Wednesday, December 27, 2006

Hail Caeser

This morning my fasting glucose was 94. Not bad, but not good either. Considering my Romanesque over indulgence in tribute to saturnalia that we call Christmas, I was expecting much worse. I also had to loosen my belt a notch this morning. It doesn't seem likely at this point that I'll make my goal of getting back to my October weight and waist measurement. I am not sure at this point what my waist is, but given that I had to loosen my belt, it moved in the wrong direction. I often wonder about the effect of long nights and short days. Many cultures the world over have historically over-indulged around this time of year. Perhaps some archetypal part of our Jungian psyche needs the bright lights and festivities to ward off doldrums many get from lack of sunlight. The coldest part of the winter is at hand, are we storing up fat to prepare for the depravation that it has brought in the past? Today of course, for most of us, the hardship of winter is an inconvenience at worst. The closest we get to depravation are all the New Years resolutions of diet and exercise that are forgotten by St Patrick’s Day. As this year closes, I reflect on the mistakes of the past year, not to beat myself up, but as a learning tool, so I can do better next year. One of my biggest downfalls this past year was watching the scale too closely. There were times when the tape measure was moving the right direction, but the scale went the wrong direction causing me to change course and second guess what I was doing. Generally this would lead to me trying to add something new to the mix, or changing exercise plans, or some other tweak that would ultimately de-rail progress and I'd be right back where I started from. Lesson from this, if the waist is shrinking, ignore the damn scale. Ultimately body fat levels are more important than the number on the scale, but last year my goal was tied to a number on the scale. So this coming year my goal is going to be tape measure based, a 34 inch waist. The lowest I got this past year was 36 inches. I believe if I had trusted the plan I had originally set up, and not continually changed direction, I would already have a 34 inch waist and could shoot for, dare I say it, a 30 inch waist. Or even better try to get back to the measurements I had when I graduated from college. But one step at a time. Later this week I'll post my waist measurement for all to see, and also an outline of my plan. In all likely hood it will revolve around High Intensity Training and carb controlled eating, shocking is it not?

Sunday, December 17, 2006

Merry Christmas World

Me, Mrs D, and Our son at a recent holiday event. We clean up fairly well for country folk. Here's hoping which ever holiday you choose to celebrate this time of year is happy and filled with hope.

Sunday, December 10, 2006

Two steps back, one step forward

The saga of trying to find a livable diet continues at the Dill household. The lead up to the most recent crisis actually began about a week before Halloween. The wife, trying to be a good doobie, bought reese cups and almond joys to pass out to the kiddies for trick or treat. Now aside from the politics of passing out candy to already fat children, these two candies happen to be our favorites. So I think at some level there was some attempt at subversion of our carb controlled eating habits. It started out innocently enough, it always does, as "lets treat ourselves", or "I'm only going to eat one". Heard those before? By the time Thanksgiving rolled around, we were regularly having a treat every night after dinner. Sometimes one leading to two. So in-spite of eating a mostly reasonable diet, and not really over doing Thanksgiving by a large margin, we both gained several pounds. During this time we both seemed to neglect to weigh ourselves, as to avoid any reality check, and reign in our sugar high. To further exacerbate the matter, our motivation to exercise became less and less. Isn't it funny, how a little candy can take a person who ordinarily eats a healthy diet and routinely exercises, and lure them down the path of the couch potato. The stuff is more insidious than heroin. The come-uppance arrived promptly at 7 AM on Friday Dec 1. While still drinking my first cup of coffee, I hear a disturbed, painful sound coming from the master bath. Mrs D had stepped on the scale. By 7:20 AM, the house was junk food free. No left overs, no cookies, no candy, no pie. For the moment, I was still serene, watching the flurry of activity that usually accompanies such events, wondering what would be the resulting dietary intervention. A bit irritated by my rectitude, Wife demands that I go weigh myself. Feeling self assured that what ever damage had been done, it would not result in any significant gain. WRONG! My feelings were a bit hurt seeing the number on the scale, but deep down, I really wasn't surprised. To here accusatory stare I answer "15 pounds". I knew better than to ask her, if she wasn't going to volunteer, I wasn't going to ask. Been there done that, not worth it. By Lunch time, she had decided to go back into Weight Watchers, a program she had been successful with a coupe of years back. Some of the women she works with were doing it, and she felt the flexibility, social support, and peer pressure of the group thing might help keep her on track through the holidays. For me I choose the Low Glycemic Load route, with a daily GL target of 80. Our food choices are still pretty much based around the South Beach plan, but with the added control of counting points or GL. Both of us have returned to our normal exercise patterns. In the first week I lost 3.5 lb. and she lost 2.5. My goal at this point is to get to Jan 2, and only be 5 lb. heavier than I was in the middle of October. We shall see how it goes.

Thursday, November 30, 2006

Mens Health

A recent article by Adam Campbell, a writer for "Men's Health" magazine has created a great deal of noise in the blogoshere and elsewhere. As noted by Regina Wilshire, the ADA, is losing its credibiltiy, fast. "Men's Health" is a pretty mainstream amagazine, and not usually on the fore front of any nutrirional movement. Though it is published by Rodale who also publishes the South Beach Diet and associated books, the magazine is generally not considered a source for low carb information. In retrospect however, "Men's Health" has been about controlled carb eating for quite a while. I happen to have 2 different books from "Men's Health", "The Abs Diet" by David Zinczenko, and the "Testosterone Advantage Plan" by L. Schuler, A. Campbell, M. Mejia, and J. Volek. So I decided to took a fresh look at the diet information each of these books.

The TAP diet is a reduced carb, high protein (33,34,33 c-p-f) version of the Mediterranean diet. In a nut shell its the same diet I described in one of my earlier blogs, and probably where I got the idea from in the first place. Published back in 2002, I had not read the book in quite a while. So I read it again. While reading through the book this time, the one downfall I notice is that the info is sold as a short term "diet and exercise plan", not as a lifestyle. Advice on protein, eat lots; on Fat, get plenty, mostly from mono-unsaturated sources; on carbs, eat low GI and not too many. Advice on exercise, skip the cardio and lift weight. Solid advice - yes, but, designed to keep the reader comming back to buy the next book. Still, the information stands on its own, and for those not in need of a ketogenic diet, it will certainly lead to a reduced carb intake and a healthier diet than many currenlty eat. If you can overlook the 9 week thing, and convince yourself that this is the way your going to eat period, and couple it with any reasonable exercise plan, you are well on your way to an active healthy lifestyle.

Lifestyle is the key word for "The Abs Diet". While the marketing premise for the book is to get "6 pack Abs", the book sets about letting the reader know that not everyone will really get a 6 pack. Rather than focusing on specific amounts of any given macro-nutrient, the eating plan is based around "power foods" that have a high nutrient density, combined with adequate protien, and a moderate to low glycemic load. When I read and tried this plan last year, I didn't do well, but I also didn't do it correctly either. The first time through the book, I skimmed major sections like yea yea, just tell me what to eat. What I missed was the part about controlling the glycemic load of each meal, and your whole day. Unlike the TAP, this is presented as a permanent way of eating. So impressed was I after a second reading that I went out and got the The Abs Diet 6-Minute Meals for 6-Pack Abs . With a title like that how could I resist. The book isn't really about recipes, but food combinations, that meet our nutritional needs. The combinations are definately male oriented, though women may like them too. The whole package works when paired with any reasonable exercise plan. For those who are overweight and have not progressed into diabetes, this plan provides the ounce of prevention that will prevent the need for more drastic measures later. Advice on protein, eat some at every meal and snack, but keep it mostly lean; on fats, olive oil and nuts are your freind eat them every day; on carbs, eat the right ones focusing on nutritive value and glycemic load. Exercise advice, Circuit train and do Intervals.

