Ketogenic diet and high cholesterol

I recently got some blood work back and I wanted to share my results in hopes that it may offer some insight to others who may find themselves at the crossroads of the ketogenic diet and high cholesterol. I have been following a low-carb high-fat diet since July and generally speaking I have been really happy with how it has impacted my body composition, athletic performance, energy and blood sugar control. I’ve written a lot about it and I want to be fair and share the challenges that I’m having as well. What I am presenting here is in no way advice or even a solution that I have found for myself–but rather a question that I am working through. I’ve always had elevated cholesterol (last 10 years) and I’ve always prioritized my blood sugar management over cholesterol. Simply put, there are more questions about the risks of cholesterol than the risks of elevated blood sugar, so I focus on the “devil I know”.

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Are New Years resolutions a good idea?

I deliberately make new years resolutions that I know I can’t keep. I specifically set goals beyond my limits because I don’t think the point of this yearly ritual is to check a box or accomplish a task. The point is to become a different person entirely. For example, if you want to be a high level athlete, you must first become the type of person who is capable of becoming a high level athlete. Then, meeting the specific goal of athletic performance becomes an extension of the normal that you’ve created for yourself. To quote Abraham Lincoln, “Give me six hours to chop down a tree and I will spend the first four sharpening the axe.” These resolutions are how I sharpen the axe–and are not meant to be mistaken for the process of felling the tree.

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Extraordinarily normal

In my most recent blog post I talked about my travel video setup and why I wound up going with a smaller, lighter setup over the absolutely highest rated sensors and optics–which come at a cost logistically. Of course I’d love to encourage you to check out the evolution and function of this equipment by subscribing to our YouTube channel–because I’m going to be updating weekly with videos. Ideally I’ll be able to post 2 videos weekly–but either way it will be a different, more interactive experience of our journey. Before embarking though, I wanted to finish up a video project that I started back in 2014 and I recently posted a video which allowed me to use my new setup to complete this existing project!

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Light is right: my travel video setup

I recently spent a lot of time fixated on the decisions facing me about putting together a travel video setup. Trying to determine the “best” of anything is that much more difficult when you’re talking about the tools being used for a creative pursuit. Like Casey Neistat says, the gear doesn’t matter–which tends to validate every opinion. Clear as mud, right?! Everyone is right-everyone is wrong. The best camera is the one that you have with you. My decision ultimately came down to a setup that will allow me to have a camera with me almost anywhere–the best camera possible that won’t slow me down or interfere with the adventure! Make sure you subscribe to the LivingVertical YouTube channel to see where this goes!

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10 questions that enabled me to start traveling full-time with my family

I’ve been told in the past, “enjoy your adventures before you have kids because once they arrive you certainly won’t be traveling full-time ” and now that I’m a parent I’d be delusional to suggest that life hasn’t changed dramatically. That said, I believe in the the almighty workaround enough to try and defy the skeptics–most notably the one that lives between my own ears. In this post I want to share the 10 questions I asked myself that enabled me to commit to traveling full-time and climbing with my family. As you read this, please keep in mind the following:

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Choosing a camera: decisions about sharing the next adventure and leaving room to grow

For my last post of November, I want to say how stoked I am for what’s next! Blake and I just finished a rough cut of the Wind River Project film, which is being previewed by a select few–and I have approximately 6 weeks remaining before embarking on another adventure, this time with my family. The Wind River Project was the last “big” adventure I was on, and one of the things that I learned (the hard way) was that not having my family along just sucks the joy out of the experience for me. I’ve said many times that for me, the climbing isn’t just about the climbing and the diabetes isn’t just about the diabetes. Maybe I am just getting soft in my old age, but I have decided to stick to what works for me.

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A housecleaning photo auction, Facebook style!

