Friday, December 30, 2011

Eating my Religion

A recent question on Paleohacks got me thinking about my past experiences and my transition from vegetarianism to paleo.  Careful readers will remember that I started a food experiment at this point a few years ago.  I was having trouble keeping healthy with my plan and discussed it with a very wise garden friend.  When I mentioned that I wasn't sure what I was going to do about my diet, this is what she said,

"You have to decide if you are going to eat for your health or if you are going to eat for your philosophy."

I was a bit taken aback, because I really thought at the time that I was eating for my health, not my religion.  When I thought carefully about what she said, I realized that she was right.  I had been doing this food experiment.  But, how was that working for me?  It was then that I decided to call Kris Young and see if I could switch out my wheat selection to something that was more healthy for me.

Anyway, I would recommend the PH poster who has the sick vegan friend to ask the very same question.  Maybe not right away.  Maybe just suggest a visit to Dr. Dean's website to read up a bit on fat and mental health.  I am so glad that my strong and opinionated friend didn't hold back.

Monday, December 26, 2011

Back in the Saddle Again

This has been my most reasonable Christmas season food-wise ever.  Due to to overwhelming busy-ness, my neighbor did not organize the neighborhood cookie party, so I didn't make cookies.  I also did not make any high-carb ethnic Christmas goodies for my husband.  The only treat this year was paleo chocolate bark, and I gave most of it away.  Sis didn't even have pie for Christmas dinner.  She did serve gingerbread, which has sparked me into figuring out how to make a tasty wheat-free low-sugar paleo version.

On Christmas eve, we went for a long hike near the ocean, and while we were waiting for others to return to the car, we listened on the radio to a wonderful story by Melinda Lee, all about the history of gingerbread.  Maybe that is why it tasted so good.  Or maybe it was because of over two hours of hiking.

Today I am getting back on track.  I weigh a bit less than I did at Halloween, and my goal is to weigh LESS at the end of the holidays than when they started.

At the beginning of the year, I plan to restart another round of leptin reset.  This time, I will be removing all foods that could possibly be inflammatory.  While my CRP is in the normal to low range, it is still higher than what Dr. Kruse recommends, so I am going to try to beat it back to nearly zero.  I have already restarted the diet portion of the reset, but I know for sure that I won't be complying with the recommended evening sleep and light schedules during the New Year celebrations.

Merry Christmas!!

Friday, December 9, 2011

Killing them Softly

Looks like I am killing all my relatives off, one by one, ready to collect the inheritance.

I am still recovering from the house-full of family and their pets during the holidays.  Mom was the last to leave.  Since she is older, she likes to take direct flights when she can.  The only direct flight available meant we had to get up at 5:00 in the morning and rush around.  This meant I couldn't cook the usual large breakfast of bacon, eggs and greens, or serve my mother her favorites.

I decided that it wasn't enough to just have a smoothie and some coffee, so I whipped up a few scrambled eggs with butter.  Usually she eats skim milk, bran cereal, decaf coffee and half a grapefruit for breakfast.

She downed the egg in a few seconds and asked how it was cooked.  I replied that I just cooked it in some butter.  She declared it delicious!  We NEVER had butter at home when I was a kid.  Too expensive.  I did get butter through the subsidized school lunch program, but there was never any butter in the home, even for baking Christmas cookies.

A few days after her trip home, she called and announced that since the visit, she had been eating an egg cooked in butter every morning for breakfast.  This is a big switch, because ever since my teen years, she had been on a low fat diet in order to reduce her cholesterol, which was inching towards a very unhealthy 200.  After her heart disease risk scare more than 30 years ago, we quit eating foods cooked in bacon and had only low-fat cheeses, diet margarine, and skim milk.

Yes, I am contributing to my mother's decline.  I say, if you are close to your last meal, let them all be drowned in butter.

Thursday, December 8, 2011

Food Reward and Confirmation Bias - More Woo?

The comments on Dr. Guyenet's lastest post included more -Woo-bashing, as usual.  In the paleodome, bashing -Woo is about as popular as bashing Dr. Oz and Dr. Kruse.  Is it really warranted?

I guess I have always been kind of a weird statistician.  There is a typical protocol usually followed and recommended when a pile of data comes in.  One of the most comical (and I think most wrong) techniques is to scrub the data by plotting it all and then throwing out the outliers.  A typical stupid way to do this is to calculate the standard deviation, and then automatically throw out all the data points that are beyond three sigma.  This technique pretty much guarantees that the researcher will systematically throw out perfectly good data, and it also ensures that any totally cool thing about what they are studying will be tossed as well.  Sort of like cracking the egg, separating it, and then throwing out the yolk if you are Dr. Oz, or throwing out the white if you are some of the lower-protein paleo's, or throwing it all out if it tastes good if you are Dr. Guyenet.

In my twisted mind, ItstheWoo certainly points to some excellent data.  She is the poster child for outliers, and also the poster child for how outliers are usually treated by some really stupid academics and play-acting statisticians.  It it really necessary for commenters to continually remind each other how they flip through -Woo's posts without reading?  How many minutes did they waste typing that over and over again on numerous blogs?  Wouldn't it just be easier to read some of them, and, you know, maybe learn a little something about an outlier?

So, real researchers.........not sure if you are visiting yet, but here's a little advice anyway.  Before you just toss out data because it is "beyond three sigma", you need to take a look at it.  Taking a look at it doesn't include disparaging and making fun of the data point.  "Out! darn point!!  Be done with it!"  (What research dweeb does that in real life?  Obviously there is some other deep-seated hostility going on here.)  Data points can't just be removed and discarded because they "mess up the error term" or otherwise make either the analysis or the researcher uncomfortable.  I only do data checking to make sure there isn't a typo or other similar problem.   If I can't find a reason, it stays.  I have had to fight my position on this for years, and in many situations, even resorting to doing two analyses, one with all the data, and "one with some data points thrown out".  And that's what I call it.  It's not scrubbing.  The data hasn't been cleaned, it has been lobotomized and I'll have none of that.

And on a final note, I got a large spike in readership today.  I am drawing out a few more readers, commenters and lurkers, mostly from the low carb linking sites.  More data to follow......

Tuesday, December 6, 2011

Food Reward and Confirmation Bias - Part 1

Hey, I am first to admit that I am one of the little people.  Despite the fabulous quality of the writing, I don't have too many regular followers or readers.  And I realize that it is partly my fault.  If I was uber-polite instead of snarky, or if I had all the fancy places where I went to school listed on the right, I might attract more readers.  My biggest readership spike days happen when Dr. Kruse or Jimmy Moore links a blog post, either on their own blogs or on Mark's Daily Apple.
This week I checked out Dr. Guyenet's blog to see what is new with food reward, and I found Sarah's N=1 story and followed the link to her blog.  (BTW, I don't post over at Guyenet's blog much anymore - they're pretty hostile to the low-carbers and if you think that has died down, just go into the comments section of his latest post here to see it is still alive and kicking along with the like-clockwork itsthewoo-bashing.)  Sarah mentioned the very high increase in traffic to her blog when it was publicized.  When I first wrote about my N=1 food reward experience, Dr. Guyenet didn't devote a blog post or an additional link to the story like he did for the n=3 folks with results that match his hypothesis more than mine did.  I got a few additional hits, but it wasn't all that special.  If you missed my N=1 post because of the oversight, you can read about it here.
Now I am sure it was just an oversight.  After all, he sure did spend lots of time providing links to studies and anecdotes that appear to buttress his theory.  It would be easy to overlook one or two in the process, especially if it wasn't labeled correctly.  Perhaps with the "food reward" antigen in my title, I'll be able to attract all the antibodies and I'll see an uptick in traffic.  Lets see if we can weed out the cherry-pickers from the legitimate researchers.

Wednesday, November 23, 2011

Happy Thanksgiving

It has been a wonderful year, and there are lots of people worth thanking.  So, Thank You!

