Sunday, July 22

Cocoa Muffincakes v 1.10

I've been gradually mucking about with a recipe for something that vaguely resembles "chocolate muffins", somewhat more than strawberries resemble iguanas, but somewhat less than these things resemble any form of bread- or cake- based item in the world.

These are low-carb and gluten-free.

It uses mostly healthy ingredients: nuts (almond meal), seeds (flax meal), protein powder (Designer Whey Vanilla), eggs, butter, cream cheese, and quality cocoa. Optionally you can add other nuts or berries.

The processed items (aside from protein powder) include artificial vanilla extract, baking powder, sweetzfree (liquid sucralose), DaVinci syrup and Fiberfit for combined sweeteners.

The current recipe makes 40-44 "mini-muffin" sized items. I warn you that baking anything containing flax seed meal is SO much better done in a spray-it-first silicone baking pan. You can toss in half a walnut or a blackberry or couple blueberries to each muffin before adding the batter if you like, that is yummy too.

1 serving I count as 3 of the muffin-things.
Calories: 293g Fat: 23g Carbs: 6.85g Fiber: 3.33g ECC: 3.52g Protein: 16.32g

For a sweet-thang, 3.52 ecc and 16.32 protein is not bad!

They are munchy enough to graze on, but so high in protein/fiber that once they start digesting I lose interest in eating any more of them for awhile.

My favorite part of these things is that I can put them in a ziplock and keep them with me through a long day and evening. (A paper towel in there will reduce moisture.) I don't have to refrigerate them, I can just munch on them when I want to. Since the number of fairly low carb high protein items that do NOT need to be refrigerated or cooked on the spot is very low, I consider these very cool.

These are fairly sweet and you could put cream-cheese frosting on them and use them as cupcakes. I've also had these with a few lowcarb chocolate chips dropped inside each muffin, that is good too but makes them more candy-like. This particular recipe version tastes like a semi-dry, subtly-flavored brownie sort of. I think I will add a little more oil next time.

I might add that a *quality* cocoa, oil, and protein powder are obviously important to the end-result of stuff like this. I used Penzey's 24% butterfat baking (non-dutched) cocoa, macademia nut oil, and Designer Whey Vanilla Praline protein powder.

Special thanks to the fabulous Niki at Oh.2.B.Fit whose wonderful raspberry cream muffins gave me the idea to switch out my cream for cream cheese and increase my almond meal, which made this version of these muffins the best in texture so far out of all the versions.

I'm going to see, another time, if I can drop the cocoa and aim for making these fruity in a way that I can combine both extracts and real fruit for stronger flavor. I'm thinking lemon-blueberry, or orange-raspberry maybe.

Click below for a full-size image you can save or print.

Happy munching!


Saturday, July 21

10 Tenets of Online LowCarbing

It's no surprise that sometimes lowcarb, in discussion, can become almost like a religion or something. For a ton of people, including me, lowcarb 'saved me' and 'has changed my life'. I'm sure you get the analogy. Anything that has that powerful an effect on people's lives is going to at least occasionally be a hot-potato topic. (Not that we would dream of eating potatoes.) There's "spirited debate"... at the least.

I care about the lowcarb 'field' online, because it's mine, because meeting and communicating with others about it is important to me. I care about the lowcarb 'image' in media, because I deal with the social result of miseducation in others every day. I care about lowcarb eating 'accuracy' in practice, because I've come to understand how unhealthy eating can mess up lives, and because I've seen the grief and physical problems it has caused in people I care about. I just care about lowcarb, period, because I know how helpful lowcarb can be when done well.

Like any major "guiding force" in my life, I feel that I have certain physical, ethical, psychological, and behavioral obligations to meet concerning That Thing I Hold So True. When you love something, it is an honor to serve it. When you truly care about something, you care about more than the here/now of it. It becomes a larger topic; it becomes a way of life, a "path you walk", a life-philosophy.

Recently I've been thinking about what this means to me, in the context of my communications online. The internet is the primary media doorway for legitimate lowcarb information. There are good books, but they are nearly buried in the quantity of bad books and misinformation. There is typical "media", but it is so dominantly skewed in favor of money/corporatism rather than health, it's more harm than help. What is left are people. One by one, and tens of thousands at a time, in giant 'discussion forums' and on blogs big and small, like this one.

After thinking about this for nearly two weeks, and thinking about what I would like to say and how I would like to say it, I think the best way is simply to present what I consider my own beliefs and 'personal standards' for "operating in the lowcarb world." I am just one person, and perhaps others have different standards; well actually, they do, that much is obvious. But these are mine, for whatever it is worth to share them with my friends and potential-friends here on my blog.

Maybe if this kind of thing were considered by more folks on this road, there would be less controversy, contention and frustration in lowcarb's internet homes.

Walking the Path: 10 Tenets of Online Lowcarbing

1. I will be honest about my practice of lowcarb.

  • If I follow a given eating plan "except" some factors, I will say both clearly.
  • If I implement other strategies, such as carb cycling or higher fat or lowered calories, I will say that clearly.
  • If I don't really follow a given eating plan, no matter how popular, I will not claim that I do.

I can easily put this in any forum 'profile notes', on a free blog page, or mention it in passing. If I fail to do this, I misrepresent both what I am doing, and what I am not doing. Lowcarb has enough misinformation, media-spawned confusion, and variants, that it doesn't need me further murking-up the pool of clarity with an inability to just be plain and honest.

It's me putting the food in my mouth--how hard can just being clear about it be?

2. I will be understanding about others' practice of low or controlled carb.

  • If someone is on the Burn the Fat eating plan rather than Protein Power, or South Beach rather than Atkins, I will not be so rude as to interfere with what works for them.
  • Sometimes what works for us requires time and experimentation, so even if what they are doing is NOT working for them, that is for them to realize and do something about, not me. I can only 'advise' gently.
  • I will share what works for me, but I will phrase this as 'sharing' or 'ideas' when talking with others on different eating plans, not as preaching.

This is necessary to any degree of intelligent communication with other humans online, whether in forums, blogs or other. From diabetes to thyroid issues, everybody's body is a little bit unique. What works for me isn't what works for everybody.

Within what I consider "reason" (of something being at least potentially healthy for at least some people), I will respect that this is an individual path for all of us, and I will not mock, scold or scorn someone for choices they have the right to make for themselves.

3. Notwithstanding the above, I will not be a party to advice or environments that encourage people toward unhealthy and even seriously dangerous practices.

  • Everybody has a different level of exposure to information, and a different level of understanding regarding nutrition. I will make an effort to share what I feel is valid information, for those new and enthusiastic souls who are still on a learning curve.
  • I will not allow my own bad habits, such as eating unhealthy food on occasion, to become 'justification' for others new to lowcarb doing so. If I want to ingest nitrates or frankenfoods that's my decision, and I can share good recipes, but counseling people new to lowcarb on why eating this crap is A-OK is not helping lowcarb or them either. Kicking the habit of eating crappy food is half the battle. If I'm selling them on why they don't need to, that isn't helping them, get real, that's just selfish rationalization.
  • Enthusiasm often substitutes for legitimacy in online environments and leads people down dark roads. If I see someone telling others to do something I think is unhealthy for everyone or anyone, such as eating 500 calories a day or starving entirely for example, I will share my contrary views. Politely but clearly, so people have no reason to have a bad association with the info I provide.

