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The subway in New York City is more than a utility. It's a microcosm of society. An environment where scenarios can symbolize abstract social topics.

So there I was.

Inside a crowded subway train. I stood in front of the doors, ready to exit at the next stop. As the train approached the station I felt someone push in front of me. It was a little girl determined to exit the train first. Her guardian stood by with a disapproving look but said nothing.

The scenario is no big deal. I had no need to exit first and easily took a step back to make room for the girl. And yet what bothered me was that neither I nor the guardian said anything. We let it happen - depriving her of a basic lesson in courtesy.

What if I had said something to the girl? Something like: it's rude to cut in front of people, you should be patient and wait your turn to exit the train.

Through one interpretation it's a favor. I offered basic courtesy advice that she may utilize in the future. I surfaced something she may not be aware of.

Yet through another interpretation I have ventured into "mansplaining" territory. Through my tone and word choice I just "mansplained" to this girl how she should behave. What if the girl actually needed to exit the train first and my condescending advice didn't help her at all?

The latter interpretation is becoming more common in our "politically correct" society. So even a simple comment on common courtesy can become misconstrued. The attention shifts from the comment to the intent.

The mansplaining interpretation makes my feedback personal. It implies that I said this to the girl because I'm a man, she's a girl, and I know better.

Yet what about the fact that she is a child and I am an adult?

Yet what about the fact that if she was a he, I would have said the same exact words in the same tone?

And this is why I have a problem with the word mansplaining. We already have a word for the scenario it describes: patronizing. What additional insight does the word mansplaining bring? Instead of value it brings harm and divide.

If you interpreted my comment to the girl as patronizing, that label is associated with that scenario. Gender stereotypes are not introduced. You acknowledge my intention (to teach a lesson in courtesy) but you disagree with my approach.

To interpret my comment as mansplaining, you now see me as someone that is reaffirming negative gender stereotypes. You don't recognize my intention (to teach a lesson in courtesy) and you fault me for trying because of my gender. You view me as patronizing and discriminatory.

And what can I say to convince you otherwise?

If you call me out in front of a group as mansplaining, that label is attached to me. People now evaluate all of my statements with the mansplaining lens.

I'm guilty without a trial.

And yet if you called me patronizing, the label attaches to the scenario. I was patronizing in that moment. The label doesn't persist. So future scenarios will be interpreted on a case by case basis.

A term like mansplaining is persistent. It attaches to people. It becomes a dark cloud that follows us, tainting everything we do.

So was I right to keep my mouth shut on the subway? I protected myself from being misconstrued. And yet I also deprived the child of a basic lesson in courtesy.

Introduction

The Ketogenic diet is rapidly ascending into the mainstream. Check out this Google Trends chart for the search term "Ketogenic diet":

KetoDiet-GoogleTrends

The diet is essentially a low carb, high fat diet. The Atkins Diet is a kind of Ketogenic diet.

It's revered by those that have adopted it and the various health benefits are profound. They include: weight loss, lack of hunger, clearer thinking (no more "brain fog"), lower blood pressure, improved skin appearance and increased energy. People that go Keto continue to tout how good they feel because of the diet.

Yet transitioning to Keto from a traditional US diet can be challenging. No carbs?! What the heck do I eat? And with the increasing number of online resources and meal plans it can be overwhelming to get started.

My goal with this post is to not convince you to adopt the diet. Instead I aim to introduce you to the Ketogenic diet and document how I followed it for two weeks. I'll share links to resources and products that helped me. This will give you a starting point for "going Keto".

If you have any questions send me a note: andrei@forwardshapes.com

TL;DR / Bullets

  1. If you have a pre-existing kidney or heart condition, avoid this diet.
  2. The Ketogenic diet macronutrients breakdown is: 70-75% Fat, 20-25% Protein, 5-10% Carbs.
  3. Restrict your daily Net Carb intake to 25-40 grams.
  4. Ketosis happens by restricting Carbs. Not by eating Fat.
  5. Your choices of Fats matter. Think more avocados, less ice cream.
  6. Here is everything I ate for 2 weeks.
  7. My goal during the diet was to either maintain or gain a little bit of weight.
  8. Weigh and record everything you eat. Purchase a food scale and maintain a diet journal in a tool like MyFitnessPal.
  9. Get your Electrolytes! Maintain your levels of Magnesium, Sodium, and Potassium.
  10. I'm not endorsing the products linked in this post, they are just the ones I used. The Amazon product links are affiliate links.