This week I've been busy getting ready for a houseful of company, with good friends, good food and family from near and far.  Do to all the abundance, things get pretty crazy in November.  I am trying to get the "bed-and-breakfast" place ready, while at the same time, finish the year's seed-saving operations, finish drying and processing the herbs, get the garlic beds ready and tend to all the peppers.

The peppers are all hung on the Christmas tree with care.  We are a little late in taking the tree down this year, and I ran out of room to hang all the peppers.  So....the Christmas tree is loaded with my best crop ever of giant cayenne, espanola and other numex-style pepper crosses.  All hung high enough not to tempt visiting dogs, hopefully.  Deck the halls with boughs of ..uh.. PEPPER?!

We're doing the traditional Thanksgiving dinner with the usual fixin's.  I am not really in charge of the meal, but did provide input into the quantities.  We are having only one pie, only a few potatoes, half the amount of stuffing, and NO dinner rolls.  Half of us are on healthy lower carb, and one guest is on an Ornish-type diet.  For this evening, my guests are bringing "cowboy beans", which sound like a HFCS bomb.  I also cooked up four pounds of baby burgers for tonight's feast, featuring southwestern American food.  No bottled bbq sauce for me, cause I cooked up a  batch of habanero sauce so hot even I can't eat much of it.  Instead of baking the usual three batches of cornbread, I just bought a package of plain corn tortillas.  This afternoon, I'll be selecting the sweetest pumpkin out of the patch, and cooking it up for pies and breakfast smoothies.  I will also be cooking up a pound of pork sausage into old-fashioned country sausage for breakfasts.

Here's my hot sauce recipe this year:  8 orange habanero peppers, 1 red jalapeno pepper, 1 giant dried cayenne pepper (or use 6 smaller peppers), 1 large onion, 2 cloves garlic, 1 carrot, dash of salt, vinegar.  Cut up the vegetables and cook mostly covered in vinegar until soft.  Cool.  Blend until smooth.  Return to pan and cook over low heat.  Pour into glass jars and chill in the fridge.  It keeps for a few weeks.

Usually I am farther ahead, but this year we both caught colds, and now my husband has pneumonia, so there are just some things that won't get done before the house gets full.  Have a great Thanksgiving holiday!

Tuesday, November 15, 2011

Sorry, But I Just Couldn't Hold Back Anymore

Hyperlipid has been hyper-funny lately, but then again, maybe this new prehistoric diet is making me punch drunk with laughter.
Take a look at this!

Monday, November 7, 2011

Three days on the Prehistoric Diet

Day one went pretty well.  (Y'all can see what I ate here.)

Days 2 and 3?  Well...not to plan.  I went camping in the mountains.  Not real camping where you carry stuff on your back and set up a camp somewhere in the wilderness, but the kind of camping where you drive to the campground, complete with large heated lodge and mess hall, and then unload your machine-quilted comforter into little cabins retrofitted with modern (as in handicap-friendly) plumbing and access.

It was a weekend full of me not being in full control of my food choices, that is, if I didn't want to starve, but it was also only four meals (and dozens and dozens of snacks!!!) and lots of hopping over puddles during freezing downpours, so there wasn't an overall weight gain.

I knew I would be in trouble when I saw one of the women near the kitchen.  THE VEGAN ACTIVIST!!  She's very nice, but insists on vegan food at all gatherings because she is convinced that her husband's fatal heart attack was caused by the deadly saturated fat and the paleo people are mean to animals.

To placate all the people who don't like vegan diets, there were some small optional additives, so, yes, I was able to add some cheese and sour cream to my vegan gluten-free burrito.  And even with the cheese and sour cream, I was reminded why I always had trouble with a vegan diet.

Every meal and snack seemed stuffed to the gills with tomato products.  Tomato wasn't optional.  It was in the burrito for lunch, the cheese lasagna for dinner, the omlette for breakfast and the chili for lunch.  There was no way you could pick the stuff out.  It went through and through.  It reminded me of when I tried the MacDougall program.  I could only do it for a few days.  It is just that terrible combination of wheat, green peppers and tomatoes that showed up in practically 100% of Mary MacDougall's recipes that made the program so horrible for me. 

The other thing I was reminded of is the enormous amount of milk fat in a vegetarian diet.  We had sour cream, cream cheese on bagels, ice cream for two meals, lasagna stuffed with ricotta and loaded with melty cheese.  The vegans seemed to have no fat options except maybe a bit of coconut ice cream for some meals.  I was longing for some bacon just for balance.  Well-meaning friends suggested I go down the hill for a burger at the local McDonalds, but I had forgotten my wallet and money and also didn't want to be reminded that I was just down the street from Mickey D's and 20 million people, and I am not thrilled with their food either.

By the second day, my stomach was paying for the diet transgressions, and I was extremely grateful for modern plumbing!  When I got home, I sat down to a huge bowl of fatty pork shoulder before I even started unpacking the muddy camping gear.  Good food is THAT important.  And today is a new day, full of full food freedom, and freedom from beans, tomatoes and wheat!!!

Thursday, November 3, 2011

Battle for the Fat Old Ladies - Part 1

Yes, there is another battle going on, the battle for the hearts and souls of all the fat old ladies.

The paleo tribe isn't all that friendly to the ladies, especially the older kind.  Makes me kind of want to pelt the next guy who says that evolutionarily, I'm history, with a barrage of left-over tampons I no longer need.  About the only thing worse for an older lady who is beyond reproductive age and therefore useless is for them, besides being a vegetarian, to be a Dr. Oz-watcher.

Dr. Oz had a big zinger on a recent show, his own prehistoric diet.  I read the three pages of diet advice, and then the hundreds of comments made mostly by very angry paleo's who were outraged that he would steal their lifestyle and turn it into an evil, sickly vegan diet scheme.

"Paleo!"  they drum.  "We thought of it first!"  Well, OK, good luck with that.

And I am thinking, if you want someone to join your tribe, make them feel welcome, make them feel at home.  That means if you want to reach the fat old ladies, you have to quit making fun of them, quit making condescending and sexist comments, quit calling them fat, lazy and stupid.  The cave needs to be decked out with sparkly pens and scrabble, just like the tent in the Dr. Oz reality zoo.  Strong, brave women rearranging words out on the veranda, in between the rain showers.  Just like Martha Stewart and Bethenny Frankel.  Yes, Freud, this is what women want.

Now, Dr. Oz is very popular and influential.  There may be some truth to the idea that he doesn't want to annoy his sponsors.  I get that.  So does Dr. Feinman.  You really have to watch your step when you enter the diet and nutrition field.  Lots of turds all around, left for lots of people for you to step on if you are not careful.

If you aren't careful, maybe the ADA experts will go after you.  Then just when you think you are into safe territory at Paleohacks, you get Patrik threatening to drop the hammer on you.  "I'm gonna brekka yo face!"  Ooooooo, no scrabble there.  Paleohacks must have been named that because they like to hack each other to pieces over there.  Take a look at this fine piece of, um, "work".  And this is just for members of the tribe, not even for someone as evil as Dr. Oz.

I commend Dr. Oz for at least calling it what it is, a zoo.  Ya, there is that call to "freeing the animal", but if your inner animal is just a big pig, well that is what pens and bars were invented for.  Just sayin', I can understand why Dr. Oz wants to distance himself.  So, in honor of Dr. Oz actually being NICE to fat old ladies, and inviting them to his show where it is clear they are the stars and also having lots of fun, I have decided to do his version of the prehistoric diet.  (Notice he didn't call it the caveMAN diet.)  In order to do it, I will have to customize it a bit for my own local condition and preferences.

1.  Protein.  Dr. Oz recommends a low protein diet, full of beans, greens and seaweed.  I can do the greens and seaweed just fine, but I don't eat all that many beans, so I will be substituting most of the beans for grass-fed meat and fish.

