Saturday, August 30, 2014

are you an elite athlete? ... NO????

...Then why are you trying to emulate one?

Oh, because you have a preconceived idea about their optimal health and well-being, exhibited through their almost-superhuman performance!  Because they're young and lean, and you think that if you do everything they do, you will magically transform into THEM.  Same goes for the Beautiful People of both large and small screens.

Naturally, i'm not talking to most of the people who regularly read HERE -- it's more a cultural attitude i'm addressing ... or maybe an earlier version of myself.  We hear success stories and we see doctored photographs, and we want to experience the success, too.  Some part of us believes transformation is possible, despite behind-the-scenes exposes of the cheating that goes on, the manipulation, the statistics of weight-regain ... and despite all those Beautiful People who are Doing Everything Right who drop dead (or develop horrible diseases) at very young ages.

Thank the gods for the internet.  Instead of taking for granted that the infomercials are telling the truth (or alternatively, that they aren't), we can google user-satisfaction of almost anything, nowadays.  We'll learn that the oh-so-healthy vegetarian diet, which makes our favorite ethereal blonde so lean and lithe, is also giving her breast cancer or eating away her bones.  We'll get the inside story of that mental-health fiasco, which is the steroid-abusing sports hero.  We'll see, up close and personal since all our friends have a camera on their persons at all times, the deterioration of the brains, pancreases and other organs that happens when people take in thousands of calories of sugar every day, because they think it gives them "energy."  (Boy howdy does it LITERALLY give them energy, ie "calories" -- but what they're looking for is "energy" defined more like "vitality"....)

Back in the day when the prevailing notion of one-size-fits-all seemed more reasonable, it might have paid to look into what those success-story people were doing, and have some confidence that it might work for us, too.  What we failed to focus on, though, was that if XYZ really worked, we'd personally know someone for whom it worked!  Someone LIKE US.  We didn't.  We all knew women who lost weight and looked great after a couple months of Weight Watchers, but who had reverted and looked worse at the one-year anniversary.  We remember that we could CICO-diet-and-exercise our way into the dress we wanted to wear WHEN WE WERE THIRTY.  Does that work now that we're fifty? ... [crickets]

No, more and more it's the early experience of William Banting that we see -- he worked his butt off, conventionally-dieting and exercising without any actual diminution of his butt.  Then, some magical synchronicity happened, he met the right advisor and found the right protocol, and he was the right guy to tell the world about what happened.  I was about to raise my "glass" to his memory, but found my coffee cup to be empty (brb)....

I really love his story -- for one thing, it points up that fact that obesity existed before HFCS, Doritos and Twinkies.  It was a lot rarer, but it was definitely out there.  Brillat-Savarin discussed it in the early nineteenth century:  he observed that it was the potato-eaters, bread-lovers, beer-swillers and sweets-scarfers who suffered this "disease," not those on "high-fat diets," and they weren't the red-meat enthusiasts either, in the absence of the sugars and starches.  The people who were fattening at an alarming rate weren't those who merely ate fried foods regularly all you have to do is look at an old cookbook widely used in real life to see how very popular and prevalent fried foods were!  "High fat" and "fried foods" became a problem in the TWENTIETH century, when the frying began to be done in industrial-seed-oil, and the potatoes cooked therein began to be widely accompanied with a Coke and a smile....

So, WHAT should we eat, ideally?  It's illuminating to take a long honest look at oneself in a full-length mirror.  Does your reflection more closely resemble an Olympic runner or before-photos of William Banting (or Queen Victoria)?  Does a reasonable daily exercise regimen for you include more hours/miles of road-work, or tens-of-minutes of walking?  How should YOU ideally fuel yourself?

I have a suspicion that a lot of people desire to fuel themselves for the lifestyle they WISH they had.  They hanker after their lost youths, and seem to think that if they eat like a crossfitter, they'll somehow belong to the crossfit club.  Nothing could be further from the truth.  Aging bodies just don't perform like they used to -- I think it's a little easier for women to face this, because their changes are so much more obvious ... but men have similar problems.  Most of us just don't have the carbohydrate TOLERANCE we once had!  It's an hypothesis of mine that hot-flashes are the signpost for that phenomenon -- mid-life hormonal changes, in men and women both, screw with our ability to shunt carbohydrates toward energy-production and instead send them flying into our storage sites till the overabundance of glucose starts wreaking the DISEASES OF AGING -- arthritis, macular degeneration, CV diseases, cancer, dementia, and fibrosis-influenced organ failures.

I can tell when I've accidentally breached some personal carb-eating threshold -- I GET HOT FLASHES.  Some people interpret these as signs their bodies are revving their metabolisms and they count it a good thing.  I tend to think it's suspicious -- it doesn't feel wholesome! -- I suspect that the body is flashing a warning-signal, and that Rosedale's notion about running the human engine a little bit cool, a little bit lean, is probably wise.

Wooo's new hypothesis, that the endorphin system is crucial in weight-reduced individuals and that part of the problem of regain is related to previous tolerance of pathological states, makes a lot of sense to me.  People with a LOT of weight to lose feel much better in the early stages of success, but subsequent deficiency of feel-good hormones preys on their systems, and they start doing ANYTHING that will provide relief from the lack of endorphin in their lives, "anything" often meaning carb-bingeing.  Drugs, alcohol, sugar and starch increase beta-endorphin, according to her, and dopamine follows.  People who are past the thrill that successful weight-loss initially brings NEED A NEW THRILL when life goes on pretty much like it did before, but without the endorphin-rush they used to get with the help of sugar. 

We always think that when we get down to Size Whatever (or win the lottery, etc) ... THEN we'll be happy!  People will flock to us admiringly, and we'll do all sorts of amazing things that we're too fat (or poor, or whatever) to do now.  Truth is, things will probably go on largely as they did before, because people are stuck on their habits.  People won't admire us, they'll think we're freaks for losing weight on a LC-real-foods diet.  If they DO ask us how we did it, most of the time they'll reply, "i couldn't do THAT -- I couldn't possibly give up ____."  They will very possibly take delight in trying to sabotage us.  No, happiness can't be counted on to ARRIVE with some arbitrary goal achieved -- it's a state of mind we have to cultivate in ourselves, and the more of the philosophical understanding we have -- as well as the physiological understanding of the neurohormonal aspects -- the more successfully we can craft the answer.

Happiness -- we CAN grow that sucker!  It probably involves finding our own personal new thrill.

Wednesday, August 27, 2014

it worked!!! dehydrated stock, that is!  I used it for the first time today, transforming leftovers into a LCHFP-friendly salmon bisque.

The recipe I found at and it was pretty easy to make in practice despite the long discussion!  The place in the procedure where i'd make some comments is where one boils down the liquid to make a thick, gel-like concentrate before putting it on the plastic sheet that goes in the dehydrator -- I erred on the thick end, and let it cool a little too long, and it was a little like working with plastic cement!  I could have scraped out more if i'd stopped cooking sooner.  The authoress' fix for what stays behind is to add water and cook it down.  Note to self:  plan on having soup the same evening next time, so waste is diminished.  ;-)

The big pot of chicken stock, rich with carcass and feet, backbones and wings, was reduced to about a cup of crystals and flakes.  I measured a tablespoonful into a pint of water and brought it to the simmer, then tasted.  Since the original recipe cautions against seasoning too soon, it was not very flavorful.  I added about a teaspoon of sea-salt and a quarter teaspoon of pepper, and it was much better, though still rather wimpy.  As my bisque would contain more ingredients which would add savoriness, I didn't worry about it, though I would have added more of the dehydrated stock if I were making something like cream-of-chicken soup or egg-drop.

About a half-pound of leftover broiled salmon and the rest of the faux-béarnaise (containing konjac flour) made it SOUP.  I tasted and then amended the mixture with about a quarter-teaspoon of dried dill weed, and it was pretty well perfect.  I may add a little cream, but then again I may not -- that sauce was pretty rich by itself.

A concoction like this is an example of why an experienced cook is likely to create a masterpiece out of throw-away materials -- we have LOTS of background in making mistakes, and we know how to rescue questionable mixtures from the brink of inedibility!  ;-)

Sunday, August 24, 2014

more jalapeño tidbits

While we were in Texas, our daughter made a snack (twice) that I liked immensely, and which had my husband delirious.  She got the recipe off Pinterest, which led back to an page, but of course I can't print as my own THAT version!  :-)

So i'm going to make a couple of minor changes then brag that they're a product of my own genius!  ...No, i'll just make a few comments and a few suggestions, and leave credit where it was earned.  :-)  First, I had commented recently that our "chocolate" peppers are doing well, and that we found the only one we've tasted very nice -- rich and a little smoky, and not very hot.  The label that came on the plant didn't elaborate as to exactly what KIND of chile it was, so I went googling....

There is a "chocolate" pepper which is a type of habanero, but this one isn't that.  Habaneros are HOT (and small), and this was just pleasantly warm.  The site leads me to believe that it's most likely a pasilla.  Poblanos also ripen to brown -- could be that, but it never went reddish.  No matter -- poblanos are lovely peppers -- if you get those, the dish will be delicious, too.

Although jalapeños are a terrific size for appetizers, making these in a larger size could convert them from snack to entrée, and for those of us who eat MEALS, that's a good thing.  Ergo, larger peppers done this way become a version of chiles rellenos (stuffed peppers) ... a wonderful dish!  All sorts of peppers exist in the world, sweet and spicy, and they can be filled with an infinite array of things -- WIN/WIN!  :-D


1# sausage -- breakfast-style, Italian, Andouille, chorizo -- whatever you like
8 oz. cream cheese, softened
1 cup grated cheese -- parmesan, Swiss, provolone, jack, cheddar....
1# large-ish fresh jalapeño peppers ... or whatever

Cut the stem-end off the peppers. halve them lengthwise, and remove the seeds.  Brown the sausage, add the cheeses and mix till homogenous.  Fill the peppers, then bake 20 minutes at 425F.


Thursday, August 21, 2014

back to normal now?

We're finally back home -- my husband, dog, canary and me -- after several crazy weeks!  YEA!  :-)

Our absences were hard on the tomato plants, potted on the balcony outside J's home office, because the work in the back yard would probably have been completely fatal to them.  This turned out to be a real "win" of a technique despite the constant hand-watering necessary.  Usually, the multitudinous squirrel population in our neighborhood has dictated that we were only able to harvest less-ripe specimens or they'd steal them, take a few bites, and leave them in the grass for the bunnies to finish.  DAMN -- i tried everything i could find or think of to discourage them, and nothing worked!  But this year, my half-dozen plants have yielded an impressive collection.  We ate quite a few as caprese salad and as BLTs in romaine leaves.  The ones i picked before our last drive to TX ended up as a large batch of "special tomato sauce," to be frozen in packets adequate for portobello pizzas.  :-)  I'll be growing my tomatoes in this squirrel-resistant fashion from here on out!

This isn't going to be as good a year for sunchokes as last year was (and the year before) -- i think we might have been too efficient when we dug them out last year, and didn't leave enough root-stock.  Oh well....  Our jalapenos are thriving, though, and i'm sold on the "chocolate" chiles -- the latter have so out-performed the poblanos that they're going to be a regular in our garden for rellenos (which my husband LOVES).

And it's finally "really summer" here in the midwest -- temperature in the upper nineties for the first time in a long time and humidity around 60% ... but it still feels better than Houston did!  :-)  Next week it should get a little better, and i have PLENTY to do indoors, in the meanwhile.

So life should be a little more normal for awhile, thank goodness.  ...Excuse me now -- i need to go launder some shorts and pull some oxtail out of the freezer!

Wednesday, August 20, 2014

VLC is only "dead" for those who don't NEED it

It would suit Group A if the needs of Group B were completely obliterated.  If Group A, through whatever social or genetic luck causes them to not need some special substance or service, has no requirement outside a certain arbitrary standard, they seem to think NOBODY does.  We see it in politics and society -- I don't need financial assistance to go to college (because my parents are rich), so why do you think you should get help (even though your widowed mother scrubs hotel bathrooms to feed you)?  I didn't require special rules to make it to that corner office (well, i AM an alpha-male) -- why should you think you deserve anti-discrimination laws so you can get there too (i'm clearly better executive material)?

We see it in nutrition philosophy, too.  Joe was a much-wanted first child of healthy upper-class parents, and had a stay-at-home mother who breastfed him for a full year; he never had an infection in his life.  He's naturally lean and athletic, and can eat anything.  Jack is the fourth child of the "help" in Joe's house -- his parents struggle to feed their family with the cheapest commodities they can get.  Jack has one of the many possible autoimmune diseases out there -- he can't possibly compete with Joe academically or in physical activities, can he?

But according to the health-and-weight-loss world, it's his and his parents' fault that he's overweight and unable to exercise ... and "VLC IS DEAD."  The ketosis that could clear his brain-fog and straighten out his hormones isn't suggested by the Free Clinic, because some doctor-friend of Joe's dad at the university said "just eat plain food, and not too much.  oh, and don't forget the raw potatoes."

LC is THERAPEUTIC.  It's curative of many ills, but an awful lot of people don't even know about that ... and why?  Because Group A doesn't like it or need it.  Because it suits their prejudices to ascribe the "failings" of Group B to their characters, rather than to KNOWN MICROBIOLOGY.  Because Group A may not even be aware of how lucky they are, and how "but for the grace of god" they might have turned out a member of Group B.

It's pure selfishness that causes some writers to denigrate practices that are beneficial to others.  One woman doesn't LIKE low-carbing even though she knows it's effective, so she lies about it and backs herself up with "troo scienz."  A certain man abruptly changed his printed position on aspects of diet because it cemented his professional connections.  If these people even conceded that some people benefit from rather tight carb-intake control, couldn't some sufferers have been helped?  But no -- they'd rather  insist on the failed techniques of starvation and asceticism.  They'd rather brand the people who fail thereby as addicts, lazy and gluttonous.  One HAS to conclude that their nastiness is mentally rewarding to them -- that the one is happy she's not the only fat person around, having failed at her own philosophy, and that the other is glorying in his self-righteousness as a naturally-lean young male.

Tuesday, August 19, 2014

reasons why

:-)  I can't bring myself to read a certain popular nutrition blog ... and it's all because of that tabloid-inspired tendency to post articles entitled "__ Reasons Why ___"  I may be alone in my prejudice;  it may cluster with my distaste for numerous cliches in a single paragraph, or misquotation of traditional figures of speech*.

Therefore, it's ironic that i was tempted to write, this morning, a list of reasons why "PubMed duels" and scientific citations are only good things for minutia-nerds and people with no horse in the health-and-weight-loss race ... and a bad thing for people who are looking for workable solutions to their problems.  You see, those whose well-being is falling apart may be reassured that there's a "scientific reason" why novel proteins in modern grains contribute to autoimmune disturbances, but what they really care about is that ditching wheat makes them feel better.

I'll make a compromise with my compositional standards, then, and not give you a numerical or bulleted list. ;-)

It's widely conceded that one can design a study that will prove ANYTHING YOU DAMN WELL PLEASE.  When it comes to protecting the status quo or supporting commercial interests (or bolstering egos), a great many such studies have been done -- so why in the gods' names is it considered a plus to include citation to this bullshit?  It's positively hilarious that the theoreticians sneer at "anecdotal" evidence that comes in spectacular amounts from clinicians like Atkins and the Eadeses, but take as gospel a four-person study in which only one individual -- ONE INDIVIDUAL -- exhibited the result they WANT to believe is typical!

As Peter has shown countless times, unless you dissect the fine details of these oh-so-meticulous experimental designs, and NAG the performers thereof to give you exact details of WHAT was fed, and how, you know NOTHING of what the study actually exhibited.  All the "high-fat" diets that were in fact high-sucrose-and-refined-garbage instead of real-food....  All the diet-recall megastudies which are nothing but science-fiction....  All the "rabbit-cholesterol" notions -- taking health young men and extrapolating their results to unhealthy older women....  I'm sorry [smirk] to break it to the armchair "scientists" out there, but the mileage IS gonna vary!

It can't really be repeated often enough -- no matter how many times you see it in mouse-studies or in-vitro trials, if you don't see the same results CONSISTENTLY in free-living humans of every age and sex, it ain't good science.  It's pseudo- or pop-"scienz" (to steal a Woooism).

When you see a statement in an article, phrased similarly to "X might do Y" or "Z may result in Q" ... i suspect it's safe to say that it's very unlikely that either will do anything!  All these statements mean is that someone got a notion that something SHOULD result in something else, but he couldn't actually prove it.  Then there's the Wolff-Chaikoff story -- these yoyos had a brainstorm that iodine is HAAAARMFUL (despite decades of experience that it isn't), so they designed a rat-study ... which did NOT prove what they wanted it to.  But that wasn't going to stop them!  They essentially reported, well, we didn't see what we expected, BUT WE'RE STILL RIGHT!!!

Yeah -- "troo scienz."  And these assholes aren't the only ones.

So next time some flake demands citations of proof, or provides you a ream of references, don't assume lack of studies equals lack of TRUTH, or take their word for their soundness of logic.  Don't let the troll "do a Goebbels" on you.
*  "Butt naked," "wreck havoc," "pouring over data," etc. still make me shudder.  It's like a vision of HELL in which i'm stuck in a room full of stupid people and no wine....

Sunday, August 17, 2014

obsession -- it's UGLY

It continues to astonish me how monomaniacal a few trolls are -- they seem DRIVEN to attack a person or concept to a degree that is clearly unbalanced.  When HATE is a prominent motivator, there's something wrong, either in the brain chemistry or perhaps ... just in the personality.  I mean after all, some obnoxious people aren't sick, they're just personally repulsive.

And it comes back to what I said the other day about liking the people we spend our evenings with.  I see nothing admirable about the personalities in Big Brother:  I therefore have no desire to spend my evenings with those people.  I see nothing admirable in the rantings of CICO zealots:  I'd rather endlessly revisit the archives of constructive bloggers like Eades, Harris and Petro than wade through the ravings of agenda-driven, unpleasant assholes, on the off-chance of finding a factoid of real-world applicability.

REAL-WORLD APPLICABILITY -- this is the central problem with some types of research!  Mouse studies are valuable for determining how physiological details function, but to fantasize that mouse-metabolism may be directly applicable to humans is delusional.  Some human studies are not transferrable to groups of different demographics -- but we're supposed to believe that caged, KO rats and free-living humans will present identical responses...???

No, the ideas that are useful to a person like me are those which have been SHOWN to be SUCCESSFUL FOR OTHERS like me.  Karen at Garden Girl may not have tips that will help a gym-rat to reduce to single-digit body fat, but her "what works" list has gems of practical information.  Wooo's specific responses to various supplements aren't directly applicable to ME, as my challenges and hers are not identical, but I've harvested invaluable knowledge about hormones and neurotransmitters from her writings.  All of the blogs on my list are not only interesting, they're pleasant to read and USEFUL.

Thanks largely to the blogs I DO read, I've solved the problems of my metabolism.  I've learned to boost the performance of my thyroid and to compensate for my genetic shortcomings.  I've discovered how to maximize my hedonistic pleasures while minimizing the physical repercussions (charcuterie-plate and champagne anyone?).  I've hacked the issue of chronic fatigue (for myself at least, because all cases are different).  More central to the theme that so many people are interested in, I've learned how to eat to lose fat and gain muscle PREDICTABLY AND RELIABLY. 

Gone are the days when I'd eat under 1000kcal/day for weeks and NOT lose weight.  Gone are those low-fat days when I stuffed my stomach with vegetables, fruits and lean proteins and STILL paced around the house with an insatiable appetite. 

Are my current successes in the slightest bit reliant on Conventional Wisdom and traditional ELMM philosophy?  Absolutely NOT.  Over the decades I tried it in one style or another, many times.  I tried Ornish-style vegetarianism, and I felt horrible.  I tried Rotation diets, Eat to Win, Cabbage Soup, and so on.  I tried eating MORE of WAPF-type foods, and that didn't work, either.  Trial and error taught me what to eat so that I look AND feel better.  Atkins was a good start, but it wasn't the last hurrah.  Adding cream and butter wasn't it, either.  Nor coconut oil or isolated MCTs.

I found my answers.

LIFE -- I win. 

...The trolls, I doubt their "winner" status.

Thursday, August 14, 2014

"if it ain't broke," revisited

Despite a proportion of people not reacting well to resistant starch, its proponents keep insisting that we ALL need to persist in trying it.  Getting our fiber from sources that make us feel good, they say, is not enough!  They demand that we join them in their flatulent bliss.

No thank you.  My bowels are happy with the quantity and quality of my usual choices.

In my case, i haven't had a course of antibiotics since the early '90s when i had major surgery.  I use raw milk and create whey for pickling favorite vegetables as often as i can, as well as enjoying home-made kefir and yogurt (well-fermented, so as to convert as much of the sugars to acids as is consistent with tastiness).  I know that if i get a case of loose bowels from a virus or restaurant food, a hefty dose of probiotic is helpful, and i keep a bottle of some good stuff on hand for just-in-case.  I'm not afraid of dirt on my hands, and i don't freak at it being under my fingernails.  AND i don't believe in using hand-sanitizers.  I have pretty good faith that my gut-bugs are in decent condition.

If it were a case of taking a teaspoon of potato starch per day, i might try it and measure glucose responses, just out of curiosity (i have my share of THAT quality) -- however, a dose of 20-30 grams is needed to show benefit and that's THREE TABLESPOONS, more or less -- damned if i'm interested in working my way up to that, just to see if it benefits ME.

But the biggest brake on my curiosity is ... "fear" of outrageous gas and bloat!  :-)  I have enough trouble if i overdo lettuce or fruit!  A number of vegetable sources seem to set off FODMAP-type problems with me, and it's just NO TEMPTATION to test myself some more!  To admit to a little vanity, i'm very pleased with the flatness of my stomach compared with other women my age -- i honestly don't want to screw THAT up, either.

