Monday, December 31, 2007

Buffalo Hot Wings, Low Carb Style

Buffalo hot wings are an inexpensive, tasty snack that can work very well with a low carb diet. Wings have a good percentage of fat and protein with very little carbs...and that only comes from the sauce. Your best bet is to make them from scratch. Most premade bags of wings contain brown sugar, high fructose corn syrup, or worse yet, a flour batter. (As any true wing lover will tell you, REAL buffalo wings ARE NOT BATTERED!)

Wings can either be deep fried or oven-fried in bacon fat.

So next time wings go on sale at the local super market, buy a bunch and follow the recipes below for an awesome low carb treat!

BUFFALO HOT WINGS  (Basic steps with details listed below)
1. Cook your wings
2. Mix up your sauce
3. Place sauce and wings in a bowl and toss together
4. Eat with blue cheese dressing and celery sticks.

1. Cooking Directions
Wings always sounded so easy, yet time after time I ended up with inedible slimy yuck that only slightly resembled wings until I learned the proper cooking method. The trick is to deep fry them in small batches. They should be crispy on the outside and properly done on the inside. As you finish each batch, drain them on paper towels, then place them in a warm oven while you finish cooking the rest of the wings. If you don't have a deep fat fryer, you can use a wok or large pot....pour a couple of inches of peanut oil in the bottom. If you don't have enough oil to deep fry them, follow the oven fry direction at the end of the post.

2. Sauce RecipesHubby and I like very different flavor profiles. If a sauce contains a lot of vinegar, like a traditional sauce, all I can taste is the vinegar. I came up with a sweet & spicy variation that cuts back a little on the vinegar flavor while still delivering a zing. Choose which ever option suits your fancy.

(coats 1 dozen wing segments)
1/8 cup Louisiana Hot Sauce or Franks® Red Hot Sauce (or any hot sauce that contains peppers, vinegar, and spices. Watch for added sugars!)
1/8 cup melted butter

(coats 1 dozen wing segments)
1/4 cup Heinz One Carb, No Sugar Added Ketchup
2 Tbsp Balsamic Vinegar
1 tsp minced garlic
1-3 tsp cayenne pepper powder (adjust based on your personal preference)

3. Putting it all together
Simply place your sauce ingredients in a bowl along with the crispy hot wings and toss until coated.

4. Serve!
Put your coated wings on a plate, but don't forget the extras! Celery sticks with blue cheese dressing are the perfect companions for hot wings. The blue cheese can help cut the heat if you get carried away with the spices, and the celery adds a nice fresh crunch to things.

Oven Frying
Take a large non-stick baking pan with high sides and coat the entire bottom of the pan with a thick layer of bacon grease (or shortening, but bacon grease makes it taste better). Place in a 350ยบ oven for a few minutes until the grease melts. Add wings and cook until outside starts to get crispy. Flip and continue cooking until wings are well done.

The Zilla Awards

At the end of each year, along with New Years Resolutions, there are a bunch of awards shows, "best of" lists, and retrospectives. Who am I to fight such a popular trend? So, it is with great pride that I announce the First Annual 'Zilla Awards! The categories are not what you might typically see and will change from year to year, but what did you expect from a giant award-granting mutant lizard anyway? So here are the awards for 2007.

Winner: Gary Taubes - Good Calories Bad Calories

Anyone who can take that much science and make it readable to my ADD riddled brain is aces in my book! Hell, I read the WHOLE THING...TWICE! He takes about 1000 years of dietary research and literature and makes it logical, understandable, and :gasp: Interesting! He even manages to sound like a human in person during interviews and lectures promoting his book. Gary Taubes is one chic geek!

Winners: The Duck Squad (and many others!) from Low Carb Friends

When an online diet guru's story of losing 198 pounds in less than a year started to smell a little fishy, this group of people started digging. What they discovered is that "Kimmer" (Heidi Diaz), founder of the Kimkins diet was, in fact, an obese con artist. She was charging $59.95 to join her website so you could lose weight just like her, but the "after" photos she used were lifted from a Russian mail-order bride website. So were the photos of several other of her "success" stories. They became the DUCK SQUAD after a blogger named Ducky began posting information about the Kimkins con and Kimmer mentioned on her website that she was suspicious of anyone with a duck avatar. Soon duck images were popping up all over the place. As a result, Heidi "Kimmer" Diaz has had her assets frozen (which included a house purchased with CASH) and is the target of a lawsuit for her fraud as well as for health problems caused by following her plan (basically a twisted, starvation version of Atkins and Stillmans). Despite nay-sayers on diet message boards, the duck squad continues to watch the principle players in the Kimkins scam lest they individually or together try to launch another site and defraud more innocent people.

