Friday, November 30, 2007
"When you see this distinctive symbol on a product, you'll instantly know the food has been screened and proven to meet the American Heart Association's certification criteria to be low in saturated fat and cholesterol for healthy people over age 2."
This along with the American Heart Association red heart with a white check mark are prominently featured on a variety of foods. I saw this logo and statement on a can of Bruce brand Yams in an eye-level sale display as I shopped my local Albertson's. Having heard that yams are "better" than regular potatoes, I decided to check the label more closely in case it was something I could add to my "occasional, but not all the time" foods.
What I saw being recommended by the American Heart Association as "heart healthy" almost gave me a heart attack! The ingredients alone made me cringe... sweet potatoes, water, corn syrup, and sugar. Ummm...it's a SWEET POTATO! It's already sweet. IT EVEN HAS SWEET IN THE NAME! What insane person decided it also needed corn syrup AND sugar?
Anyway, the more I read, the funnier it got. It listed the carbs for a 6oz serving as 45g. Ok, technically I could eat one serving of these as long as the only other things I ate during the day were coconut oil and eggs, but whatever. Then it got sillier. That 45 carbs from the single serving is only 15% of the recommended daily carb allowance! Sure that recommendation comes from the government...but still...damn!
I guess I am lucky that as a kid I was a pretty picky eater. I thought the holiday sweet potatoes dishes my relatives made looked disgusting and wouldn't touch them. I bet they all thought I was a rude obnoxious kid. Well, I was, but it also turns out I had a healthy sense of self preservation. All that sugar on top of an already sweet item, and then what do people do with it? Cover it in brown sugar or PUT MARSHMALLOWS ON IT! AAAAACKKKK! Is there any wonder there is obesity problem? See for yourself!
Ironically, many decide to make this classic dish "more healthy" by leaving out the butter in favor of margarine, using low fat milk, and swapping the sugar out for honey and orange juice. So the only things in the dish that might possibly be able to signal your brain to stop eating this mess...THE FAT...is removed.
As the evidence piles up that carbohydrates and sugars are the cause and/or major contributors to obesity, type 2 diabetes, cancer, Alzheimer's and dementia ALONG WITH heart disease*, why is their logo on a pile of sugar in a can? Does it make sense to you that a major organization that, according to it's mission statement, promotes "building healthier lives, free of cardiovascular diseases and stroke" endorses the very products that are causing the problem in the first place?
In the interest of truth and honesty, maybe their logo needs a little tweaking...
*Source: "Good Calories, Bad Calories" by Gary Taubes and "Natural Health and Weight Loss" by Barry Groves
Thursday, November 29, 2007
Wifezilla's Coco Mocha
In a large coffee mug combine (leaving room for sweetener, etc...);
1/3 mug of fresh hot coffee
1/3 mug boiling water
1/3 mug cream
1-2 Tbsp cocoa (depends on your preference or the size of the mug)
a splash of pure vanilla extract
Sweetener (lately it have been using Da Vinchi sf hazelnut syrup and one equal packet)
Mine is heavy on the cream and light on the coffee. You can adjust the ratios to be lower or higher in caffeine by mixing up the coffee/hot water ratio. You can also adjust the calories by lowering or raising the amount of cream. Remember to blend your sweeteners to lower the aftertaste effect.
It might make you cringe if you are a calorie counter, but there are times that after I drink this I am not hungry until lunch. Whether or not it stalls you will depend on your individual metebolic issues. It may be worth a try if you are having a serious chocolate or sweet jones. A high-carb alternative would be much worse.
"Wifezilla, my 18 yr old daughter is doing this diet with me. She was craving something sweet and hot and so I made the coco Mocha for her and shes like "Holy cow mom!" I bet she wont go to sleep til midnight. ha!" - SusieQue333
"I made that coffee this morning and it was really good! I enjoyed it and may even drink it with the decaf too." Determinedtolose
"...think of the money we are saving..These things at Starbucks are probably $3.XX."
"Wifezilla: I made the coco mocha..nommie, nommie, nommie..I do think it is going to be a regular thing for me." - CarolynF
Monday, November 26, 2007
For those of you hiding in a cave in the Middle East for the last 4 years, SUPER SIZE ME was a documentary made by Morgan Spurlock, who ate only McDonald's food three times per day, trying every item on the menu at least once. If the order taker asked him if he wanted his meal super sized, he had to say "yes". According to the Wikipedia entry, he ate an average of 5,000 calories (the equivalent of 9.26 Big Macs) per day during the experiment.
