Saturday, November 15, 2008

Schedule troubles

I was teaching a group on the Path program a couple of nights ago. One of the participants, who is really doing well, nevertheless has a wicked schedule.

She's always moving from one asdpect of her job to another, with only a 10 minute break -- where she can actually sit down and eat -- throughout the day.

Again, she's doing great, but is having trouble eating well because of her crazy work schedule. She either has to eat on her feet, or eat too fast!

When I talk about our culture of health, whose "Class-5 Rapids" current swooshes us away from health, this is a prime example.

I believe we don't have to live this way ... To be this way ... As a culture.

What would it be like if we had employers who allowed a schedule in which these folks could just sit for a second. Breathe. And avoid the harried consumption that leads to weight and health problems?

That would be an environment that favored optimal health -- and how would our teachers like that?? Our nurses?? From one end to the other, this single change would facilitate a vast improvement in our culture of health.

Genetically Modified ANIMALS for Food

You're never going to believe this (here's the article).

You know how genetic engineers can take recombinant DNA of one plant, and splice it into another, and give us GMO corn?

And, weirder still, they can even put fish genes into our corn (and do!!).

Now there are hopes among some to have GMAs -- Genetically Modified Animals. I have seen animals that are made to glow under a UV lamp, animals with multiple heads or eyes.

All things seem to be possible with a little DNA here or there.

The FDA claims that GE animals include food-use animals with new traits such as improved nutrition, faster growth or lower emission levels of environmentally harmful substances such as phosphate in their manure.

In September, the FDA released draft guidelines on the regulation of Genetically Altered animals in the marketplace. As of now, the agency is seeking public comments on the guidance until the 18 of November.

Friday, November 14, 2008

Diet and Fat

We have to confront one of our must cherished notions about weight and health -- regarding the dietary demon of fat.

This article, published in the American Journal of Clinical Nutrition (reviewed in this article), helps to unlinking fat in the diet from fat on your hips.

Researchers followed 125 men and women, ages 18 to 35, who had lost more than 8 percent of their initial body weight and were trying to keep it off.

They assigned them randomly to follow one of three diets based on fat content:
  1. HIGH 35-45 % of total calories were from fat
  2. LOW 20 - 30 % of total calories were from fat
  3. MEDIUM 35 % of total calories were from fat
Every group failed to keep from regaining their weight after 6 months.
  1. HIGH gained back 5.5 lbs
  2. LOW gained back 4.8 lbs
  3. MEDIUM gained back 8.3 lbs
In other words, increased fat in the diet does not equal increased fat on the hips.

But what about risk factors for diabetes such as blood sugar levels and insulin? The diet that allowed 35 percent to 45 percent of total intake as fat, with most of it olive oil-type fat, seemed to improve glucose compared to a normal Western diet, according to the study author.

What was not assessed here was the overall consumption -- how much food were these people eating. Obviously, since they were gaining back their previously lost weight, they are overconsuming their food.

The reason we are so confused by fat and its (lack of) effect in weight control is that we don't focus on behavioral habits as much as the macromolecular breakdown of the meal (what percent of diet came in the form of fats).

Thursday, November 13, 2008

Dose-up the Children

Our culture of health seems to adopt a "give pills first, ask questions later" mentality.

In other words, treat with a product (drugs), rather than with a process (behavioral therapy).

I know, I know, this is not universally true. However, it is alarmingly common.

For example, this article reports on data from the November issue Journal Pediatrics, showing that medication use among children across the United States is dramatically increasing.

Increased prescribing may be due in large part to increasing obesity among children and the health consequences of that trend, researchers say.

"Across all the medication classes we looked at, the rates of use increased -- sometimes dramatically," said study co-author Dr. Donna Halloran, an assistant professor of pediatrics at St. Louis University. "This is particularly concerning, given that several of these diagnoses have been linked to obesity -- diabetes, hypertension, depression, asthma."

Medication is important, obviously, but perhaps as a last resort, not a one-size-fits-all first pass. Handing out Ritalin, or anti-depressants that can produce suicidal tendencies, or any other pharmaceutical -- particularly to our children -- seems risky and invasive.

The onus, unfortunately, is on us. We have to be the ones to firmly request alternatives ... non-invasive procedures for ourselves and our children because, as you can see by these numbers, pills are being thrown at our kids at an alarmingly increased rate.

Wednesday, November 12, 2008

Concert Waif

I'm at the idina Menzel concert. The person selling the T-shirts for the warmup act is a waif.

Nice girl, but a complete bird, with wrists like pencils. you just hope that she's that way because of the genetic cards she was dealt, and not because she's trying.

Sent via BlackBerry by AT&T

Foods To Help Lower Blood Pressure

High blood pressure is not just about the sodium anymore. The factor you can increase … to decrease … your blood pressure, turns out to be foods with Potassium.

Blood pressure is increased by eating more Sodium (please note: the principle source of Sodium in the U.S. diet comes from processed food products, NOT the salt in your kitchen).

Click here to read the article:

The following list include HIGH potassium foods (more than 225 milligrams per 1/2 c. serving), which would also be beneficial to athletes or to others who incur heavy fluid loss.

All meats, poultry and fish are high in potassium.
Apricots (fresh more so than canned)
Lima beans
Oranges and orange juice
Potatoes (can be reduced to moderate by soaking peeled, sliced potatoes overnight before cooking)
Vegetable juice
Winter squash

Monday, November 10, 2008

Faking it

The Dow Chemical company wants to sell you a new fat blocker as a way to allow you to eat unhealthy foods.

Forget that the last fat blocker on the market was Olestra, which had to have a warning label attached to it because of the nasty greasy stool leaking it caused.

Forget that your body needs healthy fats to be healthy.

Forget that the absorption of vitamins such as the carotenoids you get from pumpkin, carrot, and squash -- which help reduce the incidence to breast cancer -- is assisted by those healthy fats.

According to this report, the product "Satisfit" has undergone internal trials at Dow Chemical (still unpublished) focusing on hamsters fed a diet of hamburgers, fries and pound cake. The researchers claim that the animals gained 7% less weight than those on a control diet.

If we ate real food, and did so in control, Dow Chemical would have to focus on making chemicals to strip wax from your floor, rather than applying those chemicals as a workaround for bad eating habits.

If we ate real food, and did so in control, those healthy fats would not be a liability for your weight or your health in the first place.

Thus ... if we ate real food, and did so in control, we could head off our weight and health problems before they happen, rather than applying designer drugs created to "trick" your body into not absorbing the fats, and trick your mind into thinking its okay to eat unhealthy food.

Maybe that should be our focus.

Read the entire article here.

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