kitchen table math, the sequel: in case you'd like to share my pain...

Tuesday, October 6, 2009

in case you'd like to share my pain...

Eat to Live by Joel Fuhrman

The China Study by Thomas M. Campbell
20-year study of Chinese diet & health – “this project eventually produced more than 8000 statistically significant associations between various dietary factors and disease...”
Introduction (pdf file)

Prevent and Reverse Heart Disease by Caldwell B. Esselsstyn

The Engine 2 Diet: The Texas Firefighter's 28-Day Save-Your-Life Plan that Lowers Cholesterol and Burns Away the Pounds by Rip Esselsstyn (son of Caldwell: 28-day before & after photos!)

Dr. Neal Barnard’s Program for Reversing Diabetes by Neal D. Barnard

And don't forget: Younger Next Year


Catherine Johnson said...

The one good thing I can say about Eating to Live is that Eating to Be Thin seems to be part of the package.

I've lost 5 pounds in 11 days.

Apparently this is standard on Dr. Fuhrman's diet - which I haven't been following.

I've just been trying to follow it & I've lost 5 pounds.

Catherine Johnson said...

If anyone knows how to get fat consumption down to 10% a day, let me know.

Today I have consumed:

steel cut oats & brown sugar (breakfast)
steel cut oats & brown sugar (lunch)
salad w/vinegar (no oil)
lima beans (no oil)

My "LoseIt" app tells me I'm at 18% fat.

Catherine Johnson said...

My "weekly average" for week of October 5 was 51%.

Catherine Johnson said...

Someone's going to put me on a desert island.

Anonymous said...

I would love to go to a dessert island!

Paula V.

Allison said...


Insulin resistance is correlated with excessive carbohydrates, not with less carbs. it is inversely correlated with high protein/not low fat diets.

You are going in the wrong direction here. No endocrinologist worried about type II diabetes would want you eating that meal.

You will not be able to keep up this insanity of a diet. Please don't inflict it on your kids.

And more, radical diet changes can affect your mood. They can make you depressed. Certainly insulin resistance makes you foggy, but starving can make you so depressed you want to kill yourself.

Perhaps you should wait until you are mentating better?

Amy P said...

"And more, radical diet changes can affect your mood. They can make you depressed."

Amen. When the smoke clears, I'd suggest exercise and good protein, as well as a daily nap if it can be managed. I was a carb nibbler when my kids were littler. You know the drill: sleep 4 or 5 or 6 hours at night, feel sleepy, eat graham crackers to stay awake, feel tired, eat muffin to stay awake, etc. That was a disaster, as were my similar methods for staying awake to work in graduate school. Now that the kids are bigger and I have more control over my schedule, the things that keep me alert, effective and keep me from swelling up like a giant blueberry are 1) an afternoon nap (when I can get it) and 2) exercise. Afternoon naps are somewhat taboo in Anglo Saxon culture, but 1) if I'm asleep, I'm not eating 2) if I'm not tired, I'm not hungry. I also find that exercise makes me more alert and less hungry. The combination of both nap and gym is amazing (when I can get it).

Thanks to nearly 10 years of bad food and lifestyle choices, no one's going to invite me to pose for Vogue anytime soon. I worry about my weight and my knees. On the other hand, my doctor tells me that my blood sugar, cholesterol, and blood pressure are very good.

Jennifer said...

Yes, fat consumption does not lead to diabetes; it may be that high glycemic index carbohydrates lead to insulin resistance, but the correlation is not very clear, and not yet causative.

You are better off eating what normal people eat and spending 45 minutes a day exercising--even 15 minutes is better than nothing.

Jim said...

I literally just finished Younger Next Year last night. They boil their message down to don't eat crap and you need to exercise 6 days a week for the rest of your life. That is both weights and cardio exercise. If you are over 50 it is a decent read but not great. I found Transcend by Kurzweil, which has more science in it, a better read and carries the same message.

As for a diet that is 10% fat or even a low carb diet, both have been shown to lower testosterone in men, which isn't a good thing if you are working out and trying to build up muscle.

Have a great day!

Lisa said...

Just send me to dessert island. It can be a desert or no.

K9Sasha said...

An interesting book to look at is Good Calories, Bad Calories by Gary Taubes He looks at diet research and points out why the research might not say what we think it says.

Lsquared said...

Let me second the 'moderation' comments. My mother had breast cancer several years back, and after that had been on a very extreme: organic food, no salt, almost but not quite vegetarian diet. It kind of worked. The cancer stayed in remission, but more recently (a couple of years ago) she had a very severe stroke which has left her mostly bed-ridden and with language issues. By hind sight, the low salt diet probably contributed to the stroke. By all means eat healthy food and exercise, but don't take it so far that you accidentally set yourself up for different problems.

Good luck with the diet--don't make yourself miserable.

SteveH said...

I'll go with Lisa to the dessert island. There is one in Maine. Maybe it's called that because one of the mountains looks like a baked Alaska. Maybe not.

Catherine Johnson said...

Insulin resistance is correlated with excessive carbohydrates, not with less carbs. it is inversely correlated with high protein/not low fat diets.

Not according to my sources.

Sad to say.

Catherine Johnson said...

Perhaps you should wait until you are mentating better?


count to ten, take a deep breath, and figure out how well your are mentating!!!

Catherine Johnson said...

An interesting book to look at is Good Calories, Bad Calories by Gary Taubes

I have it!

Here's my Google-path to radical veganism (god help me), which is basically a case of dawning Bayesian horror----

I started with metabolic syndrome, pre-diabetes, and diabetes prevention. My mother's problems stem from Type 2 diabetes specifically and metabolic syndrome more generally. I was diabetic during my pregnancy with the twins, which puts me - and the twins - at high risk for Type 2 diabetes.

