Whisky Review

I’m not a monk when it comes to my keto lifestyle. I do like a drink once in a while, but anything with a lot of carbs is out of the question. I can tolerate an occasional glass of red wine, but over time it will affect my blood glucose negatively. Which brings us nicely on to uisge beatha (Gaelic for whisky; meaning literally ‘the water of life’).

Whisky has zero carbs, so, in a sense, it is keto-friendly. I will not go any farther than that because, let’s face it, alcohol is not good for us. That said, I love a wee dram once or twice a week especially on a nice day where I can sit on the deck and watch my chickens do silly things.

For many, whisky is an intimidating drink especially if taken neat (which purists will tell you is the only way). I’ve got two recommendations if, like me, you want to keep a small amount of alcohol in your life. These are both Scotches. I don’t mind bourbon; however, it’s not something I seek out. The less said about Irish whiskey the better. Apologies to my Donnelly cousins in advance. I just find Irish whiskey too oily.

The wordsmiths out there may have noticed two spellings. Scotch whisky does not abide the “e”.

Glenmorangie 10 Year Old

Glenmorangie Original 10 Year Old Whisky, 70 cl

This is a fantastic entry whisky. It is great value for the money, especially when on offer, and it is as smooth as smooth can be. It is delicate with floral notes. It is very light which makes this my go-to summer whisky. There is no heaviness or peat-smoke to this one, which tends to turn people off whisky if that is their first experience.

The Glenlivet 12 Year Old

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This is a somewhat newish expression, as whisky people say. The 12 Year Old (which simply means how long the whisky has been in a cask before bottling) disappeared from the shelves for a while and now it’s back. I’m glad it is because this one is even lighter than Glenmorangie. Again, it’s excellent value when on sale.

As an aside, I did a little experiment on a fasting day last week to see what a small glass of whisky would do to my glucose the next morning. If anything, it was a little lower than usual.

So, if you’re a keto/paleo/diabetic and want to give whisky a try, these two are where I would start.

Sláinte!

Keto Gin and Soda

Is it just a British thing or has the whole world gone gin crazy? Everyone and his uncle seems to be putting out a new brand of gin.

Once I moved beyond mixers and beer and started drinking like an adult, gin and tonics were a lovely summer staple. Of course, I haven’t touched one of these in years because tonic water is chalk full of sugar.

There are many sugar-free versions out there, but you probably know my view on artificial sweeteners if you’ve been here for a while.

And then my wife helped this sometimes slow-witted diabetic. We drink a lot of bottled, sparkling water in our house and the missus suggested mixing a bit of gin with fizzy water and a squeeze of lime. I still had a little gin in the cabinet so why not? Spirits have pretty much no sugar in them.

Overall, it was a good drink. Not as good as a traditional G&T, but on a hot summer’s day, it did the trick!

Three-Day Fast Results

Well, I’m very close to cracking it. I started this blog fifteen months ago as a hobby, but I thought it would help me make a few more changes to my lifestyle. Why? In order to get my blood glucose down to 5.7 mmol/L.

My last two HbA1c readings, which is a three month blood glucose average, were unspectacular: 7.6 mmol/L. I was doing long-term damage to my body. After the last reading, I was planning to discuss going back on insulin with my doctor. Then someone, out of the blue, recommended Jason Fung’s The Diabetes Code; it’s been gold since then.

I’ve written about this therapeutic approach to fasting already, but last week I decided to have a three-day fast, and then go right back into Dr Fung’s programme. That’s to say, I had a three-day fat fast (Monday, Tuesday, Wednesday), ate Thursday and fasted again on Friday. My morning readings for the next week or so were between 6.4 and 5.0 mmol/L.

Over the last fortnight, I’ve had only one morning where I woke up with high blood sugar (9.2 mmol/L). Reason? I had too much dark chocolate and too many nuts the day before. As a result, I’ve got rid of the chocolate altogether this week. I just can’t be trusted. If I want a snack, I’ll have a spoon of almond butter with some cacao nibs. This has helped my blood sugar as well.

So having been on Dr Fung’s fasting regime for over two months now what’s my plan? I’ll be doing this indefinitely. The typical week will be three days of fasting (Monday, Wednesday, Friday), but once a month it will be four days (Monday, Tuesday, Wednesday, Friday).

I am really looking forward to my next blood test!

Thanks again Dr Fung.

Omelette Odyssey Continues

There were some leftovers in the fridge that I played around with to spice up my yolk only omelette. My better half had made tacos for herself the night before (I was fasting), so I took some taco meat, homemade salsa and manchego and folded it into my omelette.

