Sunday, January 2, 2011

Here's Looking At You

It's January 2, and already many New Year's resolutions have been tossed onto the ash heap of history. As an alternative for my readers, I thought I would offer a different type of resolution for the coming year. The resolution is in three parts.

Part 1
For the remainder of 2011, make mental notes of what your friends, relatives and acquaintances are eating.

You don't need to write anything down, but you can if you wish. Without staring or making comments, just start paying attention to what the people around you are eating and what they talk about eating. Do they tend to eat lots of foods that contain wheat flour? Do their preferred foods contain sugar or high fructose corn syrup? Or do they stick primarily to meat, cheese, eggs, nuts and vegetables? (Be sure to keep in mind that the purpose of this exercise is to gather data, not to confront people with their dietary sins.)

Part 2
After you have a fairly good idea of everybody's dietary lifestyle, start to make notes about their health status.

This is the second stage of your data-gathering project. It will be fairly easy to see if people are a normal weight or if they are fat and getting fatter. Other information often comes out in conversation. Are they having trouble with high blood pressure? Do they complain of painful joints? Are they beginning to discuss issues that relate to the control of blood sugar? Or are they generally healthier than other people of their age?

Part 3
As 2011 progresses, start to compare your two sets of data and see if you can detect any correlations.

Although I come to the discussion with preconceived ideas, this is your life and these are your data. We get messages from the TV, from our doctors and from the people around us about what food is good for us and what food isn't. Some of those messages spring from the profit motive and others come from dogma that we hold without knowing exactly why we hold it. This time you will be collecting your own data based on what you see, not on what somebody else tells you to see.

Seeing is believing
There it is -- a pain-free three-part resolution that could change your life. In 2011 simply begin to observe dietary choices and note which ones seem to correlate with good health and which ones don't. Correlation is not causation of course, but my guess is that 2011 will not be over before you start to make some long-term modifications in the way you eat. In so doing, you may well find that 2011 brings positive changes that you weren't even expecting.


Anonymous said...

Interesting post, thanks. Unfortunately we have been watching what relatives eat and what happens to their health. A couple of years ago my mother-in-law was diagnosed with diverticulitis and the doctor told her to eat lots of high fibre cereal (with low fat milk of course.) She was keen for her husband and herself to stay 'healthy', so she followed all the rules of 'healthy eating' that the doctor advised, ie no fat, lots of whole grains.
After a year my father -in-law started suffering with arthritis. We tried to suggest that he ditch the cereals (gluten, lectins etc) but they wouldn't listen and kept eating their 'healthy' diet. After another few months he was diagnosed with cancer of the oesophagus, which then spread to his lungs, bones and liver. We tried to get him to eat ketogenic, lots of butter, no carbs. But he was given special drinks to build him up which were all sugar... he was gone before we knew it.
I did a post on Positron Emission Tomography (see which shows that cancer absorbs lots of sugar... yet cancer patients are given sugary foods.

Stargazey said...

Hi, MedPhyzz. I went over to your blog and read your excellent post Positron Emission Tomography and the Warburg Effect. It reminded me that I had posted on a similar topic here, Cancer and Carbs. As far as I know, the link between a carb-rich diet and cancer growth is not established, but there are some articles that indicate that it's a plausible hypothesis.

Runjhun said...

Hi Stargazey

I started at 222 pounds on the 25th of Dec 2010 and as on 10th feb 2011 weighed 200 pounds
I am not losing anymore pounds the past 12 days and am starting to crave carbs like pulses etc. I have been on Atkins induction all this while and seem to have had quite some success on it. shall I continue on induction? I binged the past two nights in a row...ate rice, sugary snacks and went all out literally. Feeling very low coz my mama jus sent me a pack of new dresses to encourage me more. I dont want to go back to the weight I was at and have this morning duly gone back to eating eggs and spinach. What do I do? Another question - how many eggs is it ok to eat in a day? I am a vegetarian and therefore do not eat meat. I eat cruciferous veggies, spinach, eggs and cheese. I also take a multivit-min and fish oil capsules. I cook with a variety of oils - coconut, olive, butter, mustard, vegetable oils and use sesame and almond oil s for salad dressings. Am I doing all right?