Wednesday, November 29, 2006

Article on T-Nation

I'm not a citizen of T-Nation, and disagree with 80% of what is written there, but there are times when very smart people write articles that end up there. This is one of those articles. 27 Nutrition Facts

Monday, November 27, 2006

The Quiet Man

We had Thanksgiving dinner at our house this year, and a fine time was had by all. As part of our preparations for the big feast I purchased the South Beach Holiday cook book. After reading the recipe from Kaylins Kitchen about the Pear and sausage dressing, I was like ooh, maybe we should check this out. The dressing was a hit, though a few did comment on what seemed like an excess of celery vs bread. To further make our dinner Beach friendly, we used splenda in the sweet potato pudding and topped half of it with pecans and the splenda brown sugar substitute. The other half was topped with marshmallows. There would have been rioting if there were no marshmallows on the sweet potato pudding. I made whole wheat and rye sourdough bread, and used the barilla plus pasta in the Macaroni and cheese. While the cheese sauce was made with real cheese and whole milk, the barilla plus pasta added some protein and fiber. A huge crock pot full of green beans cooked with a ham hock, cranberry relish, Turkey, Ham, and of course pupmkin pie, rounded out the dinner. The wines for the day were a German Resiling by Dr. Loosen, and a California Pinot Noir by Ft Ross vineyards. Did I mention we didn't tell anybody that we had substituted the sugar with splenda, and used whole grains for the bread and pasta? Nobody complained or left hungry. In fact several were shocked, when asking for recipes, that they had eaten sugar free and reduced carb offerings. Of course, a couple were less than pleased that I would tamper with tradition. Others were more curious about the South Beach Diet as they thought it was a "bacon and bun-less cheeseburger" plan. My wife ended up going online and printing off a couple of copies of the basics of the plan and lending out our original SBD book. I'm not going to hold my breath that any of them will actually put the information into use long term, but the fact that they showed some interest and were willing to consider moving in that direction is a start. Sometimes a good example, and a gentle nudge works better than endless shouting and proselytizing.

Wednesday, November 22, 2006

Conspiracy Theory

What if it all has been a communist plot?
Parasites found to induce metabolic Syndrome
or maybe its the CIA? Hmmmm

Monday, November 20, 2006

Keto or not Keto, that is the question

I often marvel at the different responses people have to being in ketosis. For some it seems like a long awaited spiritual nirvana, for others its a living hell. My wife and I share this dichotomy. For her, being in ketosis leads to a general sense of well being and a slightly raised energy level. For me however, ketosis is not a happy place. Her placid serenes is offset by my paranoid depression. While she will easily drift into blissful slumber, I all but stop sleeping. The last time I attempted a ketogenic diet I became so weirded out that my wife went to the store, bought juice, and threatened me if I didn't drink it. I thought she was trying to kill me. But her insistence that it would be ok finally won me over and a few minutes later I felt much better. Now wether these effects are from ketosis, sleep depravation, or a combination there of, I can only hazard a guess. Anecdotes about the "Atkins Attitude" abound. Others cannot for the life of them understand how ketosis could be anything but a joy. For the most part now, I only reduce my carbs into the ketogenic range for a day or two at a time. I generally do this after some type of over indulgence, like say Thanksgiving. In a couple of days of very low carbs combined with some exercise, my system has cleared the excess carbs, and for me there is no further benefit at this time of restricting my carbs to such a low level. I understand the allure of the simple elegance of a ketogenic diet, and feel that for many people such a step is probably necessary to fix their metabolism. I also feel, based on my experiences, that there is a portion of the population that should rigorously avoid ketosis. There is however, only one way to find out which side of the divide you are on. My general observations about ketogenic diets; morbidly obese people generally benefit the most; Men who are over weight but not obese, generally benefit the least; Type 2 Diabetes can be controlled by reducing carbs without ketosis, but ketosis gets results quicker; and finally, the one that causes the most trouble, people on ketogenic diets will refuse to belive they are eating fewer calories even when confronted with the evidence. As with most things in life there is no one right answer for all people all of the time. If the was only one right answer, what would we talk about?

Tuesday, November 14, 2006

And the Verdict Is

Ok, I'm am still unconvinced that Saturated fat is good for you. I am also unconvinced that saturated fat is bad for you. I have read so much about saturated fat that it makes my head hurt. In the beginning I, like many people, believed with out much question that SFA's were bad. I dismissed most people, especially on the Internet, as cranks who said otherwise. It was and is fairly well proven that SFA raise your cholesterol, and that was bad. Right? After all, back in my Nut-Pharm ( thats what we called nutrition and pharmacology in college) classes they told us cholesterol is bad. It was even on the exam. Well, then one of those events that occurs from time to time happened, and all of a sudden I had reason to question the validity of the whole cholesterol connection. What they neglected to tell me was that SFA raises both HDL and LDL, and it is the ratio of these two things, not the total number that was important. Despite all the hoopla, people with "normal" cholesterol get heart attacks too. In fact much to my surprise, about half of all heart attack sufferers have normal cholesterol prior to their first attack. The only real connection to Heart Attacks and cholesterol is after the fact. Once you've had a heart attack, reducing your cholesterol lowers your relative risk (vs absolute risk) of having a second incident. Logical Fallacy is about the best way to sum up the evidence against SFA in the case of causing CHD. But as any good philosopher would tell you, absence of evidence is not evidence of absence. This became a guiding thought for me as I looked into other aspects of SFA metabolism. One of the studies I came across was KANWU. In this study, SFA was shown to decrease sensitivity to insulin, at least in healthy adults with total fat intake of less than 37% of calories. A number of other studies using a baseline diet of 45-55% carbs, have also shown that increasing SFA at the expense of either PUFA or MUFA decreased sensitivity to insulin. Enter the Ketogenic diet. A ketogenic diet can be well defined, were as the term "low carb" is a relative term subject to much interpretation. So when researchers refer to a ketogenic diet the meaning is clear. Under ketogenic metabolism, SFA exerted no nasty effects. No increase in inflammation, no increase in insulin, and pretty much was a solid metabolic citizen. In other news, certain SFA's have been shown to exert positive effects on our GI Tract, and improve hormonal tonus. So, for me the jury is still out. What is missing so far is evidence of the effect of saturated fat on people who eat a high protein, non-ketogenic reduced carb diet. We have a collection of data that shows that SFA and carb don't play nicely together, but no data that I am yet aware of that show the effect of SFA when carbs are reduced and protein is elevated. Maybe I need to get a meter and experiment on myself. It may turn out that SFA is neither good nor bad, or both good and bad depending on the metabolic context. In the mean time as I do not eat a ketogenic diet, I'll limit, but not eliminate, the SFA in my diet. After all, butter makes my veggies taste better.

Thursday, November 09, 2006

My TuTu

Most of the time I work out in my basement. I have a squat rack, treadmill, various bars, plates, dumb bells, and even a bowflex. I also have a membership to a commercial gym that cost me money every month, though I seldom use it. But having recently been automatically billed for our monthly membership, I decided the other day to go, and get my money's worth. Now my workouts are pretty basic, squats, dead lifts, over head press, rows, bench press, etc. With one or two hard sets of each. So on this particular day, I show up at the gym, present my membership card, and head to the locker room and change. Upon exiting the locker room I notice two reasonably attractive, younger (to me) females in the squat rack. My first thought " now aint that just too cute". So I headed off to do a few dead lifts. I try to avoid chatting with the younger female clientele as It always looks kinda creepy when I see other guys my age talking to girls of their age. So while doing my warm up set of dead lifts I mentally rearrange my workout, then get to the work set. One good set of deads, then I go to see what the young lady's are up to and then I notice it. They are in the squat racks, using this bar thing that you can't add weight to doing these strange plie` looking maneuvers while alternately curling or pressing this bar thingy. I don't say word, but their cuteness factor has decreased quite a bit. I move on to Standing Press', check back to find bar supported high kicking things going on. On to rows, back to find bar thingy bench press, they could have been crushed by the weight I guess. And on it goes. I never did get to squat that day, and its unlikely that I'll visit my gym again any time soon. Now in all fairness the young ladies were wroking out harder than some I saw that day, but damn. Oh, well, its back to the basement and the cold discipline of iron and squats. Home, afterall, is where the Squat is.

Monday, November 06, 2006

Black Powder

Charcoal, Salt Peter and Sulfur. Each of these items has a beneficial purpose under the right circumstances. Mix them together in the proper proportions, however, and you get black powder, a primitive explosive. Even then It is harmless unless you have a spark to ignite it. And unless you put it under pressure, you won't get an explosion. Saturated Fat, Refined Sugar, and Low dietary fiber. These ingredients too can be beneficial under the right circumstances. But like Charcoal, Salt Peter and Sulfur, the right combination of these items creates something potentially hazardous in our body. The spark in this case is a sedentary lifestyle, and the pressure, is the stress of the modern lifestyle. The confound in much of the research is the attempt to isolate a single factor in the determination of disease. We want the simple, single answer. Well friends an neighbors, it ain't that simple. Its not a matter of 1+1=2, or even the quadratic equation were ax2+bx=c and we solve for x. What we have here is a multi-factoral constraint analysis, where all of the constraints are not yet known, and others are not clearly defined. To further add to this dilemma, we can have an infinite number of solutions in a finite solution area. Oh yeah. While we can pick solutions that will optimize one or more outcomes, other outcomes will be compromised. So no matter what solution we choose , it won't be optimal for all questions or people. It will only be correct for ourselves and the compromises we are willing to make. Now, were did my wife hide that primer cord.....

Thursday, November 02, 2006

Foie Gras and Beaujolais

Is it just me, or does french food get healthier by the day? In a recent study of mice, red wine and a high fat diet led to plump but otherwise healthy mice. Real French food is an amazing journey into aroma, flavor, texture, and presentation. The problem most people have with french food is that its just so damn un-American. It takes time to prepare, it takes skill in the kitchen, and it is meant to be eaten slowly and savoured. A complete anathema to most modern Americans who get food from a drive thru, eat with out tasting, (how else could you explain the popularity of fast food?), and who's idea of home cooking is hamburger helper. While we often vilify the French for their politics, they seem to have learned something about life, and how to live it that many American should take note of. Eat good food, drink good wine, take time off from work and relax, and don't trust the government. Sounds like good advice to me.

Monday, October 30, 2006

We don't need no Stinking Aerobics

While recently surfing in search of some scientific information related to this half baked idea that I'm working on that I'll write about later, I came across an interesting study. While as I've written before, I am often critical of study's and generally tend to look for the hidden agendas. From time to time, however, I find gleaming nuggets with useful information of a practical value. The particulars of this study by Braith et al. concerns the role of strength training in relationship to preventing heart disease. A summary of the results can be seen here What we find is that two or three days a week of moderate single set strength training elicits a wide array of health promoting changes including increased sensitivity to insulin, lowering AIC, decreased fat mass, increased muscle mass, and just oodles of happy things. The authors of the study state that their is not sufficient data to warrant not doing aerobic exercise. I say lets up the intensity of the training, cut the carbs and get off the freaking treadmill.

Welcome to the Neighborhood.

I'd like to take a moment to welcome a new blogger. Fred Fornicola has a new spot Premiere Personal Fitness from which he shares his perspective on strength training and fitness. Fred is the former editor of the High Performance Training news letter and Co-Author of Dumbbell Training for Strength And Fitness. I look forward to reading what Fred has to say, and I hope you will give his site a look.

Monday, October 23, 2006

I'll drink to that

Most slender, as opposed to skinny, people I know do not eat a reduced/low carb diet. They, in fact, tend to eat a generally carb rich diet. Oddly enough, most of the non-slender people I know also eat a carb rich diet. In both casual conversation, and through general anecdotal observation, it appears on the surface that little difference exists in the content of their respective diets. The biggest difference I've noticed is in their attitude about food. The slender folks tend to not think a great deal about food, the non-slender, are obsessed with it. The slender never profess to being on a diet, the non-slendar are always on a diet, recovering from a diet, or looking for their next diet. The slender folks frequently leave food un-eaten, be it a donut at a meeting, or lunch at a restaurant. The non-slender folks clean their plate, every time. In an informal survey, I kept track over a week of who came by my cubical to discuss something, vs those who sent me an email or called me. Guess what. The slender folks were three time as likely to get up and come over then were the non slender folks. While all of this is highly anecdotal, I'll wager one Internet dollar that if you look around your observations will come right close to the same thing. So, on casual observation, the difference between the slender and non-slender, is that the slender folks eat less and move more. Hmmm, that sounds familiar. 30 years ago when the low fat, high carb thing started to gain traction, some one asked the question, what's the difference between skinny and fat people, and who are the most skinny people? Guess who they picked to model dietary and exercise recommendations after?? Marathon Runners. Yup, our high carb, low fat diet, plus an hour a day of exercise, recommended by the government, is based on the needs of marathon runners. Explains a lot doesn't it.

Oddly enough, one of the reasons Dr Atkins may not have been as successfully with his diet the first time around, is that it was hardly unique. Most of the popular diets of the time were based on lean protein, and vegetables. Tuna fish, cottage cheese and salads were the dietary staples of those wishing to shed a few pounds. Pasta was not the love child it is today, and most diets started by cutting down/out bread and potatoes. Explain to me again some one please, why we gave up the four basic food groups in favor of the pyramid?
My personal favorite, The Drinking Mans Diet . The Rat Pack would approve.

Thursday, October 19, 2006

Let Them Eat Cake

Recently the United States hit 300 million people. I know in my lifetime the area I live in has gotten rather crowded, and I have had to move further out to keep some sense of being in a rural setting. Most of the farmland near where I grew up is now developed or being developed. The small family farms are disappearing. Many people of my generation left the farm, and with no one left to take over, the farm is sold to developers. Local produce is only semi-local most of the time, and fresh meat even is getting harder to find. I'm fortunate that with good job and a fairly modest lifestyle, by Mid-Atlantic standards, I can afford to eat better quality food than many. Eating a nutrient dense, natural/organic diet is not cheap, and requires sacrifices in other areas. I'm concerned though, that with the growing populace, that better food, and quality meat may get even harder to find and afford. I question if we have the resources to feed a nation of 300 million a quality diet. Then I consider that India and China have even larger populations. While it is easy to condemn certain practices as being unhealthy for us as individuals, and for the ecology of the planet, without a large percentage of humanities diet consisting of grain products and legumes, and with out large agribusiness, how would we feed the 300 million people here in the United States, plus the 5 going on 6 billion other people in the world? If a crop blight were to suddenly wipe out our ability to raise grains, the vast majority of the worlds population would starve in short order. There simply isn't enough meat to go around, and there is no way we could breed our live stock quick enough to make up the difference. I don't pretend to have an answer I feel good about. Soylent Green? Perhaps Marie Antoinette was right.

Monday, October 16, 2006

the air-speed velocity of an unladen swallow

In the Middle Ages knights searched for the Holy Grail. Ponce De Leon Searched for the fountain of youth. Cortez searched for gold. Ahab searched for a big white whale. I search for the optimal diet. In my definition of optimal, nutrients come from food not supplements. If we need certain nutrients, we are, according to biology, required to eat those foods, or suffer the consequences of deficiency. In many cases, such as the tomato and lycopene, we have learned that trying to extract one particular nutrient with out the rest of the plant often does not provide the same benefit as eating the food itself. By and large getting our vitamins is easy. By eating a variety of meats (including organ meats), fish, eggs, vegetables, fruits, tree nuts, and whole dairy, we can accomplish meeting our vitamin needs with out too much effort. One key part of this, however, is variety. Once we get into the Mineral side of our nutritional needs, things get a bit more complicated, and difficult, especially for those who keep their carb levels very low. Many of the richer sources for mineral content are nuts, legumes, and whole grains. On a side note, the more I research this, the more convinced I become that Nuts should be their own food group and you should eat at least 2 ounces a day. But, to use Sally Fallon's term, the "diet dictocrats" wouldn't like it as they are too high in fat. I digress. Now it is not only possible, but feasible, to prevent deficiency with out eating legumes or grains. The question in my mind however is, does prevention of deficiency mean optimum? I think not. Prevention of deficiency is like getting a C-minus. I'm looking for the A-plus. In typical US fashion, I want it all, not just to survive, but to thrive. A body that feels good, looks good, and performs well. Is that too much to ask?

