Challenging the Current Diet Advice Paradigm

I am currently rereading “Why We Get Fat and What To Do About It” by Gary Taubes. I saw Gary Taube’s lecture online in Dr. Mercola’s article, “These Vilified Foods Help Build Hormones and Tame Your Appetite,” and wanted to review his book. Gary reported on how the low-fat advice for heart health became a government recommendation. Back in 1984, the National Heart, Lung, and Blood Institute launched a massive health campaign. “At the time, the NHLBI experts lacked confidence in the fat/heart-disease connection, for good reason: the institute had spent $115 million on a huge, decade-long clinical trial to test the idea that eating less saturated fat would curb heart disease, but not a single heart attack had been prevented. This could have been taken as reason to abandon the idea entirely, but the institute had also spent $150 million testing the benefits of a cholesterol-lowering drug, and this second trial had succeeded. So the institute’s administrators took a leap of faith, as one of them, Basil Rifkind, later described it: They had spent twenty years and an inordinate amount of money trying to demonstrate that cholesterol-lowering, low-fat diets would prevent heart disease, Rifkind explained, and they had, up until then, failed. Trying again would be too expensive and would take at least another decade, even if the institute could afford it. But once they had compelling evidence that lowering cholesterol with a drug would save lives, it seemed like a good bet that a low-fat, cholesterol-lowering diet would as well. ‘It’s an imperfect world,’ Rifkind had said. ‘The data that would be definitive are ungettable, so you do your best with what is available.’” They declared the diet study to be flawed and went ahead with their health campaign.

But here’s the thing: the effect of a drug is not limited to the purpose it was developed for. When the cholesterol lowering drug trial succeeded, it was assumed that the cause of the success was the lowering of the cholesterol, but that may not actually be the case. In 2003, the American Heart Association reported this: “Statins Promote Potent Systemic Antioxidant Effects Through Specific Inflammatory Pathways.” In the conclusion, they state, “Statins promote potent systemic antioxidant effects through suppression of distinct oxidation pathways. The major pathways inhibited include formation of myeloperoxidase-derived and nitric oxide–derived oxidants, species implicated in atherogenesis. The present results suggest potential mechanisms that may contribute to the beneficial actions of statins.” So now we have a major health organization reporting a cause of benefit for statins other than its cholesterol lowering effects. Given that multiple studies have not shown a heart health benefit for following a cholesterol-lowering low-fat diet, perhaps the original NHLBI study on low-fat diets was not flawed after all. In other words, following a low-fat diet may not actually be heart-healthy as we’ve been led to believe for the past nearly 30 years.

A closer look at the effects of a low-fat diet reveal that the opposite may be the case. A low-fat high-carbohydrate diet will:
• decrease HDL cholesterol
• increase triglycerides
• increase the harmful small dense LDL cholesterol while decreasing the large fluffy healthy LDL cholesterol
• increase insulin in the blood, thereby increasing the risk of insulin insensitivity and metabolic syndrome.

The A TO Z Weight Loss Study published in The Journal of the American Medical Association in 2007, gives an indication of what may actually be the best diet for losing weight and improving heart health. The winner in the study surprised even the researchers. This study compared four diets: the Atkins diet, a traditional low-fat diet, the Ornish diet, and the Zone diet. Those on the Atkins diet lost the most weight, and they had the best results for heart disease risk factors. Keep in mind that the Atkins dieters did this while eating as much food as they wanted while those on the other diets were restricting their calories. “The point man on this trial was Christopher Gardner, director of Nutrition Studies at the Stanford Prevention Research Center. Gardner presented the results of the trial in a lecture that’s now viewable on YouTube—“The Battle of Weight Loss Diets: Is Anyone Winning (at Losing)?” He begins the lecture by acknowledging that he’s been a vegetarian for twenty-five years. He did the study, he explains, because he was concerned that a diet like the Atkins diet, rich in meat and saturated fat, could be dangerous. When he described the triumph of the very low-carbohydrate, meat-rich Atkins diet, he called it ‘a bitter pill to swallow.’”

