Well, y’all, I had big plans yesterday. I was going to get some work done on the porch stone facade while the sun was out, and then I had this cute and easy art project planned that I was going to video from start to finish and share that with y’all today.
But none of that happened because Matt had a kidney stone attack yesterday. He was in so much pain, and required constant help and attention, so I had no time for stone facades or art projects. There’s always next week!
Y’all will be happy to know that everything passed just fine, he slept all night, and he feels great this morning. We’re both incredibly relieved. 🙂 When stuff like that happens to most people, it’s bad. When something like that happens to someone with MS who is bed- and wheelchair-bound, it’s miserable, both for him and for me as his caretaker. I’m so thankful that sickness is a rarity in our household. And we learned a very hard lesson about what most likely caused (or rather, exacerbated) his kidney stones, and it has to do with our current diet. So for those of you who said you’re also doing the same diet, be forewarned.
So let me jump right into that.
We’re doing the ketogenic diet, and loving it (for the most part)!
The ketogenic diet is all the rage right now, but we decided to do it not because it’s a fad diet, but because it makes sense to us. Low carb eating has made sense to us for years now, but for two carb/sugar addicts, it can be a challenge to get over the emotional hurdle and get started on low carb.
We’ve done the Atkins diet in the past, generally with great success, but we always seem to fall off the wagon at some point and return to our unhealthy way of eating with lots of sugar, flour, etc. That’s what addicts do.
But the ketogenic diet is not the Atkins diet. While it’s built on the same foundational principle that processed carbs (sugar, flour, etc.) are the enemy, and that healthy fats provide a much more efficient and clean fuel for your body than sugar, the ketogenic diet seems to stress more balance.
With Atkins, it seemed like it was perfectly acceptable to sit down with a plate of bacon and call it a meal. The ketogenic diet stresses a ratio of 75% of calories from healthy fats (no “vegetable” oils, canola, etc.), 20% of calories from protein (preferably staying away from the conventionally-raised kind and sticking with the pasture-raised, grass-fed, free-range kind that you might find at your local farmers market, because yes, they are VERY different animals and your body processes them differently), and 5% of calories from non-processed carbohydrates. And the keto gurus who really know their stuff also stress the HUGE importance of eating loads of fresh veggies in your diet, and you can eat all of the leafy greens and cruciferous veggies you want without worrying about the carbs they contain.
There are so many keto gurus out there, but we try to stick with Eric Berg, who has about 2000 videos on YouTube explaining the diet and just about every single thing you could ever want to know about keto. And he often has interviews with other keto experts on his Facebook page which are very enlightening. But there are other very intelligent and knowledgeable people on the topic, like Thomas DeLauer (also on YouTube) who have helpful and informational videos on the topic.
So Matt and I have been doing the keto diet since June 25, and the last time I weighed (which was about a week ago), I was down 29 pounds. It’s seriously the easiest “diet” (i.e., way of eating) that we’ve done. I have loads of energy, and I don’t always feel the nagging pull of Dairy Queen or Taco Bell tempting me to jump off the wagon. I’m perfectly satisfied (nutritionally, that is) eating the way we’re eating, so those refined carbohydrates seem to have lost their power over me.
We’re also doing intermittent fasting, which is highly stressed by many keto (and even lots of non-keto) experts. Fasting is incredibly healthy for the body and gives it time to rest from having to continually process foods, and to regenerate and heal. So we basically have a two-hour window of eating every day (generally between 12:00 and 2:00), and then we fast the rest of the day. We only eat once a day during that two-hour window.
It’s NOT a starvation diet. We’re getting our full day of calories in that one two-hour window. We do supplement with additional nutrient-dense drinks that I make at home in the BlendTec (made from electrolytes, wheatgrass, nutritional yeast and lots of other nutrient-dense things) during our fasting hours, but according to the experts, as long as you don’t consume anything that’s more than 50 calories during the fasting hours, it won’t interfere with your body’s fasting processes.
But there’s much more info on that topic and so many others on the YouTube channels I suggested above.
So why did Matt get kidney stones? Well, about two weeks ago, I discovered an amazing keto “bread” recipe, and we’ve gone way overboard in indulging on this bread literally every single day with every meal. And one of the main ingredients is almond flour. Unbeknownst to me, almonds are incredibly high in something called oxalates, which contribute to the formation of kidney stones.