This was maybe the best omelette I have ever had. It was like having a taco except the shell was egg yolk.

Another variant I’ve been playing with on Tuesdays is stuffing my omelette with leftover roast chicken and cheddar cheese. This is a great way to break my Monday fast and to help my wife get rid of the leftovers from the Sunday roast.

I can’ wait till tomorrow morning.

Eat Like a Nutrivore

Sacred Cow: The Nutritional, Environmental and Ethical ...

We’re at the end of the line folks. The final chapter is essentially how to follow a paleo-diet. This is not a surprise as both authors have advocated paleo elsewhere. The only real difference now is that “Many have used this type of diet [paleo] successfully but have failed to consider the importance of food-based micronutrients and sustainability as part of the picture.” So don’t just follow a whole-food paleo diet, but also find out where your food is coming from and make sure your producers adhere to regenerative/sustainable systems.

Beyond doing your research on sustainability, there isn’t much on offer in this chapter for someone who already lives keto/paleo. Don’t get me wrong, the advice is all good (e.g., thirty-day challenge, 80/20 rule, etc.), but there’s nothing unique here.

For the novice, however, this chapter is as good a place as any to start one’s paleo journey. That said, it’s probably easier reading my five minute explanations on keto and paleo:

What is Paleo? – The Paleo Diabetic

What is Keto? – The Paleo Diabetic

Mark Sisson is also a great place to start. That’s where I began ten years ago:

Mark’s Daily Apple: Start Here | Beginner’s Guide (marksdailyapple.com)

Final Thoughts

Sacred Cow was worth the effort. Rodgers and Wolf were already preaching to the choir, so it wasn’t like I needed to be converted to their cause. Nevertheless, it deepened my understanding about just how important ruminants are to our environment. I also had no idea that monocrop agriculture was so bad. I was wholly ignorant of soil exhaustion for example. Finally, the book has provided me with more ammunition against the enemies of meat. What especially fascinated me is just how much plants feel.

This is a very easy read. If you like this genre of books, then get yourself a copy.

Feeding the World

SC BOOK.png

After another summary of the book’s key arguments, which is really unnecessary, we get to this chapter’s crux: can monocrop agriculture be replaced with regenerative systems and feed the planet’s population (give or take a billion people)? The short answer is yes.

However, our authors admit a problem: it takes more land to “produce well-managed grass-finished beef.” Where would the land come from? One obvious answer is a lot of current monocrop farmland would be converted into regenerative systems. Most of those acres of Midwest corn would become pasture. The authors note that around forty percent of corn goes into animal feed anyways (the rest is for the terribly unhealthy high-fructose corn syrup and economically worthless ethanol). There are also hundreds of millions of acres of privately owned pasture in the US of which only thirty percent is being used for animal husbandry. Finally, there are twenty million acres of land the US government pays farmers to keep in fallow. Couldn’t some of that land be used for regenerative systems?

What is to be done?

So how do we get to this place of regenerative farm practices? The rest of the chapter is devoted to this. This is a mixed bag of recommendations. I’m all for calls to action, but books like this can descend into a list of boilerplate, pie-in-the-sky recommendations that will never happen. There is a little bit of that here, unfortunately. There are some good ideas too.

Rodgers and Wolf suggest governments stop subsidising farmers to produce things like corn and other monocrops. This is never going to happen until the federal government goes bankrupt. Bankruptcy is going to happen, probably sooner rather than later, but subsidies, government programmes, etc. are not going to go away until then. There are too many vested interests who profit massively from the current state-capitalist system.

Education is another recommendation. Again, if it’s changing government dietary guidelines, which our authors suggest, good luck with that. Vested interests and food lobbyists will never let that happen. Nearly all politicians are bought and paid for. Don’t expect government schooling to help either. They’re indoctrination camps now. The only real education will come from books like this one, Youtube videos and the like. Don’t expect the government to come round with good advice. It is not going to happen.

At the individual level, Rodgers and Wolf suggest improving your diet; consider where your food comes from; think about the impact those avocados had on the environment; buy locally from farmers who follow regenerative principles; grow your own food; and show your kids what good farming is. This is all good advice in my opinion. This is where change will come from: at the margin. I’m surprised, however, that the authors do not suggest challenging vegans when they utter their views. The novelist Ayn Rand had this advice in the political realm: never let the other side allow their claims to go unchallenged. Even if it is just stepping up and saying I disagree with you, you are making a difference. I did this two months ago at a little get together when a vegan colleague said his lifestyle was better for the environment. I simply said “I disagree with you and would love to tell you why sometime.” Silence allows the other side to hold the moral high ground; don’t let them hold it when they are so wrong. By the way, he never took me up on the offer.

