Monday, April 30, 2012

alternatives to alternatives

When circumstances occur that make us reconsider what we have "decided" before, it's probably a good thing.  I mentioned the other day that my esteemed DIL has deadly allergies, the most virulent of which are to nuts.  Tree nuts, from coconuts on down to filberts (is there anything larger and/or smaller?) ... she can't have 'em.

Low-carbing is something she's willing to do, and has done with success in the past, but for her the choices are more limited.  Therefore, i've been considering what might be some nice alternatives.

Most of us make do with nut flours when we want to "eat our cake and have it too."  Coconut pancakes and tortillas, hazelnut-meal bread, almond cakes and cookies are out the window this week.  What to make instead?  Well, i think we ARE going to have to go a little higher in carbs.  It's time to experiment with legumes, and to cave in to flours made of tubers. 

I'm thinking that a sourdough starter can be begun with a little rye, augmented with chickpea meal, and finished with potato or rice flour (i need to look at the exact protein/carb ratios of these).  It will require some baking soda to lighten the texture....  By souring the legume flour during the week the starter ripens, the antinutrients should be weakened considerably.

Sunflower and pumpkin seeds should be legitimate to use as well, ground up to a meal in the food processor.  And mixing those with finely chopped peanuts should be pretty tasty -- i'm seeing a cake made with these ingredients and iced with chocolate cream cheese.  Do i have anyone's mouth watering yet (besides mine)?

Resuscitating ground-up pork-rinds is a good idea as well -- i've liked using them in the past (during the Atkins Era), but of course when i started avoiding omega-6 oils, they had to be relegated to "neolithic purgatory."  I don't think ANYBODY in my neck of the woods is frying the things in acceptable fats, so if i want to start using them again, i'll have to fry them myself.  Coincidentally, i have a package of pork skins in my freezer at home, some tallow in the deep-fryer, and lard in the pantry -- let the experimentation begin!

At a higher carb count, there are quinoa, buckwheat and that sort of thing.  Compared to wheat, they're angels of light.  Tapioca ... sweet potato ... maybe even konjac flour....

Oh, and i almost forgot the original Revolution (or "oopsie") Rolls!  All is not lost -- there are LOTS of options we can explore!

Sunday, April 29, 2012

plateauing problems

One of the irritations we encounter on ANY weight-loss diet is the plateau. How to break through these stalls is tricky indeed, and i suspect they may be the reason most people never manage to meet their goals -- especially for those of us who have a hard time losing weight in the first place.

Sometimes you read a person's record and they say, "i plateaued out but kept doing what i was doing, and three months later, i started losing again."  THREE MONTHS???  Hell, i plateau that long, and there's no way on earth i'd be able to keep my motivation to continue what i'm doing!!!

On the other hand, i have a suspicion that the body so likes to have homeostasis that it can actually be good for you to remain at a stable weight for an extended period.  The problem arises when your mind has a reason for wanting to continue losing, and your body refuses to cooperate. 

I think Dr. Atkins didn't consider a plateau a real issue until it had gone on for a month.  He had a set of suggestions ready and waiting for his patients when/if it happened, but not having my book available right now, i really can't enumerate many of them.  I suspect his first rule would be to step back 5 or 10 daily carb-grams, and to make sure one was using all the appropriate supplements.  Making sure allergies and hormones are under control would be another suggestion.  Checking fat-burning status through the use of keto-sticks might be yet another, and if they didn't show "enough pink" he might have recommended a fat-fast.

The tricky bit is, if you ARE producing ketones, a fat-fast is superfluous -- ITS major virtue is forcing a recalcitrant body to burn FFAs rather than glucose.  In the presence of decent ketosis, other tricks will be far more effective in spurring weight loss.

I've long suspected that "shocking" the body with an abrupt change in food or exercise habit makes it perk up and take notice, start "thinking" about how it functions instead of coasting along on autopilot.  What we DON'T want to do is make it think it's threatened, by dipping protein or total calories TOO low, or working out so excessively that stress hormones actually encourage more fat storage!  That's the "logical" thing to do, from the point of view of a physicist; unfortunately, the biological system doesn't behave like a mechanical one....

This "shock technique" MAY be why low-carbers who abruptly start eating more starches see an immediate loss -- the question in my book would be, how long can it last?  Now, in my case, an addition of carbs to spur weight-loss is out of the question -- i start feeling terrible, i get palpitations and tremors upon a too-large increase of carbohydrates in my diet!  Not fun.  Adding in fasts are effective for some people, too, which could theoretically work the same way, shaking things up.

For me, the most effective thing seems to be to stop drinking wine and spirits, stop eating any nuts, dairy or fruit that i may have been indulging myself with.  A more strict observance of what kinds of vegetables i eat, too, can be important.  Anything that sets off allergic symptoms is an automatic suspect.

Please, everybody -- leave a comment on your favorite and most effective means of breaking a plateau!  I think that learning from each other is one of the best aspects of the internet!

Saturday, April 28, 2012

pre-road ... NOT-downs

Got my tomato and sweet-pepper plants in the ground today, so they shouldn't die without care while i'm gone.  :-)  THIS year's indoor sowing is far more successful than last -- i used "poo pots" (composted cow-manure vessels) to start seeds left over from last year's most successful vegetables.  Yea, heirlooms!!!  They're between two and four inches tall; some went into the ground in the back yard, and some into pots on the balcony (trying to outwit the squirrels).

I uprooted a couple of sunchokes to make room for tomatoes, and one good-sized tuber came out, so i was able to show my MIL -- she'd never seen one before.  She's lived in small towns a good part of her life, and in their grocery stores, you're lucky to find avocados and parsnips and greens and such, let alone the more unusual vegetables....

