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.

Tuesday, August 31, 2004

Hello Kitty Chewable Vitamins

Four Great Tasting Fruit Flavors!


Yes, My Supplement Plan Needs A Little Work.

There's a good reason for this. I've never been much of a supplement taker, not because I don't believe in them, just because I'm terrible at swallowing pills and there comes an age (around 29) when taking Flintstones chewable mulit vitamins seems a bit, well, immature. Ever since I started reading the CR list religiously, I've been concerned about ruining all the hard work I've done on my diet by accidentally taking toxic levels of this or that. I'm hoping to get enough information at the CRS conference in November to figure out what I should be taking and answer some specific questions, including:

a) Do young women have different needs from the guys and grown up women who seem to be the majority of the CR Society?

b) Do we need to adjust amounts of things for our smaller sizes? I know that medications effect me much more strongly now than they did pre-CR.

c) Do redheads have special nutritional needs?

I'm sure that the experts will be able to answer all these questions for me and then some (and yes I am kidding about question c, for all of you out there who think very literally.) Meanwhile, I had been focusing on chasing the RDAs and not taking supplements, until for my thirtieth birthday, my mother gave me some Hello Kitty Chewable Vitamins.

Now if you're male, or you're female but over 40, you may not be into the whole Hello Kitty thing. You really had to be a young girl in the eighties to get the full impact, though obviously Hello Kitty is very important to my mother, who is almost sixty. My female friends and I are all about Hello Kitty these days. To explain as concisely as possible, Hello Kitty is about being secure enough in who you are: professionally, personally, etc., that you're able to embrace your girlish feminine side without the slightest bit of irony or apology. You know you can use a Hello Kitty pen with a pink feather on it in a staff meeting and people will still respect you because your work is just that good. You know that you can sip your drink with a Hello Kitty straw with a tiny Hello Kitty parasol on it at an expensive French restaurant because your dinner companions will think you're cool no matter what you do! The waitstaff will even ask where they too can acquire a Hello Kitty Parasol Straw, because they too are girls who grew up in the late seventies/early eighties!

So when my mother got me Hello Kitty Chewable Vitamins, I thought taking one every other day or so won't hurt and might help. Here's what's in it. Tell me if I'm Toxic Hello Kitty:

Vitamin A: 2500 IU
Vitamin C: 75 mg
Vitamin D: 400 IU
Vitamin E: 15 IU
Thiamin: 1.05 mg
Riboflavin 1.2 mg (toxic levels of this?)
Niacin: 15 mg
Vitamin B-6: 1.05 mg
Folate: 300 mcg
Vitamin B-12 4.5 mcg
Calcium 225 mg

Anything that looks really freaky is probably a typo. This stuff is made for children and I take it every other day. Am I killing myself?

Does AOR make chewable supplements? I am really terrible at swallowing pills.

On to what I ate yesterday:

Another super busy day. My calorie count according to Walford was 909.97, with 52 g protein and 43 g fat (of which only 7 were saturated fat.) Nutrients coming in not terrible, the two glasses of skim milk I got in along with my usual cottage cheese helped get me to 69% of the RDA for calcium, and iron was 54%. I think Kenton and Mary are right about the need for some supplements. I ate lots of yellow tomatoes, both my tomatoes with lemon herb olive oil and champagne walnut vinegar salad, and my tomatoes in seseme oil with a little soy sauce served hot. I also ate 70 cals of olives and the salad dressing on my shrimp salad at dinner. My co-workers and I got dinner out between meetings, and the best I could do was a shrimp salad that was rather meager but did include capers, which I love. I also had a glass of red wine (restaurant pour, I counted it as 100 instead of the 74 cals Walford says it is) and I think I already mentioned the two glasses of skim milk. And don't forget the cute little kiwi that I had with my olives and tomatoes for lunch. Way good on Vitamin A and C, as well as E yesterday. Low in the usuals, but not as low in the usuals as usual. I have to figure out how I can copy paste my nutrition table into the blog like Mary does... it's so frustrating to type everything in!

Today will be busy again of course with running hither and thither for work. I have packed: cottage cheese, eggwhite scramble, tomatoes in herb olive oil, broccoli spears (don't you think of Brittney Spears every time you write broccoli spears? I know I do, but maybe it's a Hello Kitty thing), and I forgot my baby kiwi oh I hate when that happens! Tonight will probably be a big old salad of some kind. I miss my kiwi so much when I forget to pack it. Kiwis are so cute and green and are desserts that naturally come in their own little cup! I love efficiently packaged food. I tried a new trick with my coffee this morning and instead of drinking it black, I had a cafe au lait, so it was a cup of steamed skim milk in a cup of coffee. I have to be creative about getting my calcium. It was a little dragon tickling though... one of the first things I did when I started CR was to cut out the sugar I had put in my coffee before. I actually like coffee black when it's good coffee. But I put sugar in the cafe au lait this morning, about two teaspoons, so 28 calories. Not the greatest use of calories but with my recently low appetite I can afford it. This heat needs to stop... it's so hard for me to eat when it's extremely hot. And when it's too hot for me to do my walk, then I get less exercise, which makes me less hungry... I can't wait till I move and have a fitness center right there! There's something so relaxing about zoning out on the treadmill while listening to horrible pop music on my Walkman (which yes in the ninties I did refer to as a "Walkperson.")

That may be all for today. Tune in tomorrow for how I've decided that I will now measure my weight loss in terms of Kieffers, because I realized that the weight I have lost since beginning CR would equal one and a half of my twenty pound cat.

Monday, August 30, 2004

Short Skirt, Long Jacket

My favorite song by Cake, and also an accurate description of the new size two seafoam green dress and jacket suit I am wearing today. Not too short, of course. Demurely work appropriate, as you would expect.

Big meetings tonight, and alas, no vegetable tray. "Cookie break" is the "food"... of course I would not even recognize that as food these days. Perhaps VLC and I will raid an unattended vegetable tray in someone else's meeting.

Yesterday was okay, though I continued to feel under the weather and skipped my usual four mile walk. It's been so hot here! I did get some work done on the apartment in addition to packing up all of my food for the week. I've found that the week goes more smoothly if I pack all my veggies in advance. Little tiny tupperwares!

Eating wise, it was a good, though light day. Glass of skim milk, cottage cheese, eggwhite scramble, salad with romaine, grape tomatoes, and scallions, yellow tomatoes drizzled with lemon herb olive oil and champagne walnut vinegar, and two leftover crostinis with goat cheese from Audrey Claire the night before. Don't laugh, but I ate more asparagus! They're just so adoreable! But I didn't see the water weight loss, probably because my salt intake was normal. Weight holding exactly steady, which is comforting. I also took an Emergen-C packet, and drank quite a bit of water with unsweetened cranberry juice mixed in. I probably drank close to 3 liters of water yesterday. It's just so hot outside that dehydration can happen in one trip to the trash dumpster. It's supposed to get cooler tonight, and we're supposed to be hit with yet another torrential downpour. I have this theory about how gas prices in New Jersey are directly proportional to the amount of rain we get in the summer. Just look at 1999 -- terrible drought, gas was $0.99/gallon. This year -- torrential downpours five days out of seven, gas prices sky high. Has anyone else noticed this?

This is why I'm not a scientist. I see causation where there is merely coincidence.

Today is back to work, and crazy day at work. Meetings tonight at 4:30p and 7:30p.

I am thinking of some changes in my diet to try to do better on the RDA's, especially now that my hunger is so low that I'm not worried about going over calories. If anything, I have to focus to not go under.