So that's where I started.

How do I not develop Type 2 diabetes?

How do my kids not develop Type 2 diabetes?

At some point I branched off to a search re: preventing and/or treating heart disease. Esselstyn's dietary treatment of heart disease at the Cleveland Clinic popped up, leading me instantly to the China study, which I had never heard of.

I don't remember how I got to Joel Furhman.

Going into all this, I knew all about Taubes & was attempting to follow a high-protein diet. I had read the cover story in the TIMES magazine; I had read the PBS interview; I had skimmed Taubes' book.

I was also a fan of Barry Sears.

So: high protein/good fat. That was my thinking before landing in Evanston Hospital watching my mom try to stay alive with failing heart, lungs, and kidneys.

After a few days reading Amazon reviews & associated content, it was obvious there is a food fight going on between the high protein/good fat-bad fat people and the plant food/raw food/vegan/Hezbollah splinter faction people. Those are the two camps.

It also became clear, to me at least, that when you're talking about dietary treatment of people who are desperately ill, no one puts them in a study where they eat more animal protein and more good fat. At least, I haven't come across such an experiment. Patients in the "Major Leagues," as my mom's PCP calls it, get put on diets requiring them to eat 10% fat and vast quantities of fruits & vegetables.

Given that I'm neither a food scientist nor a physician, I'm not going to figure this stuff out myself. I have to decide whom I trust more & place my bet.

So I'm going with the folks who kept heart patients alive via diet.

Catherine Johnson said...

Here's Esselstyn's diet (haven't read the book yet).

I see that he forbids avocados.


But -- hark! -- whole grain pasta & bread is allowed!

Here are the rules of my program in their simplest form:

• You may not eat anything with a mother or a face (no meat, poultry, or fish).

• You cannot eat dairy products.

• You must not consume oil of any kind—not a drop. (Yes, you devotees of the Mediterranean Diet, that includes olive oil, as I’ll explain in Chapter 10.)

• Generally, you cannot eat nuts or avocados.

You can eat a wonderful variety of delicious, nutrient-dense foods:

• All vegetables except avocado. Leafy green vegetables, root vegetables, veggies that are red, green, purple, orange, and yellowand everything in between

• All legumes—beans, peas, and lentils of all varieties.

• All whole grains and products, such as bread and pasta, that are made from them—as long as they do not contain added fats.

• All fruits.

Catherine Johnson said...

How does low-salt contribute to stroke?

Isn't it the opposite?

Catherine Johnson said...

I became a believer in food-as-medicine years ago when I watched my dad basically treat his cancer via diet.

My dad has 3 cancers: (many) skin cancers, bladder cancer, prostate cancer. He's had bladder cancer forever.

He reacted to the diagnosis by reading everything there was on dietary approaches to cancer & rigorously follows a diet that is high in lycopene (tomatoes) --- and various other things. (I don't know the diet well. It was created by a physician who also had prostate cancer.)

He almost never departs from his regimen.

Maybe it's a coincidence, but he has held all 3 cancers at bay, to the point where his Mayo Clinic docs finally told him, "You have cancer but you're not going to die of it."

He's 89 today.

Anonymous said...

Technically, The Zone is not a high protein diet like Atkins. You do eat more carbs than protein. The ratio is just tighter.

It's also a low calorie diet if you follow it to the letter. Sears' point was that you pick the desired foods whenever possible, but if you don't, stick to the ratio. Because of that, he was accused of encouraging people to eat bacon.

I have no idea what to do anymore. I just mess around with Hungry Girl recipes.


Catherine Johnson said...


Fuhrman reams Sears pretty convincingly.

For me, deciding which Extreme Lifesaving Diet to glom onto was easy: I want the one that reverses heart disease in hopeless patients.

The other thing is that I've always bought the argument that people do best on the diet we evolved on: fruits, berries, and "the occasional small rodent," as my sister puts it.

I'm probably not going to be adding small rodents to my diet, however.

Doug Sundseth said...

"You may not eat anything with a mother or a face (no meat, poultry, or fish)."

So, no vegetables that reproduce by cross-pollination? And no pumpkins?


More seriously, I can guarantee that I wouldn't follow recommendations for a "vegan" diet, especially one that is high in starches. The closest I'm willing to come to a vegetarian diet is that I eat lots of vegetarians.

That said, if you can tolerate it and it improves your quality of life, it's a reasonable course of action for you. Your life; your decisions.

Crimson Wife said...

The Journal of the American Medical Association last year found that a diet high in nuts and low glycemic index carbs was superior in controlling diabetes & preventing heart disease than a traditional high fiber diet. See here for more info.

I'd go high on non-starchy veggies; moderate on nuts, avocados, fish, whole grains, legumes, starchy veggies, fruits, and healthy oils; and low on everything else.

ChemProf said...

The usual diet for gestational diabetes is low on fruit, high on vegetables, lean protein, and whole grains, for what it is worth. Catherine, have you talked to your doctor about measuring your glucose levels? I am always nervous about adopting a diet based on general studies after my experience with my husband. He had high cholesterol, so we went on a low fat regime for six months or so. It lowered his cholesterol, but his good/bad cholesterol ratio went crazy -- from ~3 to ~10! He turned out to be a person who's cholesterol moved in sync, and he's better off using exercise and not going to a low fat diet. If you are looking to change your blood chemistry, you should be monitoring the impact of your experiment.

SteveH said...

"The closest I'm willing to come to a vegetarian diet is that I eat lots of vegetarians."

HaHaHaHaHaHaHa! I almost choked on my glazed doughnut-bacon-cheeseburger.