Winner: Jane Brody

Jane Brody is a columnist for the New York Times. She isn't exactly a big fan of the low carb lifestyle and writes often about the dangers of not eating carbs. Here is what she says about her way of eating... "What do I and my slender friends eat? Mostly -- but not exclusively -- whole grain breads and cereals; lots of vegetables, salads and fresh and dried fruits; poultry, fish, meat and dried beans and peas and skim milk. But we also eat mostly white rice and pasta, potatoes, winter squash, avocados, regular cheese, eggs, cookies and ice cream and an occasional piece of cake or pie." {more}

It is no big surprise to those of us in the low carb world that she ended up with slightly elevated cholesterol numbers (I mean seriously, white rice, pasta and potatoes are basically sugar as far as your body is concerned..and sugar triggers artery damage..and cholesterol is what REPAIRS the damage caused by the SUGAR). Even though her doctor tells her not to worry, she cuts out cheese, further limits her red meat intake, eats more low-fat products, etc... and instead of having a lower cholesterol number for all her efforts, it jumps up even higher. She then goes on statins. Is that going to help? (more)

Cardiologist Mike Eades provides the answer...
"She is obviously relieved that she’s fallen into the bosom of the ever-effective statins despite the fact that the preponderance of properly done studies have shown that statins confer no health benefits to women of any age and that women over the age of 65 (she is 65) who have high cholesterol live longer than those who have normal to low cholesterol. And she missed the studies that show that both men and women over the age of 65 who take statins have an increased incidence of cancer. So, she’s volitionally taking a drug that a) has been shown to be worthless for her, b) has been shown to cause cancer, and c) has its own list of side effects, some of them fatal. An interesting choice for a supposedly smart woman to make." (more)

So keep on trashing low carb Jane and keep taking your statins. Then we can update dictionaries to include your picture next to the word IRONY, right along side a picture of Jim Fixx, the jogging guru, who dropped dead of a heart attack...while jogging.


Winner: The American Diabetes Association

After decades of warning people about the dangers of a low carb diet, the American Diabetes Association, who until now recommended ingesting NO LESS than 130g of carbohydrate EACH DAY (the equivalent of almost 1 1/2 cups of sugar), has finally decided low carb might not kill you. No, they haven't gone as far as recommending a low carb diet, which seriously restricts sugar intake for those with a blood sugar issue, but have released the following...

"The evidence is clear that both low-carbohydrate and low-fat calorie restricted diets result in similar weight loss at one year. We're not endorsing either of these weight-loss plans over any other method of losing weight. What we want health care providers to know is that it's important for patients to choose a plan that works for them, and that the health care team support their patients' weight loss efforts and provide appropriate monitoring of patients' health." (more)

I think the evidence is clear that they are having trouble ignoring the growing evidence that low carb leads to better blood sugar management, but still have no intention of admitting they were wrong all the years they told people to be sure to eat plenty of sugar. For a bunch of individuals who have dedicated themselves to eliminating diabetes, they still have no idea what they are talking about. The scariest part is this policy revision puts them MILES ahead of the American Heart Association (which around here is now called The American Heart Attack Association).

Winner: China
Earlier this year, pets by the score were being brought in to animal hospitals with kidney problems. The FDA investigated then announced that it identified melamine in wheat and rice gluten imported from China that had been used in pet foods. A derivative of melamine, an industrial chemical utilized in plastics manufacturing, is used in fertilizers in Asia. There was an extensive pet food recall effecting several manufacturers. Factory owners in China have admitted to routinely adding melamine to pet foods to boost their nitrogen content, which makes it appear that they contain more protein that they actually do (more). While it is impossible to judge the actual number of pets killed or injured due to the contaminated pet food, one food manufacturer is now the target of 90 class action suits. (more)

One sure way to make a bunch of Americans angry is to poison their pets, but China isn't the kind of country to do anything half way. They must have decided American's weren't mad enough about their puppies and kitties being killed, so they decided to take it one step further and taint children's toys with lead and date rape drugs (more).

