More Morning Rambling: An Experiment with Rejection and Anxiety

Morning Sky and Morning Rambling blog post

It’s almost 7am and outside the once-black sky is now brightening into blue. I’ve been up since 5am on this Valentine’s Day morning. My show of self-love today is to allow myself to more morning rambling.

It’s my fourth day waking up at 5am, part of this 7-day challenge (if you know me, I’m motivated by challenges, now on Day 37 of a 60-day carnivore diet with my good friend, fueled by ketones and a sh*t-ton of energy).

This morning I’ve been up: meditating, planning, writing — but mostly reading.

I’ve been up reading inspiring and motivating stuff, like this article about artists and writers who swear by waking up early as the secret to their success.

These days, I’ve been incredibly inspired by Jia Jiang, who I learned about in the book about social anxiety, How to Be Yourself, by Ellen Hendriksen, Ph.D. As I learned in Ellen’s book, “Facing your fears is called exposure.” And that was what Jia was doing when he decided to embark on a self-experiment project to face his fears, which resulted in a book: Rejection Proof: How I Beat Fear and Became Invincible Through 100 Days of Rejection. He had been an entrepreneur who lost funding from a key investor. Beginning to lose faith in himself, he came up with what would look to anyone to be an absurd idea, to set rejection as an actual goal every day for 100 days, asking complete strangers for strange requests, such as borrowing $100, posing as a mannequin at a clothing store, making an announcement on a Southwest flight. All of this to make him realize that life isn’t as hard as we make it out to be.

Anyhow, I have become quite smitten with the idea of facing fear in the face. As someone who has been quite timid my entire life, I’m really sick of letting fear rule my days. Before long, it’ll be all over, this life. So what do I have to lose? Also I’m realizing that much of my anxiety and fears stem around what other people might think; thus, my particular anxieties have everything to do with social anxiety. And I’m sick of letting this anxiety rule my life.

Recently, it delighted me to no end to read that Patrick Stewart’s habit to beat anxiety as an actor is to say out loud,

“I don’t give a f*ck!”

before he steps onstage every night. In his interview with Rolling Stone magazine (February 2020), he says that Duncan Ross, his acting teacher once told him: “Patrick, you will never achieve success by ensuring against failure.” So now his habit is to say that phrase, an incantation (in my opinion) against fear. And you know what? Here’s what he has to say: “It works. It takes away anxiety, stress, and all those stupid wasteful things that don’t help you at all.”

One of the reasons I’m up this early at 5am for the fourth day in a row is because I was inspired by Jia and his challenge to wake up early. And as someone who is trying to fit more writing into my life, to finally finish my novel, as well as put other writing out there, it’s become more apparent that a lot of successful writers write in the morning. In January, after I woke up at 4am to take a friend who was visiting me in Austin to the airport, I parked myself at a cafe to write and work. Being up while the sky was still dark, before most people were awake, energized me like no other time. There is something magical about the early morning hours. I began to crave having that extra time for myself, before I even do work for clients. To carve out this space and time for me and my own writing — what a heavenly treat that was!

This entire week, I’ve been working on my novel every morning. Whereas before it didn’t seem there was an end in sight, now I feel encouraged by the possibilities. I know I will finally finish this year!

(On that note, I’m going to go work on my novel scene list, set the timer on the pomodoro, and summarize for 25 minutes. Just 25 minutes. I can do this!)

ANYTHING can be done, one thing at a time:

1. But you need to first set an intention (I am going to stop and do ___.)

2. A container of time (ex. I’m setting a timer–a pomodoro— for 25 minutes).

3. Add some motivating or focusing music.

4. Ask yourself what are 1-3 tiny steps I can take to get started?

5. Then tell yourself to “Go!” (And if you add a dose of Jia’s badass courage to face your fears of rejection and failure, you, too, can become “Rejection Proof!”)

A lot of the above has to do with mindfulness. Whether it’s getting through a run or a workout (one step, one rep, at a time), writing a novel (one word, one scene, one act at a time), or copywriting (just one small step at a time, first a sh%tty draft, one line at a time, then a “done is better than perfect final edit”).

Jia Jiang is motivating me to try experimenting with rejection, with welcoming “no’s” into my life, to look at fear in the face. So many things are swirling around in my brain, around trying things I’m usually afraid to do.

Some of my biggest fears when it comes to rejection:

1. Writing to publish

2. Submitting and pitching my writing to _____ (magazines, contests, literary journals, residencies)

3. Publishing articles on Medium and elsewhere

4. Finally hitting “Publish” on a draft that’s been sitting in my Medium account from over a year ago about how I used LSD for the first time as an adult in my 40s, combining it with carnivore, fasting, ketosis and having the most healing time in my life, despite once been diagnosed with bipolar disorder type 2 with debilitating depression, now mentally happier and physically healthier without any meds.

5. Talking to strangers and making small talk/eye contact

6. Being in big groups (parties, conferences, etc.)

7. Chatting on social media, Slack, Zoom meetings.

8. Asking for a rate increase

9. Applying for other jobs/gigs/courting new clients

10. Taking improv and other creative classes

11. Texting/emailing friends back (afraid too much time has already passed)

12. Traveling alone

13. Making new friends in a brand new city


Inspired by Jia Jiang, I wrote up a “100 Rejections Challenge” for myself in my bujo, as a place to log all the tasks that make me uncomfortable and fearful, just so I can practice this facing of possible rejections in my daily life.

It’s funny how the tiniest things can make me fearful sometimes, induce stage fright, such as responding back to people on social media, texts, Slack messages. How making a simple ask from GoFundMe donors to help a grieving friend can make me want to run into a corner, drink wine and numb out with movies and/or bread or sugar. The thought of writing a Medium article or pitching a magazine editor makes me want to vomit. Sometimes, when I’m really off (like when my GKI is in the 50s or non-existent), even making small talk in the elevator with strangers makes me feel as if I’m jumping off a cliff without a parachute. Parties with people, even good friends, scare me. Reading my own writing aloud at literary readings have always been preceded with many glasses of wine. Once the structure of a workshop or class is over, I don’t know what to do with myself, my safety behavior is to run and hide, wishing I had an invisibility cloak to wear. Afraid to be found out, that I’m just a socially inept human being unable to interact normally.

