Ain’t Got No Home

I have found out that there ain’t no surer way to find out whether you like people or hate them than to travel with them.

― Mark Twain

Greetings from the United States of America, where I just arrived about 24 hours ago.

I’ve made the trip from Asia to North America many, many times in the last 15 years. This trip was by far the easiest, and I’d like to talk briefly about why. I should state first of all that I did get a direct flight, which did cut the total travel time, door to door, to about 16 hours. That’s pretty quick. It’s not unheard of for Asia to North America trips to take over 24 hours door to door, depending on which cities you travel.

However, the biggest thing was the eating.

Before I left, I had a mug of butter and coconut oil coffee, a 4oz ribeye steak, and some bacon. I didn’t eat again for 16 1/2 hours. And I felt absolutely great.

In fact, the farther out from eating I got, the better I felt. When I got off the plane, I was like superwoman. I’m sorry, but it’s true. All around me were 700-odd glucose burners in various states of sugar crash. They were grumpy, tired, and frustrated. A bit shaky and muddled. I was clear-headed, energetic, upbeat, not tired at all and moved smoothly through them. I went outside along the sidewalk and enjoyed standing in the cool, clean air for 40 minutes, waiting for my ride. All around me were people off my plane in the final stages of exhaustion, unable to stand for more than a minute or two.

It wasn’t entirely their fault. I mean, what they were served on the plane was truly awful. Granted no one considers what airlines serve you to be healthy, or delicious, or even food. But even given that it was awful. It was just one giant, steady glucose bomb. For dinner, we had some kind of Mystery Meat in Sugared Sauce served over white rice. It was accompanied by a white roll, a tiny “salad” with some kind of mostly-sugar dressing, a “dessert” pastry type thing that any self-respecting Frenchman would have used only to brick his porche, and various sugary sodas or juices. The flight attendants were extremely concerned when I turned down this culinary delight. I’m sure they were worried I’d get grumpy and go into a sugar crash crisis. I’ll bet they see that all the time, actually.

About halfway through the flight we were served a snack, delightfully packed by being thrown into a plastic drawstring bag. The snack consisted of what I at first thought was a giant white roll, a package of wafer cookies, a package of some other type of cookies, and a giant packet of mayonnaise.

That really surprised me.

Then I investigated the roll a bit farther and realized it was actually a “sandwich.” Between the two halves were two perfectly round pieces of something. They could have been bologna. They could have been ham. They could have been turkey. They could have been chicken. They were so small that the two of them overlapping still couldn’t fully cover one half of the roll they were served on. Apparently the mayonnaise was for this.

Oh, and more soda.

For breakfast, we were served some kind of roll stuffed with something. I don’t know what it was, but definitely “roll” once again made up the lion’s share of the item. Sweetened yogurt without even the saving grace of any live cultures, and some juice.

Let me reiterate: The people who ate that junk obviously felt horrible. I ate nothing for 16 hours. I felt wonderful, and when I sat down to eat breakfast with my family it was because I wanted to. I felt no compelling need to.

This isn’t totally surprising. When the body goes into ketosis–the natural state of burning its own fat for fuel–it produces ketones to use for fuel. The body does this every night. If you aren’t addicted to always glucose for fuel, you actually might feel really good when you burn ketones. Bright, alert, and active. As an added bonus, they are something that all the normal cells in your body can use for fuel: but guess what cells can’t use them? Abnormal, as in cancer, cells. (If you click on that link, note how despite the hard science behind it ((cancer cells obviously are known objectively to love sugar and have trouble using fat for fuel)) and the positive results so far, it “would be scientifically unsound to draw general conclusions.” While I agree, I can’t help but recall 1,000 other articles in that same magazine that find weak associations of statistically insignificant increases in some disease for meat eaters that are trumpeted as “proof” we should all be vegetarians.)

So it turns out that fasting once in a while really might be good for you.

Now, of course we don’t want to fall into the logical trap, “If less is good, none is better.” If occasional fasting is good, why don’t we all just stop eating, right? You need some glucose for your brain. Your liver can make those easily out of protein, but you don’t want to fast so long that you start breaking down your own muscles to make that protein because your brain is desperate.

Back in the good old US of A, I am enjoying my pork rinds, I must say. I’ve always liked them, but now that I know they are actually pretty good for me, I really like them. (Look for the kinds without MSG, and if you can find some that aren’t fried in vegetable oil, you’re golden. Otherwise, enjoy as an occasional snack without overdoing it). Why are they good for you? We Americans tend to eat a lot of muscle meat. We don’t tend to eat much of the skin and bones of animals, yet those parts contain a different amino acid profile to muscle meat. Eat it all and you get a complete balance, which is why gelatinous bone broth is so good for you.

Which brings me to the link Sister-in-Law A sent me a couple days ago:

Budget Paleo

It’s a great article about some ideas for eating high-fat, moderate protein, low to no carb healthy food without breaking the bank.

I have to admit, it is more expensive to eat this way. It really is. Turns out carbage is pretty cheap. But I’d like to add one or two things to that article:

1. It’s all in perspective. The Roommate and I are actually spending just a tiny bit more eating grassfed beef and lamb, butter and coconut oil, than we were before. Those carby snacks can add up, after all, especially when you have to eat every two hours. But I also have to second her note about prioritizing your spending. I’ve had to cut some things out to eat this way, but they weren’t a big deal. I don’t do Starbucks anymore, for example. Coconut oil and butter coffee at home more than makes up for it.

2. DO THE BONE BROTH. She talks about it in the link. I do it too. It’s an awesome way to utilize the entire animal. You get lots of taste, nutrition (especially minerals), protein, and salt out of bone broth. It’s also very good for soothing the stomach, as good as Pepto Bismol is (and let me tell you: I live in a third world country. I KNOW my Pepto Bismol. An Australian friend I used to give it to for stomach ailments called it “pink manna). Unless you have a really awful stomach bug, bone broth works just as well, just as fast, and won’t bind you up.

She gives a recipe there on the link. I’ll give mine here, but bear in mind that things are smaller in China. My crockpot is probably half the size of yours, so double this if you want:

1/2 pound of soup bones of any kind (grassfed lamb or beef are the best. If you can’t afford the meat, you might be able to afford just to get the bones!)

1/4 C flaked sea salt

1 T fresh ground red pepper

1/2 sliced onion

3 sliced garlic cloves

1/2 T paprika

1 T oregano

juice from 1/2 a lemon

Throw it all in a crockpot and fill up with water. Bring it to a boil and cook it on low heat for at least 17 hours. I try to do 24, and some people do it till the bones disappear. Then strain it and put it in glass containers in the fridge and freezer. There it will develop a thick fat crust, which you have to break up and divide if you want to do say a mugful for breakfast. Underneath will be a not-quite-set-jello consistency liquid. A mug of that for breakfast is filling and sustaining.

3. Finally, do what she says and make friends with a butcher. You probably will not regret this, and you wouldn’t believe the useful stuff that other people won’t buy that you might be able to get for very little.

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