Warning

If you have a pre-existing kidney or heart condition, this diet is not recommended.

Please review the "Who Should Not Follow A Ketogenic Diet" document from Ketogenic-Diet-Resource.com.

If in doubt, check with your physician.

Keto 101

The Ketogenic diet is a low carb, high fat diet.

If followed correctly your body will enter a state of Ketosis. A metabolic state where your body switches from using carbohydrates to fats as your primary energy source. Fats are converted into Ketones which are metabolized by your cells for energy.

In order to enter Ketosis, you'll need to restrict Carbs to about 20-50 grams per day. The exact number varies by individual so it will require some experimentation. Remember, Ketosis happens by restricting Carbs, not by eating Fat.

During my two week period I was in the range of 25-40 grams of Net Carbs.

Here is the daily nutrient caloric breakdown of the Ketogenic diet:

  1. 70-75% calories from Fat
  2. 20-25% calories from Protein
  3. 5-10% calories from Carbohydrates*

*Count Net Carbs (Carbs - Fiber = Net Carbs). For example if you ate an Avocado that is 12g Carbs and 10g Fiber, Net Carbs equals 2g.

What I Ate For Two Weeks

Disclaimer: I'm a skinny and active 30 year old male living in New York City (I walk a lot). My goal was to either maintain or gain weight while on the diet. Thus my Protein intake was a bit higher than the norm. Use my meals as a starting point and adjust to your needs.

Andrei's Two Week Ketogenic Diet Meals Google Sheet

The above sheet contains a detailed Breakfast/Lunch/Dinner/Snacks/Supplements breakdown of everything I ate for two weeks.

Below is a randomly selected day in a simplified breakdown:

September 13, 2017:

  • Total Calories = 2,833
  • Fat = 212g (69%)
  • Protein = 173g (25%)
  • NET Carbs = 32g (5%)*

*If the macro percentages seem off, read this.

Breakfast (Calories: 1,308)

Fat: 110g /// Protein: 48g /// Net Carbs: 8g

  1. Salad
    1. Spinach (1 cup)
    2. Power Greens Mix (Kale, Chard, Spinach) (1 cup)
    3. Pasture Raised Organic Eggs, soft boiled (3)
    4. Liverwurst (118 grams)
    5. Avocado (1 medium)
    6. Himalayan Salt (1/4 teaspoon)
    7. Cold Pressed Virgin Coconut Oil (1 tablespoon)
  2. Bulletproof Coffee
    1. Black Coffee (2 cups)
    2. Kerrygold Unsalted Grass-Fed Butter (1 tablespoon)
    3. Bulletproof Brain Octane Oil (2 tablespoons)

Lunch (Calories: 1,057)

Fat: 73g /// Protein: 76g /// Net Carbs: 14g

  1. Salad
    1. Power Greens Mix (Kale, Chard, Spinach) (2 cups)
    2. Liverwurst (88 grams)
    3. Trader Joe's Canned Wild Caught Sockeye Salmon (1 can)
    4. Kerrygold Aged Cheddar
    5. Cauliflower (53 grams)
    6. Cucumber (34 grams)
    7. Tomato (55 grams)
    8. Avocado (1 medium)
    9. Gold's Horseradish (2 teaspoons)
    10. Olive Oil (1 tablespoon)
    11. Himalayan Salt (1/4 teaspoon)

Dinner (Calories: 288)

Fat: 17g /// Protein: 33g /// Net Carbs: 6g

  1. Meal
    1. Chicken Thighs (149 grams)
    2. Steamed Broccoli (134 grams)
    3. Pure Indian Foods Grass-Fed Ghee (14 grams)

Snacks (Calories: 180)

Fat: 12g /// Protein: 16g /// Net Carbs: 4g

  1. Green Tea (2 cups)
  2. Rooibos Tea (2 cups)
  3. Pure Indian Foods Grass-Fed Ghee (14 grams)
  4. Good Karma Flax Milk Unsweetened with Protein (2 cups)

Electrolyte Supplements

  1. Potassium (1 teaspoon)
  2. Himalayan Salt (1/2 teaspoon)
  3. Magnesium (300 mg)

Keto Flu & Electrolytes

The Keto Flu is a thing and you may experience some side effects from going low carb.

