A brief update: we’re juicing this apple (so to speak). The blog is going to be down later this afternoon for a spell so we can install some new plug-ins that will improve the blog tremendously and add to your experience. No worries, we’ll be back up later in the day.
Be sure to stop in tomorrow for the always-popular Tuesday 10 and a discussion of everyone’s favorite topic: chocolate.
In the meantime, I recommend the following links for your daily health dose:
The biodegradable heart stent.
What will they come up with next? You all know I’m going to be grumbling about prevention on this one, but I do agree that this is a promising turn for problematic stents.
Stevia is fine – now that Coke wants to use it.
I’ve used stevia for years, which is saying something, as it can be tougher to get hold of than a real human when calling any customer service number. You can stop using it for “skin care” – with big soda lobbies on your side, that is. This doesn’t make soda healthy for you, though.
More problems with food from China.
Yet another unfortunate consequence of the global food web (this time, toothpaste).
All the toothpaste you need – this is Toasty Ken’s Flickr photo.
[tags] stevia, Coke, biodegradable heart stent, China, toothpaste [/tags]
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Every once in a while, I am alternately stunned and amused by what I see being promoted in the name of good health. I had one of those “stunningly amusing” episodes when I took an eight-day vacation with my family to an all-vegetarian health and adventure retreat in Costa Rica several months ago. We had joined a group of 125 headed by Dr. John McDougall, an accomplished and well-respected physician who uses a strict vegetarian/vegan lifestyle to address disease states in his patients and (ostensibly) to promote better health among the general population. I wasn’t too keen on attending, strict carnivore that I am, but I’m always up for an experiment of one and, moreover, I was convinced by my mostly-vegetarian wife and her vegan parents that our extended family would enjoy a nice tropical vacation together. And the food promised to be so yummy… so I made the leap with my wife, two kids, the in-laws and some cousins. First off, I must say, I did have a very enjoyable time in Costa Rica with my family, rafting, diving, zip lining and hiking…but after what I witnessed during my stay, I can assure you that I have never been so certain that the Primal Blueprint way of eating – which I have embraced for over 30 years now – is the best way to achieve and maintain excellent health. Frankly, I was appalled at both the information being disseminated during this event and at what I saw being served at every meal in the name of “health food.” I am an omnivore and always have been. Carrie, my wife, was a vegetarian for fifteen years until I convinced her about five years ago to starting adding fish to her diet to get more protein. She still considers herself, in the words of the Outback Steakhouse guy, a “semi-veg.” My wife’s parents have been strict vegans for nearly thirty years and are ardent followers of Dr. McDougall. McDougall’s own story involves having had a severe stroke at age 19 from which, at 59, he still limps. He became an MD and eventually realized that diet was an important part of the health equation. He’s a very likable and charming guy. I had a few superficial discussions with him, even attended a few of his nightly lectures. His heart is certainly in the right place, but I fear he is leading people down a wholly inappropriate dietary path. At the risk of oversimplifying, the basis of his program is that almost all starch is good, all fat is bad and meat of any kind is deadly. It is, in his words, a “starch-based” diet, high in grains and legumes. The attendees were generally divided into two groups: those who were fairly new to the program – many of them had some serious weight to lose – and those who had been on the McDougall program for several years. Many of the latter group, I gathered, had come to McDougall originally with … Continue reading “My Escape from Vegan Island”
It’s not fancy, but it gives you a general idea of my daily diet. This super-veggie routine, supplemented with protein and healty fats, has kept me lean, muscular, strong, and healthy for many years now. (I can whip most guys half my age in a fitness test.)
I generally enjoy mostly raw vegetables, hence my giant daily salad. As I always say, real men eat lettuce. My salad alone usually includes several cups of greens, plus 2 or 3 additional cups of other vegetables like colorful bell peppers, artichokes, asparagus, and tomatoes. Dinner is often a stir fry or steamed vegetables with some fish or chicken. I also enjoy grass-fed beef. I’m not really a pasta or pizza guy. I genuinely love fresh, unprocessed food.
