Old Site Menu

Missive #73

Herman Melville’s classic novel Moby-Dick immortalized the idea of a mammoth sperm whale roaming the seas, wreaking havoc on all that crossed its path. But could such a creature actually exist, then or now? To find out, the acclaimed adventure writer and explorer Tim Severin set off to the islands of the South Pacific in search of one of our most iconic modern myths.This is a good read but not as adventurous as Severin’s earlier books. I think there is one more of his non-fiction that I have on my To Read List then I’ll give his fiction a try.From the Marquesas Archipelago, where the twenty-one-year-old Melville deserted his whaling ship in 1842, through the Philippines, Tonga, and Indonesia, Severin follows a trail of ocean legend and lore to the last surviving islanders who hunt the great whale by hand, shadowing a victorious hunt from Stone Age boats and uncovering tantalizing evidence of the existence of a Great White Whale. In this captivating account of his voyage, Severin traces not only the origins of Melville’s legendary literary creation but also something of the spiritual relationship between the islanders and the creatures of the sea, the hunter and his prey.

Atkins After Five Months, or
The Closest Thing to a Miracle I’ve Ever Experienced

By John Ross

Copyright 2005 by John Ross.  Electronic reproduction of this article freely permitted provided it is reproduced in its entirety with attribution given.

Five months ago I decided to cut out most of the carbohydrates in my diet and see what would happen.  The column I wrote after a week of very low-carb eating is here.

            I am now down 39 pounds to 238 (I’m six feet tall.)  I eat whenever I get hungry.  My exercise regimen is the same as it’s been for 3 years: I walk 3 miles with hand weights every morning as soon as I get up.  I think I’m going to add weight training to that fairly soon. 

            I eat between two and three pounds of various meats a day.  I eat salads with vinegar and oil, vegetables that aren’t high in carbs, and drink lots of water.  I eat a baked potato with lots of butter maybe every other day (I like potatoes), melba toast with butter once a week or so, and a Jack-in-the-Box breakfast meal with orange juice every Sunday on the way to the shooting range. My favorite snack while I’m writing is bacon.  I eat 3-5 times a day but seldom after 6PM.

            I have fruit once a week or so, like some strawberries with cream.  Hood makes a product called “Carb Countdown” that is milk with the sugar removed and replaced with Splenda.  I take their Whole and their Chocolate and mix them together, as I like a mild chocolate flavor.  I usually have a glass or two a day.

            I’ve looked at low-carb cookbooks but they’re all too much work.  If I’m cooking a meal for myself I just throw a steak on the grill or a hamburger or marinated chicken breast in the skillet and mix up a salad.  I’ve always loved pizza with lots of meat toppings like pepperoni, hamburger, sausage and bacon, so now I eat the top off them with a fork.  They’re just as good, and don’t leave me with that bloated and craving feeling–much better.

            “Sandwiches” I make with a 5-carb whole wheat flour tortilla called “Carb Chopper” that Sam’s sells.  Out at Happy Hour a couple times a week I’ll order hot wings for dinner (they don’t bread them where I like to go) and have a tequila on the rocks.  Also Michelob Ultra occasionally but I really don’t much like the taste of any beer.  I like Ultra and Aspen Edge the most but I still rarely finish one. I do really like the Ultra ads, though, so I feel obliged to support Anheuser-Busch at least a little.

            I’ve had some kind of pasta, like macaroni and cheese, maybe three times in the past five months, and every time I’ve felt bloated and with a craving for more, so pasta is out from now on.  Potatoes do this to me at about 5% of the intensity, so they’re okay a couple or three times a week.

            During the SHOT show, Richard Davis treated me to a 40-ounce steak dinner and I felt great.  It was the most meat I’d had at one sitting in at least a year.  The next night I went out and had a steak a third that size, but I ate several pieces of sourdough bread.  Mistake.  There was that feeling of being bloated yet craving more.  Bread and pasta are out for good.  The only exception is melba toast at the club (they’re little) and the croissant sandwich at Jack-in-the-Box once a week.  They put the craving at the 5%-10% level, and I can live with that.

            For over 30 years I believed I had a will power deficiency.  I now realize I have a carbohydrate addiction, where eating sugar and flour results in that unfortunate combination of feeling stuffed, yet craving more.  After 48 hours of cutting out all carbs, this phenomenon VANISHED.  Hunger is now a far different feeling, more like the not-unpleasant muscle ache after a workout.  I’m hungry right now, so when this is done I’ll fry up three strips of bacon.  I’ll like the taste, and after three strips I won’t want any more.  This phenomenon still amazes me.

            I’m currently losing about 1 1/2 pounds a week.  I could lose faster if I cut out altogether the potatoes, the fruit, that croissant sandwich with OJ and hash browns, the melba toast, and the alcohol, but why bother?  I could eat this way forever, and probably will.  I feel great, I don’t have cravings, and I’m getting the twice-over from a better-looking class of women.  My blood pressure and bad cholesterol are down, and my good cholesterol is up.

            The USDA and their “Food Pyramid” is a crock, and they’ve sold us bill of goods to line their pockets by turning cheap flour, sugar, and corn syrup into nutritionally empty, high-margin foods.  To hell with them.  As my friend Ted Nugent says, “Kill it and grill it.” 

            A weight of 238 was where I was 15 years ago.  Six years before that, when I was 26 years old and went to Africa, I weighed 195, could dead lift 600 pounds, and was in the best shape of my life. 

            I’m starting to actually believe I might get there again.  Next stop, 220.

John Ross 2/21/2005

2 thoughts on “Missive #73”

  1. I find myself feeling a lot better eating similar to what he described. Flexibility is a good thing to have and eventually that one day per week to eat anything I want, disappears. The urge is gone.

    1. I feel the same way about my eating a ‘regular’ breakfast at a restaurant every time I go to town. It is always a veggie omelet with potatoes and a flour tortilla, or dry sourdough toast, but it is a change from my usual hoe breakfast.

Leave a Comment

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *