Category Archives: Diet

Keto Day 13: Humor for Jabba the Hut

Starting Keto day 13 and 10.1 pounds have taken a hike. Probably water weight, but ketosis did begin the day after beginning.

I’m having a great time with this diet as it gives me a chance to express the sometimes OCD aspect of fallen human nature: “Where am I with my actual numbers so far today vs my macros?” That’s all checked any number of times during the day. But at the beginning of the day those macros are recalculated after weighing myself and then my recalculating Body Mass Index. The macros change but little, but – hey! – those little changes add up and make for a lot of positive feedback.

It’s also good to get some real encouragement from others. That comes because I complain: “Some people go out of their way to convince me to break my diet.” It’s either the “Keto diets are dangerous!” approach, or the “I’ve made something really nice for you to eat!” approach. But then encouragement comes in from others: “No, you do what you need to do. Stick to your diet. Ignore them.” Good to hear. It’s surprising the persistence of those who don’t want your success. Maybe that’s because they should be doing something about dieting as well. But I digress, though not really, as sticktoitedness is key.

As to the humor: I was Keto food shopping at the local supermarket and was having a conversation about Keto and “grass fed butter” at the butter section of the dairy section with one of my parishioners. It was a pretty lively discussion, rambunctious enough that a lady of unknown acquaintance pushed her shopping cart into the midst and declared with the most gorgeous Southern accent I ever heard with an equally pleasant smile, yet with incisive humor:

  • “Glory be! I ain’t not never heard a no grass fed butter, grass fed cows maybe, but no grass fed butter.”

Hahaha! It’s good to have some humor about this kind of thing.

Meanwhile, a parishioner supplied me with some fish, and another parishioner (the same in the story above) gave gave me part of a cow he had slaughtered. Mmm mmm. I love Keto.

Meanwhile, the goal of Keto for me is not to go from the obese Jabba the Hut to the slender Chewbacca, but rather to be the Lord’s good guard-donkey-priest of the Lord’s little flock that He wants me to be (noting, always, that wolves and coyotes and foxes are all good to eat on any Keto menu):


Filed under Diet, Humor

Day 5: Keto Diet for Jabba the Hut

jabba the hut

  • Blood pressure was excellent the first reading today, with the second being even better at 118/80. That’s really good for me, and that’s after coffee. I haven’t checked my blood pressure in a really long time, so I don’t know what it was just before starting, but I’m sure it was quite a lot higher than that. So, this is really good.
  • A week before starting Keto I weighed in at a Jabba the Hut weight of 266.8. At the start of Day 1 and Day 2 the readout was at 260.1. This morning it was 254.2.
  • I went into Ketosis by the end of day two, with a necessarily imprecise dipstick reading of 15, which jumped to 40 the next day and stayed there until now.
  • I had no experience of any “keto flu”: no low grade fever; no malaise.
  • I feel more energetic.
  • I feel more clearheaded.
  • I have not been hungry at all. No cravings. Not even tempting. I almost have to force myself to eat so as to get the recommended calories, protein and fat.

I’m guessing I’m still losing water weight, but there is real ketosis going on. I’m making sure to eat enough protein and fat not to lose any muscle, just fat. With not feeling hungry, it’s really easy to keep the calories down. Daily intake of carbs is 7g.

BTW: No soda or pop or soda pop. No diet anything. So sweeteners, no “smart water”, no chemicals. No faking out of the pancreas. I do add salt and pepper and garlic powder. Those are freebies.

Warning! I got excellent advice yesterday: no splurge days. And absolutely no stupidity with carbs, such as a full sugar can of Coca Cola. It seems that that traumatizes the cardio-vascular system, hardening it, damaging it, even long term, only once. So, when the diet is over, it’s also a matter of weaning yourself back on to carbs slowly. So, good to know.

QUESTION: Normally I’m a pretty laid back guy, but I’m being OCD about this. It’s the only way. I weigh myself and recalculate my BMI (U.S. NIH) [33.6 a couple of weeks before starting; 32.7 on the start day 5 days ago, and now 32.0], and then recalculate the keto “macros” (, which readjust the intake number of recommended calories and grams of protein and fat. I stick to that. That’s really OCD, but is that the way to do it? Or is it assumed that one will stick with macros for a long time?


Filed under Diet

Keto Diet Day 1: The outlook is easy now

jabba the hut

Have you ever tried to diet? The other year I tried counting calories. I lost something like 20 pounds if I remember correctly, just eating less and better. The problem with being a priest is that everyone wants to take you to dinner. I almost never ever go, but if it’s not one thing it’s another. We also have socials after Sunday Masses. All sorts of people drop off freshly prepared meals at church and at the rectory also during the week.

It’s easy to fail with a system that merely counts calories regardless of where they come from as everyone says just to cheat with this (whatever they are offering) and then just not eat some other thing later on. Grrr. I survived a mere two months and never went back to the diet and put all the weight back on, having caved in fully to Jesus’ words to His disciples about eating what is put before you, but of course, in an exaggerated and fallen human nature kind of way. Now I’m lost.

Now I’m too big, too unhealthy, and Jesus surely doesn’t want that at all for His priests.

But then I was introduced to the keto diet. I was told to check with my doctor. You have to know, I have the coolest doctor in the world. Not only did he instantly confirm I was fit carrying a carry (a one-time law in this state – don’t know if it still is) – he also being a gun guy – but he and his wife are also keto-dieters. He said my kidney function and all else is just fine and that I’m quite the good candidate for the keto diet. Great!

There are so many things to watch out for, not only calories but also carbs and fats and protein. Since this can only be managed by the person who is actually doing the dieting, it is the perfect excuse to give to those who want to load me up with all sorts of food on any and every occasion. And no one’s feelings are hurt. Great!

The one draw back, which is actually very healthy, but difficult for me because I’m in my car really a lot, is that one has to drink really a lot of water to flush out all the chemicals and horror that has been building up in one’s body. I’ve added water to my daily intake schedule to make sure I get through the volumes required. I’m starting with just over a half ounce per pound of weight. I confess that I’ve been drinking very very little. Which is really bad. But now… Well… We’ll see…

It’s said that malaise will grip one’s heart and mind and one’s very soul – to death – for about three days or so, either fairly quickly, or about a week or two into it. But once getting over that, it’s said that one’s energy levels will be much better. But there’s also the practicalities of travel! But, I don’t want to be stopped before I start. As it is…

 – the outlook is easy now –


Filed under Diet, Missionaries of Mercy

Tết Offensive and… being overweight? Thanks for correcting my world-view.


It’s now been more than a half century since the Viet Cong set about killing everyone they could, men, women, children and babies during the Tết Offensive of 1968.

While studying in Rome half that time ago, I lived at the same residence for priests as a Vietnamese fellow, a devout Catholic who understood and lived the faith and who today is a priest.

It was then that I had already for some years been taking a certain medicine to keep myself alive, a medicine I take to this day for that reason, a medicine which also guarantees weight gain. I had always been thin as a rail, but now I had been putting on the kilos. Because of that, I had given up on jogging around Rome.

Meanwhile, this Vietnamese fellow, named after the great Saint Ambrose, had seen many of his fellow countrymen hunted down and tortured and killed. He knew how to run, not jogging, mind you, but running in the sense of escape. Around trees. Over and up cliffs. Though destruction.

While walking around or sitting at table his fists would be un-clenched, and then ever so slowly, over minutes, crushingly clenched. It was quite notable, but I’m sure it was just second nature to him. It was fearful to watch, as it seemed his tendons would rip away from his bones, or the bones would break under the strain.

I asked him about it. Not quite isometrics, he explained. These exercises had brought him into perfect physical condition through the years. He insisted that I start doing the same, reprimanding me for starting to become overweight. But just as running for him was not about jogging, losing weight had nothing to do with any sense of good health. It was about an immediate ability to get away from fiendish violence. He asked me:

“If you are heavy, how are you going to escape when they come?

He inscaped into his words all the horror of what happened during his own escapes when they would come to kill. He had stories to tell backed up with horrific scars. Underlining this, he then asked:

“If you are heavy, how are you going to help others escape?”

He asked that with the urgency and anguish of one is actively watching people die because of my not being able to help them. This isn’t one of those “eat your vegetables before dessert because don’t you know there are people starving on the other side of the world” platitudinous reprimands. No. Let me repeat that he asked with the urgency and anguish of one who is actively watching people get apprehended and tortured and killed because of my not being able to help them.

“If you are heavy, how are you going to help others escape?”

This was one of those moments when my entire world view was readjusted, when I knew I had been so utterly out of touch with reality.

Thanks, Father Ambrose, for opening my eyes a little bit more.


I’ll spare you the pictures of the mass graves…

This doubles for natural disasters, tornadoes, hurricanes, earthquakes, terrorism near you, by the way…

By the way, thanks to our Vietnam Veterans for winning that weeks long battle.

P.S. For those who say: “Yes, and transform dieting into fasting as a spiritual thing because the body is to be the temple of the Holy Spirit like the saints say!” Fine. All that. Yes. And I confess I am miserable at all that. Can I just blame my medicine? I mean, at least I’m not gaining even if not losing weight. I could do better. To such enthusiasts with spiritual things I say this: Father Ambrose is helping us to escape our half-measures. The Body of Christ is not just the Head of the Body, Jesus, but the rest of us as the members. Being in good shape is not just about respecting God’s creation and God’s redemption of us in Christ Jesus, merely putting the body into submission because that’s a nice thing to do for God, but it is also about the charity we have for one another in Christ Jesus (see 1 Corinthians 9:22-27).

His urgency and anguish was of one who was actively watching people die because of my not being able to help them:

“If you are heavy, how are you going to help others escape?”

Indeed. And so…

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Filed under Diet, Military, Spiritual life

Butternut Squarrrsh Recipe easy for this donkey in a kitchen

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The neighbors to the hermitage gave me a butternut squash (pronounced squarrrrsh). Another friend gave me a pan to bake it in. Cut it in half lengthwise, they said. Take the seeds out, they said. After that I didn’t follow directions anymore. Last night I threw it in an oven preheated to 395 for 55 minutes. Having scooped out everything orange, and adding butter, brown sugar, salt and pepper… Mmm. Mmm. Now I’m hooked. Because it’s as easy as my mainstay, toast, but this just has to be more healthy. Now, a day later, I looked it up. One whole butternut is 272 calories (before butter and brown sugar) and has starchy carbs just like a potato. That‘s why I liked it so much. It’s like a bowl of pasta or some toast. Sigh. Of course, I could just be a carnivore.


Filed under Diet, Donkeys

It’s SO difficult going on a diet. Hah!


And this isn’t the only one, nor the only party. This is now four parties. I’m promising to diet, but, I have to admit it, I love this kind of thing. To be popular? That isn’t it. It is legitimate, I think, to rejoice in being a Father of the local Family of faith. Why not? Does not a father of any family rejoice when the family has family celebrations? Thanks go to the cake maker / decorator at the local supermarket. He’s been busy making multiple cakes for me. Totally cool! :-)


Filed under Diet, Priesthood, Vocations

Exercising first time in 20 years: St Paul putting respect of the body in context


It’s always a good idea to see the doctor when taking up a program of exercise. So I did. He said, as expected, that 90% of any exercise program is diet, only 10% exercise. The diet thing is all about calories, he said. I agree. I’m starting that today, finally, finally following up on this post: Stop! Look! Mountains to climb!

In Rome, twenty some years ago, a tourist bus from Greece ran a red light and picked me off, totally shattering my left leg. Operations, wheelchairs, crutches. After that, I alternated between studies and teaching and pastoral activities, but never making any serious attempt at exercise, letting the bus be my excuse not to do so, what with the leg now sporting many pounds of surgical metal. But now I’m sick of being totally out of shape.

I have a simple program to aim at (I didn’t make it up), involving a sprint, a “long distance” run, sit-ups and push-ups. There is a bare minimum of accomplishment for these things. That’s what I’m aiming at right now. This is the very first time, mind you. The sit-ups left my abs churning madly. The push-ups were laughable. The sprint was more of a jog. The run was a run-walk:

  • Missed the 300 meter sprint by 9 seconds
  • Missed the 1.5 mile run by 1 minute and 17 seconds, but I did finish
  • Missed getting all the sit-ups in 60 seconds by 11
  • Missed getting all the push-ups in 60 seconds by 3

Normally, this might be considered a heart-attack waiting to happen, but it’s said that my heart is in perfect shape. So, O.K. But, really, how out of shape can one be? My legs seemed not to exist underneath me. It seemed to take forever to cool down. Today, better. And that’s good feedback.

I did do everything right after the run:

  • Put on supportive sandals
  • Did some light activities, in this case, “playing with guns” as my internet stalker says (actually keeping up with precision usage of tools). This was actually more difficult than I thought, so destroyed was I by the exercise.
  • Refueled the right way with the neighbors of the hermitage: turkey toes[!], collards, mashed potatoes… Well, one fail: ice cream for the ordination anniversary ;-)

I hear that it’s also important not to shortchange a recovery day, today. Just some situps and pushups and setting up a pre-start pre-program for the quadriceps right above the knees, which of anything are in the worst possible shape ever.


I’m starting slowly. If any of you have been through this and have some advice, let me know. I know that pacing is necessary. Persistence is necessary. Diet is the most important.


