Tuesday, 10 November 2020

Malabar to Watsons Bay Hike - Mapping it out using Map My Run

 When organising (I use that term super loosely!) a hike, I wanted to be able to see how many kilometres it was going to be.  The tool I use to use when I would travel and map a possible jog / run I would use Map My Run, so I resurrected my account to map the hike from Malabar to Watsons Bay.  Part of it will overlap the Bondi to Manly walk.  


I'm sure there are web and normal apps that allow for hiking path drawing to follow but it's funny how the mind just wants a simple option and has a "go to".

Tuesday, 22 September 2020

The Croissant Diet Experience with a CGM - Sept 2020

I've been on the bandwagon of The Croissant Diet (TCD) for a little while.  Maybe 6 weeks or so.  And I thought I should document things a bit.

There was a great summary by Brad Marshall on Twitter on what The Croissant Diet actually is:


What I'm eating:

Meat - beef or lamb mostly as this is low in PUFAs and high in stearic acid.

Fats for cooking - tallow or butter.  Enhanced with stearic acid.  

Eggs - cos they are a great whole food.  Usually cooked in tallow or butter (enhanced with stearic acid if I remember).

Butter

Cream for tea

Coffee - usually black

Low carb "carbs" -- Atkins crispbread and Woolworths Macro bread. These have vegetable oils so not great but I try and overwhelm it with lots of butter.  But generally not something I have a great amount but just eating butter is just not very satiating.  

Berries - mulberries (home grown!), strawberries and blueberries.

Treats - Avalanche Hot Drinks.  Keto ice cream.  Chocolate (dark or Lindt Lindor White).

I currently have a Continuous Glucose Monitor (CGM) which means I'm experimenting with starches - the theory behind the Croissant Diet seems to indicate that starches are great as a delivery mechanism of the saturated fat but also provides satiety and also the glucose created from the ingestion of carbs doesn't actually end up in fat IF you have enough saturated fat.

So since I have had my CGM I have had:

Croissant and even Ice Cream!! (Also walked 40,000 steps that day!)

Home made "croissants" with added stearic acid

A friend heard I was on TCD and got an apple galette and chocolate croissant as well as something else (I didn't have any of the something else as I thought I'd overload on treats/carbs!) - it was delish though!

Sourdough fruit bread!  I think like a lot of fermented foods it seems to give me a reaction - I think in the form of itchy skin.  But this could be starches or just gluten.  I'm still experimenting to work this one out.

Pho (rice noodle soup) - normally I'd choose this as a keto meal and just ask for them to not add the noodles.  But I thought I could indulge as the beef and tendons would surely help offset the carbs (yes I know it doesn't work that way but I was feeling confident as my blood glucose hadn't been going up too much even with the croissants and sourdough fruit bread).  But alas my blood sugar spiked up!  You can see it on the Tuesday 15th around 1pm.


The other significant bump/hill/mountain/spike is from an excess consumption of carbs in the form of two pieces of sourdough toast!  Weirdly it spikes around 3 hours after eating :(  (I still have no idea how bad that is!)

I've also been trying to have some Cruskits - Rye Cruskits which are low carb (but not quite keto!) with lots of butter.  Not sure this works as well as bread as with bread I can fry it in tallow or stearic acid enhanced butter... 

Result so far - I feel like I'm losing fat... as in things seem less flabby. But the scale has gone up... and come down... and is all over the place.  But I've always been a difficult loser.  And although I lose fat (seemingly!) I don't seem to lose weight.  I'm hoping stearic acid and no PUFAs is the answer.  Time will tell.

 

Friday, 10 April 2020

Sauna at home and Vivid Dreaming

Due to the current situation where we are all at home and most public places are now closed I've invested and bought myself a sauna.  I got a Valo 2 person sauna and it's been great so far.  I purchased it for ~A$1600 (before a price rise due to the exchange rate).  If you are reading this in early April 2020 they may still have stock here of the same model: https://www.luxoliving.com.au/Valo-2-Person-Canadian-Hemlock-Carbon-Fibre-Sauna-Cabin

I had looked at a number of sites for a sauna that would fit into my 1 bedroom apartment and more specifically on my balcony.  I briefly thought of a 1 person sauna but I'm so glad I got a bigger sauna as it's already a bit like a confinement space and to have a smaller space again I think would be a bit too claustrophobic.  Originally I had thought to buy the sauna from Appliances Online due to my previous great experiences but the delivery timeframe was too far away so I cancelled my order and ended up buying it from Luxo Living (link above) since they had stock.  It may not have had a known brand name but I'm glad I've received the sauna sooner rather than later as it's been good!