Not surprisingly, Morgan gained weight. The implication was this was all the fault of the fast food industry. This, or course, ignored his unrealistic eating pattern, his choice to drink soda loaded with sugar and high fructose corn syrup, his rule that EVERYTHING on the menu had to be tried and his taking the super size option. Apparently, there is also a lot of bad science in this film. FAT HEAD addresses this by having the movie maker eat at the SAME restaurant and LOSING weight while improving his lipid profile.
I look forward to seeing them both...back to back...with a bunless double cheese burger in one hand and my copy of "Good Calories, Bad Calories" in the other. Hopefully I wont get too much low carb ketchup on the pages.
For more on the upcoming Tom Naughton movie...
Sunday, November 25, 2007
1. Your diet is your problem.
It may sound cold, but your nutritional needs and dietary restrictions are yours and yours alone to deal with. Making special demands of the hosts at events you attend is annoying and rude. So is berating other people for indulging in foods you can't eat. It's the holidays....don't be a jerk and just let them enjoy themselves. If your hosts ASK, that's different, but even then I would be tempted to tell them not to worry about it. After all, you could just...
2. Offer to bring something.
I have a Christmas party at a friend's in 2 weeks. Since I am eating low carb, I offered to bring the relish tray and an olive platter. I KNOW I can eat everything on the tray I am preparing, so even if every other single thing at the party is loaded with more sugar than an episode of the Care Bears, I will still have something to eat. Of course, I could just...
3. Eat ahead of time.
Why leave things up to chance? Make yourself a tasty low carb meal before you head out for your festivities. If your tummy is full, you are less likely to indulge in questionable eating. Besides, do you really know WHAT Aunt Erma put in that casserole? And how many times have you heard things like "Go ahead and eat it! It's good for you! Instead of sugar I used honey!"
4. Don't sweat the diet for one night.
I know this might sound like blasphemy, but slip-ups can and do happen anyway. Why not schedule yours? I had decided that on Halloween that I would allow myself some candy. I had low carbed since May and lost 30 lbs. I knew eating candy for one night wouldn't kill me, and that I could restart on low carb the next day. That mind set actually seemed to reduce my stress level and I did not even try to eat any candy until the very end of the evening. I said "try" because I actually popped 3 mini M&M's in my mouth after turning off the porch lights and blowing out the candles in the pumpkins, but had to spit them out. Low carb had changed my sense of taste so much that those little M&M's were way too sweet and I just couldn't eat them.
True, not everyone will be so lucky, but if you are prepared to deal with the consequences of stalling for a couple of days (or even gaining a few pounds), enjoy yourself. I still "cheat" and have several glasses of wine during my monthly book clubs, but stay LC legal the rest of the time. Just be careful that you don't start scheduling cheats more and more often. It CAN be a slippery slope, so please be careful.
5. Offer to host.
In the case of friends and families, you can offer to have the party at your house. This will give you a little bit more control over the menu and give you access to your handy supply of healthy low carb ingredients. DO NOT use this as an opportunity to force everyone you invite to eat ONLY low carb! Sure, it's better for them, but you're not their mom. (Even if you are, once they are over 18, it's time to ease up woman!) Have whatever traditional foods your friends and family enjoy. People enjoy their old favorite foods as much as they enjoy the company. If you are clever about it, they shouldn't even realize a lot of the foods you have offered are low carb.
6. Run away.
Got vacation time? Got some extra dough? Take a vacation and get the hell out of Dodge! If you are willing to take the flack from friends and family you will get for not spending the Holidays with them, a vacation to a remote island that has never heard of processed food might not be a bad alternative.
Poor and still want to get away? Tell your parents you are going to see a distant relative on your husband's side of the family, while he tells his parents you are going to see a distant relative on your side (you know...like you and your friends used to do when you wanted to go out drinking back in high school). Then stay home, keep the shades drawn and unplug the phones. Put on the Christmas music, cook yourself some steaks and make huge salads. Dessert can be a sugar-free cheesecake...or each other!
7. Invent a new religion.
True, a bit drastic, but think about it. By saying "no thanks, it's against my religion", you could avoid buying presents, hanging out with people you don't like, traveling to places you don't want to go and listening to music you can't stand. This idea might not be as crazy as it sounds!
No matter what tips you decide to use (or ignore), be sure to enjoy yourself.
