Saturday, September 18, 2010

Organic or not? Grass fed, or what?

Now, I'm not saying that there's no point to the whole organic business, but take a gander at this:

The Omega 6:3 fatty acid ratio is often cited as a reason that grass-fed beef is healthier than grain fed. This analysis shows that there's so little omega-3 in any sort of beef that if you're truly relying on it for your omegas, you're going to get nowhere. Sea food may be more important when you're eating grain fed, but this isn't that great of a reason to choose grass fed.

It also strikes me as odd that I read somewhere else that a grass fed but grain finished (i.e. fed grain towards the last few weeks before slaughter) would revert to the omega ratio of grain fed. So, is that saying that all that time growing up on a healthier diet did not produce a healthier cow?

Well, not exactly. This analysis only proves that the omega ratio doesn't matter. What still seems irrefutable is that grass fed meats have more vitamins and minerals. Butter from pastured cows? High in all those essential fat soluble vitamins, A, D, E, and K. If anything, it's more important to fry your eggs in pastured butter than eat pastured beef, but that's a personal decision. (There's also the decision as to whether you want to support the inhumane practices of family farms. But, in the great scheme of feeding the world, not every cow can be pastured, and cost is a factor. It's good to know you aren't costing your health too much if you can't afford grass-fed.)

On the veggie side of things, here's a post on organic produce:

The article states that organic produce is still often produced with toxins, they're just organic toxins. Some inorganic toxins are engineered to decompose quickly, meaning that organically farmed produce may have more toxins when it gets to your plate than its counterparts.

The same still holds that organic often beats the run-of-the-mill varieties in nutrient composition, but far more important is the freshness of your vegetables. A vine ripened tomato beats one that was picked early, often regardless of whether the soil was mediocre or not. Freshly picked spinach has double the folic acid as spinach that's been sitting there a week. So eating in-season is more important than organic, and often cheaper. Frozen veggies also have their nutrients packed at the moments they are highest, so there's no distinct health reason to go for fresh (and so often wilty) over frozen. (I do have to say, farmer's markets beat all in terms of taste, at the very least! I love the farmer's market.)

Just some food for thought.

Thursday, September 16, 2010


My littlest sister has had way more health problems than the rest of us had. She's not as focused in school, doesn't have the best memory, and she's more like the Standard American Kid (though, still pretty smart), than any of us smartie-pants ever were.

So, what gives?

I figure part of it is that she has more time to be bored, seeing how she doesn't have siblings who interact on her level that often. She does have friends, though, and good ones.

I figure a bigger part of it is diet. Undoubtedly she gets more sugar than we ever did, and I guess that's it. She doesn't like the same foods we liked, but, then again, we didn't eat that great either. Lots of hot dogs in buns with ketchup, fries, chips, soda, cereal, corn dogs, mac and cheese. Mom's idea of a home cooked meal was frozen processed meat loaf with canned green beans and mashed potatoes from flakes, or mac-and-cheese with frozen peas and kielbalsa. How did our brains grow on that?

I have a theory that you might not like. Every night, we would have hot chocolate - Nesquik, with the vitamins and minerals. Yeah, it's commercial dairy and sugar, but you know what? That probably filled in a lot of gaps.

I'm going to see if my sister wants to get into that habit. She's 9, but it's never too late to make an improvement, right? Milk is better than corn chips and mac and cheese.

Sunday, September 5, 2010

Well, that sucks

I just found out that the kefir I ordered isn't real kefir. I have no idea what it is. So I ordered some real kefir grains and some mason jars. Ungh, what a waste of money.

In other news, my diet has relaxed a bit. The very low carb lifestyle is very good for those who have damaged their insulin producers/receptors/whatever. Having been very thin for most of my life, and catching the weight from high-carb veg rather early, I think I'm 'safe'. So, while I was never really low carb, I'm accepting moderate carb as my diet - 25-30% carb, 20-25% protein, 50% fat. This is still half the carbs of the average SAD, but it is much easier for me on a vegetarian diet, especially considering the fact that my family eats out every week, etc.

It's also good because I've decided to start training for ultra marathons, so my glycogen stores need to be reasonable.

Ultimately, I'm going to eat what's on hand that I want to eat. This experiment into as-low-as-possible carb has taught me that fat is GOOD! Add fat to everything! Nuts are the yummy fat candy of nature! It has also taught me that eating carbs with proportions of protein and fat (the same weight of each is a good estimate) seems to be ideal, and that all opportunities to not eat sugar or grains should be taken. Potatoes = okay; poptarts = bad.

That said, I'm still eating a ton of sushi and rice in Japan!

Wednesday, September 1, 2010

Oscillating habits

Yesterday, I had a sort of binge. My calories went to around 1700, where they would normally rest before my dietary tracking, though it was more in protein and fat than the normal carbohydrates (though I got my fair share of those, too). I think a large part of that was having a whey shake early on in the day, which made me feel hungrier as I sat around the house. Compare this to the day I had a rice protein shake and did things with my morning, when I wasn't hungry until 3pm.

I figure it's just an oscillating part of life. My normal day is just over 1200 calories, short of the estimated 1425 I probably use in a given day, so a weekly binge day is built in. I am trying to incorporate a fasting day but I haven't gotten that far yet.

Today I am definitely recovering from yesterday - I've plotted out all I've eaten as well as all I can see myself eating for the rest of the day, even overshooting my estimated appetite, and come up with under the 1200 calories. However, I did have a milky way bar while we were out and am paying for that in lack of fruit and thus being lower on nutrients than I'd like, but still. That's why I take a vitamin. I can't cover all my bases while living and interacting with carnivorous sugar addicts.

ETA: Okay, back, at the end of the day, and I have gone over 1200 by a few calories. I shouldn't have had that milky way bar, but ah, well. Still, I'm glad to report that my day went fairly well.

Breakfast: 1 egg + spinach frittata, along with a half cup of orange juice to accommodate my multivitamin
Treat: Milky Way bar
Lunch: Romaine lettuce with 1/4 cup pecans, baybel cheese, and some balsamic vinaigrette.
Snack: 1/4 cup almonds
Dinner: 3.5 oz mahi-mahi, a few sweet potato fries, a large portion of parmesian green beans
Post-post dinner workout: an attempt at consuming a protein shake, but I wasn't hungry

And that brings me almost exactly where I want to be. Without the MW, that's 51g carbs, though I probably would have had a few carbs worth of cranberries or something. Ah, well, the extra carbs are worth it now and again.

I'm still trying to work out how not to rely on protein powders for a large percentage of my protein, but, outside of half a dozen eggs a day, I don't know if that'll be happening. I'll try adding in yogurt - the cultures are something I want to add, too.