Friday, June 28, 2013

ABOUT ORGANIC MEAT ON A ZERO CARB DIET


Many thanks to Lisa for bringing up the interesting question about the place of organic meats on a Zero Carb diet. Even if it is not an easy question to answer…

The concept of ORGANIC products is very attractive, as much as for plant material then animal products. It is a sort of dream: eating food items, the purest they can be, void of fungicides, insecticides, weed killers, preservatives, colorings, name it, the list is long. Eating them the way nature has created them, for us, to enjoy and survive.

But is this dream a reality?

Reality being such a decision needs to be based on serious science, at least observational, not only on the concept.

Organic food is generally sold with vague, unsubstantiated claims that they are “safe” food, “healthier” food and more “natural” food. It even has sort of a mystic thing about it that reaches some sensible spots inside us, giving a sense of harmony with the environment, plants, animals and the entire universe… 

Sadly, it is a misconception that buying organic means you are supporting local farmers and more sustainable agriculture. Most of the organic food items in your local supermarket are, nowadays, from big agribusiness that does imports from around the planet where control on quality is largely disputable.

Historically, to be able to sell a product as “organic”, the company had to answer one criterion: having a business address “in the countryside”. Then, with years, when our governments saw it was a big market and big money, they decided to regulate. But as we well know, regulation is not everything…

Amusingly, a few years ago, there was an arrival of organic products in store that came at an impossible speed; the reason being a lot of products on the shelves were already “produced organically”, but nobody knew about it, nor the agribusiness folks, nor the clients. This is why, for example, paprika, which do not need, and never needed, any chemicals to farm, became, from one day to another, labeled as “organic paprika”… with, of course, an higher market price…

Not the least, organic food isn’t any nutritious than conventional food. This is a big point. They do not contain more proteins, more vitamins or minerals. If you have anemia and you eat red meat to get some iron, you will not get more iron from organic meat then from regular meat.

The problem nowadays with food supply is the time it gets to arrive on your plate. And even in a world where things goes faster and faster, our food is taking more and more time to travel from the farm to your kitchen. And this is, sadly, a very bad point for organic stuff. For example, it was discovered on many organic vegetables serious mold growth, molds that are “at high risks’ for human health, simply because they had to travel for days without any applications of “decay preventive substances”… Strangely, they often spray CITRIC ACID as a preservative, which is not a big deal helth wise...

Most interestingly, some farmers refuse to go “organic” especially if they raise animals. The reason being that if they do and their animals get sick, they cannot treat them with any medications because it would be “unorganic”...

As for the taste of organic products, especially meat, according to a German study, there is no gain in flavor, texture or any other aspects. So when you ear folks saying they had an “organic steak” and the flavor was “outstanding”, let yourself have some doubts.

Personally, I think the only food item where there are some scientific reasons to go organic is butter. The reason being animal fats is where all the chemicals accumulate.

For the rest, there are NO studies, whatever, showing organic products are better for human health. The only we can find, are assumptions…

Denis




Saturday, June 22, 2013

INTRODUCTION by Lisa

First I want to send out a thank you to Dave for asking me to be a contributor to his great blog. And also to Denis for all of his extremely informative posts that I have really enjoyed while Dave is pursuing his educational goals.
I'm honored to join them in the zero carb chronicles.

So here is some background information. I am a 48 yr old mother of 2 teenagers and have been a practicing eye doctor for the past 22 years.  I have a lifelong history of struggling with my weight and carb addiction.  About 9 yrs ago after many attempts at losing weight, eating salads and lean chicken breast, I began reading a lot of books....I started out with The Schwarzbein Principle and cut out sugar and flour and then moved onto Neanderthin by Ray Audette and began eating basically meat, vegetables, fruit, nuts and seeds.  I soon found out I could easily binge on dried apricots and roasted nuts.  Then in 2009, while reading on a paleo forum I was on, someone posted a link to Zeroing In On Health and after reading on there for just a day or 2 I decided as I continued to read that I would jump right in and start eating ZC.  It truly has changed my life with hope that I would no longer be a slave to carb cravings and weight issues.  
It has been a journey and everyone's journey is their own experience but I hope to be able to share aspects of my journey that may help others looking for the same Golden Ticket that I feel I have found in this way of eating.