Saint Paul supports exercise somewhat, but in context and rightly prioritized:

“Train yourself for devotion, for, while physical training is of limited value, devotion is valuable in every respect, since it holds a promise of life both for the present and for the future. This saying is trustworthy and deserves full acceptance. For this we toil and struggle, because we have set our hope on the living God, who is the savior of all, especially of those who believe. Command and teach these things.” (1 Timothy 4:7-11 nab)

God did give us our bodies, so we should take care of them, but not for any moralistic reason like that, but out of love (it is of value however limited), that is, because our bodies, as Saint Paul also says, are members of Christ, are to be temples of the Holy Spirit, with us offering our bodies as a living sacrifice, holy and pleasing to God, our spiritual worship, always carrying about in the body the dying of Jesus, so that the life of Jesus may also be manifested in our body.


Filed under Diet, Exercise

Stop! Look! Mountains to climb!


Traffic lights stopped me dead after returning to Andrews from Airport Road looking for furniture for an elderly lady who just moved to Andrews from out of state and is dirt, dirt, dirt poor. So, there I was, just sitting there, and sitting there, and sitting there. It’s a long light. And then I saw them like I’ve never seen them before. Being in Andrews is like being in a small mountain town in Colorado. I had to take a picture.

I met a really old guy, you know, older than me, in the supermarket parking lot the other day, who, in pointing to those very mountains, said that he was going up in a few days to do some trail hacking, that is, for the Forest Service, that is, making the trails more passable for crippley old people like me, much younger than him. He was older than me by a good ten years.

I’m thinking that I’m out of shape, and let getting hit by a bus some decades ago over in Rome be a good excuse for me to let myself get out of shape. Perhaps I’ve been feeling sorry for myself. Perhaps I’ve been sucking in all the consoling words of those who saw me in a wheel chair for the longest time, and then, forever it seems, on crutches. That’s not good for the body or the spirit. Perhaps in my own small way I could learn from the Navy Seal guy who was pretty badly hurt but wrote this sign to put on his hospital door:


An old codger, full bird, the Shadow of all Shadows Gray Man, a good friend, told me that any hero we might look up to is NOT just to be looked up to, for that misses the point altogether. A hero is someone you strive to be like.

Going to the “absolute utmost” and then going 20% beyond that. I like that. Perhaps I’ll give it a try. Can you hear my reluctance. Gotta get over that. I should go back on my diet. I lost 20 pounds in a  few months and then plateaued out as people do. Then gained about five pounds and stayed there for about a year. Time to start down again. I could stand to lose about 55 pounds. I’ve given up on the BMI thing as it was made for only one body type and not like mine. According to that I should lose about 100 pounds and be as thin as a toothpick. Not going there. At least I don’t drink at all and don’t smoke at all and try to stay away from sweets. I gotta tell the Church ladies I’m going back on a diet.

Oh, and the spiritual analogy? A mountain to climb? And it’s getting dark out? The spiritual analogy is easy, right?

“I bore you up on eagle wings and brought you here to myself” (Exodus 19:4).


Filed under Diet, Nature

My Single Nucleotide Polymorphisms (SNPs “snips”) are being processed


Finally, the phone app says that the test kit was not only received (that was January 19 2017), but is now (mid-March) being processed for the next three to five weeks. At any rate, I always knew I was a mutant ninja. Aren’t we all? This will prove it. I bet the results will come in that I’m 5% this and 5% that, with 90% unknown. Then I can fill in the blank, right? Maybe I’m from the dark side of the moon.

It’s interesting that the family tree is traced through mutant attributes. This is very much like critica textus, whereby one examines the accuracy of whatever ancient manuscript by way of taking note of mutant variants, that is, copyist errors which are repeated by subsequent copyists only of that particular manuscript (or its successors). This, taken with paleographical and other indications pretty accurately tell the analyst the entire geographical and historical, even political and ideological history of the background of the lettered physical text in front of them, regardless of whether that text is now digitized in our times or is still written on papyri, perhaps as a palimpsest.

Meanwhile, I’ve been getting rid of DNA by way of my 1500 calorie diet. I’ve dropped about eleven pounds since Ash Wednesday. I must confess I’ve gone over 1500 a few times. But it’s working well all in all. Down to about 254 pounds. Breakfast today was lentil soup and an orange. 245 calories. My old neighbor is trying to convince me to become a soup maker. I would have to get a pot for that. And ways to freeze individual portions from the huge amounts called for in recipes, you know, whole heads of cabbage and all that. He gets his ingredients from his garden or from the soup kitchen (what’s on its way to the dumpster). Mmmm good. I had some yesterday.

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Filed under Diet

Experimental recipes 1500 calorie diet: You’ll never know you’re dieting


Breakfast Extravaganza (numbers are calories)

600 Calorie Oatmeal: microwave for 2 to 2 ½ minutes:

  • 150 – ½ cup oatmeal
  • 030 – 1 cup unsweetened vanilla natural almond milk

Then mix in:

  • 130 – ¼ cup raisins
  • 105 – 1 sliced up banana
  • 060 – 1 tblsp chia seeds
  • 050 – 2 tblsp milled flax seeds
  • 075 – 2 tblsp protein powder (because it was a gift)

I’m sure it’s not good for me, but I also down lots of coffee (zero calories).

