One Mom in the Middle…
of parenting… of her career… of life…

Yoga for Osteoporosis

Published 8.23.2016
Osteoporosis is a topic that has been of interest to me for about five years. I've been collecting and reading articles (both journal and popular press) about the condition for roughly that period. This will be the first of a series (however sporadic it turns out to be) related to osteoporosis.

Although it's noted in the site disclaimer that is linked at the bottom of this (and every) post, I want to re-iterate for emphasis:
I’m not any sort of medical professional, so I am not going to pretend to be one. My understanding of osteoporosis is based upon my layman’s analysis of the research I’ve read. In no way is anything I wrote to be construed as advice or a recommendation for treating or dealing with osteoporosis.

My path to using yoga as part of my treatment for osteoporosis began with a book. This is my review of Loren Fishman MD's Yoga for Osteoporosis: The Complete Guide.
I’ve owned this book for years, and I have read through parts of it often. This book helped me understand the disease and formulate my response to early onset osteoporosis. I highly recommend this book. The book is essentially divided into two parts. The first part is an explanation of the disease as it is currently understood— and make no mistake about it, osteoporosis is in NO WAY completely understood. Read the rest.

Re: NPR is closing its comment section

Published 8.18.2016
It's been awhile since I commented on the issue of comment sections on the internet, but I am writing about the issue today because NPR announced that it will be closing its comment section as of August 23. My opinion of comment sections is that they typically have terrible signal to noise ratios and are not worth a read.

NPR, of course, stands for National Public Radio, and as such it does receive some level of tax payer support for its operation. As well as the seemingly endless pledge drives that it runs to get money from listeners. Full disclosure: I used to contribute annually to NPR stations (yes, in the plural because I lived (and live) in a region where their are multiple NPR stations to listen to. The stations don't have the same programming, so I listened to both.) Note the tense there, I seldom if ever listen to NPR now (mostly because I'm not in my car regularly any more) and haven't donated any money in years.

I occasionally visit NPR's website, but have to admit that for me, NPR is a still a radio station, rather than a website. Still, I do occasionally visit and read the stories— I'm less likely to listen though, I prefer to read rather than listen on my computer. I almost never read the comment section though. That holds true universally though, I think comment sections tend to shed more heat than light on a topic— and that's if they don't devolve into a cesspool of hateful or trolling rhetoric. Comment sections, rather than "fostering connections" typically are useless at best, and harmful at worst.

Moderation can help. The New York Times comment section is generally readable— but the paper spends a lot of money on moderators. It also closes comments on articles after some amount of time. NPR's comments are moderated, but via a third party, which apparently couldn't keep up with the trolling. Read the rest.

Back from the Land of Brexit

Published 8.10.2016
After a lovely two weeks away, I am back at my home base and in front of my computer screen. As the title notes, my travels included ten days in the United Kingdom (UK), specifically stays in Wales, Scotland and London. Two of those three spot voted to remain in the European Union, while Wales voted to leave. We stayed in Swansea, which actually voted overwhelmingly to leave.

The topic of Brexit did arise a few times while we were in the UK, but this is not the site where my thoughts on the topic will be placed.

Arthurian sites

As I recently reviewed a book dedicated to looking for historical evidence for the man that could have been Arthur, I could not miss the opportunity to check out whatever Arthur sites were near us during the trip. Both Wales and Scotland we visited spots that claim a link to the man, myth or legend.

Below is a picture of an unmarked stone in the middle a pasture that is said to the stone from which Arthur pulled Excalibur. The rock (stone) looks as though it split— no doubt after the sword was pulled from it. Read the rest.

More reactions to the Hall Study

Published 7.22.2016
Reactions continue to the Kevin Hall authored, NuSi* funded study that falsified Gary Taubes' carb-insulin hypothesis. Here is a round up of reactions, plus Hall’s answer to the question why it wasn’t a crossover study. Basically, crossover would have introduced confounding order effects. This was a pilot study so it was small and the diets were extreme by design— basically giving the low carb diet the best chance possible to be the best. Then subsequent studies would back off the diet extremes and look for more nuance.