Saturday, November 17, 2007
Cooking for non-low carbers and not having them notice is a challenge, but it is also a good test of your cooking skills. If you can get some sugar junkie to eat a sugarless dessert, ask for seconds, and then beg you for the recipe...that recipe obviously rocks. I only have one of those so far, but I am hoping to add to the list with my Thanksgiving edibles.
On the menu so far is Turkey, a stuffing made with sausage and Winter squash, gravy made from Campbells Chicken Mushroom soup (quite low carb) plus added spices and pan drippings, a large green salad with homemade vinegar and oil dressing, a sugar-free pumpkin cheesecake with almond meal crust, and plenty of cheese cubes, olives, pickles, pickled peppers, and fresh veggies to nibble on while watching football and playing Nintendo Wii.
I doubt my substitutions will even be noticed by the ravaging horde and the only things conspicuously missing will be crackers, rolls and mashed potatoes. I will miss the crackers, hubby will miss the rolls, and our oldest will really miss the mashed potatoes. I did take a bit of pity on my son and warned him that I would not be making potatoes this year, but he is more than welcome to bring his own.
Adaptations are possible without throwing the family in to total chaos, or the low carber falling off the wagon. Just realize that not everyone is going to be joining you on the low carb journey and get a bit creative. Try new recipes, change the quantity of bad foods vs. good foods, make sure the low carb items are easy to grab and munch on (like my cheese, olive and veggie platter). Or just let your guest use your cookware and they can make their own poison all for themselves.
Wednesday, November 14, 2007
We both looked at the label and I was shocked to see it contained no wheat, corn, rice or other starches. It is the Safeway store brand and was only 30¢/can on sale. Even better, the cans are almost twice the size of the Fancy Feast brand. Like Fancy Feast, not all flavors are grain free. You have to get out a magnifying glass (or bring your electron microscope) and carefully read over the ingredients. One "safe" flavor was Beef Dinner. There were two others, but silly me forgot to write them down.
I will see tomorrow morning if this will pass the kitty taste test.
As for the girls, no additional loss this week. Looks like Xena is stuck in a stall. I will be heading over to PetsMart later today to try a different brand of low carb cat food. Maybe that will help her to start losing again.
As for me, I am at 215 after some fluctuation. I have been upping my exercise a bit, and that seems to make me gain (unfortunately). By upping my fat percentage and lowering calories a bit I was able to get rid of my temporary gain. I will keep on keeping on and see how it goes.
Tuesday, November 13, 2007
"The team compared tumour growth in 75 mice that were eating either a low-carbohydrate diet, a low-fat but high-carbohydrate diet, or a Western diet, high in fat and carbohydrates.
The mice that ate a low-carbohydrate diet had the longest survival and smallest tumour size, Freedland said.
"Low-fat mice had shorter survival and larger tumours while mice on the Western diet had the worst survival and biggest tumours."Science Daily
Saturday, November 10, 2007
Ratings (out of 5 stars)
Thursday, November 8, 2007
"Low carb is bad for your kidneys!"
No. It isn't. If your kidneys are healthy BEFORE you begin a low carb diet, they will not be damaged by reducing your intake of sugar and carbohydrates one bit. The higher level of fat and protein you eat on a low carb diet isn't a problem either. According to Elizabeth Ward, founder and president of the British Kidney Patient Association, "If you have healthy kidneys, you can't eat enough protein to damage your kidneys."
As stated by Barry Groves, nutritionist and author of Natural Health and Weight Loss, " The long-running Nurses' Health Study, for example, showed that a high protein intake was not associated with renal function decline in women whose kidneys were healthy at the start of the study."
A special thanks to Nancy LC at the Active Low Carb forums for inspiring this cartoon! ©2007 Wifezilla
A Low Carb Diet is Bad for Your Heart!
"Theoretically, the high fat content in low-carb diets could raise levels of an inflammatory marker in the blood called C-reactive protein, or CRP.
But when the researchers compared the effects of a low-carb diet with a traditional fat- and calorie-restricted diet among 78 extremely obese adults, they found that CRP levels typically fell to a greater degree with the carb-cutting diet"
"We've spent billions of our tax dollars trying to prove the diet-heart hypothesis. Yet study after study has failed to provide definitive evidence that saturated-fat intake leads to heart disease. The most recent example is the Women's Health Initiative, the government's largest and most expensive ($725 million) diet study yet. The results, published last year, show that a diet low in total fat and saturated fat had no impact in reducing heart-disease and stroke rates in some 20,000 women who had adhered to the regimen for an average of 8 years."
"Critics of low-carbohydrate diets claim that they promote heart disease, but one of the first studies to examine the long-term effects of low-carb eating suggests otherwise.
