Archive Page 2

25
Sep
11

Caveman eating goes mainstream!

A new type of food is not quite trendy yet, but starting to show up.  A Mission taqueria gets busted, has to use only American crickets in its tacos from now on.  An upscale restaurant in Sausalito has a multicourse dinner pairing “finely sourced and exquisitely cooked edible bugs” with a tequila tasting.  Mealworm stirfries, moth larvae tacos, chili and garlic locusts, chocolate covered scorpions.    This is likely closer to what cavemen ate,  not corn-fed CAFO-raised cheap muscle meat wrapped in styrofoam and plastic, with a vegetable thrown in here and there.    Some claim the fruit is different, didn’t used to be sweet, that’s been intentionally bred in by us. Likely, similar to how cows were domesticated from wild ox 8 to 10,000 years ago.  Fruit is sweeter, vegetables less bitter, animals selectively bred from the original, wild animals, to things such freaks of nature (or human selective breeding) as the commonly eaten turkey.      But, I don’t pretend to know what our ancestors ate, as I am no anthropologist, nor are most of the people who claim to know what “grok” ate, which in their romanticized version, contained little starch, no grain, little fruit, small amounts of vegetables.  I doubt it, they likely ate roots and all the fruit they could find.  And insects.  Grubs.  And the ones who couldn’t get fruits/veggies, got to eat nice things like eyeballs for vitamin C, like the Inuit, who many use to show that there’s no need for plant food.  There’s a taqueria open late near my old house that sells eyeball tacos.  OK, paleos, get sustainable, get real.  Insects and eyeballs.  Or else, just admit that you’re biased and believing in “paleo” because you like meat, okay?  Geez.

And no, I’m not a part of any vegan conspiracy.  I’m not even vegetarian.  I’m not into low-fat.  I don’t eat tons of processed carbs.  There’s a whole spectra between these groups, not everyone falls into such strict categories.  Why does everyone want to be so bloody extreme?

tarantula quiche?

12
Sep
11

Food: Dogma, reward, and moderation

While sick this weekend, I entertained myself by reading about the Ancestral Health Symposium that took place at UCLA recently.  It seems to be Weston Pricers, low-carbers, and “paleo” eaters, many of whom seem to think the root of all bad health is fructose (including fruit), and/or gluten, and/or soy, and/or omega-6 mono-fats, and/or fiber, etc.  I found out about it from a blog I read regularly, written  by Stephen Guyenet, who has lately been writing about a theory of obesity, regarding food reward.  I don’t fully understand it, but don’t completely disagree, and the more I think about it, the more sense it makes.   Food reward isn’t quite the same thing as taste or palatability, but seems to relate more to hyperpalatability and maybe dopamine receptors, foods that override satiety signals for whatever reason.  I’ll have to go read it again to try to understand it fully, but I’ve been thinking if it relates to me.  For example, why will I overeat some stuff, and not other stuff?  It’s not taste.  I like spicy Korean ramen, will add LOTS of veggies and a few shrimps, cilantro, and I’ll eat the whole thing, which is two bowls.   Soup I made yesterday, lots of veggies, shell beans, ham, ww orzo, I can barely finish one bowl.  Is it the ramen noodles?  Personally, I think it’s the MSG, I’m a big umame fan.  Similar to how I eat whole grain bread with my egg/cheese/bacon/spinch/mushroom, I won’t eat more than one.  If I ate white bread, I could probably eat two.  Same with pasta, I’ll never overeat whole wheat pasta, even with piles of cheese.   These examples could just be due to fiber, not reward, I’ll have to go read the series again (ugh).

Anyway, Gary Taubes and his acolytes don’t seem to like the theory too much, deviates too far from “carbs cause insulin spikes cause obesity” which is apparently the one and ONLY cause of obesity, despite billions who eat white rice or other starch based diets, and aren’t fat.   As a scientist, I am offended by GT**, and his cherry picking, conclusion jumping, tunnel vision, not to mention the arrogant attitude.  I could go on, but I’ll just say I don’t like evangelism of any sort, religious, nutritious, political, anything.  I’m much into the gray, not comfy with black/white or extreme thinking.  (**In all fairness, I will give him credit for leading me away from the idea that low-fat was a good thing, so thanks for that)

Which brings me to another misunderstood concept, that of moderation.  Obviously, moderation is subjective, but many don’t do it at all.  Overheard at party, some guy talking to my ex-landlord’s girlfriend–“Moderation is a glass of wine every other day or three, not a bottle per night”.  Not to her, apparently.  At a dinner party about a month ago, sitting at a table of about 10, fixed price meal (expensive, small portions, my new kinda restaurant but should be tasty), dessert time, and the chocolate cake is mediocre.  I take a bite, decide it’s not worth the calories, put down my fork.  The very skinny woman (of course) is surprised, so I tell her I used to be fat, I can’t eat cake often, and this one isn’t tasty enough to bother.  She looks at me like I just picked my nose and ate it, says she can’t imagine dinner without dessert.  The guy next to me asks her if she’s serious, really does she eats dessert every night, and she says most meals, doesn’t everybody?  It seems most of us eat it once/week or two.  Ieat chocolate cake maybe once a month, and usually I try to split it.  The skinny woman thinks that’s outrageous.  I eat fried chicken maybe 3 times/year, pizza every week or two, usually that I make myself (ww dough, I may overeat it a little but not like pizzeria pizza), at least a little white sugar and flour nearly every day, that’s how I do moderation, though not everyone will agree.

