Fathead on Hulu and Ornish being a bit of a prat

Great news, everybody! A friend of mine (Thanks, Kris!) found Fat Head on Hulu. That means it’s free, and available without a Netflix subscription. Here’s the link: http://www.hulu.com/watch/196879/fat-head

My friend Isaac also found this article: http://abundantbrain.com/2010/09/why-dean-ornish-is-wrong/

It’s from last year, so it’s not exactly breaking news, but it’s another fantastic example of just how bad nutritional science and science reporting can be. Observational studies being touted as proof of anything is so common you have to wonder if the researchers even understand the concept of science at all. It’s also a great example of scientists drawing conclusions that the data simply doesn’t support, ignoring confounding variables, arbitrarily drawing lines to establish groups that aren’t actually meaningful, ignoring inconsistencies, etc. It’s kind of a smorgasbord of scientific failure, really. Anyway, read it and see what I mean. Hopefully you will be as disappointed and disgusted as I am. Is it any wonder that the American people can’t make smart health choices when this is the sort of drivel presented to us as medical fact by supposedly trustworthy news sources?

Thanksgiving Weekend

Sorry for the delay in posting. I’ve been super busy with the holiday and the house and all. So here’s what happened this week in paleo.

Thanksgiving dinner was good. I overdid it on starches and sugars, but avoided gluten, so I didn’t feel too thrashed afterward. I ended up making 4 dozen deviled eggs for my potluck, Jenna’s pot luck and then our family dinner. I didn’t eat very many of them, but I added bacon crumbles to one tray and that went over very well.

We also spent some time with our friends, the Webbers. Ate more Chinese food (sans dumpling) and didn’t have any gastric issues. That’s good. Kristie, who is full-on chef-qualified, helped me with my homemade mayo issues. Turns out, I was using too few yolks and too much oil. We put together a half macadamia and half olive mayo that’s pretty tasty. I think I’m going to try a half olive, half coconut oil next time so I get a good mix of fats without any heavy flavors. The macadamia oil is a great oil, but the flavor is definitely quite noticeable in the mayo. For something where that’s not bad (like a salad dressing) that’s just fine. But if I wanted to make it into a burger topping or something, it might be weird. Having a neutral flavor-base from which I can start futzing will be nice. I’ve got in mind a caesar dressing, maybe a thousand-island sort of thing, and a few others. Certainly a chipotle mayo is a good option for burgers, so that will definitely be on the list.

Overall, my weekend was sort of meh as far as meals go. Thanksgiving dinner is excluded, because that was super tasty. Mostly everything else was pretty good, but nothing super excellent. I’m imagining that me not cooking anything contributed to this. I had some Wendy’s (stuck with the salad with my own dressing), and some Good Times and a few other fast food places, but mostly just didn’t eat a ton. I had some packaged food at home, at least. Some of those Coleman Natural meatballs were pretty good.

I also spent Saturday playing airsoft, which proved to be a pretty significant leg workout. I’m still feeling a bit sore this morning, even. It’s a good feeling. I’ve been slacking off way too much. I work my body some just by living, but I do want to start incorporating some specific workouts. I keep saying it and I keep not doing it. I figure if I write it down and say it enough, it might happen accidentally. We’ll see how that goes for me.

That’s it for now. Thanks for reading!

Progress update

On a whim, I decided to weigh in this morning. I’m down to 225.0 officially. That puts me at over 20 pounds lost in a little over 5 weeks.

Here’s some of what I’m noticing. My wedding ring, no longer just easy to remove, now threatens to make a break for freedom, specifically when washing my hands or taking a shower. I’m still just barely too large to fit comfortably on the middle hole of my belt when sitting. It’s perfectly good when standing, but just slightly uncomfortable when sitting. I’m not going to push it. I’m still seeing my love handles and some fat front and center, but that’s slowly shrinking away as well. The thing that is exciting me a great deal is my lower abdomen. Right where my hips meet my torso, I’m seeing a significant fat reduction, to the point where I have visible muscle under the skin. I know this because when I saw it, I moved the skin around and the muscle stayed put. I then proceeded to play with my newfound leanness for maybe 10 minutes. It’s not a lot yet, but it’s more than I’ve ever had, that I’m aware of.

