Wednesday, May 20, 2015

Day 18 - Getting Caught Up

It's been a while since I posted on this log - not that anyone but me reads it.  I though I owed it to myself to at least give an update on what has been going on over the past week or so.  Someday I'm going to look back on this and kick myself for not writing daily but today is not that day.

It's easy to get down in the dumps when you are surviving.  Food envy and self sacrifice can be depressing at times.  I suppose that's how I would describe the 'stage' that I'm in right now.  I've been in a funk for many days now and I'm having a tough time shaking it.  It's not entirely food related but indirectly I believe that when you change your eating habbits, your moods and emotional states change as well.  You are what you eat after all.

I suppose you have to take the bad with the good.  It's a trade off and the secret is to try to balance the foods that keep you healthy without going so much to the extreme that it puts you into a negative emotional state.  So far the SDC has helped me with weight loss, headaches, sleeping, snoring, gas, blood pressure and cholesterol.  On the flip side, I'm a moody, misserable pain in the ass to be around right now and nobody likes me.  I may be exagerating a bit but I think you see my point.  And when I say 'you' I really mean 'future me' because I am the one who stands to gain from reading this in the future and hopefully learning from the experience.  Unless, of course, someone else out there in the universe cares to read my gibberish.  (See what a jerk I have become?)

Well, I have to be honest and say that it's no shock that this mood swing appears in the middle of Week 3.  History often repeats itself and when I look back and remember SDC's of the past, the same thing happened to me.  I have recored interviews with my coworkers talking about how much fun I am NOT to be around - only to interview them again after a couple weeks stating a 180 degree turn around. This should mean that there will be some light at the end of this dark and dreary tunnel.  Chin up.  This too shall pass.

On to some survivor material. . .
I ran out of my initial fish supply last week and shortly after I ate the last of the clams.  For a couple days there I was just eating rice and occasional asparagus.  I had a couple unsuccessful fishing trips in the middle of all that and hope was waning.  A big dissapointment has been spearfishing from the beach.  The last few times I have gone out, the visibility has been so bad that I couldn't see the bottome until I was just about touching it.  So murky.  It takes a lot of effort to get all suited up and get out there - only to turn right back around and come home empty handed. 

I took a long boat ride out to Sandy Hook and beyond in order to try to troll for some bigger bass - even though I typically hate trolling.  The reports have been very good so it was time to give it a shot.  Luckily, my daughter Jamie (12) and my dog June (2) decided to come with me and we had a nice time.  I had to promise to take her to the mall if we caught a fish - that was her incentive to stick it out when the fishing got a little boring. 

We fished for over an hour without a bite and were very close to packing it in.  Wouldn't you know it, we got a bite!  It turned out to be a nice big bluefish.  I was slightly disappointed but this bluefish will be good on the smoker so I'm not complaining.  A short while later we got a really big bite.  I knew this was a very respectable striper but a short time into the fight, the line broke!  It was due to faulty tackle and that just isn't acceptable.  This could have been my biggest striped bass ever and I lost it because I was underprepared.  A learning experience for certain.  Content with the bluefish on board and a promise to the mall, Jamie declared that fishing was over for the day - time to head home.

Saturday, May 9, 2015

Day 8 - Losing Weight, Feeling Great

"The quality of an individual is reflected in the standard they set for themselves." ~Ray Kroc

It's been a few days since I made a log entry.  Due to the fact that nobody reads these except for me, I don't feel much like posting them every day like I have done in the past.  If I get any feedback to the contrary, I'll be happy to make it a more regular habit.

I have completed Week 1 and I have lost about 10 pounds already.  That's pretty significant for 7 days.  I'm sure most of it was water weight and toxic goo that has been building in my system for some time.  It's typical for me to lost 10-15 pounds in the first couple weeks and then taper off a bit as the days progress.  But that's a good start so far and I am pleased with my accomplishment. 

In addition to the first wave of weight loss, my habit of snoring has completely stopped (according to Debbie).  I find this to be quite an eye opener on many levels (no pun intended).  There are all sorts of sleep studies, medical apparatuses and dental appliances that are geared toward curing people of their snoring habit.  Well, what if (and I'm just throwing this out there as a hypothesis), what if people who snore are just too damn fat!  Just sayin'.  I've done this diet many times now and a common trend has been going from a status of over weight and snoring regularly to a state of less weight and no snoring.  You tell me if you think there's a link.

Another health related thing to report is the headache that I had on Day 3.  I'm happy to say that although that headache lasted all day long, it never really blew up and got horrible like I have experienced in the past.  I woke up the next morning and I felt fine.  And since then I have not had the reoccurrence of any other headaches.  I will certainly report more on this subject because it's another one of those things that seems to improve after losing weight and eating right.  In the past I had thought too much sugar (in the form of honey candy that I made last year) had triggered a bad headache.  I have been very careful so far this year to eat only a tiny bit of honey or syrup on a daily basis in order to prevent a sugar induced headache.  So far, so good.

