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30 pounds is amazing. i dont come in this room much (ha perhaps i should) but seeing that is really inspiring Jem.

Cha Cha,

I became a vegetarian for 2 weeks senior year of high school. i ended up getting sick after only two weeks. while i hate the way animals are treated, i still think humans are healthier eating meat. (meat that isnt messed with of course!)
I honestly think it varies from person to person. I've heard of studies that say some people are more genetically determined to like meat (haven't researched that though). I became totally vegetarian (although I'd only eaten poulty rarely for about a year before) in February or so. I did it partly because I just don't like meat, and partly because why should I eat animals if I don't have to?

At first I didn't notice a huge difference because my diet didn't change drastically, but now I just feel healthier. I haven't lost weight but I have more energy and I sleep better. Even though I'd prefer that more people eat a vegetarian diet, I understand that it's not for everyone.
I think it goes further than just being able to eat meat, there are actual genetic dispositions that demand some people are obligate carnivores (their ancestors ate meat and dairy exclusively--many peoples have done this all over the world). When descendants of these kinds of peoples try to eat a diet that doesn't include saturated fats from animals, meats, and dairy foods (and often blood foods, too), they develop severe degenerative diseases. It's one of the reasons First Nations peoples in Canada are suffering from adopting our diet which is low fat, high carb, and vegetable fat based. Diabetes type II is beyond epidemic in these populations.

The best case scenario for the majority of people is a variety of foods, including meats, fish, poultry, milk foods, fermented and raw foods (of both the flesh and vegetable variety) and vegetables of all kinds. What our modern diet seems to lack (and this is the reason for so much chronic, degerative disease, like heart disease, diabetes, high blood pressure, cancer, etc) is high quality meat foods, the use of saturated animal fats, high quality milk foods, and whole grain foods which aren't denatured or poisoned in processing. Before we stopped eating these foods, cancer was rare, people lived much longer than they do now (and they lived disease free) and heart attacks were things which had never been medically observed or recorded before 1912; as well, if you look at what people looked like about 100 years ago (and up till about the 1930's) you see a lot less facial deformities and tooth deformities than you do now (think about it: orthodontia didn't even exist until the 1950's. Just after food processing became all the rage. It's not coincidence).

That being said, vegetarianism is still a viable option, and I totally understand the ethical reasons for wishing to avoid meat (but really, the ethics revolve around the way animals are treated in modern agribusiness...and none of that stuff has to happen; we'd all be so much better off if we bought sanely raised meat foods from farmers who gave a damn about what they were doing, cared about their animals, fed them properly, and didn't expose their animals or their farm to all the chemical abuses of modern agribusiness).

But the healthiest kind of vegetarianism is the kind which also includes some animal foods (especially the saturated animal fats: you absorb very few nutrients from your food without these). The tempeh and tofu, if they are organic and non-gmo, are still foods that are delicious and good for you, as is good quality miso (so good for soup, so much better than crappy "instant" processed MSG soups), so don't throw it all out with the bathwater.

Are you using a specific diet plan, Jem? If you tell me what it is, I'll be happy to give you a few suggestions. I'm not sold on low fat diets because I think they do a huge amount of damage to the body (in fact, I think you can lose weight even by eating fat...but that's another long winded post) but I can give you a few options if you're interested.

Katie, I suffered as a vegetarian too--but I gave it quite a few years before I realized what I was doing! I am doing better eating meat foods instead. It's quite amazing how much of a difference food makes to our feeling of wellbeing, isn't it?
Thanks, Katie! It's pretty inspiring to me, too. I have another 60 or so to take off, though, so we'll see.

ChaCha, I am following the Weight Watchers Points System. I stay away from thier packaged shit and just try to eat lots of fruits and vgetables and approriate portions of whole grains, dairy, nuts, lentils, beans, salmon, chicken, sushi, shrimp ,lots of soy (Vegan balls and burgers, things like that). I want to lose the weight slowly and heal my body's various ails (arrythmia, agoraphobia, etc) by getting healthy and eating good foods. Any help you can give I would love to have. Thank you so much.
Good job Jem!

I lost three pounds!!! Yay me! smile.gif

Off to work now....

Happy healthy vibes to all....
Sassy, congratulations! You're just going by leaps and bounds. Yay, you!

Jem, here's a few suggestions to make things go along a little better on that points diet. Actually, anyone who is dieting can add these suggestions and do well, so here they are for Jem and anyone else who cares to make use of them.

1. Add the essential fatty acids to your diet, and daily doses of cod liver oil. Don't count these as points; my experience with the nutrition support people at WW is that they have no way of accounting for these nutrients, and they may tell you not to have them. But believe me: they help weight loss, and they are not called "essential" for nothing. We don't make these fats in our bodies, therefore we need to get them from our food. So take capsules of fish oil or flax oil, and capsules of evening primrose oil; taking the cod liver oil gives you massive amounts of vitamins A and D in an animal fat base, so you'll actually use them. Again: you have a hard time losing fat without that vitamin D, and a hard time doing everything else without that vitamin A. You can't use these vitamins when they come from veggies unless you eat animal fats as well.

2. In my experience with WW, they tend to encourage people to keep their lifestyles the same, with minimal change (except for adding an exercise aspect). For me, a large part of the problem with weight gain is that so few of us insist on demanding the time we need to keep ourselves well fed and well, instead, we eat a lot of convenience foods, a lot of fast food, and a ton of foods that are processed but full of things that destroy our health (WW even has their own line of this kind of stuff...and I've always wondered what the hell they were doing by giving people "points" counters which included points for McDonald's foods--WTF?). We do this not because we want to, but because the demands of catering to jobs, families, and other peoples' timetables instead of our own leave us little time and little option besides buying all the processed crap. You can use ANY kind of food in the points diet, and it will work: opt for the best stuff you can get, always, and take the time to prepare it. Use the WW diet as an opportunity to work really good, traditional, nutritious foods back into your life; if you just cut out calories and starve yourself for a few months, that weight will come off but it will go right back on and then some. WW depends on that! But you don't have to let it happen to you. Furthermore, the single most important lifestyle change you can make that will allow you to easily keep the weight off forever is making that time demand to cater to your own needs

3. So, that being said: where you use margarine or any kind of trans fat product (like the butter "spray" or cooking spray type Pam) substitute real butter. Get the best butter you can find; raw milk butter's the absolute best because it is loaded with vitamins A and D and factors which enable you to gain nutrients from other foods. Use very good quality olive oil and coconut oil for cooking -- dress your salads with home made dressings using real oils and not transfats. There are wonderful, easy recipes for good dressings and marinades you can make yourself and you'd avoid those crappy trans fats that only make you sick. You can even make some up in advance and store them for when you need them--cheaper and far healthier than the bottled stuff WW often pushes, and, really, just as fast and convenient.

4. Ditto for real dairy, if you're eating it as part of your diet. Low fat dairy of all kinds is loaded with a bunch of things you really want to avoid (oxidized cholesterol, altered soy proteins, food colouring, among other things). Substitute real dairy--instead of a low fat cottage cheese, have high quality kefir instead. Eat rich, full fat yogurt that includes live cultures, drain it and use the whey protein to make lacto-fermented beverages; use the remaining yogurt as a delicious cream cheese. You may think the calories will add up but the fact is, because you are eating really good, high quality whole foods and you're eating good fats, you will feel satisfied. The animal fats you're getting from your food will also help you gain nutrition from all the vegetable foods on your diet: so that means you're actually gaining fuel you can use from them! Which also means satiation. You're a lot less likely to feel hungry, or crave foods you don't want to have, once you actually get nourished from the foods you eat; and really, the caloric value won't increase very much at all.

5. The soy foods you mention are all processed, and they really should be avoided. Why not have real meat instead, if you're using the soy as a substitute? You don't have to have huge steaks, but you can measure out smaller portions of real beef and lamb and eat that. Again, slightly more calories but consider the quality of the food you're getting over the quantity. Especially if you seek out organic and free range or pastured meats. If you can't find those, kosher or hallal meats are still far better than a soy "burger".
And remember the excellent soy foods you can keep in your diet--the organic non GMO tempeh, tofu, miso, and tamari sauces. These are all good foods that you can keep in the diet...just avoid the processed stuff all together (hint: all the Weight watcher's processed foods are loaded with the same hydrolyzed soy proteins too...if you're avoiding them there, why add them to your diet anyway?). Oh, and consider adding some raw meats to the diet as well as the sushi you're eating: carpaccio or similar non-cooked, "acidified" meats are delicious and healthy too. Remember that limiting the rice content in the sushi you eat makes for a more satisfying meal too.

