Wednesday, September 26, 2007

Gone Camping

Well everyone, I'm heading out of here in the morning. Gonna spend a few days communing with nature. I'm going camping!!! Since the weather has turned cooler around here, I will be heading off more often. So take care and have a good weekend. I'll be back sometime next week. See Ya!!

Tuesday, September 25, 2007

"Rabbit Starvation Syndrome"

A good friend and fellow blogger Sherrie from Pinch Of...did an eye opening post about very low calorie diets, namely referring to the Kimkins scam. In it she was talking about a phenomena known as "rabbit starvation". After reading it I thought--whoa Nellie--that sounds like what many of post WLSers end up doing. So there I went falling down that black hole called the Google search engine, in full research mode.

Rabbit Starvation was first talked about by arctic explorer Vilhjalmur Stefansson.

Vilhjalmur Stefansson, who spent many years living with the Eskimos and Indians of Northern Canada, reports that wild male ruminants like elk and caribou carry a large slab of back fat, weighing as much as 40 to 50 pounds. The Indians and Eskimo hunted older male animals preferentially because they wanted this back slab fat, as well as the highly saturated fat found around the kidneys. Other groups used blubber from sea mammals like seal and walrus.

"The groups that depend on the blubber animals are the most fortunate in the hunting way of life," wrote Stefansson, "for they never suffer from fat-hunger. This trouble is worst, so far as North America is concerned, among those forest Indians who depend at times on rabbits, the leanest animal in the North, and who develop the extreme fat-hunger known as rabbit-starvation. Rabbit eaters, if they have no fat from another source—beaver, moose, fish—will develop diarrhea in about a week, with headache, lassitude, a vague discomfort. If there are enough rabbits, the people eat till their stomachs are distended; but no matter how much they eat they feel unsatisfied. Some think a man will die sooner if he eats continually of fat-free meat than if he eats nothing, but this is a belief on which sufficient evidence for a decision has not been gathered in the north. Deaths from rabbit-starvation, or from the eating of other skinny meat, are rare; for everyone understands the principle, and any possible preventive steps are naturally taken."
Normally, according to Stefansson, the diet consisted of dried or cured meat "eaten with fat," namely the highly saturated cavity and back slab fat that could be easily separated from the animal. Another Arctic explorer, Hugh Brody, reports that Eskimos ate raw liver mixed with small pieces of fat and that strips of dried or smoked meat were "spread with fat or lard." Pemmican, a highly concentrated travel food, was a mixture of lean dried buffalo meat and highly saturated buffalo fat. (Buffalo fat, by the way, is more saturated than beef fat.) Less than two pounds of pemmican per day could sustain a man doing hard physical labor. The ratio of fat to protein in pemmican was 80%-20%. As lean meat from game animals was often given to the dogs, there is no reason to suppose that everyday fare did not have the same proportions: 80% fat (mostly highly saturated fat) to 20% protein—in a population in which heart disease and cancer were nonexistent.
Fat has been a big part of traditional diets for thousands of years. Modern society has demonized the use of fat of any kind. The lower the fat the better. Most of my fellow WLSers think the same way. Their mantra is always lean, clean protein. But are they fooling themselves? Can they continue to eat such a lean type diet and achieve their goal of optimal health.? Let's look more into what Stefansson has to say in his book, My Life With The Eskimo.
In certain places and in certain years rabbits are an important article of diet, but even when there is an abundance of this animal, the Indians consider themselves starving if they get nothing else, ~~ and fairly enough, as my own party can testify, for any one who is compelled in winter to live for a period of several weeks on lean meat will actually starve, in this sense : that there are lacking in his diet certain elements, notably fat, and it makes no difference how much he eats, he will be hungry at the end of each meal and eventually he will lose strength or becomes actually ill.

Of our entire seven I was now the only one not actually sick, and I felt by no means well. Doing hard work in cold weather on a diet nearly devoid of fat is a most interesting and uncommon experiment in dietetics, and may therefore be worth describing in some detail. The symptoms that result from a diet of lean meat are practically those of starvation. The caribou on which we had to live had marrow in their bones that was as blood, and in most of them no fat was discernible even behind the eyes or in the tongue. When we had been on a diet of oil straight, a few weeks before, we had found that with a teacupful of oil a day there were no symptoms of hunger; we grew each day sleepier and more slovenly, and no doubt lost strength gradually, but at the end of our meals of long haired caribou skin and oil we felt satisfied and at ease. Now with a diet of lean meat everything was different. We had an abundance of it as yet and we would boil up huge quantities and stuff ourselves with it. We ate so much that out stomachs were actually distended much beyond their usual size ~~ so much that it was distinctly noticeable even outside of one's clothes. But with all this gorging we felt constantly hungry. Simultaneously we felt like unto bursting and also as if we had not had enough to eat. One by one the six Eskimos of the party were taken with diarrhea.
Stefansson and his party did not fair well on all lean protein, as you can plainly see. Years later Stefansson was asked to reproduce the conditions of his meat based diet for scientific research. He and a colleague were followed by a group of scientists at Bellevue Hospital in New York for a year. He published the story, Adventures in Diet, in the Harper's Monthly Magazine, November 1935. Here is a exert concerning his experience when they attempted to have him eat lean meats with very little fat.
The experiment started smoothly with Andersen, who was permitted to eat in such quantity as he liked such things as he liked, provided only that they came under our definition of meat - steaks, chops, brains fried in bacon fat, boiled short-ribs, chicken, fish, liver and bacon. In my case there was a hitch, in a way foreseen.

For I had published in 1913, on pages 140-142 of My Life with the Eskimo, an account of how some natives and I became ill when we had to go two or three weeks on lean meat, caribou so skinny that there was no appreciable fat behind the eyes or in the marrow. So when Dr. DuBois suggest that I start the meat period by eating as large quantities as I possibly could of chopped fatless muscle, I predicted trouble. But he countered by citing my own experience where illness had not come until after two or three weeks, and he now proposed lean for only two or three days. So I gave in.

The chief purpose of placing me abruptly on exclusively lean was that there would be a sharp contrast with Andersen who was going to be on a normal meat diet, consisting of such proportions of lean and fat as his own taste determined.

As said, in the Arctic we had become ill during the second or third fatless week. I now became ill on the second fatless day. The time difference between Bellevue and the Arctic was due no doubt mainly to the existence of a little fat, here and there in our northern caribou - we had eaten the tissue from behind the eyes, we had broken the bones for marrow, and in doing everything we could to get fat we had evidently secured more than we realized. At Bellevue the meat, carefully scrutinized, had been as lean as such muscle tissue can be. Then, in the Arctic we had eaten tendons and other indigestible matter, we had chewed the soft ends of bones, getting a deal of bulk that way when we were trying to secure fat. What we ate at Bellevue contained no bulk material, so that my stomach could be compelled to hold a much larger amount of lean.

The symptoms brought on at Bellevue by an incomplete meat diet (lean without fat) were exactly the same as in the Arctic, except that they came on faster - diarrhea and a feeling of general baffling discomfort.

Up north the Eskimos and I had been cured immediately when we got some fat. Dr. DuBois now cured me the same way, by giving me fat sirloin steaks, brains fried in bacon fat, and things of that sort. In two or three days I was all right, but I had lost considerable weight.
The all meat diet in the Bellevue Hospital experiment was reported by Stefansson in his book, The Fat of the Land, to be 80% animal fat and 20% animal protein.

Then we have the experiment done by Earl Parker Hanson, another explorer.
'I have long wondered about the glaring discrepancies in the nutritionists' arguments . . . On the one hand they say that fat is the most efficient energy food known; on the other they talk in doleful tones about the "debilitating" effects of the tropical climate. Why you should be careful to avoid energy-giving foods in a climate that supposedly saps your energy has always been beyond me. 'The pygmies of the tropical Ituri forest will run miles to gorge themselves on the fat of a recently killed hippopotamus. That sort of evidence from natives in various parts of the tropics, both humid and dry, you have in plenty. So I confine myself to giving my own experiences and stating my own conclusions.

