20 Days on The Plan -- days four - six (revisited)

20 Days on The Plan -- days four - six (revisited)

Day Four on The Twenty Day Plan

Woke up. Checked my BBT. Running steady at 95.  Checked my weight and, hurray! I’m down a pound and a half.

Energized, I make my way downstairs and guzzle my lemon water, which, for the first time, I find delightfully refreshing. May I have another, sir….

I put kettle to boil for tea and haul the two cups upstairs. Sue is down 8 tenths of a pound. Perfect, I think, right in line with my own corresponding weight loss.  I see all these correlations in our reactions to The Plan as indicators of what a good relationship we have. Then again, I’m a Libra which is to say, I’m a “there’s-this-but-then-there’s-that” kind of a guy and I’ve been worrying about how dependent we seem to be on morning caffeine and evening alcohol.  I can see it rather starkly. The thing is, when you sit down to record your day, you simply can’t ignore patterns of behavior.

Today’s Thursday which means we are officially over the cleanse phase and can introduce alcohol. That will likely mean a glass of wine with or after dinner. We talk about it but Sue’s not sure the meal for tonight will rate a glass of wine.

“What do you mean?” I ask.

She tells we’re eating chicken for dinner tonight.

“Okay, I say, “a glass of white wine.”

Sue cringes. “Lyn doesn’t like white wine. She says it doesn’t have something that red wines have.”

“Okay, so we’ll break with convention and have a glass of red wine with chicken.”

“I think I’d rather wait until we can test another protein.”

“Meaning?”

“I’d like to have a glass of wine with my steak.”

“Steak? Okay. And when will that be?”

“We can do that on Saturday.”

“Okay,” I say again and realize we’re not having wine tonight nor tomorrow night even though we could have wine beginning tonight. Wow, maybe we’re not alcoholics after all.

Breakfast is a bowl of flax granola, this time with a fresh pear and fresh blueberries. Wonderful. Today I have the time to savor and do so.

I go about my day but continue to have problems with my laptop. Sluggish. Something as simple as typing an email takes ten minutes. It might be time to order a new Mac. When I mention this to Sue, she says, “hold on. Apple is about to release a new powerbook.”

Sue is a Mac devotee. When we met I was on a dell. A PC. I’m sure she regarded it as a demerit in assessing my pluses and minuses. Then again, Sue identifies with cats while I strongly relate to dogs. At the time we met, we were both pet-less and, now, as I sit here pondering these things, I realize it says a lot about me that we currently have two cats and zero dogs.

Lunch is wonderful though I miss the carrot beet salad.

I go back to work. Sue is off to buy another thermometer. She wants the mercury style as this is what Lyn recommends.

When we reconvene in the afternoon, Sue pulls two thermometers out of the bag.

“I couldn’t find a mercury thermometer anywhere,” she says. “I don’t think they make them anymore.”

But she does find one with a mercury-like substance that is supposed to be just as good. She’s also bought another digital thermometer but this one comes with plug in attachments, sorta like a ratchet set. I gather the one that is already attached is for putting in your mouth. Sue points to another that is broad and flat and is specifically for an underarm BBT.

“Wow,” I tell her, “I can’t wait till morning.”

She doesn’t laugh. This is serious stuff. And yet, as I write this, it suddenly occurs to me that, for whatever reason, neither of us questioned the third attachment and where that one goes.

Snack time. I opt for the almond butter with carrots while Sue does the trail mix.

I’m skeptical at first but end up finger wiping my bowl clean. It is wonderful. Maybe I’m really hungry or maybe I’m liking food more but each new thing I try on The Plan ends up tasting great no matter what my preconceptions. Sue’s trail mix is disappointing. “Look at how much I get,” she says and points to paltry dish of craisins and sunflower seeds.

I go back to work then to the café for our weekly company meeting at five. These meetings are a chance to kick back, drink a beer and sound off if need be. We’ve been experimenting with a chocolate flax-granola. I’m thrilled about it. The chocolate is all dark, certified organic and certified kosher. To which I remind everyone that we’re going to be certified kosher here very soon, as soon as the new sheet trays come in.

I hear murmurs.  Billy wants to know why, if we have to replace sheet trays, we don’t have to replace ovens.

I tell him what the Rabbi told me. “Sheet trays touch food. You don’t put food on the surface of an oven.”

Billy becomes agitated. “So you mean to tell me that we coulda stuffed that oven with pigs and that’s okay. But, sheet trays that we cover with parchment are not?”