I’m embracing rejection today.

“I dare you to reject me!” My insides are shouting. “I welcome it!”

What if I welcomed rejection every day this year? What would happen? What could possibly happen? Really?




Photo by YUXUAN WANG on Unsplash

Waking Up Early

Clock that shows waking up early

I’m up early again. Day 3 of my 7-day challenge to wake up early at 5am. So far, I’m doing it! Can’t believe I’m up so early, but once I’m up, it feels damn good to plan my day and write before anyone else is up, before the sun dares to even peek out.

Outside it’s dark (it’s now 6:19am) and I’ve already had half a cup of coffee, meditated, checked my fasting glucose (87 mg/dL :), ketones and GKI, planned out my day, tracked habits in my habit tracker, and am now typing out Morning Pages. Such a good feeling! I really love the energy of the early morning. That is, when I’ve slept well. Yesterday morning, I didn’t feel quite as refreshed as today or the first day I awoke at 5am. But what a difference a full night’s of rest makes! I feel ready to slay my day!

I’m going to try this self-imposed 7-day challenge to wake up early at 5am to see if my writing life improves. So far, I’ve been kicking ass (powered by ketones and caffeine), getting up early to write, getting some novel scene list exercises done, even some blogging here, before making breakfast and lunch for my kid. I love waking up when everyone else seems to be still asleep, the outside skies pitch black, except for the occasional glitter blasts of headlights on the streets below. This year I am devoting to writing, to a more literary life, to finally finishing, revising, and querying this novel.

I’ve got this!

Photo by Viktor Talashuk on Unsplash

Song I’ve fallen in love with while writing this morning, found on Spotify: Salam – Souad Massi

The Practice of Rejection Exposure

photo of woman with hands - for rejection exposure post

The other night I came across a fascinating account of a guy who decided to practice his exposure to rejection. His name is Jia Jiang, and for 100 days, he challenged himself to getting rejected in public, something he was deathly afraid of, having been rejected in public as a small kid in elementary school.

I’ve decided to, inspired by Jia Jiang, to start my own 100 Rejections Challenge. Inside my bullet journal, I numbered 1-100 and decided that anything that could possibly end up with a rejection, could go in there.

Bullet Journal with 100 Rejection Exposure Challenge

Applying for a writing conference like Bread Loaf, for example, is going in there.

Asking others to help out a grieving friend for the third time was another.

Writing up a draft for a client knowing that it may not be well-received went in there too.

At some point, I’m going to try higher-stake ones, such as querying my novel, writing Medium articles and hitting publish (even if no one ever claps for it)…

Pitching and submitting pieces and ideas to magazine or literary journals…

Going to a social event and talking to at least one stranger.

Taking an improv class and not rushing home as soon as it ends.

Perhaps joining a writing group or signing up for a writing class here in Austin.

Posting a poem on my blog even though I’m the furthest thing away from being a poet (here we go: see below).

My intention for this challenge? To be more brave, more courageous, more badass. To be fearless, I must be able to face fear in the eye and say, “You’re not as scary as I thought.”

On that note, here is my attempt at a poem I wrote earlier this morning (having gotten up at 5am to try a new habit to awake early to write, a la Toni Morrison):

Early Morning Poem

Scrabble words photo from Rejection Exposure blog post

I spent the morning drenched in words
For an hour I sat, saturated in poems
three women poets
Lost in words
Laced in lust
Love like lace
lulls a lullaby
of lavished imagery

Not a waste
this morning
scaffolding my day
a foundation built
with nothing more
than words
sweet letters
strung together
details and descriptions
divine time
before most
are even


Insert Photo by Brett Jordan on Unsplash

Featured Image Photo by Brett Jordan on Unsplash

Permission to Ramble: Thoughts on Creative Writing and Health Coaching

A hand writing with permission to ramble

I am giving myself full permission to ramble here. Especially since it’s been a bit since I last showed up to blog. When I first sought out to blog, I had it in my mind that everything contained here in would be presented as … a gift. Something that can help others, but also I pictured perfection. A piece written so compact, so divine, it might as well have a big dapper bow smack in the middle of it like a shiny Christmas present under a towering tree.

Unfortunately, perfectionism is daunting. And not attainable. So here again, I am practicing the art of simply showing up, of telling myself, “Done is better than perfect,” and to see this as a writing practice. And even if I can’t think of anything major to say, or stick to a specific subject, I’ll just show up and type out whatever is on my mind.

Today is Day 33 of a 60-day (nose-to-tail) carnivore challenge. The challenge also includes not drinking any wine. I’m doing it with a good friend who has type 2 diabetes, and so far, she and I are still at it. The best part about this whole thing is that I get to hear from her on a daily basis, as we text each other for accountability. I imagine this might be similar to something a health coach might do, but I’m not quite certain, to tell you the truth. I’ve actually explored the possibility of becoming a health coach, focusing on the connection between food and mood, insulin and depression, how your biology influences your psychology. As I have, over the years, become more mentally strong, I’d love to figure out a way to help others know that using real, unprocessed, food to improve their mental health is possible.

There are so many health coaching programs out there. Ones I’ve looked at are:

Right now, I’ve decided to table health coaching education for now, as my main priorities this year are to:

  1. Bring in more money for my family by either taking on more writing/editing clients or taking on a part-time job unrelated to writing (so I can focus on my own creative writing).
  2. Finish revising my novel and begin querying and researching publishing options.
  3. Be in the best shape I’ve ever been in so far — in health (mental and physical) and body composition.
  4. Being more present for my family.

This really feels good to type it out. To see it in print. I tend to take on more than I can stomach. My eyes have always been bigger than my stomach, so this year I’m trying to cut down on unnecessary stuff. For a hot second there, after listening to Zach Bitter talk to Geoff Woo, I considered adding ultra-running in as a possible side-thing, to help increase my HRV. But then reality set in, and I had to shut that idea down. There was no way I would be able to spend quality time with my kid, my partner, finally finish my novel, complete work tasks for clients, take on more work to bring in money, if I was outside training for hours on end.