I baked a loaf of nut-free, gluten-free reduced-carb bread to take along; my poor DIL is horribly allergic to tree-nuts, so while we're in her house, our snacks will have to gravitate toward the meat/olive/cheese direction.  I'd better take along a LOT of rice crackers!  But then again, their place isn't terribly far from a Wegman's -- the most impressive grocery store i've ever explored.  And some people brag on the Whole Foods in Austin....  ;-)  Wegman's has EVERYTHING.

So, except for the packing, i think i'm ready!  [crossing fingers] 

Friday, April 27, 2012

i'm off! ...but then, you knew that

Another big adventure on the horizon -- hubby, MIL, Spense and i are driving to Virginia, where my son and DIL have a goat farm.  And pigs, poultry, cats, one wether and a PACK of Great Pyrenees (livestock-guardian) dogs....  He's a Marine and a postal-service employee -- be afraid.  ;-)

My posting will probably be a little sporadic for awhile, but i HOPE to have something halfway interesting to report from the small-farming front!  Wish me luck....

Thursday, April 26, 2012

extra! extra! :-)

Goodbye, Dr. Sharma, hello Lori Miller....

I did another re-shuffling of bloggers on my list.  It's been months since Dr. Sharma's column has had anything constructive to say on weight loss; he's been reporting on his efforts to change the classifications of overweight among doctors and thereby, their treatment, and to increase understanding in society at large.  While i'm sure these are worthwhile endeavors, for most of us they have very little utility.  He deals with pathologically overweight people, and seems to find dietary methods of weight-loss frequently inadequate for his patients; in many cases, he advocates surgery and looks forward to future drug therapies with hope. 

For "us" -- those who want to improve our own lives through what we put in our mouths and how we move our bodies, i don't see that as constructive.  Ta-ta, Doc -- you never misled us, that we were not your target audience....

I added several other blogs the other day, but didn't announce it -- these folks are sometimes brilliant, and i just didn't like giving them what LOOKED like second-class status in my "library" of references.  Welcome, ladies and gentlemen!  :-)

eat to live

:-)  This is not a new idea.

Somehow, i've gotten the impression that some people look on dietary plans as contests, in which the winner is s/he who gets to consume the most yummy stuff while maintaining an acceptable weight.  I think this point of view is problematic.

"Ha ha!" laughs the imp sitting on my left shoulder, "You should talk!  You're constantly thinking and reading and writing about food!"

"Thinking, reading and writing -- not eating and planning to eat.  I think there's a significant difference," i retort, as i flick the little bastard off and encourage my faithful Spenser to tear it apart....

I LOVE to eat yummy stuff.  When my husband was spending so much time working in New Orleans, Spense and i frequently drove down (okay -- Spense didn't help with the driving; no opposable thumbs, you know...), and DESTROYED our diets with the best food America has to offer*.  I could sing paeons of praise to the baguettes at Croissant d'Or (but FORGET the pathetic excuse of a beignet at that touristy Cafe place...).  Sad thing, though -- the rest of my body didn't enjoy it as much as my tastebuds did.

When you're not so young anymore, and your body wants to get fatter and slower and more painful, BUT YOUR MIND DOESN'T WANT IT TO, a compromise has to be struck.  Mind and Tastebuds get together and say, "there's a lot that we both approve of -- let's work on that."  Knees, intestines, and thyroid say, "THANK YOU!!!"  The baguette is bought by somebody else, while my miscellaneous parts get to enjoy a muffaletta omelette for breakfast, oysters, turtle soup, sweetbreads, more oysters, steaks, fish, wine, veggies, MORE oysters, and that excellent coffee for dessert -- *sigh*....

The virtue i've always found in low-carb eating is, hunger is conquered.  Slow mindful enjoyment of well-chosen food satisfies appetite with moderate quantity.  Having taught my body to use fat as its primary fuel, the every-two-hour urge that (20 years ago) had me prowling to the refrigerator to find something to devour no longer exists.  Morning coffee accompanied by unconsciously-burned body fat fills me up till late morning, when a meal featuring protein and some fat with a garnish of something plant-based satisfies me till early evening, and another similar meal keeps me happy till the next morning renews the cycle -- and all the while i haven't had that haunting urge to nibble!  It's almost magical.

Low-carb paleo food has "normalized" my relationship with what i eat, i believe.  I concentrate on subjects i study without visions of snacks intruding themselves.  I go about my everyday tasks without meal-timing being an issue.  I'm not limited by frequent calls by my body and gut-bugs to energy replenishment, because my food is built in, so to speak.  And considering my genetic heritage and time of life, the chance that i'll get so thin that this will all change is small-to-none.

So when people say, "it IS possible to gain weight by eating a low-carb diet," i have to wonder WHAT and HOW MUCH they are eating!  No doubt -- yes, it is possible.  But if one isn't trying to maximize the amount they CAN eat -- not trying to eat the most elaborate dishes, comprised of things like nuts and cream -- it'll be darned hard.  If most every day, one is eating normal-sized meals of REAL FOOD, it's not likely to happen, even with an occasional FEAST.  (And when i say "feast" i'm thinking of the Commander's Palace....  OMG, how i miss N'Orleans!)
* in my humble opinion!  ;-)

Wednesday, April 25, 2012

why "paleo," particularly?

Calling what i eat "paleo" is just a convenient shortcut.  Technically, this stuff wasn't around in the literally paleolithic period -- but that really doesn't matter. 

