The Slo-Carb Diet   Leave a comment

“The way in which this subsequent reversal took place is equally instructive. In 1937 Koestler was a foreign correspondent in Spain; he was recognized as a member of the Communist Party and thrown into a fascist prison. Executions took place every day, and Koestler had no doubt that his turn would come soon. The crisis caused what he described as a ‘loosening up of psychic strata close to rock bottom’.  He passed the time scratching mathematical problems on the wall of his cell with a broken bed-spring, and one day tried hard to remember Euclid’s proof that there is no greatest prime number — in other words that the number of primes (numbers that cannot be divided exactly) is infinite. As he scratched the proof on the wall he experienced a sense of enchantment, and recognized the reason:

‘..the scribbled symbols on the wall represented one of the rare cases where a meaningful and comprehensible statement about the infinite is arrived at by precise and finite means..  The significance of this swept over me like a wave. The wave had originated in an articulate verbal insight; but this had evaporated at once, leaving in its wake only a wordless essence, a fragrance of eternity, a quiver of the arrow in the blue. I must have stood there for some minutes, entranced, with a wordless awareness that ‘this is perfect — perfect’; until I noticed some slight mental discomfort nagging at the back of my mind — some trivial circumstance that marred the perfection of the moment. Then I remembered the nature of this annoyance: I was, of course, in prison and might be shot. But this was immediately answered by a feeling whose verbal translation would be, ‘So what? is that all? Have you nothing more serious to worry about?’ — an answer so spontaneous, fresh and amused as if the intruding annoyance had been the loss of a collar-stud. Then I was floating on my back in a river of peace, under bridges of silencee. It came from nowhere and flowed nowhere. Then there was no river and no I. The I had ceased to exist.’

The experience was a turning point in Koestler’s life, the beginning of his rejection of Marxism”

Colin Wilson: Beyond the Occult

I checked my weight this morning: 184 pounds.

And if beginning a post about weight loss with a pontification about the infinite and eternity seems a little.. pretentious.. ? not to say fatuous… ? Well… it isn’t: So many of us mean well. We want to do better. We want to improve ourselves and our lives, possibly even for the sake of others, but it’s as if we’re galloping in a hamster wheel trying to reach the moon.

I stand 5 foot, 7½ inches in my platform socks. August 7th, 2012,  tipped the scales at over 201 pounds. Not. Good. Considering the thunderous report of mutual distended bellyfat clapping together in the night like a pair of frenzied sumo wrestlers — not a pretty thought, never mind a sexy one, and thank The Goddess the lights were out so we couldn’t actually see ourselves — my also verging-on-adipose girlfriend Ariadne and I made a pledge to do something about our situation.

Never one for joining groups, what to do? My decision: The 4-Hour Bodyand its fulsome praise of the Slo-Carb diet.. “How to Lose 20 Pounds in 30 Days Without Exercise”. . . by Timothy Ferris, which I’ve had in my collection since January 22, 2011 and barely looked at…

“It is possible to lose 20 pounds of bodyfat in 30 days by optimizing any of three factors: exercise, diet, or a drug/supplement regimen. Twenty pounds for most people means moving down at least two clothing sizes…”

You can understand my procrastination, this read more than a little, like this:

Five rules:

1.  Avoid “White” Carbohydrates: All bread, rice (including brown) cereal, potatoes, pasta, tortillas and fried foods with breading

Eat the same few meals over and over again.


Egg whites with 1-2 whole eggs, if organic, 2 -5 whole eggs including yolks

An interesting digression from a different book; Politically Incorrect Nutrition:

“the conventional thinking on eating eggs is that we shouldn’t eat too many as they are high in fat and cholesterol or that we should throw out the yolk and only eat the white. The author takes us through the history of why eggs were originally found to be unhealthy-a study conducted on dried egg yolk powder, not whole, fresh, organic, free-range chicken eggs. Since 1945 egg consumption has dropped by almost 50%, yet there has not been a subsequent drop in heart disease.”


