Thursday, June 17, 2021

the next phase: swearing off diet sodas

I've been relying on Sprite Zero; Coke Zero; and sugar-free, lime-flavored Pepsi to get me through these current dark times, but the more I read about the dangers of diet sodas, the closer I'm coming to the conclusion that those days must end. The artificial sweeteners in diet soda are associated with the harming of gut bacteria, and may actually contribute to the furtherance of metabolic syndrome. There's also something called "cephalic phase insulin release," in which your brain registers the sensation of tasty food, especially something sweet (and that includes things that have been artificially sweetened), and signals to the pancreas that it's time to produce insulin. This ultimately contributes to an increase in insulin resistance—the very thing a dieter like me is trying to avoid.

On YouTube, Dr. Becky Gillaspy recommends transitioning from sweet snacks to savory—nuts, natural beef jerky, celery stalks, and the like. That's a very tall order for me and my sweet tooth. I mean, I've been doing without sweets (except for my morning SlimFast) since starting the Newcastle Diet, trying to stick to the 800-calorie-per-day limit, but there are definitely times when I'd love a Snickers or some Reese's Peanut Butter Cups. I often find myself dreaming about finishing this diet, eating more reasonably (i.e., eating more), and having cheat days. But it looks as though the current austerity is about to become even more austere: as of today, I'll be dropping diet sodas from my diet, but I will allow myself a maximum of two cups of artificially sweetened tea per day (I use Splenda).

Things just get better and better, don't they?



skepticism about intermittent fasting

Just seen on Instapundit: an article casting doubt on the benefits of intermittent fasting: "A Potential Downside of Intermittent Fasting: A rigorous three-month study found that people lost little weight, and much of that may have been from muscle." Here's an excerpt:

The new research, published in JAMA Internal Medicine, is one of the most rigorous studies to examine time-restricted eating, which involves fasting for 12 or more hours a day. Many followers of the diet, which has been popularized in best-selling diet books and touted by celebrities, routinely skip breakfast and eat all their meals between roughly noon and 8 p.m., resulting in a daily 16-hour fast.

Research over the years has suggested that the practice spurs weight loss and improves metabolic health, although much of the data has come from animal experiments or small studies of relatively short duration in humans. Experts say the diet works because it allows people the freedom to eat what they want so long as they do it in a narrow window of time, which leads them to consume fewer calories over all.

But the new research found that overweight adults who were assigned to routinely fast for 16 hours daily, eating all their meals between noon and 8 p.m., popularly known as the 16:8 diet, gained almost no benefit from it. Over the course of the three-month study, they lost an average of just two to three and a half pounds — only slightly more than a control group — and most of the weight they shed was not body fat but “lean mass,” which includes muscle.

Obviously, this is only one study, and there's a certain level of subjectivity when it comes to dieting, i.e., your mileage may vary. But as I said before, it's good to listen to the skeptical voices. This actually helps you to make more-informed choices. As to this article, I've actually heard this news before, that fasting can cause the body to cannibalize its own muscles. So this study is nothing new, but one should still be mindful that fasting comes with risks.

I should note, though, that the above excerpt is misleading when it says "eat what they want." You can't subsist on chocolate cake just because you're now on a 16:8 schedule. The nutrition you take in—and its quantity—is still vitally important if your goal is to lose weight. So the onus is still on you to both eat healthily and control your portions (that last part is what I've always found most difficult; I've spent most of my life as a big eater).



Wednesday, June 16, 2021

before

Me at 116 kg. We'll count this as "before."



ouch

You reap what you sow. At least sometimes.



beard (for Charles)

I thought I had blogged this, but I apparently hadn't, so let me blog this now, for my buddy Charles and for anyone else reading this: I now appear to be losing weight fairly rapidly, and when I hit 110 kilograms, I will shave my beard. The damn thing needs to come off, anyway: it looks like a normal beard on the bottom, but resembles pubic hair on my cheeks, and I hate it. I'll still allow stubble to grow when I'm on a long walk, but I think there's a reason why I've spent most of my adult life clean-shaven. The bearded look just isn't for me.


Keywords: beard, shave, shaving, pubic hair



post-walk weights

I went back to my walk blogs to see what my post-walk weights were.

2017: lost 10 kg, from 126 kg to 116 kg
2019: lost 6 kg, from 125 kg to 119 kg
2020: lost 12.5 kg, from 128.5 kg to 116 kg

I obviously need to dig a bit deeper to find the requisite stats, but the reason why I was looking for those numbers to begin with is that, today, I weighed myself after a decent poop, and I'm now at 116 kg. I think I was 115 kg back when I taught at Dongguk and was walking up Namsan almost every night. So this puts me 6 kg away from my shave-the-beard goal of 110 kg (my ultimate goal is 100 kg, or 220 pounds). It occurs to me that I should take some "before" pictures before I lose too much weight, just for the sake of comparison.

Expect updates to this post, assuming I find the missing stats.

UPDATE: found the missing stats, so I've updated the above numbers. I'm currently at the post-walk weight I'd been at both in 2017 and last year, but I think I'm going to drop well below that very soon. The austerity seems to be working, but we'll see how far things have gone when I weigh myself again on Saturday.



ROK Drop on Yeonmi Park's insights about today's America

Yeonmi Park is one of the more famous defectors from North Korea. She studied at Dongguk University (where I taught from 2014 to 2015; I think she was there when I was there), then she moved to America, where she apparently attended Columbia University. The blog ROK Drop quotes an article in which Park describes the America she sees:

One of several hundred North Korean defectors settled in the United States, Park, 27, transferred to Columbia University from a South Korean university in 2016 and was deeply disturbed by what she found.

“I expected that I was paying this fortune, all this time and energy, to learn how to think. But they are forcing you to think the way they want you to think,” Park said in an interview with Fox News. “I realized, wow, this is insane. I thought America was different, but I saw so many similarities to what I saw in North Korea that I started worrying.”

Those similarities include anti-Western sentiment, collective guilt, and suffocating political correctness.

One thing the American left constantly does is ignore the testimony—and it's always the same—coming from defectors and escapees from totalitarian regimes. The left ignores its own fascistic tendencies and ceaselessly accuses the right of being the fascists, all while denying the existence of things like cancel culture (the denial of something bad that's actually happening, especially with the intent to either delude or to pretend everything is all right, is called gaslighting). As long as this continues, American academe will keep dropping in prestige. At this point, I wouldn't recommend to any Korean students that they study in America; the value of a college education in which all your professors are woke stooges is nil. Even science education, the last bastion against wokeness, is crumbling under the weight of all this postmodernist political correctness. It's a sad thing to witness from afar. Meanwhile, defectors from various regimes warn again and again that America is going down a dark path, and these people all see the shades of the countries they escaped from rearing up in what is supposed to be the land of the free and the brave.



Tuesday, June 15, 2021

art from a former student

I used to work at a tutoring center in Centreville, Virginia, called C2 Education. One of my students, a Komerican named Nathan, apparently liked me enough to keep in touch with me even after I left the company. He had been in the habit of writing me emails every few months to update me on his life, and I guess I got used to receiving those updates, which gave me a chance to update him on my life as well. For over a year, though, Nathan stopped writing, and I had to wonder whether it was because I had betrayed certain right-leaning tendencies in my last email to him (I still wouldn't call myself a full-on rightie, but by the standards of the far left these days, I'm basically Hitler). I needn't have worried: Nathan recently wrote again after a year, and along with his email, he sent two paintings he'd done (painting is a new hobby of his, taken up during the pandemic). So without further ado, here they are:

reminds me of the Matterhorn, with its famous flank


Pedro Pascal would be proud



another sacrifice

I realized that, even though I've started losing weight on my new austerity, I'm actually ingesting closer to 900 calories a day, not the 800 that's the limit on the Newcastle Diet. So I have to make one more sacrifice: when I make my diet shake in the morning, I will use nothing but almond milk from now on. I've been making the shakes with half whole milk and half almond milk, but whole milk is too calorific. So—no more whole milk. Sadness.



is keto stupid?

