Did Grandma eat plastic food?

Mine certainly didn’t.  She did eat a lot of things that are now frowned upon, in quantities that defy the government approved dietary principles of today.  And yet strangely enough, she was thin as a rake her entire life, and pretty healthy too.  And her diet didn’t kill her; that was the shock of losing her only daughter that made her give up living.  It was her mind that killed her, not her food.

So what did Grandma eat?  I spent nearly all my school holidays with her as a teenager, so I am well-versed in that subject.

Lamb was pretty popular.  She’d cook up chops in a casserole, and that would last several nights in a row.  This is old fashioned lamb too; not the heart smart, lean cuts.  Sausages were also popular – and they weren’t anything fancy either.  She usually had take-away once a week; either fish and chips, or fried chicken, chips, and a pineapple fritter, cooked by her local store…not a chain fast-food restaurant.

She ate mashed potato, nearly every night, made with full-cream milk and butter.  She used a lot of butter in her cooking.  She ate toast with butter and Vegemite for breakfast most mornings.  Lunch varied; sometimes a sandwich, sometimes leftovers.  She never threw food out; always ate it up.

So, what didn’t she eat?

Not a lot of bread…a loaf would easily last her one week.  Never pasta, and rice was something that turned up in a rice pudding, not a risotto.  She didn’t eat plastic food – the kind of food that has a list of ingredients on the label, half of which are created in laboratories.  She didn’t drink soft drink/soda…it was either tea or water.  And the water came out of a rainwater tank, which always had a faint tang of kerosene (which she used to pour on top to kill mosquitoes).  She didn’t eat breakfast cereal, aside from porridge/oats in the winter, and so avoided all the sugars and flavourings used to make modern cereals attractive.

She grew some of her own food; raspberries, and almonds and tomatoes and beans and peas – I will always remember helping her to shell big bowlfuls of peas.  She made some of her own jams too; apricot and plum, and would sometimes make tomato sauce too, if the crop was plentiful.  She never bought commercially made cake.

Her diet wasn’t exciting, or rich with the food of other cultures, or balanced according to a government promoted guideline.  It was plain,and plentiful, and real.  A bit of bread, some meat, potatoes,  a few different vegetables, a bit of fruit.  Full cream milk, full-fat butter, and white cooking fat if she was frying something.  She walked her dog for a couple of miles every morning, and spent a couple of hours per week in her garden.  She was quite healthy for all but the last two years of her life, which considering she didn’t undertake weight-bearing exercise to strengthen her bones, or maintain muscle tissue was fairly remarkable…or it would be today.  Back when I was young, and spending time with her, most of her counterparts were also in reasonably good health.  Heavily overweight people were rare – the morbidly obese we see today were virtually non-existent then.  And yet we consider our diets to be so much better today?

There are lessons to be learned here.

How do you lose 6 kilos (13 pounds) in a week?

The answer is simple…you can’t!  Well, short of very expensive plastic surgery.

There has been a tv ad running recently, in which this man talks about his wonderful weight loss system, and confides that he conducted a survey of 8000 participants in this system, who allegedly achieved an average weight loss of 6 kilos per week.    I am assuming that most of them had died (and putrefaction was lowering the weight of the corpse) or they had their legs bitten off by sharks, or something of that nature..or a lot of them had liposuction.

The thing is, whenever someone makes claims like this, refuse to beleive a word of it until you have perused an authenticated (by you, not them) independent study, conducted according to approved scientific protocols.  Aneccdotal evidence (i.e.” my clients have told me this!”) is not scientific or legitimate.  or to put it another way…if anyone had devised a way that consistently enabled people to lose an average of 6 kilos in one week, they would be begging reputable scientists in the exercise physiology/dietetics fields to verify these results, because then that person would patent the method and become a billionaire overnight.  This man is just working on becoming a millionaire by manipulating and deceiving the unwary and desperate into handing over money.

Current scientific thinking tells us that the optimum overall fat loss goal per week is 0.5-1 kilos (1-2 pound).  One of the reasons for this is that there is a physiological reaction to losing fat too quickly.  Those pesky cells we have, decide that we are starving and swing into action to conserve whatever body fat you still have, as well as valuable muscle tissue, and fat loss comes to a screaming halt.  The optimal amounts are precisely those, because they fly under the cells’ radar, and they will let you get away with it.