2.  Calcium.  Dr. Oz recommends tofu and boxed soy and nut milk.  I don't eat much soy because it doesn't do well with me and I don't do things in three-layer aseptic boxes, so I will be substituting with sardines and even more greens.

3.  Fat.  Dr. Oz recommends olives, avocado, flax, hemp, chia and walnuts.  No problem there except I don't want any hemp seeds just in case I have to take a drug test or something.

4.  Carbs.  Dr. Oz recommends eating the rainbow, with all sorts of colorful foods like fruits and vegetables.  Unfortunately, he let some of the colors run together too much and got brown in his rainbow.  So, to get brown, we are supposed to eat whole wheat bread and pasta and quinoa.  Quinoa is really white, so I don't get the brown category, but then again, I am a stupid Dr. Oz-watcher, so I think it was expected that I would overlook that one little point.  However, since wheat makes me sick and starving, and quinoa makes me gag, I am substituting these "brown" foods with real colors, like more yellow squash, purple cabbage, red snapper and orange roughy.  And of course, red Argentine malbec.

I'll be setting up yet another account at [redacted], for those who want to follow along.  I'll post a link once it gets going, just look at the birdie.  Here's the site I set up for tracking food nutrients.

Monday, October 31, 2011

I, Cavewoman??

Longer nights, more balanced hormones, cooler temps.  They all mean better sleep, longer dreams.

So, in the latest dream there is going to be a bit of equality.  They are going to do a reality show with 4 women.  I think it is going to be something like I, Caveman, but we aren't really sure.  Two women are friends IRL, and the other is Daphne Oz.

Daphne shows up late, and so far it is just general chit-chat with the others while she checks her iphone.  She isn't wanting to join in all the fun with the rest of us, just yet at least.

We think the producers are going to make us redesign a kitchen as our first project, which starts early the next morning.  Daphne is off to the side with her handlers.  I wonder why they didn't pick Denise Minger instead.

We start the project by camping out on a tarp at the TV studio headquarters parking lot.  We have sleeping bags but it is still too cold and there is not enough room.  I can tell we are probably going to all be really annoyed with each other by the time this is over.  I'll be deemed too old, and Daphne will insist on vegetarian food.

This sleepover reminds me, I'll have more to say about Dr. Oz later in the week.  Well most people reading this here blog probably know what THAT's about.

Friday, October 28, 2011

Giving 'em the Finger

I am attending several Halloween parties this year and need to bring along some finger food.  Last year, a friend introduced me to "witches fingers" and they were pretty gross.  Perfect!  Here's some photo's.

I prefer my recipe, and this is what I'll be taking to the parties.  I think they're the hands-down winner.  To make them, you'll need a small bag of baby carrots, a small bag of slivered almonds, a small container of almond butter and some finely grated nutmeg.

Wash and dry the carrots.  Dig out a shallow nail bed on the narrow end of the baby carrot.  I do this with a melon baller, the small side.  Works like a charm!!!  Use a paring knife to lightly score the carrots width-wise, for wrinkles.  Fill the nail bed with a dab of almond butter.  Don't use too much.  Press a large slivered almond piece onto the nail bed.  Dust the finger with grated nutmeg and rub into the wrinkles.  Adding more nutmeg or even cinnamon will make the fingers look even more freshly-dug.

Tuesday, October 25, 2011

Are Dreams Paleo?

It's been tough-going in the Paleodome recently, especially if you are one of those puffy fat red-faced old people.  I was thinking later last week how much I wanted to pull away from it a bit, but also sad that this tribe I thought I would be able to fit into really has no place for me.  But, my discomfort was more than just that.  I had been thinking about the divisions, the hierarchies and the increasing rigidity and the grindingly boring one-sidedness of all the discussions.  And, I don't mean between the low-carbers and safe-starchers.  It's all so scientific.  Is being so scientific while lacking creativity, intuition, play, or harmony, is it really Paleo?

(Here's the musical interlude)

Such a division between the people at the top and their patients and fans, I concluded that my only role in the paleo world was to be a consumer.  Pretty much everyone is here to hawk their books, gyms, websites and products, to advance their careers and prop up their egos, or to be a patient.  Some have really been into the commercial aspect, others have been more freely giving and committed to "the cause".  But I wasn't being very good at this consumer part, as is any other consumer who is living in a van down by the river. Where is the part about just being?

Richard Nickoley has his Free the Animal.  But I want to free the Shaman, free the Fool, free the Dreamer, Free the Drummer, free the Mystic, free the Dancer.  Certainly they were as important to paleo life as caves, wild game, berries, macronutrient percentages and reverse T3 values?  More importantly, I want to be free.

Before I just gathered up all my atlatl's and left, I had a dream.  Now the really interesting thing about doing Dr. K's leptin reset it that I can sleep all through the night, without having to get up or anything, there is this very very long dream time before the dawn, and the dreams can go on with many passageways.

In my dream, I am working at a company as a consultant.  I have a long-term contract that I know will be ending soon.  I already started taking some of my personal items home from the office, my technical books, knicknacks, extra clothing.  One morning I get to the office and discover that the management decided to move on to the next big project right away, so they moved the office around.  They got rid of my office.  I can't find my desk or the stuff that I had carefully locked inside of it.  I am irked that they don't even have the decency to let me get to my desk to clean it out myself.

I mention to my co-workers that there is still work to be finished, but they say that the management cancelled everything, that they didn't even care about any of the documents, designs, blue-prints, nothing, or whether I have a desk.  We all think that was short-sighted.  My co-workers help me find parts of my old office:  my desk in one area, a chair down the hall.  They carve out a place for me as I go through my desk to get my purse.  They had put my desk near an older man scheduled for retirement.  He is really annoying, as he has fallen asleep at his desk and is snoring.  I make a mental note to call my business partner immediately, so we can find another gig.

Before I leave the office, I stop by a small courtyard outside the back.  It is the place were people go for a quick lunch or a smoke.  Someone had put in a small garden.  I noticed that there are several older lettuce plants that have gone to seed.  I pull off some of the seeds and notice that they are much larger than usual.  They look more like watermelon seeds than lettuce seeds, and I think, could it be that they are really lettuce?  That's when I remember that a like-minded friend had planted them.  They are a very ancient heirloom variety, and very rare.  I am sure the new management won't want these old seeds.  They are into the newer hybrid and genetically-modified varieties.  I pack them up with my four boxes of stuff and leave.

Now I am leaving the Paleo tent for awhile, not sure all where I am going.  I don't know all what it will be, but I do know more about what it won't be.

First.  I am not on a diet.  Not a low-carb diet, not a "safe" diet, and if you are reading this, not YOUR diet!  It will be mine, all mine, and I am not going to tell you about it.  I am tired of measuring, tracking, defending, tweaking, adhering, and tired of having computer-chair experts taking pot-shots at it, telling me I am stupid for following it, or telling me I am stupid for not following it.  Maybe someday if I really figure something out I'll spill the beans.  I might keep track, but it won't be on the computer with big red circles around it.

Second.  I am not a patient.  I am not going to order expensive tests, go to expensive specialists, compounding pharmacies, and I am not going to be an A, B or C student.  I am giving myself credit for just showing up to my own study program.  I am not going to try to change my doctor's mind.  Actually, I am going to try to avoid doctors of all kinds.

Third.  I am not metabolically deranged.  Gotta love it when the experts declare their perfect theories of everything, and then deride people who share a different experience.  Well, I am no longer living under that tent.  I remember when Dr. Gardener was lecturing about his A to Z study and he said menopausal women were excluded from the study for obvious reasons which he'd get into later, but he never got to it.  Neither have most other diet researchers.  Menopause is not a disease or a condition!  For more than half of us, it is a way of life eventually.  And, if someone tells me I'm not whole or optimal or clean or perfect if I don't follow their program, well, then it is their program that is deranged, not me.

