Food is not the enemy

It’s been awhile, I know. Not the best way to grow a blog or a business, but even the best of us can get into funks and I’m far from the best. The past is the past, so let’s move on.

Food is energy and life. It is not the enemy. Sugar is good. Fat is good. Even saturated fat is good. Protein is good. Even protein from red meat is good. Eating meat is good. Not eating meat is conditionally good, but much more complicated and some people simply cannot live healthily on a vegan diet. For the moment I’m not concerned with ethics. I’m not concerned with sustainability. Those issues are beyond the scope of this piece.

Food is not the enemy…You are. You want to behave like a child and eat and drink without thinking about the consequences. You want to consume all the junk foods and dessert foods you want; that your parents wouldn’t let you have before dinner; and you want to eat as much as you want because you’re an adult now and no one can tell you what to do.

Now your fat. You have high blood pressure and diabetes and can’t walk up a flight of stairs without getting out of breath or needing to rest half way up. You’ve crippled yourself. It’s your fault. Not McDonald’s fault. Not Coca Cola’s fault. Not Nabisco or Entenmann’s fault. Yours. Yes the media puts out a lot of confusing messages; this or that food or calorie source is bad or good for you, and the pharmaceutical companies are always looking for a new marketing gimmick that our medical community is ill equipped to understand or combat. Your doctor is not a medical researcher. They are told what medicines to use to treat whatever conditions, and they are even told what conditions they are supposed to treat. That’s how a woman’s monthly cycle; the most natural experience a human female can have; gets turned into a treatable medical condition. It’s why we have viagra. Old man can’t get an erection? Is it possible he’s actually just to damn old? This is fundamental biology. So’s eating and drinking. Fundamental. Biology.

Eat too much and you gain weight. Lift heavy weights and eat too much and you gain muscle weight. Eat too much and sit on the couch you gain fat weight. Eat too much and run 10-15 miles/day every day and…well…you can’t really eat too much if you’re running 10-15 miles a day every day. 

As far as weight management is concerned, a calorie is a calorie. Forget the media. Forget what passes as common knowledge. A calorie is a calorie and if you eat too many of them you will gain weight. If you eat too few you will lose weight. Eat way too few and you will also lose a lot of energy which can have a negative effect on your ability to exercise effectively. Exercise less, or less effectively, and the amount of calories you can eat without gaining unwanted weight goes down. 

Sugar is not bad. Consuming sugary snacks and drinks sitting on the couch for 4 hours is terrible. Fat, any fat, is not bad. Consuming lots of fatty foods; regardless of whether they are saturated or unsaturated or whatever other terms the media and medical establishment applies to them (linoleic, oleic blah blah) while sitting on the couch for 4 hours is bad. Animal based proteins are not bad. As a matter of fact, they are superior. But just eating lots of protein while sitting on the couch for 4 hours is terrible.

Sitting on the couch for 4 hours is not bad. Watch a good movie, cuddling with a loved one, spouse, lover, dog or cat, is wonderful and de-stressing. Just don’t shovel calories into your mouth like a black hole devouring a solar system.

Use your common sense. Accept the consequences of your own decisions. Wake the fuck up and pay attention to yourself. If you catch yourself  in the middle of an unconscious eating and drinking frenzy, stop it. The more you practice stopping, the better you’ll get at stoping until you never unconsciously start. 

This actually works in all aspects of life, not just with food and exercise. No ones perfect. And anyone who knows me personally knows I suck at it in almost every way. Except with food and exercise. And if you see me, you know it works.

Good luck.

Milk?

Milk is bad for you. You must stop consuming all dairy products immediately. It will destroy your health, your GI tract, your immune system, yada yada yada. I mean it! Are you on board?

No. I don’t mean it at freaking all.

You’ve heard these arguments before, but they don’t hold up to scientific scrutiny. Follow the statements to the research and you find one or a few small sample studies conducted under dubious conditions that themselves are often difficult to verify having ever actually taken place. As opposed to the 10’s of thousands of studies showing milk to be healthy, and safe fo large segments of the human population. So where does all this dairy hate come from?

