PAGG stack components I’ve found:

February 12, 2011 Leave a comment

Here is what I’ve found in my initial search for starting the PAGG stack.  I have not used any of this yet so I can’t comment on its effectiveness.  I also can’t comment on the quality or bioavailability of any of these.  How could I?  I don’t have a laboratory in my living room.  But these will be my choices since I’m on a budget.

Policosanol – $14 per 60 servings @ 20mg total (23mg is ideal)

4HB recommends 23mg of Policosanol per day.  This is as close to perfect as I could find.  $14 gets you enough to last 2 months.
NSI Policosanol BioCosanol – 60 Servings — 20 mg – 120 Capsules

Alpha-Lipoic Acid (ALA) – $8 per 120 @ 300mg each (300mg – 900mg total per day)

4HB recommends 300mg – 900mg ALA per day.  For $8 you get enough to last you anywhere from 1+ months to 4 months depending on how much you decide to use.
NSI Alpha Lipoic Acid — 300 mg – 120 Capsules

Green Tea Flavanols (EGCG) – $21 per 100 @ 725mg each (one per day)

4HB recommends a TOTAL of 725mg per day of decaffeinated green tea extract.  I was having trouble finding decaf EGCG but this one fits the bill.  It’s an extended release once-a-day pill that gives you your recommended daily amount.  I’m not crazy about “timed release” compared to taking the recommended dosage at times I can control, but I have zero research to back up that opinion.  So there ya go.
Life Extension Decaffeinated Mega Green Tea Extract 98% Polyphenolds, Vegetarian Capsules, 100-Count

Garlic Extract (Allicin Potential, S-Allyl Cysteine) – $15 per 150 servings (200mg per day)

Unless I’m missing something, I couldn’t find an actual daily recommended amount for garlic in 4HB.  If someone can shed some light on this for me I’ll update this page. 2oomg per day.  Right on page 116.  After doing some research it looks like Kyolic garlic is the least “offensive” to use… Perhaps the daily recommended amount is just how much of it you can stand to smell.  J  This particular version is 600mg of garlic powder per serving (two capsules) and is supposed to be odorless and tasteless.  At 150 servings for $15, that means one bottle will last you 5 months.
Kyolic Garlic Formula 100 Original Cardiovascular Formula (300 Capsules)

If my math is correct, which it is (keep in mind I’m using estimates), that works out to an “opening order” of approximately $58 plus shipping.  Since each product gets you a different number of servings and therefore a different amount of time before needing to reorder, you can break it down a few different ways.

With the above pricing:

Policosanol:        $7 per 30 day supply

ALA:                      $2 per 30 day supply

ECGC:                   $6.30 per 30 day supply

Garlic:                   $1.50 per 30 day supply

Or you could look at it this way:

That gives you a total cost of $259 over a 12 month period and you’ll still have a PAGG supply sitting in your kitchen at the end of the 12 months.


2.5 weeks in…

February 10, 2011 3 comments

Well I’m almost three weeks into doing Slow Carb.  Considering I STOPPED working out and am taking zero supplements (yet), I’m impressed with the results.  I’m putting NO effort in except to eat what’s “legal”.  Not only have I lost 10+ pounds, but my wife and I are spending less money on food than we usually do.

The need for sweeteners (either natural or artificial) is GONE.  Let me say that again.  It’s GONE.  I could care less.  The worst part about it is finding UN-sweetened drinks.  I’m on the road a lot and hit a lot of gas stations, convenience stores, etc. and it’s pretty useless to look for unsweetened drinks at any of them.  I found one single unsweetened drink at Target – Gold Peak Tea ( but that was it.  Everything else that was low calorie or “diet” has artificial sweeteners in it.  I now stop for bottled water if I run out of the bottle I bring with me and occasionally grab a black coffee from Burger King.  I don’t know if they’re doing this everywhere, but the BK’s around here are serving Seattle’s Best coffee.  Pretty darn good with nothin’ in it!

On days when I was at the office I used to grab a (huge) K-Cup of Kona Blend or Midnight Magic or whatever we had, throw three powdered creamers in it (eww), and three Splenda packets.  Now I just do a K-Cup of Earl Grey and am totally happy.