I had no idea, but it turns out that Dr. Berg did. He has a video on it. (He literally has a video on just about every single issue or question one could have about keto.) Had I only seen that video two weeks ago, I could have saved Matt a whole lotta pain! But now we know, and we’re cutting out almond flour completely for a while, and then will introduce it back in moderation along with lots of foods containing citrates to balance and counteract.
It’s all about balance. 🙂
Anyway, I’d be happy to answer any questions on that topic, but I’m no keto guru. I do love eating this way, though. I love that I’m losing weight with seemingly no effort, and I love how it makes me feel. And as awful as intermittent fasting sounds (I remember thinking it sounded crazy and very difficult), I love it. We spend less money on food, and I spent way less time in the kitchen every day. More money and more time for other things? Yes, please! And done right, you’ll never get hungry during those fasting hours.
Now About Cooper
Y’all this precious boy has really come a long way since I last posted about him. He used to be afraid of his yard, scared to death of the neighbor’s metal shop building with the loud creaking door, and just very distrusting overall. Plus, there was that whole scary food aggression thing.
But he has made such improvements in the five months he’s been with us! He’s gained a whole lotta weight (he’s probably about 75-80 pounds now), he’s no longer afraid of his yard, and he’s so gentle when I give him food out of my hand.
He’s still got a ways to go. He’s crazy on a leash, he gets very hyper sometimes and just won’t calm down, and he has an obsession with Peeve. He just won’t leave her alone. I mean, he’s getting better, but he still chases her through the house sometimes and annoys her in general. At least he’s not aggressive with her, though. That would be a huge problem.
But let me tell you about the baby squirrel incident.
About two weeks ago, I let Cooper out into his yard, and as I turned to close the door, I heard this sound. It was like a high pitched wheezing/crying sound. I turned to see Cooper with his head down towards the ground, and I thought he was choking on something. I panicked and just about started to Heimlich my dog, when I realized that he was looking at and nudging something on the ground. I moved him out of the way and saw this little guy…
That, my friends, is a newborn squirrel. He was probably about 2.5 to 3 inches long.
I was so scared that Cooper was going to eat him, so I pushed him away, snatched the baby squirrel up and brought him inside. I washed him off a little (he was covered in dirt), put him under a 100-watt lamp for heat, and headed to the grocery store for unflavored Pedialyte to rehydrate him. (I found all of those instructions online. I didn’t just instinctively know what to do. 😀 )
Then I got online and found a local wildlife rescue. I called, but couldn’t get in touch with them, so I finally called someone at a different, non-local location of that same wildlife rescue, and she told me to put him in a box and put him back outside to see if his mom would find him.
I did that. And he died. I was heartbroken and upset. I was seriously in tears over a tiny newborn squirrel.
So the next morning, I got up, let Cooper into his yard, and there was another newborn squirrel in the same place!
I did the same thing. Snatched him up, brought him inside, washed of the dirt, put him in a box with a towel, and gave him Pedialyte. This time I decided to put him back outside, but keep a very close eye on him. And I also brought him back inside every hour or so for a couple more drops of Pedialyte to keep him hydrated.
Well, somewhere along the way, I decided to let Cooper get close. And before I knew it, Cooper had snatched that newborn squirrel out of the box, scooping him up into his mouth, and carried him off. I just knew he was going to eat that squirrel, and I was prepared to be heartbroken again. But what I saw warmed my heart and made me love my big lug of a dog even more.
Cooper took that tiny little squirrel over to shaded area of the yard, put him on the ground, and started nudging and licking the squirrel until the squirrel started crying. It was as if he was trying to revive the little guy. He was so gentle, so concerned, and so caring with this tiny little squirrel. I couldn’t believe it!
And from then on, every time I’d bring the squirrel back outside, Cooper would do the same thing. I was hoping that his crying would alert his mom as to his location, but we left him out there all day, and she never came. Finally late in the afternoon, I got in touch with a local “squirrel expert” and handed the tiny squirrel over to her to be cared for.
But y’all, I was just so proud of my big guy and how sweet he was to that tiny little newborn squirrel. I certainly hadn’t expected it. I had expected that tiny squirrel to be a tasty pre-lunch treat for him, but it wasn’t.