Video: Gary Taubes—Why We Get Fat and What To Do About It

Video: Christopher Gardner—The Battle of Weight Loss Diets: Is Anyone Winning (at Losing)?

Machines Can Read Minds

“Scientists use brain imaging to reveal the movies in our mind,” states the article. I see such news as confirmation of the possibility of psychic abilities. A good psychic can tap into a target’s energy field and the images in the mind. Apparently, these scientists have figured out how to get their machines to do something similar.

The article:

Open House at True Insight

Last night, I attended the open house at True Insight in El Segundo, California.  This intuitive learning, healing, and spiritual center teaches classes based on the curriculum at Berkeley Psychic Institute.  A hallmark of the methods taught here is the use of roses in meditations and readings.  The overall theme of schools teaching these methods is kindergarten because a playful attitude enhances intuitiveness.  Your comments on my blog encouraged me to renew my interest in this type of spiritual learning.  I love the topic, and I’m rather excited about it, actually.

We did a grounding cord meditation with golden sun.  In the grounding cord meditation, we imagined a hollow tube descending from the first chakra at the base of the tailbone where one sits going down to the center of the earth.  Through this, we imagined releasing energy and images down into the earth where it was neutralized.  This energy was that which was not ours, the energy of the experiences of the day that weighed upon us, and any other energy from experiences that we were ready to release.  After this, we imagined a golden sun above our heads containing our own positive energy gathered from places where we had left it.  We then imagined this energy flowing down into us and filling our bodies and our auras.  Everyone in the room related positive experiences and energy shifts.

After that, experienced students gave us healings.  In this, the healers walked around us manipulating our auras and helping us to release stuck energies.  It’s kind of like Reiki in that way, but the healees are seated with their eyes open.  Someone brought six-month-old twins with her.  It was funny watching the babies watch the healers as the healers waved their hands around.  They were so curious about what was going on.  I’m sure they don’t see adults behaving that way often!  From my perspective, it was a strange feeling to have someone manipulating my aura.  I definitely felt it in my energy field, and I felt some energy release as well.  After the hand waving portion of the healing, most of the healers shared information about pictures they had seen while doing the healing.  The healer who worked on me was the only one who did not do that.  I believe that was by design.  Since I had taken some classes here before, it stands to reason that the weakest reader would be assigned to me.

We then switched partners had intuitive readings, also from the advanced students.  My reader did a reasonable job of reading my pictures.  He read closed-eye, and I did not give feedback while he was reading.  The “hits” were at least close in all instances.  He tried to read my work, which must have confused him.  I do various things for work, and the environments are different.

Relaxation for Weight Loss

“A study released by the Georgetown University Medical Center has posited a link between stress and weight gain that is more than just psychological; it seems to be physiological, too. When certain mice were stressed out, they gained far more weight than the control group of calm mice – even when both groups were fed the same amount of calories. After a period of three months the little frazzled guys became twice as obese as their relatively serene little compatriots.

“Dr. Zofia Zukowska, who headed up the study, says researchers suspect that this result is due to an enzyme which has been found in especially high amounts in abdominal fat. In other words, the weight gain caused by stress seems to go straight to the belly, the most dangerous place to store fat. So now relaxation therapy is being recommended as a good addition to any weight loss program.”

Hypnotherapy is a form of relaxation therapy which can help you with weight control.  Not only will it help you reduce stress, but it can also help you correct bad eating habits.

