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Tuesday, March 13, 2012

247

Eat Food. Not Red Meat. Mostly Nuts.

The Los Angeles Times created this helpful infographic (at left, in miniature) of how to eat protein for the rest of your life to accompany this convincing article about how red meat is killing you. Easy, no? Plus if you eat more healthfully, you can make unwise choices elsewhere in your life and everything will balance out fine because that's just math and math is true I rest my case!

247 Comments / Post A Comment

ImASadGiraffe

Yeah, I don't know about this.

wharrgarbl

@ImASadGiraffe This infographic brought to you by Tyson, the other, other, other white meat!

NeverOddOrEven

@ImASadGiraffe Obvioulsy this just correlation, but in The Blue Zones, a book that researches the lifestyles of 4 communties world wide with a disproportionate number of people living over 100, the only common denominator was little to no meat comsumption.
Made me feel guilty as all hell....

alliepants

@ImASadGiraffe @wharrgarbl This infographic brought to you by Los Angeles, the home of moralizing about NOTHING but diet/exercise!

Craftastrophies

@alliepants I am doing mostly no meat, so the thing on the left is basically my diet (plus the odd sneaky hamburger now and then, obviously). But the whole thing made me just want to SHOVE ALL THE MEATS into my mouth.

YOU CAN'T TELL ME WHAT TO DO, LA TIMES. YOU DON'T OWN ME. I'M MY OWN PERSON. YOU'RE NOT MY REAL DAD!!!

ImASadGiraffe

I think sugar is a bigger deal than meat. Sugar will kill you.

tortietabbie

@ImASadGiraffe Sugar noooooooooooo!

Megasus

@ImASadGiraffe Yeah, I haven't eaten red meat for years. But I eat an assload of sugar so there goes my plans to live forever. Unless maybe I eat so much and it turns me into a gummy bear or something. An immortal gummy bear. As long as I don't spend too much time in the sun.

SuperGogo

@ImASadGiraffe I've had the sugar vs salt: which is worse? argument countless times with a friend. I think it's salt. Sugar will up your overall calorie intake, but salt is brutal--it jacks up your blood pressure and puts you on the path to heart disease in no time.

ImASadGiraffe

@SuperGogo I've honestly not looked too much into salt because, me personally, I don't eat a lot of salt. I don't salt most of my food and I prefer sugary snacks to salty ones. The rapid rise and fall of your blood sugar has been shown to fuel hunger, which makes many people eat more.

But I think balancing out is what helps people the most. Eat more healthy food to balance out the bad you eat. I think high amounts of any food can be harmful to you.

Annie Murphy@facebook

@SuperGogo It's not salt that's necessarily the culprit of high blood pressure, it's processed foods. Many contain a shitton of sodium. But REAL salt, sea salt, pink himilayan salt, stuff like that is actually good for you. It contains trace minerals that our bodies are usually lacking, here's a link where they go into more depth about the wonders of adding high quality salt to your diet: http://www.globalhealingcenter.com/natural-health/himalayan-crystal-salt-benefits/

I avoid processed foods, but add salt to everything I eat, and I have low blood pressure. Sugar on the other hand....turns me into a nutbag. I feel almost hung over if I consume too much. Team salt all the way.

wallsdonotfall

@Annie Murphy@facebook I agree with your basic point, but that link is pure bullshit.

Craftastrophies

@Annie Murphy@facebook Whereas my dad ate the lowest salt diet ever, with heaps of fibre and all that crap (they were hippies) and had massively high cholesterol. Some of it's genetic, anyway. Which isn't to say don't watch what you put in your system, but I'm with Sad Giraffe - I try to eat MORE 'good' food and LESS 'bad' food. By 'bad' I generally mean 'whatever is not right for me right now'.

I like this anecdote hereabout the bag of sugar. I try not to have too much crap in the house, because most of the time when I'm craving sugar what I actually want is fruit, etc. But sometimes I just want SUGAR, so I'll have a spoonfull of brown sugar. Everyone I've ever told this to finds it horrifying, but I don't get that - there's more sugar than that in a chocolate bar, plus a bunch of other stuff. Why shouldn't I eat a spoon of sugar, it's surely better than using a chocolate bar as a sugar delivery system?

Also, there is a direct correlation to sugar and meat, for me. I am doing mostly no meat, but if I eat too much sugar I get really anxious, which I think is a combo of blood sugar drop after, and vitamin B deficiency. This has always been true, but since I stopped eating meat it got pretty extreme. So them I usually have a hamburger - spinach or Vegemite also works, but you gotta eat a LOT of it. I still eat a fair amount of sugar, but I don't binge on it, because now it makes me feel gross.

slizzii

I think they're onto something with this, but it just seems like they're going about it all wrong.

LeslieB

They say in the summary of the study that the people who ate more red meat also ate less fruit and vegetables. Pretty big contributing factor I would say.

NeenerNeener

I watched Forks Over Knives last week, therefore chicken and dairy will also kill you.

SarahP

@NeenerNeener What Forks Over Knives doesn't tell you is that all the diets they talk about in the film also eschew added fats/oils. So oil will also kill you. (But they can only have my extra virgin olive oil when they pry it from my cold, dead, fatty hands.)

NeenerNeener

@SarahP According to the various food documentaries I love to watch and hate to take advice from, I should die or get cancer any day now.

SarahP

@NeenerNeener I'll die happy with a bar of chocolate in my mouth.

EpWs

@SarahP I successfully switched from using (nearly all) butter in cooking/sauteeing/etc to using (nearly all) extra virgin olive oil, because cholesterol. If those bitches try and take that from me, they have another thing coming.

SarahP

@The Everpresent Wordsnatcher Right?! I know I'm pretty "extreme" as far as diet goes--I'm vegan and eat a whole-foods diet--BUT I WILL NEVER GIVE UP OLIVE OIL, YOU CRAZY PEOPLE.

EpWs

@SarahP I am assuming that by a "whole-foods diet" you don't mean "Just things from Whole Foods," so would you explain? (I'm always interested in what other people are eating.)

Faintly Macabre

@The Everpresent Wordsnatcher I would love a Whole Foods diet if it meant getting to live exclusively on Terra chips and cake.

SarahP

@The Everpresent Wordsnatcher Ha, nope. It's not a specific diet like the Paleo diet or anything, it's just eating whole foods. As in, no weird sub-ingredients or things where you can't picture the plant/mineral/animal it came from. So basically not processed foods. Does that make sense? It's mostly necessary because I have so many food allergies that I can't buy many pre-made foods anyway. So I buy whole foods (ie, foods you then make other food out of: beans, grains, veggies, etc).

But I did buy awesome all-natural peanut butter cups the other day.

Craftastrophies

@SarahP But... what... if we gave up Olive Oil, what would we FRY things in?!

Also, I know it's a cliche but seriously, eating like I 'should' would make me wish I were dead. I try to be good to my body but I do not trust people who don't cheat on their diets at least sometimes* - or who think they have The Answer for everyone else.

*Unless they have actual allergies etc and cheating causes them pain. That's a good reason.

pomobabble

@Craftastrophies Peanut oil, natch.

Craftastrophies

@pomobabble But... what if you're allergic?!

(I'm not, I'm just saying. Also, sunflower, etc oil is delicious, but there is no way I am making a pasta sauce with it. No. Way.)

saythatscool

My syphilis eats nuts and that seems to be thriving.

Briony Fields

I get this feeling that nutrition is, to a certain extent, kind of like religion: To each his own. Some things are non-negotiable of course, but I can never believe any of these sweeping statements like 'Human bodies weren't meant to tolerate gluten!' or 'The human colon was not built to digest meat!' I don't doubt that some people can't tolerate certain foods but I don't buy any of the 'All humans weren't made to eat/absorb/digest xyz food'. Maybe you can't, but that doesn't meant I can't. My body is different.

Eh, moderation seems to work for me. I eat dairy, gluten and meat in small amounts and my body doesn't mind it. Potatoes on the other hand, give me wretched bloating and gas.

tortietabbie

@Briony Fields I think that's a good way to approach nutrition. But people love judging each other way too much for it to stick.

Ophelia

@Briony Fields Yeah. For all the Michael Pollan hype, "eat food, not too much, mostly plants" seems to be a very useful shorthand for "be a relatively moderate omnivore and don't eat too many twinkies or steaks. you'll be fine."