So, no -- despite the positive reviews at MDA, i think i'll pass when it comes to trying out RS.

do you like the people you're spending your evenings with?

No, i'm not going to encourage you to leave your partner and desert your kids.  :-)  I'm going to encourage you to turn the television off.

We were settling into a pattern with the grandkids at our house, when unhappy news reached us from Texas -- their great-grandmother had gone into the hospital for a routine procedure, but had taken a turn for the worse and passed away.  Thank goodness for modern technology -- their mother told them via FaceTime, and she and their dad were able to comfort the little ones themselves!  We had an appointment on Monday we shouldn't miss, but drove back to the Houston area on Tuesday with one day free before attending the funeral.

After the joys of greeting their parents and dogs, sleeping in their own beds, and seeing their bereaved grandmother, one of the things they got enthusiastic about was seeing the recorded episode of a favorite television show.  Now, my husband and I don't find reality shows entertaining, but we join the family in the living room and play games on our ipads while the rest watch and comment.  Enough content seeps into our consciousness that we have a rough idea of what's going on.

As I was composing my mind to sleep last night, I was thinking about the screen people -- and I concluded that if I knew them in real life, I wouldn't like their personalities or find them interesting at all.  Why on earth would I care to spend an evening with them?  Am I a hopeless intellectual snob?  I don't THINK so -- I've gotten along well with a wide variety of types during my 59 years!  These characters, though, display so much ego in the presence of so little apparent QUALITY ... and express themselves so abrasively, I have to wonder why they're so widely watched -- why people want to spend so many hours of their leisure time with them.

The people with whom we spend our time have a big influence on us.  Not only do we tend to mirror each other's personal styles of behavior and speech, but each other's moods and manners of thinking.  Mood is deeply contagious!  Being around cheerful people helps us feel cheerful, and depressed people tend to bring us down too.  The old adage that "whoever lies down with dogs is apt to get up with fleas" is very true.

So can we expect to maintain a good attitude when we're around discontented, petty, self-aggrandizing, bitchy people?  I maintain ... NOT.  If we want to BE better people, we need to hang around with better people.  That includes our choices of entertainment.

Wednesday, August 13, 2014

how to avoid going to hell ... ;-)

"I must keep in good health and not die," was the answer to this question, concluded by a young Jane Eyre.  Of course, the not-dying part can't be put off forever, but we all tend to try to avoid it as long as possible.

And what strategy do most Western people use, to accomplish this?  They follow the twentieth-century philosophy of giving lip-service to pyramid-style eating and pop-exercise, visiting their doctors often, and cooperating with the lab-testing agenda which we're told should CATCH DISEASE EARLY, so it can be successfully treated.  Unfortunately, those ideas are badly flawed.  Western medicine and nutrition are not designed to promote wellness, and by the time you've reached the disease-management stage one might say you've nearly lost the whole game.

A lot of us have discovered improved health through use of a low-carb and real-food diet.  Eliminating what we call the "neolithic agents of disease" (grains and legumes containing many anti-nutrients and problematic proteins, industrial seed-oils, and refined carbohydrates, among other things) has revealed to us HOW MANY of our ills are caused by common modern-day foodstuffs.  Observation of the rapidly proliferating "diseases of civilization" leaves many of us with no doubt that current dietary practices encourage if not CAUSE these problems.

"Real foods" nourish our bodies the way millions of years of evolution have proven to be successful.  Low-carbing provides fuel with minimal toxicity to those of us who may not thrive well on a glucose-based system, even if we don't present the extremes of diabetes, cancer, cardiovascular disorders, or Alzheimers disease.

A new LC forum exists which is nominally for diabetes sufferers, but which i'm sure many of the rest of us will find valuable, too!  AVOIDING the glucose-disregulation illnesses so common today is a goal worth pursuing.  I look forward to many a useful discussion at !

Monday, August 11, 2014

all you need is ... metabolic flexibility

Well, at least that's all _I_ need.  ;-)  ...Plus of course a few individualized supplements.

Although the whole blogosphere (the part of it i care to read) seems to be publishing much less these days, the same ol' stuff still seems to be debated constantly in comment-sections.  Is successful weight loss purely a matter of CICO?  Are LCHF'ers trying to insist that calories don't matter at all?

How many angels can dance on the head of a pin?


