Friday, August 24, 2007

Desperate Times... for Desperate Measures.

Sadly, with my long commute each day for the new job and limited time at home in the evenings, blogging just isn't doable for me right now. So it is with great fondness that I wish you all goodbye for now.

I hope to get "Waisted" resurrected for New Year's. I hope you'll remember to check back then--I'll try to get word around when I'm able to get it going again.

Best of luck to you all on your low-carb journeys!

In the meantime, if any of you need to reach me, you can always email me at:

Bye for now!

Thursday, August 23, 2007

This is Your Brain...on Food

Trying to play catchup in the evenings these days, and came across an interesting piece from Scientific American about food addiction.

It's not an addiction, you say? Then just don't stand between me and a pint of Blue Bell Homemade Vanilla when I have a craving going on. And ignore the blissful look on my face when the craving is satisfied.

So, anyway, this scientist who specializes in addictive behaviors has been able to use magnetic resonance imaging to compare responses in dopamine (pleasure-seeking) receptors between compulsive eaters and drug addicts. Bingo. Same image, different "drug."

It doesn't really change anything, except to provide perhaps some reassurance to dieters that, yes, it really is harder than just "saying no."

Wednesday, August 22, 2007

Without a Plan

Boy, am I out of it!

So here I am, in a new town, with a new job. I'm living in a friend's guest room thanks to her generosity, along with my two "varmints" Shane and Tanker, commuting about 50 miles each way to work in yet another new town. My mom has been packed off to stay with her Alzheimer's-riddled sister in yet another third town.

Can you say "in flux?"

I've always heard, and I believe it's true, that to stick with a weight-loss program you have to find a plan and stick to it.

So the fact that I am currently planless and a bit out of control (of everything) doesn't bode well. It's only my second day on the new job. Things WILL settle down.

Anyway, sorry for the long absence. Moving is a bitch! Wish I could say it was over, but half my stuff's in storage and the other half is in my house in New Orleans. So whenever the house sells (pleeeeeeeze sell, little house) then there will be the "real" move to do.

Oh well, this too shall pass. Hope to be blogging regularly again now on this site.

Tuesday, August 21, 2007

She's Baaaccckkkk

But barely....

I'm still living out of a suitcase and can barely remember my name. But I AM back. I noticed Blogger is about to have a scheduled outage, so I'll be back this evening. Stay tuned...

Wednesday, August 8, 2007

Temporarily Out of Service

I'm at the peak of getting ready to move, so I'm afraid both blogs will have to go on hiatus until August 20. Come back and visit then!

Monday, August 6, 2007

100-Calorie Mania

I'm not sure who started it, but the 100-calories portion snack-food business has gotten to be HUGE. Weight Watchers touts these little treasures as "only 2 points."

But these little babies are coming out with no regard whatsoever to nutritional value, the theory being that no food is verboten in small enough quantities.

But for those of us struggling with weight issues and watching carb intake [not to mention keeping little friends named Bingey at bay], these little missiles are deadly. If we can't trust ourselves around Lorna Doones in a large package, why would we subject ourselves to a box with eight small packages of Lorna Doones?

And now--wasn't it inevitable?--fast food is getting in on the act. First out of the gate: Burger King, who will be rolling out 100-calorie packs of "Ketchup & Fries Flavored Potato Snacks" and "Flame Broiled Burger Flavored Potato Snacks" this fall. Basically, whatever they're called, they're potato chips, so you'll find them in your local Wal-Mart alongside the 100-calorie packs of Doritos and cookies.

Better yet, skip them. Who needs another "potato snack?"

More Cheers for Chocolate

Ah, bless the humble lab rat. The sacrifices they make for us.

Take, for example, the recent study out of Spain confirming that diets rich in cocoa resulted in significant increases in the total antioxidant capacity in all body tissue but particularly in the thymus. It all makes for a much stronger immune system.

This all fits hand-in-glove with most of the previous studies of cocoa that have focused on benefits to cardiovascular health.

It's all good. And there are some terrific low-carb, sugar-free chocolates out there these days. My favorite is still the maltitol-free, sugar-free chocolate bark from Maine Cottage Foods.

(And, for the record, no, I don't have any affiliation with them, make no money if you click on their link, etc. This is a 100% non-commercial site. I just like 'em!)

Saturday, August 4, 2007

Ruminations Friday

This is something I do on my New Orleans blog, and since I'm so far behind in cleaning out my "idea" file, here's a rundown of "functional food" and other headlines from recent days. Doesn't it just make your head spin?

Here goes (deep breath):