So today, I settled for a 30 minute run on the treadmill, as it was misty and sprinkling outside. As I ran, I listened to a new podcast focused on writers and their writing routines. Last year, about this time, we were living in our RV racing from Baja to Baja Sur, Mx, trying to get me to catch a flight to San Miguel de Allende for a writer’s conference to meet up with another good friend. While there, I met so many new writer friends. One of them was a novelist named Joy who wrote mysteries under a pseudonym. She just texted my friend and myself a new podcast to listen to when we asked her for writing tips, especially for someone who holds down a day job as a therapist and also has kids. She not only reminded us to commit to the writing time as if it were a job, she also sent along a podcast rec that helps keep her on track: Writer’s Routine with Dan Simpson.

While on the treadmill, I listened to a guy named Mason Currey who wrote, ‘Daily Rituals: Women at Work.‘ He talked about one of my favorite sci-fi writers, Octavia Butler. She once worked a full-time job as a potato chip inspector, so in order to write, she’d get up at 2 or 3am to work on her fiction. Talk about dedication!

I will end this blog post with my favorite quote in the entire world by Octavia Butler (a self-taught fiction writer):

Octavia Butler Quote on my permission to ramble post

Photo and quote image credit (above):

Featured Image Photo by Luca Laurence on Unsplash

My 7 Day Water Only Fast: Days 6 and 7 Plus Takeaways

Graph that correlates my water only fast to glucose and ketones and more from Heads Up app

Well, guess what? I did it! Actually went without food and coffee for seven whole days. That’s 168 hours. Even though this isn’t my first prolonged fast for autophagy, I feel proud of myself for having the mental and physical strength to do it. Last year, in January 2019, I did a 7 day fast and wrote all about it in a blog draft, but didn’t have the courage to post it. (I may still post it a year later just for the hell of it. I mean, why not?) This year is different. I’m practicing showing up more for myself, my writing practice, and hopefully, in the process, help anyone who reads this and finds some of what I write, which I’m always still learning with each day, to be useful.

With that in mind, here are my stats below, along with some takeaways from my third (or is it fourth?) prolonged fast, which is the first time I’m starting a fast like this with a nose-to-tail carnivore way of eating (20 days before Day 1 of 7-day water only fast).

Day 6 Water Only Fast Stats:

Fasting Glucose: 71 mg/dL

Ketones (BHB): 5.3 mmol/L

Glucose:Ketones Index (GKI): 0.7

Weight: 123.2 lbs

Mood/Energy/Notes: Energy lower today. Not as productive. Sour taste in mouth, went away with a minty mouth wash. Drank mint tea. Felt like watching YouTube videos all day. Binge-watched Keto-Connect’s Matt and Megha while trying to decide if I should buy an air fryer or not. Was it worth it? Even though Maria Emmerich’s new Carnivore cookbook used it in almost every other recipe? (She does always have an oven option too, which I’ve been using.) Anyhow, I loved watching Matt and Megha’s new adorable baby, Theo, knock over coffee and flop around while they filmed videos about keto; it reminded me of my days as a new mom, with my own floppy baby who is now 15 years old (where did the time go??). Made me miss breast feeding. I’m so glad I breast-fed for 18 months. That is until I got so sick with asthma that I had to get on mass doses of Prednisone. These were the days when I was eating a very high carb/low fat diet, and even went vegetarian for a year, mostly eating pasta, sandwiches, and lots of dessert. I think back then I weighed around 165. My max weight was 170 when I married in 2011, when my mom said I looked like a pork bun. What a long way I’ve come! Anyhow, I digress. So back to binging videos. I also watched Chihyu’s strangely addictive cooking videos on how to cook Asian food that is also low-carb, Paleo/Whole30 and keto. For Asian cooking, Chihyu, Michelle Tam of Nom Nom Paleo, and my favorite of all: Kelly Tan Peterson (who happened to be one of my clients I do some freelance writing for from time to time; I met her at Low Carb USA in San Francisco one year while there with my friend Emmie). Kelly, who has been eating keto for 9+ years, is throwing Singapore’s first Low Carb Singapore conference in May 2020 to help people learn how to prevent diabesity with real food. She’s got some fantastic low-carb speakers like Ivor Cummings, Dr. Eric Westman, and more. Plus it’s sponsored by the Tim Noakes Foundation, and more. She also has a huge presence on Facebook with her many groups designed to help people learn about keto and get healthier. For a 52+ year old woman, she looks like she could be my younger sister. When my husband and I were in Baja Sur living in our RV full-time with our kid, we had the opportunity to meet Kelly and her husband in person at a Cabo restaurant. Her husband, a doctor, also looks like a young healthy man. They actually look like they’re glowing from the inside, aging backwards. Totally inspiring what ketosis can do for you!

Day 7 Water Only Fast Stats:

Fasting Glucose: 61 mg/dL

Ketones (BHB): 5.9 mmol/L

Glucose:Ketones Index (GKI): 0.5

Weight: 123.2 lbs

Mood/Energy/Notes: Calm, happy. Totally not hungry. Did a lot. Cooked and prepped up a storm in our kitchen today for dinner and the next few days without actually wanting to eat. Strange! My husband, Darrell, was on Day 3 of his fast, ending his the same time as my brother 7-day fast. He was a grouch on his Day 2 (notoriously the worst day of an extended fast, yet once you get past it, gets easier!). We ordered meat from White Oak Pasture. Lots of organ meat, grass-fed suet, and even duck feet for our bone broth. Darrell is loving nose-to-tail carnivore, having no big plans to stop. My friend and I have extended our 30-day carnivore challenge to 60 days now. After that, we’ll re-evaluate to see if we should go longer or not, or return to a more regular keto approach, cycling in carnivore in between. Anyhow, didn’t feel like exercising at all today.


Felt surprisingly less anxious and more calm, especially when my GKI neared 1 and below. I mean, serious zero social anxiety. For much of the fast past Day 2, I woke up not feeling that familiar anxiety/angst gnawing at me in the pit of my stomach, thinking of all that I needed and wanted to do. I could tell myself: Yes, you have all that to do. But you can do it, one pomodoro at a time. Whether it’s a novel or work task, everything just felt manageable. I could rely on self-compassion and trust.

