Tag Archives: diet

Comparing Different Starches

I learned a long time ago that every part of the world lives off of a different grain or staple (a source of starch eaten every day).  In TCM literature, it says, ‘of the five grains, the bean is the most nutritious.’  Beans are a humble food that provide a lot of protein, fiber, and starch.  They are a powerhouse of nutrition.

A lot of people around the world live off of rice, the majority white rice, the minority eat brown rice.  While it is popular and it does sustain life, it is rather high glycemic and not particularly dense in nutrition.

I once read in an old book, ‘the main foodstuff of the African is the sweet potato.’  This tuber is a good source of starch, and you could easily eat them everyday to good result.

Wheat products, like bread and pasta, are a big problem.  While the middle east and Europe have been living off bread for centuries upon centuries, it is not the best crop or staple.  Gluten, the protein found in wheat is allergenic to many, and the wheat itself absorbs a lot of toxins from the environment.

Corn is special.  Some call it a grain while others call it a starchy vegetable.  While not being particularly dense in nutrition, it is a good source of starch and fiber, and it was the mainstay of the native american diet.

Quinoa is a pseudo-grain that is really a flower seed.  It is a lot like brown rice, except it has more fiber and twice the protein content.  It used to be grown in Bolivia and Peru, where it was called ‘the mother grain’.  The protein in quinoa is just as good as any animal protein, balanced in all 8 essential amino acids, and it’s increasing popularity is not without merit.

Potatoes also grow in abundant varieties in the mountains of Peru.  There are over 80 varieties there.  While one does best to avoid idaho russet potatoes, since they are a nightshade, there are other varieties which are much healthier.  Red potato is my favorite.  Yukon Gold is good too.

There are other lesser known staples out there.  But the reason I wrote this post is to remind people that complex carbohydrates, or starch as it is known in its pejorative term, are actually quite important, and one can’t live off of protein and vegetables for very long.  I know sugar restriction is useful for short term weight loss and reordering a bad diet into a healthy diet, but starch will always be the main source of fuel for the human body, and living off of ketone bodies for the rest of your life is not a good idea.

It’s an alarming trend to see Americans cling to low carb dieting without really understanding human history, physiology, nutrition, and the importance of the ecology.  There is a good way to do dieting and there is a wrong way.  Don’t look for quick fixes or slimness in a bottle or Paleo Pie.  They don’t exist.  Human nutrition hasn’t changed in thousands of years, yet science, agriculture, and the media want to lead you astray.

People living outside the West are suffering from food shortages, have no need for nutrition lessons, eat a lot more fiber, and have to walk to get anything for themselves.  The American man doesn’t realize how good he has it, and I hope those who read my blog gain something from my philosophy.

 

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Comparing Different Proteins

Protein is of primary importance.  While no one who eats regularly is really deficient in protein, the more you eat protein, the stronger and more energetic you feel.  In this essay, I will try to give my view on the best protein.

Beans, peas, and lentils, and other legumes like peanut, are actually really good.  They’re vegan, so no one was injured in their production, they’re cheap, and they’re easy to store.  The downsides are the gasiness one might get from eating too much of them, and the general boredom from getting all your protein from them.

Seeds are a good source of vegetarian protein, but it’s not wise to eat more than a small amount per day, since they’re loaded with fat and calories too.

Quinoa is a pseudo-grain that is actually a flower seed but cooked and eaten like rice.  Quinoa is the best plant protein, containing an optimal balance of all 8 essential amino acids.  The problem is it doesn’t taste like anything.

Then you have the mighty chicken egg.  This is the optimal protein, the best one for human nutrition.  Even vegans sometimes don’t mind compromising their standards and eating an egg or two.  They’re that good.

Then you have dairy, like milk, cheese, and yogurt.  I find that these aren’t the best proteins in the world for a slew of reasons.  For starters, cheese is loaded with salt and fat.  Milk has lactose in it, a sugar that causes digestive discomfort and diarrhea.  Yogurt is good protein, can be found in low fat versions, and has less sugar in it because the fermenting bacteria have eaten away most of the lactose.  But i’ve come to the conclusion that the egg is superior to the dairy product in most respects.  There’s no downside to eating eggs, besides animal rights you might say, but there are tremendous downsides to eating milk/cheese/yogurt.  Some science indicates cheese has opiate effects and is therefore addictive.  Other scientists say that the protein in milk is inflammatory and can lead to autoimmune disease.