Eat eggs, dammit! A hardboiled egg is only 80 calories, but it has ALL the nutrients the body needs except enough vitamin C. It's full of protein so it will definitely help you keep your blood sugar stable, and eliminate cravings, till the next meal.

6. Stop drinking and eating all aspartame/nutrasweet/splenda/acesulfame potassium containing foods. Stop the carbonated soft drinks, the "unsweetened" candy, the "baked" goods, everything. Use sweeteners that don't effect your insulin resistance in any way, like Stevia, if you want to put some sweetness in things like coffee and tea. Replace sugar loaded fruit juices with fruit teas (they contain no sugar, no high fructose corn syrup which really wreaks havoc on insulin production) that you can make up and keep cold. These can easily be sweetened with stevia, or sucanat, or even maple syrup, used moderately. These teas taste really good, hot or cold, but they're especially great to have on hand cold. They have the same effect as water, so you can drink them instead of that water quota you've got to meet; they have lots of flavour, and they cost a fraction of the commercial soft drinks (and you'll need that cash to buy the better quality foods first; later you'll need it for clothes).

7. Use good quality supplements to help you. Vitamin C is integral when you're dieting; B vitamins are an absolute necessity (hell, B12 injections are the thing I'd recommend the most, but since that's out of the question for many people, you can buy Methylcobalamin or Cyanocobalamin sublingual tablets, usually combined with Folic Acid, in 1000mcg doses at any good health food store carrying high quality supplements). Makes.A.Huge.Difference. Take that every day and you'll see. Aside from those, a good quality multi-vitamin is always a nice boost. Just be sure to get a good quality one, where the nutrients aren't enrobed in things like magnesium stearate, so you'll never absorb them. I have a few I like to suggest to people so if you need names, let me know.

Still concerned about the caloric bump? Well, add a few minutes of exercise; or don't. You'll still lose weight, and if you're up for doing it slowly you'll be surprised how quickly it comes off. A big, added benefit? All the nutrients you're absorbing will go a long way in helping you deal with the other chronic health issues you listed too (especially the EFAs and the agoraphobia you'll see a nice difference in your emotional health just with those additional nutrients).

Well, that's long enough, isn't it? If you need more, let me know.
QUOTE(raisingirl @ Sep 10 2006, 09:47 PM) *

Oooooh, I do believe that Trader Joe's tofu is organic. I'm going to check when I go there this week. I don't eat tofu weekly or anything even though I AM veg, but it is a concern nevertheless.

Update! Yes, Trader Joe's tofu is organic and cheap cheap cheap ($1.49 for mine). Awesome.

ETA: Chacha, I stir the whey back into the yogurt. Those are great pointers.
I just had the best workout I've had in months, b/c I finally got to do cardio! I was just in the right mood and ended up using that silly hand bicycle for 25 minutes... then lifted and stretched for another 40 minutes. Go me! I think this great, healthy, happy feeling I have right now (god bless endorphins) may actually inspire me to do longer hand cycle workouts more often.

Also, I've been good about some of my other goals:
1. ) eating less sugar (what sugar I have been eating has been almost entirely limited to candied ginger, which I think is 100% acceptable b/c ginger is good for controlling inflammation)
2. ) stretching and breathing before breakfast
3. ) eating a healthy, less prolonged-snacking breakfast including flax. (Chacha, I've been making a point of including fat--gouda cheese, yum!-- and protein--soy sausage, which I may cut back on after following this discussion-- and it does seem to help control those post-brekkie carb cravings. Thanks for the tip.)
4. ) Being less random about my supplements.

I think the next goal I'll be pursuing is increasing that 10 min, 3x week hand cycle goal. Once I get my disabled parking permit it'll be much easier to get in and out of the gym and I can make the workout part of a regular schedule. That's really the trick, don't you think, for sticking with an exercise plan?

I'm proud of myself and feeling good about these changes. Can I get a high-five, here??
High Five, Octinoxate!! Let those endorphins flow!

Chachaheels, I loved your post. I think avoiding processed foods and eating whole foods is, by far, the healthiest choice a person could make. And it is so true about making the time.

Not to get all Oprah, but treating yourself well is like a present or a gift and we ARE deserving of that gift. It's so easy to run around feeling hounded and guilty about the multitudes of "I should do this" and "I need to do that". The best part about the gym for me is that I tell all of my shoulds to shut up and I just walk or run - just move and not think about anything for awhile. Because I lead a pretty stressful life the most awesome bonus of regular exercise (I've been consistent with exercise for about 1 1/2 months) has been less painful tension in my body. Also, I'm managing my moods far better. Managing is the wrong word - I don't have to work at keeping my anger at bay in certain situations, because they don't bother me anymore - I'm not the sponge taking on someone else's anger. I can talk with them and recognize what's their issue and what's mine and the lines aren't blurring. That is HUGE.

I also agree about good supplements, including cod liver oil, especially for people who've been consuming refined foods. I went to a naturopath prior to beginning my new regime and she helped me figure out what supplements would be best for me. One thing she said, "If you're healthy you tend to make healthy choices." If your body has the nutrients it needs, you feel better, when you feel good you're more inclined to take care of yourself.
high five octinoxate! woooo hoooo!!!!

i'm feeling pretty super proud too, cause today i worked out before work again! yayyyyyy! everyone at work is pretty shocked at this change, cause they know how hard it is for me to get up in the morning.

my goal is to go m,w,f before work, and do a bit of gentle yoga on t,th. i feel like tha'ts very reasonable, not too much, very doable for me. i'm giving myself shiny stickers for each day that i meet my goals (working out, eating right, and being on time to work). so hopefully by the end of hte month, my calendar will be full of stars. i'm hoping that'll give me a great visual on my progress, even if i haven't lost weight or i don't see other physical changes.

i also want this to just be part of my regular schedule, so it's just a normal part of the day, and not something i have to decide to do.

Octi, I'll gladly give you a high five. So glad the workouts are starting to feel really good. It's miserable trying to tell yourself to exercise if you don't geel great...feeling good afterwards is the way it supposed to be. It's great to hear such good news especially because you're exercising to become well after a painful injury.

I'm glad to hear the food changes have helped, too. So the soy sausages aren't the best--nuts and dried fruit are still a good substitute, and they're portable (just in case you're already putting them in your breakfast yogurt). So if you do get to feeling a little peckish they're a good snack to have on hand. About six months ago I would have suggested picking up a good energy bar, but now that I'm actually going through the ingredients in those with a fine tooth comb, I heartily recommend leaving all of that stuff out of the diet. You're far better off eating very good quality chocolate--way more nutrients in the chocolate, a whole lot less crap, too.

I like my candied ginger with chocolate, thanks. Please don't make me list the health benefits of (dark, not too sweet, often sweetened with maltolol) chocolate, cause that takes too long. But ginger for inflammation? I completely get that. It's such a homeopathic concept--heat curing heat.

Maddy, Cucumber, Raisin, you guys are so good and so disciplined. It is completely true that we see whole other opportunities and we open up to other perspectives when we are healthy; and sometimes becoming healthy depends on getting that little "shift" or "bump" so that we can see things slightly differently, and health ends up resulting from that one event. We can actually effectively decide how we're going to react to any given situation (even if that decision ends up being something we're not aware of, something that happens almost "instinctively"), whereas in a state of disease we would only act unconsciously, not knowing we have a choice, and we always just perpetuate and extend our disease (the anger situation is the clearest example of that). It's really an impossibly small, dynamic change we make in ourselves, and it just keeps rippling out towards others, and so forth. Cucumberfruit, the "youcallitOprahbutit'ssonotOprah" part of your post where you talk about recognizing your issue from other peoples'? It is huge. It's so huge, it's almost everything.
Ugh, getting so frusturated. I have almost no time this month to get some exercise and I'm at a place where I feel like I need even just a 20 minute bike ride almost every day. The problem is I leave the house at 8AM, go to one job, then go to my other job, and then I'm at class and don't get home until 9PM and I'm in bed by 9:30. Thank goodness I'll be down to one job come the 27th. At least I still have my weekends free for working out a bit.

