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, December 12, 2004

The Bitterness of the Medicine

Good morning all... my morning, that is, it's 3:43 am now and of course I am up. I am starting to think that what I have is not particularly insomnia, it's rather a scheduling problem. I say that because I don't seem to get tired during the day or feel like I need more sleep. Pre-CR, I was a miserable insomniac. I'd wake up in the middle of the night and be unable to get back to sleep, but then be tired all the next day. I suppose I am still an insomniac, but in the never ending parade of positive side effects from CR, needing less sleep has joined the lineup. I just wake up when I am no longer tired... and then I get up and blog. The scheduling problem comes when I realize that I don't want to stay up later and then get up later. I still go to bed relatively early when I am not working or out. So I go to bed at 10 and get up at 3. Five hours of sleep is not bad, and I slept the five hours straight through. Perhaps the problem is that I am in the wrong time zone.

Meanwhile, last night's dinner went very well. I picked up an eggplant, a bunch of asparagus, and a red pepper, sauteed them all in two tablespoons of olive oil, and threw in a can of stewed tomatoes, a little oregano, some salt and pepper, and served the veggies over one cup of scrambled eggwhites per person. I am really enjoying using eggwhites as pasta, ie topping them with vegetables or sauce. It solves a lot of problems: for example, I'm often short on protein, and often very hungry at dinner if I've barely eaten during the day. So I can make a large (for me) meal that has lots of protein if I use the eggwhites where in the past I would have put rice or pasta. It might seem a bit odd, but once you get past the idea that eggs are for breakfast (a notion that a visit to any New Jersey diner at anytime other than breakfast should put to rest, as people are always ordering omlets at all hours of the day and night) it's fantastic.

I ate a handful of walnuts and a few grape tomatoes a few hours later right before bed, and as I often do at my weekend dinner parties, drank two glasses of wine. Even so, the day is coming out right on target because I just didn't eat that much total. 1016 calories. Pretty bad nutritionally, which is a reflection of the fact that I didn't eat my brewers' yeast. I should have made some brewers yeast soup instead of the nuts, but I was tired and just wanted to eat a quick bite. Today I will eat my brewers yeast soup, which solves almost all of my problems. The whole day is coming out with an odd P:F:C ratio for me: 20:40:40. Hmmm. Nuts, egg salad, olive oil. Very unusual day for me. That free sandwich made everything strange, but was quite delicious. Will I eat the other half today? Tune in next time to see.

My weight was down another pound this morning... hello, 103. There's something slightly alarming about getting so close to 100, but I still look boringly normal, and I feel great. Speaking of looking extremely normal, I think I may soon have a picture that I can put up on the blog. I need to get one that I can put with my "Why I donated to the M Prize" testimonial (which I have not yet written... Kevin, if you happen to be reading, I really am working on it but have been somewhat buried under other obligations, and I want it to be good.) That way you can all see what I look like. I wonder if I look like you think I do. The people at the conference seemed to recognize me fairly easily, but there weren't a whole lot of known redheaded girls signed up to be in attendance, so it wasn't that hard to pick out which one was me. I think it took Dean a split second to figure out who I was when I threw my arms around him and gave him a big hug, but even if you hadn't read a description of me, you'd still know that I'm much more likely to throw my arms around someone I've never met and give him a big hug than your average CR Society conference attendee.

You're probably wondering what any of this has to do with the title of this post, and why I haven't had a pop music headline in awhile. I was re-reading Michael's post re: joining the Three Hundred which you can find here: http://lists.calorierestriction.org/cgi-bin/wa?A2=ind0412&L=crcommunity&P=R2357&F=, or if that doesn't work, you can go to www.bestofcr.com and scroll to the second page, or try http://bestofcr.com/node?from=6. Warning: I think you should read this, but it's very controversial and may be a bit alarming to those who are new to CR. If you're one of those folks, you might want to read this first for a basic intro to what Michael is talking about: www.aor.ca/mags/Advances6_SENS.pdf. Michael wrote that one too, but it's toned down a bit and won't shock you as much. Michael's writing is powerful stuff, and like all strong medicine, you might not want to take it on an empty stomach or when you're already feeling light-headed.

