Zero Carb Legend, Scuba Diving and Personal Drama Equals Good Blog!

Hola Fellow Foodies!

Last time, on a very special DJ Foodie …

I peaked at a weight of 352 lbs, and spent about a year getting to 215 lbs through a consistent low carb diet, just above induction levels. I’ve maintained that weight for about 1 1/2 years, and am now pushing to drop to 185. I’m currently at 214 lbs, where I’ve been eating meat, eggs and dairy and have been stuck for a week! Yuck!

Bassackwards Thinking

My parents have a boat and they travel around the world doing interesting things. My father blogs about their travels (I’m not the only blogger in the family!). A few years ago, they traversed the North Pacific Ocean (The Bering Sea). They started in Washington State, travelled north to Alaska, then west cruising though the Aleutian Islands, against the advice of their fellow boaters. They were dubbed “The Wrong Way Gang”. They went backwards through the area where “The Deadliest Catch” is filmed. As a preventative measure, they brought along a local barnacle covered fisherman, who knew the area well. He was a bit of a character, famously disappearing in the middle of their trip (don’t worry, he turned up). They eventually landed in Russia, then continued on down into Japan. Throughout the entire trip, my father blogged and blogged. When they are were trouble, the boat would break, they’d be near pirate territory, weather would get nasty or any number of other fascinating happenings, the blog would be AMAZING, completely absorbing and immersive. Their trip across the Pacific was about as compelling a read as I can imagine. I could not wait for the next post, because it was all “real time”! I’d get the blog and know that they were literally in the middle of “whatever it was” … right then! It was a combination of real life adventure and a history lesson about World War II in the Aleutian Islands. Riveting stuff!

This year, they’ve been in Turkey, floating around from one relaxed and casual pleasant moment, to the next. Life has been good for them. They go from amazing, relaxed and serene location to amazing, relaxed and serene location, eating, drinking wine, BBQ’ing and swimming in warm crystal blue water. While it’s wonderful for them … where’s the adventure?! Where is the potential for disaster? Where are the crazy characters?! My father often apologetically mentions that when life is good for them, the blog suffers, but that when life is rough for them … the blog suddenly becomes AMAZING. It’s so true!

(Note to Dad: Even when times are good, I still love your blog. Keep it up!)

Last week, I shared some rough times I’d been going through. I shared some (potentially TOO) personal information about my life and stressed over the reaction of my readers. I was certain people would cancel, as this really is a food blog. HOWEVER … people didn’t cancel. In fact, I had zero cancellations and more people signed up! I received many comments and emails, each encouraging me to keep up with the true life honesty. I now feel a bit like my father … when I’m in trouble, the blog will be great, but … when life is good … it’ll be me writing about how relaxed and awesome I am. What fun is that?!

So … I suppose now … my goal is to stay in a perpetual state of trouble … right? It is my sworn duty to constantly and consistently do it wrong (don’t worry … I’m good at this. It comes naturally to me *wink*). If I’m in trouble or in some state of turmoil … the blog will soar! It makes sense, right? Right?!

If anything, I’ve made a decision. I’ll be honest and true. I think it’s important. It’ll be hard at times, but I’ll do it. It feels right, to me. It also feels VERY odd and tugs on my heart strings, but … I believe there’s a reason for sharing whatever ride we’re all about to take together.

This week has been a mixture of the good to great to … more … meh.

No Carb Land

I have stuck to my guns and stayed zero carb. Yay! I have lost precisely no weight at all. Not a pound. Boo! In fact, I’ve gone up a lb, then … back down a lb. I can’t break through that rock solid floor of 214 lbs.! I’ve also had some tummy trouble and fears and anxieties over this way of eating. At this point, I want to eat some lettuce. I’d give anything for a strawberry. Oh, how I’d LOVE to eat a cruciferous vegetable! I had a bit “scare” this week, which makes me question what I’m doing and why I’m sharing it and … what the bleep am I thinking?!

On the flipside, I decided I owed it to myself to have some fun for a change. I broke my recent stride and travelled east along the coast with some friends and went Scuba diving in Cabo Pulmo! Whoo hoo!!

More about each of these things … after this week’s pictures! (recipes still in development)

Brined Pork Chop with Zero Carb Pancake Syrup

Shredded Chicken in Chicken Broth

Jerk Pork Chop (The peppers and allspice berries were just to look good … I didn’t eat them.)

Some of the tasty vittles from this past week’s menu. The two pork chops were FANTASTIC! I brined them before I grilled them. The spice rub on the Jerk pork was so mouthwatering that I wanted to call each of my Jamaican friends and brag! A buddy was over when I made the maple pork chop and he was completely flabbergasted. He’d never heard of pork and syrup before. HE LOVED IT! The soft shreddy chicken in chicken liquid was filling and would be amazing if I were feeling ill or low, but … I confess to finding it a bit on the boring side. Oh well.