Well, what if (and I'm just throwing this out there as a hypothesis), what if people who get headaches are just too damn fat!  Just sayin'.  I've done this diet many times now and a common trend has been going from a status of over weight and regular headaches to a state of less weight and no headaches.  You tell me if you think there's a link.  Ha! (I know there's a link)

I will post some photos of some of my meals when I have a chance in the upcoming days.  It has mostly been clams (prepared in a variety of ways), striped bass (same), asparagus, Swiss chard, rice, water, salt and an occasional touch of honey and/or maple syrup to add sweetness when needed.

I was very lucky to have caught those striped bass when I did.  I have been relying on that for most meal and for protein.  It is slowly running out and at this point it is probably only going to be good for another day or two in the refrigerator.  I have a bowl full of clams that I continue to tap into but little by little these resources are dwindling.  It's going to be time to reacquire some more sustenance soon.

Although clamming season is over, I noticed some spurts of water on the beach near my house the other day and I went over at low tide to check it out.  I found an area where there are steamers present.  I gathered a few (even though I was not supposed to) so that I could see how good they tasted.  The steamer clams have a much sweeter taste than the cherrystones and are not as chewy.  I enjoyed them but I don't think I'll be able to get many from this area because of the legalities of the matter.

Tomorrow is Mother's Day and will certainly be a culinary challenge.  I'll probably cook up some bass and rice and hopefully some asparagus.  Then I'll watch everyone eating delicious food and dessert all around me.  Should be interesting.

Last Wednesday I went to the beach with my bucket and took home some sea water.  I boiled it down to make a cup of sea salt.  This should be more than I need for the next 40 days.  I reserved some concentrated salt water to be used as part of a brining liquid so that I can make some fish jerky in the near future.  I am starting to crave that again.  Hopefully the weather will provide me some opportunities to get out and fish again.  Today is foggy, cold and drizzly - not gonna happen.  Tomorrow looks good so perhaps I will get some time in the middle of the day to look for bluefish or stripers in the river again.  Fluke season starts on May 22nd and once that gets started I should be set for fish until the end.  I have started putting my killie traps out so that I will have an ample supply of fresh bait for the fluke.  Last year my traps were stolen several time so I moved them to a new location this year. 

I am hopeful that the crabs start to show early this year as well.  It shouldn't be too long before they start to emerge from the mud where they hibernate all winter.

I did a little research into my potential Week 5 reward recently.  I've been wanting to make a suckling pig for many years now and I found a local butcher who can order one for me.  I need to give him about a weeks notice so sometime around Week 4 I'll try to remember to do that.  Remembering shouldn't be too difficult because I will be thinking of it often.  Ha!

On the 'survival skill' front, I have learned a new method of making a fire using chemicals.  A powder known as potassium permanganate and a liquid called glycerin apparently do not like each other at all!  I made up (or started to make) what I am calling a personal survival kit.  In the kit I will include survival items that are small and easily portable.  I'm thinking fish hooks and line and some fire starting items that will work when the conditions are poor for making a friction fire.  I can have two separate containers - one with the powder and one with the liquid - and use small amount of each as needed.  It's really amazing how just a few drops of liquid glycerin reacts with the potassium permanganate.  Using what I already know about making a tinder bundle and small kindling in order to build a larger, sustainable fire, it was easy to make a fire using these chemicals.  It would probably be a good idea to actually learn how the reaction takes place.  I'll report more on that later.  A quick internet search should be all that is needed.

I went to the market to get my Week 1 reward items of butter and spices.  I have been yearning for some flavoring for my fish and rice and this will give me a HUGE mental boost going into Week 2.  That's about all I have for now - Oh, one more thing.  I got an update on my drone accident. . .

I flew my drone (DJI Phantom 2) last week and on one flight it lost it's GPS signal and crashed into the river.  Well, as fortune would have it, I found the drone and mailed it to the company that holds the protection plan.  They declared it 'totaled beyond repair' and sent me the money to buy a new one.  Interestingly, the new model (DJI Phantom 3) just recently came out and supposedly has many improvements over its older counterpart.  In addition, the price is just about the same so I will be able to get the new drone without much additional cost.  I am looking forward to that and hope to show some cool drone footage in the near future.

On to Week 2. 

Monday, May 4, 2015

Day 3 - Monday, Monday

At the start of Day 3 I felt a very slight headache coming on.  This is no surprise as my body goes through the detoxification process.  I have come to expect a headache around the second or third day of the SDC.  Hopefully I am able to keep it under control with the distractions of work this Monday morning.  From past experience I think I am in for a hellish night.  the good news is that once it passes (usually running its course in about 24 hours) I may be in the clear from further headaches for several months.  One of the benefits of having done this diet several times now (and keeping a log) is that there is a certain amount of history that continually repeats itself.  I guess the flip side to that is the fact that I continually gain my 25 pounds of weight each winter - necessitating an extreme diet to take it off.  Someday I'll figure out how to keep it off and be more disciplined.

For breakfast today I had some rice and water.  I grilled up the bones and ribs from the fish I caught yesterday and I picked off all of the meat.  I brought a container of fish and rice into work and I also picked a couple asparagus and some chard from the garden.  I have been at work nibbling on all of that stuff throughout the day.  Water to drink.  So far so good.  I should say so far so bland!  No seasonings at all.  I encourage anyone to try this small feat for even a short period of time.  You will quickly understand how trading spices overseas in ancient times was such a valued commodity. It makes such a difference in the taste of food.