The side effects and their duration will depend on your unique situation (past diet, current diet, body composition, etc.). For example if you go from eating 300g to 30g of Carbs a day, you will shock your body.

The good news is our bodies are incredibly resilient and eventually adapt to the new energy source. But it will take time and some fortitude.

The side effects I experienced were light-headedness and leg cramps. The cramps came at night or early in the morning. I would also get fatigued while climbing stairs after coming home from work. My problem was I wasn't getting enough Sodium. After increasing my Sodium intake I started to feel better and the cramps went away.

In order to mitigate the Keto Flu side effects, you must maintain your Electrolyte levels.

This means everyday you'll need:

Every morning I made a cocktail with warm water, Sodium, Potassium, and Apple Cider Vinegar. I drank that with Magnesium pills. Reference my meals spreadsheet for portion sizes.

Products

Here are various random products I used that helped me adhere to the diet. I don't endorse these, but I was happy with all of them. The Amazon product links are affiliate links.

Tools

  • MyFitnessPal App: This app made it really easy to track everything I was eating. It's not necessary, but it makes things so much easier. To track Macros you'll need to upgrade to the Premium version ($9.99/month)
  • Food scale: A must have in order to weigh out your portions

Food

Resources

Websites

Podcast Episodes

  • The Tim Ferriss Show
    • Episode #117: Dom D’Agostino on Fasting, Ketosis, and the End of Cancer
    • Episode #172: Dom D’Agostino — The Power of the Ketogenic Diet
    • Episode #188: Dom D’Agostino on Disease Prevention, Cancer, and Living Longer
  • The Joe Rogan Podcast
  • FoundMyFitness Podcast by Rhonda Patrick
    • March 23, 2016: Dominic D'Agostino, Ph.D. on Modified Atkins Diet, Ketosis, Supplemental Ketones and More

Books/Documents

People to follow on Twitter

Several months ago I wrote about Futurist Amy Webb. She is the founder of the Future Today Institute, which in 2017 published a comprehensive Tech Trends Annual Report. The report identified over 100 trends (such as "Bots" and "Deep Learning") that will have an impact on the future of society. The report breaks down each trend into several components. Utilizing their template (with a few modifications) I've put together my own analysis on the trend Farm to School.


Key Insight

Today about 30% of all school districts in the US have a Farm to School program. As obesity and malnutrition remain prevalent among children, schools will establish partnerships with farmers to supply fresh and locally grown food to school cafeterias.

Examples

In 2010 the Obama administration introduced updated nutrition standards to school lunch and breakfast programs via the Healthy, Hunger-Free Kids Act. Today over 90% of schools in the US adhere to the standards. The standards require minimum fruit and vegetable servings, and restrict certain macronutrients. Companies such as Revolution Foods and Gourmet Gorilla have seen tremendous success by introducing fresh and real food for schools. The Chef Ann Foundation are providing tools such as The Lunch Box with resources and grants to help districts establish Farm to School programs. As seen with Brigaid, professional chefs are leaving the corporate restaurant world and bringing fresh cooking principals to school cafeterias. School based farms such as the Encinitas Unified School District Farm Lab and products such as the Charlie Cart are connecting nutritional education with locally grown foods. States such as Colorado and school districts such as San Diego unified are presenting a template and proving that a Farm to School program can be successfully implemented at a large scale.

What's next

There is a lot of variety across school districts as far as the level of implementation and challenges within a Farm to School program. Some districts feel they cannot implement a program due to a shortage of staff, equipment, or cost. Others have a robust program and continue to actively add farmers to their supply network. The biggest challenges for districts are transportation of product from the farm to schools, packaging and storage, food safety, transparency regarding inventory (how much product can farmer deliver), and food prep requirements. For example a district may need corn supplied without husks, because they don't have the staff or tools to do this. Other challenges include establishing relationships with new farmers, working through logistics (invoicing, delivery schedule), kitchen staff shortage, ill-equipped kitchens, and food costs. Establishing a network that seamlessly connects a Farmer to a District will ensure the programs success. The network will provide transparency regarding a Farmer's supply and cost, manage invoicing that adheres to USDA guidelines, and coordinate delivery and storage requirements.

