Tiger Tried and True: The Ketogenic Diet

ScaleFrom time to time, I will use this platform to post about things that I’ve sampled or experienced that are of great value. Most of the time I’ve dealt with good food or great restaurants or some must-have product. This post is going to be a little different from that.

One month ago, I learned that my cousin, who is more a like a brother to me, began a new diet called a ketogenic diet. I wanted to encourage and support him in this effort so I reached out to him, in solidarity, and said I would like to do it as well. In short, it has been one of the best decisions of my life. Let me explain.

I’ve always been a large person. From the time I was in kindergarten to this day, I was always among the largest people in my classes and amongst my peers. While I’m not considered morbidly obese, let’s just say I’ve always lingered on the fluffy side. When I was younger and an athlete, this was obviously advantageous and not a problem. As I’ve gotten older, however, and the exercise was fewer and farther between, the weight is harder to keep off. As a senior in high school, I was 6 feet 4 inches tall and 240 pounds. Now, at the age of 44 (almost 45), I am 6 feet 5 inches tall and (as of this morning) 292 pounds. For the past six years I have taken statin medication for high cholesterol.

One month ago today, I began the ketogenic diet. Basically, it’s an Atkins-like diet in which you eat very low carbohydrates, moderate protein, but, and this is the kicker,  you make an effort to eat a HIGH FAT diet. Yes, a HIGH FAT diet. The goal of the diet is to place your body in a state of ketosis. This is where you transition from being fueled by carbohydrates to being fueled by the ketones your body naturally produces as it metabolizes your own stored fat deposits. The book Keto Clarity by Jimmy Moore can give you more insight. For the last month, I have eaten a diet consisting of 70-78% fat, 18-20% protein and less than 10% carbs. I’ve lost 17 pounds. This morning, my regular physician TOOK ME OFF OF MY CHOLESTEROL MEDICINE!!! All this while eating more eggs, cheese, bacon, beef, butter and coconut oil than you would think would be humanly possible. The diet is antithetical to everything you hear in the conventional health and wellness circles. I keep track of everything I eat on MyFitnessPal so that I can help control what I eat.

Historically, I have a couple of real trouble points in my lifestyle that work against me. First, I’m extremely busy. Between being a full-time husband, father and pastor, I also play radio personality and I’m a doctoral student trying to write and complete that work. It becomes easier to just “grab some fast food” when it is time to eat.

Secondly, I’m a night owl. Always have been. The night is my chance to kick back and try to unwind. This leads to, you guessed it, kitchen grazing! From about 9PM to Midnight, I can burn the floor up between my easy chair and the fridge.

Over the last month, though, I have not been hungry. Not once. In fact, there have been mornings that I have had to make myself finish off my cheesy eggs and bacon. I survive quite well at 1700 to 1900 calories, which, for my size, is conducive to about a 2 pound per week reduction.

At the doctor’s office this morning, my blood pressure was 130/80 and all my numbers were below any level since he began tracking them. He was beyond pleased and I had to spend about 15 minutes explaining the diet to him and he is considering it himself. As of today, I’m no longer on prescription meds of any kind. I have combined the ketogenic diet with the Advocare MNS system (multi-vitamins) and the Advocare OmegaPlex supplements. You can find them through the Health and Wellness tab here on my blog.

To say that I am thrilled with the results and the direction I am heading would be an understatement. Results may vary for different people, but I just had to share that this ketogenic stuff is Tiger Tried and True!!!

Nuggets to Gnosh

I’ve been on a bit of a social media hiatus over the past two weeks. Last week, I was on vacation spending time with the family and self-imposed limitations on my social engagement. This week I’ve been at seminary (SEBTS) and simply have had very little time for anything outside of reading and studying.

Tonight, I ate dinner at a place that has become one of my favorites here in Wake Forest, Smithfield’s Chicken and BBQ. If you ever find one, try it! As I was leaving I got a tea refill for the road and the employee said, “Traveling mercies to you, God bless and come back to see us.” I smiled and acknowledged his graciousness. As I was walking out the door I began to chuckle a bit.

When I was in my early twenties and still relatively young in my Christian faith, a saintly woman of God by the name of Mildred Rutledge was my Sunday School teacher. Ms. Mildred is, to this day, the epitome of the prayer warrior. Though she and her husband, George, were well into their sixties then, they taught the College and Career class. I learned much from Mildred.

Among the many things she taught that has stayed with me through the years were the definitions of, and distinctions between, grace and mercy. They are still written in the front of one of my bibles. Grace is getting what we do not deserve. Mercy is NOT getting what we DO deserve. I’m fairly certain that she borrowed that from Herschel Hobbs, but there is nothing wrong with that.There is, after all, nothing new under the sun. It was not long after that lesson that someone first dropped the traveling mercies line on me. Not sure where I was going, but someone prayed for traveling mercies for me. That’s when I began to think about mercy and grace. I determined that I would rather have traveling grace. In my mind I determined that God’s protection while driving, which is what we are really praying for and seeking, was something that we were going to get (Good Lord willing) though we did not merit it. I was twenty.

