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Archives for September 2009
These are prime filets given as a birthday gift to Bea by her brother. And, while I often feature the meals I do for guests as my biggest efforts, I decided to put in similar effort for a Friday evening meal for just the two of us. Bea has been non-stop go over the last week with her birthday party, family visiting, and partying in general that it was time for a quiet evening. Plus, we’ll be headed out shortly to Carmel by the Sea to attend the wedding of our next-door neighbors. More party on the horizon!
My first idea was to do a beef stock reduction as per usual, but then I had a better idea, owing to these being such large & tender filets. I decided to do a mildly browned butter with toasted garlic & shallot, and also a bit of bacon drippings. So, I pre-heated the grill on high, then turned the burner I was cooking the steaks on to low and left the indirect one to high, covered. Five minutes on one side, brush with butter, 5 minutes on the other, brush with butter, then cooking burner to full high and about five minutes of turning and brushing every minute. Done. Click for the high-res version.
I also did a salad. Simply EVOO vinaigrette with salt & finely ground pepper, a dollop of dijon mustard and enough apple cider vinegar until emulsification was achieved. Then, blue cheese crumbles. Top it off with coarsely ground pepper.
Back on the topic of cooking different cuts of meat to different levels of done, this is exactly the kind of tender filet that I like rare. It’s like great Ahi tuna. This was absolutely fork tender.
Bea’s was about the same weight, but a bit thiner, and thus more of a medium rare, which she prefers.
Very quick. Cardiologist William Davis reports on the unexpected benefits his patients achieve after some months completely wheat free.
First, the expected benefits.
A patient would come to the office, for example, with a blood sugar of 118 mg/dl (in the pre-diabetic range) and the other phenomena of pre-diabetes or metabolic syndrome (high blood pressure, high inflammation/c-reactive protein, low HDL, high triglycerides, small LDL), and the characteristic wheat belly. Eliminate wheat and, within three months, they lose 30 lbs, blood sugar drops to normal, blood pressure drops, triglycerides drop by several hundred milligrams, HDL goes up, small LDL plummets, c-reactive protein drops.
And now, the unexpected ones.
–Improved rheumatoid arthritis–I have seen this time and time again. Eliminate wheat and the painful thumbs, fingers, and other joints clear up dramatically. Many former rheumatoid sufferers people tell me that one cracker or pretzel will trigger a painful throbbing reminder that lasts a couple of hours.
–Improved ulcerative colitis–People incapacitated with pain, cramping, and diarrhea of ulcerative colitis (who are negative for the antibodies for celiac disease) can experience marked improvement. I’ve seen people be able to stop all their nasty colitis medications just by eliminating wheat.
–Reduction or elimination of irritable bowel syndrome
–Reduction or elimination of gastroesophageal reflux
–Better mood–Eliminating wheat makes you happier and experience more stable moods. Just as wheat is responsible for a subset of schizophrenia and bipolar illness (this is fact), and wheat elimination generates dramatic improvement, when you or I eliminate wheat, we also experience a "smoothing" of mood swings.
–Better libido–I’m not sure whether this is a consequence of losing a belly the size of a watermelon or improvement in sex hormones (esp. testosterone) or endothelial responses, but more interest in sex typically develops.
–Better complexion–I’m not entirely sure why, but various rashes will often dissipate, bags under the eyes are reduced, itching in funny places stops.
Of course, one would do well to just eliminate all grains, sugar, and industrial vegetable oils.
So, who are the real adults here, and who are the real children? Who is who?
Schoolkids vote 13-1 to slaughter lamb
A GROUP of schoolchildren who reared a lamb from birth and named it Marcus have overridden objections by parents and rights activists and voted to send the animal to slaughter.
The decision has provoked fury among animal-loving celebrities, animal and human rights campaigners and the parents of some of the children, and led to threats against Lydd primary school and its teachers, according to a member of staff.
Well, clearly, this is all about the children ("animal-loving celebrities, animal and human rights campaigners and the parents of some") and not about the adults who…
The children also look after ducks, chickens, rabbits and guinea pigs.