My weight has been stable now for about a year, settled about 55 pounds less than my highest weight.  I would still like to lose more, and I think I know how I can do that now.  In last post, I was wondering if I overcompensate for exercise by eating too much, and I do.  It’s not because it makes me hungry, it’s mostly because I think I should eat more so I don’t bonk in kickboxing class, or justification for a hard workout and being hungry afterwards.  When I don’t go to the gym, I don’t eat until I’m hungry, which isn’t very often.   My maintenance level is supposedly 2200 kcal/day, and I’m probably a few hundred cal below if I don’t go to gym.  Preventative, or prophylactic eating, if you will.    So, no more 1000 cal burritos after the gym on Monday nights, I’ll just save that for Saturday afternoon, if I don’t have dinner plans, as I won’t get hungry again, except for maybe some fruit before bed.

I read somewhere that the studies that saw exercise doesn’t help weight loss are based on 250 kcal, maybe what a person can burn in an hour’s moderately paced, flat walk.  I do 3 cardio classes, 3 strengh training classes, 1 yoga class in a normal week (three sessions-not convenient to get to).   I approximate I burn 2500-3000 extra/week, just from the gym, not including biking/walking/shlepping up the stairs all day.  I think it helps me, or at least enables me to eat without uncomfortable restraint, not to mention serious mental/emotional benefits.  I’m not going to give up my cardio classes, I’m just not going to eat extra (unless I’m truly hungry).    I think this, and really limiting my alcohol (sorry, boyfriend, get used to it), will enable me to lose this last stubborn 10 (2o?) pounds.

Kind of a random post, but random thoughts have been brewing.  Those Weston Pricers and their “neolithic agents of disease” make me want to go eat some ice cream out of spite, but I don’t have any and would prefer some watermelon, thus disproving reward theory, just me and my n=1 experience!  Wait, it doesn’t work like that?  What?!?!

someone has a sense of humor!

05
Jul
11

Pool parties!

A terrifying concept, at least for all of my adult years.  But I went to two this weekend, even had a bathing suit that fit, it was fine.   This was an accomplishment for me, a bit scary, but it really was okay.  I still put on a sundress if I’m out of the pool for a while, but it’s better than the long t-shirt that I used to wear as a teenager.  Most of my adult life I’ve lived in San Francisco, which is not swimming-friendly, but an hour in any direction can get very hot.  I overate, as I always tend to do, when there’s tasty not-so-healthy food around and I am drinking.  I’ve learned to accept this as my reality, and rather than fight it, I just yield to it, try not to overdo it, and compensate by eating a bit more cautiously before and after.  It wasn’t all that bad, being that there were no sweets- at all!  What’s WRONG with these people.   My digestive system is tired, as is the rest of me. Tonight it’ll be a salad (mostly from my garden), cottage cheese, and ear of corn, which doesn’t sound awesome, but is.   I like simple meals on hot evenings.  When it gets cool enough, I’ll make some roasted roots and ham and collards to eat for lunch for the rest of the week.

Hope everyone had a great holiday (4th of July, or Canada Day, or whatever you may or may not celebrate).

16
Jun
11

Why am I losing weight now?

My work environment has changed.  We moved buildings.  Now, when I step off the shuttle, instead of being 20 steps from my desk, I’m about 100 steps, plus a flight of stairs.  I climb this flight of stairs probably six times a day.  My lab is about 50 steps away, instead of 10.  Instead of everything I need being in the lab, it’s not scattered all over, and I spend a significant amount of time finding reagents and glassware, walking back and forth from the fridge (no food!) in a different lab, instruments in yet another lab, etc.  Also, the job no longer does Costco runs, someone else is in charge of the food.  No more goldfish crackers, cookies, chips, bread, string cheese.    And while, yes, there is such a thing as willpower, it’s not a surefire thing, especially when things get stressful, or I’m overly hungry.  Now, snacks are hard-boiled eggs, wild rice salad, chickpea salads, fruit, nasty granola bars (really have to be hungry for to gag down one of these),  overly sweet low-fat yogurt, which I would never be hungry enough to eat.   There’s a soup and salad and sandwich bar, and “healthy” entrees, though I almost always bring my own lunch.*

My New Year’s Resolution this year was to prepare most of my own food.  I’ve been quite successful at it.  I still eat out 3-4 times a week, usually due to social occasions, and an almost weekly burrito, but it is much better than the almost every meal that it used to be.  I’ve got a new half year resolution, to get serious about strength training.  Yes, I use the small weights, but even they’re not getting much easier, and I can barely do all the reps.  So I’m pushing a little harder, not just half-assedly going through the motions.  I even do hard yoga on occasion, not just the stretchy stuff.    It makes me feel really good, though I don’t always enjoy it at the time.