PistolPackinMama

@Briony Fields Yeah, I mean, humans are really good at adapting to fill available niches. If we couldn't as a species/as populations eat a really wide range of things, we couldn't live in the diversity of environments we do.

Individuals may not be able to tolerate X, and some populations may have higher rates of inabilities to tolerate X as a result of adaptation to particular environments. But that's not the same as all individuals and all populations within a species.

Briony Fields

@PistolPackinMama Oooh, this is science-y and I like it.

parallel-lines

@Briony Fields Yeah, I tried being vegan for a while and eating a ton of veggies made me almost die of farting. I'm made of Viking stock, we don't sit around nibbling arugula!

OhMarie

@Briony Fields God, I know. Every day it's vegan, gluten free, paleo, whatever (I still do not get the difference between paleo and atkins, btw).

I feel like I have to just think of stuff that nobody has ever complained about and go with that. Nonstop kale, here I come.

fuck fuck fuck

@parallel-lines oh my god, the farting. also, never being able to poop. ever. i can't believe i lasted a year.

parallel-lines

@lighter fluid Even now, trying to Pollan things up a bit, I can barely take it. Someone come sit on me right now.

@OhMarie - Paleo you can't have nuts, beans or cheese, which gives me massive amounts of sads.

tortietabbie

@parallel-lines I went vegetarian in November to support my dude who went full-bore vegan (he loves it) and...oh god, the farting. Somewhere on the internet a desperate me asked, "when does this end?" and wept at the answer.

PistolPackinMama

@OhMarie Okay, so I don't pay attention to diet fads, because... just no.

But I will speculate here for a second on the difference between Atkins and a Real Paleo-Diet. Assuming we mean Paleo-in-a-temperate-climate, and not, say Arctic Paleo. Because up there, you'd be eating seal, whale, fish, lichen and you'd be fighting over the blubber.

In contemporary forager-hunter societies, the amount of meant you eat in proportion to the amount of plant matter is usually quite a bit less than we imagine when we think Hunter Gatherer. To steal from Cookie Monster, muscle mass is a sometimes food.

And I expect the next idea is, lots and lots of unprocessed, whole grain things. It's also known as the Jesus Diet in some places. Although I am convinced Jesus would totally have eaten Shamrock Shakes given a half a chance. To bad soy emulsifiers and St. Patrick came along long after he is said to have died.

Atkins puts the emphasis on lots and lots of lean meat relative to carb intake. So pretty much the opposite.

Also, humans. We aren't strong, fast, or large. But we are smart, and capable of changing our behavior to suit our environments. This is why people can live in Australian deserts and arctic environments.

We have ancestor hominids, as far as the archaeology types seem to have been able to tell, that ate whatever they could get their damn be-thumbed hands on, including scavenged meat. We might not be very good at processing/tolerating some things, but we can mostly process/tolerate lots and lots of things.

I dunno. Ancient diets aren't My Thing. But I just feel there is merit to considering that humans might not really have an Optimal Diet, and that is advantageous for us.

PistolPackinMama

@parallel-lines Oh, Pollan away.

parallel-lines

@tortietabbie Gwyneth Paltrow is probably such a cranky bitch because she's been waiting years and years to fart.

ImASadGiraffe

@Briony Fields Yeah not every diet works for everyone. I tried strict Paleo and gained weight and didn't feel good (lethargic, etc). I just try to eat a lot of veggies and lean protein/eggs, some fruit, some nuts, some oils (I like coconut for cooking). Dairy for the most part doesn't agree with me (except for cheese and Greek yogurt). I do eat some grains and some sugars, but try to limit them as much as possible.

It should also be noted that I lift a lot of weights and workout 6x/week, so what my body needs as fuel differs from what others might need.

oh well never mind

@tortietabbie When does it end??

NeverOddOrEven

@PistolPackinMama Okay, so a quick google brings up nothing to corroborate this, but it reminds me of something my husband has brought up before - that supposedly aid orgs used to give impoverished children something they called "Plumper Nutter" which obviously had peanut butter as a main ingredient.
In an interview one of the staff was asked if allergies were ever a problem and the response was something like, "Come to think of it, no..."
The assumption being the need for nutrition far outweighed any potential reaction.

tortietabbie

@moosette Sigh...never. It never, ever ends. I'm farting right now.

PistolPackinMama

@PistolPackinMama OKAY... I misread. I thought @paralell_lines was saying she wanted to talk Pollan but wasn't because...

Sorry!

So... sorry about your gut?

EpWs

Echoing everyone else in this thread (bless you sensible people), I generally try and eat things that make me feel good and aren't overly processed, and every once in a while let myself eat whatever the fuck I want. Because sometimes you just bacon cheeseburger, and that is okay.

apples and oranges

@Briony Fields Ok so I understand (but ignore/choose to disagree with based on feelings rather than science or fact) the arguments for eating less grains and dairy... but why beans?! I thought beans were super good for you. How else is my vegetarian body supposed to get enough protein?!

parallel-lines

@PistolPackinMama I can talk Pollan! I agree with him mentally. Physically...it's been a rough go at it. I've really revamped my diet to get rid of most processed foods and lower the amount of wheat and grain I eat and replace that with veggies. I can't say my stomach is loving the change...a lot of time I tend to eat more protien that I ought to because it doesn't make me feel bloated. Sorry Pollan, I tried....

SarahP

WAIT how is it possible any of you went vegan/vegetarian and didn't poop?! If you're replacing animal products (no fiber) with plant products (plenty of fiber), you should be pooping all the time!

spanglepants

@NeverOddOrEven It's called Plumpy Nut, not Plumper Nutter, which may be why your googlefu got broken.

yoyohanna

@NeverOddOrEven Plumpynut, I think.

Briony Fields

@kangerine ? I didn't say anything about beans. Or eating less grains or dairy for that matter.

parallel-lines

@SarahP Should be, you'd think. In actuality...not as much. But conversely, your body can't break down all that cellulose, so it's making more gas in your GI tract (which, if not released...ouch). I don't know how to expedite this magical pooping process but I suspect the answer is cocaine and coffee all day long.

Bus Driver Stu Benedict

@NeverOddOrEven Plumpy'nut

It's like those peanut butter balls that hippy moms give their kids to feel good about not giving them candy, except with extra vitamins.

And since peanuts are already an important sustenance food in places where hunger is a problem, I think the allergy thing gets sorted out very early on, for better or worse.

eta: well, at least I took the time to get the apostrophe right :-/

fuck fuck fuck

@SarahP well i also ate hardly any fat, which might have something to do with it? but i mean, i ate oatmeal like 3 meals a day sometimes. i should have been pooping.

apples and oranges

@Briony Fields oops, sorry! That was meant to be @parallel-lines, in response to the comment that the Paleo diet doesn't include beans. My bad!

meetapossum

@Briony Fields For some reason your comment reminded me of how my (vegetarian) co-worker tried to tell me that red meat just sits in your colon, rotting. WRONG. I mean, there are plenty of reasons not to eat too much red meat, but that is not one of them.

NeverOddOrEven

@Briony Fields Ah, there it is! I like Plumper Nutter better though...
But now I don't feel like an ass who just made it up.

Ophelia

@NeverOddOrEven Hah! PlumpyNut! Interestingly, there's a weird controversy going on right now between the company that holds the patent on it vs. local manufacturers of high-calorie dietary supplements made from peanuts. Also, it's what Lindsay Lohan gives Rachel McAdams in Mean Girls to make her gain weight.

eta: I did not get the apostrophe right :-/

Megasus

@OhMarie Paleo is even more psychotic than Atkins, because you're not supposed to eat anything a caveman wouldn't have been able to eat. So I think anything that's not fairly local and seasonal is out. Or is supposed to be. And everything has to be organic and free range, nothing processed at all, no sugar, salt, or spices even. Oh and no milk products at all, because cavemen didn't have farms or cows. And no bread for the same reason.

meetapossum

@Megan Patterson@facebook I thought I read somewhere you also weren't supposed to eat New World foods (tomatoes, maize), but now I can't find anything about that. But also, most people on the paleo diet don't eat dairy, either. Booo.