Strangely, the next morning, the same thing happened. I let Cooper out, and right there in the same place was a third newborn squirrel. Sadly, that one was already dead. 🙁 But at least we got one to safety. My guess is that the mother met a tragic end and couldn’t return to her babies.
What I’m Listening To
Well, at least this section of today’s post is tangentially related to DIY! 😀 I mentioned yesterday that I listen to podcasts when I work on my projects, and I’m especially into true crime podcasts. (I listen with my earbuds in so I can hear over my tools, and I get so into them sometimes that it’s very easy for people to sneak up on me and scare the heck out of me! 😀 )
Anyway, a couple of people asked me what my favorites are, so let me share with all of you who are needing something new to listen to while you’re working.
First, I listen regularly to three podcasts that aren’t in the true crime genre.
- Young House Love Has A Podcast — When John and Sherry first announced that they were starting a podcast, I honestly wasn’t sure how a podcast about DIY and decorating was going to work. Well, it turns out they do it quite well! If you loved their blog when they used to blog regularly, you’ll love their podcast. They’re fun and keep things light and interesting, and I don’t miss an episode.
- Revisionist History — This is a podcast hosted by Malcolm Gladwell, and I just love almost every single episode. If you want to sample it, the episode I’ve found the most interesting so far is Season 1, Episode 8 — The Blame Game. And probably my favorite episode was Season 2 Episode 6 — The King Of Tears. And yes, I was in tears at the end. But it’s just so good.
- How I Built This – This podcast is hosted by Guy Raz, and each episode is an interview with someone who has built an incredibly successful business. Okay, clearly I don’t know how to “sell” this podcast, because that sounds really boring, but I can assure you, it’s not! It’s encouraging, uplifting, and just overall amazing to hear these stories from people, some of whom were the “least likely to succeed” types, who beat impossible odds, fought against tremendous adversity, and turned ideas into incredibly successful businesses. By far, my absolute favorite episode is the very first one about Sara Blakely, the founder of Spanx. It made me laugh. It made me cry. It made me pump my fist in the air in celebration. But really, almost every single episode is just as good.
Okay, now to my absolute favorite genre of podcasts — TRUE CRIME!
- Serial — A list like this wouldn’t be complete with this podcast. It’s kind of the original. The quintessential. If you’re a true crime podcast listener, you’ve already listened to at least the first season this podcast, I’m sure. But if you’re new to this genre and just want to test it out, start here. Season one is amazing. Season two is interesting. Season three is coming at the end of this month.
- Truth and Justice — This podcast is hosted by Bob Ruff, a fireman-turned-podcaster and investigator. I think this podcast got started by taking an even deeper look into the Adnan Syed case, which was covered in the first season of Serial. But I didn’t start listening until either season 2 or 3. This is a podcast that covers one case each season, and dives VERY deep into every single aspect of the case. The host only covers cases where he believes there is a likely wrongful conviction, and (spoiler alert) this podcast has been incredibly instrumental in getting at least one wrongfully convicted person out of prison (set to be released this month, I believe), and I think another one might possibly be either released or get a new trial. I’ve lost track, but good things are happening from this podcast.
- Up and Vanished – This is another podcast that takes a deep dive into one case and focuses on that case for an entire season. The first season was so good, and (I believe) was actually instrumental in bringing national attention to a decades-old cold case to reveal the the truth of what happened.
- Southern Nightmare – This is another deep look at a single case throughout one season. The first season didn’t cover an unsolved case, but it did go into the Southside Strangler case in Virginia, which was the first time DNA was used to bring a serial killer to justice.
- Crimetown – This is one of my absolute favorites, but don’t listen if you can’t take lots of cussing 😀 . The first season was all about organized crime in Providence, Rhode Island, and the listener is taken deep into the world of the mob, with actual interviews with some of these mobsters who lived to tell the tales. I was so drawn in by these stories, and hated for season one to end.
And I think that’s enough to keep y’all entertained for a while. But I’ll share my new favorites every once-in-a-while if y’all are interested in knowing what I’m listening to, which ones I’ve enjoyed, and what I recommend. Podcasts are a great way to stay entertained while working on long, tedious projects.
Have a great weekend, y’all! Hopefully I’ll get a chance this weekend to finish up the porch and work on that art project I mentioned.