'My first personal experience with fat shortage came on my Orinoco-Amazon expedition of 1931-33, when my canoe Indians practically went on strike because I hadn't included sufficient lard or other fat in my supplies.
'I bought enough fat to please my Indians, and then proceeded to eat on the journey from a separate pot, because I "couldn't stand their greasy food."

It wasn't many weeks, however, before I avidly grabbed at every turtle egg I could get hold of – for its rich oil as I now realize – and at every Brazil nut, avocado pear, and every other source of vegetable fat, when I couldn't get animal fats. In those days I did not correlate that craving with my food tastes and habits; now I do.

'Recently a lady ethnologist told me that I was all wrong in my claim that any healthy white man can stay in perfect health (as far as food alone is concerned) on any diet that keeps native populations, and 'primitive' peoples in health. She said she had tried it for a number of weeks in Mexico, with almost disastrous results. But when I asked her if she hadn't had trouble adjusting her taste to the 'greasy' food of the Mexicans, she stipulated that 'of course' she and her companions, while eating 'exactly what the Mexicans ate,' had taken pains to prepare the food in an appetizing way, by leaving out the grease! Then she went on to describe her own subsequent troubles in the typical terms of fat-shortage: constant hunger, a vague discomfort, lack of energy, distended stomach, etc.

'With such convictions to start with, growing out of years of personal experience in the tropics, I went on a pemmican regimen in the summer of 1943, staying on it for nine weeks. [Pemmican is a mixture of dried lean meat and fat, and nothing else.] I was leading a sedentary life of office work, and it was one of the hottest summers on record in New York and Washington, where my activities were mainly centered, with temperatures that went higher on a number of occasions than I have ever experienced them in the Amazon basin.

'Some of the results of the 'test' are listed below.

'Fat content. The dietitians warned me when I started that I was endangering my health, because they 'knew,' from years of research, that a fat content of more calories than about 35 per cent in the diet is dangerous.

'My pemmican was one of three types: Type A was so designed that 80 per cent of the calories came from the fat and 20 per cent from the lean, meaning a ratio of about 50-50 by weight; type B had 70 per cent of the calories in the fat and 30 per cent in the lean; type C had 60 per cent of the calories in the fat and 40 per cent in the lean.

'At first I preferred the lean 'Type C' pemmican, because I wasn't used to eating much fat. It wasn't long, however, before I began to realize it was unsuitable. I tried the other kinds and found that where 3/4 pound per day of the fat pemmican (Type A) was absolutely satisfying, I would eat well over one pound per day of the lean pemmican (Type C), and still feel hungry, with a craving for fat. In one period of a few days, when I had nothing on hand but Type C, I added bacon grease and roast beef drippings to this pemmican, and so got along very well. [Emphasis in the original]

'After sixteen days some of the nutritionists got hold of me, showed me figures provided by the National Research Council to the effect that man can't assimilate more than 35 per cent of fat in his diet, and so, 'proved' to me that I was either dead or coasting along on my last reserves of energy. It was a gorgeous battle, especially in view of the fact that I had more 'pep' for such purposes as arguing with nutritionists than I remembered ever having had before. I was in the very pink of condition with all the minor difficulties of the first, mainly psychological, adjustment to an all-meat diet behind me. I finally gave up such fruitless argument, however, when the nutritionists asked me in despair whether I didn't even believe the National Research Council!

'The important thing is that during the entire nine weeks in very hot weather, my appetites and 'cravings' constantly demanded a high fat content, of around 75 to 80 per cent by calories. That was to me one of the most striking results of my experiences.

'Being highly concentrated, pemmican is tricky stuff, resulting in almost immediate cravings to warn of shortcomings, where less concentrated foods seem to take much longer to give warning signals. In the beginning it took only an hour or so, after eating the lean pemmican, before I knew from the way I felt that I had had too little fat. Later, after I had learned to trust to my own appetites and reactions, that adjustment was automatic
The higher the fat content the less Hanson ate. When trying the lower fat version of pemmican first, it was not tolerated. He much preferred the higher fat version. He felt better, had more pep. I too feel better with my higher fat eating plan.

I've seen many post WLSers get unusual "cravings". Could it be the lack of fat? A typical person that I come into contact with who have WLS thrive on lean chicken breast, boneless and definitely skinless. According to, a single chicken breast roasted with bone and skin removed would yield 27gm of protein and only 3gm of fat. Only 1gm of that would be saturated fat. Whereas a 4oz rib eye steak would yield the same amount of protein but the fat content would be much higher. A total 15gm of fat and 6gm of that is saturated. In all likelihood, your appetite would be less after eating the steak than you would be after eating the chicken breast. Plus you would stay satisfied for much longer.

Dr Barry Groves also points out why you can exist on a high protein diet without it being high fat also.

During fasting in humans, and when we are short of food, blood glucose levels are maintained by the breakdown of glycogen in liver and muscle and by the production of glucose primarily from the breakdown of muscle proteins in a process called gluconeogenesis, which literally means 'glucose new birth'.

But we don't want to use lean muscle tissue in this way: it weakens us. We want to get the glucose our bodies need from what we eat. Some of that will come from carbs, the rest from dietary proteins. Our bodies need a constant supply of protein to sustain a healthy structure. This requires a fairly minimal amount of protein: about 1 to 1.5 grams per kilogram of lean body weight per day is all that is necessary to preserve muscle mass. Any protein over and above this amount can be used as a source of glucose.

Ketone formation and a shift to using more fatty acids also reduces the body's overall need for glucose. Even during high-energy demand from exercise, a low-carb diet has what are called 'glucoprotective' effects. What this all means is that ketosis arising from a low-carb diet is capable of accommodating a wide range of metabolic demands to sustain body functions and health while not using, and thus sparing, protein from lean muscle tissue. Ketones are also the preferred energy source for highly active tissues such as heart and muscle.

The case against getting energy from protein

We know, then, that dietary fats can produce all the energy the body needs, either directly as fatty acids or as ketone bodies. But, as there is still some debate about the health implications of using fats, why not play safe and eat more protein?

There is one simple reason: While the body can use protein as an energy source in an emergency, it is not at all healthy to use this method in the long term. All carbs are made up of just three elements: carbon, hydrogen and. oxygen. All fats are also made of the same three elements. Proteins, however, also contain nitrogen and other elements. When proteins are used to provide energy, these must be got rid of in some way. This is not only wasteful, it can put a strain on the body, particularly on the liver and kidneys.

Excess intake of nitrogen leads in a short space of time to hyperammonaemia, which is a build up of ammonia in the bloodstream. This is toxic to the brain. Many human cultures survive on a purely animal product diet, but only if it is high in fat. A lean meat diet, on the other hand cannot be tolerated; it leads to nausea in as little as three days, symptoms of starvation and ketosis in a week to ten days, severe debilitation in twelve days and possibly death in just a few weeks. A high-fat diet, however, is completely healthy for a lifetime.
All of the hoopla that the media puts out about how a low carb diet is bad on the kidneys stems from the excess protein, not the high fat content. You can not eat your fill of just lean proteins. You must add fat to keep you healthy. Also a higher fat content ensures weight loss too.
Low-carb, high-fat diet and weight loss

There is just one other consideration: If you want to lose weight, the actual material you want to rid your body of is fat. But to do that you have to change your body from using glucose as a fuel to using fat – including your own body fat. This is another reason not to use protein as a substitute for carbs, as protein is also converted to glucose.