ETA: < href="http://paleodiet.com/definition.htm">Found it!:

"Also avoiding New World paleo foods. Our ancestors would not have been exposed to these foods. This does not tend to be very practical. Too many are New World foods! More practical is the next variation. Also avoiding nightshade vegetables, the Solanaceae family. All, except for eggplant (from Asia), are from the New World (tomatoes, potatoes, all peppers, tomatillos, tobacco). Nightshades are often rich in alkaloids, which can be toxic, especially for people with arthritis/osteoarthritis"

PistolPackinMama

@Briony Fields So the thing I keep thinking is... the life expectancy of a paleo-person was... I mean, not only cause of diet and such. But still.

Are you supposed to eat only ancient strains of things available to paelo-individuals? And if so, where/how do you even get those? And did whoever designed this diet even think about how much time it would take to foraging for the range of things you can eat? I mean... even at Whole Foods, if you're not supposed to be eating any GM or modern hybrids of foods...

I am so confused by this.

Part of the reason we invented agriculture is because it takes an awful lot of space for a foraging dieter to being able to get everything they need to eat. If you want intensive food production, you can't eat like a paleo-person.

I am so confused.

NeverOddOrEven

@Ophelia I saw that, and it turns out I (my husband! It's his fault, I swear!) was wrong - it's not that the need for nutrients superceeds the allergy risk, it's that Westerners have been weakened by our advanced medicine, and allergies don't exist to our extent world-wide.

Megasus

@meetapossum Yes! I was going to go into that, but I wasn't entirely sure if it was true. Honestly, no tomatoes would make me kill myself. I don't understand how we're supposed to eat Paleo either since half our food in NA is genetically modified in some way.

Ophelia

@NeverOddOrEven Yeah, I was reading an article a while ago about how the US' improvements in hygiene correlate pretty closely with increased allergy rates. Not that I want to go back to worrying about cholera and such, but maybe we should all be spending a bit more time playing in the dirt/being licked by dogs/eating stuff that fell on the floor.

NeverOddOrEven

@Ophelia Already 3 steps ahead of you!

Ophelia

@NeverOddOrEven To clarify, I do at least 2 of these 3 things daily. I'm still allergic to penicillin, though. Hmph.

SarahP

@meetapossum What! I don't like the idea of the paleo diet, but that is awesome. I am allergic to nightshades, and no one has ever heard of them. Maybe if enough people go paleo and whine about nightshades, restaurant servers will actually know how not to poison me!

Bus Driver Stu Benedict

@SarahP Wow! That covers a lot of food!. I can't decide if that would be worse than a Brassica allergy, though.

SarahP

@Bus Driver Stu Benedict Yeahhhh it's rough. Brassica would be worse, for sure! (For me, anyway.)

insouciantlover

@parallel-lines Just fyi, I met Pollan once and had him sign my copy of The Omnivore's Dilemma. As he opened it, the dim sum takeout menu that I was using as a bookmark fell into his hand and he did not smite me for it, not even a little bit.

Craftastrophies

@SarahP My whole family is mildly allergic to nightshades! Mostly chilli and tomatoes. If I'm gardening I have to wear gloves etc because tomato plants make me itch sooooo baaaad. But, so delicious. And whatever's in em that makes me itch is more present in home grown. Sigh. My cousin can eat chilli and then you can look at her hands and literally watch the eczma forming. Sometimes it's worth it.

No problems with potatoes, though. Thank the lord. Speaking of, I wanted to add to Pistol Packing Mama's thing about realistic paleo diets not having that much meat. I know the time since agriculture is not much,a s far as stomach evolution. But I come from peasant stock all the way back. That means you were LUCKY if you got a bit of mouldy corned beef to add to your stew.

Also, since going veg, if I eat any meat it is... rough. Toilet wise. And stinky!

hallu

@Briony Fields Farting vegans and vegetarians, behold! Activated charcoal tablets are your friend! They pull out all your stench.

EpWs

@hallu This comment is making me DIE laughing. Please start using this phrase, Activated Charcoal Tablet Marketing Companies!

Megasus

@hallu do they also pull out cheese stench? I'm asking for a...friend.

Lily Rowan

I'm sure the actual scientists aren't saying this, but I automatically ignore anything that says it changes my "risk of death." My risk of death is 100%! Eventually.

Briony Fields

@Lily Rowan omg, truth bomb right here.

bocadelperro

@Lily Rowan yes. this. Also, as my French neighbor used to say "You may live to be 93, I may only live to be 90, but I will have fun!"

EpWs

@Lily Rowan Yeahhhh this always confuses me too. Gonna die at some point, might as well die deliciously.

Lily Rowan

@The Everpresent Wordsnatcher And seriously, my grandmother is 92 and ate red meat basically every day, tanned with olive oil, and drank a frappe at lunch every day for like 30 years.

EpWs

@Lily Rowan I figure you can go one of two ways: either the Queen of England route (cautious sheltered lifestyle to the max forever) or the Keith Richards route (fuck it all, live fast and die young live forever).

Lily Rowan

@The Everpresent Wordsnatcher Granted, my grandmother never did a lot of drinking or smoking, but yes.

laurel

@Lily Rowan The smokey, drinky, red meat and refined sugars-eating women in my family all live to be 95+. I, non-smokey, light drinky, food gardening vegetarian, am going to live for fucking ever. I'm not sure that's a good thing.

Ophelia

Actual conversation in my house last week:

Hamlet: I just ate so many nuts my stomach hurts.
Ophelia:...Seriously? MAN! That's what she said.

applestoapples

@Ophelia Dirty mind. Get thee to a nunnery.

SuperGogo

@Ophelia I think I need you to talk about your friends and family more so we can various anecdotes about Gertrude, Polonius, Rosencrantz and Guildenstern, etc.

Ophelia

@SuperGogo God, that Rosencrantz! Did you SEE what he was wearing last night? It was like he was channeling Yorick or something.

SuperGogo

@Ophelia Hey, don't knock Yorick's clothing line! I personally would wear many pieces from the Most Excellent Fancy spring 2012 line...if I could afford them.

Porn Peddler

Has it become necessary to make this kind of information so 1) misleading 2) simplistic and 3) dramatic?

Also, my perspective is obviously skewed but do people really eat meat every day? And if you tell me people eat red meat every day I will be so goddamn confused.

SarahP

@Third Wave Housewife I dunno, when I heard about the study, I was surprised that it was tested on people who ate only 1 serving of meat a day. When I was a kid (in a meat-and-potatoes, farm-type-family), I would say 1 serving of meat a day would sound lean. (Think Turkey or roast beef sandwich for lunch, or pizza with pepperoni [school lunches], then going home and having a meat-and-potatoes dinner. The Standard American Diet cares about your protein--and meat--intake!)

Ophelia

@Third Wave Housewife Yeah, agreed. I don't usually eat meat more than 3-4 times a week, max, and red meat probably 2x/month. Thinking back, in the past week, I've had chicken once, fish twice, and some turkey sausage I put in spaghetti sauce. I'm kind of a lazily accidental vegetarian?

metametadata

@Third Wave Housewife I'm from a pretty typical midwestern household and have observed other pretty typical midwestern households. I would say a serving of red meat once a day is not uncommon at all.

oh well never mind

@Third Wave Housewife I like aiming to be vegetarian more often than not - say four days a week? Then meat is a treat rather than the main emphasis.

Dancercise

@Third Wave Housewife
My dad does. Every single morning his breakfast is bacon and eggs. And then he has a beef dish for dinner about half the time (the other half being a chicken dish, usually).

laurel

@moosette This seems perfectly wise to me. I'm a vegetablearian and giving up meat was no problem for me but I don't give a rat's lean ass about being ideologically pure. I bake a lot and use some vegan baking techniques (some but not all egg replacement, for example).

If the idea is to improve your diet and live more sustainably without eliminating everything you like about food, having less but some meat seems great to me! Privation seems to be where all good dietary intentions fall apart anyway. Do what's sustainable in your life.

martinipie

@Third Wave Housewife Yes! People DO eat that much meat and LOVE it! My school's dining hall tried to do "meatless Mondays" and framed it as an environmental thing--and people FLIPPED THE FRACK OUT, saying they would die if they didn't get meat. So crazy.

Ophelia

@martinipie Actually, now that I'm thinking about this, I lost weight a few years ago, and asked my Dr. for advice re: diet - she suggested a few resources for balanced eating, and the funny part of it was that I would have increased my red meat intake, based on these books' efforts to get other people to decrease theirs (2-3 servings of red meat per week would be a significant increase for me). I felt rather smug and superior after that, although a reality check on portion size was quite helpful.

candybeans

@Third Wave Housewife yeah, i do eat meat every day, after going for a long time without eating much meat at all. Not that it has to be from meat, but mama needs a lot of protein to avoid being constantly hungry.

