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Showing posts from December, 2010

How to Eat Gluten-Free

Most food is just trash. -My mother Go to a nice restaurant and first thing, they bring out a basket of bread. Go to the grocery store and you'll find aisles and aisles of wheat products: cereal, cake mix, cookies, crackers, batter coated meat, noodles, baked goods, bread, and so on. My mother, who loves pre-packaged food, tells me most of the rest of the packaged stuff has wheat, too. And is there an office left that doesn't serve birthday cake at least once a month? How do you avoid wheat or gluten for a month? (Why should you try? Read this --the benefits I've seen from a wheat-free diet.) A suggestion: if you find it hard to stop eating it once you start, then don't start. Let me tell you about my results with moderation and total elimination. Moderation. In the late 90s, I saw a nutritionist for my acne and she said I should avoid eating wheat. I cut down on the wheat, but didn't quit it entirely. My skin saw some improvement, but that was about all as far as

Why Try Gluten-Free?

I'm not into giving up foods without good reason. I've given up certain foods because, through trial and error, I've learned they make me feel lousy. Some people preach moderation, but I don't want to feel well in moderation. I want to feel fantastic, preferably all the time. For me, that's required giving up wheat, which contains gluten. When I gave up wheat, I lost weight, my appetite ratcheted way down, most of my bloating disappeared, I had more energy, and my chronic sinus congestion eventually went away, among other benefits. Your own reaction to a food is a great reason to eat it or not, but there are some iffy reasons people more or less permanently give up or moderate certain foods: An observational study stating A is associated with B isn't a good reason. (See this , this , this and this .) "Because my doctor said so" isn't necessarily a good reason, either: doctors aren't required to know anything useful about nutrition. I'm rel

What a Difference a Year Made

Merry Christmas! In a little while, I'll be with my family, celebrating with a low-carb Christmas dinner. We'll be snacking on the low-carb goodies I made for them yesterday: low-carb chocolate peanut butter cookies, pate, roasted almonds, and some goat cheese I bought. Why low-carb? Because in the past year, cutting down on carbs has solved so many problems for me and my mother. A year ago today when I started this blog, I was eating a high-carb (~180 grams per day), low-fat, adequate protein diet. I was scheduled for a root canal. I needed acid blockers, four-hour naps every weekend, frequent meals, and visits to the chiropractor. I was also anemic and putting on weight. This, even though I ate so-called "good carbs" and worked out six days a week. In January, I cut out wheat and began slowly losing weight and feeling less bloated. In February, I cut way, way down on all carbs (to around 50 grams per day) and the fat fell off fast. My need for the naps, fre

Last-Minute Christmas Gifts

Last-minute gifts are usually crummy--but they don't have to be. Pretty much everybody likes treats, and a lot of people prefer homemade gifts (if only for the spirit of the thing). Think about giving some delicious, homemade low-carb goodies. Just note that some people are sensitive to artificial sweeteners. Let them know if you've used that or any ingredients they might not expect. No hidden carb fudge. I've made this, and it's fantastic. Easy, too. Recipe courtesy of the Blood Sugar 101 site, so this should be appropriate for diabetic loved ones, or anyone who absolutely has to watch their blood sugar. Cinnamon-Roasted Almonds. This sounds awesome, and it's highly rated. Substitute Splenda for sugar, 1:1. I just might make this tonight. Homemade mayonnaise. An unusual gift, but my mother actually requested this. She needs a few spoonfuls of the good stuff because she doesn't want to use the lumpy, clumpy stuff from the store. She'll be pleasantly surprise

Want Easy Meals? Don't Light the Oven

I've just figured out why I've never found it hard to cook for one person, or to make everything from scratch. It's not cooking talent--I've never invented a recipe. It's not fancy equipment--I have a basic stove, a 30-year-old microwave, a one-speed blender, a hand-crank food processor, and very basic pots, pans, cutlery and utensils--nothing else. It's not that I have a lot of time, either, being gone 11 hours a day. Here's my secret: Don't light the oven. Why this works: food that can be steamed, boiled, fried or cooked in a pressure cooker (that is, cooked on the stove top) tends to be fast and easy to prepare. Food that doesn't need to be cooked at all tends to be even easier. Baking and roasting, on the other hand, take a long time, and the recipes tend to involve a lot of steps. It heats up the house, too. Living in a house without central air conditioning, I'm opposed to lighting the oven in the summer. Baked and roasted recipes often mak

Nose Job Healed after Eleven Short Years

Eleven years after my nose job, my nose has finally healed. Back in 1999, I had septoplasty to straighten the inside of my nose . My doctor told me it would help me prevent my frequent sinus infections. (It didn't.) For the first time, I could breathe through both sides of my nose at once, but at the cost of constant nosebleeds. The septum (the cartilage inside the center of the nose) didn't heal until a few weeks ago. Last May--seven months ago--I started taking megadoses of zinc. The nosebleeds mostly stopped. Then a few weeks ago after reading an abstract (1) on iron interfering with zinc absorption, I began taking iron at night and zinc in the morning. (According to the article, the interference applies only to non-food sources of the minerals. Go ahead and have your surf and turf without worry.) An aside: since taking my iron and zinc at different times, I've been able to cut down on the magnesium. I went from 750 mg to 500 mg per day. Over the past year, I've ta

