Monday, August 28, 2017

Keto Lifestyle Update 2

4 months Banting
Cholesterol 4.8 down from 5.8
Hdl 1.6 down from 2.1
LdL 2.9 down from 3.4
Triglycerides 0.5 down from 3.6

Tuesday, August 08, 2017

Keto Lifestyle

I recently started to follow a keto diet. I prefer calling it a keto lifestyle, since the change is not temporary, but rather an adjustment for the future. Since I have started the diet just over 3 months ago, I have heard many people talk about when they “did the keto diet” and I have read a lot of articles about people’s experience with the keto diet. It has become clear to me that if you approach it like a diet, and you cheat from time to time, even a little, the benefit diminishes drastically. When I tell people that I take the diet very seriously and follow a strict set of rules for my eating plan, people often respond that it is different for them because they really like sugar. They can’t be more wrong. This is not something that I am doing because I don’t like sugar, in fact. I was addicted to sugar for as long as I can remember. I consumed 8 – 12 cups of tea a day, each with 3 spoons of sugar. I often had slabs of chocolate or 3 to 5 packets of wine gums after lunch. Most of my meals were starch based meals with loads of potatoes and pasta. I craved sugar all the time. I still dream about drinking cans of condensed milk. Literally. No jokes.
I am a hobby cyclist that have done endurance sports since I was 9 years old. I use to run a half marathon under 70 minutes and I have a personal best time on the 94.7 Cycle challenge of 2’36. I held the fasted lap at Red Barn on Strava just 4 years ago, and I was not much bigger before I started the keto diet, then I was back then. I was also not much slower on a bike. I was not fat according to most people’s standard. I started the diet not to lose weight, but to get off sugar. My blood pressure was through the roof and my cholesterol was on the up year on year reaching 5.7 in mid-April. I had to make changes.
Over the last 3 months, I have
  •          lost 16kg dropping from 82kg to 66kg (I am 1.78m tall)
  •         dropped my cholesterol number from 5.7 to 5.1 (initially, it increased to 5.8)
  •         dropped my blood pressure a bit, but not the gains I hoped for (yet)

But the benefits and the changes cannot simply be described in numbers. I use to be a migraine sufferer that use to get them more frequently than weekly. I stopped getting migraines. I use to get these skin rashes that was diagnosed as Psoriasis. They would occur once or twice a month in different areas and normally takes 3 to 8 weeks to get under control. I haven’t had once since the diet started. I use to have a very short attention span, not that uncommon in programming circles. Now my concentration is better than I have ever experienced. Those tired afternoons where you battle to stay awake in meetings, I don’t have them anymore.
Allergies got much less severe. I am asthmatic and I have been on a cortisone treatment for years. I have had to avoid animals for more than a decade. My allergies were so out of control that my wife used to joke that it looked like I was allergic to her. It was hard to figure out what I was allergic to because periods of not having some symptoms was so infrequent that no one could figure it out. I now use my cortisone treatment only every 3rd day, instead of twice a day. I haven’t had an allergic reaction in weeks, even though I have avoided animals less and less.
Longer rides on the bike almost always resulted in epic hunger knocks, usually within 3 hours. I started focussing on shorter events that would finish within 2 – 3 hours. Now, on the keto diet, I have had several rides over 3 and even 4 hours where I had no food and nothing to drink but water, without hunger knocks. I still carry food for in case a hunger knock occurs, but I don’t need to start eating 30 minutes into a ride hoping to avoid a hunger knock.
The best part though is the fact that the sugar cravings stay away. I am not constantly looking for my next sugar fix. From about the 5th day on the diet, I’ve stopped having cravings. When I see chocolates in the shop, of condensed milk, I have to decide not to buy it. It was part of my shopping list for so long that it almost feels wrong not buying it. But the constant craving for sugar is gone.
The key for me is that you can’t just take the carbs away, you have to replace it with something. You need fuel. The big problem is, many people think that you have to eat more meat, and they do, but they are so conditioned about how dangerous fat is, that they still buy lean meat. Protein is not the answer. I consume protein for recovery purposes after a hard training session, but my fuel is fat. I eat fatty meats. I eat lots of cheese, avos, nuts (which use to trigger migraines from hell but don’t anymore), low carb vegetables, low carbs fruits (like strawberries have much less sugar in it than you would think). You have to think about what you eat. It is actually so simple. You don’t stop at the petrol station with your diesel car, and fill up with unleaded fuel just because the station ran out of diesel. Why would you do that with your body?
If you want to try a keto diet, give it a real shot. Don’t cheat, don’t quit after a few weeks. Don’t remove the carbs without adding the fats. Don’t consume food mindlessly. 