One interesting fact – I did a pre-Slow Carb experiment with the amount of Splenda I was using.  I was used to three packets, but after reading 4HB I decided to see what it would be like to just drop to two.  I did three for a few more days then switched to two.  I have no idea how else to describe it other than saying that I felt much less “harsh.”   It was like my body was working less to deal with what I was putting into it.  Normally I was jacked on caffeine and the Splenda-effect was just part of what I was feeling – and I was attributing it to the coffee.  One less packet and I felt much clearer and like I wasn’t straining.  Sorry but I just can’t put it into words.   If you’ve ever done the ECA stack (ephedrine, caffeine, aspirin) then you have some idea what it feels like… except there is zero positive benefit to Splenda.


Oddly enough, the biggest problem I’m having at the moment is that I’m not eating enough.  I do my egg whites, salsa, and veggies for breakfast every morning, but I’ve been so busy at work that I’ve been pushing lunch for hours and hours to the point where I just eat it for dinner or even the next day.  I do bring a little bag of mixed cashews, almonds, Brazil nuts, etc. and snack on that while I’m driving to and from jobs, but I’ve been slacking on stopping to actually eat.  I think part of it is I can’t eat a spinach salad with beans and chicken while I’m driving.  I think I just need to slow down and take a real lunch.  That’s a bad habit of mine.  Work, work, work, work, oops I haven’t eaten in 9 hours.

Last cheat weekend went a little “wrong” for my wife and I.  It was her birthday on Saturday and for some reason we talked ourselves into grabbing a pizza Friday night.  That was the first time I had cheated since my start date.  I did do 30 air squats before I ate it, though.  J

Another issue was that we were going to my parents’ house for a birthday dinner on Sunday.  Damn, that’s not on cheat day either!  So we already knew we were going to have some “illegal” food on Sunday and I think that helped us justify the Friday night pizza.  I snuck off for a few air squats before this meal as well.


So last Friday I picked up a new scale.  My old Tanita was OK, but only gave half pound increments for weight and full percentage points for body fat.  I was at 29% for 5 days straight.  I have no idea if I was at 29.1% or 29.9%, and no idea if I was going up and down that whole time or if I was “stuck.”  I picked up a Taylor that does weight, body fat, water, and bone mass.  Also it has a user memory feature where you save your sex, height, and age.  With the Tanita I had to enter my sex and height every time.

Now I don’t know if it’s just because the Taylor is taking more factors into consideration, but wow is it different from the Tanita.  The weight is pretty close between the two, but I have yet to figure out the best way to take a body fat measurement.  When I got it home I tested on both of them.  That day I was showing 27% on the Tanita and… 37% on the Taylor?!?!  Tried it again and again and it was different each time, but right in that range.  I did some research online and found people complaining about just that.  Some of them said they had to use “Athlete” mode to get anything close to accurate.  So that’s what I tried.  In Athlete Mode I was 34%, but it was much more stable when I tested multiple times in a row.  Huh.  An obese athlete.  How does that work?

I don’t really care about accuracy, but I just want something that is consistent.  I just want to know if I’m going up or down; if I’m making progress or not.  However, I didn’t really expect something that was going to be THAT far off from what I had been measuring.  I was tracking weight and body fat percentage every day since I started Slow Carb and even have a fancy little graph.  Now my graph makes no sense.  I went up 5% body fat overnight.  The weight stayed right in line, but now I can’t post the chart without having to explain it.

I have had a decline in body fat percentage readings since I’ve worked out a way to get a semi-accurate reading (I think…).  So really that’s all I am looking for.  I don’t care if it says I weigh 100 pounds as long as it consistently says I weigh 100 pounds.  I really don’t feel like I’m still over 30% body fat, though, especially since I’ve lost almost 15 pounds since I started.  But what do I know?  My perspective has been skewed for the past few years… but I do wish my graph didn’t look like it does now.


I’ve been busy trying to keep up with a few projects at night, but next week I need to introduce kettlebells twice a week.  I meant to start this week but have been overwhelmed trying to create some OTHER habits in my life.  Exercise will come, just need to get some other things in motion so THEY become “normal” in day to day life.