Researchers from the Harvard School of Public Health found no evidence of an association between low-carbohydrate diets and increased cardiovascular risk, even when these diets were high in saturated animal fats."
"In a new study published in the New England Journal of Medicine, investigators from the Harvard School of Public Health report that women who ate diets relatively low in carbohydrates (and thus relatively high in fats) experienced no increase in coronary artery disease."
I Could Never Eat all That Meat!
Contrary to popular belief, a low carb diet doesn't necessarily mean a diet of mostly meat. Low carbohydrate vegetables like leafy greens, cucumbers, peppers, cauliflower, broccoli, jicama and more make up a good portion of a low carber's daily fare.
Low carbohydrate fruit like blueberries and strawberries are also on the menu. Once a low carber transitions from weight loss to maintenance, more fruits like kiwi and cantaloupe can be added as well.
There are even groups of vegetarian low carbers out there in cyberspace. In my case, the largest component to my diet isn't meat OR vegetables. It's fat!
A Low Carb Diet Screws Up Your Bones!
"As of May 2006, the scientists conducting the studies continue to be “surprised” by the result that more protein in the diet at the very least causes no harm, and in most studies improves bone density rather than causes bone loss"
You also have to keep in mind that there are a couple of cultures that, for centuries, had thrived on a low (or NO) carbohydrate/higher protein/high fat diet. Among them are the Inuit people. Had a low carb diet caused bone damage, generation after generation of this way of eating should have left them mangled and broken. Instead, those sticking with their ancestral diet are perfectly healthy while those who have adopted a more Western style of eating with increased carbohydrate consumption are the ones who are unhealthy.
"Today, when diet books top the best-seller list and nobody seems sure of what to eat to stay healthy, it’s surprising to learn how well the Eskimo did on a high-protein, high-fat diet."
You Need a Certain Amount of Carbohydrates Per Day!
Nope. You can live just fine without carbohydrates AT ALL! While is is true that your brain runs on glucose, and carbohydrates are a ready source for that material, if you do not ingest glucose, your brain is quite capable of running on ketone bodies.
In fact, eating glucose because your brain runs on glucose, instead of helping, actually causes more problems. "...there is a groundswell of medical evidence that documents how too much sugar can make the brain shrink, wither, atrophy and just plain work badly.
If you want to age your brain just eat the typical diet most Americans consume. That will lead to memory, attention and mood difficulties and will hasten the path to Alzheimer's"
A low carbohydrate diet isn't a fad, it isn't new (having been written about and studied since the 1800's), and it isn't dangerous. The media and medical community have tried to blame a low carb diet for all kinds of ills, but the scientific evidence keeps coming up in low carb's favor. Instead of listening to sound bytes from the uninformed, do your own research. As much as the critics like to claim there is no telling what a low carb diet will do long term, there is plenty of history out there for anyone who cares to look.
In my case, low carb is the only thing that has lead to a significant weight loss. It has also lowered my blood pressure from 149/95 to 127/80. My kidneys haven't "Asploded!", my bones aren't broken, and my heart is still beating. My friends, who are following standard medical advice are gaining weight, on medication for type 2 diabetes and have high blood pressure. Unfortunately, we ALL know the long term outcome of that.
Tuesday, November 6, 2007
Believing as I do, I was shocked to find out that the nice maintenance lady where I work had been diagnosed with an aggressive thyroid cancer and she was drinking a lot of glucose. Due to the damage to her throat from the cancer and her subsequent surgery, according to a friend, the only thing she was able to ingest was ENSURE.
A quick check on the internet showed that ENSURE, while it may contain vitamins, is completely loaded with sugars. So this poor woman, recently diagnosed with cancer, in pain from surgery and not able to eat, got her last "nourishment" from a product loaded with sugar, maltodextrin and corn syrup. Your body converts these items to glucose, and glucose is what cancer cells thrive on. Needless to say, she did not survive long after her diagnosis. It was only 2 weeks from the time she found out she had cancer to the time she died. No, I am not claiming it was the ENSURE that killed her, but I certainly don't think it helped.
I didn't know her well enough to say for sure why she initially became a cancer victim, but I had seen her on one occasion smoking a cigarette. I do know that obesity was not an issue, because this woman was quite thin and very physically active. Even though she was in her 70's, she still mowed the lawn, took care of the landscaping, shoveled snow, raked leaves, cleaned up the parking lot, and kept the sidewalks at our office in great condition. I saw her quite often when I ended up pulling overtime on the weekends. She was friendly, always had a smile on her face, and seemed to actually enjoy her work.
