logo
Wrong email address or username
Wrong email address or username
Incorrect verification code
back to top
Search tags: food-nutrition-cooking
Load new posts () and activity
Like Reblog Comment
show activity (+)
review 2018-07-05 17:22
The Good Gut / Justin and Erica Sonnenburg
The Good Gut: Taking Control of Your Weight, Your Mood, and Your Long-term Health - Erica Sonnenburg,Justin Sonnenburg,Andrew Weil

Finally, a book about the gut microbiome that actually offers constructive advice! This is what I’ve been searching for, even if I am a bit disappointed with the authors’ recommendations.


First off, there are things that affect your microbiome that you cannot change—if you were born by C-section or weren’t breastfed, there’s nothing that you can about it. Neither can you change the amount of antibiotics that you took as a child.

There are three things that you can do from this moment on, however. First, don’t rush off to your doctor and demand antibiotics for every little thing. Every time you take them, there is nuclear winter for the good microbes in your gut, leaving space for pathogens to muscle in and make you sick. There are times that you will need antibiotics—save your exposures for those time. (Having recently struggled with a nasty skin infection, cellulitis, which made me very feverish and scared, I am very thankful for antibiotics).

The second thing is that we have developed the idea that ultra-clean is ultra-good. Not necessarily so, say the authors. Accept a bit of dirt back into your life. Dig in the garden, get a bit of dirt under your fingernails, pet your dog or cat, don’t stress too much about washing. Of course, clean up to make yourself comfortable and always wash your hands after toilet visits, but your kitchen does not have to have the same level of clean as an operating room. You can benefit by challenging your immune system via the gut and maybe acquire some useful microfauna in the process.

Thirdly, we are starving our good gut microbes. They need the fibre from foods like vegetables, fruits, legumes and whole grains. Lots of it. Also keep in mind that our microbiome is a pharmaceutical factory, producing molecules that can affect our lives in unexpected ways. Too much meat favours microbes that produce a cancer causing substance. Finally the whole “eat less meat” message makes more sense to me, although it makes it no easier to follow. Moving away from simple carbohydrates can also be challenging, especially because we enjoy them so much, but they feed the wrong bacteria.

I find this kind of book very inspirational. It’s difficult to change life-long bad habits, but I’m always re-inspired after reading about current research and its ramifications. So I made a happy trip to the farmers’ market last night to buy cherries, raspberries and carrots and I plan to feed the beneficial bacteria as well as I can.

Like Reblog Comment
show activity (+)
text 2018-06-28 16:23
Reading progress update: I've read 180 out of 320 pages.
The Good Gut: Taking Control of Your Weight, Your Mood, and Your Long-term Health - Erica Sonnenburg,Justin Sonnenburg,Andrew Weil

 

Advice that I've gleaned so far:

 

Throw away your hand sanitizer and (outside cold & flu season) maybe don't wash your hands quite so fanatically.

 

Spend some time digging in dirt.  Maybe let some of it stay under your fingernails for a while.

 

If you have the desire, get yourself a pet.  Once again, don't worry about hand washing after touching them quite so much.

 

Much to my delight, don't get too bent out of shape about house cleaning.  A bit of dirt is a good thing.

 

Eat lots of foods that will nourish your inner microbial garden:  fruits, vegetables, legumes, whole grains.  You know, that stuff that every book tells you to eat.

 

We are too clean and we eat too much junk.

Like Reblog Comment
show activity (+)
text 2018-06-27 14:54
Reading progress update: I've read 78 out of 320 pages.
The Good Gut: Taking Control of Your Weight, Your Mood, and Your Long-term Health - Erica Sonnenburg,Justin Sonnenburg,Andrew Weil

 

Finally, a book about gut bacteria that may have some practical advice!  I've been reading books like this one for years, looking for guidance.

 

Crossing my fingers that the advice will be useful when I get to it.

Like Reblog Comment
show activity (+)
review 2017-12-05 18:32
The Great Starvation Experiment / Todd Tucker
The Great Starvation Experiment: The Heroic Men Who Starved so That Millions Could Live - Todd Tucker

Near the end of World War II, thirty-six conscientious objectors volunteered to be systematically starved for renowned scientist Ancel Keys’s study at the University of Minnesota in the basement of Memorial Stadium. Aimed to benefit relief efforts in war-ravaged Europe and Asia, the study sought the best way to rehabilitate starving citizens. Tucker captures a lost moment in American history—a time when stanch idealism and a deep willingness to sacrifice trumped even basic human needs.