Lets have a big round of applause for all of our winners. Winners, if you would like to have your plaque mailed to you, just drop me a line. China, you all have to share one.

Thursday, December 27, 2007

Resolve not to get ripped off! New Year's Diet Plans

As the end of the year approaches, many start thinking about New Year's resolutions. Losing weight is a perennial favorite, and the diet industry is well aware of this. Ads for prepackaged food plans, diet pills, exercise equipment and gym memberships abound in print and on the air waves this time of year. Unfortunately, most of them will not help you lose weight, and some are an outright rip off.

Dr. Barry Groves, author of Eat Fat Get Thin and Natural Health & Weight Loss has a great understanding of the core issue. "The overweight are a ready source of income....They rely on you for a very comfortable living."

According to a CBS report in December of last year, Americans spend somewhere near $35 billion a year on weight-loss products. Yet, for all that money spent, obesity rates are not going down. Not only are people making money off of you if you are fat, they aren't doing what you paid them to you get skinny.

So when you see the latest diet, the newest exercise gadget, or the hottest new weight loss pill, pause for a minute and think about those 35 billion reasons they are being pushed on you. Below are just a few examples of how an overweight person and their money can end up being parted.

Meal Programs: Jenny Craig and Nutrisystem are two well-known examples (though they are not the only ones). For a fee, they ship you prepackaged, pre-portioned foods. The good news is they will actually send you the food if you pay for it. The bad news is that you could make the same foods for yourself for much less. Those tv ads you see for these plans? Next time one pops up, look for the following words...RESULTS NOT TYPICAL. They are there on every single skinny person shown as an example of what their diets can do. What are the typical results? More like the results for diets in general, which have an abysmal failure rate of over 95%. Instead of forking over the money for a plan like this, take a cooking class instead. Or go to the book store and pick up some low carb cook books. It will cost a lot less and you will most likely actually lose some weight.

Gyms: Gyms love New Year! This is when they get the most sign-ups, but by Spring time, up to 30% of paying members are no longer around. Of course, they are still PAYING, because a gym membership can be as hard to quit as a crack habit. Long term contracts you can't get out of even if you move, get injured, or just don't use the facilities, don't sound like a good idea to me. Add the fact that exercise has been shown to have little effect on weight loss (Good Calories, Bad Calories - Gary Taubes), gym memberships are just not worth it in my book. A local community center that has a pay as you go plan, or per class charge is a much smarter option. You can also always use the local park for free. (more)

Membership Websites: There are online sites that charge you to join to get access to their diet plans, discussion forums and recipe sites. Some charge per month while others offer a lifetime membership. The problem with these sites is you can't see what the plan is until you've already ponied up the cash to join. You have no way to evaluate the quality of the information being offered, or if the dietary advice you are getting is even medically safe or sound. In one well publicized case, a woman running a diet site claimed to have lost 198 pounds in a year, and maintained her weight loss for over 5 years. Her site offered the way to lose weight just like her if you paid $59.95. After an investigation prompted by a disgruntled business partner and upset members who were denied access to the site after paying for the "lifetime" membership, it was revealed that the diet's founder was, in fact, over 300 lbs. She had not lost 198 pounds. Her "after" photo she used on her site and in an issue of Women's World magazine was lifted from a Russian Bride website. Not only was her photo faked, several other "success" stories were fictitious, their photos also coming from Russian dating sites. (more) This diet founder is now the target of a lawsuit for her fraud as well as health problems experienced by those who followed her plan.

There is really no need to pay an upfront fee for recipes, articles or forums in the first place since these are already available for FREE. Two excellent forums are Low Carb Friends and Active Low Carb Forums. Both have an extensive collection of articles, information and personal experiences, as well as fun, helpful people who are in the same boat as you. There are also forums created by individuals like Jimmy Moore, who himself lost a lot of weight and blogs extensively about low carb eating, health and weight loss. There is addition information available from blogs and websites of Doctors like Mike & Mary Eades, authors of Protein Power, and Barry Groves, author of Natural Health and Weight Loss. While they are ultimately selling books, their free information in an education all by itself. As for recipes, RecipeZaar. com, and more have low carb recipes, or you can stop by Linda Sue's website. She has been low carb cooking for a long time and has a fantastic collection of tried and true low carb recipes.