The quote from which the headline is taken:

It is a measure of my own desperation that I spend so much of my life's energy in an intervention [CR] that I know perfectly well to be crude, weak medicine.
Frustratingly, those around me are so put off by the bitterness in the medicine that, like willful children who only hurt themselves, they refuse to take it.

This morning, as my weight dropped every closer to that psychologically significant 100 mark, the line "the bitterness of the medicine" jumped out at me. And what is about to follow is another of my long discourses on much I love CR, and how I feel vaguely guilty for the fact that it seems to cost me nothing.

Now let's be clear: my brand of CR is a whole lot easier than Michael's. He pays a lot more attention than I do, has been doing it longer, etc. But in this post he wasn't talking specifically about his own brand of CR, he was talking about the perceptions of those around him about CR: that it is too bitter a pill to take.

If anything, CR has made me realize how bad I felt before. To me, CR has been not a bitter medicine but a fairy godmother. While I won't claim that it's turned me into Cinderella, it has improved my life in many ways. The psychological effects alone are worth the price of admission. The fact that I can now sleep five hours every night and feel perfectly alert, in fact more able to focus than at anytime I can remember, is quite amazing. I keep expecting to hit a point where it gets difficult, and I suppose if I dropped my calories again it would, but I think it's better to maintain a very slow rate of weight loss and keep my calories around the 1100 mark for the next little while. I seem to have gotten all the positive side effects and missed all the negative.

Another odd effect... I seem to be able to do a lot of push-ups now. For some reason (or a complex set of reasons with which I will not bore you) I have as of late started doing push-ups again. Pre-CR, I couldn't do very many. Now I can do a lot. I haven't counted, but I can make it through about half of Depeche Mode's "Enjoy the Silence" before I get tired. That's a big improvement over the three or four I used to be able to do before CR. I think it may just be that I'm so much lighter that it doesn't take much to lift my weight. Sit-ups are also easier, and more entertaining to my cat, who can't figure out why in the world anyone would do that when they could be sleeping on the couch.

I finally caught up with my friend Francis -- ending the longest game of phone tag in world history -- last night while he was driving to LA to visit his girlfriend. After the obligatory discussion of SEIU that must occur anytime two labor movement people start talking (I forgot to mention that I stopped wearing my purple ring -- I put it away the day we lost the de-cert -- very Ingrid Bergman, very Casablanca) I filled him in on the latest info re: my quest for longer, healthier life. He's always been very supportive of my CR, and as usual had lots of helpful advice on all topics. We are such old organizers... in our eighth and ninth years (I graduated from college one year before him so techinically I have been organizing longer), we are like 22 year old cats. Statistically, we are already dead. We talk in organizer shorthand, not unlike how CR people can talk in what must appear to the non-CR to be code. "That's a logistical problem," he said, waving away a difficulty which I considered rather serious. Francis is a great source of advice on many subjects, and I regretted that we had gone so long without talking during a time in which I really could have used his insight. He has started making notes for a book about the organizing lessons to be learned from the Bible. He's been reflecting a lot lately on how in his experience, people with a religious background, whether they are currently religious or not, are more likely to stick to their pro-union convictions in the face of the attacks that always come from management, co-workers, family, etc. Now that, I thought, was fascinating. "It's hard to predict what people will do under pressure," said the old organizer to the even older organizer. Yup.

I woke up this morning (at 3 am) lamenting the small number of female friends in my life... after a cheery conversation with one of the CR sisters off-blog, I was thinking of how much I miss having girls around to talk to. Then this morning I got an email from the woman I met in the airport at Thanksgiving. We're going to have dinner on Tuesday.

Well, I've been chattering on in an attempt to pass the time until the coffee shop on the corner opens, but now it's six so I'm off to get my coffee. I may face the horror of Christmas shopping today. I don't do much of it, but I do need to get something for various other family and friends. VLC already gave me a present: a black skirt in size 0! So far she has given me my two favorite skirts-that-fit: the purple one I wore at the CRS Conference and the new black one. At the time of the conference I was merely borrowing the skirt, but she has since given it to me, since I offered to pay her any amount of money for it and she bought it at a thrift store.

Enough. Later.


  • At 9:16 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said…

    i heard yeast soup was a "molecular gastronomy" delicacy these days. i will try to make it and enjoy it as well.

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