Friday, February 28, 2014

Balanced Bites

     I just discovered these podcasts on the site Balanced Bites by Diane Sanfilippo and Liz Wolfe a few weeks ago and I love them. I recommend that everyone I know listen to this episode," Calories, Do They Matter?" , episode 128. It has convinced me to buy her book, Eat the Yolks. So, I'm excited for that. But with this episode, I really enjoyed the entire calorie conversation. It is something I realized about 15 years ago, when I learned this whole calories in = calories out nonsense was maybe not true. I couldn't get away from it though, because everyone said it was true. I think that this is an idea pushed by people who do not need to count calories.... She makes a real nice point of how come we accept this theory to be fact when it works, but we ignore the implication when it doesn't work. This makes me wonder, do we think all overweight people are a bunch of liars when a patient tells the doctor or the dietitian, " I don't really eat that much" or "I counted my calories for 2 weeks at 1200 calories a day and I didn't lose anything"? I think at some point the medical community needs to take into account what people are saying. And maybe then, they will be able to realize that it is not the law of thermodynamics, of calories in equals calories out. The body is a more complex system and we have hormones that are determining how those calories are used.
     I liked that they talked about the set point theory in the podcast. I had read about this theory about 8 years ago, before I ever heard about paleo. Basically, your body wants to stay at a set point weight. There are different things that determine what that weight is and hence a lot of research is being done trying to identify these factors. However, the body wants to keep a stable weight, and does a pretty good job doing so. Things can happen that change the set point to a higher or lower weight and then people can feel pretty stuck in that weight.  And I don't remember the author's name or even the name of the book, but his solution to overcoming your body's" set point" was to eat a highly micro nutrient (vitamins, minerals, phytonutrients) dense diet based on whole foods and to get rid of all the processed foods, especially the foods that hide in the health food isle (all those low-fat, fat-free, 100 calorie packs kinda stuff). He also said to take out grains, with the exception of oatmeal, where he sited research talking about the insulin response to oatmeal vs other grains. I don't remember him talking about inflammation, which I've learned a lot about in recent years.
For me this book was really eye opening, because it was the first time I thought that there is a difference between the lean cuisine dinners I ate frequently and the dinners I cooked up from scratch. It made me see food differently and I went to school to study nutrition not too long after.
     In the podcast for Balanced Bites, in relation to the set point theory, they are talking about how calories don't really matter. Thank you! I am glad other people are saying it. Counting calories never did a darn thing for me. I have been trying to get away from calorie counting in my own life and I'm not sure if I still held that calorie dogma in posts on this blog. But it is a dogma that we have been fed and people cannot get away from it Anyway, I digress, in the podcast, they talk about how we need to pay attention to the micornutrients and the quality of our food. When people are eating nothing but low quality food that has very little vitamins and minerals and a ton of calories from sugar, than #1 a person will eat more because their body is not satisfied from this food, and #2 this food will affect their hormone balance and cause excess weight gain. It doesn't necessarily have anything to do with how many calories a label says is in that food. If a person just cuts down and that food but does not get the right amount of micronutrients that their body needs to function, they won't necessarily lose any weight. And that's when you go to the doctor and say," What's wrong? I am eating 1200 calories a day and I am recording every bite I take and I am eating low fat food and I don't eat candy, but I am losing nothing". And because the doctor has no answer to this, he or she will say that you are not really eating as much as you say. You are overestimating your portions or you are not exercising enough. Honestly, I think this calorie nonsense breeds eating disorders. People get obsessed with counting calories in and calories out and the point of food, which is to nourish the body, is completely lost. I'm sure there are other factors for eating disorders, but this doesn't help.
      I really liked this podcast. They have a lot of interesting topics that they speak about. It seems like more and more people are getting on board with eating real foods and forgetting this low-fat, prepackaged nonsense we are told to eat by commercials. Maybe there will be an upswing when in comes to health in this country.

Wednesday, February 26, 2014

Cross Fit?

