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Showing posts from January, 2012

Celebrity Endorsements

"I am not a role model." -Charles Barkley  Possibly the wisest words any celebrity ever said: And so it is with all entertainers flogging drugs, diet and fitness programs: they aren't paid to actually know how any of these work. An entertainer may not know any more than you do about diabetes, losing weight or getting in shape. What these entertainers have that you might not is stage training, the gift of gab, and a contract to shill for a drug company, weight loss program, or food manufacturer. I'm not accusing anyone of lying, but do you really think someone like Paula Deen, as spokeswoman for Novo Nordisk , is going to tell you how to keep your blood sugars under control without drugs? (Novo Nordisk is a major insulin manufacturer and sponsors flawed research supposedly showing that low-carb diets aren't any more effective than high-carb diets for controlling diabetes. See this .) Are some doctors paid shills, too? Oh yes. In fairness, a lot of p

Introverts, Fly your Colors

If you've ever been pressured to act a part, you know how exhausting it is. If you're in a world where you don't feel at home, you might think something is wrong with you. This is the theme of a new book called Quiet: The Power of Introverts in a World that Can't Stop Talking by Susan Cain.(1) It's estimated that one-third to one-half of people are introverts, yet American culture reveres extroverts and sets up schools, homes and workplaces for interaction. Think open concept offices and schools and big, airy houses. Give me a quiet classroom and a Craftsman house with private nooks and crannies if I have to live with someone. (I don't, and don't want to.) I spent four years in a noisy open concept grade school, where I quickly developed headaches and insomnia. My mother lost part of her hearing during her rehabilitation in the din of a noisy nursing home. My life now has a Do Not Disturb sign: no Facebook page, cell phone, listed phone number, iPod, T

Economics Recall FAIL

"The last President of the Soviet Union, Mikhail Gorbachev, is said to have asked British Prime Minister Margaret Thatcher: How do you see to it that people get food? The answer was that she didn't. Prices did that." The quote is from a book called Basic Economics, a subject I should have considered before I wrote in my last post that low-carb food costs more because it's high quality. If that were true, a pound of nutrient-dense chicken liver would cost a lot more than a sugary (but tastier) piece of pumpkin cheesecake roll at Denver Urban Homesteaders where I buy meat. It doesn't. As a former freshman economics student, I should have remembered that prices are a function of supply and demand. As economist Thomas Sowell put it, Prices in a market economy are not simply numbers plucked out of the air. While you may put whatever price you wish on the goods or services that you provide, those prices will become economic realities only if others are willing

Why Low Carb Food Costs More

"Price is what you pay, value is what you get." -Warren Buffett EDITED TO ADD: See if you can spot my poor reasoning in this post. That, and $1.75, will get you a plain coffee at Starbucks. Why does low carb food cost more? In general, it's more filling, it's more nutritious, and it has little or no added sugar or refined flour, which are nutrient sinks. Check out the macronutrients in a Starbucks double chocolate brownie (1) compared to a low-carb walnut-mocha brownie (2,3,4) (click for larger image, press ESC to return): I'm not putting down Starbucks--the results would probably be the same for any brownie made of flour, sugar, eggs, chocolate, etc., including homemade brownies like Grandma used to make. My point is that even though the low-carb brownies cost more to make than Grandma's and are less convenient than Starbucks, they're real food. With all natural fats, 14 grams of protein and no added sugar or refined flour, they aren't junk f

Eades Podcast; No More Blood Donations

Amy Alkon Interviews Drs. Mike and Mary Dan Eades Advice Goddess Amy Alkon writes, Low-carb pioneers Dr. Michael Eades and Dr. Mary Dan Eades are my guests this week. They are two of the all-too-few out there who are behind evidence-based ways to eat -- dietary science as opposed to the "science" on which so many base their diets.... These two have changed the lives and improved the health of more of my readers -- in absolutely incredible ways. People who read their books, like "Protein Power," typically end up losing weight...and with the pounds are stones falling off a truck. On the show, we'll talk about how to maintain a way of eating, and debunk a lot of widely held myths about diet -- myths many doctors still cling to.  Listen to the interview here  on or after Sunday, January 15, 8 PM. *** I Can't Give 110% Bonfils Blood Center, where I donate blood, started using slightly larger collection bags and increased the minimum wei

A Tool to Go to Bed Earlier

I have a bad habit I've been trying to break for years: going to bed late. Even though I know I'll feel lousy as the week goes on, and give myself every good reason to go to bed, I don't do it. I don't have much excuse except that I'm wide awake at 10, 11, and midnight, and later if I stay up. I wonder how I could have been so tired six hours earlier and tell myself I'm not sleep deprived if I feel fine. Twelve hours later, I'm telling myself I've got to get to bed sooner. It started in basic training, where you supposedly go to bed at nine and get up at five, but in reality it took until eleven o'clock to get everything done. In college, there weren't enough hours in the day to go to class, go to work, finish homework and get eight hours' sleep. Now, I stay out late one or two nights a week dancing. At 10 pm, everybody's warmed up, loose, and in the flow. Since I'm not willing to cut back on dancing, the reasonable thing to do is