LET'S TRY TO ANSWER ANY QUESTION ABOUT ZERO CARB


Since months now I have been pushing information on this blog about subjects I consider interesting, important or even essential to anyone following a Zero Carb way of eating. It was a rewarding experience and I thank everyone that commented any of my postings.

The number of daily hits to our blog is excellent and, pleasantly, it is maintained all the way with even a satisfying increase.

I think it could be challenging now to go around and see what “kind of knowledge” ZC folks are looking for.

So I decided to give a try and offer to answer, with all my best knowledge and nowadays science, any question one would have relating to Zero Carb.

Yes, this may be challenging but since Zero Carb is a sort of “newborn” in the world of nutrition, we need to dig and look for answers to our query.

So please, anyone, feel free to use the comment section and “throw any questions on the table”!!!

Denis


Monday, June 17, 2013

IS OLIVE OIL A GOOD CHOICE ON A ZERO CARB DIET?


No dough about it, olive oil has a solid and serious reputation. I feel sort of brave to dare discussing its place since centuries in human nutrition. But I will be courageous and with the help of studies, I will try to bring up information so you can make an opinion for yourself.

Olive oil appeared in human history 24,000 years BC. Very early, aside being used as a food item, it was known for its medicinal purposes and body care, especially the skin. Being also used for religious purposes, this has certainly helped to push its good reputation.

Today’s world production is outstanding: more then 3,269,248 tons olive oil is produce per year, Spain, Italy and Egypt being the largest producer. So, yes, it is a big market. And as any big market means big money, there is ALWAYS a risk of abusive marketing and all the related consequences. Did you know olive oil is now considered a commodity, just like crude oil and corn and so, it responds to a market of offer and demand? Sort of scary…

Price of olive oil can go as low as 5-6$ per liter up to 185$ for the exclusive Greek “Lamba” luxury olive oil; and, just for your interest, you may purchase a personalized signed bottle including casing for the amount of this Lamda stuff for the amount of 14,500 USD…

But…

But there is olive and olive oil. For example, according to the Canadian Government, 75 % of imported olive oil does not respond to international standards. Why? Well here are some tricks producers are using to increase gains: they may “dilute” their olive oil with cheaper vegetable oils such as sunflower or canola oil; or they may add to “ old rancid olive oil’ some fresh olive oil and put it back on the market so they minimize their losses; another profitable way is to add cheaper imported oil from Morocco or Tunisia and market it as “High Quality Extra Virgin ITALIAN Olive Oil”…

One easy trick to see if your olive oil is of good quality is to do the “fridge test”: stick your olive oil in the fridge for one or two days, If it begins to solidify, it means you have a true extra-virgin olive oil because any added polyunsaturated oil will prevent solidification.

But, sincerely, the business side of olive oil is not the main problem because you find good quality and reliable producers, especially if you look for small companies.

So lets looks at the nutritional value of olive oil.

I think the composition of this oil is a big concern as it includes 72% monounsaturated fat, 14% polyunsaturated and 14% saturated. In other words, 86% of fats in olive oil are unsaturated in nature, fats that are very sensible to oxidation by light, temperature or simple exposition to air. So olive oil must be kept in airtight and dark bottles, away from bright light and should NEVER be used for grilling. It should only be added to food as “uncooked oil” once the food is ready to serve. Coating your steak with olive oil before grilling is NOT a good idea. Using coconut oil is a much better choice.

The other big concern is its composition in essential polyunsaturated fats, the omega’s. Olive oil may contain between 0% and 3% (max) omega 3, which makes it a very poor source. On the other side, it contain up to 23% omega 6 which are the bad pro-inflammatory fatty acids. The rest is compose of omega 9, a fatty acid that human can produced so we do not need any of it in our diet.

As you can see, at the end, the “fat profile” is not that impressive. The concern is more considering that these delicate unsaturated fats, once ingested, will be integrated in all your cells membranes and make them poorly resistant to free radical attack (or fat peroxidation), which will weaken your entire body.