Nobody is an expert instantly. I will not willingly allow people new to lowcarb, or who are clearly not familiar with basic tenets of health, to be misled into unhealthy behaviors without at least providing my own input as an alternative.

The decision may be theirs, but for that to have any meaning, they must have some alternatives from which to choose.

4. I will put health and honesty before personal ego or profit.

  • When two people use an eating plan and one does not get the same results, it means they are not the same human, is all. If one acts like the other is lying or cheating, it means they are more vested in their plan being "right" than in anybody's health. I will avoid such behavior, and point it out when I see it in others.
  • Should I have the opportunity to acquire something of value to me based on my communications about lowcarb, from a job to advertising monies to editorial rights to internet 'staff' authority, I will use it for good, not evil. I will consider the first three "points of the path" to be even more important in direct correlation with how big an influence I may have on others.
  • I will strenuously avoid anything even close to a conflict of interest, and I will openly disclose, such as in a constant signature, any formal affiliations I have with any group, company or organization which might potentially bias my communications.
  • If I cannot avoid some major conflict of interest, such as blogging about something that pays me for example, I will make a blog just for that, I will point out clearly near the top what my association / affiliation is, and I will not attempt to run what might amount to "blogverts" (blog posts) or forum posts under the heading of allegedly balanced reporting on a personal blog. If I'm making a serious profit off it or my ego or reputation is tied to it, then it cannot be considered truly unbiased by any stretch.

There is enough misinformation and conflicts of interest in the mainstream media and mainstream medicine. Do I really need to add to that with my own brand of lowcarb greed or disingenuity?

I want to help the lowcarb online world online toward clarity in all areas--not muddy it for my own potentially selfish purposes.

5. I will not abuse any 'power' that my lowcarb communications give me.

  • If I keep a blog, and I allow anonymous (which can also just mean "doesn't have a blogger account") comments, I will not then verbally abuse people for using that option.
  • If I keep a blog, and I allow comments, I will not refuse to post comments with critique (or only post comments with critique that say, 'you probably won't post this', to make it look like I'm honest, but then withhold others). There is a difference between spam/trolls and honest if snarky or angry feedback. For me to "secretly editorialize" by only letting certain comments through would be to essentially lie to all my blog readers by misrepresenting the actual interaction on my blog. This completely contradicts the whole nature of honest blogging and I will not be a party to that.
  • If I blog something, and someone comments negatively on it, and I choose to change that blog content, I will make a note in the blog post itself, such as striking out the old text and then saying, "Edited to:" and then putting the new text. I will not change my text without notice once someone has commented on that part of the text. I will especially not then pretend a commenter was deluded or wrong for having commented on "what I didn't say" if in fact, I had definitely said it when they made the comment. That is not just violating 'honest blogger ethics', it's a form of blog-fraud. I won't do it.
  • If I should be given staff power in any website, whether one of my own or one I work with owned by someone else, I will not modify the content of anybody else's online materials, such as for example taking a negative comment toward me, and rewriting it into a positive comment toward me. This is not mere 'lack of honesty', this is actual fraud. I won't do it.

Communication is all that exists on the internet. If communication cannot be trusted to be honest according to its own alleged policies, that internet outlet is more harm than help to lowcarb as a whole. This kind of thing is sometimes buried in a lot of hype and volume and popularity, but eventually, net-karma comes around.

Staff, editors and bloggers who behave that way will get less support and respect in the very community where that ought to matter most, and to the very people, such as leaders of the field, to whom their reputation as low-carb media online ought to matter most.

6. If I must complain, I will attempt to do so based on issues, not personalities.

  • If person A is a numbskull for suggesting the Cinnamon Toothpick Diet as a healthy alternative to weight loss, I will not attack person A for being a numbskull. Rather, I will attack the Cinnamon Toothpick Diet for being moronically unhealthy. There is a difference, no matter that these things might be related.
  • If Person B has a history and presentation that suggests somewhere there is probably fraud, based on things like their student-success-stories seeming like doctored photos, their own timeline of claims being inconsistent, their own bizarre refusal for years to share evidence of their much-vaunted success, or their own before and after photos appearing to be different people and/or reverse age-dates, then I will pick on all those issues as I wish, but I'll pick on the issues, not the person.
  • It is not my job to stalk Person A or B because I 'suspect' he or she is a cheat, liar, fraud, idiot, etc. It is however perfectly within my rights to question and discuss those "issues" in the lowcarb community at large. Should it turn out those issues find proof, I would then be within my rights to report the person to authorities or expose them in my media, but it still would not be because of the person, it would be because of the issues. Stalking is personal. Issues are not.
  • If someone disagrees with me on a forum, I will take this to mean they disagree with me. I will not take this to mean they woke up this morning determined to ruin my day because they are evil. Debates, no matter how spirited, do not need to be personal. If they are about 'perspective' (opinion) and not 'facts' (information), then yes, they might get a *little* personal, but I will try to refrain from calling people numbskulls. In public, anyway.
  • If I choose to post something on my blog about an issue making me mad and centered on an individual place or person, I will address the issue at large. If I call someone or something a name, it will be something that I simply feel communicates, with humor, my opinion. Such as "Kimorexia" for the insane-lowcal plan variants (and constant advice toward that and fasting) in the Kimkins diet, or "the Fatzi Regime" for the overwhelming cultural bias against fat people. I will not however address individual people or places as Nazis or SOBs because, well, that would be juvenile and ridiculous. One is a statement on a thing; the other is a statement on people.

Conversation with ten other people is difficult enough, never mind with 10,000 other people on a forum. Lowcarb is a great thing, and most self-education people get about it besides a few books, is via online forums and blogs, so keeping those forums and blogs to the point of education instead of nasty flames or abuse, is important.

People do not learn from information packaged in a post that offends them.

7. I will work to walk the fine line of supporting people who need it, yet not supporting dysfunctional or addictive behavior.

  • I am happy to encourage someone to keep on, to start anew, to recognize what they do well. I will not however let my time get sucked into someone repeatedly whining about how they just can't get their act together for their health. I am sorry about that, and I'll work to be a good model and supporter, but I'll not become an internet codependent for their issues. It doesn't help either of us.
  • I will be honest about what I think, within the bounds of diplomacy a given environment requires. If I think someone really should read the damn book before asking everyone to sum up 300 pages in a forum sound-byte, I will say so. I do lowcarb and its people no service by catering to those who refuse to bother with self-education. That mentality is doomed from the start anyway.
  • If I think person A is being unfair to person B, I will make a point to say so if I have time. Both people and all onlookers only know the views of those who share. Too often, people think the world is against them just because one person disagreed in a poor way and nobody else said anything. I will work to be sensitive to how people feel about this kind of thing and to support people who need it when I can.
  • I will work to understand and support that people have unique metabolism and biochemistry issues, lose weight at different rates, and even need or don't need to "fall off the wagon" at different rates. A young person who is busy and lives alone can often do lowcarb far more easily than an older sedentary person who has a house filled with junk for their spouse and others and constant church/social/family eating environments. That is just the way it is. I admire anybody who "keeps on keeping on" with their dietary plan; perfection with it is admirable, but since lifestyles are as different as bodies, it is not fair to bias against those who aren't perfect.
  • I will take full responsibility for my own decisions. If I blow it and eat crappy food, it's because I chose to. Usually the reason has more to do with eating properly in the 48 hours prior to that decision, than it has to do with the 'event' of the decision itself, and anybody lowcarbing for very long ought to realize that. But the decision was mine. I will own my decisions and not try to project responsibility for them onto family members, birthday parties, etc.