If you think about it, Nature stores excess energy in our bodies as fat, not as protein. It makes much more sense, therefore, to use what we are designed by Nature to use. And that is fat.
I've done many posts on the benefits of adding dietary fat to your eating plan. I do this myself. My fat intake is usually >70% of my total intake. I also try to shoot for at least 50% of that to be saturated fat. Coconut oil is one of the many ways I get that ratio. To tell how much protein you actually need in your diet refer back to this post.

So if you are one of those many WLSers out there committed to eating low fat. Take heed of this post. You may just be setting yourself up for trouble. So my advice, take it or leave it, cut down the carbs, especially the fiber and grains. Limit your protein to just what your body needs to maintain muscle mass. Last but most importantly increase your fat intake. You got yourself "gut whacked" for a chance at better health. Shouldn't you do everything you can to make it all worth it. If you aren't, you NEVER should have had the surgery in the first place. This is a lifestyle, not just another useless diet.

Sunday, September 23, 2007

Diet Etiquette---From The Former Donut Junkie

One of my fellow low carb buddies has written the perfect post. Y'all this is so funny. I wet myself when I read it. Plus blew coffee all over my monitor. Really, I did.

You have got to check this out.

Diet Etiquette According to The Former Donut Junkie

Saturday, September 22, 2007

Fatty Liver and Carbohydrates

Well this is one piece about how good a low carb diet can be for you that didn't get bypassed by the media---or too many other folks as you can see from all these links.

You get the picture, right?

Friday, September 21, 2007

Dealing With Hunger

Hunger. That is one powerful word when you are on any weight loss journey. Whether you have had WLS or following a more conventional weight loss regimen, you deal with hunger cues. You know how it is. Your day is just bopping along and BAM you are starving. Is it really hunger?

In our society there are people who know true hunger. But for the most of us we really have no idea what true hunger is. We've been conditioned to food so readily. A good bit of this can be emotional hunger. In WLS circles we call this "head hunger". How do you deal with it?

I have always been an emotional eater. During my weight loss, better health journey, I've usually been of the mind to simply feed the hunger, no matter the cause. My first choice has always been to sit down and eat. I believe in listening to cues from my body first. So I eat. Most who have WLS will not do this. But I believe they may be wrong. My opinion only of course.

When you have a malabsorptive procedure like the RNY surgery I had, a large portion of the intestine is bypassed. Meaning you absorb far less nutrients than someone with a normal digestive system. Hence the reason for the rapid weight loss. But you can possibly be starving your body of vital nutrients. So what you may think is "head hunger" may actually be your bodies signal that something is missing. You need to be feeding it what it needs. Most don't want to give in because they are caught up in the whole calorie counting thing. That is a rant for another day.

The real thing about this is---is it hunger or just merely cravings. I received a good article in my email on how to deal with cravings. It was written by Dr Jonny Bowden. He is a board-certified nutrition specialist and a nationally known expert on weight loss and nutrition. He has a Master’s Degree in psychology and counseling and a PhD in nutrition, and has earned six national certifications in personal training and exercise. He is board certified by the American College of Nutrition.

How to Fight Cravings and Win

Think back to high school biology and you'll probably have a memory buried somewhere of a Russian researcher named Ivan Pavlov. Pavlov, you may recall, repeatedly rang a dinner bell right before feeding his dogs a big, juicy steak. Eventually, the dogs would salivate at the sound of the bell. Pavlov had trained his dogs to have a physiological response to a neutral stimulus - a bell - simply because the bell was associated with food.

Think about that the next time you're at the movies and pass the popcorn stand.

Our brains are wired in much the same way as the brains of Pavlov's dogs. We associate all sorts of things with food - from a holiday celebration to a fight with our spouse. Food nourishes us - but it also comforts us, soothes us and even medicates us when we're feeling anxious, lonely or tired. And it helps us celebrate when we're feeling happy. Put that together with the fact that obscene amounts of food are everywhere and you have a perfect recipe for eating disorders and mass obesity.

But just as we were conditioned to associate food - and overeating - with all sorts of things, we can undo that conditioning. It's not easy - but it's also not as hard as you might think. And it generally takes no more than 21 days.

Our overeating triggers are actually chains of events - like Christmas tree lights that go on in sequence. A stressful argument leads to feeling helpless which leads to a journey into the kitchen which leads to ten packs of ring-dings. Usually the chain of events is faster and shorter - think of feeling stress and immediately reaching for a cigarette.

So here's the trick: short circuit the chain.

On my CD audiobook "Change Your Body Change Your Life" I call this short-circuiting "putting a chink in the link". Break the circuit and the remaining lights don't fire up. You can accomplish the same thing with your overeating triggers.

First, isolate exactly what your five biggest triggers are. (Write them down.)

Now comes the part where you put a "chink in the link". You're going to substitute a new activity for the destructive activity (much like an addict learns to go to the gym and get "high" from running). Try any one of these simple activities next time you hit one of your triggers:

* Brush your teeth
* Eat a pickle (eating something completely different from what you're craving tricks the brain and kills the craving - try eating a hot pepper when you're craving chocolate and you'll instantly see what I mean)
* Reward yourself with a relaxing activity you normally wouldn't do - i.e. a warm bath or uninterrupted reading of glossy magazines!
* Go for a walk (the endorphins released will often balance the chemistry of a craving brain)
* Write down what you're feeling. Try "being" with that feeling for five minutes.

Most cravings (and overeating triggers) only last 15 minutes. If you can outwait - or outwit - them, you can beat them. Tell yourself "I can have this food" (thus eliminating thoughts of deprivation) but "I have to wait just 15 minutes".

You'll be amazed (and happily surprised) at how differently you'll feel a quarter hour later.
I have used these techniques myself. Even though I advocate eating when hunger strikes. It may not really be hunger after all. I'm still wanting something even after eating. I make sure what I eat is a nice fat laden protein source like beef, shrimp, or eggs. But I'm still not satisfied. So this is where these techniques come in handy.

However you deal with your hunger---these tips will come in handy. Just never give in to the cravings for junk. When I say eat to fill that hunger, I mean food. Don't go stuffing yourself with a bag of chips, a half gallon of ice cream or the like. Get some real food.

Another tip on these lines. Drink some water. Thirst, dehydration can actually show itself as hunger.

Wednesday, September 19, 2007

Mental Health Parity

I am very active in the mental health field. I write frequent letters on behalf of legislation going on in our local, state, and national governments. I did a post before related to the mental health parity bill that is being considered this year. Mental Health Parity---requiring insurance companies to provide equal coverage for mental health as all other health services.

Most people are paying much higher co-pays when seeing their psychiatrist or therapist than when seeing another specialist. Also many have a lifetime cap on using mental health services. That is just plain wrong. Can you image the outrage people would have if they tried to do this for someone with diabetes or cancer. I got this email today from NAMI:

Senate Passes Parity: House Action Needed

September 19, 2007

Last night, the U.S. Senate passed the Mental Health Parity Act of 2007 (S 558), legislation requiring health plans to cover treatment for mental illness on the same terms and conditions as all other illnesses. The bill now moves to the House, where efforts are underway to move it forward later this fall.

NAMI would like to express appreciation to the sponsors of S 558 – Senators Pete Domenici (R-NM), Edward M. Kennedy (D-MA) and Mike Enzi (R-WY) – for their persistence and leadership in bringing parity legislation forward. NAMI also thanks all our grassroots members whose efforts have made this victory possible. We now need to ask you help again, to push parity through the House.

Action Required

The parity bill now moves to the House for consideration: Contact your member of Congress and urge them to support immediate House passage of S 558 so that the bill can be sent to the President. You can also send a letter to your Senators thanking them for supporting mental illness parity. Contact your Senators and Representative now using NAMI's Legislative Action Center.

Click here to view additional background information on S 558

So take the time to get involved. It will only take a few keystrokes to make your voice heard. One voice, one vote can make a difference.