I hope I've made clear by now that I don't totally buy into the keto diet, especially in its pure form. I'd rather call what I'm doing "low carb" because that's closer to where I am. In the video below, Adam Ragusea trashes the raw, paleo, and keto diets. The criticism of keto basically amounts to the idea that very few people on the diet are actually eating macronutrients in the proportions required for true ketosis to occur. With keto, you're not merely reducing your carbs—you're trying to persuade your body to burn fat for energy instead of carbohydrates. This means ingesting a scary amount of dietary fat. With no more than 20 grams of carbs per day, the rest of your macros come from protein and fat, with the percentage of fat at around 70-80%, and the rest (around 10% or so) coming from protein.

It's important to hear the skeptics on this point, I think. Diets are complicated things, and being aware of all sides of the issue can only help. Ragusea concludes his video by suggesting that the main thing is to cut out the processed carbohydrates in your diet. I'd go further and suggest that such a diet needs to be paired up with an exercise regimen that gets you moving, whether aerobically or anaerobically. Not that I'm in any position to give health advice to anyone, of course. Anyway, here's Ragusea's video:





what Buddhist monks do

A typical Korean Buddhist monk gets up around 3:00 or 3:30 a.m. Depending on the temple, there might be breakfast, lunch, and dinner, and in between there're prayers, meditation, and maybe labor (read Robert Buswell's The Zen Monastic Experience for an insider account of monastic life; Buswell was a monk in a Korean order for five years). In bed by 9:00 or 9:30 p.m. The hardcore temples, though, are what I want to talk about: these temples follow the old Indian way, which means no eating after noon. A Korean monk I knew in Germantown, Maryland, followed that schedule. He was a wacky guy who gave some loopy dharma talks in broken English ("Use your intelligence mind!"), but he was both disciplined and a disciplinarian. He very much cleaved to the old way.

This is relevant to me and the way I'm eating now. The Newcastle Diet is hardcore in its own way, and I no longer eat after lunch. Lunch isn't always at noon for me, but it's no longer ever after 1 p.m. (I used to eat lunch around 2:00 or 2:30 p.m.) Part of me has always been attracted to the monastic ideal, even though I know I'm too much of a libertine ever to become a monk. Well, now I'm living the dream. At least when it comes to eating.

Sixty-six more days to go. And I seem to have lost a kilo since Saturday: I'm now at 117 kg.



Happy Birthday, Mike!

A friend since third grade, my buddy Mike turns 52 today. I doubt he wants to see a reminder of that milestone shouted loudly on a blog, but what's a blog for, if not for being obnoxious? Around when we both turned 50, Mike proposed walking one of the nine paths of the Camino de Santiago for our 60th birthday. I've half-jokingly told people (long before I had the stroke) that I'll be dead by 60, but a walk on the Camino is something to live for. Mike says he's been walking for some time; I rather harshly suggested that he get to a point where he's walking two hours a day, five days a week, but as I'm discovering through my own recovery, you don't actually need to go that hard. Currently, I'm walking about 80 minutes a day, three times a week on weekdays, and doing long walks (around 4 hours) on weekends. So I apologize to Mike and hereby soften my standard.

Mike's a history buff and a whiskey lover, so I've sent him the appropriate Amazon gifts.

Happy Birthday, vieille branche!



Monday, June 14, 2021

Day 3 of the austerity (67 days to go)

I started my austerity program, the so-called Newcastle Diet, this past Saturday, and today is Day 3. It's no fun to eat only 800 calories a day, nor is it fun to sit down with MyFitnessPal and do the caloric math necessary to figure out which foods can be paired with which, and in what quantity/proportion. I hate counting calories this way; food was meant to be enjoyed.

That said, I can't say that I'm utterly miserable. As I texted my friend Tom earlier today, I have been practicing a species of austerity since leaving the hospital, and the Newcastle Diet is simply a more-intense version of that. MyFitnessPal continues to scream warnings that I'm not eating enough, but at this point I'm Luke Skywalker, barreling down the Death Star trench and turning off my targeting computer, relying on math and my intuition to figure out how to survive on 800 calories a day without going insane, MyFitnessPal be damned.

My friend Neil wanted to know how I'd be occupying my time since food is now so much less a part of my life. "Book project," I texted back. I'm still reassembling the manuscript I'd lost back when this laptop died last year. Now, though, I can concentrate more on my work, and if last night is any indication, I'm now working much faster. I've set July 31 as the date to have my manuscript assembled, and that's only the beginning. I want to put an illustration at the head of every chapter, and I need to think of a catchy title, work on cover designs and front matter, write up an "About the Author" page, and do other stuff besides. At some point, I'll have to hit up Bowker.com to get ISBNs.

Another 67 days of this. I drew up a food calendar, a way to help myself plan my meals for the next two months. I might change and tweak it over time, but the emphasis is mostly on salads, with some keto meals happening more toward the end of the austerity. Will the Newcastle Diet have helped me reverse my diabetes in two months? I guess we'll find out together, just as we'll find out  how much weight I end up losing.



Ave, Charles!

My buddy Charles has a public-service announcement about knives. And maybe guns, too.




PowerLine's Pictures of the Week














Sunday, June 13, 2021

more images



Sunday, the day of rest

The way I've scheduled out my exercise, Sunday is the only day I have nothing to do. I do 6-kilometer walks during the week on Monday, Wednesday, and Friday, which is when I also work on pushups and pullups (to be clear, "work on" means "build up to"; I haven't done any real pushups or pullups yet, and I won't for months); on Tuesdays and Thursdays, I do stair work (currently five floors, which is still tiring because I'm probably still dealing with lingering atrophy, not to mention not having done serious stair work for years even before the stroke) as well as core work. On Saturday, I do a long walk. So today is a day of rest.

Despite yesterday's sweaty walk, I'm still hovering in the 118/119-kilogram zone, but with this new regime, I expect next week's numbers to be somewhat different. This much of a calorie deficit has to result in weight loss, right?



what a 500-calorie daily meal looks like





Saturday, June 12, 2021

6:35 to 10:19 p.m.—better than last time

My walking speed improved by quite a bit: I started at Jeongja Station at 6:35 p.m. and finished a few minutes ago at 10:19 p.m. I forgot to take my ibuprofen, so my feet are killing me, and I'm trying to stay off them until the painkiller kicks in. So for 18 kilometers at 224 minutes (3.733 hours), that's an average speed of 4.8 kilometers per hour. In other words, I've already hit my December 31 goal—the speed part, anyway. I had to force myself to do this, but I think the effort was worth it, and I do need to keep testing my limits. 

Of course, I ate only 800-ish calories today, so MyFitnessPal is warning me that I'm not eating enough. No shit. But that's the devil's pact I made when I signed on to the Newcastle Diet. I'm ending today with a caloric deficit of 3,244, which effectively cancels out the previous cheat day, at least mathematically. My caloric deficit for the rest of the week won't be nearly this extreme, but this is reminiscent of what it's like to burn calories while walking to Busan. Will my body finally respond by actually losing weight? We're about to find out, and I'm as curious as you are. My body's resisted going below 118 kg so far, despite weeks of caloric deficits.