I have always been a fan of Dr. Richard Feynman, the other doctor Feynman, that real Paleo guy.  In college, when I saw him playing drums out in the desert, I told myself, hey I'm going to do that some day.  About 20 years later I had the opportunity to learn to play the drum.  Recently this drummer group I used to be in has re-formed.  We play for a tribal dance group, and I get to play flutes, strings, drums, zills and didges, sing, yelp and clap my hands.  These people are my people.  I'm going to hang out with them for a time, at least until the next performance.

This week, I heard my neighbor's dog barking so I went outside to see what was going on.  A sidewalk conversation had turned into a party.  So, a realtor, an oncologist and a pilates instructor walked onto a sidewalk..... I turned off my computer and joined the party.  Soon the wine was flowing, pumpkins and other backyard fruits were exchanged and we were planning the next party.  I want to do more of this.

I'll visit and comment on other sites when I feel like it, and comment on this here blog when I have something to say.  That may be tomorrow, who knows.  Maybe I will be happy with one night of freedom.  I am cooking up some other projects for this winter, and with a big project in March, so stay tuned.

Is Baseball Paleo?

Interrupting the regularly scheduled blogcasts just to say:

Go Cards!!!!

The cards probably don't know this yet, but they had a huge influence on my life.  When I was a kid, they had a program where you could get free game tickets if you got A's at school.  There was a limit of six tickets for six A's, and in high school, that was a motivation for me to keep all the grades up.  It was easier in grade school where they hand out grades for just about everything, and even a mediocre student could grab a handful of A's on something like penmanship or school spirit.  In high school, I had to work harder to get free nights out with Dad.

Right after graduation, I'd send in my report card and it would come back with a schedule that Dad and I used to plan our summer.  This was the only time we did anything together by ourselves, so a really big deal for me.  Dad liked to go downtown to get more night camera shots of the arch, which was sort of like his Monet haystack.  We were usually confined to Tuesday or Thursday nights, and I usually picked the Phillies or the Pirates so we could watch Roberto Clemente or Tim McCarver after he left the Cards.  This was the era of Bob Gibson at the mound and Harry Carey at the mike so Holy Cow!, it was entertaining for all.

Going into town was a big deal for me, too.  By the time I was a teen, the city had become pretty rough, and we didn't just go down there without a purpose.  We parked in dark vacant lots and still had to walk for blocks and blocks, but around game times, it was crowded enough for me not to be scared.

So, thanks! Cards!  I hope you win the World Series.

Monday, October 24, 2011

I'm So Bored with the Paleo's - My N=1 Wheat

Here's another anecdote related to the locavore project I promised, and this is about wheat.  If you haven't read it yet, here's part 1.

During the year-long locavore project, we were allowed three non-local food items a month, with the option to switch them out to other foods at the end of every month.  We also were allowed other foods when out for non-local dinner (only two times a month) or when out of town.  After a few months of tinkering, I settled on a plan I would keep to for the rest of the year.  I would pick one grain, one meat, and then something extra, like chocolate, cinnamon, milk or coffee, and everything else was local.

I usually picked rice for the grain, but was looking forward to pasta and home-canned tomato dishes in the summer.  So I couldn't wait until June, when I switched from rice to wheat.  Starting June 1, I started eating wheat at almost every meal.  That meant cracked wheat for breakfast, wheat bread for lunch and pasta for dinner.  I thought I would be in heaven.

After the first week on the project, I lost about 6 pounds on mostly pork and rice with local vegetables, but I hadn't given up wheat entirely.  I still ate bread on my free meals out and oftentimes had some when I was out of town.  But, I never had it several times a day until June.

Around the middle of the month, I got very sick.  I went to the doctor and they did lots of tests and diagnosed me with lupus.  For some strange reason (fever-induced dilirium??) I just couldn't eat certain foods.  One look or thought of them and I felt sick.  I purged my kitchen of foods that made me feel sick:   milk from Von's but not Fresh and Easy, all my garden fava beans and unfortunately, wheat.

I called the locavore project leader, Kris Young (you can find him featured on primal docs) to discuss the situation, and he said it was OK for me to switch from wheat to rice for the remainder of the month, and I wouldn't have to abandon the project.

Slowly I regained my health, and learned lots about the failure of "modern" medical care.  I realized that once you are diagnosed with lupus, you can't get a doctor to take anything else seriously, because just about everything else is a symptom of lupus, which they really don't treat.  So I was on my own to find out what was happening and what to do about it.

I visited the rheumatologist every 4 months, did even more and more tests, and was eventually diagnosed with UCTD and secondary Sjogren's.  I was given pain pills (which I quit taking because they made me sick), dealt with fatigue, extreme morning stiffness and other symptoms.  This went on for about a year and a half until I went lower carb and all my autoimmune symptoms and obesity went away.

One thing I noticed on my food logs is that the little wheat I still ate greatly affected me.  Like Dr. Oz recommends, I had standardized my vegetarian breakfasts.  I had two of them.  One was a small glass of beet kavass, a small amount of yogurt with fruit, a small amount of oatmeal and one egg.  On the alternate day, I added in a bit more yogurt and substituted the egg for a piece of toast with butter.  I started noticing a zig-zag pattern on my food graphs.  Of course, the cholesterol zig-zagged as I went in and out of eating eggs, but my total caloric intake for the day had the opposite pattern.  Interesting!  Then I looked some more at my food diaries and realized that I had much greater trouble with cravings on the bread days.  Reading that it might be the protein in the egg that caused less hunger, I added an egg to breakfast every day, and I still got the same pattern.  Eventually I figured out it was the bread, and after seeing the craving pattern, it was pretty easy to cut the rest of it out of my life.

After two months on lower-carb, I went back to the rheumatologist.  This time, she took the autoimmune diagnosis off my chart, replacing it with "POSITIVE ANA".  I had no more symptoms, no complaints, no markers of AI disease of any kind.  I still hadn't really connected my illness to the wheat, and of course, with an N=1, there could by plenty of confounding variables:  menopause, stomach bug, tick bite, virus, etc.  One thing I do know is that when I add whole wheat bread back into my life, most of the symptoms return.  After three days of a higher-carb wheat-containing diet, I am tired and achy.  After just one meal of wheat, I wake up the next day feeling sick, and my fingers are locked together.

I still hadn't connected what was happening to the autoimmune disease symptoms to wheat.  I think it is a stretch to say that the great increase in eating wheat caused my illness, but I know for sure that avoiding wheat and excess carbs fixes the symptoms.  When I tell people that I have given up wheat, many tell me they could never do it because they just can't give up their bread.  Well, for me at least, I am happy to give up the lupus symptoms in exchange for being breadless.

Update 5/1/14:  Since I first wrote this post I have blood-tested positive for celiac.  I now believe that the great increase in eating wheat IS what caused my illness. This new diagnosis was a surprise, since I thought I was merely wheat-intolerant since I don't have any of the classic celiac symptoms.   I hope the readers of this blog who have any AI disease be tested for celiac.  I chose to NOT do the intestinal biopsy, for I feel it is cruel and harmful.  The fact that I tested positive on a blood test panel after giving up wheat for more than a month indicates to me I have a real problem.  Now, in addition to being 100% percent (vs. 95%) wheat-free, I am also gluten free.

Wednesday, October 12, 2011

Pillar Envy - Part II

I think the two new pillars are going to be Rosedale and Kruse, and I am happy to see them contributing on their own blogs and facebook pages.

The main thing I like about Kruse is that he has an explanation of what is going on with people like me.

Now, according to people like Harris, people like me get fat cause we just can't control eating all that junk.  Apparently before he wrote such comments, he did not check my anecdote first, here.  Seems that right around menopause, I must have started getting lazy and eating tons of junk food that I forgot to include in my food logs because of the early-onset Alzheimer's, I guess.  Lazy, undisciplined slob who somehow managed to grow her own business, make her own office furniture and spin her own yarn to weave her own clothing, actually program in Mark-IV, but once she stops having periods, gosh, she's just never gonna  face the facts and quit drinking all that soda and eating all those fast-food fries. (Oh wait, I wasn't eating that stuff....)

