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Lots of interesting articles here

Thursday, March 22, 2012

This first link was just very encouraging for me to see. Living in the country I often think about the much more limited options that city dwellers have to be in a natural environment, at least without getting in the car, and also the much more limited options to grow fruits and vegetables. This seems to be a step in the right direction that would be great to duplicate all over the country.

What do you think?

The second link is about an explanation of the scientific method and how this is applicable to evaluating information about nutrition using the example of a recent study out of the Harvard School of Public Health about red meat consumption. If we all learned the skill of critical thinking we would not fall for every fad diet that comes along.

The third link is from an article published in the New York Times on Tuesday, March 20 with the title Calories are Everywhere, Yet Hard to Track


I would like to draw attention to this paragraph: "They found scant evidence to support the popular notion that any one nutrient is responsible for our obesity, or that a low-carbohydrate diet is everyone's secret to success. Although a diet low in carbs and high in fats and protein may enhance satiety and curb snacking, few people seem able to refrain indefinitely from the carbohydrate-rich foods they love. The long-term effectiveness of low-carb diets for a vast majority of people who try them has yet to be assessed."
The author says that there is "scant evidence" that low-carb is EVERYONE'S secret to success. Big surprise, we are all different. Low-carb may, however be the secret to success for all those people who are on low-fat diets and getting fatter all the time or feeling like they are starving. Low-carb is a definite way to reduce insulin-production with all the benefits this brings. If a low-carb diet indeed enhance satiety and thereby also curbs snacking then maybe it is worth trying for anyone who has not been successful with low-fat diets.
If few people seem to be able to refrain indefinitely from carbohydrate-rich foods that they "love" than it sure looks to me like this confirms what Gary Taubes and many others argue, that carbs, or at least some carbs are addictive. It only takes a small serving of certain carbs to trigger food cravings. Given that we are surrounded by carbs and foods that contain carbs they are much harder to avoid than cigarettes. People who are successful on low-carb diets have to plan well, avoid most processed foods and restaurant foods and deal with emotional eating issues to be successful. This may not be easy and is a process but for me it is much easier than to be on a low-fat, calorie-counting diet where I'm hungry every two hours, can never fully satisfy my hunger and have little energy to exercise.
In my opinion Dr. Atkins, Gary Taubes and all the low-carb people are closer to the truth. But we do need a study to assess the long-term effectiveness of low-carb diets for the vast majority of people, I'm just not sure that we have time to wait for the results given the obesity crisis in this country.
I will share more of my own recent experience with low-carb eating tomorrow.

  Member Comments About This Blog Post:

EGALITAIRE 3/27/2012 1:12PM

    The concept of good and bad carbs and "low carbs" are often broadly interpreted to mean many things.

I eat what is a relatively "low carb" diet, compared to the SAD (standard american diet), but still eat about 12 servings of veggies every day, usually one serving of fruit and ultimately get about 80 grams of carbs. Try to get 95% of my nutrition from whole foods.

Some low carb diets advocate less than 50 grams of carbs per day - my position is that you have to find out what works for you.

What I don't eat are any processed foods, no wheat or other grains and very few legumes.

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MARTHASPARKS 3/27/2012 12:40PM

    Another great blog!

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HOUNDLOVER1 3/27/2012 12:38PM

You are right that the whole thing about low-carb can be confusing. The one thing everyone agrees on is to eat lots of veggies of course. Fruit may have to be eaten in moderation by people who have abused sugar or starches in the past (which is most everyone in America who has grown up on the typical processed food diet). The sugar content in fruit the way it has been bred in modern times is simply too high. If you look at seed catalogs they advertise the sweetness of the fruit they sell, not the nutrient levels, even to home gardeners. This is why we may have to limit even fruit. I usually only have one piece every day while I'm trying to lose weight and no more than 2 pieces/day to maintain.

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BOBBIENORTHERN1 3/27/2012 10:08AM

  There are good carbs and bad carbs.

Fruits and veggies are carbs so I really get confused about this carb deal. We need these fresh carbs for health.

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REJ7777 3/24/2012 3:57AM

    An "Urban Food Forest", what a great idea! Wouldn't it be great if they were everywhere... in every country!

I also visited the other two sites you recommended. I've bookmarked Peter Attia's site so that I can visit it again. Thx!

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GRACEMCDOG 3/22/2012 11:58PM

    Permaculture is fascinating. I wish I lived in a climate more conducive to it. I used to garden 1000 sq ft community plot in Seattle's first P-patch program at Picarco Farms community garden. It's a city that has always had a lot of interest in urban gardening.

I read some of Peter Attia's blog after first reading the linked article by Taube. I'm still trying to untangle all the confounding variables! I will revisit those pages many times, I'm sure. Very complex material but I would like to understand it better.

The NYT article I found a bit pat after all the reading I've been doing lately. Shallow, I guess. I will say I've read many other articles on their health page I found more interesting.