On the plus side, my diet is super healthy, so go me!
Thanks for the encouragement!

Maddy, you go! Doesn't it feel amazing to work out in the morning? It gives me more energy all day, plus it makes me start out my day focusing on health, so I'm more likely to make good dietary choices too. (Now that I officially have a disabled permit, I'm hoping to do morning workouts too!)

Chacha: ginger and chocolate... mmmmmmm. Yum. Hey, re: energy bars, what do you think of those "nectar" bars, I think made by Clif? Those are all raw, natural ingredients, right?

Erin, good job with the healthy diet! Just do what you can, right?
Oh, the Clif bars. Yikes, where do I start?

These are extremely high in sugar content; and they contain a good deal of the altered soy protein waste ingredients that are problematic. But: they also have dried fruit, cocoa, and nuts, ingredients which don't figure prominently in the ingredient list, but good ingredients none the less.. So, here's what to do:

Carry good quality chocolate, whole, fresh nuts that you select, ginger, and your choice of a small amount of dried fruit of your choosing (dried figs, apricots, berries, raisins, you name it). You can get any of these as organics, and sulphur free. Protein, fat, and slightly more complex carbs than you'd get from the Clif bar...and a lot less pricey. Ingredients-wise, these energy bars are candy bars with pricier ingredients than the ones called Mars or Cadbury Caramilk--but without the benefit of the cocoabutter from the chocolate. That actually gives the "junkfood candy bars" an edge over the supposedly healthy energy bars. On your own, though, you can do far better, especially if you're trying to cut out sugars like high fructose corn syryp and the like, just by toting the actual, good food. You don't need a lot if you're carrying it as snack food--a couple of squares of the good chocolate, about 12 whole nuts (almonds, hazelnuts, whatever you like), and maybe a couple of dried figs or abricots, one or two pieces of the dried ginger. You can change things up a little and take yogurt with you too.

If you're a meat eater, a little bit of cheese, some good dry cured sausage made locally by someone who knows how to make it, and some nuts--a perfect snack, especially after a work out.
Chacha, I was actually referring to this one specific product that Clif makes called "nectar bars". They're different than the classic Clifs in that they have only dried fruit and nuts and chocolate and such blended together. (I'm pretty sure of that, anyway). They're really tasty and it seems to me like they're quite healthy to boot.
The Nectar bars are much simpler than the other Clif products, but I still think you can do better--there is anywhere from 17g. to 20g. of sugar in each bar, so I know they say they're diabetic friendly, but I think ideally it's a bit too much sugar. Still, as far as bars go, they're not bad because the ingredients are organic and they do not list soy products of any kind. They also do roast the bars and partially cook them in order to avoid the risk of mold growth (the sugar content again), but I think that helps you to digest them a little more easily. At a retail price of about a buck seventy a bar, they don't sound too bad if convenience is a big concern.

But I like to choose my own chocolate! And the sugar would be a bit too much for me.

So which bars are best? I'm trying to find something to eat for breakfast on the run.... and I want something that is good for me, but actually doesn't take like cardboard.

I can't seem to find those Gnu bars anywhere but Whole Foods.

((Good healthy vibes)))

High five to Octi!
Well, maybe that's a good thing, Sassy. They say they contain no high fructose corn syrup, but the ingredient "fruit juice" (when it isn't specific about which juice) is often a legal way of listing high fructose corn syrup without having to actually declare the troublesome ingredient as part of your product.

So: high fructose corn syrup didn't exist before 1970, it's a highly reactive carbohydrate in the system and plays a key role in creating the ailment we now all know as insulin resistance, or hyperinsulinemia. There are far better sweeteners that can be used which don't throw your pancreas and your adrenals and your blood sugar into a tizzy you'll have to contend with all day, and finally lead you to pack on fat while throwing your entire hormone balance out of whack. Then, the bars contain soy "flour", which is another one of those soy products that are not safe to eat. It contains all the phytates that halt nutrient absorption from your other foods, it contains denatured proteins, and it is genetically modified. Same with the canola oil in the bar--all canola oil is genetically modified rapeseed, a plant whose oil human beings avoided for millennia because it seriously hindered nutrient absorption to the point of depletion. "Natural flavours" also appears on the ingredient listing--and that means MSG in one of its legally disguised forms. MSG really should be avoided if you are trying to lose weight: it's an ingredient researchers feed to lab mice when they want to create a control group of obese animals on which to base their data. So it does cause mammals to gain weight. And, oh, yeah: MSG counts as a trans fat, but again, it's listed in a way which legally skirts having to make the declaration. Trans fats are just out and out deadly.

So, in comparison, the Clif Nectar Bar is a way better proposition! They also contain a nice amount of protein in that they have nuts in the mix. I bet they cost less than the GNU bars. And: fiber can be obtained from eating foods like beans, too (way more fibre in beans than in any fruit or grain). I know beans aren't a quick food, but a serving of beans is enough fibre for the day. And more protein, too. If I had to choose something to eat on the run, it would be the Clif Nectar bar, with maybe a piece of fruit or a hard boiled egg, over the Gnu; and plan on adding fibre rich foods to a meal later in the day, when time wasn't so limited.
chachaheels, just wondering, i'm about to go back to ww full-time too, so about your guidelines for jem ... how does that translate into a low-fat diet? just found out my cholesterol is 258 - i've always hovered around 200, still not good - and for the first time ever, the "bad" cholesterol is bad.

also wondering if it's because i ate an entire pint of sticky toffee pudding ice cream saturday night (*glaring at the busting tr*ll thread gals*), and some salami and that other really fatty italian meat that begins with a "c" on sunday, completely forgetting that i was having a blood test monday morning. can cholesterol levels still spike, even after fasting for more than 12 hours?

apologies if this is off-topic. PM if you'd like.

trying to find the silver lining, even tho i'm more depressed than ever. i've really hit my brick wall now. i have heart disease & cancer in the genes. i have no choice but to lose the weight and exercise my fatass off now. sort of now or never.
Mando, I know a lot of people have a hard time believing this, but the whole "lipid hypothesis" theory about cholesterol (and it is ONLY ONE THEORY out of many medical theories, and it's the exclusive one which is not supported by scientific research at all) is just not true. There are so many studies done on women and cholesterol exclusively, that show that women whose cholesterol levels are high live substantially longer and healthier lives than those whose levels are low. "Good" cholesterol and "bad" cholesterol both, incidentally, are necessary for the body's wellbeing--so the distinction is a false one. In any case, I know a lot of docs don't really do their research or study beyond what they're pharmaceutical sales reps give them. So, if you want to bring your "test results" down to an area where you won't be harassed about taking Lipitor, start eating an avocado a day. That should bring your HDLs "up" and your LDLs down to what your doctor would think is acceptable.

And, I also believe low fat diets are dangerous. It's a long story, but for thousands and thousands of years human beings ate a diet of anywhere between 40 and 80 per cent fat, much of it animal fat, and anthropologists have never been able to find any evidence of the kind of chronic disease which plagues us. Chronic disease which has been plaguing us, really, just for the last 70 years or so--when we stopped eating animal fats, adopted "low fat", vegetable fat based, "high carbohydrate" diets, and replaced real food with processed, mass-farmed meats, fats, and grains. As a result, our bodies, our bones especially--have changed, and not in a good way.

We "look" different now--our faces are pinched because our bones don't develop fully to give our brains as much space as they need. Our dentition is largely horrible (if we aren't prone to cavities and gingivitis, our teeth come in late, or wrong, or crooked. Orthodontia, as a practice, didn't even exist until the 1950's. Now almost all kids need braces). The reasons for these changes are all nutritional. By far the largest change that's taken place in our nutrition as a species is the shift we've all made towards lower and bad fat diets full of the processed foods, denatured nutrients, and nutrient depleting additives that pervade almost everything we eat. Why do we eat them? That's mostly what's available, since the production, marketing, distribution and manufacturing of our food is in the hands of huge multi-national conglomerates whose goals aren't good nutrition, but profit. Sounds lefty, I know, but its just a fact.