It’s a hypothetical question meant to be provocative but I gather this has been a hot topic of conversation amongst the bakers ever since the Rabbi walked thru the building and announced his findings.

Bottom line, the guys question the expense. It’s a lot of money when there are other pressing needs and I realize my judgment is the issue.

“Kosher certification represents a standard people can trust,” I say. “Next up, I want to see to it we have organic certification and, if need be, non-GMO certification,” I say this last as if I mean it but it rankles me – something I’ve elaborated on in an earlier blog post.

The meetings are to last one hour but at six o’clock there’s still a lot of howling going on. Fortunately, Ian stands as if to indicate his role as watchman. Steve immediately bolts for the door. “I have a guitar lesson to teach,” he says then disappears.

Meeting over, I rush home. Sue has just started dinner prep. I offer to do the broccoli tonight while she does the chicken and salad. Dressing becomes a topic. We agree to test vinegar. We have white rice vinegar, red wine vinegar or naturally fermented apple cider vinegar.

“Apple cider,” I tell her. I’m pretty sure I’m reactive to vinegar from past episodes but maybe not if it’s Bragg’s variety of naturally fermented. I point out the label that reads, “With the Mother”. Sue groans. She had an unpleasant episode recently with Kombucha and is suspicious of anything with a mother. I persist and she relents.

Dinner is delicious but an hour or so later I have a reaction. Burping. My standard response when having an issue with something. The episode is brief but I make a note of it and pass the finding off to Althea along with my chart on weight and BBT’s.  The fact that this is the first and only real episode of any kind since starting The Plan strikes me as significant.

That night I lay the thermometers out on my nightstand and ponder the added complication of taking three separate BBT’s in the morning. I assume we’re doing three and getting an average. It seems ridiculous but I gather Sue feels her BBT’s should be higher. After all, she had her thyroid checked by a doctor several months ago and he said she was good to go. Now her readings are low so maybe she wants a thermometer that will back up her doctor. We’ll see.  We talk some more about The Plan and the day. Sue reveals that she is constipated. We check the book and find that constipation is, in Lyn’s words, “the hallmark response to being on The Plan.” Oh-kaay.

Lights out. Sue goes down immediately but I lay awake and question my judgment as a boss. I do this a lot but, tonight, it seems heavier. We had recently paid for a marketing study on our company that just came back. One of the findings was that we needed to separate ourselves from Lyn Genet and The Plan and, here I am, doubling down by writing this blog. I’m basically promoting The Plan (warts and all) and, in so doing, realizing that maybe there are other ways we can better serve Lyn’s clients who come looking to us for Flax Granola.  But is this really a good idea? And can we ever really gain traction beyond The Plan? It may be the Libra in me. I seem to weigh everything; the good, the bad, the indifferent and still end up questioning the path I’m on but having the extra burden of pulling our little company along with me.

Well, you know, my little internal voice tells me, you just have to take these things one day at a time and see what tomorrow brings. Yeah, okay, good advice.

End of Day Four on The Twenty Day Plan

Day Five on The Twenty Day Plan

Sue and I begin the day with our new routine of doing our BBTs with three thermometers. Yes, three. I realize this is absurd but that’s what we’re doing. And sure enough, all three come back with low readings. For both of us.

Two of the thermometers are digital and one is the old fashioned kind albeit with a mercury-free type mercury. The digitals bleep-bleep-bleep when they’re done but the old fashioned one - that one you have to keep under arm for a good five minutes - and who has five minutes in this day and age when the digitals pull it of in a matter of seconds.

Thing is, Sue can’t hear the beeps – it’s below her range of hearing - and me, I don’t care for the old fashioned kind because, not only does it mean holding a cold glass cylinder under your arm pit, you have to shake it down if you want another reading and then you have to hold in just such a way to get the reading. Who needs all that?

Sue thinks her reading is off (down) because she got up around four and she should have done her reading then – exactly my sentiments from the night before. So, she says to me, to prevent this from happening again, she decides she needs to keep the thermometers on her side of the bed.

“How are you going to hear them?” I ask and I would have thought this would be the end of the discussion and the thermometers would stay with me on my side.

“You’ll hear them. You can tell me.”

“At four in the morning?”

I realize this discussion is in danger of skidding into the realm of a control issue with potentially ugly ramifications. After all, Sue went out and bought the thermometers. They are, rightly, hers but, she can’t hear them, the digitals anyway, so what good are they to her other than to wake me up and piss me off, so I can shout at her that the freaking thermometers are done!