Exercise Gadgets: Remember the thigh master? The ab roller? The stair climber? While people who buy these gadgets start off with the best of intentions, what most commonly happens is that it gets used a few times and then hidden in the basement. Pimped on tv commercials and infomercials, they usually end up in garage sales and thrift stores after gathering dust in a basement or closet. If you really believe the thing you see on tv is YOUR ANSWER to permanent weight loss, wait 6 months. You will be able to get it for less than 1/10th of the advertised price at your local Goodwill. Plus, if you really think you can stick with a regular plan, like you need for one of these products, try a walking plan. If you can't commit to taking a walk 3 times a week for a couple of months, the odds of you using an exercise gadget consistently are slim to none anyway.

Diet Pills: From Chortislim to Liposene to Hoodia, each promises outstanding results. Many often have a "money back" guarantee. How can you lose? Easy. Shipping and handling. You don't get that portion back if you return the pills. Most use cheap ground shipping and pay a discounted rate to their shippers. You pay more like $9.95-$12.95 for the shipping and handling alone. Should you return the package, they already have been paid for all of their costs (including that of the product) and have lost nothing. And since most people never bother to return the products, they profit no matter what. Besides, the pills don't address the actual causes of obesity, and are just a neat way for pill makers to get rich.

"On January 4, 2007, the Federal Trade Commission fined the marketers of four over-the-counter, non-prescription diet pills a combined $25 million for making false advertising claims"

The real reason for obesity is because of metabolic problems caused by the shift of our natural diet to one high in refined carbohydrates. Anything that does not address the underlying cause is just a waste of time of money. You don't need gadgets or pills to fix it, you need good, solid information. Trust me, nobody likes being fat, and the obese feel a desperation to lose weight for many reasons. Health, beauty, to fit in to society better...I know what it feels like. I have wasted my share of money on pills and plans, but the only thing that has worked has been a low carb way of eating. It's the only thing I have tried that addresses the cause, it's healthy, it works, and it doesn't cost a fortune. A few books and some helpful internet buddies were all I needed to drop 35 pounds, lower my blood pressure, and feel so much better overall. Sure I still have work to do, but I will not get it done by spending my money on crap and neither will you. It's time to resolve to get healthy, and not to give ripoff artists your hard earned money in the process.

Happy New Year!

Books to buy NOW. Seriously!
Protein Power by Mike & Mary Eades
Natural Health & Weight Loss by Barry Groves
Good Calories, Bad Calories by Gary Taubes

Sunday, December 23, 2007

In Defense of the Sun

The sun has taken a beating in the last century or so. Once worshiped as a deity by many cultures, most memorably by the Egyptians, it has now been relegated to the same status as cigarettes, arm pit hair and toxic waste. Women and children in particular slather sun block over every exposed piece of skin, and kids are now told to stay inside when it is too sunny out. But is this attitude justified, or even healthy for that matter?

By blocking out the sun, we are denying ourselves much needed vitamin D. Our skin creates vitamin D when exposed to ultraviolet light for 10-15 minutes a couple of times a week. Sounds simple enough, but when you intentionally cover every inch of skin with sun screen or work indoors all day, it is easy to short change yourself of this vital dietary component with disastrous results.

"Recent studies showed that, following the successful "Slip-Slop-Slap" health campaign encouraging Australians to cover up when exposed to sunlight to prevent skin cancer, an increased number of Australians and New Zealanders became vitamin D deficient.[12] Ironically, there are indications that vitamin D deficiency may lead to skin cancer.[23]"

"Earlier studies have linked vitamin D deficiency with an increased risk for several cancers. Now comes word that it may also be a major cause of unexplained muscle and bone pain.

In a study involving 150 children and adults with unexplained muscle and bone pain, almost all were found to be vitamin D deficient; many were severely deficient with extremely low levels of vitamin D in their bodies."

"Insufficient intake of vitamin D may lead to decreased physical strength, increased muscle weakness and increased risk of disability in older women and men, according to a new study published in the Journal of Gerontology: Medical Sciences."

"Low levels of vitamin D have been linked to autoimmune diseases like type 1 diabetes, infectious diseases and heart disease. Donald L. Trump, M.D., and CEO of Roswell Park Cancer Institute in Buffalo, NY, says, "Vitamin D appears to have effects that are expressed in a number of tissues, nerves, muscles, the immune system, the clotting system. Many areas of health may be impaired if vitamin D deficiency exists.""