For one, I am now out of my whey powder, and I think I'll give it up in favor of three glasses of skim milk. The reasons are as follows:

-- Three glasses of skim milk = 90% RDA for calcium, and 24 g protein.
-- That's almost as much protein for just 80 calories more than the whey shake.
-- I'm doing much better on protein but not on calcium.
-- I've read that whey speeds weight loss, which was less of an issue twenty pounds ago but is now a *very bad thing*.
-- There may be just as much whey in skim milk as in whey powder, but it seems unlikely, and I'll still get more calcium.
-- I don't like the whey powder.
-- The whey powder makes my cat sneeze.

I've got to somehow attack this iron thing. Got some helpful advice on how to use my software to solve these mysteries. Thanks!

Back to the races... more tomorrow.

Sunday, August 29, 2004

Very Skinny Asparagus Scare

The moral of this story is: Don't freak out about water weight loss.

It goes like this:

Anyone who has been reading my blog for awhile knows that I absolutely adore skinny little asparagi (that's the Latin plural of asparagus, I've decided) and that if I run across them at the store, especially out of season like now, I will buy and eat them immediately. So on Friday night, I decided at the last minute to have dinner CR friendly dinner company, and I ran out to the nearest decent grocery store. Aha! This store must have some sort of connection, because they always have the skinny green ones, even when all the other stores are selling only the icky tough ones. So I bought a bunch, and added them to my delicious-if-I-do say-so-myself dinner, which included:

romaine salad with scallions and grape tomatoes
bean salad of kidney beans and corn, marinated in pureed tomatillos with a touch of green chile sauce
asparagus, lightly steamed (5- 7 minutes?) served drizzled with that Williams Sonoma lemon herb olive oil, the juice of one fresh lemon, and some lemon pepper, all mixed together.

It was fabulous! It made me feel better about this whole olive oil thing too because I loved the asparagus with the olive oil drizzle I had created, and I even put it on my salad. It was the lemon that did it. I find that in my lowfat vegan days, I relied so heavily on strong tastes like vinegar and wine in cooking that I find oil makes things bland. I know this seems totally freakish for people who love French cooking, but I'm getting used to it, okay?

So we ate dinner, and when I was clearing the plates, I discovered about a third of the asparagi bunch sitting still in the steamer pot. (I mean still sitting in the steamer pot... no one thought the asparagus would be dancing in the steamer pot, as opposed to sitting still. I simply adored the "misplaced modifiers" unit in grammar class. For example: "Putting her luggage in the overhead compartment, the train pulled away from the station."I didn't feel like finding a container for the remaining asparagi, and they just looked so lonely sitting there, so I ate them. In total, I ate two thirds of a bunch of asparagus. The entire day had been right about at calorie target, just a touch under protein target, and thanks to the olive oil drizzle and the olives I put in my salad, right on fat target.

The next morning, I got up, and as usual now that I have been scared to death about losing weight too fast, I weighed myself.

I had lost three pounds overnight.

I was totally freaked out.

Now, let's be calm and rational about this. No one loses three pounds of real weight over night. It's obviously water weight. Asparagus is a well known diuretic. So the asparagus, in addition to a somewhat lower salt day than usual, caused kinda the opposite of what Kenton was talking about in his recent post to the list about using soy sauce and nuts to "plump up" for a social event. I just lost a lot of water weight overnight.

But when I discovered this it was 6 am, I didn't think of that. It seemed too silly to email the entire list for confirmation that losing three pounds over night is water weight, not dead rat syndrome in the making. Too early to call ten friends who know nothing about CR but are likely to be supportive no matter what. Too early to do anything other than panic.

So at this point the rational thing would have been to decide to just up my calories a little, maybe throw a bit of olive oil into my whey shake (I am kidding about that, you know. I'm not that nutty... yet!) and go back to regular salt intake, eschewing asparagi, no matter how skinny, for a day.

But did I do the rational thing? NO. In complete and utter panic, and also kinda wondering what it might taste like, I went to Dunkin Donuts and got a bagel with cream cheese!

You know, it wasn't even that good. For one thing, they didn't toast it, even though I asked them to. For another, they gave me plain cream cheese instead of veggie. It took me about an hour and a half to eat the whole thing. It was about 500 calories. That, combined with the heat and the fact that I was feeling a touch under the weather, conspired to make me not hungry again until nearly dinner time. I think my body went into bagel shock at 7 am and didn't really recover.

I walked four miles, however, drank a ton of water (it's in the nineties here, and even with my CR inspired heat tolerance, it's too much) and did a whole lot of packing of the house for the move. That required me to make numerous trips outside to the trash and recycling carrying very heavy things, and by the end of the day I was feeling hot, exhausted, and a little sick. But I had made dinner plans to go to my favorite resturant in Philly, so I went.

My favorite restaurant in Philly is called Audrey Claire, and it's at 20th and Spruce. It is so good, and it is friendly to those who eat little because it doesn't classify things as appetizers and entrees, only as "small dishes" and "bigger dishes." It has tons of great little appetizers and salads on the menu, and it's byo so it's not that expensive, even if you like to have wine with dinner. I only go in summer because while it's delightful to sit outside at the sidewalk cafe tables, the inside is crowded, loud and stuffy. So this was probably my last Audrey Claire visit of this year.

I was really hungry by this time, so I ate a piece of the homemade bread with olive oil that they brought out first. I hadn't had this much bread in one day since pre CR! Then I ordered my favorite dishes: flatbread with toasted walnuts, bosc pears, and gorgonzola, and a pita and dip tray with this spicy fig dip thing, spicy hummus, and white bean and tarragon dip. My dinner companion who is also a very light eater though not explicitly CR (yet... it's contagious! She's about to become one of us! You will be assimilated.) ordered a goat cheese salad with mixed greens. We intended to share, and got the dips first.

We ate all the dips and we were both stuffed. The waiter looked confused but was understanding when we ate about three bites of our "entrees" and asked for them to be wrapped to take home. We said, "We love the food, we just don't eat very much." He was very cool and said, "It's okay, I don't eat much either." We left a huge tip: $12 on a $27 meal. The key to eating in nice restaurants (this place is way cheap but is one of the nice restaurants in Philly... if you are in Philly in summer, you must go there.) is to order the little tiny amounts of food you want, but to tip as though you ate more. If you go to the same places over and over again, the waiters will start to give you things for free. I get free stuff all the time.

By this time I was exhausted, it being past my bedtime, so I went home and crashed. This morning, my three pounds were magically back! I felt so relieved. It may seem odd to the non-CR folks out there to be relieved about *not* losing weight, but for CR to work, you can't lose weight too fast.

One thing that is so wonderful about being a woman (and there are so many wonderful things about being a woman, aren't there? But I don't want to risk quoting Shania Twain.) is that I have so little lean body mass that I easily adapt to lower calorie counts, without feeling much hunger. I remember before I discovered CR, I was jealous of those lean, muscular people who worked out all the time and ate a ton. Now, I'm grateful for my slower metabolism! For me, with little lean body mass, CR isn't exactly easy, but it's not that much of a tradeoff.

This is also good news for the women out there who have tended to be overweight. If you do serious CR, you can outlive your irksome skinny Jane Fonda workout friends.

Today will be a more planned food day. I need to hit my protein target, and I'll be spending most of the day avoiding the heat. I woke up still feeling under the weather, though I think it's the heat and exhaustion more than anything. I'll be so glad when this move is over! No more sitting in traffic for two hours a day... an apartment with a balcony, pool, and fitness center... who could ask for more?

Friday, August 27, 2004

And I Was Wrong About the Outkast Quote Too!

The quote that was my title yesterday is not from the shake it like a poloroid picture song, it's from "I love the way you move." I knew that. I just completely spaced out. Work is very very busy, and I am appreciating the added calm that my low calorie levels seem to impart more than ever. Before CR, I would be experiencing all that I'm doing at work and moving my apartment as stress. Now, it's exciting challenge. Of all the short term benefits of CR, this is my favorite one.

