A busy week

It’s been a bit of a week really.

In my last post I talked about how tired I was because of work. Well the week only marginally improved and it wasn’t until Friday night where I was able to recover. Oh well.

In the meantime I did come across a couple of excellent blogs. The first is the blog of Zoe Harcombe. She’s excellent at dissecting the “scientific” reports that get published in the media. She’s also from the UK which makes a nice change as a lot of the people I read are from the US.

Speaking of the US, the other blog I came across is that of Pete Attia MD. He’s written an excellent series on cholesterol. I can’t pretend I understood it all so I’m going to have to read it again. If you’d like to learn all about cholesterol then you can start reading about it here in part 1 of his series.

I’ve also started reading the excellent book The Diet Delusion by Gary Taubes (Good Calories, Bad Calories in the U.S.). It tracks the history of why we believe what we believe in terms of nutrition. It’s very interesting and educational. In light of what I’ve learnt in this book and his author book Why we get fat and what to do about it, I’ve been trying to buy some lard for cooking and have been surprised that  I’ve been unable to. It seems there’s no shortage of vegetable fat available, but lard it seems is hard to come by. It looks like it has become largely unpopular and supermarkets aren’t stocking it as much as they used to. This is a shame given that it is much healthier than the aforementioned vegetable fat. Sad times. I did however find this:

which I got quite excited about when I found it. So far I’ve tried cooking salmon and bacon with it. When you first put it into the frying pan, you get this wonderful smell of coconut but you do get worried that the taste will overpower your food. The taste however is very subtle and I’m very pleased with it. I’m hoping to try cooking a thai curry with it soon in which case I’ll get to use coconut milk as well. Yum!

And finally this week I got to do a talk about diet, nutrition, health and exercise at my church (LifeSpring Church), which I was very excited about. A few weeks ago my pastor sent me an email asking if I’d like to do a talk sometime in August, and I responded that yes I’d love to and that I’d like to talk about the physical benefits of fasting. I must confess I didn’t think he’d go for it (negative thinking!), but he surprised me and suggest I open it up to cover general nutrition and exercise as well. This was awesome news. By the time we went on holiday a couple of weeks ago I had an outline of what I wanted to say and my plan was to finalise it all and prepare the slides when we got back from holiday in the week leading up to the talk. Unfortunately, due to the fact that I was on call this week and spent most waking hours either working, or recovering from the fact that I had been working too long hours, meant that I didn’t have chance to prepare in the week. Instead I had to do pretty much most of it on Saturday. It didn’t help that I decided to change the talk at about 9:30pm. I was going to do a section on the history behind the whole “fat is bad” thing and what studies have led us to that conclusion and why they are flawed. In the end I realised I had to drop it (even though I’d spent most of the afternoon going over the history) because I didn’t have time for it and there were some points I couldn’t in all confidence back up. So in the end my talk consisted of 4 sections: The role of insulin and insulin resistance in fat loss, a brief section on good fats and “bad” fats (including a description of the hydrogenation process in the production of margarine and low fat spreads), how to exercise effectively, and the benefits of fasting. The last two sections were unfortunately shorter than I would have liked, but the first section in my view was the most important so I spent a lot of time there. I really wanted to convey to everyone there that losing weight is not about strength of will or character. Thin people aren’t better, or have more self control than fat people. Excessive fat storage is a hormone (insulin) imbalance and some people are more predisposed to produce more insulin than others. Anyway, I did the talk and as far as I can tell it was very well received. I had quite a few people come up to me with questions and they all said how much they enjoyed the talk and they wanted to learn more which was good. I even had one person who was a qualified health care professional (I think she said she was a nurse and she had an MA in something else relevant but I’ve forgotten what it was, sorry) and she was very positive about it which really encouraged me.

Having done the talk, I’ve come away wondering about the possibility of doing it again at some point, but this time as a seminar that runs for a few hours on a Saturday or something. For that to work I’d have to hook up with someone medical who agreed with me I think, but it might be worth seeing about it. Food for thought.

Finally, I don’t often weight myself but I did before I went on holiday so I could see what happened when I relaxed on the whole carb thing (gotta love those cream teas). Before I went away I was 12 st 2, and when I came back I was 12 st 4. Not bad. But I weighed myself again this weekend after having a pretty high fat/protein and practically carb free week and I was 11 st 13. I thin the last time I was 11 st something I was 11. So that made me happy, even though I don’t go by weight that much.

So, that was my week.


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