According to people like Guyenet, people like me get fat cause my food is too tasty.  The tastiness of my food pretty much coincided with menopause, so isn't it amazing that as soon as I crossed over to the other side, all the farmers changed to genetically-modified food designed on purpose to make me fat and want more of it.  All the sudden, no matter what I ate, I wanted to eat more of it.  The fruit got sweeter, and the wheat got shorter.  Apparently before he wrote such comments, Guyenet did not check my anecdote, here.  (For those reading this far, but too lazy to click on the second link, the short story is that for the past several years, I ate clean and local, and grew much of my own food, no weight loss!  And don't blame Monsanto's sugar beet fiasco either.  I breed and grow all my own beet seeds so they're probably still "clean" since all that pollen would have to blow pretty far from Oregon to here.)

Now, here's why I can't fully embrace either Rosedale or Kruse yet.  I blogged about what happened to me, and how I lost a ton of weight, I didn't really get into what happened after that.  Last fall/winter I decided to try a low carb diet.  After a few days on the diet, I went off for a weekend camping trip full of "healthy" mostly-vegetarian food.  There was stress, lack of sleep, carby food, etc.  By the end of the weekend I had lost the magic.  My libido crashed, I started getting sore from my daily walk and couldn't recover, then I slipped and slid down a hill and stopped walking until I recovered.  My cravings became more intense.  Every pound lost was a battle.  I eventually lost over 10 more pounds eating both lower and higher carb, but it took several months to do it.  After that, I added back some carbs, immediately gained back a few more pounds, and have been sitting pretty much the same place ever since.  I never got back to that place I was before.  I tried all the low carb plans, then higher carb, then Schwarzbein, Protein power, Rosedale, Primal, Paleo, the leptin reset (16 weeks and counting for the reset, and the plateau is as flat as ever.)  As I switched from plan to plan, I did notice when I was descending into slugsville, and noticed which programs resulted in the gain in lots of flab, despite what the scale said.  It really isn't true that people get fat because they are lazy and eat too much.  I can tell when changes are a-comin', when all I want to do is eat and lie around.  It is surely not due to the type of food that is being overeaten!  Guyenet is dead wrong, dangerously wrong!

When my doctor prescribed trazodone, the weight poured off, my energy and libido soared, exercise was easy.  Then when I made a few changes, all the success evaporated.  Kruse would have an explanation for some of this:  lipoprotein lipase doesn't work the same for post-menopausal women, or it's the hypocretin neurons, to be solved by nipple massage.....or maybe it was the coming of winter and a lack of vitamin D, or pregnenolone steal....  I'm not buying all what he says because I know there must be a way to do this without spending thousands of dollars every quarter on testing and supplements.  I'm not buying all of Rosedale either.  See, I lost all that weight on a higher-carb diet than what he recommends.  I know weight loss works on a higher-carb diet because I did it!  I lost 30 pounds very rapidly eating 100-150 grams carb and now can't lose even a few pounds on 20 grams carb.  I think Kruse needs to address the issues that many women posting on Mark's Daily Apple with the adrenals and depression.  Maybe there is still some tinkering that needs to happen to his plan.

But I applaud both these guys building their plans to include anecdotes such as mine.  I really think they both really honor real people's experiences and know that there is a whole lot more to weight than gluttony and sloth.

Monday, October 10, 2011

Pillar Envy

There sure has been a bunch of fighting in the paleodome this week.  Before, I was just bored with the Paleo's.  Now I am pretty much disgusted.  I had some time to think things over, and here's what I think is going on.

Jimmy Moore posted answers to his question concerning Jaminet's "safe starch" concept and all hell broke loose.  Either I can't remember where things are posted, or things have been seriously scrubbed.
Here are some links
Jimmy's post.
Posts on Paleohacks.
Jaminet's overview and response.

So, for background, Jaminet recommends "safe starches", and these are foods like potatoes and rice, foods that contain starches but don't negatively affect the gut like gluten-containing grains.  Other Paleo "experts" jumped on this concept and started trashing the people who have been the most successful on a low carb diet.  Of course, this behavior was a concern to the low-carb fans, so Jimmy's post attempted to bring more of the controversy out into the open.  To many low-carbers, there is no such thing as a "safe starch".
Jaminet pointed out in his overview blog that at least some people are able to keep a sense of humor throughout it all.  Some people haven't.  It seems like several of the luminaries lost it.

Now Jaminet, though I disagree with him on a number of points, is always polite about things and tries to keep the focus on the topics.  I like that.  Even though he did mention the quip about "pillar envy" I am afraid that many of Jaminet's most fervent readers will mis-interpret the comment.

Though I can no longer find the post, Harris really went after Kruse, posting that "they're" all snickering about him in their e-mails back and forth to each other and then tried to mop it up with an "honestly, I don't understand the infighting"-type message.  On the Paleohacks board, there have been many nasty sniping-like comments by Melissa (of hunt, gather, b*tch).  First it was trashing the low carbers.  Then it was going after Dr. Kruse, and commenting that Dr. Rosedale wasn't a real researcher and his studies showing the benefits of a low-carb diet weren't real studies.  She is really starting to sound more and more like Coach [redacted] at [redacted]  Arrogant.  Entitled.  Privy to esoteric knowledge the little people can't understand.  Coach [redacted]'s "One must be reading the correct research," comment comes to mind.

I think she was just mad that Jimmy didn't ask her.  You see, she fancies herself as heir to the paleo throne, and any official comments she may have had were not included.  She envies the pillar.  Now that the low-carb pillars have been toppled, she is ready for the inheritance.   Cordain's leadership status has fallen, Taubes has been discredited, Eades has been shunned as a has-been and off to the appliance section, Hahn and Kruse are just puffy and red-faced, Rosedale isn't a "real" doctor, etc. etc.  the new queen of paleo, claiming full backing by all those other real university researchers who use lots of fake people (lab rats) and real statistics can enter her court in her full regalia.  I think that Melissa has already picked out the new upholstery for the throne cushions and now she's irked when people like Kruse, Rosedale, Feinman, Su and others say "hey, wait a minute!"

It is stuff like this that decides what blogs I recommend, what blogs I merely follow and what blogs I generally avoid.  I originally started this blog for my fat buddies who were trying to lose weight.  In my next post, I'll discuss why I would place my bets on Rosedale and Kruse.  You can read it here.

Wednesday, October 5, 2011

The Cavemen vs. The Vegans

Disclaimer:  I used to be a vegan, and before I got old and fat on a healthy home-cooked low-soy, vegetarian diet, I looked even better than Denise Minger. So there.
As I mentioned in my last post, I really got into watching I, Caveman, and have been reading what other ancestral bloggers had to say about it.
Dr. Harris has posted more detail on the elk hunt, and there is a discussion of the viewpoints of hunters and vegans in the comments sections.
Just sayin!  I was a vegan for ethical reasons, but stopped it when my health was affected.  This was also before I became a farmer.  Oh, and what I now know!  Vegans who buy their food from grocery stores, farmer's markets, pretty much everywhere else don't know how much they are participating in animal killing.
When I was an undergrad chemistry major, the university I attended was situated right next to prime U.S. farmland.  Some days, the stench from the recently-applied steer manure was so bad, we had to hold our breath as we hopped from building to building.  Veggies are grown in steer manure.  Everywhere.  All those organic veggies that vegans eat.  But, people already know that.  Here's what many don't know.
One day I heard gunshots in the cornfields, and I imagined that they were lighting flares.  This went on all day long. Why?  I thought it was maybe to keep track of each other in the fields.  After all, corn can get pretty tall, and it is easy to get lost in it.  I remember thinking that they might do well to get some small walkie-talkies instead.
It wasn't until later that I realized that the crew was using a gopher blaster.  Check this out.  (Warning:  this vid can be disturbing to vegans and other animal lovers.)
Gopher blasters aren't considered suitable for organic farming, since the certifiers think it is like pouring live gasoline right into the ground, but the blasters would probably be approved if converted to methane that was produced on the farm from animal waste.  Organic farms still have to use a variety of snap traps.  Personally, if I was a gopher, I think I'd rather be blown up instead of caught in a trap, but YMMV.  Gopher smokers are also not organic approved since they contain an artificial source of nitrogen, and of course, most poisons are out.  So, the organic farms use stuff like this:
I can tell you that I have never met a commercial farmer who didn't kill these animals with a bit of glee, and I can assure you that few farmers are praying over their kill, or have the type of respect for animals that people who hunt to eat do.
Oh, and if you think being a fruitarian is better, don't let me get started on the problems with bird netting.....