It appears that hiding from the sun is not making us healthier. But I know what you are thinking..."What about my skin?" We've been told for years that sun exposure will cause wrinkles, age spots, dry rough skin, and possibly cancer. But is that damage the sun's fault? The answer my lie in a little experiment I did over 4 years ago involving another vitamin...vitamin C.

On a skin care forum, vitamin C's effectiveness as a skin care treatment was discussed. Vitamin C is the basis for several VERY expensive skin care lotions and serums, and news stories at the time touted Vitamin C's virtues. So I did my own experiment where I applied a vitamin C mix to one side of my face only. After 2 weeks, there was a slight but noticeable difference in my skin on the treated side. I did manage to get rid of some fine lines and make deeper wrinkles a bit shallower. The Vitamin C was helping repair damage to my skin that, according to conventional wisdom, was caused by all those sun burns and the sun exposure I received as a wild, sun-loving, half-naked child. (more - )

So what does this have to do with vitamin D you ask? Well, it ties in with an earlier blog post I made about carbohydrates and wrinkles (here). Carbohydrates destroy your skin's collagen, leaving your face saggy and wrinkled. While the sun is usually blamed for this, I am thinking it is a combination of the carbohydrate effect on collagen and one other side effect of carbohydrate increased need for vitamin C.

"The vitamin C molecule is similar in configuration to glucose and other sugars in the body....glucose and vitamin C strangers trying to flag down the same taxicab simultaneously. Because glucose is greatly favored in the contest, the uptake of vitamin C by cells is "globally inhibited" when blood sugar levels are elevated." - Good Calories, Bad Calories by Gary Taubes (page 325).

As far as I can tell, what this all means is that your body is made to spend time in the sun. It uses sunshine to create vitamin D. It also uses vitamin C to take care of any problems you might have if you get some extra sunlight. However, by changing our diets to rely primarily on carbohydrates, we have destroyed the body's ability to protect against sun damage, while at the same time creating an environment that promotes the growth of cancer cells (see previous blog post on cancer here). The sun may merely be a convenient scape goat in the skin cancer arena, much like saturated fat is unjustifiably blamed for heart disease.

It may take some time for actual facts on this subject to come to light. Considering the unwillingness of authorities to believe carbs might be bad for you, I wont be holding my breath waiting for the mainstream to accept sun exposure as a good thing. I, however, think I do need to get some more sun. Not only because I have the complexion of a cadaver, but because I would like to keep my health well in to old age. So if you want to talk to me further about this topic, stop by my place. I'll be in the back yard sunbathing naked (just be careful of the glare).

Monday, December 17, 2007

Horse Sense

As I search for new information about diet and the effects of starches and grains on the human body, it is amazing how many correlations there are in the animal kingdom. My own experience that a low carbohydrate diet is helpful in treating feline obesity is a good example. By removing grains from her diet, my round little furball, Xena, has lost 8 pounds in only a few of months. Cats who are diabetic are often placed on low carbohydrate diets to reduce insulin spikes and blood sugar levels. People have also found a low carbohydrate diet helpful when dealing with obesity and chronic disease. Yet I was surprised to discover that grains can also create problems for horses, including behavior problems.

"Increased amounts of grain can lead to some horses becoming hyperactive because they are able to quickly digest and absorb the starch in the grain which causes a responding “spike” in their glucose and hormone levels that cause them to become over-sensitive."

"Horses will react in two ways when they have too much energy in their diet. They will either become fat and there won’t be much difference in their attitude or behavior, or the horse will become hyperactive and burn off the extra energy through nervous behavior."

Other issues caused by excessive grains in horses include;

* Spazmotic colic - more
* Behavior problems - more
* Hyperactivity - more
* Laminitis (foot inflammation and damage) - more
* Osteochondrosis (cartilage/joint/growth plate malformations) - more

Of the three species of mammal discussed in this blog post, omnivorous human, carnivorous feline, and the ungulate horse, the one you would think that would be most capable of ingesting carbohydrates is the horse. After all, they evolved to spend their days grazing on grasses, and grains are basically grass seeds. Instead there is case after case of grains causing problems from behavioral to developmental.