Strength of character is part of result of accomplishment in lowcarb as well as anything else. We get nowhere by playing the victim. If we eat well and weight loss is slow or worse, that is fair to whine about. If we choose to eat pizza every 10 days and weight loss is slow or worse, that's our own doing.

Responsibility is the key to power.

8. I will attempt to promote lowcarb in a way that matches the environments I choose.

  • Online forums and blogs all have their own 'mood'. No forum is required to give free reign to people who don't communicate in a way that meets their standards. They own it, that's policy. It's no different than going into the house of someone of a different culture, or religion: while in Rome, do as the Romans do, as the saying goes. I will not use the F-word in comments on family-natured blogs, and I will not be harshly snarky in kinder-gentler forums, although I might do either in areas where that is more appropriate.
  • If I am in the no-carb forum I will not wax on about the glory of Broccoli and avocados. They do not care and they don't really want to hear it. If I'm in the low-carb forum I will not wax on about why vegetables are pointless and unnecessary. They are low-carb using veggies for what they get, not no-carb. If I'm in the journal of someone doing the South Beach diet, I will not wax on about why even brown rice sucks for blood sugar. This is just not the time or place. Being 'supportive' in an inappropriate place usually equates to being argumentative or even a troll. All things in balance.

Even inside the low-, no- and controlled- carb "field" on the internet, there are substantially different approaches. It is possible to support them all, or at least ignore the ones of no interest, without offending others. A lot of people desperately depend on the ideas, education and support they get online. Online-warfare drives a lot of people off, and this can literally affect their likelihood of staying on plan.

Communication is supposed to be for at least two people. If it's only for me, it's just self-absorption.

9. I will not willingly or openly support individuals, companies, groups or products which I feel either do harm to lowcarb, or violate the most basic tenets of online decency that the lowcarb field has a right to expect and well deserves.

  • If I consider a forum's staff abusive, I will not link to them or participate on their boards.
  • If I consider a blogger's behavior unethical, I will not link to them or participate in their comments.
  • If I consider a company or product to be unhealthy or unethically promoted, I will not link to them or let pass their promotion without comment.

There is a saying that goes something like, "The only thing that is required for evil to flourish is for good men to do nothing." As big a pain in the butt as it sometimes is, and as politically incorrect as it sometimes is, I feel morally obliged to do something. Maybe not loudly, maybe not abusively, maybe not while naming names, because I wish to focus on issues, behavior and facts more than personalities.

I will not be a passive party to wrongdoing or things I feel are a detriment to lowcarb's media, online field or communications.

10. I will constantly work to see the positive in the eating plan that is healthy for me, and I will attempt to use any influence I have to display the positive and the healthy.

  • I will not whine about the fact that I cannot have rice, or apple pie. I will rejoice in the fact that cauliflower can make a mock 'chicken fried rice' that rocks, that zucchini can make a mock 'apple cobbler' tht rocks, and do my best to share recipes and enthusiasm both online and offline.
  • I will not whine about the fact that eating Gluten causes me allergic response and gluten-free flours are high-carb. (Ok... not much. :-)) I will instead work on finding and coming up with great lowcarb recipes that are also gluten free and share them with others.
  • I will not whine about the fact that at least mild exercise is eventually needed for decent ongoing weight loss, muscle retention, and general health. I will instead work to find whatever level and type of it I am capable of doing, and share my enthusiasm with others about it. Even if I have to manufacture enthusiasm nightly to get myself to pick up that dumbbell.
  • I will not whine about how lowcarb is just so hard because the world surrounds me with sugar/carb-laden foods and food-based holidays. Everybody is in that situation. The Amish and Vegetarians and Kosher folks manage to eat what they should despite other things calling their names, so why should it be so much more unfair for lowcarbers? If I want sweet crepes and ice cream I will do my best to find or create a lowcarb version of this that allows me to feel pampered and decadent, while not screwing up my health or that of others I'm feeding it to.

Lowcarb isn't a food prison, it's an amazing opportunity to truly explore a lot of awesome food choices here on "God's Green Earth" that most of us completely missed in our Mac&Cheese/McDonalds upbringings. But for most people new to it, or those who have operated mostly alone rather than in big online forums, it can be a sort of sad food experience. This is their lack of education about what is possible, is all, and I can help improve that. That doesn't mean I'll never have a recipe with a processed food ingredient in it. It just means I'll work very hard to have recipes, instead of references to packaged lowcarb junkfoods.

I want to provide encouragement and enthusiasm to others about eating real, healthy foods that not only taste good but do good for their bodies.

There's probably some things I left out. But these are the ten primary tenets that I consider most important to online interaction concerning lowcarb.

If you like them, link to them, to "remind" others. Or make your own.

I think it's a worthy effort. The more we care about the 'online lowcarb field', the healthier IT is likely to be.


Monday, July 16

Lowcarb Freedom of Speech

Recent events in the lowcarb online world -- insert here endless quantities of ranting, whining, defending, attacking, reasoning, pleading, and more -- have made it clear that one of the problematic issues in this 'online field' is that of censorship.

Now, it's pretty normal that any forum has the right and NEED to keep their forum sane, and on the more contentious and/or long threads that is an even bigger deal. But sometimes that is a bit overdone. And sometimes the editorial problems go on at blogs, as well.

Recently, an editor at one allegedly public and fair lowcarb place took a comment that was very negative toward him, in response to a certain post, REWROTE IT to be fawning over him, and then thanked the person for being so nice (and "God bless you" as well, sheesh). The person making the comment had no way to edit it--and finally changed his username to something that made it clear what had happened, as his only defense.

I think this makes clear that what the lowcarb world could really use is a single, centralized place where ANYBODY can post things that have been edited, deleted or banned, from online lowcarb areas. (I am referring to lowcarbers here. Not to trolls.) They can make 'tags' of their own usernames so they'd have a direct link not only to each post, but to a category that was entirely their own contributions. Any author can add a link back to their own blog(s) as well.

Editorial 'fair policy' as well as actual 'abuse' prevents sometimes important points or information from being provided to the public. I think if eventually multiple authors contributed to this, it would be pretty interesting reading.


It is open to anybody who requests it. You need a gmail/blogger account, I can invite people to gmail if needed. Email me at or post a comment here and I will give author access.