So, as I said to Jem, low fat is not the issue so much as making sure you get very good quality saturated fats back in the diet--and cut out all trans fats of every kind from the diet completely. You also, of course, need some good quality vegetable fats as well, but we eat far too many of them and our brains and cells suffer tremendously from that.

So my suggestions have not been low fat--instead I've made suggestions that will encourage you to add better foods to the diet including saturated fats, because without those we don't absorb the vital nutrients we need if we're trying to lose weight and restore full health to the body. And, I also encourage really making a lifestyle change--foremostly in the foods you choose to eat, your right to look after your nutritional needs (meaning you need time to prepare food and eat it!) and insisting on taking time you need to look after your needs as a person. This is more than just "giving yourself a few minutes of exercise time every day", it's actually saying "I can't look after you before I look after myself anymore" when it's necessary.
Gaining control over what you choose to eat (instead of overlooking what's in the food you're eating and just thinking of its point value, no matter what's in that food); respecting your own needs and your right to figure out--and fulfill--whatever it is you feel your purpose is here, during your lifetime; and doing whatever you can to nourish yourself as well as possible so that you have the full health you need to accomplish this--these are the real lifestyle changes that need to take place.

If you are worried about how to "fit" this in with the points system, well I can suggest altering the balance of fats/proteins/carbs to accomodate your selection of the healthy foods. This can be done, as long as you're getting about 2000 calories a day, which is a sane amount of food for a woman who's active and also exercising. You'll have better food, maybe in smaller servings, but you won't be craving foods so much. If you do, then maybe it's time to rethink the whole WW paradigm. It is possible to lose weight while eating a higher fat diet--because biochemically we need the fat to lose the, if you're open to it, there are other food plans besides WW that may be better suited to your needs.

Please PM me and I can send you some research articles to back up what I'm saying--particularly because you say you have cancer and heart disease in the genes. If you really want to stick with WW (and I get why--it's necessary to have that support of like-minded, like-experienced people while you do this) I can help you put together something that works in their guidelines but is full of really good, health restoring food. And as for that capicollo you mentioned--my aunt made that sausage, marketed it and ate that until the day she died (along with prosciutto, pancetta, rich cream cheeses, butter, you name it), which was somewhere around her 109th birthday. Oh, yeah, we have heart disease in my family too--my mom has some trouble with arrythmia. She was diagnosed when she turned 82, and at that time she had developed an addiction to Kraft Dinner, french fried potatoes cooked in margarine, and processed cheese (so weird, cause she never ate that food before). She's stopped with that food now. I'd get her to post along with me, but she's busy making crepes and nutella cause Pepper posted the recipes yesterday, so she's not visiting. This is all posted with a light heart, because I hate that you're I hope you find it more funny and a little comforting than anything else. We'll talk more later.
Mando, according to this dude named Andrew Weil, who's an MD but also a big fan of "alternative" medicine, garlic is awesome for lowering cholestoral naturally.

Chacha, I do think you have so much wonderful expertise to offer us, but I'm skeptical about the link you mention between orthodontia and nutrition. I don't think most kids now "need" braces. I think it's most often a cosmetic procedure that has more to do with beauty norms than health. I also think you can easily explain the rise of braces in the 1950s onward as an outgrowth of the new post-war prosperity (people had more money to waste on things like cosmetic aids). That's my 2 cents from a different perspective.
Yes, but I'm looking at photos of the dental arch, the fact that so many children now bring in their teeth late (and when that happens in my patients, I don't look forward to hearing that they'll have things like 2 canine teeth coming in in the same spot--one extremely delayed, the other deeply impacted...); or, the teeth are simply too big for the dental archs, so there is massive overcrowding to the point of impaction. Delayed dentition is often a sign that bone growth in general is hindered; and it often accompanies those severe bone pains kids get in their long bones while they grow. All of this has to do with deep nutrient deficiencies--the kind that can't be fixed with diet alone.

I am also considering dental strength. Part of the reason why our teeth are all so cavity-plagued is flouridated water--but lousy nutrition on a mass scale has another huge role to play as well. People get to a certain age and they start to lose their teeth--sometimes right at the root, so they just crumble off. Our teeth should last LONG after we die! And yet most of us seem to have difficulty making it through a life-time without fillings, extractions, having to replace crumbled teeth with caps or veneers now. When you compare this with the information we have on peoples who ate diets of traditional foods, no matter where they lived or live on the planet, this kind of dental decay and deformity is just non-existent. And they had no "dental care" like toothbrushes and tooth pastes, no tooth floss so to speak, no orthodontia, and no it must have been bone strength they possessed, which we don't have.

No, the damage I'm seeing is deep in the bone, and not purely cosmetic: It is completely the result of deformed, underdeveloped bone. Even in my own case: all my teeth were initially healthy, but too big for the actual shape of the dental arches in my mouth. I had the right number of teeth, but in my mouth they looked like I had far too many. I wore braces for 9 years (!) and finally stopped when my highly impacted wisdom teeth began to undo the work the braces had done. So now they're still crowded, especially on my bottom jaw. And the wisdom teeth had to come out. This is not something I wish to pass on to any children; but I've already seen my neice (my brother's child) grow up with this problem in a far more advanced case. She's going to be getting her braces any day now, along with having the nice extraction of all her unnecessary (? each one should be there!) teeth. My brother's teeth "looked" normal, but he was constantly getting fillings as a child--sometimes 8 at a time. I think my generation was among the first generations to exhibit some of these drastic physical changes.

But I also think they're reversible in the coming generation, and that we should at least adopt the traditional practice of giving those who are planning to rear children an enriched diet from the planning point through gestation and on past the birth to lactation.
We don't really do that now, but we seriously need to start--and the diet applies both to men and women who wish to have children.

Yes, there is a cosmetic issue--but as animals we do tend to find good health to be attractive; so maybe the crooked/faulty/delayed/destroyed dentition is not appreciated for a reason.

chacha, many thanks for all that insightful information. i appreciate your taking the time and trouble. and no one's made mention of medicine yet, nor would i even consider lipitor in the first place. i'm fairly confident that if i lost the 20 lbs, my cholesterol would regulate nicely. (or maybe not. i'm 46, and all of a sudden it seems like all bets are off.) i'm not so much frightened as just a little shocked, that's all. (plus the doctor visit was unpleasant in and of itself, so i'm also having a bit of a pity-party over it.)

however, i wouldn't know a "good quality saturated fat" if it came up and bit me on my ass. please don't hit me, but anything nutrition-wise is sort of like math and physics to me .. my eyes glaze over. i'm stupid, i'm lazy, and need flow charts and things spelled out for me as simply as possible. like: avocado = good. garlic = good. an entire pint of haagen daaz sticky toffee pudding ice cream in one sitting = bad.

(heh. i can just see you banging your head against the desk at my use of "good" and "bad". apologies, hon, but i'm braindead and can barely write coherent sentences at this point. it's been a rough week.)

but one thing you said has stuck with me. ww's appeal - for me - is mainly because you can follow it easily enough without making drastic changes in your lifestyle. but look where that's gotten me? i know i need to change not just my diet, but my ways of thinking.

just not this week. life is overwhelmingly crazy right now. and i've got to get a few ducks in order, primarily with my son's health. (yes, i know, i can't help him if i'm not healthy myself. but his situation is more urgent than mine right now.) i promise to go over the low-fat diet my doctor sent me, and PM you next week, and yes, any tips, advice, modified food lists, etc you can send my way would be sincerely appreciated. thanks again!
Just so everyone knows, I saw has Cliff bars on sale. I think they're associated with GNC website. I think I'll pick some up this weekend. Has anyone tried them? What are the best flavors?

Chacha, thank you so much for the information.

My diet this week has been so crap. BAD PMS and bad anxiety mixed with depression will really mess up one's diet. Ugh. At least I've been good at drinking water at work.

((healthy happy vibes))
Aww yeah. After taking the entire summer off (what a stupid move), I went to a spin class this morning. I could have stayed in bed trying to shut the sun out of my eyes, but no, I went to the gym and worked my ass off. It's just the kick in the pants I needed -- so much more motivating to go to a group class where I got my ass pushed something fierce than to sit for an hour on a stationary bike spacing out in front of a TV.