Conclusion

The passages dealing with converting monocrop agriculture to something sustainable was the best part of this chapter. It is possible, in theory, to change American agriculture. At the margin, a small group of farmers are doing this. When the US government defaults and can no longer micromanage, subsidise and otherwise meddle in the agriculture life of the country, I think Americans will see much more of this kind of farming. Until then, however, I think the authors’ advice about individual action is the only realistic thing in this chapter. There is no chance that the federal government will change its ways until bankruptcy forces it to change.

Egg Yolk Omelette with Tomato, Basil and Cheddar

Long-time readers will know I have some hens in the back garden. Gerty, Ester, Rosebud and Ginger give us four eggs a day. That means I eat a lot more egg yolks (I’m allergic to the whites) than I ever did in the past. Egg yolks are one of the more nutrient dense foods out there, but I was getting bored with the same old same. I was either having my egg yolk cakes or my “fat bomb” omelettes. Something needed to change because the eggs were piling up, as the idea of eating more eggs was turning my stomach. My poor wife was doing the best she could, but asking her to eat twenty-eight eggs a week was cruel and unusual punishment.

I little look round the inter-web revealed some recipes which I adapted. It’s actually made me look forward to eggs again in the morning. I had this version today with my big coffee with double cream.

Ingredients

  • Six egg yolks
  • Four table spoons of double (heavy) cream
  • 30g of grated cheddar
  • 30g of cherry tomatoes halved
  • Fresh basil leaves roughly torn
  • Salt and pepper to taste
  • A few dashes of Tabasco (optional)

Instructions

  • Separate the yolks from the whites, add the cream and whisk until you get some bubbles.
  • Melt some butter over low-medium heat and add the tomatoes.
  • After three or four minutes, the tomatoes will start to turn a golden brown. Add the egg yolks and give them a little stir to make sure the butter doesn’t accumulate at the edges of the pan. You also want to spread the tomatoes out a little.
  • Cook for three to five minutes.
  • Add the cheese and basil to one side of the omelette and then fold the omelette using two spoons.
  • Cook for another two minutes to allow the cheese to melt.
  • Serve with some salt and pepper and a few dashes of Tabasco.

Chef’s Tip

You really need to be careful when folding the omelette. Without the whites as a binder, the omelette will break apart if you fold too early. You can take a little peak under the omelette using your two spoons. When it looks golden brown, it’s time to fold. That’s one reason I add double cream to the yolks; it makes the folding possible. The cream also makes the egg yolks a little fluffier. Enjoy.

Why Eat Animals If We Could Survive On Only Plants?

SACRED COW CROWDFUNDING DEC 2019 on Vimeo

This short chapter is a bit misleading. It is really just a review of the arguments made in preceding chapters rather than giving the chapter title much of treatment. Monocrop agriculture is not the way forward. Meat and animal products should be at centre stage when it comes to healthy diets and sustainable agriculture. Meatless Mondays is pure propaganda and demonisation of meat. You get the idea.

There are a couple of interesting snippets though. For instance, our authors go a little deeper into a previous argument: if the vegans had their way, they would condemn poorer countries to even more poverty. They need animals to survive. If you cut off billions of people from access to meat, you would end up making them poorer. As Rodgers and Wolf tell us “Is it ethical, then, to tell a hungry or poor person who raises meat that they should avoid meat because a well-fed Westerner [vegan] doesn’t feel it’s OK?” No it isn’t. Moreover, I think the authors are being charitable here. If the vegans got their way, it would mean starvation for tens of millions of people.

Rodgers and Wolf end the chapter with discussion of the Inuit in Northern Quebec. They show us what happens to people when they abandon traditional, whole-food, diets and replace them with modern food-based, high-carb products. The Inuit’s traditional diet is high-fat, high-protein (whales, seal, polar bears, muskoxen, birds, and fish). It’s been replaced with a standard American diet high in sugar, grains, fruits and lean protein. The result? Sixty percent of the population is overweight or obese. You might argue that perhaps they were always this fat. No chance. The decline in their tradition diet tracks neatly with the steep increase in obesity.

Conclusion

This is an unnecessary chapter. It fits the structure of the book though. This is the end of Part III, so the authors have given us a summary of their arguments.

Why Did Meat Become Taboo?

SACRED COW CROWDFUNDING DEC 2019 on Vimeo

Our authors make the case that for many vegans and vegetarians meat is vilified in order to demonstrate their own moral superiority over barbaric, knuckle-dragging meat eaters. If it was only about personal health choices, then the vegan mobs wouldn’t exist. It would be a case of live and let live.

