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Archive for the ‘BIG Picture’ Category

Food Inc 

This is definitely one of those films that not many people would want to see, but everyone really really should NEEDS to see it.  I’m not just talking for their own good, but also for the good of other people, and even the planet itself.  It cracks me up that the kinds of images shown and points made in the film cause most people to look the other way, perhaps even more than before, or they avoid watching things like this altogether for fear that they will not want to continue to eat what they like. 

What kind of thinking is this??  How could you not want to know where your food comes from?  If someone is worried that they will be grossed out by something in the movie, then really that’s even more reason to see it.  Pretending that all food is produced in a clean and healthy environment does not make it true, and in fact will probably make it further and further from the truth.  Knowing the truth can help make things better, and by making better choices we can influence the type of food production industries that will thrive and actually want to make us healthy, rather than fat and sick.

Contributors/Interviewees of this film include:

Michael Pollan – author of The Omnivore’s Dilemma: A Natural History of Four Meals, and the sequal, In Defense of Food: An Eater’s Manifesto.

Eric Schlosser – author of Fast Food Nation.

VERY unfortunately, the movie was not widely released.  Go here to see if it is playing in your area.

A bit about the film from its website:

“In Food, Inc., filmmaker Robert Kenner lifts the veil on our nation’s food industry, exposing the highly mechanized underbelly that has been hidden from the American consumer with the consent of our government’s regulatory agencies, USDA and FDA. Our nation’s food supply is now controlled by a handful of corporations that often put profit ahead of consumer health, the livelihood of the American farmer, the safety of workers and our own environment.”

“Food, Inc. reveals surprising—and often shocking truths—about what we eat, how it’s produced, who we have become as a nation and where we are going from here.”

You can find a trailer for the movie there, or on a previous post I did.

Take the whole family.  Seriously.  This is a subject people should be talking about and concerned over.

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elephant-slideTimes are tough.  People are losing their jobs!  Most of us need to pay more attention to where our money is going because of the uncertainty about the near future.

When disasters happen, people often say:

Well, at least we’ve got our health.”

I think people need to make sure that they really believe that, and are not just saying something that sounds good to make themselves feel better, like they are attempting to look on the bright side.

Being healthy, and maintaining health should always remain a priority, and we should be especially diligent about paying attention to that in hard times!

I always think it’s rather odd when people I know brag to me about how inexpensive something they ate, or are about to eat, was.  This doesn’t seem like something I would want to brag about.  

Think about it like this:  What’s the most common thought that someone has when discovering that a material possession they have that has broken, was inexpensive and/or cheaply made?

I guess you get what you pay for!”

Indeed!  

Shouldn’t this phrase have ten-fold meaning when talking about food???

When I hear someone bragging that they bought a food product or a meal for “x” amount of money, and it seems relatively pretty cheap, I just CAN’T HELP but think about all of the resources that it took to plant, grow, harvest, produce, package, transport, market, and retail that item or meal, and wonder how it is possible that anyone is making any money off something so inexpensive!  They do it by cutting costs every way they can, and often that means providing a sub-par product.  Cutting costs when it comes to something I’m going to eat, does not sound good to me.  

Cutting costs results in salmonella and e-coli contamination.

Cutting costs results in unsafe food temperatures during transportation.

Look…  Modern transportation, refrigeration, and manufacturing has provided us with more and more food products daily, and at lower prices.  This of course can be a good thing too!  Produce is available year-round in most places.  To me, that is convenience food.  

I’m certainly not made of money, and I’m not saying that we shouldn’t be frugal at the grocery store too if we’re concerned about money.  I’m just saying that maybe we should put a little more thought into it when picking our battles over what to spend our money on.  Food choice is an important battle to think about.

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is-not-fat-is-just-fluffyFrom a recent exchange a few posts back:

R, D & MJ

I would like to start by saying that this blog must be a joke.
I would also like to mention that fat is actually one of the healthiest things you can eat, as long as it is the right fat from the right food source.
If this blog is not a joke then you are an idiot.

To which I said:

McBloggenstein

Although I use humor a lot, I’m afraid it’s not a joke.

I welcome you to elaborate on what kinds of fat you believe are beneficial. I am quite aware of them, but you seem to think that I believe that all fat is bad, when I have never said such a thing.

I also welcome you to elaborate on why you think that I am an idiot. Let’s hear it.

Fat is an energy source, like carbohydrates and protein. One major difference, however, is that fat contains 9 calories per gram, vs 4 calories/g for both carbs and protein. This causes a diet of general overeating that is high in fatty foods to be easier to achieve an excess in calories… which are stored as fat when our glucose storage is filled up.

Of course we need some fat in our diets. No one has said that we don’t.

He/She replied:

R, D & MJ

Actually we need a diet of mostly fat. Fat from grassfed animals or milk/dairy products from said animals is probably the best basis for a healthy diet.
But I am not going to get into a long discussion about it. I find the whole concept of your blog to be ofensive and won’t be reading it again.