I was thinking of trying the walk from Hanam City back to my place, but I don't think I'm quite ready for 25 kilometers yet. Then again, I'm running out of cool nights to work with, so if I don't try Hanam next week, I'm not sure what I'll do. We'll see. I have a plan, but there are portions that I'm making up as I go along.

So that's the news today: the 18-kilometer walk from Bundang to my place took less time than last week, and I appear capable of walking at full speed. (Oh, yeah: I took no breaks today.)



a trip to the pharmacy

I remember just getting out of the hospital and trying to walk up the street to a medical-device store to buy medical equipment. It was hell. I could barely make a single kilometer. Now, I can walk 18K without much of a problem (albeit a bit more slowly than I'd like), so I walked up the street today to a pharmacy to get the meds I'd been prescribed on Thursday. (I had another day's worth of the previous meds, so I had those yesterday. Today, I start the new meds.) The pharmacy I first went to, a big one, didn't have the meds I needed, so they pointed me further up the street to another large pharmacy. I went up the street to the second pharmacy, handed over my two-page prescription, and after a brief wait, I had my meds. As they were ringing me up, the girls at the counter suddenly gasped when they saw my walk tee shirt, and I explained I'd done this route three times and would be doing a different route, along the coast, later this year. Anyway, the quality of service was good; everyone was friendly and nonjudgmental (poorly hidden judgmental looks can sometimes be a problem in Korean culture). I paid, packed my new meds into my shoulder bag, and skedaddled on out of there, mission completed. And now I have a new go-to pharmacy.



800 calories

2 scoops SlimFast shakes, drunk together in the morning as breakfast (220 calories)

1 cup regular whole milk (103 calories)

1 cup unsweetened almond milk (60 calories)

2 prepackaged chicken breasts (about 110 calories each)

1 Paris Baguette salad (about 240 calories)


The austerity begins.



why I don't care about and won't watch "Loki"

If you know anything about Norse mythology, you know that Loki is the god of mischief and chaos—he's a trickster by nature. He has been portrayed in myth as sometimes helpful, sometimes harmful, and you can never quite pin him down. He's the god responsible for the death of Baldr, one of Odin's prized sons. If you know anything about gods, then you know that a god is a personalized reification of a cosmic principle or natural force: a god of thunder, a god of greed, a god (or goddess) of love, a god of the sea, a god of fire, a god of the sky. 

So here's the problem for Marvel's Loki: according to what I've heard, this new TV series—called "Loki"—tells the story of Loki from the moment he disappears with the Tesseract in 2012 (you may remember the moment in "Avengers: Endgame"). He's captured by a group called the Time Variance Authority, whose job seems to be the maintenance of the coherence of the multiverse. Loki is apparently given the choice of helping the TVA or being rendered nonexistent. He obviously chooses to help, and that involves traveling through different timelines, universes, and historical periods to undo the damage being caused by other versions of himself. Along the way, he grows as a "person" as he witnesses the misery that the other versions of himself cause.

From the position of anyone with any knowledge of Norse mythology, none of this makes sense. So Loki, the god of mischief and chaos, has been tasked with cleaning up after himself? The god of chaos is now a force for order? And gods, which represent cosmic principles, don't have character arcs: principles are unchanging, so gods don't change, either. Yet here is Loki, a god, given a character arc. What will he be the god of by the end of the series? Repentance? I kind of hope that Marvel's Loki begins to realize the Time Variance Authority itself needs to be destroyed, and he gives in to his chaotic nature and destroys it. That would be a good, antistructural Loki. But I'm not interested enough in the series to be arsed to find out what he ends up doing.

Marvel's Loki is manifestly not the Loki of myth, and that's been true for decades, so maybe we can chalk all this up to good ol' Marvel going its own way and not caring about mythological implications. And I realize some of you might object to the notion of gods not changing: Look at the difference between the Old and New Testament versions of God, I can hear you saying. Or: There are stories of gods being born, growing up, gaining wisdom, and dying. All true, but as a general rule, once a god is mature, especially if s/he is "god of" something, then my definition of a god as a reified, personalized principle or force applies.

I'm generally not a fan of Marvel's depiction of gods which, in the Marvel universe, are more like superpowered aliens than cosmic beings worthy of worship. I like that Captain America got to utter the line, "There's only one God, ma'am." He's obviously unimpressed, and I can't blame him. A true god, if one were to appear in front of you, would make you want to prostrate yourself before it of your own free will, but also possibly out of sheer terror and awe (unless the god appears in disguise, I guess). I don't think there's a way to render that visually, however pretty the drawings or special effects might be. Writers might come closer because the imagination is a powerful thing: one short story by Greg Bear titled "The Visitation" features a hierophany (manifestation of the holy) in which God appears to a woman, first as a sort of Trinity, but finally as something described simply and powerfully as "a vast, cyclic thing of no humanity whatsoever." Very evocative. Not enough to bring me to my knees, but tremendous all the same.

Anyway, comic books don't always make the best reading for us students of religious studies; they get so much wrong in their quest for pizzazz. And that, friends, is why I'm not predisposed to watching "Loki." Besides, "Loki" is on Disney Plus, and I quit Disney Plus after bingeing two seasons of "The Mandalorian."



Friday, June 11, 2021

cheat day

I decided that I won't be looking at any of my numbers until Sunday, and right now, the only number I'll be concentrating on is weight—not blood pressure or blood sugar. I doubtless regained a few pounds after going a bit nuts all day today; I had Burger King for lunch, then I met my buddy Tom for a grilled Korean beef dinner (our server was an Indian guy who spoke Korean), after which we adjourned to Baskin Robbins right next door (we were in Jongno), where I chowed down on some chocolate mousse ice cream while talking with Tom about the world of self-publishing (Tom's working on a book about the history of Korean baseball, but he knows next to nothing about self-publishing).

I came home, got myself a huge bottle of Coke, and am chugging that down right now as I type this. Starting tomorrow, and for the next two months, I'll be on my Dr. Taylor austerity program—no more than 800 calories per day. With about 300 of those calories from diet shakes, that gives me 500 calories a day to play with. For the moment, that's a single Paris Baguette salad and two chicken breasts. This is more low-carb than keto (which is about high fat), and it's not particularly inspiring, but I'll be researching 500-calorie meals (there's apparently something called a 500-calorie diet, which frankly sounds scary), and we'll see how creative I can get. The old Twitter forced writers to get creative within a 140- or 160-character limit, so my new austerity is like Twitter, but with food. Dr. Taylor's suggestion is to stick to diet shakes and nutritious vegetables like leafy greens and cruciferous plants like broccoli and cauliflower. Also: multivitamins to cover the rest.

Essentially, this diet will force me into intermittent fasting as I'll be eating meals during a certain narrow window of time, then eating nothing the rest of the day. I've engaged in intermittent fasting before, but not very consistently or successfully. Now motivated by the very real prospect of death if I backslide, I think I'm going to be much more consistent. I'm trusting Dr. Taylor to be right that radical caloric restriction on his "Newcastle Diet" can lead to a reversal of diabetes, but we'll see in two months how things are going. In the meantime, my exercise calendar will have me ratcheting up my efforts at walking, stair climbing, core development, pushups, and pullups. All of that together ought to bring blood pressure down, along with blood sugar and other indicators of health.

So how has cheat day felt? Am I racked with guilt? Do I feel mentally more sluggish as the toxins of today's rampage ooze through my veins? Frankly, no. I know very well that today was a day of sin, but it will not be repeated for two months, and in fact, when I'm done with the two months, I doubt the next cheat day will be as much of an orgy of destruction as today was. I enjoyed myself today, but it wasn't a day of total bliss; if anything, it felt like a normal day, but one I won't be repeating anytime soon. However, as I look toward tomorrow and beyond, I do sort of dread the next two months. They're months I'm going to have to get through, months I'm going to have to endure. But I think I can do it. As I said a while back, the craving for junk doesn't really seem to be there anymore. Today was nice, and I don't regret it, but I'm not dying to do this again. I may already have gotten used to living in a quasi-keto or "dirty keto" manner. Call it low-carb. I get tired of saying "keto."

