122 Rules by Deek Rhew

Thursday, March 14, 2019

Dose of Happiness: Fryday!

Erin and I spent months and months losing weight via Keto. It worked awesome and we shedded the pounds like melted butter.

But what do you do after you've lost the weight?

Unfortunately, a lot of people go back to their old habits and put the weight back on. Erin and I got rid of all our "fat" clothes, thus committed to keeping the weight off. So we incorporated the changes into our lifestyle.

We like fitting into our clothes. We like feeling energetic. We like taking pictures and not worrying if we look bloated/puffy/fat.

While we were dieting, we had our weekly cheat-meal day. Pizza, Starbucks, and we split a small Wendy's fry. I'm affectionately coining this day:


Mountains of delicious salty goodness in a convenient sleeve
You can taste their warm, salty, goodness can't you?

But who eats just half a small fry? Actually, we do. Once a week.

Fries are one of those things that there's diminishing returns for each delectable, salt-ladened stick. The first few blow your socks off. The next curl your toes. After that, it starts losing something and the enjoyment factor goes way down.

As a kid I was always told to clean my plate. Starving kids in Africa/China/California, yada yada yada. But SHOULD you do that with unhealthy foods?

Anyway, we decided to carry on the habit of our once-a-week cheat meal over, incorporating it into our lifestyle. We get our fry and sit in the parking lot, savoring it. And just when we are starting to get diminishing returns on our caloric investment, they're gone.

Food-wise, Fryday is easily my happiest day of the week! While we eat great stuff all the rest of the time, this tops the charts...plus, it's the weekend, so I'm hanging our full time with my bestie and sleeping in.

This is Deek, delivering a little dose of Fryday happiness.

Adventure on, my friends!

Wednesday, March 6, 2019

Cholesterol Scare - Follow Up

Two months ago, I posted about my frightening cholesterol numbers being almost double the legal limit. See: Cholesterol Scare.

In my due diligence, I read A LOT of articles and did a TON of research. It turns out that it's possible high cholesterol isn't the death sentence we believed it to be. See: Cholesterol Scare - Part 2: Not as Scary as We Thought?

During my last post about lipid levels, Erin and I had theorized that I fall into a sub-group of Keto reactors known as a Lean Mass Hyper Responder. Basically, it means that when I get my body fat low enough and I'm on a high-fat diet, my cholesterol numbers and LDL go through the roof.

And, brother, let me tell you they did!

As of December 27, 2018 they were:
  • Total Cholesterol = 375mg
  • Triglycerides = 100mg 
  • HDL = 51mg 
  • LDL = 291mg

If you've ever gotten back elevated lipid levels, you know that these are frightening numbers.


So, it's been two months, what's been happening?


We decided to test the Lean Mass Hyper Responder theory. I modified my Keto diet and meds as follows:
  • Increased calories by 300 to a maintenance level of 2400
  • Increased carbohydrates from ~30-40 to 100
  • Removed egg yolks from my diet
  • Switched from 10mg of Lipitor to 5mg of Crestor

That's it. No additional exercise, no other anything. The rest of my diet remained the same and on the same schedule.

The results <drum roll plllleeeeease>:
  • Total Cholesterol = 233mg
  • Triglycerides = 75mg 
  • HDL = 52mg 
  • LDL = 163mg
I can live with that...literally.

In two months that's a pretty phenomenal change. We're going to ride it out a little longer and see where my body settles in, but the long and the short of it, is that Lean Mass Hyper Responder is a real thing.

In the future, if I need to lose more weight, then I *may* still do the low-carb version of Keto, though perhaps not as low as I was doing. I don't know just yet. We only got these blood results yesterday, so I haven't had a chance to process it all.

When we cross that bridge, I will write another post about it. For now, I'm going to bask in the I'm Not Going to Die from Cholesterol Tomorrow glory!

Gloriously Relaxed!

What am I fighting before besides the chance to add more candles to my birthday cake?

Years and years more of this...

And this...

And this...

And this...

Yes, please! A very long life of this!

I'm incredibly lucky to have a partner that's worried and researched and kept a level head and listen to me ramble about cholesterol and lipids and fats and blood levels and lean responders and on and on. Thank you, Erin, for standing by me through all of this. I epically love you!

Until later, adventure on my friends!

Friday, March 1, 2019

Beachin' It - Homework for Redemption

I love writing, but there are times when I love it even more. For instance, when I have to go to the beach for some "homework."

Check that out! You can practically hear the waves crashing and the seagulls squawking. Smell the brine and salt air and feel the sand beneath your bare feet.

The beach is homeopathic therapy. Being there is like one long, happy meditation session while someone rubs your shoulders, scratches your back, and feeds you pizza.

