John F. Kennedy once introduced himself to a crowd in France as “the man who accompanied Mrs. Kennedy to Paris.” I can relate, sort of. I just returned from a low-carb cruise where I was one of the featured speakers, yet I’m tempted to introduce myself as “the man who accompanied Sara and Alana Naughton to the Caribbean.”
They were, after all, invited to sit down for more on-camera interviews than I was. I’m reasonably sure it’s because they’re cuter than I am. At least I hope that’s the reason.
Anyway, this was the first family vacation where the girls got to act like small adults, setting their own schedules and coming and going as they pleased. They even had their own room. Chareva and I booked the trip a bit on the late side, so there weren’t any family-sized rooms available. We looked at photos of how Royal Caribbean squeezes four beds into a standard room, which convinced us to book two rooms. I love my girls and want to keep it that way.
In my cruise report from two years ago, I wrote about Dr. Jay Wortman’s delightful and exceptionally bright daughter Isabella, a.k.a. Issy. When I learned she’d be joining him again on this year’s cruise, I predicted my girls would flip over her. Indeed they did. Actually, it was mutual flips all around. They were pretty much the Three Musketeers for the entire cruise. Here they are lounging together on the first day aboard:
And here are shots of the how the girls I accompanied to the Caribbean spent the rest of the week:
(That’s Chareva rock-climbing above.)
That’s part of the girls’ week, anyway. And now for the rest of us …
Meals and Table Mates
Truth be told, I thought the food on the previous Carnival cruises was better. More variety, bigger steaks, and more options late at night. But the food on our Royal Caribbean ship (the Independence of the Seas) was still very good.
We were fortunate to share a dinner table with two old friends and two new ones. At right in the picture below is Howard Harkness, a fellow programmer and blogger I’ve known for three years now. (Check out his N=1 Health blog.) At left is Fredrik Soederlund, a major in the Swedish Air Force and a first-timer aboard the low-carb cruise.
For most of his career, Major Soederlund was a flight engineer on helicopters. Now his job is to work with military members who are suffering from health issues such as obesity and diabetes. I’m pretty sure you can guess what kind of diet he recommends.
Not surprisingly, Major Soederlund thinks like an engineer. So as he explained over dinner, when he sees someone who’s obese, he doesn’t assume he’s looking at a weak-willed person who chooses to eat too much. He wants to know what’s gone wrong with the system and how to fix it. We need more people with that mindset, as I explained way back in a post titled What If Mechanics And Nutritionists Switched Jobs?
At far right in the picture below is Georgene Harkness, Howard’s wife. Like Howard, she’s been our cruise buddy for three years now. Next to her is another Swede, Leopold Roos.
You might be wondering what’s up with all the Swedes on these low-carb cruises. Well, as you probably know, there’s been a low-carb, high-fat revolution in Sweden. One of the rock stars of the movement is Dr. Andreas Eenfeldt, who recently decided (correctly, I believe) that he can do more good by promoting a low-carb, real-food diet than by treating one patient at a time. So he gave up his practice to focus on producing way more content for his expanded Diet Doctor blog. He’s also licensing content to make available to members … Fat Head, for example.
Many of the Swedes aboard this year’s cruise (including Leopold) are members of the production team. Click here to hear Dr. Eenfeldt explain what’s happening on the new site, which has already drawn 10,000 members.
As on previous cruises, many of us ended up gathering in the same bar after dinner to socialize. Like I said, the food was a bit better on the previous Carnival cruises, but I still preferred this Royal Caribbean ship overall – largely because the Royal Caribbean folks seem to grasp that sometimes people like to sit in a quiet area and talk. Carnival, by contrast, insisted on putting a loud band or musician in every space where people might gather.
The quiet place on this ship was the Champagne Bar. Here are a few shots from the after-dinner socializing.
As you probably know, the low-carb cruise is part vacation, part health seminar. Port days are for excursions and general fun, while the at-sea days are for presentations. On Monday afternoon I gave my presentation, which was a slideshow version of what will eventually be chapter three in the book Chareva and I are producing.
Here’s the book cover, at least as Chareva envisions it for now.
The chapter I presented as a speech is titled Getting fat isn’t about character. It’s about chemistry. It’s a kid-friendly version of the ideas I wrote about in last year’s series of posts titled Character vs. Chemistry. Here are some of the slides featuring Chareva’s drawings.
The speech went well, and the many comments I received throughout the week should keep me inspired to finish writing the rest of the book.
It would take forever to describe every presentation, so I’ll just copy and paste the list of speakers and topics from Jimmy Moore’s blog:
Monday, May 25, 2015
Dr. Keith Runyan – Management of Diabetes with a Ketogenic Diet
Dr. Eric Westman — HEAL Diabetes Medical & Weight Loss Clinics
Dr. Justin Marchiagiani – Hormonal Imbalances and the Blood Sugar Connection
Dana Carpender – ADD, Addiction and Obesity
Tom Naughton – Konvincing Kids that Kalorie Kounting is Kooky
Dr. Eric Westman – A Brief History of the Treatment of Diabetes
Dr. Philip Blair and Nancy Weber – Remote Low-Carb Healthcare
Dr. Jayson and Mira Calton – Micronutrient Miracle: How Real Food, Smart Supplementation, and Intelligent Lifestyle Habits Enhance Your Ketogenic Diet
Dr. Andreas Eenfeldt – The Food Revolution
Friday, May 29, 2015
Dr. Ann Childers – Stone Age Body, Space Age Diet: Food, Mood and Brain Health
Jackie Eberstein – Weight loss struggles of women over 50
Cassie Bjork – Non-Diet Reasons Why You Might Not Be Losing Weight and Getting Healthy
Caitlin Weeks and Nabil Boumar – How to Incorporate The Best of The Mediterranean Diet into your Low Carb Plan
Glen Finkel — Low-Carb Adapted Presentation
Michel Lundell – Why I Created The Ketonix Breath Ketone Meter
Jimmy Moore – 12 Things We Got All Wrong About Cholesterol And Ketosis
Jamie Caporosso – Keto-Paleo and Athletes
Emily Maguire – A Hitchhiker’s Guide To LCHF Around The World – My Journey So Far
Dr. Jay Wortman – Vested interests conspire against LCHF
Saturday, May 30, 2015
Dr. Michael Fox – Women, Hormones and Nutrition
Dr. Jose Lozado – Low-carb diet and cancer prevention
Q&A Session #1 (speakers from Day 1)
Q&A Session #2 (speakers from Days 2 & 3)
At some point, the speeches and slides will be made available online. I’ll try to remember to let you know when that happens. The bottom line is that, as usual, there was a wealth of information in the presentations.
The Flip Side of Dog-Tired Satisfied
When Sara was two, she plopped down next to me on the sofa one day and asked what I was doing.
“I’m reading a book,” I replied. “What are you doing?”
She considered for a moment, then answered, “I’m just wearing clothes.”
I’m just wearing clothes immediately entered the family vernacular as a way of saying I’m not doing anything at all.
As you can probably guess if you’re a regular reader, I’m a busy guy. Way busy. I’m a full-time programmer dealing with complex systems that can be mentally taxing. I write blog posts and answer almost all the comments, along with a ton of emails. I’m researching and writing a book, a chunk of which I just rewrote as my cruise speech. I spend most of my weekends doing manual labor around our land, going out and working myself into a state Dog-Tired Satisfied.
I’m not complaining, mind you. I chose this life. Hell, I love this life. But there’s not much downtime, and by the time the cruise rolled around, I could feel a bit of burnout creeping in.
So I didn’t jam-pack my schedule during the cruise. We took a guided tour on St. Kitt’s that occupied most of one day. We went ashore in Puerto Rico on another day and poked around for maybe an hour. There were the three seminar sessions, dinners every night, socializing in the Champagne Bar afterwards.
But believe it not, there were plenty of other hours in the week. I spent many of those hours in my room alone while Chareva took the girls rock-climbing, boogie-boarding, shopping, or whatever. I took naps. I read part of a novel. I even lay awake on the bed, staring at the ceiling, daydreaming. Several times I thought to myself, This is awesome. I’m just wearing clothes.
Exactly what I needed. But it’s good to be back.