Anyway, onward!

UPDATE: 500-calorie low-carb, high fat salad.



the last hurrah

I've been looking forward to today as a cheat day (burgers! galmaegi!), and I've decided to take a break from tracking my food intake on MyFitnessPal because I already know my numbers are going to be bad. I also know I'm going to pay hard for this cheat day tomorrow, but tomorrow is the start of my new austerity, so there's no surprise there. What I'm really curious about is what sort of emotional toll the cheat day will take in terms of regret, feelings of bloat, etc. I'm sure the effects will carry over to Saturday as well, with things hopefully returning to my new normal by Sunday.

The very notion of a new normal is interesting: I am, in fact, getting used to the way I've been eating since leaving the hospital: surviving on less, eating better food, feeling more energetic (which may be one reason why my sleep patterns are changing). A cheat day disrupts all that, but I'm hoping that my body will eventually get used to a rhythm that includes cheat days. I said I'd build two cheat days into every month, but part of me is thinking maybe one a month is better—at least in some months. We have monthly food events at the office, and I'd like to have the ability to go out with friends once in a while without having to worry about diet; this is why I originally said two cheat days a month. But in some months, that might not be necessary: especially these days, I see most of my friends only rarely (JW is the only friend I see regularly), so there may well be months when I need only a single cheat day. We'll see. I'll work it out, and some sort of rhythm will be established once the austerity is done.



the ride may finally be over

I had a little over 2000 visitors to the site yesterday, which is down from the over-3000 figure I'd been enjoying over the past few days, so I think whatever statistical bump I've been enjoying is now over, and things will soon settle back to the 500-per-day level. 

Well, it was fun while it lasted.



Thursday, June 10, 2021

pensées hospitalières

I got back from the hospital a bit after 2 p.m. Went home, drank the SlimFast shake I'd been wanting to drink all day, bought lunch (two chicken breasts and two Paris Baguette salads), and headed to work. So how was the trip to the hospital, overall?

Well, without a doubt, Samseong Hospital is a bureaucratic nightmare, as I've written before. At the same time, there are things to admire about the system. Everything is tied to your patient number, so all doctors in all departments have access to the same records. I've had a patient number on file at the hospital since my toe infection almost exactly a year ago. At least in this way, docs can coordinate with each other because they all see the same numbers associated with each patient.

I did eventually get through all three appointments. For the first appointment at the diabetes center, I had to check in first, which meant taking a number, waiting to be called, then flashing the text message I'd received to prove I had an appointment. The receptionist generated a ticket (called a jeopsujeung in Korean), which I had to keep with me as further proof I had an appointment. While I waited, I had to go get my blood pressure read, as well as my height for some reason. They may also have weighed me at the same time. I didn't realize they were taking my height at first, and I was a bit slumped when the automatic ruler came down onto my head. So that didn't help my BMI, I'm sure. Next time, I'll stand tall and proud.

Then all the crap happened that I described in my previous post, but I did eventually see the diabetes doc, and she told me to hold to a strict diet and to continue to exercise. I no longer need any encouragement on that front; I'm already back to walking. She did mention that my blood test had come back with a blood-sugar level of 126, which was interesting because my home test kit had put me at 102 that morning, and I'd eaten nothing except some macadamia nuts the night before. One funny thing: I had been told to provide a urine sample right after giving my blood sample; I went to the men's room, did my thing, and I kept that damn little plastic bottle in my pocket until the diabetes appointment was done. The doctor never asked for it. Then I told a nurse that I had a urine sample in my pocket, and asked what was I supposed to do with it. She said, somewhat embarrassed, that that would have been for a different consultation that I wasn't getting, so I could just throw the sample away. So somewhere in a garbage can inside Samseong Hospital is a plastic bottle with a sample of my urine in it, a testament to literal waste produced by bureaucracy.

My next appointment, now a bit late, was at the stroke center, and I didn't have to wait too long, nor was the floor very crowded. As with the diabetes doctor, the consultation was brief, and the doc took an interest in my tee shirt, which showed my 2019 walk. He was also the only doctor of the three I saw today who wanted to see the records I had kept of my BP and blood-sugar levels. He, too, encouraged me to keep losing weight, as that would help lower my blood pressure. My goal weight is 100 kg (220 lbs.), but who knows? I might not stop there. In college, after I got back from Switzerland, I was down to an even 200 pounds (91 kg). It might be nice to return to my college figure. (Well, I regained weight once I got back to the States, so I wasn't 200 pounds for very long.)

The final appointment was with the rehab/physical therapy center. The doc there did a cursory exam, asked me some friendly questions, and told me I was good enough not to have to come back: I would need no extra physical therapy, and I was on my way to healing up. I did ask him about one thing I haven't yet discussed on the blog: a change in personality. I am now a somewhat more emotive person: when something is sad, my throat tightens up and I have to fight the urge to cry. When something is funny, I can no longer hold back my laughter and be deadpan the way I used to be. (As an introvert, pre-stroke, I tended not to be too visibly emotive except around close friends.) So some of my inhibitions apparently got killed off during the stroke. My brother Sean tells me to just go with it: there's nothing wrong with being in touch with your emotions. He would say that: he's a professional musician. Anyway, the doc said my brain would heal in time. Good. I'm not sure how much I like this new Kevin.

I was having trouble understanding how to handle the prescription and payment procedures, so before my stroke-center appointment, and while it was quiet, I asked a nurse what I had to do, and she explained there was a machine where all I had to do was scan the bar-coded form I received from each doctor, and the machine would both print out the prescription and guide me through the payment process. This turned out to be easy enough when the time came to pay, although my particular machine decided it was time to engage in a Windows reset (goddamn Windows) while I was using it. Luckily, the reset was on a thirty-minute timer; there was no danger of the reset interrupting my prescription/payment procedure, so I minimized the reset screen and continued with my transaction. I was unable to use the bar-code scanner, but the machine gave me the option of simply punching in my patient number. Your patient number really is the key to everything at the hospital. I actually found the machine rather impressive, despite the glitches.

So I have two appointments in three months on September 16. If I continue to follow my diet and exercise plan, I'm hoping to surprise the docs with much-improved numbers. I also now know about the blood test, and I understand the procedures for each appointment, so the next time I appear at Samseong Hospital, things ought to go a lot more smoothly.

Anyway, hospitals are always distressing for me, and it was a relief to get out of there, despite how friendly the doctors and nurses and other staffers were. One last thing: not a single doctor said that I needed to keep maintaining my journal or checking my BP and blood-sugar numbers daily. I hate pricking my finger twice a day, and at this point, after several weeks of monitoring, I have a pretty good idea as to what drives sugar levels up, so I'm going to do blood-sugar monitoring only occasionally from now on. As I discussed in an earlier post, the whole blood-pressure issue still baffles me, and the only real solution I can think of is to perform exercises that get the heart pumping. For me, than means stairs. I'm starting slow, going up only from B1 to the fifth floor, but by December 31, I'll be doing twenty six floors three times, i.e., thirty minutes of stair work. By September 16, I'm supposed to be doing 1.5 sets of stairs (i.e., one set of twenty-six floors followed by thirteen floors). If that doesn't strengthen my heart, I don't know what will.

