Wednesday, July 16, 2008

The Mainstream Gets a Clue

It has taken them over 30 years, but the mainstream is reporting good news about low carb diets. Better late then never I guess.

"Critics have long acknowledged that an Atkins-style diet could help people lose weight but feared that over the long term, it may drive up cholesterol because it allows more fat.

But the low-carb approach seemed to trigger the most improvement in several cholesterol measures, including the ratio of total cholesterol to HDL, the "good" cholesterol. For example, someone with total cholesterol of 200 and an HDL of 50 would have a ratio of 4 to 1. The optimum ratio is 3.5 to 1, according to the American Heart Association. "

Full Story

Tuesday, July 15, 2008

Cooking with Banana Leaves

We recently had a Mexican grocery store and an Asian market open in the area. My visits have exposed me to a variety of interesting foods and new ingredients. I make an effort to try something different every time I go. Since both of these new stores carry banana leaves, that got me curious. What do you do with banana leaves? After all, they are inedible. Turns out you use them as an organic form of tinfoil. Instead of wrapping food for the grill in silvery packets, you wrap them in the banana leaves which allows the food inside to gently steam while giving it subtle flavor and aroma.

My first experiment with banana leaves involved several pieces of marinated swordfish. The swordfish was covered in lime juice, ginger, garlic, pepper and soy sauce and left to marinade overnight. The next day it was gorgeous outside and perfect for grilling. I preheated my gas grill and pulled some banana leaves out of the freezer to thaw. I place a marinated swordfish steak in the center of a banana leaf round smeared with a thin layer of coconut oil. I then folded up the edges and tied it in to a neat little package with some kitchen string.

These fish pockets went on the grill along with a couple packages of chicken I needed to cook. Fish cooks pretty quickly, so they went on the top rack. I wasn't really sure exactly how long to leave them on, but with the gas on low, I thought 15 minutes would work fine.

Turns out I was right. The fish came out perfectly. While it was steaming on the grill, I took the remaining marinade, added some butter, hot pepper, and some pieces of finely chopped fresh cherries and use it to cook up a batch of beech mushrooms that I also got at the Asian market. I poured the sauced mushrooms over the fish, leaving it all on the banana leaf which now served as a plate liner.

It was delicious. I ate my swordfish sitting on the back patio in the sun. The food was good and the setting relaxing, though I did lack a drink with an umbrella in it. I will be using banana leaves again when my book club comes over in a couple of weeks. Instead of swordfish, my next experiment will be with mahi mahi. I think it would also work quite well with vegetables, so I will have to come up with some side dishes to try as well.

Banana leaves are inexpensive and need to worry about fish getting stuck to your grill grates. Plus it gives your food a nice decorative touch. While I mainly go for ease and flavor, there is no reason it can't look interesting as well. And next time I wont forget the umbrella drink.

Monday, July 14, 2008

Vitamin D and Leptin

Here is an interesting article brought to my attention by Demi at Scientist have known for a while that vitamin D levels in obese people and type 2 diabetics are low. Here is a clue or two as to WHY...

"Researchers at Aberdeen University found that obese people produced 10 per cent less vitamin D than people of average weight. The study also found that excess body fat absorbs vitamin D, stopping it entering the bloodstream."

Here is also some insight in to why a lack of vitamin D can help lead to obesity...

"The study found that low levels of the vitamin in blood interfered with the function of a hormone called leptin, which tells the brain when the stomach is full."
Full Story

Remember, the Sun is your friend!

As I have done my own experimenting with vitamin D over the Summer, I have noticed improvements in my skin and mood when I get my daily dose of sunshine. While my weight hasn't changed, my body composition is still changing and I am still losing inches. I have not really noticed a difference in appetite , but I really wasn't paying attention and it fluctuates wildly anyway. These clues about the interaction of vitamin D and leptin are very interesting.

According to metabolic specialist, Dr. Ron Rosedale, author of The Rosedale Diet :

"Leptin is the way that your fat stores speak to your brain to let your brain know how much energy is available and, very importantly, what to do with it. Studies have shown that leptin plays significant, if not primary, roles in heart disease, obesity, diabetes, osteoporosis, autoimmune diseases, reproductive disorders, and perhaps the rate of aging itself."

By following standard medical advice to eat plenty of carb and stay out of the sun, we set ourselves up for a lot of diseases, like heart diases, diabetes, obesity and more. Good thing I choose to ignore people who seem hell bent on keeping me fat and sick. As more information comes out about the role of vitamin D in health and obesity, I will be sure to post it. In the mean time, I will be out in the sun, without sun screen, reading a good book. It's for my health ya know!