On the other side, you may ask yourself why this oil has a so great reputation with all these setbacks? The reason is easy to understand: all the studies done comparing “olive oil rich Mediterranean diet” were compare to the “Western countries high carbs bad fats diet”.  That was an easy fight to win.

Except when some studies compared the “Mediterranean diet” to a “low carb diet”, it lost the battle. I went through 3 well-done clinical studies published in reputable medical journals and their conclusions were all the same: a low-carb diet with a serious content of saturated fat is healthier then the “olive oil rich Mediterranean diet”.

You still have some dough? Let me tell you a diet rich in olive oil will only increase your “good” HDL-cholesterol by 1%... while a low carb-high saturated fat diet will skyrocket your HDL.

A fantastic study demonstrated women having had hearth attacks were doing much better afterward on a “saturated fat diet” then an unsaturated fat diet.

But the good thing about olive oil being it is the “less bad oil” you can have on a salad, as it will not solidify like coconut oil when you poor it on fresh lettuce… And as one great low-carb doctor said one day in a conference, it is the salads which are responsible for heart attacks; not because of the lettuce but because of the unsaturated nature of the fats in the dressings…

Still, let’s be fair and give one good point to olive oil: as it contains no carbohydrate at all, it is absolutely Zero Carb!!!

Denis



Saturday, June 15, 2013

WHAT IS THE PLACE OF FISH ON A ZERO CARB DIET?


Sincerely, I am far away from pretending to know what is the BEST answer to this question. But I think folks on Zero Carb, as big “meat eaters”, must sometime get “out of their box” and ask themselves some questions about sutable alternatives to their very common “all red-meat muscle” diet.

Just to give you an idea of what is the actual “trendy nutrition advice” about fish, the American Hearth Association recommends to eat fish TWICE a week. On a 3 meals per day mode, this means 90% of your weekly meals should be FREE OF FISH. Smells fishy to me…

Ok, fish has good qualities. It scores 100% on the essentials amino acids content, which means it is a complete protein. If you consider minerals, it is also an excellent source of iron, calcium, selenium, iodine and zinc. As for vitamins, fish is also a good source of vitamins A, D, E and the B vitamins. Fatty fish like salmon and tuna are especially rich in vitamin D. Also, and no the least, fish is a serious source of omega-3, one of the main reason it is highly recommended.

But…

But there are serious problems with eating fish, this being the reasons we are advice by doctors and nutritionists not to eat too often some of these aquatic creatures.

Fish do contain heavy metals, including lead, chromium, chrome and especially mercury that is found in dangerous quantities is tuna. And not only tuna... but also in “albacore” which is marketed as “white tuna” and is NOT tuna… and still, is the most common fish in the “canned tuna” sold in supermarkets…. 

To reduce the risk of mercury contamination, it is recommended to avoid eating swordfish, shark, tilefish and king mackerel altogether. As of this “white canned tuna which is not real tuna albacore stuff”, it is advice not to have more than 6 ounces per week… Also interesting, the larger the fish, the older it will be, and the more the flesh will contain heavy metals. So looking to eat "small fishes" is a smart choice (ex: sardines).

The other big concern about fish is they contain a lot of preservatives. As they do not age well, contrarily to red meat, they are sprayed with preservatives like polyphosphates, sulfites, sodium benzoate and polytrisorbate to control growth of mold, yeast and bacteria. This keeps the fish a nice fresh smell and a nice color; in other words, instead of keeping 24 hours from catching at fridge temperature, they will keep for several days… and an eternity when frozen… Guess who wins here? Certainly not the consumer…

Then comes the new concept of “farmed fish”. Even if you try to get “wild caught”, do not forget 75 % of today’s fish is from industrial farming and this is what you will get 75 % of the time… When you purchase “Atlantic salmon from Canada”, you must forget about the idea of “fishermen on their boats fishing in the cold Canadian waters” and replace this image with huge overcrowded seaside industrial pounds to which is added antibiotics to prevent diseases, some dye to improve appearance and God knows what else… The “what else” being fish is very often soaked for hours in chemical solutions to increase weight and texture… and selling price. Did you ever noticed how fish tends to shrink when sauté in the pan? Of course, the other bad effect is the heavy metals will "bioconcentrate" in farmed fish...

