April's CR Diary

A diary of a 30 year old woman following CRON, or Caloric Restriction with Optimal Nutrition, for health and life extension.

Sunday, June 05, 2005

Hey! Are You Looking For Me???

Don't you know that I've moved over here:


Join me there!

Thursday, April 21, 2005

I'll Be Back

Hey Bloggiefriends...

I'm going on vacation for a week before I start my new/old job back for real forever, so I'll be away from email. The new blog at http://www.mprize.org will be updated everyday with family friendly content. Enjoy.

Tuesday, April 19, 2005

Just Keep It Real With The Ones You Came In With

Yes, it's a line from "Jenny From the Block."

Because I am clearly still from the South Bronx... or northeast Philly... or whatever.

My first day back at work was wonderful... the joy of being surrounded by a bunch of people whom I've worked with so long that they've become my family. We had a great time. I feel once again encircled in the warm embrace of all my closest friends and comrades.

Of course they are dying to meet MR. They've heard about him for so long, and they were around for the long period of time when I admired him from afar. They can't wait to see him at my birthday party.

I packed a delicious lunch of kale, olives, yogurt with fresh squeezed lemon juice and garlic powder with a red pepper chopped up, and megamuffins! The work crew loved megamuffins... don't tell MR, but VLC likes mine better than his! Mine are very tart... the lime influence, no doubt. I am looking forward to making the next version with all organic strawberries!

Okay, I'm exhausted and I've gotta be up for work in the am (okay, so I'm up by five no matter what, but anyway) so I'm going to crash... Black Moth, you'd better put my Aug. 7 birthday party on your calendar!

Thursday, March 24, 2005

I'm moving

Follow me to my new address: http://www.mprize.org/blogs
See you there.

Tuesday, March 22, 2005

We In the House Now For Sure -- P Diddy

Well, well, well.

One of my Mprize brothers recently got the idea that we should put my blog on the Mprize website! After all, if my blog helps people to do CR, and that helps them live better in the here and now, plus increases their chances of making it to the day when all our Mprize efforts pay off in radical rejuvenative medicine for humans, then why not?

So I'm moving on over to http://www.mprize.org/blogs/. One of our wonderful computer skilled volunteers set it up in no time flat, and in a matter of moments there will be a big button on the front page of the http://www.mprize.org that will point people to April's CR Diary!

Yep, people who click on the Mprize website will be directed to a blog that attempts to convert them to CR. How cool is that?

I hope you guys will follow me over there... blog is not worth blogging without my faithful bloggiefriends!

I'm looking forward to the next phase of our CR journey. You coming along for the ride?

Well, I Put Garlic Powder in the Cottage Cheese

It's day three of my week-before-my-CR-birthday perfect CR week, and I'm starting to worry about how I'm going to entertain you when I'm eating the same thing every day. Clearly, it's time for a big round of philosophy, but I haven't had time to write anything brilliant yet, so you'll have to be content with minute details of what I am eating.

I moved breakfast back to six thirty am, an hour after taking my morning supplements. I put some fresh lime juice in my water. I added some garlic powder to the cottage cheese. I continue to adore my lunchtime kale salad, complete with olive and flax oil and red wine vinegar. I may go out with some friends for coffee tonight, in which case I'll have my cafe au lait with skim as an evening snack (I'll make it a decaf) instead of an afternoon snack. Then I'll put my 10 g of hazelnuts in a plastic baggie to eat with the latte.

Wow, even I am getting bored. I promise my diet will get exciting again soon. It's just so easy to keep calories low and nutrition high when I stick to the familliar basics.

Okay, okay, I'm giving CR a bad name by being so boring. I'll write some philosophy soon.

Monday, March 21, 2005

I Can Tell You All I Know, The Where to Go, The What To Do

Line from a Steely Dan song that I'm listening to now on continuous repeat. What did we do before continuous repeat? I have no earthly idea.

The whole line goes:

"I can tell you all I know
The where to go, the what to do
You can try to run but
You can't hide from what's inside of you."