Saturday, July 5, 2008

Price Watch: The Meat Market

As prices for food have risen over the Spring and early Summer, one price is on the decline. The cost of meat has taken a downturn and sales on hamburger, chicken, and pork are showing up at the super market. The good news is there is still time to stock up because the BAD news is these good deals wont be around for long.

There is actually a logical reason for the price downturn on meat and it has to do with the price of feed. As prices on corn, soy and other feed grains skyrockets, it becomes too costly for farmers to feed their cattle. Rather than waiting for them to get larger like they typically do, farmers cut their loses by taking them to market. This results in a temporary flood of cheap meat.


“There’s definitely liquidation of livestock happening,” and that will cause meat prices to rise later this year and into 2009, said Brenneman, who is also the vice chairman of the American Meat Institute." Full Story

According to Joelle Cremeen, manager of a Colorado Springs, CO bakery surplus store frequented by area ranchers, they are dumping their cattle as quickly as possible.

"All of them are telling me the same thing. They had to get rid of their cattle NOW and the prices they are getting just aren't very good. " said Joelle, "They also all told me to stock up while the meat is cheap because low prices are not going to last. I am going to start pricing chest freezers."

I already have my freezer and have been filling it with 99¢/lb ground beef and 99¢/lb chicken breast. As I see sales on chicken, pork and beef, I will buy as much as the weekly grocery budget allows so I can ride through the prices increases to come. I suggest you do the same.

Friday, July 4, 2008

Happy Birthday America!

Happy 4th of July everyone. Hopefully you are all out eating some great low carb grilling. For today, instead of a low carb tirade or a recipe, I am including a guest post from one of my favorite bloggers, Captain Capitalist. Enjoy and have a safe holiday. - Wifezilla

"Tis the season to reflect on what it means to be an American. What is it we’re so proud of? What makes this country unique in the world?

Is it our “shared values”? That hardly seems possible since we so often and so vehemently disagree on so many of them. Is it capitalism, democracy? No, those are great things, but not unique to America.

So what can we point to and say “That’s what being an American is all about.” I would submit that America’s greatest asset is not its capacity to induce conformity to a common way of thinking, but its capacity to enable hundreds of millions of individuals with a wide variety of opinions, viewpoints, perspectives and values to live, work and play together in relative peace. Our uniquely American common value is the recognition that so long as we agree to a few fundamentals rules of engagement among individuals, we don’t need to all have the same values.

When I see political opponents going at it tooth and nail one minute and making fun of themselves and each other the next, that’s America. When I look around the grocery store and see whites, blacks, hispanics, asians, and arabs browsing and greeting each other and nobody’s throwing rocks or blowing anything up, that’s America. When I’m at a social gathering and an openly gay person is debating a fundamentalist Christian about gay rights and they agree to disagree just before moving on to discussion of the Bronco’s prospects for next year, that’s America.

In other countries around the world discontent and dissent are expressed with violence and a seeming urgency that if one group’s view doesn’t win out over the other group’s view, life as we know it will come to an end. The emphasis is on the group, whether it be a political party, a religion an ethnicity or some other entitity that has been raised above the individual.

What has made the American experiment a success is the recognition that the core of independence, the foundation of freedom, is the individual. That doesn’t mean we all agree with each other. It doesn’t mean we all accept the validity of other’s choices. In fact the word “tolerance” has become widely misused and misunderstood. If you agree with or accept something, you’re not tolerating it. When you disagree with something or someone, but allow them to be as wrong as they want to be so long as they do you no harm, that’s tolerance.

It’s an odd dynamic. We are a diverse group held together by the will to preserve our individuality. That’s what makes us strong. That’s America. That’s what our men and women in uniform put themselves in harm’s way to protect and preserve every day.

I hope we never lose sight of that. Happy Independence Day!" - Captain Capitalist

Wednesday, July 2, 2008

Free Zevia Sample

More than one of my blog posts contains the phrase "check it out yourself". When it comes to products I review and recommend, I say the same thing. No reason to just take my word for it. After all, I am just some ADD infested weirdo on a website with an advanced case of sarcasmitis. What do I know anyway?

After my recent review of Zevia soda, I ran in to one of the founders of the Zevia company on an online forum. He has generously offered a free sample for readers of my blog so they can check it out themselves and not have to rely on the ravings of a 6' tall red-headed reptile. Here is his message and instructions on how to get your sample...


I am Ian one of the founders of Zevia.


I did and I feel great! Zevia is all natural and has no artificial ANYTHING!

For a limited time I will give out free samples od Zevia to readers of Wifezilla's blog.

If you like it just promise to print out our GET YOUR ZEVIA form (available at )and take it to your local retailer.

You can email me at ian at zevia dot com."

Thank Ian for making this offer. I am sure my highly-intelligent, good-looking, and discriminating readers will be glad to try your product and get back to you with their well thought out opinions.