Thursday, October 12, 2006

Book Reviews

New Rules of Lifting
I've read and enjoyed several of Lou's other books, I like his style of writing and find his work entertaining and informative. His style is such that he comes across like an every-man. This book, to me, is the logical successor to his popular Testosterone Advantage plan. The diet advice and planing is similar but updated. He recommends a zone like diet with a focus on protein, fruits, vegetables and whole grains. Nothing revolutionary, just good advice for folks who exercise hard and regularly. The exercise plans follow a similar periodization scheme. Fat loss circuit, Medium reps for Hypertrophy, and low reps for strength. These routines are not for the faint of heart. They are demanding. The routines are designed by Alwyn Cosgrove, who lives up to his reputation as "the evil Scotsman". They are medium volume, moderate intensity routines that even the well conditioned will find a challenge. While there is a break in routine, I would not recommend this book to some one who has not worked out regularly for at least six months. But for some one looking to move from beginner to intermediate, or an intermediate looking for a change of pace, this would be an outstanding resource.

The Glycemic-Load Diet
Written by Rob Thompson, this is an ok book for someone who already understands the concept of glycemic load. For a person who has no idea, it could be very confusing as he uses different values than all other standard resources relating to glycemic load. His dietary advice could be summed up thusly, don't eat sugar or grains. Not necessarily bad advice, but he really doesn't paint a complete picture of what glycemic load is. His whole eat chocolate candy to avoid carb cravings made me go "hmmmmm". On the upside, if you follow his recommendations you will eat a healthy, generally nutritious diet. Two thirds of the book is recipes, some good, some not so good, IMHO. I actually think of this book more as user friendly introduction to low carb eating than a guide to eating based on glycemic load.

The GL Diet
Written by Nigel Denby, this book is in many ways the companion to, and the missing parts of the Rob Thompson book. While this book too, is two thirds recipes, it gives a much more useful method for dealing with glycemic load based eating. The summary version of this diet would be, don't eat junk food, get your carbs from vegetables and fruits first, and keep your daily GL under 80. Not bad advice, and it rely's on standard GL values available on the web and in many books related to the glycemic index. I would recommend this as a first book on glycemic load based eating, then followed by Thompson's book to round out the picture.

Wednesday, October 04, 2006

Mastadon and Merlot

Scrapple is beautiful. Here in the Mid-Atlantic it is one of our most traditional foods. Created by the colonists as a way of using up the parts of the pig that weren't fit for sausages. REAL scrapple is made with bits of the meat that is boiled off the head of the pig, the liver, and all the other un-pretty parts that most people these days would never consider eating. "From tooter to snooter", any part not previously used, goes into scrapple. According to stories, It was the first solid food I would eat, and aside from that brief flirtation with vegetarianism in college to impress some girl, I've never stopped eating it. Not limited to scrapple, I eat chicken livers, turkey gizzards, hearts, tongues, sweet breads, and brains. I've hunted, killed, gutted, skinned and eaten animals. I'm not bragging, Its just that I get such a kick out these modern day carnivores who profess to eating like a caveman by going to a grocery store, buying a roast and putting it a crock pot. This whole train of thought was precipitated by a recent exchange on one those Internet boards where such things are "discussed". While there, I was to learn that mans real diet was meant to be steak. So, being me, I inquired as to the disposition of the remainder of the animal, and was summarily informed that people don't eat those parts. Imagine my surprise to learn that people eat steak, or roasts, and that those other parts were just too gross. I sat, head in hands, blinking in disbelief, trying to fathom where this belief came from. I made myself some scrapple to reaffirm reality, people do and have eaten those parts for a long long time. But the question still remained in my mind as to why, and from where did this idea originate. Being familiar with Cordains association with the Eades' who wrote protein power, I googled him. Low and behold, right up top there on his web site is "Lean Protein". I spent several hours surfing thru his site and not one mention anywhere of eating the whole animal. Does anyone besides me really question if this is even a remotely accurate view of what constituted a paleolithic diet? I mean, did caveman Bob really eat "Trout Simmered in wine sauce"? Wine after all is a product of Agriculture. Do I think, he presents one version of a healthy diet, yes. Do I think Its a paleo diet, not just No, but HELL NO.

Monday, October 02, 2006

Jaques is the man

One more reason to eat low carb!!

Lobster Salad with Taragon Next time some low fat dieter gives you crap, say yeah well I can eat Lobster Salad!!

Thursday, September 28, 2006

I don't do Atkins

Just the other day I had a conversation with another low carber whose attention I caught by politely refusing to indulge in some office goodies. This person approached me and asked, "I heard you say something about low carb and wondered if you were doing Atkins too?" To which I replied "No, I'm not doing Atkins, but I do eat low carb". My common sense was trying to get me to move away quickly, but my feet hesitated, and it was too late. "But Atkins is low carb", she replied. Realizing I was going to have engage in a little education, the devilish side of my nature took over. I smiled a little too wide and retorted, "Yes, thats true, but not all low carb is Atkins." I could sense the fog gathering. The confusion was evident in her perplexed look. Her next question was predictable, "Well, what plan are you on then?" My current answer to that question is "The Hamptons Beach Power Zone". Her head snapped up and back as if to avoid being hit. A dull "huh?" was her reply. "Its my own combination of diets, a work in progress actually" I gleefully answer. She took a step back, raised an eyebrow, and I could tell I'd just been branded a heretic. "Well, Atkins is the best, It worked wonders for me you know" she countered, sounding suddenly defensive. "Cool, I'm glad it worked for you", I answer. I could tell this was not the response she was expecting. Clearly she was ready to defend "doing Atkins". Semi defiantly she says "I believe in Atkins, it changed my life". Ah yes, the moment was at hand, much quicker than I had hoped for. "No, You changed your life, the Atkins diet was just the tool you used to implement that change", I say. A thick silence momentarily hung in the air, as she took in my last statement. The pause was interrupted by a gaggle of co-workers, and she seemed relieved to disengage from our conversation. I thought little of the exchange until this morning when she came by my cube. I was at the time eating a muffin and drinking my coffee. "That doesn't look very low carb" she said with mock scorn. "Ah, but it is. Its made with almond flour, splenda, and such. Quite low carb actually, and yummy!" I say smiling. "What plan are you on today?", she asks. "Same one, but I'm reading about Glycemic Load diets, and it seems like something I may add to the mix", I answer. Her-"Don't you ever get tired of trying out new things" Me-"Uh, no"

Thursday, September 21, 2006


I love Italian food. My mother is Italian, and I grew up eating Italian food on a regular basis along with many American staples such as meatloaf. Now here is the shocking part to most people. In all the time I lived with my parents, the only time I can remember having a PASTA dinner, was when we had company. Yes we had lasagna and spaghetti, but they would have been only part of dinner. We frequently ate pasta like most people ate potatoes. Fish stew with beans, and pork chops with fennel were two my favorite food's growing up. These would have been served with a big salad, more vegetables, and yes, crusty bread and lots of olive oil. Traditional foods have a soul satisfying effect that no modern convenience can match. Our ancestors, both recent and not so recent, knew how to eat for health and comfort. Prior to the 20th century, heart disease was a virtual unknown. T2 Diabetes has only in the past few years become a threat to anyone but the old and infirm. If we look back at the traditional foods of Italy, France, Germany, and every other country that sent it children to the American shores, we will find how we need to eat for our future. While the folks in each region adapted to the foods that were available and grew well, none of them ate a low fat diet. To make a gross over generalization, if we were to assign calories as percentages it would look something like 30C-30P-40F. Not a low fat or a low carb diet, but certainly less carbs then most eat today. There was no refined white flour ( except France in the 19th century), no partially hydrogenated fats, no red dye number 6 etc. Just real food. To make a concrete example, A sandwich with wonder bread, oscar meyer bologna, sliced velveeta, miracle whip, and a coke vs. whole grain sourdough bread, slow cooked pork, raw organic cheese, olive oil, and wine or beer. Which would you rather eat, and which do you think is better for you?

Fish Stew with Beans
Traditionally this would be made with Salt Cod, but I've used many different fish with success
1 lb firm white fish
2 cups Cooked Cannellini beans (can use canned if needed just rinse them well)
2 cups Diced Tomatoes (May used canned)
1 cup stock (may sub half with wine)
1 small onion chopped
2 cloves garlic chopped
1 tbsp butter
1 tbsp olive oil
thyme, orgeno,salt,pepper, and crushed red pepper to taste
Heat butter and oil in a heavy skillet on med heat. When oil is at temperature, add onions and red pepper and saute till onion is soft. Add garlic and cook for a minute then add stock, tomatoes, beans and seasonings. bring to a simmer. Place fish on top of stew and cover tightly. Cook till fish is done, it should fall apart. When serving, drizzle with olive oil, and a dash of fresh romano cheese.