Like the hate for sugar, salt, gluten, and until recently, eggs, much of the hate stems from misapplied causality. Many people are, in fact, lactose intolerant, which affects about half the world population upon reaching adulthood. This does cause great discomfort because the milk sugars (lactose) cannot be properly digested by certain individuals, causing “gastric disturbance”; ie bloating, flatulence, diarrhea, etc. if you suffer these effects when consuming dairy products, it is easy to conclude that dairy is unhealthy. Proponents of this misapplied causality like to use instant logic to bolster their claim by pointing out that no other species on planet earth consumes milk into adulthood, and no other species consumes milk from another species, therefore it is self evident that cow/goat/other milks should not be consumed at all. Logical. Right?

Wrong. First, never consume any food that causes you gastric disturbance if you can help it. For me, that’s broccoli. If it causes gastric problems, that means your body cannot properly digest it, and that further means whatever nutrients that consumable food source contains is not being effectively absorbed by your body anyway, so the calories are empty and wasted. Should I conclude that broccoli is unhealthy for the entire human race? After all, I’m far from alone in my broccoli intolerance. Of course not. Broccoli is quite healthy for those that digest it properly. Just like gorillas eat leaves and other flora that would leave us dying of malnutrition, we need to select foods that work for us, thru trial and error.

What about the lessons from nature, proving that we shouldn’t consume milk past childhood and never consume other animals milk regardless?

Also pure bullshit. First other animals can and often do ween animals from different species when the circumstances are right. Dogs have been known to ween kittens, and cats to ween puppies. Search YouTube and you can find cats that ween ducklings, and tigers getting weened by dogs. There are even types of ant that herd and milk certain kinds of worms, while protecting the worms from other predators. 

Well, okay, you might say, but not into adulthood! Every adult animal stops drinking milk at some point. It obviously becomes unnatural!

Let’s look at other “unnatural nutrition” and unnatural activities no other species engages in besides us:

  • Using fire to cook. All other animals eat all food raw in nature. 
  • Agriculture. No animal besides humans farm.
  • Locomotion. No animal uses any means of movement beyond what nature gave them except humans. We unnaturally invented the wheel. No other species on earth uses wheels. Then we domesticated horses, mules, oxen, etc to first pull carts carrying us and then to ride directly upon. We invented canoes and ships to let us travel across water. Submarines to let us travel under water. Then we invented bicycles and motor vehicles to travel across land faster, then airplanes to give us flight. No other animal has ever done any of these things. 

So, getting back to food, you want to eat your chicken raw? Your beef? Your eggs? Try eating raw potatoes or squash. No aboriginal society has ever not cooked their animal derived food since the discovery of fire. How did this stop being self evident? We are discoverers. Our brains allow us to figure out how to do things better. 

Milk? For me the answer is: Yes please, can I have some more? For you? Maybe, maybe not. But please avoid the blanket condemnations please.





natural?

And no human culture possessing access to either cow or goat milk hasn’t discovered many healthy uses for it. That’s what’s natural for humans to do, that no other animal can do; discover new things, to think outside the bounds of typical animal behavior.

Stop “demonizing” foods that may not be healthy for you but are just fine for others. Sugar is fine. Gluten is fine. Eggs are fine. Milk is fine. If there’s a problem, the problem is yours, and yours to deal with.

 

NYTimes: A Call for a Low-Carb Diet

While this is far from the final word on the subject of nutrition, it is an important one. We continue to fixate on finding a magic bullet cure all, instead of looking at nutrition in relation to lifestyle.

Science is constantly re-examining its own conclusions. That doesn’t mean individual scientists or practitioners don’t become wedded to preconceived ideas or conclusions based on the best evidence at the time, but other scientists and researchers will challenge and sometimes upend the most fervently held beliefs. That’s science. The low fat dogma needs to die, the low carb dogma needs to die, too. What we need is long term examinations of different diets based on lifestyle. Real athletic coaches and competent experienced trainers already have a pretty good understanding of some of this, even without the controlled studies. Put a competitive marathon runner on a low carb diet and we can predict the disaster awaiting their performance. Put a power lifter on a low protein diet and we can predict that failure too. Most people are neither. Most people are sedentary for 20 out of 24 hours every day, if you do the math. What’s best for them? Anything that keeps their weight low, since according to the Harvard School of Public Health, the single biggest risk factor for cardiovascular disease is not cholesterol or even arterial plaque, but simply being overweight. Being too fat is the single biggest risk factor, so instead if putting the cart before the horse, let’s tackle that problem up front. And then, let’s discuss why shopping for healthy food is so expensive.