 

Oh well, there goes another.

For those of you who I don’t scare off, perhaps you wouldn’t mind reading my response…

_____________________

The one valid point you made is that grass-fed cow products are better than (I assume you meant) grain-fed cow products.
 
First, a little knowledge about fat:
 
All fats from food are generally made up of some combination of the following.
  1. Saturated Fats
  2. Monounsaturated Fats
  3. Polyunsaturated Fats (omega 6, omega 3)
The only fats that are essential fatty acids (meaning that it must be obtained from the diet, and cannot be made by the body), are omega-6 and omega-3.  These fats are involved in specific biological processes, and not just used as an energy source.
 
What is considered to be a healthy ratio of omega-6 to omega-3 is roughly between 1:1 to 3:1, respectively.  The typical western diet consists of a profile that can be as high as 30:1, which has been shown to be highly associated with various inflammatory diseases as well as heart disease, rheumatoid arthritis, even strokes.  Grain fed cows produce products with a fat ratio that is anywhere from 6:1 to 20:1, while grass fed cows produce ratios of fat around 3:1, which is ideal.  So, in that respect you are correct.
 
Given this information it may seem that lean grass fed beef and milk seem like pretty good sources of fat.  However, the information about omega fatty acid ratios should not overshadow the rest of the lipid (fat) profile which tells us that obtaining most of our dietary fat from animal sources is a sure way to end up with high cholesterol due to generally higher levels of:
  1. Saturated Fat
  2. Trans Fats (only obtained through animals or processed foods)
Both have been shown to similarly raise LDL (bad) cholesterol, and lower HDL (good) cholesterol, which can then lead to several cardiovascular diseases, and it is well known that heart disease is the number one cause of health related death in the U.S.  Neither of them are essential fats, therefore the best sources of fat in one’s diet would be those that are as low as possible in these two fats that are associated with health risks.
 
Some foods that are great sources of fat in our diets are:
  1. Avocado (mostly monounsaturated fat)
  2. Flax seeds (mostly polyunsaturated omega 3’s, some 6’s, and monounsaturated)
  3. Olive oil (a small amount of saturated, but over 70% monounsaturated, and some poly)
  4. Nuts and seeds (mostly comparable amounts of mono and poly, with a small amount of saturated)
If you must insist that there is a good source of fat other than plants, then I would suggest that some types of fish in one’s diet can be very beneficial.  But only if those fish are proven to not contain high levels of mercury and other fat-soluble pollutants.
 
As you can see, one would be hard pressed to find a non-plant source of fat that does not have many problems associated with it’s particular lipid profile or other contaminants. 
                                                                                     
sirloinLet’s look at Top Sirloin, which is considered to be one of the leanest cuts of beef.  Around 40% of it’s fat profile is from saturated.  Does this look like a typical serving?  It’s actually probably about 4 servings.  What would you be consuming if you ate the whole thing, you ask?  My estimates put it at around 30 grams of fat, and 13 grams of saturated, along with almost an entire days allowance of cholesterol.
                                                                                                  
2% Milk has 5 grams of fat in one cup.  Three of those 5 grams are saturated fat.  That’s 60%.
 
So, my point is that while your assertion that grass fed animal products are better than other amimal products is valid, I do not agree with your claim that a diet in which we get most of our fat from animals is “the best basis for a healthy diet”.  I don’t mind telling you that vegetarians are 24% less likely to die of heart disease.

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dr_evil

Maybe I’m just looking for someone else to talk behind their back about.  I have a new co-worker story…

This co-worker happens to be one of the people that was also shocked at my previous co-worker’s eating habits, which she had those habits despite her obesity and new-found diabetes.  She was my main “informer”, as she talked with her more than I.

This co-worker (we’ll call her…  Jane) is quite open about her diet and habits. 

Jane is one of those people that after practically every meal they complain that they either feel pain because they ate too much, or they are now incredibly sleepy.  Usually it’s both.  She also very regularly complains of a bloated feeling, probably due to excess gas build up caused by constipation.  She has in fact told me that she is often constipated.  Like I said, she is quite open.

I said that Jane “is one of those people” because I have known quite a few people like this.  I used to be one of them, and that never ending cycle of being uncomfortable is what triggered me to look into changing my diet.

She refers to her chronic constipation as her “problem”.  Since I’ve known her, I’ve always made casual suggestions that she should eat more fruit, get more fiber, exercise, etc.  You know, the common stuff that anyone could learn by doing a quick search on the web for “constipation relief”.

So, she actually has been making some efforts to change, but most of these new habits are in vain, and are done in spite of sticking with some bad habits that she refuses to change.  These “efforts” to change include eating fiber bagels (I wasn’t sure she was serious about those), digestion helping yogurt, and sometimes drinking a Slim-Fast type drink for breakfast.  All of these things she doesn’t really enjoy eating, and like I said, she eats these things while the rest of her diet is probably the complete opposite of what someone would eat if hoping to relieve her problems.