Monday, October 3, 2011

I, Caveman

Luckily, I found a reminder from a friend in time to catch the show on Discovery channel.
In the show, Robb Wolf (Paleo darling, author, gym rat) and others spent 10 days living as "cavepeople" in the wilderness, getting their own food and using only stone-age tools and materials.
I don't want to be a spoiler, so I won't say what happened, only to say that Robb is the hero.  Who says a grown caveman warrior can't cry on TV?
I too, got emotional in certain parts.  This show reminds me to be thankful for the hunters and farmers in my life, for my metal gardening tools and sewing needles, for my gortex and polartec jackets, and for all the creature comforts that have come into my life.
Had I been on the show, I would have done some things differently.  Spend more time getting good water in the very beginning, right along with starting the fire.  Spent more time by the creek, catching fish, more time spent building and tending to traps.  Maybe they did that but it wasn't shown in the final cut.  Maybe it is living in the desert talking, but to me, water and warmth is the most important.
Watch this show!

Sunday, September 25, 2011

Wow. Just Wow. Did I Read this Right?

Just skimming through the latest issue of Nutrition Action.  The CSPI guy is at it again, this time with an interview of the famous Dr. Willet.
Seems he advocates healthy whole grains, for health and all that.  But, he says he can't go much over 40% grains/carbs because of stomach distress!!!!
I'll have to go back and re-read that.  Didn't he just say:
"The Wonderful Omniheart diet beat out all the other diets (except for, you know, the diets we refuse to test) but I had to dial it back myself because it makes me sick!"

Friday, September 23, 2011

I'm So Bored with the Paleo's - the Diet Wars

Berto's comment on my previous post got me thinking about my view that this latest Paleo dust-up is more than a couple of egos, that it is a fight between the fatties and the cross-fitters.

Who owns Paleo??

There seem to be two routes into paleo.  The first is through the "crossfit" guys, those who are young and lean, but want to get even more ripped.  This camp also includes young hip vegans who have recently become "meat-curious"

Then there are the "fatties".  It is this group I am going to focus on more now, because this is the path that I took.

Most fatties, as the crossfitters like to call them on the interwebs, start their diet wars by following some CW diet program.  It usually starts with them cutting out some soda and fast food, and that plan does seem to work pretty well for the men, and the younger people.

If reducing junk food doesn't work, they start to try other things.  This might involve skipping breakfast and adding in exercise, or going to a "healthy" low-fat diet containing lots of diet yogurt and Kashi bars.  Or, ordering a turkey burger instead of a beef burger.  If that doesn't work, they go to a cleaner low-fat diet, or mess with their meat intake.  They might add in even more exercise (even though the actual studies show that exercise is a poor way to lose weight, especially for women).  There's probably a stint involving some kind of diet shake or bar in the mix, too.

Lots of times, this plan results in some health improvement and the loss of some weight, probably around 15 pounds or so.  Eventually, if they need to lose more, they might join Weight Watchers, Dr. Oz's ShareCare or even [redacted]people dot com, and get really serious.  Some folks follow the recommendations of these CW organizations for years and never get anywhere.  These are the people you see week after week in WW meetings or racking up lots of "sparky" points.  Mostly fat old women, but there are also lots of younger women with diabetes and PCOS and depression. They usually try lots of things:  vegetarian, vegan, marathons, fasting, juice, etc.  They are eating stuff that Dr. Oz recommends.  Contrary to what the Crossfitters are saying, these fat old ladies aren't eating SAD.  They are failing in their weight loss attempts despite doing all the right things:  Blueberries.  Lean Proteins.  Olive Oil.  Soaked Walnuts.

Now, the crossfitters have NO IDEA what some of these fat old women have been doing to get into better shape all these years. The fat older ladies weigh and measure their food and themselves regularly, eat on small plates, count out each and every nut, count their steps on the pedometer, try just about every diet they can think of.  They recommit every few months or so, or every Monday morning.  One diet they rarely try is the paleo diet.  And that is because the CW diet experts hate paleo.  They don't even want the fat old women to know about it.  That's why people like me aren't allowed to post links to my blog on [redacted]people, and why Dr. Oz can be so nice to the hundreds of guests on his TV show and still be such a little brat to Mr. Taubes.

So, the next crazy thing these fat old ladies try is to cross over to the dark side, and go on a low carb diet.  Now, you have to be either pretty brave or pretty stupid to look into the low carb diet.  Once the fat old women have read GCBC, broken through that barrier, and have lost a bunch of weight, they want to find a way to incorporate healthy clean eating in with low-carb.  That's when they find diets like Protein Power and Paleo.  Again, most Crossfitters assume that they are all on Atkins, and that all those Atkin's people eat tons of bars and fake stuff.  Some do, most don't.

Now, the real problem is, they have just escaped the tyranny of CW, only to be hit with conventional crap talk by the paleo blogosphere. (Aravind and Dr. Harris come to mind here.)  For me, I really noticed it on Paleohacks in early summer, and then after the AHS11, all hell broke loose.  There were lots of comments about low-carbers having puffy red faces, and the "who does that Taubes guy think he is?" kind of stuff.  There was also a systemic disregard for the experiences, intelligence and viewpoints of fat people.  Earlier this year, I sent a ton of my hundreds of fat [redacted]peeps over to the Paleo blogs, but they had become such an embarassment, and downright hostile to fat people that I no longer recommend most of the sites anymore.

I came to think that not only was this much more than just science, as some penned, but that it was much more than mere battling egos.  It was about bashing fat old people, and in the most CW way.

I really noticed a shift at AHS11, right after Taubes made his comment.  The man next to me, who apparently heard about the paleo diet only yesterday and clearly (to me at least) was never fat, had an interesting response to the exchange.  Of course, he hadn't read anything about Guyenet's theories or had read any of Taubes' books.  He kept trying to lecture me about carbs.  He said, "You know, why do you talk about eliminating carbs, don't you know there are carbs in that food you're eating?"  (I was munching on a fairly unrewarding raw zucchini.)  Huh?  Duh?  Who knows more about the carb content of foods than a low-carber???  It was clear that he was not aware of low-carb talk and his belief that fat people are stupid was showing.  (Primer:  "carbs" are foods that contain lots of carbs, foods on the carby list, like potatoes, rice, wheat.  Zucchini is not on that list.  Yes, we know that zucchini contains carbs but it is not a "carb".)

During and immediately after the conference, there was a flurry of attacks against fat people by the paleo demi-gods.  And, I am not talking about the luminaries who spoke and who have the largest audience for their books and blogs, but more the commenters and hangers-on-ers, the people who think because they read some stuff or know someone really well, that they can define how it is for everyone else.  Just really nasty stuff, all just different versions of, "Fat people are fat because they are lazy and weak-willed."

