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Archive for May, 2007

The 80/10/10 Diet

Sunday, May 27th, 2007

Yay! It’s finally available via Amazon:

As I have been asked via email (Contact link on right) for my opinion on this book, and having promised as much in a previous comment, I guess it is time to weigh in with my thoughts.

First things first, the presentation. This is a large book with good binding, easy to read type and layout, and well-edited. Approximately half those pages consist of the appendices, which include complete, week-long, menu plans for each season, with nutrition information, a question and answer section, and many testimonials. These are back-pages you’ll actually find yourself reading.

The premise of the diet, and the meaning of its moniker, is that at least 80% of your calories should come from carbohydrates, 10% or less from protein, and likewise for fat.

When I previously looked into raw foodism, I was put off by the high levels of fat. Even if they were good fats like avocados, nuts and seeds, it still seemed excessive. Indeed, Dr. Graham postulates this is the reason many fail when attempting to eat raw. It was refreshing to so quickly find a point of agreement, and I liked that he mentioned Pritikin and Ornish (though he forgot Esselstyn). Furthermore, he has not been swept up in all the coconut hype and describes it as “artery-clogging,” whether heated or not.

The protein recommendation has been more of a struggle for me, despite already having been exposed to the evidence from The China Study (to which he also makes reference) and the more recent methionine restriction studies. I’m still mulling all these over. However, he does a good job making his case, for example, information showing the current RDA’s for protein contain a significant and deliberate safety margin over the minimum physiological requirements.

Now to the bulk of the diet, i.e., What does he want you to eat? We are left with the whopping 80% portion of the macronutrient ratio (what he annoyingly renames the caloronutrient ratio) as carbohydrates. The main contributors are to be fruits and some tender leafy greens. To be avoided: grains (see his Grain Damage), legumes, root vegetables, roughage, and even “condiments,” including garlic and hot peppers.

Although this is one of the more researched books on raw, his support for a frugivorous diet rests largely on poorly-backed assumptions about the nature of free-living animals. The argument seems to be essentially, if you would eat and enjoy it in the wild as is, then it is good. But, if it requires any preparation whatsoever or would be more palatable in combination, then we were not meant to consume it. Like Do What You Love, The Money Will Follow of the late 80′s, this theory could be called Eat What You Love, The Health Will Follow. My fellow CRONies will also have a hard time with his admonition that high fruit necessitates high calories and intense exercise.

I hasten to add I got a lot out of this work, and it has had a clear influence on my diet and thinking. For one, I’ve been having a lot of fun trying many new (to me) tropical fruits! :) And whereas I had already eliminated gluten, now all grains are taking more of a back seat. It reinforced my impression that a raw food diet could and should be low in fat and can be simplicity itself. Perhaps most importantly, it provided some science for the benefits of uncooked foods and the harm done by high heat beyond the usual unsubstantiated enzyme theories, etc..

In conclusion, if you like to be challenged and are willing to put in the effort to discern compelling reason from hyperbolic extrapolation, this book is worth reading. Put into practice, at least to the extent you are convinced, it will surely serve to improve your general well-being.

[FYI: The good doctor is admirably active in answering questions on his forum over at vegsource.com.]

restricting for chess

Monday, May 21st, 2007

I recently received correspondence from Paul McGlothin, Vice President of Research for the Board of the Calorie Restriction Society. He knows I’m a competitive chessplayer and fellow practitioner and thought the following might interest me and others in the chess community.

Paul and his wife Meredith are inveterate self-experimenters and, via extremely diligent testing and record-keeping, they have devised an eating strategy (more accurately, a lifestyle) that maintains optimal (i.e., low) glucose levels for mental clarity and energy. They accomplish this using a combination of calorie restriction, meal and exercise timing, and a ketogenic diet. If high fat plans, like Atkins, just came to mind, you are not alone. What I find intriguing is they purport it can actually be done with consumption of complex carbohydrates!

Here, in his own words, is the concept and goals from the perspective of those desiring improved cognition, such as chessplayers. He has also documented therein several references supporting his position.

This second document is the press release for the workshop they are facilitating in NY from August 10-12 and a description of the research it helps benefit.

Finally, I should mention this lovely couple has a new book due out in October entitled The CR Way: Using the Secrets of Calorie Restriction for a Longer, Healthier Life. You can bet I’ve pre-ordered mine. :)

If anyone ends up attending the hands-on workshop, please let them know you heard about it here, and more importantly, report back. Seeing as I’m not much for travel (just ask my family in NC), I’ll have to live it vicariously.

Mother’s Day

Monday, May 14th, 2007

As is typical for my family when it comes to Sunday holidays, we celebrated the day before. It just tends to be more convenient for all involved. I asked Mom if she felt like being “adventurous” and she agreed. So, I treated her to a raw food picnic. I was more concerned that she would not be satiated than that she wouldn’t like something. I am happy to report neither was an issue! :)

Zucchini pasta with a “meaty” sauce made from fresh and sundried tomatoes, balsamic-marinated baby bella mushrooms and green peppers, diced vidalia onion, fresh basil, a touch of red wine, and other herbs and spices. A sprinkling of brewer’s yeast filled in for the traditional parmesan cheese.

Pickled coleslaw of red cabbage, carrots, daikon radish, lemon juice, apple cider vinegar, dill, mustard, and caraway seeds.

And the pièce de résistance; dessert…

Pear and apple baklava, the latter from Raw in Ten Minutes.

I also brought Mom her first ever avocado! She said she generally likes her fruit sweeter, but rather enjoyed the treat and could understand why others, myself included, like it so. Here’s an old photo I dug up from the archives. ;)

Good food, good weather, and most importantly, good company. A pleasant Mother’s Day indeed. My thoughts are with her today as she undergoes back surgery.
I love you, Mom!


Monday, May 7th, 2007

It’s getting to be that time of year…

Believe it or not, I had never before bought my own watermelon! And for this, my first, I didn’t mess around. :)

Sure, they have the little ones, but they weren’t much reduced in price, so I figured there was no loss if I didn’t manage to get through this beast before it went bad. I think I’ll make it. LOL.

Thanks to my friend Keith, who encouraged me at the grocery store last month, pineapples are now a part of my fruit repertoire too. That’s the greater part of one cut up beside its bigger pal.

I used to think of watermelon as basically just receptacles for sugar water, good only for picnics and little kids. However, it turns out they are very high in vitamin C and even rival the lycopene content of tomatoes! Indeed, they rank among the “World’s Healthiest Foods.” Read all about their healthy goodness here then drink up. I mean, eat up. ;)

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