Forgetting Lost Love

Q: I just gave my heart to the one person who I could ever fully love. We have been on and off for the past 6 years, and then he breaks up with me again. Everyone wants me to move on, but I can’t. I gave him my everything, and I want to start over. So I’m asking the question if a hypnosis will erase the memories I had with him the past 6 years?
A: There are some NLP tricks that might help you. When you have a memory that is particularly bothersome, imagine smashing the memory with a sledgehammer until it shatters into a zillion tiny pieces. If the memory involves sound, imagine turning down the volume of it until you can no longer hear it. Or you could mask it with a louder sound. Such tactics can destroy a memory to the point where you might even experience some amnesia about them.Other tactics can help minimize the emotions of a memory without destroying the memory. These include: Imagine turning a color memory to black and white. Make the image smaller. Warp it as if you’re looking at it in a funhouse mirror. If you “see” the image in front of you, move it to the side or behind you.

This is all MENTAL work—there’s no need for an actual sledgehammer or blasting the neighborhood with your radio. Altering your memories like this can be amazingly effective. A hypnotherapist can help you use these techniques in or out of hypnosis. Since you have 6 years of memories, it might take some time to work through them all. These techniques can be used as each memory comes up. Give these techniques a try and see how it goes.

NLP stands for Neuro Linguistic Programming. The theories of NLP were developed by Richard Bandler and John Grinder.

Our Lady of Weight Loss

I just received in the mail yesterday the wackiest weight-loss book I have ever seen: Our Lady of Weight Loss: Miraculous and Motivational Musings from the Patron Saint of Permanent Fat Removal by Janice Taylor. She had a weight problem all her life until one day she was sitting in a weight loss class thinking, “I’m never going to make it.” That’s when she heard The Voice. She said, “If you think you’re never going to make it, you never will.” From what I gather, this was a rather unusual experience for Janice. It did not seem from the way she had written this passage that she was in the habit of hearing voices. But she decided later that night to ask The Voice what she could do about her weight problem. The Voice said, “You’re an artist. Make weight loss an art project.” So that is what Janice did. Instead of eating cake, she made art out of it, and she lost weight. The Voice became Our Lady of Weight Loss. The book is illustrated with wacky images of the art she made while she lost the weight. There are also projects that the reader can do. The first is an altar to Our Lady of Weight Loss made out of a macaroni box and decorated with macaroni and glitter glue. There are Motivational Musings, Tasty Tidbits, Righteous Recipes, Weighty Confessions, and Prickly Prayers. Janice’s inspired ideas have the potential for making weight loss a lot of fun. The book is certainly visually appealing. It also includes sound dietary advice. If one is going to be obsessed with food, then making art out of it would certainly be better than eating it.

Making Peace with Where You Are

I’ve been listening to Think and Get Slim: Natural Weight Loss by Esther and Jerry Hicks, the Teachings of Abraham. In one segment, it talks about making peace with where you are. “You don’t go to the gas station with your gas gauge on empty and just lay your head down on the steering wheel and sob. ‘It’s over. Look what I’ve come to.’ You do something about it. You just fill up your tank.”

As I was listening to this, I thought about how my children and I dealt with their bouts of leukemia. When my son was first diagnosed in 2000, I was upset for a few days. Then I decided that this was a situation that just was, and I made peace with it. From that point forward, my mindset was that this was something that we just do. We follow the directions that the doctor has given, and I would say, “my son is recovering from leukemia.” I made a point of not saying that my son “had” leukemia. I didn’t want him to own it. And so we went, day by day, following directions and saying he was recovering, and he did recover.

When my daughter was diagnosed last year, making peace with it came much more quickly for me. The problem this time was that her case for so unusual that it took a bit of time to find a doctor who had a plan for her. I told her that I wanted her to get to a point where she could say, “I am recovering from leukemia.” As soon as we found a doctor who had a plan for her, I told her, “Now you can say, ‘I am recovering from leukemia.’” She recovered, too.

I think this attitude of acceptance and expecting recovery helped my children to stay calm as they recovered. And this in turn helped them to recover.

While being overweight or obese is not so immediately life-threatening as leukemia, the same idea of making peace with where you are applies. There really is no need to panic or berate yourself if you are heavy. It’s just a matter of knowing where you are and having a plan for what to do to get where you want to go. This includes having a plan for the way you will eat and the type of activity you will do. Since you want to make peace with where you are, it is also important to be able to look in the mirror and see the best you. For this reason, it is important to dress in becoming clothes and groom yourself appropriately. Don’t wait until you have achieved your goal!

The 9-Inch “Diet”

I had a few minutes before a meeting last week. As I got off the freeway, I spotted a Barnes and Noble bookstore. I went in and browsed. Since it was January and New Year’s resolution season, diet books were prominently displayed in the middle of the store. One of these caught my eye, The 9-Inch “Diet”: Exposing the Big Conspiracy in America by Alex Bogusky and Chuck Porter. The book was written by a man who bought a lake house built in the 1940s. He was putting things away in the kitchen and discovered that his plates would not fit into the cupboard. He did some research and found out that the average size of a dinner plate in the 1940s was 9 inches. These days, the size of an average dinner plate is closer to 12 inches. Using this fact as his inspiration, he decided to try using 9 inch dinner plates himself. He discovered that he was satisfied with much less food when he ate off of these 9 inch plates. He soon found himself losing weight, and that was the inspiration for the book.

This information about the 9 inch plates is not new to me. Brian Wansink wrote about it in his book, Mindless Eating: Why We Eat More Than We Think. Brian Wansink researches the eating habits of average Americans. His research led to the discovery that people will eat less when food is served in smaller dishes or containers.

We Americans seem to be in love with the idea that bigger is better. Americans eat out more than people in other countries with the exception of Japan. Restaurants have accustomed us to expecting large servings. Our plates have grown over the years, and so have our appetites and waistlines.

Large dishes seem to be a uniquely American phenomenon. I went to a Chinese house goods store in Los Angeles some time ago and noticed that the dishes that they sold were much smaller than I was used to seeing in a typical American store. I don’t often see Chinese people with a weight problem. After seeing their dishes, it’s no wonder why.

I’ve been using smaller dishes more and more myself. I have a large set of Corelle, much of which was purchased open stock. My set includes what they call luncheon plates. I measured them, and discovered that they are just about 9 inches wide. They are perfect for following a 9 inch plate diet. I also have in my set the small 10 ounce bowls. I find that the smaller size is perfect for the smaller portions I prefer. Of course, even the dinner plates in my set aren’t terribly big. They measure 10 1/4 inches across. That is quite a bit smaller than the 12 inches commonly found in stores today. In addition to my Corelle, I also have little sauce dishes. These work well for serving out nuts and dried fruit. I can vouch for the fact that eating from smaller dishes leads to eating less. It’s certainly working out that way for me.

Overcoming Fear of Public Speaking

Your boss asks you to give an oral report in a meeting. You have been asked to speak at your church. How does that feel to you? Are you excited about sharing what you know or are you petrified at the very idea?

It is said that at a funeral, most people would rather be in the casket than giving the eulogy. In fact, public speaking or glossophobia is the number one fear. It affects 75% of the population.

People with fear of public speaking may experience a wide variety of symptoms while giving a speech or even thinking about it. They may sweat. They may experience muscle tension, particularly in the neck and shoulders. They may also find that they are breathing with the upper chest rather than using the whole of their lungs. They may feel butterflies in their stomach. Nervousness may cause them to use a lot of ahs and ums while speaking.

So what causes fear of public speaking? There may be a number of factors involved.

Unfamiliarity of situation. For many people, public speaking is simply not something they do. The mind likes familiarity. Familiarity is pleasure to the brain. When a situation is unfamiliar, the fight/flight mechanism can become engaged. The extra adrenaline in the body then creates the physical symptoms often experienced when speaking.

Early experiences. Perhaps you had a bad experience as a child when asked to speak in front of the class. Maybe you witnessed someone else have problems while speaking. Messages you received as a child can also influence public speaking. Maybe you were told as a child not to talk. Maybe you were told that your ideas were stupid.

Lack of confidence. The speaker may feel that he is not good enough, or that other speakers are better than he is. Maybe the speaker does not feel that he knows his material well.

Hypoglycemic incidents. Symptoms of low blood sugar can mimic fear, causing palpitations and sweating. If someone experiences low blood sugar while speaking, he may conclude that that it is because he is afraid of public speaking. He associates the physical symptoms with the situation. He could then be fearful in similar situations from that point on due to this experience.

Sense of isolation. The speaker is in front of the group and the focal point of the group. The speaker is doing most if not all of the talking. This is what makes public speaking different from other forms of conversation.

So what can you do to feel better?

Think of the audience as your friends. The feeling some speakers have when approaching a speaking situation is almost adversarial. They think of the audience as critical and judgmental. But what if you turned that situation around and thought of the audience as your friends? How easily do you engage in conversations with your friends? They are familiar to you, and you are comfortable around them. If you think of the audience as your friends, you will feel more comfortable speaking to them.

Imagine being your role model. Who do you know who gives great speeches? Imagine that you are that person and that you have their confidence. Imagine how they would approach the assignment. Get into the feeling of the emotions they might experience. When you are in that feeling of confidence, what you can do is …

Anchor in those good feelings. While feeling those good feelings, press your thumb and middle finger together to anchor in those feelings. You can also anchor in the feeling of being in a relaxing place or a time when you yourself felt confident. Use a finger touch to anchor those in. Then when you want to recall that feeling of confidence, press your thumb and middle finger together again.

Use visuals. One way to get the focus off you is to give your audience something else to look at. Just be sure to practice with your visuals so you are comfortable with them and know how to manipulate them.

Practice in your mind – feelings as well as content. Now practice in your mind all the various steps of giving a speech from finding out that you will speak to writing the speech and practicing and giving the speech in front of your audience. Rehearse the feelings you want to have at each step. Use the anchor where needed to bring in that good feeling by pressing your thumb and middle finger together.

Practice physically. Now that you’ve gone through your mental rehearsals, it’s time to practice your speech physically. Stand up and give your speech using any visuals you have prepared. Become familiar with any equipment you will use. Practice reduces the feeling of unfamiliarity, thus disengaging the fight/flight mechanism. Participating in Toastmasters is a great way to get practice opportunities in front of an audience.

Eat something. Before giving a speech, be sure to eat something, preferably with some protein in it. This will help prevent a low blood sugar incident.

Take deep breaths before speaking. Before speaking, take a few deep breaths. This will help bring you into a state of greater relaxation.

You don’t have to go it alone! Ask family members to sit in as an audience for you. Toastmasters is a great program that will give you opportunities to speak in front of an audience. You may also want to consider hypnotherapy. The use of hypnosis can speed progress in calming nerves and feeling confident. Your hypnotherapist can help you with practicing the feelings of confidence and relaxation. Individual sessions are best because they can be tailored to your own specific needs. You may also want to consider self-hypnosis recordings. Roxann Higuera has prepared an MP3 recording that you can use in your own home. You can download it at Overcoming Fear of Public Speaking.

Green Up Your Cleanup

I was swishing toilets this morning with caustic cleaners. The fumes were getting to me. I thought, “There’s got to be a better way. How can I clean up my home effectively without killing us off?” So I went online for answers. I eventually found my way to Amazon and found a great book: Green Up Your Cleanup by Jill Schoff.

Not wanting to wait, I checked with Borders to see if they had it, and they did! I gathered up the Amazon listing and a 30% off coupon I had from Borders and went and got it. I love it! It is colorful and engaging and easy to read. It has recipes for environmentally friendly cleaning solutions that you can make from inexpensive ingredients. It has suggestions and tips for cleaning tools. It has room by room sections detailing how to deal with specific cleaning chores, including ideas for regular cleaning and dealing with the build-up from neglect. It is spiral bound, so it will lie flat while you’re mixing up the recipes.