From the City Council that declared war on trans-fats and fast-food restaurants comes the latest way to make residents feel, well, guilty about what they eat.
The Los Angeles council, in a 14-0 vote on Friday, adopted a resolution urging residents to adopt a personal pledge to have a “meatless Monday.”
While it does not have the force of law and police will not be checking what you brought to work for lunch, city officials said they hope it will start a trend, make residents healthier and reduce the impact on the environment.
Is nothing sacred?
It’s not enforced by threat of violence… yet. First, I’m sure, will be the schools - where government control is strongest. Some will voluntarily enact “Meatless Mondays” out of ideological solidarity, though others will do so to win the good graces of superiors. Eventually, entire districts will mandate vegetarian-only meals once a month, and eventually once a week. No doubt there are food providers who would be happy to comply. (Though considering what they use as “meat” in government schools, maybe I shouldn’t complain…) And is it that far-fetched - when governments already ban sodas over a certain size and demand certain nutritional requirements in happy meals - for the über-statist city council of Los Angeles in the über-statist state of California (whose foie gras ban went into affect a few months ago, and in which Democrats now have super-majorities in both the state assembly and the state senate) to mandate such a thing in the name of health and the environment?
And of course, all talk of “health” is laughable since for many “meatless” just means a giant plate of macaroni and cheese or pizza - gut bombs of processed, gluten-rich, corn-syrup-saturated carbs. A truly healthy meal, instead, emphasizes what human beings are most biologically tuned to eat, including healthy animal proteins and fats.
Anyway, I rummaged through my stash in the work refrigerator and, in protest, this was my lunch today:
Forgive my brief lapse in decorum, but… Suck my balls, LA City Council.
How High Fructose Corn Syrup Affects the Body (click for larger infographic)
- If you buy a packaged product, inspect the ingredient list. If there is any mention of corn, grain, soy, sugar (fructose, glucose, etc.), starch, or anything unfamiliar or unpronounceable - think twice. If you opt for something that saves you a few cents but compromises your health, what’s the point?
- Eggs. What’s not to love? Can be used in nigh-limitless ways, provide great protein, and can be found cheap. Stick to organic and free-range eggs - they aren’t too expensive but are much healthier.
- Add bulk with cheap veggies. Broccoli, peppers, onions, squash, zucchini, and leafy greens are often pretty cheap and can be added to almost any meal. Cauliflower is sometimes a little more expensive than broccoli but it’s a transformative addition that can be roasted, fried, riced, pureed, etc. We use sweet potato as a side about two to three times a week.
- Look into a local CSA or farmer’s market, as it’s often cheaper (and of higher quality) than buying produce at a supermarket. (We did the CSA thing for a while but found our farmer’s market was cheaper. Your milage may vary).
- Often it’s cheaper to buy frozen veggies. They’re just as nutritious, and if they’re getting cooked anyway it usually doesn’t matter that they’re frozen. This goes for fruits, too - especially berries.
- Fish. Trader Joe’s has great seafood selections for cheap. In fact, they have a lot of affordable food options for people going paleo/primal. What’s more regionally available is likely to be the most affordable. Salmon, mackerel, sardines, and squid tend to be very cheap around here - since they’re local and plentiful year-round.
- Offal is delicious and incredibly cheap. I just picked up 3 pounds of chicken hearts for $4. That fed me three times and my daughters twice. And using plenty of butter and oil and onions and garlic and citrus and spices - it’s a hell of a meal. Keep an eye out for more ignored parts of the animal. Your best-bets are asian and hispanic markets.
- Grass-fed beef is best, but it’s not always cheap. If you can’t afford it, don’t worry about it too much. Just opt for it when you can. Same goes for pastured pig and chicken (though you should be able to find good quality chicken for cheap). I’d stick with grass-fed butter - no compromise on that one.
Edit: Do at least try to stick to organic even if not grass-fed/pastured. No reason to ingest hormones and other unsavory non-foods.
- Discover goat. It’s the most commonly eaten animal in the world, but not exactly a staple in American diets. In reality, it’s quite delicious when cooked properly. And cheap.
