Thursday, March 28, 2019

The Beard

Big White Beard 

The men in my family have a tradition of wearing beards... long, white, beards.  I am fortunate to have photographs of some of these ancestors.   And, here are a few photos of the evolution of White Beard Speaks; keeping up the tradition of the tribe. 

Yule 2018

John Wilson Davis (my great grandfather)
Robert C Tweedy, a great great uncle

George W Tweedy

Typical Celt, Red Beard Blond Hair 1976

Big White Beard back when it was Red circa 1978

Ole Miss days 1982

Beard 2015

Ouachita Mountains Summer 2017

February 2018


Wednesday, January 9, 2019

Intermittent Fast, Coffee, and Ketones

Will coffee break your Fast?  Let's find out shall we.

I am doing several consecutive days of intermittent fasts. Nothing grandiose, just one's run of the mill 18 hours of not eating. Ah... but coffee, will coffee interfere with my Ketones?  Will my ketone level drop if I drink two cups of black coffee in the middle of my intermittent fast? 

I have read that the coffee will do this, yet others that research this issue say it will not.  So I did an experiment upon myself to find out. I made two cups of excellent black coffee (Gevalia, Traditional roast, made with a Melita drip system).

At 8:30 AM my ketones circa 3.0, this is while fasting with no breakfast today. At 9 o'clock AM I drank one strong 8oz (24ml) coffee. I waited 30 minutes and again tested my ketone levels using a strip. Post coffee my ketones tested at 4.0. So, there was no effect upon my ketone level from my black coffee. The rise in my Ketones most likely from being further along in the fast.

There you have it. For me at least, drinking black coffee during an intermittent fast had no negative effect upon my ketone level.

I have been in strict Keto well into 10 months now. It has been an interesting and rewarding path. I am doing more fasts to enhance autophagy, which is greatly increased during the fasting process.  Autophagy increases circa the 16 hour time span. I have done the odd 'Dry' fast, which is no food or drink, including no water as well, they are the most effective. But, a quality of life issue, sometimes I want my morning coffee and that's that.  

© 2019 Barry R McCain     

Saturday, June 30, 2018

Keto: Scales, A Useful Tool

My scales... 

Trust... but verify.  You are eating only 20 grams of carbs a day.  Are you really?  Let's find out.  

Weigh the foods with carbohydrates and confirm how many carbs you are eating.  It is too easy to allow your eyes to be the judge rather than a food scale.  I discovered this the hard way one day on my Keto path.  And... it is usually those almonds in my case.  

I keep my Keto levels at 1.5 to 6 mmol/Ls.  I measure using Keto urine strips.  I do know they are not the most accurate method of measure.  A Keto blood meter, more accurate I am told, but those meters are expensive and the strips even more so.  So, I use normal Keto urine strips and they work well for me.  

One day, after some 'low carb' eating I noticed only a trace amount of Ketones from my Keto strip.  I investigated.  It was frustrating to be sure, so I got out the old kitchen scale, popped some batteries in it... and set out to track every carb I ate for the next few days.  

What I discovered is, it is very easy to allow the carbs to creep up on you unless you keep an accurate carb count, using an accurate scale.  30 grams of almonds... come in at 5 carbs (using a brand I often eat).  Now, 30 grams of almonds is less than you would expect.  It is 1/4 cup by dry measure.  It is very easy to eat much more than that.  You pour yourself a couple of palm fulls, next thing you know you are at 20 carbs, then add to what veg you ate that day, and maybe a Miller Lite (3.2 carbs), and pretty soon you are pushing 30 carbs or worse.  

It was not only the almonds that caused my carb creep.  Using the scales I found several other low carb foods, that when I actually weighed the serving size, I found issues.  That 1/2 avocado came in at a whopping 12 carbs.  Even my beloved Brussels Sprouts and fresh red tomatoes, where too high in carbs in the amounts I had been eating.  Low carb foods are good, but Do Not use Super Sized Servings. 

I took action to get back to a firm Brutal 20.  The affect of measuring all carb foods by weight grams was instructive and effective.  I could have the same foods, just not in the quantity I had been eating.  After a day my Ketones were back at their normal levels.  Kitchen food scales are inexpensive and accurate. 

