All The King’s Horses

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…and all the King’s men, couldn’t put Humpty together again.

–Traditional English Nursery Ryme

I’ve been gone a while. After the busy-ness of the holiday there was the inevitable flu. Then I came here and wrote what I can assure you was a scintillating, show-stopper of a blog post that was so scintillating it froze my computer and I lost it all. When that happens, I become discouraged. It takes a while to go do it again.

But here we are again, and let’s see what has been happening in the world of nutrition over the last couple weeks.

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Resolutions

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There is nothing new except what is forgotten.

–Mille. Rose Bertin

We’re on the verge of starting 2015, and the internet is collapsing under the weight of health suggestions and advice for the new year. Why is that?

Did everyone forget all the advice from last year?

Of course not.

Have there not been any suggestions for losing weight and cutting calories at any time during the rest of the year?

Obviously not. You can’t throw a pebble at a puddle of internet headlines without hitting one about losing weight or getting healthy. At any time of year.

Well, I guess everyone is just lazy and stupid. Otherwise, we wouldn’t have such a collective weight problem..

The End.

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Bringing Good Cheer

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Now grocer’s trade
Is in request,
For plums and spices
Of the best
Good cheer doth with
This month agree,
And dainty chaps
Must sweetned be.
Mirth and gladness
Doth abound,
And strong beer in
Each house is found.
Minc’d pies, roast beef
With other cheer
And feasting, doth
Conclude the year.

–”Poor Robin” 1677

As you head into Christmas Eve, Christmas Day, Boxing Day and then New Year’s and all the attendant feasting, what kind of a plan do you have?

I can’t tell you what plan will work for you; I can only tell you what my plan is. And it does work for me. Read it if you like; ignore it if you will; adopt parts for yourself and throw out what you don’t like. It’s up to you–just don’t go over the river and through the woods to Grandmother’s house with nothing more than a vague hope that you’d like to “eat well.”

To develop a good plan, you need to know the ground. It’s no good figuring out how to arrange the cavalry if you don’t even know in which direction the enemy is. In our case, the preliminary information we need is from our new, and better, understanding of reality.

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Know Thyself; Know Thy Enemy

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Government is not reason, it is not eloquent; it is force. Like fire, it is a dangerous servant and a fearful master.

-George Washington

 

George Washington could have said that about a lot of things. There are lots of things in this world that are fine in a certain amount; helpful even! But when it gets out of control: look out.

I’m sure you’re thinking of some others right now…

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Spooky Excuses

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And oftentimes, excusing of a fault

Doth make the fault the worse by the excuse,–

As patches, set upon a little breach,

Discredit more in hiding of the fault

Than did the fault before it was so patched.

–Shakespeare, King John Act IV, SC 2

5073-illustration-of-a-jack-o-lantern-candy-holder-pv

Halloween is nearly upon us, and I think you all know what that means. It means enormous mounds of candy. It means sickly children who mysteriously get colds that won’t go away till sometime after New Year’s. It means gluttonous gorging on sugar and other garbage, all wrapped up in that flimsy excuse that everyone, from the president to the parent, knows how to use: For the children!

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Of all Tastes, Salt

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Can that which is tasteless be eaten without salt?

–Job 6:6

 

To end our three post series on salt, let’s consider why you need more salt if you aren’t eating carbohydrates. Then, is there actually the slightest danger of you overdosing on salt if you’re eating real food?

The answer to the first question is bound up in our old friend (or for some of you, nemesis) insulin. Insulin has many jobs in the body, one of the most important for your weight being to tell your fat cells to keep their stores locked up so that the toxic sugar in your bloodstreamv from your whole grain pasta meal with a brownie for dessert can get burnt off as soon as possible. But another function of insulin is to tell your kidneys to hold on to their sodium stores. Once you ditch the Special K and granola bars, your insulin levels plummet. This signals to your kidneys to dump the sodium, which they do. They then dump water as well, which ends bloating for most people and is the reason why low-carb diets usually produce significant weight loss in the first week. Of course, the poor deluded people at this website will tell you that all the weight loss in low carb diets is just water.

Funny. I never knew I was carrying around 145 pounds of water. Has anyone investigated a DNA connection between humans and camels?

Anyway, this is the reason that people eating few carbs may feel lightheaded or dizzy or lethargic or get headaches. (It might also be the reason people who eat high-carb also feel lightheaded, dizzy, lethargic or get headaches if they’re on an insanely restricted sodium diets.) It’s simple to fix this with some extra salt or bouillon.

So is it possible to be getting too much salt on a low carb diet?

Not if you’re doing it right.

If your idea of “low carb” is nothing but bacon, sausage, hot dogs, deli meats, processed cheese and fast food burgers, you might be getting a lot of salt. But frankly that’s the least of your problems.

Let’s say you’re eating like me. So for breakfast you have some plain Greek yogurt, a cup of coffee with unsalted butter and coconut oil, and homemade breakfast sausage with a slice or two or cheddar cheese. Total sodium: 405mg

For lunch you eat three eggs, coconut milk, cacao powder, maple syrup and another tablespoon of MCT oil. Total sodium: about 100mg

For a snack you have some peanut butter and cheese. Total sodium: 360mg

For dinner you have a salad and some avocado and a lovely little desert prairie chicken that is quite small, but quite tasty: 209mg

And then let’s be generous and say that I liberally salted my chicken, which I did. A quarter teaspoon would be a lot of salt to come out of a shaker, but let’s imagine it did and that’s another 500mg.

Total for the day: 1,574mg

Eating nothing but real food, and salting everything liberally, I still just barely made it to the USDA or whoever’s 1,500mg per day ideal target.

Which is why I also took 3 salt tablets today (1,200mg more) and ate 1/8 teaspoon of salt directly from the container (another 250mg). If I don’t do that, I feel crappy and slow. And get nauseous. In fact, I’d probably feel even better if I took 3 more salt tablets, and I certainly would have if I’d gone outside to run around.

So the answer is: No. If you are eating good, real food you can’t possibly overdose on salt. So unplug the holes in that shaker, folks, get some real salt (not the junk table salt garbage) and start shaking. When your doctor asks if you’re watching your salt, tell him Yes, I watch my salt. I watch it as it blows over my food like a Lilliputian blizzard. And then quote for him some of these proverbs, that cover the world:

 

  • Don’t buy the salt if you haven’t licked it yet –Congolese
  • Trust no one till you have eaten a bushel of salt with him. –German (A similar proverb can be found in many other countries)
  • What is salt to tasteless food, what is a word to a foolish head? –Turkish
  • Eternity makes room for a salty cucumber.  –Russian
  • Even on old goat likes to lick salt.  –Hungarian
  • The lucky eagle kills a mouse that has eaten salt –Ugandan

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Intermission

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Get your facts, please, and then you can distort ‘em as much as you please.

-Mark Twain

I haven’t had time to sit down and do the final installment on salt. In the interim, however, I cannot too highly recommend ‘s latest blog post. In which she takes apart a recent British “health” program with such salient gems as these:

What this experiment has done is to make food less digestible so that it doesn’t produce the physiological changes that occur when the body registers that we have eaten food. The ultimate indigestible substance would be the cardboard box from which the pasta came. “But that would be stupid – it has no nutrients“, I hear you cry and you would hit the nail on the head. This experiment seems to completely disregard the reason why we eat. We eat food because we need nutrients to survive: essential fats; complete proteins; vitamins and minerals. This experiment is celebrating indigestibility – the pointlessness of eating something.

 

You have to love it when someone can boil down the presentation of a major Western news outlet and several well-educated doctors in such a lovely manner.