- Avocados. At least here in California (where they’re abundant), avocados are very affordable. They’re even cheaper in Florida. And very primal/paleo.
- A Costco or Sam’s Club membership, especially one that’s shared with some college buddies, more than pays for itself after one or two shops (though steer clear of their many aisles of grains!).
- Don’t forget that Amazon sells some food items. I get a number of things - including coconut oil and olive oil - from Amazon for VERY cheap.
- If you’re trying to save money, cans can be acceptable. Tomatoes, tuna, salmon, and sardines are all just fine out of a can (but check ingredient list).
- Consider the savings when you’re drinking water instead of sodas and juices.
- Don’t be afraid to skip a meal if you’re not hungry. After going primal/paleo, you’ll find you’re satiated longer and don’t have the need to chase insulin spikes. Don’t feel the need to stick to a schedule or follow the old advice of “breaking” your fast to kick-start your metabolism. If you’re not hungry, don’t eat. (If you’re never hungry but actually starving yourself, go see a doctor or something.)
- Sometimes a small handful of walnuts, almonds, or macadamias is all you need to keep you going for a few more hours.
- Use a crock pot. Making big stews will allow you to use the cheaper but tougher cuts of meat that require slow cooking. You can also throw in various leftover ingredients so you waste less. Plus, buying in bulk to make a crock pot stew that lasts you several meals may make you a frugal gourmet.
- Grow your own herbs. Even if all you have is a small kitchen window, you can grow basil and mint and rosemary pretty easily - and that will pay for itself fairly quickly.
- Make your own bacon, jerky, and ghee. And pemmican.
- If you live in a dorm, I’m sure you can find some people who’ll split a quarter cow or half pig with you (can be bought from a local ranch or various places online). If you can do this, you can save a ton.
- Don’t be above clipping coupons, though the kind of things that are usually discounted with coupons tend to not be very caveman-friendly.
- If you’re really strapped for cash, try bone broth or chicken soup.
That’s all I’ve got off the top of my head. Others are welcome to add their own tips.
Sorry, but HFCS =/=sugar. Sugar that isn’t highly processed isn’t terrible for you (whole fruits, for example) unless removed from its natural form (ex: pulp-less juice). I eat a *lot* of sugar is fruit, but HFCS makes me feel *terrible*.
“Sorry, but HFCS =/=sugar.” If you read the piece, you’ll find that it says exactly that (counter to the assertion in the 60 minutes piece). You’re not alone in feeling terrible after eating HFCS - refined fructose tends to be a digestive irritant in many people. Also, read below…
mustardmanor replied to your link: How High Fructose Corn Syrup has Decimated Human Health
Your brain needs sugar to survive.
Yes, the brain needs glucose - but the amount the brain requires is significantly less than most people are led to believe (see: How Much Glucose Does Your Brain Really Need?). Yours is a common and understandable objection, but the body only needs a minimum of 30 grams and well under 120 grams of dietary glucose (depending on the individual’s diet). This glucose needn’t necessarily be consumed as sugar (especially refined sugar) as all carbohydrates eventually become glucose in the body. Berries, kale, coconuts, bananas, carrots, sweet potatoes, macadamia nuts, even the occasional maple syrup are all nutrition-dense options that serve to provide glucose to the body. Furthermore, your body can obtain a fair portion of its energy from fat-derived ketones, meaning fat-adapted individuals (those who consistently eat low-carb) have trained their bodies to require less actual glucose without compromising brain function whatsoever. Even more amazingly, your body - through glucogenesis - can derive some glucose by burning its own fat. In certain situations, this fat-burning process creates a by-product known as glycerin, which your brain can also use instead of glucose. The brain, in fact, seems to prefer lactate over glucose for its energy needs, so those who exercise regularly would require less glucose as well.
Point is: practically no one needs any more than 150 grams of carbs per day. Most people, in fact, will find optimal health by consuming less than 100 grams per day. Considering that excess sugars and carbs are directly correlated with obesity, diabetes, heart disease, even cancer - it’s clear many of us (myself included, previously) are using the brain’s needs as an excuse to overindulge.