If you don't want an account but still want your content posted, email it to me with the date/time and location posted, your username at that place and what happened to it, and I'll post it on your behalf, or other authors there can.

Seriously, I think this is important to our field, and I hope people who have blogs will consider linking to it and using it themselves if they encounter 'editorial' issues anywhere online related to lowcarb.


Friday, July 13

Midnight Munchies and the Ode to Carbs

I know. Me of all people. Mistress of forgot-to-eat-fulness. I actually had an appetite a little bit ago. And I wanted to be bad. I wanted to be a frozen taquito ho. My body said yes, yessss, YES! And I actually got out of bed and went to the kitchen. I stood in the darkness in my bare feet in the center of the kitchen. It was 1:14am in the morning and I was humming a few bars of "Ode to Carbs".

Ode to Carbs

They slither here through quantum dimensions of cold
Through the magic of cupboards, now nearly bare
Which call in the night to their playmates of old
Come pasta, tortillas, and chocolates so rare!

I hear subtle shuffling of boxes and bags
The cellular memories are filling my room
'To all of the cookies I've loved before'
--and anything frozen I ate with a spoon

My body is yearning for thick pizza crust
For garlic bread toast and fresh cookie dough
For waffles with light powdered sugar as dust
And frozen taquitos you nuke till they glow

Oh, carbohydroxilatechemicalstuff!
Ingredient glories I cannot pronounce
You're still somewhere deep in my heart.

You fuzz up my brain so I fail to remember
All the good reasons why just last September
I emptied my household of starch.

But how I recall when we were still lovers
Oh pasta, your flatulence moved me so!
Your gluten ensured not a pound would desert me
For 10 minutes high and a 2 hour low.

O carbs how I long for the thrill at my peril!
I lust for eclairs though my oversized heart
Beats quickly while insulin slithers into me
And says 'I'm ready! Last dance in the dark?'

It's night. So quiet.
Clock clickedy-ticking.
I'd abandon my diet
For canned frosting-licking.

I want me some CARBS!
In the MILLIONS! Sounds GREAT!
So I foraged, house-wide --

...but I only found steak.

Friggin low carb.
Thanks to this stupid eating plan,
I might actually live another day to whine about it.

-- PJ

I seldom suffer carb cravings. Or any appetite at all for that matter. Must be hormonal!

Sweetbread Bowl (aka 'Mock Danish')
version 162 out of at least 1.7 million. Ideal midnight munchie.
(original 400+ message recipe/variant thread is here.)

1 large egg
1-2 oz cream cheese
1/4 teaspoon fiberfit powder (or 2 tsp sweetener equivalent)
some kind of extract or flavor (tonight I used vanilla & blueberry)
some kind of LC jam or berries (tonight I used frozen wild blueberries)

Use a cheap round plastic microwaveable bowl.
Nuke cream cheese till soft (if it isn't already).
Mix up well with egg, with fork.
Add all the other junk but leave some jam/berries out, mix with fork.
(There'll be little chunks of cream cheese. That's fine.)
Nuke it for about 1.5 minutes.
Add jam/remaining berries to middle, nuke another 30 seconds.
Let cool slightly.
Live another day.


Sunday, July 8

The Anti-Food Dilemma

We're pretty much culturally indoctrinated to think that all weight problems relate to too-much-food intake. That the real exercise needed for weight-loss is "push-aways". So it seems like a no-brainer that if you want to be thinner, you eat less.

This concept is so ingrained in most of us that even when we KNOW, intellectually, that we need to eat calories 'near' our basal metabolic rate in order to prevent our metabolism slowing down, it is often difficult to do.

Even though we may KNOW that for our body (this is my case) we need to eat regularly throughout the day, the more often the better, still, STILL!!, it is difficult to do it. At least for me. I'm working on that.

So, from late May to earliest June, I actually ate food. Not perfectly, no, forgot my supplements, should have had more water, failed the eat-every-3-hours test, but in general, every day I ate around 3 times. I was just restarting lowcarb eating. My calories should have been higher but they weren't terribly low.

I recovered from my months of high carb eating, and lost 24 lbs the first week, which is merely water/glycol of course, not fat. When I dropped the carbs, my body dropped the water it holds to process them.

Say No to Food! - Pink mocks the diet obsession in her song 'Stupid Girls'From early June to the end of June, my eating sucked. There were a few days that I ate a few times and made it to nearly 2000 calories, but by few I mean... maybe three days out of that month. Most the time, I forgot to eat... I might get a couple slimfasts down a day... I just wasn't getting nearly enough calories. The new ketosis had killed my appetite, plus I'm lazy for cooking, and I have some issue with not-eating as a control thing I think (working on it!), so suffice to say, my calories were way too low and my eating frequency was too.

On June 5 I weighed 379. But in the whole of June, I varied from around there to 390, all over the map of that range, back and forth, as if my body couldn't decide what to do, and refused to go much under that. Usually when my eating fails like that, I don't vary so much, I just don't lose anything at all. Period. By the end of June, my weight was 378. Four weeks, 1 pound. For someone who allegedly has a BMR of nearly 4000 calories a day, and was only eating <1000 for nearly a month, that is not quite simple math.

Late on July 1 I decided to get with the program and really start eating more regularly. It still was imperfect, my calories still low, but I made more of an effort to eat more often and/or to eat more food each day. The next day I began that time of month, so my weight went up 10 lbs which is normal for that. I kept on working on eating more regularly. Even if that meant having a couple tablespoons of peanut butter, I tried to eat SOMETHING every few hours.

As of today, five days later after I began eating halfway decently again, my weight 'whooshed' from 388 (well, 378 if you remove the TOM water gain) to 370 -- finally for the first time breaking that seeming roadblock range. The only difference is that I finally started eating more calories, and more often.

I have seen this repeatedly over my several cycles of lowcarbing. If I don't eat enough, I don't lose weight, even though my BMR is allegedly over 4000 calories (hahahaha). When I make a POINT to eat many times through the day, and at least a couple thousand calories, the weight begins coming off.

Since this contradicts the idea that if we just eat fewer and fewer calories we'll get skinnier in no time, I thought I'd make a point to post about it.


Click on the pic for Pink's Video. It's a spoof of modern females in the media and the body obsession.

What do you guys think about the blog in blue and green? I'll probably change it back eventually to the red/white/orange/yellow it used to be.

370 is a new record for me. The last month, with my weight seeming to go up more often than down, and me having the worst reaction of not-eating partly in response to that, I was getting SO demoralized about it all.

I'm excited for my progress again. Finally!!


Friday, July 6

Spicy Pesto Tuna Salad

I don't have nutrition counts for this, because I am insanely lazy today, and because I didn't weigh the veggies which I'd need to for any decent estimate. Suffice to say this is a fairly lowcarb substantial protein meal that was VERY munchable for lunch and dinner.

Spice wimps, you could replace the peppers with other crunchy veggies small-diced like celery, broccoli or cooked asparagus. I think adding a few crunchy seeds or chopped nuts and diced roma tomato might be good too.

