Thursday, June 02, 2011

The Most Important Nutrition Book(s) You'll Ever Read

I've been annoying my friends and acquaintances lately by pushing the books "Why We Get Fat: And What To Do About It" and "Good Calories, Bad Calories", both by Gary Taubes. (WWGF is a shorter version of GCBC.)

Why? Because reading these books made me mad.

I'm mad because the people who set nutrition policy (and agricultural policy) keep pushing a dogma (if you're fat, it's because you're lazy) that is not supported by science, and have ignored or ostracized scientists from related fields such as endocrinology who actually do have an answer for those of us who have trouble with our weight.

Anyone who has struggled with weight issues knows how difficult it is to lose weight, despite trying to eat less / exercise more as we've been told. We eat what we're told are healthy diets, we get moving -- and either the scale doesn't budge or we actually gain weight. And then we're told it's our fault and that the reason we're fat is that we have a moral defect, i.e. laziness.

Meanwhile, we all know people who stay thin effortlessly despite eating more than we do.

Science has actually had the answer for more than 50 years, but because the received dogma is that the reason for overweight was sloth, nobody was listening. In truth, we are fat because we're insulin resistant, and we've been told to eat the wrong things (remember Snackwells?) which only exacerbated the problem by raising our blood sugar and causing other health problems. It's no coincidence that the obesity epidemic is coinciding with a diabetes epidemic. Oh, and diabetics are also told they're diabetic because they're fat. No, they're fat because their insulin metabolism isn't working. How's that for blaming the victim?

Gary Taubes is a science journalist who has studied the history of the science of fat metabolism. He lays out exactly where the science went wrong and how we can get back on track.

I've had enough of the "blame the victim" game from nutritionists. If you're tired of being bludgeoned, read these books.

Sunday, October 17, 2010

Back from Rhinebeck! ... and Roadbug

Back from the Rhinebeck Sheep & Wool Festival -- great trip! (Rice flour) pancakes for dinner, since it was the easiest & quickest thing to make. Friday it took us FIVE hours to get from DC to Delaware, due to construction, accidents, construction, tolls, and, oh, construction. Came back on 83 through York, PA and had a much less frustrating, if longer, drive.

I brought less than a pound of fiber, and only one book -- I have more than enough wool already, and didn't see any must-have books aside from the one I meant to buy. The big purchase for this trip was a Roadbug spinning wheel from Merlin Tree. which is absolutely cute. One of the women in my local spinning & weaving guild has a Hitchhiker (the slightly taller version), and can spin with it while riding in the passenger seat of her truck. It will not, unfortunately, fit in the foot well on the passenger side of our 1999 Ford Explorer, since the glove compartment comes down too far. It does, sort-of, fit in the passenger footwell of the Focus, though it's a little cramped and I'm not sure I can spin without having knee problems -- will have to give it a try. Regardless, the Roadbug will be a lot easier to take to demos, knitting night, and road trips. I might actually make a dent in the fiber stash! ... Presuming, of course, that I don't buy any more fleeces.

Brought Kevin a Whoopie Pie (New England dessert), maple sugar candy, and maple cotton candy (!).

The general consensus was that the things Rhinebeck has over the Md Sheep & Wool Festival are: the buildings are better, the weather wasn't as beastly hot as MSW can sometimes be, and there is MUCH better food. I hope that MSW gets better food as the Maryland wine & other local food industries get going. Might drop them a suggestion...

Met some great folks, had a lovely time, very happy to be home. Think I'll go have a long soak in the tub, pet the dogs, & go to bed.

Monday, May 17, 2010

Do It Gorgeously -- No, Don't.

I picked up a copy of Do It Gorgeously: How to Make Less Toxic, Less Expensive, and More Beautiful Products by Sophie Uliano from the slush pile at work last week.

It's ok... nothing to write home about, for those of us who have been doing the mend-and-make-do thing from childhood. But one part just made me stop short: the section on natural dyeing, which is a subject I know something about.

On pp. 169-170, she recommends dyeing with a number of things, such as turmeric and pomegranates for orange (the first does give a brilliant yellow, but is very fugitive, meaning the color will fade over time; the second gives yellows and tans, in my experience), strawberries, cherries, raspberries and plums for pink... I'll stop there, because none of these dyes gives a permanent pink. They might stain clothes a little, but don't yield a lasting, permanent dye. She goes on to list a number of other supposed dyes, few of which will actually yield the promised colors.

She completely skips the subject of mordanting (you need a metal like alum, iron or copper to prepare the fabric for dyeing, with tannin also needed for dyeing cotton and linen), recommending salt and vinegar as "fixatives".

The author says she's dyed several articles of clothing with berries, but I find that hard to believe. I've attempted to dye samples with beet juice and pokeberries, and the results were disappointing. The beets left a vague tan color behind. Pokeberries will yield pretty, but very temporary, pink/purplish colors.

You can find this sort of misinformation repeated in various books and websites, but, as a friend's mother used to say, "paper will sit still for anyone." It makes me wonder whether the other recipes (cosmetics, etc.) in her book have been tested, or whether she's just passing along information she's read without seeing whether it works.

Tuesday, April 13, 2010

Wild Hare sign

It's so hard to find camps at the Ft. Frederick Market Fair -- all that white canvas looks alike! -- that I thought I'd make a sign for our camp/"inn" (up to about 15 people camping/eating together). One side has the night sky, the other the day. It's not quite done -- bunny's eye pupils need to be painted in, and I have a few other touch-ups to do. The frame will be oxide red.

Thursday, February 18, 2010

Mmm, chewy!

So should I take this as Ruby's indictment of my (lack of) dog training skills? I just had to laugh when I saw this.

I went out and bought more toys for her and straightened up the house to remove any other tempting non-approved chewable items.

Monday, January 25, 2010

Oh, I so think we need a couple of these.

Bones, bones, bones

New dog Ruby (the name that stuck) has been going around collecting all of the rawhide chews and bones that Caden has forgotten. Tonight she found one upstairs and went tiptoeing out of the room with it, as if not quite sure that it was ok for her to have it. She went into her crate with the bone, which means she remembers last night's lesson (i.e., that the crate is the safe place for her to bring her chew toys).

The tiptoe act was very funny. I know, easily amused, here...