Sunday, September 16, 2007

Uses For Coconut Oil

Most low carbers just take a big spoonful of coconut oil. I use it in my coffee and cooking. This is okay but some would like to know of other ways to get their daily servings. I scoured the net looking for some useful recipes. Many of the recipes I found are for breads and such. Not very low carb friendly. These are ones I found that will fit in with your low carb lifestyle. Hint: Most of the recipes call for Virgin Coconut Oil. This has a distinct coconut flavor. If you do not wish things to be coconut flavored then use Expeller-Pressed Coconut Oil. Some will even call for Coconut Cream. Tropical Traditions has a good book that I have ordered, Virgin Coconut Oil-The Book. It is chock full of recipes. They also have a bunch of recipes right there on the site. Which is where I found most of these.

Coconut Mayonnaise
  • 1 whole egg
  • 2 egg yolks
  • 1 tablespoon Dijon mustard
  • 1 tablespoon fresh lemon juice
  • 1/2 teaspoon sea salt
  • 1/4 teaspoon white pepper
  • 1/2 cup Virgin Coconut Oil (melted if solid)
  • 1/2 cup extra virgin olive oil

1. Put the eggs, Dijon mustard, lemon juice, salt, and pepper into a food processor or blender: Then with the processor or blender running on low speed, start adding your oils very slowly. Start out with drops and then work up to about a 1/16-inch stream. It should take about two minutes to add the oil.
2. Continue blending until there is no free standing oil.

Makes about 1 1/2 cups
Veggie Scramble
  • 1 tablespoon Virgin Coconut Oil
  • 2 tablespoons zucchini, finely chopped
  • 1 tablespoon onion, minced
  • 2 cherry tomatoes, quartered
  • 1-2 eggs
  • 1 tablespoon cream
  • Sea salt
  • Black pepper

1. In a small pan, melt the coconut oil. Add the zucchini and onions and sauté until tender.
2. Next, add the cherry tomatoes, stir and sauté for 2 minutes.
3. While the vegetables are sautéing, beat the eggs with milk in a small bowl. Add salt and pepper to taste.
4. Pour eggs into the pan and scramble lightly.
Serves 1-2
  • 1 c. grated cheddar cheese
  • 3/4 c. CARBQUIK
  • 1/2 c. crushed walnuts
  • 1/2 tsp. garlic powder
  • 1/2 c. Coconut oil
  • 6 slices crisp crushed bacon
  • 2 tblsp bacon drippings
  • 4 to 5 tsp. ice water

Combine all the ingredients into small balls. Place on a ungreased cookie sheet. Bake at 375 for 10-12 minutes, until golden brown.
Crustless Spinach Quiche
  • 12 slices bacon, fried crisp and crumbled
  • 1 1/2 cup shredded Swiss cheese
  • 1/2 cup finely chopped onion
  • 1 pkg frozen chopped spinach, thawed and squeezed dry
  • 4 eggs
  • 2 cups coconut cream
  • 1/2 teaspoon thyme
  • 1/8 teaspoon of cayenne pepper
  • 1 small jar chopped pimentos

Preheat oven to 450ºF. Sprinkle bacon, cheese and onion in greased pan. Beat eggs slightly. Add all remaining ingredients. Pour cream mixture into pie pan. Bake 15 minutes. Sprinkle pimento over top and reduce heat to 300ºF. and bake 30 to 35 more minutes, or until knife inserted in middle comes out clean. Let stand 10 to 12 minutes before serving.
Just substitute the coconut oil for olive oil or butter in many of your recipes. Your body will thank you for it. Just remember, coconut oil can burn very easily, so watch your pan when sauteing.

Saturday, September 15, 2007

MCT Oil Advantages

Many of you reading this blog will be scratching your head right now. What in the heck is MCT Oil? What does it have to do with the focus of this blog? Let me tell you, it has plenty to do with all aspects of this blog, brain health, low carb diet, and WLS. So sit back and take a look at this wonderful addition to your nutritional arsenal.

MCT--medium chain triglycerides--are fats that are naturally found in coconut and palm kernel oil. MCT's are more easily and rapidly digested than other types of fats, as they require lower amounts of enzymes and bile acids for intestinal absorption. MCT's are metabolized very quickly in the liver and are reported to encourage an increase in energy expenditure, while decreasing fat storage. Numerous studies suggest that substituting MCT Oil for other fats in a healthy diet may therefore help to support healthy weight and body composition.

MCT's have been shown to be a good addition to anyone's way of eating. It promotes weight loss. Improves appetite control. Is beneficial in for exercise and athletic performance. Improves thyroid function. Improves heart health. Improves your immunity. Improves brain health when used in conjunction with a ketogenic diet. Jump starts ketosis when following a typical Atkins's type diet. Thus decreasing the induction side-effect of the dreaded "Atkins Flu". Assists in calcium, magnesium and amino acid absorption in people with malabsorption issues--think WLS.

Medium-chain triglycerides were first used in the mid-1900s to reduce seizures with the help of the ketogenic diet. In the 1980s, MCTs became popular in sports as a substitute for normal dietary fats or oils. They quickly became a favorite energy source for many athletes, such as marathon runners, who participate in endurance sports. These athletes require a quick source of energy, which is readily supplied by carbohydrates. However, diets high in carbohydrates may cause rapid increase in insulin production, resulting in substantial weight gain, diabetes, and other health problems. MCT is also a form of fat; therefore, it is high in calories. MCTs do not cause weight gain because they stimulate thermogenesis (the process in which the body generates energy, or heat, by increasing its normal metabolic, fat-burning rate). A thermogenic diet, which is high in medium-chain triglycerides, has been proposed as a type of weight loss regime.

MCTs are the preferred forms of fat for many patients with fat malabsorption problems. Many diseases cause poor fat absorption. For instance, patients with pancreatic insufficiency do not have enough pancreatic enzymes to break down LCTs. In children with cystic fibrosis, thick mucus blocks the enzymes that assist in digestion. Another fat absorption condition is short-bowel syndrome, in which parts of the bowel have been removed due to disease.(think WLS here) Stressed or critically ill patients also have a decreased ability to digest LCTs. Unlike LCTs, medium-chain triglycerides are easily absorbed by patients with malabsorption conditions. These patients benefit most from oral preparations that contain MCTs as the primary source of fat (up to 85% of fat caloric intake). Several scientific studies have shown MCT to be effective in treating fat malabsorbtion, chronic diarrhea, and weight loss in patients with Acquired Immune Deficiency Syndrome (AIDS).

Coconut oil, a natural MCT, is well known in the low carb community. Most use it everyday. Many just swallow a big ol' spoonful at a time. I use it for sauteing veggies and in my daily coffee. The research behind the benefits of coconut is vast. During the early days, coconut oil was an important part of traditional medications. People used herbs and parts of certain trees. Coconut oil concoctions applied directly to wounds or swollen areas provided quick healing.

Approximately 50% of the fatty acids in coconut fat are lauric acid. Lauric acid is a medium chain fatty acid, which has the additional beneficial function of being formed into monolaurin in the human or animal body. Monolaurin is the antiviral, antibacterial, and antiprotozoal monoglyceride used by the human or animal to destroy lipid-coated viruses such as HIV, herpes, cytomegalovirus, influenza, various pathogenic bacteria, including listeria monocytogenes and helicobacter pylori, and protozoa such as giardia lamblia. Some studies have also shown some antimicrobial effects of the free lauric acid. Also, approximately 6-7% of the fatty acids in coconut fat are capric acid. Capric acid is another medium chain fatty acid, which has a similar beneficial function when it is formed into monocaprin in the human or animal body. Monocaprin has also been shown to have antiviral effects against HIV and is being tested for antiviral effects against herpes simplex and antibacterial effects against chlamydia and other sexually transmitted bacteria.
Research is underway on the effects of MCT Oil in WLS. It has already been shown to be beneficial in weight loss and appetite control. Now they want to look at it's effects just with WLS.
Caroline Apovian, M.D., Director of the Center for Nutrition and Weight Management, and Associate Professor of Medicine, Boston University, has been engaged in clinical studies related to various dietary and drug effects on weight reduction. These studies include weight loss in subjects on a VLCD and sibutramine versus placebo; a prospective study of risk factors for heart disease in subjects pre- and post-gastric bypass surgery; an investigation of an MCT oil-based liquid diet and the effects on weight loss; endothelial function in obese subjects on a weight-loss program; hypocaloric-hyperprotein enteral nutrition versus relative normocaloric enteral nutrition in critically ill medical patients; interventions to enhance adherence to obesity guidelines by providing four-hour workshops on obesity treatment to primary care physicians with patient chart follow-up; and a randomized, controlled study to examine the relationship between changes in plasma GIP levels and other gastrointestinal peptides following gastric bypass surgery in obese patients.
Here is one such study done in conjunction with a very low calorie diet(VLCD) like many who have WLS.

