Thursday, December 4, 2008

How to sabotage your new healthy lifestyle

So you're looking to screw up your healthy new lifestyle that has been making you feel better, lose weight, and has given you more energy.

Well, let me tell you how you can do it in just a few easy steps.

  1. First, spend time thinking about how unfair it is that others can eat the foods you want to eat.
    The most important part about this step is to surround yourself with two kinds of people. You want to make sure you have people around you that have never had a real weight problem and that tend to eat whatever they want. You'll also want to be sure to spend time around people that have a weight problem or better yet type 2 diabetes, but have decided to just eat whatever they want regardless of whatever it does to their health.

    Once you've surrounded yourself with these people, you'll want to make sure that you savor every bite of food they eat. With each bite of candy bar, french fry, or slice of pizza, you'll want to visualize how absolutely irresistibly delicious it must be.

    Don't forget that it would be totally worth it, regardless of how crummy you feel after eating it or how much the numbers on the scale move up. That piece of cake, doughnut, or chocolate bar is guaranteed to be the best you've ever had.

  2. Second, you'll want to make sure you give in to a craving
    As your friends/coworkers/family described in the previous step are eating their until their hearts content, make sure you take them up on their suggestion that "one bite won't hurt", "everything's okay in moderation", or "you're being too hard on yourself". Once you've realized that one bite really can't hurt, that everything really is okay in moderation, or that you really are being too hard on yourself, it's your chance to go ahead and give in! Dig in and enjoy!
    There are really two different approaches here, you can either just have a bite and tell yourself that you'll be okay now, or you can go all out and tell yourself it's just this one time.

  3. Third, repeat step 2 as often as necessary to completely destroy your health and more importantly your commitment to a healthy lifestyle.
    I know that part of step 2 was to tell yourself that it was "just this one time". Remember that even if you know you're going to do this again tomorrow or next week, it's really important to keep saying "just this once".

  4. The fourth and final step is to think about how impossible it is for anyone to continue low-carb for the rest of their life.
    This is the final nail in the coffin for your healthy lifestyle. Make sure you convince yourself that you couldn't possibly have lived that way for the rest of your life anyway. I mean regardless of how much better you felt, it would be impossible for someone to stick to eating just whole natural foods for the rest of their life anyway.
That's my definitive guide for how to blow your healthy low-carb lifestyle.

Each person may require their own blend of unique steps to ruining their commitment to their healthy lifestyle, so make sure you fine tune the program to your needs.

One thing to remember is that once you've gotten yourself started on ruining your commitment to a healthy lifestyle, it should be pretty easy to keep the ball rolling. After even a short time you'll find that your body and mind will get more committed to ruining your good health and you'll be back to your old self in no time!

If you've got any advice that has helped you or others close to you destroy a healthy lifestyle, feel free to throw your two cents into comments.

Best of luck,

Wednesday, November 26, 2008

Department of Redundancy Department

This will be anything but a completely original post, but I was laughing my butt off about what I saw on Dr. Mike Eades site tonight, so I had to quickly put up something about it.

There are these two great you tube videos that you have to see. They are both parodies of the High Fructose Corn Syrup commercials that have been clogging the airways like that stuff will indirectly cause clogging of your arteries. (No scientific foundation for that statement)

Anyway, my favorite is the second one, but check them both out. My wife and I thought they were hysterical.

What do you think?


PS. Don't fear the fat, but you should be scared as hell of HFCS!! It's the frankenest frankenfood ever.....

Wednesday, November 5, 2008

The whys and whos of fats

I've talked about fats a few times before (here and here). Of course you know I love to end my posts with "Don't fear the fat!".

My wife says I'm obsessed with fat, but I think she's wrong. I'm just not fat-phobic like so many people. I see fat for what it is, an essential nutrie and a dense energy source that has no effect on insulin unlike carbohydrates and to a less degree protein.

In the effort to help educate people and get them to be less fat-phobic, I try to glean good information about fat and spread it around like butter. ;)

The latest information I got is really interesting to me, and perhaps you already know this, but it's news to me. I listened to some podcasts on Jimmy Moore's Livin La Vida Low Carb. You can download them here and here.

To summarize, this is an interview with Barry Groves whom I know little about. I do know that he has a site called Second Opinions with some interesting information about the benefits of low-carb living.

While it wasn't the focus of the interview he did with Jimmy Moore, the thing I was most interested in that he talked about was fat. He spoke at some length about the different types of fat, but didn't spend a ton of time talking about the health effects of those fats, but the various sources and the whys of where different fats come from.

Essentially, he explained, the different types of fats come from different sources for environmental reasons. Fat typically is meant to be in a in a semi-solid flexible state at your body temperature. If you're warm-blooded, then you regulate your body temperature and probably keep it somewhere near 100 F. If you're cold-blooded or a plant, your heat is derived from your environment.

As Groves stated, plants that grow in tropical warm climates will tend to have higher amounts of saturated fats because saturated fats will be more solid than unsaturated fats at the higher temperatures of the tropics. This helps those plants keep their structure in warmer temperatures. Coconut and palm kernel are perfect examples of this.

If you're a cold water plant or a cold-blooded animal that lives in a cold climate, then you need to be made of more unsaturated fats. If you were cold all the time and made up of primarily saturated fats, then you would be rigid and couldn't move at all. Logically, cold water fish must have more unsaturated fats and they do!

Now imagine you're a warm-blooded animal. Oh wait, you are. You're body is constantly running at tropical temperatures. That means your body fat should be primarily saturated and it is.

Furthermore, we know that unsaturated fats go rancid and oxidize more easily at higher temperatures and that the more saturated a fat is the more stable it is. If you have an old bottle of vegetable oil, you might know the smell of rancid oil. If you've cooked with vegetable oil, then you've probably noticed that it burns easily when compared with animal fats like lard, chicken, or beef fat. The tendency to go rancid, burn, and oxidize is the reason someone invented trans fats. By specially treating vegetable oils, you can make them last longer, but you can't make them better for you.

Remember that oxidized fat can contribute to the formation of free radicals in your body. While these free radicals might sound like rebels fighting against big-government, they're not. These may be where cancer get started. They're the reason you need anti-oxidants or need to avoid things that cause oxidative damage.

So, if rancid, burned, or oxidized fat is bad (and it is), then you want to eat fats that will not rapidly oxidize or go rancid in the tropical climate of your body. Consequently, you want to get your fat from saturated and mono-unsaturated sources.

Some food, uh, fat for thought.


PS. Don't fear the fat! Especially when it's the right fat for your tropical temperature.

Tuesday, November 4, 2008

I'm cold turkey until I get some hot turkey!

Recently, Jimmy Moore of Livin La Vida Low Carb decided he would go sweet free until Thanksgiving.

He's been having a hard time losing some weight he's put on in the past year and he thinks that eating low-carb sweets, artificial sweeteners, and even fruit may be a part of his problem.

Well, I'm writing to tell you that I'm on board too and I hope you'll join Jimmy and I.

Why on earth would a low-carb nut like me rail against artificial sweeteners? They're great for avoiding the poison more commonly known as sugar, but does that mean that they're any better for you?

The main premise behind eating low-carb is that your body was designed to eat whole, unrefined, natural foods. This means that foods that require processing and refining to be edible are best avoided. I read a book called the Paleo Diet, in which the author, Loren Cordain, said that a good rule of thumb was to only eat foods which could be eaten raw. When I say this to people, they think I'm crazy because they believe you can't eat eggs or meat raw. Of course you can! I'm not saying you should, but obviously our ancestors did and people still do.

By that premise, obviously, our bodies were not meant to consume great amounts of sugar as it was generally unavailable to our ancestors except in the form of some occasional honey or seasonal fruit. Our ancestors may have also gnawed on sugar cane, but they did not consume refined sugar.

If I haven't lost you yet, then allow me to close this argument by saying that our body was not designed to consume artificial sweeteners. I won't say that they're going to give you cancer or that you'll get sick and die from eating them. I have found that they can cause problems with my reactive hypoglycemia and I think they have some of the same addictive properties of refined carbohydrates like sugar and white flour. I also think that they may tend to encourage low-carbers to loosen their resolve because you may fall back into craving more sweets.

So, if you've improved your health and well-being by consuming foods that your body was made to thrive on, consider kicking the parts of your diet that don't fit that bill. To make a long story short, I'm giving up sweets until at least Thanksgiving. I'll probably indulge that day, but will I go back to sweeteners after that. Only time will tell.

While we're on the subject of what your body was designed to thrive on and the foods for which it was not designed, can you think of any others you should consider getting rid of......?

How do you feel about artificial sweeteners? How much do you normally consume? Do you think that sugar and other refined carbs are addictive? Do you find that artificial sweeteners have the same effect?


PS. Don't fear the fat! Especially if it's from all natural animal sources. No processing required.

Wednesday, October 29, 2008

I'm dreaming of a Green Thanksgiving

One of the things that makes me proud to be on low-carb is that it can be one of the greenest ways to eat, and no I'm not talking about the veggies.

Eating low-carb in a nutshell is simple. Eat whole foods that are the foods your paleolithic ancestors thrived on. Since our ancestors grew to thrive all over the world, you can find anything you need to live on near you. Eat some plants, eat some animals, eggs, full fat dairy products, and some nuts. Everything beyond that is an indulgence and is physiologically unnecessary, but sometimes emotionally or psychologically necessary.

