Friday, January 28, 2011

Book Review - Why We Get Fat and What to Do About It by Gary Taube

I just bought Gary Taubes' book, "Why We Get Fat and What to Do About It." The central thesis of the book is that we get fat not because we eat too much and exercise too little but that we are consuming far too many refined carbohydrates. The cure, he says, is to eat a high fat diet, at least 3:1 fat to protein and not overdo the exercise. There are alot of diet books out there that give similar advice, South Beach, Atkins, etc., but Taube manages to pull all this together in one fairly short and readable book that argues his case very effectively. This advice tracks to my own experience.

I am 51 years old and 5'11" tall. At this time last year I weighed somewhere between 180 and 185 pounds (depending on whose scale I was standing on). I didn't think of myself as especially heavy but my weight had gradually crept up over the years, even though I am physically active. Last year my doctor told me I had developed type 2 diabetes. I have no family history of it and I don't even like sweets, which doesn't seem just somehow. But who said life is fair? 

Pre-diagnosis I went to the gym 3 times a week spending 2 hours at a time. That included spending an hour on an elliptical machine with the goal of 900 calories and 60 minutes. That is, if I made it to 900 calories in 58 minutes, I'd keep going to 60 or if I was a bit short on calorie burn at 60 minutes I'd keep going until I got there. I didn't overeat at all, I've never been a big eater and yet the weight kept creeping up.

I have a strong aversion to taking medications of any kind so I asked the doctor what I could do to avoid it. He told me to avoid pasta, potatoes, white rice and bread, essentially the same advice Taube gives. So I did that.

Now I eat meat/chicken (skin on)/fish, butter, eggs, bacon, cheese and all the green vegetables I want. I don't even worry about fat, except to make sure I am getting a good balance of Omega 3 to Omega 6. I still go to the gym 3 times a week but ony 1 hour each time and have changed the routine. I spend an hour lifting weights (to build lean muscle mass which burns fat) on two of those days and I take a yoga class on the third day for strength, balance and flexibility.

The result of the changes to my diet and exercise routine were that I lost 35+ pounds in less than 6 months and am back to the weight I was in my early 30's and have stabilized around 145-147 pounds. My blood glucose is regularly in the high 70's to high 90's range now (normal is 65-99) and my A1C is down to 5.8 or almost back to the normal range. My cholesterol is normal with an HDL (the good kind) of around 70. And note, the weight loss is with half the time spent at the gym every week compared to before. Finding the two hours to spend three times a week before was quite a challenge.

Fat is the body's preferred fuel. If you deprive the body of fat that little reptilian part of your brain will start thinking "famine" and start slowing your metabolism and signalling your cells to store fat. Refined carbs are the most easily converted so the more of that you consume the fatter you will get. Eventually the cells are going to say no more and that is where the insulin resistance and type 2 diabetes begins.

Obviously I didn't have the benefit of the Taubes book a year ago but previous readings did help me figure out the diet and exercise routine necessary to reach my goals. Three books I can recommend in particular are "Real Food: What to Eat and Why" by Nina Planck. I think highly enough of it that I've given away probably a dozen copies to family, friends and even my doctor. One of her source material books was "The Schwarzbein Principle" by Diana Schwarzbein MD, an endocrinologist. If you read nothing more than the introduction to her book you'll learn alot (and it's a Look Inside book at Amazon, so you can). Lastly, I got the exercise part figured out by reading "Fit for Combat : When Fitness is a Matter of Life or Death" by JD Johannes, a combat filmmaker and retired (there's no such thing as ex!) Marine. I am not as extreme as he is but he got me pointed in the right direction. There are other books too numerous to list but these are all very readable and the ones I credit most with helping me get on track.

Why We Get Fat: And What to Do About It (Borzoi Books)   Real Food: What to Eat and Why  The Schwarzbein Principle: The Truth About Losing Weight, Being Healthy, and Feeling Younger  Fit for Combat: When Fitness is a Matter of Life or Death

Share |

Klavan on the Culture - "Heckuva Job Greenies" and Assorted Other Usual Suspects

Andrew KLavan takes us on a quick tour down the road to Hell.

Share |

Monday, January 24, 2011

Thomas Sowell Has Something for Everybody Today

Two Blogs, two separate quotes from one interview that Thomas Sowell gave to John Hawkins at Right Wing News recently.

THOMAS SOWELL ON WHAT SHOULD HAPPEN WHEN BIG-SPENDING STATES RUN OUT OF MONEY: “They should go bankrupt. I’m looking forward to it.”
Glenn's observation:
"It’ll hurt people who have relied on their promises to pay. But so did what was done to the Chrysler bondholder"
At Samizdata, this caught the attention of Perry DeHavilland:
John Hawkins: Now, in recent years we started to hear more people calling to get rid of the Federal Reserve. Good idea, bad idea? What are your thoughts?

Thomas Sowell: Good idea

John Hawkins: Good idea? What do you think we should replace it with? What do you think we should do?

Thomas Sowell: Well it's like when you remove a cancer what do you replace it with?
Personally, I liked the following point about government employee unions:
John Hawkins: "Well, related question to that -- certainly we should allow unions in society. Should we be allowing government workers to unionize?

Thomas Sowell: "Oh, I don't know about allowing them to unionize, but they certainly should not be allowed to strike -- and there was a time when they weren't allowed to unionize. There's a whole atmosphere in which a strike is regarded as some kind of sacred thing. A strike is not simply a refusal to work. We all can refuse to work whether we're unionized or not. A strike is a refusal to let other people do the work that you refuse to do and I don't know why anybody should have that right

There's a lot more. Read the whole thing.

