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Monthly Archives: December 2011

Vegans Vs Meat Eaters: Who’s healthier?

That was the tagline that caught me today and I just couldn’t help but wonder how this would play out on “The Doctors” television show…

Glad to see the presence of Dr. Neal Barnard (President of the Physicians Committee for Responsible Medicine) to ensure there is at least one vegan supporter in on the debate. He appeared to be knowledgeable and shared some good points – like dairy products reducing the absorption of iron and contributing to anemia.

However, I was generally disappointed with the responses, and lack of intellectual debate among the panel… This debate can become quite involved – as touched on in a previous post on different diet preferences… not today though… Todays show seemed to have more personal anecdotes from the docs than intellectual debate…

(If you want to check out the show synopsis for yourself, you can find it here or the video preview here)

In terms of the show actually answering the question of Vegan or Standard American Diet – FAIL.

The Standard American Diet (SAD) is familiar, comfortable, convenient… but…. as thekitchenskinny.com notices…

  • “The United States has the highest obesity rate in the world.” – Business Insider, Dec 10, 2010
  • “The American environment is conducive to this epidemic, presenting temptation to the populace in the form of tasty, energy-dense, micronutrient-poor foods and beverages.” – USDA 2010 Dietary Guidelines for Americans
  • “This could be the first generation since the Civil War to have a shortened life expectancy.” – CBS News Jan 2010

    the solution…

  • Improve nutrition literacy and cooking skills, including safe food handling skills, and empower and motivate the population, especially families with children, to prepare and consume healthy foods at home.” – USDA 2010 Dietary Guidelines for Americans

The above quotes demonstrate how there are very real risks and side effects of the SAD ways… and the need for the solution… so… with that in mind I feel that the vegan crowd tends to be more nutrition literate, with expanded cooking skills beyond meat and potatoes… and when done in an informed and motivated way, the vegan way is healthier than the SAD ways. Also, everyone seems to be in agreement that more fruits and vegetables on north american meal plates would be a good thing 😉

But…. why was this topic initiated for the show in the first place?

Home video clips demonstrate a young woman – Kaitlin – complaining about her vegan sister – Kelly – essentially pushing vegan food choices on her… Meanwhile, Kelly complains that Kaitlin is not accepting that veganism is healthier than the current household diet…

Ultimately when reviewing the video clip, the main issue for these feuding sisters appears to be the  proselytizing vegan… Kelly chose to deviate from the household norm and feels that she has benefited from it…  she quite obviously wants to share this with those she loves… whether they are accepting or not… Kelly may not be validating her sisters way of life or opinions. Arguing and pushing your polar opposite opinion, whether it truly is better or not, does not lead to acceptance…. resistance and defensiveness are expected reactions.

Maybe that is what Dr. Travis’ closing comment truly refers to… 😉  “In the end, what is best for you may not always be what’s best for someone else, Figure out a healthy diet that works best for you.”

It’s up to you to decide where you are most comfortable on this spectrum… And it’s okay if that decision changes from one day to the next… shift happens… Kelly and Kaitlin both have shifts they could make on this spectrum… the important thing from today’s reflections: there are different variations in healthy and ultimately we can only make the best choices in each moment for ourselves…

What shifts have you made recently? Are you planning on making any this week?

 
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Posted by on December 28, 2011 in Food, Nutrition

 

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Social Media Madness

Walking today there was a distinct quietness… alone-ness… calm… As the squirrels run, chase and jump between trees, bushes, snow and one another, it got me thinking about all our connection points and our own evolving forms of communication with one another…

“Are getting it? Really getting it? Come on give it to me! Get signed up on linkedin! Give me all of your tweets! Come on baby be friends! Never want it to stop! Oh! Are you getting it? Social media! Really getting it? Social Media! Come on Joey! Uh!”

Maybe not the next American Idols, but a nice short intro to the myriad of social media. I think that diagram at the end of the song says a lot!

Just tipping the iceberg of social media sites with this full diagram, it can be a stormy sea of social media. Since emails came along in 1966 (did you know they have actually existed that long?!) the communication scene continues evolving. Ed Kang says it well with: “anybody tells you that they’ve figured it all out is lying, selling you something, or a combination of both.”

Facebook touts 800million users so that’s where it’s at right?

One user noted that their video store disconnected their phone line as they take facebook DVD reservations… (watch out they probably won’t even be around with more ubiquitous sites such as netflix) Other users commonly note: “Got really irritated by all the posts that were meaningless chatter.” So maybe those millions of users aren’t too sure how to appropriately use each channel of communication… “would you get in your car and go around to someone’s house to tell them that?” Can be a good reality check question for users… I like to think of it as an online billboard, notorious for privacy breaches… so would you be okay posting your message on a busy highway billboard? Or downtown? If not, then why would you post your message on your computer screen that could potentially reach out globally?… Retweets, reposts and copy/paste are some pretty basic tools for average social media users…

Twitter may be nearing 1/4th the number of users as facebook, although it can be just as addicting for tweeters. Focused on short 140 character messages it can be fun to chirp away like Demi Moore or Lady Gaga.