  • According to the Social Contagion factor, overweight people have overweight friends. Well, duh. How else can we borrow clothes?
  • Drinking coffee reduces your chance of liver cancer. Presumably that doesn't hold for Kahlua, alas.
  • Blue corn tortillas are higher in protein and lower in carbs than regular corn tortillas. Note to self: low-carb wraps are even better.
  • High-fructose corn syrup was shown to be no worse for our bodies, ourselves than sucrose. Darn. I do so want to blame someone besides myself.
  • Eating more broccoli/cruciferous veggies can lead to a reduction in aggressive prostate cancer. What does that say about non-aggressive prostate cancer?
  • Researchers have discovered a metabolic defect in the liver that can help explain why some people become obese and others do not. Seems the defect involves the ability--or, in this case, inability--of the liver to dispose of excess fat. See, I told you there was something else to blame.
  • How low should your cholesterol go? These researchers say that very low cholesterol levels such as those achieved by taking those evil statin drugs, is linked with cancer. Just toss it into the "great cholesterol myth" pile.
  • Hmph. Now both diet and regular sodas are linked with an increase in heart disease. Not that either one of them actually causes heart disease, the researchers say. Just that cretins such as myself who consume diet sodas are more likely to have poorer diets than fine, upstanding folks who drink only water. Bah.
  • According to researchers in Texas, fat chicks are less likely to go to college than skinny girls. What about fat guys, I ask? Oh, I forgot. Fat is a feminist issue.
  • Let your spare tire off the hook. Scientists have figured out that muscular insulin resistance is to blame for Metabolic Syndrome, not abdominal fat.
  • Now here's a study to sink your teeth into and goes along with some things I've been thinking about. Basically, embrace your inner binger. Study shows people who experience food cravings are responding to calorie restriction more than anything and people should accept food cravings and factor them into their weightloss plan. Well. How a box of pralines exactly fits into any food plan, I am not sure.
  • Obesity is a strong indicator of the tendency to develop multiple myeloma, a cancer of the blood cells. How much more good news can we stand?
  • If you're trying to lose weight, a team of researchers tell us, it's healthier to eat foods such as lentils than foods such as white bread. And, let me get this straight, said researchers are actually PAID to come up with earth-shattering results like this?
Oh well, there's more but I need to pack some boxes. Ciaou for now.

Friday, August 3, 2007

Sit on This, Soft and Flashy

Waaa-haaa-haaa. This is just what I need--a chair to change colors to announce to the world that the person sitting on it is overweight.

The furniture is called fuwa pica, which means soft and flashy. It changes colors to reflect emotions--think of it as a mood ring for your butt--and if you're overweight it changes to red "as if the blood pressure was rising," says the designer.

Of course, the designer also says that all furniture breathes and talks--we just can't hear it.

Me: "Okay, desk chair. What have you to say for yourself? You've been pretty darn quiet for the past 13 years."

Chair: "Hell, am I that old? Good grief. I need to be put out in the dumpster."

Me: "Good thought. My last day at work is next week. Want me to roll you out there on my way out the door?"

Chair: "Yeah, and don't let the door hit you on the backside as you leave."

Me: "Wait! You're turning red! Oh no, darn, that was nail polish."

The Center Cannot Hold

Sorry I've been a bit absent lately--I've been walking around in something of a daze, as the time to move fast approaches and I don't seem to be any closer to being ready to even get my house on the market, much less physically move. My brother has been hospitalized in Atlanta with atrial fibrillation. The aunt I was named after has been rushed to ICU in Alabama with a recurrence of lung cancer or worsening of emphysema--take your pick. My mom is in freakout mode over the move. I feel battered. Wouldn't sugar help?

I've been drawn back to one of my all-time favorite poems, WB Yeats' "The Second Coming."

Turning and turning in the widening gyre
The falcon cannot hear the falconer;
Things fall apart; the centre cannot hold;
Mere anarchy is loosed upon the world.…

Oh well. Bear with me.

Thursday, August 2, 2007

Bringing Home the Bacon

I love bacon. Who doesn't love bacon? But I have been concerned about bacon in recent years because of all the hoo-ha about nitrates. As I understand it (but I'm no scientist), nitrates are salts (NO3) used as preservatives and to lend color to cured meats. Once ingested, they are converted by the gastric system to nitrites. The nitrites then react with amino acids and form carcinogenic nitrosamines. Whew! Chemistry lesson over.

Anyway, I've been pleased to see bacon showing up in the grocery stories marked "nitrate free" and "naturally cured." I've even bought some sugar-free, nitrate-free stuff a couple of times.

So it was interesting to read this article by a food industry executive about how -- what a surprise! -- consumers are once again being misled by loopholes in packaging requirements.

Turns out if the nitrates are not added directly to the food in question, but secondarily in another ingredient, they do not "count" as far as food labeling is concerned. So something can claim to be "nitrate free" yet still contain nitrates.

So, to heck with it. I'll just eat my occasional piece of bacon.

Wednesday, August 1, 2007

Forgetting to Eat

I tried to brace myself but it was still a shock as I pulled into the driveway of my Aunt Grace's house and saw her coming out to meet us. She's my mom's younger sister, and has always been strong-willing and resourceful. She raised two kids alone after a bad marriage, had taken care of my grandmother through her latter years and still managed to own her home in a small suburb of Birmingham, Alabama.

But everything is run down now. Her kids are gone--one dead and the other living in a state of denial and far away. The suburb is shabby and sliding down the socioeconomic scale at a rapid pace. The house is showing its age. The neighborhood is no longer safe. And Grace is a walking shadow of her former self as dementia ravages her mind and she struggles to maintain enough of a grip to keep herself going, which she does only through the frequent intervention of scattered family members who try to explain that she still has to pay her bills and that she shouldn't be driving her car.

But the state of what her life has become is complicated by her weakening ability to recognize what she needs to survive. And here we come to the shock of seeing her again for the first time since March. She comes out to greet us wearing a loose-fitting top that only hints at what a quick hug confirms: she is starving herself to death not because she wants to lose weight but because she forgets to eat and no longer recognizes signals of hunger.

Now, I must admit the whole concept of forgetting to eat is foreign to me. But it does make me thing about the whole notion of food and quality of life. A standard of veterinary practice is to watch the appetites of our pets; once they lose interest in food it signals that the end of their lives is near, that a certain quality of life is something we can no longer provide. Others of us suffer from too much interest, such a great fixation on the pleasures of food not only to sustain our physical selves but to provide that quality of life.

I don't know where all that's going, just something to ponder on a quiet Tuesday morning. And it's all very sad.