Tuesday, September 19, 2006

Your Cheatin Heart

There are times in a mans life when the straight and narrow just seams confining. When faithfulness is just boring. There are just those times when you need a little something-something different then the same-old same-old. Its those times that I go visit my favorite den of iniquity. Genos . God help me, I know I should be faithful, but the siren song of slathered cheez wiz and shaved beef on the big honkin Amaroso roll just gets too much to bear, and I give in to temptation. Just the other day I was driving by the local pizza and steak joint, the smell of fried meat, cheese, and sauce in the air, and this feeling came over me. Its like I was on a mission from God. Compelled by forces greater than man, the next thing I knew I was on I-95 headed for Philadelphia. South 9th Street and Passyunk Ave, I get tingles just writing about it. Upon arrival I get in line and get my money out before ordering. Unlike the tourist a head of me who gets sent to the end of the line, I know how to order. "wit wiz and onions", that's all they need to know to get me my fix. Sitting at the table outside, finishing up the last few bites, I think, Oh, no, what if my wife finds out. The tell tale signs of dripped cheese are on my shirt. I'll have steak breath. I've cheated and I feel good about it. This was not some little incidental cheat, no, this was the real deal, and it was worth it. A wet napkin and a couple of certs later I arrive home, pretending like nothing happened. A quick kiss and some casual conversation, my wife gives me a quick raised eyebrow but says nothing, she knows, she always knows.

Friday, September 15, 2006

Why Research Sucks

Lets address one thing right up front, the real purpose of research has little or nothing to do with actually finding real answers or cures. If it did we would not see such studies as have been in the press lately about milk shakes and carrot cake with poly vs saturated fat. I mean do we really need some one to spend several hundred thousand dollars to tell us that high sugar, high sat fat meals are bad for us? Protein causes high levels of satiation, ok fine now we why, but so what, it doesn't change anything. Calorically n neutral meals with a starch blocker don't significantly change post meal glucose response. Yup, I see the importance of that one too, not! No friends and neighbors, the two real purposes of research are; to get funding to do more research; and to support a previously arrived at conclusion. The first of these reasons is perpetuated by the researchers themselves. The data in the studies never is never really conclusive about anything. It always "seems to indicate", "trend towards", "possibly supports", or "correlates positively", but never "conclusively shows" anything. I can explain why this happens in two words, government grants. If they solve the puzzle, the gravy train stops. The people doing this work, do not stand to profit from there own discoveries. Their self interest lies in incrementally moving things forward, not in finding conclusive answers. In the second case, things get a bit more tricky. The conclusion the research is designed to support can be for commercial or political reasons. In most cases, the answers you get are based on the questions you ask. Following this line of reasoning, many company's and lobbying groups have scientist on staff for the sole purpose of figuring out how to ask a question in such a manner as to get the answer needed. These same scientist then design the study within the confines of the question and arrange the parameters to support the conclusion already decided on. If at the end of the study, the data doesn't fit neatly into a hard and fast conclusion, that's ok, as long as it "seems to indicate" etc. Occasionally real discoveries do sneak through. Generally they are the product of independent research and often met with great resistance from people/groups with opposing interests who are much better funded. Cynical? You bet. Wrong? Doubt it.

Tuesday, September 12, 2006

Gettin Freaky

One of the biggest difference in the way the strength training community at large approaches a reduced carb diet versus the wieght loss community is in "doing the math". More than Once I've read, heard, and listened to people who are unwilling to track calories, fat grams or any thing else, but will with meticulous precision count and calculate thier carb requirements to remain in ketosis. They will weigh, messure, calculate Net carbs, keep a journal, and pee on sticks. But, count calories, hell no, thats to much work One of those things in life that just make me go hmmmmmmm. Strength trainees in general, and bodybuilders in particular, embrace their inner control freak. When I posted my food log on "Average Sunday", and I wrote .5 cup of this and 6 oz of that, I mean everything that went on my plate had been on a food scale or in a measuring cup. Right now, as I am not activley trying to move my body composition or weight one way or the other by any significant amount, I only do this once every 3 or four days. Over time I have learned that I, like most people, suck at estimating what I am actually putting in my mouth. So to compensate for this, I shoot for a littel under maintenace. By shooting for a little less than I need, I end up actually eating what I should.
How do I know how much I should eat? I am so glad you asked. I'll make it easy for you, go to and plug in the numbers, no math required on your part. Now you need to know how much protein to eat. Very simple, eat 1 gram of protein for every 1 lb. of body weight, or for those of you in metric countries 2 grams per kilogram. Yes I know its not the exact same amount, but I'm trying to keep it simple. Take your protein grams and multiply that number by 4. Thats your calories from protein. Subtract that number from your caloric requirements. Divide the remainder by 2. Thats how many calories you should get each from carbs and fat.
Quick example.
Wt = 200lbs
Cal Rq = 2500
Protein = 200g x 4 = 800 cal
2500 - 800 = 1700
1700 / 2 = 850
850 cal /4 = 212g Carb
850 cal / 9 = 94g fat


212g @@##CARB!!! thats not very low carb you say. Compared to the USDA recomeded level of 60% carbs or 375g, it is certainley a reduced carb diet. Also bear in mind, this is maintanence level based on activity level. To lose weight you would maintain your protein level and reduce your carbs and/or fat. To gain, do the opposite. Tracking all this may seem daunting. But I say, embrace your inner control freak, you know you want to.

Sunday, September 10, 2006

Average Sunday

Today was a pretty average day, so I thought I would share.

Butter 4 teaspoon(s)
egg sub lucrene 0.5 cup(s)
Egg whole 2 large
Ezekiel Bread Sesame 2 slice(s)
Mushrooms raw 0.5 cup(s)
Turkey dark without skin 2 ounce(s)
Vegetable Juice (V-8) 8 fluid ounce(s)
Fresh Fruit cup 1 cup(s)
Mahi Mahi Fillet 6 ounce(s)
Oil olive 1 tablespoon(s)
Spinach raw 2 cup(s)
Post Work Out
Designer Whey Protein Powder 0.5 serving(s)
flax oil 1 teaspoon(s)
Milk 1% 1 cup(s)
ovaltine 2 tablespoon(s)
Cottage cheese low fat 2% 0.75 cup(s)
Fiber One cereal 0.5 ounce(s)
Walnuts 0.5 ounce(s)
Broccoli cooked 1 cup(s)
Cauliflower cooked 1 cup(s)
Garden Salad 1 serving(s)
Oil olive 2 teaspoon(s)
Top sirloin 6 ounce(s)

Totals for the day 2225 cal 195g pro 94g fat 150g carb 45g fiber
This is a little under maintenace levels for me and results in about .5 - 1lb weekly fat loss as long as I am consistant with the exercise.

30-60 secs rest between seets
Squats 2x15
Superset 1
Lunges 2x15
DB Rows 2x15
SuperSet 2
Pushups 2x15
Swiss Ball Crunch's 2x20

Friday, September 08, 2006

Muscle Heads Vindicated

I must admit, I have had a hard time holding my lounge, and giggled more than once over the past day or two as all these modern low carbers who feel that Atkins has been vindicated by recent study showing the benefit of a high protein diet. Well, guess what, your beloved Robert Atkins is a johnny come lately into the world of high protein, reduced carb eating. Physical culturists, weightlifters, bodybuilders. power lifters, and strong men had that figured out long before Atkins ever went to med school. For decades, we have been told that eating all that meat, eggs and whole milk would destroy our liver and kidney's, ruin our bones, makes us bald, blind and cause any other infirmity they could think of. Now, I will give Atkins his due, he did hold his ground for years against some pretty strong criticism. However, going back to the turn of the 20th century you can find similar advice from physical culturists like Eugene Sandow and many others. My favorite golden age bodybuilder, Dave Draper, could teach you more about how to lose fat and change your body composition using a reduced carb diet, than 99 percent of all the Internet low carb experts. While I'm on the subject of Dave Draper, I would like to recommend his book, "Your Body Revival". It is an excellent beginning for those who would like to get healthy and strong. I am in no way affiliated with, I just really think he has something to say that is worth hearing. Having met Dave once at a book signing, he also seems like a heck of a nice guy. So enjoy the moment, it will be fleeting. But you can take some comfort in knowing that High protein diets have a long tradition of health and strength in another subculture that has been marginalized for decades. Now, lets address the idea of muscle bound.......