I used to listen to this song (it's called "Any Major Dude Will Tell You," an inspiring title if I ever heard one) during my last period of behavior that was inexplicable to my friends, back in 1994. Let's say what started as a three week fling ended in me taking a ton of computer science courses and teaching Yale kids neat-o unix commands like "grep" and "cat." Needless to say, "cat" was a favorite of mine, but I've noted since that there's no word in the English language that communicates so efficiently the concept of "grep."

Well, anyway.

Flashing back to this time last year. If I had been able to forsee the events that followed, I might have had the following conversation with my two best friends (let's call them the Hello Kitty clique):

"So I'm going to do this crazy diet that will make me lose 32 pounds and blabber on at length about macronutrient ratios. Also, I'll stop being a vegetarian. And I'll develop a huge crush on a really skinny Canadian guy who is 34 but looks 22 and makes supplements for a living. Also, I'll start to read all this stuff by this British guy who has a very long beard and thinks we can cure aging. Eventually, I'll leave my extremely successful career to raise money full time for this thing that's a lot like the X Prize but involves mice."

Back before CR, my friends and I used to put away fairly impressive quantities of red wine. So they would have just figured it was the cabernet talking.

It all turned out well. I mean here I am, happy, healthy, feeling great about my life, doing work that is extremely important to me, and watching my mother feed catfood to a pair of geese who have taken up residence on her patio.

I don't know what CR will change about your life. If you're a woman, and if you've always been at war with your body, and you find that CR helps you lose weight and give your body the nutrients it needs, you will discover a way of living that you never thought possible. I don't know what you'll decide to do with all the energy you no longer expend in that ubiquitous American woman fat guilt, but I know you'll find a great way to spend your time that makes you happy. I'm so proud of my bloggiefriends who have lost weight and gotten healthy and are enjoying their new CR lives. One of the happiest moments of my blogger journey so far was when one of my bloggiefriends said she had lost 20 pounds and was wearing cute jeans again! Yea! Living a long time is great, but the brothers don't always understand what an amazing thing it is to love the body you're living in now!

People who don't do CR always talk about what a sacrifice it would be. I don't find it so. Doing CR has made such a positive change in my life that I can't imagine how a Dunkin Donuts bagel with cream cheese could possibly compete. Of course it's easier for women, where society reinforces skinniness as the ideal of beauty. But I'm not all that skinny... I would contend that even at 105, you wouldn't see me and think "She's skinny." You'd just think I was younger than I am and slim.

Eating more protein has been the key for me. I look at my detox week diet, and I see protein and unsaturated fats. My eggwhite breakfast with flax oil, my yummy, easy lunch with kale salad and cottage cheese. I just ate my brewers yeast and veggies dinner. One thing I find I do is compress my meals into a rather short period during the day. For instance, today I ate breakfast at ten. Lunch at 12. Dinner at 5. But I'll be full for the rest of the night. I'll go out with my mom tonight and have a nice cup of herbal tea with my calcium chewy supplement and be very satisfied. One thing that's weird for me when I'm at MR's house (I mean aside from the fact that after years of whining that I would never meet a guy who holds my interest for more than two dates I've met a guy who could fascinate me for 1000 years!) is that we eat breakfast an hour and twenty minutes after waking, and I'm not really hungry yet. I usually sit on the floor drinking coffee while he chops veggies for our breakfast salad, and we talk CR. By the time we sit down to breakfast, I'm awake, but I'm not hungry. Still, I enjoy my eggwhites. And I enjoy asking my CR guru all my CR questions while he eats a giant salad that would take me an entire day to consume.

I'm so happy for all of my bloggiefriends who are taking control of their health. It's great fun, isn't it?

The Week of My First CR Birthday

Well, this Saturday, March 26, it will be the one year anniversary of the day I started CR.

A lot has changed since then!

In preparation for this occasion, I'm having a special CR detox week. I've distilled my basic CR diet down to my favorite elements, creating a daily diet that is almost perfect in nutrition, easy to make, and delicious to eat. I started yesterday, and I'm planning to stick with it until Friday when I fly off to Calgary.

