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following the journey of an Ohio Buffum…

Finally some good news. Since all my life I have been overweight and have only recently become serious about loosing it and getting into shape. I’ve always been active, until probably the last 10 years I’d say. That’s when it all started to really pack on. In high school I weighed around 220 but I worked out 3x a week lifting weights, cardio, racquetball, etc.. I grew up playing football, baseball, and riding my bike everywhere.
In college it didn’t really change, I went out 3 or 4 nights a week, dancing for hours at the clubs till I’d be drenched in sweat. Running to classes, biking around campus. Generally running around to football games, basketball games. Doing any and all activities most college students do.
Met my husband and we moved out to Las Vegas, and still was active working, especially for Las Vegas MPD. We moved to Phoenix and boom. Couch-potato-itis. Now I know it’s my own fault but hey. I wasn’t looking to blame anyone. Cheetos + Large Pizza + Soda + Couch = Wide Ass … CHECK!

So now I’m changing things. Since I fell last September and sprained my ankle, and at the same time landed so hard on my right knee that I blew out (destroyed) the cartilage behind my kneecap (patella). The official diagnosis was “Partial thickness chondral defect in the lateral femoral condyle with moderately severe chondrosis of the patella”. In other words. You’ve screwed your knee but good missy. So when I walk the patella scrapes on the bones/ligaments if I don’t walk correctly. Trust me, I walk correctly.

I did my physical therapy, and without Kevin and Stephen I’d still be not walking, or walking but hopped on meds and in pain. Pushing myself through PT I think changed me. Snapped something inside me, made me realize that I’m on the downside of this lease hold of life. Time to move it or lose it. So move it I am. The total as of today is 58 lbs gone. That’s since May 4th. I’m happy with that. I was happier before the 4th of July weekend >:{ but that’s life.

I was checking my 23andMe reports looking for a genetics link for something and I found this report….

Muscle Performance
Your Data
Cynthia Kraft – CC – Two working copies of alpha-actinin-3 in fast-twitch muscle fiber. Many world-class sprinters and some endurance athletes have this genotype.

And I had a little pang of happiness inside me. Could this be why I don’t suffer DOMS (Delayed onset Muscle strain) as much as others complain about? Or is this why my muscles seem to respond when I ask them to, no matter how much I’ve abused them. I mean it only took me 3 weeks (9 sessions) to work from 2 minutes on the elliptical gasping for air, to 30 minutes on the elliptical moving along… And it’s been another week now, (3 more sessions) and I’ve just managed to complete my first 30 minute session with my Heart Rate (HR) completely in the Cardio zone for all 30 minutes. That’s HUGE. That took wicked effort. And I still did it at a 4 mph pace. ME. I weigh 408 lbs as of today, and I can set a 4 mph 15 minute mile pace. What. The. Fuck. If you’d have told me I could essentially run a marathon (that’s 26 miles) in 6.5 hours. I’d have told you. I couldn’t run one in 6.5 days… But there it is people…. in black and white…

I think I’m crazy. I think I just decided I want to try and run in a 5k. I was looking online and they have one in October. o_O I think I’ll aim for it at any rate… if I can get the elliptical down to quicker, or lesser HR or both. Hmm… yep. Can’t outrun the zombies if you can’t at least run 3 miles ;)

Anyway… more about the muscle stats below… And what it does/how it is defined etc… Information from in their journal section. Enjoy!

Learn More About ACTN3Marker:rs1815739

Athletic performance can be influenced by a number of factors, some of which are genetic. Genes determine between 20-80% of the variation in traits like oxygen intake, cardiac performance, and muscle fiber composition. To date, more than 150 genes have been linked to different aspects of physical performance. One of the clearest associations is seen with a gene called ACTN3 that is normally turned on in a type of muscle fiber used for power-based sports. A single SNP can turn this gene off. While this genetic change does not cause any health effects, it may contribute to whether you are a sprinter or a marathoner.

This gene produces a protein called alpha-actinin-3 that is only turned on in fast-twitch muscle fibers (the kind used for power events like sprinting or weightlifting). The protein forms part of the contractile machinery in muscle cells, where it is thought to play both structural and signalling roles.

The T version of the SNP in this gene prevents the full protein from being made. People with two copies of the T version thus have a total lack of alpha-actinin-3 in their fast-twitch muscle fibers. Those with the CT genotype have one functional copy of the gene and can still make the protein.