There was a few weeks where I had no car.  Even my bike was out of commission for almost a week, and I was certainly feeling the lack of gym in my life, though I still had plenty of exercise, being that I had to walk everywhere (2.2 miles each way to the shuttle to work), grocery store, farmers market, etc.  So, yes, I admit, I am an addict, I crave the endorphins/dopamine/serotonin/whatever it might be that strenuous exercise gives me.   Not like I crave cigarettes, but certainly more than anything else I’ve encountered to this day.

I’m feeling okay about things.  I’d still like to lose another 10 pounds, which is what I weighed about a year ago, and I’m getting there slowly.   There’s nothing ecstatic about losing a pound, maybe two, per month, but that seems to be my current pace.   I hate to say, but I think I lost weight faster when I wasn’t doing so much gym, though I hate the whole idea of that.  Am I overcompensating with my eating?  I know sometimes I eat just so I don’t bonk at the gym, even if I’m not hungry.  I’m going to look at this over the next few weeks, though I don’t want to cut my gym too much.  Endorphins rule!

I am procrastinating packing for a camping trip, cleaning my apartment.  Feeling disgruntled.  It took me three tries to get the password right for this blog.  I will have to think on that, too.

*My pizza consumption has dropped considerably, as it’s just not around at work too often.  I still like it, still eat it, but levels are way down.

13
Apr
11

I guess I should say something

I can’t explain completely why I’m not into this blog anymore.  It took a few tries to remember my password.  I’m not really inspired with the weight loss battle so much anymore.  I’m not sure if I can call it maintenance, as I seem to be gaining about a pound per month.  Or was, I’ve been stable for a few months.  I’m not happy at a BMI of 27, but I’m figuring it out, still going to the gym, occasional hikes, biking to work shuttle, etc.  Maybe I should look at it another way, my weight is surprisingly good considering I all but eat ad-libitum.    But my regular eating isn’t the problem, it’s the crap at work, restraint only goes so far.  Cookies, pizza, bread/cheese, all stuff I’m not looking for, but every once in a while, I eat anyway.  We just moved buildings, there should be much less of that stuff now.  And I work on the second floor, have meetings on the third, and walk up and down the stairs, and back to our old building frequently, so there’s a lot more NEAT (non-exercise activity thermogenesis – moving not for the intent of exercise).  Still, the food thing is hard, in the long run.  It’s much easier for me to skip meals, especially dinner, than be strict with the food.  I have to find a level of restraint that works, but won’t stress me out.  There’s no sense in doing anything that I can’t do long-term, especially since I recognize that it’s only going to get harder, as I get older.

It makes me uncomfortable sometimes to read some of the diet blogs, I sincerely believe that your body will adust to what you do to it, to a great extent.  I don’t want to be stuck eating 1200 kcals/day for the rest of my life, or no carbs, or no fat, or no sugar, or anything like that.  Just not going to happen.  If I was a betting woman, I’d estimate I average about 2500/day now, which is too much, even for as much as I exericse.

I’ll get there.  I’m not giving up, I’m just more focused on fixing my mind, which is a way bigger problem.  BTW, congratulate me, I got a job, with benefits and all, first health insurance in almost a decade.  I’m curious to check blood pressure, blood sugar, cholesterol, other things.  I think I’m healthy, I exercise often, sometimes intensely, and I eat my 5+ servings of fruits/veggies most days.    I have some unhealthy behaviors, along with my weakness for cheese and bacon, that I would also like to get a grip on.

Well, don’t really know if anybody is even reading this, but if you are, hope you’re having a great day!

Greetings from Argentina!

24
Dec
10

Am I too fat to go?

I’m leaving for Buenos Aires, where supposedly they don’t sell any clothes larger than US 8.   I’m currently size 8/10, all I can think of is that I am NOT shopping, because I’m going to vomit if I try and everything is just a little tight.  Same as it’s always been.   They don’t approve of overweight down there.  Just like most of my gym classes, I’ll be huge in comparison.  Actually, as the New Year gets close, new people are showing up, most still thin, but occasionally bigger than me.

Hopefully a diet of steak, wine, and no sleep will help lose weight?  All I can think about is how am I going to not smoke cigarettes.  So not interested in the food, completely looking for a ciggie excuse.  Damn, I’m an idiot.

19
Dec
10

Not much to say

Life is going okay.   Still working, dating, exercising, eating.    I don’t really feel like I have much to say about weight these days.  I started tracking my weight, and I’ve gained 2 pounds in the last 3 months.  I haven’t lost weight in almost a year, since I quit smoking.   I think that really sucks.  But I enjoy my gym, even if I’m the fattest one there at size 10.    I’m most interested in fixing myself psychologically, which is very different than losing weight.

Maybe I’ll feel like writing more soon.  I’m off to Argentina in a few days.  Oh, and that laundromat that gives me the creeps had a drive-by a month or so back, 8:45 a.m!   One dead, one injured.  I wonder if sugar was illegal, would people be killing each other for it?   Something to think about for those of you who think sugar = crack/heroin/meth.




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