I’ve been looking at the PAGG stack as well.  For about $65 I can get enough to last a long time.   It breaks down to about $17/month.  That is awesome.  When I think of supplements I think back to my days at GNC when I would take a bunch of EAS supplements.  $90/month for this, $60/month for that, etc.  At one point I was taking $240/month worth of supplements and meal replacements.  $17 a month?  Hell yes!

More later…

Categories: Health Tags: , , ,

Not so sweet anymore

February 1, 2011 Leave a comment

Day 3

Zero natural or artificial sweeteners.  None.  Not even a craving.  Nice… 🙂

OK, so “Day 3” is actually just the 3rd day I haven’t had any sort of sweeteners, but whatever.  It’s actually day 9 of Slow Carb.  I like it.  Moved down one belt notch already.  This is NOT difficult at all.

Morning – jasmine green tea, egg whites, black bean salsa, spinach

Driving – mixed nuts (almonds, macadamia, cashew, brazil), half a liter of water

Working/Lunch – huge bowl of baby spinach, mushrooms, chicken, black beans, and oil & vinegar – plus one liter of water

Driving – mixed nuts

Home – jasmine green tea, haven’t decided on dinner yet (edit – went with grilled chicken thighs, green beans w/almonds, and mixed vegetables…)

Coffee with cinnamon?

January 31, 2011 Leave a comment

Anyone care to share a good recipe for coffee with cinnamon and/or vanilla?  I tried it this weekend and it was kind of a mess.  Cinnamon made it much less bitter but had an odd aftertaste in my opinion.  Adding vanilla extract got rid of the aftertaste and smoothed it out even more.  Unfortunately the cinnamon never fully mixed in and left a lot of grit and clumps.  However, I foresee some success in this concoction once I start doing it right.

So let me know if you have a tried and true method!

Categories: Health Tags:

Slow Carb

January 30, 2011 3 comments

And so it begins…

So I didn’t really post about it, but this past Monday my wife and I started the “Slow Carb” diet from 4 Hour Body.  I’ve been fascinated with this book and the entire methodology behind Tim Ferriss and his OCD-esque nature of experimentation and documentation.  There has always been a lot more to health and proper eating than the food pyramid, or “5 a day”, or an apple a day keeps the doctor away.  Even more in-depth dieting concepts never seemed to fully add up.  There are a lot of diets you can follow where you can make simple mistakes and throw the whole thing out of whack.  To me, the ideas in 4HB fill in the majority of the “why?” those failures can happen – and even why in some instances you can be doing the exact opposite of what you should.  I’m not even going to try to do the book justice by outlining it here.  Anything I said would be a bad paint by numbers version of the masterpiece that Tim spent years crafting.  Go get the book.  Seriously, it’s less than $20.  And it’s nowhere near being a “diet book” or a “self-help book”.  Not even close.

My wife and I went shopping on Sunday to prep for the week of new habits to be formed.  My stepdaughter was out-of-town on vacation in California all week so this made a perfect opportunity for us to start fresh.  We already had a little bit of what we needed for the week, but we only spent about $70 for enough food to get us through to the weekend.  That’s very low for us.  We’re not the most frugal of people when it comes to food… more on that later.  I’m not going to try to go into details about Slow Carb so I’m leaving food out of this.