Will do some more research on the nutritional vs. brewers yeast front when I'm back at a free computer and have some time. Very crazy day today, packing to move, at Kinko's now.

Last night's dinner was great... eggplant, peppers and tomatoes stuffed with brown rice, herbs, veggie insides, and covered with yogurt sauce, melon for dessert. Very nice visit as well. They asked me a lot of questions about CR but were friendly and interested, not freaked out and defensive. Some people seem to really go crazy when you suggest that eating the standard American diet might be something you choose not to do. I don't really know the calorie count, but I was fairly low when I left for dinner so I imagine I stayed right around target.

I appreciated my helpful comments... thanks, bloggie friends! I'll get back to you once I've done some more research. I rather enjoyed being called a rational person. Meanwhile, today will be a lot of fruits and vegetables.

One thing that I think is important to remember is that we all approach CR differently. Some of us are more artistic and make beautiful creations out of our meals (See Willie's pictures at www.croning.blogspot.com), some of us are poetic like Fruitgirl, some of us are extremely practical like Mary, and some of us enjoy the puzzle of getting enough nutrients into very few calories. I may get frustrated from time to time, but no more so than a chess player working on his next move. He doesn't want to leave the game, he just wants to win!

Thursday, August 26, 2004

Type It Straight Into My Memory Banks

Yes, that is a direct quote from the Outkast song that goes "Shake it like a Poloroid picture." You want to read the blog, you're going to get some pop music. Just be glad I haven't found a way to upload songs... yet!

I am so frustrated by the process of thinking I have a good way to solve a nutritional problem, acting on it, and then searching the archives to find out that I am WRONG WRONG WRONG!!!

So my solution is this: I need to upload the entire CR Society archives into my head, and all future posts need to be typed straight into my memory banks. I have mentioned before that I have a somewhat freakish ability to memorize long strings of words that I don't understand.

It happened like this:

My quest for sources of copper, iron and zinc led me to Whole Foods, where I was reading the labels on varios kinds of edible yeast products, on the suggestion of VLC.

If you ever want to get the attention of suburban supermarket employees, just sit on the floor. Several of them came over to see if I needed help. The yeast was all on the bottom shelf, so I sat down to read all their labels. The one I got has huge percentages of the RDAs of the very things I need: iron, copper, zinc, and B vitamins, and all for 50 calories a serving (2 tablespoons!) I was so excited! Needless to say, I bought a jar. Last night I put it on broccoli and it was pretty good, vaguely like parmesean cheese. Today I put it on my salad.

Then I did a lightning quick search of the archives just now, just to make sure that it wasn't going to cause dementia like tofu.

Another good time ruined. It's brewers yeast you're supposed to get, not nutritional yeast. And no, this is not some sort of "That's just what they call it in Canada" thing. They're two totally different products.

Blergh. I got the one I got because it had higher percentages of the RDAs for the stuff I need, but my super quick search seems to indicate that there's something bad about it. I'll have to spend more time searching when I can. In the meantime, I wonder if I can use the stuff I already have, and if so, can I count it in my nutrient table? It sounds like it might actually block absorption of B12, but I am not quite sure. Must read further.

You know, I started this blog in part to prove that a non-scientist can do CRON just as well as the people who really understand this stuff, but at moments like this, I feel like I am proving the exact opposite!

At least my experience with my nutritional software good. It's funny... when people make nasty comments about how CR can't be healthy (which is the silliest thing on earth, since CR makes you live longer by making you extremely healthy!) I am going to offer to do their nutritional analysis on my software. People have no idea how little nutrition they're getting in their pathetic American diets. Just eating more calories won't make you healthy... quite the opposite! The trick is to eat consciously, so that you get the max nutrition for the minimum calories, with the maximum satisfaction.

Today has been light, since I packed a lot of food but got a dinner inviation from some friends who have a great house with a patio and a little pond and a gorgeous black cat named Mr. Kitty. They're getting into cooking lighter and vegetarian, and they know I like that kind of food. So I have so far today eaten:

whey shake 160
eggwhite scramble 140
lettuce 20
fat free dressing 20
cottage cheese 90

We're having stuffed eggplant for dinner, and they always serve a delicious green salad with tomatoes and an olive oil based dressing, so I figure I'll be set with more veggies and fat when I eat there. I'm already at goal for protein for the day. See, you can accept last minute invitations and still do CR!

Woke up at 4:30 am this morning, even though I didn't have to. One of the side effects of my work is that I am permanently set on an early schedule. So I frequently wake up before five am and just get up. Did my four mile walk, got my coffee, enjoyed listening to my horrible collection of 80's pop on tapes. Am now blasting Sheryl Crow's first popular album into my ears.

Wednesday, August 25, 2004

You Eat What You Read

I had actually had this title in my head for awhile, since it is evident to anyone who has been following the progress of my diet on the blog that I have changed a lot in response to the stuff I've read, especially in the CR Society archives.

But last night, I got a new perspective on the topic.

I woke in the middle of the night to find my cat happily shredding and devouring several pages of Dr. Walford's _The Beyond 120 Years Diet_.

I first learned that my cat likes to eat paper a month or so ago when I fell asleep while reading the Albatross (not because of the content, just because I read in bed when I'm really too exhausted to be reading, so if I'm reading something light that doesn't wake me when I drop it, I sometimes fall asleep with the lights on and the book in the bed.) I woke at about 2:30 am to the sound of my cat chewing up page 23 of the 33 page printout.

I suppose I can now say, "My cat ate my copy of the Albatross." And mean it, literally. I do not plan to use this as an excuse on days when I fail to get my appropriate amounts of protein and fat.

So I reprinted the damaged pages, finished reading the doucment, and resolved to move the books to the shelves before falling asleep in future.

But last night I failed in this quest, only to discover that if my cat liked the Albatross, she loves Walford. She ate several pages before I recovered from my sleepiness, shock and horror long enough to stop her and move the book to the shelf.

So anyway...

Yesterday was a pretty good day. When you last tuned in, I had eaten most of my protein in the eggwhite scramble, whey shake, the two combined come to 300 calories and 57 g protein. I had also eaten 200 calories of tomatoes drizzled with champagne walnut vinegar and lemon herb olive oil. 80 in the tomatoes, 120 in an entire tablespoon of olive oil. (Look at me, eating fat, pet me on the head!)

The rest of the day included:

90 calories in cottage cheese -- 11 g protein
90 calories worth of broccoli
25 calories of collard greens
85 calorie four ounce glass of red wine
100 calories of olives

Total: 890

A little low, but Mary had a low day too so I think there's something in the air. I was not hungry at all, or else I would have eaten. I think that eating more fat makes me more satisfied. Once you've eaten sixteen olives, you feel like you've had a big treat. And I actually like the really good olive oil. I think I may buy some of the kind from France that they have at my wine store. It's super expensive but it is so amazingly yummy. I've had samples.

I got to do some CR evengelizing last night. I went to a meeting with a group of nurses I worked with a ton last year but hadn't seen much of lately. They all noticed that I'd lost weight, so the usual conversation ensued: "Are you doing Weight Watchers? South Beach?"

I launched into my "CR isn't about weight loss, it's about slowing aging. Weight loss is a side effect," speech. Some of the nurses were familliar with the animal studies, and had even heard about humans doing it. The obligatory, "Don't get anorexic on us," was uttered. I've found that lately, I turn comments about anorexia into an opportunity to market Dr. Walford's nutritional software. I talk about how closely I monitor my nutrition, and how much fun it is to play with the software. I gave out the CRS website and the Walford one to one of the nurses who was very interested. She's been a nurse for 30 years and looks much younger than she is... she was on a billboard that we did during a contract campaign, and lots of people thought she was a model, not a real nurse! I hope she'll check out the websites.