Lunch on the Run

  • 000 – green tea / ginger root tea in a thermos. Stay away from Kava and any “detox”, comfrey or any herbal teas, though hibiscus is good and is often combined with ginger root and lemon. This may well be enough after such a breakfast.
  • 085 – perhaps for a snack, maybe an individually packaged skim milk string cheese.


You still have 900 calories or so to play with. Good things include broccoli, eggs (though I’m a bit allergic), chicken (white meat), split peas, kale, tomatoes, balsamic vinegar. For a desert, you might mix blueberries in with 1 cup of zero-fat plain Greek yogurt. The yogurt clocks in at 22 grams of protein and just 180 calories.

Suggestions from those in the know (this is a whole different universe for me) are much appreciated. I know nothing about cooking at all. (That’s why I’m now on a diet.)

I’m guessing it’s good to stay far from antibiotic meat, processed meat, canola / vegetable oil (except olive oil with its zillion calories), margarine, soda pop diet or regular, white rice and pasta and potatoes and white bread. Moreover, processed sugar and especially alcohol of any kind, but especially liquor, acts like a poison and I perceive it that way, feeling like a chemical waste dump for days after just one drink offered to me at whatever get together with priests and/or families of the parish. It’s true I’m not a drinker, but things get especially tricky when on a diet.

So far, I’m losing a pound a day. But that always happens at the beginning and doesn’t mean much at all. That loss will slow down very quickly indeed.

The doctor said: My doctor called me up about the results of my Shrove Tuesday visit (after years of not going to see him). He got my blood pressure down to 118 over 74. Sweet. Speaking of sweetness, he said I’m no longer pre-diabetic as the three month blood assay put me in the normal range of blood sugar.

However, he did say that my bad cholesterol is a bit high and the good is low. He was surprised to hear that all my doctors around the world, including the Mayo, told me that exact same thing with the exact same levels my whole life, adding that they don’t know why that’s the case. He wants to experiment with me, having me down a tablespoon of Flax Seed Oil every day. This is in place of cold water fish oil, which has some really bad side effects, including bleeding if you take a bit too much. He also offered that hemp oil would be an alternative! However, mind you, hemp oil has tons of side effects that I don’t want to have anything to do with. Blech! Spit spit spit. Acchhh…. spit. I’ll just get a jug of Flax Seed Oil if I can find it. So far, I’ve been unsuccessful. Just the milled seed.

Exercise? My doctor says it’s overrated! I have plenty of physical conditions that really make exercise impossible. But maybe, maybe, things will change a bit as I loose weight.

I’m not alone: A priest friend, a famous canon lawyer in the universal Church, wrote:

  • I’m an inch taller and was 10 pounds heavier than you but i have lost 30 pounds since November. Now 251 and can’t  seem to lose more. Am eating mostly vegan except when i go out. Feeling much “healthier” and hoping to lose another 50.  Oremus pro invicem…

Yes, well, as a kid I was 1.75″ taller than I am now. I had a spine compression event of five vertebrae a few years ago, and I’m also older now. Just wait! The weight I gave of 271 included 6 pounds of clothes at the doctor’s office. Today, I weighed myself and I was 260, meaning I’ve lost a pound a day so far. That will slow down after a while.

I’ve been warned about the plateaus beyond which it seems impossible to descend. EVERYBODY’s got their way to do diets I’m finding out very quickly, and it’s all very emotional (as it involves change), and everybody’s right about what they do and everyone else is wrong!

I’m thinking the “JUST EAT LESS” method sounds reasonable. Counting calories is a pain but it’s also kind of interesting to see what’s what in different foods. You can rearrange what you normally eat less of accordingly. This method slows down as you lose weight because the ratio of what you need to maintain weight vs. losing weight becomes smaller. However, if the calculation about eating 500 less calories than is needed to maintain weight is correct, eating only 1500 calories a day will get me to the desired goal for my height, etc., 189 pounds. I’m thinking this will take a year.


Filed under Diet

Diet: “Hey! It tastes like chicken!”


This guy has a triangular head and a short tail and is about four feet long. Here’s a shot of his underside, providing you with some clues. What kind is he?


He wasn’t far from the hermitage the other day and I was trying to do some last minute clean out before the property is sold by the neighbor. Anyway, I’m sure he tastes like chicken!


Filed under Diet