Spicy Pesto Tuna Salad

6 oz well-drained canned tuna
~2 Tbsp mayonnaise (just to get it wet/mixed, not as a main flavor)
~3-4 Tbsp basil pesto (this is the dominant flavor)
~1-3oz tiny-cubed jack cheese
2 medium garlic cloves, minced
1 anaheim chili, finely chopped
2 medium jalapeno peppers, finely chopped
4 medium green onions (scallions), finely chopped
~1 tsp crushed red pepper flakes

I mixed everything but the pesto and cheese together, then added the pesto and mixed, then added the cheese and mixed. I only added the cheese to increase protein and calories for me, it was not necessary to the recipe. Makes 2-3 servings.

Obviously your counts will depend on what you put in it and how much, and how many servings you make out of it. It's just "a bowl of stuff" and it is yummy cold, which during summer is GREAT. The peppers and onions make it 'crunchy' added to the shredded/creamy which is a neat combo.

This is vaguely similar to my mexi-chicken mix (green or red) except pesto is the dominant flavor instead of enchilada sauce and it's tuna not chicken. They are probably pretty interchangeable though for the most part (that one has nutrition counts). Part of my continuing search for stuff I can eat that is easy, fast, yummy, high protein, lowcarb, and can be made with either pre-cooked (slowcooker) chicken breasts or canned tuna.

This tasted great! I suppose since it's dumping tons of stuff in there anyway, you could also throw in a tiny bit of chopped boiled egg for yet-more protein. It made me two servings, but it could easily have been 3, or even 4 if it was being used as a spread for LC bread/tortilla rollup.

Caveat: I love pesto. If you are not a pesto fan you are not going to like this one. Theoretically I could probably eat a volkswagon as long as it had pesto on it, so you might take my gushing with a grain of salt.


Tuesday, July 3

Bon Appétit! Independence Day '07

For years I've made a habit of implementing major personal changes around Independence Day. Sometimes it's starting something new, sometimes it's ending something I've done for a long time. It just seems like an appropriate time for things like that.

I use Independence Day the way some people do New Years. Which is a good thing, since my score at keeping New Year's Resolutions is abysmal!


The last year has been a real pain in the butt for me, but mostly in constructive ways. I've started dealing with some of the more major issues in life.

In the last 12 months I've re-initiated lowcarb again, which I suspect is the only reason I'm currently alive. I've lost around 100 lbs, I've improved my mobility by a few orders of magnitude, I've ditched several medical symptoms like acid reflux, asthma and allergies (in direct proportion to how much I ditch eating grains).

I got my seven-years-ex husband to move the hell out again, since he wasn't my mate, didn't pay rent or any expenses, didn't spend time with the kid, and severely over-occupied the entire house. That made a huge improvement in my life too.

My ten year old gained nearly 40 lbs of pure fat in the 18 months he lived here, in part under the agreement he'd make healthy food for her I didn't have time/energy to (but mac&cheese, McDonalds, etc. was the reality of his efforts in the end). Her eating plan is now a lot more sane, and has almost zero junk/fast food or carby/ sugary stuff. Meanwhile she recently attained Jr. Brown Belt in Gojo Ryu Karate.

In short, my life has improved radically in nearly every way since last Independence Day, mostly since last mid-September. I have a long way to go in every way, but I've made a solid start on good things.


So this Independence Day, I decided to come up with one thing -- just one -- that I consider a thing I need freedom from. It has to be something that will require actual work, and that is very important, yet just ONE thing. Not a whole complex of stuff, not a need for perfection starting now, just one single solitary point that I feel I should focus my attention on: physically, metaphysically, psychologically, spiritually, you name it.

I thought about it for awhile. I've had a lot of insights the last several weeks about my troubles with eating; that is, my tendency to NOT eat, which does nothing but help maintain the spare-nothing/ store-everything metabolism that made me huge in the first place.

I believe there are a number of pretty serious psychological issues behind this, most amounting to decades of behavior based on severe PTSD from my younger life. To some degree I think I use food as a "control issue" with myself. I think I've been deeply repressing an 'institutionalized rage' much of my life, which gets turned in on myself, and my refusal for most of my adult life to eat, until hunger finally drove me to eating carbs at night, is an adaptive response to that.

I don't kid myself that I can cure the degree of PTSD my childhood brought about just because I want to lose weight. I'm not that optimistic. But I do believe that consciousness creates, and that we do have control of ourselves if we focus our intent in that direction.

This one issue, EATING, weaves into the larger web of my life. I believe that as simple as it may seem on the surface, my difficulty with doing it often enough over the last six months suggests it's nearly to the degree of 'eating disorder'.

Thing is, I don't lose fat if I don't eat enough and frequently. Period. The last six weeks proves that well enough, though I've seen that evidence before. If I can't get myself to EAT, my body is not going to let go of the extra fat. If I don't let go of the extra fat, my fitness and functional level will never get anywhere near where I want it to be.

I want to live. I want to feel good and be able to do cool and fun things with my kid and my friends. So in a way, it all boils down to dealing with "first things first": I gotta eat!

I want to be free from the chronic psychological stress that runs under the surface of me and causes distortions--I'm sure my issues with not eating are really only one of several issues that probably relate to it.

It's a big job, dealing with something that is deeply psychological... emotional as well as physical. It's not just about the numbers I make each day. It's not really about protein grams. It's about being free and loving enough with myself that I WANT to take care of myself and do so.


So, freedom from whatever inner long-term drama is screwing up my eating habits is what I wish for this year.

From now until next Independence Day, I want to be working on that. I want to meditate on it, pray about it, and pay close attention to it. If there is one thing I want to be sure is changed, improved, and taken care of by next Independence Day, this is it.

Bon Appétit!


Monday, July 2

The Skinny on Being Fat

Why IS it that some people are fat and others are not?

Dr. Jeffrey M. Friedman, head of the Laboratory of Molecular Genetics at Rockefeller University, said:

...if you think about it in general terms, you can explain differences in weight in the population based on three possibilities. possibility would be that the obese lack will power; this is a point of view favored by lean people, I generally find.

The second possibility that people consider is that we live in a toxic environment and that it's the environment's fault.

And then the third possibility is that there are biological drives that lead us to eat what we eat, and ultimately weigh what we weigh, in the same way as some of us are tall and some of us are short, others of us are destined to be heavy and others lean.

...I think most moderate scientists believe that of course that all three can be relevant, but that biology has really an underappreciated role in accounting for difference in weight, and we know a lot about the system now and so I think there's a powerful set of data that supports that point of view.

{Ira Flatow: So when people are fat and they're overweight, there is a major genetic factor here. It's not as simple as saying "I have no will power" or "I tried the diet, doesn't work." There could be real hard wiring that's the problem.)

Dr. Jeffrey Friedman: ...some of the most powerful evidence that this is a biological problem and not a "behavioral one" (in quotation marks) is genetics. And so there are a number of ways to assess the genetic contributions to a trait. It turns out if you look for obesity it is probably the second most heritable trait, second only to height, with which it is quite close. Based on estimates that can be done by analyzing twins, 80 percent of the variability in weight can be accounted for by genetic factors.