The intention had been to buy pigs with the money raised from slaughtering Marcus, but those plans have been put on hold following the furor created by the lamb’s culling.
The school said the program may now have to be stopped.
"It’s all up in the air," said a member of staff.
"There’s been so much pressure on us as a result of all this."
Nope, it’s all about the children.
But opponents branded it heartless and cruel, with animal rights campaigners asking why Marcus could not have been used to teach the children about wool, and human rights campaigners worried about the emotional impact of Marcus’s death on the children.
A popular talkshow host offered to buy the lamb and give it sanctuary and Facebook groups sprung up to rally support to keep Marcus alive.
But at least the adults had the final say.
But the children had the final say.
The school defended the children’s decision, calling it educational.
"When we started the farm in spring 2009, the aim was to educate the children in all aspects of farming life and everything that implies," the school said.
"The children have had a range of opportunities to discuss this issue, both in terms of the food cycle and the ethical aspect.
"It is important for everyone to move on from this issue, so the children can focus on their education."
The continuing education of these adults is not what these children are after. Indoctrination is what they’re after.
In the end, they’ll probably succeed in turning these adults into children, just like themselves.
(Reader Tin Tin emailed that in the other day)
I’ll bet some of you already know where I’m going. There’s so much nonsense out there virtually every day that it would be tough for you not to know.
So, alright, I’ve seen a barrage of emails and other communique over the last couple of days. What should I begin with, how saturated fat stimulates hunger and makes us eat more, how 85% of type 2 diabetics are eating too much saturated fat, or that saturated fats clog your arteries just like your plumbing?
Well, it doesn’t matter where I begin, because they’re all pretty stupid.
Here’s some examples.
Burger, ice cream fat ‘sends signals to brain’
Those are just a few. They all read pretty much the same. The essentials:
When we eat, hormones such as leptin and insulin send out signals telling the body it has had enough.
But palmitic acid –a fatty acid present in saturated fats – goes straight to the brain and tells it to ignore these signals.
The research, published in The Journal of Clinical Investigation, was carried out by Dr Deborah Clegg of UT Southwestern Medical Centre, Dallas.
That would be right here, and Deborah Clegg isn’t the only grant whore. We also have: Stephen C. Benoit, Christopher J. Kemp, Carol F. Elias, William Abplanalp, James P. Herman, Stephanie Migrenne, Anne-Laure Lefevre, Céline Cruciani-Guglielmacci, Christophe Magnan, Fang Yu4, Kevin Niswender, Boman G. Irani, and William L. Holland. Grant Whores.
I mean, what else could such useless research mean? I’ll leave the scientific debunking to the real experts out there. This is just a typical hit & run, for me. But let’s cover the basics. Yes, there’s some evidence I’ve seen to suggest that saturated fat might induce temporary mild insulin resistance. And leptin resistance too? I dunno, never heard that one, but perhaps it’s plausible. Can you think of an evolutionary reason for that?
What’s being ignored is saturated fats have been with us forever, and grains only a brief time. Processed foods packed with sugar, grain derivatives, and processed vegetable oils, only a short time. So, naturally, it’s the bit of saturated fat (typically less than 50% of total fat, even in junk food) in the tiny little frankenmeat stuck between two massive buns, alongside the fries done up in industrial oil, and the soda packed with sugar.
In other words, hunter-gatherers and other non-industrial populations who existed on lots of meat & fat must have been really obese, because, as we can see now that the American diet is about 60-70% carbcrap, people are now lean and trim everywhere.
So, one might presume that the best nutrient there is, meat with it’s saturated fat (our own body fat is highly saturated, and our bodies can and do manufacture saturated fats), might be so important that we evolved a "gorging mechanism" for when we had it around. That’s speculation, of course. But one thing we didn’t have built into our genes is how to handle a sugar load such as the average person consumes today.