With more people carrying smartphones and data plans there seems to be a push of personal messaging boundaries… with a facebook user noting exasperation at “Having people post messages to me at any time, expecting an instant response”. (I agree! When did we become pavlovs dogs?)

My fave facebook user comment on the platform I just had to share:

” I absolutely hate how intrusive it is. I hate the stupid little ditties that people put on thinking they are so interesting when they really are not. I hate that I feel a need to even read the stupid little ditties!!!! I do, however, love getting to see my nieces pregnancy belly growing as she is too far for me to see it in real life. I love that the girl who was my best friend, when I lived in a different city, traced me on it and we are now back in regular communication. I love that I can keep up with those family members in other continents, and at the other end of this country, and not just talk at funerals!!! Very undecided!!!!”

Google+ appears to be the latest fad in social media. With only 40 million users thus far, it is definitely a quieter, less frequented communication space. Which may very well be a good thing! Personally I enjoy the circles and “follow” method rather than “friending” as on facebook… Just be sure to sort your people into your appropriate circles up front! Think of your purpose and what kinds of segments of society you want to interact with… Not only do you have friends, family, acquaintances, coworkers, you may have your own blogging friends circle, or book club. Super great being able to easily post to your profile (equivalent of your own facebook wall) and easily specify who sees it… Not to mention if you want to close your profile, you can download all your google+ related info to your own computer prior to closing your account. Use-ability, generally love it, still learning the appropriateness, and kudos for google demonstrating better boundaries!

If you are interested in spreading your online presence with a google+ profile, or business page, what better time to get in and figure things out before all 800million facebook users jump on board? 😉 Today I discovered a succinct online article on google+ pages that may be worth a perusal…

As my first official blog kicked off somewhat recently (as you may well have noticed), I often pondered why Blog? With google+, facebook walls and notes, windows live, myspace, personal emails, texting, blackberry messenger, etc, and even phone calls, who would have time for a blog and why would you invest in creating one? Well, don’t knock it till you try it “they” say… so here I am pulling back a little from some other inundated forms of communication to give this medium a try… According to a recent online article, blogging is here to stay! Are you?

What is your preferred form of communication lately? Do you maintain a blog? How do you maintain your sanity in the sea of social media? Where do you get your info on current events?

 
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Posted by on December 23, 2011 in Business, Social Media, Squirrels

 

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Aside

You may be familiar with the terms above, or you may not even know they relate to dietary preferences. Maybe it was those leg warmers in the 80’s, or Joanne and Hal on those bodybreak commercials in the 90’s, either way people have begun to find issues with “modern” living and the demand for health conscious info and products took a steep rise towards the end of the twentieth century. Is this a medical fact? It is to me! I am among those who slowly started saying “Hey, something could be better here… maybe I ought to start educating myself, or just doing something different!”

A wee bit of the Wednesday Walkers related personal background just for kicks

Born prior to the spawn of anything resembling a personal computer, I was raised quite SAD.
(For the nonfoodies: SAD refers to the Standard American Diet. Some may also call it the brown diet – take “brown” chicken/beef/pork product, cook, add “white” rice/pasta/potato product, and rotate in the odd canned or frozen vegetable dish such as corn/peas that frequently gets microwaved – and promptly forgotten about until after the meal)

Generally a pretty good kid that made it through alright… although probably sometime in junior high I guess, I started noticing that I either had less energy than the other kids, or they pretended better than I did… “meh, oh well”… High school came along and I started exploring school sports teams (generally the ones that didn’t require a lot of coordination). With sports came a desire to improve performance, and the beginning of my foodie adventures… “Oh, tomorrow’s game day! Spaghetti for dinner please mom! Gotta carbo-load!”

Post-secondary school and I’m still dealing with those pesky low energy gremlins… and started to actively try and do something about it… took as many courses as I could find related to possible “cures” to fill those option spots within my Bachelors degree and experimenting with prescribed iron pills…

After school was all “done like dinner” I began working full time with a handsome paycheck and really began to explore healthful changes to my diet… okay so I bought some random recipe books that looked like they knew more than I did! After a bit I was goin a lil nutso, conscious of this energy deficit for at least a decade and actually considered it might be stress or as some would say “all in my head”…

The next chapter pays tribute to the world wide web having evolved to be my late night best friend and know it all for everything! Even if things were “all in my head” or something all together different, search after search kept nudging me towards the idea that we are what we eat! If I choose to fuel my body on suboptimal fuel, it stands to reason that I will get suboptimal performance… With that I threw out my SAD ways and jumped head first into the raw vegan way of eating!