Academic twaddle.  What's "broken" in our nutritional world is what most people consider appropriate FOODSTUFFS, and that is a cultural issue -- "we" think that nutritional powerhouses are "weird" or "gross."  What's BROKEN is that people are so brainwashed by television ads, commercial weight-loss programs, and the glorification of party-food, that unnatural products which have been engineered to be moreish are considered NORMAL, and real food is not.  Unfortunately, a broken nutritional landscape contributes to damaged bodies, some of which can be easily repaired and others ... with difficulty if at all.

Despite the skewed nature of the scientific research that reaches the average Westerner, the technology exists which has shown us how damaging many "neolithic" foodstuffs are.  We KNOW what differs, in the way our bodies process various different fats.  We KNOW what sugars do, both physiologically and pathologically.  We KNOW how antinutrients keep us from being able to use the vitamins and minerals which our foods theoretically contain.

There's still a lot we don't understand THOROUGHLY (and probably a lot that "we don't KNOW that we don't know"), but there's certainly plenty to be going on with.  If we don't do anything till we know it all, we never do anything.  ;-)

It's extremely fortunate that the same first step -- eliminating the "neolithic agents of disease" -- serves the double purpose of healing and training the body for metabolic flexibility.  Removing wheat and adding in gut-repairing meat/bone broths help our bodies function more the way nature intended. Those of us who ran on glucose so long that our bodies "forgot" how to function on fat benefit spectacularly when we reverse that process -- we never do seem to entirely lose the ability to burn glucose, no matter how badly we do it.

But it takes TIME.  The longer we put off the effort, the more effort it will take.  The longer we delay teaching our bodies to revert to evolutionarily-appropriate function, the more likely we are to develop the "diseases of civilization."  And what IS evolutionarily-appropriate function?  The ability to take in nutrition that will truly nourish us, to store what is temporarily superfluous, and to be able to pull surplus from storage efficiently and use it well.

We need a healthy digestive system and metabolic flexibility.  We need healthy hormone and neurotransmitter responses.  We need fuel input that is appropriate to our individual bodies (genetic and accrued damage) and their activity level.

These are ALL things we have to do for ourselves.  But throughout the twentieth century, we've seen what happens when we depend on the medical industry to fix our nutritional mistakes....  Can anyone deny that our self-work is a worthwhile alternative?

Thursday, August 7, 2014

...and even more "busy"

I got back from my Texas trip ... and my husband wanted to take a road-trip himself, before the construction starts and he feels anchored to the work.  So i quickly laundered and re-packed my modern-day clothes, we put the car-top carrier on and filled it with things for "Cowboy Town" and the kids' place, loaded the dog and the canary, and we headed out again.

The long road-trip with someone else driving is an entirely different experience to doing the trip by myself.  We stopped overnight to drop off firewood and a rack for it at the first location, and then moved along to Houston.  Again.  :-)

Fortunately, our daughter's house is a very comfortable place to visit -- we have our own guest-room, and the kitchen is pretty well equipped.  The kids enjoy whistling to Pip to encourage him to sing, and they know Spense "has a sharp end" so they don't try to pet him.  The day after we arrived, we went to visit a local farm which sells raw dairy products, grass-finished meats, and pastured eggs, which L had spotted some time before but never took time to visit.  It was a good place!  I'm actually going to have some fresh whey to work with again!

But a few days later, J was eager to get home again, to keep progress going on the Big Project.  We loaded up our stuff but not the dog and bird -- we brought the kids with us instead.

Now, when dealing with grandchildren of seven and eleven years. you do things a little differently than you did with your OWN.  You're more lenient about MAKING them eat the way you would prefer.  I don't know if it's harder or easier to have hard-line parents to deal with; our daughter and SIL are laid-back and practical, and i know i won't get in trouble for letting them eat "junk" but of course i know they should be limited with it.  A malnourished child is going to be more unhappy and uncomfortable than a properly-nourished one, but it's hard enough to find good meals on the highway and on-the-go for adults who are TRYING to do just that -- with kids it's far more tricky.

So when we hit the grocery store yesterday, we bought more carbage in one day than we had in the entire previous YEAR.  Kids burn off a lot of energy, of course, and these lean little people don't have a lot of body-fat to fall back on, like J and i do.  Their stomachs are small, and they need feeding often;  i was actually impressed on the highway that they weren't clamoring for snacks.  Of course, i didn't TELL them i'd packed some, but i was prepared.  ;-)  The power of not knowing snacks are available -- out of sight, out of mind -- my Dear Readers will grasp that Imagination can be the enemy of Willpower....