The Good, The Bad and The Ugly

A good friend has family visiting. She invited some people over for dinner, to meet and greet, share, chat, what-have-you. In the middle of discussion, scuba diving was mentioned. I suggested they go Scuba diving while here. They loved the idea and asked me along. I’ve been so busy with everything that I haven’t had much quality “DJ Time” lately. So … I said, “Sure!”. Bright and early on Monday morning, I hopped in my car, cruised over to my friends place and collected them. We drove along the eastern coast of Baja California Sur to a tiny off-the-grid town and protected national park known as Cabo Pulmo. It’s a truly amazing place, which I encourage anyone and everyone to visit. It’s very possibly my favorite place on earth. It is also the home of the only living reef in North America.

I don’t want to add a lot of non-food photos in this blog. My happy fun times are important and it’s good that I have them, but … I’m not sure whether or not a day trip is relevant to a food blog. Maybe it is? If you want to see pictures of where I live, Cabo Pulmo, my day and … underwater fishies … you can click the picture!

Lifelong Zero Carber

For those that are still reading, I want to talk about Owsley “Bear” Stanley; a counter culture figure from the 60’s. The picture on the left is him at 75 years old! He was an early sound engineer for the Grateful Dead. He was responsible for the “Wall of Sound” at their live concerts. In addition, he recorded the likes of Janis Joplin, Santana, Jimi Hendrix, Johnny Cash and more. He was also influential in other ways in the late 60’s, many of which you may or may not approve of.

I find his story interesting, but my primary interest, lies less in his relevance to the 60’s than it does with his diet. The man ate no carbs for 50 years! He was very proud of that fact. He was a big supporter of a zero carb diet and lifting weights.

I’d heard of Bear before and knew of his diet. I’d read about it and even read his own words from his own website, while he was still alive. While shopping with a buddy, I was talking about my zero carbness and he told me that Bear had merged with the infinite … specifically because of his diet! I was stunned. I’d just started zero carbing and now my buddy was saying that a famous zero carber had died by consuming too much meat! I was dumbfounded. I didn’t believe it, but my friend stood his ground. I couldn’t wait to get home and learn the truth!

It was a car wreck, John! Stop spreading your lies!!! 😉

This same friend, an amazing organic farmer, also sends me information suggesting that eating meat will ruin the planet. To be fair, he also sent me information about the benefits of red meat. I have no deep personal stance on these issues. Maybe I should, but … I’m a simpleton. I like meat. It’s delicious. Those are the depths of my thoughts. You won’t find much else down there. I’ve looked!

Reading about Bear, it seems that he was a smart and influential man. Discussions about him range from amazing, to completely bat bleep crazy. At the very least, he ate well, focused on his health and lived to be a nice old age. We’ll never know how much further he would’ve gone, but the descriptions of him generally place his appearance at 15 to 20 years less than his actual age. His skin does look nice and tight for a 75 year old man. Powered by meat!

His 7 rules for zero carbing were …

  1. Eat only from the animal world.
  2. Eat nothing from the vegetable world, whatsoever.
  3. On dairy: avoid milk and yoghurt (heavy carbs- lactose), use only pure (not ‘thickened’- heavy) cream (read the label), cheese and unsalted butter.
  4. Don’t cook your meat very much- just a little bit on the outside- for flavour- blood-rare or bleu. For this reason I advise against eating pork.
  5. Eat liver and brains only very infrequently- they are full of carbs.
  6. Be sure to have plenty of fat of animal origin at each meal and eat mostly of the fat until you feel you have had enough- you can eat more lean at this point if you like- calories are not important, nor is the number of meals/day. Vegetable oils are not good food.
  7. You do not need any supplements of any kind. Drink a lot of water and do not add salt to anything.

I admire the man for his dedication to this way of eating. I really do. It’s an almost endlessly impressive feat to eat almost exclusively unseasoned animal fats for 50 years. For him, it was fuel, nothing more and nothing less. And, in his case … it appears to have worked, too!

Let me preface the following by saying that … I haven’t lost any weight this past week. I’ve also experienced some intestinal distress. There stands a chance that I’ve been doing it wrong, but … here’s where I strayed from Bear’s words …

I added spices to my mix. Not a lot, but … enough. Trace amounts of garlic, chilies, capers, herbs, mustard seeds, coriander, etc. I didn’t drink milk or have yoghurt, but I did eat a lot of cheese and cream (YUM!). I “think” this is within the scope of his rules, but … it felt like cheating, somehow. I also ate a lot of pork and really cooked the dickens out of some of the food I consumed (such as the ribs and shredded chicken). I did not eat liver or brains. I believe their carbs are minimal and that they are full of nutrients. I disagree with Bear’s stance on this point, but … I didn’t eat them because I think they’re oogy. I had NO problem with the fat, though. Chicken skin, beef fat, creams, bacon fat, and big heavy cheeses were all consumed with glee! I also take quite a lot of supplements and I add salt to everything.