The fish is the best animal to eat.  I’ve never seen an old fish.  The reason why fish never get fat, old, and wrinkly, is because they are constantly swimming, eat a sea vegetable and smaller fish diet, and the fat underneath their skin is fluid, not solid like lard.  That makes for a healthy animal and a healthy dinner.

Then you have meat, and it doesn’t matter if it’s chicken, duck, cow, pig, sheep, or goat, or anything else.  Meat can be really good or really bad depending on how the animal lived and how strong and healthy it was.

So really, there’s no point in writing this essay, it’s all common information.  My suggestion is to always go lower down on the food chain rather than higher up.  This is better for everyone, you included.  Animals are above birds, birds are above fish, fish are above unfertilized eggs, eggs are above beans and seeds and quinoa and so on.  The lower down it is, the less toxic it is.  The most toxic animal is the human being, because we are the apex predator.

Human beings in the western world often have a choice about what they’re eating.  With a proper education, one can live quite well.

Progress Update

I have made significant changes recently in my own health journey.  I’ve decided the ketogenic diet is not for me.  While low carb, high fat does give you short term results, one invariably adds sugar and starch back to the diet and weight fluctuates.

I’ve become pretty much vegan, and I find this diet helps keep the blood sugar low and the weight in check.  I’ve come to the conclusion that starchy foods are the BEST foods not the WORST foods.  Things like beans, sweet potato, corn, carrot, pea, lentil, quinoa are actually the best foods because they contain fiber as well as starch and vitamins and minerals.

Beans are the humblest food, and yet, still the best.  They combine vegetarian protein, fiber, and complex carbohydrates in the same food, and there is an endless variety of them.  Beans are a way cleaner fuel source than meat.

I still eat some rice, but I’ve learned that both brown and white rice are high glycemic foods (compared to the above foods).  The glycemic impact of the rice is mitigated by eating other things with the rice.

I am not completely vegan, I still love dairy products like ghee and yogurt, and I’m not against the concept of fish or egg every now and then.  I’m opportunistic and realistic and pragmatic.

It is much cheaper and more convenient to live this way.  Beans are much cheaper protein than any type of meat, and it’s easier to clean up after yourself as vegan.  When you buy meat or fish at a supermarket, you have to cook it before it goes bad.  This is constant stress and labor.  And eating meat in a restaurant, one never knows what quality of meat they use or how it was handled in kitchen.

Ultimately, any food is good food.  That’s what Jesus said, and it’s pretty logical too.  If it’s organic material, it’s food for another species.  Eating living tissue is called vivisection.  All food, whether it be plant or animal in origin, is dead.  The more plant food you eat and the less animal food you eat, the better your health will be.

The Easy Way to Be Fit

Better than weight training and a low carb diet, which just inflates your muscles and doesn’t build functional strength and doesn’t last as soon as you go off this regimen, is something much better.

And that would be intermittent fasting.  In the end, it’s not so much about what you eat or whether it is organic, free range, or all that nonsense.  It’s about how much you eat and how often.

Most people in America don’t go more than 4 hours without eating, and some ‘graze’ all day or eat a meal every two hours.  This is not good for your digestive organs, hormonal balance, insulin levels, teeth, and a whole slew of other things.

There are many ways to break up the day into periods of eating and not eating.  But the theory is, when the body has a chance to rest from food, insulin levels drop and the organs of digestion get to rest.  The best is to skip breakfast, eat your first meal at 10am, then wait four hours, eat again, wait another four hours, and eat your last meal of the day.  You can snack a little before 8pm, and that’s it.  Nothing fancy.

Fasting before and after sleep is a powerful tonic.  The body gets to rest from digesting food all the time and nourish the brain and organs instead.  It might be necessary to drink black coffee when you wake up to help you get going, but I suggest skipping breakfast and not snacking after dinner.  In addition, don’t graze or snack in between meals.  This is the easiest way to stay fit.

If you do intermittent fasting, the quality of the food you eat is less important.  You can eat meat, sugar, bread, milk, anything in moderation as long as you are not eating too much or too often.  That’s why I call it the easy way to get fit, it’s a no brainer.