So, eating green on low-carb is much easier than it is when trying to consume a diet high in refined foods. Grain products will tend to have a fairly large carbon footprint because they are grown in centralized areas and distributed all over the country and the globe. The same is certainly said of all the packaged goods you buy. If you want to reduce the carbon footprint of your dinner plate, try buying veggies grown locally from your local farmer's market and talk to the sellers there to see where you can buy locally raised meats. You might have to change the way you buy a little, but it could be a big payoff for everyone and give you a new perspective.

To find your local farmer's market, check out the following links
(if you're not from New England, try this link and add your state to get your local market)
Maine Farmer's Markets
New Hampshire Farmer's Markets
Massachusetts Farmer's Markets
Rhode Island Farmer's Markets
Connecticut Farmer's Markets
Vermont Farmer's Markets

I haven't transitioned to completely local eating, but I do take a lot of satisfaction in buying local produce or picking some fruits and pumpkins from the local orchard.

My goal this year is to have an "as green as it can be" Thanksgiving. I'm looking to find a local turkey farm where I can buy a fresh, and perhaps organic, turkey. I also plan to try to get all veggies from local growers and to get my dairy from local sources as well. Anything I can't get from a local source, I'm going to get organic. The other part to my plan is to make as much as possible from scratch. If you know any great places to get this stuff, spill the beans.

It's only one meal, followed by a few days of delicious leftovers, but I think it's a cool way to get started. I think it will be kind of a fun adventure in eating and will bring a little different perspective to the food which we so often take for granted.

For some interesting reading, check out a recent article by Michael Pollan "Farmer in Chief". I may not agree with all of Michael's philosophies on eating, but with regard to his discourse on the globalization of the food supply and the absurdity of the way our food is shipped all over the world, I do agree with him. I also agree with him that our food an nutrition is an essential topic for our next Commander in Chief.

Well, I'd love to have some people join me in the spirit of having a "green" Thanksgiving. Are you with me?

I'd love to hear what you think too! Think I'm crazy, off my rocker, overreacting? I'd love to hear it. Think I'm too much of a softy and not being strict enough? Let me have it!


PS. Don't fear the fat!

Tuesday, October 28, 2008

Crispy Fried Pork Chops

My wife, daughter, and I just had these for dinner tonight, so I figure I ought to share this with all of you.

  • 3 - 4 lbs pork chops - I used center cut bone-in, but I just buy whatever's on sale
  • 2.5 cups soy flour - I prefer organic soy flour, but I've had a hard time finding it lately
  • 2 tsp kosher salt
  • 1 tsp garlic powder
  • 0.5 tsp onion powder
  • 1 tsp black pepper
  • 1 tsp basil
  • 1 tsp oregano
  • 0.25 tsp crushed red pepper
  • 1 Tbsp parmesan cheese
  • 3 eggs
  • 0.25 cups heavy cream
  • Enough frying fat to cover the bottom of the pan with about a 1/4 to 1/2 inch of oil - I used rendered chicken fat, but lard or tallow would work great too. I would only use vegetable oils if you have no other choice. Please don't use vegetable shortening it is hydrogenated and no one should be eating it.
  1. Add your fat to a deep skillet and heat over medium heat until the oil is hot. The oil should be somewhat thin, but not smoking.
  2. Preheat your oven to 400 F.
  3. Combine eggs and cream in a dish that is large enough to dip your pork chops in.
  4. Combine dry ingredients in another dish large enough to dip your pork chops in.
  5. Dip each pork chop into the dry ingredients, then the wet ingredients, then the dry ingredients. When moving from wet to dry, let the excess egg wash drip off the pork chop before dipping in dry ingredients again.
  6. Gently shake the excess breading off the pork chop.
  7. Place the dipped pork chop into the hot oil carefully. Be careful not to drop the pork chop causing the hot oil to splash.
  8. Fry each chop until is dark brown on the bottom, then gently turn over. Again, be careful not to splash the hot oil.
  9. Fry until the new bottom side is dark brown, then remove from the pan and place on baking sheet or broiler pan.
  10. When all chops have been fried, put the the baking sheet or broiler pan in the preheated oven. Bake chops for 10 - 20 minutes. Thicker chops or bone-in chops will take longer than thinner or boneless chops. My chops were bone-in and about 3/4 inch thick, they baked for 20 minutes.
If you don't care for or can't find soy flour, I imagine you could use almond flour. I haven't tried it yet. I've tried coconut flour, but that turned out to be a little grainy tasting.

So, what are you waiting for? Get your oil heated up and start frying!

If you try this, let me know how it turned out and what, if anything, you tried that was different.


PS. Don't fear the fat! It's what makes these chops sooooo tasty.

Friday, October 24, 2008

I'm back!

Sorry I haven't posted much for the past month or so.

For those of you who don't know me personally, I've suffered from reactive hypoglycemia for a long time. I'll give you a little background on it and some information about it and get on to how I've dealt with it.

Clinically speaking, reactive hypoglycemia, also known as post-prandial hypoglycemia, is when blood sugar drops "too low" (sorry I don't know the numbers) within 2 to 5 hours after a meal. The symptoms can include anxiety, shakiness, light-headedness, sweating, nausea, difficulty concentrating, depression, heart palpitations, flushing, epileptic-type response to flashing lights, headaches, craving sweets, and increased appetite.

I personally experienced almost all of the above and the symptoms I didn't develop my wife did. In retrospect, my and my wife's symptoms have been evident for a long time, but people know so little about this problem that many people don't get the treatment they need because the symptoms can be attributed to all sorts of problems.

The general advice that many receive is to drink some juice or eat some crackers. People are told to eat every two hours or so. I took this advice and it worked to temporarily relieve symptoms, but never offered permanent relief.

It took a long time to start to make the connection between what I ate and the severity and frequency of my symptoms, but when I was around 19 I started to make the connection. At first I thought sugar was my whole problem, but I later learned that all carbohydrates contributed to the problem, not just sugar.

After years of suffering and reacting to symptoms of low-blood sugar by eating, my weight had skyrocketed until I was nearly 100 pounds overweight and my wife was about 60 pounds overweight. We were hooked on a high-carb diet. We tried losing weight by reducing fat, cutting calories, exercising and failed at every turn.

About 6 years ago I started reading books about low-carb eating. I read "The Zone" by Barry Sears, "How I Gave Up My Low-Fat Diet and Lost Forty Pounds" by Dana Carpender, and "Dr. Atkins New Diet Revolution" by Robert C. Atkins. I found a little bit of information about normalizing blood sugar levels in these and I thought this way of eating might work for me. I experimented with reducing some of the carbohydrates in my diet and immediately my weight started to drop and my symptoms improved. I had the evidence I needed to move forward with trying the Atkin's Diet. I talked to my wife and persuaded her to try it with me.

Within a couple weeks, most of our maladies disappeared. My wife's migraine headaches got better, we both had energy again, shakiness, anxiety, and depression appeared to be a thing of the past.

We later found that these weren't all gone completely. Artificial sweeteners and caffeine also turned out to be culprits as well. These affected me more substantially than they did my wife.

I have intermittently removed these from my diet with positive results. One of the things that plagued me for years is that even when I avoided all the "culprit" foods in my diet, I still developed many of the same symptoms I had experienced in the past. I tried going "no-carb" and very low-carb without any positive results. I went to my doctor and she said "eat 6 or 7 small meals a day" and "eat a little bit of everything". She didn't listen when I told her I was eating low-carb, she was too busy giving advice that sounded right to her.

I kept careful food logs for a month that detailed when I ate, what I ate, how I felt, and what I did. I saw my doc again in a month and brought my food log. She wasn't interested. I told her I noticed that when I ate, I experienced symptoms, but when I fasted for long periods I had no symptoms. She remarked "that's odd, you would expect it to be opposite". Her final advice, "just keep eating small frequent meals". I knew she was insane and that she just wasn't listening. I had spent $300 on blood tests that told me nothing. I had to figure things out for myself.

I was desperate for some help because the anxiety, depression, and inability to concentrate were really taking a negative toll on my life, so I wrote to Dr. Jay Wortman at He suggested that too much protein could be part of the problem. He advised me to try to eat about 1 - 1.5 g of protein per kg of body weight. I started experimenting with that advice with some positive results, but I still was developing symptoms intermittently.

Next I stumbled upon the "Optimal Diet" by Dr. Kwasniewski read more here and here. It is a low-carb diet, in which you avoid eating too much protein and get the majority of your calories from fat. I did that for a month and saw, in general, a tremendous improvement in my symptoms.

Finally, I ready a post on Stargazey's site about reactive hypoglycemia with advice to wait 5 - 6 hours between meals. The advice is based on allowing insulin levels to drop between meals. For me that advice has turned out to be spot on.

I have since combined that advice with eating the prescribed amount of protein by Drs. Mike and Mary Eades in "Protein Power Lifeplan".

Since I have made these most recent changes, I have finally been relieved of my symptoms. Now I eat about 34g of protein at each of three meals a day, I get most of my calories from fat, and I get a few calories from carbohydrate. I am able to take some amount of artificial sweeteners, but I don't eat them during the day when my symptoms are more likely to occur.

If you have symptoms of reactive hypoglycemia, I encourage you to seek out information as I have and don't be afraid to ignore your doctor's advice if they're not really helping. Try keeping a food log with details about when, what, and how much you eat and any thing you notice about how you feel. Talk to people and don't stop searching until you get the answers you need. I don't know if I've solved the problem, but I think I have just made a major breakthrough.

I couldn't have done it without the help of so many of the websites, blogs, and books out there. Each shed a little more light on a poorly understood subject.

