words about things

What follows is my subtle attempt at honesty.

This week in ketosis: March 27 - April 3rd

Whoops. I didn't push "save & publish" on this one.

This week I transitioned to 1-meal-per-day. So, basically, every day is a 24 hour fast. I did a cup of almond milk with a tablespoon of MCT oil every morning (so not a 100% fast) but I had nothing other than green tea or water the remaining time and I felt great. I had awesome dinners of meat and veggies and I am down to 192# as of Sunday.

The next thing on my schedule was to up my bicycle riding beyond 30 miles at a whack. I scouted out circuits and had a good plan for the weekend. Friday I got off work a couple of hours early. I went to the grocery store, got a few things in town and went home. I cleaned up, had a couple drinks, made dinner and was done for the evening by 6:30PM. It was at this point that I realized I had been sitting behind a desk all week and what I really wanted to do was go for a walk. I had enough daylight left so I went to the place where I take my walks and on the way I passed a co-worker’s house. He was having a party for a former co-worker who was getting married this weekend and I got the weird urge to stop by and say hi. I’m sure you’ll recall that I’m a terribly anti-social hermit who avoids people at most costs and gets physically distressed with too many hours of human interaction. That being said, I went for my walk first and then texted my co-worker to make sure it was OK that I crashed the party.

I had already eaten so I didn’t eat and all I drank was a couple glasses of iced tea because I had my long bicycle ride planned for Saturday. I shook hands, talked to people, listened to their stories, gave them polite feedback, met their families, and tried to be as social as I could while sober. Things wound down, I went home and was sound asleep before 11PM. About 2:00AM I woke up with terrible digestive issues that kept me close to the bathroom until well after noon Saturday. Naturally, there was no Saturday bicycle ride.  My digestive issues could be from something I bought at the store and ate Friday night but everything was fully cooked. I did have some strawberries with a new brand of unsweetened peanut butter so I’ll skip that for a day or so and try it again to see what happens. My fear is that the God of Irony was trying to tell me that it was the result of leaving my comfort zone and shaking so many weird hands when I knew I should have been at home avoiding human contact. Either way I spent Saturday morning catching up on TV shows, doing a little reading and didn’t leave the house to do anything until well into the afternoon.

Sunday I felt much better, I was obviously worn down from my experience but I pushed through and got 40+ miles with just a couple short breaks (I get distracted even while riding my bicycle). The wind was gusting 5-10mph out of the WNW and always seemed to be quartering me no matter which way I rode so I didn’t set any records for speed. I was physically drained when I got home but I still managed to go shooting later that afternoon.  

So, that’s a nice summation of my week of eating less, crapping myself, and riding my bicycle when I didn’t want to. Man stuff!

Now for the girly stuff:

Having gone to the Friday night pre-wedding party and having met the grandparents, mothers, fathers, brothers, sisters, uncles, aunts, nieces, nephews, random friends, ubiquitous step-parents and, of course, the betrothed I feel like I want to toss in my 2 cents worth regarding marriage. But that’s a sad topic for a guy celebrating his 14th divorce anniversary this year and who hasn’t had a date in at least 4 years. Instead let’s talk about a neato experiment that was done involving the Major Histocompatibility Complex (MHC) and human attraction.

The oxford journal is a nice dry scientific recounting. 

Psychology today makes it more fun and reader friendly!

For those of you too lazy to click a link the MHC is a group of genes in all vertebrates that create molecules attached to our cell membranes. These molecules act as receptors which bind to pieces of pathogens that get in or around our cells. The pieces are held in place until the T-cells can come into contact with them and initiate the proper immune response. This is part of how our immune system “learns” to protect us. The trick to humans is that we have a “polymorphic” MHC profile. That means no one has all the MHC genes/receptors. When we breed we mix & match our MHC genes. This randomness keeps our immune response varied and vigorous.

Here’s the trick to the MHC genes in people and the reason for the links above. It looks like we can recognize the presence or absence of these genes by smell. This has something to do with the fatty acids and sweat but I’m not sure how deeply the scientific research has gone into this as the studies mentioned above only deal with about a hundred people.

Here’s how the experiments worked:

In the first experiment a group of men with various MHC profiles were given shirts to wear for a few days. The shirts were collected, put into bags and then given to a group of women with various MHC profiles.

In the second experiment a group of women and men with various MHC profiles wore shirts for several days. The shirts were collected, put into bags and then given to a different group of men & women with various MHC profiles.

In both experiments the second group opened the bags, sniffed the shirts, and then decided whether or not they thought the smell was pleasant. That’s simple enough.  The cool part is that in both of these experiments the people preferred the smell of someone with a dissimilar MHC profile.  

There was one interesting anomaly in both cases. Women on birth control chose men who were MHC similar to them.

The take away is that our bodies are constantly influencing our attractions and for good reason. You may not be able to trust your “heart” in these matters but your sense of smell seems like a good baseline if your goal is to raise a family of kids that don't all die from terrible diseases for no reason. If you just want to have sex with women who shouldn't be attracted to you, can I suggest women on birth control?

(I have no way of gauging how offensive that last statement was.)