Not eating for 7 days left me with more time, more focus, and surprisingly more productivity. I wrote a lot. Words tumbled out.

I felt like a monk. More grateful and appreciative of the little things. Like meditating every day, many times twice, being mindful and noticing all of my senses as I sipped hot mint tea, drank my many glasses of water sprinkled in with salt, moved my body and enjoyed the sensations of yoga stretches and pushups. I felt like a badass every time I did some chin-ups (my favorite so far) or pull-ups at the gym. I love feeling strong, in both body and mind!

I realized just how strong I am in my mind. If I can get through 7 days without any food, just water and hot non-caffeinated tea–not to mention, not a drop of coffee!–I can do anything!

It was hard to believe how past Day 2, I rarely felt hungry or tempted, never wanting to eat. Even on Day 7 when it was time to break the fast. I knew I could’ve kept going!

Everything seemed more beautiful, colors more vivid, music more poignant. My senses were heightened. I felt more in tune with nature. Definite full-blown euphoria on Day 3. (The last few years when I did my annual 7-day fasts, euphoria usually hit around Days 5 or 6.)

Surprisingly, not hungry even though I enjoyed cooking and searching for recipes from Maria Emmerich’s carnivore cookbook. What was different about this fast versus past ones, was that I began the fast with 20 days of carnivore, adding lots of fat like duck fat. Which was probably why Day 1 of my fast, I woke up with a GKI of 2-something.

My plan for future fasts: 3-day fasts per month similar to what Dr Peter Attia is doing; my husband will be doing it too. We’ve already marked our calendars for Feb 27 when we’ll begin our 3-day water only fast after our last meal before bed, ending it on March 1 around the same time. My husband will be in 5 years of remission from his cancer this October, so with a PET scan coming up soon, he’s working on adding in monthly fasts, along with intermittent fasts, cleaning up his diet even more (staying nose-to-tail carnivore mostly throughout the year and laying off wine). Over the past year or so, we’ve become more and more lax with our keto-eating, letting carb creep set in especially while traveling and eating out a lot, plus we had started drinking more. This year we’re starting the year with a reset that we hope will set the tone for our combined health the rest of the year.


Featured Photo: This is the Analyzer feature in the Heads Up web app I use to correlate whatever the heck I want; in this case, my 7-day fast to note health metrics I care about, such as GKI, fasting glucose, ketones, and weight. Notice how with each day fasted, my GKI, weight, and fasting glucose decreases. Ketones shot up surprisingly higher than any of the prolonged fasts I’ve done before in previous years. Wonder if it has something to do with starting the fast off after being on a strict carnivore diet for 20 days straight? (Note: Weight is something I usually only measure once a month, not daily. Only in an extended fast because I’m curious how much I’m losing, knowing it will go back up.)

Music while putting together this blog post: “Bitter Heart” by Zee Avi (I love this woman’s music!)

Days 4 and 5 of a 7-Day Water Only Fast

Swirly painting that looks like water for my water only fast blog post

Hi there. Believe it or not, I’m still alive. And still going! (Incredibly hard to believe since I’ve given up coffee for this week. May consider weaning off coffee to reduce anxiety and to increase better sleep, but we’ll see.)

Below are some notes taken so far on my 7-day fast for the past few days.

Day 4 Fast Stats:

Fasting Glucose: 92 mg/dL (not sure why it rose higher than usual here)

Ketones (BHB): 5.4 mmol/L

GKI: 0.9

Weight: 125.4 lbs

Mood/Energy/Other notes: Mood pretty good. Energy on the medium side. I did a quick workout in the morning, but didn’t push myself too hard. Did some gentle yoga stretches. Tried to be productive but ended up getting lost watching an almost three-hour-long (why does it have to be THAT long?) Joe Rogen podcast with Dom D’Agostino. It was highly enjoyable, especially since I’m always hungry to learn more about ketosis and how ketones are a signaling molecule, akin to a drug, to pathways in our brains, helping to reduce inflammation and a plethora of other health benefits. As someone who once took anti-convulsants for bipolar disorder type 2, I know first-hand that I feel my best when my GKI is low (ideally under 8 or lower) when my ketones are up and my fasting glucose is low. Whenever I let myself go for longer periods of eating refined high carbs and foods with sugar, grains and starch, my GKI goes up to through the roof (I’m talkin’ 60 or so, and that’s when I’m actually still registering ketones) and my my fasting glucose shoots up to prediabetes levels (130s to 140s). Anyhow, I digress. I’m just continually fascinated at what ketosis can do to your brain, heart, liver, gut and overall health. Later that night, I had a sudden urge to plan meals for the following week, when I’d break my fast to eat carnivore meals. My friend and I are planning to go for a total of 60 days on carnivore (which means it’ll end on March 6 for us, my sister’s birthday). When that day arrives, I’ll decide whether or not I’ll want to continue eating carnivore, or cycle back into a more modified carnivore with some occasional vegetables, or just regular keto/paleo/primal, which is what I usually try to follow most of the time. I was carnivore for about three months back in 2018, when I was in the best shape of my life, both mentally and physically. So it’s hard not to want to feel and look good when something is so obviously working. Yet I do love vegetables from time to time. So we’ll see.


Day 5 Fast Stats:

Fasting Glucose: 65 mg/dL

Ketones (BHB): 6.6 mmol/L (Whaaat??!)

GKI: 0.5

Weight: 123.8 lbs

Mood/Energy/Other notes: Surprisingly calm and blissful. Energy even on the high side throughout the day. I did yoga in the AM and also did a complete THENX beginner workout at the gym, completing two sets of jump chin-ups (16 reps total). Usually I have trouble lasting more than 15 seconds when it comes to doing mountain climbers, but when the 30 seconds were up, I actually kept going! Ran out of time because I was meeting a writing friend via Skype (we meet every morning to work on our novels together), so only did 2 sets out of 3. But I was mighty proud of myself given I was working out in a fasted state. I also wondered if my extra strength came from doing 20+ days of strict nose-to-tail carnivore, something my good friend I are doing, as well as my husband, to do as a reset for our mental and physical health?

