SCD & Me

Sounding like a medical condition, SCD stands for Slow Carb Diet (not to be confused with specific carb diet for digestive problems), a variant of the low carb high protein diets made popular by the Atkins diet.  Differences being small quantities of carbs from low GI (Glycemic Index) sources are allowed, such as beans, vegetables and their fibre are encouraged, aiding satiety.  Although the body’s multi-fuel function of relying on fat is exploited more, it’s not turned to exclusively by inducing Ketosis.  Another difference is that SCD solves the problem of commitment by including ‘cheat days’ that are fixed each week.

I discovered SCD while reading The 4-Hour Chef, though The 4-Hour Body
has more information about the diet. My only real deviation is to have a little cheese occasionally, the rule is that all dairy is cheat day only.  The lactose (milk sugar) slows the weight loss.

Sunday to Friday

Meal Food Items
Breakfast 3 scrambled eggs, 80g spinach or spring greens, coffee.
Lunch 50g sauerkraut, 1 can tomato soup with 80g chicken breast slices
Dinner 80g spinach or spring greens, main meal item such as bol of spagbol or fish etc.

Cheat day is fantastic, like a mini Xmas (without the stilton), typical:

Meal Food Items
Breakfast Toast with butter and Marmite, 1 fried egg, OJ, coffee.
Lunch Bap with egg & bacon, lettuce and cheese, can of soda, treat: choux bun
Afternoon Snacks Treat: flapjack, cup tea, 100g chocolate bar.
Dinner Qtr Pounder, Fries, Onion Rings, milkshake, icecream with fruit
Late Night Snack Chocolate muffin

Not done any exercise over the month, to get a base level, apart from about 5.5 miles a day walking between home and work.

Wk 1-4 Weight Kg Notes
Before 86.5 38″ trouser waist, Large shirts
After 81.0 36″ trouser waist, Medium shirts

The first week was especially difficult, initial craving for carbs is very strong, now it’s a more gradual sensation of hunger. A side benefit is that the absence of insulin spikes due to heavy lunches and simple sugars, less sleepy mid after-noon and generally better vitality. Will review progress in another 4 weeks, unsure if I can expect similar weight loss figures to take myself from 6% to 10% reduction from starting point.

Peugeot 306 Wipers and Drainage

For a while the wipers on my trusty 306 were failing to start in cold weather and when initially activated. The sweep wasn’t particularly powerful either, suspecting an electrical fault, purchased a new unit from a breakers.

Within a few days the unit arrived ~£25. Fitting wasn’t particularly difficult, took around 30mins to fit, without the aid of instructions or the great video I found afterwards.

Peugeot 306 – Fitting a wiper motor & armature

Yet again drainage is responsible for repair work. Normally you’d be pretty safe to do this task with battery connected, but I found the wiper motor sat in a pool of water. The water running of the windscreen on the drivers side drains via a small hole in the plastic tray into the wheel arch. Feeling around the arch I located a screw which has fallen into the hole and along with debris had blocked the drain.

There was a bolt missing from armature fixing plate, this was it! The position would have made it impossible to work loose, the likely explanation is that the bolt has been placed in the drain tray while working on car – the only time this area has been touched was when the heater matrix was replaced by a Peugeot dealership!

As in the video above, the drainage areas accumulate a lot of mud, oil and leaves. Clearing the caked up mess can save repair work later on. It’s a task that requires few or no parts to be removed from the car, but I’ve never heard it mentioned as a part of routine checks…

Trek America Westerner 2

The trek was undertaken in June of 2012.  Due in part to a desire to ignore that it had been and gone, I wasn’t ready to finalise the experience by writing this.

Adventure trek holiday, circular trip: Los Angeles, San Francisco, Las Vegas, San Diego, finishing after 14 days in LA. http://www.trekamerica.co.uk/tours/w2.html

This was my first holiday and as a single traveller I wanted something that didn’t require too much organizing and gave the safety net of being part of a group.  For this Trek America fits the bill perfectly, with a few clicks you can find and book yourself a seat on any of a wide variety of trips.  The offerings aren’t expensive, a major expense is air travel (though pretty reasonable in its own right), thus the more time you can spend at the destination the better.