The mind boggles. Grant Whores. Here:
"With respect to applying to humans, I can only make an educated guess, but I believe that when humans eat diets high in saturated fat, and palmitic acid in particular, hormones such as leptin, which normally regulate food intake and body weight will be less effective," says researcher Debbie Clegg. This helps explain why you wake up ravenous the morning after Thanksgiving — all that butter and cheese is literally toying with your brain.
Now Clegg, you stupid cow, I think you probably know damn good & well that the reason people are ravenous the next morning (just like after an enormous pasta dinner), is that they have dumped hundreds of grams of carbohydrate (sugar & grain) over the space of a few hours into a body whose total amount of blood glucose is about 4 grams at any one time. That’s less than a teaspoon in an entire body, and you idiots mean to tell us that the 5 grams of palmitic acid in that burger is what’s causing the problem, and not the 200 grams of carbohydrate in the bun, fries, and soda and perhaps dessert — 50 times more sugar than a normal person has in circulation?
You want to know what really causes insulin and leptin resistance? Over carbing (grains & sugar) drives insulin secretion, drives leptin resistance and fat storage, drives insulin resistance and more fat storage. This is the causal chain, everyone knows it; but, they’re Grant Whores.
Or, Frauds; take your pick. Want to have a real education about leptin and resistance? See here, and note the links to Stephan’s posts on leptin toward the bottom. Also, see how fat improves memory. Can you think of an evolutionary reason? Don Matesz speculates.
Far and away the most common benefit experienced by the paleo dieter — most of whom are in the 50-60% range of energy from fat, and depending on how much coconut fat they use, probably 25-50% total energy from saturated fats — is getting back to normal hunger regulation. It is nearly universal: "I’m never really hungry." That has certainly been my experience in losing 60 pounds while eating very high fat and saturated fat including palmitic acid. It has also been the experience of every single friend and family member.
These Grant Whores are despicable in every possible way. They should be immediately pelted about the head & shoulders with rotten vegetables.
Now to the next set of Grant Whores: Mara Z. Vitolins, DrPH, RD, Andrea M. Anderson, MS, Linda Delahanty, MS, RD, Hollie Raynor, PhD, Gary D. Miller, PhD, RD, Connie Mobley, PhD, RD, Rebecca Reeves, PhD, RD, Monica Yamamoto, PhD, RD, Catherine Champagne, PhD, RD, Rena R. Wing, PhD, Elizabeth Mayer-Davis, PhD, RD.
Most diabetics falling short on healthy eating. Well it’s kind of obvious, isn’t it? It’s tautological: "Diet induced health problems are the result of unhealthy eating."
…researchers found that of nearly 2,800 middle- aged and older U.S. adults with type 2 diabetes, nearly all were exceeding the daily recommended fat intake. When it came to artery-clogging saturated fat, 85 percent were consuming too much.
The "most important thing" in managing type 2 diabetes, Vitolins noted, is balancing calories in and calories out to help shed pounds or at least avoid weight gain. The choice of foods is also vital in getting enough beneficial nutrients…
Here’s the abstract. No mention anywhere of whether they considered the role of SUGAR in…DIABETES.
Finally, I’ll leave the sarcasm to Tom Naughton, who has scientifically, rigorously proven that EVERYTHING clogs your arteries.
Update 5/11/2010: I was contacted by one of the researchers, Dr. Stephen Benoit, from the fist of those studies cited and in the end have decided that I targeted the wrong folks and that the science is good and valid, just reported wrong by the media. "Is Eating Crow Paleo?" Check it out.
If you haven’t noticed on the right sidebar, I have an ad up for a Bay Area company, Evolution Catering, run by Katherine (Kat) Strange, a reader. As part of the deal, I got some free food to try out, and I also got a couple more things out-of-pocket. The way Kat works is that there’s a new menu every week, you place your order, and it’s delivered on Monday. Most things in my order would keep at least 2-3 days in the fridge.
Here’s how it came delivered, to my door. Not included was a nice mixed greens salad with, I believe, grilled chicken and feta. That went to work with Bea and she reported loving it. Also not pictured is a hearty tomato soup with meatballs. That was Bea’s lunch today, though I had two of the meatballs with the soup cold and I could have easily eaten the whole thing cold. Really delicious.
So, we have grilled broccoli, grilled Brussels sprouts, salmon & fennel salad, stuffed flank steak, and chicken piccata. Of course, heating instructions were included as everything is pre-cooked. The salmon took the longest at 10-15 minutes in the oven, and everything else was heated in skillets in a few minutes with leaf lard, even the veggies.
So, I took the three entrées and two veggies and divided them between Bea & I. I could not resist doing a quick pure red wine deglaze and reduction in the pan I used to heat the flank steak. Takes under a minute, and just a literal 2-3 finger pinch (1/4 tsp) of potato flour made a paste of it.
While I really loved the flank steak, my favorite was the chicken piccata (I believe the breading is coconut flour, but not sure). Amazing. I also really loved the veggies and in particular, the Brussels sprouts. My least favorite was the salmon, but that’s probably because it was a pretty big meal and I finished off the meat & chicken first.
So isn’t this a great thing? Sorry it’s really only applicable to those is the San Francisco Bay Area, but maybe there are other entrepreneurs out there. Maybe some that could even work with Kat to expand to other areas. Who knows? Alternatively, perhaps you could contact catering companies in your area and suggest they look into paleo options, or even contact Kat for expansion opportunities. You never know.
As a final thought, you know I advocate that everyone learn to cook paleo and that they cook their own meals most of the time. Yea, this means generally eschewing restaurant food. You just don’t know what you’re getting (well, yes you do: tons of omega-6, even if you order completely low carb). This is a far better deal than restaurant food. No frankenoils in Kat’s kitchen, for sure.
Another idea: since many of you have to pack a lunch anyway…
Oh, almost forgot. If you place an order using "ANIMAL" as a promo code, you get $15 off your first order.
Two important letters out from the good Doctor, John Cannell, M.D., of the Vitamin D Council.
September 17, 2009
I’m writing to alert readers to a crucial email from a physician who has evidence vitamin D is protective against H1N1 and to ask you, the reader, to contact your representatives in Washington to help protect Americans, especially children, from H1N1 before winter comes.
Dear Dr. Cannell:
Your recent newsletters and video about Swine flu (H1N1) prompted me to convey our recent experience with an H1N1 outbreak at Central Wisconsin Center (CWC). Unfortunately, the state epidemiologist was not interested in studying it further so I pass it on to you since I think it is noteworthy.
CWC is a long-term care facility for people with developmental disabilities, home for approx. 275 people with approx. 800 staff. Serum 25-OHD has been monitored in virtually all residents for several years and patients supplemented with vitamin D.
In June, 2009, at the time of the well-publicized Wisconsin spike in H1N1 cases, two residents developed influenza-like illness (ILI) and had positive tests for H1N1: one was a long-term resident; the other, a child, was transferred to us with what was later proven to be H1N1.
On the other hand, 60 staff members developed ILI or were documented to have H1N1: of 17 tested for ILI, eight were positive. An additional 43 staff members called in sick with ILI. (Approx. 11-12 staff developed ILI after working on the unit where the child was given care, several of whom had positive H1N1 tests.)
So, it is rather remarkable that only two residents of 275 developed ILI, one of which did not develop it here, while 103 of 800 staff members had ILI. It appears that the spread of H1N1 was not from staff-to-resident but from resident-to-staff (most obvious in the imported case) and between staff, implying that staff were susceptible and our residents protected.
Norris Glick, MD
Central Wisconsin Center
Dear Dr. Glick:
This is the first hard data that I am aware of concerning H1N1 and vitamin D. It appears vitamin D is incredibly protective against H1N1. Dr. Carlos Carmago at Mass General ran the numbers in an email to me. Even if one excludes 43 staff members who called in sick with influenza, 0.73% of residents were affected, as compared to 7.5% of staff. This 10-fold difference was statistically significant (P<0.001). That is, the chance that this was a chance occurrence is one less than one in a thousand.
