Tuesday, 21 September 2010

Modern poisons undergo a makeover

It's interesting that when an ingestible's dangers become more and more public that rather than take it off the market and work on making it safe, the product's creators give it a new name, new packaging and a new advertising campaign.  I suppose you can't really blame them, though.  Because most people don't do much research into what goes into their food.

High-fructose corn syrup, for example, now being labelled as corn syrup.  This is because the harmful effects of fructose are becoming more widely reported.  Hell, if it's in the mainstream news you can't really deny it any more.

Then you have aspartame, which has now been branded AminoSweet.  There's a wide body of research showing how bad aspartame is for the brain.

Just goes to show that you need to be more aware than ever what's going into your mouth these days.

Sunday, 19 September 2010

Half a stone in half the time

I have to begin this post with a confession: the title isn't exactly accurate.  In fact, it was actually a ninth of the time it took for two family members I live with, on a low-fat plan from a popular British slimming club, to lose half a stone.  But half and half sounds snappier.

Since New Year's Day, my mum and her boyfriend have been on a low-fat plan, and I have to admire their perseverance.  You know how many people start diets and then don't stick to them.  While the food from the books hasn't always been without flavour, I don't agree with the lack of fat, I don't agree with all the starch and I don't agree with the polyunsaturated oils they use for frying.

Anyway, I didn't start out with exact weight measurements as I know that weight can fluctuate throughout the day.  Recently, I've realised that I've lost a noticeable amount of excess fat, and can now fit into my smaller suit jacket (bought back when I didn't know what my measurements were - my size was a 48R, this jacket being a 46).  Out of curiosity, I weighed myself.

When I took a recent measurement, I was 17½.  This week, that has dropped to just below 17.

This follows three weeks of fatty meat, cheese, and green vegetables, fried in butter.  No pasta, no bread and very few potatoes.  All of which tend to find their way into the meals of the others in my house.

I don't know about you...I think my approach might be more effective. 

Thursday, 2 September 2010

Lunchtime carbs - for when you want no energy in the afternoon

Throughout my working life, there've been times when I've found myself becoming sleepy, not enough to actually fall asleep, but enough for my eyes to feel heavy, my thinking to become sluggish and my motivation to become non-existent.  Even way back when I was order picking, a physical labour job requiring me to walk miles through a giant warehouse every day, I'd find myself becoming sleepy while on my rounds, even while walking.

Worse, only certain sudden stimuli could jerk me back into near-full alertness - like the phone going, my manager addressing me, or other random things.  Other than that, it was near total shutdown and I'd frustrate myself trying to wake myself up, without success.

When I came across the Paleo diet, and low-carb dieting in general, I studied the effects of different food types on blood sugar, and the energy slump that's suffered after a meal heavy in processed carbs.  Sandwiches, being the first choice for many office workers, are a prime example.  Dr Briffa posted about them recently in his blog.

Since making my dinners low-carb, I haven't had problems with energy slumps in the afternoon, and having a fried breakfast as opposed to cereal has had the same effect on my mornings.  Now my energy remains constant throughout the day and I'm finding myself able to concentrate more.

My dinners now include smoked fish (although you risk the wrath of your fellow workers as it does smell strongly), bacon fried that morning, cold meats, cheese, leftover roasts and low-carb salad greens.

As for breakfast, I usually have bacon and mushrooms fried in butter.  I tried to like eggs, but I can't be doing with either the taste or the smell.  I finish with a slab of full-fat cheese.  If I'm in a rush, I make sure I at least have the cheese on my way out.

If you're finding that there's times of the day when you doze off, you might consider switching high-carb elements of your daily meals to low-carb alternatives.

Saturday, 28 August 2010

Angelina Jolie, veganism and odd diets

I just read this interview snippet on AskMen.com with Angelina Jolie.  Apparently she dabbled with veganism but the lack of nutrition nearly did for her.  Now she has a 'guilty pleasure' for red meat.

You might say this has nothing to do with being Paleo, and you're probably right.  I just find it refreshing to read that at least one Hollywood star isn't shy about professing a love for the good stuff when stories about others' liquified food diets and macrobiotic shit like that keep cropping up.  Humans have survived and thrived for millions of years without having to arse around blending food and checking biotic ratios or whatever.


MIPWID (which stands for Meat Is Prized, Wheat Is Despised) is my very own paleo blog.  I use it for recording my progress at living a paleo-influenced lifestyle, and the benefits to my weight and health.  I also post here my thoughts on nutrition and healthcare - both conventional and alternative.

I was originally going to call the blog Against The Grain, but that's already been taken by another paleo blog.  Meat Is Prized, Wheat Is Despised was going to be the sub-title anyway, so I shortened it to the catchier MIPWID. 

Since I came across the paleolithic community earlier this year, I've been fascinated at the reasoning and science behind it, as well as the results people have been getting.  I've always appreciated different ways of looking at things, and paleo advocates definitely look at the world of nutrition in a way that's different from official advice, but is backed by common sense and good science.

I hope that MIPWID can add to the community in the way that PāNu, Feed The Animal, Girl Gone Primal and all the others do - by offering a strong insight into paleo matters, thoughts to mull over, and entertaining reading.  I get a lot of pleasure from reading these blogs, because they encourage me to explore new ways of living and things to think about.  I'm hoping to give the same pleasure back.

Incidentally, I should warn you - there may be swearing ahead.

Let the good times roll.

Should gastric band surgery be offered on the NHS?

Granada Tonight, which is a daily regional news programme in the UK, ran a story recently about gastric band surgery being offered to obese patients on the NHS.  In effect, they don't pay directly - the cost is covered by the National Health Service, the funding for which comes out of our taxes.  The woman featured in the story lost a huge amount of weight after having the band fitted, on the NHS.  She had received hate mail from a number of people, who I assume have never had a weight problem and think that weight loss is a matter of eating less and exercising more.  

As usual, viewers were invited to chip in with their thoughts, some of which were read out at the end of the program.  The issue is still sporadically brought up on the programme's Facebook page. 

My view?  As a last resort it may be a viable option, although I think that with proper nutrition (not the same as the official line), the procedure wouldn't be necessary.  The problem, as I see it, is not how much a person eats, but what they eat.  The function of a gastric band is to reduce how much the patient eats - so if they fill their reduced stomach capacity with processed, carb-heavy fare, the benefit isn't likely to be substantial.  With animal fat, you not only get more nutrition per inch of real estate, you also tend to eat less because your body will let you know very clearly when it's had enough.  Not so with sugar. 

But in all honesty, of the money I earn, all I ever care about is what I have to spend after deductions.  The rest isn't my concern - I'd quite like my taxes to be spent on useful things, such as care for the elderly, public transport and so forth, but when I open my payslip every month, what I'm looking for is what I have to play with for the next four weeks.

However, assuming I had a say in how my taxes were spent, I'd much rather the money went towards an operation that had the potential to improve someone's quality of life than weaponry such as land mines or nukes.  Or MPs' expenses.  Or, for example, government campaigns telling us to load up on fructose and starch for health.  You get the idea.