Yes, we've adapted tremendously with the changing eons.  Yes, we're also very little different from the first hominids, on the cellular level.  (We seem to feel the need to reconcile these -- but why?  I liken it to religious people of the past, who were desperate to view themselves as "special," above the "animals" ... but was it so they'd feel okay about their inhumanity to any creature they considered lower than themselves?  I have my suspicions, but that's not in the scope of what i'm writing about today.  ...Boy, am i good at going off on tangents!)

Calling my diet "paleo" is mostly to set it apart from what we tend to perceive as neolithic -- grains, dairy, legumes, sugars of various sorts, modern fruits bred for increased sweetness, "industrial seed oils" and so on.  Another blogger describes these as "neolithic agents of disease," -- probably the most inspired thing he's ever written.  Other people prefer the descriptor "ancestral" to describe their preferred foodways, but that's pretty loose in my opinion.  I've been known to use the expression "low toxicity" to describe my ideal foods, too.

The crux of the matter is, certain foods have a bad track record when widely used in the human diet.  For centuries, "rich men's diseases" have been described and, though the actual mechanism of what's to blame wasn't always correctly identified at the time, it was ALWAYS one of the NADs.  In the past, certain NADs were INTENTIONALLY prescribed for the disrupting influence it has on the body (look up Kellogg, and monastic use of soy products, for info on their attempts to squelch sexual interest...).  That book which i continue to recommend, "Strong Medicine," makes it clear that in the early to mid 20th century, many such foods were considered problematic by thinking physicians like Blake Donaldson.

Curiously enough, when i began seeking to improve my thyroid function through diet, the foods which i repeatedly found troublesome turned out to be "neolithic" ones.  These foods also tend to be the things that put weight on me.  That made it easy -- i simply came to declare that "neolithic" foods are not my friends.

Over the past year, people have been deserting the paleolithic ship, right and left (and their squabbles have given "paleos" a bad name).  I have a whole list of reasons why i think this happened, but again, that's not my theme today.  People have been adding carbs and shouting from the housetops how happy they are....  I think they'll be back, though i've no doubt they'll be calling their "diet du jour" something else, when they do.  Eventually they'll find that "neolithic" foods cause them more problems than "paleo" foods do, simply because of the nature of the beast -- a higher toxin load.

But i STILL won't go back to reading their stuff -- they've proven that their judgement isn't reliable, by their recent goings-on.  ...Have you noticed, though, that even after they've recanted their previous declarations of faith, they're still hanging around the "paleo blogosphere"?  ;-)

P.S. -- I've been following rabbit trails again, and i want to recommend a post by Robb Wolf!  Seems like he was inspired by a similar spirit to the one that inspired me....

Tuesday, April 24, 2012

on carbohydrates

There are a few things that ALL camps can agree on:
  • carbohydrate foods, even the most "complex," cause a rise in blood glucose;
  • a rise in blood glucose triggers secretion of insulin in people with a functioning pancreas;
  • until blood levels of insulin lower again, your body will not release stored fat to be burned as fuel.
 There are a few things that will be argued, no matter how clear the science is:
  • the properly-functioning human body has no need of exogenous carbohydrate, unlike fats and amino acids -- it can make all the glucose it needs, from dietary proteins and fats, and from stored proteins and fats;
  • frequent small carbohydrate-based meals cause insulin to be constantly elevated, thereby inhibiting the burning of stored fat;
  • hyperglycemia and/or hyperinsulinemia, which cannot happen in an otherwise healthy individual without high carbohydrate intake, are responsible for a wide variety of deleterious effects in all kinds of tissues;
  • although insulin's actions in the brain include a satiating signal, in the rest of the body it promotes fat storage;
  • all of the "good" qualities of insulin can be invoked through protein ingestion, which causes a small rise of the hormone compared to carbohydrate consumption;
  • carbohydrate consumption promotes appetite through numerous pathways, including opioid receptors, gut signalling, and insulin-induced hypoglycemia;
  • the body does not require fiber for intestinal health;
  • certain types of carbohydrate promote intestinal woes such as bloating, gas, gut permeability, candida overgrowth, and more.
Conclusions i draw from the above, driving me to prefer a very-low-carb diet:
  • as my body doesn't require them, and i get more pleasure out of eating meat*, i'll stick with the latter;
  • those that make my joints stiff and achy, and my gut "unhappy," i'll actively avoid;
  • fatty meat is the most efficient food for promoting satiation and satiety;
  • fatty meat is the most efficient food for weight loss;
  • fatty meat requires minimal fuss to procure and prepare;
  • as i feel my best on a very-low-carb diet -- no brain-fog, better energy and agility, reduced pain and allergies, good sleep -- i see NO reason to override my instincts and kowtow to "conventional wisdom."
*  much carbohydrate-eating seems to be pleasure-based.  not being anti-hedonistic, i have no problem with that -- i just prefer home-made, high-fat, sugar-free ice cream over conventional sweets, sashimi over tempura, nuts over chips, wine over cola, ad infinitum.

Monday, April 23, 2012

we KNOW what to do in order to lose weight

Yes, we KNOW what we have to do:  we just have to make ourselves do it.  We have to turn ourselves into fat burners, and when you've reached this age, it can get tricky. 

