avanta7: (Default)
I heard about something called the "Raw Food Diet" on Talk of the Nation yesterday, which intrigued me enough to dig a little deeper. Excerpt from the interview:

This is an experiment in which rats were given their regular chow pellets in two different forms. One was the ordinary pellet, and the other was with air added. They were puffed up. It's as if you took a grain of wheat and then puffed it off into puffed wheat.

RAEBURN: No nutrients added or subtracted, just air.

Dr. WRANGHAM: That's the only thing, air. And the experimenters were very careful. They gave exactly the same number of calories as measured - you know, the same weight of food to two groups of rats. And they measured how much locomotion they expended, and it was the same. So, same number of calories, same locomotor expenditure - you'd think that they would grow at the same rates. But the ones that ate the softer food grew faster, ended up heavier and had 30 percent more body fat.

RAEBURN: It can't be true.

Dr. WRANGHAM: So they grew obese.

RAEBURN: It can't be.

(Soundbite of laughter)

RAEBURN: It can't be true.

(Soundbite of laughter)

Dr. WRANGHAM: Well, you see, this is where the costs of digestion come in. It's so important, because they could actually show where the difference was. And the difference is this: that after a meal, the rats that ate the softer food had a lower rise in body temperature than those that ate the harder food. Their metabolic rate was lower because their bodies were working less hard, because there was less to do. They didn't have to soften their food.

And this is a wonderful little model, I think, for all sorts of examples in the human case. When we turn our beef into ground beef - just like hunters and gatherers who cook their meat and then pound it, what we're doing is making it easier for our bodies to digest the food and therefore sparing our bodies the need to waste energy, calories, on digesting the food. And the result is that the net caloric gain is greater when we eat food that has been more highly processed.

As the name implies, one gives up eating cooked food and instead eats only raw foods. By virtue of necessity, this turns out to be a vegetarian diet and can even be vegan if one gives up dairy products as well. The pros seem to be quick weight loss and a reduction in sodium and cholesterol levels. The cons are a lack of certain essential nutrients obtained almost solely through animal products, such as certain proteins and fats; the need to eat a whole lot more than one ordinarily eats to maintain weight rather than lose it; and a whole lot of prep time to make juices or otherwise prepare the raw foods in a pleasing palatable fashion.

The focus of yesterday's interview itself was "how cooking made us human", and the raw food diet issue was addressed specifically in answer to a caller's question. The general impression I got from the interview and from the subsequent internet research was that a diet of strictly raw food would not be a good idea over an extended period of time, or as a way of life. But for brief stretches of time, it might be good as a cleansing or detoxing regimen. So I'm considering giving it a go during the week that spouse is gone, albeit in a modified fashion. I can eat big salads for lunch and dinner; oats or other cereal and a boiled egg for breakfast; raw veggies such as carrots and cucumber for snackies, as well as fresh fruit; and my usual (store-bought) fruit juices and dairy products like milk or cheese tossed in there for good measure. JuicePlus should keep me from losing out on most nutrients.


From WebMD.
From about.com.
From LiveScience.
From Steve Pavlina's blog.
From the Diet Library.
avanta7: (PinkWall)
Did you know my local rag ran weekly menus in the food section every Wednesday? Neither did I! No more meal planning! If this week's menu is any indication of its usual variety, I can let the local food editor do it for me! The article includes recipes and how-to's. Hee!

All the main dishes have suggested side dishes, which I didn't include below.

Sunday: Roast Leg Of Lamb with Rosemary Roasted Potatoes
Monday: Lamb Sandwiches from Sunday's leftovers
Tuesday: Tortellini Soup
Wednesday: Grilled Chicken "Pizza" (made with tortillas)
Thursday: Brown Rice with Ham and Apples
Friday: Black Bean and Corn Soup
Saturday: Provencal Chicken

I don't know if I'll actually serve lamb Sunday, which means something different for Monday as well, but the rest of the week looks pretty good!
avanta7: (Default)
My days are so ordinary. Get up, go to work, push paper around, come home, walk the dog, fix dinner, play on the computer, watch TV or read a little, go to bed, do it all again the next day.

It's a quiet life, but someone has to lead it.

My supervisor forwarded a rather odd e-mail to me, though. It was sent to him from someone in the regional office about a case I had just worked today. It noted I had triggered a particular action and then commented that I hadn't released the attorney fee. Excuse me? Is RO monitoring my workload? If so, why? I didn't notice this in my inbox until late in the day, so questioning my supervisor will have to wait until tomorrow.
avanta7: (pong)
I got in a conversation today about The Young And The Restless.

True confession time: I started watching this soap with my mother when I was about 11 years old. I watched it faithfully and religiously for over twenty years. Then I went to work for the federal government and no longer had an hour-long lunch in which to go home and see the show. I tried taping it for a while, but the tapes gathered dust, and eventually I lost track and lost interest.

Still, old habits die slow and painful deaths. As I told my co-worker, every now and then, when I'm home during the day, I'll tune in. But it takes me only about ten minutes to realize they're still hashing over the same stuff they hashed out all those years ago: Kay & Jill are still at each other's throats; Jack is out to bed the show's latest hot babe who happens to be the wife/girlfriend of his latest business partner; Paul is about to get his heart broken again; Nikki and Victor will marry and divorce and marry and divorce and marry and...well, you get the picture.

And then my co-worker says, "You know that Kay is Jill's mother."

What? What? WHAT?!? How on earth....??? She's a Foster! Poor Irish Catholic from the wrong side of the tracks, with enough ruthless ambition to seduce Kay's husband and get pregnant, claim a share of the Chancellor fortune for her child, and leave her poor Irish Catholic white trash beginnings behind with nary a regret.

Elizabeth, Kay's former housekeeper, is her mother. Her father (whose name I forget) was a cop. Snapper the doctor is her brother. Greg the lawyer is her brother. Jill is the youngest Foster and the only girl.

But no, said my co-worker. The story now goes like this: Kay got pregnant before she was married and gave the infant girl to someone who gave the baby to the Fosters who adopted her. Then Kay married and had her son Brock.

Wait just a doggone minute. Brock is older than Jill. Brock has always been older than Jill. Brock and Jill even had a fling many many moons ago. This means, chronology notwithstanding, not only did Jill have an affair with her own brother, she had an affair with her brother's father, and Brock is not only her son's uncle but her son's brother.

Do you hear "Dueling Banjos"? This story takes place in Wisconsin, not Deliverance!

I'm embarrassed that I even know all this stuff. And that I still care. Crap, I'm probably going to have to start watching the silly thing again.

My head hurts.
avanta7: (Default)
I've been trying to sort out my post-election feelings.

And here they are... )
avanta7: (Default)
In the past couple of years, I have come to the conclusion that Halloween utterly bores me. I have zero interest in attending costume parties, decorating my house or yard, handing out candy to children on my doorstep, or in anything remotely Halloween-related. It doesn't bother me to see other people doing any of those things, but it's definitely not for me anymore.

It would probably be different if I had children.

August 2013

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