Also, last night we tried some gluten-free pizza from a company called Against the Grain. It was really quite good. Not as disgustingly satisfying as my previous favorite (Pizza Hut Meat Lover’s, pan crust), but it tasted…clean. All the ingredients are real, actual foods. The crust is made of tapioca starch, and wasn’t bad at all. It’s not bleached white flour, with all the good baking qualities that entails, but it also didn’t have any negative effects on my gut. I won’t be making it a staple, but I can pretty much guarantee we’ll keep a couple in the freezer for lazy dinners. Always cool to find that sort of thing.

That’s it for now. Thanks for reading!

Weekend

This weekend, I did not eat super well. I felt tired, headachey, and rumbly in the intestinal region. Here’s what I did.

Saturday, I didn’t have any breakfast. I got up, started reading, doing dishes, basically bustling around, and just never had a chance to eat. Lunch was far too much nasty burger meat from Wendy’s. I think I’m going to have to stop doing that. It doesn’t taste good, it doesn’t make me feel good, and it’s certainly not great for me. Maybe having some meats in the fridge and freezer that take less time to prepare than it does to hit up a drive-thru would help. I’m getting close. I’ve got some wild-caught salmon burgers, my ever-present Snow Creek burgers, etc. Just gotta make the effort. After how I felt this weekend, I have the motivation for sure.

For dinner, we went to Garcia’s, a Mexican restaurant. I got the combination fajitas, so there was shrimp, steak and chicken. It was all fabulous. I ate some corn tortillas with it, and a couple of chips with salsa. Probably not the best, but less terrible than flour, at least. I really loved the peppers and onions that they cooked up with the meat, too. It was all just fantastic. I even put sour cream and cheese on it, and didn’t have any real issues there. The food was awesome and I ate probably too much of it.

Sunday morning I was supposed to get together with one of Jenna’s coworkers and talk to her about paleo, but her daughter got sick and she couldn’t make it. It was disappointing because I’d really been looking forward to it, but totally understandable. All too soon, sick kids will be my reality as well, so I’m very sympathetic.  Jenna and I still went out to eat, specifically to Mimi’s Café. I got their gluten free menu, which limited my choices to pretty much two things. I got fruit instead of the muffin, but still got my potatoes. The main dish was a sausage omelet, and it was pretty good. It also came with juice. So here I am, drinking cranberry juice, eating some potatoes, eating fruit, and eating my omelet. I didn’t have a ton of potatoes, but that is still a lot of sugar/starch to dump into my system after getting used to so little. Almost immediately thereafter, I got a headache and started feeling really sleepy. It’s weird. I haven’t had post-meal fatigue since I started this whole gig. I didn’t realize that until it happened again after a long absence, but it’s true. I also don’t really get headaches at all, and never really have. It sucked. Since I do eat eggs, sausage, fruit, and even drink some juice (naked Juice’s Green machine, which my wife buys because she always thinks she’ll drink it, even though she rarely does), the only thing that’s new in that whole mix is the potatoes. The cranberry juice was also almost certainly sweetened with HFCS or something, so that could also be the culprit. I’ve been almost completely HFCS-free as far as I know for a long time now. I’ve been avoiding it even better than I have gluten! So anyway, I don’t know for sure what caused the reaction, but after a few hours it had gone and I felt normal again.

That’s an important thing to note. My normal has changed. Post-meal fatigue, GI problems, and a lot of other things had been my normal. They weren’t life-threatening or so severe that they interfered with my daily life to any great degree, but they were an almost daily occurrence. It’s amazing what you can learn to live with and accept as being okay just because it’s common. Things that occur regularly aren’t necessarily okay, for the record. Sometimes bad things happen all the time. Unfortunately, due to the nature of human psychology, it’s only when they’re removed and then introduced that we really notice them.