Most middle-aged women have damaged their metabolisms by trying to adhere to what we THOUGHT were valid recommendations for a healthy diet, and then -- when that proved not only to be empty rhetoric, but downright harmful -- we restricted calories time and again, in order to try to combat nature.  A lot of us MADE OURSELVES into carb burners through decades of a low-fat diet, which effectually turned off our fat-metabolizing enzyme production.  Dr. Wong tells us that we begin lowering production of ALL proteolytic enzymes at age 27 ... so at age 57 it may be darned hard to start making the "right" ones again.  Dr. Donaldson doesn't say the same thing in so many words (i don't believe that the action of systemic enzymes was well-understood in his day), but he wrote about the magical age of 33, when he started seeing the effects of aging accelerate.

Changing over from burning carbohydrates for energy to primarily burning fats, then, is going to be WORK.  If the individual has a rigorous schedule already, and struggles to find the energy to meet it, s/he may experience difficulty in "getting over the hump," which is generally known as the "low-carb flu."  Some people, in fact, take an extended time to get past this , indicating that their metabolisms are the more screwed up.  However, look at it this way:  would you prefer to spend a couple of days (best case) to a couple of months (worst case) with lower energy reserves, or would you rather restrict calories FOR THE REST OF YOUR LIFE, in order to avoid the damage which results in diabetes, NAFLD, senile dementia, heart disease, Parkinson's, etc etc etc....

When i was 30, i wouldn't have HAD to commit to either a glucose-based or a fatty-acid-based metabolism -- at that age i seemed to have pretty robust metabolic flexibility, compared to a lot of young people we see nowadays, who grew up swilling quantities of sodas and fruit juices.  When this flexibility fails, however, one's choices become far more limited.

I'm sure my readers will have observed that every succeeding attempt at weight loss is more difficult and less productive than the one before it.  What it boils down to is, we don't have time to waste in accomplishing what we want.  In order to be able to do the everyday tasks that life requires, we need to create the strength and agility NOW.  We have to make sure our bodies are not overburdened with fat, weight-damaged joints and deteriorated tissues NOW.  Trying out the techniques which younger people swear works for THEM may put us so far behind in the race that we'll end by giving up in despair (e.g., the "leptin reset" protocol which a certain young woman said finally worked for her ... AFTER she put on a dozen pounds!) -- that just ain't gonna cut it.

I -- WE -- know what we have to do.

Sunday, April 22, 2012

...and why i don't suggest music to enjoy my writing by

;-)  terrible grammar, and egotistical, to boot!

If there's anything that 56.75 years of this incarnation have taught me, it's that i'm weird.  ...Okay, "weird" might be a little strong -- how about unusual ... eccentric ... extranormal....  Well, however you want to express it, i've found that what pleases me aesthetically goes whizzing past a lot of other people, and vice versa, even when we have a lot of other things in common.

One blogger frequently suggests her favorite melodies (recommending the right-click method so one may enjoy her music in tandem with her essay); once i clicked on a classical number she linked as one of her faves, and i damn near went catatonic under its influence.  My brain slowed to the plodding beat of something i remember resembling the Death March....  I learned my lesson; another gentleman has begun the same practice, and even if the artists/titles appealed to me (they don't) i know better than to read blogs by music, now ... especially via video.

So, beyond posting what i consider my theme-song at the top of my page -- and i leave it an option rather than something which automatically bursts upon your senses -- i'll refrain from introducing an abundance of my favorites into your environment.  Call me stubborn!

...Unless you ask for it, in which case you "asked for it."  ;-)

Saturday, April 21, 2012

turn it OFF

Ever wonder how people invented (and improved) a lot of the conveniences we have nowadays, how classic masterpieces of literature and music were conceived?  Do you suppose it might have had something to do with communing with their own thoughts, pondering problems in silence and solitude, exercising their imaginations and memories?

Has it occurred to you to wonder where people used to find the time to sew and knit garments by hand for every member of their large families, or to hand-craft the sort of marvelous things which nowadays are admired in museums, or which are treasured as family heirlooms? 

I'll tell you what those people DIDN'T do:  they didn't park themselves on a piece of furniture and passively let themselves be "entertained" for hours every day.  When their strenuous work days were done, they rested their bodies, but flexed their minds. 

They didn't have a cellphone glued to their ear while walking down the sidewalk or driving down the highway.  They didn't arrive home after work and immediately turn on the television.  They didn't have music or conversation constantly in their ears.

With ambient noise an inescapable distraction, it's hard to have an original thought.  It's almost impossible to be fully "in the moment" while doing ANYTHING, but most especially while trying to enjoy nature.

When my husband is concocting something in the kitchen, he's far more likely to make mistakes with technique or leave something out entirely when he's listening to NPR in the process.  When i have people around, talking to me while i'm trying to prepare for something (like packing the car for a trip!), it's almost guaranteed that i'll forget to include what i know darned well i need.

Here's a challenge for you -- try an occasional day with no noise.  No television, radio, tunes, podcasts, movies, phone calls, social-media chats, pointless natter, etc.  It's possible to have a thought without communicating it -- you might even find that the quality of conversation you have WITH YOURSELF will improve.  There's a lot to notice, inside yourself and out, if you remove the curtain of distraction that noise has woven around you.

Friday, April 20, 2012

loving salt

Salty snacks have exerted a pull on me all my life.  As i child, i'd come home from school and polish off one of the inner packets of a box of saltines (mmmm, Keebler Zestas!).  In my penurious student days, i met my need through popcorn, a very frugal snack.  From time to time, i've indulged in moderate intakes of potato or corn chips, or dry-roasted peanuts.  When in the throes of a low-fat diet, i'd scrub a good-sized baking potato, slice it thickly, lay it out on a baking sheet and sprinkle with salt, pepper and parmesan cheese, then run it under the broiler to get my "fix."  Later, under Atkins' more illuminated system, i discovered macadamia nuts (*sigh of content*).