Compared to normal cells, cancer cells have a prodigious appetite for glucose, the result of a shift in cell metabolism known as aerobic glycolysis or the “Warburg effect.” Researchers focusing on this effect as a possible target for cancer therapies have examined how biochemical signals present in cancer cells regulate the altered metabolic state.
Also note the amazing pastrami and eggs…
If you are seeking to lose weight and optimize your health, foods that contain added sugar, as well as grains like bread and pasta should be eliminated or else comprise very low percentages of your diet. Most people who bought into the “high-carb, low-fat” dietary recommendations has likely struggled with their weight and health, wondering what they’re doing wrong.
The problem is that overeating carbohydrates can prevent a higher percentage of fats from being used for energy, and lead to an increase in fat production and storage. Your body has a limited capacity to store excess carbohydrates. This is one of the reasons why elevated blood sugar follows their overconsumption. If you are not able to immediately use the sugar as a result of intense physical activity then one of the ways your body avoids dangerously elevated blood sugar is through converting those excess carbohydrates into excess body fat primarily in your belly.
The way it works is that any carbohydrates not immediately burned by your body as fuel are stored in the form of glycogen (a long string of glucose molecules linked together). Your body has two storage sites for glycogen: your liver and your muscles. Once the glycogen levels are filled in both your liver and muscles, excess carbohydrates are converted into fat and stored in your adipose, that is, fatty tissue.
So, although carbohydrates are “fat-free,” this is misleading because excess carbohydrates end up as excess fat. When you see refined grains on a food label, think of them as “hidden sugar,” and when you see sugar, think of it as “hidden fat.”
But that’s not the worst of it.
Any meal or snack high in “complex” carbohydrates, i.e. starch is actually a complex of glucose molecules, will also generate a rapid rise in blood glucose. To adjust for this rapid rise, your pancreas secretes insulin, which then lowers your levels of blood glucose. The problem is that insulin is essentially a storage hormone, evolved to put aside excess carbohydrate calories in the form of fat in case of future famine. So the insulin that’s stimulated by excess carbohydrates aggressively promotes the accumulation of body fat! This was enormously useful in ancient times when calories were frequently scarce, but today this setup is a disaster waiting to happen.
In other words, when you eat too much sugar, bread, pasta, and any other grain products, you’re essentially sending a hormonal message, via insulin, to your body that says “store more fat.” This is actually a highly beneficial response in certain scenarios such as when calories are very scarce. This provides a major survival advantage – but for nearly everyone reading this, having insufficient calories is not an issue, so this protective mechanism actually sabotages your health.
The North Carolina Board of Dietetics/Nutrition is threatening to send a blogger to jail for recounting publicly his battle against diabetes and encouraging others to follow his lifestyle….
When he was hospitalized with diabetes in February 2009, he decided to avoid the fate of his grandmother, who eventually died of the disease. He embraced the low-carb, high-protein Paleo diet, also known as the “caveman” or “hunter-gatherer” diet. The diet, he said, made him drug- and insulin-free within 30 days. By May of that year, he had lost 45 pounds and decided to start a blog about his success.
But this past January the state dietetics and nutrition board decided Cooksey’s blog —Diabetes-Warrior.net — violated state law. The nutritional advice Cooksey provides on the site amounts to “practicing nutrition,” the board’s director says, and in North Carolina that’s something you need a license to do.
Unless Cooksey completely rewrites his 3-year-old blog, he could be sued by the licensing board. If he loses the lawsuit and refuses to take down the blog, he could face up to 120 days in jail.
The board’s director says Cooksey has a First Amendment right to blog about his diet, but he can’t encourage others to adopt it unless the state has certified him as a dietitian or nutritionist.
On January 12, Cooksey attended a nutrition seminar at a church in Charlotte. The speaker was the director of diabetes services for a local hospital.
“She was giving all the wrong information, just like everyone always does — carbs are OK to eat, we must eat carbs to live, promoting low-fat, etc.,” Cooksey said. “So I spoke up.”
After the meeting he handed out a couple of business cards pointing people to his website.
Three days later, he got a call from the director of the nutrition board.
“Basically, she told me I could not give out nutritional advice without a license,” Cooksey said.