Saturday, July 30, 2011

Atkins on Salad

"'re allowed green salad with your lunch and dinner. Yes, even though this first week of the diet is called a carbohydrate-free diet and lettuce contains a tiny bit of carbohydrate....Given the amount of carbohydrate in these two salads, what happens in the body is approximately the same in 99 percent of dieters as if no salad had been eaten. So why not eat those salads? They are a lifesaver. To eat just protein and fat without the garden-fresh crispness that salad provides is a drudgery. So I thank the Lord that greens contain so little carbohydrate. Those salads make all the difference between a diet that's aesthetic, appetizing, human, and one that's an uncivilized drag." --Dr. Robert Atkins(1)

Dr. Atkins also said, "A patient christened the [Atkins Diet] the steak and salad diet--and that does rather sum up the plot of it."(2) So much for low carb diets in general and Atkins in particular being all-meat diets. Most people I see commenting online love to eat vegetables (and find them sweet since they've stopped eating sugary foods).

One thing I love about summer is the variety of salad greens you can eat. The photo shows a salad with home-grown lettuce (Burpee's Heat Wave Blend--oak leaf, romaine, and one I can't identify), nasturtium, lamb's quarters (a prolific and very nutritious weed in the Western U.S.), carrot tops, cilantro, and borage flowers. I added some balsamic vinaigrette. All that wonderful vitamin A in salad won't be absorbed without some fat along for the ride--and salad without dressing is a bit like a dance without music.

Some edible greens and flowers:

Turnip greens (sweet)
Mustard greens (spicy)
Carrot tops (taste like carrots)
Nasturtiums (leaves and flowers--spicy)
Catmint (minty, of course)
Dandelion greens (bitter)
Purslane (a weed--moist and mild)
Daylily flowers (Hemerocallis)
Borage flowers (fuzzy with the texture of a raspberry)
Squash blossoms

If anyone knows what squash blossoms or daylilies taste like, please chime in.


(1) Dr. Atkins' Diet Revolution by Robert C. Atkins, M.D., 1972, p. 134.
(2) Ibid, p. 132.

Wednesday, July 27, 2011

Cigna is Making Progress

Yesterday as I put my lunch in the refrigerator at work, I noticed a bunch of unfamiliar people in the break room. One of them, Pepe, started in: they were there for the health fair, they would check your cholesterol, the sugar in your blood, your height, your weight, and it would just take six minutes. A coworker asked him if he'd ever considered a career in sales. Just for blog fodder, I participated.

They really were fast, and one even found me at my desk (in an office nearly half the size of a city block) after the tests were finished.

My HDL cholesterol was 65--up from 42 from a year and a half ago, and up from 57, where it was last year when I'd been three months a low-carb diet. A level over 60 is considered good. I haven't taken any medication to make this happen. I went on a low-carb diet and eliminated wheat. I also take vitamin and mineral supplements in addition to a high-nutrient diet.

What impressed me more, though, was that the nurse (and Cigna) said that blood glucose under 140 was considered good. For a long time now, anything under 200 was considered good. Research indicates that sustained levels of 140 or above can cause organ and tissue damage. When I told the nurse I ate a low carb diet and was pleased with the results, she approved--even though she said she'd have a hard time giving up pasta. As for me, I don't miss it. The days of people looking at you like you have two heads when you tell them you eat low-carb seem to be going away--and I won't miss them, either.

Saturday, July 16, 2011

Attack of the Rose Bush

"Just because plants can't scream and run doesn't mean they want to be eaten. And just because they don't have teeth or claws doesn't mean they aren't fighting back." -Lierre Kieth, The Vegetarian Myth, p. 148.

Ms. Keith is referring to chemicals in grains that can wreak havoc on human intestines. But the phrase came to mind today when I passed too close and too fast to Ilse Krohn Superior, the rose shown, and then dug out a thorn embedded in my leg. (Yes, roses are food--deer browse them, and wild roses set hips, or fruit.)

Wednesday, July 13, 2011

Paleo Dog

I'm posting this just because she's cute. Look how crimped her hair has gotten during Denver's monsoon season.

The rain (and my renewed energy) have also helped the driveway reclamation area to finally be reclaimed:

Another nice thing about a paleo diet for a dog: there's been a lot less to clean up in the yard, and it's a lot less stinky.