When I'm at the coast, the stress magically melts away and the worries and chaos of the world fade to insignificance. And when I'm there with my bride and best friend...oy! What worries? We have problems back in the "real" world?

Well, this last trip wasn't just about fun and games though. I was there for some hardcore book research to help me edit 122 Rules Redemption. Time to get serious.

Project: Get into Max's head

Max Fayle is one of my favorite characters. He's a die hard boardhead who lives and breathes surf. At his shop, The Board Wake - Epic Fayle Designs, in the jewel of the Pacific--Alabaster Cove, California--he makes custom surfing gear.

In the story, he's minding his own business when he has a run-in with a certain serial killer, Tyron Erebus. While he deals with the murdering psychopath better than most, he's got a lot of other scenes where Max is just being...well, Max. But during this last round of edits I felt like I was having trouble getting into his beachy head.

Erin, being the wonderful, understanding woman that she is, agreed to a beach trip to help!

Starting to feel it...

Feeling it even more...
While it looks like we are right on the ocean, our hotel upgraded us for free. So UP we went! This was taken from our hotel room on the 31st floor.

While the view over the ocean rocks, I highly recommend refraining from looking straight down. It's a REALLY long way.

While we spent a ton of time on the sand, we did spend a bit of time in the local shops. Look! I've got abs of steel!

Check out some of the rather odd wildlife that
thrives on the east coast

I'm happy to report Project: Get into Max's Head was a complete and utter success! I was feeling the call of the waves by the time we left and I was even able to get in a little editing time from the balcony of our hotel.

Did I mention it was on the 31st floor?

Best of all, I got to spend the weekend with my bride!

Erin and Deek, Beachin' It!

When going to the beach I HIGHLY recommend you go with your best friend too. There's no one Earth I'd rather spend my time with. Erin makes every day fun. She makes every day an adventure. She makes every day fulfilling.

She makes my life.

!Reader Alert!

Readers of 122 Rules: Keep your eyes peeled. We will be republishing 122 Rules under the Tenacious Jaguar at the end of March! 
Tenacious Books - The Soon-To-Be New Home of 122 Rules!

To go along with it's brand new home, it'll have a brand new cover. Anita from Race Point, is blending and editing and pasting and graphing and whatever else graphic artists do, to bring you super cool new design. I'm totally stoked. I think you're gonna love it. There's a reason we say #AnitaIsAmazing!

Also coming soon, the long-awaited sequel, 122 Rules - Redemption!

Join Angel, Monica, and Sam as they take on Tyron Erebus as he wreaks havoc on Alabaster Cove. Also making a cameo appearance is Dios from Birth of an American Gigolo!

Stay tuned for updates!

That's it for now my friends.

Adventure on!

Thursday, February 21, 2019

Dose of Happiness: Four Day Weekend!

Woooop! Today marks the first day of my four day weekend! Sleeping in, editing, and chillin'.

So, what's the occasion? Well, really it's nothing special. During the day, I'm a code-slinger: One of the geeks that helps make a web page do its thang.

Sounds simple, right?

Well, sometimes it is and sometimes it isn't. The last couple of months, have been one of those isn't times. My job is awesome. I love the people and the work is always interesting, but there are times it's mentally exhausting to get the right words and information to show up on the screen.

So, after our last release, I scheduled a couple of days off. And what better days than Thursday and Friday?

Both of those days, I'm tagging along with Erin as she run errands and does the usual day-to-day. The only difference is that I get to do them with her.


Saturday, we are attending a book festival.


Sunday afternoon we have a date at our favorite Mexican restaurant.

Can anyone say:

So, despite the stress of the last couple of months, we got our code out and our customers satisfied, and I get some great time with my bride.

This is Deek, delivering a little dose of happiness.

Adventure on, my friends!

Monday, February 18, 2019

Dose of Happiness: Back in Jail...Twitter Jail!

So, I'm back in Twitter jail. Well, really this is the like being sent to the corner. Basically, when I reply to someone's tweet, like a tweet, or just tweet, no one can see it unless they look at my feed. It's something that happens to my account on a regular basis and I think it's because Twitter thinks I'm spamming.

What the what?

Yep. Last time it happened, I was tweeting a blog post. This time it happened I was also tweeting about blog post.

But guess what? I'm grateful it happened!

Again...what the what?

Yep. Because this time I was tweeting about Erin's new book, The Transhuman Project!

Follow me here: I'm in jail...or in the corner or whatever...because Erin has a great new SciFi book out and I'm so proud of her, I'm tweeting her blog tour posts. And the Twitter Skynet does not like it.

But the world still gets an awesome new book by my favorite author of all time, so, yep, totally winning!

This is Deek delivering a little dose of happiness.

Adventure on my friends!

Friday, January 4, 2019

Cholesterol Scare - Part 2: Not as Scary as We Thought?