I am currently in a small group training class twice a week. However, my favorite trainer will be on maternity leave for a few months. I love my training class and unless I am running or swimming or doing a cycle class, I have no idea what to do with myself at the gym. I know lots of exercises. I have workout books and lots of links online, but I get so much more out of being in the class with people I know and the trainer that really motivates me.
Everything I hear about Cross Fit, tells me that this is the atmosphere I would like. But here are some of the issues that make me hesitant:
People I know who have tried it say they felt lost and behind. Of course, any exercise you do makes you feel out of whack the first few times. People say they get injured, because they were not shown proper form. That speed was more important than form.
I also cannot get anyone to go with me, and since I am such an introverted person, I'm afraid I would feel too self conscious.
The reasons I really want to try it:
The people who Cross Fit look amazing
Cross Fit Games - I would never do it, but it's cool to know that people who do this actually are top notch athletes.
I'm still on the fence, but I'm gonna harass people I know, until I find someone to go with me. I have never had a workout buddy. Everyone, I know really sucks. For real, who the hell just makes the conscious decision not to exercise. 

Thursday, February 20, 2014

More about organ meats

I am realizing that organs are nature's multivitamin. Not only do they have many different vitamins and minerals, but they have the correct forms that you can actually absorb. I have been searching for amounts of how much of this liver do I actually need to eat to get the benefits. I actually found some outdated information that is being passed off as a current recommendation (if you care about the actual research in nutritional science at all and accept it as outdated), that disturbs me. This link from LiveStrong was annoying. They are still recommending against organ meat due to cholesterol, which is absurd. One thing it talks about is vitamin A toxicity. I want to find out how much liver you would have to eat to actually become toxic. I also want know about liver eating for pregnant women.
I found this very interesting article on the Westen Price Foundation, that is really worth a read. They site the scientific article responsible for the liver vitamin A warning.
"Unfortunately, FDA and other agencies warn pregnant women to avoid foods like liver and cod liver oil, claiming that too much vitamin A from these foods can cause birth defects. The study usually cited in support of these warnings was carried out in 1995 at the Boston University School of Medicine and published in the New England Journal of Medicine.5 In the study, researchers asked over 22,000 women to respond to questionnaires about their eating habits and supplement intake before and during pregnancy. Researchers found that cranial-neural crest defects increased with increased dosages of vitamin A; but neural tube defects decreased with increased vitamin A consumption, and no trend was apparent with musculoskeletal, urogenital or other defects.
This study is a poor rack on which to hang the myriad warnings that have kept pregnant women from eating liver and taking cod liver oil. Researchers made no distinction between synthetic vitamin A derived from multivitamins and processed food like margarine, and natural vitamin A from food; nor did they take blood samples to determine vitamin A status. Food recall surveys are a notoriously inaccurate method of determining nutrient intake."
So basically this warning against eating liver, comes from a food recall study (where you remember what you ate the day before and write it down?) and it didn't distinguish supplements from the form of vitamin A in liver. The article also goes on to talk about the necessity of Vitamin A in fetal development.
It also talks about safe levels of vitamin A from food sources, very important, because supplemental vitamin A can have negative health affects.
"A 1999 study carried out in Rome, Italy found no congenital malformations among 120 infants whose mothers consumed an average of 50,000 IU of vitamin A per day.7 Some participants consumed up to 300,000 IU vitamin A daily during pregnancy with no birth defects in the offspring. An average of 50,000 IU vitamin A per day is consistent with our recommendation of cod liver oil to supply 20,000 IU per day plus additional vitamin A in liver, butter, seafood and egg yolks"
This article also supplies sources (:
Here is what they say about Vitamin A toxicity, again the full article is worth a read.