Productivity-wise, I did much more than I usually am able to do, in terms of focus. I was surprisingly very detail-oriented and didn’t go into my usual beat-myself-up-for-not-getting-more done mode, feeling utmost compassion for myself and ease. I felt grateful to have work that felt meaningful and of service to others (I was updating and compiling a list of resources for those searching for more info on the ketogenic diet as it pertains to cancer; and since this is a topic that hits me personally, I felt blessed to be able to help others find info I’d give to my own loved ones–in fact, I’d love to revisit these resources myself to re-read!). Today, I had no problems cooking breakfast and making lunch for my teenaged kid, even though my senses were heightened and I could smell the bacon more intensely than usual. Still, I didn’t feel any desire to eat. Just happily sipped water with Redmond Real Salt and during special moments, sipped peppermint tea. In between the 25 minute pomodoros for writing and work, I used my 5 minute breaks for push-ups and yoga poses like the locust pose, which sends my heart beating like a hummingbird, a pose I learned from a yogi professor San Francisco State University many years ago, that induces courage.

Random inspiring video that I wanna share

Watching badass women rocking pull-ups and chin-ups!

Some photos that show some of what I’ve been tracking and carnivore eating before and during my fast:

The above shows some of my screenshots from the app I use to track my health: Heads Up. They have a fasting timer built into the dashboard so that I can track other metrics I care about especially during this 7-day fast (most notably, my GKI, fasting glucose, ketones, weight and meditation time), so if anything goes amiss, I can easily shoot this info to my holistic nutritionist or doctor. It also, quite honestly, motivates me to keep going. For someone who was once prediabetic and starting to see my fasting glucose creep up above 100 the past several months, it’s tremendously satisfying to see how simply resetting this month with a nose-to-tail carnivore diet and adding this 7-day fast has brought the trend back down. I can literally imagine inflammation going down as IGF-1 decreases and autophagy kicks in, blasting any potential tumors too. And again, as the wife of someone who was diagnosed with cancer back in 2014, I am really hyperaware about preventing cancer. It’s interesting to note through the graphs above how all the numbers are trending in the direction I want them to go. Fasting glucose is trending down. Another cool thing about the Heads Up app is that you can see immediately, on-the-go, your dashboard of daily stats. You can also see monthly and yearly averages too. There was one year, between 2017 and 2018 when I averaged a GKI of 6 for an entire year! I love that. It keeps me honest. So when I tell someone I’ve been keto, I can actually quantify it with data that proves it. For my fasting glucose, you can see that my average is SO much better this month (92 average) as compared to last month (106). Seeing this progress just gives me so much joy and motivation to keep on going! It’s also fascinating just how high my ketones went on Day 5 of my 7-day fast (6.6!), which probably has to do with me being mostly keto-adapted having been keto since end of 2014, on and off. Last year while living in a RV full-time in Mexico, carb creep was an issue as we began to eat out more and more, drinking wine most nights, feeling like we were on vacation at times. Although my husband and I were keto and low-carb as much as we could, my numbers show that things could’ve been better. But such is life, and traveling and enjoying new cultures and new food is part of the enjoyment of life. So no regretting. Just starting from now. A reset.

The photos above show my “last supper” before embarking on this 7-day water only fast. I ate and made the most delicious carnivore waffles made simply with eggs and ground beef! It’s from Maria and Craig Emmerich’s new Carnivore Cookbook. She even has a carnivore hollandaise sauce that is to die for. I made it using duck fat which makes topping the waffles that much more decadent. The day before that I made our family Maria Emmerich’s carnivore Scotch Eggs. I didn’t have the prosciutto to wrap around before baking, but it was still off-the-charts delicious. My kid ate it for breakfast two days in a row! I made her soft-boiled eggs and it makes my mouth water just typing this just how good it was, the mouthfeel of eating it. Highly recommended! I never thought of it before, but Scotch Eggs are definitely a carnivore delicacy. Not pictured is salmon roe, which my husband and I have been eating regularly. I’d like to eat it daily to provide more Omega-3s into my body and brain. We also try to eat organ meat like liver into our weekly meals, usually mixed in ground meat like hamburger or sausage patties or meatballs. I’m not quite there where I can eat the liver or heart whole. My mom, who came to the U.S. in the 1960s from Taiwan, loves eating nose-to-tail. As a child, I watched her nibble on chicken necks, feet, eating whole fish while gnawing on the bones. She made bone broth on the regular, Chinese style, and she’d mix in organ meat into home-made sausages. She was doing this stuff before it was trendy. Now, unfortunately, she’s more into buying processed and refined carbohydrates from stores where she can get the “best value,” buying bread, muffins, frozen entrees with a bazillion ingredients on it, often eating out and feeding my dad, who has diabetes type 2, and my 85 year old aunt with Alzheinmers, food from McDonalds, Kentucky Fried Chicken, Taco Bell and Subway. It’s crazy how her eating and cooking habits have changed over time. My dad, who was in the hospital for surgery, having neuropathy so bad from diabetes, actually had my mom sneak in his favorite drink of all time: Coca-cola!

Anyhow, I digress. My husband, who is mostly nose-to-tail carnivore now, happily seared the pork chops above in the photo a few days before my fast. The photo on the bottom left is a carnivore breakfast for my teenaged son before he took off for school. It’s a carnivore waffle with a giant omelette filled with smoked salmon and goat cheese. He’s not carnivore or keto, but will eat some of the food we make from time-to-time. The picture in the bottom middle is of my habit tracker. Since 2016, I’ve been using a bullet journal (Leuchtturm1917) to track new habits (did I write? did I meditate? Did I stay on track with eating? Did I drink wine?) and metrics I care about (fasting glucose, ketones, GKI, weight, period). But for Christmas, my husband bought me a journal that’s made by James Clear of ATOMIC HABITS, a book I had bought and devoured on Kindle. He didn’t realize that I had already read it, so he bought me the hardback version too. I keep it by my bed to stay on track. I should also mention that I transfer some of the health data I jot down in the habit tracker into the Heads Up app, so I can track and trend and chart my progress over wide swaths of time (how did I fare over the last year? how about the year before? how about since 2016, when I officially started tracking in Heads Up?), and can correlate with lab tests such as those I get via LabCorp or Quest Diagnostics such as my A1c, thyroid and lipid panel, markers I wanna track such as my inflammation biomarker: CRP. Once a month, I also do a “Measuring Day” where I measure my waist, hip, chest, calves, arms, weight (which I avoid measuring daily, except during a long fasting interval), just to see how I’m progressing (or not). Again, this keeps me motivated to keep on track. And when I fall off, as does happen with life, I’m usually cognizant that this correlates with situational stressful life events (ex. when my sister’s friend killed himself back in 2018, I completely stopped carnivore eating, and when another good friend’s husband committed suicide successfully end of October in 2019, I found solace in food as I tried to be the best possible friend I could for her, yet feeling like I wasn’t doing enough; this while juggling parenting and working). Anyhow, the last photo on the bottom right is a photo of me texting my accountability partner, who is also resetting with a carnivore diet for her type 2 diabetes. We text each other every day and I appreciate all of her highly knowledgeable insights on food and nutrition. I feel blessed to have a good friend that is also into carnivore and keto and we can both keep each other motivated and on track. Knowing that she is doing this too makes it so much easier!


Photo by Adrien Converse on Unsplash

Fasting for Health: Days 2 and 3 of a 7 Day Water Only Fast for Autophagy

Here are some notes I’m taking for my 7 day water only fast that I’m doing for my health.

Day 2 of my water only fast looked something like this:

Fasting glucose: 60 mg/dL

Ketones (BHB): 5.5 mmol/L

GKI: 0.6

Weight: 127.6

Mood/Energy/Other Notes: Mood was kind of blah. Energy was low. I actually went for an easy run around Lady Bird Lake, but by the time I passed the bat bridge by the Hyatt Hotel, I felt fatigued, regretting my decision to run. I ended up walking back to my apartment completely out of juice. At night, I felt unusually cold. (I usually run hot.) Felt so tired I ended up sleeping around 8pm.

Day 3 fasting stats:

Fasting glucose: 62 mg/dL

Ketones (BHB): 5.8 mmol/L

GKI: 0.5

Weight: 126.4

Mood/Energy/Other Notes: Mood fantastic. Energy high. I even busted out five commandos, three chin-ups and two pull-ups at our apartment gym this morning, feeling like a badass in a gym teeming with only young-ish men. (Not bad for an almost 48 year old woman!)

I felt almost euphoric today as I went on a walk, shortly after the sunset, just marveling at the beauty that is the city of Austin. Colors seemed to pop. (Not LSD-vivid, but unusually richer than normal.) All of my senses were heightened. I usually have a nose that barely works, but I could pick up the scents of body odor, sweet flowers wafting through the air. Even the mint tea I sipped evoked a once-in-a-lifetime trip to Istanbul to visit my stepdaughter, who was living there several years ago. I couldn’t believe how decadent, how pleasurable the tea smelled and tasted. It made me realize how the simplest things in life are sometimes the most beautiful, such as sipping hot mint herbal tea or going for a walk while taking in the sights, listening to beautiful wistful music (my favorite music in the world are sad songs, which surprisingly cheers me up), and the simple bliss of moving my body, feeling the breeze against my cheeks. I was even able to grocery shop and cook breakfast and dinner for my kid today, not feeling anywhere near sorry for myself, fasting. I’m really enjoying not having to eat and cook for myself (or my husband, who is out of town for work), having more time to do what the heck I want!

So far, per my fasting timer on my Heads Up app, I have fasted for 73 hours and 5 minutes, with 94 hours and 53 minutes to go.

I’ve got this!

Day 1 of a 7-Day Water-Only Fast for Health

glasses of water for 7 day water only fast

Today is Day 1 of my 7-day water-only fast for health.

It just so happens to be also Day 21 of a nose-to-tail carnivore diet. This month is also my dry January, so since January 6, after my friend came to visit me from CA, I haven’t imbibed in any wine. Or any alcohol, for that matter. My friend from CA and I have been texting each other daily for accountability. As someone with type 2 diabetes, injecting herself with insulin, she has brought her fasting glucose down to 124 this morning from her usual 300s, a fantastic feat considering she took no insulin with dinner or at bedtime! She’s not participating in my 7-day fast, but will continue eating carnivore. We both have found that eating carnivore helps you to naturally intermittent fast, often only hungry for one or two meals.

This isn’t my first 7-day fast. I believe this is my third or fourth one, that I do annually ever since Darrell began using keto for his cancer in 2014. But this will be my first extended fast sandwiched by a carnivore keto way of eating. I’m not too worried or stressed about it, since fasting is like a muscle. When you’ve done it regularly and paired with a diet that induces ketosis, it really isn’t that hard. And I imagine that a carnivore diet, which to me, isn’t that far off from a regular keto diet (since I’m still able to bring my GKI pretty low, a good thing). I can’t imagine people who come from eating SAD, a Standard American Diet of high-carb and low-fat, and how it must feel to attempt a fast like this, not already padded with fat.

I can’t remember exactly how I learned about doing this, but it might have been Tim Ferriss and Dr. Peter Attia. And definitely Thomas N. Seyfried, whose book my husband read when he found out he had cancer the end of 2014. “Dr. Seyfried cited ‘a 7-day water fast, once per year’ as a possible way for a healthy person to remain cancer-free by starving any errant cancer cells before they can establish a foothold in the body.”

And when you watch your loved one get cancer and fight it, you begin to worry about yourself too. Could you get cancer? So that’s the main reason I do these prolonged fasts, in addition to the myriad of other health benefits, such as longevity and anti-aging.

We feel so lucky to have found the ketogenic diet, as recommended by a good friend of Darrell’s, who is a former Marine, who told us about it when we were considering other anti-cancer routes, unsure of the right approaches. And even though there wasn’t a lot of info out in 2014 about keto and fasting, we stumbled across Ellen DavisMiriam Kalamian (who Darrell had several Skype consults with), Patricia Daly, Maria Emmerich and Martina Slajerova‘s keto recipes and advice on health. While my husband was preparing for chemo, and we were first learning how to eat and cook keto, my sister let me listen to her audio book by Jimmy Moore’s Keto Clarity. Note: later in 2016, we read and followed Jimmy Moore and Dr. Jason Fung’s book on fasting — and the fasting podcast Moore had with Dr. Fung and Megan Ramos back then — to incorporate more fasts into our lives, trying out alternate day fasting as well, inspired by examples of people in the book who had brought down their HbA1c and insulin simply with fasting. I was eager to try as I had also been told by my general practitioner that I had prediabetes and had pretty high fasting blood glucose in the morning, averaging around 130s or so. It makes me wonder what my fasting glucose must have been like before I began monitoring with a glucometer, before discovering a low-carb keto way of eating, those days when I ate 3-5 meals a day, filled with refined carbs such as pancakes, sandwiches, noodles, pasta, pizza, sugary desserts, soda, juices, bread with almost everything.

