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.