There is also the fact that you didn’t put the fat on that quickly…it was a slow process (if you tried to gain six kilos in a week, you would be gorging yourself on extremely high-calorie, unhealthy foods, and your body would reject them; i.e. you’d make yourself ill).  So, it has to be an equally steady and consistent process to remove the fat.  You also have to factor in, that in an effective fat-loss program, it includes changes to both eating and exercise habits.

Then there is the muscle tissue aspect.  The more you have (obtained through resistance training) the more calories your body needs to burn to maintain each day (effectively increasing your metabolic rate).  Conversely, when you expend energy (calories) too quickly, some of them come from your muscle tissue, rather than from your body fat.  Hence, you lower your metabolic rate, and make it even harder to lose more weight.

Weight loss is simple; eliminate most, if not all processed food from your diet; get your carbohydrates from vegetable sources; eat lean organic meat (that hasn’t been pumped full of growth hormones) minimise sugar intake (never, ever, EVER eat artificial substitutes; use raw sugar, stevia or honey where sweetening is required), avoid corn syrup like the plague (you do realise corn is what beef-lot cattle are fed, as it fattens them more quickly?), learn to read labels on food packaging.  Then incorporate more physical movement into your life, on a daily basis.  And preferably make it part of your life, not something you see as a chore.  Make good lifestyle changes and fat loss will follow in the footsteps of those changes.

 

But forget about massive overall weight loss in just one week…unless you are so desperate to look lighter on the scales that you really will offer your leg to a shark!

Baby Bodies (aka un-yummy mummies!)

There are times when women in the public eye really make me want to puke.  They project such unreal images of women, in so many phases of their lives.   The one that really gets me going is post baby.  Six weeks after the baby’s birth, when most women are going in for their post-natal checkup, and have barely assimilated all the changes in their life as a result of the new bundle of joy, actresses, singers and their ilk are doing photo shoots, demonstrating how swiftly their bodies have “bounced” back to normal. Continue reading

Our daily bread…

…except mine isn’t.  Back in November I decided that I was going to completely swear off buying bread.  I have been baking specialty breads for a couple of years now, and when motivated, made regular bread for sandwiches.  But I decided that in my quest to improve all the food in my life, bread had to be one of the first things to be revamped.   In this case, this means making it all myself (dealing with the whole commercial flour concerns will be tackled later in the year – one thing at a time). Continue reading

Don’t justify being fat!

One of the things that concerns me about our obesity ridden society are the innumerable stories people tell themselves to justify why it’s ok to carry excess body fat or even to be obese.  This is not aided by the amount of research being done into the reasons people gain fat and subsequently fail to lose it, because people fail to understand the implications of the research and simply use it as still another justification. Continue reading

Personal training vs plastic surgery

Let’s start with the math.  Say it cost you $30,000 for legs, bottom, stomach, back and arms (and that is probably not high enough, particularly if you use a reputable surgeon.  Now say you saw a personal trainer, three times a week,  at the cost of $100 per hour( based on capital cities – most probably less expensive elsewhere).  That is TWO years of personal training sessions (and you don’t have to pay it all up front like you do with the liposculpture). Continue reading

Fat AND stupid!

Walking slows progression of Alzheimer’s, study suggests.

This is just one of the latest, in a number of studies, that are observing the positive effect exercise has on Alzheimer’s and other neurodegenerative diseases.  They cannot claim that exercise cures these conditions, but there is evidence to suggest that exercise can delay, moderate and possibly prevent (kind of hard to prove the last) these diseases occurring.

One of the things that baffles me is why so many people fail to realise that lack of fitness affects your brain.  Everyone knows it affects your heart, your vascular system, the organs of your digestive system and so on.  But it is as though everybody thinks the brain operates independently of the rest of the body.

‘Fraid not people.  The brain is just another organ, and your overall level of fitness and health impacts on that organ as much it does any other organ or system in the human body.  Moreover, there have been scientific studies completed showing definite links between obesity, and both decrease of cognitive function and increase of dementia.

http://www.nature.com/ijo/journal/v27/n2/abs/802225a.html

https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC558283/

Maybe you’re happy to let your body decay and atrophy around you.  But are you happy to know that your brain is doing the same thing?  Your mind is what makes you YOU.  Look after it.