Junior’s Quick Stop — a short story

By Ran Walker – My wife doesn’t trust gas station fried chicken, but, dammit, I do. In fact, I rank it among the best food in town, including those fancy chains, where they keep laying off the spices and seasonings every year. I tell her that they lovingly marinate those breasts, before gently battering them and […]

Junior’s Quick Stop —

Follow the link to read the entire short story. It’s a short read.

Fermented Foods for Gut Health – Center for Applied Nutrition UMass Medical School

Top Fermented Foods

Kefir

Plain Yogurt

Dry Curd Cottage Cheese or Farmer’s Cheese, or fermented cottage cheese

Certain aged cheeses (check label for live and active cultures)

Fermented Vegetables

Tempeh (choose gluten free)

Miso (refrigerated)

Pickles (in salt, not vinegar)

Sauerkraut (choose refrigerated)

Kimchi

Kombucha (no sugar)

Other probiotic drinks (no sugar), like beet Kvass, apple cider

Fermented Foods for Gut Health — https://www.umassmed.edu/nutrition/blog/blog-posts/2019/6/fermented-foods-for-gut-health/

I’ve spent some time at the request of a reader to list the top fermented foods for gut health. Many websites have very similar lists. If you’re interested in learning more about what some of these foods are the Healthline article 8 Fermented Foods and Drinks to Boost Digestion and Health is a decent source. https://www.healthline.com/nutrition/8-fermented-foods

But if you really want to learn about fermented foods you’ll never eat because you won’t find a store nearby that carries them read the Wikipedia article https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/List_of_fermented_foods

Although I think I can get Bánh cuốn at the Vietnamese grocery store.

The take home lesson is simple. Find a few fermented foods you enjoy eating and eat them often. Beet Kvass? No thanks. I’ll stick with yogurt, pickles, and sauerkraut.

Chicken Thighs with Spinach

For all the complainers who complain about my lack of food photos.

I tend to waste a lot of time watching other people cook on YouTube. But every now and then I actually make a dish I’ve watched someone else make and say to myself, this is a keeper.

“I make simpler things in a simpler way, now—as you get older your metabolism changes and you want something simpler, without embellishment.”

Jacques Pépin

Chef Jacques Pépin got through the pandemic with kitchen utensils, a video camera, and a great wardrobe — https://thecounter.org/rewrites-covid-19-chef-jacques-pepin-facebook-recipe-cookbook/

Salt, pepper, garlic, chicken thighs, and fresh spinach. That’s it. No added fats. Some rice or potatoes on the side and you have dinner on the table in 45 minutes or less. Check out the video.

I learned a lot by watching Jacques Pépin make chicken thigh. Incredible technique.

I’m a Big Dipper

Previous studies looking at blood sugar after eating have focused on the way that levels rise and fall in the first two hours after a meal, known as a blood sugar peak. However, after analyzing the data, the PREDICT team noticed that some people experienced significant ‘sugar dips’ 2-4 hours after this initial peak, where their blood sugar levels fell rapidly below baseline before coming back up.

Big dippers had a 9% increase in hunger, and waited around half an hour less, on average, before their next meal than little dippers, even though they ate exactly the same meals.

Big dippers also ate 75 more calories in the 3-4 hours after breakfast and around 312 calories more over the whole day than little dippers. This kind of pattern could potentially turn into 20 pounds of weight gain over a year.

King’s College London. “Why some of us are hungry all the time.” ScienceDaily. http://www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2021/04/210412114802.htm (accessed April 24, 2021).

Now I know there is a scientific biological basis for why I feel hungry more often than others. Over time I’ve figured out solutions for my unique metabolism and biology.

Whole grain bars. A small handful of nuts. A cup of yogurt. If you’re constantly hungry you might be a “big dipper” like me. Carry on.

Random Thoughts – April 2021

Sunday 04.04.21

My self imposed beer ban has ended. And to avoid any feelings of guilt and shame I created a new list. My new list is Things You Can Have in the House but Only on Occasion. Last week the trip to the store started as any other trip to the store. I had a short list and planned to stick to the list. But when I was in the store I found myself mesmerized by the beer choices while standing in front of the colorful cans all calling out to me. I broke down and bought a six pack. My three month self imposed beer ban ended and immediately on the way home the rationalization began.

I promised myself I would closely monitor my weight (an empty promise since I weigh myself daily). I probably lost my taste for beer and I won’t drink any (nope). I committed to drinking just one can a day (that lasted just one day). In the end I could only justify my purchase by making up a new house rule so I could drink the one beverage that caused me to create house rules to begin with. I know I’m being too hard on myself. But that’s what people do when they know they can eat and drink themselves back up to 370 pounds. I never want to weigh that much again so I am always pretty hard on myself.