Good grief! 80%? That's.... huge. So much for the just 'eat less exercise more!' solves-all-fat line.

Friedman points out that the belief in leanness is a modern thing, and implies that the expectation that everyone should be thin is itself nonsense:

...Historically, being obese was the desirable body habit as so. If you go to museums… all the rich people in Egypt would pay extra money to have extra chins put onto their sculpture. Rubenesque figures were the vogue in the 1700s. Renoir's characters were all heavy. In aboriginal societies the chieftains were all quite obese. For reasons that -- you all have as good an idea about as I do I guess –- things changed here about what our views of what was attractive in the 60s and it set up an idealized view of what people should weigh and who they should be that just isn't matched by our genetic endowment.

...The problem is not that small amounts of weight that improve health can't be achievable; I think it can be. The problem is that's not what most obese people want or the public wants. The public wants to be normal weight. And so I would much prefer to see that the dialogue and the issue center on improved health and achievable goals rather than setting up some societal construct that says everybody has to be perfectly wonderfully thin, a wish that really runs counter to almost everything science has to tell us about this problem.

I think people should make their best efforts but recognize, but not be prejudicial about the fact, that for many people most of the things you do aren’t going to work. And so my argument is not "we shouldn’t think about the problem, we shouldn’t address it." The issue has to do with "what are we going to do about it." And so I would argue what we shouldn’t do is fall back on simple nostrums like "eat less, exercise more."

And here he talks a little more about the weird social stigma that obesity has, and how illogical it is from a medical science perspective:

I think that to the extent that increased weight has health consequences, people should do their best. It certainly is a good thing to be fit. And it is a good thing to eat a heart healthy diet. And it’s probably a good thing to make one’s best efforts to keep one’s weight under control. So that means not doing much different than what Hippocrates would have recommended. But I think at the same time we have to recognize that those measures are rather limited in their efficacy and that to make the leap therefore that people who are not successful at keeping their weight off are at fault is just wrong headed. And there are all kinds of attributes about each of us that might draw the next person to draw a conclusion about them. But to draw conclusions about obese people, I think, is unenlightened to say the least about what their personal characteristics are.

(Ira Flatow: So to stigmatize them is sort of making fun of the situation that they don’t have much control over.)

Dr. Jeffrey Friedman: I think that’s right and the ironic thing is that I think the more of an outlier one is for weight, the more obese, the more difficult it would be to actually normalize weight. And so if anyone should be stigmatized it would be someone like me who could easily lose 10 lbs. and doesn’t. I think for the people who are really significantly overweight, it’s just who they are -- to a very, very large extent.

... It’d be much better to forget about the stigma and assume people weigh what they weigh, and then encourage people to do what they can to improve their health.

Back to Genetics, he said:

...So when you see a very obese person walking down the street there’s a very, very significant possibility that that individual just has a genetic alteration that makes them so.

(Ira Flatow: So all those years when you saw a very obese person and they said, "I have a glandular problem," they were telling the truth in a certain sense genetically speaking.)

Dr. Jeffrey Friedman: Well I think so. They just didn’t know which gland.

Then he got into some interesting stuff about how the functioning of a morbidly obese body is in many cases simply working differently than others. He used gastric bypass patients for this example.

(Question from the audience 1: When someone has a surgical intervention such that a massively obese person of, let’s say, 400 lbs. or 500 lbs. removes part of his colon and attains a weight more normal to his size, for his height. Does that rewire the person or does that then remold itself into the norm and the body strives to achieve the larger weight yet again?)

Dr. Jeffrey Friedman: ...there’s another feature of this surgery that people, I think, ignore, and it’s this: when you do this procedure you limit the intake of a person to about 700 calories a day. Just so you know, none of you could consume 700 calories a day for very long; it is a very small number of calories. Despite that fact, these people still end up being clinically obese at the other end of the procedure. They lose a lot of weight but they would still on average be definable as significantly obese on average after the procedure.

Now think about it, they’re eating 700 calories a day and they’re still obese. I mean if that doesn’t say that there’s something metabolically different about the obese than the lean, I don’t know what does.

Geez. Me neither.

I can tell people, "I have tracked 3-4 weeks, repeatedly, of my food intake, and my BMR is allegedly like 4000 calories a day minimum, and I'm eating usually <1200 calories a day IF that, AND lowcarb... and not losing weight." And plenty of them think I'm lying. I've actually had people suggest that if only I'd keep a food diary like they do in weight watchers (note: I *do*, or how could I be 'tracking' it??) that surely I would see all kinds of calories I didn't know about. As if 3,000 calories is easy to hide, for someone who has to work hard just to successfully eat 1000-1200 calories a day! My biggest problem is getting my butt into the kitchen to eat anything at all. So it's not like I'm grazing through fields all day and might 'forget' that 'Oh yeah, I ate 3 pizzas or something while grazing through the lettuce greens!', sheesh!

A reference was given me once of a Dr. Phil (I think) episode, where he tells this woman claiming the same thing that she defies the laws of nature, and then "discovers" from her husband that she is drinking thousands of calories a day in soda that she "didn't think counted." What a setup. She's an idiot, yes, but I felt the producers worked hard to find some way to invalidate that and maintain the calorie-myth ... tabloid journalism, essentially.

It's basically insulting. I mean, I've had people argue what they are sure about on-paper. They heard it, or read it. Or, they are a fairly normal metabolism bodybuilder who gained weight from sheer overeating after leaving high school sports or something, and hence when they quit overeating and started working out again, it fell off. It is just not the same.

They think it's a mathematical impossibility. I wish someone would find a way to communicate to the metabolic system how bad it is at math. I'm getting weary of people who would not doubt my intelligence or integrity on any other issue, acting like they're sure I must be lying or deluding myself about what I eat, because they just can't understand the calorie-math and why pounds aren't dropping off me at the speed of light.

The more quantity of food and more often I eat, as long as it isn't excessively of course, the more I lose weight. It's hard to do, after my whole adult life of eating once daily in the evening.

If they’re consuming 700 calories every day they’re going to be expending more than that. And so what you would find, you would expect to see is as long as they’re that imbalanced they’re going to keep losing and losing and losing and losing. That’s not what happens in these people; they plateau and they stop losing weight at what is definable as a significantly obese level. Now, if I had that procedure you probably wouldn’t see me in profile anymore because I would just get so thin. That’s not what happens to these people and it appears that in the face of reduced intake the body shuts down caloric expenditure and they can’t lose any more weight.

But it's all about the 'basal metabolic rate' right? How much exercise you get? He pops the balloon of what I call The Calorie Lie: the belief that to maintain obesity once must eat huge quantities of calories.

This is what sets me off most about conversation with people who seem to assume that every day I proactively DO SOMETHING to STAY fat. Sheesh!