 Here are some pics of my building of the sauna:

My what big boxes you have!

And heavy 'panels' - there were 6 in total.

In tight quarters it does make it hard to get each panel out... esp when they are quire heavy and you have to do this by yourself because of Coronavirus meaning you can't get help from anyone you know.  (at least no one I wanted to risk!) 


Each of the panels is easily slotted together... once you can move them into place.

Almost there except I had to take it apart again to get the bench seat thing in.

Finally built and ready to go!  (And yes it was dark by this time)
Prior to the 'lockdown' I had been taking advantage of the Fitness Passport and using my local swimming pool and dry sauna there.  The main reason I even sauna'd in the first place was after doing a DNA consultation with Dr Anthony Jay - his analysis of my DNA suggested that I do saunas 3+ times a week.  (Hmmm looking at this again I need to make sure I read the book too about artificial estrogen chemicals).


I've also since done a further hormonal test (DUTCH test) which does indicate that while my estrogen (in this case estradiol) is in the 'normal' range, my progesterone and my testosterone is almost nil!
It's not a good thing and I'm not sure what the DUTCH test says about doing a sauna but I do find it interesting as I assume the DUTCH test would indicate I'm estrogen dominant (because I don't have the other two sex hormones at all!)

I digress.  Back to saunas.  So I'm not sure what the manifestation of my low testosterone and progesterone is although I still have other issues.  I wasn't expecting anything particular about saunas except better sleep.

I had a great experience in early 2020 when I had gone to a spa place where I did an infrared sauna, sensory deprivation float and a salt room session.  It was good but I didn't get a "aha" moment.  Then the following morning I got an amazing feeling of contentment or happiness when I woke up.  And it wasn't just one day.  It lasted for about 2 weeks!  Every morning I'd get up and have this feeling of "happiness".

Sleep, Dreams and Happiness

I wouldn't say I felt like I slept better just that I felt this amazing feeling in the morning when I woke up.  I couldn't work out which of the therapies or combination of therapies worked.  Now I know it was definitely the infrared sauna. As I've managed to replicate it with the sauna I have at home!  I'm trying to remember if I had the same feeling with the dry sauna but now I can't recall.  It's likely.  The feeling of well being is pretty amazing.  It's not something that is easily explained as I call it "happiness" but it's more a feeling of peace and wellbeing. 
My Oura ring stats do not seem to indicate my sauna gives me any better sleep than normal.  Actually I do wish my sleep stats from the Oura ring had some sort of pattern but I haven't managed to discern one yet. 

I'm also taking a lot of supplements to detox and fix my hormones so some of these could be affecting my sleep as I'm definitely not sleeping 'better' as I feel like I'm waking up more than usual. I say I'm not sleeping better but my Oura ring data isn't indicating my sleep is any worse than usual.

One thing I have noticed from a sauna is the vividness of my dreams!  I'm not sure if it's more vivid than normal but I'm remembering them.  From silly dreams that still make no sense (like rows of hedges!?) to scary ones where I wake up in the dream and see spooky signatures (mine!) all over my walls.  Thank goodness it was all a dream.  I have since Googled this and I'm consoling myself it's a symptom of detoxing. 

Skin

My skin has seen a marked improvement from using my infrared sauna and the dry sauna from weeks ago.  There was a difference that I could feel when I had the gap between the dry sauna and my sauna at home.  The main thing was the "moisture" in the skin.  I could feel that my skin felt older and more 'crepe-y' when I hadn't been in doing sauna therapy.  I also found that when I did saunas and now I just don't need moisturiser.  I know it's crazy but it's true.  My skin somehow is creating it's own level of moisturiser so I don't need to add it to my face or hands.  Not sure if this will last into our winter but I'm hoping so!
Not sure if you can tell which is the post sauna hand... but it's the bottom one which has a bit more moisture!