Here it is. It will look familliar:

1.5 oz cranberry grape juice with strontium and creatine

1 cup eggwhites scrambled 125
1 teaspoon flax oil 40

100 g raw kale 50
1/2 tablespoon flax oil 60
1/2 tablespoon olive oil 60
1 cup cottage cheese 160

afternoon snack:
cafe au lait with skim milk 80
10 g hazelnuts

1/2 bag of frozen cauliflower, carrots and broccoli 75
2 cups free range organic chicken broth 30
2 tablespoons brewers yeast 160
1 teaspoon olive oil 40
calcium chewy 20

total: 1001
Over 100% of RDAs of everything except: 50% iron, 40% zinc, 49% panto acid.
P:F:C = 49:32:19

Now some of you are asking: this is not Zoned, this is Atkins induction. It's under 20% carb.

True, but also not true. It's not Atkins induction per meal: breakfast has almost no carbs, lunch is not Atkins. This is not a ketogenic diet, at least I don't think it is.

What's up with me abandoning the Zone idea?

For now, I am more concerned with total mental focus than with Zoning, and the more protein I get and fewer carbs, the better my focus. Note that I am doing well on fat, as well as on Omega 3/6 balance.

It's on the low end of calories for me, but I'm washing out stress and anxiety, and going a little low for awhile always helps that. I want to be in perfect health on my CR birthday. Yea!

Next week when I'm in Calgary, I'm going up to 1100 so that I don't get too hungry. 1100 is a good average for me, and if I'm not going out as much, I may as well go up on normal days. MR and I figured out that we have to add lots of brewers yeast to what I eat when I'm with him because I don't get enough nutrients by just eating half what he eats. And I want to eat his delicious food! But he doesn't want to kill me by depriving me of nutrients, so we'll throw in some brewers yeast.

So far so good... I'm in day two and feeling fantastic!

Sunday, March 20, 2005

Buy Guns Here! Through Faith Alone Will You Be Saved

On my way home from Reading, PA, where I did a meeting on the second to last day of work for my old union, I saw this sign on the side of a building. The sign went on to read, "Not through works."

At the edge of Pennsylvania Dutch country, I suppose it's not that shocking to find a Protestant gun merchant. Still, the juxtaposition struck me as funny.

Earlier in the week I had gone out for dinner with a friend of my parents whom I hadn't seen in awhile. When I described my new job and it's focus on reversing aging, he said, "Well, I have good genes, and I eat healthy."

It was clear that I had not communicated the point.

Good genes and eating healthy may prevent an early heart attack, but they certainly won't hold off aging much beyond what you get from having your shots and living in a country with basic sanitation and medical care. CR itself, a dramatic, difficult, unusual intervention, will only get us another few decades at best.

No, to reverse the aging process, you have to repair the damage of living. That's the whole point of the engineering approach.

Yet, when I talk to people about what I'm doing, their immediate reaction is to start talking about their own lifestyle. Part of that might be because they know I practice CR, so they want to talk about why they don't. But I think there's more to it than that. The idea of health and lifestyle is so guilt-ridden in our society that the moment you talk about the ultimate symptom of ill-health, death, people start to rattle off all the multivitamins they're taking and the broccoli they ate last week.

The other day I said to Aubrey de Grey, "I think it's important that you don't do CR, because we have to communicate to people that it's not about 'being healthy,' it's about interventions that will actually repair the damage."

I also threatened to refer to him as a modern day Martin Luther. He didn't bat an eye... well, I don't know if he did, the conversation took place entirely over email. However, Aubrey is one of those people who is not surprised by much of anything.

Now this may seem contradictory to you: for some time now, you've been following a blog about Calorie Restriction with Optimal Nutrition for the purposes of healthy lifespan extension. Yep, that's what this is about. It's about what you can do in the here and now: in your kitchen, at the grocery store, on the road at the Subway, at dinner with your college roommate, on a date with some guy who makes fun of you for eating salad (thank God I don't have to deal with that... and if you find that frustrating, I have some very nice single CR brothers I can set you up with. Ladies?) I spend a lot of time and energy figuring out how to do CR so that it doesn't take up much time and energy... and I'm very proud of my quick and easy, elegantly simple CR diet. Obviously, I'm a believer in the one intervention proven to slow down the aging process: CR. So why am I babbling on about Aubrey de Grey and repairing the damage? And what's Martin Luther got to do with it?