I started having delusions of blue claw crabs this afternoon.  It shouldn't be too much longer until they begin to emerge from the mud.  I have a few new ideas and it's time to get prepared.  I am going to make a smaller version of my trot line so that I can use it to scout out new prospective areas for crabbing.

Sunday, May 3, 2015

Day 2 - Lost at Sea

I was so excited about making a lot of Survivor Diet videos this year for everyone to see.  My cousin, Jeanine bought me a flying drone as a gift and I've been getting used to it all winter whenever I had the chance to fly it.  It's really a pretty neat piece of equipment and I have already made several interesting videos. 

However, I took it out to fly today and something went terribly wrong.  I think it lost it's GPS lock and it flew away.  As I watched it fly off uncontrollably, it took a hard left turn and crash landed right into the river!  I watched it sink and then suddenly there was nothing - lost at sea. Crap.

Being that this is not an inexpensive object by any means, I was determined to find it so that I could try to make an accidental damage insurance claim.  Luckily I had purchased a Square Trade Protection plan when I got this item as a gift.  Hopefully it would cover crashing into salt water.

I tried to remember  approximately where it crashed and later that day I took the boat out to look for it.  Because it was only about 3 feet deep in the area it landed, I was hopeful that I would find it.  After about an hour of searching - - - I saw a whitish blur in the water and I dropped down a treble hook to snag it.  I'm sure it's completely destroyed but in order to file a claim for replacement I would at least need the item.  So luckily I found it and I will ship it to Square Trade tomorrow.  We'll see.

Along with the drone, my GoPro camera was also destroyed.  That's my second GoPro.  I guess it's time for another.  They really do take nice footage and photos.

On the plus side, while I was out on the water trying to recover the drone, I did a little fishing and as fate would have it, I managed to catch three striped bass!  What a bonus.  I kept two of them and I will have some fish to eat for the next few days.  In all my years doing the SDC I've never been able to catch fish this quickly.  It might have something to do with the fact that I started a bit later.

It's only Day 2 and I have a supply of rice, two fish, a couple dozen clams, maple syrup, honey, asparagus and Swiss chard in the garden and dandelions all over the yard.  Not bad.  However, I already miss seasonings and flavor.  Everything is so bland.  I used the clam juice from steaming a couple clams to steam some asparagus.  This imparted a nice salty flavor to the asparagus without having any salt.  I am going to have to take a trip to the beach sometime soon and get a bucket full of ocean.  It's salt making time again.

Saturday, May 2, 2015

Day 1 - Let the Games Begin!

It's May 2nd and today is the first day of my Survivor Diet Challenge for 2015!  This is the latest I've ever started and some of that has to do with the weather (brrrrrrr!) and some of it has to do with my knee.  I recently had a knee procedure called Regenexx Stem Cell Therapy in order to help heal some injured components inside my knee.  Although not very painful, this procedure was done last week and I wanted at least a week of recovery before beginning the SDC.

So here I am again - alone in my quest and starting at an initial weight of 198 pounds.  My goal is to reach 175 in 40 days.  As an added incentive, I joined a "Biggest Loser" contest sponsored by Debbie's gym.  Man, they don't have a clue about what I am bringing to the table (no pun intended).  In addition to losing weight, getting healthy, feeling great and having a whole lot of fun and adventure in the process - - - I'm going to win a whole bunch of cash!  Pretty cool huh?  I almost feel sorry for the other contestants for having to go through the whole process of weekly weigh ins and paying dues - but in the end I'm sure it will be good for them to lose weight as well so it's really a win-win (although I'm pretty sure already that the winner has already been determined).  Sounds pretty cocky huh?  Well, that's because I have the data and the history to back it up.  This should be a slam dunk - as long as I stick to the plan.

The one drawback of starting later than normal is that clamming season ended on May 1st and in the past, clams have been a major part of the first couple weeks of my Diet.  I went out on Wednesday and dug up a couple dozen clams in order to have something at the start but that supply is not going to last very long.

There are several advantages to starting a little later in the year such as vegetables growing in the garden, fish and crabs and other sea life are all starting to show.  If I have learned anything from the past few times taking on this Challenge it's that things don't really start going until May.  Well, here I am.  It's May 2nd and I'm starting out with a bit of rice and a glass of water for breakfast.  I have clams in the refrigerator and a small supply of SDC honey on my pantry shelf.  Additionally, I was smart enough to tap a few maple trees for sap in March and I have a nice size jar of pure maple syrup.

In the past, the taste of 'sweet' was one of the things I missed the most while surviving.  Now I should have an ample supply to carry me through.  Learning and preparing from the past and past mistakes is a big part of surviving. 

Wednesday, April 8, 2015

Survivor Diet Challenge 2015 - Time to set the dates

It's been a cold and miserable winter.  It's the beginning of April and it's still cold and windy and just plain YUCK outside.  Sounds like it's almost time to embark upon a new Survivor Diet Challenge!

Anyone with me this year???