Of course, it takes discipline and restraint from snacking all day.  I suggest eating protein with every meal and replacing some of the carbs with fat.  Good fats are good foods.

In general, one should eat to live not live to eat.  Don’t see food as a reward for good behavior.  You’re not a kid anymore.  See food as fuel for your body and lifestyle.  Eat what you need to eat, not what is most tasty and exciting.

Intermittent fasting plus ketogenic diet is the real caveman diet.  Cavemen didn’t graze on sugar and starch all day because they couldn’t afford to.  They went through periods of feast and famine, and were lucky to eat one piece of fruit per summer.  Wheat and all starchy grains were an invention of the agriculturist later on in human development, which doesn’t make them inherently bad, just unnatural.  Brown rice is the most harmless and energetic grain, the starchy fruit of a grass species.

The less often you eat, the more hunger you have for the food and the better it tastes.  This is the original way to live, enjoying the bare minimum with zeal, not sitting around the TV munching on cheetos and soda.

Fluids are Fundamental

Mostly everyone should be drinking more water.  Many people in America are walking around dehydrated.  One way of getting more water in is to drink more fluid foods, like lemonade, soups, and smoothies.

These fluid foods are good for your health.  In China, even to this day, people drink hot broths in between meals and even in between servings.  It is important to consume a lot of fluids, not just to avoid dehydration, but to fill up on less calories during the day.  Less is more.

One important ingredient in all three dishes, that is, lemonade, soups, and smoothies is celtic sea salt.  Now you might think, who puts salt in lemonade or smoothies?  Well, some salts are better than others, and complete salt, as in from dehydrated ocean water, contains a lot of electrolytes within.  Adding a tiny amount of celtic sea salt to anything fluid makes it more re-hydrating, and is a good alternative to buying and consuming gatorade or the like.

Fluid foods are hydrating, low in calories, help you feel fuller longer, and they also cure bowel problems, so that both constipation and diarrhea are alleviated.  Remember, your fluid foods should be made using the same principles as solid food.  And that would include protein, vegetables, fat, and a bit of low sugar fruit, while avoiding dairy, sugar, and gluten.  This diet makes sense.

In the future, I will be recording videos of me in the kitchen, and uploading them to youtube and this blog.  I hope people out there see my cooking techniques and perhaps are inspired to make changes in their lives too.

 

Nutrition is the Best Hobby

Everyone should be educated on the subject of nutrition.  It is the most fundamental knowledge.  You are what you eat, your body is literally reconstituted nutrients from the soil, but your mind and spirit are made of other things.  There shouldn’t be so many overweight and sick people in a country where food scarcity is hardly an issue to most.

Most people bring about their own destruction.  Benjamin Franklin said, ‘nine in ten men are suicides.’  If you really valued your own life, you’d eat higher quality food and not mess around with the cheap stuff, like too much protein or too much sugar, dairy, and gluten.

If people were smarter, they’d dedicate some time every day to the production of their own food, and also some time to study nutrition.  Nutrition is all about finding out what is best for yourself.  Help yourself.

Of course, exercise is important too.  But diet is more important than exercise in the fitness equation.  If you really want to look and feel good, you have to exercise, but if you just want to be normal bodyweight and live nutrition is the first subject to learn.

I know people have day jobs, so eating home cooked food is not always an option.  But if people had more knowledge, they could make better food choices at restaurants and whatever.  It seems the West has exchanged one set of diseases for another.  Although more people are living to adulthood than in previous centuries, and infectious disease isn’t such a big threat in the developed world, people aren’t living the quality of life that is optimal.

Just educate yourself, and all things will fall into place.

Too Much Salt

It seems like everything at the grocery store has too much salt in it.  This is not to mention restaurant food, which is way too salty.  Food merchants know that adding salt to everything makes it taste better and extends its shelf-life.  So they put it in everything.

If you are like me, and rely on ready-made food at the supermarket a lot,  than you are probably consuming too much salt and not enough water.  This is a big issue that affects many people.

The only way to reduce sodium content in your diet is to make as much food by yourself and not rely on ready-made food and restaurant food for your sustenance.  Look at labels too.