Faintly Macabre

@Third Wave Housewife There definitely are people who eat it every day. I've stumbled across food/cooking blogs where the people are crowing about managing a day without meat. Which...I don't understand. At all. But I was raised not eating red meat or pork and my mother never cooked chicken, so I can't really pride myself on not being like that.

Craftastrophies

@laurel Amen! I went mostly meat free start of this year, but it's mostly about factory farming, with a little side of being good to the planet and healthy. That means I can eat ALL the kangaroo, since there are too many and they are culled not farmed, so it's all ethical and sustainable. And delicious. And frankly, my main meat intake was already roo, plus some chicken (I miss chicken. but... slave meat...) and tuna. It also means that if my body needs meat, I can have lamb or beef and in Australia it's probably farmed fairly ok.

I'm just trying to be sensible about it, you know?

sevanetta

@Third Wave Housewife I love when people try to guilt me about eating red meat, and when healthy-eating-advice completely ignores the fact that people might be allergic to or intolerant of more than one thing/food group. I used to eat more vegetarian food, but it's fucking hard to be gluten free and vegetarian, and I am healthier now I eat some red meat a few times a week again (raised on a diet eating meat every day, to someone who asked above). I don't do the gluten free thing for fun, I actually get sick when I eat gluten. So fuck you, article, the healthiest diet for me involves meat.

antarcticastartshere

Ah, but the chart only says an ADDITIONAL serving of red meat will increase my risk of death. Therefore, if I just keep eating the same amount of red meat I will be fine.

parallel-lines

Frankly, we all need to just face the fact and deal with the inevitable: being alive will eventually kill you.

Megasus

@parallel-lines Life: 100% fatality rate.

redheaded&crazy

@parallel-lines ugh you two are so fucking morbid.

NeverOddOrEven

@redheaded&crazy I'd argue that gallows humor is particularly healthy.

metametadata

Also bad for my blood pressure: the paranoid rantings of the L.A. Times's commentary.

elizabeast

Everything is going to kill us. Let's just stop eating anything and drinking anything and just live on the air. Like ferns!

Ophelia

@elizabeast It's the air pollution that will get you in the end.

elizabeast

@Ophelia The spores!! Not the spores!!

Hooplehead

They seem to be talking about people who eat red meat way more than the average person does. The recommendation was to lower your intake to 2-3 servings/week.

Slutface

@Hooplehead Right? Who can afford to eat more red meat than that?

EpWs

@Slutface Truth! Truthy truthy truth! Also I still generally suck at preparing red meat (except for ground beef, which I just swap out with ground turkey anyway) so I pretty much only get it when I'm out anyway.

Donovanesque

@Hooplehead I think a lot of people eat a lot of hamburger--as burgers, tacos, in casseroles, etc.--in my part of the country. No idea what's average, though!

OhMyGoshYouGuys

How much will the stress of worrying about meat consumption raise my risk of death?

NeenerNeener

@Mere The stress of worrying about how stress will kill me is what's going to kill me.

OhMyGoshYouGuys

@NeenerNeener And if it doesn't, at least it will have made you stronger.

OhMarie

@NeenerNeener Right? This past summer I read two articles about how, basically, trying not to get skin cancer was going to kill me (one about how nobody gets enough vitamin D anymore and one about carcinogens in sunscreens)and I just wanted to give up.

teenagewerewolf

Wait, so pork isn't white meat? Does that mean "the other white meat" commercials have been lying to me the WHOLE TIME?

cinnamonskin

@teenagewerewolf Bacon = god's candy.

leonstj

@teenagewerewolf - WHAT THE FUCK!?!?!?!?! Pork not being red meat is fucking devastating.

On the other hand - now that I make a lot of sausage, I eat very little of it. It's not that it's gross (it's not!) it's that good sausage is about 1/3rd fat. Having all the cubed up meat for grinding in a bowl makes it easy to cut down.

NeverOddOrEven

@teenagewerewolf Fun fact - when they started that campaign, they started "bleaching" pork to make it appear whiter.
I don't know exactly what process or chemicals were used, but it's not supposed to look like it does.

Craftastrophies

@leon.saintjean I cannot eat cubed foods. Not since being a kitchenhand. I am not squeamish in general but putting your hand into catering grade bacon is traumatic.

cinnamonskin

"Eat right, exercise, die anyway" - my dad.

EpWs

@cinnamonskin High five, cinnamondad. Well played.

Bridget Smith@twitter

Hilariously, this crops up on the week I've vowed to eat at least two servings of red meat (which is...two more than usual, because beef is expensive and eggs are really cheap and easy) because the Anemia Exhaustion has arrived, so I need to, like, quadruple my iron intake until I'm back to normal. (And yes, I've been eating spinach regularly, but it actually has less iron than really any kind of meat at all, so that's not super helpful right now.)

Smallison

@Bridget Smith@twitter Oh yes. I have this same problem. At times, mine has been severe enough to take irons pills. It probably doesn't help that I don't really enjoy that much red meat. There isn't enough broccoli and spinach and beans in the world, sometimes.

atipofthehat

@Bridget Smith@twitter

Use cast iron cookware!

leonstj

@Bridget Smith@twitter - Not an issue vampires have.

EpWs

@atipofthehat Seconded! I mean, it won't triple your iron intake, but it helps! And anemia suuuuuucks so all the help you can get is good.

catfoodandhairnets

@Bridget Smith@twitter Spatone. Awesome.

Bridget Smith@twitter

@Smallison Oh, I'm definitely taking the pills. But they can mess with my digestion, so I'm not great about taking them every day unless I actually feel the symptoms.

Bridget Smith@twitter

@The Everpresent Wordsnatcher @atipofthehat This actually makes a difference? Good to know! I mean, my broke ass will not be replacing my cookware any time soon, but this will presumably always be a problem, so it's a good thing to remember for the future!

Jizzcliner

@Bridget Smith@twitter Can you stomach liver? It's cheap and has a bunch of iron.

EpWs

@Bridget Smith@twitter Yep! Science!

Make sure you read up on the proper care, keeping, and seasoning of your cast iron cookware before using it! And don't feel the need to replace ALL the cookware--one good cast-iron skillet (I like Lodge brand) can be used for a ton of stuff, and you can get a 10" one (which is about all my wrists can handle) for under $25.

Bridget Smith@twitter

@Jizzcliner Heh, probably not, because in high school bio we did one lab where we put liver in a blender for some reason, and between the smell and the visual it was the only class I ever had to leave. I never had a problem with dissections, but that grossed me out SO MUCH. Thus, sadly, I think liver is right out.

anachronistique

@Bridget Smith@twitter Right? The article was like "iron is one of the culprits for increased risk of death" and I was sitting there going "but... I NEED IRON TO NOT PASS OUT." Everything is going to kill us, amen.

Ophelia

@anachronistique I think they need to differentiate that finding by gender. It's really hard for women to have too much iron, since we lose it monthly, whereas it can build up too much in men's systems (hence the fact that men's multivitamins typically don't contain iron). I have no actual citations to back this up, though.

fondue with cheddar

@anachronistique Yeah, the more I learn about this stuff, the more I feel like I should just eat what I want. Or more specifically, what my body says I need.

Also, I'm allergic to nuts so there goes that healthy snack option. :/

atipofthehat

@Bridget Smith@twitter

A cast iron skillet in a hardware store costs about $11.50. You could probably find cheaper. It is the most versatile piece of cookware imaginable -- you can bake in it, broil in it, fry in it, sauté in it. And, yes, the iron thing is real: "Eggs scrambled in an iron skillet or spaghetti sauce simmered in an iron pot can double or triple the iron content of a meal."

Bus Driver Stu Benedict

A "fun" thing to do sometime: ask ACP about iron skillets.

Craftastrophies

@Ophelia The thing about women losing iron monthly is not correct. Here.

Also, the thing about spinach having lots of iron is not correct. It was an error - a decimal point was put in the wrong place. I mean, it HAS iron, but not much more than most veggies. It's still got lots of B vitamins, etc, though. But the iron thing blew my MIND when I found it out.

fondue with cheddar

@Craftastrophies Really? Then why do I feel so tired when I get my period? And why do I crave beef? I'm not second-guessing you, I'm just confused.