This is a brief announcement by Carson Chow (who has collaborated with Hall in the past) and the most interesting tidbit here is:

The experiment showed very little effect and refutes the carbohydrate-insulin model of weight gain. Kevin was so frustrated with dealing with Nusi that he opted out of any follow up study. Taubes did not support the conclusions of the paper and claimed that the diet used (which Nusi approved) wasn’t high enough in carbs.

And there is more to study:

There were some weird effects that warrant further study. One is that study participants seemed to burn 500 more Calories outside of a metabolic chamber compared to inside. This was why the participants lost weight on the lead-in stabilizing diet. These missing Calories far swamped any effect of macronutrient composition.

Read the rest.

Getting Fat on Fruit

Published 7.21.2016
Fruitarians (people who eat only fruit) and "Raw till 4" (RT4) followers (a vegan high carb, low fat diet created by a Youtuber named Freelee the Banana girl, which is not based on any science) like to claim it's "the fat you eat is the fat you wear," so if you don't eat fat, then you can't gain weight. In order for the subsequent analysis to make sense, I have to give a brief explanation of what the RT4 diet is. Basically, followers eat raw fruit for breakfast and lunch, and then can have a cooked high carb low fat vegan meal for dinner. The conceit is that you don't need to count or restrict calories, in fact, followers are exhorted to, "smash in the calories," so long as they are carb calories.

In fact, the recommendation is to try for 1000 calories per meal. That's a lot of fruit. To get that many calories from fruit, RT4 leaders push followers to eat relatively calorie dense fruits, such as bananas and dates. Demonstrated dinners tend to be kilos of potatoes. Although not a requirement, many followers tend towards so-called mono-meals, where they eat huge amounts of a single food. No allowance is made for height or age— all followers are exhorted to eat the same amount.

Followers of Raw till 4 who do gain weight (and they are legion, all you need to do is search Youtube) are accused of cheating on the diet or of eating animal products, but this is not the case. It is possible to be pack on weight eating only fruit.

It is true that the body does't tend to use carbohydrates (carbs) to create fat except in cases of extreme overfeeding (eating excess calories). That's because (in very simple terms) it costs the body more energy to convert carbs to fat. Protein, intake of which is typically quite low for fruitarians and RT4 followers, is also generally not stored. Fat, on the other hand, don't need to be processed at all to be stored. All that has to happen is for the liver to package the fat molecules in cholesterol (because blood is mostly water, and fat (like oil) and water don't mix. Fruitarians and RT4 fans eat very low fat diets— but they are not eating NO fat diets. Most fruit may be low in fat, but many fruits do contain some amount (and I'm not talking avocados here, which some might not realize are fruit, but all probably know are high in fat content). In the case of overfeeding, all of that fat would get stored.

Running the numbers

As this topic arose again in an online conversation at the Carb-sane Asylum recently, I decided to take a look at the numbers: Read the rest

The Discovery of King Arthur: a review

Published 7.13.2016
A bit later than intended, but this is a review of the book by Geoffrey Ashe I read for June, The Discovery of King Arthur
This book is another old one I purchased years ago as part of a snail mail based book club. The history of and stories about King Arthur have interested me since tenth grade when I read The Once and Future King by T. H. White.
The book is divided into three sections, the first and second dealt with the issue of whether Arthur was real or not, and if he was who was he. The first section was a review of various historical documents and accounts that allude to someone who could be Arthur. In particular, the author disses the writer most commonly associated with the Arthur story, Geoffrey of Monmouth, as a complete writer of fiction.

Once Monmouth is shown to be not credible, Ashe conducts a thorough review of what evidence, both written and physical, there is that suggests that there was actually a man who could have been Arthur. Part of that process is to establish
when Arthur was. Read the rest.

It's Prime Day on Amazon

Published 7.12.2016
It's Prime Day on Amazon. What is Prime Day? An opportunity for Amazon (and its affiliates, which this site is) to make more money by selling more Amazon Prime memberships as well as sale priced items.

I've been an Amazon Prime member for years, and for us, the membership fee (which for today is only $69 for the year if you sign up, but is normally $99) pays for itself many times over throughout the year— and that was before Amazon got into the video streaming business. Recently I've been using Amazon's streaming service to watch shows that aren't available elsewhere. Prime members also get access to a music streaming service (included in the membership fee), but I haven't used that as much.

