A few random thoughts about nutrition

Nutrition is like jihad sometimes. For some reason, it is as personal as religion or politics, and people sometimes treat a discussion of nutrition like this year’s Democrat Primary – it can get ugly. I am not trying to sell anything, and I don’t have an axe to grind. I do know, however, that my nutrition and eating needs an overhaul.

I do have a personal stake in all of this. My father had a major heart attack at 53. His father died at 59 after having the Big One. Dad was one of the first patients put on Mevacor, one of the first statins.  He developed vasculitus a few years later, and the thinking was that the Mevacor caused it. He recovered, but was never the same.

I am on a (different) statin as well due to high cholesterol and family history. However, I have very low triglycerides. My primary goal with my nutritional tune up is to see if I can get off the statin. Say what you will about statins (I believe they are the one of the most prescribed medications in this country), but I have a family history of a bad reaction to a statin and I have a fundamental issue with having blood drawn every six months to make sure the statin isn’t eating my liver. Bad news is that my GP is very pro-statin. Good news is that I have found a cardiologist willing to do a more complete blood profile and discuss alternatives to statins.

I ate horribly the first 37 years of my life. About 2 years ago, I weighed 210 on a 5’10” frame. I gradually lost about 30 pounds since then through sensible eating and exercise. Naturally, I am thin, and I think I have about 20 lbs left to give which will get me to about 160. I am good at maintaining my weight within a narrow band, so once I meet my secondary goal of weighing about 160 before year end, I’ll be able to stay within that 160-165 range. Although I do exercise regularly, I give sensible eating 80% of the credit for my past weight loss.

Eating is an intentional activity, or at least it should be.  It is quite easy to eat badly in this country. Something in our society has changed since I was a child. Mealtimes are rushed, and there is a plethora of supersized fast food available at almost every corner. What happened to a slow, leisurely meal with meat and veggies?

Nutritionally, I think the biggest change is the pervasive use of corn – high fructose corn syrup, corn fed beef, corn fed chickens, even corn fed fish.  See any problems here? I don’t have any problems with corn – it’s probably a nutritious vegetable that for some reason doesn’t taste good to me. I do wonder if it’s a good idea to be feeding our livestock, poultry, and fish corn based meal, and I do wonder if it’s a good idea to use corn as sweetener.

Americans in general eat much less fat than 40 years ago. We eat more carbohydrates, but we’re fat as a society.  I am not a doctor or scientist, but the Office of Common Sense does wonder if it could be crabohydrates in the refined sense that are making us fat? I need to do some studying and research.

I have begun an experiment of one. I gave up refined carbohydrates a couple of days ago and am instead getting my carbohydrates from vegetables and fruits. I am on what I think is an extended sugar crash/craving, but I have prevailed so far and stayed away from foods with rapidly metabolizing sugars or starches. When I have had a craving outside of mealtime, I have put a teaspoon of heavy cream in a cup of decaf coffee which seems to quell the sugar demons.

Besides being irritable and having a headache, the only thing I’ve noticed two days in is that my training session tonight was, well, much easier. For completeness, this is the fourth day in a row I have trained. I look forward to continuing this experiment to see what other differences I notice without refined carbohydrates.

Step back in over the next few months to see what I discover in my reading and continuing nutritional experiment on me.


One Response to “A few random thoughts about nutrition”

  1. od Says:

    Good luck with the diet. I’ve recently started a similar low-carb diet: eliminated cereal grains except for one bowl of oatmeal in the morning, remainder of diet meat, cheese, eggs, vegetables and fruit, staying away from low-return items like potatoes and bananas. I started after reading The Great Cholesterol Con by Colpo — highly recommended for his analysis of the real causes of heart disease and for his dietary suggestions.

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