So … I may have done it wrong, but … I still feel that I stayed on the very very low end or the low carb spectrum. I’ve still got a week to go, too!

Here’s what I believe about my current stall … I’m experiencing a plateau, not because I’m fidgeting with the formula, but because my body has already lost so much weight and I’ve been comfortably at 215 for so long, that my body is resisting another change. I’ve been here before, and it’s always difficult. My mind is crying out to me to change. Because I’m temporarily stalled, I’m feeling doubts. I also experienced some pressure about 3 inches beneath my belly button. It’s difficult to describe, but … it felt a bit like an intense pinching. This was just another reason in my mind to just “eat whatever”. Mental trickery. The devious little mind demons telling me that “Hey, Dumb Dumb! This isn’t working! Give up! Lubricate that pain with a chocolate bar!”

Nope. Nope! Not gonna happen!

I know that I probably too abruptly went from a diet high in veggie fiber to one without. I suspect that was a true mistake on my part. On Sunday, I took a nice teaspoon of psyllium husks (fiber) with each of my meals. This cleared up the pinching and … life moved on. Now I feel good and am completely where I should be … sticking to my guns and maintaining this way of eating though what will hopefully be a miniscule little stall. (I HOPE!)

At this point, I figure it’s a win win. It works and I lose weight! It DOESN’T work and the blog gets extra interesting!

This post is getting WAY too long. I had also wanted to discuss how much protein is TOO much protein and … what can happen. Next week. Stay tuned!

This week’s recipes …

There are two groups of recipes here that I’m really proud of. One group consists of 3 recipes. It’s a super juicy, extra tasty Brined Whole Roasted Chicken with Green Beans, Peppers, Almonds and an Orange-Rosemary Compound Butter. Each part is wonderful. Together, it’s almost showing off! There’s also a sweet teriyaki sauce that I’m really proud of. It’s a thickish black sweet … borderline glaze. It’s sweet, salty and gingery. It’s excellent and a perfect marinade for a Beef Teriyaki Pineapple Skewer! There’s also a salad made from soup ingredients and a sausage “recipe”. More next week and every week from here on out!

Socially Challenged

I’ve been lazy this week. I’m trying to shift my focus to the positive, so I went scuba diving in paradise. I’m also planning to return on Friday for more diving, camping and eating. I’ll be gone all weekend. As a result, my social networking and emailing of people has been virtually nil. I’m a bad person. I know (hangs head in shame).

I’ve made a solid pact with myself to get back into the social networks AND back to the gym, next week. I miss my downward facing dog! I’ve been scuba diving and pouting. Time to just get back to business as usual!

At the top of this post are 5 little circles. Each of them will take you to a social network where you can subscribe to whatever silliness I happen to throw that direction on any given day. The blogs and recipes are one thing, but I try and dance through the social networks, too. It’s fun! Check them out!

Until next week!

DJ

ALL NEW Weekly Recipes!

Juicy Brined Whole Roasted Chicken
Chicken doesn’t have to be “just chicken”. Chicken doesn’t have to be dry or tough. Chicken can be transformed into something MORE than “just chicken”, through the act of “brining”.

Brining is different than marinating. Marinating is often a way to hide flavors, or to create a complex flavor profile that rises above and often complements the meat and accompanying side dishes. The end result of a marinade is a strong presence of the marinade. …

Green Beans, Peppers and Almonds
This is a quick, bright and tasty side dish. It seems to me that most people boil their vegetables, but this is completely unnecessary! The goal is simply to cook your veggies in a way that makes them healthy and delicious. Sautéed in a little butter will do the trick. Especially if you use a nice thin fresh variety of green bean!
Orange-Rosemary Compound Butter
Compound butters are flavored butters. They come in as many varieties as there are combinations of ingredients! I’ve been to fancy restaurants where the bread basket arrives, brimming with warm crackers, bread sticks and mini-loaves of whatever goodness may have danced through the baker’s imagination the night before. It’s not uncommon to see this cornucopia of carbs to arrive with a variety of flavored butters!
Sweet Teriyaki Sauce
There’s a sweet salty teriyaki sauce that my mother used to purchase, when I was growing up. I wish I knew what the brand was, because I love it and miss it (not that I could eat it!). This sauce is my attempt to recreating that taste sensation. The taste is excellent!
Beef Pineapple Teriyaki Skewers
Sometimes I like to play with fire, and I don’t mean the hot orange and blue stuff. There are things that most people following a low carb way of eating probably shouldn’t eat a lot of, even if it’s a whole natural food. Obvious ones are potatoes and rice, but fruits often fall into that list of taboos. Pineapple is amongst one of the sugary sweetest fruits out there! But …
Chilled Out Gazpacho Salad
Gazpacho is a chilled tomato based soup, hailing from Spain. It’s essentially a pureed mixture of tomatoes, cucumbers, onions and bell peppers. It very frequently has old bread pureed with it, which helps thicken and pull it all together.
Breakfast Links with Maple Syrup
I like sausages. I like bacon and … I like sausages. This is another “cheat” recipe, suggesting you eat sausage for breakfast. You know the kind. The little thin BREAKFAST sausages, drizzled with sugar free maple syrup. Yum!

