Tuesday, January 11, 2011

Things You Think

My wife, Christy, has now gotten on the band wagon. Not that she is into the whole self experimentation thing, she just thought it might be time to eat better. She started off the morning with a hearty breakfast again because yesterday she had so much energy from doing so. This is not necessarily a good thing.

Christy is and always has been full of energy. Take yesterday, for instance, she was not feeling at all well in the morning even though she had decided to take the day off. Somewhere between the time I left the house and came home, she had made herself a good breakfast, rearranged two rooms of furniture and had painted a third room. Now you think she would be exhausted but she wasn't, she was chipper and sprightly and giggly. I now have a huge guilt complex about taking rest, any rest. Some days I would like to be able to shoot her with a tranquilizer gun and snuggle up with her past 8am but this does not make for a good marriage. Shooting one's spouse with heavy sedatives is generally frowned upon in most Western societies, though I hear it is perfectly legal in Saudi Arabia.

Late in the evening, we went to the grocery store and stocked up on all kinds of good eats. Christy seemed even more excited by the prospect of eating better, if that were humanly possible. It's so nice to be married to a bundle of sunshine, tranq gun be damned. Going through the supermarket was such a fun experience and we kept noting that eating well or properly was definitely more expensive than eating crap. Christy is also so helpful in kicking loose information inside my old brain archive. Words like 'glycemic' and 'thermogenic' keep coming out of my mouth; whole volumes pour out about ketogenesis and so forth. This all leads me to things I have been thinking lately about human diets.

I have become more observant of what people eat. I also think back a lot on what our grandparents ate. If you could afford it, way back when, you would have a breakfast steak. When was the last time you said to yourself, "I think I'll have a steak for breakfast!"? I am guessing, not recently. If you are a vegetarian, when was the last time you made yourself something like avocado and tomato or beans on a slice of toast with a side of cottage cheese? Thought so. Fifty years ago, those meals were not uncommon. Now we skip breakfast, most of the time, or eat complete garbage. Why? Because commercials, faulty medical science and bad government have coerced you to make bad choices.

Let's be honest, the food pyramid is a joke. If you follow what you have been told going back to the 70's, it's a wonder you are not morbidly obese and booking appearances on some pathetic Discovery Channel show by now. Granola or Muesli is very rarely good for you unless you really want to shell out some dough or make your own. Something that is labeled "Heart Healthy" is almost always assuredly not (companies pay for this designation based on outdated science). Think regular old yogurt is really really good for you? Think again. Almost all of the above are packed with sugar or high fructose corn syrup or artificial sweeteners (no matter what, they produce a glycemic response, just like eating the real thing).

I have known for some time that: calories in do not necessarily equal calories out, fat will never make you fat no matter what kind of fat it is, if a cereal package boasts whole grain go ahead and laugh your ass off.

A lot of medical science is bad. Why? It's the same reason I occasionally shake my fist while watching Mythbusters, a lot of assumptions are made beyond the science. For example, there was a study showing the low number of incidents of heart disease in French people despite a diet of saturated fats. This study even has a misnomer to go along with it: The French Paradox. Why is it a misnomer? There really is no paradox. Almost every study going back to the 70's has shown that fats are not the cause of heart disease (by itself), to the contrary they often prevent heart disease. Let that sink in for a minute.

Now what did the medical community gather from the years of research into the French diet? Lots of nifty chemicals, that's what, and the drug and supplement industry applauded heartily. "It's the red wine that is responsible for this seemingly unexplainable effect", they exclaimed. The alcohol industry applauded. They picked and gathered assumptions from the study and glanced over some fairly glaring numbers pointing to the obvious: the French eat less sugar and processed foods. Someone should be drawn and quartered for creating Snackwells and all the other myriad of processed crap that replaced fat with sugar.

Again, FAT does not make you FAT. It's biologically impossible. The hard truth is you uh, uh, get rid of a majority of it and the other parts that do get into your blood stream help with things like your hair, nails, skin etc. So in short we have been basically poisoning ourselves with sugar because the FDA says it is better for us. Don't even get me started on the stupidity of taking most lard based oils and fats out of restaurants (magnesium and zinc are in these products and they help regulate your metabolism and real fat just gets you fuller faster). The real reason McDonald's changed to vegetable oil was not for your health's sake, it was so they could get you to eat more food, a wise business decision. "Hey the government said veggie oil was better even though there is nothing to substantiate that claim and it doesn't have the same filling effect on your stomach like animal fats do, who are we to argue?"

The scientists went on and on, "It's the fish! Eat a lot of Omega 3 fatty acids!" In the book "The 4-Hour Body", Tim Ferriss reminds me once again, correlation is not the same thing as causation. So that's why I have been doing some of my own thinking on all of this. Recent studies show that Omega 3's (alone) have absolutely no effect on heart health and could actually cause inflammation. Almost every study that has stood up to scrutiny (and one that has been repeated over and over), point to the fact that sugars and overly processed foods are the culprit time and time again. You just don't hear about them as much nor do they become common knowledge as such. Who is going to profit from telling you to up your protein and fat content and lower the sugar content in what you eat?

My daughter firmly believed that anything that had fat was extremely bad for you. She had been told this by someone close to her, someone who should know better. Sadly, she was quite obese. It wore on her subconsciously. She had grown to believe that anything sugary was good and was obsessed with food, a lot. My girl never seemed to be sated and she would often eat as much as her much older brother, if not more. She felt she was entitled to that much food. When I adjusted her portions to what a young girl should be eating, I thought I was breaking her heart. When I made her eat something for breakfast, she would often balk at a certain point. But those two minor adjustments meant worlds of good for her. She started dropping weight and chose to do less sedentary activities. When you are grossly overweight, running around the neighborhood isn't really that much fun.

If you would like to get angrier about what you eat I would highly suggest reading "The 4-Hour Body". There are some very well supported points and documentation on how and why the health industry, government and a cavalcade of others are working against your better health. It's not a conspiracy book, mind you, he just lays out all the facts. If you dig deep enough, you won't need the book but it sure saves you a lot of time searching for the truth.

Today's weigh in: 235lbs (-1lb difference so far woooohoooo!).

Here is a little ditty to make you smile:

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