 

This was a fascinating read in that can’t-look-away-from-the-car-accident kind of way.  If you’ve read any books about dieting, you’ve probably heard about this study.  Indeed, if you’ve ever been on a restrictive, low-calorie diet, you know how your world begins to revolve around food and you have a hard time giving a damn about anything else.  Now I know exactly how normal this is!

 

It was an especially interesting book when read shortly after Night by Elie Wiesel and Man’s Search for Meaning by Viktor Frankl.  Both men describe the centrality of food in their lives during their incarceration in the prison camps.  They talk about not having the energy or the brain power to spare to help others, even family members.

 

Ancel Keys’ experiment would certainly never be green-lighted today.  Despite the fact that his subjects were volunteers (conscientious objectors who chose the experiment rather than military service) and they knew the experience would be difficult, they had no idea how grueling it would be.  It didn’t take long for their sex drives to disappear (Frankl mentions this in the concentration camps, that it actually kept the experience from being worse because no prisoners had the drive to victimize anyone sexually).  Some of the Keys’ guinea pigs (as they were known) continued to go to classes and listen to lectures, but it rapidly became too hard to pay attention.  Keys advised guest lecturers to mention food, which would rivet the men’s attention, at least momentarily.  Meals became the focus of their days and they would become angry & abusive if service was the slightest bit late or if the food was not piping hot (they also felt cold all the time, as their bodies tried to save energy).  A group of men who started out happy, healthy, and social became touchy, angry, and prone to sudden outbursts.  They performed strange rituals with their food—sometimes stirring it all together into a pile for instance.

 

The supposed object of the experiment was to find the best way to get people back to normal after periods of extreme hunger.  It turns out that the conclusion was to feed them!  The guinea pigs ate at least 5000 calories per day when they were permitted to eat freely again and one man distinguished himself by eating over 11,000 calories in one day!  No supplements made any meaningful difference—just food.  That’s the saddest part really, that these men suffered through the experiment and so little was actually learned as a result.

Like Reblog Comment
show activity (+)
review 2017-07-04 18:09
How Not To Die / Michael Greger
How Not to Die: Discover the Foods Scientifically Proven to Prevent and Reverse Disease - Michael Greger,Gene Stone

The vast majority of premature deaths can be prevented through simple changes in diet and lifestyle. In How Not to Die, Dr. Michael Greger, the internationally-renowned nutrition expert, physician, and founder of NutritionFacts.org, examines the fifteen top causes of premature death in America -- heart disease, various cancers, diabetes, Parkinson's, high blood pressure, and more -- and explains how nutritional and lifestyle interventions can sometimes trump prescription pills and other pharmaceutical and surgical approaches, freeing us to live healthier lives.

 

Well this was a very interesting read! Since I have been contemplating changes to my diet, it arrived on hold for me at the public library at an opportune moment. I went shopping yesterday for esoteric items like hibiscus tea and ground flax seed and some less unusual items like more walnuts, fruit & vegetables.

I’m a believer in evidence and Dr. Greger provides boat-loads of that. Now my task is to test these ideas with myself as guinea pig and see if they actually work for me. I’ve been controlling my blood pressure with medication for many years now and just got the warning from my doc that my blood sugars are creeping upwards. The time for action is now!

However, there is a lot of repetition in this book. It got to the point where I wanted to skip entire chapters because I knew that I was just going to get more of the same. It gets almost to the point of being preachy, something that I detest. I also wish that he had dealt with the issue of the title at the beginning, rather than right at the end. Properly, the book should be called How Not To Die Prematurely and he admits this in the final paragraphs. It is not a prescription for immortality.

Meat-eaters (and I am one of them) will find this challenging. However, I keep my own notebook of recipes that I went through this weekend & I made notes. I certainly have enough vegetarian recipes that I enjoy to keep myself well fed while I try out this regime. It’s not going to happen overnight, but I will definitely be adding more fruits, vegetables, and nuts even while I try to wean myself off of too much meat. I don’t know whether I will ever be a vegan—I’m not sure I have enough self-righteousness for that—but a dietary improvement is in order.

More posts
Your Dashboard view:
Need help?