The positive changes in my health, my weight, and my mental health have all come from the low-carb community. That's why I'm proud to be a part of it. I hope that someday someone's life will be improved by something they found on my site.

So, there's your glimpse into some of the craziness of my life. If you have any questions, feel free to post them in comments or of course email me at


PS. Don't fear the fat! Without it, I wouldn't have anything to eat!

Monday, October 13, 2008

Getting started.

Like anything, there's a right way and a wrong way to get started on your low-carb lifestyle.

The wrong way...

"I'm doing Atkins!"
-I've never read any of Dr. Atkin's books, but I heard it was an all you can eat meat, egg, and cheese diet.

The right way...

"I'm not happy with my health, weight, or I just want to see if I can feel better."
-I'll read up on the subject so I'll be well informed. Blogs and websites are a great way to get information, but always remember, "trust, but verify"
-I'll commit to reading a book by one of the major authors on the subject (Eades or Atkins are the two that come to mind)
-I'll pick a day to start once I understand what I need to do
-I'll get rid of the foods I shouldn't eat so I won't be tempted
-I'll commit to trying this new lifestyle for some amount of time before I start
-I'll weigh/measure myself before I start
-I'll see my doctor to evaluate my health before I make a dramatic lifestyle change

The first approach is the sort of haphazard, half-hearted attempt that gives low-carb a bad name.

The second approach is the secret to success. I'm not saying it's the only way to start and that you'll certainly fail if you don't do everything I say, I'm simply saying that if you want to give low-carb a fighting chance at really improving your health, then I recommend a well thought out approach.

Good luck and I'd love to hear from you if you think there are some important steps I've missed.


PS. Don't fear the fat!

Thursday, October 2, 2008

The Skinny on Fat... Fat Facts

In my last post, I wrote about the inevitability of consuming more fat when you eat low-carb.

Now, I'd like to talk about some fat facts. Types of fats, what makes fats different from one another, and where you find them.

When we speak of fat, we are really talking about fatty acids. All fatty acids are chains of carbon atoms linked together surrounded by hydrogen atoms. If a carbon atom doesn't have a hydrogen atom to bond to it will bond to a neighboring carbon atom. This is what defines the difference between a saturated fatty acid and an unsaturated fatty acid.

Fatty acids are grouped into three categories based on their chemical construction.
  1. Saturated fatty acids - SFAs
    All of the carbon atoms are bonded to hydrogen. Hence all the carbon atoms are "saturated" with hydrogen.
  2. Polyunsaturated fatty acids - PUFAs
    Several of the carbon atoms are not bonded with hydrogen and consequently bond with one another. So there are multiple "poly-" carbon atoms that are not saturated with hydrogen atoms "unsaturated".
  3. Monounsaturated fatty acids - MUFAs
    There are two carbon atoms which are not bonded with hydrogen, but are bonded to one another. So, there is one "mono-" bond between two carbon atoms which is not saturated with hydrogen "unsaturated".
Alright, we've laid out the basics for the difference between the fatty acids. Let's quickly cover some of the

Saturated fats tend to be more stable than unsaturated fatty acids. Saturated fats are less susceptible to spoilage and are less susceptible to oxidization when exposed to heat. They are solid at higher temperatures and have higher smoking points than unsaturated fats.

Unsaturated fats tend to be liquids at lower temperatures than saturated fats and may be referred to as "oils". They smoke at lower temperatures than saturated fats. Polyunsaturated fats are the least stable and are the most susceptible to becoming rancid or oxidizing when exposed to heat. If you say "why on earth do I care?". I'll tell you why. We've all heard of antioxidants, right? I can't go into all the science of all of this, but basically, things that oxidize are more likely to be carcinogenic , cancer causing, and antioxidants help protect us from oxidative damage. So, things that can cause oxidative damage should be avoided and things that protect us from oxidative damage should be consumed.

So, you're going to consume more fats on low-carb, you now know the difference between the different fats from a chemical standpoint, and you know a little more about the stability of fats in the face of heat and age. What you don't know is where you can find each of these fats.

A common belief about fats is that animal fats are largely saturated and that plant fats are largely unsaturated. Both statements are incorrect and misrepresent where different types of fats are found.

There is a lot of debate about the health of particular fats, but for now we will make only one assumption, because it is fairly widely accepted. The assumption is that monounsaturated fat, the primary fat in olive oil, is good for you. It may be good for your heart, it may do other good things for you.

Let's talk about the fats found in animals, then we'll talk about the fats found in plants.

First off, we'll take the most insidious of all fats, lard. I'll bet that if you ask anyone, they will tell you that lard is the stuff that heart disease is made of and it's probably worse than just about any other fat. Lard is rendered pork fat and it is obviously the worst of the worst. The fatty acid profile of lard is as follows (doesn't total 100% because of rounding):
45% - monounsaturated fat
39% - saturated fat
11% - polyunsaturated fat
So, the premise that animal fats are mostly saturated is apparently false. This means that the fat of bacon and pork chops and spare ribs is mostly monounsaturated, presumably heart-healthy fat. How about that?

If pork fat is mostly unsaturated fat, then surely beef with all that solid white fat must have nothing but saturated fats for you. Or does it? Check out the fatty acid profile of a delicious rib eye steak (doesn't total 100% because of rounding):
41% - monounsaturated fat
39% - saturated fat
4% - polyunsaturated fat

Personally I found it fascinating when I found out that beef fat too was mostly unsaturated fats. It seems far from what I thought I knew about types of fats and their food sources.

When we look at plants, we'd assume that those are pretty much unsaturated, but I think this deserves a closer look too.

Olive oil, purportedly good for your health and your heart. We'll assume it is for now, but maybe we don't know why. It's lipid profile:
14% - saturated fat
73% - monounsaturated fat
11% - polyunsaturated fat
So, this is clearly much higher in MUFAs than the animal fats we looked at, but far from free of SFAs.

How about coconut oil?
87% - saturated fat
6% - monounsaturated fat
2% - polyunsaturated fat

Corn oil?
58% - monounsaturated fat
8% - saturated fat
29% - polyunsaturated fat

Soybean oil?
58% - polyunsaturated fat
23% - monounsaturated fat
16% - saturated fat

So unsaturated fats do come from both plant and animal sources and the same appears to be true for saturated fats.

Animal sources appear to be largely made up of monounsaturated fats and saturated fats, with little polyunsaturated fat. Plants seem to vary widely in the percentages of saturated, monounsaturated, and polyunsaturated fats they contain.

I've gone on long enough with facts about fat, but I have a couple more things I should add. I hope you've read this far, because I think this will be a good lead in to the next post.

There is one food we were all designed to eat, indisputably. Breast milk. We don't all get it and I don't feel the need to entertain the debate over whether we need to or not, but the fact remains that it is indisputably the one food we were designed to eat and make us grow up strong and healthy. Before the advent of foods that were easy for infants and toddlers to eat, mothers used to nurse much longer than they do now. So breast milk was designed to sustain our growing youngsters for the first few years of life, providing much if not all of the essential nutrients for a healthy body.

I wonder what the lipid profile of breast milk is? Could it be:
48% - saturated fat
35% - monounsaturated fat
10% - polyunsaturated fat

So the lipid profile of the single most significant food in your life, which all humans were made to eat is mostly saturated fat, followed closely by saturated fat.

Finally, I'll leave you with this thought. We as humans have evolved to get our food from natural sources. Forgetting the rhetoric we hear from our doctors and government health officials for a minute, doesn't this then mean that we should endeavor to get our nutrients in the most natural form possible. Don't people say that it's better to eat broccoli than to take a vitamin, or better to eat an orange than drink orange juice?

If so, why not get your fat from natural sources that we have evolved to eat? Meats, eggs, fish, full-fat dairy products, olives, coconuts, palm are all great natural sources of fat. Corn, soy, rapeseed (canola) are not good sources of fat. They are not edible without processing and their fat content is too low such that they require large amounts of processing to extract their fat.

Next time, we'll talk some more about fat and some of the controversy over what kinds of fat you should eat and why.

Until then, we're trying to start a dialogue here, so help me out with some comments. I want to hear your thoughts. Positive, negative, neutral, share them all, please. As I said in my previous post, we need to talk about fat. We need to take some of the big scary out of this and get past the misconceptions, preconceptions, and get to the truth. It may not be what I have to say, but we won't know unless we talk about it.

If you have some good stuff to say about fat and what its done for you, that would be great too! I now have over 400 hits on this site, so I know some people are reading it. I'd love to hear more from you.


PS. Don't fear the fat! (Especially now that you know a little more about it)

Friday, September 26, 2008

Let's chew the fat...

We need to talk about fat and your metabolism.

When you live low-carb, you inevitably eat more fat. You may doubt me, but you will need to eat more of it when you live low-carb. Think of it this way, the typical American consumes 200-400 grams of carbohydrate a day. That amounts to roughly 800-1600 calories a day from carbohydrate. When you're eating low-carb, you'll probably start by eating around 20-40 grams of carbohydrate a day, roughly 80 - 160 calories. That means you just dropped between 600 and 1500 calories a day from your diet. If you have loads of weight to lose, then this may work for a while, but the likelihood is you may need to replace some or all of those calories depending on how much weight you have to lose.

So you have two other macronutrients from which you can make up those missing calories, fat or protein.

Protein is an essential macronutrient because it is required for cell construction and all kinds of maintenance of structures and functions in the body. It is great for structures, but not so great as a fuel. Your body can convert protein to blood glucose as needed via a process called gluconeogenesis. That's what make carbohydrates metabolically unnecessary. You can eat enough protein to use some as fuel, but your body can only take so much before bad things start to happen. After a few posts about fat, I'll get to talking about protein, how much you need, and where it should come from.

Fat is an energy source just like carbohydrates. Just like carbohydrates, fats provide energy and have metabolic and health effects on the body. Unlike carbohydrates, fats do not require insulin to use the energy they provide. Insulin is a fat regulating hormone, among other things, and I explain the physiology of that process here and here. I'd read them in order.

When your body is metabolizing fat as it's main energy source it uses both free fatty acids from the blood stream and it converts some of the fatty acids in your blood to ketones and uses the ketones as it's energy source.

Now we have a foundation from which to build the discussion on fat. I have several more posts coming regarding fat metabolism, fat's effect on your health, fat fears, big fat myths, cholesterol, and fat facts.

As these posts come out, we need all of you who read them to chime in. I know there are people that are reading this because I've gotten a few comments, but we need more. Diet is an extraordinarily complex, controversial, and, in many cases, emotional subject. It needs to be talked about more. We need to have more open dialogue backed up by facts, anecdotes, and studies. If we can talk about this, maybe we can cut through some of the myths and misconceptions and remove some of the erroneous beliefs that are rooted in speculation.

This post may not be so controversial, but there will some real controversy and some conclusions that challenge convention over some of the upcoming posts.


PS. Don't fear the fat! (You'll need it)

Friday, September 19, 2008

Better Beef Stroganoff

Beef stroganoff is traditionally made with flour for thickening and served atop some sort of starchy side like egg noodles or rice. Traditional beef stroganoff doesn't really fit into a healthy low-carb lifestyle, but with a little tweaking we can make it so it can become a regular fixture on your low-carb menu.

  • 2 pound ground beef (75% - 8o% lean)
  • 1/2 teaspoon mustard powder
  • 1 t kosher salt
  • 1/2 t black pepper
  • 1 beef bouillion cube chopped or crushed
  • 5 cloves fresh garlic thinly sliced
  • 3/4 large onion sliced
  • 8oz sliced mushrooms
  • 1.5 c sour cream
  • 1/2 c mayonnaise
  1. Brown the ground beef in a deep saucepan over medium-high heat.
  2. Remove the cooked ground beef from the pan and set aside, but leave any drippings in the pan. A slotted spoon works well for this.
  3. Reduce heat to medium.
  4. Add onions, mushrooms, and garlic to the pan and cook until the onions begin to get soft.
  5. Reduce heat to low.
  6. Add the remaining ingredients to the pan and stir until blended.
  7. Add the cooked ground beef back to the pan and stir to combine.
  8. Season to taste as needed.
  9. Remove from heat.
I think this is great served over cauliflower rice. I posted the recipe for Cauliflower "Rice" - Plain so you'd have something to serve your stroganoff atop.

And in case you're wondering about thickening without using flour, you don't need to thicken since you're using a beef bouillon cube instead of a bunch of beef broth.

Give it a try and let me know what you think.


PS. Don't fear the fat!

Thursday, September 18, 2008

Cauliflower "Rice" - Plain

One of the things to do when you adopt a healthy low-carb lifestyle is to make sure that you can still eat some of your old favorites without sacrificing your health and to try to find some healthy substitutes for food that may otherwise thwart your attempts to lose weight and be healthy.

You may not have loved cauliflower before you started low-carb, I didn't, but trust me when I tell you that you will learn that it is a wonderful substitute for all kinds of things from rice to rice pilaf to mashed potatoes, you can even use it to make pizza.

This is hardly a recipe, it's really just some directions for how to turn a head of cauliflower or a bag of frozen cauliflower into a substitute for a bowl of plain white rice. Once you've got your rice, you can top it with whatever you want.

Whether you've got frozen cauliflower florets or fresh cauliflower you should get equally good results. As you experiment, see if you have a preference. Frozen tends to be cheaper and, of course, has a longer shelf life. The quality of fresh seems to be better sometimes, so I get that when it's a good deal.

Enough with the chit chat, it's time for some directions.

Fresh Cauliflower:
  1. Cut off the stalk and the green stuff that's attached.
  2. Cut the head of cauliflower into 1.5" chunks. Don't worry about being exact, I'm just trying to give you some idea of how to cut it. If you've seen the size of frozen florets, that's about what you're looking for.
  3. Rinse the chunks of cauliflower with cold water.
  4. Put a steamer basket in a pan of water. The water should come up just to the bottom of the steamer basket.
  5. Put the cauliflower chunks in the steamer basket and put the pot over high heat, covered.
  6. Cook for about 20 minutes or until the cauliflower begins to separate easily when a fork is inserted. When making cauliflower rice, it's better to under-cook than over-cook.
  7. Turn off the burner and remove the the pot from the heat.
  8. Drain the cauliflower and put it back in the pot.
  9. Put the pot back on the burner (but the burner better be off).
  10. Mash the cauliflower with a potato masher until it resembles the consistency of rice. Don't over-mash.
Frozen Cauliflower Florets:
  1. Put a steamer basket in a pan of water. The water should come up just to the bottom of the steamer basket.
  2. Heat the water boiling.
  3. Put the cauliflower florets in the steamer basket and cover.
  4. Cook for about 20 minutes or until the cauliflower begins to separate easily when a fork is inserted. When making cauliflower rice, it's better to under-cook than over-cook.
  5. Turn off the burner and remove the the pot from the heat.
  6. Drain the cauliflower and put it back in the pot.
  7. Put the pot back on the burner (but the burner better be off).
  8. Mash the cauliflower with a potato masher until it resembles the consistency of rice. Don't over-mash.
So there's your basic cauliflower rice recipe.

I'll post some other cauliflower recipes at some point, but this will be enough to get you started.

My next recipe will use this, so I wanted to put it up first.


PS. Don't fear the fat! (but you won't find any in this recipe, so you'll need to add some)

Sunday, September 14, 2008

As a follow up to my most recent post...

I explained some of the "why" of why low-carb appears to be more effective for weight loss than other weight loss programs.

If you'd like to hear someone else explain it who has reviewed a great deal of research and wrote a wonderful book on the subject of diet and health which covers the subject in extraordinary depth without trying to sell you anything then check out this article on Mother Earth, a periodical all about living better.

Also feel free to check out these articles that Gary has written. The beautiful part about his writing is that he is interested in truth and challenging bad science, not selling diet foods, getting you to follow his diet, or treating patients.

What if It's All Been a Big Fat Lie?

Does Exercise Really Make Us Thinner?

I've read both of these articles and I enjoyed them both. There's more to the story than obesity. Gary also covers the science of heart disease, cancer, dementia, and other chronic illnesses in Good Calories, Bad Calories. I highly recommend reading it, but realize that it is lengthy and in depth. To quote Gary, "it is written for the intelligent layperson". If you don't find yourself interested enough to read it yet, please feel free to email me or post a comment if there is a particular health concern that you're interested in.


PS. Don't fear the fat!

Saturday, September 13, 2008

Why low-carb and not something else? Part 2

Let's talk a little about why studies show that people are more successful on low-carb than on other approaches.

If you haven't noticed already, you're body is pretty good at holding onto weight once it gets it and if you're someone who has been challenged with being heavier than you'd like for a good part of your life, then you've probably noticed that your body may have an affinity for adding on extra weight even after you lose some.

From what I've learned by reading Good Calories, Bad Calories by Gary Taubes where Gary cites well known medical facts as well as in depth of analysis of the studies that have been done to give us the currently accepted "healthy" diet recommendations. The main culprit is insulin.

Insulin is a hormone secreted by your pancreas to help regulate your blood glucose levels as well as regulate fat storage and use.

To summarize how your body handles carbohydrates:
  1. Eat carbohydrates.
  2. Blood glucose levels rise as carbohydrates are digested.
  3. Insulin output increases to reduce blood glucose.
  4. Blood glucose gets moved to fat cells or to glycogen stores in muscle tissue.
  5. If you're a person who is predisposed to fat storage continue to step #6, otherwise stay skinny and fit.
  6. Energy levels drop because too much energy is moved to fat cells.
  7. Eat more carbohydrates because you're hungry, tired, etc.
  8. Repeat, starting with step 1.
So why does this happen to you and not others?

That's the million dollar question.

There are those of us who are predisposed to this from birth, it is simply a question of when the problem manifests. For some people it comes early in life for others it comes much later. Many people wrongly assume that the excess weight is because they're not as active as they used to be or that they just eat too much, but those are merely symptoms of the problem. For me the obesity came in my teens, but the lack of energy came much younger.

If you're overweight or obese, then you're problem isn't one of overeating or not exercising enough, it's a disease of excess fat storage. Your body is so good at storing weight that when you eat your body doesn't want you to use it, it wants to store it.

What happens?

Your body stores weight instead of telling you to go burn it off. You try to lose weight by eating less, or exercising more, but your body remains good at storing fat. If you eat less and your body is still good at storing, you may find it hard or impossible to lose weight or you may find that you lose it but are constantly hungry or tired.

Why do you gain the weight back?

Your body is still good at storing weight and it drives you to eat more so that you can maintain the fat storage.

Why doesn't exercise help?

If you exercise more, you think you can fool your body by not eating enough to make up for the exercise, but eventually your body continues to drive you to make up the difference and you obey because BIOLOGY RULES! You don't tell your body's biology how to work, it tells you what to do.

Why you've failed...
  • I have no (or not enough) willpower.
  • I must not be trying hard enough.
  • I'm just not disciplined.
  • I'm just lazy or unmotivated.
  • I know what you need to do, you just need to do it.
  • I am just predisposed to being overweight or obese and there's nothing I can do about it.

