I have been changing things up a bit as I get used to what works and what doesn't. I don't think I was eating nearly enough protein even though I had already increased the amount once already. A few more grams of lean protein in the morning has made a huge difference and has produced more consistent results. Also, I have diminished the amounts I eat progressively throughout the day; lunch is smaller than breakfast and dinner is smaller than lunch. It works a lot better this way and goes back to what I said previously about natural eating patterns.
Now to switch gears. Someone asked if I spent a lot of time writing these entries. Well, I do and I don't. I think on any given day it takes about 45 minutes and that is meted out during the day. I might take 5 minutes here and there and eventually it all adds up. Some of that 45 minutes is thinking about what I'll write and a good part of my idle brain cycles are used thinking of what song will fit into what I have chosen to write about. Sometimes, the song will inspire the post. That is a fairly rare occurrence. Today's song and what has been on my mind lately sort of came to me at the same time.
I was having a conversation last night with my son about history and how it is never written in stone because of the things we learn later on. Sometimes these things we learn just get pushed aside in the history books. For some folks, history is history and whatever we learn afterward doesn't seem to matter. Salacious rumor will often take hold before fact, it's the American way. For example, J Edgar Hoover was not a cross dresser but he more than likely was gay. It was a bit of slander from one former enemy and it just flew through the press like wildfire to become unfounded common knowledge.
Now when I was my son's age, I was morally outraged by the story of the Rosenbergs. After reading E.L. Doctorow's The Book of Daniel, I was fit to be tied. Even the New York Times as recently as 2009 said, "The Rosenbergs case still haunts American history, reminding us of the injustice that can be done when a nation gets caught up in hysteria." Well, it would be interesting if the "Old Gray Lady" would actually fact check itself better. In another article from the New York Times in the same year about authors who combed through KGB documents, we have this: "In 2008, the only surviving defendant, Morton Sobell, acknowledged that he was a Soviet spy and implicated Julius Rosenberg in industrial and military, but not atomic, espionage." But even this is an equivocation written by a man whose previous work made a case in the 50's for the Rosenbergs being railroaded as a justification for McCarthyism. He does a lot of back pedaling and his stretches of logic conflict with the hard cold facts, mainly because he does not couch them in a temporal context.
Here is a more explanatory reading of the KGB documents that implicated the Rosenbergs explicitly in the 90's: "This mass of documentation shows that Julius Rosenberg began his espionage career before the German invasion of the Soviet Union (a time when Hitler and Stalin were allies) and that he continued for years after the end of World War II, when the Soviet Union's only potential opponent was the United States. This evidence also reveals that Julius was a more active atomic spy than the FBI, prosecutors, or his most ardent opponents ever suspected. The risks and sacrifices he took for the USSR surprised even hardened KGB officers. During a two-year period, from 1946 to 1948, when security concerns had caused the KGB to cut off communication, Rosenberg kept his ring together, stockpiled classified information in the hope that the KGB would get back in touch, and provided financial support to his agents."
Now granted a death sentence is pretty extreme but it becomes quite clear that they weren't the saints I had been led most of my life to believe. I have been led to believe in a lot of things and so have you. Why do I even bring anything up about history at all? Well, in a way it is the same scrutiny I apply to everything. I am a natural skeptic and ridiculous pragmatist. I will tell you if I didn't see results from my current diet regimen, I would have dropped it after a week. It's as simple as that and like I said before, results are results. Facts are facts and numbers (if not manipulated) never lie.
The HCG diet is one I look upon with incredible scrutiny. I know someone who has achieved great results from being on it. Here is how the magic is supposed to work: Women, when pregnant, have an increase of a hormone called Human Chorionic Gonadotropin. Very few studies have been done about HCG until recently. The first study (oh I am so stretching when I call it that) that kicked all of this off was done by an endocrinologist who noted that, HCG in conjunction with an extremely low calorie diet, caused subjects to lose more fat than lean muscle.
Now here is the sin of the science. Correlation does not equal causation. Supposedly, and a lot of this was manufactured pseudo science after the fact, HCG will curb hunger. It's not what Simeon's study concluded at all but I have seen that bandied about like crazy. The truth of the matter is that it is the diet that makes you lose weight not the HCG. HCG has actually been studied for decades both in the form of injection (a much more expensive option that my friend chose) and orally and has been shown to have no effect whatsoever on weight loss.
For those of you who don't know, the HCG diet consists of only 500 calories a day max. It is also what is in the diet. My friend had outrageous bouts of hunger the first few weeks (so much for the "fact" that HCG stops hunger). Now I have done calorie restriction before and it just doesn't work and I also might have thrown my metabolism out of whack by doing so. It's the type of calories you eat that is more important. Now if you follow the HCG diet alone without the supplement, I promise you that you will be hungry as hell the first few weeks but drop weight like crazy. It will also be harder to gain those pounds back if you stick with it for quite awhile before dropping off the wagon.
So how does that work? Won't your metabolic rate drop like a lead balloon? It's like I said, it's what is in the diet that makes all of it possible. The main components of the diet are: high protein, low carbs, low fat. The high protein helps to maintain muscle mass and has a "burning" effect on the fat. You'll still lose a lot of muscle due to the caloric restriction but the fat/muscle loss ratio can be desirable for a lot of people. But the whole diet is ridiculously convoluted and kills off breakfast completely. Here is an example of an HCG breakfast/lunch vs my regimen:
- Coffee or Green Tea
- Three strips turkey bacon
- 2 Whole Eggs with 3 egg whites
- Protein Shake (if I feel like it)
- Green Tea or Coffee
- 100 grams of lean protein weighed (all visible fat and skin must be removed)
- 1 piece of Melba Toast
- An apple or orange
- small amount of vegetables
- A turkey kielbasa (or as much of any protein I want, I really like pot roast)
- As much spinach or any green veggie I want (spinach with a nice balsamic vinaigrette is the shee-ut yo)
- Half a can or more of black beans or whatever legume or lentil I want
As I sit here right now I am polishing off a piece of turkey breast the size of my fist. It's quite yummy, I assure you. So why doesn't someone on a 500 calorie diet drop their metabolic rate? It's all about set points. Your body naturally has a set point for weight and it will adjust down over time to more efficiently use what is going into it. With little carbs, your body will redirect the calories where they are needed the most and eventually forgo the starvation effect. Your body is getting what it needs so why does it want to store fat? If you fall off of HCG you will regain the pounds eventually but it will take you awhile before you steer the car into the ditch.
Another thing I find interesting with HCG is that it uses highly caffeinated beverages to get you out of your natural waking catabolic state. I will have to read more to see if this is possible by caffeine alone. It was a lot like how I used to start my morning by chugging a couple of Rock Stars on the way to work. I think there might be a "kick start" thing in play there but I want to read more research before I say anything definitive.
One more thing before we get back to history and off the subject of diets. I have a friend named Joe whose sister is a dietitian. Let me tell you, Joe was ripped. It always seemed to amaze me how much the man could pack in at a meal. I would restrict what I ate and Joe would just eat like a death row inmate a few hours before the electric chair. Joe was muscular and I was bucking for a modeling job as the Pillsbury dough man (ooohooo). I have been thinking about him and those days so long ago and I now realize what it was he was eating. Joe would fill a plate the size of a hubcap with sausage and beans and green vegetables. It dawned in me recently that this was exactly what I was doing now! Even when we would hit Pancho's (the local all you can eat Mexican buffet) he would make some pretty good choices. At Pancho's there is a little flag pole on your table and when you raise the flag the waitress comes by and takes your order for anything more you would like. I swear I thought the thing would catch on fire from the friction when I ate there with Joe. I think they have his picture above the cash register.
Now going back to the conversation I was having with my boy. I just want to engender a greater sense of discovery in him; a sense of discovery beyond the detritus of the internet and video games. Video games particularly provide a false sense of discovery in kids because they don't stop to reason that what they find inside a video game has been all laid out by groups of 30 year old men and everything they find has been found by millions before them. So I try to impress upon my son why it is important to explore things mentally. You can get lost but the journey is more than worth it.
Two things, out of the many I have discovered this week, have floored me. I was reading about Horatio Alger, that famed author and creator of the "rags to riches" fiction genre. From my high school and college education, I know that he wrote about boys who would find fame and fortune despite impossible odds. He was a much celebrated author and has many scholarships in his name across this great country today. What I didn't know was that Mr. Alger was a pedophile, self admittedly. I guess the old saying stays true: you write about what you love (ewwww!).
The second thing that pegged my curiosity was the Taj Mahal. I had always heard that it was truly a monument to eternal love. Shah Jahan, the Mughal Emperor of India, being grief stricken, built a fantastic mausoleum for his wife after she died during child birth. It took years to create and has been called a wonder of the world; it's even a UNESCO World Heritage site. That wife must have been one helluva a woman. Well... not eactly.
You see, Mumtaz Mahal (the wife in question) was a fervent Muslim jihadist who had whole villages of "infidels" (Christians, Hindus and other non believers) slaughtered during her reign of terror in the 1600's. The Taj Mahal is also designed to be a mosque with 4 minarets, for Islamic calls to prayer, accenting the corners of the grounds (those are those huge spires you see on either side when you see pictures of it). It is also why there is a crescent moon adorning the top. The Shah himself continued to destroy a large number of Hindu temples after his wife's death. Up until the British Raj, anyone who entered the Taj Mahal, who was not a muslim, would be punished with a quick execution. Ironically, modern day jihadists threatened to blow up the Taj Mahal as recently as 2006.
Yes, the Taj Mahal is a wonderful example of Islamic, Persian and Indian architecture but think about this: would we be exalting a great work of architecture created by Hitler for Eva Braun? Probably not. There is a great deal of evidence that the whole love story angle is completely false. Again, like the J. Edgar Hoover rumors, the whole story of its origin is based on bad archaeology and myths perpetrated by others. A great post on some of the buildings true origins can be found here. What we see as the Taj Mahal today is not nearly as complete as it was in the past thanks to the looting of British soldiers. This situation did not help the world of archaeology much.
Oh the song, I almost forgot. The song is by a group called The New Radicals. Basically, the group consisted of Gregg Alexander and Danielle Brisebois. Yes, if you were old enough to remember, it's the same child actress Danielle Brisebois from "All in the Family". I just learned that today. The main songwriter Gregg Alexander now writes and does song "fixes" for other artists. The song below has been covered by everyone from Hall and Oates ad Todd Rundgren to Mandy Moore. Joni Mitchell thought he was a genius. Having heard the album the song comes from, I concur. Strange, odd, thought provoking and challenging, it was one of the best of the 90's.
Oh and the chart.