Anyone who has read this blog over the last couple of months may remember, i tried Dr. Donaldson's "Strong Medicine" regimen as written, but quickly learned that i had to modify it because the saltless meat was sitting in my stomach like a rock.  Reading more on the subject of zero-carbing taught me that a diet with a higher meat composition requires more salt in the diet.  Pretty intuitive, really -- our stomach-acid production relies on chloride being available, and i can't imagine that anything contributes it as well as the sodium chloride that garnishes my favorite foods.

Because SOME hypertensives have trouble with water retention, the dumb sheep in the medicine business made every attempt to deprive the rest of us of this important nutrient.  The dumb sheep in the magazine/newspaper-writing business, Big Food, and also the advertising field followed suit.  If the Lords of Karma have been paying attention, they'll all spend their next lives being captive eaters in an institutional milieu that leaves them lacking the specific nutritional factor they need to feel decent.

Presently, along comes a coterie in the obesity-theory business which tells us that all our problems are based on hedonism, and that eating coarse-meal bread and gruel a low-reward diet is all we need to achieve our reward in heaven....

Some people hypothesize that paleolithic humans didn't -- couldn't -- season their food (just like some "experts" are convinced that they ate a low-fat diet).  Ahem:  even animals with brains the size of a BB seek out salt.  You think that these adepts in the art of survival wouldn't observe animals at a salt-lick, and wonder what the excitement was all about?  Wouldn't taste it themselves, and find it appealing?  Wouldn't balloon up like a chicken in a corn bin because they learned to add it to other foods and found it irresistible?  Well, maybe not that last thing.

I remember a guy in the comment-section of somebody's blog, sneering at the practice of grinding up one's almonds and adding them to eggs and butter and spices to form a particularly tasty version of basic FOOD.  There is a form of puritanism in the "ancestral health" community which is absolutely ridiculous at this point of the world's intellectual development.  Like a couple of guys i know, who sneer at other men for having clean fingernails and call them effeminate on that basis alone....

There's absolutely no virtue in doing things the hard or dirty way, and no reason to, unless your psychology needs to FIND a way to make a virtue of necessity.  Why is asceticism still considered a good thing?  Self-flagellation won't make you a better person -- it never has -- and you won't be impressing anyone but yourself.  Is the earth going through a cycle of reincarnations of medieval saints?  Based on the fanaticism and illogic, it does rather look like it.

Thursday, April 19, 2012

threads weaving into a pretty pattern

People in the medical community will probably say "duh!" in response to what i consider a revelation, but here we go!  Those of us with thyroid problems should really concentrate on and care for our ...

wait for it ...

scroll down ...

a little more ...

LIVERS!  (Please forgive my cheesy-email technique -- i've been feeling playful in the lovely spring weather, now that i've caught up on sleep!)

:-)  That's where so much happens, especially (for us) the conversion of a lot of T4 to T3.  Why is excess omega-6 bad for a person with hypothyroidism?  Why are saturated fats, especially medium-chain triglycerides like coconut oil, so beneficial?  Can it be because omega-6s provide a shortcut to liver damage, and saturated fats are protective, especially the MCTs that head straight to the liver upon digestion?  Is sugar bad for us for the same reason, as well as providing such an exceptional source of nutrition for candida?  Is the fact that hypothyroids tend to show high LDLs more a marker for a mistreated liver than just a well-known side effect of our condition?

Not knowing what endocrinologists are taught in medical school, but knowing TOO WELL how little they tell their hypothyroid patients, i have to wonder....  Would society have fewer "hypoths" if people were taught that industrial-seed-oils and fructose are POISONS?  I'm willing to make a decent wager that the answer is "yes."

Wednesday, April 18, 2012

hunger in this microcosm

OOOOkay:  getting rid of leftovers has already taught me something.  If my diet doesn't have enough protein in it, fat only satisfies me to a point.

Low-carb creamed eggs on paleo biscuits ("Paleo Comfort Foods" recipe) for dinner last night.  Ditto, without the biscuit, for breakfast.  Two hours later, i was hungry.  Each serving had about 2.5 eggs in it, less than 16 grams of protein.  There was ample fat in the meal, PLUS what my own poundage has to contribute.

As a child, i always craved protein.  MEAT.  We were a poorish family, and though we generally had animal protein as a centerpiece for dinner, there was not always a lot of it.  On the occasions when we indulged ourselves at restaurants, i usually opted for beef.  The body is wise when not addicted to carbs.

At the time of life when i started having to work at maintaining an appropriate weight, the low-fat paradigm had taken hold.  I knew i could have all the food i wanted, including things like baked chicken breast and low-fat fish.  Nevertheless, i always felt hungry ... even when my belly was quite full.  In those days, i probably weighed 15 pounds less than i do now, and was less metabolically-challenged.  But i had a hard time accessing my own fat stores, because i was trying to satisfy appetite with pasta and rice and home-made bread (any of you aging ex-athletes remember "Eat to Win"?) -- lipolysis just ain't gonna happen with all THAT insulin floating around.

Inspired by "Strong Medicine" and the ladies on PaleoHacks who report good results on a zero-carb diet, i learned that eating nothing but fatty meat is not going to set me up for ill health.  I tried it, like it, and thrive on it.  But the central message is:  both "fatty" and "meat" have to be ample.  Not enough meat, and my body rebels with hunger.  Not enough fat, ditto.  I don't get carb cravings, though sometimes i want "dessert" after a meal; coffee alone can satisfy this, but if my meal was smallish for some reason, a quarter-cup of cream is the perfect finish.