Watchlist

Newly introduced legislation: the Farm to School Act of 2017. If passed it would increase mandatory annual funding of the USDA Farm to School grant program from $5 million to $15 million. Any new legislation around the National School Lunch Program (NSLP). Sam Kass and Acre Venture Partners. Chef Ann Foundation. National Farm to School Network. Incumbent food service management companies such as Aramark, Sodexo, Maschio's Food Services. Chefs Move to Schools initiative. FoodCorps. Revolution Foods, Gourmet Gorilla, Charlie Cart and Brigaid. USDA's Farm to School Census.

Good to know

The National School Lunch Program (NSLP) is a federally subsidized program where districts receive cash subsidies from the USDA for every meal they serve (if that meal meets the USDA meal requirements). Therefore a school may only have $1 - $1.50 to spend per meal that offers quality ingredients at an affordable price for students. A standardized definition of a "local" product is non-existent. To some districts it can mean within a 50 mile radius of a school, to others it's within the state.

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During a tour of a gothic church in Brooklyn I recall a statement our guide made regarding why the ceilings were so tall and grand:

...To inspire people to look up to the heavens. To be awed. To imagine something more, something bigger...

This statement encapsulates the role of art. To stir emotions. To make you wonder. To get you to look in awe and imagine something more. The artist's  work may trigger your emotions in a way that nothing else can.

The societal impact of any piece of art is difficult to quantify. And yet how much indirect impact has art had in shaping our world? How many people have been inspired by a song, painting, poem, or a book? How much of that inspiration contributed to them creating something that otherwise wouldn't exist?

How much has art helped people pull through the self-doubt and struggle commonly felt when building something? How many more projects have been created as a result of Steven Pressfield's "The War Of Art"? I would have stopped this blog (and had never written this post) had I not read that book.

On a macro level our world is a global community. Every person has a role or "job". The role could be child, student, parent, lawyer, manager, politician, artist, entrepreneur, engineer and many more.

The creator role, such as an entrepreneur, scientist, or engineer can be a lonely one. It's a role plagued by failure, procrastination, self-doubt, and struggle. How often does a startup go out of business, or a research lab shut down due to failed studies and lack of funding? And yet when people in such roles succeed, they propel our global community forward.

In order to succeed these people need inspiration. They need motivation so that they can persevere. They need to be pulled out of the darkness so that they can create. They need to be awed, to dream, and imagine something more.

They need art.

Tuesday night, a long workday has passed and you have an hour before bed. You try to muster up the energy to work on your personal project but it doesn't happen. You put it off - I'll have time and energy on the weekend you say to yourself.

The weekend arrives and you've slept in. You have brunch plans. You go for a walk after. You have to buy groceries. You go out Saturday night. Sunday is laundry and gym day. You clean the house and meal prep for the week. Game of Thrones starts in an hour. That project from Tuesday night? You'll have Monday night to catch up on it.

For those working full time jobs, the weekend is a sacred bucket where all procrastinations from the week go. We imagine the bucket will be easier to empty on the days we've labeled Saturday and Sunday. It's as if the bucket feels twice as heavy on a Tuesday compared to a Saturday.

The problem with this approach is it becomes an endless cycle. Life and social priorities come up and those uninterrupted chunks of time during the weekend dissipate. Your tasks go back into the procrastination bucket and on and on it goes.

I strive not to separate a weekday from a weekend. They are all just days. Some have more free time than others. I visualize time as blocks on a calendar. What's the difference between Wednesday and Saturday? On Wednesday I'm in the office between 9 AM - 6 PM. On Saturday I have that block of time open.

So technically the only difference is I have fewer open blocks of time on Wednesday. And thus if I schedule personal project time from 8-9 PM on Wednesday, it feels no different than if I scheduled that time from 12 - 1 PM on Saturday.

The other aspect is the perception of time. I used to perceive that a weekend minute was different from a weekday minute. Weekend minutes were more flexible and productive. More appropriate for personal projects. And yet to procrastination, a weekday minute is no different from a weekend minute. It's just a minute.

If you start viewing your time as blocks of time, it wont matter which day of the week you assign them to. Instead of routinely procrastinating projects to weekends, assign them to the earliest block of time you can commit to. You'll then get in a habit of being focused and getting to work during your block of time. The day of the week wont matter. A day is just a day. A minute is just a minute.

And you'll find that once the weekend does come, the only difference is you just have more blocks of time to work with.