Second, if you read my last newsletter, you will see that children with neurological impairments, like the patients at your hospital, have accounted for 2/3 of the childhood deaths for H1N1 so far in the USA. That is, the CDC knows, because they reported it, that patients with neurological impairments are more likely to die from H1N1.
The problem is that I cannot get anyone in authority at the CDC or the NIH to listen. I need readers to email or call their senators and congresspersons in Washington.
Ask your senator or congressperson to contact the CDC and NIH to complain about CDC and NIH inaction on Vitamin D and H1N1. Also, ask your senators and representative to demand congressional hearings on Vitamin D and H1N1, before it is too late. Here is the link below, just click it and follow instructions to contact your own represenatives.
John Cannell, MD
Vitamin D Council
585 Leff Street
San Luis Obispo, CA 93422
1:30 PM PST, Wednesday, September 16, 2009
Dear Dr. Cannell:
Thanks for your update about the hospital in Wisconsin. I have had similar anecdotal evidence from my medical practice here in Georgia. We are one of the 5 states with widespread H1N1 outbreaks.
I share an office with another family physician. I aggressively measure and replete vitamin D. He does not.
He is seeing one to 10 cases per week of influenza-like illness.
In my practice– I have had zero cases. My patients are universally on 2000-5000 IU to maintain serum levels 50-80 ng/ml.
Ellie Campbell, DO
Campbell Family Medicine
3925 Johns Creek Court Ste A
Suwannee GA 30024
Dear Dr. Campbell:
That’s good news. Now, if we just had a way for the CDC and the NIH to pay attention.
Critics say we should not recommend vitamin D to prevent influenza until it is proven to do so (It has not been).
The critics are thus saying, although they seem not to know it, you should be vitamin D deficient this winter until science proves being vitamin D sufficient is better than being Vitamin D deficient. Such advice is clearly unethical and has never ever been the standard of care.
This is not rocket science. If I am wrong, and Vitamin D does not prevent influenza, what is lost? A few dollars. If they are wrong, and it does prevent influenza, what is lost? So far, the CDC says 41 kids are dead from H1N1, and the flu season has not yet started.
Please contact your senators and congresspersons. Ask them to have hearings on vitamin D and H1N1:
John Cannell, MD
Vitamin D Council
585 Leff Street
San Luis Obispo, CA 93422
Well I’m not into the congresscritter deal, but that’s just me and everyone can do what they want. As everyone knows, I’ve have been blogging about vitamin D for a long time, and I and my wife supplement D3 (don’t use D2) at 6,000 IU per day via gelcap (don’t use tablets).
Here’s a couple of examples of the beef portion of a couple of grassfed beef meals. In these cases, I did not use anything like almond, coconut, or potato starch to thicken the sauce (and it never takes much — usually less than a teaspoon), and I did add quite a bit of fat in the form of butter, lard, and duck fat to both (but in different ways).
At any rate, here’s the grassfed burger, which was just amazing. The sauce is primarily beef broth reduced, with blueberries, raspberries, and blackberries added, and 1/3 tsp or so of cinnamon, which was a great choice. It was strained before serving.
Next up were the two fillets I got from La Cense. Very tasty, but, quite expensive pound for pound. Plus, I usually like more than 5-6 ounces of meat in a sitting. This sauce is more garlic, red wine, onion and I can’t remember what all else.
One thing I always hear from people is how they like their meat cooked (blue, rare, m. rare, medium, m. well, well, etc.). I used to be a medium rare guy, myself, but could certainly enjoy rare or medium. Then as I began doing this more and more, I realized that different cuts of meat called for different cooking. Thus, a nice filet can be anything from something like seared ahi to a nice rare to medium rare. But a ribeye? Well, I have found that for me, a ribeye is tastiest when the fat is melted, and that seems to take place somewhere between medium rare and medium.
I had the presence of mind to snap a photo of one of the filets, above.
Some would call that rare, some medium rare, but I think it’s between the two. It was sure good.
