Wednesday, January 19, 2011

Living in a grain and sugar-free world

Almost impossible to make happen. My stevia even has rice maltodextrin in it. Maltodextrin is made from starch and whatever anyone wants to say, in the body it's sugar.

And that is so difficult to get across to people. They think when I say no sugar I mean that white granular stuff sold in bags labelled sugar. Um no. I mean that and honey, agave nectar, fructose, many starchy vegetables and many varieties of fruit. Whatever they are in person, once they hit my digestive tract they become sugar and are every bit as destructive as the white granular stuff.

The same with grains. I cannot eat any grains. Period. That is difficult for folks to wrap their heads around. A year ago it would have been for me.

Then I discovered primal living. But first, let me explain the "why" of this regime. I have osteoporosis and I'm pre-diabetic. The pre-diabetic is manifested by a hemoglobin A1C score of 5.7 and morning fasting numbers in the 90s and up to 113 one morning last week.The A1C should be 4 point something and the other number should be 83 to 85.

As I was doing research about osteoporosis I ran across many articles discussing phytic acid and its effect on bones. The phytates in grains grab minerals in your intestines, bind to them and carry them out of your body in your feces. My endocrinologist had told me (based on some tests he had me take) that I don't absorb calcium, that it just goes right through me.

So I began to wonder if all the grains I was eating (for good health) were causing my osteoporosis. I could never get a definitive answer out of the good doctor but he did say research had shown that a REALLY REALLY low-carb diet and no sugar did not harm health.

Then I discovered Mark Sisson and read the articles on his website and decided his information made sense and that it couldn't hurt to begin eating like our paleolithic ancestors.

A tidbit: agriculture began about 10,000 (give or take a few) years ago. We were hunter-gatherers for about a million years and our genes think we still are. Our teeth and our digestive tracts are designed for a diet of meat, green vegetables and a few berries, in season. Basically, if we can kill it or pick, we can healthily eat it.

Well, what about all that science we've been drowned in for the last 60 years? You know, eat a low-fat, high-carb diet to be healthy. Well, it's basically bad science, much of it paid for by Conagra, the soy, corn and wheat growers, all the processed food giants--you know, all those folks who have a reason we should eat lots of grains, sugar (or high-fructose corn syrup mostly), and processed food.

Anyway, Mark Sisson wrote a book titled Primal Blueprint which I bought and read and it just made sense. Then I bought The Evolutionary Diet, Primal Body--Primal Mind, Why We Get Fat and What To Do About It, The Paleo Diet and The Paleo Solution. Lots of science and in a couple of the books, lots of anecdotal information. Basically, for all our advances, we're still genetically darned close to the folks who ran down giant beasts for food and got their exercise trying not to be devoured by large tigers.

My fervent wish is to live to be 100 so I can tell all the climate change disbelievers and the libertarians who are living in a savage world of people killing for food because the seas have risen and extreme weather conditions have interfered with crop production, so I can give the Bronx cheer and yell, at the top of my lungs, "I told you so." I'm pretty certain living primally can help make that happen. I will have to figure out a way to keep from being killed by the marauding hordes. The old folks will be easy game.

Friday, January 14, 2011

The Sea We Swim In

When I read about the shooting in Arizona my first thought was along the lines of "The gun folks win again." I'm not a fan of the National Rifle Association because of the way they have set the argument in such a way that somehow I'm not a patriot if I don't own an arsenal.

Then we started to hear about rhetoric and how the hateful rhetoric of the right caused the shooting and somehow it was presented as a cause and effect argument. I present that it's not cause and effect; it's the sea we swim in, as fish for whom it's the total environment, not as humans who bounce along on top of the waves.

I'm as guilty as everyone else. When I talk about Republicans it's usually in terms of my loathing, disgust, my wish for them to quietly disappear. Changing my attitude will never help me to love John Boehner, Rush Limbaugh, Ann Coulter. And yes, I do see these folks as the enemy and the cause of everything wrong with this country.

Well no, they are not. A reading of history tells us that Americans have always been violent and intemperate. Read the books, the old newspapers. Study our real history, not the one we learn in textbooks which is bad fiction.

Arianna Huffington says it all so beautifuuly here:

I really have to learn how to post links the way all the other bloggers do.

Saturday, January 1, 2011

750 words

I wrote 750 words today on the site 750 words. It's fun. Someone set up this place we can go to daily and write. I discovered today that somehow it even measures your mood, I'm guessing based on the words you use. It even showed me which words I used the most. For anyone who wants to write daily, in a private place, I recommend 750 words.

I did not make resolutions this year. I have a list of 12 habits I intend to develop. At the end of each month I will pick the habit to work on next month. This month the habit is to write daily.

I also picked a word that I want to guide me during 2011. Christine Kane (wonderful singer/songwriter) suggested this. My word is release. When I'm driving myself crazy which I do a lot, I can examine the craziness through release. "Can I release this attitude, prejudice, anger, resentment, possession, need to buy, whatever?"

Not certain exactly how this will work--it will be a work in progress. The most important part of the exercise is remembering to use it.

I've given up grains and sugar as an experiment to see if I can build bone without the help of some godawful drug. Not that I would take any of the drugs on the market because of the possible side effects. However, I do have osteoporosis and I want to see what I can do to change that.

I've read many articles and four books recently that suggest grains and sugar are the problem. The books include Why We Get Fat and What to Do About It, Primal Blueprint, The New Evolution Diet, and The Paleo Solution.

The first is about the bad science which has guided the USDA, doctors, nutritionists and many of the folks who write books and articles about nutrition. The other three are about the health of the hunter-gatherers of 40,000 years ago. According to some of the research, people were more likely to die from trauma and infection than disease.

I'm keeping an open mind. Rather than assume True Believer status, I'm looking upon this as a year long experiment. I started in September and haven't been strict about it (December is difficult), however, I will have a Dexa-scan and lots of blood work in August to see if I'm building bone and to check cholesterol, triglycerides and blood sugar.

So I am now being strict. It's only difficult when I eat at potlucks or dinner parties. Pretty amazing how much sugar and how many grains show up in almost everything. Restaurants can be easy if the menu includes steak or fish and salad. That pretty much rules out ethnic restaurants, pasta restaurants, pancake houses--well, you get my drift.

As Katherine White would say, "Onward and upward."