I like the convenience of the two-day free shipping, but as my brother has pointed out, if you're not in a hurry, almost everything on Amazon can be had for free shipping. I prefer to get what I buy faster, which is a great thing around holidays if you procrastinate with shopping as I do.

As always with Amazon affiliate links, (and all the links on this page are affiliate links) if you go to Amazon through one of them and decide to buy anything, a small amount of money is credited to this site.

Here are a few kitchen gadgets that I use weekly, or even daily.

Vegan kids MUST have supplements

Published 7.11.2016
Apparently there has been an outbreak of poor parenting in Italy, and in this reporting the parents happen to be vegan. I've written about veganism previously, To be clear, it's possible to be vegan and a good parent and raise healthy vegan kids, but the Washington Post article caused a the bit of a rant that follows.

However, healthy veganism requires supplementation and fortification of foods. THAT is the FACT. Vegans who deny or downplay that fact are harming their so-called movement more than they realize. A vegan diet can be healthy for adults and children, but ONLY with supplementation. We are not gorillas, and we do NOT get our B12 from our gut or from dirty food.

I’ve written about that MYTH before, but I’m shouting it again because that MYTH— that all you need is a good variety of plants and you’re fine IS NOT TRUE!. It’s especially not true of children and babies who haven’t a lifetime’s worth of nutrients gained from an omnivorous diet (most adult vegans made that choice after leaving home) stored in their bodies. Eventually, deficits show up in adult vegans who refuse to supplement— but those deficits exist at the start for kids. Read the rest.

The Hall study disproving Taubes is published

Published 7.7.2016
Stephan Guyenet weighs in on the NuSi funded study lead by Kevin Hall (about which I have previously written), and it seems that he has his hands on the actual paper, although he links only to the abstract. The full text, disappointingly, is only available to paying subscribers. Previous takes on the study have been made based on the impromptu poster presentation Hall gave that was posted online.

To no one's surprise (or it shouldn't surprise anyone), Hall's poster and presentation accurately reflect the details in the paper and study. Guyenet's take (linked above) is worth the read in its entirety, but below is my favorite quote (because it made me chuckle):

It's important to note that in many ways, this study was crafted to maximize the apparent effectiveness of the KD.  The KD was very low in carbohydrate (5%), while the HCD was high in carbohydrate (50%) and also very high in sugar (25%).  If you believe the hypothesis that sugar summons Beelzebub to plump up your fat tissue regardless of your calorie intake, the comparison should have been extremely favorable to the KD.  Yet the effect on fat mass was the opposite of what this hypothesis predicts.

The study wasn't completely negative for Taubes fans and their pet theory, but the fact that fat loss slowed on a ketogenic diet is well, problematic. And unfortunately, likely explains some of the physiques that are far too common amongst low carbers. Because even as fat loss slowed, the body needed glucose and cannibalized its own muscle for the raw material needed. Read the rest

To nip it in the bud, change YOUR habits

Published 7.5.2016
The New York Times reports on a Danish study that shows an association between childhood obesity and dreaded adult diseases such as cardio vascular disease (CVD), stroke and type 2 diabetes. The results are from a population study, thus no causation can be proven or assumed, but that isn't why I chose to write about the topic.

I am on record as being adamant that parents are to blame for childhood obesity. Do not talk to me about the "overwhelming" power or influence of food companies or television advertising— the bottom line is that children, especially young children, only eat what their parents make available to them. Your toddler won't eat ultra-processed foods unless you allow it— and NO, Yoni Freedhoff, the occasional ultra-processed treat at a theme park or museum won't change that.

When it was necessary (for medical reasons that won't be detailed here) to alter the diet of one of my kids, I altered the diet for ALL of us. The fact that we already ate the vast majority of our meals in the home made that an easier transition for us than it would be for some is true. However, anyone can cook simply, tasty meals at home, from non-ultra-processed ingredients. You save money doing so, and you gain control over what goes into your kids' (and your own) mouths.

Nor do you have to don a hairshirt and decree that there will be no snacks or treats, ever. You will almost certainly eat less fat, sugar and salt because that's the triad of ingredients that industrially ultra-processed foods (the kind used in any restaurants— whether fast food or not) use to create flavor is vats of ingredients. I know I've written this before, but it bears repeating here: Read the rest

HAES around the clock

Published 6.28.2016
A collection of recent, and not-so recent items related to health at every size or (HAES).