"The REST of the story"?  :-)  I just polished off the creamed eggs (no biscuit), and now am FULL as well as satisfied.  Happy ending.

medicine and medicine

[rant alert]

It's a pity that certain words have more than one definition, and "medicine" may be the poster-child for the situation.  It's been one of the sad aspects of twentieth-century doctoring, that people don't feel they've been treated unless they leave the physician's office with a prescription.  Not that pharmaceuticals have NO place in therapy -- OBVIOUSLY....  But drugs do not a CURE make.

Antibiotics are the first things that spring to mind.  Certain infections, which once-upon-a-time were FATAL, are now manageable through the use of these marvellous drugs.  Irresponsible use of them causes more intractable conditions.  I don't need to elaborate.

Being an outsider in the world of diabetes, i can't speak with any personal reference -- i can just quote Dr. Donaldson:  "...You are out of your mind when you take insulin in order to eat Danish pastry...."  I feel that this goes for a lot of things that dieters do in order to eat their cake and have it, too.  If carbohydrates are making you sick, it's insane to try to ameliorate the effects with the "patch" of some medicaments while STILL eating them.

Some people i know also believe in taking antidepressants without making lifestyle changes.  In the short term this may be reasonable, but as a permanency, it's (dare i say it) crazy.  If there's something wrong with your food choice/stress/exercise circumstances, your life is screwed up, and popping a pill (or drinking a fifth) is not going to cure it.

People are going to have to steel themselves to doing things the hard way for a little while, if they want to really improve their health, rather than simply dull their symptoms!  Believing television commercials, which promise "temporary relief" INDEFINITELY, is just bloody stupid.

Allopathic medicine, in seeking to treat symptoms instead of remove causes of illness, is one root of the problem.  "Letting" patients do things the easy way instead of describing to them the right way has encouraged the culture of slatternliness in which we live.  You can only sweep the dust under the rug so long, before you have a hill to climb in your own house.  Personally, i prefer floors which are planar in my rooms.

Tuesday, April 17, 2012

RIP Titanic (ain't happenin')

When the movie came out, fifteen years ago, i was impressed.  Being a living-history costumer, i was convinced within a very few minutes that it would OWN the Oscars, because of the clothes.

I wasn't crazy about the plot, and the characters were so obnoxious i really didn't care if they lived or died.  Some of the computer-generated stuff was off-putting, too.  BUT THE SETS -- oh, my god....  The details were stellar.  And a few of the filmographic devices were masterful -- again, i was IMPRESSED.

So, although i'm a bit late in "celebrating" the centennial of the notorious shipwreck, i have to make a mention of it.  (Reminded by television specials....)  Of all the tragedies of which we have record, all the massive losses of life throughout history, all the stories of steadfastness, heroism and cowardice -- for some reason, Titanic's story really touches people.  I have an idea about why this might be.

Because people from all over the world were traveling on this ship, people from all over the world "gave a damn" when the report came that something had happened to her.  From every part of the globe, a complete sphere spangled with loci of mental energy, ardent thoughts streamed forth of fear and love and grief.  Our world became a matrix of magnetism, concentrating for an extended period on ONE subject of hope and dread.

In the esoteric scheme of things, this is an immensely powerful generator.  Searing, overpowering emotion is what makes a lot of hauntings happen!  They leave an imprint of feeling, a form of electricity, behind -- rather like the imprint of light which is classic photography.  Added to the worldwide energy contribution, there was the extreme atmosphere of terror contributed by the participants themselves.  Overwhelming....  As a result, this recorded emotion is contagious to anyone who taps into it, through sympathy or even indifferent study -- get close enough to the situation and it sucks you in.

I have a similar reaction when i hear Gordon Lightfoot's "Wreck of the Edmund Fitzgerald."  Between the way the lyrics are spun, and the energy left behind by the sailors, relatives and friends, this very unromantic story produces a huge amount of sadness in people who have absolutely no connection with her.

So she's been gone for a century.  That's nothing.  Titanic will live in legend the same way Pompei has, and for similar reasons.  May heaven rest the souls lost.

Monday, April 16, 2012

frightening activity turns out well

Yep, you guessed it -- i'm referring to stepping on the bathroom scale this morning, for the first time in over a week.  ;-)  I anticipated MUCH worse than i observed:  i didn't lose ground.

Considering the concentrated evil i committed during the week, this is astonishing.  My activity level must have made up for ALL THIS:  sweet-potato fries (Molly's), crisps at McGurk's, half a "baby bridie" and chips at the Scottish Arms*, risotto at Lombardo's, one-and-a-half onion rings and a half-dozen corn chips (Square One)....  Also (home-made) potato salad, mashed Japanese sweet potato, a handful of cocktails, and wickedly-good appetizers made by my dear neighbor INCLUDING (hanging my head in shame) a bruschetta....  Yeah, we whooped it up perty guid (have i mentioned, i lived in Texas for over a decade?) last week.  :-)

Anpwt has smiled upon me, forgiving my dietary sins in return for my good intentions in entertainment!

And my representative-of-St.-Louis restaurants didn't let me down!  We sat on patios in the beautiful weather and soaked up the spring sunshine, till the April showers came and we sat inside (oops -- i left out the Hardshell Cafe's rice-laced dishes).

But we walked all over at Cahokia and the Mount Pleasant winery, as well as incidental walking in other places, and up-and-down my staircases countless times. 

My guests seemed to enjoy everything, and were terrifically good sports.  Come back soon, girls!