Value of VLCD supplementation with MCT

BACKGROUND: Medium chain triglycerides (MCT) are energetically less dense, highly ketogenic, and more easily oxidised than long chain triglycerides (LCT). MCT also differ from LCT in their digestive and metabolic pathways.
OBJECTIVE: To test the effects of MCT supplementation during a very low calorie diet (VLCD).
SUBJECTS AND METHODS: Three groups of tightly matched obese women with body mass index (BMI)>30 kg/m(2) received an isoenergetic (578.5 kcal) VLCD (Adinax, Novo Vital, Sweden) enriched withMCT or LCT (8.0 and 9.9 g/100 g Adinax respectively) or a low-fat (3 g/100 g) and high-carbohydrate regimen. The diets were administered over 4 weeks. Body composition was measured with DEXA and appetite/satiety-according to Blundell. Beta hydroxybutyric acid concentration in plasma and nitrogen excretion in urine was measured during consecutive days of VLCD. The study was performed in a randomised double-blind manner.
RESULTS: TheMCT group showed a significantly greater decrease in body weight during the first 2 weeks. The contribution of body fat to the total weight loss was higher while the contribution of fat-free mass (FFM) was lower. TheMCT group had a higher concentration of ketone bodies in plasma and a lower nitrogen excretion in urine. Hunger feelings were less intense while satiety was higher. These differences were observed during the first 2 weeks of treatment and gradually declined during the third and fourth weeks.
CONCLUSIONS: Replacement of LCT byMCT in the VLCD increased the rate of decrease of body fat and body weight and has a sparing effect on FFM. The intensity of hunger feelings was lower and paralleled the higher increase of ketone bodies. These effects gradually declined, indicating subsequent metabolic adaptation. Further studies are required to confirm the protein-sparing and appetite-suppressing effects ofMCT supplementation during the first 2 weeks of VLCD treatment.
There is so much research out there on the benefits of MCT oil, I could spend days writing about it. You can check it all out for yourself with these links.

Take the time to look over the research presented here. As always---be proactive in your health. Never get caught up in "group think." Look at the research. Make your own judgments about your health.
Whenever you’re tempted to think that just because a whole lot of people believe something, that it must be true, remember the words of Nobel prize winner, Anatole France (1844-1924):

If 50 million people believe a foolish thing, it is still a foolish thing.

Thursday, September 13, 2007

A Powerful Positive Message

In keeping with my previous post, I wanted to bring you a wonderful email I received today. You know the ones your friends send. The ones that tell you to pass it on to X number of friends. Most of the time I just hit delete. This one affected me so, I wanted to share it with all of you: The Paradox of Our Time.

The email states that it is written by George Carlin. It doesn't really sound like Carlin. He's not a real warm and fuzzy kinda guy. According to Carlin's website, it definitely is not written by him. The true story behind this can be found on

The paradox of our time in history is that we have taller buildings but shorter tempers, wider Freeways , but narrower viewpoints. We spend more, but have less, we buy more, but enjoy less. We have bigger houses and smaller families, more conveniences, but less time. We have more degrees but less sense, more knowledge, but less judgment, more experts, yet more problems, more medicine, but less wellness.

We drink too much, smoke too much, spend too recklessly, laugh too little, drive too fast, get too angry, stay up too late, get up too tired, read too little, watch TV too much , and pray too seldom.

We have multiplied our possessions, but reduced our values. We talk too much, love too seldom, and hate too often.

We've learned how to make a living, but not a life. We've added years to life not life to years. We've been all the way to the moon and back, but have trouble crossing the street to meet a new neighbor. We conquered outer space but not inner space. We've done larger things, but not better things.

We've cleaned up the air, but polluted the soul. We've conquered the atom, but not our prejudice. We write more, but learn less. We plan more, but accomplish less. We've learned to rush, but not to wait. We build more computers to hold more infor- mation, to produce more copies than ever, but we communicate less and less.

These are the times of fast foods and slow digestion, big men and small character, steep profits and shallow relationships. These are the days of two incomes but more divorce, fancier houses, but broken homes. These are days of quick trips, disposable diapers, throwaway morality, one night stands, overweight bodies, and pills that do everything from cheer, to quiet, to kill. It is a time when there is much in the showroom window and nothing in the stockroom. A time when technology can bring this letter to you, and a time when you can choose either to share this insight, or to just hit delete...

Remember; spend some time with your loved ones, because they are not going to be around forever.
Remember, say a kind word to someone who looks up to you in awe, because that little person soon will grow up and leave your side.
Remember, to give a warm hug to the one next to you, because that is the only treasure you can give with your heart and it doesn't cost a cent.
Remember, to say, "I love you" to your partner and your loved ones, but most of all mean it. A kiss and an embrace will mend hurt when it comes from deep inside of you.
Remember to hold hands and cherish the moment for someday that person will not be there again.

Give time to love, give time to speak! And give time to share the precious thoughts in your mind.


Life is not measured by the number of breaths we take, but by the moments that take our breath away.
If you don't send this to at least 8 people....Who cares?
This is just one of many different versions. I really don't care when or how it got started. The message is still one of love and peace and POSITIVE THINKING.....

Happy Positive Thinking Day!!

Positive thinking can be a very powerful thing. So powerful it has it's own holiday set aside. Shoot it even has it's own website, Positive Thinking Day. This is quoted from their website:

I choose to create a great day!
Today is Positive Thinking Day!! Hooray!! Yippee!!!

I am excited (you probably noticed) about this event! I truly do believe that if we each make a commitment to be consistently positive today, we can make a difference in this world. While it is important to be positive every day, this day marks a specific time for each of us to put extra effort into being positive. This extra positive energy will help make the world a better place.

Positivity is contagious... really! So, as you make the commitment today to be positive and to hold positive thoughts you will influence those around you. That's how we change the world... we start with ourselves! When you are focused on the positive then there will be a ripple effect that spreads out from you. You can make a difference! Yes, I am talking to you - each one of you. So... come on, let's set out today to change the world... one thought at a time!

So commit yourself to being positive. Not just today but everyday.

Tuesday, September 11, 2007

Healthcare Blogger Site

Envision Solutions - Taking The Pulse Of The Healthcare Blogosphere (2007 Survey)

If you are a healthcare blogger---you need to check out this survey. Once you are finished, you will be directed to the community. It is free to join and looks pretty interesting. You don't have to be a professional healthcare person. It is geared towards patient blogs also. Diet and weight loss are considered healthcare too, y'all.

thanks to Alicia---for this link

Monday, September 10, 2007

Great New Reads On Nutrition

There are some really great new books available dealing with proper nutrition. Everyone needs to add these to your library of health books. Some are not available yet, but you can preorder them from Amazon.