Have you ever thought any of the above?
Has anyone ever told you any of these?
Have you ever thought this of someone that was overweight or obese?

I have. About me and about others. I was wrong. If you answered yes to any of the question above, so are you. Think I'm wrong? Let's duke it out (verbally, of course). I love to debate this as I find the subject fascinating! Post a comment or send me an email.

Trying to resist your body's propensity for fat storage by reducing calories or exercising doesn't work for most people because BIOLOGY RULES! Let's say you need to go to the bathroom, but you can't find one, or you're busy, or it's the wrong time. What do you do? Your resist biology. You tell your body "this will have to wait". But you can only hold out so long. It doesn't matter the circumstances, eventually you will have to give in. It doesn't matter how inconvenient or inappropriate it would be, you will have to give in. Your body's drive to store fat is the same. You may resist for some time, but eventually you'll fail if your fat storage process stays broken.

So, why does low-carb work?
  1. If insulin regulates fat storage and use and insulin increases in response to carbohydrate consumption, then if you reduce carbohydrate consumption insulin production will fall.
  2. If insulin production falls then fat will be used for energy more easily.
  3. When stored fat is used for energy you will have more energy and need to eat less. Your body won't be constantly trying to put those calories away for later.
That is what makes low-carb different from any other diet. It may not be able to fix your broken fat storage mechanism, but it can work around it in a way like no other diet can.

Soon I'll talk about some of the challenges you'll face on low-carb and how to ensure your long-term success.

In the meantime, if you have questions about a particular dietary approach you want to talk about or need some advice or guidance on, feel free to write to me at

If you have success or failure stories to share, please post a comment. I'd love to hear about what's worked or hasn't worked for you. If you are trying to troubleshoot why you're not losing, let's talk about it and see if I or any of the other readers can help.


PS. Don't fear the fat!

Tuesday, September 9, 2008

Should I be a vegetarian?

I was listening to NPR the other day and they covered a story about a U.N. recommendation to eat less meat to help reduce global warming. You can read about the recommendation on the Fox News site here.

This is one of the many moral quandaries I find myself in now that I have discovered how healthy I am on a low-carb diet.

The article is quoted as saying that a 2006 study done by the U.N. found that 18% of greenhouse gas emissions come from methane released from cattle, sheep, and pigs. I can't contest that and I won't try. The suggestion from Dr. Rajendra Pachauri of the U.N.'s IPCC (Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change) that I heard on NPR was that there are also green house gases released from the production of feed for these animals as well. This logic makes sense to me as well.

I won't dispute the findings of this committee but I think people should always take any scientific "facts" cautiously and make sure they consider the case fully before drawing any conclusions and I must do the same.

Regardless of the rationale behind these recommendations, I agree with the spirit of the recommendation, although I have a slightly different idea of how we should reduce our consumption.
Dr. Rajendra Pachauri recommends "Give up meat for one day [a week] initially, and decrease it from there,". Dr. Rajendra Pachauri is a vegetarian and I can see how he would advocate this. I don't.

I do think we should try to minimize our waste of precious resources. For instance, instead of farming millions and millions of acres for soy, corn, and rapeseed (canola) to make "healthy" vegetable oils, we have an abundance of animal fats that are being wasted because they are perceived as unhealthy. I think we should go back to the way our ancestors used an animal and wasted nothing from it. Let's go back to putting real meat back in companion animal foods and get soy and soy byproducts out of our food.

If we're concerned about the environment and not just global warming, we need to reform our farming practices too. Farming corn is extraordinarily damaging to the environment, just Google "gulf dead zone" to better understand the effect of all the fertilizers from our corn farming. Also, check out "soy herbicides" to learn a little more about soy farming and all the herbicides it uses. Those can't be good for the planet either.

Where is the recommendation to help reduce the population? If people had fewer children and we were able to reduce the world population even a little, it would have an astounding effect on the environment. Can you imagine if we reduced the world population by even 1%? That would be 67 million fewer people making demands on our limited resources. Developed nations may eat more meat and drive more cars, but we also have fewer children and make a up a smaller portion of the world population.

If you're a person that is obese or overweight and you suffer from diseases like heart disease, diabetes, or other chronic illnesses like chronic fatigue syndrome or fibromyalgia, a healthy low-carbohydrate diet could benefit your health.

To pass up the opportunity to be healthy and happy based on a recommendation like the recent one from the U.N. is crazy to me. I won't do it.

Here's what I will do. I will make sure that whatever resources I do use I will use as thoughtfully as possible and as conservatively as possible. I will try to use no more than I need. This should be a rule we all live by. Not just for food, but for everything. Energy, plastics, glass, metals, everything should be conserved.

I drive a compact car. I bike to work occasionally. I recycle. I buy local stuff sometimes. I chose to have only one child.

I try to make the most out of the life I've been given and I want to be the healthiest I can be while I walk the Earth. That's why I'm committed to a healthy low-carb lifestyle.

I won't give up meat. It's my life's blood and I need it, but I respect that there is a cost to it.

Your thoughts?


PS. Don't fear the fat!

Saturday, September 6, 2008

Why low-carb and not something else?

Why not just cut your calories?
Why not cut the fat from your diet?
Why not exercise more and eat less?
Why not allow yourself to have a little bit of everything, but do so in moderation?
Why not take a weight loss drug like Alli?

For that matter, why not go on the beet diet, the green bean diet, or the grapefruit diet?

These are questions you must consider before embarking on taking on a healthy low-carb lifestyle. Why? Because they are questions that will challenge your will along the way and they will jeopardize your progress and your health if you do not remain committed to your new lifestyle. If you don't buy it at first, it's okay, but trust me when I tell you that your long term success depends on your understanding of why this diet will help you lose more weight, maintain your weight loss, and stay healthier than other diets.

Let's talk about why you might follow some of the above diets:
  • You think that eating too many calories is responsible for your extra weight, thus cutting calories will help you lose weight.
  • Fat is bad for your health because it causes heart disease and it has lots of calories, therefore if you cut the fat, you'll lose weight.
  • You exercise more because if you burn more calories than you take in, you'll lose weight.
  • There's no such thing as a "bad" food as long as you don't eat too much.
I assume that like many others you have tried "dieting" and lost weight only to gain it back. Perhaps in the process, you've seen your health deteriorate in the form of diabetes, hyperlipidemia (high cholesterol and other blood fats), fatigue, varicose veins, edema (swelling), joint pain, or back pain.

Think about why you failed on those other diets. I'm betting it was one of a couple main problems with "dieting".
  1. You made changes you couldn't stick with and gave up.
  2. You couldn't take the chronic hunger.
  3. You felt chronically tired and out of energy because your body didn't have enough fuel to run on.
  4. Social pressure made you feel like you couldn't enjoy the same things as other people or made you feel awkward when around other people.
  5. The diet was too complicated and you got tired of keeping track of things or measuring things all the time or these things contributed to reason #4.
  6. When you're asked to give up certain foods, which you relate to happiness, you're back to reason #1 or #4 and giving up on your diet.
Many of us, me included, have tried diets where we lost weight. I bet we're not all that different.
  1. We lost some or all of the weight and we eventually fell off the wagon for one of the above reasons.
  2. You know that if you can just get back to what worked before, you'll lose the weight again.
  3. When you do eventually get back to trying that diet, it doesn't work anymore or one of the above throws you off before you make any serious progress.
  4. Repeat, starting with step 2. Skip step 1.
Over the next couple posts, I'll talk about what makes a healthy low-carb lifestyle different from other diets you've tried and how it can help you overcome some of these obstacles. I'll also talk about some of the challenges you'll still face when you choose low-carb and how to ensure your long term success.

In the meantime, if you have any stories to share about your failure or success, or challenges you'd like to discuss, feel free to tell me about it in a comment or by email at


PS. Don't fear the fat!

Friday, September 5, 2008

Pulled Pork - Slow Cooking, but worth the wait

Start with a Boston butt pork roast. If you're not sure what this is, ask the person behind your butcher counter. The folks at my local Hannaford are always really friendly and helped me when I didn't even know I was looking for a Boston butt.

Don't be turned off by the name of the hunk of meat you're buying. It's not really a "butt" like the backside of a pig. A butt portion of a pig comes from the top part of the shoulder. Here's a link to the Wikipedia explanation if you're interested.

When you're ready to cook this, you can coat it with my spicy spice rub recipe or another great option is the Memphis Dry BBQ Rub from 500 Low-Carb Recipes by Dana Carpender. I can't post the recipe as it would certainly be in bad taste for me to plagiarize and it would probably be illegal too. Pick up the book. Not all the recipes are winners, but there are a bunch of good ones. If you buy the book and you find some recipes you love, tell me about them with an email or post a comment. If you want to know my favorites, you can drop me a line or I'll eventually get around to posting about some of the low-carb books I've read.

Once you've coated your roast, you can either wrap it all up in foil to keep the moisture trapped, recommended if you're going to have to pull this apart another time, or you can set it out on a broiler pan and let the juices drip down. I've done it both ways. If you wrap it, more of your spice rub will come off in the accumulated moisture, if you don't your roast will have a nice spice crust on the outside and may be slightly more dry.

Roast at 225 F for 10 hours or until it reaches 175 F internal temperature, I did mine overnight. After ten hours, it's time to either put it away or pull the meat apart. The best way to pull it apart when it's hot is to use two forks and pull across the grain (the direction of the muscle tissue). If you start getting stringy chunks of meat pulling up with your forks, then you're doing it right. Sorry this is hard part to describe. Maybe I'll post some cooking videos sometime so things like this will be easier to visualize. If I don't do that sometime soon, someone nudge me and remind me what a good idea that might be. ;)

Once you've got your pork pulled, either add a little more of your desired rub sprinkled on top or use some reduced sugar BBQ sauce like Kraft's "Light Original" Reduced Calorie Barbecue Sauce or KC Masterpiece "Low Calorie Classic Blend". Both are worth trying, but my wife and I seem to prefer the Kraft one.

If you're looking to go all out BBQ, whip up some homemade cole slaw no milk, no sugar (Splenda instead) and you're good to go.

If you give this a try and have some questions or suggestions, drop me a line or post a comment. I'm sure others would be happy to hear what you have to say.

If anyone has their own low-carb recipes that you'd like to share with the world, feel free to send them my may and I'd be happy to post them and give you all the credit.


PS. Don't fear the fat!

Spicy dry hot wings

This one's a simple recipe, but I absolutely love these and when I brought them to my company holiday party last year, they were a big hit!

The secret to making these great is long cooking time, plenty of seasoning, and turning the wings halfway through cooking.

I like to buy chicken wings when they get marked down at the store, but every once in a while I splurge and pick up a pack at full price. It's still cheaper than going out for wings!

First I make a double batch of the Delicious spicy spice rub recipe.

Next I start with a big tray of chicken wings from the supermarket. I think it's around 3 to 4 pounds of chicken wings. If you buy whole wings, as I do, trim off the little inedible part of the wing first, then cut through the joint between the drumstick and the wing piece, if you want.

Lay out the wings on a broiler pan or some other pan where the juices and fat can drain off.

Sprinkle the wings generously with the spicy spice rub and bake at 400 F for about 30 minutes.

Remove the wings from the oven, turn each wing over and sprinkle the unseasoned side with the spicy spice rub.

Return to the oven and bake for at least another 30 minutes, more if you like the skin really crispy. I usually bake for another 45 minutes to an hour after returning them to the oven because I love the skin really crispy.

Serve them with some ranch or blue cheese dressing, or do like I do and just eat 'em plain.

Have you tried this recipe? What did you think?


PS. Don't fear the fat!

Delicious spicy spice rub recipe

I have a delicious spice rub that I use for steak, wings, pork ribs, pulled pork, and any other meat you can think of. I bet it would be awesome on salmon as well. It's pretty spicy, but you can tone it down with less cayenne pepper if you like.

Can't you just buy a good spice rub? Sure you can, but it'll cost you and you need to watch out for sugar in all its form in store bought rubs. Save yourself some dough and some searching and give this one a try. It's an Alex original.

  • 1 and 1/4 teaspoon salt
  • 1 teaspoon chili powder
  • 3/4 teaspoon black pepper
  • 1/2 tsp cayenne pepper
  • 1/4 teaspoon paprika
  • 1/4 teaspoon onion powder
  • 1/4 teaspoon garlic powder
  • 1/8 teaspoon ground cumin
Combine all spices in an empty spice container, cover tightly, and shake vigorously to combine.

Like I said, this has some kick to it, so if you're a little timid when it comes to spicy, you might want to lighten up on the cayenne pepper. If you're interested in mixing things up a little, you can substitute ground chipotle pepper for the cayenne pepper.

Let me know what you think of this recipe and how you used it.


PS. Don't fear the fat! (Not that there's any in this recipe, but don't fear the fat from whatever you smother with it)

Thursday, September 4, 2008

Meatballs with Marinara Sauce

The meatball recipe was adapted from one a friend of mine gave me and the marinara sauce is adapted from a couple of different recipes I've come across over the years. This recipe is full of healthy protein, good for you fats from the flax and the meat, and vitamins from the tomatoes and meat.


Meatball ingredients
  • 3-4 lbs of ground beef anywhere from 75-85% lean is fine (don't fear the fat)
  • 1/2 large yellow onion chopped
  • 2 eggs
  • 2 tablespoons minced/chopped garlic
  • 1/2 cup ground flaxseed
  • 2 tablespoons oregano
  • 2 teaspoons salt
  • 2 teaspoons black pepper
  • 1 tablespoon basil
Marinara ingredients
  • 28 oz can of diced tomatoes (no sugar added)
  • 2 - 6 oz cans of tomato paste (no sugar added)
  • 8 oz can tomato sauce (no sugar added)
  • 2 tablespoons minced/chopped garlic
  • 1 teaspoon oregano
  • 1 teaspoon basil
  • 1 teaspoon salt
  • 1/4 teaspoon black pepper
  • 6 tablespoons olive oil (at least)
  • 1/2 cup diced onion
  • 1 packet sucralose (or 1/2 teaspoon of granular sucralose) (Splenda)
  • 1/8 teaspoon crushed red pepper flakes (more if you like it spicier)

  1. Combine the onions, garlic, egg from the meatball ingredients in a food processor or blender and blend until the mixture is fairly smooth.
  2. In a large bowl, combine ground flax seed, meatball spices, onion/egg mixture, and ground beef. Mix by hand until the spices, flax, and spices are mixed throughout the beef.
  3. I make about 50 meatballs out of this each a little more than an inch in diameter. I think they are about 1/8 cup per meatball, but I don't worry too much about it.
  4. Bake at 350 F for about 25 minutes then turn the meatballs so that they cook evenly and cook another 25 minutes. While the meatballs bake, make your sauce.
  5. Add the meatballs to the pot of sauce and cook on low for 30 minutes. Meatballs should reach an internal temperature of 165 F before you eat them.
  1. Heat olive oil in a deep saucepan over medium heat briefly.
  2. With the saucepan over medium eat, add onion and garlic from the marinara ingredients.
  3. Once the onion begins to soften, add the two cans of tomato paste and stir to combine with oil, onion, and garlic.
  4. Add can of tomato sauce and diced tomatoes. Stir to combine.
  5. Add marinara spices and sucralose. Stir to combine.
  6. Reduce heat to low-medium heat and cover.
  7. Once the meatballs are done baking, add them to the saucepan and cook for about 30 more minutes. (same instructions as the end of the meatball directions)
  1. Canned tomato products are easy to find without added sugar. Avoid cans that say that they have basil and other things added to them. I usually buy the store brand, it's cheapest and it usually doesn't have added sugar.
  2. As long as you keep the sauce on low, you can simmer the meatballs as long as you'd like and the flavor of the sauce and the meatballs will just get better.
  3. You can find ground flax seed in the natural foods section of your local grocer or health food store. If you can't find it just ask. I purchase Spectrum brand at Hannaford. Flax is a good source of Omega 3 fatty acid and fiber. In this recipe it takes the place of breadcrumbs for a little filler, but you won't even notice it.
  4. Feel free to experiment and if you come up with some other ideas for how to improve this recipe, or you have some questions, feel free to post a comment or drop me an email
  5. My family loves these rolled up in low-carb wraps with provolone cheese. The low-carb wraps I like are Mission whole wheat tortillas found in the refrigerated section of your grocer. I find them at Hannaford and Shaw's supermarkets. La Tortilla makes a decent low-carb tortilla and so does Joseph's. They're also great without the wraps and covered with melted cheese.

PS. Don't fear the fat!

Wednesday, September 3, 2008

How to talk to your doc

Before you make any major lifestyle changes like changing your diet or starting an exercise routine it's important to talk to your doctor. I know you probably think that's probably the same load of baloney that you here all the time, but I'll tell you how I've talked to my docs about my lifestyle changes and what I saw for improvements in my health and I'll tell you why you ought to go to the doc before you start mixing things up.

Why you should go to the doctor before changing your lifestyle?
  1. You may have pre-existing conditions that you ought to be aware of before you start changing things up.
    Healthy low-carb living is all about figuring out what makes you feel the best and what improves your health the most. From day one, you'll be listening to your body and it's needs to decide what you need to do and eat. Only if you're truly informed can you make the best decisions.
  2. If you take medication for diabetes, high blood pressure, high cholesterol, etc. these conditions may begin to improve within days of starting your new lifestyle.
    It's important to let your doc know about your changes, so they can adjust your medication accordingly.
  3. Everybody loves 'before and after' pictures.
    Going to the doctor before you start changing your lifestyle is a great way to get a 'before' picture of your health and your follow up visits will be a great picture of your health 'during' your lifestyle changes. It's also a great chance for your doc to see a good example of what a healthy low-carb lifestyle can do for you!
  4. The low-carb lifestyle needs more advocates who know the truth about how low-carb can positively affect your health and an open dialogue with your doc is the best way to educate medical professionals and ensure your success.
    This may no be an easy conversation with your doctor because of their misconceptions about the low-carbohydrate lifestyle and their expectations about what will happen to your body when you adopt this lifestyle. To prepare for some of your doctor's misconceptions about your new lifestyle, check out my "Low Carb Myths" posts.
Now for my experience with my doctors:

After I reached a high of about 285 pounds and my wife reached a high of "too much for her" (I will respect her by not putting any numbers here), I decided to go talk to my doctor about what I could do. I had a general checkup done where they checked blood pressure, cholesterol, triglycerides, and blood sugar. I don't know what my blood pressure was, but I know that I saw another doctor one time shortly before I adopted the low-carb lifestyle and within a couple minutes, he said he wanted to talk about blood pressure medication the next time I cam back. My cholesterol was generally low, but my HDL was really low, my triglycerides were through the roof, and when I went to see an endocrinologist, he told me my blood sugar was "a little high". The endocrinologist warned me that if my weight didn't come down, I was probably heading for type 2 diabetes. His suggestion was that I try to reduce my carbohydrate consumption a little because most people eat 300-400 grams of carbohydrate a day and I ought to reduce that to about 200 grams. I asked if a low-carbohydrate diet would be an effective choice and he said it would work, but he didn't think I could stick with it.
I took his initial advice and listened to a friend of mine who suggested a diet of reduced carbohydrates. I quickly started feeling better and dropped 10 pounds in a week or two, but that was it. After a few weeks, I decided to get on the low-carb bandwagon whole hog. The next time I went back to my doctor, she noted that my triglycerides had come down substantially from somewhere above 200 to around 80. She also noted that I lost some weight and complimented me on whatever I was doing.