Tomorrow, I meet my friend Tom for dinner, and I'm treating this as a cheat day, one last hurrah before starting two months of austerity on Dr. Roy Taylor's program. I need to do some further research as to what I can eat on 800 calories a day; I have a feeling that two chicken breasts and a Paris Baguette salad are not going to cut it if that's all I eat every day.



pardon the comma errors

This is funny, but it'd be funnier were it punctuated correctly.




waiting

Coming to Samseong Hospital means being swallowed up by its huge bureaucracy. Everywhere, it's wall-mounted monitor screens and slips of paper in your pocket. Take a number. I was early for my 10:10 appointment, but I was told I was supposed to give a blood sample before I could see the doctor. The delay this caused made me late for both my 10:10 and my 11:10 appointments. I got tired of waiting for my first appointment, asked a nurse if I had time to rush to my second appointment, and went there. I took a number, didn't wait long to get served, and told the lady I was sorry to arrive late, but I'd been delayed by my first appointment (which I still haven't gone to). The receptionist told me she'd reschedule my second appointment, and that I should go back to my first appointment (diabetes center). So I'm back here, waiting. 

If all that's confusing, the order was supposed to be this:

1. 10:10 diabetes center

2. 11:10 stroke center

3. 1:40 rehab center

So I arrived early but ended up late for the diabetes center because of the unexpected need for a blood sample; getting the blood sample delayed me long enough to make me late for my appointment at the stroke center, and I'm now back at the diabetes center, waiting my turn.

More later.



Wednesday, June 09, 2021

Ave, Dr. V!

Dr. Vallicella is on Substack, a forum where you can, if you're a decent writer (or even if you suck), write articles for public consumption. It's a bit reminiscent of blogging, but with no pictures of food or cats. Substack is about issues. I've thought of going on the forum myself, but I already write so much here that it might prove to be a time sink. Anyway, Dr. V has a good article up right now that confirms things I've written in the past about the connection between Nietzsche and postmodernism, and how PoMo thinking has seeped out of academe and into the larger society (see here, here, and here, for example). An excerpt:

What Nietzsche wants to say is that there is no truth 'in itself'; there are only various interpretations from the varying perspectives of power-hungry individuals, interpretations that serve to enhance the power of these individuals. At bottom, the world is a vast constellation of ever-changing power-centers vying with one another for dominance, and what a particular power-center calls 'true' are merely those interpretations that enhance and preserve its power. For the essence of the world is not reason or order, but blind will, will to power.

To say there is no truth, you have to make a truth-claim: It is true there is no truth. So the claim undermines itself, and there's no escaping truth. Nietzsche prioritized power over truth, and this lies at the heart of today's PoMo-influenced leftism: everything is a power discourse, and power determines authority. This is why white people can be racist while non-whites can't: whites have the power while everyone else is an oppressed victim. Where you sit in the power structure matters, and the power structure is always asymmetrical. And this is why Nietzschean thinking needs to be overthrown. Think, too, about the paradox of the leftist position: the implication is that power is associated with culpability (whites are powerful and racist), but despite that, the oppressed vie for power. Why, if power is so corrupting?



three appointments

Samsung Hospital sent me several texts to remind me that I'm supposed to visit them tomorrow. At first, I thought these were repeat texts, but when I read closely, I saw they were for separate appointments on the same day: 10:10, 11:10, and 1:40. So I've got three appointments tomorrow, not just one. Joy. More on that later.



site stats still riding high

Can't say why, but my insane site stats continue to be insane. If blogging is truly dying as a platform, then who are all these people? (Some contend blogging is making a comeback as more and more people realize how toxic social media can be.) I'm already at over 600 visits this morning; by the end of the 24-hour period, I'll once again be over 2000. I hit 3743 yesterday, and 2835 the day before. So this wave is lasting longer than usual, I'd say. Maybe people are coming and actually staying. I doubt that, though; spikes have happened in the past, and they usually end pretty quickly. But I guess we'll ride this out for what it's worth, and when it ends, it ends.



my BP monitor is full of shit

So I measure my blood pressure every morning and every evening at about the same time, very soon after waking up and right around 10:45 p.m. This morning, I used my BP monitor to take the morning measurement, and I scored way high—150-something over 90-something. "That can't be right," I thought, so I waited a minute or two and did the measurement again. Sure enough: low 140s over 82. I've long mistrusted BP measurements, whether by doctors or by machines. There seems to be a lot of subjectivity and variability in how blood pressure gets measured. For the moment, though, I think one reason why my BP is all over the place from day to day, aside from natural fluctuations, is that the machine itself is the problem.



Tuesday, June 08, 2021

I ordered new rubber feet for my trekking poles

I ordered new rubber feet for my trekking poles, so I think you know what that means about what I plan to do later this year. I still have mixed feelings about walking the coast, given what I already know about it, but I'm nothing if not a completist, so this year, the east coast it is. More on this later. I'm just hoping the feet I ordered actually fit my trekking poles. According to the online description, they're supposed to.



images




via Bill: Only in America

Supposedly a Canadian Top Ten list of American stupidity, but if this is Canadian, it was composed by a Canadian conservative. More likely composed by a conservative American, as seen by how #8 refers to "our tax code." Anyway, here's the list (slightly edited):

WELCOME TO AMERICA

This is Canada's Top Ten List of America's Stupidity...Canada's version of David Letterman's "Top 10":

10. Only in America... Could politicians talk about the greed of the rich at a $35,000.00-a-plate campaign fundraising event.

9. Only in America... Could people claim that the government still discriminates against black Americans when they had a black President, a black Attorney General, and roughly 20% of the federal workforce is black while only 14% of the population is black. 40+% of all federal entitlements go to black Americans, 3X the rate that go to whites, 5X the rate that go to Hispanics!

8. Only in America... Could they have had the two people most responsible for our tax code, Timothy Geithner (the former head of the Treasury Department) and Charles Rangel (who once ran the Ways and Means Committee), BOTH turn out to be tax cheats who are in favor of higher taxes.

7. Only in America... Can they have terrorists kill people in the name of Allah and have the media primarily react by fretting that Muslims might be harmed by the backlash.

6. Only in America... Would they make people who want to legally become American citizens wait for years in their home countries and pay tens of thousands of dollars for the privilege, while they discuss letting anyone who sneaks into the country illegally just 'magically' become American citizens.

5. Only in America... Could the people who believe in balancing the budget and sticking by the country's Constitution be thought of as "extremists."

4. Only in America... Could you need to present a driver's license to cash a check or buy alcohol, but not to vote.

3. Only in America... Could people demand the government investigate whether oil companies are gouging the public because the price of gas went up when the return on equity invested in a major U.S. Oil company (Marathon Oil) is less than half of a company making tennis shoes (Nike).

2. Only in America... Could the government collect more tax dollars from the people than any nation in recorded history, still spend a trillion dollars more than it has per year—for total spending of $7 Million PER MINUTE, and complain that it doesn't have nearly enough money.

1. Only in America... Could the rich people—who pay 86% of all income taxes—be accused of not paying their "fair share" by people who don't pay any income taxes at all.

"If you put the federal government in charge of the Sahara Desert, in five years, there would be a shortage of sand."

~ Milton Friedman

What makes me think this isn't Canadian is that it's too rightist to be properly Canadian. Most Canadians would probably disagree with the list. The list does have the correct self-righteous tone to be Canadian, but as I mentioned above, there's the problem of "our tax code" (my emphasis). No, I'm pretty sure the list was composed by a conservative American.