Surprisingly, a complete lack of the alpha-actinin-3 protein doesn’t seem to cause any type of disease. This is probably because another closely related protein can step in for alpha-actinin-3 in people without a functional copy. The substitute protein likely does not perform its job as well as alpha-actinin-3, resulting in worse performance in power exercises.

Despite lack of a disease outcome, researchers wondered if the absence of alpha-actinin-3 might have an effect on athletic performance. Studies of elite athletes in Australia and Finland showed that power athletes—those whose performance depends on fast-twitch muscle fibers—were much more likely to have at least one working copy of the gene than non-athletes. In one study of Olympic power athletes (i.e., the best of the best), all had at least one working copy. Similar results were found in a study of Spanish professional soccer players.

But does alpha-actinin-3 make a difference for non-athletes? In fact, it does.

One study looked at a group of Greek teenagers who had been tested for a variety of fitness measures related to power and endurance sports. In this group, ACTN3 genotype had no effect on the girls, but boys with the TT genotype were significantly slower in a 40 m sprint. Interestingly, running was the only power event that the different versions of ACTN3 seemed to affect. For activities like throwing a basketball or jumping into the air, performance was unaffected by genotype.

Another study looked at arm strength in a group of people before and after 12 weeks of strength training. ACTN3 genotype appeared to have no effect in men, but women with the TT genotype had lower strength at the beginning of the study. After the training program women with the TT genotype—those without a working copy of alpha-actinin-3—had made greater gains than the women with at least one functioning copy. This was true in both European and Asian women.

Scientists aren’t really sure why having alpha-actinin-3 would improve power performance. One theory is that the protein prevents damage in fast-twitch muscle fibers. The group who conducted the study of Greek teenagers thinks this explains why only running and not other power activities were affected by a lack of alpha-actinin-3. Running involves repeated use of the muscles, while jumping only uses muscles once: damage is not an issue.

The scientists who saw that women with the TT genotype were able to build up more strength than other women also think alpha-actinin-3 protects muscle fibers from damage. Muscle damage is what stimulates muscles to adapt and become stronger. Those with the TT genotype lack the protection against damage that alpha-actinin-3 normally provides, thus allowing a greater gain in strength.

Alpha-actinin-3 may also affect athletic performance by virtue of its effects on oxygen usage in muscle. Two studies (one in mice and one in humans) have shown that fast-twtich muscle fibers that lack functional copies of ACTN3 use more oxygen than those with at least one working copy. This type of metabolism might slow them down. Mice studies have also shown that these altered fibers are weaker and smaller than fibers containing alpha-actinin-3, but they are more efficient an resistant to fatigue—a situation that is better suited to endurance sports than sprinting.

Heston Fest

Jun 16

Oh! I almost forgot! I was watching Masterchef Australia (Way better than the US version which sucks my ovaries it’s so watered down.) And in walks Mr. Blumenthal himself to lay down a challenge for the elimination.
Contestants had to cook his Burger, Triple cooked chips and do any ‘drink/shake’ that brought memories to them. Which Heston is very big on food evoking memories and emotions. (Think “sounds of the sea”, and “pop rocks” and his “feasts”). They had I think it was 75 minutes? Maybe it was 90 can’t remember now. Anyway, they had to make the brioche buns, the ketchup, grind the meat special (Heston style short grains vertical through patty), make their own cheese (and slice it!), and then of course triple cook the chips (boil, double fry) to achieve perfect crispy nooks.
All of it not that hard. It’s all in Heston’s Book Total Perfection (Hamburger p 194, Fish & Chips starts 252). Oh and Heston didn’t tell them the percentage of salt to use, but it’s 1% of the amount of meat your grinding, in case you’re wondering to bind the fibers.
Each contestant managed to bung one aspect of the challenge up. No two bunged the same way. I suppose that’s why they were all in the elimination round. Doo-dahs. Rachel managed to get the boot in the end because she stuffed up her meat and her ‘shake’ was little more than an Aussie version of Hershey syrup in milk.
Kinda sad, I was actually hoping she’d pull through I liked her more than the other 3 dinks. Craig and Shannon managed to bork the next week as well, and went into the next challenge as well. Shannon going home finally. I mean, jeez she was in what the last 3? 4? eliminations! That long in the bottom… either you get the hint and kick your ass into gear or you go home. Ah well… another what, 8 weeks and it’s done.. whee. :)

Sooo l am on a shaved ice spree again because A) it’s summer and B) it’s about the best low carb dessert I can think of that doesn’t suck balls.

The ice, the main component, is free after all. Shave as much as you want, it’s just the damn syrup that costs a pound of sugar or fat.