Electrolyte balance is important, and most people are consuming too little potassium and way too much sodium.  This will hurt you in the long run.  If you truly want to live a long time, eat less processed foods and more fresh foods, and cook more from scratch or avoid as many conveniences as possible.  The more layers of processing a food has, the more salt the manufacturers add in the process.

Salt is less harmful than other things like sugar and saturated/hydrogenated fats, but it is still overdone in western society, and you should do your best to eat as little salt as possible.

The Cost of Health Food

When planning ahead, as in planning a budget, remember that better food is worth the money.  There is a law of diminishing returns, meaning, there is a point where the difference between very good food and perfect food is not worth the extra money.  However, the higher quality of food you eat, the less you will spend in the future on medical care.  And medical bills are a major hassle.

I see typical American food as being very low quality.  To get good, fresh food, one must spend more and spend more time seeking it out.  But it is worth the extra time and money if you really consider the consequences.  Eating good makes your whole life better, improves your quality of life in other words, so it really is worth it.

It’s a strange culture where most people are sick and overweight, and yet, the models and actresses keep getting skinnier and less healthy looking.  American values seem to be distorted.  There seems to be a sense of misplaced perfectionism.

The point of a philosophical lifestyle is to age with integrity and to last a long time.  Looks are important to a degree, but no one’s perfect, and no one should be expected to be.  We are perfectly ourselves.

I feel good, and I think I look pretty good considering how little effort I put into my own health.  But I see the room for growth and I aim to work out more and be more proactive in my nutrition, and get into meditation and more socializing.  The prognosis for me is good.

I really hope values in America keep changing, and people get less ambitious and more into health, strength, and longevity.  You have to know from a young age what is really important in life and what is not so important.  If you don’t have a basic education, then you will be helpless in the face of the capitalist system which is designed to drain you.

Back to Atkins.

Here is a brief insight into what I am doing in my own health journey.

The ultimate thing in weight loss, health, and longevity is to eat less calories.  To lengthen thy life, lessen thy meals.  That doesn’t mean starve yourself.  Since carbohydrates are the bulk of any normal diet, the best way to reduce calories is to reduce carbohydrate.  Sugar restriction is the only real way to lose weight.

In previous months, I’ve been eating less in terms of portions, but out of habit and convenience I was eating mostly brown rice and fruit with a bit of protein like chicken and milk.  That is doable, but not ideal.

The best diet is a regimen of protein and vegetables.  Water is important too.  You can’t reinvent the wheel, and people have been using the Atkins diet since the 70’s to get into shape.  Everybody who is lean and looks good does it.

Soup is by far the ideal way to eat.  It is good in so many different ways.  First of all, it contains all the best food-groups to begin with.  Soup is a combination of protein, vegetables, and water.  Secondly it is easy to prepare, even if you are cooking from scratch.  Also, it is slow simmered over low heat, so it’s already partially broken down by the time you eat it, making it easy to digest.  As well, it is cheap and uses cheap cuts of meat and fish, but since the meat is tender, you don’t really notice it.

The point is, I shouldn’t make a big deal about food but also I shouldn’t give in to eating sugar and starch out of convenience.  With a little thought, knowledge, and planning, one can live well on very little money and effort.

Back in the Saddle

I changed my mind again and decided to renew the subscription to wordpress.  I can use this site as a portfolio to get volunteer and paid jobs, and I can still disseminate the knowledge of Traditional Chinese Medicine to the masses as I wish.

A lot has gone through my mind over the past few weeks, but really, everything is changing and yet remaining stable at the center at the same time.  That is the paradox.  The words of truth seem paradoxical.

I think sugar restriction is the only real diet and the only real way to lose weight.  There’s no way around it.  In the end, calories count, and to reduce calories, simply reduce carbohydrates such as sugar and starch.  Carbohydrates are the bulk of any sensible diet.  You can lose a lot of weight in very little time with low carb dieting, but the question is will you stick to this new way of eating.

A healthy weight maintenance is an ongoing battle, and discipline, moderation, and self control are the key virtues.  You will never be perfect, but it could always be a lot worse.

So it doesn’t matter if you call yourself an Atkins dieter or a Paleo enthusiast, or a Keto adapted athlete (which isn’t even healthy in the long run).  To lengthen thy life, lessen thy meals.  Or in other words, if you want to be healthy, eat less sugar and move more.