Rough guide to costs, as mileage varies all figures rounded appropriately.

  • £1,000 14 day trek joining fee
  • £600 Airfare
  • £400 items bought for the trip, and related misc costs
  • £1,000 Hotels, groups food, meals out, snacks, activities (helicopter ride, Vegas show, etc.), souvenirs.

At around £3k this isn’t an especially cheap holiday, around £200 per day.  This is a comfortable spend without worrying too much about the money, it could be accomplished on a tighter budget at around £2,250 though this would mean having and making do with pretty much everything (I already had a significant amount of kit), and missing out on most of the optional activities.

One of the highlights of the trek is the Grand Canyon, the photo above is from a visit to view the sunset.  The lowering sun accentuates the difference in colours between the lower and upper strata’s, this is the best point to take pictures, when the sun does slip over the horizon the canyon is universally dark.

The photo above is taken from within a helicopter, the use of a circular polarizing filter allows for usable photos that ignore the otherwise large amount of reflected light from the window.  The glass was curved and the helicopter moving around, requiring some quick adjustments and a few compromises.  The flight was with Maverick Helicopters, a professional outfit that operates a friendly and informative tour of the canyon, the experience is very interesting and feels like only a few minutes but was still good value at $220.

We started in the valley, and following the path aptly named ‘Four Mile Trail’, well almost, it’s actually closer to 5 http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Four_Mile_Trail  We did this in a few hours as a group, you only really appreciate it when looking down, and yes we walked up!  With 1km climb this is rated as 7/10 difficulty.  Before we started the trail, the leader failed to check if people had enough/any water, fortunately when I pressed the point everyone seemed to be carrying at least some.  Group clothing varied, casual to moderately unsuitable.  Fortunately these concerns were reduced by only carrying small day packs for essential gear and the containment of the trail.  Our leader asking for frequent position updates (not with us), when we had little reference that he could correlate (nobody knew either the length of the trail or the height gain), didn’t inspire confidence, and was frankly too amateur for a group leader.  However it’s a man-made path, which requires little to no navigation skill, this was highlight of the tour from a ‘big scenery’ perspective.  I’ve got plenty of fantastic photos, but non of them does is justice.

Vegas as with pretty much everywhere we visited, was spacious, thoughtfully laid out and clean.  It would have been a real challenge to find dog muck, puke or litter.  Vegas is extremely touristy it has something for everyone.  The day is an extremely dry heat, best for very slow walking and lots of indoor activities.  The nights were refreshingly cool, suitable for pool parties, clubbing or taking in a show.  Tickets for shows are readily available, and highly discounted when bought a few hours before a show.  I was fortunate to watch Fantasy at Luxor, a tasteful topless show at a particularly nice hotel for a mere $55.  Another great activity in Vegas was ‘The Gun Store’ an indoor range where you can walk in and fire handguns, rifles and machine guns.  I got to play with a desert eagle, mp5 and sniper rifle; chosen because these are the items I use a lot in computer games.  The .50 desert eagle has a really powerful recoil on a scale I wasn’t prepared for, awesome fun!  Pleased my groupings were good (except the mp5 on full auto).

One of the less stand activities was Keough ditch hot springs, off the beaten path we (finally) found a quiet oasis of hot puddly goodness to a sound track of high voltage power lines.  In England, that’s a quiet fizzle, but in America everything is bigger and better (they should have gone with Tesla) – sounds like a bug zapper on turbo.  Like everywhere in California, the area was unspoilt by trash, keeping it special for your exploration.

Reading this post back, it’s clear I’ve only mentioned a few of the highlights of the 14 day trek, there really would be too much to write about.  For the faults, the trek was amazing and an experience I’d love to repeat.  The group dynamic worked well and was mostly hassle free, it’s a great way to meet like minded people and my only regret is that I’d failed to convert more of them to long term friends.  Everywhere I visited was very clean, free of crime and not even intimidating.  The weather was fantastic and the people friendly.  Before the trip I was agonising over tipping, but it’s really quite simple and, the quality of service exceeds our own begrudging politeness.  Even though it was two weeks, too many places were visited and so a massive amount of time was spent driving.  As a previous governor of California said – I’ll be back.