And now she is another cancer statistic.
Hopefully by avoiding sugar and eating low carb, I will greatly reduce the possibility of getting cancer, but in case it does somehow happen, I want it on record that I do NOT want ENSURE. I think all that would do is ENSURE my cancer hung around even if I had surgery or went through chemo. I think an Atkins shake would be a much better option. True, it isn't a perfect solution, but the Atkins shake has only 4g of carbs per can (with 2g of fiber) while the ENSURE has 40 grams of carbs and NO fiber. With the established tie between cancer and glucose, ENSURE should be the last thing that doctors recommend to their patients.
Cancer patients need to keep up their strength and nourish their healthy cells while doctors try to eliminate the bad cells. I believe that recommending a product like ENSURE is a misguided attempt to keep them strong enough for treatment. Instead of giving patients sugar, there is something that will keep them strong without fueling cancer growth. It's called fat. Cancer cells cannot utilize the energy in fat, but the rest of the body sure can. If I ever get cancer, just get me a tub of coconut oil and a spoon. Better yet, get me a nice, cold quart of heavy cream and a bendy straw.
Here are the ingredients of the 2 products discussed in my post. Judge for yourself!
Ensure: Water, sugar (sucrose), corn syrup, maltodextrin (corn), calcium caseinate, high-oleic safflower oil, canola oil, soy protein isolate, whey protein concentrate, corn oil, calcium phosphate tribasic, potassium citrate, magnesium phosphate dibasic, natural and artificial flavor, soy lecithin, sodium citrate, magnesium chloride, salt (sodium chloride), carrageenan, choline chloride, potassium chloride, ascorbic acid, ferrous sulfate, alpha-tocopheryl acetate, zinc sulfate, niacinamide, calcium pantothenate, manganese sulfate, cupric sulfate, vitamin A palmitate, thiamine chloride hydrochloride, pyridoxine hydrochloride, riboflavin, folic acid, chromium chloride, biotin, sodium molybdate, sodium selenate, potassium iodide, phylloquinone, vitamin D3 and cyanocobalamin.
Atkins Shake: Water, calcium caseinate, soybean oil, whey protein concentrate, cocoa (processed with alkali), cellulose gel, contains 0.5% or less of the following: potassium phosphate, cellulose gum, soy lecithin, natural and artificial flavor, carrageenan, sucralose (a non-nutritive sweetener), magnesium chloride, magnesium phosphate, tricalcium phosphate, d-biotin, d-calcium pantothenate, folic acid, niacinamide, pyridoxine hydrochloride, sodium ascorbate, thiamin mononitrate, vitamin A palmitate, vitamin B12, riboflavin, vitamin D3, vitamin E acetate, vitamin K1, chromium chloride, copper sulfate, ferrous sulfate, manganese sulfate, potassium chloride, potassium citrate, potassium iodide, sodium citrate, sodium molybdate, sodium selenite, zinc sulfate, maltodextrin.
Monday, November 5, 2007
Unlike me, though, she isn't bitching to her girlfriends about being stuck, nor do I have to listen to her whine about her old fur not fitting, but not wanting to buy new fur until she hits goal. Xena also doesn't have to wonder if her artificial sweetner use is stalling her, or maybe she is eating too much dairy.
I have a few more variables to worry about than my furry little friend, but I am possitive that all of us are on the right path. We'll see how we are all doing next week, and maybe I will have to make some adjustments. If Xena doesn't start losing more, I will make some adjustments for her too. Most likely trying a different brand of low-carb dry food. Things might be easier for me if I only had 2 kinds of food to choose from. It would be especially easy if I could get someone to come to the house and serve it to me every day and refill my water jug while they are at it.
It is already known that sugar and easily digestible carbohydrates can cause weight gain, feed cancer cells, cause type 2 diabetes (as well as heart disease and possibly dementia), but now the British Journal of Dermatology has added dry, saggy, wrinkled skin to the list of sugar's evils.
What happens when you ingest sugars or carbs is that they attach to proteins in your body and form what are called AGES (Advanced Glycation End productS). The more sugar and carbs you eat, the more AGES you produce. AGES destroy your skin's collagen and elastin, which leaves your skin looking old.
AGES are also tied to other problems, including eye damage in diabetics and atherosclerosis lesions. But if destroying you on the inside isn't enough of a motivation for you to quit the sugar habit, having your face look like a prune might get you to consider a low carb lifestlye.
For more information...