I feel awesome. It must be that endorphin rush. I'm not sore or stiff, either, and don't feel like I will be tomorrow.

I'm going to go again on Monday, oh yes I am.

I also dusted off the heart rate monitor for the occasion. That thing is so cool and keeps me in line while pushing me at the same time. I like to know my limits.
Way to go raisingirl! smile.gif

So need to join a gym. I really miss swimming.

Going to probably buy some Cliff necatur bars this weekend... smile.gif They look like they'd be great for breakfast on the run.... (I normally cook breakfast on the weekends, but never have time during the work week).

On the dental front, one of my close friends just had three teeth pulled. Ouch. sad.gif Poor lass.

So, chacha, when is your book coming out? tongue.gif Seriously, you are a fount of knowledge.

I had a bit of a "come to jeebus" moment around "real" food this summer and, in combination with WW, have lost almost 20 pounds since July 1st. The last month or so I have not really been following the plan (and have not been going to meetings) but have lost weight or stayed the same every week and the big change is that i am eating a LOT less processed foods. I'm not even really interested in a lot of the stuff I used to think I loved anymore. Which is nice.

I've become the resident processed-foods-hater over on the livejournal WW community I frequent and it's shocking to me how surprised people are when I bring that up.

It's been a bit more difficult since I am back at school now and, as a grad student, don't have a lot of time to cook and am often gone from the house for 12+ hours at a stretch. But I'm working on it.

Oh, and I also wanted to say: while I do agree that processed foods are one of the Great Evils of Modern Times, I do also think that the human body is remarkably resilient and even cutting down on them - for people who are unable to cut them out completely - makes an enormous difference. I think this is important - that any change matters - for people who can't change 100% overnight.

Also, I think portion control is super-important too. I really don't think any food is horrible for you in small portions (except maybe transfats), it's when you gorge on the bad stuff that you have problems.
I'll second the chacha love! Your posts are extremely helpful!!!

So, I've lost close to 10 pounds in the last couple of weeks, unfortunately not really on purpose. More like bad money and time management. On one hand, I had no money to dine out for lunch/dinner, so fast food was out, which was a good thing. Of course, the downside was not eating regularly when I didn't have time to make a lunch or forgot to bring it to work. So, frequently I'd go 8 or 10 hours without eating anything. I've got frozen fish, lots of green veg, and brown rice, because they're the cheapest things I could buy. So, now that the bigger paycheques are kicking in, I'm kind of okay with the fish/veg/rice for now (because they are quick to make and I've gotten sort of used to it), but am a bit worried about nutritional deficiencies. Are there any supplements or things I should be adding in? It's always been harder for me to lose weight because of this stupid PCOS, but I don't want to freak my body out if there is something major that I'm missing....

And I don't know many people who've gotten braces for cosmetic reasons, when I had them, it was because my bite was off, and the ortho said my back teeth would wear faster because they were the only ones that touched. (Which was sort of funny to me because they'd always been like that, and I didn't realize that everyone else's teeth actually met all the way around!). My teeth look the same now as they did then, but now my bite closes. Most of the kids I knew in HS that had braces were for similar reasons, bite correction or something, rather than cosmetic....

And go Raisin GO! Another month or two and my health discounts kick in and I can join a gym myself! Woohoo!!!
Sixela, the fish and veg stuff sounds great--all you need to do now is plan for those days when you won't be able to eat regularly and start carrying some decent snack foods, like nuts, dried fruits, or, if you eat them, cheese and cured meats.

The supplements that would really make a difference for anyone on any kind of mission to tone up/lose weight/bring some health issues back to some kind of manageability are:

vitamin C--don't have to spend lots on this one, it just needs an ascorbate molecule to work really well, so don't splurge on the "time release", "ester-C" variations. Just a good C vitamin from Sago palm or rose hips will do, at 1000mg/day doses.

vitamin B12 drops or sublingual tablets/strips/quick dissolve pills--Vital, especially if your diet restricts red meat for any reason. The methylcobalamin is more readily bio-available than cyanocobalamin forms, but it's also more pricey, but either way take every day. 1000mcg/day is a "standard" dose. Some people will do even better with an injectable methylcobalamin...but that needle issue is a personal one.

vitamin B combos--which include Niacin, Folic Acid, among others; and lipotrophic factors which will help you metabolize fats more efficiently. Always go for a professional, practitioner-driven brand--they cost more but you end up getting benefits from them where you really don't get many from most retail brands.

Cod Liver Oil--preferably one with a high vitamin content (crucial if you are actually dealing with pathologies such as PCOS, thyroid insufficiency, insulin resistance of any kind (diabetes II, adrenal exhaustion, etc).

Omega 3 (fish or flax) fatty acids; Omega 6 fatty acids (oil of evening primrose, borage oil)

CLA conjugated linoleic acid, another fat which helps you to lose weight.

get all the trans fat foods OUT of the diet (really, the reason people feel so good when they go on a diet is because they remove these plastic fats from the diet on an ongoing basis. Feels very different to actually ingest fats the body can use!)

To that end, DO eat fats. They are so necessary biochemically, especially the animal fats, which enable our bodies to actually assimilate and utilize nutrients from food. We need more saturated fats in the diet, and fewer poly and mono unsaturated fats (so you really ought to just limit these to the omega 3's and omega 6's you're adding, plus the kind you get from things like avocados, nuts, and deep water, cold water fish).
Eat real butter--raw cream butter, if you can get it, if you can't, organic. Same goes for cheeses, yogurts, and milk in general.

We've really been sold a big lie about fats and what they do in the body: eating fat does not make you overweight (how could it? The body uses fats immediately; it stores carbohydrates to metabolize later. When they're stored, they're stored as adipose tissue--it's that food that turns into the actual body fat we're trying to avoid. We use carbs for energy to fuel the body; but we use fats as food for all cells in the body--they are what make the body function optimally.

If you've got any kind of problem with hormone balance (thyroid, PCOS, PMS issues, fertility, peri-menopause, depression, fibro and poly myalgia, general rheumatic and rheumatoid arthritis, etc. ) you are suffering from a deficiency first of good quality saturated fats, and by extension, absolutely vital nutrients like vitamins and minerals you should be able to assimilate easily from your food (but don't). Anyone with these kinds of illnesses will improve simply by adding good fats to the diet.

Go for the best quality dairy and meat products you can find; buy from local producers and organic producers; think about good quality whole food snacks you can carry around with you so that you're never going without good foods (and you can avoid having to eat always accessible junk foods of any kind).

make a desperate effort to eliminate sugary foods; and stop ingesting the "low-calorie" sweeteners that are just neurotoxins that happen to sabotage your insulin production and sensitivity and blood sugar stability. Instead, try the natural sugars and sweeteners--rapadura, sucanat, honey, maple syrup: and use in moderation. Or give Stevia a try as it has no calories and is extremely sweet and it's all benign herb.

And stop eating soy-based pseudo foods which permeate convenience, fast, and processed foods. If you really want soy, have it along with a meat based diet, and only eat the forms that have been consumed for hundreds and hundreds of years--the fermented kind, like tofu, miso, etc (I'm repeating myself here).

Except for trans fat laden foods and foods filled with things like MSG and aspartame/splenda/nutrasweet/cyclamates, there really are NO bad foods (all foods actually do something vital at some point, think of diabetics about to head into a coma and how white sugar in any form can save their lives). But there are ways you can deplete your nutrition on an ongoing basis by eating foods that really haven't much nutrient value--and the more often that's done, the more likely your body will begin to pack on weight to avoid starvation. Weight gain is a sign and symptom of deficiency, not a lack of discipline or self-restraint; when we get all the nutrients we need from our food we don't crave foods and we don't act like we have to hoard energy cause we're starving. It's a simple concept--but one people have a hard time accepting when it comes to weight loss, because we've been conditioned to believing that its a self-control issue.

Self-control or the lack of it might be plausible, if we were able to control exactly how pure our foods are, if we could control food processing so fast foods didn't use all kinds of "tricks" like using perfumes to make nutrient devoid foods "taste" like real food; if we had more access to time to make our own needs regarding foods and health a priority; if we weren't, as women, held to an impossible standard of beauty and an even more impossible standard of good health (with the male body as the standard that's applied to us!).