The modern use of easily digestible sugars and starches has caused plenty of problems for humans as evidenced by our recent "obesity epidemic" and the rise in cases of type 2 diabetes. Children are being diagnosed with ADD and AD/HD at an alarming rate. Our pets, like my cat, are also suffering from obesity, cancer and behavior issues. Now I discover that horses have the same problems stemming from the same cause; Too many easily digestible sugars, starches and carbohydrates effecting health, causing obesity and promoting chronic diseases. In the case of humans, felines and equines, all have deviated from the diets they evolved to eat with disastrous results and grains appear to be the common factor.

Horses evolved to forage, grazing from 16-22 hours a day. They eat grasses and hay. Any starches or sugars they might ingest were infrequent and digested slowly. They weren't meant to have a quick flood glucose that you get from starches and grains. True, the ability of individuals within each species to process carbohydrates will differ. We all know that skinny friend or relative that lives of bread, pasta, and rice and doesn't gain a pound, and the same happens with our pets. While we tend to focus on weight, the behavior factor also has to be considered. I can't help but wonder if the problem people are having with their horses are the same problems some have with their kids.

If you take a kid and give them excess carbohydrates (like the recommended breakfast of juice, toast, milk and cereal), then send them off to school and make them sit still in a chair, is it a surprise that one of two things happen...they have behavioral outbursts or they get fat? How is this much different than feeding a horse carbs then keeping it locked in a stall? Is it any wonder that it would either get fat or get twitchy?

People in the equine world seem to have little difficulty figuring out that grains are a problem, yet there is still much resistance to the idea that carbohydrates are an issue for people and pets too. If the non-meat eating critter can't handle grains, what sense does it make for us to try...especially at the level recommended by the government, nutritionists and other health professionals? This disconnect really blows my tiny little mind, and instead of listening to the "experts", I guess I will just have to use some horse sense.

Friday, December 14, 2007

I Love Jennifer Love Hewitt

Actress Jennifer Love Hewitt (more), best known as the star of "Ghost Whisperer" and "I Know What You Did Last Summer" has grabbed headlines lately. No, she isn't going to rehab, she didn't dangle a kid off a balcony, she wasn't arrested for drugs or a dui, nor did she shoot someone in a nightclub. She, apparently, committed the unforgivable sin of turning in to a woman.
Photo 1. Photo 2.

Once a skinny little waif, she was recently photographed in a bikini, then gossip blogs and columns decided she was fat. At a size 2. True, she no longer looks like your typical teenage starlet, but she is no longer a teenager. She is a 28 year-old WOMAN. W-O-M-A-N. Women have curves. They have thighs bigger than a broom stick handle and they have a soft, slightly rounded stomaches. They do NOT look like adolescent boys with water balloons stuffed under their shirts. And they do not have perfectly smooth skin unless they were genetically blessed or paid a lot of money to look like they were. You seriously have to wonder about people who's ideal woman looks like a sexualized child or an unfortunate famine victim.

According to IMDB, she is 5' 2½". With her clothing size and height, that makes her the same size as my friend Jo. Jo and I often shop together and we both have trouble finding clothes, but for very different reasons. Me because I am so freaking tall, and her because clothing designers think that if you are a size 2 petite, you don't have curves. While the length may be right, and the waist may fit, nothing seems to fit her womanly thighs or feminine hips. She isn't "fat" either. She is fit, toned, and has a physically demanding job. Having seen her in a swim suit, she has little bumps, wrinkles and flaws too. She is NORMAL. From the photos of Jennifer Love Hewitt posted on the web, she looks normal too. Maybe her suit did not fit her curves very well, but the girl is not fat.

I think people are so used to retouched photos they honestly have no idea what a real woman looks like anymore. These unrealistic ideals are a good indication that more people need to stop basing their lives on fashion magazine. Or maybe they need to put down the Playboys and come out of their parent's basement for a change of pace.

Unlike some, Jennifer did not check herself in to an expensive spa or begin some crazy starvation diet after receiving these unflattering comments. She fought back.

She posted on her website, "A size 2 is not fat! Nor will it ever be. And being a size 0 doesn't make you beautiful."

She goes on to say, "To all girls with butts, boobs, hips and a waist, put on a bikini -- put it on and stay strong."

Sounds good to me. As for my involvement in this, I don't know Jennifer Love Hewitt from a ham sandwich and Ghost Whisperer is a stupid show. But I did think she was damn funny in the movie "Heartbreakers". She is also cute as a button. Now I can add spunky to the list. I am liking her more everyday.