Buying the Basics

If you've shopped for anything basic lately, maybe you've noticed how hard it is to find products that haven't been tricked out. It's like trying to find prepared food that isn't scoured of fat and laced with wheat. The shelves at Ulta, a cosmetics store, were full of facial scrubs when I shopped there last week. I understand the need for hand scrubs if you're a gardener or mechanic, but have more women started packing their own wheel bearings and wiping their hands on their faces? (If so, may I recommend Gojo hand cleaner.) I wanted a basic facial moisturizer: no sunscreen (my mineral makeup is already SPF 8), no antioxidants (those acne bacteria need to be oxidized), no aloe to clog my pores, and no expensive anti-wrinkle cream that won't make me look 25 again. I ended up getting Aveeno Positively Ageless Firming Body Lotion--it's lightweight, reasonably priced, doesn't smell like perfume or fruit, and hasn't made my face break out. This, al

Self Control: A Limited Resource

Donating blood yesterday, going to bed late last night, a light breakfast, light lunch, and coming home lightheaded tonight: this is how I account for thinking that a dinner I knew added up to a lot of carbs (46) was a good idea. My resistance was lowered and not replenished. At least I didn't go far over my  daily 50-carb limit, and the meal was real food full of nutrients. But I know that big meals make me feel like a slug. There's been research over the past few years about willpower being limited. Some clinical studies have looked at glucose's relationship to willpower, others have looked at performance on sequential tasks. Sandra Aamodt and Sam Wang write , In one pioneering study, some people were asked to eat radishes while others received freshly baked chocolate chip cookies before trying to solve an impossible puzzle. The radish-eaters abandoned the puzzle in eight minutes on average, working less than half as long as people who got cookies or those who were

Is a Small Sacrifice for a Loved One a Punishment?

A friend and I talked today about her grandson, whom I'll call James. At age ten, James is a binge eater and nearly 40 pounds overweight. "His parents need to get all the junk food out of the house," I said. My friend replied that James's father doesn't want to punish his other kids. Let's consider this for a moment: getting rid of the soda, chips, pizza, cup cakes, ice cream, and any other sugary, starchy junk that provides no nutrients, which is harming one of the kids, is a punishment. What if two parents had living under their roof a fifteen-year-old alcoholic and a twenty-one-year-old who enjoyed a beer now and then. Getting rid of the beer, wine, liquor, and any other other alcohol, which provides no nutrients, which is harming one of the kids, would be common sense. What if a family had a child who needed a lot of medical care, and they all had to scale back their lifestyle to pay for it--would that be a punishment, or what families are supposed

Vet Visit, Weight Loss, and a New Blogger

Molly Goes to the Vet Although my dog Molly has been on the cavity healing diet for awhile, I found out last week she didn't actually have a cavity, just some scratches in her enamel, which the vet said was probably caused by chewing on bones. The vet says she rarely sees true cavities in dogs. Molly had some gingivitis, but no bone loss or infection in her teeth. She now has a layer of dental bonding on the scratched tooth. We'll both continue on the cavity healing diet. Weight Loss This Christmas found me three pounds over my normal weight, and Molly at 64.5 pounds, her weight from three months ago. I know three pounds isn't much, but on my frame, it's enough to make slightly loose jeans tight. It's a step in the wrong direction, and if I kept gaining three pounds a week, I'd weigh 200 pounds by summer. Given how few women in my family weigh less than 200 pounds after age 30, that's a real threat. I knew what the problem was: too damn many dark chocol

New Year's Project: Clearing out the Clutter

Have you ever had nightmares about being in a confined space, or a weight pressing down on you? This is how I feel about clutter. It's hard for me to sleep in a room full of clutter, and I've had nightmares about the day I will have to clean out the rooms full of papers, nick-nacks, clothes, gadgets, appliances and junk from my parents' house. Sometimes I wonder if firemen or paramedics would be able to help my parents in an emergency amidst the clutter. I don't buy the argument that people who never get rid of anything are thrifty. When you can't find something, you run out and get a new one. Or spend an hour looking for it. Over the holidays, I've been de-cluttering my house. Boxes of stuff went to Goodwill, bags of papers went to the shredder, cupboards were organized, and junk got tossed. Getting rid of things I didn't need or enjoy was key, otherwise, I'd have wasted my time shuffling things from pile to pile and room to room an