Today has been upside down because my apartment complex decided for some reason to turn off our water. Luckily, I had already showered. But I didn't want to make my whey shake and then not be able to do the dishes, so I'll have to make the shake later in the day. I'm on my way now to Fresh Fields to read the labels on nutritional yeast and Bragg's liquid aminos, at the suggestion of VLC. Thanks to all for your suggestions on the iron, copper and zinc score. I'll let you know how it goes!

Tuesday, August 24, 2004

Never Believe It's Not So!

Great line from a great old song that I heard last night in the car. I was feeling exausted, had been up since 4 am, working since 6:30 am, barely had a break and still had hours of work calls to do from home. To make matters worse, I had eaten those killer jelly beans again! So I was feeling bad about that.

Then I heard this old song, it's called "It's Magic" by a band called Pilot, and you'd know it if you heard it. It was so cheerful that it really perked me up, and I jammed along till the end of the song sitting in my driveway, thinking that these little setbacks are just evidence that we're human, not causes for despair. Sometimes I feel too tired to work, but I work anyway, because I am dedicated and committed to helping nurses get some power at their workplaces, and so that eventually we can fix this messed up thing the US calls a health care system. And even though I sometimes eat the jelly beans, I'm committed to going right back to my healthy CRON diet. I finished out the night with an entire bag of brussels sprouts (at 45 calories per serving and six servings per bag, that's 225 calories of brussels sprouts, my friends. Wow. I love those little critters!) and an eggwhite scramble, plus some olives, for a total of 1005 calories for the day. Forwent (that's the past tense of forgo, right?) the four ounce glass of red wine, thinking I had already eaten enough carbs thanks to the evil jelly beans of hell. They're gone now, never to enter my house again.

Being committed to CRON is, upon reflection, a lot like being committed to my work as an organzier. It means living my life with the firm conviction that people can take action to change their lives for the better, and see real results. In my work, I see the tangible, beautiful results every day, as nurses make improvements in their workplaces. In CRON, I see the improvements in my health every day. Both require extraordinary committment, and both are weird ways to live, requiring discipline, committment, and sacrifice, but these days I can't imagine doing without either.

Today I've had a great day so far. Walked four miles, drank iced coffee (nothing in it, I like it that way and did even before CRON) drank whey shake for breakfast, and ate some gorgeous yellow tomatoes with champagne walnut vinegar and 120 calories worth of lemon herb olive oil on top. I'll have a salad, some broccoli, and a scramble later. Still working on the quest for calcium and iron.

Gotta run... busy day, but I wanted to say hi to you.

Monday, August 23, 2004

Pepermint stick

Just ate my third. 45 calories worth of peppermint sticks. That's not CRON! That's behavior appropriate only to Santa's Elves, and then, only during the holiday rush!

What do you mean, you have no vinegar?

That's what I found myself saying today at Panera Bread Company when ordering my salad. They had no vinegar! How can you have no vinegar? No no no. No vinegar. I ate the fat free dressing, raspberry vinegarette. I am not a fan of raspberry vinegarette but it was okay. In future, I will BYOV at Panera. I finally got to sit down for a few minutes after running around all morning, including three trips to the hospital at 6:30 am, 9:30 am, and 12 noon. (For anyone just tuning in, I work with nurses, so I'm at hospitals to meet with them, not because I'm sick.) Cafe salad was mixed greens, tomatoes, red onion, cucumbers, and green peppers. Pretty good. Maybe 50 calories total, most of it in the dressing. Blergh. Why no vinegar?

I was running out the door this am at 5:30 and didn't have time to eat whey shake or make eggwhite scramble. I will probably eat them at dinner, having another of those upside down days when dinner is breakfast. Went to the hospital, then to the office, where I walked in to discover that the fridge was broken so not only could I not refrigerate the cottage cheese pack I brought with me that had been sitting in my car since 5:30 am, I was also witnessing the gradual warming of the one I had left in there over the weekend. I ate both packs quick to keep them from dying, for a total of 180 calories and 22 g protein. That and the cafe salad are all I've had to eat today so far. I think dinner will have to be big protein. I love my eggwhites so much. And I bought new olives yesterday. I can imagine my dinner being an eggwhite scramble, olives, and a four ounce glass of red wine for dessert. It's not perfect, I know, but from where I started, it's pretty darned good.

Last night when I got home I drank my nightly four ounce glass of wine and ate a cup of Imagine portobello mushroom soup. Yesterday was a pretty low calorie day, okay on protein thanks to the scramble and the whey shake, but oddly enough, low on vegetables, since I ate none other than the spinich salad at 5 ish. Appetite still very low. It's all the excitement... work is picking up in a most fantastic way, and good stress, just like bad stress, makes me less hungry. My weight however was holding steady at 113 this morning, which it has been all week, so I'm okay for now. I wouldn't be surprised if it goes down a little tomorrow morning since I think I was holding water weight due to my two walks yesterday... I notice that when I do the eight miles, my weight tends to go up a touch, and I assume it's water. But since I've been hovering at 113 for awhile now, if it goes down a tiny bit I won't be alarmed. Weight loss is going to happen on CR, so it's not a bad thing in and of itself. The bad thing, as I understand it, is to lose weight too fast. I am still within the normal range of weights for my height, and I suspect that with more CR, I will drop out of normal at some point in the next few months. (NOTE TO JG: I know the "dropping out of normal" ship has already sailed for me in every other aspect of my life!)

I wore my old big black suit today... chickened out at the last minute on wearing one of my new size two cute suits. I was afraid of looking too young and inconsequential. Just being thin makes people think you're younger, since obesity seems to be the norm among people over thirty in North America. I'll wear one of the suits to the big meeting I have Monday, though, if not before then. In my job, looking young is not an advantage, it is actively a disadvantage. I wonder how other CR folk who look very young deal with it.

More running around to be done. Work is going to be very busy for the forseeable future, but I'll find a way to keep you up to date.

Sunday, August 22, 2004

Incredibly Beautiful Day

Today has been the kind of day that explains why I am committed to CRON. On days like this, I am so happy, I feel so grateful to be alive, that I want to live as long as I can with as much health as I can have so I can enjoy more days like today.

First, the weather was beautiful. Started off the day with a whey protein shake, followed by my usual four mile walk, into my cute little town. Got my coffee (hello, niacin!) and chatted with the coffee shop employees who know me and have even given me a name based on the way I drink my iced coffee (not shaken, not disturbed in any way.) I'm "Old School," since I have been drinking coffee there since before the days when the management forced them to shake it, whether it's sweetened or not.

When I got home, I ate an eggwhite scramble, cleaned out some cabinets while listening to an excellent episode of _This American Life_ on NPR, then visited my mother's cat and blogged a bit on her computer.

Went home, spent several hours on the phone doing work calls, helping nurses take control of their lives at work by organizing. Thought about how much I love my work, and how grateful I am for the opportunity to spend every day doing the thing I care about most in the world.

Petted my cat. My cat has a very loud purr. Worried that the nurses could hear the cat purring into the phone.

Went to the grocery store, bought lots of cat food and some refills on my eggwhites and cottage cheese. Ate a big salad from the salad bar: spinich, grape tomatoes, onions, olives, and a dash of fresh grated parmesean cheese. Oil and vinegar.

Went home, was so overwhelmed by the beauty of the day that I took another four mile walk! Daydreamed about CRON Halloween party, at which I would serve:

carrot sticks with kalamata olive tapenade (orange = carrots, black = tapenade)
sweet potatoes stuffed with yummy cumin/garlic/cayenne black beans (orange and black! I could even make them look like eyeballs by putting the black beans in a hollowed out space in the middle of the sweet potato!)
eggwhite meringue (spelling? hmmmm) with the juice of a fresh orange squeezed in, light orange, more protein.

Sounds a bit like a CRON Halloween party for children, but it made my walk pass very pleasantly.