So, do Guyenet and his buddies have anything better to offer to fat people?  They already get scoldings by CW dietitians and exercise coaches for eating saturated fat and not moving enough, get lectures on belly fat and portion control by their doctors, told it's calories in calories out, and then told they are stupid Dr.Oz-watchers who eat too much tasty food and cheat on their food diaries.  What's next, all your food through a straw (oh, we did that in the 70's, remember jaws wired shut?), or size 3X hair shirts with tight belts so they are even more uncomfortable?  Let's take their kids and health insurance away, fine them, discriminate against them in employment and take all their salt and pepper and their wok away until they behave themselves.

In the paleo world, carbs aren't the enemy anymore.  Fat people, people who have different body chemistries and reactions to dietary interventions are the enemy.  This is so much bigger than Taubes vs. Guyenet.  Stanton and Kruse have both commented that they don't have a horse in this race.  Well, maybe Taubes and Guyenet and Lustig and others are competing with each other.  But they are just messing around with theories.  The real fat people are messing around with their health.  Maybe Taubes and Guyenet have placed their bets, but it is the real fat people who are truly in the race.

Monday, September 5, 2011

Well it ain't Rocket Science, ain't It?

Reading Gary Taubes post this weekend got me thinking of the first time I worked with a bunch of PhD's.  I used to work at a mega-company known for its research.  In my department, there were a few, but then there was this other whole building of them.  Chemists mostly.  Tons of them, all walking around in their lab coats in nice hallways and better offices.  They had their own library.  They even had better pens than we did.

One thing I learned pretty quickly is that many of these chemists thought that when they got their fancy diploma, God had also included a key to all universal knowledge and wisdom.  And I also learned pretty quickly that I had better behave as if they were gods themselves, or my career would be about as terminal as my degree.

One day I went on an interview for a job in another division.  I was led into the office of the big VP.  He was a chemist and he had a PhD.  After the hello's, I started right in.

"Oh, you have a PhD", I gushed, "I'll bet you are really smart".  The VP answered,
"Not really.  Just persevering"
I thought, hey, I could work here!  At that moment, thousands of Canadian geese started flying around the building and they all landed right by the lake outside the VP's window.  We both decided that it was a delightful birdy omen.  I started work there the very next day.

One of the things I learned while working at the birdy place is that there are some very smart people who don't feel the need to tell everyone about it all the time.  They just quietly do their work and get things done, and through other people mostly.  I have been able to meet and work with others like this throughout my career, and it is such a pleasure.

Now, its not all PhD's who think they are such hot stuff, but many do.  And, some think that because they are from those fine institutions, they are smarter than all the others.  So here's what I have to say about that.  First, PhD's think they are the cream of the crop, but really they are only the top percentage out of all the people who apply.  Not a good representative sample of the entire population, I think.  Now maybe it is different in chemistry, but in my field, the only people who went along to higher learning right away were the dorks who couldn't get either a decent date or a decent job.  The rest of us (the smart, cute ones) were going off, getting married, making money.  So, if they were in the top 10 percent of the people who tried to continue on to grad school, well, they were still uglier than me and good luck with that.

Second, there was sure lots of crap talk on Guyenet's and others' blogs about the fact that Taubes doesn't have a PhD.  But really, the only advantage anymore to getting an education at some fine institution is that someone is checking your work and grading your papers.  There is quite a bit of interesting and challenging research work done in the private sector, and just because it doesn't get handed in to the agreed-upon professor for grading doesn't mean it isn't worthwhile.  In fact, it may be more worthwhile.  In addition, the people who did the work usually were adequately compensated for their work.

Taubes can read and research all he wants on the internet.  If he wants someone to grade his papers, he can join any number of clubs and groups on Facebook and elsewhere or pop an e-mail to just about anyone.  It's not rocket science. 

One other thing I eventually learned about working at the birdy place is that I was brought in exactly because I knew absolutely nothing about what had gone on before.  It was my job to figure it out.  No need to be too smart for that, just persevering.  They already had alot of smart people, just that not enough were looking for the right things.

Gosh, someone needs to figure out this obesity mess!  Why not the rocket scientist?
And to end, here's another interesting take on rocket science here.  Enjoy!

Saturday, September 3, 2011

I'm So Bored with the Paleo's - Part 3 - My N=1

After reading Hyperlipid's take on the Guyenet/Taubes smackdown, I realized that I had better get out part 3 of my series before everyone is so exhausted from it all.  No need to do an experiment in food reward.  I already have.  Of course, to Guyenet's homies, it is still N=0, but I'm posting it anyway.  So there.  (This is the snarky part, now, on to the serious part.)

A few years ago, I participated in a year-long "food experiment".  I became a locavore.  And, it was bigger than N=1.  You can read about it here.

The plan was for us to eat food grown within 100 miles of Ojai.  Pretty much everything was to be local, except salt and 3 exception foods per month.  And, we were allowed 2 meals out per month. (I didn't know this at the time, but this experiment was to be the start of my journey towards the paleo diet.  I'd never even heard of a paleo diet and I was a semi-vegetarian.)  Every month, we switched out our exceptions.  I usually chose a grain, some kind of meat, and something different, like coffee.  Many others chose chocolate.

A few weeks into the challenge, things loosened up a bit.  We voted in canning additives like citric acid, yeast, and one rule that turned out to be really helpful for me, that if there was something that was going to be thrown away, that was OK to eat, too.  (And its just amazing what people throw out, once you start paying attention, but that is for another post.)

We had different rules for out of town, and I figure that I was out of town for a total of almost three months out of the year.  But, I didn't eat SAD food when I was gone.  Mostly it was scratch cooking.  And, when I visited my mom for a few weeks, it was low-fat "diet" scratch cooking, just not local.

I figure that taking into consideration all the exceptions, vacations and dumpster food, I was eating about a 75% local primal/paleo diet, better than many I saw at the AHS11.  There, that's my disclaimer, but I'll bet I have a better food log than those folks over at the Foster's POUNDS LOST study.

So, what were we eating?  Fresh veggies and fruit, backyard eggs, chickens when we could get them, goat meat.  A few months into the challenge, we found a local source of beef, and then some local beans.  The only oil was made from olives.  Southern California isn't a big place for growing grains, so we had just a few of those that we grew ourselves.  But we did have olives, avocado, and every kind of fruit and vegetable, though not all year-round.

I had an advantage over others in the group in that I had access to my own home-grown food, lots of local veggies and fruits that I had canned, dehydrated and grown during the year before and in my 4-season garden.  Others were able to enjoy backyard chickens and eggs that I was prohibited from growing in my yard.

What didn't we have?  Well, lots of things that Guyenet says are rewarding.  Things like packaged foods, msg, HFCS, bread, chips and dip, cooking oil, chocolate, soda, sugar, bottled salad dressings, spices, seasonings, flavorings, crackers, oatmeal, peanuts, cereal, fast-food, potatoes, soy sauce, ice cream, catsup, mustard.  We DID make good use of our exceptions.  On the months that I choose turkey, I ate turkey almost every day.  Then I would switch to beans and then eat them every day.  It was boring at times, especially all the rice.

Eventually, I figured out how to make my own mustard out of the seeds I grew, made with vinegar from apples I purchased at the farmer's market the year before.  What surprised most of us is how our palates changed.  It took really only a couple of weeks, and we got very used to eating foods with no extra spices or seasoning, just a few herbs, garlic and olive oil.

I bought a large container of honey, but rarely used it.  Most of us did no baking because we didn't have flour.  Eventually I stopped seasoning everything, even though I had a stash of dried herbs and hot pepper.

So, without all the food reward, how much weight did we lose?????  We all thought once we got away from that bag of chips and the take-out food, the weight would pour off.  I think I lost around 2-4 pounds for the entire year, but mostly because I really pushed the dieting during the last month of the challenge.  I don't think anyone else lost any weight.  We were all surprised.  After all, people had been telling us that if we got away from all that nasty processed food, we would become thin.  It didn't happen that way.  That is because that theory is wrong.

Stay tuned for my next story:  all about what happened with wheat on the locavore challenge...

