Archive for the ‘Books’ Category

Thanks Dr. Barnard

Friday, July 20th, 2012

Neal BarnardWhen I first found out that I was having some pretty serious health problems I wasn’t quite sure what to do.  It made sense that being told you’re a diabetic means you have to change the way you eat, but how was a big question.  Thankfully a family friend who happens to be a physician recommended Dr. Barnard’s book “Program for Reversing Diabetes”.  I will admit that it’s a pretty radical diet.  I will also admit that I don’t actually follow it that stridently any more even though I should probably get a little closer to it than I a now.

Dr Barnard advocates a strict Vegan diet no matter what ailments you are suffering from.  He has a number of books out that more or less advocate the same style of eating .  It comes down to eliminating all meat and animal products from your eating habits and severely limiting the amount of fat you consume.

For three months I stuck to it and I must say I felt a lot better for it.  However, being a chef and general lover of food I found it really difficult to sustain.  I like meat, I love cheese and although I don’t have a particularly sweet tooth I had been consuming WAY to much sugar.  Physically and mentally I felt amazing when I imposed his limitations, except for the intense craving for my savoury favorites.   Allowing myself a meat dinner once a week took the edge off and it didn’t seem to screw up things too badly.

A dietician cautioned me about not getting enough fat in my diet and I understood her reasoning.  Commonly held belief says we need approximately 24 grams of fat a day to maintain a healthy balance in our bodies and trust me when you honestly break it down, that’s not very much.  Well Neal Barnard’s plan calls for quite a bit less than that.  Remember it is extremely important with a vegan diet to make sure you are getting enough protein as well.

So although I do recommend having a look at his logic and success rate it is also important to me to have a lifelong sustainable food plan that isn’t going to drive me away too easily.  My tastes have certainly changed from taking Dr. Barnard’s recommendations.  Sweets are really unpleasantly too sweet for me and I really don’t miss the cheese too much.  My feeling is that it’s more important to not go crazy obsessing about any eating format but to also not use that for an excuse to just let healthy eating fall by the wayside. His books contain excellent resources and tips for improving your diet at the very least.  The recipes (sorry Bryanna Clark Grogan) are not really all that enticing and contain far  too many artificially low-fat, fake meat sort of components.  I prefer more naturally occurring and self made alternatives whenever possible.

I’m still looking for the right balance.  Right now a little closer to a vegan diet would help me out and as I write this I feel I can get back there again.

Wish me luck and good health and I wish the same for you.

Click on the picture above to get to some of Dr. Neal Barnard’s videos on youtube.

Very interesting Mr. Taubes

Thursday, May 10th, 2012

Gary TaubesMr Taubes is a highly qualified physicist and journalist who has a self admitted love connection with science.  He seems genuinely interested in presenting the correct information in regard to subjects that traditionally have a status quo approach from the scientific community.  Although he has many books regarding what health really means, the one I’m presenting today is called “Why we get fat: and what to do about it”.  If you click on the picture above you will be able to see his hour long lecture at OSUMC.  This lecture covers the how more than the what to do about it but I suppose I’ll have to get the book for that.   Rarely am I able to watch a long lecture but Gary Taubes manages to run through the facts quickly and thoroughly enough to keep me engaged.  His quirkiness and wit serve him well.  He would have been a favourite professor of mine had I actually taken any courses he would teach.  You can find his website here.  If you are interested in any of his books you can check them out here.  Even though his current passion seems to be health, he has also written about “Bad Science” and seems determined to break free from the dogma that surrounds many scientific beliefs.

In this lecture he covers the factual evidence that links obesity to poverty (yes that ‘s right obesity is linked to not having enough as opposed to having too much).  The genetic traits that govern body size and shape and the over abundance of carbohydrates in the diet that is helping to cause the obesity “epidemic” in today’s North American society.  Fascinating.  Have a watch.

Meals That Heal Inflammation

Wednesday, April 25th, 2012

I’m going to be upfront, Julie is a friend of mine from our teenage years and I swear she looks just like she did back then.  Right there should tell you she’s onto something that is keeping her glowing and youthful.  We haven’t been in touch too much in the last twenty years but seeing her in public appearances I can tell she is still the same kind, honest, genuine and positive person she has always been.   She tells you the story of her journey in the introduction so you will get a sense of who she is right from the start.  Now that that’s out of the way onto her book.

“Every day that I choose a healthy option is one in which I can feel greater clarity, fluidity, energy and happiness.  Every day that I choose a healthy option is also one in which I can feel the gratitude of wellness.” -quote from ‘Meals that Heal Inflammation’

The plan set out in MTHI is geared toward creating a healthy sustainable meal plan that will eliminate foods and food triggers that are less than productive for your body.  We all have sensitivities to some foods.  Unless of course you have an iron stomach but unfortunately with the kinds of foods available to us and the environments we live in that is unlikely.  Inflammation in the body and of course reducing that inflammation is the important message here.  It is a concept that is coming up more and more in recent health research (please look it up).  Julie gives great references to research throughout to support the principles she’s laying out.  The book is structured in a logical and easy to read pattern.  Lots of understandable charts and reference guides help to make it a book I will enjoy keeping on my shelf.  Psychological connections to certain foods and negative eating  patterns are addressed off the top.  The elimination diet would benefit anyone and she presents it in a gentle, forgiving way. Mental preparation is an important part of the plan as you need to be truly ready to commit to the whole thing.  As is pointed out frequently, the elimination part is short term.  If you follow the instructions it should take about 6 months to come up with the right food future for yourself.  Advocating a lifestyle change is something I feel strongly about and that is definitely what is being proposed in MTHI.  This is not a quick fix.  This is about you as an individual realizing that having a healthy body will give you a longer, pain-free and more mentally balanced future.  As I pass through the early 40′s I choose to be better to myself physically and mentally.  You deserve to feel that good too.  If you experience joint pain, insulin resistance, gut distress or really, any other physical discomfort you should seriously consider going through the program outline in MTHI.  Remember always talk to your health care professional first.

My chef-ness compels me to talk about the recipes of course.  Most of then are simple and easy to follow.  Be warned though you will have to become familiar with items at your local organic/health food grocery.  Don’t be afraid most of them are easy to prepare and the book gives you those techniques.  Just have fun with it.  I like to think of it all as a great and exciting experiment; something you can positively embrace.  The more you embrace it the easier it will become because you will feel better.

After the 6 months of doing this I’m pretty confident you will completely understand why you did it and why you won’t go back to your old ways.

Find her book here.