First we have the wonderful book By Dr McCleary. I can't wait to get mine in the mail. I've been telling you about this book for awhile now. It deals with the effects of a Ketogenic diet on brain function. Jimmy Moore did an interview recently with Dr McCleary. McCleary: Ketone Bodies Produced By A Low-Carb Diet Are High-Octane Brain Food This is a must read for anyone who suffers from any type of disorder of the brain. Larry McCleary, M.D., former acting chief of Pediatric Neurosurgery and director of the Neuroscience Research Program at the Children's Hospital in Denver, is co-founder and director of research at Advanced Metabolic Research Group (AMRG), a company dedicated to the use of diet and nutraceutical supplements to solve neurological, metabolic, and medical disorders. Dr Mike Eades wrote the forward to this book. I first heard about it on his site. Ketogenic diet and brain energy by Michael R. Eades, M.D.

Next we have a book that is really gonna knock the socks of the established ideas of nutrition. Check out Jimmy's interview with Gary Taubes about his new book. Taubes: Doctors, Nutritionists 'Haven't Got A Clue What Real Science Is' Dr Mike Eades did a review of this book ages ago--Gary Taubes’ new book.
Some may remember Gary from his piece in the New York Times way back when--What if It's All Been a Big Fat Lie? - New York Times. Here is a review from Pulitzer Prize winner Richard Rhodes that I got from

Gary Taubes’s Good Calories, Bad Calories is easily the most important book on diet and health to be published in the past one hundred years. It is clear, fast-paced and exciting to read, rigorous, authoritative, and a beacon of hope for all those who struggle with problems of weight regulation and general health–as who does not? If Taubes were a scientist rather than a gifted, resourceful science journalist, he would deserve and receive the Nobel Prize in Medicine.

Finally we have this selection from writer Adam Campbell and Dr Jeff Volek. Adam Campbell is the sports and nutrition editor at Men’s Health. A National Magazine Award–winning writer and certified strength and conditioning specialist. Dr Volek is an exercise and nutrition researcher at the University of Connecticut and a highly sought-after fitness expert. He contributes regularly to Men’s Health and is coauthor, with Adam Campbell, of The Testosterone Advantage Plan. Jimmy also did an interview with Adam Campbell recently--Campbell: People Aren't Just Eating Too Much, They Eating 'Too Many Carbohydrates' Adam has written some great articles in Men's Health. He is well known for this one in particular--The Cure For Diabetes - Men's Health. This will be another powerful read for anyone with an eye towards health.

He doesn't have a book coming out. But I feel Dr William Davis is someone each of you need to get to know. He is an unconventional cardiologist who also serves as the medical director of Milwaukee Heart Scan in Milwaukee, Wisconsin. He also has a blog that is on my daily reading list---The Heart Scan Blog. Jimmy did an in depth interview with Dr Davis--Davis: Wanna Cut Plaque In Your Arteries? Slash Your Carbohydrates!.

So here we have a neurologist, a cardiologist, a fitness expert, a nutritional research scientist and what I call a regular Joe. all in favor of improving your health through nutrition. Not just any nutritional approach, but a carb restricted and higher fat diet. Some even praise the benefits of saturated fat in what you eat. I encourage everyone to check out each of these books. Also don't forget to look into Dr Davis' blog.

Sunday, September 9, 2007

Sunday Dinner Recipes

I got a good deal on a whole pork loin this month, $1.59/lb. Not too shabby. I had the butcher slice some of it into 1" chops. The rest I will cook for dinner today. Pork loin is a little on the lean side, so it tends to dry out if not cooked properly. I've been known to use Linda's hint to wrap it with bacon. I do that for a venison tenderloin too. The extra fat makes it juicy and tender for real.

Cajun Pork Roast

2 lbs boneless single loin pork roast
3 Tbs paprika
1/2 tsp cayenne pepper
1 Tbs garlic powder
2 tsp oregano
2 tsp thyme
1/2 tsp salt
1/2 tsp freshly-ground pepper
1/2 tsp cumin
1/4 tsp nutmeg

Combine all seasonings and rub well over all surfaces of roast. Place roast in shallow pan and roast in 350 degree oven for about an hour, until internal temperature is 155 to 160 degrees. Remove from oven, let rest 5 to 10 minutes before slicing.
This is what I'm cooking for dinner today. These will be my side dishes.

Colorful Summer Squash Saute'

2 medium zucchini, sliced
2 medium yellow summer squash, sliced
2 Tbs butter
1 clove garlic, minced
1 onion, chopped coarsely
1 red bell pepper, chopped coarsely
Salt, to taste
Freshly cracked black pepper, to taste

In saute' pan, over medium-low heat, melt the butter. Add onions and bell pepper. Cover to steam, stirring frequently, until onions are translucent. Add squashes, cook until tender. Season to taste.

Note: To add a punch of flavor, use some bacon drippings along with the butter.
BamaGal's Southern Style Pole Beans

2lbs fresh pole beans, trimmed and snapped
*pole beans are green beans for all you yankees out there
4 slices bacon, chopped
1 clove garlic, minced
1 onion, chopped
1 tsp thyme
Water or stock, to cover
Salt, to taste
Freshly ground black pepper, to taste

In large stock pot, saute' bacon until crisp, over medium heat. Remove bacon from the pan, leaving drippings. Add onions, continue to cook lightly. Add beans and garlic, stirring until bright green in color. Add water or stock, seasonings, and reserved bacon pieces. Bring to a boil. Cover, reduce heat to simmer. Cook for 30 minutes. Serve.

Note: I make my own stocks around here. For this I would use the stock made from leftover ham and a big ham bone. If you don't use fresh, the frozen Italian cut green beans do just as well.

So there you have it. A good old fashioned Sunday dinner. A typical Sunday dinner here in the south would have some type of bread or roles with this and of course a dessert. Since it's just me and the furbaby this week, I'll stick with this menu.

Since that is alot of food for just one "normal" person. Needless to say, me and my tiny stomach will have mucho leftovers. The trick for my leftovers--I make mini TV dinners and freeze them. All I have to do is take one out and zap it in the microwave. A completely nutritious meal in no time.

Saturday, September 8, 2007

Kimkins Cult Mentality

The Kimkins controversy is heating up to epic proportions all around the net. Check out these wonderful blogs to get the full story.

Kimkins Exposed
Kimkins Dangers
Why the Fascination with Kimmer?
ALC's Kimkins Debate Thread
Kkatastrophe Diet Blog

I have always had a problem with the Kimmer constantly equating her "diet" with WLS. Sure there are people who have WLS who still get stuck on the whole calorie thing. Too many still believe cutting your calories to the bare minimum is okay. It is still the dumbest thing I have ever heard of and only sets them up for failure later on. I lost my weight quickly too. Never worrying about counting calories. I ate all the time. Every 2 hours at the least. I never kept up with the calories with Fitday or some other program like it. But I can guarantee that I was taking in over 1000 calories a day. The only time I probably wasn't getting in that many calories was very early on like the first few months. But that's not the reason for this post.

I have thought for a long time that the Kimkins followers acted like they were brainwashed. So I did an Internet search on "cult mentality". Here are some things I found. See if you think Kimkins sounds like a cult to you or not.

(1) Cult members are “focused on a living leader to whom members seem to display excessively zealous, unquestioning commitment.” The leader is a strong-willed, domineering character who rules the group with tight control. He lets it be known in subtle ways that he is “in charge” of the movement. He makes the plans, he orchestrates the movements of the group or groups (sometimes he exercises his sway over several groups). He dispatches the workers, assigns their chores, etc.

Frequently, they even begin to imitate his mannerisms in terms of voice inflection, language patterns, aggressive attitudes, etc. They become “clones” of their esteemed leader. It is not uncommon that the leader knows of weaknesses or past problems of people with his group. Thus, through subtle intimidation and fear he keeps them under his control.

(2) “Questioning, doubt, and dissent are discouraged,” and there can be pressure or social punishment when there is disagreement with the “boss.” Those who disagree are made to feel as though they are stupid or inept. They are brainwashed with the notion that they do not have the knowledge or experience to question the leader.

