Last revised: 23.Sep.07 08:34 -0700
Along the way of all these years, I've had several epiphanies in how to eat and live. In my quest to first understand and then tame the "obesity monster" that seems to be stalking our family as well as the rest of the good folks of the world these days, I decided to learn in detail just what's going on and why this is happening, and then use that information to take some directed and specific actions.
I have learned many things about how the human body actually functions. But the very first thing I learned was that just about everything we've been told about what to eat, what not to eat, and the effects of dietary fats and oils; is completely wrong! I also discovered that it is an excess of carbohydrates--NOT calories--that is at the root of all obesity!
The short version is, eating fats, won't (can't)
make you fat! ONLY carbohydrates can do that! The ONLY two functions
that carbohydrates can perform in your body are:
1) to provide you with motility (being able to move--fuel for your muscles), and
2) to be stored in a fat cell in reserve for the next time you need to have a ready fuel for motility.
That's it. Period. Nothing else can be done with a carbohydrate in your body. Fats and proteins can be used to build hormones and body cells. The ENTIRE class of nutrients known as carbohydrates can NOT be used to build or repair any cell in your body. Carbs can only be used for fuel...or stored!
Do you know what the THREE BASIC FOOD groups are? No, I don't mean ice-cream, beer, potato chips...(:-o)! It's: Fats, proteins, and carbohydrates. In general, the fats and proteins come from meats, and the carbohydrates from plants. To be sure, there are some "corner-cases". Many (if not most) plants have some oils in them, as well as some proteins too. And some animal products have some carbohydrates in them as well (especially milk).
Fats are used by the body for building and repairing nearly all cells found in the body. Especially the "smooth" cells like brain, organ, eye, and nerve tissues. Fats are high in calories (food value), and are not readily stored by the body.
Proteins are used by the body for building and repairing nearly all of the other cells in the body, especially the "rough" cells like muscles and connective tissues. Proteins can not be stored in the body. They are either used or broken down and excreted by the kidneys.
Carbohydrates are used by the body for motility. Motion. Fuel for the muscles. Carbohydrates can be and are stored in adipose fat cells. You can read more about that mechanism here.
As I'd mentioned, there are some "corner-cases". There are generally no carbs in meats and fats. But there are some in milk. The body can generate carbs (that's not exactly true, but I'm trying to keep this a non-technical description--it's simplistically correct) from fats, and if need be (by the same mechanism) from proteins. "Burning" fats for energy is fine. But when you're "burning" muscle tissue for energy, that means your body is starving, and that's bad!
So, to put it simply, your body has an ABSOLUTE NEED to ingest fats and oils, as well as proteins. There is ZERO, ZIP, NIX, NADA, NO, NOT EVEN ONE requirement for dietary carbohydrates! You can get along quite well on a diet without any carbohydrates at all. Surprised? You might be, if you've been suckling at the teat of "friendly" government promoted and food industry promulgated miss/dis information and propaganda campaign (read: Eat from our federally defined "Food Pyramid").
Unless you're active enough to burn off the carbs you're eating, you are condemning yourself to a life of ever increasing obesity. That, and the ever increasing likelihood of developing type II (T2) diabetes. Yes. That's right. You develop T2 diabetes from your diet (or lack thereof). And as of this moment, diabetes is the most common and fastest growing contributory cause of death in the United States! You can abuse the beta cells (known as the "isles of Langerhans") for a long time. But eventually, your metabolic sugar-cycle will kill, or abuse beyond repair, those cells--and you can proudly become a full-fledged T2 diabetic. So, a nice, sugary bowl of cereal for breakfast, anyone?
Here's another news flash for you... Is the primary cause of high serum cholesterol levels in your blood from your diet? From the egg fried in butter that you ate? From the whipped cream laden apple pie you ate? If you think "Yes", then that's another instance of you having given your attention and allegiance to the food industry and it's cohort in intellectual crime: The medical community. More than 80% of the serum cholesterol in your blood is generated BY YOUR LIVER! That's one of its many jobs! And do you know what it uses as a fuel to do that? The CARBOHYDRATES that you've been told to eat! But, not to worry. If you watch television at all, you can't go more than 15 minutes without seeing at least 2 commercials for somebody that has one drug or another that can be provided by either your insurance of some government fund that can cure that! You can learn about "The Cholesterol Myth", here.
If that wasn't enough for you, how about another news flash? Ever heard the oft spouted refrain, "Drink milk! It does a body good?" Name for me one other creature on this planet that regularly drinks the milk of another? (The answer is: not one!) Yes. Milk can be and is good for you...if you're a baby. But once past that stage, it's no longer needed. It's oft said that you should drink milk for the calcium. And yes, there's calcium in milk. But there's also lots of calcium in lots of other things as well. Fresh spinach, for instance, of cheese for another... There's another, darker reason to not drink commercially prepared homogenized milk. Milk contains fats. Lots of them, it's what they make cream and butter from. By and of themselves, that fat isn't bad for you. It's what happens when the milk is processed that makes it bad. In the "old days" milk was stirred and consumed. Not bad. Certainly I can agree with you that a tall, cook glass of milk goes well with a cookie or a PB&J sandwich
But, along comes modern industry. If it's not mixed, or homogenized, the fats in milk float to the top. Folks like milk better if the fats are mixed-in (tastes and has a better "mouth-feel"). But just mixing is temporary. So in order to make the "mixing" permanent, industry has gone to using powerful, industrial grade, ultrasonic homogenizers. These work well. Too well in fact. The fats in milk are molecules that have an affinity for (attract) one another. They would most like to be attached to their fellows. But, when blasted apart with a homogenizer, they're left to float free. Since they must attach to something, they'll attach to a handy protein molecule should one come by. Ordinarily, when swallowed, a fat molecule would have to move along the digestive tract in order to be processed and turned into a fatty acid (the only form that fats and oils can pass through intestine and be used by the body). But, the agile protein molecule can be directly transported through the duodenum into the bloodstream. Dragging it's balky fat "buddy" along for the ride. If you're over the age of 2 or 3, you should be drinking water or juices. If you're older than that and simply must drink milk, choose whole, un-homogenized milk. Mix it well by agitating or shaking. Else drink skim milk. Tastes like poo-poo (to me), but at least the fats aren't attached to the proteins. If you're going to continue to drink it, don't say you haven't been warned by someone that cares about you--your call.
