My Story

My story, huh?

It’s probably less interesting to know where I am, right now, than it is to know where I’ve been. On March 18th, 2010, I was fed up. Life was bad, I thought I was diabetic, slowly dying and … was generally a mess. I sat down, determined to change my life, and wrote a few words to myself about “how I feel”.

Those words are here: I’m fat, sick, sad, diabetic and it hurts to walk. Oh yeah, life sucks, too!

I suggest reading that, before you read much further. Really. Go back and click that link, before you go any further. None of this matters, if you don’t go read that first post.

For those that read it, and wondered if I AM diabetic … it turns out that I’m not, thankfully! The fact that I thought I was, was probably what saved me. The change to my diet probably prevented it. I visited the doctor after I’d lost about 100 lbs. and had great blood chemistry. Whew! That was a load off!

Also of note: How I lost 100 lbs. in 7 months and 2 Days!

About Me

I’m a non-descript mildly pudgy, late 30’s, middle of the road white dude, with random scruffy facial hair and a fear of wild dogs. I would describe myself as intelligent, mostly creative and potentially funny, but … not quite. I like to cook and I like to play with computers, but … it could be said that I’m not great at either. I also like to write. I like to tinker and read. I’m a bit of a Jack of all Trades, but … a Master of None.

As children, when asked what they want to be when they grow up, most children say something glamorous like, “Policeman!” or “Ambulance Chaser!”. I said, “Chef!” I don’t know why, but suspect it has something to do with my grandmother, who’s an amazing cook in her own right.

That sealed the deal. From that point forward, for Christmas and birthdays, I would get cookbooks, aprons and egg slicers as gifts. In school, guidance counselors would steer me towards classes involving cooking (ie. “Home Economics”). I won a salad making contest at a young age. I started working in restaurants at about 13 years old.

I attended the Culinary Institute of America at 18 years old, determined to be a Chef.

In the 90’s, I worked for some of the best chefs on the West Coast, including Wolfgang Puck, David & Anne Gingrass and Tom Douglas. During this time, I would build websites for friends and other businesses, as a way to network within the restaurant industry. Not many chefs could do it. It was a great way to meet and be met!

While in Seattle, I was offered an interesting opportunity via a company my father was starting. It was an internet radio station, LONG before the concept of a “PodCast” existed. This was 1998. I don’t believe there was a word for it, yet, but … I did it and it was fun! It was a blend of talking, joking, researching, cooking and explaining cooking techniques to a live radio audience. My on-air personality was named “DJ Foodie”. Hence, the name of this website. Some day, I may post some old shows!

From there, I moved to as the “Manager of Special Projects”. During my stay at Allrecipes, I focused on increasing the knowledge base of the site. They had a lot of recipes, at the time, but very little “how to” type of information. I helped get more information and created a lot of tips. I also assisted in adding nutritional analysis to each of their recipes.

Since then, I’ve alternated between building websites, to make money, and working in professional kitchens … because I love it!

I moved to San Jose del Cabo, Baja California Sur, Mexico (about 20 miles away from Cabo San Lucas), about 7 years ago. My intent was to open a restaurant. A wise friend suggested I start a catering company, instead. I did!

Unfortunately, I needed to work a separate full time job in order to pay the bills. The catering company was difficult to maintain, while working another full time job, in another country, where I was spotty with the local language. To top it off, I continued to overextend myself by building a house. Yikes!

Around this time, the economy tanked. Swine flu hit. Mexican drug wars became big news and tourism dried up. The catering company did poorly, while I was endlessly stressed, trying to hold it all together, sitting, widening, working behind a computer and eating … eating … eating. I literally ate myself into a corner.

In March of 2010, I’d hit a weight of 352 lbs. I had just shut down my catering company. I was very unhealthy, had all kinds of pains in my body, couldn’t walk any great distance and couldn’t stand for extended periods of time. My vision was fading, I thought I was diabetic and was very probably depressed. Life wasn’t good for me.

Over the course of that first 6 months, I lost almost exactly 100 lbs. The following year, I continued to lose roughly 40 more lbs. I’m 5′ 9″ and have been hovering around 215 lbs. for over a year.

Life is now good! I live on the beach, I have an amazing collection of friends, I’m learning to surf, I eat well, and I exercise almost daily.

Before and After Photos!

What good “was once a fat guy” website would be complete without the obligatory before and after photos! Sorry there arent’t that many … I’ve never felt very photogenic, resulting in a slim selection of photos. Enjoy, but … BE NICE!

Website Goals

This website is intended to keep me focused on my goals. I’d like to go the extra mile and drop at least 30 more lbs.

When I was first losing weight, I stalled … twice. Once was only a few months into the change. I discovered (unfortunately this was shut down), and started reading and interacting. I changed my diet to a more Atkin’s style way of eating and QUICKLY started shedding weight. I participated in the discussion forums for a good while. Interestingly, when I stopped participating, I stopped losing weight! I’ve been stuck at 215 lbs. for about a year. Granted, it’s been a great year, but I’d like to lose that last little bit.

Rather than stay at this weight, I’d like to focus on that last 30 lbs. This site should help keep me on track. Hopefully, it should also help YOU, should you stumble across this site and find my recipes, pictures and words … kind of interesting.

The Recipes

The recipes are the real meals that I’ve actually been cooking and eating for the past few years. Many of these I cook and eat regularly. Mostly, they’re simple fare and quick to prepare. While I love to cook, I don’t often have the time to spend hours in the kitchen. As a result, most of these recipes tend to be fast, simple, healthy and … mostly importantly … TASTY!