Enjoy the article. Please read related posts on cholesterol and fat, and a good Wikipedia entry on ketosis here

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http://www.nytimes.com/2014/09/02/health/low-carb-vs-low-fat-diet.html?smid=nytcore-iphone-share&smprod=nytcore-iphone

In a finding that upends long-held notions about a healthy diet, a major study shows that avoiding carbohydrates and eating more fat contributes to weight loss and fewer cardiovascular risks.

“We have art in order not to die from the truth.
—NIETZSCHE”

Happy Thanksgiving

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Happy thanksgiving everyone. Remember to enjoy yourselves in a stress free day. Eat and drink a little of everything if you have self control. Eat a lot of what you love and skip everything else if you don’t have self control, and workout Saturday and Sunday like crazy.

New, original material post coming next week.

Happy Thanksgiving.

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NYTimes: Herbal Supplements Are Often Not What They Seem

Nutritional supplements can be a tremendous aid for a variety of people seeking better health, weight loss, muscle gains, and performance enhancement during athletic activities. But the reality is disconcerting. I can fill a gel cap full of powdered ragweed and call it purified echinacea and you’d have no way to know. There is no regulations. There is no “governing body” ensuring quality control, and your congress stripped the FDA of the power to regulate even the validity of the ingredients decades ago.

Read. And be careful.

http://nyti.ms/1bQ9QbC

A study using DNA testing offers perhaps the most credible evidence to date of adulteration, contamination and mislabeling in the herbal supplement industry.

“ Talent hits a target no one else can hit; Genius hits a target no one else can see. ” – Arthur Schopenhauer

NYTimes: In Struggle With Weight, Taft Used a Modern Diet

Such a compellingly modern story from the American past.

http://nyti.ms/1gfKJFX

William Howard Taft, the United States’ heaviest president, used a weight-loss program that researchers have found to be startlingly contemporary.

“ Talent hits a target no one else can hit; Genius hits a target no one else can see. ” – Arthur Schopenhauer

Skim Milk Is Healthier Than Whole Milk, Right? Maybe Not | TIME.com

There is so much misinformation and mythology passed along as true simply because it’s been repeated by so many for so long. But nobody checks the sources, and when someone finally does check it’s always the same result: conventional wisdom leads to moronic decisions.

http://healthland.time.com/2013/07/03/skim-milk-is-healthier-than-whole-milk-right-maybe-not/

“ Talent hits a target no one else can hit; Genius hits a target no one else can see. ” – Arthur Schopenhauer

Nutrition is critical

Whether you want to lose weight, build muscle, or improve athletic performance what and how much you eat is of critical importance.

If you’re interested in building muscle you have to over eat tremendously. You also have to lift tremendously heavy weights (relative to your personal ability). If you eat a lot, but don’t lift a lot, you will not build muscle. You will get fat instead. It’s the exercise, or lack of it that determines how your body uses the excess calories.

If you’re interested in athletic performance you have to eat a lot more than normal to be able to fuel that performance (marathon runners carbo load before race days).

If you’re trying to lose weight you must eat less than you burn off .

Here’s a great article by a great coach who’s workshops I attend every chance I get:
http://nicktumminello.com/2013/09/personal-trainer-myths-nutrition-isnt

Interval Training: More evidence that working out harder in shorter time periods is better for you than working out for longer time periods

The interesting NYT article below, about recent studies on the efficacy of intense interval training for weight loss and weight management, is well written. It clearly states that this study is preliminary, used a small sample of young males only, and so no long term conclusions for the general population should be assumed.

It also pointed out that these intense intervals (which many people erroneously conclude last 4 minutes or 7 minutes only) actually last 30 minutes alternating between short bursts of 100% intensity with longer intervals of low intensity activity in-between.

These conclusions are not new or earth shaking. Any track and field athlete or coach engaged in sprinting events could have told you most of what this study says. Read on.

http://nyti.ms/1ap1ZlW

NYTimes: How Exercise Can Help Us Eat Less

Strenuous exercise seems to dull the urge to eat afterward better than gentler workouts, several new studies show, adding to a growing body of science suggesting that intense exercise may have unique benefits.

Reuters.com – For ‘Biggest Loser’ trainer, diet trumps exercise in weight loss

Yes to the paramount importance of diet (proper nutrition). Must disagree with his adherence to CrossFit training methods (anyone so out of shape as to need to lose significant weight almost certainly lacks the skills to do such a workout safely under any circumstance, regardless of “proper supervision”.

A good piece, overall, though.