October 29

Protein talk at the ASBP meeting in San Diego

7  comments

In case you’ve been wondering if I took a powder, I didn’t.  I’ve been immersed in slide-making hell.  A few months ago I was asked to give a talk to the American Society of  Bariatric Physicians in San Diego.  I agreed.  I figured I would give one of my standard presentations on the virtues of the low-carb diet, but the organizers wanted me to give a talk on the virtues of protein in the diet, which, of course, means new slides.  I loathe making slides, so I always put it off until the last minute.  This time I had a little help putting it off because my schedule was so full up until a couple of weeks ago.  Since starting on these slides, I have been consumed.  I have become a Protein PowerPointer.
Although grinding these things out at the last minute is stressful, there are some virtues.  Once a few years ago I agreed to give a talk and promised the extremely anal honcho of the organization I was to speak to that I would have my slides finished and sent to him THREE months before the talk.  I did all my stressing and agonizing (this was a new talk) three months early.  I got the things done, and when I sent them off I had a feeling of accomplishment and satisfaction settle over me.  I’ve got to do this every time from now on, I thought.  My feelings of bliss lasted exactly two months, 29 days, and 22 hours.  I pulled up my slides to review them a couple of hours prior to my talk, and it was as if I had never seen them before.  I went into a blind panic.  “Why did I say that?  What did I mean here?”  I was screaming at myself.  I realized that working on the slides right up until talk time keeps my head in the game and keeps the material fresh in my mind.
When I agreed to give this talk, I assumed it would just be your typical, garden-variety talk albeit on a new subject.  I had to chuckle when I got the brochure for the meeting in the mail.  I learned that I was to give the Robert C. Atkins Memorial Lecture.  How the ASBP has changed.  MD and I were members twenty years ago, but we bailed because the organization was so steeped in low-fatness.  Now, they have me giving the Robert C. Atkins lecture.
Back in 1972 I was a newly minted civil engineer working on my first engineering job based in Carlsbad, California, a little beach town about 30 miles north of San Diego.  I was the engineer on site for a huge pipeline project running from Poway, California, a little bedroom community east of San Diego, to a treatment plant on the coast.  I had just made the decision that I wanted to go to medical school, but still had to take a few courses to bridge the gap between my engineering degree and all the prerequisites for med school.  I was keenly interested in anything medical at the time, and Dr. Atkins, who had just published his first and most famous book, was much in the news.  I decided to read his book to see what all the fuss was about.I got the book on my way to the jobsite and started reading it while I was supposed to be overseeing.  I finished it at home sitting in my driveway in my pickup.  I was thin at the time and had no need of a diet—I read it only as an interesting piece of medical current events.  Based on my zero medical knowledge at the time, it all made sense to me, and I couldn’t see why folks were getting their panties in a wad over it.  Little did I know that 32 years later I would be giving the Robert C. Atkins lecture 30 miles south of where I was then sitting in my pickup with the summer night falling reading his book.
You may be wondering why I’m writing this right now instead of working on my slides.   I am hurtling down the freeway with MD at the wheel on our way to San Diego.  I fired up my laptop, but with all the traffic and the bumping and jerking of the car, I can’t make PowerPoint sing.  I can type okay, though, so I figured I would let everyone know I still existed. My little Verizon Broadband card is worth its weight in gold, allowing me to surf the net and post this post while going eighty on the I-5 toward San Diego.
During my absence from posting I have built up a pile of blogworthy material that I will dig into after the talk on Tuesday morning.  Stay tuned.


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  1. Good luck with your talk!
    I read Dr. Atkins first book earlier this year – more as history than anything else. I wanted to see how the diet started off.
    So how did you become a low-carb proponant anyway?
    Hi Victoria–
    Thanks for the good wishes.
    Started low-carb myself years ago when I gained weight and went through the medical literature to figure out why.  I realized early on that insulin was probably what caused it, and reducing insulin can be done easily with a low-carb diet.
    Best–
    MRE

  2. Hope the talk goes well. Look forward to hearing about it and the other “blogworthy material” you will be posting.
    Hi Sue–
    Thanks for the good thoughts.  I, too, am awaiting the blogworthy blogs.  I need to get busy.
    Best–
    MRE

  3. I have just received verification that my trademark application for the term, “Protein PowerPointer” has been approved. You will now owe me fifty bucks for each usage.
    Also, do not be alarmed with the CHP pulls alongside your vehicle on the drive home. I copied your admission to driving 80 mph, sent it to their website along with your descriptions and they replied by promising to pull you over for a speeding citation and a thorough search of your vehicle for any suspicious protein-related propaganda.
    I am sure you will understand that reporting speeding surfers like you is my civic duty. The next thing you know, you and your high-tech Nascar wannabes will be speeding down the freeways while holding cell phones to your distracted brains.
    Feel free to email me from your fancy laptop if you need the contact info for a good bailbondsman.
    Oh, and have a nice day.
    Hey DB–
    I’ll have to give credit where credit is due.  DB is one of my golf-playing buddies who actually accused me of being the Protein PowerPointer when I couldn’t escape my slide making  play a round.  I wish I could take credit for the expression, but I can’t.  I guess I owe you $50.
    Ala, despite your best wishes, the CHP left us unharrassed.
    Cheers–
    MM

  4. You have read Tufte’s discussion on the use of PowerPoint for scientific purposes, I hope?
    http://tinyurl.com/dhhku
    Just trying to save you some loathing.
    Make a couple of good, information-rich displays and just talk to em.
    Hi Connie–
    Thanks for the link.  I’m a big fan of Edward Tufte’s, and, in fact, I’m planning on taking his course this December in San Francisco.  I’ll let everyone know how it goes.
    Cheers–
    MRE

  5. Sir is there any lit that states categorically when cells flip from glucose burning to fat burning i.e after how many hours, please ?
    Thankee kindly
    Hi Simon–
    None that I know of that states categorically.  Based on my reading on the subject, both appear to go on at the same time.  There isn’t a time that one stops and the other begins; there is a relative difference between the two, but both go on at the same time.
    Best–
    MRE 

  6. I’m so glad to see that you are up. I have been looking for you on this website since before June. I have purchased an RV which will soon be my home, office and only transportation. Your endorsement of Verizon Broadband is extremely helpful to me. Thank!
    Wilda
    Hi Wilda–
    The Verizon Broadband has worked well for me on the routes I travel.  It works in virtually all large cities and in many small.  You can get on their site and determine the coverage (which is growing all the time) and see if it works for you.  Sometimes when I’m not in a major city the downloads are slow, but at least they exist.  I’ve been pretty happy with the service all in all.
    Best–
    MRE

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