Monday, June 07, 2021

what 800 calories a day will look like for me

Two SlimFast shakes and a single Paris Baguette salad, no extra chicken breast. That's 800 calories. On some days, I might switch out the salad for a Soylent shake (yes, it's named Soylent, and that was quite deliberate). That's pretty much it. If I can find a way to eat in volume just so I can feel filled, I will, and I'll be sure to blog whatever solution I find. (Maybe I can gorge myself on cucumbers.)

Weight does seem to be coming off, finally, but only grudgingly. I'm wavering between 118 and 119 kg right now; I expect the austerity to bring my weight down further, and faster. That's apparently the point of this diet—it's a shock to the system that, in principle, resets your metabolism. The diet plus continued exercise ought to produce some sort of effect; we'll see. I just may be cursed with one of those bodies that gains weight at the drop of a hat but loses weight only after kicking and screaming.

I'll be honest: I'm not looking forward to this, but as I wrote a couple weeks back, I'll be doing this during the worst time of year, weather-wise, which makes this the best time to do such a thing. Hopefully, I'll come out the other side leaner, meaner, and possibly diabetes-free.



site traffic up again

As in May, I'm experiencing another spike in site traffic. For the past three days, my daily numbers have been into the 2000s and 3000s. God only knows why. Also as before, I don't expect this to last. Another day or two tops, and everything will die down again. This is what counts as a newsworthy event in these parts.



I could eat a Weissman Big Mac right about now

Maybe my appetite is coming back. That's bad news because I start my austerity this coming Saturday (doctor's appointment on Thursday, last-hurrah cheat day on Friday, then two months of pain and suffering).




Sunday, June 06, 2021

trying not to look like ass

My buddy Charles wrote in to say that the keto chia pudding I showed off the other day looked "like ass," to which I responded that most chocolate puddings, unless they're out-and-out chocolate mousse, generally look like diarrhea. I decided to try and make my own sugar-free chocolate dessert: a panna cotta made with half almond milk, half heavy cream. I've got erythritol in there as the sweetener; it has a glycemic index of 1. Panna cotta sets thanks to gelatin, not thanks to eggs, as is the case with chocolate mousse. Gelatin is an animal product; it has 14 grams of carbs per 100 grams, and a single sheet of gelatin weighs a single gram. For what it's worth, here's the recipe for what I just did:

1 cup heavy cream
1 cup almond milk
2 tablespoons almond butter
2 heaping tablespoons chocolate powder, unsweetened
2 heaping tablespoons erythritol
1 sheet (1 gram) gelatin

Mix heavy cream, almond milk, chocolate, almond butter, and sweetener together. Bring to a boil. Once boiling, turn off the heat, wait 30 seconds, then add the sheet of gelatin. Immediately begin whisking. The gelatin ought to dissolve for the most part, but when done whisking, strain the mixture through a sieve to catch any unmelted bits. Pour liquid into ramekins. Chill for several hours, allowing gelatin to set. Serve cold, like revenge.

The heavy cream is highly caloric, but extremely low in carbs, and there is no added sugar in this recipe. Some nutrition information:

1 cup heavy cream = 345 calories, 2.8 g carbs
1 cup almond milk = 60 calories, 1 g carbs
2 tbsp. almond butter = 190 calories, 6 g carbs
2 tbsp. chocolate powder = 30 calories, 4 g carbs
2 tbsp. erythritol = 0 calories, 0 g carbs
1 sheet (1 g) gelatin = 1 calorie, 0 g carbs

So that's a total of 625 calories and 13.8 grams of carbs. Divide that by 2 for a single, 1-cup serving, and that's your essential nutrition information, at least in terms of carbiness. 6.9 grams of carbs for dessert is low-carb compared to a normal dessert (22 g of carbs for a single slice of apple pie versus 6.9 g for one cup of my dessert), but it's still somewhat high-carb compared to what a true keto dieter would eat. A true keto dieter would probably have no more than half a cup of panna cotta, but I'll be honest: that's impossible for me. I'm blessed or cursed with a sweet tooth, so at the very least, I'm going to eat a whole cupful of dessert. I'll earn it first by going for a walk for an hour.

My buddy Tom was singing the praises of sugar-free Jell-O the other day; I do love Jell-O, so there's a chance I might order myself a bundle of that to help satisfy certain cravings.

Anyway, the panna cotta is chilling in the fridge right now; I'll slap up a picture in a few hours once it's ready for prime time. Hopefully, it won't look like ass.

Two pics:


I think that looks a bit better than the chia stuff, yeah? Next time, though, I'll use two sheets of gelatin to make the panna cotta firmer.



dark implications

Imagine you work with a mistake-prone coworker who's always fouling things up, and you're always cleaning up after him. Now imagine that, one day, you see a particularly egregious mistake. You reflexively blame your coworker and starting cleaning up the gaffe, but you begin to realize that the mistake wasn't his—it was yours. Know that feeling? Now get this: ever since the Fauci email scandal broke (I can imagine many bubble-residing leftists going "what scandal"?), we've been discovering just how deep this particular rabbit hole goes, and one thing we're learning is that the Wuhan lab benefited from US money for things like gain-of-function research (i.e., the weaponizing of viruses). 

So while it was fashionable among conservatives, barely a week ago, to scream that "China's virus was an act of war" because it killed millions (true: millions of the very old and very sick, not the general populace), it now seems that China's counter-accusation that the US was the cause of the pandemic may be at least partially true. The virus is not entirely China's fault. Obviously, this rankles, like realizing a mistake was yours and not your coworker's. But worse than rankling, it seems the US itself is directly implicated in the spread of the pandemic, and now the world knows it. You might say, "Well, the US didn't do the actual research." First, that's not entirely clear. Second, what's clear is that US funding helped the research happen. There's no escaping moral culpability, and it looks like the US owes the world a huge apology.

It's small comfort that this scandal harks back to the Obama era and not to Trump; I don't think the world is going to care. Certain people in business and government have some explaining to do, and heads really ought to roll, but because we now live in an age where true criminals never see justice, I have little faith that actual justice is going to be done. Maybe some minor functionaries will take the fall, but the big dogs will remain rich and safe. Anthony Fauci himself will remain rich and safe, whether his book is published or not.



selections from the PowerLine Week in Pictures + 1




I've blogged about the following problem:





This one's not from PowerLine:



pushing myself

On Saturday, I did the walk from Bundang's Jeongja Station back to my place. It was 6:42 p.m. when I started, and 11:15 when I reached my building's front door. I took about a ten-minute sit break when I was less than an hour from my place, and I started the walk at a point that was about 500 meters away from where I usually start/end that walk. So that's 18 kilometers in 263 minutes, or 4.11 kph. That's probably why so many grannies were hobbling past me: I was going fairly slowly. Pre-stroke, the walk would have taken me less than four hours, although you could argue 4.11 kph isn't a slouchy pace.

My post-walk weight was 118 kg, which was disappointing but not unexpected. I keep thinking I should have lost a lot more weight by now, but I'll just keep at my diet, and we'll see what happens. The Saturday walk was partly to force the issue, to engage my metabolism, burn some fat, and churn out whatever's still stuck in my intestines. Maybe we'll see better results in the morning. Meanwhile, I just checked my blood sugar and blood pressure, and both were disappointingly high. Guess we'll check that again in the morning as well. Maybe some effects of walking are delayed. Maybe I just need more time to pass as the exercise does its work.

I wasn't sure whether I'd be able to make the walk. The previous weekend, I could barely manage five kilometers, so progressing to a full 18 km is quite a jump (to be sure, I did do plenty of walking during the week, so this isn't as miraculous as all that). I take this to mean the "walking muscles" are all coming back into form, which is a good thing. Bit by bit, slowly but surely, I'm improving. I still hesitate a bit before descending a stairway, and walking upstairs is also a shaky business, but meanwhile, I'm now walking longer and longer distances, so before long, I'll be back up to 30 km, far sooner than scheduled.

