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Showing posts from November, 2012

Body-for-Life v. Low-Carb: Pictures

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Ten years ago today (yes, the day before Thanksgiving), I started Body-for-Life. BFL involves eating several small meals per day that balance protein and carbohydrate and minimizes dietary fat. Daily workouts involve intense weightlifting or cardio. One day a week is a free day, where you don't exercise and eat whatever you want. Initially, I lost weight, gained muscle and felt great. Eventually, though, I gained back the weight and developed cavities and upper GI problems. The cardio workouts left me exhausted. Free day foods found their way into the other days. I developed GERD, an esophageal ulcer, chronic sinus congestion and a constantly upset stomach. I've written about the logical fallacies of BFL here, here and here. If only I'd read the book with a more critical eye back then, I 'd have saved myself most, if not all, of the misery.

The endpapers of the Body-for-Life book are before and after photos taken 12 weeks apart. Let me share some photos here.



For thos…

Thanksgiving Stupor: It's Not the Turkey OR the Fat

An article on the Mental Floss magazine website blamed the stupor people usually feel after a Thanksgiving meal on (what else besides turkey?) the fat--229 grams of it in an "average Thanksgiving meal," according to the article.

The urge to snooze is more the fault of the average Thanksgiving meal and all the food and booze that go with it. Here are a few things that play into the nap factor: Fats — That turkey skin is delicious, but fats take a lot of energy to digest, so the body redirects blood to the digestive system. Reduced blood flow in the rest of the body means reduced energy.  My response:

Say what? First of all, even if you ate all the skin from half a turkey plus a whole stick of butter, that would be only 190 g of fat. (source: nutritiondata.com) Thanksgiving is mostly a carbohydrate fest: potatoes, yams, desserts and most snack foods are mainly sugar and starch. Second, I'd like to see the evidence that a high-fat meal "reduces blood flow to the r…

Magic Jewelry Makes you Smarter and Bolder!

Peace, love, positive energy. "...it's like a second skin. I don't leave the house without protection and guidance," goes a current radio ad.

The voice actress isn't talking about carrying a map and some condoms. Does the peace, love and positive energy bit mean, for instance, helping homeless youth, or raising awareness about foster care, or fighting city hall? No, all those things are hard. The annoying radio ad is about Alex and Ani jewelry: "positive energy products that adorn the body, enlighten the mind, and empower the spirit."

I love jewelry. What I don't love is the message that wearing jewelry will make you smarter, positive or more courageous. It's a no-effort solution, and like almost all no-effort solutions, it's bunkum. It's the twenty-first century, and yet a big business can be built on a bunch of BS.

Want to empower your spirit--for real? Even where magic really does exist, people (like Harry Potter) need courage and w…

Process This!

At lunch today a couple of coworkers mentioned how icky they found meat. What a nice topic of conversation! If we hadn't been at the table, I'd have mentioned that plants process poop.

Who Put Lead in my Weights?

A few weeks ago, I was wondering, smugly, how many people at the airport wheeling their bags along were paying for gym memberships. Everyone--to a person--had wheeled luggage except me: as long as my old suitcase holds out, I won't buy another one. And I wasn't willing to pay $40 to check my luggage cart. Three months after my accident, my fractured arm was well enough to carry a week's worth of clothes and toiletries, and so it was pressed into service. After all, I'd pushed, sawed and hammered my fence back into place and planted 15 or 20 plants a few weeks before without a problem.

With this in mind, I didn't think my first workout in three months would be too hard. And for my legs and abs (which weren't injured in my bike wreck in late July), it wasn't. At first, the upper body workout wasn't hard--I got through three and a half Slow Burn pushups without undue hardship. But the weights felt twice as heavy as they used to. Did a five-pound weight re…

Wheat Farmer's Dilemma

A coworker asked me today if I was familiar with a book called "Bread Belly" or somesuch. "Wheat Belly? Yes," I said, "I'm very familiar with it."

Her husband bought the book after a friend of his raved about it, having lost 65 pounds on Dr. Davis's wheat-free, low-carb way of eating. The friend is a wheat farmer.

"What's he going to do, knowing that wheat is so bad?"

"I suppose he'll be like a diabetic sugar farmer, who can't have sugar even though other people can have it, or he could grow corn or soybeans."

If the wheat-free wheat farmer continues his food education, he'll learn that growing any of these things isn't any great service to his countrymen. Will he do something better with his farm? Or will he be like cigarette executives who don't smoke or entertainers who don't let their kids listen to their work?

Taubes, Denver Dentist: Big Sugar Bought Influence

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Sweetened tea is good for you? Handouts for dental patients that don't mention restricting sugar? Controlling diabetes by eating less fat? None of these recommendations from the Center for Disease Control, Prevention's National Diabetes Education Program and a health guru & author made any sense to Denver dentist Cristen Kearns Couzens. But instead of drinking the Kool-Aid, she researched how nonsense became policy.

After quitting her job to do her research full time, Couzens uncovered evidence documenting specious industry-sponsored studies and boards staffed with members friendly to (that is, paid by) the sugar industry. Last year, she contacted Gary Taubes at a lecture in Denver, and the two have written an article for Mother Jones magazine.



Need some humor? Check out vintage ads touting sugar as a weight loss tool.
Slideshow: "Enjoy an Ice Cream Cone Shortly before Lunch"

Articles in Morther Jones magazine:
Big Sugar's Sweet Little Lies
How a Former Denti…