Are you in the medical profession?

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FLAMENM 3/22/2012 10:27PM

    I spend more time outdoors living in the middle of a city than some of my rural friends. But my metro has one of teh highest per capita open spaces and bike trail routes in the US. I think sometimes that (lack of) access is a percieved issue. There are many ways that the urban environment can bring nature to teh people.

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-LINDA_S 3/22/2012 9:00PM

    Thanks for the links and info.

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WOUBBIE 3/22/2012 6:07PM

    "few people seem able to refrain indefinitely from the carbohydrate-rich foods they love" truly says it all.

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Wanted to highlight this post on the Wheatbelly blog

Tuesday, March 20, 2012

This one has a lot of interesting comments and testimonies and I had missed it during the first round.


  Member Comments About This Blog Post:

REJ7777 3/24/2012 4:07AM

    emoticon WOW! She sure went through a lot! It's almost hard to believe all the symptoms that are caused by wheat.

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MARTHASPARKS 3/20/2012 10:39PM

    Thanks! I'm seriously considering this,nespecially since not exercising is killing my weight loss/health gain quest.

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SHOOPETTE 3/20/2012 2:29PM

    Thanks for sharing

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PBS series Food Forward highlights viable alternatives to the industrial food system

Monday, March 19, 2012

Here is a trailer to something that looks promising:

  Member Comments About This Blog Post:

-LINDA_S 3/20/2012 6:15PM

    Thanks! I'll have to check it out!

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EXOTEC 3/20/2012 1:46PM

    Durn. It started last night. =(

I wonder if you can get copies?

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BOBBIENORTHERN1 3/20/2012 11:14AM

  this is awesome thanks

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HEALTHY4ME 3/20/2012 7:41AM

    OH wow that is awesome, but cos I am in Canada I can't find out when it airs. Need a US zipcode. But will be hoping they show a commercial for it so I can see when it is on.

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Natural alternatives to the top-10 most prescribed drugs

Monday, March 19, 2012

I saw this list today and thought it is worth passing on.


  Member Comments About This Blog Post:

SHOOPETTE 3/20/2012 2:46PM

    very interesting, thx!

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DRAWNTHISWAY 3/20/2012 7:39AM

    It is an interesting list, thank you for sharing it with us.

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CAROLIAN 3/20/2012 3:40AM


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Common safety concerns about barefoot running

Sunday, March 11, 2012

There are already many blogs and forums that address all the questions that people have about the wisdom or barefoot running. I share many of the concerns that are common but have still decided to do some of my running miles completely barefoot from now on.
Here is a short version of how I've dealt with the concerns:
1. What to do about stepping in a rusty nail or other object
The easiest way to step into a rusty nail is not on the average street but in places where objects are hard to see: in grass, in sand or in water. The one time I stepped into rusty nail I was walking through a shallow stream in sandals. It hurt like hell, I got some antibiotics and an update of my tetanus shot right away and the injury healed in about a week. Having a tetanus shot every 10 years, and more often for people who are at higher risk is a good idea for anyone.
2. Stepping into things that are unpleasant
This can be avoided by looking where we are going. There are bacteria on the surface we walk or run on barefoot but not as many as in our shoes, a moist environment that bacteria love.
3. Possibility of getting blisters
People who take off their shoes and gradually walk barefoot more will develop tough skin on the bottom of their feet. This is no different than guitar players developing calluses on their finger tips very quickly when they play regularly. The key is to listen to our body and stop when it starts getting uncomfortable. Our bodies are incredibly adaptable. The calluses that develop do not look rough and ugly but like fairly normal skin, just thicker. If you don't believe me look at some feet of barefoot runners on youtube.
4. Getting stone bruises
Stepping on occasional small pieces of gravel on an otherwise smooth road is a little uncomfortable, but no more so than getting a piece of gravel caught in our sandals. We stop, remove it and forget about it. When I ran barefoot for two miles yesterday this happened more than once. My body immediately, without conscious thought, adjusted by my spreading my weight differently for that step. This is the miracle of our brain responding by initiating movement in response to pressure. My conscious self was merely observing after the fact.
5. Taking shoes off will lead to overuse injuries
This one is true - if we don't listen to our body
Any running through pain and even discomfort can lead to injuries. Pain is the body's natural signal to slow down or stop. We can mentally override mild or sometimes even severe pain responses in an emergency (when we are chased by a Grizzly) but most of the time we should not try to ignore pain.
For any new activity we start we need to gradually condition or body. How long this takes depends on the number and size of muscle groups and connective tissue, age, speed of the movement, duration etc.
6. Going barefoot will only work for "normal" feet
There are situations where barefoot running is not a good idea. Examples are a comromised immune system, diabetes and other problems of circulation in the legs that make minor infections more dangerous.
Having flat feet or overpronating are not reasons to avoid barefooting. Using muscles in the foot that were not used much while wearing shoes every day can improve overall foot health dramatically. There are many barefoot runners who report that their feet develop nice arches after months of barefoot running. There is much discussion about this among podiatrists currently whether orthotics help or hurt.
This does not mean that there are not foot problems where going barefoot is contraindicated. If in doubt do your own research.
On the plus side I have to report that beyond the benefits of saving money on running shoes and making good running form easier that my own biggest worry, that of stumbling and getting bloody toes, has not happened. Even in my minimalist shoes I will occasionally stumble towards the end of a run when I get tired and don't lift my feet as much. I typically catch the front of the shoe and can usually catch myself. Barefoot this has not happened. My body knows it's own dimensions better than I thought, proprioception at it's best.
7. Looking like a weirdo
Yes, if you live in redneck country this could be a problem. emoticon
In most other places not so much.
I did feel a little self-conscious as I was jogging in my jeans when I did not have time to switch into running gear yesterday, holding a pair of VFF's (Vibram Five Fingers) in my hand (in case my feet needed them) going down the local trail. A couple of people smiled, amused at what I was doing. Nobody seemed offended, maybe curious. emoticon