The thing that always bothered me about CR is that in many ways, it is only for the elect. I would argue that CR is not limited to the rich, those who have time, people without children, or people with red hair. The ease and cheapness of my own CR practice defeats all those arguments. But it is limited to those with unusual self-discipline and focus, who want to use some of that self-discipline and focus on what they eat, and who believe that CR will work. The urge to eat crap is pretty darned hardwired, and to fight it, especially in a society where you're constantly confronted with delicous food and social pressure to eat it, requires an unusual personality.

When you talk about CR with the non-CR'd, their immediate reaction is always defensive. They talk about why they don't think that's "healthy," why it won't make you live longer, it will just seem longer, how they wouldn't want to be that skinny (people who are overweight say this a lot, I've noticed) and how they wouldn't want to lose their libido (a side-effect which is far from universal.) People don't want to change, even when changing would save their lives.

SENS isn't about being good, living a healthy lifestyle, or getting brownie points by eating your apple a day. Those of us who do CR to make it to "escape velocity" (if you don't know what I'm talking about go read Aubrey's website at http://www.gen.cam.ac.uk/sens) hope that CR will be a bridge to the day when biomedicine will be available that will make CR unnecessary. No matter how well we practice CR, how low our calories and high our nutrition, it's still only buying a small amount of time if we don't come up with something better. We can't prevent all damage from occuring, so we have to figure out how to repair the damage that is inevitable.

You can never do enough good works to save yourself. Even if you ate 30:30:40 with 100% of everything every day.

This hasn't convinced me to give up brewers yeast and pinot noir in favor of Krispy Kreme and beer (though I do have a beer occasionally, following the "only at a brewpub or with Aubrey de Grey" rule.) If anything, my involvement with SENS, the M Prize, Aubrey, et al has convinced me to become even more serious about my CR. As one of the brothers at the NYC gathering last night pointed out, my diet has evolved a lot since October! I have re-applied myself to the task of minimizing my calories and maximizing my nutrition. To quote Aerosmith in that song from the movie _Armageddon_, "I don't wanna miss a thing."

And yet, I don't want people who don't want to do CR, for whatever reason, to be left out. If anything, we have to work harder, faster, so that they make it to escape velocity with us. There are some really fun people out there who don't want to do CR. I don't blame them: I don't want to do push-ups.

So this blog isn't *just* about CR. It's about how we can stay healthier, longer, using all the tools that are available to us now and building new tools that will work much better.

In the meantime, eat your eggwhites.

All That Zinc

Last night after the New York CR Society meeting, I met my college roommate for dinner. We went to an amazing seafood place called the Aqua Grill. It was worth the wait to get a table. I had never had oysters, except for in a seafood stew, but my old roomie loves them, so we ordered fourteen, seven different kinds, and had one of each. Wow! They were amazing! I loved them! I knew that MR had said oysters were good for zinc, so I couldn't wait to get back to my DWIDP to find out exactly how much those oysters would rock out my nutrition for the day. 761% of the RDA for zinc!!! In only 67 calories! Wow. I love oysters. I just asked MR if I should skip my zinc supplement for a day or so... or if I should eat an oyster every day. The entire meal was delicious. After the oysters, I had a heavenly Manhattan Clam Chowder. My roomie, who knows how to order wine, picked us out a pinot noir. I was very impressed with her wine ordering skills until she told me that she had just picked it because it was called Ramsey and her old friend Ramsey had called her earlier in the day. So much for fancy wine skills. Thanks for a great dinner, college roomie!!! All that zinc!

The New York CR Society meeting was tons of fun. I rode the New Jersey Transit train up with the Brother from Haddonfield, whom I hadn't seen in awhile. It was great to catch up. I got to see Paul and Meredith, who now have some competition for the title of cutest CR couple. Everyone wanted to know what Aubrey de Grey is really like in person (answer: he's so much fun!!!) and what MR thinks about this and that. We were also joined by some new CR practitioners who were lots of fun to chat with. It's wonderful to see our numbers increasing. We met at an excellent health foods store called Lifethyme. It was quite a struggle to resist the raw food vegan concotions in the deli case, including giant pizza pie like objects with all kinds of greens and nuts. But knowing that I had fancy dinner plans, I resisted and had two cups of green tea instead.

Back home now and searching for biotech companies that want to be corporate sponsors of the M Prize, but don't yet know it.