If you haven't read my first blog post, Cholesterol Scare, where I got back my lipid profile back and was startled to find my numbers almost double the legal limit, stop in and give it a read.

Over the last six months, I've lost 32 pounds on the keto diet. During that time my migraines have all but vanished, my energy levels are way up, my body fat % has dropped a ton, and I feel great. So, all good things. Unfortunately, my blood work up wasn't what we'd hoped.

As I mentioned in my last post, I'm not a doctor, just a guy with Google and extra fat packets in his bloodstream. So, in this blog post, I'm going to give you the research I found that says that not only does cholesterol NOT cause heart disease. But having elevated levels may actually make you live longer and fight off cancer, diabetes, and other diseases.

US and UK Translations
If you or someone you love has high cholesterol (and you're in the States), you'll want to convert your mg ratings to mmol/L that they use in the UK. A lot of the data I'm linking to is from there and almost all their reports and articles use mmol/L instead of mg. To do that use the OMNI Calculator.

Alright, you have your report from the doctor, you have it in mg and mmol/L. On with the research!

Are You a Lean Mass Hyper Responder - LMHR?
For years, I've known I'm a bit over the top. What I didn't know was that my body is too!

One of the things that Erin discovered is that there is a segment of the population that reacts differently to keto than all the rest. This subgroup is known as Lean Mass Hyper Responders. Basically, what it means is that when you get your body fat low, and you are on a high-fat diet, your cholesterol levels and LDL go through the roof.

Most people respond by a serious drop in cholesterol, but not us LMHRs! We get excited about it and want more and more! But, it's not necessarily a bad thing. Read on to see why.

Is there an inverse relationship between high cholesterol and heart disease?
Dr. ZoĆ« Harcombe--Ph.D. in Public Health Nutrition--is off the charts brilliant and working dilligently to weed fact from fiction. Check out her write up about the relationship between heart disease and cholesterol. This article explores the fascinating purpose of cholesterol in our bodies. It's in our brains, it's the mechanism that delivers energy and nutrients to every cell, and, oh yea,  we would be DEAD without it.

I honestly had zero idea about its plethora of purposes which range from digestion, to reproduction, to mental functions. She also talks about how LDL and HDL aren't actually, cholesterol at all, but proteins.

Wut? Yep. So anytime you hear or read someone that says LDL is "bad" cholesterol and HDL is "good" cholesterol, they are wrong. They're actually lipoproteins, hence:
LDL - Low Density Lipoprotein
HDL - High Density Lipoprotein
AKA: NOT cholesterol

Dr. Harcombe ran several reports from the World Health Organization database trying to find a correlation between elevated cholesterol and cardiovascular death. She actually found that the higher the level, the lower the death rate from cardiovascular episodes especially in women.

The question she poses is: Do we have cholesterol completely wrong?

Another leading researcher, Dr. Malcolm Kendrick, did a massive amount of studying on the correlation--or, by his research--the lack thereof, between elevated cholesterol levels and cardiovascular death. Below you find his 30 minute presentation and I think you find it incredibly fascinating.

The long and the short of it is that the relationship between elevated levels and death are actually inverse.

Wut the wut?

Yes. According to his report, the lower your cholesterol the HIGHER your chances are of dying from a cardiovascular episode.

Wait! My doctor told me it's in my genes!
Yes. Me too. What our doctors are talking about is Familial Hypercholesterolemia or FH. Unfortunately, FH isn't nearly as common as we are lead to believe. FH is a genetic mutation and is revealed by a simple test. Usually what happens is that your doctor says you have FH because you have high cholesterol.

Maybe, but probably not. Check out Dr. Harcombe's article that reports only 1 in 500 people actually have the gene. Here's another great article by Dr. Axel Sigurdsson on FH mutation carriers.

Cholesterol, Triglycerides, Ketones, and Lipoproteins
Wow. What a mouthful. Just the sheer number of syllables in the title makes my eyes blur and my head swim. Fortunately, this article on CholesterolCode.com makes it easy to understand what each of these components are and why we need them.

Another Lean Mass Hyper Responder
Stephen Richert is a documentary adventure photographer. In 2015 he was diagnosed with very high cholesterol--his numbers are almost exactly the same as mine. But he has the added complication of having diabetes. Here's his first article in 2015 when he talks about being on keto and getting those results back.

As of 2017, he was still doing keto and still has high cholesterol numbers. However, he is no longer trying to "fix" the lipid levels. Here's his reasoning.

How do I know if I'm Healthy?
Okay, so if cholesterol levels are not necessarily the best indicators of your cardiovascular health, then what are? Unfortunately, there's nothing that's 100% guaranteed, but our research has turned up two tests that can give you a really good idea.