Also when I first started the dry sauna experience I had a pimple.  I know it doesn't sound great but I'm just going to assume it was my skin detoxing.  As you may have guessed I haven't had a pimple for decades. 

My mother also reckons my pores are not as huge as they were before and seems to think I now have better skin :).

So in conclusion I think saunas are great!  The biggest benefit is the feeling of contentment and secondly it's my skin.  If you don't feel comfortable in your skin, who will ;) 

If you get down this far into the blog post I hope you are well.  It's 9 April 2020 and Sydney, Australia is in semi (stage 3) lockdown due to the Coronavirus (Covid-19).  We can go out and shop and attend to essential services but can't meet with anymore than one other person.  But that doesn't include visiting anyone.  You can't visit anyone.  Unless they are your partner or part of your family unit (as in your close family unit).  But we're flattening the curve!  So our daily case count isn't too bad -- 85 for Australia today and a total number of known cases of 6109.

Saturday, 8 February 2020

Fitness Passport membership locations on a map

My Fitness Passport membership is now live!  Woohoo!  So I get access to a heap of gyms and pools and classes.  For someone who isn't interested in a gym membership I'm not quite sure why I have joined!!  Peer pressure.

I'm very fortunate that I have the opportunity to join this type of membership as then I can go just about anywhere in NSW.  The membership site gives you a list of them but I had no idea how close they would be to either work or home so I copied and pasted the details into a Google Sheet and then put them in a Google Map.  I thought it may be useful for others too.




You can access the map by this link too: https://www.google.com/maps/d/viewer?mid=10hH5PtKlBzeEzV6AoLev4vxqNoDxzR6y&hl=en&usp=sharing

Wednesday, 1 January 2020

Air Quality in Sydney atm is awful and the affects

I know I know.  The bushfires are terrible and here I am worrying about air quality. 


I'm really affected by the poor air quality.  Probably a bit more so than others.  I know I am already sensitive to VOCs (Volatile Organic Compounds) - you know the 'new car smell' that other people love?  Well I don't love it.  At all.  It makes me ill.  I get a headache and actually feel like vomiting.  Poor air quality affects me the same way it seems.  Not to the extent of VOCs but it definitely makes me feel not so well.  Maybe I feel it more now that I've felt so good mentally on a ketogenic diet?  Not sure.  Regardless I get a headache and the tip of my tongue feels tingly when air quality is bad.  And the air quality we have is based on bush fires and not on pollution so it is 'better' in some ways I suppose?  I can't recall feeling bad when I'm next to an open fire (camping or at an outdoor space in a pub/restaurant) so I'm not sure if it needs to be a particular level for me to feel bad.

The air quality has prompted a few things.  Firstly the building of an Air Quality level map.  I was sick of looking at the NSW Environment site on my mobile which isn't responsive or friendly to a phone. So we put it on a map.  We want the data anyway to mash together with other data points in the future to provide alerts through GARP.  It's pretty cool although somewhat limited due to the lack of air quality meters in NSW and around me.  

air quality map by Datascout International


Certainly I feel that I get a better gauge about the air quality by just looking out on the balcony and seeing if I can see Sydney.  Here's the contrast from my balcony.  One pic was just a 'normal day' in November.  The other was New Years eve - 31 December 2019 when there were many bushfires blazing.


I've also been wearing a mask when I feel the air is bad.  It's not the best mask in the world but does have a PM2.5 filter it in.  The bad air can still get in the gaps but due to my inability for handling VOCs I can't go the whole apocalyptic mask like Richard can!  


As much as a feel a bit weird in the mask it's still better than having a headache and goodness knows what it's doing to me if I feel it as a headache!

I've also bought air filters for the office (a Breville Smart Air Purifier) and for home (a Ionmax ion390).  It's better when it's on and when I have my doors closed and air conditioning on but I wish someone would tell Sprocket that.  He still likes sitting and sleeping on the balcony in the bad air!  And that means I leave the door open for him to go in and out.  Yesterday when it was very smokey and hot I had my air conditioning going and the air filter and went out into the apartment corridor and felt the difference in air quality almost immediately.  Urgh.  (Today I went outside to visit my mum and had to double back to get my mask due to the smoke outside!).