That’s important for dinner. We didn’t have lunch, just a late breakfast and an early-ish dinner. Dinner was at a place near our house that we’d never been to, but always wanted to try called Mark Pi’s. Rather, it used to be called Mark Pi’s, now it’s called the Parker Asian Grill. But Mark Pi’s Chicken is still on the menu. Maybe he left, but they kept his chicken? I have no idea. Anyway, they are actually pretty good at making things gluten free, which is a positive since we went with a couple of friends who also keep gluten free. I got the Cashew Chicken, the first time I’ve had it. I don’t think I’ve ever gone to a Chinese restaurant before and not had something battered and fried, so that’s probably why. Anyway, it was tasty. Had a creamy ginger sauce or some such on it that was quite good. I also ate my whole bowl of fried rice. I also had one of my wife’s steamed pork dumplings. This is where I think my trouble began.

The weekend felt like it had been a bit of a failure already, so I thought “What’s the harm?” It turns out, that the harm was some pretty significant gross feelings in my stomach. Here’s the thing, though. People keep saying that the whole gluten removal thing is a dodge, because if you remove any food for a while and add it back in, it can make you feel gross. Let me clarify. This gross feeling was the exact same gross feeling I used to have almost every day. I know it well. I used to expect it, even. Almost every day after lunch, or after a big meal, I would get this exact feeling. Adding gluten back in isn’t making me feel sick in a new way, it’s making me feel sick in the exact same way I used to feel ALL THE TIME. I hadn’t even realized how long it had been since I’d felt it, but it is an intensely familiar feeling. I’ve overeaten paleo meals more times than I’d like to count, but I’ve never gotten that feeling, so I know it isn’t just being overfull. It’s not a constant thing, either. It sort of comes in waves, and that may relate to some other process in my body that’s reacting with it or something. I really don’t know, but I know it’s two days later and I’m still feeling it a bit sometimes.

Anyway, after experiencing the headache and fatigue from acutely over-sugaring myself and the nasty stomach issues associated with eating gluten, I’m more convinced than ever that I’ve made the right choice. I’m still not going to be perfect. I will eat some sugary things sometimes, I will probably eat more gluten at some point, and I’m going to keep enjoying my dairy on a daily basis. I’m striving for >80% compliance, and I think I’m well within that. If I start to plateau on my weight loss, or on my fitness (which I kinda need to start doing to know if I’m plateauing) then I can crank it down to see if that will help. For now, I think I’ve found a good balance that keeps me happy, healthy and getting leaner by the day.

Random Update

Of course, now that I’m no longer making three posts a day, what do I do? Make like 6 posts in a day.

Anyway.

I wanted to record some cool milestones here that I thought you guys might find interesting. For one, my wedding band is officially loose. I can pull it off without any heavy equipment or industrial lubricants. It has been too tight for that to happen pretty much since I got married about three and a half years ago.  That’s pretty big news for me, for sure.

Also, I’m officially under 230 pounds. That’s crazy. My driver’s license says 230 on it because I lied about me weight on it a year or so ago when I renewed it. I was actually pushing 240 at the time. I haven’t actually, legitimately been under 230 for probably three or four years. Maybe longer. I’ve gotten close, with application of significant effort over the course of a few months. And this time I got here by eating butter and not working out. I’ll take Option B, please.

Also also, I’m wearing some nice wool slacks today that I have never worn before. I bought them probably a year ago, brought them home and they didn’t fit. They’re a 38×34, like my jeans, but apparently they’re not so generous as the jeans people are. So they hung in my closet, tags still on them, all this time. Today was the first time I even attempted to wear them since learning that they were too small, and they fit perfectly well. Quite comfortably, actually. I’m now wondering how many of my other, older clothing I might be able to get into. I’m going to scour some closets and see. That’s kind of an awesome feeling, for sure.

