reading what people like Jimmy Moore See Jimmy's page here. are revealing about how they did it. And I’m trying to get up off my butt and move just a tiny bit more. So far that’s been a big failure. I was never much one for exercise just for exercise.  And I wasn’t even planning on doing more than some stretch bands strength exercises and a second walk during the day. Seems pretty easy, but I have to overcome some bad habits.

One thing I will say, is that once you have a habit in place, it really just becomes so easy, so it’s really worth it to persist to make something a habit. I don’t think about not taking a walk with my dog every day. I just do. It probably helps that she comes to me and lets me know that she thinks it’s time for our daily perambulation. Some little whiny noises work too. But she doesn’t know about the plan for a (gasp) second walk, so she doesn’t make any bird-like tweets when I don’t get up out of my chair and get the ball rolling. It’s so easy to blow off your own self. I do it all the time. If you have a partner who is going to check up on you, then you have a slightly bigger commitment than if it’s just you. That’s why people join book clubs. They’d probably read without the club, but the club and their obligation to finish the book by the meeting so that they can discuss it, helps them make a reading a priority. When they could just be vegging in front of the tv set, they instead crack open a book.  I know what you’re thinking. Don’t I feel obligated to the readers of my blog.  I should.  I know,  and I also know it’s blog suicide not to post regularly.  So my apologies and I am going to work on this bad inconsistent attitude that I seem to have. It’s easy when you’re blogging to think no one is reading what you’re saying, that you’re just doing it for you. But while I may not have very many regular readers, don’t I want that to change? Don’t I want to be part of this wonderful community that is rejecting the Standard American Diet and all its pit falls and trying to get information out there?  Yes, I do. So forgive me, please,  and I will try to do better.