Wednesday, September 10, 2014

2 Weeks in on the Whole 30

I don't actually have much to report, besides the usual - my clothes fit better, I have more energy, my teeth feel awesome (a low-ish starch, zero sugar diet is GREAT for dental health)... also, food has started tasting a lot better.  Sugar really messes up your taste buds, I think - even if you *think* you don't eat a lot of it (for example, no candy or donuts) it's in pretty much every packaged product out there.  Mayo, ketchup, soy sauce, sushi (even the damn wasabi), bread, cereal, etc., etc. )  It all adds up and ends up influencing how you taste.  I won't lie - it's actually really, really hard to avoid all packaged food and sugar (and I haven't, I just read the labels obsessively... but there is very little out there in a package that doesn't have grains, some form of sweetener, some form of dairy, chemicals, soy, or industrial vegetable oils. And - full disclosure - I have allowed myself very tiny cheats in the form of the aforementioned wasabi (I used a pea-sized bit in some coconut aminos for dipping some sashimi the other day) and I have used a few drops of soy-containing sesame oil for flavour here and there.)  But there are definitely a lot of intrinsic reasons to go to the trouble to fully (or almost fully) eliminate the packages.  Right now I am munching on some kohlrabi with homemade guacamole and it is FANTASTIC.  It is exactly the same as a snack I had last month at some point but it tastes so much better.

In other news, I finally found a book on nutrition that I feel like I can recommend without much in the way of caveats: Denise Minger's Death by Food Pyramid.  (Don't get it on Kindle though - the formatting is screwed.) She's famous in the blogosphere for her take-down of the China Study analysis (and data collection methods) and is pretty damn meticulous. This book is reasonably thorough (not nearly as mind-numbingly complex and complete as her China Study posts), and includes a section on how to interpret scientific studies and how much to believe them, and that part at least is well-written enough that it should be adopted by schools and taught to kids from about grade 8 onward.  The history of the USDA food pyramid is okay - interesting, at any rate - but the real strength of the book is in looking at what the current science REALLY says about nutrition and taking the strengths of disparate diets or ways of eating and figuring out what the truly effective parts are of each.  I also like that she is about as unbiased as a person can be - she has her preferences, which she states, but leaves it up to the reader to figure out what he or she should actually be eating.  I also like that she understands and reports the nuances in the research - for example, that it appears that the context of nutrients matters (ie, saturated fat... good in a whole-foods, low-glycemic diet, not so good in a donuts-and-hamburgers diet).   It's definitely a should-read.  (And kudos to Mark Sisson's company for publishing it even though it contains some not-so-veiled references to diet programs that also sell supplements and rely on a personality at the head of them...) 


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