Monday, April 28, 2008

Lowrey's Bacon Curls Microwave Pork Rinds

I like to share with my readers whenever I find an exceptional product that fits well in a low-carb lifestyle. And, I feel that Lowrey's Bacon Curls Microwave Pork Rinds are simply fabulous.

Have you ever had fresh pork rinds right out of the fryer? Microwave pork rinds are pretty close. They are substantially better than anything you'll find in your grocery store next to the potato chips.

These are packaged much like microwave popcorn. When you cook it, they puff up and the bag inflates. I'm not a huge pork rind fan, but I love these. They simply taste so much better freshly cooked. If you like pork rinds, you'll love these. If you don't like pork rinds, I think there is a good chance that you will like these anyway. There are two kinds, original and spicy. I like the spicy best.

Nutrition Info:

Amount Per Serving:
Serving Size: 1/2 oz (14g), Servings Per Container: 3.5

Total Calories 60
Calories From Fat 15

Total Fat 2 g
Saturated Fat 0 g
Trans Fat 0 g

Cholesterol 5 mg
Sodium 350 mg

Total Carbohydrates less than 1 g



The following are links to these products on Netrition.com. Netrition is my favorite place to buy low-carb products. The shipping is fast and inexpensive. In my state (Kentucky), I don't have to pay sales tax on most mail orders. The money that I save on taxes is always more than enough to cover the shipping. I have been extremely pleased with their customer service and total order lead time.


If you have tried these, please post comments to share your opinion.

Status Update

During my first three weeks back on the plan, I lost ten pounds. Both my waist and hips now measure one inch less. However, I'm still about twenty pounds more than I was before I went off the plan six months ago.

Now, when I say "back on plan", it isn't totally true. I have had a few days off plan during these three weeks. I went off for three days in Munich and again for my son's 2nd birthday party. Special occasions are my weakness. I tell myself that if I'm in it for the long hall and that if it is truly a lifestyle change then special occasions must have a place. It's far too easy to label a day as special and throw the plan out the window. Obviously, the days off haven't hurt too much. I'm ecstatic about my recent success and am glad that these "days off" didn't result in falling entirely off the wagon. But it's always difficult to snap back.

Monday, April 21, 2008

Eating & Drinking in Germany

This last weekend, I was in Munich, Germany. Compared to France, Germany is low-carb heaven! The Germans have very large meat portions and many low carb veggies to choose from. On Friday night, we had crispy roasted suckling pig with sauerkraut. It tasted even better than it sounds.

Unfortunately, my will was weak. My suckling pig came with a side of two large potato dumplings. I'd never seen dumplings like these. They weren't at all like gnocchi as they were about four inches long. And, I gave in. Not only did I eat the dumplings but allowed my co-workers to talk me into trying some authentic Bavarian apple strudle.

Saturday, I had a single slice of pizza, a small portion of speitzl, and way too many huge beers along with a few shots of jegermeister. I don't think I've had that much to drink since I was in college.

Sunday, I had pizza, a sandwich, and ice cream. So, from a diet perspective, this weekend was a total bust. But, today I'm back on the wagon here in Paris. Next weekend I'll be home and we're having my son's second birthday party. I plan to take off that day and enjoy some cake and ice cream with our guests.

Regardless, I will have been on-plan all but 3 days during a 3 week period. Plus we've been doing an insane amount of walking. So, I am almost certain that I will have experienced decent weight loss. We'll find out Saturday morning during my next weigh in.

Wednesday, April 16, 2008

What have I been eating?

I've been in Paris and back on my diet now for one and a half weeks. I didn't bring ketostix with me but know I am losing weight as I have that nasty ketosis breath and stinky piss. I know it's hard to believe, but I even feel like my pants are already looser and my stomach doesn't seem to look as big. It will be very interesting to weigh-in and measure when I get home.

Doing low-carb on the road is hard. Doing it in France, on the road, is even harder. Some of you may be wondering what I've found to eat.... and whether I've been exercising.

Breakfast:

Most mornings, I use the hotel microwave to make scrambled eggs with cheese and bacon. I brought some low-carb wraps from home that I occasionally use to make quesadillas.

Lunch:

On weekdays, I eat in the company cafeteria. It's not too hard because you can see what you are getting before you put it on the tray. They usually have extremely large portions of green beans, cauliflower, and other veggies. Typically I also have a side salad and/or strawberries. Meats are often way undercooked, even cold in the middle. I'm starting to get used to eating things extremely rare, something I never do at home. The portions are also typically quite small. Often, I ask them to double it. The meat selection changes daily but usually consists steak, veal, fish, and duck. I indulge in the rich sauces but not in the potatoes, breads, and desserts. So, regardless of what happens at dinner, I've had at least one really hearty meal about 1:00 in the afternoon.

Dinner:

Dinner is difficult. Most meals have a small meat portion and large sides mostly of french fries, potatoes, or pasta. I don't speak French yet so I am unable to ask for substitutions. But, I have found a few really good dishes at an Italian restaurant. My favorite is veal topped with ham & cheese in a brothy sauce with a side of the best dang green beans I've ever eaten. It seems that the veal portions are usually larger than (adult) beef portions. About 2 miles away (30 minute walk), there is a restaurant with German sausages and sour kraut. This week, I have had fish about every other day. There's also many shwarma (chawarma, gyros, donar kabob) shops around. I like the shwarmas even though most are bit gristly and fatty. I know of only one that has really good quality lean meat but I can't eat half the meal as it is accompanied with french fries and couscous. Last night, I had veal smothered in cheese ontop a bed of pan fried potatoes and mushrooms (I ate around potatoes). I've drunk some beer and wine, but not gone way overboard.