Craftastrophies

@jen325 Hormones? I get tired the week before. Super lethargic, etc. Clearly have not yet lost any blood. Also, because beef is delicious? Or maybe vitamins? (This thread is FREAKING ME OUT about B12, you guys. I try not to think that I have everything that people post about on the internet, but I legit think I might have a B12 deficiency. It would explain a lot of things, actually. Ahh, stop it!)

I mean, you DO lose blood, so I would say that could make an iron deficiency worse? I am so totally not a doctor. But generally periods aren't that much blood - using diva cups was a bit amazing because I could see it and it wasn't that much, comparatively. Although, YMMV, obviously.

fondue with cheddar

@Craftastrophies It's gotta be hormones. Anyway, if you think you have a B12 deficiency you should definitely get checked out. Maybe it's an absorption problem?

My blood work always comes out perfect even though I have the symptoms of anemia, hypoglycemia, and hypothyroidism. It's frustrating, because test results indicate I'm perfectly healthy, yet I KNOW something is wrong with me.

OhShesArtsy

So... every time I make a good food decision, can I reward myself with alcohol? Because that is my plan.

Also, a PSA: UV Cake vodka tastes disturbingly like cake. It's a nice cake subsitute.

NeverOddOrEven

@OhShesArtsy At a holiday party this year I learned that the marshmallow vodka blends seamlessly into hot chocolate (!)

EpWs

@NeverOddOrEven Whatwhyyyyyy would you tell me that when you know I'm trying to cut back on sugar/alcohol? (You could not know that, please carry on.)

mangosara

@The Everpresent Wordsnatcher ooh! ooh! PEPPERMINT SCHNAPPLATE (aka peppermint schnapps + hot chocolate)

EpWs

@mangosara Oh sweet fancy Christmas, you people are terrible for me. (Thank youuuuu) (Now I want marshmallow peppermint schnapplate)

Katiesaurous

@The Everpresent Wordsnatcher Throw some whipped cream flavoured vodka into that marshmallow peppermint schnapplate, and you got yourself a stew goin'!

OhShesArtsy

@NeverOddOrEven I like raspberry schnapps with hot chocolate or coffee. Yummmmm!

leonstj

OH wait. Speaking of eating healthy.

So I'm trying to eat healthier, and make whole grain breads and pastas instead of my normal shit. The thing is, whole grain completely fucking sucks to work with. I don't mind the flavor, but is there anything I can do other than kneading & rising for way longer to get a proper fucking loaf?

And please keep in mind I'm a jerk who insists on hand-kneading, so 'Oh, just knead twice as long' means "GUESS WHO'S PUNCHING DOUGH FOR 45 MINUTES". Ugh, peasant.

NeverOddOrEven

@leon.saintjean I've made the No-Knead Bread with whole wheat flour with no problem.

Briony Fields

@leon.saintjean I may be stating the obvious here, but are you using recipes specifically for whole grain bread? I've tried substituting whole grains into white bread recipes and it's always a big fail.

tortietabbie

@leon.saintjean What kind of fancy pants breads are you making? I've never had an issue subbing in whole wheat flours. Maybe don't do ALL whole wheat? Just a portion?

I know whole wheat is the healthy thing now, but ugh...I just cannot get over the texture. :(

OhMyGoshYouGuys

@leon.saintjean I don't have a lot of experience with bread making because gluten makes my tummy cry, but have you tried using white whole wheat flour? I think it has a texture more like all-purpose flour but the nutrition profile of whole wheat.

SarahP

@leon.saintjean Add extra gluten flour. If you buy whole grain breads, you'll usually see on the label that they add extra gluten. A couple Tbsps for each cup of whole grain flour should be good.

leonstj

@SarahP - Ahhh I did not know I could get this. So wonderful, thank you.

Nutmeg

@SarahP Vital wheat gluten!! I got a case of this for Christmas because when I was putting things on my Amazon wishlist I somehow failed to see that the vital wheat gluten I put on my list was six boxes worth.

aphrabean

@leon.saintjean Seconding the vital wheat gluten and noting that when I work with all-whole wheat, I add more moisture in an attempt to get a bigger, more airy crumb. Also, have you tried this whole 5-minute bread deal? It's actually perfect with whole grains, because it's already got such a high water content, you can just load it up with grains and retain a nice crumb. Also: a little bit of fat in the bread can also help with that dense-whole-wheat-brick issue.

slutberry

@SarahP uuughh. Extra-gluten flour. My tummy just turned inside out and slammed my head with a sledgehammer. and then I was sad cuz I MISS BREAD.

Gracious!

@leon.saintjean You can also add a cup or two of cooked whole grains like brown rice, quinoa, or barley to a regular bread dough when you mix the wet and dry ingredients. (All the other ingredients stay the same.)

Elizabeth David recommends that in English Bread and Yeast Cookery. It'll rise well if there's enough white flour in the surrounding dough. And chewy, grainy textures make really good sandwiches!

werewolfbarmitzvah

My meat-eating days are far behind me, so I'm probably a little out of touch with this stuff, but I do think that not all meats are created equal. A little bit of roast beef seems like no big whoop. Bacon and sausage, though, that'll probably kill ya. But ultimately I think in the western world, CHEESE is a much, much bigger problem for people's health than meat will ever be. I'm naively assuming that there's a limit to how much meat a person can pack away in a given day, but cheese is just so ubiquitous and so plentiful, covering everything everywhere in a thick layer of doom that may one day destroy us all. BEWARE THE CHEESE.

EpWs

@werewolfbarmitzvah I LOVE MY CHEESE. Back offa my cheese.

Ophelia

@werewolfbarmitzvah I read that as, "My man-eating days are far behind me."

EpWs

@Ophelia "Eat dudes, not Fred or Pete, mostly nuts."

werewolfbarmitzvah

@Ophelia Well, that statement IS also true!

Megasus

@The Everpresent Wordsnatcher I am lactose intolerant, but I will be damned if I ever switch to that horrible lactose free cheese. I would rather be farty FOREVER. FOREVER!!

Dancercise

@Ophelia
Woah-oh, here she comes.

martinipie

@Megan Patterson@facebook Aged cheddars and parmesans/reggianos are almost lactose free! The aging process eats it all up! Yayyyy pesto!

EpWs

@Megan Patterson@facebook I went all lactose intolerant for a week once when I switched to a new birth control pill. When faced with the possibility of no cheese, I wanted to cry all the time. I went to the fuck it, farty forever mindset pretty quickly. And then I could eat cheese/drink milk again with no repercussions, so I can't really explain what happened there.

tl;dr: Hormones make your body do weird shit, cheese forever.

candybeans

@martinipie and gouda!! Beemster--it says lactose-free right on the package! It's also delicious!

ghechr

I agree that diet seems to be a highly personalized thing. I have never felt better when I ate a high protein/low sugar diet similar, but not as strict as, to the paleo diet. Granted, I was doing a lot of boxing and weight training during that time so I was RIPPED. And, it sounds like the researchers included things like hot dogs in their definition of red meat. Considering how inexpensive hot dogs are compared to steak or even ground beef, I would not be surprised if the subjects ended up eating a higher proportion of hot dogs/inexpensive processed meats which would likely contribute to overall worse health than just a solid NY Strip.

Nutmeg

Someday someone is going to prove that a diet of Cheez-Its, ice cream, and coffee is the secret to longevity and who's going to be feeling self-righteously superior then? THIS BITCH

bonus points if they also discover that smoking cures diabetes or whatever

frigwiggin

This is where I sigh about how my boyfriend is killing us faster because of his love for sausage. We have three different kinds in the fridge right now because I went away for a weekend and he went shopping. I think we eat sausage more than any other meat in our house.

Ophelia

@figwiggin Is he buying Jimmy Dean, or is he getting locally-sourced artisanal sausages? Because there's a pretty big difference in quality and ingredients (nitrates, holler!)

Also, We eat more sausage than any other meat in our house = that's what she said! I am on a ROLL today.

frigwiggin

@Ophelia Oh, Ophelia, you card.

Unfortunately it's pretty much whatever's cheap at Winco/Safeway, although we're discussing it right now via text and we might cut back on that entirely and just go out to Lockford Meats more often, I bet their stuff is okay.

Ophelia

@figwiggin Also, I say all of this as a person whose favorite dinner is kielbasa and potatoes :)

frigwiggin

@figwiggin See my story as a cautionary tale about falling in love with a picky person. The only vegetables he likes are green beans and broccoli. We also eat a lot of white pasta because we both work full-time and I am a tired fuck when I get home and he's afraid of cooking (anything other than sausage). It's a wonder we're not both dead already.

frigwiggin

@Ophelia Mmmm kielbasa. Mmmm potatoes.

Ophelia

@figwiggin We just found this random brand of snotty organic whole wheat pasta in our regular grocery store (on sale for $1.99/bag, so not quite as cheap as plain pasta, but close), and my husband seriously liked it so much he eats pieces of it raw. The brand is bionaturae, and I hope they keep stocking it/keeping it on sale, because it has single-handedly improved our nutrition probably by 50%.

slutberry

@Ophelia snicker.

frigwiggin

@Ophelia Hooray, snotty organic whole wheat pasta! I pick up wheat pasta sometimes, and I think I have some quinoa pasta at home just for funsies. (We used to live down the street from a store that sells expired and dented food products that they get from all the other grocery stores in town, so I still have a lot of wacky dried/canned goods. Squid in a can in its own ink!) I will cast an eye about for that brand, because whole wheat pasta can really run the gamut of edibility.

aphrabean

@figwiggin You know, my boyfriend was a crazy picky eater, but I basically bullied him into trying new vegetables, and now he loves brussels sprouts! He also was very afraid of cooking when I first met him, and while I still do the bulk of the cooking, he is getting really into it & can whip up a very nice meal if left to his own devices. The key was NOT bullying in this case, but taking time on the weekends to prepare food together, making it a fun thing, talking a lot about what tastes good together, and explaining what I was doing as I cooked. Last night I came home late from work, and he had made a really gorgeous porcini-noodle soup!

Basically, dudes who are afraid of the kitchen can totally overcome these fears, and girrrrl let me tell you there is nothing like coming home from work to a delicious, nutritive meal you didn't cook yourself.

frigwiggin

@aphrabean We're definitely working on it! He currently has the confidence to cook sausage pasta (surprise), boxed food like Rice-a-Roni, tacos, chicken breasts, baked salmon, and...I think that's about it, other than watching something I'm sauteing. I need to teach him more, he just gets nervous and is like, "But you do it better!"

anachronistique

@figwiggin Calamares en su tintos is not wacky, dude, it's just Spanish.

EpWs

@figwiggin I ALSO fell in love with a picky person. Am still working on navigating this. (I assume we will move in together at some point and then I can have a little more control over the food situation, though judging by how terrible I am at feeding myself, we'll most likely both be dead within six months. Ahwell!)

frigwiggin

@anachronistique I call it delicious, but it's still unusual around here.

aphrabean

@figwiggin Haha, my gentleman has said those exact words! It didn't help that I can be an impatient perfectionist, but I backed off a bit, and tried to be very encouraging while maintaining veto rights over some of his more experimental spice mixes and 3 years in, we're doing ok! Seriously, he couldn't scramble eggs when we first started seeing each other. I also found that at a point, it was way better for me to be super hands-off; if he's making a meal, I leave the kitchen entirely. This is mostly to curb my own bossy tendencies, however. :)

anachronistique

@figwiggin A friend once told me it looked like I was eating dog food. I almost punched him.

EpWs

@aphrabean I had to teach my dude how to scramble eggs! He has picked up the skill and run with it, and now makes them way better than I do. I cannot explain it. He also has The Pancake Touch, which I do not have at all, so we eat a lot of breakfast for dinner and don't feel bad about it.

aphrabean

@The Everpresent Wordsnatcher Never, ever feel bad about breakfast for dinner.

Ophelia

@aphrabean Yeah. I'm not allowed to be in the kitchen when my husband cooks, as I have a tendency to morph from "sous-chef who has agreed to chop vegetables" to "TAKING OVER EVERYTHING ALWAYS." He's a pretty good cook anyway, though, so it's fine.

Diana

@figwiggin

Here is a great recipe for your boyfriend: http://budgetbytes.blogspot.com/

All her recipes are healthy, nutritious, easy, and CHEAP. Part of the nervousness for many new cooks is the fear of wasting expensive ingredients. At least with her recipes, even if he does fuck it up you're out what, ten bucks? At least there's money left over for tacos. So why not try it?

ELECTROMAGNETIC CHAOS

@Diana: Thanks for the link, and wow is blog owner Beth a cutie.

Veronica Mars is smarter than me

*GAVEL*
*GAVEL*
*GAVEL*
*GAVEL*
*GAVEL*
*GAVEL*
*GAVEL*
*GAVEL*
*GAVEL*
*GAVEL*
*GAVEL*
*GAVEL*
*GAVEL*

[unlucky thirteen (what, other people don't count series of things without meaning to count them?)]

whizz_dumb

@Veronica Mars is smarter than me

1*∞

Elvis Costello's Spectacles

I have an iron deficiency and a taste for the finer things in life. You can pry my steak out of my cold, dead hands.

aphrabean

I love more than anything how people really, really want to believe that there's some magical "natural" diet out there that's perfectly attuned to our bodies. The thing is, every food out there has defenses against being eaten! That's just how evolution works - it's a haphazard arms race with the aim of not being eaten. My scientist sister-in-law-ish told me once that evolution is basically an exercise in living on the very brink of disaster constantly and that "natural" means just barely good enough to get by. If you look at the history of pica, it's a really excellent illustration of how we figure out ways to eat foods that are poisonous because we have to.

That said, I stopped eating meat because it will kill us all.

Craftastrophies

@aphrabean RIGHT. I am so suspicious of people who go on about doing what's 'natural'. Well, actually, I do this too, I try to do intuitive eating a bit, plus help from my brain about what is going to make me feel good long term. But I know that what works for me only works for me.

Evolution also works by creating variance, so that when anything changes, not all of us are wiped out.

MidoriSour

I am really enjoying reading all of these comments while lovingly nibbling on a Cadbury Creme Egg.

Altliv

So clearly all of my food allergies/intolerances are serving to make me immortal. Great.

Waiting

I believe that they had it correct the first time: "Eat food. Not too much. Mostly Plants."

anachronistique

Serendipitously, The Fat Nutritionist just posted today about the fear of death and the denial of life. Death will come for us all eventually, no matter what we eat or what we do.

EpWs

@anachronistique Such a great article, thanks for sharing!

"If you genuinely enjoy marathons, run them. If that would be torture to you, don’t. Find something else to enjoy. If you love salad, eat it. If salad is punishment, for God’s sake, there are a million other foods to take its place. Food that isn’t enjoyed isn’t worth a damn. Find something better. You deserve it."

Lorelei@twitter

@anachronistique oh yes, I was just thinking about posting a link to The Fat Nutritionist. Love that blog!

My basic position on every "food will kill us!" story is that if the state of the science was that we actually know what we're talking about, which foods are killing us and which foods will let us live forever cancer-free wouldn't change every 6 months. We'd just KNOW.

The slightly-expanded basic position is that if food killed us, it would be poison, not food. Like PistolPackinMama said agove, specific bodies may tolerate specific foods more or less well, but those specific reactions cannot be generalized into guidelines for everyone beyond the most basic avoidance of starvation or malnutrition.

Faintly Macabre

@anachronistique It reminds me of the people who purposely eat almost nothing (and mostly raw spinach or something) in order to slow their metabolism and LIVE FOREVER. Which, yay, maybe they get to live an extra five years, but what a miserable span of decades!

entangled

@anachronistique Oh my god that doctor in her story! How awful! This idea makes so much sense when you think about the way people who follow strict diets can end up with an almost-religious fervor about it. I see a lot of that from the low-carb "we have been lied to by the USDA" mentality, but also saw it from other vegans when I was vegan.

Even though I am a huge proponent of the balanced eat what tastes good and makes you feel good in the amounts that feel good (i.e. not hungry or stuffed) approach, I know I can get a little tinhat even about that.

fondue with cheddar

@Faintly Macabre Right? I'd much rather enjoy the short time I have, thank you.

Diana

@Faintly Macabre

You know, this was my attitude for years, but then in the last year I really started to question my personal ideas of "miserable" diets. Obviously I'm not doing a super-starvation diet, but I realized there were a lot of false equivalencies going on in my head. Yes, it can be enjoyable for me to eat brownies and wine every day. But on the other hand, it makes me truly miserable to be overweight. The misery of eating a salad for dinner is so, so, so much smaller for me than the misery of being fat. Somebody else might not necessarily feel the same way, obviously, but the essential part of following the advice in that article is to figure out your own hierarchy of happiness and prioritize what will make you really feel as happy and satisfied as you can be.

Craftastrophies

@Diana I was listening to someone debunking intuitive eating on some radio program last night, and it made me so shouty because they were like 'but then everyone will eat sugar and fat because they like it, and we'll all DIE!'

The thing that I have had to get past - the Fat Nutritionist covers this a lot - is that I am used to sugar being 'bad' and forbidden and salad being 'good' and boring. But wait, I actually LOVE vegetables, and usually when I crave sugar what I actually want is fruit. So there are habits to get out of, which you need your brain for - you don't just let your stomach rule. I also love wine and brownies, but after letting myself eat whatever I liked for a while without feeling guilty, I learnt that I actually only want to know that I can have brownies if I want them. Usually I don't, or only want one.

What I mean is, as you say, it's about your own hierarchy of happiness and health. If something makes you feel good now but not later, whether that is a brownie binge or a starvation diet, then it's not good for you.

I hope I didn't go too tin hat on you (stealing that one, Arr starr) but it's something that took me ages to learn - that not dieting didn't mean making myself sick on terrible food.

entangled

@anachronistique steal away! this is pretty much exactly my response. What I've found is that when I quiet the voice inside my head, not only do I remember that vegetables are super tasty (and even tastier when I am not freaking out about putting a little olive oil on them), but I can tell when foods that taste good are and aren't feeling good. A brownie every now and then? Not a problem. Brownies every day? I start to feel dried out and absolutely crave protein or fruit or salad. Sitting at my desk all day? I get super excited that I can go to the gym after work.

I'm so much happier and healthier when I'm eating intuitively. Am I able to get down to a 12% body fat and washboard abs? No, but I'm much happier and healthier since I started listening to my body instead of trying to control it. I'm also pretty much the same size and shape as when I was obsessively counting every calorie.

Faintly Macabre

@Diana Oh, I'm totally pro eating healthy. I definitely eat more sugar than I should, but I try to balance it and I believe aiming for a higher proportion of healthy food -does- make your life better. I think people make it too complicated, though, and make The Perfect Diet out as some kind of panacea. Above, I was only talking about the people I've read about who are on the super-calorie-restricted diets where they essentially live on carefully-weighed microgreens, as the corresponding slowed metabolism will supposedly extend their life. The constant worrying and time that would take that scares me much more than the diet itself.

fondue with cheddar

@Craftastrophies I would love to eat fruit when I crave sugar, but I'm allergic to everything! :( Instead, I treat myself to one of these, which are FANTASTIC.

frushka

dudes. i’m vegetarian so i eat nuts all the time (fav breakfast ever: almond butter on sprouted bread with a bit of honey), like literally every day… UNTIL i got throat sick last week and my ENT said i have to stop eating nuts because they can make you more susceptible to getting viral infections. something about the arginine levels in nuts disrupting the arginine/lycine balance in the body. so now i can’t eat any nuts and breakfast makes me sad.

atipofthehat

I'm glad no one has been immature enough to shout "Eat my nuts!"

Thank you.

tortietabbie

Hey, Hairpin hive mind...I said I'd cook dinner tonight and now I feel overwhelmed. What's easy and delicious and vegan?

Emma Peel

@Emma Peel Or these tacos -- leave off the feta and add some fancy salsa and avocado or something? I think they'd be fine without the feta. http://smittenkitchen.com/2009/02/crispy-black-bean-tacos-with-feta-and-slaw/

tortietabbie

@Emma Peel Oooooh...those do looks tasty!

Yolanda and Steve

I think that people get all caught up with diet and go crazy about what we shouldn't be eating. But what about what we SHOULD be eating. There are a lot of vitamins that our bodies can synthesize on their own, and A LOT that are necessary to be alive, that we need to consume.

A few months ago I was diagnosed with a severe B-12 deficiency and I now have to give my self injections for the rest of my life. This deficiency in me has caused exhaustion, weight gain, hair loss, numbness and tingling in my hands and feet, and the beginning signs of dementia. DEMENTIA people. I'm only 30. That's serious. B-12 is naturally ONLY found in red meat, and to a lesser extent some dairy and red meat fish.

This whole ordeal made me really aware that we don't just eat to get calories, we have very real nutritional requirements that we can only get from food. So in this long winded plea to all my fellow ladies health, please please please, find out what YOUR body needs, and then figure out a diet around that. If you need iron and B-12 like me, for goodness sake eat some roast beef. If you are a vegetarian I really hope you take supplements. And it would probably be a good idea for everyone to get full blood work at their next physical (you DO get yearly physicals, right?) and have all of your vitamin and system levels checked, just to make sure everything is cool.

Just to be clear, this wasn't a diet issue, I have an autoimmune disease that causes it. But I would like to add that I do eat red meat 2-3 times a week and I have the most perfect cholesterol levels you could hope for. So, again, find out what YOUR BODY needs before changing your diet.

/steps off soapbox and goes to get a cheeseburger

Yolanda and Steve

*a cheeseburger with no pink slime. my god, that stuff is horrifying.

tortietabbie

@SarahBS Oh my gosh, that is so scary. :(

insouciantlover

@SarahBS Ugh the pink slime is the worst.

I think your post is really important, and holy hell that is rough about the B-12 deficiency. I've been really increasing my vigilance over vitamin intake (read: I'm a hypochondriac)- I've found that prenatal vitamins have a great amount of just about everything I personally need, and I augment that with Vitamin D ever since I got bloodwork done a year ago and my levels were a little low despite the fact that I had just been on a sunny vacation for a week. My boyfriend has no concept of how to feed himself and my forcing him to take Vitamin D and magnesium has done wonders for him this winter, both in terms of mood and, um, regularity.

Diana

@SarahBS

Yeah, I talked a little about this in my own overly long comment below, but part of "figuring out the right diet for me" was figuring out what made me feel better than I already did. Everybody talks about what they lack when they eat better - they miss sugar, they're sleepy without caffeine, or whatever they're doing. For me it was more like, "Holy shit, I know every single woman in my family on both sides is anemic, and shockingly enough when I double my intake of protein I feel waaaaay better!" and stuff like "I am eating way more vegetables and now I feel all glow-y inside!" I've always read obsessively about nutrition but this year was the first time I started actively playing around with my nutritional intake and figuring out whether it made a difference. And holy hell, it really, really did. Now I'm one of those assholes sitting around wondering if I should try chia seeds.

Yolanda and Steve

@Diana Hey, I'll be an asshole with you, let's do it! I'm always down for including foods that have a health benefit and could possibly make me feel great.

Craftastrophies

@Diana YES this. Man I feel like a completely different human when I'm getting enough leafy greens and veggies.

I bought goji berries last week. I felt like I was buying crack, practically skulked out of the store. But seriously. Delicious.

Oh, squiggles

What's the number one activity that leads to a 100% death rate?

Life

undercoverhippie

Okay, I haven't read the article nor all the comments, but... articles like this drive me crazy because they fail to distinguish between the crap meat being put out by Tyson, Iowa Beef Processors, etc, and the really great, healthy meat being produced by small farmers all over the country. Grass-fed red meat is actually awesome for you. All those omega-3 supplements people take and all teh fish people want to eat for the same reason? Not necessary. Grass-fed (not grass-finished, but wholly grass-fed) beef and other read meat is actually a great source of all the good fats our brains need. It's just that when we take cows out of their natural environment, prevent them from exercising and feed them corn, cardboard, and other things they weren't designed to eat, their muscle tissue loses its nutritional value. Not so surprising when you think of it that way.
Real meat from happy cows, happy pigs and happy chickens is good for you!

Yolanda and Steve

@undercoverhippie Exactly! I think of "healthy eating" as more of what the QUALITY of my food is, and not so much the TYPE. We need salt to live, we need fat to live, we need protein to live, we need carbs to live, we need vitamins to live. So as long as you eat a moderate diet with all of those things, and some sugar and cheese occasionally to make you happy, you're probably going to live a long* healthy life.

*if you don't get run over by a cab or something. now that's a legitimate healthy risk right there.

pomobabble

@undercoverhippie Yes, this.

