Solving My Email Problem with Siteground

If you sent me an email in the last year and it bounced with a message saying that it was rejected for having a high probability of SPAM, I apologize. It is hard to chase down a problem, when I don’t know it is happening. The good news is the problem is now finally solved.

As much as I love and recommend my web host Siteground, they do something very stupid by default on their accounts. They enable a service called SpamExperts at the domain level. SpamExperts isn’t just rejecting email from sketchy accounts, but also from people I correspond with on a regular basis if it reads a link in the email it doesn’t like. One friend sent me an email with a link to a well respected language learning site that was rejected. Another friend sent me a link to a health article about some recent research that was also rejected.


Photo by Sean MacEntee 

All the email that is sent to me from this domain and the other domains I have is forwarded to GMail. GMail does an admirable job of SPAM filtering. And if they get something wrong, I can always go into the SPAM folder and recover the message. I can also teach GMail what isn’t a SPAM message and create custom filter rules. I can’t do that with SpamExperts, because the message is bounced.

I have referred several readers to Siteground. I stand by that recommendation, but you will need to take the following steps to shut off SpamExperts.

Disable the filtering by going to cPanel – MX Entry – select your domain from the dropdown at the top of the page – Disable SpamExperts.

If you are seeking a fast stable web host, here is my affiliate referral link to Siteground. Just be sure to disable SpamExperts, because they are far from experts when it comes to detecting SPAM.

2016 UPDATE: Siteground no longer lets you disable Spam Experts from the cPanel. You now need to open a support ticket to have it disabled. Trust me you want it disabled. SpamExperts is terrible.


No Hunger Games – A Day of Just Boiled Potatoes

Back in 2012 when FreeTheAnimal was discussing the Potato Diet, I didn’t pay too much attention. I was doing my own experiment to gain weight using ice cream and dairy kefir. But this year I’ve been more interested in the role food volume plays on satiety. So I looked it up again.

I read The Potato Diet guide on Vegetable Pharm and it made sense. Fill your belly full of heavy low calorie nutritious potatoes and you’ll create a caloric deficit and do so without feeling hungry. Yesterday I decided to test it out for one day.

First I wanted to check the math. After running numerous online calculators, I determined that my base metabolic rate is between 2,100 and 2,400 calories. To be conservative, I will use 2,100 calories as my number. A pound of boiled white potatoes is 354 calories. This means I could sit on my ass and eat almost 6 pounds of potatoes without gaining an ounce. But the potato diet works on the premise that one gets full sooner.

The day before I boiled about 6 pounds of medium sized potatoes and placed them in the refrigerator overnight. Eating the potatoes cooled increased the amount of resistance starch, which according the Potato Diet post can further help with gut health and hunger signals. No salt or spices are allowed. The potatoes are to be consumed plain. Adding flavor would increase their satiety.

I decided to let hunger be my guide and not try and restrict consumption to achieve a certain level. If I was hungry, I would eat. If I finished all my potatoes and was still hungry, I would end the experiment.

During the day, I weighed the potatoes. At times my belly was full but I felt false hunger. Meaning I craved color, flavor and variety, but I wasn’t really hungry. It was a gray rainy day in Seattle. Not part of the day. The entire day. I picked a tough day to try this experiment. To get my flavor stimulus, I consumed more coffee than usual. I’m not sure if that is allowed or not, but one battle at a time.


Before heading to sleep, I added everything up. I consumed 5 pounds of potatoes and nothing else. That works out to 1,770 calories. If my metabolism is 2,100 then that works out to a 15.7% deficit. If I’m at 2,400 then it is a 26.3% deficit. Very interesting.

One of my concerns would be that I’d wake up in the middle of the night hungry. That didn’t happen. In fact, I wasn’t even hungry when I woke up. I had already decided to extend the experiment another day. Perhaps my lack of morning hunger was partially due to the fact I had removed the flavor stimulus?

Also my inner economist was pleased. I purchase a 15 pound bag of potatoes for $3.99. Yesterday I fed myself for just $1.33.

I haven’t decided how deep I will go into this experiment, but yesterday was a great learning experience. Have you tried the Potato Diet? What were your results?


Using 23andMe to Pick the Best Diet and Exercise Plan For Fat Loss

It has been a while since I thought about my 23andMe account.

Back in April 2013, I shared my 23andMe health results and did a post on my ancestry. Yesterday I was tipped off to the post These 5 Genes Predict What Kind of Diet and Exercise is Best For Your Body over on Rockstar Research.

The premise of the post is that researchers have discovered that different people respond to different forms of diets and exercises at the gene level. And instead of digging through hundreds if not thousands of pages of research and references, the Rockstar post simplifies all that info into a simple flowchart.

For this post, I will use my data to see which exercise and diet is best for my fat loss.


Browse Raw Data – 23andMe

My Data

  • rs4994 = AA
  • rs1042713 = GG

Result #1 = Only High Intensity Exercise Will Help You Lose Weight

  • rs1799883 = not found
  • rs1801282 = CG

Result #2 = You Will Lose 2.5X as Much Weight on a Low Carb Diet


My personal story is that when I did a lot of endurance running, I never got any leaner. Also the time I did lose the most weight was when I cut the carbs. Was it the reduced carbs? Or was it the increased protein in the diet? How much of a role does genetics play here? I don’t know, but this has my attention now. It is one more piece of the puzzle.


After the comment by Anemone, which states that not having the rs1799883 marker in your test results means you should test both paths. So here are more results:

  • rs1801282 = CG

Result #3 = You Will Lose 2.5X as Much Weight on a Low Fat Diet

Going down this path contradicts the previous result. The exercise recommendation remains unchanged. So unless I can figure out what my rs1799883 is, I don’t know if I am genetically more likely to lose fat following a low-carb or low-fat diet.