Use a good kitchen scale to measure your carb intake.  If you do, you will stay under the Brutal 20 carbs and have success.  The scales are inexpensive, easy to use.  You can calibrate using Standard American Measure or Metric.  I use Metric as I find it more precise and I am able to use finer units of measure.  The scale can zero out the weight of any plate, cup, etc., so only  the weight of the food is measured.  Easy to use and clever. 

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Tuesday, June 19, 2018

Keto: the Brutal 20

Gary Cooper circa 1950
A man's average weight in the 1950s was circa 166 pounds.  A man's average weight in 2018 is circa 196 pounds.  Men were more healthy and looked better before the great shift to the 'modern American diet' in the 1970s.  One way, perhaps the best way, to return to dietary sanity is to go Keto and this means grinding those carbs down to the Brutal 20.  This method of eating is very traditional and old fashioned, it is based on a diet of vegetables and meat. 
Normal size man 1950s

I find Keto easy myself.  I began eating Keto almost three months ago now.  My initial reason was a neurogenesis protocol for health reasons, but I can say, I enjoy the added benefits of Keto.  Namely, my tummy is flat and I enjoy all my old clothes fitting me well.  That trying hard to look like Gary Cooper phenomenon (or a fit Father Christmas).

My technique is simple, I count how many carbs I eat a day and cut them off when I reach 20.  I use an accurate food scale to count the carbs.  I find a digital scale useful.   I use metric units of weight measurements instead of the US Standard units, as they are simpler, and I can do finer increments of measure with metric units.  I measure the food in grams.  Most scales allow you to switch from US Standard to metric. 

typical lunch, 'my' slaw and country style rib, 3 grams of carb
So, you want to eat some almonds, and yet stay under the coveted Brutal 20 grams.... weigh your serving.  30 grams of almonds come in at 5.92 grams of carbs.  One Miller Lite beer,  12 oz, comes in at 3.2 grams of carbs.  50 grams of raspberries come in at 5.97 grams of carbs.  50 grams of 'my' coleslaw is 2.92 grams of carbs.... by my I mean made with no added sugars or carbs.  And for that treat, 70 grams of off the vine red tomato, is 2.74 carb grams.  And for those who are curious, a 16 oz Miller Lite is 4.3 grams of carbs.

Many of the foods I eat now are carb free, or have little or nominal amounts of carbs.  This includes the wonderful Manchego cheese (0 carbs), the various cuts of beef, pork, and fowl, I enjoy.  Salads are an easy metric, just weigh by grams any vegetable that includes carbs and total up the carbs.  Most other items, such as olives, have the carbs per serving writing on the can or package.   The goal is to stay as close to 20 as you can get.  I do occasionally, exceed 20... but only by a couple of grams, so on some days I will come in at 22.5 or so, and on other days, I will come in at well under 20.  

I have been on this regimen and in Keto for almost three months and it is going well.  I do stick to the Brutal 20 rule.  I measure my Ketones via the urine strips.  I measure early afternoon each day, and clock in between 1.5 to 6 mmol/Ls.  So, the magic is working.  

Keto is simple, do not complicate it.  Just measure carbs, keep them under 20.  

Oh yes, for you wine lovers, if you select the right vineyard, there are some great wines that are low carb.  Malbec, Pinot Noir, and similar wines come in at circa 3 carb grams per 5 oz serving.  So, the gods are indeed kind. 

© 2018 Barry R McCain

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Friday, May 25, 2018

The Keto Whoosh

The Keto Whoosh... is it a real phenomenon?  Let's find out...   The theory goes that as the triglycerides in your fat cells are broken down into component fatty acids and glycerol, these components move out of the fat cell to fuel you body.  That part is straight forward enough.  This is where the science gets a bit grey... supposedly those now empty fat cells are then filled with water.  The reason is the body is trying to reach a point of homeostasis and keep your fat cells viable so that when, and if, they need to be filled up with triglycerides again, they will be available.  Then, if you stay in ketosis, the body will at some point stop this process and the water in the fat cells is removed, released en masse.   A dramatic weight loss ensues. around three to five pounds, even more.  The Keto folk have named this phenomenon the Keto Whoosh.  

graphic of the Whoosh

I have tried to fact check this theory, but with no success.  I have located dozens of laymen reports upon this Whoosh effect, but I have yet to see the science of it.  So, I am inclined to be skeptical, until I do see the science of it. 

