Month: January 2008
There’s been a lively discussion going on in the comment board of yesterday’s “Dear Mark: Pondering Protein” post. I want to make myself clear about what I mean when I say “lean meats”. Here is a markus’s great comment and my reply:
can’t see why you seem to think that Paleolithic man ate lean meats (certainly not on purpose anyway)
many anthropologists and ethnobiologists since the turn of the century noted traditional societies actively sought out the fat – Aborigines come to mind. Never mind the Samburu and Masai herdsmen or the North American Indians or Eskimo (the latter did not all eat fish).
Are you influenced by Cordain?
You know you need vegetables and you know you need plenty of ’em. But what you can’t figure out is how to prevent your fridge full of fresh, healthy produce from turning into a vegetable drawer full of mush!
Here are some tips you can use to preserve your produce:
* When selecting produce, make every attempt to select items that are near ripening, that have no bruises or brown spots and that do not appear wilted. If you must select produce with imperfections, be sure to either eat the damaged items first or, if you intend to store them, remove any damaged parts to prevent the spread of microbes that can speed deterioration.
* Although fruits and vegetables are often lumped under the same “produce” umbrella, the reality is, they don’t really get along that well, especially when it comes to ethylene. Turns out fruits are generally ethylene producers, while vegetables are ethylene sensitive, meaning that being in the company of fruits will make them spoil even quicker. There are, however, a few exceptions to the rule. Asparagus and tomatoes, for example, are two vegetables (well, sort of) that actually produce ethylene, while watermelon is somewhat of a cross-over artist and is one fruit that is actually very ethylene sensitive. The bottom line? To prevent upsetting the applecart (get it?) its best to keep your fruits and vegetables separated at all times.
Puffy, bloated, swollen. Sound attractive? Sounds like inflammation.
On the most basic level, inflammation is the way in which the body reacts to a disturbance, be it infection, irritation or other injury. More specifically, however, the inflammatory response – which in addition to swelling can also include redness, warmth and pain – occurs when blood, antibodies and other immune system components rush to the scene of the crime to attempt to repair the damage.
In most areas of the body, the pain associated with inflammation informs you of the damage, the swelling limits injury site mobility and prevents further irritation and the increased heat, redness and occasional itching are all signs that the immune system is doing its job! However, if this inflammation goes undetected – or is ignored – it can build up in the body, causing damage to other surrounding tissues and organs. In cases where inflammation is not adequately controlled, symptoms of chronic inflammation can occur, manifesting as arthritis, heart disease, stroke, Alzheimer’s, chronic fatigue, chronic pain, hair loss and dozens of other ailments and conditions.
I hear conflicting advice on the percentage of protein in a healthy diet. How much protein should I be getting?
The subject of protein intake is, as you’ve noticed, a contentious issue. It’s gotten a lot of attention (and scrutiny) since the Atkins and derivative diet plans became all the rage several years ago. Let me first say that, while I can tell you my perspective on protein, it’s not a stand-in for your physician’s advice. Individual health history is crucial to determining appropriate protein intake, and your doctor will be able to look at the full picture with you.
That said, I think high protein diets get a bad rap for a number of reasons. Too many people approach a high protein diet as a free pass to eat whatever meats they crave, and that too often means fatty, cured, conventional meat. They also don’t balance their diet appropriately.
While we’re all about vegetables here at MDA, we have a special place in our stomachs for clean, lean meat. Yes, it’s the ultimate primal picture-caveperson (O.K.-caveman, but can we get points for trying?) returning from the hunt with dinner for the family.
Fun illustration aside, it’s more than the image. Meat, of the MDA-approved variety, means protein, omega-3s, iron, and a host of other nutrients. And, yes, there’s that gastronomical, savory satisfaction. (Apologies to the vegetarian set. We’ll stop now.)
Nonetheless, as we say here at MDA, not all meat is created equal, especially in the current era of antibiotics, hormone injections, grain feed, factory farms, and cloned animals-coming soon to a neighborhood store near you. (Yes, our friends at the FDA are expected to approve cloned meat and milk in the coming days, according to the Wall Street Journal.)
We like to keep informed on all the latest health and fitness updates, and that includes not just the “hard news” out there – research studies, government policy reports, industry (i.e. Big Pharma, Big Agra, etc.) “developments.” It also means following (and often reveling in) other contrary voices out there who are doing the good work of spreading sensical health consciousness and exposing disturbing health trends and conflicts of interest that should give us all pause. Whether we find ourselves cheering them on, formulating our rebuttals, or scratching our heads in bewilderment, we always relish some good food for thought. We thought you would too.