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.