Lets blame Reagen

Is it just me, or is there a trend here?!?!?

Average daily per capita calories from the U.S. food supply, adjusted for spoilage and other waste
Year Meat, eggs, and nuts Dairy Fruit Vegetables Flour and cereal products Added fats Added sugars Total
1970 380 267 63 124 429 428 402 2,093
1973 364 266 62 121 431 438 411 2,094
1977 371 256 66 121 447 435 414 2,108
1983 386 253 73 120 468 481 402 2,183
1988 408 262 79 124 555 510 439 2,377
1993 410 256 79 136 599 546 469 2,496
1998 415 256 79 133 616 511 502 2,513
2004 447 263 78 133 609 660 475 2,665

Wednesday, September 06, 2006

Lets Get Dense

Now that I've sufficiently extolled the virtue of grains in our diet, you might think that I've jumped ship to the high carb - low fat side. Nothing could be further from the truth. With proper planning, and sufficient intake of the correct vegetables and fruits, all the nutritional value derived from grains can be replaced. But, much as lumping all fats together is an asinine thing to do, so is lumping all grains together. Crisco and enriched white flour are equally worthless. EVOO, raw butter from grass fed cows, Steel cut Oats and whole barley however, can find a spot on my table any day. Eating low carb does not guarantee proper nutrition, any more than any other chosen way of eating. We need certain nutrients, and many of these nutrients are easily obtained from grain sources. So how many servings should we eat? Well, that depends. Are you sensitive or intolerant to grains? Are they a trigger food for you? If either of these is the case, then you should rightfully avoid them. If, however, you are avoiding them because grains are "evil", then you may wish to reconsider. That being said, how many servings of grains should you eat? Well, like any other food, it depends, and by and large, really doesn't matter. Rather than focus on where the nutrients come from, focus on getting the proper nutrients. Use the USRDA as a guideline to prevent nutritional deficiencies. Then eat to provide your body with sufficient nutrient intake, with out consuming excessive calories. In so doing, your intake of grain products will be limited. Those who are engaged in activities that require high levels of energy, marathon runners for an extreme example, can eat more starch, as well as everything else, as they will burn it up. Those who are desk jockeys will need to eat less. Eating to provide your body with proper nutrient intake is quite a challenge, which is why so many folks advocate supplements. There is no need to restrict your choices, making it even harder.

Friday, September 01, 2006

Darwin's Finches

Evolution of Darwin's Finches Caused by a Rare Climatic Event
Grant, B. Rosemary; Grant, Peter R.
Biological Sciences, Volume 251, Issue 1331, pp. 111-117 02/1993

Abstract:Populations of animals and plants often undergo conspicuous ecological changes when subjected to climatic extremes. Evolutionary changes may accompany them but are less easily detected. We show that Darwin's finches on a Galapagos island underwent two evolutionary changes after a severe El Nino event caused changes in their food supply. Small beak sizes were selectively favoured in one granivorous species when large seeds became scarce. The effects of selection were transmitted to the next generation as a result of high trait heritabilities. Hybridization between this species and two others resulted in gene exchange, but only after the El Nino when hybrid fitness was much enhanced under the altered feeding conditions. These observations imply that if global warming increases the frequency or severity of El Nino events on the Galapagos, microevolutionary changes in animal and plant populations are to be anticipated.

Now I suppose your wondering, what on earth does this have to do with diet and exercise? I am so glad you asked. I often hear from various sources that many of the problems associated with our health are due to the fact that we don't eat the way our paleolithic ancestors did. In conversation, I have been know to reply, "Darwin's Finches". This generally leads to a puzzled expression that might be similar to the one you had when you first read the above abstract and wondered where this is going. When reading/talking/hearing about the virtues of the paleo diet keep in mind that in less time then it has taken human beings to develop agriculture, dairying, and to figure out how to make beer, the finches have colonized the Galapagos, adapted to completely new food stuffs, and developed into several distinct species. In fact, they even evolved over the course of the relatively short time span of one "El Nino" to adapt to the change in food supply. Now, with all that in mind, are we to believe that human beings are incapable as a species of successfully incorporating into our diet, the most abundant food source available on the planet today? What exactly does that say about our future as a species? Is it really the grains causing the problems here, or just the technology what we have developed to process them. We didn't start developing type 2 diabetes at epidemic levels until recently. Grains have been around for 10-15 thousand years as part of our diet. The preponderance of that time they would have been eaten in a relatively whole state, or if ground, not finely ground like today. Additionally, the bread, porridge, and other grain products eaten, would have been fermented and not leavened by industrial yeast. Not only have grains suffered from industrial food processing. Are some of the processed meats, say chicken nuggets, available today any better for us than processed grains? And the ever popular Velveeta cheese, mm mm yummy goodness. This stuff has only been part of our diet for about fifty years. In all likelihood this is what we have not adapted to. More importantly, do we really want to?

Thursday, August 31, 2006

Magnificent Magnesium.

One of the things I have tried to wrap my mind around is the link between whole grains and lower level of insulin resistance. Time after time, when studies compare whole grains like steal cut oats and legumes, to reduced carb diets, the whole grain and legume diet generally fares as well or better in reducing signs and symptoms of insulin resistance. We often hear that all carbs are converted in to sugar, and this is more or less true. With the advent of the glycemic index, we now know that some sources of carbohydrate convert faster than others. These same sources of slow carbs also tend to be very high in magnesium. "So what", you say. Well, magnesium is involved in many aspects of carbohydrates metabolism. How convenient. Now here is where it gets interesting to me. Magnesium uptake and usage is influenced by calcium and B vitamins. So lets put together a meal that would be high in Mg, with adequate calcium and Vitamin B; Steak, spinach and white bean salad, a real - whole grain sour dough roll, and a glass of milk. A meal even a mother could love. Hmmmmmmm, it's the four basic food groups that we all grew up with. (at least if your my age or older) Perhaps there's a reason there were a lot less fat kids back then.

Rich sources of magnesium include tofu, legumes, whole grains, green leafy vegetables, wheat bran, Brazil nuts, soybean flour, almonds, cashews, blackstrap molasses, pumpkin and squash seeds, pine nuts, and black walnuts. Other good dietary sources of this mineral include peanuts, whole wheat flour, oat flour, beet greens, spinach, pistachio nuts, shredded wheat, bran cereals, oatmeal, bananas, and baked potatoes (with skin), chocolate, and cocoa powder. Many herbs, spices, and seaweeds supply magnesium, such as agar seaweed, coriander, dill weed, celery seed, sage, dried mustard, basil, cocoa powder, fennel seed, savory, cumin seed, tarragon, marjoram, poppy seed.
For full run down please visit:

Wednesday, August 23, 2006

Why ?

WHY DO WE GET FAT?? This is a very different question than How do we get fat. How we get fat is pretty straight forward. With few exceptions, we get fat from eating too much. So Why is it we get fat? Now we want to blame the media, the food industry, the nasty sugar mongering advertisers, the government and pretty much every one but ourselves. But so far, I have yet to meet anyone who was force fed. Nobody picked up the little Debbie snack cake, pulled a revolver and said eat this or else. Nope, the simple fact is we did this to ourselves. The real question is, why? I was not a fat child, nor was I a skinny child. For the majority of my life I was a medium size person. I allowed my self to become fat, and knew that I was gaining weight while it was happening and chose to do nothing about it. Buying bigger size pants is a pretty good clue!. The thing that astonishes me the most now, is that for some reason I just accepted this as normal. After all, all of my older relatives were overweight, and some diabetic. I had learned from my family that becoming fat as I got older was not only ok, it was to be expected. Oh, how my elder would love to sit around and talk about their latest medications, and trips to the doctor. They would even smile, and with a certain pride tell me "someday, all this will be yours". At the age of 35 I was told I had High cholesterol, High Triglycerides, High Fasting Blood Sugar, High Blood Pressure, and medically speaking was "borderline obese", I weighed 238lbs at 5'8". I was one of them.
As I sit here today, I am still heavier than I want to be, but down 35lbs from my heaviest. With all the news about the obesity epidemic, I wonder why do we allow ourselves to get fat? Is it learned? I actually think it might be. How much of the current situation is a thinking problem vs an eating problem. If we stop accepting that it is normal and reasonable to gain weight of the point of obesity, can a behavior change be far behind? Even the best of diets will fail if our minds don't accept that the change is good and necessary. Get your mind on the right track and your body will follow.