Obviously, if you're just eating re-metabolized corn via a strangely anemic cow who lived on a piece of concrete his whole life-- or, in the case of ground beef, whatever weird stuff was clinging to an old dairy cow's feeble bones--- you're definitely going to feel bad! It's not going to be good for you, clearly. But grassfed beef and grassfed dairy are really, actually good for you, especially when accompanied by, say, a heap of kale. I work in cheese, meaning I eat a ridiculous amount of grassfed dairy, and my cholesterol is always perfect, as is my blood pressure. I would much rather purchase and eat a piece of beef from a farmer I know from a part of a cow that I can envision than some weird GMO soybean crap with too much sodium that I still need to salt to get it to taste like anything.

Diana

You know, Nicole Cliffe is the one who introduced me to Gary Taubes through her Tumblr ages ago, and it was kind of life changing for me. I've been picking my way sloowwwly through Good Calories, Bad Calories. And I haven't ended up following his recommendations exactly, but using them as a general guideline has been extremely helpful. Basically my diet guidelines are an amorphous blend of Gary Taubes + Michael Pollan:

Eat lean meat and lots of it, cut down on your fucking sugars!!!! do it!! stop eating all that fucking sugar!!!, reduce your carbohydrate intake EVEN of 'whole grain' blah blah, eat all the vegetables you want, treat fruits like a delicious snack and NOT a substitute for vegetables. And most importantly: don't give a flying fuck about grams of fat. Not one single flying fuck. And the whole point of eating well generally means that I can eat and drink anything I want occasionally with no problems.

A lot of it was about figuring out the POINT of eating more healthfully. This is different for every person, but what made sense for me was this: 1) I want to lose weight, for the sake of my physical and mental health. 2) I want to eat well 85% of the time, so that I can eat whatever the fuck I want 15% of the time and it won't counteract reason #1. It's kind of like a bank account of nutrition: every salad I eat brings me one more step closer to earning that cheesecake. The cheesecake isn't "bad" (I hate that terminology!) - just expensive, but as long as I'm paying it off in cash (eating well beforehand) rather than credit ("I'll totally run this off tomorrow!! Definitely!!! More syrup, please!") then my account is balanced.

Um, I guess my point in writing all this out is the following: lots of people above have mentioned that different bodies respond differently to diets and what works for somebody might not work for somebody else. The thing is, though, you cannot assume that just because your diet is constant or conventional means your diet is optimal, whether for the universe or just for you. I thought I was doing fine on my old way of eating. I wasn't getting cancer, my hair wasn't falling out, I could climb stairs. But it wasn't until I started a new way of eating that I found out life could be way, way better for me. So I'm not encouraging everybody to pick one particular way of eating, but I really do encourage everybody to try out different ways of eating, play around, try to test yourself to cut down on foods you know are unhealthy and see if you even miss it (I didn't realize til I gave it up that I don't actually give a shit about bread), try a different set of diet guidelines for one month, in other words do not assume that you magically know the best diet for your body. Think of a diet as an outfit: some are more flattering than others, and just because the diet you are on is fine and fits fine and doesn't bunch or squeeze doesn't mean that there isn't another diet which could make you look and feel like a million dollars. I didn't even realize I was on a jeans and t-shirt diet until I tried on a short red dress diet.

/overly-long series of mixed metaphors of questionable value and indecipherable purpose

Craftastrophies

@Diana I think I alluded to this above but this comment coalesced it in my head. I basically allow myself to have whatever I want, but make it real easy to eat the better options. So, have fruit and veg prepped and ready to eat, in the fridge, don't have lots of sugary treats lying around. But have them available and eat the cheesecake or whatever when I want it. Generally, I actually want the more nutritious thing. This takes some practice learning myself and unlearning terrible habits. But once my mind and body realised that it COULD have the sugary snacks if it wanted them, it didn't want them so often.

I mean, basically, I have all the ingredients for microwave pudding in a mug, but I make it maybe once a month. Not because it's not delicious, but because usually it's not what I want. On the other hand, if I had packet pudding in the fridge I would eat it all, because it's easy. And then I would have a sugar crash and feel shitty. For me it's not about weight, it's about how I feel, but there's definitely an overlap. For me, my weight tends to be more about how much activity I'm doing, but how I eat affects how I feel right away. As in, if I didn't eat enough vegetables yesterday, I am tired today. If I ate too much sugar in the afternoon, I will be jittery and anxious in the evening. This is GOOD because it gives me immediate feedback about my choices. I mean man, I freaking LOVE carbs but I tend not to have bread in my house because then I eat it without even noticing it, and what a waste. And then I feel bloaty and maybe a bit refluxy. Every now and then I will make bread, or buy artisinal bread, and I will enjoy the fuck out of every bite of it. But regular bread, I'm with you, I don't miss it at all.

That said, I just made a doctor's appointment for something else, I think I will ask for a blood test for vitamins etc, as encouraged by the comments here. More data about how that's doing is good.

EpWs

@Diana Your bank account metaphor is going to totally change my life, I can feel it.

entangled

@Diana I agree with you, and I'd like to add not to assume that Gary Taubes or Dean Ornish or Michael Pollan or ANYONE knows what is best for YOUR body. I went through a really shitty period where I was obsessed with eating the idealized perfect diet and it made me feel TERRIBLE. Protip: 1400 calories and 100 grams of fiber = ow. I also know a lot of people who are huge proponents of lowering carbs which I always feel like I "should" do but actually makes me feel terrible. I think some people do great on vegetarian diets, some do great on low-carb diets, some people don't need that much food each day and some need tons. It's important to try new things, to know what you're eating, and to be open-minded in listening to your body.

Personally, I'm not a big fan of using weight as a measure of health but again I think it's really important to realize that everyone is different.

Diana

@arrr starr

I thought I'd clarify, my weight is my personal goal, not my health goal. I want to lose weight because I think it will make me look more attractive, not because it will make me healthier. I have a healthy BMI, my doctors give me a thumbs up, this is strictly vanity. But that's fine, and nobody else has to have the same goal. My point is that I had to figure out what is important to me, and what is not important to me.

I know the drawbacks to relying on something as tenuous as 'weight' or 'BMI'. But on the other hand, I come from a family whose members suffer serious, long-term health problems attributable solely to their obesity. I can't really endorse the 'health at every size' movement at its most literal interpretation - most sizes, yes, bigger-and-smaller-than-the-media-advocates sizes, absolutely. But there is a limit. Ain't nobody healthy at 77 pounds, and ain't nobody healthy at 418 pounds. Eat all the spinach leaves you want, it won't make it any easier on your skeleton.

Basically, and I'm getting off topic from your comment, there are so many comments in here along the lines of "just eat what you want, most diets are fine, you'll be fine" and I feel like I'm going crazy. No, apparently most American diets AREN'T fine. That's why we're all getting morbidly obese and suffering from Type 2 diabetes and dying younger than our grandparents. My mother's diet was typical, maybe better than typical because she ate a lot of vegetables, but she was still very overweight and it was ruinous to her quality of life. She had all of it: metabolic syndrome, pre-diabetic, high blood pressure, had her gallbladder out, took like 17 pills a day. Then she decided that her personal goal was to stop having to take as many medications as she could. She wanted to reduce the number of pills she took. It meant losing weight, period. She isn't interested in being thin, per se, but she's finally under 200 pounds (and we are both very short women) and one by one she's cutting down on her medications. What worked was figuring out the goal that was truly important and motivational to her. I know this is getting off-topic but let me try to bring it back around: Part of "listening to your body" is realizing that all of these conditions are terrible distress signals that millions of us are hearing every day.

Charismatic Megafauna@facebook

Eating more nuts will absolutely not decrease one's mortality if one is, like me, deathly allergic to nuts! I will take the slow death of a tasty steak, thank you.

fondue with cheddar

@Charismatic Megafauna@facebook I'm not deathly allergic, though I am also allergic. I'm not giving up my steak either!

Also, I love that your profile picture is the sexiest unicorn ever.

trappedinabay

That's interesting, but here's a spoiler: your mortality risk is 100% no matter what you do. Eat the fucking bacon!

blossom_8552

I was very pleased to find this site.I wanted to thank you for this great read!! I definitely enjoying every little bit of it and I have you bookmarked to check out new stuff you post. Elizabeth

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