I eat DHA-enhanced organic eggs several days a week, often with spinach or tomatoes. I’m not a big breakfast person so some days I miss them. At lunch, I top my salads with wild salmon, smoked salmon, tuna, turkey – I’m a meat eater that favors animal protein. I eat plenty of lean animal and plant proteins at each meal, and several servings of healthy fats like avocados and olive oil, too. I also eat a little organic butter, organic full-fat yogurt (such as Greek yogurt), and sometimes a little kefir or cheese. I am not a snacker, though I do enjoy berries, raw almonds and my protein shake, Responsibly Slim (I toss in a banana, berries, and sometimes flaxseeds).
It seems to work for me. Not bad for a retired athlete!
Best of MDA
[tags]raw vegetables, food pyramid, DHA enhanced organic eggs, food weaknesses, grass fed beef, sprouted-grain bread, natural foods[/tags]
Fruits Are Not the Devil, and Other Carb Concerns Although I espouse a fairly “low-carb” lifestyle for optimal health and a lean physique, this certainly means different things to different people. For some it means a strict Atkins-style diet of virtually no carbs, save for green vegetables. For others it means the inclusion of fruits, starchy vegetables such as yams, and legumes. For others it means any and all carbs – grains, rice, beans, pasta – that are complex or “whole grain” rather than refined and processed (pastries, crackers, breads, white pasta). My “low-carb” philosophy is essentially grounded in my belief in fresh, whole, natural foods. In other words, a lot of plants. Organic, grass-fed or wild animal products (eggs, beef, salmon) are also included in my “natural” categorization. I’m not at all opposed to carbs that are from vegetables; the American diet is sorely lacking in adequate vegetable intake and it’s lunacy to avoid vegetables in the hopes of losing weight, as many low-carb dieters do. Since I believe fiber is king when it comes to health, I’m all for eating 6 servings of veggies daily – at a minimum. I recommend fresh or frozen vegetables and a small amount of starchy vegetables and legumes for your daily diet. This is Svanes’ Flickr Photo But, I personally don’t encourage the consumption of grains, even whole grains. I think an occasional slice of sprouted-grain bread is fine, particularly if you’re an avid exerciser (and I hope you are). Additionally, I think the lectin fears about grains are rather overblown (another one of those marginal nutrition areas like wine, coffee, and dark chocolate). But a combination of vegetables and lean proteins offer more antioxidants, vitamins, protein, fat and even fiber (surprise!) than do grains. This type of diet is easier for most humans to digest, as wheat gluten in particular is not friendly to the G.I. tract. Grains stimulate improper liver, thyroid, and pancreas responses in many people, and grains can also foster reduced immunity, fungal infections, skin problems, anxiety, depression and weight gain. Vegetables and lean proteins are more readily handled by your liver and pancreas, among other organs. Coupled with some much-needed beneficial fats such as organic butter, olive oil, nuts, avocados, and fish oil supplements, a vegetable-and-protein based diet is the most respectful to the human design. Consuming crackers, pasta and breads – even those manufactured with whole grains – is simply not ideal for the human body. That said, other carbohydrates beside vegetables are, in fact, quite healthy – even some starchy ones such as yams, brown rice, and legumes. My concern is that many people rely on mostly refined and/or whole grains for their fiber intake and tend to “add in” some vegetables, when it ought to be the other way around. When it comes to vegetable sources of carbohydrates, we Americans favor starchy barely-vegetables like potatoes and corn. (Corn, by the way, is actually a grain, and a very low-protein, high-sugar grain at that.) Vegetables … Continue reading “Are There Any Good Carbs?”
