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June 30, 2009

Fitness, Health, Eating Linkage

Michael Blowhard writes:

Dear Blowhards --

* Agnostic has been much struck by the low-carb and Paleo critique of conventional nutrition advice, and has started a new blog to pass along his thoughts and discoveries. Good to see him linking to Tom Naughton, the director of the documentary "Fat Head." Tom's a fantastic blogger as well as a very gifted filmmaker.

* A fun and sophisticated new blog on the theme of eating well while eating cheaply.

* Have the French lost their food knack? If so: What a cultural tragedy!

* Was the invention of farming the biggest mistake in the history of humanity?

* Mark Sisson gets a shock when his blood pressure is checked. I'm midway through Sisson's new book, and I recommend it enthusiastically.

* The top food trucks in America.

* What -- if much of anything -- is really being measured when you get your choresterol levels checked?

* Have food manufacturers captured our neuro-reward systems? The very interesting commentsfest is here.

* Grape Nuts breakfast cereal has been around for 111 years, but it sounds like it isn't going to be around for much longer.

* Has the fried food at chain restaurants been striking you as weirdly taste-free recently? Tom Naughton says that there's one particular guy to blame: Michael Jacobson, of the do-goodin' Center for Science in the Public Interest.

* The world's oldest man shares the secrets of his longevity. (Link thanks to Charlton Griffin)



posted by Michael at June 30, 2009


The new blog on eating well and eating cheaply is excellent.

Posted by: Pupu on June 30, 2009 11:40 PM

I like John Hawks' take on that NYT piece and the Amazon reviews of that book:

Posted by: Martin Regnen on July 1, 2009 7:22 AM

It is surprising that none of the food trucks in Philadelphia has made to the top food truck list.

Posted by: Pupu on July 1, 2009 10:08 AM

Thanks for the interesting links.

Posted by: Paul Worthington on July 1, 2009 1:58 PM

I like the cheap gourmand blog, but if you're going to be frugal and low carb at the same time, the budget should probably be increased to $70/week.

Posted by: Christine on July 1, 2009 2:48 PM

I shouldn't write this in order not to jinx me, but I'm currently on a very demanding diet which is, among other things, low-carb. So far, ten days in, down from 190 to 182, energy good after a few draggy days, and hunger not really a problem.

It's a ketosis-based diet, and those have fans and enemies. But it's working for me so far.

Wish me luck! But I have to say that my experience is backing the Tom Naugtons, Richard Nikoleys, the Sissons and Eades and others of the world.

The real kicker is the relative freedom from hunger. I am weak of will, so that is a major reason for my success so far.

Thanks for the various low-carb links you've provided, Michael. 2Blowhards is helping save humanity!

P.S. Goal: 165 or 31" waist, whichever comes first. My beloved is thrilled with the fact that she can see my jawline again. Me too.

Posted by: PatrickH on July 3, 2009 11:22 AM


Pupu wishes you the best of luck; you and your beloved, all the happiness!

165 or 31" waist? Won't you be too thin?

Posted by: Pupu on July 3, 2009 1:24 PM

Jawlines rock.

Posted by: Michael Blowhard on July 3, 2009 1:36 PM

O Pupu My Pupu:

I have what they call a "small frame". I'm just under 5'10" and spent much of my pre-40s at around 130-135 lbs, 28" waist.

That was too thin, but only in the sense I looked too thin (plus I have an enormous head). My body was quite happy at that weight. Went up to the low 150s in my 40s, again with no effort to keep it that low.

Back in 2006, I was down from 150s to about 140 for reasons of chemical self-abuse. Upon stopping that nonsense, with the resumption of eating, I ballooned to 180 in eight weeks, and have been around 190-195 for most of the time since. All the exercise in the world (and I can workout quite hard indeed) didn't get me south of 180, or even much closer than 185.

Two weeks ago or so, I was buying some pants and shirts and looked at my expansive belly in the mirror in the fitting room...and I said, enough!

Now, I've put on some serious muscle what with some fairly heavy weight training recently, but I was carrying at least 30 and probably 40 or even more pounds of extraneous fat. So 165 from 190 is still only 25 pounds, even assuming all of the loss is fat.

So...too thin? Don't think so, given my puny bones.

Oh, and one of the great things is my strength is good, and my cardio is returning to levels not experienced for a while. Less blubbedy-blub sloshing around when I run, I'm guessing. :-)

And yes, jawlines rock. Especially when they look all rocky, not rolly.

Posted by: PatrickH on July 3, 2009 2:27 PM

Check out this anti-Taubes, anti-Paleo rant.


Posted by: Michael Blowhard on July 3, 2009 2:33 PM

While the whole Paleo thing is more appealing to me than doing that vegan thing (which I know would essentially cause me to waste away and die of anemia while pining for carnitas and baby-back ribs) I simply couldn't do it for a number of reasons.

1. I like carbs. Giving up the Risotto is just as painful as giving up the Osso Bucco, and God help me if I have to give up poi and sweet potatos, I just may as well not be Hawaiian.

2. I don't really have weight or energy issues. I'm a bit over six feet and weigh the same as I did right after high school graduation, 160 pounds. If anything I have too much energy to burn. If I don't get out and ride bike, hike, or do some sort of physical labor, I get insomnia. My main focus right now is figuring out how to gain muscle definition as well as remove my soft middle.

3. I'm just not convinced it's some sort of magic bullet. While I'm damn sure that fats are an important part of staying healthy, I don't buy the whole low-carb aspect of it. They cherry pick data just as badly as their opponents do, that an some of their biological stuff just seems hocus pocus. Let's put it this way: Right now it seems the heretical idea is that the last 10,000 years have seen a massive selection on the physical and mental qualities of geographically separated human groups. This thing that has affected our group propensity to crank algorithms or run a 100 meter race hasn't affected our ability to chow down on bread or whale lard respectively?

That said, if it works for you, have at it.

4. He who shall not be named has gotten into it with all the fervor of a former pimp turned street preacher. That's a big one right there, though I'll admit it's not a rational one on my part.

5. C'mon, Babyback ribs without the molasses BBQ sauce? No rye with that pastrami, sauerkraut and Swiss? Shrimp scampi not on a bed of angel hair? Gumbo without the red beans and rice? It ain't as bad as losing them altogether and replacing it with tofukey and Gardenburgers, but still, we crave the carbs. I mean otherwise why wouldn't people fall off the wagon for cake and ice cream at times?

Posted by: Spike Gomes on July 3, 2009 3:24 PM


Yes, 165 or 31" waist would be a good goal for your frame. Rock on!

Posted by: Pupu on July 3, 2009 4:43 PM

Just got back from France. You can tell that the general level of cuisine is slowly but surely dropping (I've visited many times over decades). But if you know where to look you can still have GREAT meals. Your chance of an off night is just greater than it used to be.

I think part of this is the ever-increasing flood of tourism to France, tourists encourage food ripoffs.

Posted by: MQ on July 6, 2009 5:04 PM

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