A fascinating aspect of this chapter is the little know role of Seventh-Day Adventists (SDA) in the vegan movement. This Christian sect, which sprang from a movement who claimed Christ would return on 22 October 1844, relies on the visions of Ellen G. White. She argued, through Divine revelation, that meat was toxic. This religious group couldn’t possibly have influence today, could it? “Many of the leading authors of the 1988 official position paper on vegetarian diets published by the Association of Nutrition and Dietetics are SDA members, yet this conflict of interest was not acknowledged by the group.” SDA member Dr John Kelly founded the American College of Lifestyle Medicine (ACLM) in 2004, and the organisation’s president was Dr George Guthrie from 2016-18. Guthrie too is an SDA member. Unsurprisingly, this college calls for a vegetable only diet. The ACLM has its tentacles in several universities, but they don’t seem to publicise the smuggling in of their Adventist beliefs.

Rodgers and Wolf discuss several other conflicts of interests between ideology and health policy. For instance, the Physicians Committee for Responsible Medicine (PCRM), which has very few physician members, is led by psychiatrist and vegan activist Dr Neal Barnard. This group propagandises through a misleadingly titled magazine Good Medicine. The PCRM has also misleadingly linked themselves to the American Medical Association when in fact the AMA has stated the PCRM’s diet advice “could be dangerous to health and the well-being of Americans.” Former AMA president, Dr Roy Schwarz, even described PCRM members as “neither physicians nor responsible.” Our authors have done us a service here. These are just a couple of examples of dishonesty and half-truths that are in this chapter. It calls into question the vegetarian argument. After all, if their health arguments were so water-tight why the dishonesty?

All of which would be irrelevant, of course, if the vegans would just get on with their lives and leave everyone else alone. Unfortunately, being the control-freak, extreme-leftists that they are, they cannot leave everyone else alone. No, Dear Reader, you and I must conform to what they want. That’s their goal anyway. Remember that vegan propaganda “depicts those who eat meat as barbaric, and uncaring about animals, other humans or the environment.” Our authors take us through just some of the tactics these dietary totalitarians have used beyond calling for meat to be outlawed: death threats, destruction of property, etc.

Rodgers and Wolf argue vegans, because of their radicalism, are incapable of making alliances to combat the West’s industrialised food system. After all, this is a religion. For many “the antimeat ideology is strong and can often become someone’s entire worldview rather than simply a dietary preference.”

Conclusion

This was a good chapter. I was hoping for a little more history, but then again, I’m an historian. It’s my whole thing. For those who already know a bit about vegans and extreme leftists more generally, this chapter will not be a surprise. As another keto advocate has said, “We think they’re wrong; they think we’re evil.” God help us if these people every capture a Western government.

Diabetes Code Follow Up

Dr Jason Fung Diabetes Clinic - DiabetesWalls
The Real Deal

I said a couple of weeks ago that someone suggested I read Dr Fung’s The Diabetes Code if I wanted to beat the dawn phenomenon. Well I finished the book. It helped with the dawn effect and a lot more. It’s a gamechanger. I’ve been following his fasting programme for two weeks now, and I’ve had only two mornings above 7.6 mmol/L. The vast majority of my readings have been between 6.1 and 7.4. Dear Reader, you need to remember that I have been waking up for months somewhere between 8.8 and 11.0 and usually at the higher end of that range.

So what is Dr Fung’s fasting programme? Simple really: three 36 hour fasts per week. That means I don’t eat on Mondays, Wednesdays and Fridays. Combined with my whole food, high-fat, low-carb diet and a lot of exercise this looks like the way forward to 5.7 mmol/L.

The benefits of Dr Fung’s regimen, beyond the much better blood glucose levels, are clarity, energy and a feeling of euphoria which comes with fasting. I’ll keep you posted on how this goes. According to his book, a lot of his patients come off their meds completely after a few months. We’ll see.

By the way, I should mention that Dr Fung has a completely different view of Type 2 Diabetes than the mainstream. He does not believe it is the inability of cells to take in more sugar that is the problem. His view is that the body’s cells already have too much sugar; the body compensates by producing more insulin which pushes more sugar into the cells, but eventually the cells reach saturation and the sugar ends up in the blood stream. What the individual must do is burn off the sugar that is already in the cells. For Type 2s more insulin is not the answer. How does Dr Fung recommend getting rid of the sugar? Low-carb, whole food diet, exercise and fasting. That’s it.

I had two out of three. Therapeutic fasting was the final piece of the puzzle it seems. Thank you Dr Fung!