When I tell people I used to weigh 370 pounds they don’t believe me. With my sense of humor a lot of people really don’t know if I’m kidding. Well, I’m not joking. I used to weigh 370 and I never ever want to wear 44 inch waist jeans again. Beer was one of the culprits way back when and beer could easily become my Number One Nemesis again.

Then during the last week of March all hell broke loose. We left home and our normal routines for four days of bonding with Tiny Humans. That was the good part of the trip. As you may have already guessed the bad part was me being bad. I had three restaurant meals via delivery to the house.

Although some restaurants provide high-quality foods, the dietary quality for meals away from home, especially from fast-food chains, is usually lower compared with meals cooked at home. Evidence has shown that meals away from home tend to be higher in energy density, fat, and sodium, but lower in fruits, vegetables, whole grains, and protective nutrients such as dietary fiber and antioxidants.

Frequent consumption of meals prepared away from home linked to increased risk of early death — https://www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2021/03/210325084824.htm

A couple of beers I found in the fridge found their way into my belly. I did not weigh myself while I was gone. I ATE CHOCOLATE CAKE THREE NIGHTS IN A ROW. I might have eaten some chocolate chip cookies too. Maybe even a few pieces of chocolate here and there.

Too much sugar is unhealthy – that we know, but it’s not just down to the many calories. Even moderate amounts of added fructose and sucrose double the body’s own fat production in the liver, researchers have shown. In the long term, this contributes to the development of diabetes or a fatty liver.

Consumption of added sugar doubles fat production — https://www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2021/03/210316100709.htm

I was completely out of my normal routine and beginning to believe I had lost all control. I feared the worst.

We got back home on a Thursday evening. On Friday morning I approached the bathroom scale with immense trepidation. The Truth was about to unfold and when the number came into view I had actually lost a pound since the Sunday before. I was very bad and still lost some weight. Sigh. Of. Relief.

Yesterday morning I was at the grocery store with my short list of things to buy. When I got to the beer aisle I kept walking. I reminded myself of my new list and promised myself it was OK to put beer on the Things You Can Have in the House but Only on Occasion list. Then I went to the liquor store and bought myself a bottle of Monkey Shoulder blended single malt scotch. It was my reward for surviving a multi-day period of dietary indiscretions.

The 90+ Study finds link between moderate Alcohol Consumption and Longevity

https://www.mind.uci.edu/90-study-finds-link-moderate-alcohol-consumption-longevity/

Purely medicinal of course.

Random Thoughts – February 2021

Monday 2/1

“We can feel the book in our bones, but the writing of it can seem like we’re always at the beginning, always trying to figure out what the hell we’re doing. At least, that’s how I often feel.”

Amy Grier

A year ago I was either 194 or 192. I recorded two different starting weights for 2020 in my journal so when I write about how much weight came off it might not be 100% accurate. Look anywhere online you’ll find stories of Pandemic Weight gain but somehow I went in the opposite direction. The scale dipped below 172 this morning. As you know I try not to get too hyped about these random fluctuations.

My personal quest is to document what I’ve done so that others may possibly benefit. Of course I’m referring to my future best seller. But I must admit writing all of this is not easy. This blog helps as part of the process. Maybe I’ll write a few words here and there that will end up in the book as well researched, tightly edited prose. Then most days I’m not sure if anything like that will happen. Most days I end up like Amy Grier always at the beginning, always trying to figure out exactly what the hell I’m writing about.

I need to remind myself all of this is a process and that things have changed over the years. What worked for me at 20 may not work now as I travel the road towards 70 (except maybe the no beer thing). When I lost the bulk of my excess weight my diet was extremely restrictive both in calories and food/drink choices. During the past Pandemic Year of Isolation my diet was less restrictive in terms of food/drink choices but still somewhat calorie restrictive. I pretty much adopted The Boss’ dietary pattern and started losing weight again.

This past year has made me question my long held belief in veggie/non-meat meal percentages of 90/10. My personal pursuit of health didn’t result in any weight loss. I no longer keep a food diary so I can’t determine the exact percentages of meat free meals versus meat/dairy/eggs I’d eat in a week. Yet I’m still convinced the more plant based meals you consume the more you improve your chances for being and staying healthy.

Today’s meals were or will be:

Oatmeal with raisins, maple syrup, and soy milk.