I'm doing what I can do reduce the affects of smoke for immediate affects but I do wonder about the affects longer term for everyone with this bad air... there have been some articles indicating that bad air quality can affect health in the longer terms :(

What else can we do.  We can't all move to Tasmania 😆.  So air filter and mask it is!

Friday, 6 September 2019

Is it Keto?

The keto diet

I have been eating in a ketogenic way since October or November 2018 (I've been saying October but think it's actually November!).

The main reasons are for general health given my mum and dad have both had cancer... and my mum and grandparents have/had diabetes.  It also helps that generally the advice from many influencers whom I follow on social media and podcasts have adopted a ketogenic or low carb diet.

I've been on this way of eating for quite a few months and yet it still intimidates friends and family who ask what I can eat and still think "a bit of flour" is keto (cornflour or other flour in cooking).  Or the other evening when my friend organised "pork ribs" which was precooked and prepared and COVERED in BBQ sauce.  (Read the post I put up on Is it Keto about what to serve a friend if they are keto). 

You may be aware I set up my Keto 4 Asians site as I wanted to adapt to eating foods I like but with a ketogenic mindset.  It's not too hard to adapt but there are still substitutions or elimination of some ingredients.  But recently on talking with a friend we decided to create a "Is it Keto?" site.  Because often it's a phrase used to check if something is suitable to the ketogenic diet.  "Is x keto?" we ask often. 




So I put together a website - Is it Keto?

I even added capability to easily add extra entries into the database... as I had forgotten to add tofu to the list.  (doh!).  Anyone can contribute -- it creates a draft post for me to add in and the option for a link to the keto person's site or social media location.

If you are wondering - yes I still eat keto after 10 months or so.  I haven't lost a heap of weight (boo!) but I feel great and my mental state is a lot better.  I don't feel as tired and am able to take on a 30km hike without dramas! 


Sunday, 4 August 2019

Best Privacy Policy and Terms of Service in an app

I found one of the best examples of a privacy policy and terms of service in an app in a long time!

I downloaded and installed a Heart Rate Variability (HRV) app on my phone this morning and whilst the app won't work for me (more on this below) I was very impressed with their implementation of the terms of service and privacy policy.  During the onboarding it was very clear what Terms of Service were as it was in simple plain English and not legalese.  It was short and concise in a dot point format and clearly made sure that it was clear that they were going to use your data but it was still owned by you.

It was short enough I actually skimmed / read the Terms before pressing the Continue.  Surprisingly there was no easy option to not continue.  I suppose for me the phone back button would have been the option.  


The next step was the Privacy Policy which was almost as easy to review as the Terms of Service.  Again the summary was clear as to what the privacy policy was about.


I wish all app developers who are collecting data for use would simplify their terms and privacy policies.  I'm sure there were more detailed versions of both somewhere on the Elite HRV app site and in app although I didn't attempt to read any more.  

I can't understand the ridiculousness of expecting users to 'read' and agree to the terms when there are pages and pages and pages of information.  Why bother?  I wonder what percentage would have even gone past the first "page" of the terms of things like when you first load up an iPhone?  I know they have the option of emailing the terms to yourself but you have already agreed at that point even if you do end up reading the 100+ (app) pages of terms! 

Often called "clickwrap" there is the implication that you have read it if you click the button (in this case the "Continue" link.  

We, as everyday users, have to rely on the good will of the organisations that build the app.  What about the Face App (the one that creates an "older" version of people) which seems to have terms indicating they can store and use the data - even after you have long deleted the app -- and the developers are based in Russia?!  Eeek!  I got wrapped up in that too.  

If everyone had to create simple English terms which were agreed to it would make the app world a better place!

One of my gripes about the user experience of the Elite HRV app which is where the above Terms and Privacy Policy are from is the 'compatibility" which indicated that as a Samsung Note 8 user it would be compatible (assuming that was going to be using the camera on my phone to measure my heart rate... ) and yet when I was trying to get a reading wanted to connect to a Bluetooth... something!  (assume a heart rate monitor).  Their site needs to be clearer that Android devices maybe compatible with ANT+ and other heart rate monitors but you still need the heart rate monitor to work!