The photos are all intended to be basic representations of the food. I didn’t want to overdo the photos, for fear of intimidating people. They should be simple, delicious looking and approachable. I want people to feel that they CAN DO THIS! YOU CAN DO THIS! YOU CAN!!

Some recipes are very basic and simple, like sauces. Some aren’t even recipes at all, but suggestions disguised as recipes (usually snacks). Some recipes are more advanced and can be used for when guests are visiting, you want to impress, but you don’t want to break your diet!

Ultimately, I’ll have a large assortment of recipes, with a goal of 1-a-day, for a year. In a year … we’ll see what happens. For now … it’s GAME ON!

The Nutrition

You can click a link at the base of any recipe to learn more about how the nutrition all works. In short, I’m putting a lot of time and effort into giving accurately evaluated recipes. They are far from perfect and not perfectly accurate, but the overall average should be VERY good. In fact, I’m focused on presenting what are often referred to as “Hidden” carbs, as well!

When I count my carbs, I very rarely include spices or sugar alcohols in my count (I usually discount 50% off from sugar alcohols, except erythritol which I don’t count, at all). As a result, there are some hidden carbs in the foods that I eat. It’s possible that my own personal method of counting is lacking a further 20% of hidden carbs. The recipes on this website will expose all of those carbs, to give a more realistic, thus SAFER and more reliable, count of net carbs! If you count like I do … perhaps you can subtract 20% of the total net carbs for any recipe, to find your own personal sweet spot.

Just an idea. Whatever works, right?

To learn more about me, this site, or anything else, I suggest looking around, cooking the recipes, reading the blog and participating in discussions within various pages, blogs and recipes.

FINALLY, make sure you register to receive 7 new recipes, silly words of informative goodness from me and … whatever else I may choose to add to the blog on any given week.

Register for weekly updates at the top of any page.

Stay Classy, San Diego!

– DJ

12 thoughts on “My Story”

  1. Hi, love the website – you’ve obviously been very busy! Just a couple of things to give you as feedback: the Pinterest, Facebook etc buttons appear on the left side of the screen when browsing on my phone. They do drop to the bottom of the screen after a short while, but they block quite a bit of the content when they’re at the side.
    The second thing, and I suspect you have no control over this, is the ads that appear are quite frequent and I had 3 Krispy Kreme ads when I was browsing! I swear it’s not my browsing history that’s made that happen – honest! Other than that, great site and I can’t wait to get cooking.

    • Hi Elaine, thank you for the kind words! Yes, I’m aware of the weird social media buttons. I don’t like it, either. I’ll write the designer and see if they have any input. It goes away quickly, but … I agree. I don’t have control over the ad content (at least, I don’t think I do). That said, I set the ads up in about 10 seconds. Google’s whole ad site seemed to point at this new “auto ads” thing and it feels very spammy with WAY too many ads.

      My older site had only 3 ads and if memory serves, I had “some” control over ads, but I don’t remember how much or how granular. This is on my list of things to investigate

      I get weird ads, too. As much as they try and match ads to things we’re looking for, sometimes it just comes down to the highest bidder. Krispy Kreme must have pockets as deep as their fryers! 😉

  2. I have always enjoyed your website and now it seems “cleaner” and easier to find everything. You always explain everything you post so well, from your personal story of “why” down to your recipes. I just love it. No problems for me as far as pinning or buying. Keep doing what you do, it’s refreshing, honest, and I love your wit. People don’t usually chuckle while reading a recipe but that’s what I do! Plus they taste wonderful!

    • Thank you for the kind words, Karen. I’ve still got some cleanup around this place, but I plan to alternate it with more posts. So, slow and steady, but I’ll be posting more and more of my nonsense from here. Stay tuned! 😀

  3. Hi DJ – I bought both your books this last week and during a 4 hour car ride with my husband today, read out loud to him from Taking out the Carbage, page by page. Made the trip go must faster and we truly enjoyed the content and the recipes. Just barely got into “Main Dishes” when we got home and ran out of reading time. – for now. It is a beautiful book! Both my husband and I love to cook (and eat) and we have done low carb before, but “swayed away” for a while. Looking to find our way back. I am a cook book hoarder.. (haha!) Many, many are low carb, many are not. Yours is a GREAT book! And yours is a great story. 🙂 Question: you don’t seem to focus a great amount on macros in your own story, though you break them down in the book (THANK YOU!!!!) And you don’t talk much about limiting calories, though you do say that calories count. What are your thoughts on managing ALL macros and not just carbs straight out of the gate? Counting carbs is hard enough, let alone trying to manage and balance all macros (probably why we “swayed away”..) Would love to hear your opinion. Thanks. 🙂 And your website looks great. Looking forward to coming back often!

  4. What’s up Buddy,
    Did you make it back to the PCT? It was a pleasure getting to know you while we struggled up those SoCal Mtns. Hope all is well. This site looks great, keep up the wonderful work. Best of luck with the future.

  5. Thank you so much for this website, DJ. And thank you for your transparency. It can be really risky to “bare all” on the internet, since people can sometimes be cruel. Honesty in the quest of health, though, is very encouraging to those who are still on a difficult journey.

    I have followed your work for several years. You are a strong communicator. You take challenging concepts and make them accessible for your readers. That in itself is a unique gift. Thank you for sharing it with the world.

    Be blessed! You are a blessing to others!

  6. Hi DJ!
    Saw a link to your blog on a YHS FB thread and had to see what you are up to. Looks very yummy and it is nice to see you are doing well. I will be trying recipes. 😊 Take care, and good job!!!!!
    Jessica (Keener) Boyer

  7. DJ, what a nice surprise to get an email from you, I really missed your smiley face and character and OHHHH those recipes. Glad you are doing well, ok, back to work, Happy Thanksgiving to you 🙂


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