"We have pointed out that concerns about vitamin A toxicity are exaggerated. While some forms of synthetic vitamin A found in supplements can be toxic at only moderately high doses, fat-soluble vitamin A naturally found in foods like cod liver oil, liver, and butterfat is safe at up to ten times the doses of water-soluble, solidified and emulsified vitamin A found in some supplements that produce toxicity.(1) Additionally, the vitamin D found in cod liver oil and butterfat from pasture-raised animals protects against vitamin A toxicity, and allows one to consume a much higher amount of vitamin A before it becomes toxic.(1-3) Liver from land mammals is high in vitamin A but low in vitamin D, and should therefore be consumed with other vitamin D-rich foods such as lard or bacon from pasture-raised pigs, egg yolks, and oily fish, or during months in which UV-B light is sufficient to provide one with adequate vitamin D.
As a general guideline, we recommend the following doses of vitamin A from cod liver oil, along with a nutrient-dense diet that contains other vitamin A-rich foods:
  • Children age 3 months to 12 years: A dose of cod liver oil that provides about 5000 IU vitamin A daily, obtained from about 1 teaspoon of regular cod liver oil or ½ teaspoon of high-vitamin cod liver oil.
  • Children over 12 years and adults: A maintenance dose of cod liver oil that provides about 10,000 IU vitamin A daily, obtained from 2 teaspoons of regular cod liver oil or 1 teaspoon of high-vitamin cod liver oil.
  • Pregnant and nursing women: A dose of cod liver oil that provides about 20,000 IU vitamin A daily, obtained from 4 teaspoons regular cod liver oil or 2 teaspoons high-vitamin cod liver oil.
Please note that these recommended doses are 2-5 times greater than the U.S. RDA for children, 4 times greater than the U.S. RDA for adults and 8 times greater than the U.S. RDA for pregnant women. The RDA values are based on studies conducted in the general population, which is now recognized to be largely deficient in vitamin D. For a discussion of studies showing that vitamin A consumption up to 30,000 IU per day by pregnant women does not result in a greater risk of birth defects, see Vitamin A for fetal development. This article also describes the vital role played by vitamin A in the development of the fetus. Pregnant women may wish to consult their health practitioner about taking cod liver oil during pregnancy.
Individuals under stress or wishing to use cod liver oil to treat a disease condition may take much larger doses, even up to doses providing 90,000 IU vitamin A per day, for a period of several weeks."
I made chicken livers last night from a yummy recipe from Melissa Joulwan , I left out the cumin and cloves, because of the salicylic acid (makes me sick) and I used fresh grated garlic. The coconut coating gave it a more palatable texture. I still need to get used to liver, but this was okay. For my kids I chopped it up really small and mixed it in their meatballs. They knew something was different, but didn't know what, so they cautiously ate it. Them acting like I am poisoning them when I feed them is getting really old.
We were just in Mexico getting plenty of sun and vitamin D, so I'm not worried about Vitamin A toxicity. I tell you what though, I am gonna buy some cod liver oil and start making them take it. That gives Vitamin A and Vitamin D. And to think society tells us not to eat these things but to take Flinstones vitamins, ever read the ingredients to that?

Monday, February 17, 2014

Easy Recipe: Chicken Liver Paté

I'm trying to eat more organ meats. I didn't particularly like the taste, should I try this recipe? I only know pate from shows like Frazier. I never imagined actually eating it myself. This recipe is from Balanced Bites
Easy Recipe: Chicken Liver Paté

Yanni - One Man's Dream (Piano) [50% Speed]

With all my organ meat, micro-nutrient posts, I haven't talked about my musical progress. I am trying to work through this set of instruction books. I'm 3/4's through book 1. There are also these tutorials of specific songs at 50% pace, which shows the keys to play. I don't know how I feel about this. I want to learn to be able to read music and play anything. On the other hand, I don't have a teacher to watch play, so this kind of does the trick.
P.S. My 6 year old son is almost playing this song from this tutorial...
I'm gonna get him a teacher. I think he's a musical prodigy(: I know all parents think their kids are geniuses. Like, we really believe everything they do is a sign of a special, rare talent. But realistically, I think that if he gets lessons he will learn how to play well. He's not a musical genius....

Saturday, February 15, 2014

Chopped Liver

I am back! I had the best 6 days in Cancun, Mexico. We stayed at the Westin Lagunamar and it had the nicest pool ever. The beach was perfect and the weather was warm. At that time Colorado was in the below zero range, so great time to escape.
A dolphin swimming by at Xel-Ha

This is what I swim in, a burquini, the best invention ever

 P.S. I don't get sunburned

For real, I noticed so much sunburn. Ladies, it is not cute to be burnt as red as a lobster. Put on some sunscreen or a shirt. It was hard to keep my kids from getting burned. Coming from Colorado, they had no tan so they weren't ready for sun. We went through all our sunscreen and by the end we were putting Desitin , yes Desitin (it's zinc oxide) on their noses. We are all very tan now ;).

