Don’t Get Thin — Get Healthy!

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Is there a Magic Pill to Treat Obesity?

In the past week I have read about two possible substances on the internet and of one fictional source in a new book. I’m reminded of Soma, a feel-good drug described by Aldous Huxley in “Brave New World.” Wouldn’t it be great to get rid of all problems with a pill?
One article in Yahoo Health told about a substance called Sensa you could sprinkle on your food to quell your appetite. You could lose weight without changing diet or exercise. I thought, this is like increasing dietary fat. It stimulates your body to make a hormone that slows the emptying time of your stomach and another hormone that tells your brain you have had enough. Eating more healthy fat would not be introducing an unknown substance that might have side effects. You just have to get rid of the faulty idea that eating fat makes you fat.
Another substance Irvingia, an extract of the seed of the African mango, had a couple of references from scientific journals to back up claims of its effectiveness for amazing weight loss of over seven pounds a week. One reference was the Dr. Oz show of September 13, 2010 where the people he followed lost a less remarkable average of 8.9 pounds in 28 days, with normal diet and exercise. If it has been known by the American public for over a year, why haven’t there been more studies by doctors? An earlier report by Ngondi, J.L et al. on subjects in Cameroon was in the journal Lipids in Health and Disease in 2005. Were other reports equivocal because they didn’t use the standard extracts made by the manufacturer: Applied Nutritional Research?
Has Irvingia knowledge and research been squelched by the billion dollar weight loss industry? Certainly Dr. Mary Enig’s research on trans-fats was marginalized for 30 years by the seed oil companies that were profiting from margarine and Crisco. Author William Barrett Burton has just published a thriller called “Ockham’s Razor”. In it the scientist heroine is threatened by bad guys paid by the fast food industry because she has invented an anti-obesity pill. Unless that pill required a healthy diet, I would suspect the weight loss industry instead.
Healthy medium weight Americans have tried to be thin and ended up fighting fat the rest of their lives. Meanwhile the companies that promise thinness are raking in the dollars.

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Ginger Root has Remarkable Uses

Can ginger replace pot for the nausea of chemotherapy? Ginger has been used for years to prevent motion sickness and for thousands of years to treat the morning sickness of pregnancy. M.E. Levine and co-workers at Siena College in Loudonville New York showed that ginger given twice daily in a high protein shake could relieve the nausea that occurs after chemotherapy for cancer. That implies they could swallow liquids. Medical marijuana users often say they can’t tolerate anything by mouth and must smoke the substance to get relief. Could ginger be made into a cigarette?

Ginger root also acts against the inflammation that causes pain in muscles and joints especially of older people. Fifteen years ago I had to take up to eight 200mg pills of ibuprofen to alleviate the pain in my right knee that developed osteoarthritis more than forty years after a serious fall. When I heard Dr. Andrew Weill say that ginger root can prevent the symptoms of arthritis I started using it in my cooking. After a year I could again ride a bicycle and walk without a cane. This was the impetus for writing the book “Don’t Get Thin Get Healthy”. Recently, in July, 2011, I went snowshoeing and hiking in the Mt. Rainier area of Washington and didn’t have to wrap my knees or use pain pills.

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Myths About Gaining Body Fat

Do you think your body is like a warehouse? If you eat fat and see fat on your body, it must be the same fat. That’s impossible. The fat cells in your body can’t absorb fat. They absorb glucose from your blood and then change it into fat after insulin allows the glucose into all cells, including fat cells.
Muscle cells, including heart muscle can absorb fats and use them for energy. The liver and kidneys can also use fatty acids for metabolism. Fat is an efficient energy food that can bypass the liver and be used by the body. Only if TOO MUCH FAT is eaten the liver changes it into blood sugar that can be stored in the fat cells. Similarly, if you eat too much protein, it is first broken down into amino acids. After losing their nitrogen groups which form urea, they become sugars that can be stored as fat.
The quickest way to get fat into adipose tissue is by consuming sugars in food or drink. This may be why the notion got started that if you eat a late dinner, you’re more likely to gain weight. It’s the dessert not the dinner that’s responsible. Sugars are easily absorbed and since you’re not exercising, sugars go directly to the fat cells in your abdomen and become the dangerous fat that crowds your internal organs. This also happens with beer which is a high carbohydrate beverage. One beer won’t do it but many beer drinkers often have a six-pack in the course of the evening. They get the typical beer belly.
In my fifties I used to have a beer while reading in bed. Now I have either a beer or a glass of wine with a late dinner—anywhere from 8 to 10 p.m. when interesting television is on. I can brush my teeth and then have the pleasure of a good book before going to sleep. Eating late never caused abdominal fat. However, I have a skillet full of vegetables along with a three ounce piece of salmon or lamb or two poached eggs or some slices of tofu browned in olive oil with added Parmesan cheese.
I do have carbohydrates for breakfast. I toast three thin slices of wholegrain bread. On this I place generous slices of Irish cheddar cheese. This is topped with a mixture of applesauce and blueberries heated in the microwave. It’s quick and I don’t get hungry for up to seven hours.
By consuming enough fat, I’m not hungry for sugars or processed carbohydrates or too much protein.
You, too, can forget the common belief that eating fat makes you fat. You can eat it and not gain weight. But be sure it’s not from animals raised in factory farms or from salad oils from a field crop. Both might contain insecticides or other toxins. Any fat is healthy if grown on small farms like that of our ancestors.

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