Went home, did some more work calls, checked in with a co-worker about tomorrow's meeting, found out that my mother won't be coming in tonight so went to her house to get the cat fed for the night and blog some more.

Checked my email.. email waiting from a new CR friend (HI!) and also from one of my biggest CR heroes, who works CR into a full, satisfying life, and still makes time to email with the little redhead who likes green tea...

And just had to take a second to think that I am so happy in my life that it is no surprise that I would want to extend that life as long as possible!

At the risk of quoting Elton John, "It's no sacrifice at all."

Hey, at least I went one day without quoting either Michael Rae or Jessica Simpson!

(Let's just take a moment to ask ourselves, "How often are Michael Rae and Jessica Simpson mentioned in the same online document?" We could google it and find out...)

Thanks to all of you for reading. If you're ever in Philly, I'll make you dinner!

Another Math Mistake

I think it is so funny that I put the wrong year in for when I will turn 100 that I am going to leave it there instead of running back to fix it.

And I'm a redhead, not even blonde!

What Should I Wear to Your Funeral?

Wow, I was tired when I wrote last night!

It may seem a bit morbid or perhaps just uncordial to boast in my blog that I will look smashing at your funeral.

It was inspired by Liza May's post "A Few Tips" that talked about how men are sometimes competitive about CR in the beginning, where she advised that we compete as to how healthy we can be, or how long we can live. I found myself identifying more with the men she talked about than the women. I'm often competitive, though more against myself, not others. And I'm definitely drawn to things that are extreme by their very nature... see the recent post regarding CR rants. It would be silly for me or anyone to compete in terms of how many calories we can consume, since that varies based on stuff we can't control like how tall we are (I have noticed that alas, CR does not make one taller. Didn't someone promise me it would? I am still 5' 2"!) I can see myself eventually competing along the lines of "I can get better nutrition in my diet in fewer calories and less time with better tasting food than you can, nah-nah-na-nah-na!" but that project while in progress is taking time, and I do have to work, take care of family and friends, pack my apartment to move in three weeks yikes! etc... all sorts of things that take away from discovering the meaning of iron in my life. So I'm going to channel my competitive energies into seeing who can live the longest. It's a nice counterbalance to the workaholic nurturing side of my personality that is constantly propelling me to not do things for myself in order to take care of others, or to just do what I perceive others want me to do.

Back on track today with the protein... have eaten my whey shake as well as an eggwhite scramble. I continue to derive tremendous pleasure from the making of the eggwhite scramble. I could make a killer CRON Sunday brunch with eggwhite omlets with broccoli and asparagus and a good salad and kiwis and... but this is an irrelevant exercise in pointless fantasy, because all CR folks besides my one local CR friend are so far away! Perhaps Liza and Mary will have to drive through Philly on their way from DC to New York someday and I can make them food! Truly, one of my greatest pleasures in life is cooking for others, and combining that with the maximal nutrition packed into minimal calories while tasting great and being beautifully presented sounds like the ultimate fun game. Once I got really good at that, I could play games where I try to build meals around specific themes, like orange and black for Halloween. Sounds like a meal that would be high in Vitamin C and beta carotene. Are there any good nutrients in licorice? Does anyone actually like that stuff? Well, black beans are black. I can't believe I am allowing myself to play out this game in my head when I should be working, cleaning the house, or packing my closets.

I got a question the other day from a friend about how I have the discipline to write every day. To be honest (and my fortune from last night says I am!) it takes discipline for me to write as little as I do. Writing is an outlet for the chaos in my head, that before I started writing sometimes seemed like it would explode. I've always loved to write, and as a child I wanted to be a writer, before I realized that I was a professional people person. Writing the blog is so much fun for me that I would do it even more if I didn't have other responsibilities in my life. And I'm very grateful to those of you who tune in day after day.

Speaking of, I got a comment yesterday from someone asking if I would like to correspond, and yes, I would love to correspond, write me as aprilsmith12, located at yahoo. When you comment it doesn't tell me who you are so I can't respond to your email directly from my blogspot acct. I am a very good writer back, and I mean no offense to those who are not, but someone has to knit together the social fabric of the world, so it may as well be me. As I said, I've always been the organizer of the birthday parties, the girl who made the computer geeks hang out with the Yale Political Union hacks (okay, so my 21st birthday party was a little awkward with those two crowds in the same room, but the food was good, right?), etc. I found the mix tape I made for that party when I was packing a closet. It's still a great tape! The years I spent as a computer chick were two of the most fun years I've ever had, even though I frequently wanted to punch my hand through the monitor screen in frustration. As I have said before, in a contest between which is easier for me, eating 800 calories a day or programming computers, the 800 will win, easily, any day. I could even eat 800 calories a day with a spoonful of olive oil at bedtime and think it was easier. Sometimes though when I am reading the technical posts on the list I have the same feeling I used to get when I was first learning computer stuff... an almost physical sensation of new pathways being forged in my brain. The nice thing about CRON is that you don't really have to understand it to do it. Sure, it can be argued that you will be more motivated if you understand why, and I enjoy the quest, even when I make stupid mistakes like failing to mulitply 4 by 100 and realize that it's half of 800. But even if I didn't enjoy the quest, it seems clear that by eating the right things in the right amounts, I can get just as much life extension as those who eat the right things in the right amounts and understand every reason why. In my exhaustive searches of the archives, I have yet to come across a post that states that there will be a quiz on August 1, 2073, that I will have to pass before I am allowed to turn 100.

In the meantime, feel free to specify if there's a particular color you would prefer me to wear to your funeral. ; )

Saturday, August 21, 2004

Our Lady of Perpetual Exhaustion

Well, I went out tonight, in spite of the terrible exhaustion I feel after being up at 4 am for work every day this week including today, because I find it important to continue doing fun things with friends even during the busy times at work, or else one risks insanity.

But now I am tired tired tired, and so glad that I can sleep in the morning! It will be my only morning off for awhile so I'd better enjoy it while I can.

Met friends in Chinatown for dinner, had delicious steamed vegetables with just a bit of soy sauce that I added myself. Veggie dish included steamed broccoli, water chestnuts, snap peas, little leafy green stems of some kind, carrots, peppers and onions. I ate about four bites of rice, three slices of an orange, and a fortune cookie. My fortune read, "You are a very straightfoward and honest person." No kidding. This is a trait that has gotten me in trouble in the past. But as I said a few days ago, I have been a fool for lesser things.

We went out to a bar called the Las Vegas Lounge after dinner, and I was afraid to ask for a wine list, so I had a $3 cosmopolitian that was mostly cranberry juice. Then I called it quits and went home. Now I'm going to bed. I think I stayed on or about target today. Junkie carbs, not enough protein, lame attempt to eat fat with olives, olive oil phobia continues, I know, I'm going to hell. Take thirty minutes off my life. I'm going to bed.

I'll outlive all of you anyway. Oh yes I will. And I'll look smashing at your funeral.

Hello, Size 2

On Friday I blogged about the need to buy new clothes because my old ones look like I am a child playing dress up with the clothes of an adult. Not that I'm that small... I'm still within the range of "Normal" though at the very bottom of it. But I am no longer the size I was when I bought most of my business clothes.

So... I went shopping today in the second hand store where I've gotten stuff before, including the dress I wore to the Inaugural Ball for the PA governor two years ago. (amazing red silk dress... with matching handbag... $44 total)

I don't think I realized how much my appearance has changed until today.

I mean, sure, I admired myself in the mirror, I appreciated the compliments, I felt guilty because CR is both good for me and makes me closer to the American ideal of female beauty. But I didn't quite get it until I zipped up a size two dress and it looked just right. And I looked like a tiny person.