Okay, I think, there’s a simple solution here and I suggest she put the old fashioned one on her side of the bed and I’ll keep the digitals. She okays this and the exchange is made and now it’s on with the day so I get up to check my weight.

I’ve lost two pounds! Fantastic.  Four-tenths of a pound for Sue but Sue’s ideal weight is right around the corner. For Sue, the journey is like having to go from the bathroom cabinet to the towel drawer. Me, I’ve got some distance to traverse. Sue has what you might call a ripple in her belly, a pinch of a paunch, but she will point to it in horror. Me, I have girth. I really can’t think of a better word to describe it. Girth. And girth will require a slog.

Breakfast is an apple streusel – something Sue made the night before while also bringing to my attention another inconsistency in The Plan book. “Right here,” she says. “It calls for four, 8 ounce ramekins on this page,” she says then flips ahead. “And then, here, look, it says eight, 4 ounce ramekin. I mean, which is it?”


Sue’s annoyed but mainly because she went out the day before and bought eight 4 ounce ramekins only to bring them home and decide sometime later in the day that four 8 ounce ramekins is what was really needed.

Speaking of inconsistencies, Sue has been reading this blog. Normally, I can write about Sue all day so long as I only post to facebook. She doesn’t have a facebook account so she’d never see them. Never have a clue. Unfortunately, these blog posts also go to our website and so she has come across them, read them all, and, inconsistencies abound.

“You wrote that you dug the digital scale out of the closet when you know darn well, I did that!”

“Expediency,” I explain. “Some details like that become overly complicated so I try to make it simpler.”

“And,“ she says, scrolling along on her ipad, "we do have two cats and no dogs but, the second cat is your daughters!”

This is also technically true, however, I believe even if my daughter hadn’t wanted a cat a few years back when she was down with pneumonia, we would have a second cat by now anyway.

“And besides,” she says, “that cat is more like a dog.”

By that, what I think Sue means is that the other cat, my daughter’s cat, is actually very affectionate. And I would agree with Sue on that point but, I’m not sure if, what she is saying is intended as a slam against all cats or that one particular cat.

But dogs really are much more affectionate than cats.  I mean, that’s not just my perception, that’s a fact. And while I can admit that cats are capable of affection, it’s always on their terms. And this is exactly how our other cat operates.  He will dole out affection as he sees fit whereas the other cat can be summoned and will come running and will let you pick him up and he’s just soooo happy.  Which is to say a happy cat is more like a dog but an unhappy dog is an unhappy dog if you get my reverse thinking.

Lunch is salad and steamed broccoli. Wonderful. At the office, I get a call from a woman in New Mexico wanting to order more of our flax granola. She’s going back on The Plan, she tells me. I tell her that I’m just starting on The Plan but loving it.

“Have you had the broccoli soup?” she asks.

“I love it,” I say.

“It’s all so good,” she says and we go down the list of favorite menu items.

Back home for dinner we make a chicken with an adobo sauce with pablano peppers, sautéed veggies and a salad. Again, delicious and extremely filling. Actually, I polish off what’s left of the veggies and don’t really care if they’re meant for lunch tomorrow or not.

The topic of a glass of wine and when do we drink it comes up before, during and after dinner as it has throughout the day. Sue has said repeatedly that she wants to hold off on the wine for our steak dinner tomorrow night and I’m willing to go along with that but as we settle in to play some cards, the thought of a glass of wine becomes too tempting and we relent.

A California merlot.

And the best glass of wine I’ve had in months.

End of Day Five on Twenty Day Plan

Day Six on the Twenty Day Plan

I’m down a half pound which strikes me as fantastic given that I went to bed feeling stuffed and drank a glass of wine after dinner.  My BBT’s are still well below where they should be. As are Sue’s. But Sue gets proactive on these things. She found time the day before to pick up a bottle of probiotics at the local health food store and ordered Kelp pills online.

I have a busy day ahead of me so I rush downstairs and fill an old Brita water pitcher to the rim for my daily allotment of water.

I reheat one of Sue’s four 8 oz ramekins of apple streusel for breakfast, wolf it down then take off for the bakery to pick up bread baked last night and bring it back to the café.  We make a sprouted, flour-less, naturally-leavened bread that is unique in the marketplace. We rely on the gifts of nature to produce this bread but our efforts are sometimes undermined by nature as we sometimes struggle with humidity and, lately, very cold temperatures.

As it is, about two thirds of the loaves Billy and Ian baked last night are fantastic but there are some dogs among them that have split open or have bleached and appear discolored. Still and all, a great bake for the guys.

