Kind of dry, but important nonetheless.
The bullet points:
Today’s meal is a fajita frittata, and it looks delicious.
I would like to introduce you to a wonderful (and comprehensive) series on achieving perfect health. Enjoy!
9 Steps to Perfect Health:
Nine steps seems like kind of a lot to get a handle on – especially compared to the promises of 6-minute abs and the fountain of youth that is a glass of red wine per day. Fortunately, you have your whole life to get this stuff nailed down; just make sure to be moving in the right direction most of the time.
Today we’re back at it with salmon, rice, and shredded brussels sprouts. Pretty similar to last Monday’s meal, and I apologize, but fish is good for you, is best on Mondays, and Salmon is widely available / palatable to most.
Since we already learned about how great fish is – and I don’t have much desire to talk about brussels sprouts – let’s talk about carnivory (or lack thereof) instead.
Thanks to everyone who filled out the first week wrap-up survey, you provided invaluable feedback. One respondent requested some meatless options once or twice a week.
The fact of the matter is that some people are going to be vegetarians, and that’s ok. In fact, a vegetarian diet can still be a healthy one, as I outline in this post.
So, moving forward, we’ll shoot for two “meat-optional” meals per week.
I’d be remiss not to mention that modern wide-scale meat production (CAFOs, chicken houses, and the like) is well worth protesting, and talking with your dollars is the best way to be heard (sometimes they even get the message!). That’s part of the reason we are buying responsibly-sourced meat for our meals.
So far this week, we’ve covered some benefits of the real food we’ve been eating. Just as important though, are the benefits of avoiding the processed food products we haven’t been eating.
The Big Three Things We Haven’t Eaten:
Press on for some of the reasoning behind avoiding these three “neolithic agents of disease” as they’re sometimes called.
You may have noticed that I keep putting vegetable in quotations. I do this because “vegetable oil” is quite a misnomer:
Not to mention that, with the exception of fruits like olive and coconut (and a few oddballs like cold-pressed peanut oil), all “vegetable” oils are extracted using the poisonous solvent hexane—and this chemical process is responsible for over two-thirds of the hexane emissions in the United States. Soybean processing facilities emit a gallon of hexane for each ton of soybeans processed—which means a large soy processing plant emits over five million pounds of hexane per year!
Even more importantly, hexane processing strips the remaining nutrients from the oil, and turns a significant quantity of polyunsaturated fats into inflammatory, artery-clogging trans fats! (Anywhere from 0.5% to 4.2% of the total, according to this paper…and you won’t see them on the nutrition label, either.) Since replacing just 2% of calories with dietary trans fat is associated with a doubling of death risk from cardiovascular disease, this is a significant health issue.
“Vegetable oil” isn’t a food. It’s an industrial product, and it has no place in our diet.
“Vegetable” Oil has a few other problems as well. Being primarily MUFA and PUFA, it is highly unstable (vulnerable to oxidation), and as such, shouldn’t be stored at room temperature in clear bottles (like at the grocery store) or heated (like in most restaurants in the country). Also, the majority of that PUFA is of the Omega-6 variety, which as we learned on Monday, is pro-inflammatory.
In the future, use this article to decide which oils to use.
First, go learn a little bit about wheat. (This is an excerpt from a book reprinted on a blog).
Second, read about two gluten studies.
Third, take in this “Case for Going Gluten-Free“.
Fourth, check out this study that showed elevated inflammatory markers in non-coeliac subjects in response to gliadin (a glycoprotein in wheat).
And if you’re still not convinced there may be something here, review this study titled “Gluten Causes Gastrointestinal Symptoms in Subjects without Celiac Disease“.
From the abstract:
On a visual analog scale, patients were significantly worse with gluten within 1 week for overall symptoms (P=0.047), pain (P=0.016), bloating (P=0.031), satisfaction with stool consistency (P=0.024), and tiredness (P=0.001).
Definitely the least detrimental of the three in my opinion, but still not your friend; the issue with added sugar is primarily large doses of fructose.
The Bottom Line
I’ve found that a very productive way to approach your diet is the following:
|Only eat foods that improve your health.|
You can argue all day about whether the big three above really damage your health (they do), but it doesn’t matter. At the very least, they are displacing other foods in your diet that could actually be improving your health.
|So throw out the french fries, bagels, and soda – and eat some real food instead.|
And a side salad – beet and goat cheese, at Tom’s request.
Today’s lesson is all about food quality and how there’s some stuff we just don’t fully understand.
Most cows in the US are fed grass early in their lives as they are raised by private ranchers, but then subsist entirely on a diet of corn, antibiotics, and candy wrappers after being sold to massive agribusiness conglomerates running CAFOs (concentrated animal feeding operations).
Our cheeseburgers today were made with 100% pastured grass-fed ground beef. This means the cows were raised in a natural setting, walking around grassy fields, eating the diet they were designed for.
Sidebar: Extended Reasoning.In line in front of me at the grocery store recently, a woman was pushing the butcher big-time to get naturally raised beef. The butcher replied that grain-fed is cheaper and just as good. The customer (rightfully) explained that corn is an unnatural diet for cattle, and that cows fed a natural diet are much healthier. Quoting Michael Pollan, she rather righteously proclaimed that “You are what you eat eats too.” At this point, I glanced at her cart to see, to my dismay, frozen pizzas, Doritos, and loaves of bread. It occurred to me that while she recognized that animals are much healthier eating a natural diet, she hadn’t yet realized that the same is true for human animals.
Early in my health blogging career (if you can call it that), I made the mistake of reductionism in an analysis of the constituents of grass-fed beef. I had the hubris to think that I could simply compare the quantities of nutrients in grass-fed and grain-fed beef to determine the health benefits of grass-fed. Turns out I was wrong (big surprise). Shortly after (serendipitous), a great study was sent in by a reader comparing grass-fed and grain-fed meat. That same day, another blog covered the study results.
For those of you too busy to link over, here are the bullet points.
As I wrote at the time:
The really interesting thing here is that consumption of grass-fed beef seems to have positive effects greater than those one would expect from simply looking at the sum of its parts.
The mistake I made is that whole, real food is more than just a collection of ingredients. This is an example of real food demonstrating a synergistic, health-promoting effect.
I should note that while grass-fed beef is a better choice than grain-fed, grain-fed beef is still a better choice than a bagel. No fair saying stuff like, “grass-fed beef is too expensive, I’ll just eat pie instead.” Don’t let the perfect be the enemy of the good.