Instead of listening to idiots who can't tell the difference between real life and fantasy, I will listen to the new song by Mary J. Blige and send positive vibes to Jennifer next time I get down on myself for being a size 16.

"Let em get mad
They gonna hate anyway
Don't you get that?
Doesn't matter if you're going on with their plan
They'll never be happy
Cause they're not happy with themselves

Na na work what you got"

Saturated Fat - The Truth is Coming Out

Guest Commentary from Captain Capitalist

The truth is finally coming out on saturated fats and fats in general. For decades we've been told that fat makes you fat. This conclusion was based on incomplete, inaccurate studies and bad guesses.

In truth, the fat you eat is not the fat you store. Your body breaks down everything you eat and creates different types of fuel based on your eating habits. The fact is you'll create and store more fat if you eat a lot of carbohydrates. Carbohydrates are essential to the fat creation and storage process.

A diet with an ample portion of fat will actually make you feel fuller longer, and if you don't compliment it with lots of carbs, it wont "stick to your ribs".

So how does so much bad information stay with us for so long? It happens in every field from nutrition to rocket science. Generally, if you're new to a field and want to establish yourself as an expert, you want to meet with the approval of other, already established experts. Consequently you tend to parrot what they say and believe. Voicing agreement with generally accepted views and going along with and expanding on the explanation, however convoluted, is seen as a means of demonstrating understanding of the issue. It's a "go along to get ahead" mentality that perpetuates misinformation.

There's no substitute for objective reasoning. If you want to get to the truth, seek information, analyze it critically. How was it collected? Did the author properly connect cause and effect? Are the premises sound? If you really want to improve your quality of life you have to make healthy choices, in nutrition as well as information processing.

Wednesday, December 12, 2007

Fats good inside and out

We've been fed a lot of lousy advice about fats and oils. We were told they made you gain weight, clogged your arteries, gave you heart attacks, and turned you in to a newt (ok, the newt line was sarcasm, but you catch my meaning). We now know that all fats are not bad, and most of what we were told was load of hooey. Not only do fats satisfy your appetite and provide your body with essential fatty acids, healthy fats like olive oil, coconut oil, almond oil and more aid vitamin absorption, weight loss, and blood sugar stabilization. On top of that, natural, unrefined oils can help on the OUTSIDE of your body as well.

If you have ever had a cold, you know how tender and raw your nose can get after you blow it a few million times. Your skin gets chapped, it hurts, so you put lotion on it. Then the screaming starts. Commercial lotions contain chemicals that cause a nasty burning feeling. They also have emulsifiers so your lotion often contains more water than oils anyway. When you use a lotion comprised of mostly water, all you end up doing is providing very temporary relief to your skin (once you stop screaming) while chapping it more...ensuring you will need more lotion. While this makes for hefty profits if you are a lotion manufacture, it is just annoying and counterproductive if you are a consumer. Skip the chemicals, additives and PAIN. Simply use those same healthy oils you eat to actually get some relief and healing.

NOTE: Natural oils will feel and absorb differently than commercial moisturizers so you apply them a little differently. Use a small amount at first and rub gently while the oil absorbs. Afterwards, take a soft towel and gently buff off any excess.

SWEET ALMOND OIL: This is the same stuff you buy at the grocery store, but it is also used by therapists as a massage oil. The chemical composition of sweet almond oil is quite close to the natural oils in human skin. This makes it a fantastic moisturizer for kids as well as adults*. It is an excellent alternative to chemical ladened baby oil and wont clog your pores. Use on chapped skin (like your sore nose) or as an all over after-shower moisturizer. It WILL NOT sting! If you don't like how it feels on your skin, you can still use it for cooking.

VIRGIN COCONUT OIL: My favorite for chapped lips! When you take it out of the jar, it will most likely be solid (unless it is Summer or your house is really warm). Just break off a tiny piece and smooth over your sore lips. I put some in a little screw top container I picked up at the dollar store. Reapply as often as nasty chemical taste to worry about.

OLIVE OIL: It's not just for salads! Olive oil is also a great moisturizer. It is also gentle and was used as the original base for castile soap. I have noticed it can clog facial pores slightly, but it is an excellent option for hands, rough elbows, knees and feet.