SPECIAL commendation to the S.A. -- even though haggis has been removed from the lunch menu, Lisa ardently wanted to try theirs and the kitchen agreed to do it!  THIS attitude is what takes me back to businesses again and again!

Saturday, April 14, 2012


I get the impression that, while i've been tied up with other concerns this week, it may have been equally busy (plus contentious) in the blogosphere....  While i'm sorry to have missed any "fun" there was to be found, i can't say i would have enjoyed participating in the debates.  :-)

Obviously, i have a lot to catch up on -- including my own kitchen affairs.  My guests weren't crazy about the roasted okra (which I LOVE, from "Paleo Comfort Foods") or jerusalem artichokes, which means i have quite a lot of leftovers to finish.  ...Brown bananas to make into bread, and freeze.  What they didn't use of my first gallon of raw milk from my new supplier, will become cottage cheese, because i need the whey!  (Next week's supply will be converted to kefir.)  When i finish here, i'll go straight to the basement refrigerator and bring up a capon i bought and didn't have time to cook -- it'll be food for DAYS.  The rest of the heavy cream will take the place of butter in my diet this week; Atkins green-peppercorn cream sauce will be great on the poultry! 

Well, better get back to "reality"....

Wednesday, April 11, 2012

happy dance

Happy, happy, joy, joy!

I have a new source of raw milk!  Kefir is back on the menu!  Fresh whey will be available for making lacto-fermented vegetables.  The farm also supplies pastured eggs.  I'll still need to go to Soulard Market for the outstanding bacon to be had there, though ... unless i start salting my own pork. 

Life is good.

Monday, April 9, 2012

epidemiological studies and hypocrisy

The "big bloggers" need to clean up their acts.  Since the recent BS about red meat, i've started noticing that epidemiological studies are okay if they support your position, or something you'd like to believe....  WHAT??? 

Ladies and gentlemen, either these studies are good science or they're bad science -- but you can't swing both ways and retain respectable credibility!  I'm getting to the point that i automatically shake my head and walk away every time i see the phrases "linked to" or "associated with," when reading about some dietary, exercise or lifestyle principle.

If you want to wax philosophical, you could say that EVERYTHING is linked to everything else, because they're all aspects of being alive.  Letting the dog sleep on my bed is linked to puncture wounds on my feet.  Owning clocks is linked to arriving at the theatre on time.  Eating is linked to both being thin and being fat.  Please.

We may have to put up with poor scientific study results being extrapolated into human guidelines (like ideal mouse diets being proclaimed optimal for us omnivores), but do we have to hear about epidemiological studies BEFORE the hypotheses they generate are subjected to a controlled trial?

Saturday, April 7, 2012

time to celebrate, again

Happy Easter, or Passover, or whatever spring festival you prefer! 

It's gonna be a busy one for me, with my mother, sister and niece (and dog) coming to visit for a week, and my husband away on business.  Lots of cooking, dining out, sightseeing, socializing ... hope i'm up for it!  ;-)  Hope i don't ruin my good dietary trend, too -- gonna try to stay low-carb, even if i can't be perfectly paleo.  Wish me luck!

Friday, April 6, 2012

"if you really don't want to see it no more ... then don't watch"

Here i go, quoting again.  ;-)  Extra credit, if you can identify the movie.

Am i the only one who would rather not watch videos and listen to podcasts?  In blogs and on facebook, the damned links are everywhere ... frequently without any description of what it's about.  I have to say, i'm deeply grateful to the bloggers who offer transcripts of the talk, or at least list topics with timestamps so i can fast-forward to the good stuff.

I HATE sitting around listening to the slow pace of non-professional talkers and their "UH"s!!!  Of course, some people are a delight to watch/listen to; Lustig or Naughton, i'll attend-to all day.

In the Vimeo recordings of the Ancestral Health Symposium lectures last year, people with interesting and important things to say spoiled their messages with horrendously bad delivery.  (I hope they'll improve themselves before this year's presentations.)  What a pleasure it was when a few of them could combine significant information with good style, though!

Rant over!  ;-)  Starting "irony alert":

Here's the film clip.

Thursday, April 5, 2012

rolling in his grave

Poor Dr. Atkins!  What has happened to his company since he died....  The man wasn't perfect, for heaven's sake -- but the good he did in spreading the low-carb word is being DESTROYED by the greedy idiots who have been directing the course of his legacy since he went to his reward. 

Before i discovered the "metabolic advantage," i tried to manage my weight by means of "conventional wisdom" -- that is to say, i starved myself till i couldn't stand it any more, then lost ground when i started to eat like everyone around me.  As with everyone else, every attempt at weight loss was less productive than the time before.  I don't remember what inspired me to pick up his book, but it changed my life, and for the better.

I used to be constantly hungry on low-fat, even when my stomach was full; low-carb solved that.  I realize now, from all i've read over the past few years, that i may have been replete with water-soluble vitamins, but woefully lacking in the rest -- not to mention minerals!  I began supplementing a few things RA recommended (and my physician added Iodoral as well), and my health improved as my waistline contracted.

He died only a year or two after i started his diet plan -- before i learned that a lot of ingredients in his shakes and bars were things i didn't want in my body.  I like to think that he would have authorized a reformulation of them, had he lived:  who knows!  But i'm reasonably certain he would NOT have gone down the popularization/inclusivism road which the company has followed, since.  Really:  the new Atkins "revolution" not only makes it look like all the others ("you CAN have cookies!") ... or maybe even worse.