Jimmy Moore’s Keto Clarity book was where I first learned about a study with two women who had type 2 bipolar disorder who had used keto as a way to help their mental health. That’s when I decided that I was all in with this keto thing. That this wasn’t just for solidarity with my husband using keto for his cancer (as an adjunct along with chemo and radiation). It was also for myself. I had seen firsthand how food affects mood when I mostly cut out flour and sugar out of my diet in 2012, moving towards a more ancestral Paleo/Primal approach, after taking different anti-convulsants for twice-diagnosed bipolar type 2 in my twenties and thirties, the same meds my friend takes for her seizures. When I simply cut out flour and sugar most of the time, I was able to ramp off all meds in 2012, including ones for ADHD and daily asthma inhalers (and countless visits to the ER for nebulizer treatments and regular prednisone tablets to taper off from). So I figured switching to keto would be doable and even more effective.

Anyhow, back to the fasting. Today is Day 1 of my yearly 7-day fast. I may consider doing regular 3-day monthly fasts, copycatting longevity doctor, what Dr. Peter Attia is planning to do this year, as opposed to his quarterly 7-day fasts he has been talking about in the past, bookending those fasts with a ketogenic diet. There are many health benefits to fasting, such as possible cancer prevention, anti-aging, improving insulin sensitivity and metabolic health.

Right now, I’m 47 years old, will be 48 this year, and I want to go out strong and healthy, having lived a long life healthy, not sickly, do the things I’ve been saying I want to do (like finish my novel) and be there for my family and friends! Life is too short to suffer mentally and physically. It’s crazy how my husband’s cancer has shifted our entire mindsets, bodies and lives as we jumped in the rabbit hole of ketosis, fasting, carnivore, exercise, meditation and more. It’s made us prioritize health span, realizing that happiness aligns with a healthy mind and body.

Day 1 Water-Only Fast Stats (after being on 20 days of a carnivore diet):

GKI (Glucose: Ketones Index): 1.6

Ketones (BHB): 2.8 mmol/L (I padded myself with fat and protein yesterday to prepare for this fast), making Maria Emmerich’s Carnivore Waffles from her new Carnivore cookbook written with her husband Craig Emmerich, who has found success battling Lyme’s with a carnivore diet.

Fasting Blood Glucose: 81 mg/dL (this makes me so happy, since the past several months my f/g is regularly over 100 again, battling with stress, holidays, eating out too much and over-indulging)

Weight: 128.4 lbs (before I started the carnivore diet, I had climbed up to 137 lbs after learning about a friend’s suicide)

Mood/Energy: Woke up a little irritable, not having my usual coffee with MCT oil doesn’t help the matter (in fact, a tiny headache). And getting upset at your 15-year-old blasting his loud rap music certainly doesn’t help. I did a fasted workout with the beginner program in THENX. I did only two rounds, as I don’t want to push it too hard, having just started this fast. I may dial down my workouts this week to accommodate the fast, but will see how I feel.

Tools/Apps: I’ve already fired up my Fasting Timer via the mobile Heads Up app last night at 7:47 pm when I last ate my final bite of carnivore waffles and leftover salmon. I look forward to logging in my health metrics (such as my ketones and glucose via Keto-Mojo) here to see my progress on their graph, where I can see how low or high my glucose, ketones, GKI, weight went during the fasting interval. Soon I plan to get my blood tests done and see how switching to a carnivore diet, cutting out the wine, and incorporating intermittent fasts, time restricted feeding and this prolonged water-only fast, will do to my health biomarkers, such as my Hba1c, and CRP, etc. I wish my Oura ring was working, as I’d love to track other health data such as my deep sleep, HRV, activity and more. As you can tell, I am a data nerd. 🙂

Some other great links if interested:

  • Dr. Georgia Ede’s N=1 water-fast experiment back in 2013 (as a mostly meat-eating keto eater). I love her philosophy and approach towards mental health and food.
  • Diet Doctor article on the ketogenic diet and mental health. Lots of great resources and sources of inspiration for anyone battling depression, anxiety, bipolar disorder, schizophrenia, OCD, and more. (Quite personally, I believe there is a connection between insulin and mental health issues, so in my opinion, insulin-related metabolic diseases such as cancer, diabetes, Alzheimer’s, even Parkinson’s are related to mental health disorders.)


I am looking forward to having more energy and time this week. And of course, saving money from shopping for food at the grocery store!




Photo by Jana Sabeth on Unsplash

Clapping for Failure

people clapping for a concert

It’s been almost a week since I last posted here in this blog. I had given myself a rule of “no more than 2 days missed,” inspired by that book I love, Atomic Habits, by James Clear. I’ve decided that in general, that’s a good rule for most things, including eating keto and/or carnivore (today is Day 17 of a nose-to-tail carnivore with daily added MCT oil, my version of it given that I once took the same anti-convulsants my good friend with epilepsy took for her seizures). It’s a chance not to easily fall back into bad habits and thus, that familiar self-loathing that arises when you fail to keep promises to yourself. It’s funny how easily it is to betray ourselves. Especially with the writing. I can be pretty kick-ass when it comes to eating (I was in daily measurable ketosis for an entire year!) and I’m getting better with exercise. But the writing, my first love, has often taken a back seat. Whatever the case, I am working on forgiveness toward self and utmost self-compassion. Difficult to do when self-flagellation is a part of your daily self-supplementation. Another bad habit I’m attempting to break. Yet I’m here now. That’s what counts.

Last night, I took another stab at looking failure and anxiety in the eye by attending another free improv class over at the Hideout Theater on Congress Ave in Austin. One of the biggest takeaways I left with was the notion that failure was celebrated by all. Whether you miss instructions to clap on time with another person in the circle, or you fail to make eye contact, missing a beat, losing time, you are instructed to grandly bow, announce to the circle of almost 15 strangers in the room:

“Yes, I failed.”

That’s the cue for everyone to wildly clap for you. I love that. From here on out, every time I think I failed, made a mistake, I’m going to picture this circle of strangers happily clapping for me. Because you know what? It’s okay to fail. That’s right, you heard me. All you need to really do is to just get up and do it all over again. No self-flagellation. No internal bully. Because mistakes and fails are something we should all give standing ovations to ourselves for. Each and every time!

The Butterfly and The Lobster: On Being and Becoming

The Butterfly on a Gray Background

Today the theme of the online writing retreat with Deep Story Design writer and coach, April, was on ‘being’ and ‘becoming.’

These are the notes I took today from our retreat:

The butterfly, before it becomes one, its whole being dissolves inside its cocoon.
The lobster has to outgrow its shell, be in a state of utmost vulnerability, before the new shell hardens, becoming the lobster that it is.

Both are two different processes of growth, and part of that growth is the feeling of discomfort.


Check in:
Your state of BEING this year.
Your intentions of BECOMING.

Just for today: Just BE with the writing.
Ask your writing: What do you want to tell me?

Just BE with that chapter, the work you’re doing. Light a candle. Surround yourself with colorful pens. Make a cup of tea with your writing.

Today, after I checked in with April and vomited TMI stuff, including my hope to step more into my identity, James Clear-style, as a writer this year by signing up for more writing, carving out more writing time, having just signed up for a short story contest, writing daily in my blog that I hope to someday become a container for my memoir about finding my bliss with keto and bipolar disorder, D using keto for his cancer, our year full-time in a RV, and more while trying to fit that all in with my ghostwriting and copywriting for several clients. How I seem to procrastinate writing for my clients (probably not the best thing to admit here since I need to seriously search for more client gigs).  How I recently wrote three hours on my own personal writing, as if I were having an affair, sneaking away from the primary paid work to write in my memoir and blog. Then cheating on my novel revision by focusing on a short story contest, always my eyes set on something new and shiny, as if to rebel the work in front of me, always taking on a new lover.  I talked about my irrational fear and phobia around the writing, how hard it was to be with it for too long, how hard it was for me to finish. And those old twin friends of mine: procrastination and perfectionism.

Here’s what she said, basically:

Maybe you’re doing too much? The trap of “I am the writer,” of “I am not a writer yet but am going to become a writer” is that we get caught in the treadmill of improving who “I am…”

If we think that it’s about US, we get caught in the self-improvement loop. This trips us up with actually DOING the work…There’s this: Who we are … Am I enough?? There’s too much focus on the ‘I,’ ‘I,’ ‘I.’

Take YOURSELF out of the work.

Instead: Build your RELATIONSHIP with YOUR WRITING.


The ACTUAL PROJECT requires steps to take:
“Becoming” means to do things that make you feel uncomfortable.

Trust that the discomfort of being with your writing will become something, will transform into growth.

Instead, ask:
What stage is the work?

“Get out of your own way and just show up with the work. With love, if you can muster it.” — April Bosshard

What does it (your work) need to do?

Remember: Your work is a BEING. And you are in service of that being. GET OUT OF THE WAY. Ask your work: What do YOU need to do? (You would never ask your work, slapping it: “What’s wrong with you?”) Be with the work as a friend. Take yourself out of the equation.

I love this quote from April during our writing session to remind us to stretch our bodies from all that sitting, drinking some water.

Pause briefly in your ‘being with your writing.’ Your writing (as your friend, as a ‘being’ in its own right) needs your body to stay healthy and limber if it is to use you for a channel for its becoming. But you can tend to such needs fairly quickly and with purpose, the purpose of returning to the work with devotion and focus. What does the work need now? Here and Now…

I have to say that I truly believe in this, that my writing, my novel, needs my vessel to be healthy, in order to receive the download from my brain, the Universe, to be a channel that offers up words and stories, that it’s important for my mind and body to be healthy. Today is Day 12 of a nose-to-tail carnivore diet and the abstaining of wine and all alcohol. I’ve been naturally fasting and my mind has never been more clear, my energy higher than usual. My GKI is low, as is my fasting glucose. My ketones today was 1.4 mmol/L.

But back to writing.

What does my work — my novel, my friend — need now?
What do YOU (my novel) need?

What stage of becoming is my friend, my novel, in right now?

STAGE 1               STAGE 2                                 STAGE 3                       STAGE 4
Shitty Draft —> Preparing for revision —> Actually Revising –> Finishing/Polishing

STAGE 5           STAGE 6
Querying —-> Publishing

I realize I’m in Stage 2 right now, almost in the “revising” stage.

What does my novel need now?
It needs my attention. It needs me to not forget it.

What do YOU (novel) need to do? What are some small steps to get started?

Answer from my novel:
1. I (the novel) need your (Lily’s) eyes on the very next scene list. Just that very next one.
2. Read it to see what it’s about.
3. Summarize it and deposit summary into the container April created for Lily in the Google doc to use later to structure me (the novel) into three acts that make sense, 80K words with about 40 to 60 scenes.
4. Read the next one until done.
5. Don’t forget to have fun while you’re doing it! Bring some inspiring or plot-specific and related music (like Depeche Mode) into our time together to enjoy, to immerse yourself in. Light up a candle so our time together is sacred. Make a cup of tea with me. Bring wonder and awe and curiosity and play into our relationship together. We’ve GOT this!

God, I’m so happy to have shown up today! I always get so much out of April’s once-a-month online writing retreats where I can write in my PJs from the comfort of my home. I left my chair today hopeful, knowing that I allowed myself to simply be. And that like the butterfly or the lobster, I will become the writer I say I am just by enjoying the present moment. Holding the writing lightly, not so rigidly. To simply show up for my novel — my friend. This year my novel is dissolving its being inside this almost stillborn cocoon to become a butterfly. My practice is go simply get out of the way in service of my friend. This friend who is oh-so-ready to finally take flight.