I hit up Vitamin Cottage last night and about wet myself with excitement. They have literally everything I’ve been scouring Sprouts and Sunflower for. Celtic Sea Salt (the brand, not just the stuff) in several varieties. Organic Valley eggs and cream and butter. They have the macadamia oil I bought from Amazon for less than I spent. They have the Pamela’s baking mixes for a lot less than I spent on Amazon, and they have a wider variety of the mixes than I’ve seen anywhere short of Pamela’s website. They even had some chicken chipotle sausages, which I’ve been craving ever since I had some at Epcot on our vacation. I think that may have been the spark that ignited my current craving for anything chipotle-flavored, actually. Anyway, they’ve just got tons of stuff. Great prices, too. There may still be times I need to hit up Sprouts or Sunflower, or even King Soopers (which has a pretty solid selection of a lot of good foods) but I think Vitamin Cottage is going to be my go-to grocery for most stuff. So happy I stopped in!

Tom Naughton is a gentleman and a scholar

I know I’ve mentioned Tom Naughton before on here. I watched his Fat Head documentary a while back and it got me started thinking along paleo lines. Since then, I’ve re-watched it at least a few more times, and have started reading his blog and watching his other videos. I think he does an absolutely amazing job at explaining the science of nutrition in an entertaining way, and I think he does an equally amazing job at explaining science itself. That’s what this post is about, specifically. I just watched the following videos, and was blown away. Here are the links.

Science For Smart People

Big Fat Fiasco – Part 1

There is some similar content between the two presentations, and you’ll recognize some of it from Fat Head as well, but there’s enough extra info in each that isn’t anywhere else that I think they’re all worth watching. Watching these will help you to start thinking more scientifically about the science you hear about. Science For Smart People really focuses on this. It’s about bad nutrition and medical science and how to recognize it. If you aren’t really big on science, it’s a great intro. It also includes a lot of specific examples of bad science that gets peddled around as being gospel. If you don’t know what you don’t know, you’ll likely fall prey to it. It happened to me, even recently. I read about a recent study (an observational study) which showed that multivitamins were associated with some health issues in older women without specific nutritional deficiencies. Without even thinking about it, I immediately added a note to my brain that said “Multivitamins aren’t good for you.” It wasn’t even really a conscious thing. I didn’t even bother to think about the fact that maybe a young, virile man like myself might have different health needs than an older woman. It was presented as Science! and I took it as truth. Turns out it’s a bunch of hogwash. Tom actually covers that exact study and explains why it doesn’t say what we were led to believe it said.

Anyway, I won’t belabor the point anymore. Go. Watch these videos. Learn, and start thinking critically about the info you get from your preferred media sources. Thanks for reading!

Organic Eggs and Dairy

What do you think when you see “Organic” on a product? Rolling green fields, smiling animals, happy farmers and sparkly rainbows, no doubt. That’s what the people who put it on packaging want you to think. Unfortunately, that’s often not the case. But with food-labeling guidelines being what they are, how do you know which cage free eggs are from chickens that are actually cage free and which ones are from chickens that spend most of their lives in cages but are occasionally given access to a small concrete patio? Until now, you pretty much didn’t. But I found some great links through Food Renegade that I hope you’ll find as interesting as I did.

Here’s the article: Big-O Organic Eggs

Here are the actual scorecards referenced in the article. I added the one for dairy, since I’ve been wondering about it recently.

Organic Egg Scorecard

Organic Dairy Scorecard

Some of the surprising things on eggs: Nest Fresh and Eggland’s best were both rated very poorly. I had bought both of those brands before, specifically because they’re supposed to be cage free and humane. By any reasonable definition, they are not. I’ll be going with Organic Valley for the most part, I’m thinking. They got a solid rating, and they’re the only brand on the list that I recognize as being widely available in my area. Their prices aren’t bad, either. They also offer a wide range of options, like Omega 3 enriched eggs, fertilized eggs, and a load of other sort of “specialty” stuff.

I’m also going to keep using Organic Valley for my dairy products, since they scored so highly on that, too. I can get their butter, milk, cream, cream cheese, etc. at any of the stores in my area, including some big stores like King Soopers. Knowing that they treat their cows right makes me happy. I’ve been really enjoying their products, but was taking them at their word that everything was pastured and farmer-owned and humane and whatnot. Having independent verification is very cool indeed.

Also, this is another cool site I just found that I thought I would post up here. haven’t poked around much, but i like the idea at least. Onlygrassfed.com

Thanks very much for reading, and I hope this was helpful info!