CIMT - Carotid Intima-Media Thickness Test

CAC - coronary artery calcium scan

What's Next for Me
Now that we've ruled out thyroid, cortisol, and any other health-related causes, we've decided to switch my statin (I've been on one since I was in my early 20s). I'm changing from Lipitor to Crestor's lowest dose (half of what I was on before). I'm also modifying my keto diet slightly. Instead of staying below 50g (usually well below) of carbs a day, I'm upping it to 100g.

The extra carbs are almost all veggies and a little bit of fruit. I'm good with this since I've reached my weight goal and am switching to maintenance.

We are pretty certain that I'm a LMHR--remember I'm over the top about almost everything!--but we want to be totally sure. I know that changing two things kinda skews the results, but being on such a low dose should cut down on potential side effects if we decide to increase it.

Right now, we are going to see what happens to my levels over the next two months. It's a make a change, then wait kinda game. But I'm in it for the long haul.

Still haven't decided my feelings on the health benefits of high cholesterol. Still need to do more research--which I will share--and weigh that with the risks of more statins.

Until next time, my friends, adventure on!

Ready to see what happens next?
And the Two Month Follow-Up.

Tuesday, January 1, 2019

The Transhuman Project Review

I've had the great privilege of reading Erin Rhew's new Sci-Fi adventure, The Transhuman Project.

The Transhuman Project back blurb
When a video of Molly Richards is taken out of context and goes viral, she’s thrust into the upper echelons of social media stardom and becomes an overnight success in a country where Life Channel ratings reign supreme. As Kadar’s fastest-rising celebrity, her life becomes a media circus, a show put on for the shallow national audience salivating for the next new thing.

But in a world where image is king, danger and death hide among the shadows. In the nearby country of Pacifica, the brutal Caezar turns his citizens into robotic weapons who infiltrate Kadar as sleeper transhumans. They walk among the populace, unaware they are pawns in the madman’s personal arsenal.

Only Molly, her friends, and an elite group of Kadarian fighters known as the Cyber Knights fully understand the transhuman threat, and only they can break the Caezar's terrorist grip on both Pacifica and Kadar. Battling Fire Bots and humanoid agents, they seek to put a stop to the Caezar's tyranny by unraveling the secrets buried between layers of deception.

And they have to do it all while smiling and waving for the cameras.

As Molly and her friends peer behind the glitz and glamour, they discover something more frightening and more sinister than anything they’ve encountered yet...the truth.

Deek's Review
One of the things I love about this book is that it's so incredibly relevant. Over the last decade social media has become a huge driving force in our society. Now everyone with a Facebook page, blog, You Tube account, Twitter, or Instagram page has a voice.

And in each case, they are vying for your attention and your "likes."

Right now, social media is still somewhat passive, though, that is gradually changing. With the #MeToo and other such movements, these platforms are having more and more societal influence. So, what if we jumped ahead a hundred years in the evolution of social media? What kind of power will it hold?

That's exactly the question that Erin's book explores.

Molly Richards and crew, affectionately known as the Pentad, flee the oppressive, warmongering nation of Pacifica into the bordering country of Kadar. Kadar is an advanced, free society that is ruled by social media popularity. The Pentad had stolen the plans to Pacifica's most powerful weapon, The Transhuman Project, and given it to the Kadarians, hoping that they will be able to neutralize the threat.

Unfortunately, Kadar was not as welcoming as they'd hoped.

Not only do they hold the Pentad in captivity, but a video of Molly goes viral and suddenly she finds herself at the top of the social media ratings. She has no desire for her fandom or the attention it garners, but the unstoppable machine has been put into motion. The media specialists descend and help perpetuate their false story, in hopes of keeping her in the top spot. All the while this is happening, she and the rest of the Pentad are fighting to save Kadar from the evil leader of Pacifica, the Caezar, as he develops more sophisticated weapons in a grab for power.

What's especially intriguing about this book is that the government of Kadar is more puppet that leader. That the true power in this nation is whomever has the highest ranking spot in the Life Channel program.

Imagine if you will, the loudest, most obnoxious blowhard on Facebook, having any sort of power over the government.

Yet, this is exactly what has happened.

Filled with intrigue, mystery, self-sacrifice, unlikely heroes, action, and even a smattering of romance, Erin's new book, The Transhuman Project, will have you flipping the pages until the very end!

On a personal note, I'm incredibly proud of Erin and her amazing accomplishment. What no one knows is that this is actually the second Molly book she's written. But after years of working on it, she realized that the first one is just backstory, that the real story is in The Transhuman Project. As an author, it takes barrels and barrels of courage and gumption to throw away so much work. But that's what Erin did. She, as she always does, persevered and made the tough call. Working her behind off to deliver to you, what I think you will find to be a fascinating and exhilarating story.

The Transhuman Project releases TODAY, January 15, 2019!