Tuesday, August 22, 2006

I can't get no, satisfaction

Eat Until Satisfied!! I keep hearing and reading his, however I have yet to really experience this. The other night my wife and I went out for dinner at a local steak and seafood establishment. This fits us well as they offer you vegetables or a potato, plus a soup and salad bar, and no bread basket. The salad bar is pretty standard, and there is always vegetable crab soup. One of the benefits of living on the Chesapeake bay is the abundance of fresh seafood, and the creative ways the locals have developed to make use of a plentiful, and formerly cheap food supply.( Growing up here we ate a lot of fish as fishing cost time not money). The Down Side is of this geography is that really good beef is hard to come by, and requires going to a restaurant, or mail order from some place out west. So, out we went and I ordered the 24 oz porterhouse, medium rare. Oh, yeah, baby. Prior to the Arrival of my chunk o' meat, I ate a salad, and two cups of crab soup. I then proceeded to eat my steak, vegetables, the portion of my wife's dinner she didn't eat, and washed it all down with two beers. Satisfied? Nope. I was about to get up and go get more crab soup when my wife asked, "Haven't you had enough, dear?" The tone in her voice on the word "dear" stopped me dead in my tracks. and I sat back down. Was I still Hungry, no. Did I want to eat more, yes. I could feel the crab soup in all its spicy flavors and delicate aroma's calling me from across the room. Every fiber of my being screamed for more soup. I looked over at the soup bar, then glanced over at my wife. I asked the waitress for our bill.
By All accounts I should have been satisfied with what I ate. While my hunger had long since abated, part of me left the restaurant that night unsatisfied. Left to my own devices I can and have gained weight on a low carb diet. I did this once by accident, and again to win a bet. The first time I was on a happy low carb all you can eat buffet plan. I could eat whatever I wanted, until I was "satisfied" as long as there were no carbs in it. Well I wasn't satisfied until I couldn't shove another bite of low carb food into my mouth. The second time was a bet with one of those low carb Zionists who told me it was impossible to gain weight on a low carb diet. I took his hundred bucks. For me there is no substitute for portion control. I can't rely on those internal cues that I've had enough. It requires planning and thoughtful preparation to ensure that I'm getting sufficient nutrition without excessive caloric intake. If you are low carbing and not seeing the results you want, it may not be what you're eating, but how much.

Thursday, August 17, 2006

The diet wars at Home

While the Mrs and I have been on track so far, we are still trying to find our way into an organized plan, primarily of our own making. Mainly our diet consists of meat, eggs, vegetables, some fruit, nuts, cheese and olive oil. In addition to Olive Oil, we do cook with butter and use some heavy cream in different recipes, but have both discovered that too much butter fat stalls progress, but Olive and Nut oils don't have he same effect.

A few differences, however, are begining to arise between our ideas of what should or should not be included on a regular basis. The Mrs has developed a love for low carb baked goodies. Muffins, pound cakes, and pancakes made with almond meal, flax meal, or soy flour. I on the other hand, think yogurt, beans, and the occasional slice of Ezekiel Bread is more the way to go. Philosophically, She is more of a "Net Carb", whereas I am more of an "Organic/Whole Food". Now this is not to say that I won't eat something that isn't organic or that she only counts carbs, but, our approaches are slightly different. A lot of this comes down to one basic difference in our approach to eating that has been present even before we ever heard of low carb. For the Mrs, life with out dessert is just not worth living. I, on the other hand, if given a choice between a second helping of lasagna or saving room for dessert, will always choose the lasagna. So we compromise. Like diner last night, was my famous, at least in my house, Shrimp Stuffe` ("stu-fay" french always makes it sound better). and Carb Quick Biscuits. I must Admit the carb quick biscuits were not bad, but I think I need to adjust the box recipe just a bit.

Shrimp Stuffe`

4 oz Andouille Sausage - I use the Aidelles Chicken type, but use what ever you like
1 lb raw shrimp
1 15oz can Black Soy Beans, drained and rinsed - we can find these at our local Safeway
1 15oz can diced tomatoes
.25C chopped onion
.25C chopped celery
.25C chopped red/green pepper
2Tbsp Olive Oil
1Tbsp chopped garlic
cayenne, oregano,Thyme, salt and Pepper to taste

In a non-stick skillet, over med heat, begin to brown the sausage. As the sausage begins to brown after a couple of minutes, add the olive oil, onions, celery, and peppers. cook until the onions are soft. Add the spices and garlic, cook for 30 seconds to one minute, add the tomatoes and soy beans, bring to a simmer and add the shrimp, cook until shrimp are pink. Serves 4. Total prep and Cook time about 30 min.

Saturday, August 12, 2006

Insulin is your friend

Lock up the women and Hide the children, the boy has lost his mind. He is using the "I" word, and he thinks its our friend. Go get the Holy fat of Atkins and douse him good. Every LCer knows that insulin is evil.
WELL, no, insulin is not evil, and it really is our friend. Despite all the rhetoric on the LC boards and blogs, with out insulin we would die. If our body stopped making insulin we would have to inject it into our system, thats called Type 1 diabetes. The problem is that most people have a fundamental misunderstanding of the role insulin plays in our metabolism. The scary story that usually surrounds insulin goes something like this- we eat carbs, insulin is realeased, bad things happen. The problem here is that insulin is not the problem. One of the primary functions of insulin is to lower our blood sugar, which is a good thing. Glucose doesn't belong in our blood, it belongs in our cells were it can be used in a things called glycolysis and the Krebbs cycle to create energy for our cells to do their cell work. The problem we run into is when we keep stuffing our pie hole long after we've met our energy needs. When we repeatedly over eat, the cells that take up the glucose become immune, or resistant, to the effects of insulin.
So then how do we make the receptors more sensitive to insulin? Excellent question, I'm so glad you asked. Calorie restriction and exercise are the two most effective ways of increasing insulin sensitivity, short of medication. For example, Cutting carbs combined with full body strength training routines. Eliminating carbs btw, will not eliminate your need for insulin. Protien digestion, also stimulates insulin secretion. One of insulins other functions is to stimulate protien synthesis. Which if you strength train, helps to restore any muscle mass that may have been lost from disuse and aging. Fat is the only macronutrient not to stimulate insulin. I don't know about you, but I wouldn't want to eat a meal of just fat. Besides, you must eat protein. Protein is used up everyday in normal metabolism as part of tissue repair and immune functions, among other things.

So how did insulin get such a bad name? Well in short, insulin stops you from burning fat for energy, and promotes fat storage. So yes, it does have a downside. The trick here is to manage the amount of insulin you secrete, and to increase your sensitivity to the insulin you do secrete. Over time if you increase your sensitivity to insulin, your body will produce less insulin to do the job we need it to do.

[NOTE to the Science Nerds out there: I know that each glucose becomes 2 pyruvate prior to entering the krebbs cycle, so save it]

Monday, August 07, 2006


Low carb has a dirty little secret. What’s The secret?
It’s really a low calorie way of eating!
No way! - Way!
Despite all the rhetoric to the contrary, low carb works because you eat less. For my first trick I am going to need a volunteer. Ok, The Drs Eades, step right up. According to Protein Power Life plan I should be eating 120 grams of protein and 40 or less grams of “effective carbs”. So using the template provided in the book I devised the following menu.