Maybe I will write a book--one day. Right now, I'm writing classes up--so, like, take my courses, okay?
The good: I dragged myself out of bed for a 6am class just like I promised.

The bad: The teacher was a pain in the ass, just talked THE ENTIRE TIME and was totally annoying like "One minute of recklessness!" Total definition of exercise class instructor from hell.

The ugly: Music was the Who. Live. For an hour. Ears bleeding.

At least I went. UGH. Note to self: do not take a class with this instructor in the near future.
Hey all! It's so great to see this thread jumping! Yay raisin, for going to the class, even though it sounds annoying! Yay everyone else who is being healthy!

Also great to read chacha's informative posts! I may go back and read even more of the archives later...I must say that I'm going to phase out the diet sodas rather than try to eliminate them right away. Like Luna says, it's hard to change everything overnight. I do, when I'm paying attention, try to limit any kind of fake sugar thing to 2 a day...usually 2 cans of diet root beer.

That being said, I'm turning over my new leaf today! My habits have been crap since the hurricane...I tried to turn over the leaf a few months ago but then got very depressed, but I'm doing so much better now. I realize I could have been making myself feel better with better habits, but I couldn't do it then.

Before the hurricane, I was making some big changes, most especially exercising really regularly and eating well...I was losing weight and feeling really good. *sigh* It sucks to think about how much I've slided...I'm actually at an all-time high weight-wise and not feeling wonderful. But that's just the way things went, and I can only change what I do from today forward! So there.

I'm doing an online food diary that calculates calories for also calculates nutritional totals for you, like % of protiens, carbs, fats as well as specific vitamins and fiber, etc. I must say that I tend to go over the amount of fats they recommend, but when I'm eating almonds and avocados and olive oil and regularly, I don't consider that a problem at all! Oh, also a couple pieces of bittersweet chocolate just about every day, too, can't forget that! I like the whole math-y-ness of watching calorie intake, and once you get the foods you usually eat entered in, it's not a big hassle at all.

Chacha, I wanted to reiterate a question of Mando's, too...when you say "quality saturated fat" what does that mean, exactly? I know you talk about buying good meats...and that it? What about coconut milk? I love making Thai veggies. And shrimps in red curry sauce. Yum.
When I was diagnosed with type 1 diabetes I got this huge binder of the Canadian Food Guide. I've been dragging it out a lot more lately to make sure I'm getting the proper portion sizes. Unfortunatly my edition is 10 years old, but my mom said she'll pay for us to get a new one.

The weather has turned suddenly dreary. Last week it was a scorching 27 degrees. Today the high is 8 and it's raining. This means that my biking weather is rapidly coming to a close, which means I'll have to start going to the gym again. The only reason I don't like the gym is that there isn't one near me and I have to drive for 15-20 minutes to get there which ends up being a significant portion of the day. Hrumph.

And Chacha, I too love reading all your advice!
I was reading more archives and was loving chacha's idea about making exercise more about decadance and less about sacrificing...I wanna try to think of it that way. One thing is that I'm lucky enough to love my's this crazy old one with like, chandeliers and 20-ft ceilings. My membership definately feels like a luxury. And it's certianly a luxury to be able to eat more in a day if I exercise- can that count?

ETA: Here's a picutre of the room yoga classes are in at my gym: click! Aw, shucks. That won't take you to the right page...just the main page. But if ya feel like looking, just go to the online tour part...check out the pool, too! It's not big enough for laps, really, but it's pretty to walk by. And I may try a water aerobics class sometime.

Crazy, eh? Too bad the only class I wanna go to is on Wed. night and that's Project Runway night for now...I hope they start adding classes back. They only reopened since not quite a year from the hurricane, but almost.

And when we were in Cape Cod last week, we rented bikes and rode over these easy-looking hills to the beach. Ha! I had to walk up most of the hills...those long, sloping inclines are so deceiving! The funny part is there were so many weekend-warrior looking vacationers panting up the hills, wondering what they had gotten themselves into. Biking can be harder than it looks! One neato thing about New Orleans is it's totally's really easy to ride all around. If you don't get killed by a's not too bike friendly other than the geography.
Thank you for all the nutritional information, ChaCha! I will definately take everything into consideration (except for the raw meat. I can't. I just can't.) You are so knowledgeable and helpful, thank you so much!!!
amilita, your gym is GORGEOUS! That is truly decadent exercising, I would go every day!

chacha, thanks for the supplement recs! I'm going to have to add them in bit by bit (still getting right $$-wise), but it's good to know what to get and why....

Y'all make me excited about joining a gym! I can't wait! (the one I'm looking at has a sauna room, it'll be my incentive to actually get myself there....)

but raisin, The Who?! For an hour?! I'm impressed you stayed for the whole class. That's determination!

(((healthy Busties)))
that is one lovely gym, amilita. i would pretend i was a goddess all through my workout.

today i got happy because i realized that my knees are showing some definition again, as is my face. i've been getting carded lately, and i think that may relate to my regular vitamin intakes as well as the exercise. i have more healthy color more consistently now.

on the flip side, i've been eating healthily (for the most part, but there have been some overindulgences now and then) and going to the gym very regularly (4-5 times a week) for two months. i do a minimum of 30 minutes of cardio with a heart rate in the upper edge of my optimal exercising range, 5-10 minutes of stretching and some focused weight lifting. i like my routines - i've researched them, i vary them and i alternate pushing myself with rests and i have lost two pounds in two months. !!! i know, i know... i'm gaining muscle/muscle weighs more than fat... but, i do wish i was losing a <i>little</i> faster. still, i am perservering, because of the stress relief, the added strength and engergy, and the overall improvement in my quality of life. it IS worth it and i enjoy it. i still want to drop some pounds, though.

in light of my lack of weight loss, you might not want to take diet tips from me, but here are some "fast foods" that help me manage my hunger really well and that make me feel good:
1. i bought a large-ish salad spinner and i wash and tear up a big head of lettuce every two or three days. i chop up a couple of other veggies and have a big salad to eat from for a couple of days. when i pack my lunch for work, i pour the dressing into the bottom of my container, add salad on top and throw a handful of nuts and some meat or beans on top, too. i shake it at lunchtime and it is goooood. the same salad can taste very different with different dressings, nuts, fruit and protein.

2. i aim to have some protein at every meal or snack. beans are very good and very, very easy. they are pretty filling, too and keep my blood sugar level.

3. boil a bunch of eggs on the weekend or day off and then grab and go.

4. yogurt or cheese and crackers or peanut butter and veggies/apples or a banana

5. not a fast food, but really pushing to cut back on salt helped me a lot... it was easier to give up than other vices, and then made other vices easy to give up (after eating something salty i want something sweet, if i don't eat the salty thing i'm less inclined to eat the sweet. also, when i broke the salt habit in small ways i had far less tolerance for most of the salty processed foods i used to love, and even if i have some i'm less able to over-eat that stuff)

i love reading everyone's contributions to this discussion. it keeps me inspired!
I'm a bit late (my computer was down for a while and then I felt like I was too far behind in this thread to catch up!) but I just wanted to thank you, Chacha, for the Stevia recommendation - it works really well.

I know it's been discussed before but does anyone know of any good websites for different exercises involving just the body and/or free weights? (I can't afford any new equipment right now) I've been doing the same exercises over and over and over and I really need to switch up as I've definitely plateaued (I know, I know - I always say that - but this time I really want to do something about it). I also don't know if I'm working too many of the same muscles all the time - I want to learn to use my time more efficiently. Work myself harder in less time - but not bulk up.

Good luck to everyone - I also love reading everyone's contributions.
Snafooey, there are some pilates websites out there (I'm sure!) that might help with deep tissue muscle toning and building; and it's an exercise you really don't need to buy anything to do (the machines and such are nice and they bring to mind decadent celebrities, but really, it's all just small, repetitive, challenging exercises that get your deep muscles to strengthen and lengthen themselves--all you need is a mat and an iron will).

