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August 15, 2012

Nutrition

by @ 2:31 pm. Filed under Personal Opinions

I’ve been reading quite a bit about many different types of diets; The Standard American Diet (USDA approved), The Vegan/Vegetarian Diet (ie China Study), AtkinsPaleo Diet/Primal Blueprint, Smarter Science of Slim (SSoS), and a few others like the Abs Diet which isn’t as comprehensive as the others. I’ve been given the talk. You know the one… Your blood pressure is a bit high, your overweight, it’s time to go on a diet etc… As some of you may know, I started a business and time is a premium, always. It’s hard to find time to exercise, to go shopping, to prepare food and eat healthy in general. Since June was a relatively slow month, I decided itwould be a good time to start a diet

and get on a sustainable regimen that is at the very least, healthier than what I’m eating now. Socrates said “Let food be thy medicine and medicine be thy food.” I somewhat subscribe to this idea. We ought to eat foods that promote our well being. For example, we know that smoking can be detrimental to various organs of the body and is suspect in macular degeneration. Zeaxanthin and lutein, which are found in green leafy vegetables, can help in the prevention of macular degeneration. The AREDS formula seems to indicate that certain nutrients, at certain dosages, may slow the progression of macular degeneration in non-smokers. Food is a source of medicine. Some systemic diseases such as  Type II Diabetes and Heart Disease are a result of our metabolism working incorrectly either through some genetic predisposition, our poor choices in food or both. The problem is there is a ton of information; Studies, personal stories and suspect information. I am by no means a nutrionist, so any information gleaned from this post should be taken as informational only: So essentially, this is my story.

What all the diets seem to agree upon (With the exception of the Abs Diet) is eating whole non-starchy vegetables are good for you. No surprise there, but what I did learn was why. The why is important because there is a shift in thinking about what food does to our body. I have to say Atkins started the ball rolling on this.  There are metabolic artifacts like ketosis which aren’t popularly understood (and referenced in some diets) and often confused with ketoacidosis, a medical condition usually found in insulin dependent diabetics.  I am currently on the Primal Blueprint in conjunction with  the SSoS way of eating. Actually, the SSoS explains the Primal Blueprint and both fill in gaps and answer questions the other asks.

The Primal Blueprint is a diet that is an offshoot of the paleolithic diet. The idea is that for millions of years our bodies have evolved certain metabolic pathways and that our diets fundamentally changed when civilization began because of the agricultural revolution. We switched from eating veggies, fruits, meat, eggs, fish and fowl to having a diet with grains such as barley, rye and wheat, and much later, corn. The diseases such as heart disease and type II diabetes are diseases of affluence (ie too much of a good thing; in particular starch and sugar). So for the past 10,000 or so years we have not been able to adapt completely to grains’ prominence in our diet. The culprit is insulin. So much of it, in fact, that we become insulin resistant as well as leptin resistant; Hormones that regulate our blood sugar and appetite.

The Smarter Science of Slim is a meta-analysis of diet related topics of the past 40 years. As I mentioned, SSoS explains the Primal Blueprint and Paleo eating. For example, why are whole vegetables better than processed foods. The answer is what it does to our bodies. He uses the anagram SANE (Satiety, Aggression, Nutrition and Efficiency) to help determine if the food is beneficial. The book also shifts the thinking from calories to hormones in terms of fat loss. The object is to lose fat and not weight, which is what I’m all about. There are also exercises that trigger hormonal responses which he goes into. It’s a pretty good read and very helpful in understanding what the studies actually determine.

Well, I started it in mid June. The results have been pretty good and somewhat surprising. As I mentioned, my blood pressure was a bit high between 140-130 systolic, and 96-88 diastolic, which would put me in the pre-hypertensive to stage I hypertension range. I haven’t done my blood work in a while, but LDL was higher than normal, HDL lower than normal, but overall triglycerides were just a bit over border (the last I checked). My weight was 225lbs. What surprised me most has been my blood pressure. I had always figured the one’s blood pressure was purely a function of age and little to do with weight. Boy, was I wrong! My BP is at 115/75 ish with very little variation. My heart rate is down from 90 to 68 bpm @ rest. I’m down to 206lbs as of 8/13. Waist size has decreased pretty dramatically from around 46+ inches to 41 and still decreasing. Waist circumference is considered a better indicator of obesity than BMI alone. Apparently, where you carry the fat is just as important as how much excess fat you have. Unfortunately for me, I have it around my waist, but I’m making a lot of progress.

Everybody is different when it comes to changes in diet. For me it was difficult, I felt pretty badly for the first 3 weeks before seeing the results. I even went to my doctor to see if that was normal. How can getting healthy feel so crappy? Well like anything else, one has to acclimate to the new way of eating. I don’t crave sugary foods as much and my energy level is pretty consistent. If any of you are interested in any of the books I’ve provided links to the websites. I think it’s really important to have a doctor who understands nutrition. They can be a source of information and monitoring should one stray from the path or if something develops.

10/15/2012:

Took blood test and the results are nothing short of amazing.

This is a comparison of my previous blood test to my current numbers (->):

Also, I would like to mention that a certain liver enzyme was high (AST or ALT; I forget which – and had been for a few years). My doctor at the time suspected it was because of Tylenol use, and recommended switching to another NSAID, but the abnormal enzyme level didn’t change. My current doctor wanted to perform a liver ultrasound to confirm whether or not it was a fatty liver spot(s) as opposed to something more serious. Well, since going on the diet my liver enzymes are normal (aka. if I had a fatty liver spot(s), it’s gone now). To have such a great  measurable improvement is by far the most impressive aspect of this diet.

I will be updating results from time to time. Consider this as an experiment of n=1.

As of 2/25/2013

 

One Response to “Nutrition”

  1. Val Burleson Says:

    Awesome post.

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