Now I should restate something that any CR folk reading this already know but that may be unclear to the non-CR folk. CR IS NOT ABOUT WEIGHTLOSS. Weight loss is a side effect, and the more severe the CR, the more unwelcome a side effect. CR is about life extension. I refer you again to www.crsociety.org which will answer any questions you may have.

But dealing with weight loss and all the attendant changes in your social life is a part of the early stages of CR, when you're going from the body that you had to the body that you'll live in until our friends the scientists come up with drugs that will allow us to eat Taco Bell bean burritos all day and still be gorgeous at 120. If any of you guys are reading this, get back to work! I kinda miss my burritos...

Anyway, I feel so different! I'm very glad now that I didn't spend much time in a size eight body. I think it would be harder to adjust to being smaller if being bigger had been a part of my life for a longer period of time. I was usually between 115 - 125 for most of my adult life, and only in the last year shot up to 137, as a result of the margarita and nacho diet that I have referred to in earlier posts. I saw the aging coming, I decided to try and stop it, and now it's a race against time. So I was used to being a small girl... never super model thin (somehow, even at low weights for my height, I manage to retain my curves. Another example of things I thought were bad that I now think are very good! Sometimes I think I was designed specifically for this experiment!) but normal thin girl thin. That makes it easier to live in the new body.

But today was a weird feeling. I actually felt guilty for how much pleasure I am deriving from my CR practice, while I imagine it is harder for other people. I mean, even my normally thin guy friends have trouble buying clothes that fit because in this country the assumption is that men over thirty will be fat! I can buy gorgeous clothes at 1000 - 1200 calories a day because of the American ideal of women as waifs... who would have thought that I would owe one minute of my happiness to Kate Moss? CR can be upside down day, several times a day.

In other news, this heat is terrible, and contines to zap my appetite, but I'm making sure that what I eat is high quality. I ate an eggwhite scramble, 100 calories of olives, and some tomato without the tofu that is now also without the scallions, since I forgot to purchase them. It has seseme oil in it, so the portion I had was 100 calories. That makes for a total of 360 so far today, and I am going out tonight in Chinatown with some friends, where I will be able to eat a giant plate of steamed veggies and no sauce.

I've had some wonderful conversations off-list with many CR folks this week, and I can't tell you how much I enjoy their thoughts and insights. I really mean it when I say that I think CR folks are the nicest people on earth. I'm so glad because if this works, we might know each other for a long, long time. I mean, who else are you going to watch re-runs of "You Can't Do That On Television" with in the year 2074?

That's the Healthiest One! NOT!

Now I just want to start out by saying that the interaction I am about to describe did *not* end in me giving a lecture on the importance of good fats to an innocent employee at the Farmers' Market.

So I was at the Farmers' Market this morning (having already been up since four and done a shift change at the hospital) and I was looking at the locally made salad dressings on one of the stands. I was reading the Vidalia Onion Vinegarette, looking always for a salad dressing that could help me get my higher percentage of fat without saying ICK! So I'm reading the ingredients. One was based on canola oil, but it had high fructose corn syrup in it, and I don't need that. The Vidalia Onion Vinegarette had just onions and spices and such, so it looked good, but it didn't list an oil. So I inquired of the employee who was personing the stand, and he said, "Oh, that one doesn't have any oil. It's the healthiest one we sell here."

I thought, dude, you are so lost in the high carb darkness.

I kept these thoughts to myself. Not everyone needs to hear about it.

So anyway, I am just going to have to make my own stupid salad dressing. I'm wasting cals on fat free dressings, and I am not getting near my fat target. I have great olive oils now (thanks, friend who gave me oil and vinegar for my birthday!) and I have always had great vinegar. In fact, you can just call me Vinegar Girl. So I will make my own, and I will put it on my salad, and I will eat it, and I will like it.

I haven't eaten anything yet today... these even earlier than usual mornings are throwing off my newly formed breakfast habit. I am going out tonight, I think, with friends from college including Myrna Perez and an old friend of mine whose mom makes the best Ethiopian or is it Aritrian food I've ever had, but I want to get all my nutrition done before then so I can just eat a tossed salad and not worry about searching the menu for any nutrient I might actually need.

I saw some beet greens this morning and thought about buying them. They were, as you might suspect, attached to beets. But I wasn't sure exactly what one is supposed to do with them. Suggestions?

What are you guys up to today? Going out? Working? Mowing the lawn? Is it warm where you are? It's very hot here. I'm enjoying the increased heat tolerance that CR seems to give one. I'm still glad that I have no lawn to mow, no hedges to trim. I can't imagine a world in which I would ever want to do yard work. What that has to do with CR... nothing.

What's as good way to get more iron and calcium from a vegetarian diet? You know, bloggie friends, the Comment function does work. Suggest! Tell me what you're doing! Hold up your end of the conversation! Just don't make fun of me too much for my stupid mistakes. Someday, when I've designed my ideal diet and I'm getting my RDA's every day and I'm brave enough to post to the main CR list, I'll be able to laugh about these days, but not quite yet, when Satan's pretzels are still eyeing me from the corner of the room.

Friday, August 20, 2004


It's getting hot in Philly, over 90 today, and heat zaps my appetite. You know what I ate before I left the office... it added up to 250 calories counting the salad pretty liberally.

I stopped at the mall on the way home to meet a friend who was doing some dress shopping at Ann Taylor. We sat down at the Food Court, where I ate a delicious spinich salad with tomatoes, red onion, and sweet peppers. I love spinich, and since it's such a pain to wash at home so I try to eat it out as often as I can.

Fat free dressing, add maybe 30 cals for that (I like it, okay? I got my real fat later.) and the greens couldn't have been more than 50 if that.

So I got home, and knowing I needed protein, I scrambled up another cup of eggwhites. I really enjoy the physical process of scrambling the eggwhites. There's something compelling about lifting the cooked parts from the bottom of the non-stick pan. Not to mention grinding the pepper. So I ate that... 140 cals, 27 g protein. Finally my protein count is no longer in the high carb darkness days. I even ate olives to get some fat. So at most I was at 700 by this time.

Then I went over to look in on the cat of my mom, who is away this weekend. The cat was fine, I fed him, he's a beautiful, loving cat named Amber. She refers to him as my brother, and we do look a bit alike, both having red hair, until you notice that he's a cat and I'm a human. Anyway, by this time I was feeling a little hungry, having been in air conditioning long enough to lose that overheated feeling (though CR does make it easier to deal with heat... this time last year I would have just collapsed into a cold bath!) and I looked in mom's fridge and freezer. I have a blank check to eat whatever, and I regret to inform you that I made some bad decisions.

I ate: a Weight Watcher ice cream sandwich. 150 cals. Absolute junk. Serious comfort food for me. I grew up on Weight Watcher products, since my mom was very into WW when I was young. It was so cold and creamy and yummy.

Some more of those evil little Trader Joe's pretzels. Those things are clearly manufactured by Satan's little demons down in the baking ovens of hell.

I am sure I stayed under my cal target today in spite of such indiscretions simply because the heat had zapped my appetite for enough of the day that I hadn't eaten much earlier.

But this is the classic example of the difference between CR and CRON. You've got to get the right nutrition if you're going to reap the life extension benefits of CRON.

In closing, please allow me to quote Michael Rae to prove two opposing viewpoints:

"Any CR diet is better than any AL diet."

"Obviously, if you don't get the nutrients you need, you're going to kill yourself."

My point being, I stayed under calorie target today, and that's good, but tomorrow I'd better get my RDA's and then some, because this pretzel and Weight Watcher ice cream sandwich thing isn't going to cut it for a girl with serious life extension ambitions.

I Have Been a Fool For Lesser Things

Nice line from a Billy Joel song I heard while driving this morning.

Yesterday I was under target, and I think exhaustion was to blame, though it might have something to do with the heat and the fact that I had been over target the day before, which tends to make me less hungry the following day.