So now, my triglycerides are about 30 (spectacular), my HDL is around 60 (up about 100% from before low-carb), and my LDL is the same. My blood pressure is consistently around 120-130/70-80, pretty good overall, although sometimes it's as low as 110/70. I lost over 60 pounds from before I started low-carb and I maintain that pretty effortlessly.

I've recently been talking to my doc about some other issues I'm having which have persisted since I was a teen and I talked to her about what I've been eating, and she didn't really care as all my tests come out great.

How to prepare before you go to talk to your doc:
  • Do your low-carb research before you go to the doctor. Read one of the the great books on low-carb living such as Protein Power Lifeplan, Living the Low Carb Life,or Dr. Atkins New Diet Revolution are great places to start. Also check out some of the other blogs I link to. If you want to be successful at improving your health while living a low-carbohydrate lifestyle, then reading at least one of these books is a must.
  • Know why you think low-carb will work for you.
  • What problems do you have that you hope will be remedied by living low-carb?
  • Don't forget to check out low-carb myths so you know what your doc will be concerned about. Remember, many of them have had very little education on the subject of nutrition and they hear all the same propaganda as you do about the "evils" of fat.
  • When your doc has objections, indicate your understanding of their concerns and ask what tests they could perform (within your budget) to confirm that you're living a healthy low-carb lifestyle. Your willingness to acknowledge their concerns will go a long way to ensuring your good health and your doctor's buy in to your lifestyle changes.
Have you been to the doctor? What was your experience like?
Know any New England doctors who are knowledgeable about the benefits of low-carb?
Any advice I missed here that you think is vital?

Your thoughts?


PS. Don't fear the fat!

Tuesday, September 2, 2008

Don't fall off the wagon, jump off and hit the ground running!

Once in a while we all need to take a break from the routine, but don't let yourself get to the breaking point before you decide to mix things up a little.

Despite all my ranting about the evils of grains and sugar and how they should be avoided at all costs because they are completely and utterly unnecessary, I think that it's important to occasionally indulge in some of the food that the rest of the world eats, if you feel so inclined.

Every once in a while, I blow the doors off my healthy eating plan and enjoy something I've been looking forward to for a while. It might be one meal, it might be a whole day, but it's rarely longer than that. Most recently I hit up some fried seafood with french fries which I haven't had for a long time. I followed it up with an ice cream cone at Dairy Queen, chocolate dipped of course.

Did I cave to cravings? Did I give up on a healthy diet? Did I decide that I just couldn't take low-carb one more day? Nope, nope, and nope.

When you have one of these moments, it's important not to do this on impulse. Don't cave for the birthday cake at an office birthday party that you planned to be strong through. Throw away your diet for a day or a meal when it will be really worth it and when you planned on it.

Look, you don't have to be saint every day for the rest of your life. Giving in to temptation because it's there is not a good idea period. If you're a drinker and you're trying to drink less, is it better to plan to have an occasional drink with friends or cave when you feel like you really need a drink? I'd say that letting yourself cave to your perceived "need" to do something or give in is a much less healthy prospect than planning to break the rules every once in a while.

The most important part of any break or indulgence is to get right back to doing the healthy stuff as soon as it's over. If you decide that you're going to break the rules for one meal, then make it one and only one meal. If you decide it's for a day, then when that day ends, so does your indulgence.

Finally, here's what you can expect, depending on how you've reacted to your new healthy diet.
  • If you've been really true to eating a healthy low-carb diet and you've lost some weight, feel healthier, and happier then you'll probably feel like complete garbage that day and/or the next day.
  • If you've had life changing results from low-carb and feel like a million bucks most of the time, have seen things like diabetes, cholesterol, and other chronic ailments improve then you can expect that day and maybe the next (or more) to feel like everything you were used to before.
  • If you've been only sort of committed to low-carb and have seen some modest improvements to your health then you may not feel so bad after your indulgence, but maybe a little less than your normal self.
  • Expect to potentially see a few pounds come back on. This is probably only water weight and should come off within a few days.
  • Expect cravings for all the stuff you're used to passing on, but do yourself a favor and go without. You'll feel better again in a couple of days.
I fall into the life changing group for this diet and find that an indulgence day ends up with me feeling bloated and uncomfortable after the indulgence and the next day. It hardly makes it an indulgence, but that's another conversation.

Your thoughts?


P.S. Don't fear the fat!

Wednesday, August 27, 2008

At the grocery store...

If you've already read my post about Foods to Avoid, then hopefully you caught the part about not focusing too much on what you can't eat and trying to focus on all that you can eat (an upcoming post). That being said, a good strategy at the grocery store can help you stay on track, avoid unnecessary temptation, and make the most out of your time spent shopping.

Rule number one:
Most of your time spent in the grocery store should be on the perimeter or the outside edge of the store. That's where all the really healthy stuff is: vegetables, fruits, nuts, cheeses, meat, and eggs. All those extra aisles in the store house all the empty calories you should avoid in the form of cereals, chips, crackers, sweets, pasta, etc. You don't need any of that.

Rule number two:
Some of the inside aisles do have some healthy stuff, but you have to know where to look. Canned vegetable aisles are good if you need some canned tomatoes, tomato sauce, tomato paste or some other canned low-carb veggie (pass on the corn and peas). The condiment aisle is a good one to hit too. There you'll find mayonnaise, mustard, salad dressings, marinades, and sauces. I buy regular "real" mayonnaise, it has sugar, but very little. When buying mustards, dressings, etc. watch out for added sugars. Pass on mustard that has more than 1 gram of sugar per serving, dressings with more than 2 grams of sugar per serving, and sauces that have more than 5 grams of sugar per serving. These are rules of thumb, you'll develop your own judgment as time goes on, but for now, use mine.

Rule number three:
You're going to buy lots of fresh healthy foods. You can save a lot by shopping smart. Watch your local grocer's specials on meats. Every few weeks they'll have boneless skinless chicken breast on sale, then the next week they'll have some kind of steak on sale, then they'll have burger on sale. If you only buy when the stuff is on sale, then you'll save a bundle. I wait for these sales, buy a couple extra packs of whatever and pop them in the freezer for later. Fruits and veggies go on sale in the same way. You may not be able to freeze and thaw them in the same way, but you can certainly buy the stuff that's in season or on sale to save yourself some dough. I've found that going to a pick your own farm or a farmer's market is a great way to get the super freshest affordable fruits and veggies. Check out for where to find your local PYO.

I'd love to give you a dozen more rules, but I can't. It's really that simple. Just stay on the outside edge of the store, pop into only the aisles you need for some dressings and sauces, and grab the stuff you buy the most of, meats and veggies, when it's on sale. Buy local whenever you can to save some green and be green.

If you have some ideas or tips to save some green or be more green, drop me a comment or send me an email at


PS. Don't fear the fat!

Tuesday, August 26, 2008

Low-Carb Chocolate Cupcakes Recipe

This recipe is one that I adapted from a mediocre low-carb brownie recipe and a really good low-carb muffin recipe. These cupcakes are so good that they don't need any frosting, but for the occasional extra-special treat our family loves these with a scoop of chocolate low-carb ice cream, Carb Smart and Edy's No Sugar Added are decent choices, but don't overdo it.

  • 1/2 cup canned pumpkin (not pumpkin pie filling)
  • 1/4 cup heavy cream
  • 4 large eggs
  • 4 ounces baking chocolate (unsweetened)
  • 1/2 cup unsalted butter
  • 1 1/2 cups sucralose (Splenda)
  • 1/2 cups erythritol
  • 1 1/2 cups almond flour
  • 1 1/4 baking powder
  • 1 1/4 baking soda
  1. Put the butter and chocolate in a microwave safe bowl and microwave for 1 minute.
  2. Remove and stir.
  3. Continue to heat until chocolate is completely melted, stir every thirty seconds.
  4. Add sucralose and erythritol to the chocolate and stir to combine.
  5. Add cream, eggs, and pumpkin to the chocolate mixture and stir until blended.
  6. In a separate bowl, combine almond flour, baking powder, baking soda. Stir until blended.
  7. Combine the chocolate mixture and the almond flour mixture and stir until completely blended.
  8. Spray a 12-cup muffin with cooking spray.
  9. Coat muffin cups with almond flour.
  10. Fill all the muffin cups evenly.
  11. Bake at 350 degrees fahrenheit for 25 minutes or until a toothpick inserted comes out clean.
  1. You can substitute some or all of the sucralose for erythritol, but I wouldn't subsitute any of the sucralose with erythritol.
  2. Look for erythritol in th natural foods section of your grocery store or look for it at a natural foods store near you. For you locals, Shaw's in Dover, NH has it in the Natural Foods section and The Herbal Path Natural Pharmacy in Dover, has it as well.
  3. Good almond flour is a bit harder to find. Bob's Red Mill makes some, but I find it too coarse. Making your own is easy, I'll post that recipe as well, or you can buy it at Trader Joe's. I find the brand they sell to be as good as the stuff I make a home with no waste. For you locals, there's I think the closest Trader Joe's is in Peabody, MA.
  4. If you don't want to use almond flour to coat your pan, I recommend, in order, coconut flour, soy flour, whole grain pastry flour, white flour. If you use some kind of wheat flour, be aware that you'll add a few carbs and the recipe will no longer be gluten-free.