STANDARD FTC DISCLOSURE: In order for me to support my blogging activities, I may receive monetary compensation or other types of remuneration for my endorsement, recommendation, testimonial and/or link to any products or services from this blog. Please note, I only ever endorse products that are in alignment with my ideals and I believe would be of value to my readers.

4 thoughts on “Zero Carb Legend, Scuba Diving and Personal Drama Equals Good Blog!”

  1. Can’t thank you enough for writing all about yourself and sharing your struggles on losing weight. I know I am in that boat, and I’m sure many others. The pictures of the area where you were scuba diving are amazing! Thanks for sharing those. And of course thank you for the recipes. Your parents certainly are interesting. Wish mine had been! Take care and I hope you keep sharing here.

  2. Hi Nancy. Thank you for the nice words! This whole thing is really strange to me. Historically, I’ve always made fun of bloggers, Facebookers, MySpacers, Tweeters, etc. The whole concept of sharing yourself, online, always felt so self centered. “Hey World. LOOK AT ME!” A very vain activity, but … here I am. In all my glory! WHEE!!! It’s definitely an interesting experience and I have no intention of letting up. Enough people finally convinced me I might be good at this … and … I’m enjoying it. I suspect I’ll be blogging for a long time to come. Stay tuned! 😉

  3. Hi DJ, I love your blog..it has helped me recommit to low carb! I lost 105 lbs in about a year on low carb, and kept it off since ’07…but alas I have gained 20 back. Your recipes look and sound delicious. You’ve mentioned cream cheese candies in your blogs but I can’t find them! I need some low carb snacks I can ziploc and take to work (kinda get tired of pork skins). Any suggestions would be appreciated!!
    Keep up the GREAT WORK!!

  4. Hola Lucy! Thank you! I don’t know what it was, but your words really meant a lot to me. This whole process is fairly strange to me. I’ve really got NO idea how people are reacting to it, but to think I’m helping someone … ? THAT really means the world to me. I can’t thank you enough! My silly nonsense … whodathunk?! Ultimately, I do hope to help people, but … in my mind, this all feels a bit like geeky food talk and complaining. When I read your comment, I smiled for a good 30 minutes. Thanks, again! 105 lbs is no small feat. Congratulations on that! Regarding the candies … I mentioned them in the blog, but I haven’t added the recipe, yet. I’m still working out my systems, but it “seems like” I’m doing something like … mention what I eat, then post the recipe for it 4 to 6 weeks later. Funnily enough, the site is only 5 weeks old! A lot of this delay has to do with the fact that I started photographing months ago, just so I could stay ahead of the game. I’ve got a couple hundred recipes “in the can” … at one a day, it may take a while! There’s also a very small slice of … it’ll give people something to look forward, too! 😉 All this said … the cream cheese candies are no big secret. If you google sugar free refridgerator candy, you’re likely to find many recipes. I made 3 flavors in the past 3 weeks (Ginger-Spice, Vanilla and Brown Butter). They’re each a flavored sweet and tasty fat bomb. Each is little more than a brick of warm cream cheese in a food processor. Add some sweetener (I use erythritol, powdered stevia and ez sweets (liquid sucralose) to adjust the sweetness). Then, a little salt and some flavoring. Then, I almost always use cocont oil, which I drizzle into the processor, as it whirs along. This adds more fat and gets me my daily dose of coconut oil. I tend to use about 3/4 cup of coconut oil, to a 1/2 lb brick of cream cheese. In the case of the brown butter flavor, I would use brown butter, instead of coconut oil. The end result is something like a caramel cheesecake. I also tend to use a little cream, to thin it out, so it doesn’t get too hard when it chills. Currently, I’m eating zero carb, so the flavors are minimal and extra fat laden, but when eating a more normal low carb or induction level, I will add some fruit in the form of fruit, fruit jams/jellies and/or flavored oils. These tends to make something like a spoonable berry cheesecake. Another big “key” to the whole thing is … portioning them. Each portion is about 5 tablespoons, in little tupperwares, into the fridge. I eat one about an hour after dinner. Yum! Recipes … soon! Thanks, again!!!

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