Finally; do you know anyone that has a young boy that's been "diagnosed" as ADD/ADHD? I'll make a bet with you; if you'll look into it, you'll surely find that that boy was raised on a "low-fat" diet. Given that your nerves and brain are nearly 90% fat, see if you can figure out the cause and effect relationship. See if you can figure out why it's only in this country (the leader and innovator of the "low-fat", "high-carbohydrate", let's all eat from the "Food Pyramid" diet fad) that ADD/ADHD seems to be so dominant. But, not to worry. The drug companies have just the perfect solution for you. Give your young son Ritalin® or other, similar drugs to suppress the effects of the diet choices they've spent considerable time and effort to shame you into... Go ahead! Just like popping a pill to lower your cholesterol, they've got a pill for this as well. There! Don't you feel better already?
If you have or know someone that has a child that's been "diagnosed" as being ADD/ADHD, see what you can do to get them to give the child fats and oils in any form, especially Omega-3's (found in "fish-oil" capsules).
Because of all those lies and sleight-of-hand we've been conditioned to accept, we've changed our WOE (Way Of Eating). We no longer eat any processed foods. By that I mean things like sweetened, highly-processed breakfast cereals, cookies, chips, cake-mixes, "instant" this or that, and the whole gamut of wonderful-sounding and tasty things that come in colorful bags and go "crunch!" in the mouth and are ever so delightful to snack on.
We've severely restricted our intake of sweets of any kind, rice, pasta, and rarely eat potatoes anymore. There's little nutritional reason to do so. They are almost entirely composed of carbohydrates. Yes, they have a few vitamins, minerals, and fibers to be sure. But chemically, to our bodies, eating a medium potato is like eating half a cup or so of sugar. In years past folks used to point to kids eating french-fries and blame the fat they were fried in as the culprit. That, as it turns out, was/is completely wrong! The fats and oils on that french-fry won't (can't) become body fat. Only the carbohydrates contained in the potato part of the fry can do that.
However, with a few nearly insignificant exceptions, carbs come only from one source: plants! And, unless you're looking to become an Aleut--who live for years at a time on a diet of meats & fats alone--that's just not possible (not to mention, boring!). To that end we've explored various other avenues. I've always had a love for good, fresh, hearty, sourdough hearth bread. It turns out that the sourdough "critters" that cause the rise and flavor in those "old-fashioned" breads, pre-process the carbs in the flour in a manner as to render them considerably lower in overall carbs than "regular" bread. And, instead of eating half the loaf when it was done, we limit ourselves to a few meager slices, but pile them high with butter, meats, and cheeses. And, unlike so many that "find" the low-carbohydrate WOE, we don't approach this like a religion. We use our heads and eat "normally" and "naturally".
Limit your ingestion of grains and grain products. If you must eat them, shoot for whole grains. To learn more about grains and your diet, click here. And one of the more fun ways to eat grains is as a cooked cereal such as my Wheat berries.
Too many folks, that when they decide to go "low-carb", begin right away by exchanging all of their "comfort foods" with an even more highly processed 'low-carb' equivalent. They buy 'low-carb': bread, pancake & waffle mixes, cereals, other mixes, potatoes, ice-cream, rice, jelly, jam, and on and on and on and on... THAT'S NOT the SOLUTION! You MUST change your way of eating...and WHAT you're eating!
Instead of crispy, crunchy chips and other junk food, eat some fresh carrots, celery sticks, apples, and a host of other foods like that. Choose fresh, whole, wholesome foods, especially fresh fruits & vegetables. Eschew the quick-fix and junk foods! There's nothing that can be made from a box that you can't make from scratch. And with a little planning ahead, as quickly if not quicker than opening a box. Remember, when you're busy telling yourself how tired you are and that you just can't come up with the energy to do that; consider what you're really saying: You don't give a damn, and you're willing to take convenience over what's best for yourself and your family--your call.
Now, that having been said, this doesn't mean that you have to live monk-like, eating nothing but tubers, nuts, and berries. Instead of eating a half-gallon of "low-carb" ice-cream at a setting 3-times a week; you can eat a small bowl of real ice-cream, every once-in-a-while. The operative words here being: small, and once-in-a-while. That's the real lesson to be gained here. If you can't or won't understand that, you're wasting your time reading here.
We approached our conversion to a lower level of carbohydrate intake in a logical and methodical manner. As I'd mentioned, some folks get off on this like it was a religious jihad. It's simply a more natural, Paleolithic way of eating. One does not need highly processed foods. Simple, natural is just fine.
During this change in our WOE, a number of other interesting events developed. Where we used to have bouts of "acid reflux", we now haven't had any such event in probably 4-years or more; and we didn't even need to buy any of those "miracle cure" pills being peddled by anyone with an agency...
To be continued...23.Sep.07 08:34:40