I can't trust my pedometer anymore: the damn thing keeps doubling the minutes figure for my walks. It put the Bundang walk at 28,788 steps for 18 km plus (I did an errand after the walk), which sounds about right; my normal figure is somewhere around 25,000 for the Bundang walk. But it says I walked 546 minutes, which is double what I actually walked. I don't know why the pedometer keeps doing this, but the doubling has made it untrustworthy when it comes to time, so I have to go old-school and just look at the actual time at the start and at the end of any long walk. Then again, if the pedometer is reliably doubling my walk time, all I have to do is halve the time to get the exact figure.

My phone also won't stay turned off in my pocket. I think this is because I'm a sweaty guy, sweating through my clothes, and the haptic screen thinks I'm touching it while I'm walking. In fact, as I was walking on Saturday, I ended up accidentally dialing emergency services, and they apparently tried to contact me (my phone requires a password for me to see the home screen, but an emergency call can be made without accessing that screen, which I find kind of dangerous). I sent EMS a text message responding to the text they sent me, saying I had accidentally pocket-dialed them, and that I was sorry. The last thing I want to do is send a crew on a wild goose chase while also wasting EMS's time when there are real emergencies out there—not to mention a false call is probably illegal. I may have to buy some sort of shield to prevent my sweaty self from pocket-dialing people in the future.

So Saturday's walk was a time of discovery. I know I'm now capable of walking long distances, albeit slightly more slowly than before. A long walk might have a temporary effect on my weight, but the jury is out on whether it might affect blood sugar and blood pressure—for now. Better results might appear later; we'll see. I'll probably make a habit of doing walks like this over the ensuing weekends, and here's hoping that these walks, plus the exercise I'm doing during the week, will start to improve all my numbers—weight, BP, and blood sugar.



Saturday, June 05, 2021

turkey-avocado sub

Don't worry; the pic will make sense in due time.

I had a foot-long Subway turkey-avocado sub on wheat yesterday. This is not keto, but as I wrote earlier, what I'm doing is basically low-carbing, not ketoing. A nutritionist at the hospital had catechized me on my eating habits, and she had asked me about Subway.

"Do you like eating at Subway?"

"Yes, I go there sometimes."

"What do you normally order?"

"A foot-long Italian BMT on white, with mayo."

"Well, you can still go to Subway, but now you'll have to order something like the turkey-avocado sub on wheat, no mayo. Get oil and vinegar instead."

"Is a foot-long still okay?"

"Well..."

So I ordered the turkey-avocado sub. On wheat. I think Subway actually lists this as turkey-bacon-avocado, but there was no bacon. I did get the foot-long, but I couldn't completely let go of the mayo, so I ordered the sandwich to be half oil and vinegar and half mayo. Before I realized what was going on, the lady had put both mayo and oil and vinegar on both halves of the sandwich. I'll be more vigilant next time. Sometimes you have to rein these people in, as I always do when it comes to "no onions." They tend to reflexively reach for the onions, and I have to stop them. Now I know to do the same for sauces.

A foot-long like that, with veggies (I order all veggies except onions), comes in at about 800 calories. That's more than what I usually get—my usual is two Paris Baguette salads and two chicken breasts, which top off at about 750 calories.

Above is a pic of today's brunch. I messed up the pancakes by forgetting to add my sweetener until after the first pancake was on the griddle. And the chicken sausage was rubbery as hell after microwaving; I've never experienced that problem before (sausages normally microwave just fine), but that's a reminder to pan-fry next time. The eggs were passably good, scrambled the good ol' American way, not the Gordon Ramsay way that has become all the rage among egg connoisseurs. I find that, post-stroke, I have less patience for pretentiousness. Not saying there's anything wrong with smooth, creamy eggs (if you put such eggs in front of me, I'd eat them), but your eggs don't have to be prepared that way.

I'll be heading out for a walk later this evening. I'm going to try walking from Bundang back to my place—17.5 kilometers. If I do that, it puts me several months ahead of schedule on my workout calendar, but I expect I'll have to sit down and rest at several points along the way: I'm still far from being 100%.



a love letter to South Korea

As a longtime resident of South Korea, I have certain disagreements with the lovefest you see below, but at the same time, South Korea does deserve some of the praise given here. If you, too, are a longtime resident, you'll doubtless share some of my skepticism, but if you're honest, you'll also acknowledge some of the good points made about South Korea. I'd like to see what this guy has to say after living in South Korea for a few years.





Friday, June 04, 2021

chia pudding

Finally got my chia seeds, which means I can now make my chia pudding:

Chia seeds are reminiscent of other foods that swell when you add water. Wikipedia says they swell to 12 times their original size, and the coating is a polysaccharide gel (learn more here). Someone got the idea of using chia seeds to make low-carb pudding, and except for the fact that you've got a mouthful of seeds in every bite, which can be kind of crunchy, it's not a bad idea: the seeds really do create a legitimately pudding-like texture (pudding in the American sense—sorry, UK readers, but you guys use the word "pudding" to describe foods from solid to liquid, to the point where the term is almost meaningless). So last night, I followed a keto recipe for a type of chocolate pudding, and it turned out OK.

The liquid you use for your keto pudding is ideally almond milk, but you could also use heavy cream (which is surprisingly keto), whole milk, soy milk, or some other milk substitute. Using heavy cream ensures that your dessert will be very high in calories, but it'll still be low in carbs. If you've built up a caloric deficit by taking a long walk, though, you can afford slightly higher calories; just keep the carb count low. That's what I'm looking for: a dessert I can eat in volume without having to worry about carbs. I like my macadamia nuts, but I have to restrict myself to only a handful (they're about 200 calories per handful). And I don't mind my morning SlimFast, but it's a bit sugary, so I can't fix myself a gigantic portion to guzzle. This pudding, then, will serve to ease certain dinnertime cravings as it has no added sugar (I use erythritol or monkfruit as my sweetener). The pudding-like texture of the soaked chia seeds ensures satiety, so all in all, that's another dietary problem solved. I'll eventually want to branch out to other desserts, but chocolate is a longtime favorite, so I'm good for the moment.

Now, the recipe I used called for almond butter as a way to fortify the pudding, and this was the original reason why I'd bought the butter. Having made a tiny portion of chia pudding, however, I have to say that the almond butter gets lost in the final product. I'm not sure it's necessary. Pure Dutch-process powdered cocoa has very few calories per teaspoon, and I'm wondering whether I can mix some cocoa in with the almond butter to make a sort of Nutella Lite that can then be added to pudding, but more likely, I'm going to leave the almond butter out entirely and enjoy it separately, maybe on some keto bread.

Among the liquids, I'll be using almond milk for the most part, with some added heavy cream. I won't go for pure heavy cream unless I'm really desperate for a heavy dessert. Soy milk, it turns out, is surprisingly carby, so while I have some soy milk in my fridge, I'll be using it sparingly. For the moment, though, I'm happy simply to have solved the problem of dessert. I just have to remember to make dessert in the morning for it to be ready in the evening: chia seeds need a few hours to soak and swell.



roses

It's been rose season for a few weeks, so I wanted to get a shot before they all faded away:



drop in blood pressure?

It may be too early to tell, but I think my blood pressure has started to drop. I kind of suspected that the reintroduction of exercise to my routine would provide certain benefits, among them being a drop in blood pressure. My BP machine is telling me that my diastolic number is below 80 now (this is the more important number). The systolic is still high, being above 140, but I suspect it's going to fall, too.

