Friday, June 6, 2014

22 Months of Low Carbohydrate (Keto) Diet

My heart is fine, and my health is fine. My body didn't explode. I just came back from the doctors after doing lipid/blood tests, and according to my test results, my Framingham Risk Score is 1%. In fact, I'd say I'm in the best health of my life (except while at boot camp in the Air Force).

I always went under the mantra that fat was bad. All fat. So I'd look on nutrition labels and try to eat foods low in fat. Carbs didn't matter. Calories didn't matter along with Protein. In order to lose weight, I just needed to stay away from fat.

No bacon. Fat-free ranches. No fatty meats. Only "Low Fat" ice creams, etc. And I was about 185 pounds with borderline hypertension. I didn't really exercise either.

Food in general was pretty bland. Very sweet with fruits, but overall kind of boring without butter, and high fat foods.

I watched "Fat Head" movie, and that pretty much got me really angry that I had been lied to about how scary fatty foods were. I started reading through and basically started the diet. The explanations made sense. So in August 2012, I made the switch to low carbs.

The diet wasn't that difficult for me since I LOVED all the high fat foods I could finally eat without depriving myself. Other than potato chips, and deep fried foods, I gained way more than I lost in foods I love.

Without exercising any, I went down to about 160 pounds, from my original 185 in about 3 months. I've kept the weight off today. I'm 5'10.5"

For me, I like the low-carb diet because I get to enjoy foods that I believe are more succulent. I also get to eat as much as I want because I'll get stuffed. I ate at lunch almost 3 - 4 times a week for 6 months at a Brazilian BBQ place. Bacon almost every time, and I still lost weight! The positive effects of a low-carb diet are quite substantial compared to my high carb, low fat diet. Here are some changes I have seen:

  • More energy / mental focus
  • I stay "full" for a longer period of time
  • When I get hungry, it's a gradual increase in hunger, rather than a sudden, deathly pain
  • Waking up is easier because I don't have the famished, hunger feelings from the night

This is where I'm more excited. Living in Orange County, California, I have tons of cuisine options. Here are my favorite "low-carb" favorites:

  • Yasai Teriyaki - Beef Short Ribs, substitute the rice and salad with two more skewers. Eat with a whole head of lettuce
  • Korean BBQ - No rice wraps! Radish wraps work well. I suggest using Sriracha on the meat to keep it moist while on the grill while adding some extra spice.
  • Korean Soft Tofu Soup - I usually get it with Mackerel. And yes, I eat the skin.
  • Thai Food - Beef Panang Curry
  • Indian - Chicken Tikka Masala, Egg Plants, Spinach Paneer. Pretty intense without rice and Naan to balance it out, but it'll do.
  • Pho - Pho Chin is my go to, and I ask for the extra fatty pieces of meat. No noodles. Instead maybe get an extra serving of the bean sprouts. The bean sprouts are your "noodles." Stay away from that plum sauce, but say hello to Sriracha!
  • Brazilian BBQ - I always asked for the Turkey wrapped bacon without the turkey. They got wise, and just gave me bacon by itself.
  • Buffalo Wild Wings - Get the non-breaded, non-sweet sauces. Garlic, Parmesan, Medium, etc. Celery only. Dip generously in blue cheese and ranch dressing!
  • Mediterranean - Beef, Lamb skewers. Baba Ganoush. Cucumbers. No pita. But use the Tahini and Garlic sauces. The chopped, green pepper spicy sauce is pretty tasty too.
  • In-N-Out Burger - Lettuce wrapped, double-double with cheese, no tomato, no ketchup, mustard only, grilled onions chopped, grilled onion whole
  • El Pollo Loco - Two chicken thighs with the skin, green cilantro sauce for dipping, and the avocado salsa for spice
  • Salad - Bacon, ranch. Sprouts has a premade Southwest Style Ranch salad that I'd buy for $2.99 mixed with some bacon I'd have cooked at the deli
  • BACON! - deserves its own category
  • Nuts - Peanuts, Almonds, Pistachios, Macadamia Nuts
  • Peanut Butter - Right out of the jar!
  • Pork Rinds - Use an Artichoke Jalapeno dip for extra yums, or just use plain sour cream. Super yums!
  • Smoked Meats - Ribs, tri-tip, brisket. Just get it dry and ask for the fattiest pieces! I lightly dip in the sauces. A little goes a long way.
  • Cheeses - I really like the sharp cheddar cheeses right now. But, I've gotten lazy and just eat string cheese.
  • Salad Dressing - I slather on the FULL FAT ranch and blue cheese dressings on vegetables I eat
  • Vegetables - Broccoli and Cauliflower taste really good with lots of salad dressing