Now this next part is pretty depressing, if eye-opening. This actually goes back to what Jonny Bowden was saying about how they used to measure the detail 'calories burned' by exercise, and it varied radically by person and was way outside what was 'assumed'. According to Friedman, people who are obese and lose some weight (whether this is because they are obese or, more likely I just assume, this is part of WHY they are obese) actually burn FEWER calories in order to maintain the SAME weight as someone else who did not lose weight to get to the same place:

Dr. Jeffrey Friedman: So it turns out – and this was some lovely work done by Jules Hirsch here at Rockefeller [this study, published in the New England Journal of Medicine in 1996, measured the metabolism of people who lost weight through a precisely controlled diet] --] it turns out they burn many fewer calories than you would predict based on their newer weight.

So let me put a finer point on this. Imagine you’re 250 pounds. and you lose 100 lbs. to 150 lbs. Now you ask how many calories does that person burn compared to someone who started out at 150 pounds.They burn like 300 or 400 calories fewer per day when they’re at that reduced weight. Now think about it. That person is hungry and now can only eat fewer calories than the equal weight person to maintain that weight, despite the fact that they weigh the same amount.

So just like Jonny said about how the calories burned in exercise was not consistent between different people, here Friedman makes clear, that even on a daily overall metabolic ratio (not just a limited exercise event), the amount of calories burned is not consistent between different people of the same weight. So Jane and Nancy, if eating the same things, and exercising the same amounts, may result eventually in a fat Jane and a slim Nancy, with no apparent behavioral difference.

And it's possible that this "biases against Jane keeping that weight off." Because eating identical food with identical exercise at the same body weight at point 1, a year later, Jane would be at least 36.5 lbs heavier. Multiply that by a few years and you have a very fat Jane, who never once needed to ingest pounds of bon-bons regularly in order to end up morbidly obese.


(Ira Flatow: What about the other parts that control metabolism? Is it true that some people burn food faster and so it’s not the brain part and it’s just their thyroid, or whatever it is?

Dr. Jeffrey Friedman: A very classic study was done about 15 years ago by a guy named Claude Bouchard. And Claude gathered up a set of identical twins and overfed them 1,000 calories a day for 84 days. And he asked what happened. So these people were in a room, they were given calories, they were forced to eat 1,000 extra calories a day; they should have put on a lot of weight. Some people put on a lot of weight, other people put on hardly any weight at all.

And when they looked, the twins were highly similar to one another, suggesting that there was some genetic predisposition to either put on weight or not put on weight when you were given extra calories. The people who didn’t put on weight activated metabolism because of metabolic circuitry and didn’t put on the weight. And this observation that some people can eat whatever they want and never put on weight and other people put on weight just by looking at it has been more or less proven based on that study, which actually was observed as far back as the 1700s.

Friedman said, regarding the twin studies, that the opposite variant of twins had also been studied, and it STILL comes out to being, at root, a genetic predisposition to gain weight or not, overwhelmingly, not environmental:

...they were then redone with identical twins reared apart compared to fraternal twins reared together. So you’re actually biasing against the identical twins so now the hereditability falls from 80 percent to 70 percent. Still 70 percent -- and the other 30 percent could not be accounted for by the environment for those kids.

And finally, he referred to studies on adopted children, to see if it's entirely about the environment provided by parents, e.g., take a fat mother, with fat children assumedly from "the environment she raises them in," if you put a kid with different genetics in there, will they also be fat?

Another way to look at this, actually, is to take kids who are adopted and ask on average, do they resemble their adoptive parents or their biological parents, making the assumption that some go to one environment, others to the other. They, to a very large extent, resembled their biological parents independent of the environment that their adoptive parents provided.

Well, that's pretty much a measure from all three angles you can measure it, and in every measure, it comes out to be overwhelmingly a matter of genetic predisposition, more than just food intake or exercise.


I don't really want to believe this. It sorta makes me want to cry.

And of course, it goes greatly against what we are all indoctrinated with from our dietary plans of choice.

It is not 100% genetics. It is not a 100% failure of people to keep weight off. It's just... 70-80% genetics, and 95-98% failure.

Can I be one of the 2%? Can I modify my eating habits, exercise and lifestyle that the 20-30% can balance out the rest? Can I be the freak of nature that actually succeeds?

Damn. I hope so.

Am I delusional? Probably. The alternative might be suicidal, so it's all I've got.


Sunday, July 1

The Obesity Epidemic Hysteria

A few more quotes from Dr. Jeffrey M. Friedman, head of the Laboratory of Molecular Genetics at Rockefeller University, and related thoughts.

Friedman took on some of the hysteria regarding the "obesity epidemic." There's some stuff I didn't realize or hadn't considered.

I actually contacted the epidemiologist named Katherine Flegal, who publishes all the reports that are highlighted in the press every time we hear, in five year intervals, the weight problem has increased dramatically. And I asked her exactly that question. "Well, what about obesity in other countries? Could it be, for example, that the curve in England or Europe has just shifted a little bit to the left?"

Now I asked her the question and she said it might be but no one knows. The data have not been gathered in these other countries in a way that would allow you to compare. So the supposition that this problem is so much worse in the U.S. is not based on actual data.

Regarding the "massive rise in numbers" and "doubling of number of obese" people etc., the foundation of our "obesity epidemic" and related hysteria, he said:

That’s an argument I get all the time because people say, "Well, there’s a huge change in a short period of time in the amount of obesity and that therefore it can’t be genetic." First of all, actually, that’s wrong. Genes in a population can change very rapidly as environment changes. In fact that’s the whole purpose of having variation in a population. As the environment changes in acute circumstances certain variants are selected and then predominate.

But setting that aside actually, I think people have a misconception about the role of environment in this because of misuse of statistics.

Let me explain what I mean. Obesity is distributed in the population. Some people are thin; some people are heavy; most people are in the middle; and you have a curve, a bell-shaped curve.

Now there’s a known phenomenon in epidemiology that when you have a normally distributed trait, meaning a bell-shaped curve, and a fixed threshold that defines a disease, if that average value shifts even a small amount, you get a disproportionate number of people who exceed the threshold.

So let me give you an analogy for IQ here and then I can tell you the actual data for weight. Imagine that 40 years ago the average IQ was 100 and there was a bell-shaped curve. Imagine now that our educational system improves and the bell-shaped curve shifts a little and the average IQ is now 105. With that you could imagine that the number of people who have an IQ greater than 140, so-called geniuses, might have doubled.

Now is it more useful to think about how our education is doing by saying, "average IQ increased 5 points" or "number of geniuses is doubled?" I think probably both are of interest but the former seems to me more informative.

Ok. So how does that analogize to weight? Over the time period that you’ve heard that the obesity rates have quote "doubled" or gone up by 70 percent, the average weight gain is: 7 to 10 pounds.

What?! All this hysteria over "obesity has DOUBLED!" and actually, it only means that the 'average' weight has increased by 7-10 lbs?! But remember that "bell shaped curve". When you move that entire bell-shape on the graph, the number of people it encompasses is huge, so yeah, mathematically, the number of people affected is sort of exponential.

Do you suppose there's a reason why we never hear, "Over the last X years, the average weight has increased 7-10lbs"? Instead of, "The number of obese people has DOUBLED!" Realistically, even a ONE pound shift in that gigantic population bell-curve would have moved a helluva lot of people over that line.