My blood-sugar numbers remain high; I think they'll start to drop when my exercise program, especially stairs work, becomes more intense. I did stairs for the first time yesterday (by which I mean focused stair work that follows my workout calendar). I was out of breath after only five floors, but that's about what I expected. A friend suggested I get involved with HIIT training; I might take him up on that, although as I wrote to him, I do fear that I'll end up hating the training and giving up. Still, it's worth a try; HIIT is known to help with the metabolizing of carbohydrates. (Read more about it here.)

So it's started. Pushups, pullups, planks/core, walks, stairs—I'm doing it all. Starting slowly, but check in again near December and we'll see how much or how little I've progressed. Ultimately, I'd like to get off medication, but in watching a ton of keto videos, I've come to see that plenty of perfectly healthy-looking people are still pricking their fingers and taking meds. The battle to reverse diabetes, fatty liver, and metabolic syndrome is ongoing. My index finger, meanwhile, continues to acquire scars.

UPDATE, 11:26 p.m.: maybe I spoke too soon. BP was a bit high tonight.



Thursday, June 03, 2021

that's a lot of ass

It's Asia, so cartoon women with exaggerated features are the norm. While I was on a site and reading about HG Wells, my eyes were drawn to this sidebar ad which shows, I believe, Spider Gwen (Gwen Stacy from the Spider-Man universe, in her Spider Gwen incarnation). The artist obviously decided to make this version of Gwen rather... gifted. With an ass that large, though, you have to wonder how she gets around.




you have the thing, you see it everywhere

So I'm now numbered among the brain-injured, and as with so many things in life, when you have something (a brain injury, a new Camry), you see it everywhere. I just saw that actor Michael Hogan, who played Saul Tigh on Ronald D. Moore's "Battlestar Galactica," had suffered a brain injury after a slip and fall. Fellow actors started a GoFundMe for him and raised $350,000 to help him take care of medical expenses. A video from three months ago said he's now able to eat solid food again, albeit finely minced.

On the day of the fall, Hogan apparently thought nothing of his injury, but the following morning, one side of his body was paralyzed, speaking and eating normally were impossible, and he was cognitively impaired. I couldn't help selfishly thinking that that could've been me. Things could've been so much worse. Anyway, I hope Mr. Hogan continues to recover; he apparently improved since the fall (which happened over a year ago). I thought he was great as Saul Tigh, and it's a shame to see him brought low.



Thailand's Thai-food campaign

I didn't know any of this. Did you?




alternative energy

 Bladeless wind energy:





Wednesday, June 02, 2021

catchy tune

When I walked home the long way today, I found myself standing at a traffic light near a biker and listening to a song I'd never heard before, emanating from the biker's rather loud speakers. I normally don't like it when bikers blare music (a lot of them do this), but the tune was nice, and I filed it away for future reference. It took some Googling, but I finally found the song, and of course it's on YouTube. It's got some bluesy piano, some jazz, and some rock-like elements to it, and it's also short and sweet. Here is Peter Cincotti's "Be Careful":





Dr. Faux-ci

Follow the science, right? Styx on the Fauci email scandal:

The guy is dirty, incompetent, and quite likely stupid.

A liberal friend recently wrote on her blog:

While the virus raged, we hunkered down and followed every public health advisory. We washed our hands, kept our distance, wore our masks, and avoided crowds. We stayed home and didn’t socialize. And now that we’re fully vaccinated, we’re enjoying re-entry, trusting the same science that kept us safe to continue to protect us in this next-normal.

Where to even begin? First, Fauci has been all over the place about the "science." Mask up or not? Wuhan lab leak is a conspiracy theory or not? Gain-of-function research ethical or not? Here's Roger Simon (edited):

Donald Trump did many good things as president, but he didn’t always choose the best people to work with or for him. (Omarosa and “The Mooch”?)

If he wins a second term, he would be well-advised to bear in mind the old saw “Flattery will get you nowhere.”

But I don’t blame Trump for the man who was by far the worst government functionary during his administration and right up there among the worst in American history—Anthony Stephen Fauci.

Treated by the media like some combination of Jesus, Moses, and Hippocrates, this overpaid, lifetime bureaucrat was elevated to the level of soothsayer, every word from his mouth treated as if it were “settled science,” even though that concept could be seen as an oxymoron by anyone with a seventh-grade education, and even though he contradicted himself so many times it would take an abacus, appropriately, to keep count.

Meanwhile, the same media excoriated Donald Trump for even suggesting the cheap and readily available hydroxychloroquine might be useful in curing the disease long ago dubbed here at The Epoch Times, with more corroboration daily, the “CCP virus.” (I can say congratulations to ET—you were one of the few places to come to for real information—because I had nothing to do with this.)

Indeed, what has been called Trump Derangement Syndrome now seems too weak a term, considering the degree it dominated even medical science itself during a pandemic. We need something stronger. “Paranoid Trumpophrenia” perhaps.

Dr. Fauci became the spokesperson for those Trumpophrenics, seemingly adjusting his opinions according to their needs. Anyone who disagreed with His Majesty, no matter his or her bona fides, was ridiculed in the press and social media.

That anti-democratic institution Facebook that pervades our lives to a frightening extent would not even publish routine questioning of the provenance of the disease until just now. It had to have come from a wet market, in the original view of Mark Zuckerberg, not a Chinese government laboratory. Fauci did not contradict him.

The media, also with Fauci’s help, was so successful in their propaganda they cowed the two most important medical journals in the English language—The Journal of the American Academy of Medicine and the British Lancet—into claiming the commonly used hydroxy was actually dangerous.

These esteemed journals eventually and sheepishly walked this back when actual evidence appeared and they were forced to agree that hydroxy, administered early, could be helpful in the cure. Shame on them.

The upshot of this prevarication that affected a large number of American and foreign medical institutions was that many died who could have been saved with early treatment. How many we will never know, but a substantial number.

The media were, in essence, something they always accused others of being—super-spreaders.

So was Dr. Fauci.

Together they have blood on their hands.

Of course, something was being hidden in all this—something that was readily apparent over a year ago to anyone paying the slightest attention—and now is coming to light only after a Wall Street Journal article telling us three employees of the Wuhan virology lab had COVID-like symptoms in November 2019.

That something was the role of Communist China in obfuscating the source of the pandemic that, it is increasingly likely, was [the result of] so-called “gain of function” research at the Wuhan lab[, which enables] deadly viruses to be more communicable to humans.

Fauci had some role in all this at the lab that should be fully investigated and exposed. Whether it will be is another question.

Despite a superficially unified Senate asking for the intelligence from our agencies, it is not yet clear whether that intelligence on China and the pandemic will ever be revealed to the extent necessary.

Something quite nefarious militates against it that few admit in public. As uncomfortable as it is to say, a powerful and significant percentage of our governmental and business elites already assume, consciously or unconsciously, communist China will win the competition with the West and have already positioned themselves to cash in.

In a sense, they want the communist oligarchs to [win] since it is more lucrative for both groups working together. (Wonder why Zuckerberg was so reluctant to question the source of the pandemic on Facebook? This should tell you.)

"Follow the science," right? When the science is this tainted by politics and media, it's not science. And given how many people died in the States—especially the blue states that unscientifically decided to lock themselves down—I wouldn't say that many Americans were "protected" by any science at all. From my perch in Korea, the American reaction to SARS-CoV-2 looked like a lot of hysteria, indecision, and superstition. Here in Seoul, where people live in crowded conditions and daily travel in subways that ought to be super-spreader locales, infection and death rates are far lower than in the States. Did lockdowns actually help Americans with the problem? The science seems to be saying no. But lingering Trump Derangement Syndrome will keep people like my friend from acknowledging that.

Paul Joseph Watson has more: