Sadly the “ketogeneric” line was the standout here.

The more that I try to think about what to write about other than keto, everything circles back to keto. Is this some kind of mental trick? Like “don’t think about X” means that “X” filters all other thoughts and as such, just forces you to think about X more? I can’t be bothered filtering and there’s very little else going on in my life at the moment, so you’re getting more keto content. I guess you could say we’ve reached a ketogeneric state?

Dumb puns aside (there goes my entire arsenal -Ed), I’m finding this whole process interesting (even if none of you are). It’s causing me to look at everything I ingest under a magnifying glass, which is another way of saying I’m obsessing. I pissed onto a small stick today, like some faux pregnancy. They’re called Keto Sticks and they’re used for measuring the ketones in your urine. Unlike the pregnancy test, there’s a colour scale. It’s not like you can be kind of pregnant, but you can be in varying degrees of ketosis. My reading (which was hilarious to do. As I peed on the little stick it boinged back and forth like one of those door stopper springs) said I have trace amounts of ketones in my body. Trace amounts? I figured my past week’s fanaticism deserved more than trace amounts. I wanna be pissing ketones out the wazoo (otherwise known as my urethra). On the other hand, according to a bunch of threads I read, the sticks aren’t super accurate and being overly hydrated (or dehydrated) could affect the reading. They universally said to check first thing in the morning. So first thing in the AM I’m gonna check my pee-M.

Secondly, broth. I’ve got chicken broth bubbling away in the slow cooker. It smelled amazing when I left this morning and it’s only gonna get better. I’m no stranger to chicken soup and it’s wondrous panacea qualities. It’s one of my favourite foods, no joke (also that’d be a pretty tepid joke at best, even if I was leaning against an exposed brick wall for authenticity’s sake). Bone broth is a whole different endeavour. It’s quite possibly one of those hipster health movements, but maybe it’ll help encourage some healthy movements in my bowels. I don’t think that’s one of its benefits, but I’ll try most anything at this point. N. E. Way. I threw in the corpses of two whole chickens, plus some apple cider vinegar yesterday evening. They cooked all night and this morning I added chopped carrots, onion, garlic and celery. By the time I get home tonight, I should have a savoury gelatinous mass that I can melt down into a rich broth. I can wait (and I’ll have to) but I don’t want to.

Moving back to the movements, I got myself some psyllium husk powder in the hopes that it’d ease my struggles. Holy coprophilia, Batman, does that ever taste foul? Nobody told me it doesn’t easily dissolve in cold water, so the first few times I tried it there were little orbs of repugnant gel in a viscous liquid. Even after figuring that out, the stuff is nigh inedible without gagging. Like some form of rotting mushrooms, it’s fucking hard to get down your gullet. Then again, I figure that’s the point of this biological equivalent of drain cleaner. It terrifies everything clogging up your pipes, which rushes to the exit. So far I’ve had middling results, but here’s looking up. I’m increasing my dosage day by day as it suggests, which seems to merely be upping my revulsion. Positive signs?

Worth mentioning is that last night featured exceedingly the best meal I’ve had since I started this bloody diet. Emphasis on bloody, because I had roasted strip loin done pretty rare. It was divine and so goddamn simple. Down to $3/lb from $12/lb, I felt pretty chuffed to have a high quality meat cut for once. I cranked the oven to 450°F and put on a dry rub. I tossed it in for 15 minutes, turned it to 350° for 35 minutes, then took the slab out and rested it for 20 minutes. That was it. I flanked my steak with a heaping of silverbeet (known as Swiss Chard over this side of the pond. Silverbeet’s a better name) and cabbage. While luxurious, it was also the most normal meal of my past week. Nothing in it felt like I was pandering to the diet. No extra fats added in order to hit macros, just a glorious and delectable dish.

Have I bored you enough with the comings and goings of my intestinal tract? Like I give a shit.



What kind of change was I expecting?

I feel quite bushed. Worn out. Flattened. Wrecked. Ruined might be stretching it a bit far, but in any case I’m feeling under the weather. Easy sentiment when it’s snowy and gross out. I stayed home from work today. I tried, oh God did I try. I got on a crowded bus down to the station. The train platform was wall to wall people. I felt sweaty and achy. Slightly out of it. I’ve felt a little off all day. I’m still not right as rain. I wish I could blame all the tired and cliché expressions I’m tossing out on that, but really they’re a part of who I am. In any case, I headed back to work from home, but on the way realised I was quite possibly unwell. Temperature of 96.5°, which isn’t crazy far off, but neither is it a picture of perfect health. I tend to feel guilty taking sick days, but end most years with an abundance of them. They’re there (there, there) for a reason right?

This weird thing has happened in the past few years, that if I’m just butting around at home I have a hard time doing zero productive things. I tried to take it easy today, but still kept pottering around, doing washing and the like. At some point I resolved to take it easier and tooled around on the internet. I watched a couple of episodes of Lovesick‘s new season. The show is fine, watchable and totally mindless. In short, it’s basically the perfect kind of sick day TV.

I could’ve picked up my malaise from any number of convalescent pals. Hell, my girlfriend has been feeling a bit run over lately. It would surprise me zero at all to discover that the dastardly keto flu was still hanging about. I knew I had to increase my sodium intake, but most days I’ve been getting up to one or two grams. Apparently for the first little while I should be at three or four grams per day. Six days in, I still have no idea if I’ve entered ketosis. I do know that (unlike the first few days) I’m actually getting hungry around meal time. That could also be the fact that I’m hovering around 1400 calories per day. It’s not a huge amount, especially on gym days.

One thing that hasn’t sorted itself out yet is my digestive tract. I’m still not pooping like I want to be pooping. Let’s get one thing straight, before trying keto, pooping was one of my legit skills. I read a great article years ago about someone who created a blog where she’d do absolutely everything Oprah suggested for a year. The logline (seriously, no pun intended. You’ll see) was about doing “S” shaped poops. Oprah had a guest on who talked about stool health (maybe this show is up my alley). They said that a poop with two curves was an indication of a great digestive tract. Since then, I’ve prided myself on my ability to create lengthy and curvy poops in all manner of shapes. “S” was almost too easy. I’ve made “M/W”s, pretzels, ampersands and maybe even the Prince symbol. Once I discovered coffee, I’d poop even more. I’d drop heavy loads many times per day. I felt transcendent. Lighter than air, even.

As for the last few days, it’s dwindled to rabbit pallets and fun size bars. I expected that I’d lose weight on this diet, but I didn’t think I’d lose such a massive part of myself. I feel like I’ve lost a part of my core identity. Still, I’m not gonna take this sitting down. I’ve been continuing to drink coffee and eating a ton of fibrous foods. While I wasn’t sure if they were keto, I’ve discovered that I could fold chia seeds and nutritional yeast back into my diet. I got a bag of psyllium husk powder, so we’ll wait and see if that penny drops (though I’d be happier if it were a pound).

At the end of the day, it’s all about the bottom dollar.

Could you call this a cholesterole playing game?

Day two of keto. No, this isn’t gonna become a constant diatribe about what I’m eating, but two days in I have very else going on in my life or brain. I’m telling My Fitness Pal everything that’s going down my gullet, and it’s spitting the macros back at me. Today, that’s what I’m gonna look at.

This will be a process. While I’ve known for years that the basic notion of “fat is the devil” was foolish and naive, it’s pretty damn tough to flip that on its head. Dismissing cholesterol and sodium intake is troubling for me. There’s so much intentionality involved in hitting macros that I’m sometimes having to eat for the sake of eating. Dropping down my carbs isn’t tough (I may not even hit 10g today), but lowering my protein and upping fat has me in the upside down. My body feels weird and lethargic. Despite tons of cabbage last night and a bunch of coffee both days, everything in my lil’ tum is staying put. I’m bloated and not nearly as gassy as I’d like. At least that’d be a sign that something was in the works. Maybe in a day or two I’ll shit my pants and the relief will be my silver lining. Maybe I should start pre-emptively lining my underwear with tin foil.

It’s not my first time on low carb, but I wasn’t wild about it last time either. As a teenager, the concept of eating all the sausages and bacon my heart desired was bliss. In the execution I discovered that I really just missed fruit. This time around I’m really struggling with getting fat in. It’s gotten to the point where I went to the supermarket and purchased a couple of bricks of cream cheese. I measured them into 30g portions and have periodically just eaten straight cream cheese. While this sounds like someone’s dream, it’s not mine. It’s heavy food when I’d rather just not eat. Everything is so filling, but I’m eating too much protein and need to balance it out. Hence the supplemental snacks. Coffee has become a coconut oil delivery service. I haven’t noticed a huge difference, except that the texture is a little smoother and thicker. On an aesthetic note, the top of my coffee now glitters with all the bubbles of fat.

Me in a week, amirite?

Something I’ve been hugely thankful for is friends who’ve come out to support me with advice. It turns out a bunch of my mates have done it in the past. One of them lost around 45kg. It’s inspiring to know that I’m not walking blindly into this, that there are others who can shed light. A few have given solid tips on what to eat, changes to my cooking habits or different ways to look at foods I already consume. I might even need to cut down on my lunchtime tuna in order to keep my protein macros lowered. Who knows? Keto could even be the last line of defence against my inevitable mercury poisoning.

I wonder if there’s a way to cook broccoli and cabbage in mayonnaise…

Wait, is “resolutions” just a portmanteu of “results” and “solutions”?

I’m not one for New Year’s resolutions. Why? Because I’m criminally woeful at setting myself up for a task and following through. It’s not that I’m without motivation, but without any real forfeit for failure, the resolution isn’t relevant incentive. How bad am I at it? The only resolution I’ve set in recent years was to watch the entirety of Seinfeld. I finished up to the end of season two. If this sounds feeble, it gets worse. I’d already watched season one. All of this is preamble to mention that today I started trying keto and it’s in no way a resolution.

What is keto? In broad strokes, a ketogenic diet is one in which you starve your body of carbs and it goes into a state of ketosis. In ketosis, your body draws fuel from fat reserves because the usual quick burn carbs are nowhere to be found. It’s not Atkins or Paleo. It’s not no carbs. You’ve got ~20g of carbs per day. The nutritional breakdown of your daily intake should be somewhere in the realms of 5-10% carbs, 20-25% protein and 70% fat. Sound different and restrictive? It’s a big chance and will certainly involve being more intentional about what I eat. The exciting part is that it’ll enlighten me as to what’s actually in what I consume.

A widely acknowledged aspect of the keto diet is the “keto flu”. It’s an adjustment period during which your body replicates flu symptoms. Headaches, nausea, mental fuzziness, fatigue. They say it helps to up electrolyte absorption, so I’m gonna try sidestepping this by having periodic broth (just from basic powdered stock. Nothing amazing). Hopefully that helps. On day one it’s been really challenging to look at my usual intake and see some of my favourite foods slip away. I love my breakfast oats, but oats are out. As are bananas, apples and carrots. Natural sugars are non-helpful when cutting down on carbs. Boo-urns. I’ve also gotta be careful not to just overload on protein. While protein is great for building muscle, if your body is looking for fuel and there’s an abundance of calories from protein, it’s gonna start burning away the cherished lean muscle. Boo-galoo.

My biggest day one observation is that it’s really bloody hard to up my fat intake. I’m sure this sounds like I’ve been given the keys to Disneyland, but it’s a massive mental shift. I’ve already had to go out and grab some coconut oil for work to supplement my diet. My pre-workout formula is heavy in carbs (even though I use a half-scoop, it’s still 7.5g of my daily 20g total) so that’s gotta be switched out for coffee with a teaspoon of coconut milk. With all this stodgy food (and especially coming off my no rules New Year’s gorging), my digestive system is lacking its usual regularity. I’ve gotta make sure to chow down leafy green veggies like it’s no tomorrow. I’ll heavy up on the cabbage, chard and kale. Broccoli all day. I already feel tired and a little spacey. Once again, this could be down to the weird dietary stuff and sleep habits of the past few days. I don’t know how quickly it kicks in.

I’ve been planning to try it all out for a while now, and while I wish I’d researched better, I guess that’s what learning is all about. With the aid of My Fitness Pal (and the patience of an ever-suffering girlfriend), I’ll have this down pat in a few weeks and be able to see from a clear vantage point. In the mean time, expect coming storms and mood swings over the next week or two. We’re in for some turbulence.

I guess you could say, it’ll be en-lightning?

In retrospect the heart swelling could just be from the immense quantity of bacon I ate.

I am a shadow of a functioning human. After seeing a mostly unremarkable year off with a downright remarkable party, today has been spent stewing in my own fragile state. I partied hard, slept little and paid the price. In my eyes, an equivalent exchange. Enough about me being a mope though, how was the shindig?

Firstly, some scene setting. One of our friends decided she wanted to go all out and have a mega fancy house party for new years. She and her boyfriend planned everything and set out making it happen. They painted the basement and turned it into a big plounge area. They set up a dance floor with visualisations on the projector and lights everywhere. They’d asked for $20/$10 from all attendees based on what they could afford, in order to cover costs. They used the money to stock the place with all manner of necessities. There were all kinds of hors d’oeuvres: mini quiches, shrimp cocktail, charcuterie, cheeses, crackers and chips. Frozen snacks like samosas and a fuckton of pizzas. A host of mixes, juices and soft drinks. The bar was filled with a ton of champagne bottles and spirits. Most importantly, there was a chocolate fountain. Like I said, it was a fancy fucking soiree.

The party also had varying zones. The ground floor was the general party zone. It was all about fancy dress, dapper attire. At a certain point in the evening, many stripped down to lingerie, underwear or classy lounge attire. The basement plounge was a space for cuddling, clothing optional garb and, if people felt like it, consenting light sexual play. There were bedrooms upstairs that had been rented out in which guests were welcome to engage in more intimate interactions. The couple hosting had written a lengthy mandatory rules post covering the importance of consent and acceptable behaviour in different areas of the house. It was pretty rad entering a space with a certain understanding that people would be on the level.

It all went off without a hitch. The party was fucking stellar. I got to catch up with a ton of great friends and met a bunch more. I got to sync up LCD Soundsystem’s “Dance Yourself Clean” like I wanted so the beat kicked in as the clock struck midnight. I drank, well, obviously a bunch. I chowed down constantly and had a pretty happy tummy. Also with everyone all dolled up, there were wall to wall babes. We all dressed to kill and looked like it. After the formal wear came off, it was wonderful to feel so comfy in my smoking jacket and underwear. My girlfriend and I ended up crashing in the plounge sometime around 6am. An unbelievably great night.

Today was spent working my way out of purgatory by being a useless fucking lump. My head hurt, I felt nauseous and threw up until I had only bile left to give. It was biblical. Friends being friends, helped. One of my friends made me a Bloody Caesar for some hair of the dog remedy. A guy gave me a quick five minute reiki massage that helped a ton. People pitched in to make omelettes and bacon for everyone. I ate all day. We lay about the living room and watched The Jerk, Shrek and Brooklyn Nine Nine on the projector. In my state I took maybe 45 minutes to make frozen pizzas, after foolishly assuming the Fahrenheit based oven was in Celsius. 220° F isn’t enough to melt cheese in 15 minutes, apparently. So after a while, we ate pizza. I had another Caesar. I ate chips even though I didn’t really want them. We eventually ordered Thai. After a day of doing absolutely nothing, I feel mildly queasy, but my heart is swollen with love. If this is any indication of the year to come, it’s gonna be hard to beat.

Tomorrow I start keto. Even if this year rocks, this month will be an uphill climb.

It was gorge-ous, in case you were quarry-ous.

Adventure day! After many days in a row stuck in Toronto, escape was on the docket. Destination: Elora, a little town maybe 90 minutes out of the city. Where do I start? Well, nothing could keep us from repeating the town’s name in a sing song voice à la Master of None.

With no aux capabilities on the stereo, my girlfriend was forced (enabled?) Into bringing out her teenage CD wallet. We zoomed along the 401 highway cranking a Much Dance compilation and Alanis Morisette’s Jagged Little Pill. We weren’t merely travelling, but time travelling. It was interesting getting used to a) driving again, b) driving in snow and c) driving again in snow on the other side of the road. I’m not gonna be melodramatic enough to say that everything changed, but some things threw me off a little. First off, right hand turns on a red. I can’t even remember if there was an equivalent rule back in New Zealand, but it felt like stealing bases. A free pass! The left side being the driver’s side was odd. Mostly when reversing. Every time I had to back up I’d instinctively turn to my left and end up facing the door. Then I’d turn to the right, grab the headrest of the right seat and turn my wheels the wrong way.

Elora was small, walkable and cute. A ton of niche stores with the kind of stuff adults buy to make a house look well travelled. First stop was the Elora Brewing House. It was exactly what you’d expect from a brewery, which I mean only as a compliment. Tasty pub style food and a range of beer on tap. I had a chicken sammy with bacon jam, lettuce and tomato. The home made tomato sauce was super flavorful with a strong ginger taste. The hot sauce was potent and I’m bound to feel it again later.

We checked out a couple of the boutiques around town. The Mermaid Emporium had heaps of inexpensive and nice looking jewelry. Not merely that, but an extensive collection of custom door knockers, handles and coat hooks. Have you ever had a hankering for hanging your coats on a line of dog butts? If not, we wouldn’t connect on any wavelength and I question why you’re reading this. My girlfriend and our travelling buddy bought a couple of things and we set out to see what else the town held. We looked into a bunch of windows, then settled on a cringeworthy looking gift store. It had more than the usual complement of Live Laugh Love placards and some eerily targeted divorce wine glasses. I guess there’s a market for everything.

The gorge and quarry, two local attractions we’d been keen to check out, were in opposite directions. People had suggested the quarry would likely resemble a large hole filled with snow, so the gorge sounded slightly more promising. In the summer it offered zipline routes, but covered in snow there were instead just empty tracks. We walked through them, playing in the snow like witless children. We stood on the zipline platform and witnessed the beautiful vista of the frozen gorge. We followed the track to a walkable over-bridge and saw an even better view, lit by the pink hues of fading sunlight. The cliffs were steep, indebted and chipped away through time. A small river ran through the mostly icy depths, opening up as it ran past the bridge. We messed around in the snow a bit more until frostbite threatened to claim our appendages. We hopped back in the car back towards home, content with a fun day out. So fun, in fact, that I forgot how much I wanted a fish sandwich until we were too far to turn around. Well, well, well, Elora, I guess you haven’t seen the last of me!

Sleighing it.

This place has descended into chaos and I love it. It’s a total mess, which couldn’t be more indicative of our frenetic and magical cohabitation. It feels like Christmas, but more so it feels like our Christmas. We have our weird little blue tree with its Star Lord topper. The central heating is causing our hand drawn pictures to periodically fall to the floor (blue tak and all that). Our sense of time has fallen away after a night out at a friend’s place. There’s no structure and bedlam is the word of the day. Bedlamham?

No festive ham, but we are having ribs. This recipe, to be exact. We had an 11am Skype date with my girlfriend’s mum, so waking up at 10am I got to work prepping the ribs. I lathered them in garlic, salt and pepper, then mixed the sauce. It couldn’t have been easier, just a bottle of Sweet Baby Ray’s bbq sauce and 180ml of coke. Put the ribs in the slow cooker, drenched them in the sauce and left them on low. They’re five hours in and smell divine. They’re gonna be unbelievable flanked by sweet potato fries and maybe some broccoli if we’re feeling sporty.

My girlfriend got me a nice little stay at home kit for Christmas. It had dark hot chocolate mix and home made cookies/marshmallows that one of our baking-ly gifted friends put together. We started the morning off with special hot chocolates, mixed with a liberal application of Baileys cherry chocolate. If this all sounds idyllic, keep in mind that it involved me accidentally tripping one of the fuses in the kitchen. The guy who lives downstairs (and thus has access to the fuse box) is away for some amount of time (hopefully just today) so a section of our place is without power. Oopsies. I had to plug the microwave/kettle into the hallway. Accordingly, making my breakfast meant crouching down on the floor in my giraffe onesie, taking my porridge out of the microwave to stir in peanut butter, then putting it back in. Looking around I saw the stack of pictures that’d fallen down, the kitchen table used as storage space, the microwave and kettle on the hallway floor, our weird little tree. I smelt the ribs cooking away. I don’t know that I’ve felt more at home in a while.

To truly go with the theme, we’re gonna have our own little home made Jewish Christmas. We’ve still got Kill Bill: Volume 2 in the chamber ready to fire off at will. In lieu of ordering Chinese food, we’re gonna cook up a stir fry and pig out (before pigging out on pig ribs later on). We have no reason to put on clothes for hours and only leisure on our schedule. It may be lawless chaos, but I have no complaints.

Wherever you’re at, whatever you’re up to. I hope you’re double-fisting merriment and cheer.