Last night I ate a 1 cup eggwhite scramble, 140 calories, 27 g protein. I was too tired to face a whey shake. That plus a tiny glass of red wine (not together, separated in time by a couple of hours... no wants to drink wine with eggwhites) left me at just 621 calories, by my software's count, but at 58.7 g protein. I was just so tired! I really have not been getting sleep, with my crazy work schedule, and I crashed out last night at 8:45 pm! But considering that I get up at 4 these days, it makes sense.

Slept until 4:45 am today, so I didn't have time to make my shake or my scramble. At the office have eaten: 1 cottage cheese (90 cals, 11 g protein) and a salad with lettuce, tons of broccoli, a teaspoon of chopped olives, and fat free dressing (total about 60 cals on the salad) and 1 hard boiled egg (70 cals, 7 g protein.) I am still exhausted but will probably not work late tonight and will go to bed very early again, so as to be up and chipper at 4 again tomorrow! My work doesn't stop just because it's Saturday!

Plan for the weekend:

1) Work work work.
2) Packing the house... moving in less than a month.
3) Taking home laptop with nutritional software, and reading up in all my books on the nutrients in which I consistently come up low. Designing ways to get them without adding too many calories.
4) Attempt at spending some social time with friends.
5) Get my hair cut. I'm starting to look like Princess Leia in Return of the Jedi. Just the hair, not the gold bikini.
6) Deal somehow with the fact that I can't wear any of my old suits, and I need to wear a nice suit at an important meeting on Monday morning. Am thinking the upscale consignment shops might be able to fix me up.

I'll write over the weekend, don't worry.

Thursday, August 19, 2004

Archive Junkie Gets Her Fix -- or, CR Rants

I was off the stuff for a while.

I went about a week without searching the archives. I was busy with work, etc.

But this moring I got in super early after an early morning shift change at the hospital, and I needed a fix.

So of course, I re-read my favorite post of all time, Michael Rae's RANT: Moderate CR, from September, 2002. And after it, I found Dean's rant!

I wanted to reproduce a bit of it here because it so clearly articulates how I feel about the my practice of CR right now. I do so with Dean's permission.

Re: Dean's rant

text/plain; charset="iso-8859-1"

Mike Harkreader wrote: >

You sir [Dean], are a spouse and father and your actions > impact your > family trememndously. I personally consider my family more > important and > worthy than some minor contribution that I may make to > society as a whole. > But that's just me. In fact let me state that I think this > statement is > just downright selfish, from a family perspective. I've read many > biographies of individuals who greatly contributed to society > and the vast > majority of them had significant issues around balancing > family values and > careers. Many times thier children hold grudges that "daddy > choose his > career over being a father". They feel that they came in > second to Daddy's > first love...his careeror interest. Now maybe you are > different and can > balance the two, but it's difficult.

(Dean replies:)

Mike, again I appreciate your comments, and the healthy introspection they force upon me.

I'm sorry I didn't get back to you sooner, but weekend's are family time for me. My wife and I spent Saturday throwing a birthday party for my 4 year-old daughter and 8 of her friends, then my 6 year-old son and I had a "Y-Guides" (Cub Scout equivalent) meeting. Sunday was spent working on the tree house with my son - we built and installed a gate in the entryway so my wife won't be deathly afraid whenever my daughter climbs up.

Overall, I think I may be different - in that I *can* do a pretty good job of balancing my family and my other interests (i.e. job and CR). At least that is what I've been striving towards for several years now with my efforts to streamline my practice of CR, without substantially compromising the quality of my diet/lifestyle.

Perhaps more importantly, as I've said in the past, I have a rather intense personality. Without an outlet for that intensity, I feel I'm drifting aimlessly, and as a result melancholy (perhaps you would characterize it as depression) sets in. This has happened several times during the course of my adult life, when the focus of my intensity has disappeared for one reason or another (e.g. when I reached the conclusion of a very long-term job-related project that had been my focus for several years, or when I grew tired of meticulously maintain my yard).

During such "focusless" periods, I find that my relationship with family and friends suffers greatly. I need something that I consider to be exciting and interesting to get me up in the morning and keep me motivated. Without it, all aspects of my life suffer.

So it is my strong belief, based on past experience, that my "passion" for CR results in a *better* relationship with family and friends. You could say, why not focus that energy on your family instead? To be honest, I love my family to death, and have expressed on numerous occasions just how extremely important they are to me. But I stand by this recent statement I made:

> I couldn't imagine living an "average lifestyle", where in the end, > there is little hope of my life having made a substantial difference > for anyone beyond my immediate circle of friends/family.

Yes, I know the counterargument - the best thing you can do for society is raise good kids to replace you. I think I'm doing that *and* at the same time have an opportunity to contribute more both to individuals and "society", through my CR-related activities.

I think Dean said it all! Anyone who knows me knows that I am a rather intense person too. I think that in the beginning a bit of intensity towards CR makes a lot of sense, as one figures out how to do the streamlining that Dean mentions. I think that as I work towards designing my optimal diet, I will spend less time on CR because I will have systems of cooking and eating that are tried and true. While designing a diet that you can eat pretty much every day might seem like a lot of work to some, I think you can see how in the long term, it could be a very time saving device.

Dean also has a great presentation on the psychological aspects of CR that he gave at the last CRS conference. It's available at:


and it's great! I actually read it when I first started CR, and re-read it today. I look forward to hearing more at this year's conference.

Dean's post, as well as our off-list conversation, are great examples of how the CR Society makes it possible for even the non-scientists (especially the non-scientists!) like me to reach new levels of health, and hopefully increase our years of health too!

If you want to see something that could be called April's rant, I'll reproduce a letter that I wrote to _The Nation_ about two years ago in which I wrote that politically left leaning people who wanted to make this country a more just and equitable place, especially for the poor and disempowered, should stop whining and become union organizers! My rant talks about committment, sacrifice, hard work... and all for a totally different movement!

You know, since you're reading this by choice and so you can tune out if you feel like it's a narcissistic exercise in self-indulgence (which of course it is but, I mean, a narcissistic exercise in self-indulgence that you no longer find entertaining), I think I will just reproduce said letter. I type fast. And it may put to rest any concern anyone who doesn't know me may have had about what came first: the CRON, or the intensity?

It's a response to an article that Barbara Ehrenreich and Thomas Geoghegan wrote in the early February 2003 issue of _The Nation_.

As a real live labor organizer, I am frustrated by yet another article on "what labor should do." People need to talk to the workers! Every day, for twelve or more hours a day, I talk to actual workers: in their homes, at the workplace, in little diners for breakfast as they're coming off work. Labor will make a comeback when real people start to really organize, and that means talking to workers! I wish our leftist heroes and heroines would encourage the young to become organizers, get their hands dirty, stop theorizing about the problems and do something!

There are too many well-meaning lefties in graduate school, in law school, talking about the workers but never talking with the workers, unless it's to study them. I can't staff organizing campaigns, not because there's no money for positions but because no one is applying! It's a hard, exhausting, non-glamorous way of life, but all the _Nation_ articles in the world won't do for the labor movement what one organizer can do.

Tell your children to go to the AFL-CIO's Organizing Institute and learn how to mobilize workers! We're hiring! We need new blood! No more writing, no more talking, no more theorizing. It's time for the left to get to work!

As always, my friends, thanks for reading. I think you will now see that I was this kind of person long before I ever drank my first whey protein shake. Now, instead of being an intense person who wears size six or eight and eats lots of pasta, I'm an intense person who wears size two and eats a lot of protein and the occasional very cute kiwi.

And the good news... if this stuff works, I'm going to have a lot more time in which to whatever I can to change the world!

