I had such a great vacation, I’m exhausted. I guess that’s the result of too many late nights hanging around the karaoke bar on the Carnival Freedom, followed by too many early-morning seminars and shore excursions. In any case, it’s good to be back.
Before I write about the low-carb cruise, I need to give a big thanks to the Older Brother for sitting in the official Fat Head chair while I was gone. He not only wrote two excellent posts, he also answered all the comments, including those that came in on posts I wrote before leaving. Best of all, his replies were informative while still including the requisite amount of wisecracking. As I checked in over the course of the week, I was beginning to feel a bit like Johnny Carson back in the day, wondering why that Leno guy was drawing such big ratings as a guest host.
For those of you who asked, yes, the Older Brother is certainly invited to write more guest posts. I’m also considering updating my will so that if I croak before retiring, this blog will be turned over to him. In the meantime, he’ll be writing regularly on his own brand-spankin’ new blog, JerryNaughton.com.
His post about the wide variety of low-carb meals he and The Wife make at home reminded me of a question a reader asked before I left: how do you eat low-carb on a cruise? The answer: Are you kidding me?! It couldn’t be easier. Where else can you grab a plate at lunch and take your pick of salads, vegetables, cold cuts, cheeses, burgers, tandoori chicken, curried fish, pork loin, salmon, or roast beef? Where else can you toddle down to a restaurant for breakfast and fill your plate with any combination of bacon, sausage, ham, scrambled eggs, omelets, or Eggs Benedict without the muffins?
It didn’t occur to me until the end of the cruise to take food pictures, but here’s what I got:
Our dinners during the week included prime rib, lobster, Cornish game hen, flat-iron steaks, salmon, cream soups, shrimp cocktails, and a variety of salads and vegetable dishes. The great thing about having dinner on a Carnival cruise is that you can just keep ordering. One night my prime rib didn’t quite fill me up, so I ordered the lobster for dessert. Not to be outdone, Fred Hahn ate five lobsters. Yes, five.
After indulging in all that great food for a week, the scale in the gym told me I’d lost two pounds. Boy, I’ve got to stop eating like this.
There were more than 100 people in the low-carb group, so we took up an entire section of our dining room. Tables were assigned, but those of us who were speakers rotated to a different table every night, which gave me the chance to meet several loyal blog readers and Fat Head fans. That was perhaps the best part of the whole cruise … along with watching the waiters looking confused when everybody in our section turned down the dinner rolls.
The second night, Chareva and I sat at a table full of Swedes and learned that 20 people on this year’s cruise were from Sweden. (Given Sweden’s small population, I’m guessing the folks back home were wondering where the heck everybody went.) For those of you who don’t already know, there’s been a diet revolution going on in Sweden. I’ll explain how it happened in a future post, but the upshot is that after some heated national debates, the Swedish health service officially declared the Lipid Hypothesis dead. (Please, let that happen here next.) The popular diet in Sweden isn’t even called low-carb — it’s called low-carb/high-fat. In other words, they get it. Fat is good for you. Butter and eggs are health food.
The Swedish gentleman getting friendly with Chareva in the picture below figured out that fat is good for you even before the Swedish government did – by accident.
Sten (his first name) was overweight and sick for much of his adult life, and the standard-issue advice wasn’t helping him. Figuring he was going to die soon anyway, he said to heck with it (häcklaren med det in Swedish) and began living on bacon, eggs, butter, steaks, and all the other high-fat foods that were supposed to kill him. But a funny happened on the way to the Viking funeral: he began losing weight and feeling better. If you look closely at his shirt, you can see a picture of him posing with the pants he used to wear.
Another Swede I got to know is Katarina Wikholm (below). Like me, she’s the opinionated type, and we ended up having a debate one night which (if memory serves … which it doesn’t) had something to do with libertarianism and the World Court, among other issues. Then we became buddies. She assured me that my debating skills had been seriously hampered by a bit too much red wine, and she’s no doubt correct. Oh well … after finishing a huge project (such as a new speech), I tend to cut loose at least once.
I’m sure many of the Swedes were aboard because of this man, Dr. Andreas Eenfeldt (below), who has achieved something approaching rock-star status in Sweden. (I don’t know of any rock stars who are 12 feet tall, but go with me on this.)
Dr. Eenfeldt’s presentation on the diet revolution in Sweden rocked the house – pretty neat trick, since this was only his third time giving a lecture in English. Frankly, I wish more Americans spoke English as well as he does.
In addition to treating his patients with proper nutrition, Dr. Eenfeldt writes the single most popular nutrition blog in the world — and it’s in Swedish, mind you. I’ve tried reading his blog through Google Translate, but the translation tends to produce sentences along the lines of “Do not be alarmed by the rotund of pigs because their dripping is beneficial,” so I gave up. Well, I’m happy to report that Dr. Eenfeldt is now blogging in English on DietDoctor.com.
The other presentations were excellent as well. Dr. Mary Vernon (below), who began treating diabetics with a low-carb diet years ago, spoke about how nutrition affects metabolism.
Dr. Michael Fox (above), a reproductive endocrinologist who’s had amazing success helping women become pregnant by changing their diets, gave a fascinating presentation on how diet produces changes in our hormonal balances. (Bottom line for you ladies: if you want a healthy pregnancy and don’t want to resemble your husband when you’re 70, stop eating refined carbs.)
Jacqueline Eberstein (below), who was Dr. Atkins’ nurse for 30 years, spoke about the causes of weight-loss stalls. (You can learn more about other low-carb nutrition topics on her web site.)
We had a bit of equipment trouble in the lecture room before Jacqueline’s speech, so she filled the time by telling an amusing story: after her job interview with Dr. Atkins, she told him she didn’t want to work for him because she thought he was a quack. He leaned forward over his desk and asked how soon she could start. Shades of the Seinfeld episode in which George berates George Steinbrenner during his interview with the Yankees, and Steinbrenner responds with “Hire this man!”
Fred Hahn (below) spoke about the many, many benefits of proper strength training. He also conducted training sessions in the gym throughout the week. Several times at dinner, I’d hear someone say something like, “I can barely walk up the stairs. I had a session with Fred today.” Yeah, I know how they feel. I lift weights with Fred’s Slow Burn method, and it works those muscles deep. That’s why I’m stronger now than I was 20 years ago. I also stopped injuring myself during my workouts.
Dana Carpender (below center, with fellow cruisers Howard and Georgene Harkness) gave a speech titled Behind the Low-Carb Headlines.
Like my speech, Dana’s was about how to spot the nonsense studies that are always popping up in the media. Reading the seminar program, we at first thought we’d be covering the same ground, but it turns out the speeches were complementary; she just happened to hit the areas I didn’t cover in mine and vice versa, and she did an excellent job of taking a particularly bad study (Low-carb diets raise all-cause mortality!) and picking it apart piece by piece.
Finally, there was The Man himself: Jimmy Moore, who gave a speech about finding your passion and following it, whether it’s through blogging, video-making, podcasting, or just spreading the word about real food and real health among your friends. Jimmy was everywhere on the cruise … emceeing the seminars, handling some issues that popped up with the lecture room, making sure the speakers were rotated around the dining room at dinner, and of course, taking the stage in the karaoke bar. I took the stage a few times myself, often to sing duets with members of our group.
For shore excursions, Chareva and I chose to walk around and explore. On Grand Cayman, I noticed the local merchants are happily accommodating tourists who don’t have their diets under control:
See you all next cruise.
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