So instead of having to use the store bought syrups that are 180 calories per tablespoon O_O. I decided to make my own, since fruit is in stock. So fruit coulis here I come.

First up is:

Mango Orange Lime with Pandan extract

Ingredients Calories Carbs Fat Protein
Generic – 1 Cup Water, 1 cup 0 0 0 0
Simply Orange – Orange Juice 100% Pure Original Pulp Free, 8 oz 110 26 0 2
Fresh Squeezed – Lime Juice, 4 Lime 40 13 0 1
Mangos – Raw, 3 cup, sliced 322 84 1 3
Generic – Pandan Extract, 1 tsp 10 1 0 0
Sweet Tooth – Organic Palm Sugar, 24 tsp 240 60 0 0
Total: 722 184 1 6
Per Serving: 18 5 0 0

On stovetop in good solid bottom pot (at least 4 qt, preferably 6 qt) add in water, pandan extract, and sugar. Stir until sugar is completely dissolved. Add in lime juice, orange juice, and strained mango puree. Bring to a low simmer, (Or about 160 degrees Farenheit thermometer) once fluid begins low boil, stir until sauce thickens. **If you dip a metal spoon when you hold it sideways with the back facing you, if you wipe your finger down the center longitudinally the sauce holds its place on the spoon.
Remove sauce from the stove top and place in ice bath making sure not to get any water or ice into the syrup/sauce. Stir the sauce and let it cool down as much as possible to room temperature as quickly as possible. Then refrigerate till chilled.
Shave ice, top with 2 tablespoons of sauce. Enjoy!

That took fuck all longer than it should have….
I remember when writing html from scratch was so easy. You just typed and went about it all and it just did what it had to do. Now there’s all these div tags and css and widgets, and then I had to podge it all into the WordPress format which was the hardest part of all. When I got the Html running fine on my computer in a plain flat file, then I import it and kabloooie. I end up having to almost redo the whole bugger. But I digress…

I’ve finally started to put up images on this website that are important to me that I think I should archive for the good of humanity first. My sad little mundane life will I’m sure come second or third or eventually. At the length this page took (And I didn’t nearly publish even half of the pictures I have) it might be a while.

So TA DA, enjoy the new Chihuly picture page. Get yer glass works on….

I think my brain is going to burst at the moment. I can’t stop the neurons from firing. Now.. normally this is what I’m used to, but today it’s like the ideas are just hitting me *pow*pow*pow* It’s a little unsettling. And I’ve only been awake like 3 hours.

First yesterday was the first REAL workout I’ve had in a while. Last week was the wrap on my Physical Therapy for the ankle and knee and so this week I continued my workouts at the PT center since they have all my data. I do miss some of the equipment at my old gym and Sarah my trainer. :( I guess life moves on. Anyway yesterday went to the workout and hit it hard. By 10pm about 6 hours after the workout the DOMS had set in and so I tried to go to sleep which probably was a bad idea. I would just get comfy and all my muscles would twitch. Jeeez… Needless to say sleep was not as much fun as one would think.

So I woke up and things still ache. Arms mostly, neck surprisingly and don’t know why that one, I think I slept wrong ;) Legs have recovered as I expected them to. Officially as today the new medicine I started on May 4th one month ago, I have lost 40 lbs as of today. Booyah. We’ll see if that keeps up, but I doubt it. In the last week/two it’s gotten slower. Now mostly due to movie night, no more effing popcorn or nachos. Damn, 4 lbs gained each. Seriously, that’s messed up. My goal for June is to cross the 400 mark and not look back. Something I haven’t seen since roughly the year 2000. Fingers crossed. Lots of sweat in the doing.

A friend of mine has been talking about getting a moped because of gas prices in California. And it reminded me how much I loved my moped when I was 15.

I found this photo online, it’s what mine looked like, but this one of course isn’t mine. I sold mine for next to nothing to a friend in college and the stupid bint left it unlocked and got it stolen. I don’t know why that still angers me so much. I suppose it’s the careless nature of ones possessions. I was always taught to take care of your stuff and look after it. I loved riding that moped. Freezing in winter with 2 pairs of gloves and 2 coats to school, even when I’d be warmer on the bus, just because it meant that I didn’t have to leave when THEY said I had to leave for school. No no, I actually had to leave earlier to get there on time. HA. So funny. But I could dawdle after school and when the buses pulled away I could smirk as I was still there. I don’t know why that gave me such a sense of superiority. Seems silly now. I suppose it was because I felt in charge of my own destiny. Not ruled by the powers that be. Sick of being pushed around even at age 15 ;) Of course it also meant I could stop off at Dairy Queen for a Mr Misty Grape slushy in warmer weather before coming home too ;) Or drive through Minerva Park and visit the ducks and geese at the pond and feed them some bread if I had any left over.

