I just finished reading Why We Get Fat and What to Do About It by Gary Taubes. Very interesting book that basically turns everything you ever thought you knew about getting fat upside down. The calories in, calories out theory? Tossed out. In it's place, to lose fat, you need to eat fat. He even makes the case for putting a little lard back in your diet. I know that replacing lard with trans-fats/hydrogenated oils was a bad thing. That's what made the cheap sandwich cookies I used to eat by the handful so bad for me but I never considered eating lard or the fat around the edge of a pork chop as being a healthy way to go. In a nutshell, according to the book, carbs are bad, fat and protein are good. If you want to eat healthy and have your weight in check, stay away from the cereal grains, eat a little leafy green stuff and have a hamburger as long as you spit out the bun.
The last AARP magazine had a diet in it based on a seventeen year study in collaboration with the National Institutes of Health. According to the study, eating whole grains reduces the risk of colorectal cancer, drinking two to three cups of coffee per day lowers the risk of premature death by 10 percent, dietary fiber is important in staving off heart disease, infections and respiratory illness, and drinking a glass of wine daily can reduce the risk of diabetes. Most of what the AARP/NIH diet proposes is just about diametrically opposed to the Why We Get Fat book. About the only things they seem to agree on is to drink plenty of water and stay away from the sugar, especially the high fructose corn syrup.
What's a boy to do? You would think that by now there would be some sort of consensus among the dietitians, nutritionists and doctors that would be a definitive answer. With millions and millions of dollars spent on losing weight and research into heart disease and diabetes, how can there be so much conflicting information?
I talked to a former neighbor at Christmas time. She turned 90 in August. I went to a funeral recently for another former neighbor who passed away at the age of 94. Both of these ladies lost their husbands years ago. Neither one of them ran marathons and I would assume ate the same things that their husbands did while said hubbies were still alive. How'd they manage to out live them by thirty years? Does it all boil down to genetics? Smoking, drinking, job related stress, not eating enough pork chops, eating too many cookies? Or is it, as I'm beginning to think, that besides the genetic factor and stress, the key to a healthy diet is just quit eating commercially prepared foods? All that crap that has been processed to death by removing anything good and replaced with sugar or salt, MSG, or the god-awful high fructose corn syrup that seems to have made its way in to just damn near everything on the grocer's shelves. Maybe irradiated foods and bovine growth hormone, just aren't good for us. OK, that last one just seems to be too easy. Maybe we need to try Mr. Natural again:
|Both photos from here|
Looks like that didn't help any. I'm going to keep fine tuning my diet and working on the garden. I think the answer might partly lie in the dirt out back. Even if fresh vegetables aren't the only answer, the relaxation from working in the garden should cut down on the stress.
And since February is Heart Health Month, as a public service I give you this:
Syptoms of a Heart Attack
Not all heart attacks begin with the sudden, crushing chest pain that often is shown on TV or in the movies. In one study, for example, one-third of the patients who had heart attacks had no chest pain. These patients were more likely to be older, female, or diabetic.
The warning signs and symptoms of a heart attack aren't the same for everyone. Many heart attacks start slowly as mild pain or discomfort. Some people don't have symptoms at all. Heart attacks that occur without any symptoms or very mild symptoms are called silent heart attacks.
Chest Pain or Discomfort
The most common heart attack symptom is chest pain or discomfort. This includes new chest pain or discomfort or a change in the pattern of existing chest pain or discomfort. Most heart attacks involve discomfort in the center or left side of the chest that often lasts for more than a few minutes or goes away and comes back. The discomfort can feel like uncomfortable pressure, squeezing, fullness, or pain. The feeling can be mild or severe. Heart attack pain sometimes feels like indigestion or heartburn.
The symptoms of angina (an-JI-nuh or AN-juh-nuh) can be similar to the symptoms of a heart attack. Angina is chest pain that occurs in people who have coronary heart disease, usually when they're active. Angina pain usually lasts for only a few minutes and goes away with rest.
Chest pain or discomfort that doesn't go away or changes from its usual pattern (for example, occurs more often or while you're resting) can be a sign of a heart attack.
All chest pain should be checked by a doctor.
Other Common Signs and Symptoms
Other common signs and symptoms of a heart attack include new onset of:
•Upper body discomfort in one or both arms, the back, neck, jaw, or upper part of the stomach
•Shortness of breath, which may occur with or before chest discomfort
•Nausea (feeling sick to your stomach), vomiting, light-headedness or sudden dizziness, or breaking out in a cold sweat
•Sleep problems, fatigue (tiredness), or lack of energy
Not everyone having a heart attack has typical symptoms. If you've already had a heart attack, your symptoms may not be the same for another one. However, some people may have a pattern of symptoms that recur. The more signs and symptoms you have, the more likely it is that you're having a heart attack.
Obviously I don't have the answers to the nutrition puzzle but I do know a little something about having a heart attack. Nothing to fool with. If you think it might be happening, get to a hospital. It might turn out to be nothing but don't bet your life on it.