Less than a week later I discovered that even if these raw vegans were posting true testimonials of bounding energy and less chronic diseases, detox is a Beee-yotch that kicks like a mofo! And I was eating a LOT less than was optimal (partly because I just didn’t know what the heck to eat besides my usual brown and whites!) and there are animal by products in nearly everything! Even most supermarket forms of vanilla extract! VANILLA!!! That dark liquid you put a wee bit of into baked goodies!

Fast forward to today: and I think I’ve figured out the main labels…. some days I still don’t know whats what in the foodie blogs! Much more educated and relaxed on what I “have to be”… some of these groups and forums can feel like the next upcoming cult with carrot/apple juice kool-aid… Personally I enjoy the approach of rawfoodsos.com with Denise Minger. Experiment with what works best for your own personal body, make informed decisions and if you want to, share that info with other people that want to be more informed. Granted she takes much more of a scholarly approach than I choose at this time, her posts are still a pretty friendly read. For instance – “Brand-Spankin’ New Study: Are Low-Carb Meat Eaters in Trouble?”is todays Wednesday Walkers fave…

Denise Minger (Not me)

As for all those titles and labels around dietary beliefs and prescriptions… well, honestly, who cares?… People eat different stuff… people are going to continue to eat different stuff… the ones that seem to care about the labels the most are those that seem to want to fight about protecting their cult like status “I’m right and you’re wrong”… or the scholarly literature that just needs proper labels to be coherent…

Let’s see, currently drinking some Bolthouse Farms Strawberry Banana fruit smoothy with apple juice from concentrate, so I guess I’m -oh, lemme double check the ingredients list- hum… “apple juice from concentrate (water, apple juice concentrate), strawberry puree, banana puree, fruit pectin, ascorbic acid, natural flavour. – flash pateurized and cold-filled for quality” well those italics items probably don’t cut it for the extremist raw vegan label.. just how did they get “concentrate”?… fruit pectin is from fruit, but cooked in order to become pectin so vegan, not raw… ascorbic acid is chemical speak for vitamin C… then comes the natural flavour…. ubiquitous ingredient term for “We’d rather not say”… So this morning I would say Wednesday Walker is vegan.

How long must one live off fruits and veggies, abstaining from all animal products, before one may claim the title of vegan? In my books, one meal! hahaha! This morning vegan, this evening, probably gonna end up looking more ovo-lacto (possibly containing eggs, fish or dairy) vegetarian, or maybe even primal/paleo if there so happens to be a social politeness in need of being extended to indulge in some flesh/meat. Tomorrow might even be the day to dig deeper with that 80/10/10 philosophy of the fruitarians… No cult like food status here, sorry! Current nutrition challenge – accidentally maintain 51%+ raw food intake to set a new personal best! (Never recorded prior stints so the next shall be the best, hehehe!)

If you see a label you like and think prescribing to it will lend you a better state of health, you may want to stick to the same label/way of eating for at least 3 weeks to really give it a semi decent shot at sustainability… and potential detox time. Note switching from SAD to RAW immediately aka the most extreme switch I ever tried, do it slowly! Cold turkey SAD to RAW can actually cause harm to your overall health and wellbeing, depending on your personal circumstances and physiological makeup. A recommended place to start browsing for healthier alternatives that are less daunting “with Looneyspoons authors”, the Podleski sisters, who have studied cooking (Greta) and nutrition (Janet). (You may have seen them on a TV food network hosting “Eat, Shrink and Be Merry”.)

Well that was an enjoyable first blog post on the topic of nutrition! Shall not be the last!

So what are your thoughts? Do you have a label you prefer? Did you learn something new? Wish you had? Requests for more specific topics to discuss? Whatchya eatin?

Vegan, Raw foodie, ovo-lacto somethinatarian, primal, fruitarian, low carb, high fat – What?!

 
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Posted by on December 19, 2011 in Food, Nutrition

 

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Hello world!

Welcome to my  WordPress.com exploratory study. After you read this, please explore the comments or write your own post. That’d be why I’m officially here – needed an account of my own to comment on a new blog find I enjoyed… and since the world of online presence people kept saying “First, get a blog!”…. Finally able to check that one off! We shall see how this is superior in all ways to anything internet, haha! ( – warning – those experiencing a sense of humour deficit may not enjoy this blog)

And yes, I know, a site that is my own and lacking the “.wordpress” in the url would rank higher on google search, and backlinks are great, tags seem cool – okay I might actually play with those ones… I think it’s important to explore your purpose of creating any nook or cranny of your own on the web before you do it… is my purpose to get the top google search ranking? Not today! Today’s purpose, which is subject to change at any point without notice, is exploration! Exploring what is just so amazing about having a blog – the precursor to the facebook wall, without the built in “friends list” audience it seems – and exploring public journaling.

What brings you to wordpress world these days?

Might try reading the Daily Post now…. apparently it has something of interest…

Have you found something of interest on the web lately?

 
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Posted by on December 13, 2011 in Uncategorized

 

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