Eggs Whole 5
Turkey Breakfast Sausage 2 pieces
Strawberries 0.5 cup
Blueberries 0.5 cups
538 calories 41g protein 33g fat 18g carbs 5g fiber

Top Round 5oz
Summer Squash 1 cup
Blueberries 0.5 cup
Spinach Raw 2 cups
Olive oil 1tbsp
532 calories 48g protein 30g fat 20g carbs 8g fiber

Salmon 6oz
Green beans 0.5 cup
Cauliflower 0.5 cup
Tomato 0.5 cup
Olive Oil 1 tbsp
381 calories 39g protein 20g fat 11g carbs 4g fiber

Total for the day
1451 calories 128g protein 48g carbs 17g fiber 31g ECC

Guess what, I could lose weight on any diet eating 1451 calories. So why bother with the restriction of low carb? Well for one, and likely the most important reason, it works. While it’s not magic, it is effective. The reduced calorie levels will not be noticed by many people due to the satiating effects of the fat and protein. Protein and fat work together to make you fuller faster, and keep you satisfied longer. Two, your blood sugar will normalize. Those nasty peaks and crashes associated with high carb diets that send you running to the snack machine don’t happen. Three, you prefer the food associated with a low carb diet vs a low fat diet. It might sound easy to commit to a plan, but don’t underestimate the drudgery if you aren’t happy with your food choices.

Tuesday, August 01, 2006

Analysis Paralysis

The MRS. and I have been trying to Get back Into the weight loss mode of Low Carb Living. I must admit its been much harder the second time around. While we had continued to eat what most would consider a "clean" diet, the pounds had crept back on, and were not budging with normal diet and exercise modifications. I tried one of the new fancy schmancy diets called the "Abs Diet" from men's health. It was ok, and it stopped the weight gain, but I was never really able to lose anything thing on this plan. I never completely got my mind around the concept of what it was trying to achieve food wise. So maybe it wasn't the plan, maybe it was me. The Mrs. Tried one of the female plans from Rodale, and lost a couple of Pounds, but the time and food restrictions were very onerous. So Back to LCing we go. The first time thru we did the South Beach Diet. While it does not professing to being a LC diet, in reality it is LC, just not a Ketogenic LC. I'm still undecided on the value of Ketosis. While I am aware of the difference between ketosis, and ketoacidosis, I just don't know if there really is a metabolic benefit to it or not. It may be a very individual thing. One of our first steps at returning to LC weight loss was to purchase some new reading material. We bought the "Hamptons Diet Cookbook", George Stella's cook books, and recently a copy of the "Protein Power LIfe Plan". These in combination with the previous South Beach books we had, have given me a bit of information overload and led to paralysis from analysis. Its time to get off the fence and pick a plan, and ride the LC train to weight loss. I'll keep you posted with what happens next.

Sunday, July 30, 2006

Basic 4 Food Groups

When I was growing up we didn't have the pyramid thingy, we had the four basic food groups. All in all a much better way of eating. No food group was elevated over the other, Breads and cereals were on equal footing with meats, fruits/vegetables, and dairy. Fats were not demonized, and far fewer people were obese. Coincidence? I think not. Now thanks to the USDA and the carb is good and fat is bad mentality, Obesity rates are going up, especiallt among the young. In a recent post in LivingLaVidaLowCarb I read about kids being sent to fat camp and being allowed all sorts of fat free crap. What these kids really need is some meat and eggs and cheese and nuts. The body only has two choices with carbs, burn them or store them. Period. Even so I have to give the USDA credit for doing their job well. Their job of course is promoting the interest of industrial agri-business. Proctecting the interest of the consumer is not what they do, do not kid your self about this. So these fat kidsin this fat camp, are exactly what the USDA wants, Consumers of the American agriciulture and food processing business. The reason LC could never last in the mainstream, is that there was no money on whole foods. Meat, fruit and vegetables require no processing. Wow, this is getting bloggy. The bottom line is eat real food. Protien and fat make us stay full longer. Carbs with out protein and fat just cause a vicious cirlce of hunger and eating more carbs. Like the basic four food groups, eat some of each at your next meal and be happy.

Tuesday, July 25, 2006

Summer Time Living is Easy

The heat of summer and the heat of the grill, two things that make low carbing easy. Simple food on the grill is some of our favorites in the Dill household. Fish, chicken, Steaks, Chops, Burgers, Shrimp, squash, tomatoes, peaches, eggplant, cabbage, (yes cabbage), and the list goes on and on. Simply drizzle on your fav oil add some seasonings and put it over some coals, or gas , whatever you got and flame it up.

Grilled Fish Supper:
Grilled Catfish Drizzled wil olive oil and seasoned with some Essence of Emeril
Grilled Zuccini
Grilled Radiccio topped with Feta Cheese
Even tho its fish, I recomend a nice Beaujolais, pinot grigio would also do the trick.

Sunday, July 23, 2006

Basic Work Out

Today was workout day. I kept it fairy simple. 2 x10 each for squats, leg curls, Bench Press, Row, Over Head Press, Lat Pulldowns, and sit ups. Nothin' fancy toady. For the most part when it comes to strenght training, basic is better. For get the whole complicated nonsense about some crazy set and rep scheme. Pick a hanfull of basic exercises that cover the whole body and work them hard for 1, 2 or 3 sets. Rest for a couple of days. Every so often when the weights get to easy, add more weight. Thats it folks, the bottom line of all successfull strength training programs comes down to overload, recovery, and progression. One of the best sources I've found for real training information is a place called CyberPump. It is a $12 a year subscription, but is well worth the price. The only thing you won't find there is advice from Roid Rangers.

Lunch Today was a Kev Original.
One Mama Lupes Low Carb Tortilla
Cream Cheese
Turkey Breast

The wife and I were lip smacking, digging it hard.

I also made some blueberry muffins from a recipe I found on I did change the recipe slightly in that I added .5 tsp of guar gum to the batter. They are maahhhvulus. Definatley a gold star.

Saturday, July 22, 2006

Pizza and Pancakes

Last night being Friday Night, Pizza was on the menu for dinner. We had previosly purchased a pizza dough mix from dixie diner. The dough was simple enought to make; add oil, water and an egg, stir until well mixed. The textue of the dough was somewhat crumbly and spongey at the same time. I rolled it out to about 1/8 inch thick and placed on a well greased baking tray. The dough was topped with a comercial low sugar pizza sauce, a combonation of bacon, onions, mushrooms, and garlic that I had saute'd and let cool a little, and Kraft Mozzeralla cheese. I then baked it according to the directiosn on the dough package, 425 deg for 18 mins. I should have checked the pizza a few minutes early. The cheese was a little over carmalized, and the dough a little dried out. Over all the flavor was fine, the dough was a little biscuity, but not bad. The was a nice herb flavor to the dough, and the flat bread recipe on the container might be worth a try. I give it a silver star, good but not great.

This morning we had Blueberry Pancakes, StellaStyle. While the portion size was small, in fact I ended up eating 2 portions, the taste was mahhhvulus. The Prep was relatilvely straight forward. Dump everything in a food processor, blend, scrape, blend again. I did end up adding a couple of tablespoons of water to the batter as it became to thick. Cook like normal pancakes. We served it topped with a few extra blueberries and some whipped cream. This is definatley going to be added to our regular weekend breakfast rotation. Another Gold Star for George Stella and his StellaStyle pancakes.

Wednesday, July 19, 2006

In the Begining

Where to begin, with no history, and no expectations to live upto, what should a first post contain? I think I'll start by posting my food and exercise log for today and maybe a few comments. Lets see how things progress from there.

One StellaStyle Muffin
Coffee with cream and splenda
Hood LC white milk

2 ground turkey patties
two slices tomato
.5 avacado
a drizzle of good olive oild and balsamic vinegar
about .5 cup fresh fruit

Handfull of nuts
about .75 cup Hood LC Choc Milk

Blackend Scallops with Black Soy beans and Spinach,
Tea Sweetend with Splenda

The Muffin I had for breakfast and the Blakend Scallops recipe came from George Stella's cookbook "Living Low Carb" . Goerge gets two gold stars for these. Both are highly recomended.

My Workout Today
Deadlifts, Leg Ext, Leg Curl, Calf Press, Pullover, ChestPress, Row, Lat Raise, Triceps, Curls, Crunchs

I only do one set. From a health and fitness perspective thats all it takes. It makes for a very time efficient workout. While champion bodybuilders may do set after set, I have a life outside of the gym, and even if I were to do more sets it is unlikely I would ever be a champion like Arnold.

As I continue to progress I'd like to review more recipes as have quite a collection of low carb cook books.
Today was a good Low Carb day.