What foils the usual low-carb dieter, if s/he gets past Induction in the first place, is playing with all the "toys" which give them the illusion of eating their cake and having it too -- and i'm using this expression advisedly.  All the treats, snacks and faux meals are NOT going to fix the broken behaviors and metabolisms that most dieters of ALL SORTS bring to the table (pun intended).

The big difference between "paleo low-carbing" and Atkins-style LC is not just the latter's inclusion of chemical cheats (including all the soy), or that the treats keep alive the perceived "need" of cookies, candy, etc.  Really -- this is the shortcoming of lots of other diets (**cough**WW**cough**) my friends have tried and ultimately failed with:  they don't retrain the appetite and personal habits.

PaleoLC's advantage is the lack of ravenous appetite which is spurred by the semi-carb shortcuts.  Eating natural food helps restore a natural appetite -- and i'm not talking about natural almonds ground up and mixed with natural honey and natural eggs and natural mineral salts to make a natural CAKE....


Wednesday, April 4, 2012

welcome to my world -- i mean "bloglist"

Thanks to Kateryna, i've decided to add another writer to my bloglist.  I've only just begun to read his articles, but my first impression of Peter Attia is very good indeed.

His blog is called "the war on insulin," which to my mind is slightly different from a "war on carbohydrates."  Interestingly enough, Dr. Donaldson stated in his 1960s memoir that a number of doctors, even then, believed "insulin itself may promote hardening of the arteries"....  I've only felt passing interest in the subject of insulin, because i have no inkling that i have a problem with it, outside of its combination with carbs inducing weight gain in this aging body.

I know that insulin performs a variety of very important tasks throughout the human body.  I'm also aware that my "sufficient" intake of protein induces a release of it.  What i'm fuzzy about is, how and why it "escorts" other hormones in various cells, especially in the brain.

It's time for me to learn this stuff, and i think Dr. Attia's site is a good place to start.  Thanks, Kateryna!

Tuesday, April 3, 2012

good morning!

*Sigh of content*

Oh brother, do i feel better on my "Strong Medicine"!  When i allow myself the treat of rice, wine, cheese, potatoes, etc., my senses may enjoy the indulgence but my body starts to rebel, and communicates its displeasure in various unpleasant ways.  It's just like a small child pushing boundaries:  has fun for a little while, but ultimately relieved when discipline is reasserted!

I got to bed and to sleep with excellent timing last night, and to my delight and surprise, i felt like taking the prescribed morning walk shortly after awakening to the alarm.  Spense and i had a good "constitutional," then i had a patty of the delicious ground pastured pork that's grown in the area (he enjoyed licking the plate when i was done) with a cup of coffee.  I could use a second cup, but will settle for water -- without lime, because we're fresh out of it.  Perfect:  but i'll stop blowing my own horn, now.  ;-)

For some reason, it's pure joy getting up early and being outside in the morning, in the springtime!  I remember feeling the same way as a kid; i have a specific picture of being outside early in the morning, climbing up a neighbor's jungle-gym and just enjoying being alone, taking in the balmy summer morning.  This vision reminds me -- i need to plant some four-o'clocks!

My tomato and bell-pepper seedlings are doing splendidly; i thinned them today.  They're both from saved seed, and i hope the pepper does as well as the tomato did last year -- the latter was a volunteer (my thanks to the bird or squirrel who "planted" it for me) from the PREVIOUS year's planting....  At frost, i brought in all the green fruits, even the smallest, to ripen on the window-sill -- and the greenest stayed there all winter, till i was ready to plant!  Obviously "meant to be"!

Today i'll put the rest of my bedding plants in their summer homes:  red and white begonias in their front-porch pots (north), and impatiens in the ground by the garage.  Last year's plantings (sunchokes and garlic) are growing nicely, and the rhubarb is hearty -- planted THAT two years ago, and with any luck i'll get to harvest some this year.  Still need to buy more plants, for the urn on the west porch and that southern window-box....

"And isn't it a LOOOOVELY morning?"  ;-)

Monday, April 2, 2012

first day of the rest of my paleo life

I love coffee,
I love tea,
I love the java....

lol -- couldn't resist.  After yesterday, i figured it was appropriate.

Whew, yesterday....  Even Nature was playing April Fool jokes; ninety degrees this early in the year is just weird.  Today will be that hot again, and then we'll get some more seasonable weather.

Last week's orgy of eating out is over.  Having started being "good" again (i swear, i really wasn't that bad), last night i re-read various sections of "Strong Medicine" again, as a reminder and an inspiration.  I've also re-watched a few of the videos from last summer's Ancestral Health Symposium.  Dr. Lustig's presentation (as well as some others) was so technically descriptive, it amazes me that anyone can argue with the insulin hypothesis!  So who should one believe, theoreticians or practicing physicians who actually improve the health of live human patients...?

Anyhow!  Off i go, yet again, with absolutely no cheating this week.  Next week i'll have houseguests, so "perfection" will be out the window, but i'll still keep the carbs as low as i can, even though i'll be in restaurants again.  *Sigh*  Wish to heaven that the professionals cooked like i do....

Sunday, April 1, 2012

negative day

i hate my husband
i hate my kids
i hate this dog
i hate music
i hate wine
i hate chocolate
i hate prime rib
i hate barbecue
i hate bacon
i hate asparagus
i hate artichokes
i hate cheese
i hate cream
i hate macadamia nuts
i hate Mexican food
i hate French, Japanese, Chinese, Italian, German and Spanish food, too
i hate living history
i hate the Chatillon de Menil house
i hate the Missouri Botanical Garden
i hate St. Louis
i hate Salt Lake City
i hate New Orleans
i hate movies
April Fools!!!  :-)