We had a number of ideas for outings, but the forecast is predicting quite a bit of rain for the next week, so plans will surely have to evolve.  Today, which was overcast and wet when we awoke, will feature a visit to the Butterfly House, a VERY well-executed place belonging to the Missouri Botanical Garden "family" of sites.  After that...

Friday, August 1, 2014

why ketone readings may -- or may NOT -- indicate weight-loss progress

This is a more elementary post -- most of my blog-buddies are very familiar with it, but I know we have newer readers who might not be....

The debate about ketones never wants to die!  In the time-span between Robert Atkins' introduction to the subject and Jimmy Moore's elaborations, I think the waters have just gotten muddier.  The technical writer in me is eager to restate the basics, just so the picture's details are a little clearer and more discernable.

In the early low-carb days there was confusion in the weight-loss world between ketosis and ketoacidosis.  Atkins explained how they are entirely different states in more detail, but suffice it to say that a person following HIS DIET could use the pee-strips to determine how well their bodies had learned to burn fat for fuel.  Because elevated insulin suppresses fat-burning, a positive urinary ketone reading is a proxy for normalizing insulin levels.

A positive ketone reading on those keto-strips is also evidence that potential-human-fuel is being WASTED down the toilet.  THAT may well be the "metabolic advantage" of a low-carb diet:  energy -- the metabolic product of fat -- being flushed away.

Atkins saw some obese patients who were not even able to lose well on his basic regimen, so he developed the "fat fast" that would jump-start the process.  It was a low CALORIE (approx. 1000) version, designed to force the body to burn adipose tissue because it provided almost no carbs and minimal protein.  The "meals" were small but frequent, to help keep hunger at bay.  He said to THOSE PATIENTS, if the fat-fast worked for them, they should add one more "feeding" of the same type (so around 1200 Kcal), to see if they were still able to lose weight on that, and if so to morph back into his basic plan -- it wasn't meant to be a long-term eating style.

Decades later when more quantitative measurement (of blood ketones) became available, researchers played with the notion of just how high those measurements would be when their test subjects lost fat-weight most efficiently.  The LC-diet world grabbed that ball and ran, not stopping to think that such a number MIGHT be individual and/or particular to the demographics of the subjects.  It became the mode to try to emulate THE NUMBERS in that study.

...WHERE HAVE WE SEEN THAT BEFORE???  Oh yeah -- drugging people to raise their HDL, thinking it was a causative factor, not the SYMPTOM of better health that it actually is!

Large numbers on your ketone-meter, or dark colors on your pee-strip, do NOT mean you're losing fat-weight.


It means your body is converting the fats present in the body into ketones.  If you're consuming less energy than your body is burning from day to day, then the ketones are coming from body-fat.  If you're eating more than you actually use, dietary fats are available for that process, too, or at least stored as MORE body fat THEN converted.

The reading of ketones is probably most helpful as a surrogate for your insulin levels -- the more ketone the less insulin, and vice versa.

There, was that helpful?  :-)

isolate your variables

THIS is what's wrong with a lot of "scientific" studies.  This is the trouble with extrapolating from individual experience to universal applicability.  There's a lot more going on than the experimenter takes into account. 

THIS is why studies historically recruited healthy young men to determine baseline physiological response to drugs, diets, or anything else they wanted to test -- it may reveal SOME universally applicable information, but then again there are fewer variables confounding what is actually HAPPENING and YMMV.

THIS is why it's a mistake to start with the experiences of one (or several) ATYPICAL individuals and assume that what happens with them is representative of others.  Colpo is atypical.  Wooo is atypical.  _I_ am really atypical.  Whereas what we experience may apply to other people LIKE US, "normal" people don't have responses that are identical to somebody who doesn't spend his/her LIFE working out, or who isn't significantly weight-reduced and leptin-deficient, or who isn't nutrient-absorption-inept. 

I could go on and on.  People who are deficient in a particular vitamin or mineral will see huge improvement with supplementation, but the replete won't.  Some people convert beta-carotene to retinol a lot better than others.  I have a few one-size-fits-all dresses that actually DO look good on me, but the secret is that they're totally shapeless on their own, and MY shape makes up for the fact that i'm under-average in height.  Someone my height who is skinny would find the hemlines pudding on the floor.  A taller woman who has the same measurements would find them way too short.

No, there may be such a thing as "one size fits MOST," but "one size fits ALL" is obviously bullshit.