Jem, raw MEAT isn't a big issue (though, if you like sushi, there's the requirement filled already); it's raw FOOD that is necessary. Every culture that's thrived in human history has lived well on a diet of traditional foods including raw foods as a component. Raw foods also includes raw veggies and fruit, if the meat/fish/egg rawness is too much to handle. It doesn't have to be part of an everyday diet, but it should be part of the diet overall. Thing is, everyone finds it easy to eat raw veggies every day.
Also: raw foods includes things like Sabayon or, Zabaglione. No need to complain.

Taking these changes a bit at a time is the best way and easiest way to do is so costly to just go out and buy, buy, buy stuff when lasting change always comes gradually and has to be adapted to what you need in order to be relevant enough to stick. But slowly you'll see improvements in your general health that far outweigh just losing fat--and ultimately that's the best reward for all this work. The other best reward is that eventually these gradual changes are no longer work, they're just part of what you like to do for yourself. If you go to the link below, there are a great series of articles written just about making the gradual changes towards a more traditional, healthy diet. I think they're really helpful articles, I hope you enjoy them.

Examples of high quality saturated fats:

*100% pure, non-GMO, extra virgin cold pressed coconut oil

*if at all possible, butter and cream (and milk!) made from raw milk, particularly butter that's produced from meadow-fed free range cows in the spring and early fall (it's got the highest concentration of vitamins A and D, plus the greatest amount of the "x" factor--enzymes which act as catalysts for complete nutrient absorption from the butter and from all other foods).
This is hard to get, unless you live in places where raw milk is accessible--eg. California. A lot of places still make raw milk illegal to sell--if you live in one of those places, try to find an organic free range dairy farmer in your area who offers "cowshare" or "farmshare" agreements--you pay a small amount on a regular basis to board and feed "your" cow on the farm; the milk and everything that can be made from it is yours to consume as you please.
This may still be hard to do: in that case, get the highest fat, organic butter you can find, buy it without salt, and use this as a source of good fat. Cook with it, and dress veggies and real oatmeal with it, and use it as a spread. Stop worrying. Human beings have eaten butter for millennia and have benefitted--we've stopped dramatically now for over 50 years, and our health sucks.

*animal fats such as lard, chicken, goose, and duck fat; fats from organ meats of fish and other animals (I know, organ meats---ugh! But don't think "organ"; think of the traditional foods that are made from this stuff--pates, prepared organ meats like fois gras, and soup stock made from bones!) Especially here the food quality should be as good as you can get it--free range, organic if at all possible (though I know it can be costly...if you live close to a rural area, try to source individual organic meat farmers who can sell and prepare meats for you at a discount if you buy in bulk (share the cost with an interested friend or group of friends, or get a group of interested parties together to purchase in bulk and freeze the meat so you'll have it handy); if you live in an urban area, always look around for food coops who source and purchase in bulk on behalf of their membership. This keeps the cost down considerably, and the quality's better than what you'd get by just going to your supermarket.

Examples of some truly Bad fats: all trans fats (and this means all margarines, even the ones that claim to be trans fat free--they're lying) and all commercially prepared industrially pressed, bleached, deodorized, and hexane laden vegetable oils such as Wessen, Mazzola, anything calling itself a "vegetable oil" that sits on a shelf for months at a time and does not go bad--these are all denatured fats which concentrate many of the toxins used in their production and simply do not do the important work in the body that fats are meant to do. Avoid!

Rancid fats (includes the fats listed above) and fats that have been polymerized or rancidified by overheating. Not all fats have the same "smoking point"--some are far more suitable for eating raw, others are suitable for cooking. Flax seed oil, for example, should be stored in the freezer and consumed raw; olive oil can be used for sauteeing or eaten raw; coconut oil can be used for baking, high heat frying of any kind--it will maintain its stability even at very high frying temperatures because it is so stable.

Avoid canola oil. Any kind of it.

Also avoid all dairy products that purport to be "low-fat", as they've been "enriched" with powdered milk and other nasties. Powdered milk contains oxidized cholesterol (cholesterol in its natural state in food is fine--eating as much as you want of that will not change the cholesterol levels in your body at all...however cholesterol that has been oxidized is rancid cholesterol). Oxidized cholesterol initiates cancer in the body. Look closely at ingredient listings for any addition of powdered milk or milk solids, and powdered egg--avoid both.

A lot of the information I'm listing here comes from the independent, privately funded research conducted by Dr. Mary Enig, a biochemist and expert lipidologist who's been doing independently funded nutrition research for over 40 years. She is considered the authority in lipids in the world; many of her articles can be found on the Weston A Price foundation's website at Yup, I know you've all seen that link before in my posts, but I look for research that doesn't get "overturned" or "revised" all that much as time passes, as it consistently reaffirms itself to hold true. As well, much of the information there isn't put there by huge food conglomerates who wish to sell what they produce no matter how deadly it is...their money doesn't fund this work. No one "profits" from this nutrition research except you and me. Ultimately, we need to find ways of restoring our access to whole, healthy, real foods because so much of what is now available to us has already been processed to the point where it is harmful for us to consume.
We've lost the "say" we used to have over what goes into our bodies, and what we all need to stay healthy--that's the main thing that has to be reversed in entire food/health debate.

So...after all that: congratulations and many cheers to everyone who is really going out there to put their own health and needs first again. Amilita, I completely understand and know that sense of not being able to make healthier decisions because of particular situational realities, and I'm so glad it's lifting now and things are changing for the better. That, my dear, is no mere "gym"; that's a club, the kind they referred to in those old movies (that pool is soooo muccchhhh better than the sterile looking place I go to swim in winter). Enjoy. Oh, and many thanks for all the kind words from everyone here.

How can anyone work out to the Who if they're not actually the Who? Raisingirl deserves a major soul reward for that ordeal.

hey chacha, could you maybe recommend some good resources for nutritional information? Website, books, etc? Thanks!
chacha, i wish to thank you for all the wonderful information you've relayed to us.

and it makes sense, too -- the argument that people live longer lives now has more to do with vaccines/meds than food. i'm sure that back when pure foods were available, the ailments that humans suffered from most were communicable diseases like the plagues/pox, not heart attack or cancer.

i've been on this detox diet of sorts, just as a jump start to healthier overall eating. i'm trying to cut out processed starches and sugars, as well food containing preservatives. i fell into the lean cuisine trap for too long, out of sheer convenience! i need to re-evaluate how i eat and where my food actually comes.

and thanks, lunasol, for the heads up on this conversation.
Oh, Chacha, that saturated fat information is a little familiar...I think I read some of it awhile back and it was so different and contrary to so many things that we learn about nutrition (even as a natural, whole foods kinda person) that I had a hard time with it. Especially the lard thing! And just being unfamiliar with coconut oil. I will definately read up more, though. Thanks!

Yeah, I *heart* my gym so much. And truthfully, it used to be cool but pretty run down (you can't tell from the pictures so much) but after they got water damage through the roof and backed up sewer system related to the hurricane, they have renovated! And now it's even better. They made a women-only weights room with all-new equipment! This week I'm starting on the healthy week starting the gym.

Snafooey, I'd be interested in a website with exercises on it, too. I'd like to work more with free weights. Lemme know if you find one outside of the thread, OK?

Cucumber, you sound like you're doing great? Even if the scale hasn't changed much, do you notice a difference in how your clothes fit? If you really feel like your weight should be changing more, you could keep a food diary for a few days at least and calculate your calories...if you're lots under or over what you need, that could be doing it. Do you have a significant amount you want to lose or a small amount?

I just accidently chewed up a vitamin pill that was in the bowl with my almonds! Ptu! Ack!
The Weston A Price Organization's website (linked in my last post) has at least a week's worth of solid nutritional information to read--from politics of real/fake food, to how current agricultural practices lead to food with fewer nutrients, to Dr. Price's original research, to how to gradually make the change to healthier eating.

I love learning about nutrition and history and culture all at once, so books that take that approach to understanding food's role in our lives are fascinating for me. One of my favourite authors of all time is Margaret Visser--she's written incredibly informative, hilarious, and ultimately heartbreaking books on food customs, food history, and myth/truth about food. Some of my favourites:

Much Depends on Dinner
The Myth of the Mediterranean Diet
The Rituals of Dinner

Read her: she really opens your eyes to just how much about food we take for granted, assume, don't know, or deny. And she will never, ever bore you. I love this essay at this Margaret Visser site; and it's a good one to compare to Mary Enig's article on the same thing--where she totally discounts the findings of Ancel Keys and his extremely limited "study" of Neapolitan cuisine and eating habits he conducted while he visited Italy in the 50's. Margaret Visser has her own site here. Like Dr. Enig, Visser's research is unrelenting and it serves no business purpose except her own (to bring out the always very interesting factual history); and often, they seem to support each other.