So, getting to what she said to me…

She tells me about this idea called Oil Pulling that she hopes may help her problem, and make her feel better in general.  The idea is that you take this oil and put some in your mouth.  You swish it around for a few minutes and spit it out.  Somehow it’s supposed to absorb toxins, and heal you.  (!!!)

If this isn’t a perfect example of modern day Snake Oil, I don’t know what is!

…And says that she thinks that it would be something I would be into, since I seem interested in health.  She couldn’t be more wrong! 

The minute I read what it was, I told her it was complete bullshit, and she said “Well I’m willing to try anything”.

ANYTHING she says!!!!

This is my stern, and very serious reply:

Jane, I can tell you right now how to fix your problem, without a doubt.

(She gets excited…)   “What is it???”

You need to eat more fruits and vegetables, cut back on the dairy (especially cheese), stop drinking alcohol every night, drink more water, and exercise regularly.  Nothing crazy.

(She gets this look on her face like she just ate a lemon)  “Ehh…   I love my cheese!”

Nice.

So, “anything” clearly means:

“anything that is easy and allows me to continue my current habits”

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[from Reuters]

The number of obese American adults outweighs the number of those who are merely overweight, according to the latest statistics from the federal government.

Numbers posted by the National Center for Health Statistics show that more than 34 percent of Americans are obese, compared to 32.7 percent who are overweight.

wallehuman3Hmm…  not much to say about this that hasn’t already been said, is there?  Should the embarrassment speak for itself?  Does this mean that fat people are stealing more food from people that are starving?  Should the people that got upset at the movie Wall-E still be upset, even though it’s more obvious that we seem to be heading in that direction?  And who should they be upset with, but themselves?

I’m embarrassed for our species.

“Although the prevalence of obesity has more than doubled since 1980, the prevalence of overweight has remained stable over the same time period,” it said.

This means that normal weight people have become overweight at the same rate that overweight people have become obese, in order for the overweight category to remain constant.

Can anyone tell me why I shouldn’t be embarrassed?  Why I shouldn’t loath the inevitivity of our future?


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This product came up in discussion with Chris, the administrator of

The Unfat Blog, and My Fat Spouse.

I’m going to let you guess what it is.

Before you click on the links below that take you to the product websites, leave your comment telling us what you think it is.  Then let us know if you were right.

mystery-item-1

mystery-item-2

 

Don’t cheat before you guess!!

Mystery product 1 site

Mystery product 2 site

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Jay, over at her blog Find Your Strength, has a good post about the importance of interval training for everyone, not just athletes.

Jay says:

As you prepare to undertake a new fitness program, don’t get sucked into programs that prescribe hours upon hours of cardio each week. Not only are those kind of workouts ineffective for most people, they pave the way for overuse injury, and, frankly, boredom.

What is an interval training workout? It’s one where you basically work at a high intensity for a period of time, followed by working (or resting) for a period of time. And then you repeat the cycle.

Why should you train this way? There’s a time and a place for steady cardio training. However, if you want to burn serious calories and improve your overall fitness quickly, interval training is for you. You accomplish a lot more in 30 minutes training this way than you would running or walking at the same pace for the whole time.

Great points.  I’ve mentioned at some point before, that 30 minutes of high intensity interval training is probably better than doing 2 hours of steady, slow jogging on the treadmill.  DR’s blog, Healthhabits has done a really good series on HIIT.

With the interval training, you will raise your heart-rate more, and you will also raise your resting metabolic rate, which allows your body to burn more calories while you are just doing your normal everyday activities, including sleeping.

When I read Jay’s post, it made me think of another car/body analogy that I think will help people understand why interval training is best…  I couldn’t resist telling it to you because it might actually be my best analogy yet.

 

Let’s say you have a job that requires you to do a lot of driving.  Your boss is quite eccentric, and he says that you have to put at least one tank of gas into your company car everyday.  You can always stop and put more in if it needs it, but you can never put in less than one tank, and you can’t take any gas out at the end of the day.  If you do not follow this, you will be fired!

Now, your boss is going to actually let you choose your vehicle!

You can choose from:

  • A gas sipping two door Smart car?
  • A gas guzzling SUV with a 400 horsepower V8 Hemi engine?

Oh, and for some reason they both have the same size gas tank.

Which do you choose?

Putting the environment and the cost of gas aside, your job is the most important thing in your life.  Therefore, the vehicle with the biggest engine, that burns the most fuel, would be more likely to require you to need to put more fuel into it, and keep your job.

In this scenario, having a powerful SUV is a good thing.

 

If you only do steady, very low intensity cardio training,  your engine will continue to just sip gas, and it will only sip gas while you are driving it.

Doing shorter bursts of high intensity training is like stop and go driving!  It burns much more gas than slow and steady driving.  ALSO, you’re in luck because your big engine actually leaks gas when you’re not driving it.  So, if you didn’t do much driving (exercise) the day before, your job is safe, and you’ve got plenty of room for more fuel tomorrow.

 

Is everyone thoroughly confused now?  Good.

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