HAES comes to This American Life

The radio show This American Life devoted an episode to HAES. Lindy West (formerly of the website Shapely Prose) is interviewed, as is a staff member who lost a ton of weight to make it in show business and is now unhappy in the aftermath (she lost 100 lbs in 6 months, so Biggest Loser fast) with all the issues that come with that.

They also talk to a super morbid obese (that's the medical term, ugly as it is) black woman who does not share all of West’s positions. In particular, she notes that Lindy can still shop at Lan Bryant, whereas she cannot. Finding clothes for this woman is far harder. Just living for the much larger woman, who said she would have to lose 200 lbs to get to Lindy West's size, is far harder than for Lindy West.

There is a lot of discrimination due to size, I’ve never denied that. The issue is what to do about it.

The final segment is about Oral Roberts U and its program (which still exists but is now ignored) that tried to get all students to have a certain body fat percentage and weight, and if you didn’t make it you couldn’t attend classes. Before then it had been an effort to get everybody fit, no matter their weight, which was a much healthier method. Read the rest.

In the end, it's the energy balance

Published 6.23.2016
Another example of why Dr Yoni Freedhoff and Dr Aseem Malhotra, an obesity specialist and a cardiologist, respectively, as 100% off base with their comments about the necessity of exercise. Telling people that exercise is not important is simply a stupid thing to do. Walking works. No need to run, no need to bike for hours, just walk. That's all you need to do. Any movement, all movement works.

The energy balance is complex, and the largest term is for a person's metabolism, which is not easily changed. The two terms that can be changed easily are intake (food and drink) and movement (exercise and moving while living). Walking is the easiest exercise for most able bodied people. It requires no special track or equipment.

In the study discussed at the link, people lowered their odds of being diagnosed with type two diabetes (T2D) if they walked 1.5 hours a week. The article says the walk should be "brisk," but I'm willing to bet that even strolling would help.

This blogger was so close… and yet no, she gets it wrong. At least she admits that people do control what gets put into their pie-hole, but when it comes to calories out, she fails to recognize that much of the movement outside of deliberate bouts of exercise is or can be a choice. No, I'm not talking about fidgeting. I am talking about (as I always do) whether or not you sit or stand while you work or watch TV. I'm talking about whether or not you walk down to the mailbox to pick up the mail or send you kid to do it.

All of that is non-exercise activity thermogenesis (NEAT) and over the course of a day, it does add up. Will it be a larger term than the basal metabolism term? No, it won't. But you can't do anything about your metabolism. It is what it is. But you can consciously choose to alter the amount of NEAT expenditure in your day. Read the rest.

Is Obesity a disease?

Published 6.16.2016
I've written about this topic previously, and my position is no, obesity is not a disease. Excess adipose tissue can affect health and cause diseases to manifest, but obesity in and of itself is not a disease. As noted above, I don't think obesity is a disease. Dr Sharma disagrees. He's writing a series answering criticisms of obesity as a disease, this is part one. As he is a medical professional, I've decided to read his series and consider his position.

NOTE: I am not any sort of medical professional. I am not a dietitian or nutritionist. These opinions are based on my own experiences and my reading of the data. No part of ANYTHING written here is to be considered medical advice or medical expertise.

Dr. Sharma is not a fan of BMI (body mass index). I recognize that BMI has shortcomings (it was intended to be used as a population comparison, not as an individual health marker. But I also think that too many people pretend that their own BMI can't possibly indicate a problem. Elite athletes and people like To Cruise might have BMI's of 30— but they are extremely muscular, and in Cruise's case short. But if you're a 5'4" female and your BMI is over 40 (not a rare occurrence n the fatosphere) then you have a harder argument to make. Your BMI isn't high because of your muscle mass.

Sharma developed his own evaluation system, called the Edmonton Obesity Staging System or EOSS, and I will acknowledge that it is far superior to BMI. Basically, if your fat affects your health, then you have obesity. If it your fat isn't affecting your health, then you do not. In his second entry in the series, Sharma goes through the many conditions and diseases that either can result from obesity or can be exacerbated by it. Just because not all obese people suffer the same health fate doesn't mean it's not a disease— however, that argument can be reversed. Read the rest

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