Snacks:

I brought from home beef jerky and slimjims. From a local grocery, I bought some small individually wrapped cheese (babybell) and various salted nuts. And, I bought some (almost bitter) dark chocolate (3-6 net carbs per square). I munch on the snacks in-between meals throughout the day. Having low carb snacks on hand really makes it easier as I don't allow myself to get hungry.

Exercise:

I don't go out of my way to exercise. But in Paris walking is an essential means of transportation. This week, I've been wearing my pedometer. I have ranged between 4 and 7 miles of walking per day. But, I'm sure that I've done much more on some previous stays here.

Friday, April 11, 2008

France and the Super-Thin Body Image

Yesterday's news had two interesting articles about body image in France. As my regular readers know, I have been working 50% of my time in France and 50% at home in the United States. While working in France, I have noticed how extremely thin the average French person is and how being overweight comes with far greater stigma than at home.

The first article describes how the French government is trying to pass a new law to punish those people or organizations that help to propagate unhealthy body images, .i.e. encouraging anorexia (Telegraph.co.uk). And, the second is that top organizations representing the French fashion industry and media outlets have signed a "charter of good conduct" about the use of top model body images to stave off growing concerns about anorexia (ABC news).

The new law:

The draft law, to be debated next week, proposes up to three years in jail and a ... fine if the incitement provoked the death of an anorexia sufferer. Incitement alone would carry two years in jail.


While not seeking to target bona fide dieting, the law would punish any encouragement to make "people deprive themselves of food in order to get excessively thin", or that constituted an "open apology of anorexia".


The fashion industry & Media "Charter of Good Conduct":

The signers pledge "not to accept using pictures of people, in particular youth, which could contribute to [or] promote a model of extreme thinness." Those who signed the charter commit to "heighten public awareness about the acceptance of physical diversity.


While I do encourage achieving a healthy weight, I am often flabbergasted by overly thin people starving themselves to get thinner. Anorexia is a real problem. I suggest that my readers calculate their body fat percentage and only diet if they are within or above a healthy range for their gender. Instructions for calculating percentage of body fat can be found here:

http://lowcarbohydrate.blogspot.com/2007/01/calculating-percent-body-fat.html

Regardless of the health implications of the above articles, I am very pleased to see the fashion industry and media moving away from the typical over-thin standard for models. To me, most female supermodels look bony and unattractive. I like women with nice curves and who are at least a little soft to the touch. And, I sincerely hope that both the French legislation and the "charter of good conduct" successfully change our global society sees as beautiful.

Almost Planting Time

Spring is here and it's almost time to start planting our vegetable gardens! I wanted to get this post up a month before planting so that I might stir up some discussion. I'm looking for some ideas as to what I should grow this summer. Especially of interest are low to semi-low carb veggies that taste substantially better home grown, are expensive to buy at the grocery store, or are extremely prolific.

I usually grow a variety of tomatoes. My favorites are better boys and lemon boys. These are not very low-carb but can be eaten in moderation. Typically, we also plant various peppers, zucchini, cucumbers, and asparagus.

Last year, we grew tomatillos which were very tasty. Another year, we tried brussell sprouts with great success. But what do you do with a bumper crop of brussel sprouts?!?!

Any ideas would be greatly appreciated. I live in Kentucky so most things will grow okay but not Jicamas nor tropical plants.

Tuesday, April 8, 2008

Oh the Horror! Andouillette Sausage

I have arrived in Paris on business and am determined to do low-carb even while abroad. Today, in the office cafeteria, I carefully selected a low-carb meal consisting of a large salad, green & yellow wax beans, and two plump sausages. The sausages looked like good 'ol German brats. But, when I cut into one, it crumbled into a pile of greasy, gristly chunks. I didn't know that this, andouillette sausage, was made of pig stomachs and colons. I ate two bites and couldn't handle any more of it. I simply ate my beans and salad while trying not to breath the sausage's feces aroma. Yes, that's right, it literally smells like shit. I suppose this is because it is made out of intestines. I just hope that it doesn' t make me sick. Apparently this dish is very popular in France and considered a local specialty. Lesson learned: don't eat sausage in France!

Saturday, April 5, 2008

Back on Track and Going to Paris

I just got home from a Caribbean cruise during which time, I gained back additional weight. Tomorrow, I return to Paris. I'll be there three weeks this month. When I get there on Monday, I will also go back to a low carb lifestyle. I know it will be tough as I am not always certain what I am ordering in restaurants. But, I'm going to give it a shot. This time, I'm bringing some food with me. I've got several packages of pre-cooked bacon that I can quickly nuke. I'm also bringing some flat-out wraps to make quesadillas out of. For an evening snack, I've got a can of boiled peanuts. And, I've got slim jims and jerky for mid-afternoon snacks.

Because we eat a late lunch, a good low-carb breakfast will be critical. Unlike at home, I can't make low-carb cheesecake. My hotel has a small fridge and microwave. So, upon arrival, I plan to hit the local franpree market and buy some eggs, cheese, and Pepsi max. I'll be nuking up some pre-cooked bacon and omelets. It shouldn't take very long to whip up this breakfast.

Lunch on work days won't be too rough as it is a cafeteria and you simply put what you want to eat on your lunch tray. Dinner is my main concern. I know the basic food words but typically don't know enough French to understand how the food will be prepared. But, I think I'll be able to manage.

My weight is now up to 284 pounds. This means that while off the diet plan, I have gained back 33 pounds of the 85 that I had lost. As soon as I get some time, I'll create a new spreadsheet for sharing my progress. However, unlike before, I will not be able to post my weight and measurements at regular intervals. Tonight before I go to bed, I'll measure my waste & hips (a much better indicator of progress than weight loss).