– Lentils
– Black beans
– Pinto beans
– Red beans
– Soybeans


– Spinach
– Mixed vegetables (including broccoli, cauliflower, or any other cruciferous vegetables)
– Sauerkraut, kimchee
– Asperagus
– Peas
– Broccoli
– Green beans

Eat as much as you like of the above food items, but keep it simple.

3. Don’t drink calories

4. Don’t eat fruit

5 Take one day off per week.

First fews days on the diet were fine.. Sort of… it needless to say, didn’t take too long to backslide, let’s not kid ourselves, gentle readers, this diet is AUSTERE.. Sort of the dietary equivalent of wearing a hairshirt… I was soon back to coffee with milk and honey in the morning, and bananas… Even with “Cheat Day”… which pretty much looked like the other days but for horking scrambled eggs at MacDonald’s and brunch with Paulus the Lesser at JJ’s on Sunday.. Two cheat days…

As Ford Prefect said when the Earth was demolished to make way for a Hyperspace Bypass:

“Oh well.”

Thus the result after about the first two weeks was like this:

Off to a bumpy and not-too-inspiring start…

But despite the backslide, a definite weight loss over two weeks, of about 4½ pounds.

*   *   *

I’ve taken to reading the ingredient lists on manufactured foods, it’s been rather an experience; for example had three-quarters of a cup of blueberry yoghurt.. Next day, up two pounds… What was in there, that you wouldn’t find in “organic” yoghurt? Corn starch, corn syrup, and “corn products”..

Also found on my favorite site,, this charming graphic:

It accompanied a scientific article in French on the results of feeding these wretched creatures genetically-modified corn.. Those lumps ain’t unusual fat deposits folks…

Thus I’m off corn for the rest of my life: There’s no legislation in Canada requiring labelling of GMOs, thus, it won’t get labelled, and it’s a good bet, it is..

Meanwhile doing some semi-related and totally un-related reading on the Internet also introduced me to Wheat Belly by William Davis, MD, a cardiologist who reported, merely by getting his patients off wheat products (actually a tall order in this civilization), weight loss of 20 – 50 pounds in a matter of months, and alleviation of host of other issues.. (rheumatism, ulcerative colitis, psoriasis, diabetes..)

*   *   *

Ten weeks now. 17 pounds. Alas, my relationship with Ariadne is long over and done with, so I’ve no idea if she stuck with it..  And my interpretation of the Slo-Carb Diet now includes most canned beans, not merely the ones stipulated.. No peas tho’.. Ran out of propane a few weeks back and I haven’t contacted the propane company to replace the tank. . so I can’t boil or steam ’em.. salad (tomatoes, cucumbers, celery, peppers, nuts, berries definitely not on the list) and fresh fruit, and milk and honey in my coffee in the morning.. Sorry.. But I like a few bits of pleasantness in my life. . .

Nowhere near the advertised claim of the Slo-carb of 5 pounds a week; nonetheless an average weight loss of 1.7 pounds / week —  almost the maximum safe rate of loss of conventional wisdom: 2 pounds / week.. Nonetheless even more, real, permanent changes in my eating habits, and a sudden interest in nutrition that wasn’t there before. 

But I’m getting impatient, and secure in the knowledge if I keep eating like this I won’t gain weight, I’m now  keeping a food diary, and I’m going to see if I can tighten up my self-discipline another notch, along with  my belt… Tim’s pointed me in the direction of books like Gut and Psychology Syndrome, which in turn has pointed me at Politically Incorrect Nutrition.

And getting back to my fatuous opening.. I’ve discovered that by adopting a plan of action and sticking with it, and checking and recording my weight every morning (IOW repeatedly doing the same thing), positive change can be made to happen; “a meaningful and comprehensible statement about the infinite is arrived at by precise and finite means”

PS Actually my belt’s as tight as it will go and the jeans that used to be uncomfortably tight are now getting rather loose…


(Gandalf-the-Grey’s Disaffected Apprentice)


Posted October 18, 2012 by Capt. Roy Harkness in Uncategorized

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