  Member Comments About This Blog Post:

LISEIGHT 3/13/2012 10:02AM

    I have always thought that barefoot running meant wearing shoes that are minimalistic! I am happily surprised that you are taking it as far as actually running bare feet, that sounds really interesting! I love walking bare feet, outside, inside, wherever, but when i got my new trainers (dance slippers actually), I found it really weird to adapt to walking without leading strongly with my heels, and that is exactly why barefoot running is right: our bodies know what to do, shoe designers who want to make you buy to most expensive shoe possible don't want you to know that!
I have ordered new Vivo trainers to start running with a friend.. shall see how that goes, and then, when the weather gets better, and my body is used to running again, I shall even try with no shoes on at all....
Great post, thank you for sharing your knowledge and experience!

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-LINDA_S 3/12/2012 7:07PM

    It's doubtful I'll ever run unless I'm being chased, but I'm somewhat interested in "earthing" aka "grounding" and being connected to the earth. I do worry about fire ants, since they're here in NC, so I'm a little leery of just walking barefoot. I have very flat feet and a supposedly compromised immune system so I'm not sure where that leaves me...

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RAINBOWCHARMER 3/12/2012 12:30PM

    Great info. Thanks! :) I'm not sure I'm up for barefoot yet, but have downgraded my shoes which is working well for me for the time being. Maybe I'll brave the barefoot thing one of these days. Wish I could do the VFFs, but due to webbed toe issues, that's out. :( Bummer, as that would have been my ideal running shoe I think.

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FLAMENM 3/11/2012 10:32PM

    Well, looking silly has never stopped me from exercising. because I know I look hilarious when I exercise. But who cares? I look better AFTER I exercise and get myself healthier and healthier.

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FREELADY 3/11/2012 7:32PM

    I love your fresh thinking.

You have processed these concerns sensibly and thoroughly. It's a big help to me. Thank you!

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MAGGIE101857 3/11/2012 6:24PM

    Funny how we ran barefoot as children and no one thought any different about what we were doing? Now we are adults and have to "justify"(I use the word loosely here) it! Your blogs are always very informative and interesting - have enjoyed following your journey as you explore new diets and workouts!

Keep up the good work! emoticon

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DJ4HEALTH 3/11/2012 5:49PM

    I wish that I could do that but I have problems with my ankle and I also have Lupus which makes me prone to infections faster. So that is out. I am glad that you are able to do it. Walking barefoot is fun and I can't do that too much since I don't have much fat to cushion my foot against the ground and is very painful too. Have to wear shoes all the time except in bed. emoticon

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KRISZTA11 3/11/2012 5:32PM

    As always, thank you for your information.
You really inspire me to try this,
even though I will definitely be considered a weirdo ...
But I never cared about that : )

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CONRADBURK 3/11/2012 4:17PM

    Wow, you have put a lot of thought into running barefoot! I didn't realize there was so much to it. I walk at home without shoes all the time, but haven't developed calloused feet. My feet are still quite tender. I am just a tenderfoot!
emoticon emoticon emoticon

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HISTORYRUNNER 3/11/2012 4:16PM

    Thank you for the quick and informative intro you've given here. It's a great intro and as you say, there are tons of detailed sites on the Internet for the truly curious/converted.

Although personally I think I'm perfectly happy running with minimalist shoes, I'm convinced that barefoot running is a perfectly fine alternative with lots of long-term health benefits. Having transitioned once already from traditional running to minimalist, I'm just too lazy to do another transition. Perhaps if I'd gone to barefoot at the outset I'd be writing this fine post instead of you (see, it's all jealousy raging just beneath the surface!) emoticon emoticon emoticon

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