PS. Don't fear the fat!

UPDATE 10/29/2008: I have decided that the only way to go with this recipe is to increase the chocolate to 6 ounces of baking chocolate, increase the cream to 1/3 cup, and increase the sucralose to 2 cups. I experimented with this enhancement to the recipe and my wife liked it a lot. She liked them so much that the next time we had a batch, she said " didn't add the extra chocolate this time...?" I realized she was right and promised to make only the super chocolatey recipe from now on.

Monday, August 25, 2008

Foods to Avoid

When trying to make a major lifestyle change like this it's far better to focus on what you should eat instead of what you shouldn't eat. You can check out that list under the label "Foods to Eat".

Having said that you shouldn't focus on what you can't eat, it's important that you understand some of the foods that could be stumbling blocks for you and how to read ingredient labels so you know what to avoid.

First let's start by talking about the major foods and food groups you'll want to avoid to improve your health and lose weight. One important thing to understand is that in the beginning you need to be more strict with yourself until you can find your personal "happy place" with carbohydrate consumption. I'll give you my individual take on this after I explain the basic rules. Also, I won't go into the science here, just the basics on what foods to pass on.
  1. Grains - white, brown, or otherwise you'll want to skip these. That means avoiding rice, wheat, oats, corn (a grain, not a vegetable). Basically anything made with flour, anything breaded, pasta, any cereal is off limits. There are a couple low-carb cereals out there, but if you're just starting out, I'd skip them unless you absolutely can't find anything else to eat.
  2. Sugars - this on is trickier than grains. Sugar goes by many names, but a good rule of thumb here is that anything that ends in -ose is a sugar. The exception to this rule is sucralose, an artificial sweetener also known as Splenda. When you read an ingredient label look for: high-fructose corn syrup, sucrose, glucose, lactose, galactose, fructose, cane juice, evaporated cane juice, and beet sugar. All of those should be avoided.
  3. Starchy vegetables - potatoes and sweet potatoes. Both of these pack a big carb punch and you ought to avoid these completely. As you get close to your goals, you may be able to have the occasional sweet potato, but don't load it up with marshmallow, sugar, or syrup as some do. Sweet potato fries are a super special treat to indulge in as you get close to your goals.
  4. "Sugar-free" or "No sugar added" or "low-glycemic" foods - I know these seem like they must be on the wrong list, but they're right where they ought to be. First off, beware foods made for diabetics. They are often made with fructose, fruit sugar. I don't believe that fructose is particularly problematic when consumed in the form of whole fruit, but refine it and use it to sweeten things and you've got some bad news. I promised not to go into the science here, but let me warn you that too much fructose will increase your blood fats like triglycerides. Don't trust me, look it up on one of the sites in the blogs list. Skip agave nectar and other fruit juices or concentrates. Some of these products may be okay, but it will all depend on the individual consumer and how the product is sweetened. If it is sweetened with anything ending in -ose (other than sucralose), that means it really is sugar, just not counted that way by the FDA/USDA. If the product has ingredients like glycerin, aspartame, acelsufame potassium, or ingredients ending in -ol (sorbitol, maltitol, lactitol) then it is probably safe for moderat consumption. I find it best to retrain your sweet tooth to get used to fruits or some dark chocolate as a sweet treat, but, to each his own.
  5. Legumes - peas and beans. This are nowhere near as insidious as grains and sugars, but for those of you who have a lot of weight to lose or your health has a long way to go, you may want to lay off these until you learn a little more about how your body reacts to different levels of carbohydrates.
The best rule of thumb is that you don't eat anything not on the list of "Foods to Eat". Remember that this is a learning experience about yourself, so feel free to experiment with what works for you, but don't let yourself believe that eating some grains or sugar every once in a while will help keep you on the plan. For most people, this will derail you very quickly because you'll probably feel really crummy and your cravings will go through the roof.

Now for how I have applied these to my lifestyle. I pass on the diet drinks. I think they perpetuate sweet cravings and may, depending on who you ask, sabotage you long-term success. The only grains I eat are the occasional low-carb whole wheat wrap made by Mission, found in the refrigerated section of your supermarket. I enjoy fruit in moderation, the occasional "no sugar added" ice cream, and once in a great while dark chocolate.

My experience tells me it is best to avoid anything sweetened and all grains for the first month. Your cravings will be intense for the first few days if not longer, but if you push through it and commit yourself to try it for a couple weeks, I think you'll find that your cravings and hunger will diminish substantially.


PS. Don't fear the fat!

Sunday, August 24, 2008

Low carb mythology: The Beginning

If you decide to embark on a low-carbohydrate lifestyle, I can assure you that you will hear a whole host of reasons why you shouldn't do it. In fact, you may believe some of those myths as you read this. I once did, even after I had been eating this way for some time. Read on if you're interested in exploring some of the existing low-carb mythology.

Myth: The diet is all meat, cheese, and eggs.
Truth: Depending on your preferences and your personal tolerance for carbohydrate consumption you'll eat a variety of fruits, vegetables, nuts, seeds, beef, poultry, pork, seafood, eggs, and cheeses. If you're interested in seeing one person's take on a low-carb diet, then check out my "What I Eat" blog.

Myth: All that saturated fat is bad for you.
Truth: There's really two myths rolled up in one here. First off is the assumption that the fat from beef, poultry, pork, eggs, and cheese is all saturated. The truth is, it's not. Much of the fat from beef, poultry, and pork is unsaturated fats both poly- and mono-. Don't believe me, check it out from a source that gives the breakdown of the different fats such as the "Protein Power Lifeplan Gram Counter". The second half of this myth is that saturated fat is bad for you. I guess it depends on who you ask. If you want scientific information on this, I suggest reading "Good Calories, Bad Calories" by Gary Taubes, or checking out any of the blogs that I link to and searching on "saturated fat". I think you'll find some useful information. What I will say about the subject is two things: 1)Humans have eaten saturated fats for millions of years and have thrived doing it. Saturated fats are naturally occurring in animals and some plants. The newcomers to our diet are grains and sugar. More importantly, watch out for excess unsaturated oils in your diet from plants like soy, canola, corn, and other vegetable oils. Those are as unnatural as you can get. 2)Saturated fats may raise your LDL or "bad" cholesterol (there's more to this story that I'll post later), but when you avoid grains and sugar other important things will happen to your blood fats. Your HDL "good" cholesterol will go up, your triglycerides, another "bad" blood fat will go down. Some studies show that HDL to Triglyceride ratio may be a better predictor of heart disease than LDL to total cholesterol. Don't trust me, check it out.

Myth: A high-protein diet is bad for your kidneys.
Truth: Another two myths wrapped up in one here. First off, you won't be eating a high-protein diet, you'll be eating a high-fat, adequate protein, low-carbohydrate diet. Fat is your fuel, it's the gas in your engine. Protein is a basic building block of all your cells. You'll eat enough protein to maintain your body and possibly build some more muscle. Second, you can find studies where kidney function improved from higher protein intake. If you're kidneys have problems, talk to your doc before changing your diet.

Myth: The weight you lose is just water weight.
Of course you lose water weight, but you are going to lose fat too. All diets produce water weight loss initially. Between my wife and I we've lost over 100 pounds, I find it hard to believe we were toting around an extra hundred pounds of water. I have personally lost and kept off over 60 pounds. Any sane person has to believe that I couldn't have lost 60 pounds of water and still be alive. Trust me, I've lost a lot of fat too.

Myth: Eating that way will increase your risk of heart disease and/or cancer.
Truth: No it won't. There are civilizations from around the planet who have thrived and continue to thrive on this diet. African tribes, Native Americans, the Inuit are some examples of people that have eaten high-fat, low-carbohydrate diets and had no incidence of heart disease and/or cancer before they were exposed to a "civilized" diet. If you're overweight, obese, diabetic, have high blood pressure, or suffer from chronic fatigue, fibromyalgia, or hyperlipidemia (high cholesterol) you may benefit from eating a low-carbohydrate, high-fat diet.
If you want some more in depth information about the populations who have eaten these diets for a long time, check out "Good Calories, Bad Calories" by Gary Taubes.

Myth: If you stop eating this way, you'll gain back all the weight you lost.
Truth: Sorry to say, this one is not a myth. It's the same truth whether you're on Weight Watchers, a low-fat diet, a low-calorie diet, or the grapefruit diet. The other truth is that if you find a healthy way of eating that you stick with for the rest of your life, with some opportunities for indulgence, you'll continue to reap the health benefits for the rest of your life.

The bottom line is that you need to evaluate for yourself what a low-carbohydrate diet is about, decide if it could work for you, and if those around you are concerned for your health, then work with your doctor to check out the things they are concerned about.

If you hear some low-carb mythology I haven't talked about here, add a comment or send me an email at

If you have a hard time convincing your family, friends, or doctor that this is the right thing to do for you or they don't believe it is safe, talk to me or some of the other readers here. We can help you work through their concerns and help you show them how it can improve your health.


PS. Don't fear the fat!