Think, plan, commit and stick it out for a few months.

I am very certain, you’ll never turn back.

Tuesday, July 18, 2017

Tour de Livingroom

A few years ago I came up with the challenge of doing a training ride on every day that the Tour de France had a stage. It turned out to be a little too much for me at the time. Nine stages in, I could simply not get out of bed anymore. I was broken. I shared the idea with a friend, and he has been doing it for every grand tour for a number of years now. He skips a day here and there if his health falters, but generally, he does a training ride for every grand tour stage. He also doesn't abandon a tour, even if he gets sick, he will skip a day and then get back into it. Perhaps I was taking the challenge to literal when I gave it a bash a few years ago. I stopped trying the moment I couldn't do stage 10.

Recently I have gone onto a keto diet after I got some alarming blood pressure and cholesterol test results. I had to make some changes. Shortly after going onto this diet I realized that my ability to recover from rides were much better on the diet than before. So I decided to give the tour challenge another go. 

I call it the Tour de Livingroom, as I do most of my stages on the Indoor Trainer. It helps me to avoid the cold winter mornings and also to be more focused and precise with the sessions that I plan for my tour. The results have been very surprising. I've done 15 stages and my legs are feeling awesome. I am not fatigued after the rest day and I am very confident that I will be able to do the last 6 stages.

My experience of the Keto diet and cycling

1. Recovery is much better on this diet. I think it is due to the lack of lactic acid.
2. Power is a little down on the diet. I find it hard to respond to quick accelerations. Perhaps due to not being able to go anaerobic on ketosis.
3. My endurance is certainly better. I don't get hunger knocks as easily as in the past.
4. My Cholesterol is down, even though initially it went up after 6 weeks, 13 weeks in the number has finally gone down. Almost 20% down on the original number.
5. My weight has dropped almost too much for my liking. I wasn't really fat, except for a cyclist perhaps, and I have lost more than 15% in body weight.

I don't think this diet is a diet as much as it is a lifestyle. I know all the books say it, but I have met many people that think they can do it for a few weeks. I considered doing the same, but I cannot get myself to give up on all the benefits, so I'm sticking with it.

Monday, March 09, 2015


Ek glo nie dat geloof, net 'n oppervlakkige vraag is van of daar 'n God is of nie. Ek glo dat geloof, 'n daaglikse daad is van jouself in Sy sorg begewe. 'n Vertroue in Sy karakter, eerder as 'n opinie oor Sy bestaan.

I don't believe that Faith is simply a matter of believing that God exist. I believe that Faith is a daily decision to hand yourself over to God care. A trust in His Character, rather than an opinion about His existence.

Don't Disqualify

The greatest issue with all the “Tree of Knowledge” based teaching these days, is not just that a veil lies upon the hearts and minds of the listener (2 Corinthians 3:15 Yes, even today when they read Moses’ writings, their hearts are covered with that veil, and they do not understand), but that each time the law is read, many who were sent, are confronted with every reason which disqualifies them from doing the WORK, that Christ have called them to do.
2 Corinthians 3:6 He has enabled us to be ministers of his new covenant. This is a covenant not of written laws, but of the Spirit. The old written covenant ends in death; but under the new covenant, the Spirit gives life.