If you are interested in getting a 23andMe account, use this link and they give me a few dollars for each referral. 23andMe sign up  UPDATE OCT 21: The FDA has lifted the ban on 23andMe giving out health info. 


No Soy Friolento

Today I learned a wonderful word. From 10 Spanish Words That Have No English Translation:

 7. Friolento/Friolero

Someone who is very sensitive to cold.

Él es muy friolento y siempre pide que apaguen el ventilador. Since the cold affects him so much, he always asks them to turn off the fan.

I used to be friolento. I decided eight years ago I was tired of being cold all the time whenever the temperature dipped below 65 F (18 C). Inspired by Art De Vany, I proceeded to widen my temperature comfort range.


Photo by jpellgen

Probably the most helpful trick I used to increase my temperature resiliency was the simple act of wearing one less layer. If it is a coat day, wear a sweater. A sweater day, wear a thin jacket. A jacket day, wear a long sleeve shirt. A long sleeve day, wear a short sleeve shirt. Be a little bit uncomfortable.

The first few minutes of cold exposure is your body telling you it doesn’t want to do the work of warming you up. It wants you to do its job. Ignore that call for a 10-20 minutes every day and soon your body will be throwing heat.

You can take cold exposure too far. I have. But there is no need to. You don’t need to go too cold or too long.

The key to widening your temperature range is to first trigger cold exposure and then warm up quickly. Kind of like going to the gym. Get your workout done, then hit the showers and have some post workout nutrition. Don’t spend too much time on the stressor and don’t ignore the recovery.

I understand why old people are cold all the time. Besides muscle loss they have pampered themselves for decades by always being in a perfectly temperature controlled environment. In a modern society it is easy to always be warm. Heated homes, heated cars, heated seats, blankets, jackets and sweaters all there to keep us from even a minute of discomfort. But just like lack of lifting weights can lead to muscle atrophy, lack of a colder stimulus deconditions the body from being warm on its own.

The problem I see now is more than just old people that have become temperature wimps. It appears to be almost everyone. We live soft lives inside offices and cars. Even our gyms are temperature controlled. Close that window there might be a slight breeze!


In the post You Broke Your Own Metabolism, I go further. People aren’t just wearing jackets because they are cold. They are cold, because they are always wearing jackets.

Fall is here. Winter is coming. Leave your jacket behind. You’ll be fine. In fact, you’ll be better. Last year I sold my nice leather coat. I realized that since I had greatly widened by temperature comfort zone, it never got cold enough in Seattle to wear a coat. At 30F (-1 C), a sweater was enough.

I used to be friolento. ¡No más!


The Myth of Stress Notes

I just finished reading an interesting book on stress. I jotted down some of the key ideas.

The Myth of Stress: Where Stress Really Comes From and How to Live a Happier and Healthier Life
The Myth of Stress: Where Stress Really Comes From and How to Live a Happier and Healthier Life by Andrew Bernstein

The author states that stress is not a physical process with a psychological component, but a psychological process with a physical component. Stress doesn’t come from what’s going on in your life – it comes from your thoughts about what’s going on in your life.

…in reality, there is no such thing as a stressor. Nothing has the inherent power to cause stress in you. Things happen (divorce, layoffs, disease, etc.) and you experience stress – or you don’t – depending on what you think about of those things. Stress is a function of beliefs, not circumstances.

The book explains how stress originates from our thoughts, but the effects on our body, feelings, and behaviors are real. This reminded me a lot of my experience with overcoming back pain and understanding how the roots were psychological, but the pain was real. When I changed my thinking, the pain went away.

The Myth of Stress says that insight is the key to reducing or eliminating the effect of stress. And the author defines insight as the realization that what you had believed to be true is actually false so that the real truth emerges.

The book disagrees the wisdom that “time heals all wounds”, by stating that it is actually insight and not time. The problem is this insight can take a long time to arrive. People can spend days, months or years stuck on a problem. The key is to seek greater insight. This is done via worksheets.

Here is how the worksheet process works.

  1. Describe stressful feeling in a should or shouldn’t sentence.
  2. Rank feeling from 0-10.
  3. (a) How do you feel when you believe this? (b) How do you act when you feel this way?
  4. Write a negation of step 1 by adding “in reality at the beginning or “at this time” or “at that time” to the end.
  5. Write proof that supports the negation. Be thorough.
  6. (a) How do you feel when you see the truth of the negation? (b) What actions might come from this?
  7. Read your original statement again. How strongly do you feel this belief to be true now?

This process can lower the initial stress ranking several points.


Photo by Amy McTigue

The book goes through many real examples on a variety of topics including:

  • Traffic
  • Anger
  • Conflict Resolution
  • Weight Loss
  • Success
  • Financial Happiness
  • Uncertainty
  • Broken Heart
  • Having Too Much To Do
  • Regret
  • Discrimination
  • Dying Too Soon

On being calm:

A stress-free life isn’t about trying to stay calm. Calm is your baseline state, and you contract away from it through false beliefs. From this perspective, the opposite of stress is not relaxation. The opposite of stress is education, releasing the contractions by having insights.

On cultural related stress:

The number of counterfactual beliefs in your head, not the number of figures in your bank account, determines how happy or unhappy you are with your life. Some cultures may circulate fewer of these beliefs, and as a result they more enjoy life more. But you don’t have to know what your fellow citizens are struggling with in order to increase your own happiness. Simply find the beliefs you have about how life should be different, and challenge them one by one. The more you do this, the more you’ll enjoy life.

If you are interested in digging into the specifics, The Myth of Stress is worth a read.