I have been cheating. I'll limit myself to chocolates and ice cream. When I do, I try to only eat the sweets that have an equal amount of fat and carbohydrates. This way, I typically get full from the fat of the sweets without overdoing it. You can look at a serving, and I try and stay under 50 grams of carbs. It's really hard to eat 50 grams of carbs for a dessert that also has 50 grams of fat in it!

I'm sure, I'd lose more weight if I completely stop eating the sweets, but I intend to keep this diet the rest of my life. I'm okay hovering around 160 - 165.

Costco's "Kirkland" Vanilla, full fat ice cream works well in combination with peanut butter. A lot of the Haagen Daaz ice creams do it. Pistachio, Peanut Butter Chocolate, Butter Pecan are some that I can remember.

Frozen strawberries are okay in moderation too.

Mix the Lindt Lindor White Chocolate Truffles with Macadamia nuts. My wife likes it a lot.

And these Ferrero Rocher Hazelnut Chocolates are high in fat.

These are high in fat too, Almond Roca Buttercrunch Toffee

Tuesday, May 20, 2014

USAA Bank Threatening to Close Account Because of Suspected Business Transactions

UPDATE: Part 2 USAA – Your Checking Account May Be Closed for Business Transaction Use (Part 2)


USAA has a "back office" that you will never be able to contact directly that has the power to close your Checking account with essentially no contest. The "back office" can determine your account is being used for "business" purposes. Even if the reasoning behind their decision is flawed there's nothing you can do about it.

I just spent an hour talking to different individuals in regards to this letter I received in the mail:

My main question: what specific transactions were considered "business" transactions.

The first tier was no help, and just frustrating. He was just giving general answers, without specifics when I was asking specific questions.

The second Tier, "Executive Resolutions," Chip, basically said he couldn't do much either. He read off the notes on the account. He mentioned that the payroll checks I had deposited into my account, from my same employer of five years, were "suspicious" also because I transfer the funds out right away. I transfer them out right away into a higher interest Savings Account, which I've been doing essentially since becoming a member 9 years ago.

The Manager, Erik(sp?), which I never talked to, said that some "notes" will get passed onto the Back Office Department that makes the final decision.

I normally love USAA (except for Life Insurance and Home Mortgage), but this breach of trust without recourse is concerning. There should exist some way to contest the decisions of this "back office." As a member of 9 years, I'd expect at least an inquiry to me personally about their perceived "business" activity, rather than their approach of "guilty until proven innocent."
Reference: Your Checking Account May Be Closed for Business Transaction Use

Thank you for trusting USAA Federal Savings Bank with your banking needs. We're writing about an urgent matter concerning your checking account ending in 2644. This account is a personal account and is not set up for business use. We recently evaluated activity on your account and determined that it is being used to process business transactions. Indicators for business transactions can include:

• Deposits made in the name of a business.
• Deposits for a merchant account (an account that allows a business to accept credit/debit card payments from customers).
• Memos on deposits/checks that indicate transactions arc related to business transactions.

Because of this usage, we may be forced to close your account. Please stop all business transactions within 30 days, or we regret that we'll be forced to close your account.

If you believe this letter has been sent in error, or if you have questions, please call us at 1-800-531-USAA (8722). "We value your membership and urge you to take immediate action.