Very, very edible. The folks at Fiber Gourmet recently plied me with a selection of their one-of-a-kind “light” pastas. Hey, I’m not one to turn away free food, so I gave their spinach, tomato and standard pasta noodles a taste try. The Fiber Gourmet folks say “since fiber has 0 calories, as the fiber goes up the calories go down” – hence the “light” labeling. As you all know, I’m cautious about the types of carbohydrates I consume. I rely on vegetables for the majority of my carbohydrate intake. I do eat some starchy carbohydrates such as brown rice, legumes, yams, quinoa and sprouted grain bread. But typically I don’t eat more than one starchy serving per day. Pasta, in particular, is hardly one of my favorites because it is refined wheat, making it high in empty carbohydrates that have a rapid, deleterious impact upon blood sugar. This is stressful to the body for a number of reasons, and the scientific evidence is compelling: excessive intake of refined carbohydrates is linked to our skyrocketing rates of obesity and type 2 diabetes. And while I understand that “low-carb” pastas like Shirataki can be helpful for jump-starting weight loss, I don’t personally recommend carb substitutes. (Although I am all for the jump start – start somewhere!) My preference against substitutes is not only because I favor whole, unprocessed, fresh foods for both weight loss and health maintenance. I also refuse to eat anything that tastes like cardboard, which seems to be a prevailing problem with light, low-carb and other assorted diet food products. Food will always taste better than a food product. If you can sustain a food product weight loss plan for more than a few months, you’re made of some tough stuff! But seriously, in my opinion, substitutes don’t successfully address the underlying problem with eating unhealthy foods: rather than shifting your cravings to healthier foods, they merely serve as a temporary fix to sate existing unhealthy preferences. All right, Mark, we get it. What about this pasta? Fiber Gourmet pasta is made just like regular pasta, but contains 40% fewer calories (roughly 130 per 2-ounce serving). Of course, I don’t know anyone who can stop after just 2 ounces of pasta – and that’s the problem with carbs. Refined carbohydrates – sugars – are incredibly addictive. The total carbohydrates of this product are not low by any stretch – about 43 grams (18 from fiber and 25 from starch). I recommend ruthlessly aiming for fewer than 20 grams of refined carbohydrates in a given day. In fact, I think we’d all be better off if we avoided refined carbohydrates entirely. Now to the taste factor: The Fiber Gourmet pastas tasted good – exactly like “real” pasta. Texture was not gritty, gummy or weak. The exception was the spinach pasta, which didn’t hold up well with the olive oil and sea salt I doused it with. The flavor was pleasant enough, but an actual spinach salad would have had better … Continue reading “Low-Cal, High-Fiber Pasta: It Exists! And It Is Edible!”
The Definitive Guide: Part 1 Get sick and die. You know you need to. The government, dietitians and health experts remind us constantly – you simply can’t get sick and die if you don’t take the appropriate steps! That means logging plenty of hours on the sofa, eating your fill of fast food, and engaging in risky behaviors. But finding the motivation and discipline to get sick and die isn’t easy. You’re not a celebrity with a posse of trainers, chefs and surgeons – you’re one of the millions of Americans desperate to experience your worst, look flabby and feel terrible. You’ve seen the news: tens of millions of Americans are already well on their way to getting sick and dying, yet you’re left out in the cold. What’s their secret? How are you supposed to wade through the avalanche of information to find the absolute worst, sickest, most disgusting lifestyle possible? With a tight budget and busy schedule, I know that’s not always easy – but it can be! You may not be aware, but thousands of restaurants, stores and companies already offer convenient, inexpensive products and services that can help you get sick and die. Why haven’t you heard about this before, you ask? Search no more. Here in this series, for the first time, you’ll get the real information you need, all in easy, clear terms. In fact, you may be surprised at how little you actually have to change in order to get sick and die. It’s really not so hard. No sacrifice. No uncomfortable physical activity, because that would be stressful. No strange pills or healthy supplements – only drugs approved by our government. And of course, no deprivation or starvation. I’ve employed a team of researchers to find the absolute bottom-of-the-barrel, guaranteed-to-sicken recipes, tips and techniques for minimum health results. No guesswork. In fact, no work, period. Here are five clicks to get you started on your way to getting sick and dying in no time! Now before you say, “Gosh, Mark, you must really love me; I too want to get sick and die!” don’t go giving me all the credit. I’m just telling you facts about food, fitness and health that everybody already follows! It’s not just chain restaurants. Even our FDA, federal government and health organizations like the American Diabetes Association support drug use, soda and refined sweets “in moderation”. But what I like most is that these leaders support a sensible, healthy weight range of 30 pounds per inch (Awesome metrics, BMI! It’s genius, is it not?). This is just no-brainer stuff that you will discover you may already know about. Isn’t it a relief to know you can get sick and die with little change to the standard American lifestyle? Obviously we are doing everything right, or we would not be getting sick and dying faster than most other nations! You can help make us #1! 1. Get your omega-3’s! Everyone knows avocados are healthy. Duh. Eat them this … Continue reading “How to Get Sick and Die”