The Healthy Writer

I blame my damned, hippy wife, as many of you know. She’s the one that got me to eating far healthier than I used to. Didn’t eat bad before, but I don’t keep much in the house these days that she can’t eat. For example: eggs. She’s horribly allergic. I eat them when I’m out, but don’t have them in the fridge any more. Do keep some cheese, but only for burgers (and the only bread in the house right now is a pack of burger buns.) Keep nutritional yeast flakes instead, and all them when cooking and need the flavor of cheese. Nothing I cook she can’t eat.

I’m going to publish a new Business for Breakfast book in October. Pulp Speed Writing for the Professional Writer. I know lots of pulp speed maniacs, like Dean, but many other people have a self-imposed set of blinders they inherited from Traditional Publishing that says anybody who writes fast must be writing crap. (Which really just tells me what kind of a writer they are. My stories come out amazingly clean, so I don’t have to spend months or years re-writing to make it not crap, like they apparently do.)

But as part of that book, I talk about ergonomics (setting up your writing space so you don’t hurt) and nutrition. You can’t write if you’re sick. Period. And almost all of your health issues are probably at least exacerbated by your diet, if not caused by it. Science is beginning to unlock some of the diseases that have been affecting people, and tracing the cause to bad diet choices.

You cannot outrun your fork.

And yes, I’m aware that some of my readers will be rolling their eyes and spewing profanities at me that they are special snowflakes and can’t do anything about their particular issues. The more my wife studies diet and health, and the more I learn, the less I am likely to believe you. I have known a number of women into middle age who suddenly (FINALLY!!!) got a doctor to look at their thyroid and suddenly they melted and had so much energy that they didn’t know what to do with it. Magic, right?

Or the folks that drink lots of diet soda, but can’t ever seem to lose weight, while eating bread and other things. (I remember fields of Russian #2 Red Wheat when I was kid. The stuff today is a different creature, and some people are allergic to the weed-killer on it. That’s why so many people have gluten issues. It’s the glyphosphates(sp) in it, not the wheat itself.)

Ya lose the bread, or even cut it back, and the weight drops, and the energy improves. More magic.

There are things you can do to be healthier, but you have to actually want to become a different person, in order to try them. I can’t want it more than you do.

For me, I never used to eat breakfast. Maybe a little coffee in the morning, but that was it. Lunch and a big dinner instead. Then I read something that the best way to keep a healthy weight was to breakfast like a king, lunch like a knight, and sup like a peasant. These days, I rarely eat dinner, and if I do, it is because I knew to skip lunch instead. Two meals per day is my rule.

But what is a healthy breakfast was a question I needed to address. When I decided to do breakfast, I was still working a day job.

My schedule in those days:

  • 4:00AM – up and shower
  • 4:20 – gone
  • 5:15 – arrive at work (yeah, 40 miles each way, so I had to do it early, or it would have taken 2-3 hours)
  • 5:15 – get upstairs and into the kitchen at work. Fix breakfast and coffee. Read the news on my computer.
  • 6:00 – start writing
  • 8:00 – go into my desk and start coding.
  • 5:00PM – go home

I used to get these frozen sausage and egg biscuits from Jimmy Dean. Two of those in the morning. I am not a sweets-for-breakfast person. I ate a pancake the other day for literally story research, because it had been so long since I had eaten one.

All well and good, but I wasn’t getting any vegetables or good stuff in my diet, beyond a men’s multivitamin. Fabulous Publisher Babe(tm) was moving into a hard keto/Wahl’s Protocol diet, which meant she ate 6-9 cups of various veggies each and every day.

So I started making stew. Sort of. It has evolved, but I had to explain it to someone this week, and that got me to thinking about talking about healthy eating, and so I’m gonna subject you to some thoughts.

I start with all the vegetables in the fridge or freezer (I keep bags frozen. Leaf veggies like spinach crumble well that way.)

  • Spinach
  • Kale
  • Mustard Greens
  • Bok Choy
  • Parsley
  • Carrots
  • Cauliflower
  • Broccoli
  • Red Cabbage
  • A beet mix I get at Safeway
  • Cucumber
  • Zucchini when I can get it
  • Sweet peppers occasionally
  • Whatever else we might have (most of this list is always available, plus a few season things, like the odd avocado.)

Next, two or three kinds of meat. I originally started by using cans of corned beef hash, but that has too much starch and such from the potatoes, so I eventually just got Corned Beef instead. A can of tuna is always good and lasts a long time. Maybe some spam, or deviled chicken. Something.

Then I discovered that my Safeway has a section of meat just past fresh and marked either 30% or 50% off, so I look in there for things with a lot of fat, because I can always freeze it and then cook later, and there will be a lot of cayenne involved in the final pot anyway. Lately, I have taken to getting pork shoulder bone in. End of summer and the idiot administration has pissed off the people we export pork to, so prices have been collapsing.

Chuck all the above into the crock pot. Add red wine vinegar, apple cider vinegar, and balsamic. A generous helping of Olive oil. Maybe some water if the fluid level is too low.

Now we move on to most of the spices. Seriously. Salt. Pepper. Garlic. Smoked Salt. Cayenne. Organic Chili Powder (no onions). Dill. Bacon Salt. Ginger. Kelp & Dulce.

Crock pot overnight and let cool. Pull out bones and if the meat is still chunky, it is now pulled pork, so break it down with your fingers.

Pour all that into a casserole trough, cover, and chuck into the fridge. Every morning, cut out a piece and microwave for 90-120 seconds covered.

My morning coffee includes coconut oil, coconut milk, collagen powder, and honey (local for allergies).

Healthy shit, Maynerd.

So yesterday, my damned, hippy wife leveled my breakfasts up. Big time.

We’ve talked about me adding liver. She makes pate, but not that often. so we went to the grocery specifically to get chicken livers that I could freeze and then use. While there, they had tiny lamb chops with bone in. Seriously, small enough, individually, to fit in my palm, about 2 inches thick. Six of them. Marked down. Mine.

Then, when we looked for livers, we saw the most amazing thing. (Those of you who believe fat is evil should look away now.) They had chicken fat. Seriously. Ya pull the skin off a chicken breast and previously they had thrown it away or something, but were now selling it. All that collagen and nutrients (What do you think makes chicken soup so damned healthy, bubbles?)

So we get home, and Fabulous Publisher Babe(tm) gets to work. Six freezer bags. One of the lamb chops in each. Plus separating the liver (and a few hearts) and the chicken fat. Throw in a couple of chicken feet because she just got a bunch at the co-op. Don’t know what else, but the next time I need to make breakfast, I already have a secondary bag of fat, nutrition, and stuff available, to go with some of the pork and beef I have leftover. drop it in and crock.

I figure I’m getting at least 2 cups of mixed vegetables each morning with breakfast, considering the eventual size of the chunk I eat, once it has cooked down. Plus several meats. Plus all sorts of different kinds of fats and other good stuff.

And I’m probably healthier than you are. Any of you. And I plan to outlive all of you by a significant amount, thank you very much.

I’ll be fifty next year, and I don’t have a spare tire around the middle. I don’t hurt or hunch over. I get mistaken for forty, only because I have a little gray in my beard now, but Fabulous Publisher Babe(tm) knows I’d be mistaken for her boy-toy if I shaved it all off. (I am, but that’s a different story we won’t go into now.)

What are you doing to insure that you have a healthy life? A long one? That you can live pain free?

This is the future. You can do things to lose weight and live better. And that’s not just walking more, but you need to do that, too.

Go get healthy. You cannot write in pain or sickness. Do something about it.