What I’ve Learned After Nearly One Year of Keto: My Best Tips For Newbies

“Keep it simple when you’re just starting – don’t get overwhelmed by all of the recipes out there. Focus on meat, chicken, cheese, eggs, butter, bacon, avocado and green veggies like broccoli and spinach. Riced cauliflower will also be a very close friend of yours. Once you’ve got keto down, you can always branch out to other recipes.”

—keytolifeisketo. “What I’ve Learned After Nearly One Year of Keto: My Best Tips For Newbies.” Reddit.com. January 2, 2018.

2018 Experiment: Ketogenic Diet

Background: A ketogenic diet is centered on fat as the main source of calories. While approaches vary, it typically involves getting >66% of total calories from fat, a gram of protein for every kilogram of weight, and minimizing carbohydrates to the degree possible, which means absolutely less than 50 grams and ideally, less than 20 grams. There have been studies done that support this approach, and there are books and articles on the Internet that explain the ketogenic diet in great detail.

I have been following a ketogenic diet since November 1, 2017. I lost 10 pounds in two months. I plan on continuing a ketogenic diet, with some reasonable flexiblity, through 2018.

Methods: The goal is to eat 70% fat, 20% protein, and as few carbs as possible. To get this high level of fat, I put coconut oil in coffee, drink coconut milk and add olive oil to food. Protein is mostly from tofu, egg whites, some seafood, and protein powder in water. Throw in some nuts and green leafy vegetables, and you have most of your calories for the day.

When feasible, I’ll use the Fitbit site to track macronutrients like fat since they have a nice database or products where you can scan the barcode of packaged food and get nutritional information.

A common problem with the ketogenic diet is low fiber intake. I am supplementing with whole flake psyllium, avoiding products like Metamucil since they have added sugar to make it more palatable. I’ve found just gulping a lot of water along with the psyllium mixed with water works fine to get the mixture down.

I will consider the diet a success if I can get my weight down a total of thirty pounds and keep my average weight below that level for the remainder of the year.

Results: I’ll do a quarterly review of my progress.

Discussion: TBD.

Conclusions: TBD.

The Key to Happiness: Coconuts

“…the key to happiness [is] simple: Abandon your earthly possessions, move to a tropical island, become a nudist, and eat only coconuts.”

—Zoe Bernard,”The Curious Case of August Engelhardt, Leader of a Coconut-Obsessed Cult.” Atlas Obscura. November 30, 2017.

Imagine sitting down in a small room in Germany in 1902 and listening to August Engelhardt’s pitch for happiness. Imagine beginning again in some unspoiled place, warm and living off nature’s bounty. It’s an offer of a clean slate, freedom and abundance. It’s an offer that fuels utopian visions everywhere.

People content with their circumstances in life, read about utopian experiments gone wrong in The New York Times, or after some time with the benefit of historical hindsight, and congratulate themselves. The smug voice in the chorus of our internal dialogue says authoritatively, “I would never fall for such a thing.”

Maybe. But, if you look a little deeper, it seems that we are all part of a larger cult: the religion of modernism, which holds equally strange beliefs, such as: earthly possessions will make us happy, education (indoctrination, if we are being less charitable) is the solution to many of our problems, studies that are unable to be reproduced constitute science, the priesthood of experts who have sage opinions about problems they do not experience and don’t live near should guide society, etc.

The discontents are left with fantasies about the kind of utopian paradise they could create after they win the lottery. Of course, the reality is that winning the lottery increases your chances of some unfortunate end by an order of magnitude. But, no need to worry, this is only a problem for the “winners”, and there are precious few of them. In the meantime, ponder the American Dream, work hard, and hope that your children get a better shake than you did. It happens enough to have some truth to it, just another kind of lottery. Leaving us to wonder, what other lotteries do we all buy into?

Meanwhile, the content, the “middle-class” run the wheel, buying new technology, a new bed, the gym membership, and eventually, there is an empty bank account to go with an empty life. A life’s work thrown out into the dumpster after a polite delay subsequent retirement. Sorry, we had to upgrade our systems old chum, and the thing you used to do is now worthless. Over time, true for everyone, even Shakespeare or the prophets. Religions eventually die too.

We laugh at August Engelhardt. Because to take him seriously we have to ask whether life would be better even with the heat stress, malaria, scorpions, the emaciated body of the hunter gatherer in a place where hunger finds a home. Maybe in the long run it is better.

Can you remember when the last time anyone in your family has experienced famine? Many people in industrial societies, certainly in the United States, do not have anyone within living memory of the experience. Once it is out of living memory, it is as if it becomes inconceivable. Famine? That can’t happen here. Easier to ignore all the evidence to the contrary, such as the fact famine was a regular feature of human life for much of history, and it is often driven by a pattern of collapse in economic systems based on intensive agriculture. War and famine is an inevitable consequences of our modern society, but like St. Augustine, we pray that it won’t happen (to us) yet.

nasa-poster-mars-exploration

But, what of Elon Musk? Isn’t Mars the contemporary equivalent of Papua New Guinea in 1902? He, at least, is honest that it’s going to be tough and will result in the death of many. But, the American Dream might be replaced by another, The Dream of Sol. The belief that it is humanity’s destiny to live out among the stars. It is the Manifest Destiny of our times, and it will be sold, just like the American Dream was sold. Work hard everyone! It’s for the good of humanity!

Mars will start as a cult, then become a religion and/or nation(s). There will be other August Engelhardts that will join and then break away, whether it is seasteading, asteroidsteading or spacesteading, and there is little difference between 3d printed water recycling machines and food pellet generation with “everything the body needs” from eating only coconuts and going nude, beyond one requiring more technological sophistication.

August Engelhardt lives, and his hungry ghost and others like him will haunt us forever. Go to the store and buy a coconut to share, while you still can! After your offering, blast off to Asgardia, if you dare.