Tuesday, August 18, 2009

A Few Thoughts, Floating In Space

I was caught in the position where I needed to explain why soy intake wasn't a good idea, but found myself struggling to find a way to point out that while many cultures have been consuming fermented soy for centuries, we really don't know whether it's not doing us harm. I ended up floundering and babbling about there being studies that showed it wasn't good... Smooth. But my heart wasn't really in it, as this conversation took place while I was preparing dinner for my friend, and I didn't want her to feel bad for what she eats. If only I could have whipped out this thoughtful and accessible quote from Fitness Fail:

The rationale behind this approach is that while we can’t replicate our evolutionary diet, we can eliminate foods that were clearly not present in that time. Until we can show that they are not harmful. No one credible is saying that all types of food that we did not evolve to eat are a problem, we’re saying that we don’t yet have sufficient understanding to know which are harmful or not. History is filled with examples of new, supposedly “better” products having big unforeseen surprises. The fact that hydrogenated oils used to be considered more heart healthy due to their higher EFA content is a great example of that. Is this approach overkill? In my opinion, it probably is and I suspect that a number of more recently developed foods will turn out to be healthy or at least fairly benign. Until then, I’d rather not be surprised by yet another unforeseen “gotcha”.

The other reason I didn't bother to engage full thrusters? She doesn't like the taste of red meat. She stopped eating my pizza frittata when she realised there was ham in it. Lucky I hadn't made up her cauliflower pizza at that point. So she only consumes fish and chicken, and tofu, and I'll assume eggs and dairy to round out her shamefully low protein intake. This is a friend whom I've known for five years now, who has always been very thin (and not totally happy about it, but no real body-consciousness issues that I know about), with little muscle tone, no visible body fat, and some strange ailments such as fainting (the cause of which has not been determined despite arduous testing). She doesn't exercise, so she's completely 'skinny fat', and I can only imagine the poor state her bones might be in, especially since she avoids the sun. And now she's cut out all red meat, because she doesn't like it. I really hope she's eating big bits of fish and chicken every day. But what do you do when someone simply won't eat something due to personal preference? It's totally her business, and I'm happy to give her general health advice if she asks for it, but somehow it's much more comfortable talking to someone who is overweight about healthy eating than someone underweight (even when naturally so). I know it would be mostly due to her metabolism and insulin sensitivity - she's the friend who used to share a bowl of fries and a slice of cheesecake with me as afternoon tea on a REGULAR basis. I'm actually amazed I didn't weigh more than I did, but she never put on a pound. So maybe she's just lucky, and cutting red meat won't harm her. I may need to start buying her some slabs of salmon as 'random acts of generosity'... ;)

Note to self - Much as I have been enjoying my lard as lubricant of choice for my animal-based meals, I need to up my coconut oil intake again; it has been a while since I've been eating fresh or steamed veggies of late. And now that I'm cutting back on them again, I'll have to find other ways to enjoy my coconut oil without the flavour clashing with my meat, etc. Goes quite well with lamb...

I'm heading to Thailand in September! We'll be staying near Phuket, so I have been scoping the local cuisine. I am a bit worried that it will be hard to get a decent feed whilst dodging the masses of rice and noodles, but I won't be caving. I can always fast... Anyone have any advice for dining in and around Phuket? I'm looking forward to getting a lot of beach time and a lot of massage, and maybe even some rowing which I haven't done in years! My shoulders were built to row... Ah, and swimming! I miss it! This also means I'll need to go swimwear shopping soon... Not a bikini just yet... But my old tankini was already unreliable when it came to containing my bosom in the water, so I can't risk it now that it's loose around the waist! Jets by Jessika Allen has the cutest one-pieces at the moment, very retro, very flattering...

Interesting post-apocalpytic (i.e. tummy upset) symptoms - my stomach twanged and ached a bit this morning, especially after breakfast. It's now nearing 1pm, and the last few pangs of pain have finally stopped, and have been replaced by major hunger pangs (my breath is telling me it's ketosis time, yay! It has been a while...) So I'll be eating two pizza frittatas for lunch very soon, but I'm a bit worried that I'll end up with pain again, which would suggest something has gone wrong in my belly... Did the berries on Sunday burn a hole with their acid??!? ;) Let's wait and see...

I think I've finally made me peace with the route alterations this health journey has taken since the beginning of the year. I started out as someone with some excess fat to lose, because I always ate too much. Now I have learnt that, thanks to polycycstic ovaries, I am likely to be insulin resistant and will have to go to some extremes (Very Low Carb at least (or most)) to help my body shake these last few kilograms. And now I'm back on the contraceptive pill, which encourages water retention and other inflammation. I think I've accepted my new scale measurement as my new baseline for any further progress. But it has certainly been a powerful reminder that the scale isn't the best measurement of progress, though it had been for me up until this point. I'm quite sad that my experience is no longer the 'everyman' experience, but hopefully my food journal is still helpful to those who are interested in this lifestyle, even if they don't share my individual obstacles and needs. But then I remind myself that 1 in 3 girls have PCO anyway, and could be battling the same issues unknowingly. So I'll keep doing it, since my commenters are so positive and grateful. And I love cooking! And writing! (And procrastinating - I am at work right now, meant to be marking essays...)

I am really, really looking forward to making dinner tonight - roo burgers and beef burgers: can you tell the difference?

Finally, it's time for me to start upping my physical activity, since the weather is getting nicer and my weight is not far from the level I want to end up at (after removing fat and gaining muscle, that is). It's time to tone up. My skin has retained its elasticity very well - huzzah for being young - so it's just firming and toning now. I have my Vibram KSOs (although I still haven't heard back about what to do with my broken Sprints) and am loving my walk to and from work, and I've been doing some little bodyweight exercises in the kitchen while I wait for things to cook. I'm not quite ready to invest in kettlebells, but we'll see... :)

Thanks for your time. End waffle.

1 comment:

Gwennie said...

Funny, I was caught in a similar position today and completely drew a blank on why I don't eat soy. I'm not always a good paleolithic apologist when caught off guard.

If your friend hasn't happened across any information about Postural Orthostatic Tachycardia Syndrome (POTS), you might consider pointing her in that direction to see if she thinks it might fit what she's experiencing. The wikipedia entry on POTS is quite good. I come from a family full of people with insulin resistance. I have generally been "the thin one" in the family, but have had trouble for years with fainting spells and such. It's only in the past few months that I realized insulin has something to do with it, based on tons of trial and error (so I do think you're probably spot on with your assessment). I hope your friend has success in figuring out what's causing her troubles.

Also, thank you for the lovely blog. I've been reading for a while but this is my first comment. You're very inspiring!