I should probably stay away from this altogether, and in view of that, I’ll endeavor to make this brief, to the point. Since this is a health and fitness blog and we tend to have our own ideas about "reform" (like: eat real food; and the fact that’s not even materially in the debate ought to be a big clue right there), feel free to raise your own issues in comments.
So, I’ve been stewing about it a bit since reading this op-ed from Michael Pollan sent by friend and reader Kathleen:
Let’s cut to the chase.
As for the insurers, you would think preventing chronic diseases would be good business, but, at least under the current rules, it’s much better business simply to keep patients at risk for chronic disease out of your pool of customers, whether through lifetime caps on coverage or rules against pre-existing conditions or by figuring out ways to toss patients overboard when they become ill.
But these rules may well be about to change — and, when it comes to reforming the American diet and food system, that step alone could be a game changer. Even under the weaker versions of health care reform now on offer, health insurers would be required to take everyone at the same rates, provide a standard level of coverage and keep people on their rolls regardless of their health. Terms like “pre-existing conditions” and “underwriting” would vanish from the health insurance rulebook — and, when they do, the relationship between the health insurance industry and the food industry will undergo a sea change.
The moment these new rules take effect, health insurance companies will promptly discover they have a powerful interest in reducing rates of obesity and chronic diseases linked to diet. A patient with Type 2 diabetes incurs additional health care costs of more than $6,600 a year; over a lifetime, that can come to more than $400,000. Insurers will quickly figure out that every case of Type 2 diabetes they can prevent adds $400,000 to their bottom line. Suddenly, every can of soda or Happy Meal or chicken nugget on a school lunch menu will look like a threat to future profits.
When health insurers can no longer evade much of the cost of treating the collateral damage of the American diet, the movement to reform the food system — everything from farm policy to food marketing and school lunches — will acquire a powerful and wealthy ally, something it hasn’t really ever had before.
So, think it’ll work? Let’s just say I’m skeptical: all mega-corporations (which I consider a branch of the state: they exist by state statute and are protected by statute) will do whatever it is that brings them the most revenue at least cost because officers, directors & owners are shielded from liability. If Pollan’s logic, above, turns out to be that which accomplishes that objective, then it might work. Otherwise, it will just be more and more money out of your pocket.
But let me be generous and pretend that Pollan’s scheme is sure to work. Well, guess what? I don’t care.
You see, I have this irritating instinct. When someone asserts that something is sure or likely to work, I have an automatic response: work for whom, and at whose expense? And with striking — I jest: it’s not at all striking — regularity, institutions and programs of state are designed to "work" for those who aren’t bearing the expense. It’s kinda the point, right? After all, if everyone was bearing their own expenses, with resort only to friends, family, church and community charity…ah, never mind. …That would never "work."
But what of the "right" to health care? There can logically be no such thing as a right to goods and services produced by others. We used to have a word for it: slavery.
Sorry; call me overly principled, old-fashioned, or something. I’m just not pragmatic enough. After all, how would the Pyramids have been built? And how about the agrarian Southern United States, circa 1800? I could go on all day, y’know? There’s just no end to folklore about how great the state is when they "make the trains run on time." But I know…this is just too important not to have a final solution. After all, final solutions typically "work" for somebody.
So what’s my plan, you ask? I don’t have one. I might suggest genuine freedom and real free markets — since that’s never beed tried — but, you know…"that would never work."
I’ll end with a modest plea. I’m happy to shut up if we can simply call it what it is, and I’ll offer a suggestion: a complex protection racket funded by extortion. And it just might "work." Anyone got anything better?
Many of you are quite well aware of this, but for those who aren’t I encourage you to take a look at the comment thread over at Tim Ferris’ blog, the 4-hr Work Week.
It is indeed very extensive and Doc Eades’ contribution must be brutal on his time. But he’s doing a great job of combating conventional "wisdom" and modern ignorance.
He has also put together part-1 of a series on why we’re naturally meat eaters and not vegetarians.