Younger people are particularly vulnerable to the leader’s “gift of gab,” and his feigned expertise. No matter how radical the leader becomes in his decisions or actions, the cult members will not criticize him. Even if there should be mild disagreement, no specific expressions are voiced. The members reason that though he may be mistaken in some of his judgments, yet the overall good he accomplishes outweighs any minor flaws.

Members are taught to “rationalize” the conduct of the leader in matters they have always “considered unethical before,” under the guise that the “end justifies the means.”

(3) The leader “is preoccupied with [raising] money.” There is always a need for increasing finances. New projects are ever in the planning. Members are strongly encouraged to greatly sacrifice for the leader’s current “pet” enterprise. There is little pressure let-up; members of the group must be kept “revved up” on a continual basis.

The cult leader always takes the major credit for the movement’s accomplishments. Members become psychologically dependent upon him. “What would we ever do without our leader?,” is the cult mentality.

(4) The cult leader generates within his members “a polarized” mentality. His people evolve an “us-versus-them” mentality. Little-by-little he criticizes other groups with which his members might tend to associate, undermining confidence in them, attempting to discredit anyone who could have influence over his “flock.”

Cult members become suspicious; they imbibe the critical disposition. No one is really as “sound” as “we” are. We are an “elitist” group. And so, seeds of isolationism are sown. The movement leader discourages reading any material, examining any ideas that he does not generate. He seeks to control the inflow of knowledge relative to “his group.”

(5) The cult leader has a clearly defined “anti-authoritarian” disposition. Within the context of the church, for instance, he would have an “anti-elder” attitude. Elders would be recipients of constant critical remarks. No cult leader would affiliate himself with a congregation having elders to whom he must be in submission. “Control” could not be maintained in such an environment.

(6) Cult members are seen occasionally to take on a new personality. They begin to act differently. They become increasingly antagonistic to family members and long-time friends. They may even boast that, “I am not the old [name] that you used to know; I am a new person now.” And indeed they are. They have become strangers to those who knew them well. They have been transformed into the image of their leader.

I don't know about y'all, but having read all the controversy and witnessed the heated exchanges of the leader and her followers with "nonbelievers", Kimkins can definitely be classified as a CULT.

After you have taken the time to learn all the info behind this---then get involved and go sign the online petition. Request for Kimkins Investigation Petition

Wednesday, September 5, 2007

Anemia Part I

In keeping with my endeavor to post about all supplements as related to WLS, I will be focusing a couple of posts on iron intake. I had planned to do this at a later date, but after reading a brilliant post by Adam, I had to pipe in about it here too.

As any WLSer worth their salt knows, iron is a biggy when we think about our supplements. Everyone knows that it is one of the most important of all our supplements. At least it is one of the few every bariatric center recommends. I know there are more, but I digress.

Since we all know how important iron is, we wouldn't do anything to deter us from getting in what we are suppose to right?? Then hang on to your hats folks---especially all you WLS still stuck on the idea it's okay for "good" carbs to be in your WLS diet. Y'all know who you are....By "good" carbs I'm talking about the old whole grain nonsense.

Stop rolling your eyes---yes I'm going there once again. The body does not have to have carbs at all. But grains are completely useless. They are not fit for human consumption by anyone. Most importantly, they should never be consumed by WLSers, EVER. It boils down to one tiny ingredient found in grain products---phytate or phytic acid. In adults, phytic acid has been reported to inhibit the absorption of iron, zinc, calcium and manganese but not copper. Phytic acid can be found in most grains, seeds and beans. Rich sources of phytic acid are wheat bran and flaxseed (3 % phytic acid).

EEEKKK!!! Flaxseed---I love the stuff. After reading this, it will be a big NO NO from now on. The grain products have been cut from my way of eating for awhile now. Beans, well this is the south, I do have them on occasion. Guess I'll have to rethink those too.

What I'm getting at here, nutrition is the number one cause of problems long term for anyone having WLS. Especially the malabsorptive procedures such as the RNY. Supplementation is key for good health in our case. So if something is gonna interfere with a supplement we are SURE is important like iron and :gasp: calcium too. Do we want to keep putting it into our bodies? I think not.

To prove how effective phytic acid is at lowering iron stores, check out this info. It is given to cancer patients to decrease the iron stores to decrease tumors. Which is why some people think soy is so good for cancer--it is the phytic acid found in it. Anyone who reads my blog knows how I hate soy, bad stuff. So here's another post WLS food many love---soy---but it will deplete your body of nutrients you desperately need along with the grains many still cling to religiously. So put down that tofu, pour out that soy milk, feed that whole grain bread to the birds and take your supplements. Oh yeah--go eat some fat while you're at it.

Tuesday, September 4, 2007

BBQ Sauce Recipe

This is for all of you who don't like the BBQ sauces you find in the store. I make all my condiments from scratch. Too many of the store bought ones are full of hidden sugar. My fellow blogger, Adam, DietKing, asked what kind I used. I posted one earlier Recipes For The 4th. I also get many of my recipes from Linda, Linda's Low Carb Menus & Recipes. Here is one of my favorite BBQ sauces from her site, Smokey BBQ Sauce.

Basic BBQ Sauce

4 Tbs onion,minced
1 cup tomato puree
3/4 cup water
3 Tbs vinegar
2 Tbs Worcestershire sauce
1/2 tsp salt
1 tsp paprika
1 tsp chili powder
1/2 tsp pepper
1/4 tsp cinnamon
1/8 tsp ground cloves

Combine all ingredients in a sauce pan. Over medium heat, bring to a boil. Stir frequently until thickened. Store in the fridge. Keeps very well.

Last year, I got real industrious and made very large batches of several sauces and canned them. It was wonderful to be able to just grab a jar when I needed it. I haven't had time this year, but I still may break down and do it before long.

Many people put away their grill after Labor Day. They think of it as a summer time only thing. Since we have milder weather here in the south, grillin' is a year round thing. At least it is for me. I've been known to be outside deep in the throes of winter putting something on the grill. Grillin' is also very good for a low carb lifestyle. So don't push that grill aside just because summer is over. Make it a year round method of cooking, not seasonal. You won't be sorry.

Monday, September 3, 2007

Happy Labor Day

Labor Day has been around for over 100 years. According to the US Department of Labor:

"Labor Day differs in every essential way from the other holidays of the year in any country," said Samuel Gompers, founder and longtime president of the American Federation of Labor. "All other holidays are in a more or less degree connected with conflicts and battles of man's prowess over man, of strife and discord for greed and power, of glories achieved by one nation over another. Labor devoted to no man, living or dead, to no sect, race, or nation."

Labor Day, the first Monday in September, is a creation of the labor movement and is dedicated to the social and economic achievements of American workers. It constitutes a yearly national tribute to the contributions workers have made to the strength, prosperity, and well-being of our country.
In my neck of the woods, Labor Day is about one thing---FOOD---and lots of it. Who am I kidding everyday is about food here in the south. But Labor day is the last weekend of summer. Time for some really good BBQ.

I've been grillin' for 2 days now. Everything is good to go. We'll be chowin' down in a few short hours. Got everything you could possibly want to eat. Topping the meal off with some homemade ice cream and ice cold watermelon. Them's good eats.

It's really not about all the food. It has always been a family thing for us. That's the most important thing. So y'all enjoy your holiday.

Saturday, September 1, 2007

Nutrition and Mental Health

A blog I read faithfully each day---Mental Health Notes---has an interesting thing each Saturday---called Saturday Sanity. It is a bunch of links to different interesting sites. This week was equally inspiring. A couple of the links raised some points I wanted to address. I wanted to leave a comment, but it was getting a little long, so thought I would answer it here.