I will avoid the subject of “genetically modified fish” as this is a delicate and complicated question, just as the “genetically modified corn” given to our favorite sources of red meats…

So, as you see, fish is not that great after all. But there is more…

The problem for Zero Carbers is fish contains very low fat. And when they contain fat, they are the polyunsaturated types, which are extremely sensible to oxidation. For a rule, fish from cold water tends to be fatty and those from warm water, tend to be white and very low in fat. Which can be translated in the need to add some fat, butter or coconut oil being the ideal choices. Olive oil is always a “trendy option” but I have a personal opinion about olive oil and this will be the subject of a separate posting.

So clearly, on a Zero Carb diet, fish can be an option; an option for variety; an option for a source of omega-3. But considering the “overall nutrition value” of fish, when compared to meat, it has nothing really great to offer except, maybe, and I say maybe, the iodine. Which you will NOT get in farmed fish…

For myself, I keep fish occasional, not more then ONCE a week and it is usually WILD salmon that is served VERY RARE to avoid oxidation of fats. And, of course, it is soaking in a mix of melted butter and coconut oil…!!!

Denis






Friday, June 14, 2013

6/14/2013 Greetings from the Twilight Zone


Greetings Friends and Family. My Spirits and Energy levels are good.

Why have you been Dave? Where indeed!!! OK, I will come clean.............. or will I? 

Crafty and cunning as usual..........HA!!! Come clean you say, come clean indeed! Yada yada yada......... jeez why so much double talk? Well as some of you might know I don't make anything easy. 

Alright then, now to the meat of the matter. Where has this Wayward Son been? Fishing? No. Catching butterflies? No. Touring Africa on some grand safari? No. Uh........well........... then what or where or.................whatever!!!!

Can we just get a straight answer? OK, got the message and I will comply: I have been on a business venture that has taken me to all parts of the United States. I have been in deep negotiations to revitalize an American Icon that has been recently put on the back burner. Yes, you can be the first to boast to your friends, family and anyone you give a hoot about  that you got the news.... the news of the decade........nay the news of the century that Dave is on the cusp of bringing back the Hostess Brand of products!!!! Yes, I promise a Twinkies in every pot!  

OH BROTHER. OK, yet another weak attempt of humor gone wrong................

Now for those who have made it this far into the post I will now tell all: It is not dramatic at all. I have been back to school. Yes that simple that easy. I am working on my MBA. I have been taking classes back to back with little to no breaks in an attempt to "Get it over with" as soon as possible. There you go. Why all the secrecy or mystery  I dunno........ I just thought at the time that I wanted a little privacy. 

Now on to some more important business. I think y'all know a gentleman by the name of Denis. Wow what a GREAT GUY!! He is my good Zero Carb Friend that has kept this tiny Blog alive. I owe him more gratitude than I can ever give. He has provided some really great information and insight. THANK YOU MY FRIEND!!!


PuRe SeReNiTy

Take Me High, 

Take Me Low, 

Take Me Where I want to Go,

You can't take my Joy from me since I found Serenity.


Now at this time I would like to introduce a "Guest Author" of the Zero Carb Blog. Her name is Lisa, she is an eye doctor and has been ZC for over 4 yrs and will occasionally post about her different ideas and experiences with Zero Carb. I have known her for a few of years and we have talked and corresponded on many occasions. So please welcome her to the Blog. 

For ME, well all is good on the Zero Carb front so far. As mentioned earlier I am chipping away at my MBA and hope to finish sometime this summer. I have a lot of ideas and thoughts about the direction of Zero Carb and will share them as I get back to regular posting after graduation. All good things come with time my Friends and Family and that time is coming soon. 

Have a Great Day my Friends and Family. Day by day.... One meal at a time....Whatever it takes....Keep On Keeping On and Always Battle On!!!


(ZC) Get into the  GROOVE






Cheers,


Dave
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