Perhaps these aren't your typical calorie counting, good food bad food list type sites, but they really do give you a nice break from all the other weight loss sites around. As for "diet" books--I've read them ALL because every one of my patients asks me about diet, and each will have found their own favourite book to I've had to make myself aware of what was out there. The most sound I've read include the Protein Power Lifeplan, by Mary Dan Eades and Michael Eades (I think it's Michael)--though I don't think they're correct about everything (they're still clinging to the lipid hypothesis, which just isn't true). They do also promote a great deal of supplement use--and I think you really do need to find ways to get your nutrients through your food, ultimately. But when you're scaling back consumption you really do need to find extra nutrients and supplements can help with that. I also completely love Dr. Enig's Eat Fat Lose Fat, and it's a diet I'm sticking to.

As for cookbooks: I still love Molly Katzen's lacto-ovo vegetarian masterwork, the Moosewood Cookbook, and it's companions--the Enchanted Broccoli Forest, and others. The recipes are delicious, beautifully described and easy to accomplish. I'm also really interested in cookbooks detailing regional cuisines well. I'm always looking into my own background--lately my favourites have been Anna Teresa Callen's Food and Memories of Abruzzo, Italy's Pastoral Land (which has finally explained why my mother's recipes differed so much from other peoples' "Italian Foods") Biba Caggiano's various detailed regional cuisine books on Italian foods from the Bologna/Emilia Romagna area; and Cucina Paradiso--foods from Sicily's orient influenced cuisine. I'm also partial to Nourishing Traditions, by Sally Fallon--it has so many excellent, completely healthy recipes for basics we all should relearn--how to make great soup stocks, how to cook fish and meats well, the best grain and vegetable dishes ever.

Note: none of these are low calorie cookbooks, though you can certainly create and adapt any of the foods in these books to suit your desires for eating well even if eating less.

PS, Misspissed--I don't think people live longer lives now than they used to--that just isn't borne out in the archeological research that's been done, and it certainly isn't the truth in my own experience. I think people start to suffer from chronic disease much more severely now than they did in the past--and they tend to die earlier as a result of those chronic diseases; as well, we have quite a large variety of chronic diseases now, which were nowhere near as prevalent in the past (or even known). It's all hard to accept, I know, but looking at my own extensive family history, and knowing my family were not extraordinary from others around them, it definitely seems like we've sacrificed length and quality of life.
really, chacha?
what about those accounts that the average life span of, say early colonial america or medieval europe, was about 40?

huh. that comes as a surprise. some food for thought, indeed.

those books seem interesting. yay for new reading material.

thanks for the resources, chacha. i too love the moosewood books...and no worries, i certainly wasn't looking for a diet book - i've read most of em and i think they're all too narrow. i'll have to check out those websites.

life expectancy was very low in the middle ages. the average male infant, for instance, in medieval england, was only expected to live to age 30. even for those who survived to age 20, their life expectancy was only 41 years.
Re: lifespans--you have to compare apples to apples and oranges to oranges. We have an abundance of food, and we have had an abundance of food for over several decades here; to be precise, when rationing ended after WWII. When you talk about medieval Europe, you have to look at populations where food scarcity was not a problem (you'd have to study groups of people within medieval Europe who didn't suffer from poverty or a lack of access to good food, or clean water). War was a major cause of famine in those times, as it continues to be today. When food is hard to grow, it's hard to come by, and large numbers of people die because they cannot get enough to eat. Settlers in colonial America started to live longer when they began to pay attention to the way the native populations here lived--how they obtained and raised food, what they ate, how they prepared it. For the longest time settlers suffered from willful ignorance and died young because they had no idea how to survive here, and "knew too much" to learn from "savage" people who were thriving in the "new" world, and had done so for millennia before settler populations arrived here in droves.

If you look instead at various cultural groups throughout the world who were either hunter gatherers or agrarians with access to all the foods they needed, as Dr. Price did, you'd see that no matter what foods they had available to them they all had very specific foods in common which assured not only longevity but also full health, very healthy babies, easy births for the mothers, and a lack of chronic disease of any kind. You also see that diets varied for particular stages of life: infants and children were always reserved special types of foods in order to ensure optimum development at that stage; young adults who were planning to conceive, bear, and rear children were also encouraged to eat of specific foods on top of the basic diet in order to ensure that they'd conceive, that pregnancies were easy to carry and births were also easy, and babies would be as strong as possible from birth into their early childhood. This was done as well to ensure that couples could space births effectively as well--it was absolutely necessary for women to recover for a number of years between each birth so that their bodies could be given time to once again become fully restored in terms of health and strength. Those who were aged were usually reserved foods that were easier to hunt, or could be found closer to where they lived in the society (so they didn't have to spend as much time gathering those foods)...or foods were saved for them so that they were given priority in accessing those nutrient sources for the different needs of their older bodies.

This means people lived a long, long time in these societies, as long as they were not at war, or living in situations where their lifestyles and access to traditional foods were not interrupted.

I keep meaning to mention this every time I come on here--but Slow Food, the "movement" back to real foods that started in Italy is all about the same stuff the Price organization's dealing with. Slow Food is also behind many of the efforts being made by people like Alice Waters and Jamie Oliver to restore the whole idea of "good food" in schools (you know, the multi-level nutrition approach which involves having kinds learn about and grow nutritious organic foods, sourcing whole and raw milk and organic meats for the school cafeteria, having the cafeteria serve foods made from the produce the kids and the school have grown together, etc. etc). More and more schools are adopting similar whole, healthy food approaches for their students and forcing the soda pop and candy fast food retailers out of their children's daily diet.

Have a look at for some of the issues they're writing about and talking about all over the world; and, oh, my, the menu of the week is a Late Spring dinner from Abruzzi, with nice lamb and saffron ravioli. And pastries with ricotta for dessert. Yes, I know it is hardly late spring, but it is a little chilly and the food's still very comforting...enjoy!

Also: here's a link to The Nation's Food issue from Sept. 11, specifically Alice Waters' article Slow Food Nation (though the entire issue had very good articles on Food all around).

Agreement or disagreement isn't really the issue here--but I know that there is so much useful information out there that might make a world of difference for anyone who is trying to put the whole diet/food/body/health stuff in perspective. I know there has to be something in this information which brings the whole discussion that we all have with ourselves on these issues to another to that end, I hope this is helpful.
sanfooey, has some good stuff, like the top ten ab exercises. i am in a rush and can't even make that a decent link. more later...
Thanks, cucumber, I'm going to check that out, too.

I love that we can be looking at larger issues, like you said Chacha, while trying to make personal changes.

I remember when we were evacuated and didn't know when or if we'd be able to return home...then we realized that we would get to come back, and did, but missed so many of our friends who had not returned...and I remember promising myself that I would start regularly inviting friends for dinner. Mixing it up, too, by inviting people we didn't know very well along with close friends...changing the guest list each time. I really wanted to bring that community aspect back into meals. Heck, the Mr. and I rarely sit down to a meal together. I resolve to work on that! I need to figure out a plan.

Yesterday, close to my friend's new workplace, we found a sushi place with great stuff AND a lunch special for $8 that includes 2 rolls and soup or salad! We like to go eat lunch with him, so I made us all promise that we'd go there almost all the time. It can really be hard here because so much is fried or otherwise delicious but not a great option when you're trying to lose weight. On our trip to Cape Cod last week, it made me realize how there are so, so many people here that are's not surprising. But being around a more normal/average weight mass of people was a bit of a rude awakening.
chacha, as always, you've clarified things wonderfully.

RE: sites with excercies. I think I've mentioned this site before, but I really like It's free and allows you to enter your food and then it calculates it for you too. You can also track your cardio exercises, but it sets up a weight plan for you too and you can change it or browse the exercises to find ones with no weights or free weights. It was really handy.
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