I have experienced days where I dropped five pounds over night.  Right now I have been in Keto for eight weeks and had one overnight five pound weight loss.  I do not know if this five pound weight loss has anything to do with the Keto Whoosh phenomenon.  

So, that is my take upon the topic.  The weight loss pattern in Keto is normally in stages, i.e. one's weight will hold steady in Keto, then one will have a sudden drop, then hold at this new lower weight until the next drop happens.   That is the normal pattern.  This is why one should never fret about stalling out, or having a plateau, while in Keto.  

With Keto, it is the steady pace that achieves the goal.  Monitor your Ketones from time to time, be brutally honest with your carb count.  This is of course different depending on the person, for me, I know I must stay at 20 carb grams or under to stay at the level of Ketosis I know I need (which is circa 1.5 to 6 mmol/Ls for a evening reading).  

If anyone has knowledge of a clinical study that proves the Keto Whoosh phenomenon, please send me a link.  

© Barry R McCain 2018


Wednesday, May 23, 2018

Beards: Nigel Green

Nigel Green (from Jason and the Argonauts)

I grew up in the 1950s.. 1960s.  I graduated from High School in 1969.  I started growing my beard in 1970.  I have had a beard since then, except for a brief time when I shaved due to a 'safety' protocol for a week or so in 1980 (a job I had).  So, I have been bearded for a half a century.  Why would a young tow head from Ouachita Parish, Louisiana, become a bearded man?   What was it, the catalyst?  Was it the Beatles post 1967, or the so called 'counter culture' of the late 1960s, or hanging out with gurus and such?  No, none of the above.  It was South African born actor Nigel Green.  

Nigel Green as Hercules 1963
Nigel McGown Green (15 October 1924 -15 May 1972) was born in South Africa and was an actor based in England.   He had a powerful masculine countenance.  He was 6' 1" tall with a muscular physique.  In his films, he often played roles that required a large, muscular type, with a commanding presence.  I discovered him in the wonderful film Jason and the Argonauts.  Some of his other well known films are Zulu, Tobruck, and The Ipcress File.

Nigel Green as Hercules

In 1963 the film Jason and the Argonauts was released.  I loved it.  The old Greek myth of Jason and the Golden Fleece, brought to the big screen via the talents of Ray Harryhausen, who used his famous stop motion animation special effects technique in the film.  It brought the Greek myth to life.  In the film the part of Hercules was played by Nigel Green of course.  He had the physique for it and he had the Beard for it.  

I was only 12 years old when I first saw the film.  Growing up in the 1950s early 60s, one normally did not see many men wearing beards.  Watching the film I was drawn to Nigel Green's performance as Hercules.  I thought in my wee twelve year old brain... that's the way a Man looks.  Literally, from that moment on, I associated beards with masculinity.  It made quite an impression on a young boy.  Seven years later, I grew my beard.


© 2018 Barry R McCain

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Tuesday, May 22, 2018

White Beard Speaks


This is my new blog.  It is my alternative blog.  Usually, my writing is about Celtic history, folklore, with an emphasis on Irish and Scottish history and people, on the Scots-Irish, the Old Faith (the pre Christian spiritual beliefs of the Atlantic Zone Celts, etc. As Tolkien or CS Lewis might put it the Northern Thing, but very Celtic flavour to it.  This topics I will continue to post on my sister blog 'McCain's Corner.'  

I wanted to have a platform for post on other topics; some of these will include ... the Ketosis diet, Neurogenesis, A1 Casein Sensitivity, Reviews of Food and Drink, Reviews on Prose and Verse, Language Learning,  Hiking and Hill Walking, Music, the Ouachita Mountains, and Life Style in general from a traditional perspective.  I will also include Beard tips and care.

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© 2018 Barry R McCain