Last week I bought a Soda Siphon by iSi.

And I found out some things. First of all, Sur la Table can drive you crazy by having the equipment but not the parts that you need to use it. The one by my house had the unit but not the chargers with gas to power it up. Well, they had chargers for the cream units. So I said, sell me those. I had to look it up on my iPhone, in the store, to see what the difference was. Turns out the cream chargers carry Nitrous oxide 8g and are colored silver. The soda chargers are carbon dioxide 8g and colored gold. So I say, wtf right? I now have to investigate the whole mess.
Turns out the nitrogen is actually antimicrobial and that is one of the reasons they use it with cream and dairy products. Also apparently it’s odorless and colorless of course and so doesn’t react with the food it’s being passed through. Large quantities of nitrous oxide in a beverage would be a very bad idea however. Well, unless you want that sort of thing. But don’t forget to check your Erowid Nitrous oxide intake beforehand and don’t say I didn’t warn you. Oh and it’s flammable too, so if your guests smoke and drink….
So that’s why they use the carbon dioxide in the soda siphon, that and it of course ‘carbonates’ the beverage you need carbonated. Which I had to drive halfway across town to get the soda chargers to use with my new toy.

So I had purchased some squid and I decided what the heck, lets do some tempura batter. Lets just see if using icy cold soda water in the batter gets it super crispy as I’ve been told all these years. … HOLY FUCK YES Okay sorry. I know I’m a little excited. But yeah, it worked. I put the box of tempura flour into the bowl. I added 500ml of cold water into the soda siphon, charged it with two soda chargers to ensure proper fizzelation. (Maximum charging number per my source I’ll explain later) and then after it was chilled for 30 minutes in the refrigerator discharged it into the bowl with the flour and mixed it quickly, but not completely, leaving lumps. And immediately dunked the squid and fried it. ZAM Instant super duper unbelievably crispy batter. And I didn’t even add the vodka to it yet. (Need to try that next, but saving that for the haddock!)

So As I sat there reading my book from Heston….

I couldn’t help but wonder how the hell I was going to put all the things through the soda siphon that I wanted to do. I wondered how the hell Heston put all the things through the soda siphon that he does. How does it get the foams? The liquids? The espumas? Chocolate? Soda Syrups? How many chargers can you use safely? Am I going to discharge the top off into my chest if I use too many? Can I cook the food that I have used a NO2 canister into? I’d really hate to blow up my oven, I’m awfully fond of it. But I do have good home insurance ;)

So I started looking… Okay the manual from iSi is kind of a joke. Never put anything bigger than your elbow into the soda siphon… blah blah blah.. .yeah Okay I get the point… Everything I’ve seen Mr. Blumenthal do is against every rule in the manual. It’s almost like me and the moped ;) So I scoured the internet. Everyone goes on about how they did this with their siphon and that, but no one says HOW they did it, did they leave the parts inside it? Did they use 2 chargers, 3? How viscous was the fluid they pumped through it? Merde. So I decided to write Mr. Blumenthal. I figured someone there might be able to explain it, or he might have written it down in one of his books and it would be able to explain it all to me. That would be fabulous.
So I sat down to write the note. I had to write it 3 times. It had to be short, I didn’t want to waste his time. It had to be to the point, and maybe even a little witty, I’m sure he gets thousands of letters. Housewives must make his toes curl. Managed to do it. Got it all into one notecard. Posted it off..

Got a call this morning…
Number was blocked, I almost didn’t answer it, I sometimes don’t answer them. I’m glad I did.
It was a young man, Otto, a Senior Development Chef calling from The Fat Duck in Bray. OMG> *jaw hitting floor* Hello! Thank you so much for calling…
….. (Me with flurry of million questions)….. (Him very patient and explaining things) …. *shock*

I think I’m still in shock. But I’m indescribably happy, and optimistic. I have to however, go buy a whipping canister. For the thicker foams and creams and chocolates and such. And he helped me with my idea for swirling the lemon syrup through the ice cream ;) If I was in the UK right now I’d give him a giant huge hug and a kiss on the cheek. :) Thank you Otto. Thank you. Thank you for taking the time to call me, and answer my questions and patiently explain equipment to me, a crazy, mad, housewife.
Today, you are my hero. :) I hope you have a great service tonight.