Braised Oxtail Deliciousness

I wrote a few days ago that oxtail might be an acquired taste --but found that to be mostly wrong tonight when I had braised oxtail for dinner. It looked just as good as the picture on Steffen's Dinners blog , whose recipe I used, even though I made a few changes to reduce the carbs. More on that in a minute. The meat had the texture of ribs, the flavor of a beef roast, and was fatty-oily like duck. The bigger pieces tasted better than the small piece, which was a little gamey. I omitted the turnips (mostly because I don't like them), used only one tomato, and served it with mushrooms instead of pasta. That was another new food tonight--some mushrooms that looked and felt like little white sponges. I sliced one and sauteed it in butter--wonderful!

Avoiding Sugar: Lessons from a Diabetic in a Sugar Shack

" It's the most fattening time of the year ." -Bob Rivers My mother enjoys telling people she lives in a crack house. That's true, metaphorically speaking: she has a raging case of diabetes and a husband who lives on sweets and starch and offers them to her every day. (He's diabetic too--he just doesn't care.) The junk food temptations people deal with at holidays are part of everyday life for my mother. Her stakes are high: an average person might gain ten or fifteen pounds over a month of indulgence, but two bites of healthywholegrainoatmeal sends my mom's blood sugar over 200--the definition of diabetes. Blood sugars at that level can cause tissue and organ damage. I asked Mom what her strategies were for resisting starchy food--which she loves. Her answer: I just don't eat it. Why not? It raises my blood sugar. When? About an hour later. What happens? I don't feel good. I get nervous and shaky and I can't write. I've seen my mother when

Buying Nutrients by the Pound

There's a food group that seems to be getting some much deserved love. It's inexpensive, full of nutrients, all natural, it's been eaten for millennia, and it's easy to prepare. It's variety meat--liver, oxtail, and various organ meats. (The downside is that some of these are an acquired taste.) Vitamin Cottage was out of beef liver today, so I went to Denver Urban Homesteaders. Bill Flentje at the Ranch Direct Foods counter said he's been selling cuts that are normally unpopular, like the oxtail and liver I bought. (Salmon was selling well, too, and someone bought five pounds of liverwurst.) But the t-bone steaks weren't moving. Are people buying nutrients by the pound? I don't know, but check the vitamin and mineral content of beef liver here (set the serving size to 100g). (Notice you'd have to eat seven cups of spinach to get that much iron.) Now look at the nutrients in a t-bone (set the serving size to 100 grams to compare). It doesn't ev

Traumatic Brain Injury Afflicts How Many Vets?

Have you seen or heard the ads for a nonprofit that aids veterans? "One in five returning vets has a traumatic brain injury." I pictured thousands of troops returning from duty, unable to perform everyday tasks--and the image didn't seem realistic. What does the statistic on the radio ad really mean? First, the image of severe brain damage doesn't apply to every case. According to the Mayo Clinic , Traumatic brain injury is usually the result of a sudden, violent blow to the head — which launches the brain on a collision course with the inside of the skull. This collision can bruise the brain, tear nerve fibers and cause bleeding. Traumatic brain injury may also be caused by objects such as bullets or even a shattered piece of the skull entering brain tissue. The severity of traumatic brain injury can vary greatly, depending on the part of the brain affected and the extent of the damage. A mild traumatic brain injury may cause temporary confusion and headache, but a s

Got Gallstones?

If you have gallstones, you must check out the Fat Fiction blog at . Mike W., who writes the blog, started researching medical literature after suffering from gallstone attacks. Based on this, he has developed a theory of how gallstones form and how they can be eliminated. The short answer for eliminating them : you need sufficient minerals (especially magnesium), you must eliminate gluten (an antinutrient) from your diet, reduce other antinutrients such as grains, legumes and sugar, avoid trigger foods, and take certain supplements. (Hmmm, this sounds familiar--kind of like this post on absorbing vitamins and minerals .) I believe Mike is also planning to show before and after pictures of his gallbladder in five months to show how much the stones have dissolved. God speed!

Low-cost, Highly Effective Exercise

Want to exercise without spending a lot of money? If you're self-motivated and don't have health problems like a touchy back or a heart condition, consider working out at home. I've worked out at home for years and prefer it to going to a gym. When you work out at home, there are no dues, no commute, no public shower, and no pressure to buy expensive workout clothes and puffy, high-tech shoes. I exercise barefoot in the summer and in basic canvas tennis shoes in the winter. I work out on my own schedule to my own music or enjoy the quiet. There's no pressure to keep up with others. I use Fred Hahn’s Slow Burn method of weightlifting (see Exercise without Joint Pain ). All I need are four sets of free weights, a yoga mat, a fan, a timer and a metronome. The last two items are free online (links are in the Exercise without Joint Pain post). I do this workout twice a week. Keep safety in mind, especially if you work out alone. Get familiar with any machines you use so you