The Stanford Prison Experiment website is the home of (literally) the Standford University research during a 1971 experiment dealing with psychology and prison life. Apparently, they simulated prison life to dip their toes into the psychology of imprisonment. Interesting, but I’m also on the hunt for research done in real prison settings.
Dr Barry Groves has some good info about the effects of nutrition on the rates of suicide, depression and violence.

Suicide and violence
Depression is the main psychiatric illness that predisposes to suicide. The anti-cholesterol lobby would have us believe that the lower your cholesterol, the healthier you are. But a French study concluded that 'Both low serum cholesterol concentration and declining cholesterol concentration were associated with increased risk of death from suicide in men.' This confirmed many previous epidemiological and clinical studies which had described an association between lower blood cholesterol and increased suicide risk that is not entirely attributable to depression-related malnutrition and weight loss.
This only one of the many studies out there about how nutrition plays a major role in the escalation of mental health symptoms. Here are some more:

Cholesterol concentrations in violent and non-violent women suicide attempters.

Omega-3 Polyunsaturated Essential Fatty Acid Status as a Predictor of Future Suicide Risk

Increasing homicide rates and linoleic acid consumption among five western countries, 1961–2000

Low weight gain in infancy and suicide in adult life

Researchers are working on a brain implant that could prevent epileptic seizures. My question is once/if it’s successful and enters the world of medical treatment, would it also be effective for people with bipolar disorder? A popular BP treatment right now is Lamictal which is used for both people with bipolar disorder and people who suffer from epileptic seizures…interesting.
Lamictal is not the only anticonvulsant in use in the mental health field. Other anticonvulsants used for bipolar disorder include carbamazepine (Tegretol), gabapentin (Neurontin), valproic acid (Depakote, divalproex sodium) and topiramate (Topamax).

Since all these meds work so well for bipolar symptoms, it doesn't take a stretch of the imagination to think alternate treatments for seizures would do wonders for bipolar also. The biggest thing is the Ketogenic Diet.
The ketogenic diet, which is very high in fats and low in carbohydrates, was first developed almost 80 years ago. It makes the body burn fat for energy instead of glucose. When carefully monitored by a medical team familiar with its use, the diet helps two out of three children who are tried on it and may prevent seizures completely in one out of three.
What the Diet Does

Normally, our bodies run on energy from glucose, which we get from food. We can't store large amounts of glucose, however. We only have about a 24-hour supply.

When a child has no food for 24 hours -- which is the way the diet begins, usually in a hospital -- he or she uses up all the stored glucose. With no more glucose to provide energy, the child's body begins to burn stored fat.

The ketogenic diet keeps this process going.

It forces the child's body to burn fat round the clock by keeping calories low and making fat products the primary food that the child is getting.

In fact, the diet gets most (80 percent) of its calories from fat. The rest comes from carbohydrates and protein.

Each meal has about four times as much fat as protein or carbohydrate. The amounts of food and liquid at each meal have to be carefully worked out and weighed for each person.
The ketogenic diet: 1997.

The ketogenic diet's current success rate, when properly executed, greatly exceeds that of the medications which have recently become available. Its side effects, both cognitive and allergic, appear fewer than most available medications. The ketogenic diet is also cheaper than most new anticonvulsants. Even though we now know that the diet works, we still do not know how it works. Nor do we know how most anticonvulsants work. The mechanism of action of the ketogenic diet appears to rely on a fundamental change in the brain's metabolism from that of a glucose-based energy substrate to a ketone-based substrate. This change is, in some fashion, critical to the maintenance of seizure threshold. Why should the source of the energy make a difference in seizure threshold? The change in seizure threshold appears to occur without affecting the brain's ability to carry out its normal complex functions. Could the brain's utilization of an energy substrate for seizure control be different from its utilization of energy for normal brain function?
There is some research into this as well. It really flies in the face of the typical recommended low fat low calorie high carb way of eating. Doesn't it strike you as kinda strange that mental illness diagnoses have increased dramatically over the years. Could nutrition play a big part in that?? I believe it does. The science is a long way from really changing peoples minds but it does not lie.

Ketogenic diet for the treatment of refractory epilepsy in children.

The ketogenic diet may have mood-stabilizing properties.

Ketogenic Diet & Bipolar Disorder

Effect of the ketogenic diet on the activity level of Wistar rats.

Fatty acid tied to depression and inflammation

Metabolic syndrome in bipolar disorder: findings from the Bipolar Disorder Center for Pennsylvanians

Omega 3 fatty acids influence mood, impulsivity and personality, study indicates

Stanford University even wanted to do a full study on the effects of a ketogenic diet on humans with bipolar disorder. There is one out there done on rats that is promising. I personally follow a high fat, carb restricted way of eating. It has allowed me to decrease many of my psych meds this past year. It has also decreased my symptoms dramatically.

I would much rather work on controlling my symptoms with changes in my diet than taking in a whole bunch of medications. That along with therapy to rid me of learned coping behaviors is my treatment. There are many books out there dealing with food and mood. A new one is coming out this month. I've talked about it before. Here is the link to it once again---The Brain Trust Program.

Book Description
A leading neurosurgeon delivers a groundbreaking program for increasing brain function at any age.

The brain, like the muscles, heart, and other organs, is made of flesh and blood and requires proper care to maintain its optimum state of wellbeing. In this remarkable prescription for brain health, Dr. Larry McCleary reveals not only how to forestall the effects of aging but also how to improve brain function.

Taking a unique metabolic approach in his scientifically-based program of prevention and regeneration, Dr. McCleary shows readers how to:

- Assess their risk for memory loss and other cognitive impairment
- Incorporate a comprehensive regimen of a brain-building diet, brain-specific supplements, mental (and physical) exercise, and stress reduction techniques to enhance memory, acuity, and clarity - Personalize the three-part Brain Trust program for a more dynamic brain from childhood to age 100
- Avoid surprising and common lifestyle pitfalls that may unknowingly damage brain cells
- Relieve or greatly reduce migraines, hot flashes, and hearing loss
Editorial Review
"The Brain Trust Program provides everything you need to know to ensure optimal brain functioning for a lifetime!"
-Christiane Northrup, M.D., author of Women's Bodies, Women's Wisdom, The Wisdom of Menopause, and Mother-Daughter Wisdom

"It isn't difficult to find people who are suffering from a wide range of debilitating neurological conditions such as migraine headaches, Alzheimer's disease, brain cancer, and worse these days. But leave it to a brain surgeon to figure out many of these can actually be treated and even reversed metabolically through some rather simple changes in the diet. Dr. Larry McCleary has figured out that controlling the amount of insulin production by consuming a healthy low-carb diet is indeed the most 'brain-friendly' way you could possibly eat. The Brain Trust Program he has developed from his many years of experience challenges people to think about the long-term impact of the high-carb foods they are eating not just on their waistline, but also on that gray matter between their ears! This book is guaranteed to shake up the status quo and quite literally turn traditional brain treatment on its head!"
-Jimmy Moore, author of Livin' La Vida Low-Carb

"One of the best books I've seen on the care and feeding of your brain! Dr. McCleary knows what he's talking about and even better, has a gift for communicating this important information!"
-Jonny Bowden, PhD, CNS, Board Certified Nutritionist, author, The 150 Healthiest Foods on Earth and The Most Effective Natural Cures on Earth
I encourage everyone to get this book when it comes out. It is gonna be a real eye opener.

Many places can be found on the web that address nutriton in dealing with mental illness. Take a gander at these sites.

Alternative Mental Health

HRI Research Studies and Papers

Nutritional Healing of Perth, Australia (alternative medicine, nutrition, diet, vitamins)

I refuse to blindly let anyone dictate my health. I am a huge advocate of proactive health care. You should make the decisions in your own life. As long as you are in the mind to be able to handle making those decisions. Don't just pop a pill and think everything will be hunky dory. You have to work at your health just like you have to work at other things in your life. Do your research, learn alternative ways to control your symptoms, thereby controlling your life.