I am sick of tortillas and cheese, so it's time to eat some healthier food again. I am trying to eat more nutrient dense food and according to Chris Kresser, who wrote a really nice book, Your Personal Paleo Code, liver is the most nutrient dense food. Now, I've been hearing in the Paleo blog world about organ meats for a while and I do eat some of these. The general reaction when I mention organ meats is, "Oh my God, yuck" or something along those lines. But, don't knock it if you haven't tried it. I cook lamb head once a week, in the crock pot for about 16 hours with onions and salt and pepper. (you won't find that in a easy-made crock pot recipes book ;) I like the brain and the tongue. I have had BBQ'ed kidney and heart, and they weren't bad either. However, I didn't like liver. So I made some liver and onions for breakfast (that's the only way I have ever heard of how to eat this) It's not bad but the taste is something to get used to. I don't think I could ever get the kids to eat this.

Wednesday, February 5, 2014

Soaking Grains

I would like to go Paleo, but I do miss grains. With some trial and error, I do agree that wheat does irritate my gut :( Also, I have done some reading (link) on how sugar and wheat disrupt the body's bacteria balance. Here is an easy to read news article that talks a little about stomach bacteria and celiac (it says having more exposure to bacteria strengthens the immune system and may protect against allergies and autoimmune disorders).
I am in need of snacks for travel, and Paleo snacks are hard to take. #1 My husband asked me to make him something with bread, regardless if I agree in eating bread or not. #2 My kids want their old, unhealthy, gut killing snacks. I decided to go gluten free for the kids (husband can have his bread). I got them those almond/rice crackers they are selling now, which actually taste good. I got some raisins and nuts, which are yuck. I want to make some sandwiches and wraps but I don't like the gluten free bread. I found some teff wraps at the store. They have a little more substance than the other gluten free brands I've seen. It became softer when warmed and tasted like a regular wrap. Not exactly but good enough.
I decided to do a little paleo research about teff. This is a seed and it does contain anti-nutrients. It is not Paleo at all. However, it is gluten free, so good enough. I did come across this link Traditional Grain Preparation for Better Health. This article talks about how soaking the grains overnight removes the anti-nutrients.Also, soaking them over night allows "good bacteria" like lactobacilli to ferment the grain and break down the anti-nutrients. I don't know how this bread was prepared, but for making Ethiopian Injera (made from Teff), the grains are mixed with a starter to sour it, thus accomplishing the same thing. It also talked about soaking oatmeal to deactivate the anti-nutrients. I plan on bringing oatmeal back in my life, I've missed it!
I will be off the grid for a few days. Enjoy the rest of the week!

Tuesday, February 4, 2014

One more thing...

Hey, if you read a post, leave a comment! I want to know what you think.

Awesome Recipe

     I have had Orange-Cranberry muffins before and I found them revolting, So I don't know why I made this recipe. Maybe, because I have a ton of frozen cranberries and I don't know what to do with them. I went and bought orange juice concentrate that I have never bought in my entire adulthood and I used my cranberries in the freezer, skipped the almonds and used walnuts. These taste so good. Maybe, it's the almond/coconut flour combo instead of wheat flour that makes them so good. I'm not sure, but they taste great. I omitted the sugar the recipe asked  for, because the OJ concentrate is very sweet. You can get this recipe from ThePaleoMom. (:
  I made these because I am super stressed about applying to my dietetic internship. It was really stressful to set up all my rotations and now I have to put all the paperwork together and send off my application. I am terrified of not getting matched. If you don't know about the dietetic internship, basically you can get a degree or 2 or 3 in nutrition, but you cannot be a Registered Dietitian without completing a one year internship. Space is very limited. When I started school, they told me 50% chance. It seemed okay,  if you are at the top of your class. However, in lovely Colorado, there are even less internships and if you want to stay here, the chance is like 3%.
     There is an option called Distance Internships, where you have to set up all your rotations yourself and then you can apply to more programs (still not all of them, because it depends on who has contracts with who). Now, you'd think  this would increase your chances; however, every other student who graduated from one of Colorado's 5 nutrition programs knows that this is the only way to go if you're not leaving the state, and they are all setting up rotations and applying to these programs as well.
Match day is April 6th and I am so anxious about when I go online to see if I am rejected or not. I feel it is such a game of chance. I have a strong application, I set up all my rotations, but so did everyone else and the space is so limited. 30 spots outa 120 applicants for one of my internships?!
Let me go stress eat some muffins now.
BTW, the sour cranberries (which I usually detest) taste great with the orange juice sweetened cake. I think the problem with other cranberry muffins is the cake is way sweeter and that just makes the cranberries taste that much sourer...not sure if that's a real word.