  • Monday – No coffee in the morning.  No energy drink on the way to a job.  Wasn’t hungry.  Mind wasn’t clouded.  Rough morning of programming tweaks.  All afternoon in the office (for the first time in almost two weeks) catching up on things.  Never hit a “lull” in the afternoon.  Pretty impressed.
  • Tuesday – Acai tea this morning.  No energy drinks.  Wasn’t hungry.  Smooth and steady through 5 hours of programming changes and troubleshooting.  Off to another service call and another hour and a half of troubleshooting.  Energy drink on the way.  Felt stable and clear-headed the whole time.  Never felt overwhelmed even though I couldn’t figure out or fix the problem.  Just starting to feel the crash as I was leaving.  First time I felt “down” at all, and it wasn’t nearly as bad as usual.  Normally I’d be considering stopping for more caffeine in one form or another.
  • Wednesday – Acai tea again.  Early start and planning on a long day so I started with an energy drink once on the road.  Instead of feeling the need to slam most of it before I walked in the door, it actually lasted me about 7 hours.  I was finishing it off as I drove away from my last appointment.  Again, smooth and steady all day.
  • Thursday – Snow day.  Somewhere around 10″ of snow, so I drove my wife to work instead of going into the office then just worked from home the rest of the afternoon.  Never cheated on the diet, never wanted to…even though I was sitting right next to my kitchen for about 6 hours straight.  Only got about 4 hours of sleep due to having to pick the wife up from work at almost midnight then not going to bed right away.
  • Friday – Rough day of physical labor planned for the day (not really) so I snagged a Monster on the way to the job.  Struggled through a bunch of problems and not getting nearly as much done as I wanted, but still going strong all day until the end, when the 4 hours of sleep was catching up with me.  Other than that we did good.  BUT – knowing that Saturday was the mandatory “Cheat Day”, I was really craving a big, fat burger from Red Robin.  This is the first time all week that I’ve had a craving for anything.  I couldn’t shake it.
  • Saturday – Cheat Day!  Eat anything and everything!  Make yourself sick!  Doesn’t matter!… Well, I woke up, walked into the kitchen, looked around, and had zero interest in eating anything bad.  None.  I wanted to make the same breakfast I’d had all week.  I was actually disappointed.  I had envisioned this going quite differently.

But still, my wife is on the same schedule as me and she found a recipe for birthday cake pancakes.  No joke.  Pancake batter made with cake mix.  And sprinkles.  And a sugar glaze.  Hmm.  Ok.

So that was breakfast.  Lunch?  Why, Red Robin of course!  Except now I didn’t really want it.  What the heck is going on?  Ehh, I’ll go through the motions.  Red Robin it is.

And now my stomach is gurgling for the first time in a week.  And I’m feeling cranky for no apparent reason.  For the first time in a week.  Can it really be this black and white?!

Dinner?  Our favorite Japanese restaurant and a big Sapporo with a Korean seafood pancake.  Then half a box of Godiva truffles.  Then a crappy brownie from the grocery store bakery.

The result?  My wife and I can not wait to start the diet again tomorrow.  LOL!  Who woulda thunk it?  I’m actually not looking forward to Cheat Day next week.  Easy meals, simple grocery shopping, simple cooking, sustained energy, weight loss, improved mood?  Yes, please.


Here are my stats for the week.  They’re a little embarrassing, but what the hell.  No point in fooling myself that hiding my body fat percentage makes any difference, right?  I mean, I do wear it all day every day…

Day Weight Body Fat Percentage
Monday 191.5 29%
Tuesday 188.0 29%
Wednesday 186.5 30%
Thursday 185.0 30%
Friday 183.5 29%
Saturday 184.5 30%

That weight loss isn’t groundbreaking for me, and that 191.5 at the beginning was some sort of fluke.  I had been floating around 188.5 since almost a full month before starting the diet and this was the first day I had been over 189.5.  But – what is very impressive is that it was so easy to do, easy to follow, and inexpensive.  Plus those numbers don’t reflect my great mood, heightened productivity, and general feeling of well-being that I had all week.  Heck, we ran into some friends at the Japanese restaurant who we hadn’t seen since New Year’s and even after my day of feeling crappy and run down I was told I looked “very fresh”.  Whatever that means.  🙂

Next Step

Challenge for next week:  zero artificial sweeteners.  I know we’re not following Slow Carb exactly right, but I want to try to modify (optimize?) it one step at a time.  I tried to keep the artificial sweeteners to 16 oz. a day, but went overboard a few times with Diet Coke and those damned energy drinks.  Since I already think sticking to this is easy, I’ll tackle one small challenge at a time and see what kind of impact it makes.

Incredible (!!!) action sequence!

January 29, 2011 Leave a comment

Check out the climax from the Indian film Endhiran – the most expensive movie ever made in India.

WELL worth watching all the way through!

Categories: Uncategorized

Don’t you hate it when people post pictures of their dog?

January 27, 2011 Leave a comment


Categories: Pictures
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