What to Eat?

 

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A rare healthy lunch of mine. Photo by me.

In searching for the perfect healthy diet (for me), I’ve become more confused than ever. I watched two documentaries on Netflix about changing the diets of some test subjects: sick, obese, type-II diabetic, and others taking zillions of medications. Each diet got them losing weight, feeling better and off their pills – using almost opposite strategies.

Now I’m confused. Let’s discuss.

The Magic Pill

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One of my healthier trips to the grocery. Photo by me.

The first was “The Magic Pill,” which turns out to be about the keto diet (high fat/low carb/moderate-to-low protein). They follow several groups of people with health problems that allow the documentary to change their diets completely for a few weeks to see what happens: an Aboriginal group in Australia that suffers from high rates of type-II diabetes and a high sugar/processed diet; two families with autistic/non-verbal children; and others with health problems such as asthma, cancer, type II diabetes, etc.

The keto diet outlined in the program was as follows:

Eat whole foods; choose organic; eliminate processed foods; eliminate grains and legumes; embrace healthy fats (olive oil, coconut oil, avocados, animal fats, eggs); avoid dairy—if you must eat, choose full-fat and organic; select naturally raised animals—pastured animals and wild-caught & sustainable seafood; eat nose to tail (bone broths, organ meats); eat fermented foods; and fast intermittently.

I will fully admit to being wowed when the non-verbal autistic children start talking and very sick people clear up tons of problems and are able to go off just about all of their medications. It’s an impressive thing to behold. I was all pumped up. But, this documentary has been faulted for its lack of scientific research (allegedly plenty exists to support keto, but it’s not presented). They do interview doctors who affirm this diet.

This diet is similar to paleo, although paleo is more OK with carbs (a lot of dishes are served on a potato background), but both eschew grains, legumes and dairy as inflammatory/disease-causing agents 😦

Keto/paleo make sense to me as a healthy style of eating, as long as you’re not just eating stacks of sausage/bacon/burger patties and nothing else. If it was good enough for tens of thousands of years, it’s probably OK today. Minimal processing, lots and lots of vegetables, some meat and everything doused in healthy fats.

What the Health

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Farmer’s market in Santa Barbara. Photo by me.

Filmmaker Kip Anderson experienced a wakeup call after watching Al Gore’s benchmark film on Climate Change, “An Inconvenient Truth.” Anderson went on to make the viral sensation “Cowspiracy.”

“What the Health” is his follow-up project, where he strives to expose the corruption in the country’s leading health organizations and pharmaceutical companies. It’s truly riveting television.

I watched it fresh off the “rah-rah keto” documentary above, so my head was truly spinning as Anderson presented scientific paper after paper (<– click for link to all of them) of health research showing the adverse affect of eating meat, eggs, and dairy on cardiovascular health, life expectancy and other diseases. He interviews at least six MDs that back up the research and talk from an expert point of view.

Basically it was about trying to figure out why the American Heart Association, American Cancer Society, Susan G. Komen, and American Diabetes Association recommend foods (like red meat and dairy) that have been directly linked to causing their diseases.

The big “gotcha!” moment of the film is when Anderson discovers these agencies are sponsored by the beef council, egg council, dairy farmers, Tyson Chicken, Yoplait, etc. To read between the lines—they’re basically paid off to keep hush-hush about the science behind preventing these diseases through diet.

Any time he called one of these giant health organization to discuss the link between diet and the disease, he had phones hung up on him and doors slammed in his face—literally. Even their lawyers wouldn’t give him a statement.

Same goes for pharmaceuticals, although the link is more obvious. It’s in their best interests to keep you sick so you have to buy their pills.

Basically, just watch it for yourself and report back in the comments section.

The vegan diet is: grains, legumes, vegetables, nuts/seeds and fats like olive, avocado, and coconut oils. Eat fresh, eat variety. Carbs are NOT the enemy here. From my own research, you should easily hit your protein goals if you eat enough of these. The only thing lacking in a vegan diet is vitamin B12, which can be found in supplemented foods and pill form.

Vegan has always appealed to me as the most environmentally/climate-conscious choice. One pound of beef takes up to 1,800 gallons of water to produce, not to mention the land used and methane (greenhouse gas) and waste produced by the cows. I try to only eat beef a few times a year currently. Poultry has a much smaller footprint on land and water use, and I eat it almost every day (along with dairy and eggs). Although it still gets an F-minus by this film.

So this would be a hard habit to quit, especially since I despise nuts, beans and soooo many vegetables! But in my mind, it makes the most sense. And lest you think you can’t be a jacked athlete on a vegan diet—watch the film. They interviewed a number of power lifters and extreme athletes that eat vegan and look great.

What’s your ideal diet, and why?

I Don’t do Resolutions

 

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The exact second I rang in Y2K. That’s the year 2000 for you kids out there.

For as many years as I can remember, I’ve sworn off New Year’s resolutions. “If you want to do something, just do it. What does it matter what time of year it is?” was always my mantra.

I think tying yourself to January 1st can be a recipe for failure–it’s just so arbitrary. From a quick Google search, I see that 80% of resolutions fail by February, and 92% fail eventually.

But… this year I felt like making one.

I have really been digging into a bunch of books and researching various topics, including the Ice Age settlement of the Americas, green energy and climate change, plus some highly recommended fiction. So it seemed like January 1, 2019, would be about when I got through my Netflix cue and maybe could shut ‘er down (we’ve already cut the cord on cable).

So three I-guess-you-could-call-them-resolutions have crystallized in my mind. Maybe keeping up this blog would be No. 4, but I don’t want to get too crazy here.

  1. READ MORE: Spend all down-time reading, not with the TV on. Maybe I’ll keep an escape hatch of allowing myself Netflix while cooking or cleaning or otherwise being productive doing another task.
  2. FITNESS/STRENGTH: I really want to get fitter. I love lifting weights and it greatly helps with my riding. Plus lifting weights increases your metabolism and bone density, and may ease or prevent depression. (Of course I would like the side effect of an awesome bod!) I started going to the gym in March of 2018, but it’s gone in fits and starts. I’ve lost 12 pounds, but that’s not really the metric that I’m focused on so much as increased muscle/decreased fat. If I could work out 3x/week, I’d be thrilled. I’m going to the barn 7 days a week, so at least I move around a little even if I’m not at the gym. But really dialing in and being consistent is the goal.
  3. BETTER NUTRITION: I also started working on this in 2018 in June, when I did a Faster Way to Fat Loss boot camp with my friend/coach Chelsea. It was very helpful to get into new habits for 6 weeks with accountability and a group that’s going through the same struggles and victories. I’ve been watching some Netflix shows about organic farming, whole-food nutrition, and trying to curb many of the common “western” killers through better diet. I am inspired, although I’m also an extremely picky eater. But I’ve learned to cook and don’t mind doing it now, which is a big step of progress. I still eat too many processed foods though, and would love to clean things up for both health and fitness reasons.

I am mostly writing this to keep myself accountable. Do you make resolutions? Share if you feel comfortable! We’re all in this together.

Welcome!

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Thanks for visiting my new blog. I plan to write a lot about equine nutrition, any and all products related to horses, plus some fun girly stuff and some short musings about this and that. I will try to keep things brief and quick and always post pictures!

Winter is setting in soon so there won’t be much daylight, but I’ll do what I can. Might have to resort to open-source free stock photos in a pinch, but rest assured I won’t be stealing anyone’s stuff.

If you enjoy a little learning and a little fun, follow along with me! I’m still learning how to post but hopefully it won’t be that hard. Maybe I’ll feel less old if I can figure out this web publishing stuff. Anyway, welcome aboard!