Tuesday, August 30, 2011

I'm so bored with the Paleo's - Part Two

Warning:  This post is smack dab in the middle of Snarksville, so if you don't want to be caught in that bad neighborhood, better to take the next train out while there is still some daylight.

Well, the Ancestral Health Symposium was really fun, but the weeks beyond, the aftermath of the Taubes/Guyenet smackdown, has been painful, or pitiful, depending on how you look at it.

Lots of the hoopla happened over on Guyenet's blog, which has since been scrubbed considerably and on several levels.  Some of the discussion has been moved over to Hyperlipid. ("Use your quiet indoor voice, or I'll have to send you all outside!")  I had a few of Guyenet's minions really go after me on another board, and I don't even really post that much.  So yea, I would have to agree with some others that people need to do more reading, or at least get a life.

Guyenet seems like a nice guy in person, but after his post against Taubes, I'll have to say he has a bit of a passive-aggressive streak going there.  Good thing he edited, I guess.  Here are the clif notes of the controversy.

Guyenet on his blog:
1.  Hi, I'm Dr. Guyenet, and I have a PhD
2.  I am interested in obesity, and I have thought about this alot.
3.  I have REALLY thought about this for a long time, and it makes lots of sense, so I am sure I am right.
4.  Fat people are fat because they eat too much
5.  Fat people eat too much because they like tasty food
6.  Like I said, I know I am right, because even though I haven't actually ever really talked to or listened to fat people, or ever been fat myself, I have a PhD, and I have looked at lots of rat studies and listened to alot of rats.
7.  Rats like chocolate, and so do fat people.
8.  If fat people quit eating packaged food and chocolate and quit putting seasonings on it, they would be thin like me and my thin paleo peeps.

Inthewoo2 and others on Guyenet's blog:
9.  Guyenet, you ignorant slut!

Guyenet's peeps on Guyenet's blog:
10.  Inthewoo2 and others, you are just 2-bit tarts and bargain basement sluts!
11.  We have PhD's from fine universities and you don't
12.  Since we have PhD's like Guyenet, we have also thought about this alot and we know he is right.
13.  He da man!  you are wrong.
14.  You are just a fat person with no PhD.
15.  If you say he's wrong, that just proves how much you misunderstand these lofty PhD-type concepts.
16.  Now run along before somebody drops a house on you

Taubes at the AHS11 meeting to Guyenet:
17.  Guyenet, you ignorant slut!
18.  Fat people aren't fat because they eat too much!!!
19.  You're not a scientist, you're just a farmer.
20.  You're a cherry picker

Guyenet's paleotards all over the internet:
21.  It's gettin' real in the Whole Health Source parking lot.
22.  Taubes, you ignorant slut!
23.  Our homie Guyenet has a PhD so he must be right, despite your so-called evidence.
24.  We are sick of hearing N=1's from fat people, after all, they lie and cheat on their food logs.
25.  From now on, the sum of all the N=1's from fat people equals 0.
26.  We hate puffy, old, red-faced, low-carbing, metabolically-deranged fat people who drag our cult down and raise our insurance rates and eat too many omega 6's and then lie about it!
27.  Itsthewoo2, you are still an ignorant slut but we are scrolling past all your uninformed posts anyway.  Thought we would announce it right here, to you and everyone else anyway.

Itsthewoo2 on Guyenet's blog:
28.  It's like insulin resistance around here.
29.  If your cells won't listen, then I'll just yell even louder!

Guyenet on his blog a few days after AHS11:
31.  I've had time to think and reflect
32.  Taubes, you are still an ignorant slut.
33.  I was being nice before cause I thought you were one of my peeps's MY blog and here's what I have to say about it.

First, I AM a two-bit researcher from a podunk university (OK, a bunch of them, and some of them not so podunk), so lets just get that out of the way early.  I don't give a rodent's-behind how many letters people have behind their names.  Since I am into data, I really like the N=1's.  I like my own N=1.  I might not know all the causes of my N=1, and might not be able to tease out all the factors, but that does not make my N=1 any less so.

DATA DATA DATA!  I cannot make bricks without clay!

My N=1 beats out anybody's clinical study.  My N=1 beats out anybody's ratscapades.  N is for Narcissist.  Period.

Here's the original video
(next:  part 3, my N=1)

Sunday, August 28, 2011

The Coconut Oil Adjustment Bureau

Oh, no, the dietitians with all those certifications and registrations are donning their hats again, nervously looking at the play-books handed down from their supervisors over at the ADA, and noticing that more and more people are following the road converging to the coconut grove.
My long-time readers remember the comical coconut oil post that resulted in me getting my final warning at the [redacted]people site.  If you haven't seen it yet, go here.
Too late.  We drank the coconut.  Ripples were created.  It is impossible to undo. Now the stars are getting into the act.  These are dangerous times indeed.
Here's the original movie trailer.

Tuesday, August 23, 2011

Study Notes for the Quilt - Why is Oprah Still Obese? Leptin Part 3....

This is Dr. Kruse's most popular blog post, and for good reason!  Lots of great information here.  See the link.
First off, Dr. K's summary.

"1. Why can’t you lose weight when you change lifestyle
2. What is an uncoupling protein (UCP)
3. The difference between Anthony Colpo and Robb Wolf and the Oprah!
4. Why Oprah is still fat?
5. Dr. Kruse’s screening question for assessing leptin status."

And....the Notes:
1.  We just covered leptin resistance in the liver.  Now, on to leptin resistance in the muscle cell.
2.  UCP - Un-Coupling Protein - in mitochondria.  This protein needs leptin and thyroid hormones in order to do its job.
[mitochondria are in your cells.  They are little power plants.  Think of them like batteries.]
3.  Pathway one in the mitochondria:  Food goes in => energy in the form of ATP comes out.
4.  Pathway two (using UCP3) in the mitochondria:  Food goes in =>  energy in the form of heat comes out.
5.   UCP3 helps you deal with unwanted energy
6.  This is why the calories-in-calories-out model doesn't really work in a simple way.
7.  People who are leptin resistant don't have the second pathway.  Excess food is stored instead of thrown off as heat.
8.  Anthony Colpo or Robb Wolf can throw anything in their mouths and their mitochondria will take care of it.
9.  Oprah can't do this, because her UCP3 isn't functioning optimally.  She can't just eat anything.
10.  Oprah continues to send any excess to be stored as fat, and meanwhile, her muscles don't get the energy they need.
11.   When muscles see too much food, more bad things happen.
     excess fat =>ALE's => BAD!!
     excess sugars =>AGE's => BAD!!
12.  UCP3 not working in muscles in diabetics => fibromyalgia, peripheral neuropathy
13.  A Wolf/Colpo/Dr. Oz exercise recommendation for Oprah won't work until her leptin is sensitive again.  [And, go directly to the post and scroll down to the last two paragraphs.  It's the leptin prescription and also how to tell when you have become leptin sensitive.]
14.  To check leptin sensitivity status, also measure reverse-T3
15.  If you are leptin resistant, don't exercise too much until you get leptin sensitive again!

Other resources:  ROS definition:  Reactive Oxygen Species  Here's a cool slide showing what happens inside the mitochondria:
You'll notice the ROS (the O2- superoxide) being formed in the process on the left.  On the right, you'll see the two pathways Dr.K mentions.  One generates ATP, and the other path uses the Un-Coupling Protein and generates heat.  This slide is from a cool (but advanced) paper that you can find here.
Anthony Colpo is an author and blogger and rabidly anti-low-carb.
Robb Wolf is a paleo diet and fitness author and blogger.  He's not into eating wheat or grains, but thinks other carbs are fine to eat.
Oprah, of course, is a fat celebrity who has shared her weight battles with her fans.
ALE's:  Advanced lipoxidation endproducts
AGE's:  Advanced glycation endproducts
For more good info on ALE's and AGE's, visit
There will be more on ALE's and AGE's in several places in the Quilt.