20 May, 2008

Food Do, Food Don't.

An article on the "future of food" - I look on this with the same kind of horror as I do when I see lists of additives (as you can find in the Body Friendly Zen Cookbook in the appendix) and or these mushrooms served by a supposedly healthy restaurant.

Why? Pasta that cooks in 90 seconds is either being subjected to sterilising type heat or else is made in a different way to permit full cooking in a minute and a half. Either way it's not going to be an ideal food. And the sauce is in a sachet, totally brilliant idea except that - well, it needs to be preservatived up beyond belief to prevent lawsuits, and is not likely to be good for you either.

And no, I'm not advocating raw vegetables as a basis for diet - our ancestors first started cooking and processing certain vegetables for a good reason. They were KEEN observers and noticed that certain foods were just better for them when heated or processed in some way. Or lasted longer, or had some other survival benefit. Notice our ancestors had to be survivors or we might very well not be here today... %)

In fact, this article documents a few points I've already made in The Body Friendly Zen Cookbook, namely that we NEED certain processing and certain foods. Once again fats emerge as a key concept, and I can expand on the following paragraphs, where the italic smaller font is my comments:

"Studies at Ohio State measured blood levels of subjects who ate servings of salsa and salads. When the salsa or salad was served with fat-rich avocados or full-fat salad dressing, the diners absorbed as much as 4 times more lycopene, 7 times more lutein and 18 times the beta carotene than those who had their vegetables plain or with
low-fat dressing.
" (There's a bit more to this, of course. A full fat dressing can be any of a range of oils, but in my research, olive oil has always been of the most benefit generally, and an oil rich in vitamin E such as grapeseed oil, about 2 or 3 times more effective again, than just vegetable oil. The best oil for extracting the lycopene, for example, is 1/4 grapeseed and 3/4 olive oil, used for cooking instead of other fats. It's also possible to add another fat for specific flavouring, but the base should always be that olive/grapeseed mix.)

and that's just for one group of compounds... I've found that almost three years after my win over prostate cancer, where I used the diet exclusively to reverse my prostate cancer, and then stuck loosely to the principles of the diet ever since, my PSA levels first dropped from 4.2 to 0.8 and have never climbed above 1.0 again since. That puts my prostate health at around the late 20's to mid 30's - and I'm 51.

So if just a bit of consideration of your diet can do that much for you, think what you can achieve if you put just a bit of effort into it. And avoid 90second pasta dispensed by some grotty machine on a street corner...

16 May, 2008

Polyunsaturated fats - not great, actually.

Sticking to less of the supposedly healthy oils might just save your cojones. (Or your prostate - but close enough, would you let anyone with a knife near either unless it has become dread necessity?)

Poly-and-mono-unsaturated fats are generally thought to be healthy for one, and it's again to balance that we should direct our attention. 25g of fat is supposed to be our limit, with 50g being about where I'd call it a day. Mind you, 50g is about 7mm (3/8") to 1cm (1/2") of a slice off the smallest face of half a kilo (about a pound) of butter. A few tablespoons of olive oil, to be sure.

Thing is that a pack of take-away fries or fish and chip shop chips can easily have all that fat stuck to them and soaked into the potato. Add a piece of fish or a burger and you're eating the next three days' worth of fat allowance.

The supposedly ideal approach used to be to avoid fats. Avoid animal fats especially, in favour of these newfangled poly and mono unsaturated fats. And now comes the kicker - to the average human palate, the two biggest components of flavour are - you guessed it - fats and sugars, closely followed by saltiness. Prod at the greasy salty baconburger in the sickly sweet bun you're eating and ponder that for a moment...

Diets have traditionally been regarded as bland because they have little flavour. In my diet book though, I still recommend balance. And dietary studies bear it out. The reason we crave the "flavour" that fat gives to a food is because we need it. Same for the sugars and salt.

That's why I recommend a balanced diet, an aware attitude, where you know that you need only stick to sensible limits in order to let your body work efficiently.

One word of warning - if you eat processed "diet" meal packs as seen in many supermarkets, you deserve all ill health you're going to get. LOOK - I mean, really look - at the ingredients list and then look them up in the Additives list in the diet book and realise that all the other things they do to your body come at a price - your body will start to "hoard" precious nutrients in an effort to cope with the damage - and how does that help your diet or your health?

I just find it so interesting that EVERY article which has a tip for healthy eating and living recommends precisely what I do. Save yourself the price of the book if you like, but be aware that I've now been on the principles outlined in the book for over three years and actually lost some weight, have had no further trouble with my prostate.

I've also experienced a reduction in the signs of guttate psoriasis which used to make my legs itchy and splotchy red as well, and my blood sugar and insulin levels are normal.

I've experienced a drop in testosterone levels, which is not alarming and in fact is beneficial, and it seems that over the three years, my digestive system has also returned to much more normal operation, no wild acid refluxes and IBS like symptoms.

And I LOVE my flavourful food and my cooking, across just about every style of cuisine known to humanity. Even if you aren't ill with any of the modern diseases caused by poor diet, you should take a look at the book.

11 May, 2008

Cos by then we won't need them

Audi - great ideas - later...

Calculate The Energy Savings

Quick link - to USA Energy Star pages which contain information relevant universally.

01 May, 2008

"Global Climate Change" followup

I mean, has anyone thought seriously about what any global climate change will entail? In a past article I said that any climate shifts will have disastrous results.

Analyse: In South Africa, there seems to be no mention of drought and famine until around the same time as we seem to think global warming may have started, which unsurprisinlgy enough, was a century or so after we started digging up fossil fuel and burning it in copious quantities to fill our energy needs to industrialise.

It seems reasonable to link the two, that climate changes of what appear to have been relatively minor magnitude, caused rather a large change in the condition and lifestyles of South Africans. You can't tell me that it's just a case of out of control breeding, because that just doesn't sweep over a entire continent for no reason...

To continue that analysis, then. When you think of South Africa, besides the famines, what is the other symptom of the region that springs immediately to mind? Did you say violence and inhumanity?

People will go to incredible lengths to ensure that their DNA passes on into the next generation, including rationalising murder and genocide as "culling" or "they deserved it" or any number of other such sops to our conscience. Wars are fought for religion, and religions are collections of people who want to survive as a group as well as individually.

Even without the incredible pressure which global climate change will bring to bear, we don;t actually have a period of recorded history in which there wasn't a war going on somewhere.

Project: The current trend to failing crops and food production forward a few more years. Which demographic in their right mind will send food and medical aid to a third world country when their own children in turn are starving and ill?

Think: About the incredible havoc and destruction of human lives that are taking place in South Africa with conventional weapons and explosives. Project that forward to a point in time when a developed nation with a massive armoury of WMD decides that their best chance is to reove some of the competing populations of the world.

Think: In Russia, that flashpoint is much closer than in Australia, even though we are in a drought of epic proportions. The United States also are reaching a point where their large population is makiing demands on the land, food, and medicine economy which can't be sustained for too many more years, and the population there is swelling from illegal immigrants and birth rate.

Act: Reduce your footprint. Carbon, greenhouse gas, energy (heat) release, footprint from overly processed and transported food, from the amount of trees that have to be felled for new building and for farmland, the amount of energy that has to be expended to dig the metal of your next car out of the ground and form it into a car, the amount of noxious and toxic byproducts that have to be produced to produce the plastics and electronics and throw-away disposables you use each month.

If every person that owns one kept their car for an extra year and used it less each year, the impact would be huge. If every person who purchases a steak bred on farmland that would be better off growing lower impact foods switched a couple of meals a year to that lower impact food, that too would make tons (literally) of difference per person.

Think: About: It...

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