Bowl of homemade chicken soup with vegetables and white beans. Cornbread (both homemade).

Chicken vegetable fried rice.

Maybe I should redefine and rename my 90/10 strategy to a minimal meat strategy. The MMS Diet. How to Lose 200 Pounds and Keep Them Off Forever! Yo Oprah, I’m waiting for your call.

Be The Person You Want to Be – now what’s your plan?

“The best solution is to change the way people eat, the way they live, the lifestyle, and diet,” Mackey says. “There’s no reason why people shouldn’t be healthy and have a longer health span. A bunch of drugs is not going to solve the problem.”

Americans are not taking as good care of their own bodies as they ought to be, Mackey says: “71% of Americans are overweight and 42.5% are obese. Clearly, we’re making bad choices in the way we eat,” he says. “It’s not a sustainable path. And so, I’m calling it out.”

Whole Foods CEO John Mackey: The ‘best solution’ is to not need health care and for Americans to change how they eat and live — https://www.cnbc.com/2021/01/04/whole-foods-ceo-john-mackey-best-solution-is-not-to-need-health-care.html

Monday 1/18

Today is the fourth and final day of my long weekend. The Boss and I are already planning more time off together this year. You reach a point in your life where the Work Mojo is no longer the same as it was in previous years. But that’s OK. I’m fortunate in having work which I’ve managed to weave into my life seamlessly. Some days I’m in my office working, other days my computer based activities bring in zero revenue. I’m still talking myself out of buying another guitar but that’s another story.

Today began as all days begin with coffee and catching up on news. I started this post half-awake then left to do other things which is normal for this writer with ADD tendencies (now you know why my future best seller is not finished yet). More coffee, a little jazz, shower. Back in the office I took another look at Mackey’s quote and had a different reaction from my initial reaction when I started writing this post. Why is this guy an expert?

We have too many self-proclaimed experts telling people what they should or ought to do. Read the Mackey quote again and you’ll see what I mean. Simply stated the problem is way more complex than most people realize and the solution is a lot harder for most and even harder for others. But to be the person you want to be you have to make tough decisions and understand this race is a marathon with many hard choices along the way.

The Boss and I got out of our pre-Pandemic habit of eating lunch out on the weekends. Instead we’ve done the drive through or curbside pickup routines for our non-home prepared meals. Yesterday we had Okie-Mex for the first time in a while (kind of like Tex-Mex but not nearly as good). I chose a combination plate large enough to be served on a turkey platter in the restaurant if you know what I mean and I think you do. We shared the platter and still had leftovers. There was a time when I would/could finish such a meal all by myself. Now here’s my point: when you hear or read about changing your lifestyle and diet what are you willing to do to become who you want to be? Do you have the willpower and discipline to eat just half of a typical restaurant serving or are you eating it all?

Habits become habits for a reason and can be challenging to change. But changing your habits (lifestyle and food choices) are the only way to lose weight and to maintain the loss. I actually found a randomized controlled trial (n=130) that supports my opinion on habits.

Habit-based weight-loss interventions—forming new habits (TTT) and breaking old habits (DSD), resulted in clinically important weight-loss maintenance at 12-month follow-up.

Cleo, G., Glasziou, P., Beller, E. et al. Habit-based interventions for weight loss maintenance in adults with overweight and obesity: a randomized controlled trial. Int J Obes 43, 374–383 (2019). https://doi.org/10.1038/s41366-018-0067-4

This habit changing thing hit home as I was searching my cookbook collection for lunch ideas. I settled upon a quick chickpea salad sandwich filling and if it tastes good I’ll post the recipe. As a young man gorging myself on the worst possible foods on the path to 370 I didn’t even know what a chickpea was.

Change your habits, change your life. Start with one habit you want to change. Substitute a good habit for the bad one. Give it time to stick. Repeat.

I haven’t had a beer since mid-December. Trust me. This is real painful.

We asked five health professionals if they would dine indoors at a restaurant. Four said no – and one had a surprising answer.

Some interesting studies have looked at the airflow and air currents in restaurants in relation to where people became infected. In one, a person was 20 feet away from the source for only about 5 minutes, but the person was directly in the airflow and became infected. It’s a reminder of what we’ve been saying – there’s nothing magical about 6 feet. The high degree of community disease in the U.S. right now increases the likelihood that another diner in the restaurant is infected. If you are tired of cooking and need a break, takeout is the way to go.

Would you eat indoors at a restaurant? We asked five health expertshttps://theconversation.com/would-you-eat-indoors-at-a-restaurant-we-asked-five-health-experts-152300

Good article.