Friday, March 14, 2014

My Two boys

I have the two most beautiful sons that have graced my wife and me with their presence for the last decade or so, and from these boys I have learned so much. I always thought parents teach children how to live life and how to make good, honourable, low risk choices to ensure a future filled with good wholesome experiences. Turns out every day I learn from my boys. Well not every day, life is hardly that packed. At least my life isn’t so full that I can say I learn every day. I have always thought that is a bit of a cliché. But everyday has the capacity to hold many learning experiences, if we care to learn. I guess that is one of the lessons I have learned from my boys. You only learn if you care to learn. I made many of the same parenting mistakes more than just a few times before each of the ones that I have managed to grow beyond, actually became a lesson; the critical thing not being the repetition, but the change in focus. I had to choose to learn. I guess if I had a keener mind and a more dedicated focus, I could have learned something from them every day; but then I’d be prefect now and how boring would the rest of my life have been? Not to mention the gigantic pain in the behind I’d be if I knew everything and have learned all of the lessons that I was supposed to have learned from my boys.

One of the great lessons I have learned from my boys, is that being a child comes with an extraordinary limitless capacity to being forgiven and for forgiving. I don’t care to delve into just exactly how imperfect I am as a parent, suffice to say I am human, but in spite of me dutifully inflicting my  particular brand of parenting on my two sons, they both still really love me. I don’t know why, but they honestly do. When I get home, they storm me (most days if the TV isn’t more interesting in the moment) and they jump on my neck, fighting of Goliat (our standard poodle) to make sure they get to say hi first. The poodle naturally is happy to see me, he is a dog and we all know how they are. But the boys have minds of their own and they have feelings, aspirations, memories of yesterday and an understanding of my flaws, yet they choose to fight past Goliat and press in to show their joy at my return from work. Nothing is quite as special as that.

They are also very good at receiving forgiveness. I mean they can literally mess up worse than I can explain, and at the first glance of genuine forgiveness, they just push back in and sit on my lap. The other day on our way to church I explained to them that they are now old enough to listen and to participate in the service, and if they don’t wish to participate that they should at least respect others and listen quietly. Halfway through the worship service just glance back to see what the boys are up to, as I have become accustomed to do several times each service. The first think I noticed is that for several rows behind me everyone was focussed on this green mass that occupied the chair where I had last seen my oldest boy. The second think I noticed was this massive green person that appeared to be engaged in this reverse Houdini stunt of trying to get as much of themselves zipped into his green jacket. I mean head, arms, legs, and torso, all in the jacket. It only took my razor sharp mind a second to realize that my son had drawn a good quarter of the people in the service into his act. I was less than amused and I unzipped the green object with quite a bit more vigour than I cared to put on display, but in that same instant I was calm and friendly again. Now this is not my normal holy self, but I was having a good day and a good worship service. My sons response to the quick rebuke wasn’t to sulk and immersion himself in shame because he drew a rebuke as I often do when I realize that had been wrong, but he moved on quickly and moments later when I sat down to listen to the sermon, he was quick to hop onto my lap, grabbing each of my arms to fold it around him. I wish I could respond to God in that way, moving on rapidly from a rebuke and pressing on into his presence without even a thought of moments past.

Another thing that I have learned from my kids is that judging others are not my business. My two sons are very different people. My oldest (Mr. Reverse Houdini) is often in trouble and slow to respond to direct instructions that don’t fit immediately into his own plans. The youngest is the exact opposite, most of the time. He goes out of his way to stay out of trouble and he is very careful to do what he is told. Quite often when instructions include both of them the youngster will have done his bit before his older brother even starts to show that he heard me and intends to react sometime in the future. I am not always bothered by this, depends on the situation, and to be honest on whether I am having a good mature day or not (I am not perfect). Often I will still be far from my wits’ end with Houdini but his little brother will decide to assist me in my parenting duties, and repeat my instructions to Houdini. This has two certain outcomes. Firstly there is no way that Houdini receives this positively, in fact he normally gets exceptionally annoyed with little brother and often the resulting argument becomes a complete distraction from the actual instruction. Secondly I am always surprise at how annoyed I get at this. I feel that in the relationship between Houdini and me, little brother is a spectator at best as Houdini needs no intermediary between me and him. We are OK. I love him and he loves me.  Sometimes a third unintended consequence is that I suddenly feel the need to measure little brother’s performance of the tasks because not all tasks completed are tasks completed well, and doing it half-heartedly is no better really than not doing it at all. I often wonder whether God feels the same when we pipe up and start judging His children.

In the decade that I have had these boys, I have learned many lessons, but mostly I have learned how to have relationship. Kids are awesome.