A Day Without Whey

Or at least a morning without whey. I was running out the door this morning... didn't have time to make my whey shake or my eggwhite scramble. It will actually be an interesting experiment in what happens with hunger if I don't eat until later in the day on a day when I am out the door for work at 5:30 am. I wasn't too hungry this morning, which is normal, since I have only recently begun to eat breakfast. I ate a cottage cheese at around 10:30 am. I was very hungry in the evening yesterday. These long days make it harder to control hunger. Usually, I don't find hunger to be much of a problem. It's going to be a challenge as my work days continue to stretch from 5:30 am to after 8 pm.

I'm worried about my protein for the day. I have a salad, crucifer soup, red peppers with olive oil and vinegar, and a fruit salad in the fridge at work. But I need to get some serious protein. A quick consultation of my nutritional software informs me that I won't get much protein for my calories if I eat the chickpeas that are on the salad bar at the office cafeteria. I may end up having to drink a whey shake when I get home from work tonight. It's such the protein magic bullet!

Meanwhile, it's another crazy day. It looks like I won't have a day off for a long long time. That's actually good in many ways because when work is busy it means that things are going well.

Last night I went over target. We took VLC out for drinks after work for her anniversary, and I drank two glasses of wine instead of the scheduled one. I know, I'm going to High Carb Hell. Can't I at least graduate to High Carb Purgatory? I'm eating 60 + g of protein these days! I know, I probably need more. High Carb Limbo?

Today I will find a way to get my protein, somehow.

More thoughts coming soon... I have a draft of a post, but I'm waiting on some more info before I finish it.

Where's Fruitgirl? I am worried about her... her blog seems to have disappeared.

Okay kids. It's later, and I've plugged in the food I have for today that I just told you about into my software. It's saying I have 29 g protein. Some of it is in the soymilk in the cruciferous soup. Some is in the cottage cheese. Where's the rest? Cauliflower and broccoli? Please enlighten.

Why Don't You Love Your Vegetables?

A co-worker was eating a vegetable sandwich at lunch, and she left some of the marinated veggies on her plate. VLC and I ate them. Eggplant, red pepper, tomato, onion. Yummy! They were marinated in olive oil which in the past I would have avoided like the plague but now I am eating. I am counting them as 1 teaspoon of olive oil, which is probably more than they were since I ate five bites and they were not exactly dripping with oil, but I'm not sure how else to count the oil. I ate all the other food I told you about earlier, except for the arugula salad, which I just didn't feel like having yet. Perhaps later today. Crucifer soup is so good! I am not very hungry today, and i wonder if it is because I exceeded target yesterday, or because I skipped breakfast, or because of none of the above. What do you think? Does eating breakfast make you less or more hungry?

My software says that if I go home and eat an eggwhite scramble and drink a whey shake, I will get 78 g protein today and be at 627 calories. I wish I had had those earlier. It will be weird to eat them when I get home. Though if I am very hungry, it will be quite doable. Not sure when I'll be able to go home, and even if I do get home before nine, I'll have to be on the phone working until 9 at least. At some point, I've got to get some sleep. Even with CR decreasing my need for sleep, sleeping from 10:30 pm to 4 am every night is difficult!

Have I told you that I love my software? I love it so much. I could play with it for hours if I were allowed to.

Wednesday, August 18, 2004

A Little Calculating While The Bugs Bit Me

I am so delicious.

Or at least, that's what I hear from the mosquitoes.

Anyway, as I was sitting outside the hospital waiting for nurses from 6:30 to 7:45 this morning, I got bored with the book I was reading and got out my notepad to figure out how many cals from fat and protein I should be getting, and how the day I had packed would match up.

If I want to get 40% carb, 30% protein, and 30% fat, in a 1000 calorie a day diet, the numbers are easy to figure out. Good, because I don't want to be like Barbie and say, "Math is hard!"

How does the food I'd packed for the day stack up?

Today has 835 calories packed, with 391 cals of carbs, 172ish of fat, and 272 of protein. That's 68 g protein.

So I have some calories left to eat when I get home, and it looks like I should just eat olive oil to get enough fat.


This is really an interesting game.

Last night, I went home and finished out my calories for the day with a small fruit salad of nectarine and apple pieces and a glass of red wine. Just had to light a candle on the altar of High Carb Darkness, I suppose.

Maybe tonight I'll just take a spoonful of olive oil with my tiny glass of red wine and be done with it. I hear that olive oil speeds resveratrol absorption.

Drank my whey shake this morning at 4:30 ... felt great! I actually don't mind it at all now... as they say, you can get used to anything. I enjoy the challenge of making the eggwhite scramble whilst I drink the shake. It's amazing that I don't set myself on fire, really. Actually, it's not, because I have an electric stove, but once I move and have a gas stove, I will have to be more careful.

I have packed:

eggwhite scramble
brussels spouts in stewed tomatoes with balsamic vinegar, oregano and basil (should have put olive oil in it for absorption! perhaps can find some?)
arugula salad with 100 cals of green olives
red pepper slices drizzled with 1 teaspoon toasted garlic olive oil and white balsamic vinegar (look at me! eating fat! pet me on the head!!!)
cottage cheese (I love that stuff.)

I packed crucifer soup too, but I think I will eat it tomorrow. One needs a break from pureed objects. Actually, ask me about my carrot puree. It's amazing, and will be even better with olive oil, now that I have been liberated from the Fat Phobia that ruled my life for so many years.

Today is Very Little Co-Workers' 1 year anniversary of working here! Everyone send her a happy anniversary comment! I bought her flowers... she doesn't like crappy junkfood anymore than I do, so flowers are perfect. (Did I mention that I like flowers too? Yeah, I did. Send to my office, not my house, because my cat eats plants... just in case you ever need to know... which seems unlikely but stranger things have happened... ) I actually had to arrange them pretty, because in my infinite ability to misjudge spatial relationships (and if you think that's funny, watch me parallel park my Geo Prizm) I bought a vase that was too small, so I had to cut the stems and make a little bud arrangement. It's cute, in spite of the fact that I was absent the day they taught flower arranging in high school.

I am trying to figure out how to post my nutritional analysis. It's not pretty like Mary's. I can't figure out how to copy paste the table. Hmmm.

More soon.

Tuesday, August 17, 2004

Dr. Walford's Interactive Diet Planner

Wow, this thing is fun. Mary was right: I'm high in Vitamin A and C, low in iron and calcium. Lots of other nutrients I have to figure out how to get more of! It's so much fun!!! The Designer Diets for Girls project is well under way!

I went to my 12 noon meeting, which lasted till just after three. The President was in town, so we had to be parked far from the hotel and the police were writing down our license plates and directing everyone. There were no unattended vegetable trays... the food served at the meeting was bread and cheese, and it didn't even occur to me to touch it. I did find a bowl of fresh green apples on the hotel desk, free for the taking (no ethical issues there!) so I ate one. When I got back to the office I was hungry, so I ate my tomato without the tofu dish, my "cream" of cauliflower and broccoli soup, a carton of lowfat blueberry yogurt, and some unsweetened lemon verbena tea, brewed with the herb straight from a co-worker's garden. Delicious! That was around 3:30, and by 6:15 I was hungry again, but out of food, except for the three frozen soy dogs that I still had in the office freezer, left there for emergencies. In desperation, no doubt protein craving as well, I ate all three. Under 150 calories for the whole thing and 27 grams of protein, and I am now at 806 calories for the day so far, according to Dr. Walford's Interactive Diet Planner! This thing is so much fun! I had to enter the soy dogs as tofu because his diet planner didn't recognize the soy dog category, in spite of many tries of different things you might call a soy dog. I'll have to learn how to deal with things when I know the nutrition info but the program doesn't. I'll ask Mary, she's a pro.

I'm off to a 7:30 pm meeting at the hospital (more bugbites today?) and then home to bed. Back at the hospital at 6:30 am tomorrow! Now you see what I mean when I say I have a demanding job!

Have a great night.