Sunday, February 2, 2014

Another Marathon?

     I wanted to run the Colfax Marathon again. I wanted to do it under 5 hours. Then I started thinking of the last marathon and how something happened, be it pneumonia or an asthma attack (it was really hard to breath, probably why it took so long) and I don't know if it is healthy to run a marathon. I like to boast that nothing happened to me and my knees and back are all in good shape. I strength train and I do yoga, so I think I have a very balanced exercise regimen. However, that is so much stress to put on your body. Okay, but the Olympics is coming up and they train longer and harder than I ever have for anything and they're healthy, right?
     When I searched to find what are the common health problems among Olympians and other athletes I came across this article The Biggest Health Problems Among Olympians. Guess what it is? Asthma! It apparently is common in endurance athletes such as marathon runners. The theory is that they cause damage to their lungs with the deep, intense breathing. Also, the article says the cold air among winter Olympians is damaging and then there is the pollutants from the ice rink chemicals and polluted air in general. Maybe, I'm not imagining it and I didn't just have some freak 4 week cold when running my marathon. The breathing problems started during my training when I started running the long  runs at like 16 miles. After 20 miles, I actually took some time off of running and went of schedule for 10 days hoping to feel better before the marathon. I thought I was and then marathon day, I could not breath after the first 5 miles.
       I am running the Colfax Marathon Relay this year. I will be doing a leg that is 6.something miles. I wanted to do it fast. While getting back into running I decided to start with 2 miles and run as fast as I could. You can guess it, my lungs burned and I started wheezing! I do not have asthma, so what the heck is that? Maybe, I should go to the doctor. But I think if something really is wrong they will just give me an inhaler and I'm not big on steroids (they make me fat,dare I say it? Yes they do. And I rather have asthma then get fat)
A friend of mine also wants to run a marathon this year. She asked me to do it with her and I remember asking everyone I know to train with me and them refusing, so I told her I would run the half with her. So, I need to get this breathing thing figured out before May 4th. #1, I supposedly ran a marathon before, right? I'm supposed to be an athlete (lol). So, she cannot out-perform me. The competitive streak that I didn't think I had is rising to the surface. #2, for the Colfax Relay May 18th, I have made a big stink about how we are only as fast as our slowest runner. One of those team members is my 55 year old mother and then people who are just starting to run. I cannot be the slowest runner.
     Came across this article: Former asthma sufferer runs 356 marathons in a year. For real? I don't even know how that is possible. He did it in different countries and that means he was flying across the ocean the day he completed a marathon and then ran a marathon the day he landed. After flying from Denver to Cancun I need an entire day to recover before I can start my vacation of relaxing by the pool and getting massages.
     I guess I am self-diagnosing myself. I don't think I really have exercise induced asthma. I don't know what qualifies as asthma. Don't out of shape people huff and puff if they start to run all of the sudden? I was reading this blog: Running With Asthma, and one, it convinced me that I don't have asthma (I'm not on 4 medications) and two, she said something that made sense. She was talking about running with asthma and said the lungs need to be worked consistently like any muscle. You need to train them to get them ready. Maybe, during the marathon I did too much too fast? Maybe there is a little exercise induced inflammation happening as well. And since I really haven't done any distant running since last May, now I need to slowly add miles and speed and train my lungs.We'll see if I am wheezing and unable to breath this year.

Turkish Coffee

I will learn how to make this stuff!
I also made eggs with my left over guac and mango salsa
But by the time I got the damn coffee right the food was cold and I didn't  want it...I ate the mango salsa and then my dog enjoyed the rest.
The coffee did taste good. I should of googled directions the first time around. It is supposed to boil and then you remove it from heat before it boils over. This took a few tries. Here is the link I used, Turkish Coffee. These directions are different from a few others I looked at, but I like the results. I don't know if it is authentic Turkish coffee or not. But my little copper pot looks authentic enough (: