Archive for the Diet Category

Bean diet success story

Posted in Diet with tags , on April 12, 2008 by Dr. CJ

Any kind of newly-added discipline to one’s dietcan result in weight loss, if not simply by restricting caloric intake to some degree. 

Perhaps living on beans is not going to be the new fad diet, but it can work.



How you can create the Polymeal at home

Posted in Diet, Heart Disease with tags , , , , on April 4, 2008 by Dr. CJ

It’s nice and all to identify the ingredients in the Polymeal, foods that can reduce your risk of cardiovascular disease by 76%, but how can these be incorporated into a sensible meal rather than simply eating each ingredient independently?

Leave it to the British Medical Journal – they encouraged a follow-up recipe contest to incorporate the Polymeal ingredients in a recipe that would be judged on six criteria: presentation, tastes and textures, creativity, method, clarity of setting out the recipe, and adherence to the recommended quantities of the essential ingredients.

Here is a list of the submitted recipes. [Beware . . . may be British humor within this link]

Here is the winner of the Polymeal recipe contest.  Interesting, although I question the value of cooking with all that butter – doesn’t that negate some of the benefit of the Polymeal?

 I have to say – I agree with this commenter:  Keep it simple.  However, I greatly enjoy the creativity in these recipes.

Better than a Polypill: try the Polymeal to reduce risk of heart disease

Posted in Diet, Heart Disease with tags , , , on April 3, 2008 by Dr. CJ

The Polypill concept evolved as a multi-drug regimen, all of which have documented evidence of cardiovascular (CV) risk reduction. In theory, this regimen would decrease one’s risk of heart disease, stroke, etc. by 80-88%! Pretty remarkable. However, it is limited by the risk of adverse effects associated with the individual medications that comprise the Polypill, estimated at 8-15%.

No one likes taking medications (if you do, you are more ill than you think). n an issue of the British Medical Journal, Franco, et al. recognized that there is similar evidence for food items in lowering cardiovascular risk, and that ingesting a “Polymeal” of these food items would certainly be a safer, more natural, and less costly alternative to taking a Polypill, not to mention tastier.

Here’s what they learned on their review of the literature:

  • Wine (150 mL) daily reduces CV risk by 32%
  • Fish (114 gm) eaten 4 times weekly reduces CV risk by 14%
  • Dark chocolate (100 gm) daily reduces SBP by 5.1 mm Hg and DBP by 1.8 mm Hg, corresponding to a CV risk reduction of 21%
  • Fruit and vegetables (400 gm) daily reduces SBP by 4.0 mm Hg and DBP by 1.5 mm Hg, probably similar CV risk reduction of 21%
  • Garlic (1.8 – 2.7 gm) daily reduced total cholesterol by 17.1 mg/dL (0.44 mmol/L), calculated to reduce CV risk by 25%

Now, for the good stuff:

— Eating this combination of Polymeal ingredients was calculated to reduce the risk of cardiovascular disease by 76%. It’s not fair to compare directly to the Polypill results because the two groups measured endpoints differently, but it is likely in the same ballpark.

As far as side effects go, there are no reported serious adverse effects reported for these ingredients. They mentioned that garlic may cause body odor, flatulence, and abdominal pain (wimps!). In addition, there is potential risk of mercury exposure when eating large quantities of fish regularly.

Only the Brits would finish the article with this kind of analysis:

  1. Expected weekly cost (in the 2004 economy): $28.10 (€ 21.60, £ 15.20)
  2. “Although we do not recommend specific brands, spending more – for example, on your favorite bottle of wine or brand of chocolate – might also be rewarded by an improved quality of life.”
  3. “. . considering the disturbing adverse effects of garlic, we do not recommend taking the Polymeal before a romantic rendesvous, unless the partner also complies with the Polymeal.”

My pre- and post-workout shake

Posted in Diet, Weight Training with tags , , , , on March 27, 2008 by Dr. CJ

Since I am new to the whole weight training, strength training world, I am always reading about tips and trends to maximize results. Of course a lot of that is driven by piddly data (if any at all) and, most of all, marketing. So, I never get too excited about the ridiculous array of fat-burning, muscle-building, energy-enhancing, woman-attracting, macho-man-making products on the market. Those who stand by a product have probably just been directed there by a friend or lifting partner who offered their uneducated, biased advice – another victim of good marketing.

The one consistent “supplement” you will see among bodybuilders, weightlifters, and the like, is protein powder. It’s easy to make protein shakes with milk or mix protein powder in certain foods like oats (I’ll stick with the shakes). It serves as a boost to one’s daily protein intake and also may contribute to more effective muscle-building when used before and after workouts.

I picked up a popular brand name of whey protein powder and have been using it with my weightlifting workouts for the past couple months. Prior to that, I was actually using a different kind of protein supplement, but it contained an inordinate amount of fat (and tasted phenomenal!). I encounter enough fat in a day – it didn’t make sense to keep doing that. This newer protein supplement however, just didn’t taste as good and was a bit hard for me to chug down. So, I started buying frozen blueberries in bulk and have been blending it all together for one amazing protein shake with a healthy slurry of antioxidants.

See detailed nutritional info about blueberries at World’s Healthiest Foods.

1. Welcome to my kitchen. Here are my ingredients (10-12 oz. skim milk, two scoops of protein powder, and 1 cup frozen blueberries).


2. Put them all in a blender and blend away.

[What setting? You mean you haven’t figured out that all 20 functions are the same?!?!?

I have a sensible blender: Off-Low-High]


3. Half before my workout. Half after my workout. Incredible stuff! Using frozen fruit makes it seem like a malt rather than just a liquid mix.

I almost forgot: here’s the nutrition info on the shake, compliments of FitDay. I know it seems like a lot of calories, but it’s not a big deal when you’re working out like an animal. For one, it’s a double serving of the protein powder recipe – I’m a pig. Plus, if you’re trying to pack on muscle, excess calories are a good thing.


Why “diets” don’t work

Posted in Diet with tags , , , on March 26, 2008 by Dr. CJ

Why does eating have to be a pleasurable activity? I’m still not sure what the evolutionary advantage of that is. Sure, it makes sense that we should want to supply ourselves with adequate nutrition (so as to have enough energy to propagate the species – that is the point of evolution, after all), but it’s far too pleasurable to overeat. You would think that by now the human body wouldn’t be driven to stuff itself as if it wasn’t sure when the next meal would come by, but maybe we haven’t gotten over that glitch yet.

Almost 2/3 of the US population is overweight or obese, and the future direction doesn’t look so bright. We’re going to be seeing an incredible increase in Type 2 diabetes mellitus, both in adults and sadly also in children. So why don’t the plethora of diets work? They all claim to be effective, don’t they?

“Diets” are meant for a short term only. Therefore, one’s diet should not be a “diet”. Follow? When people generally think about diets, they think of the diet as a short-term remedy to their problem with being obese or overweight. Whether or not they will admit it, their ultimate goal is to “finish their diet” and return to their normal eating habits that they have acquired over the years.

Diets only work if incorporated as a lifestyle change. Anyone can lose weight on a “diet”. If you restrict any aspect of your diet, you will probably be reducing your calorie intake and thereby drop some pounds. This diet may take some time to produce results, but as we know all too well, we are not patient creatures – we want instant results. Resorting to old habits will result in a return to one’s old body habitus, and this is the fate of most diets.

Diets are too restrictive. I love junk food, pizza, and pasta just as much as the next guy, but I’ve learned that I cannot maintain a healthy body by eating everything I like. I’ve also learned that I cannot maintain a healthy body by completely avoiding those foods that I like. Huh? The point is that you need to be allowed some flexibility, to indulge in your favorite foods on occasion. You need to learn how to incorporate these “cheat meals” into your diet just as you need to learn what foods should be your staple food items.

Diets are antisocial. Nearly every social event in our culture is based around food or accentuated with food to some extent. How on earth can anyone stick to a diet when you have commitments to be a part of these functions? People are not going to stick to a diet if it means that they cannot fully participate in important events without guilt.

Healthy eating is time-consuming. Two words: fast food. Sure beats preparing a salad or other home-cooked meal.

Diet without exercise is like trying to achieve wealth by cutting spending but not working to earn money. Study after study shows that exercise is a critical complement to diet for weight loss goals.

Some day, I’ll put together a tirade about the fad diets on the market. Here’s the punch line: they’re nothing to shout about.

A clean day of eating

Posted in Diet with tags , , on March 15, 2008 by Dr. CJ


Here’s the FitDay page view on my food intake from Thursday of this week. I would have had it posted yesterday, but insanity struck at work. On that morning, I made a plan to stick to my routine diet – my exotic choices of chicken and sweet potato fries. Do I ever get sick of them? Not yet.  My goal is to keep my ratio of protein:carbs:fat at 40:40:20.

I aimed to eat every 3-4 hours on that day, and I committed myself to avoid any sweets. At one point in the late afternoon, someone brought in Dilly Bars and sundaes from DQ. It took a little discipline not to pick one up, but I felt pretty darn good after overcoming that temptation. Out of curiosity, I also had to look up the nutrition info on a Dilly Bar dillybar-nutrition.jpg – yowzers! Imagine plugging those numbers into my diet that day – it would have looked awful.

I am human, of course, I ate pizza for lunch yesterday because it was readily available and free.  Oh well – back to good eating today.

Value of whole grains

Posted in Diet with tags , on February 22, 2008 by Dr. CJ

Carbohydrates get all the negative press. . . perhaps for good reason.  Simple carbohydrates are certainly not friendly to the body in the sense that they create a high-sugar load in the bloodstream, compared to a more gradual increase in sugar from complex carbohydrates (e.g. whole wheat, whole grain). 

Here’s a study suggesting benefit from a diet high in whole grains in reducing abdominal fat and reducing a marker of inflammation that has been implicated in heart disease risk.