Tonight, as I walked out the door of Smithfield’s, I had to chuckle because at the age of 43, I’ve changed my mind. Tomorrow afternoon I will be set free from my doctoral seminar after five straight days of 8AM-5PM classes. I will be jumping in my rented Corolla (which kinda fits me like a shirt that is too tight) and rocketing up the interstate back to Kingsport in my beautiful East Tennessee hills. Now while I will be making every effort to obey all traffic laws, my mind will be on seeing MY girls and resting in MY bed with MY pillow after eating dinner with MY family and sitting in MY chair. Between left lane drivers, speeding tickets, and my slightly distracted driving, there will be many things that could happen that I probably deserve, BUT my God is able and His word reminds us that His mercies are new every morning. I can use them tomorrow. What about you?

Other Notes:

Discovered a new restaurant called PDQ. They have chicken tenders, salads and the best fries I have had in a while. Check them out!

Enjoyed sitting under the teaching of Dr. Steve Echols, President of Tennessee Temple University in Chattanooga, and Dr. Greg Lawson, Professor of Christian Education at SEBTS, and Dr. Kenneth Keathley, Professor of Theology at SEBTS.

Hampton Inn cookies might be the death of me. Get thee behind me…

The powdered eggs they give you here at The Hamp tend to linger in your stomach like gravel.

I write too much about food.

The folks here in the Hamptons gave me a nice ground floor room only two doors down from the fitness center. I walked by it at least 4 times a day… at a brisk pace. Does that count? Only one time a day was I going for the cookies.

Not gonna lie, if SEBTS had nicer swag I would get some and advertise for the school, but it’s a little lacking. The only thing that would fit me is a coffee mug and a bumper sticker.

Fall Break 2012: A Rapid Review

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Up until a few weeks ago we had no plans to go anywhere for Ellie’s fall break. But after exchanging messages with my cousin and new sister in Christ, Audra, we decided to make a trip to Florida so I could have the honor of baptizing her. More about that in another blog later.

After driving to Hollywood, FL for those festivities, we circled back to take Ellie to Universal Studios / Islands of Adventure. Here are a few quick, random thoughts:

The Florida Turnpike (toll road through the middle of Florida) is proud of their road. If what I paid is indicative of what kind of money that thing takes in, it ought to be paved with gold bricks.

When did Americans stop going to theme parks? I’m not trying to be a nationalist, but I felt like I’ve spent two days at the United Nations.

European people dress funny. I’ve never seen so many men wearing clam digger short pants in one place. Oh… and ma’am, where I come from women wear shirts over those particular garments.

Remember when tattoos were for the rebels? I’m beginning to think I’m the rebel by NOT having one. Nothing against them, they’re just everywhere now. I saw a few islands that were a few biscuits away from being continents if you know what I mean.

The Hulk roller coaster is the first roller coaster I’ve seen that might be as impressive and awe-inspiring just watching it as it is riding it. According to my family, it rocks! It also roars.

After waiting in line for 45 minutes at the Harry Potter Fobidden Journey attraction and getting all the way to the loading area, I was pulled out of line and told, “I’m sorry sir, but we cannot accomodate a person of your size.” Yes, that happened. I must say, the next few minutes were not very pastoral. It’s a good thing I didn’t have a $32 Voldemort magic wand in my hand at the time or I would have gone all mad muggle on him.

Best Food: Mythos Restaurant at Islands of Adventure. I had Pad Thai with chicken. Excellent.

Best Treat: Butter Beer at The Wizarding World of Harry Potter. Before my deacons assemble, it’s just a cream soda.

Coolest New Tech: Two venues, Disaster! at Universal Studios and Harry Potter’s Forbidden Voyage use Musion Systems 3D Holographic projection technology. Christopher Walken looks like he is really there walking around a stage as Frank Kincaid, the bumbling director of “Mutha Nature” in the Disaster! attraction and Harry, Hermione and Ron look like they’re really standing in a balcony in Hogwarts Castle. Cool stuff.

Best Attraction Overall: The Amazing Adventures of Spiderman in 3D. It was the best combination of sensory/techno/thrill ride I have ever experienced.

Seemed like a third of Universal Studios was under construction. That was kind of a let down.

The Twister attraction at Universal Studios hasn’t changed. Seeing Bill Paxton and Helen Hunt in low definition video from 16 years ago as part of the setup is kind of nostalgic. The attraction is still pretty cool though.

The Dr. Seuss Landing and the comic strip area brought back a lot of memories.

If you love rides and coasters then Islands of Adventure is for you. However, all things being equal, I still prefer the magic of Walt Disney World. Take away a few of the rides at Islands of Adventure and it wouldn’t be close.

I have great family and friends, but I would rather spend time with my beautiful wife and daughter than anyone else on earth. I think that’s healthy.

I wish we had a Whole Foods in Kingsport. We shopped in one here in Orlando and really liked it.

If you find yourself in Orlando, look up Anthony’s Coal-fired Pizza. They have some great pizza and oven-roasted chicken wings.

If my current vocation doesn’t pan out, I’m banking on J. K. Rowling needing a new agent.

Parts of Orlando remind me of Pigeon Forge / Gatlinburg. Unfortunately, it’s the not-so-great parts.

And finally…

If you will repent of your sins and confess Jesus Christ as your Savior and Lord, I will come baptize you and write a review of cool things in your area too.