Stargazey said...

Hi, Runjhun! I am neither a physician nor a nutritionist, so I can't give specific medical advice. However, I do know that it takes constant careful thought to be a vegetarian in a healthy way. Our bodies are set up for us to be omnivores, and that includes the eating of meat.

You may be craving pulses because you are not getting the optimum mix of essential amino acids from your protein sources. Dr. Atkins said it was very difficult to do this diet as a vegetarian, and you seem to be experiencing that phenomenon. Please contact a knowledgable physician and see what you can to to make sure you are getting all the nutrients you need in your version of the low-carb diet.

LovesLivers said...

I am obsessed with how diet relates to most other illnesses in modern humans. Found blog Cooling Inflammation when I was searching for info about by daughter's anti-rejection drug-Rapamyacin. What I took from it was that this drug will prolong life in a sterile setting( and in mice). I was happy to read this as it provided me with some hope. She went off Tacrolimus after she developed post transplant lymphoproliferative disorder (PTLD) She was sero-ve and received my sero+ve liver for EBV. (PTLD is mostly associated with EBV infection in txt patients) She had received some extra immunosuppression due to HLH (Hemophagocytic lymphohistiocytosis). Dexamethasone, was the extra drug they started her on the day before the transplant occurred and the docs diagnosed her with HLH confined to the liver only. She lost much muscle, huge appetite, nervousness and complete insomnia –and yes as would be expected the Cushing’s syndrome body). What baffles me is that the doctors were claiming that the didn’t know why she was suffering so much after transplant (loss of muscle, fears of neurological damage etc..) when it was so clear that the Dex was causing it. Her liver enzymes also remained very high and she was in hospital for 6 weeks after the txt. She developed PTLD within 3 months. I am sure docs were very much aware of this likelihood but were unable to prevent it by having no other way to deal with the dilemma. They could not give Rapa right after txt as it quite dangerous for liver transplant patients due to issues with blood vessels. She was treated with chemo and has had several PET scans to diagnose PTLD extent and monitor treatment.
Understanding the side-effects of her treatment involves inflammation, immunity, genetics and the trio of cancer, diabetes heart disease. Although, Rapamyacin may improve longevity in adult mice (I understand that the drug mimics a calorie restricted diet) it doesn’t sound like a good thing for a growing 6 yr old…I had hoped that she would stay off drugs after her chemo was done (chemo was enough to prevent rejection for 6 months) but her liver enzymes began to rise and that’s when Rapa was started -acts as a both an anti-rejection drug and anti-proliferative drug. At 1.5 yrs after initiation of Rapa therapy, her neutrophil count remains low but comes up to normal level when an infection presents. I had high hopes that she would go off all drugs due to a study for liver txt kids but alas, there is no way that she would be a candidate due to her complex history. One nurse mentioned that the cause of liver failure may still be present and that the Rapa may be keeping it in check…Cause was deemed to have been unknown viral entity and/or HLH (which too needed a trigger –virus).

Sorry for the long post but I find that all these discussions come back to how these processes might manifest in a person on these serious meds. If anyone reading this wants to discuss HLH (secondary form vs familial/genetic form) I would love to hear. Her doctor is a specialist in HLH and she believes that there is a possibility that the swine flu victims that succumbed to the virus had actually developed HLH and this is what caused death.
What type of diet would you be eating if you tool this type of drug? She can have only half tsp of fish oil/day as they do not know if it will over stimulate her immune response.
Also, any thoughts on the remarkable abilities of the liver? It is involved with immunity and appears to be somewhat spared from rejection compared to other organs…