I take most of the best of the loaves to the café and reserve a few more to drop off with a prospective health food store opening soon in Selinsgrove and take another as a gift for our friends at Wild For Salmon, a local business that has been stocking our flat bread in their store. These guys spend part of the year on the Alaskan waters catching sockeye salmon and part of the year selling it here in rural Pennsylvania.

The Salmon folks are having an open house with lots of goodies to sample. I pooh-pooh everything until someone hands me a very small cup holding a bit of clam chowder. I slurp it down – it’s incredibly good - but twenty minutes later I’m regretting that decision as indigestion sets in. It passes but, what was it…? Lyn would say Salmon is highly reactive but I don’t know if there was any Salmon in the clam chowder. Perhaps.

I make the drive to Sunbury and a farmer’s market we used to sell out of. Sue says she wants steaks for dinner and there’s a farmer at that market who sells locally pastured meats, cheeses and milks.  I pick out two nice looking T-Bones then head over to meet some folks who are opening a new store and are interested in stocking our products.

We all sit around their living room - three generations including the baby. We talk about food and toxicity, etc. and they seem very interested in my story and our processes and we all seem to align nicely. I leave them with an array of samples then back down their long winding driveway feeling pretty good.

Back home, Sue and I have lunch. Salad and steamed veggies.

I dash off again for a meeting at our café with a potential investor. I haven’t had time to drink water this morning so I’m way off where I need to be. When I get to the café, I order a glass of herbal tea and refill twice with water.

We go thru the numbers on the business; Profit and Loss statements, Earnings Summaries, etc. He asks about certain numbers that aren’t specifically classified and I don’t readily know the answers.  I try calling Kristen but she texts back that she’s at the doctor’s and will call later. 

But even with all the seeming gaps, he seems to like what we’re doing. He extrapolates from existing numbers to offer some projections on what we could be doing given certain assumptions and comes up with a five-year plan toward profitability. To me, numbers belong to the same abstract world as dreams and visions – what are they really but glyphs representing some other thing? That said, I have learned that, when talking to banks, banker-type people could care less about vision, they want numbers and those numbers seem to mean everything.

The café closes, Mike, the manager, locks up behind him but we continue to talk in our window seat. Sometime later, two women arrive and try to enter but the door is locked. This is one of those moments I dread because I don’t really know what to do. I hate the thought of shouting “we’re closed” and sending them on their way but how unprofessional will it seem if I open up and invite them in, in the midst of this meeting? And to what purpose?

I unlock the door. Their husbands arrive moments later and all four clomp in, kicking their boots and eager to grab some lunch. Sorry, I explain, we’re actually closed but offer to send them home with a loaf of bread and point to the display rack. They want pita which is in the freezer so I go back to grab a pack and return to see them picking over the loaves and granola.

One of the women asks about gluten as in, are our breads gluten free?  I explain that, no, we make our breads with wheat hence gluten, however, just as I’m about to explain that a lot of our best customers are people with gluten issues, her friend chimes in that she can’t eat gluten but she can eat our bread and she goes on and on about how wonderful it is. I look over to see if my potential investor is listening because I could not have scripted this any better.

The foursome leaves, grateful that I was willing to open and promise to return, noting our hours. Meanwhile, my potential investor meeting is winding down and I take it as a good sign when he suggests we get together for dinner sometime.  I realize it will mean inviting him over to the house to prepare a plan friendly meal – there’s no going out to dine when on The Plan. But I also realize it will mean involving Sue to help prepare a plan friendly meal – with company – at our house. Not sure how she’ll take this.

Back home, I have to get the wood stove fired up, as this is my preferred way of cooking meat. We still have a half bottle of the red malbec (correction, I thought it was merlot but I have Sue now to catch my mounting errors) from the night before while Sue begins chopping veggies for a stir-fry.

Kristen calls and relays a story about her son and a trip to the local hospital. I gather all has ended well or well enough.

The steaks cook nicely on the open flame but I have to question why I’m agreeing to eat meat, and this, the fourth night in a row.  When Sue is out of town, I am perfectly content going meat-free and find plenty of good alternatives.  It’s another issue in our relationship that is playing out slowly, and, I have to admit, I’m hoping she has a bad reaction to the steaks.  

The evening plays out. We watch a movie, Birdman. I decide I really want to see this movie again, but in a theater. No tummy issues to speak of but Sue is lamenting all the salt she sprinkled on her steak. We set our clocks ahead and call it a night.

End of Day Six of the Twenty Day Plan



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