Friday, January 18, 2019

Be a Vegan and Save the World?

The Lancet has come out with a new report saying "Repent! The End is Near!" These days, that means someone wants you to live on grains, beans, nuts and vegetation to save your health and civilization itself; coming to Jesus for salvation would be absurd to them.

But there are flies in the ointment that only a bunch of academics could fail to observe:

  • After being goaded for decades to move towards such a diet, people in developed countries are fatter and more diabetic than ever. 
  • Growing these crops destroys natural habitats, uses fertilizer that depends on fossil fuels, and requires pesticides (even if organically grown). 
  • Much of the land on earth is unsuitable for growing anything but livestock. 
  • Such a diet is nutrient-poor and completely unsuitable for many people.
  • The poorest countries tend to have frequent fighting and ((#%(@!#y governments, not citizens who are oddly unable to figure out what to eat. 
  • Bison, deer, elk, antelope and other game used to roam North America before humans came along in great numbers. So how is growing corn and soybeans here better than raising cattle, pigs and other livestock on grassy pastures? Diet Doctor has a three-part series on climate and meat (part 1, part 2, part 3).

What to do? First, ignore the recommendations. Second, if you want to eat meat, eggs, and dairy of pasture-raised animals, you can seek a local source on (I found my source, Fischer Farms here in Indiana, through a co-op that sold their meat.) Finally, if you want to help the very poor eat better, make a donation to Heifer International, an organization that provides livestock, training and other goods and services to the underprivileged. 

Sunday, January 13, 2019

23andMe Signs Agreement with Big Pharma, Offers Health App

GlaxoSmithKline, one of the world's largest drug makers, recently bought a $300 million stake in 23 and Me, a genetic testing company. The two also signed an agreement giving GlaxoSmithKline exclusive rights to customer data. The data is de-identified, aggregate customer information.

23andMe recently rolled out Lark, an health app specially geared to your genetics. I was curious what kind of diet advice Lark gave, since 23andMe advised me a year or so ago to limit saturated fat. Here's a screen grab from their video suggesting the new app is programmed with diet advice from the 90s:

"Lark Chat: Personal Weight Loss Coach & 24-Hour Nutritionist" by ourLark on Youtube.  Uploaded April 27, 2015.
Think about it, though--why SHOULD a company with a relationship to big pharma tell you to put down the bread when doing so may reduce your need for beta blockers (which lower blood pressure), nasal steroids and bronchial drugs, all of which GlaxoSmithKline makes?

* * * * *

I wrote a few days ago that I felt better than I have in a long time. When I moved to Indianapolis a few years ago, I had a hard time shoveling the sidewalk--I live on a corner lot, so there was a lot more to shovel than there was at my old place that was on lot thirty-eight feet wide. Today, though, I shoveled a path through seven inches of snow not only along both sidewalks, but the path to the sidewalk, the path to the garage, the whole driveway, the south perimeter of the house, and the back porch. It felt great! My improved fitness isn't from exercise--I rarely do anything physical this time of year except go for a walk at lunch. Before I shoveled the snow this morning, I drank a glass of water with electrolyte powder; maybe that helped. In any case, it's good to feel 45 again.

Biggs, newly arrived about a year ago.

Thursday, January 10, 2019

Back on Track!

Finally, after several attempts, I'm back on track with low-carb, real food. I don't know what made the difference, but I'm eating high-fat, low-carb food without (many) palpitations, stomach upset, weird cravings or aversions to foods like oily fish. My diet hasn't been awful for the past three years(!), certainly better than the standard American diet, but I had problems with lower back pain, lack of energy, acne, bloating, and some dental problems. Whatever it was that affected me around the time I moved in 2015 seems to have resolved itself.

Maybe it was a combination of stress and the lack of "guts" (think antibiotics due to root canal, due to my bike wreck) to deal with it. In the course of four years, my father died, I was accused of crimes I didn't commit, had to give up dancing because it hurt my knee, I moved across the country, worked at five different places, my dog Molly died, and my mother died.

I should have sought help for my digestive problems, especially since money wasn't one of my problems. Not from a traditional gastroenterologist--I've been to them and they were useless--but a doctor hip to low-carb. Maybe I could have gotten well years ago.

In any case, I started doing better around Thanksgiving and by December, I didn't even have a dessert with Christmas dinner (we went out to eat). This month I added a few blogs to my list and discovered some terrific recipes on The Low Carb Diabetic that have gotten me through a lot of breakfasts. Thanks, Jan! I love the raspberry cream cheese mug cupcake, the peppermint low-carb mocha latte, and the pork casserole with sunshine peppers.

I've also taken my own advice about nuts and stopped snacking on them; they're condiments now.

My dog Biggs, who's been with me over a year now, eats low carb, real food. His dandruff quickly went away after he came to live with me. He doesn't run on the treadmill like Molly did, but he loves to play ball.

Friday, January 4, 2019