Now I’m not here to argue that that’s not important; it is important from a public health point of view. But if we then say that’s what environment contributes to differences in weight over that time frame, think about the fact that 7 to 10 pounds is almost nothing compared to the hundreds of pounds of difference in weight that you might see in any two people walking around the street today, both of whom essentially have unlimited access to calories.

Some of his comments from a couple years ago sounded similar to what I'm hearing about the current book 'Rethinking Thin'.

...the idea that you can change your weight voluntarily is one that the diet industry has a huge financial interest in. And so anybody can tune into infomercials telling you what you need to do to lose weight is fork over some money to their diet plan, eat it or not eat it and you’ll lose weight. And I don’t think that message and that marketing muscle can be easily counteracted by what scientists have to say about it.

Part of the problem is that that notion fits in with people’s intuition. And this gets very complicated. It’s a control issue; people want to feel like they’re in control of what they eat and what they weigh. But at a certain point you need to ask yourself, "How much am I really in control of it?" Now the problem for feeding is that the time frame with which this drive expresses itself is out weeks to months to actually years. And so by the time the drive exercises its power people don’t recognize it as a drive, and they simply imagine that it’s a loss of will power, not thinking of it as rather an expression of a basic biological drive.

...the available evidence would suggest that the vast majority of people who find themselves at a particular weight -- be it thin, medium, or heavy -- that’s pretty much their weight.

It’s that somehow people think this is something they ought to be able to control. And they accept all these other things you can’t control that are just who you are. But people are very loathe to believe that what they weigh is who they are.

On one of the early ideas about the Fatzi Regime's rush to label children based on their weight, he had a few comments as well:

(Ira Flatow: There was a news item that said New York’s Dept. of Education is considering putting kids weight on their report cards. Talk about stigmatizing kids.)

Dr. Jeffrey Friedman: Well, you know I would ask everybody, listen to what I have to say and then think about the things you’ll read in the press about obese people and then substitute any other human characteristic in there in place of obesity. You’d never get away with it; you’d get arrested or something. I mean, the things that get said!

I’ll give you a few examples. I was listening to Imus in the political campaign and they were talking about Bill Richardson as a possible vice-presidential candidate and a Newsweek reporter says Bill Richardson is being dismissed as a vice-presidential candidate because he’s too obese. What else could you have said and gotten away with? William Sensenbrenner, a congressman, is quoted in the New York Times as saying to the obese, "Look in the mirror because you’re the one to blame." I could go on and on. You have an opera singer fired because they’re too obese. And she correctly pointed out that this is the last bastion of stigmatization in the country.

And so when you read these things, think about it. Should they be putting a kid’s weight on the report card? I don’t know. Probably not.

And what about age? Plenty of us know people who ate anything and everything up to a certain point in their life, where they suddenly began gaining weight, which exponentially multiplied. Most people in lowcarb would consider it a gradual development of insulin resistance, based on the standard American diet (and I am referring to the USDA diet, not necessarily to chronic junk food). But might some of it relate to age? Or might those factors overlap? And if some of the "increase in obesity" is correlated with age, how might that affect the statistics? And if it affected the statistics, would that feed into the "obesity epidemic" hysteria?

Now, it’s a fact that people and animals get heavier as they age. We don’t understand why that is. It appears that leptin levels go up and some people lose leptin sensitivity as they age. We have no idea why. I’ll just digress to one other point that gets to your issue about the 7 to 10 lb. average weight gain. When you look at these data, they’re not corrected for age, And so, if the population is aging, that could contribute also to the perception that weight is changing.

He is not only blessedly aware of the flaws of the "BMI" as an evaluation, but of the issue related to weight and fitness. If you can take a person who is obese yet who plays three sports and is otherwise completely healthy--and I've known several people (and several teenagers) like this--then clearly obesity and health are not mutually opposing things.

The most important thing is what your general health is. If you’re overweight and not diabetic and not hypertensive and not hypercholesterolemic, then there’s a lot less to think about than if you’re diabetic and hypertensive and hypercholesterolemic. My own opinion, and this is just an opinion, is if you’re overweight and otherwise healthy, I would say try to be fit, try to eat a heart healthy diet and minimize your risk factors and try to enjoy yourself.

If you’re diabetic and have these other problems, then make your best effort to lose weight to the extent that it improves your health, do your best as you would for anything else.

Ira Flatow: So you said, you can be fit and overweight at the same time.

Dr. Jeffrey Friedman: Right.

I'd never actually thought about the 'obesity epidemic' being a sort of overhyped-hysteria. I mean, I think it's good that this increase is recognized, but let's get real, none of the authorities are recognizing the primary factors (sugar/carb overdose from an early age, and some researchers think as much as 50% of the population is probably sensitive to wheat/gluten and other primary foods that the official food pyramid insists be the dominant eating) that are massively contributing to weight gain and insulin resistance and eventual diabetes.

So since they are not even looking at the most fundamental cause for change, yet the hype is endless about this problem, what are we looking at here?


Years ago I did a study on media, for my own interest, and discovered that the news in general, on TV and in magazines, is not as much informative as predictive. Literally, when you look at it in retrospect, you actually see such a pattern that you start feeling like everything you were "officially told about" was part of some larger plan to "set up" a situation or presentation for something else that was planned ahead of time. Eventually, when I was watching the nightly news and writing down what was being said, I started asking myself, not, 'Is it true?' but rather, 'Why do 'they' (whomever 'they' is) want me to believe this?' which turned out to be a far more useful question.

So after seeing Dr. Friedman's comments, and this from a 2005 lecture no less!, about how the potential age increase in the population (which we know we have thanks to the baby boomer population) can increase the stats, and how the 7-10 lbs average increase on a bell curve would of course make a big change in the numbers, I started thinking, "Since they don't really want to look at the most legit science for solving it, and since the official recommendations are still corrupted by corporatism, then why is that they want us all to share the hysteria about this change in numbers?"

I think there are probably
-- (a) profitable drugs which will get approved sooner than they should because of this hysteria, and that's being relied on;
-- (b) legislations which will get passed that would never ever fly otherwise, but will get pushed through thanks to this hysteria, and that's being relied on;
-- and surely some things I haven't thought of yet.

It's not really paranoia or conspiracy thinking, it's just "precedent" from having observed news and related trends in the past and seen how it plays out in other subjects. I can't help but wonder if the 'hysteria' is being 'encouraged' behind the scenes because of the "power" it provides.

Remember the recent British report, which had US doctors involved as well, that first suggested radical "intervention" into the lives of children and families including taking kids from parents and even forcing gastric bypass surgery, they actually said OUTRIGHT that they didn't have the evidence to back their recommendations being what was right, but that the urgency of the situation demanded action. In other words: thanks to the hysteria, we no longer even have to prove something is a good idea before we radically invade the rights of the populace.

Maybe a little less hysteria and a few more people like Dr. Friedman would be useful. Not only for education and research, but for the actual political rights of individuals, children and families.