This is a short post–literally, some housekeeping. I’m auctioning off the photography prints that won’t travel well on this next journey and they could be yours if you’d like. Signed, shipped and a hand-written thank you note! It was only a few years ago–right at this time of year actually, when Stefanie and I packed up the little red Tercel–the ‘Dragon Wagon’ with all of our stuff and hit the road for Project365. Now it’s a lot different. That’s what I keep telling myself, but it feels pretty similar. I occasionally take breaks from wondering how I accumulated so much stuff (again) and answering buyers questions on eBay (no, it doesn’t have ‘moth damage’–pretty sure I would have mentioned that in the description…). I realized that one marked difference between 2015 and 2011 is that this time LivingVertical has something to show for itself as we venture out on another quest. We have a team. Experience. Media. Events. We aren’t going into this melee armed with a pea-shooter!

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Measure twice, cut once: balancing move preparation, photography and family

This is the first Diabetes Awareness month (since I realized that such a thing existed) in which I haven’t been going out of my mind with worrying about keeping up with fundraising and awareness projects which kind dominate the airwaves. It may sound odd, but I feel like November is a great month to let my advocacy efforts “breathe”. Now don’t get me wrong–I’m not knocking the idea of awareness nor the opportunity for fundraising–I just don’t really see myself in that picture. I love documentaries for example, including the one I made in 2013, but I won’t be shooting another one any time soon, you know? At times in the past I’ve felt like I must be doing something wrong when November rolls around and I just don’t feel like playing. Now, I figure that I’ve got 11 other months out of the year to shake things up and so I am taking time to dig into my creative roots and gather vision and inspiration for the project ahead. Preparation for 2016 let’s call it. As my late uncle always told me, “measure twice, cut once”.

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What's new on our YouTube channel?

A lot, actually! In preparation for the upcoming launch of the AdventureRx tour in 2016 (otherwise known as my families life on the road) it seems to make sense to start building in a more visual component to what we have going on here. During Project365 we made short videos and took lots of photos which ultimately led up to the full documentary. The upcoming journey is a little less structured and has fewer specific goals at the start. It’s going to change moment to moment and the ways in which we share that process will have to be able to accommodate that. Thus, YouTube!

I am hoping to continue the podcast and blogs while adding in short videos that will tell the stories of our lives on the road, the places we bring diabetes, the people we meet and the adventures we have. It’s not unlikely that some climbing specific projects will crop up along the way too–and I’d much rather knock off a bunch of shorts than sit at a desk for 9 months to make a documentary. So if you’re into this idea, give our videos a watch, a share and subscribe to our channel! I will be cross-posting videos to the blog periodically too because I know that many people only read the blog and don’t want to seek out additional channels like YouTube.

Below: My Dexcom taping method–I know I have read about 100 different variations but I can never make sense of the directions so I figured a video could simplify it and help others secure their sensors for a longer time–I apologize that you have to see a bit of my exposed “hock” in this particular work–I guess it’s all part of being edgy…

Also, for World Diabetes Day, our creative director Blake McCord put together a new trailer for the Wind River Project which we have been working on for the last several months and it is nearing completion.

Type 1 diabetes is what we make of it and this is our take. That’s always been the point of making something…different. The fact that we CAN take that liberty of expression and self-actualization is in itself significant.

Support LivingVertical by purchasing one of my photographs:


Love this? Hate it? Let me know in the comments or via email! (steve@livingvertical.org)

LivingVertical thrives because of YOU. I (Steve) personally appreciate the fact that you are part of our growing community of active and adventurous people with diabetes.


LivingVertical is growing again--welcome Carter Clark to the team!

Editors note: ordinarily I would introduce this as a guest post, but Carter Clark has officially joined our team and so technically that makes her one of our tribe! The purpose of this post is both to welcome her to the team and introduce her perspective on adventure and life with type 1 diabetes to the community! 

Years back, I would often hop into Jeep with intentions of spending time in the mountains with dear friends. Some of those times, I decided not to go back to where I started. It’s how my life of constant movement began–rarely planned, always under-packed, and riddled with unknowns.

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