AVOCADO OIL: Very similar to olive oil, but tends to absorb better. It is, however, harder to find an usually more expensive.

PALM OIL: Even more than coconut oil, it is solid at room temperature. Works great on rough feet and elbows...when you aren't using it as shortening anyway. This is well suited for overnight foot treatment. Apply to rough, cracked feet and then put on a pair of old socks you don't mind getting oily. Your feet will love you in the morning.

When I am using oils on my skin, I try to use the same guidelines for the outside as the unrefined as possible and with little or no added chemicals. The double duty aspect of being able to use it for cooking also appeals to my practical side. Also, think about the typical price you pay for fancy lotions and creams. They are mostly water anyway! Using real oils can end up saving you money.

This is just a small sampling of what is available. There are plenty of fats and oils you can use to nourish the outside of your body as much as the inside. What you end up using is most likely going to depend on what you can find in your area for the best price. If you are ordering over the internet, be sure to educate yourself about the different types of oils available...some work great on skin, but are NOT edible, like jojoba oil. Or, in the case of shea butter, it IS edible, but is most often sold in a cosmetics grade, not a food grade.

Here are some interesting sources of information if you want to learn more.

* Beware if you have nut allergies

Thursday, December 6, 2007

O.P.C. (other people's cooties)

As the weather turns cold and people spend more time indoors, the chances of catching and/or passing along any number of germs increases. There are obvious, well-known measures you can take to try and avoid catching these nasty cooties...

* Wash your damn hands! Most colds are transmitted from touching someone or something infested with the cold virus and then touching your face. Plain soap & water is fine. Just wash them often.

* Don't touch! The thing you learned in kindergarten is correct. Other people have cooties! Don't shake hands (see above). This common practice is a sure way to get a whole office sick. (I guess you could "air kiss" and pretend you're European if social situations dictate some type of formalized greeting.)

* Clean up your mess! Be sure to wipe down counter tops, door knobs, sinks, etc... Cold germs can live on surfaces for hours just waiting for you to happen by. Be extra careful of shopping cart handles, ATM pads and other public areas.

* Be selfish! Don't share drinking glasses or utensils with family, coworkers or friends. (This is a problem at my house. Whenever I pour myself a drink, either hubby, the kids or the cats find it necessary to taste my drink in case it is something they think they need more than me! Note to self: Make fake PRUNE JUICE labels to place on all of my drink containers.)

A less well known cold and flu fighting technique is avoiding sugar. That's right. SUGAR KNOCKS OUT YOUR IMMUNE SYSTEM! A can of Coke or a Twix bar does more than make you fat and rot your teeth. It can actually make you sick.

"Eating or drinking 100 grams (8 tbsp.) of sugar, the equivalent of one 12-ounce can of soda, can reduce the ability of white blood cells to kill germs by forty percent. The immune-suppressing effect of sugar starts less than thirty minutes after ingestion and may last for five hours."

" adults, cell mediated immunity is significantly depressed after sugar ingestion (75 grams). A 100g portion of sugar can significantly reduce the capacity of white blood cells to engulf bacteria. Maximum immune suppression occurs one to two hours after ingestion and remains suppressed for up to five hours after feeding."

Since finances make it impossible for most of us to hide on a desert island away from all the germ infested people, following these tips should help get you through. There is no guarantee you wont get sick, but you seriously do NOT need to put yourself at a disadvantage by indulging in sugar, starches or other carbohydrates. Low carb eating is a great way to take care of yourself since you are forced to expose yourself to other people's cooties. If you do run in to me during this cold and flu season, just don't get offended if I wont shake your hand, it's not personal (and can't have a sip of my diet soda).

Sunday, December 2, 2007

By the Numbers

After my initial quick weight loss, I have been stalling. Sure it is frustrating, but there is something that helps me keep things in perspective and stick to a low carb way of measurements. I was actually smart enough to write them down when I first decided that low carb eating might be the way for me (I have my moments). Even now, with no recent weight loss showing up on the scales, my body is changing for the better and I am losing inches.

I have posted my randomly taken measurements so you can see for yourself how a low carb eating plan can be of benefit. Keep in mind I am a 6' tall giant amazon. Your measurements will vary. The actually numbers aren't what matters so much, but the nice downward trend. :D

Dana Carpender's Carb Gram Counter: Usable Carbs, Protein, and Calories - Plus Tips on Eating Low-Carb