Share |

Thursday, January 20, 2011

Book Recommendation - The Politically Incorrect Guide to Socialism

I just acquired and am about halfway through a book by National Review's Kevin D. Williamson. It is called "The Politcally Incorrect Guide to Socialism."  So far the book is an excellent accounting of the origins and history of the Socialist movement and shows how much Socialism has crept into our own country's structure and institutions. One example is our system of public education. The book also shows how Socialism's record on nearly anything is worse than any capitalistic endeavor, for example the environment. Some of the greatest environmental catastrophes of all time have taken place under socialist regimes and they weren't all accidents but by design. One  such is the Aral Sea which was formerly one of the largest lakes in the world with thriving fisheries, commerce and communities economically dependent on it. Now it is largley dried up and has now become three separate bodies of largley toxic water. How did this happen? The Soviets diverted the rivers that fed it to irrigate their massive collective farms without any regard to the effect on the lake or the people who depended onit for their livelihoods. That is but one example.

The book is far from a dry read considering the subject matter. It is actually difficult to put down and I usually only find that to be true about really good novels. So, if you would like to become a bit more educated about Socialism, this book is an excellent choice to achive that end.

Share |

Wednesday, January 19, 2011

Blackberry Help

Very clever.

(h/t Lee!)
Share |

Sunday, January 16, 2011

This Is a Thing of Beauty.

A magnificent rant by  Don Surber:

For two years now, I have been called ignorant, racist, angry and violent by the left. The very foul-mouthed protesters of Bush dare to now label my words as “hate speech.”

Last week, the left quickly blamed the right for the national tragedy of a shooting spree by a madman who never watched Fox News, never listened to Rush Limbaugh and likely did not know who Sarah Palin is.

Fortunately, the American public rejected out of hand that idiotic notion that the right was responsible.

Rather than apologize, the left wants to change the tone of the political debate.

The left suddenly wants civil discourse.

Bite me.

The left wants to play games of semantics.

Bite me.

The left wants us to be civil — after being so uncivil for a decade.

Bite me.
There's more. Really, do read the whole thing.
Share |

Saturday, January 15, 2011

A Handy Guide for Anti-Gun Journalists On How Not to Sound Stupid on the Subject of Guns

Via Instapundit, we have a little help on how to write about guns if you are an anti-gun journalist. This point in particular is worth repeating in light of last wee's events in Tucson:

1. Don’t assume criminals follow laws.

In a way, this goes right to the heart of the gun-control debate. It is a conservative talking point that only the law-abiding will follow — and thus be disarmed by — gun laws.


Jared Loughner left his house that day intending to assassinate Representative Giffords. There is absolutely no reason to believe that a more restrictive concealed-carry regime would have changed that. If he was willing to violate laws against murder, he was willing to violate laws against concealed carry. Suggesting otherwise just shows that you haven’t bothered to think things through.

This is the (regrettably often fatal) flaw in thinking that because you might post a sign that says "No Guns Allowed" somewhere that someone bent on murder is going to think twice about carrying out the act. No, you might as well put up a sign that says "Unarmed Victims Inside. Have At It;" Spree killers, sometimes also called active shooters, look for places like this. They often do not intend to come out of the incident alive themselves but want to kill as many others as they can before they take their own lives or are killed themselves.

A "cooling off period" has been employed in some places, requiring a gun buyer to wait a few days to pick it up from the store. Perhaps what would serve society better is a requirement for a cooling off period before anyone tries to pass poorly conceived law that won't solve the problem it is trying to address or make any of us safer.


Share |

Wednesday, January 12, 2011

The Frailty of Big Business

Johnathan Pearce at Samizdata notes some good observations by author Matt Ridley (The Rational Optimist: How Prosperity Evolves) about how businesses succeed or fail over time based on how well they serve their customers while no government agency, however incompetent, ever goes out of business.

Related: Also at Samizdata; Brian Mickelthwaite posts as Samizdata Quote of the Day, a quote from Professor Steven G. Horwitz on what can happen when corporations can co-opt government to rig the rules to favor themselves and reduce competiton, i.e., rent-seeking.

Read both of them.
Share |

Tuesday, January 11, 2011

The Progressive Worldview Explained

Over at Pajamas Media Mike McDaniel explains the worldview of the ReProgressives. An excerpt:

"Closely allied to this nonfoundational view is the principle that no progressive belief or policy can ever be in error. This, for the progressive, removes much of the complexity of life. Whatever problem exists in the world exists only because of conservative resistance to, or interference with, progressive policy. This prevents the full and correct application of progressive policy. Therefore, the sole solution to problems, personal or societal, is simple: More and more fervent progressive policy must be applied until perfect social justice, diversity, and peace are achieved. For those who lived through the Cold War, this should sound familiar. It is communist doctrine lite — for the Soviets taught that only when capitalism was completely eradicated could the ultimate triumph of Communism occur, and perfect peace and social justice would prevail. Until that glorious day, 100 million or so deaths was merely the incidental cost of doing glorious socialist business."

Read the whole thing.

Related: Richard Fernandez commenting on Victor Davis Hanson:

"Dr. Hanson’s observations about the Left’s unreasonable expectations are probably true. But what does he hope to achieve by stating them? Does he hope that against all odds the Left will come to their senses? Perhaps, because that’s the logical thing to do. But history suggests that logic doesn’t always prevail. Historically doomed societies never come to their senses. That’s why they were doomed. Their feedback loop was permanently disconnected; not simply unplugged but bricked over."

Share |