"The researches of so many eminent scientific men have thrown so much darkness upon the subject that if they continue their researches we shall soon know nothing."

- Artemus Ward

“If you aren’t confused about health and nutrition, then you haven’t studied it long enough or deeply enough.”

- Matt Stone

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Thursday, June 17, 2010

Macadamia Nuts

Oooh, macadamia nuts. When you need a satisfying snack what could be better? Well, I love most all nuts, but macadamias are special. They have that satisfying nutty crunch, but also a smooth, buttery texture which no other nut matches. But best of all they have an excellent Omega6 profile. Since ODing on Omega6 in relationship to Omega3 is essentially rampant in the Standard American Diet I especially like to find foods I can enjoy that are low in Omega6.

Not that macadamias don't have a few drawbacks, of course. One scary thing about them is that they are quite toxic for dogs, and it doesn't take too many of them to bring about toxicosis. This was more of a worry when my dogs Willow and Maggie (especially Maggie), the chowhounds, were still alive. Maggie in particular had a knack for getting into impossible places to nose out food. I used to call her the Rasputin of Dogs as over her lifetime she got into things that were deadly for dogs many a time - ingesting a bunch of dark chocolate, a baseball-sized onion, a half a cannister of raisins - and didn't even cause her so much as a burp, and she lived to be 15 1/2. But I still worry about macadamias even though Bran, my current dog, is much more of a wimp about stealing food. His worst offense is a bite from the cat food bowl as I am taking him out to the back yard.

Macadamias tend to be expensive too. That keeps them from being an every-day treat. But the *worst* thing about macadamias is their addictive nature! They are so awesomely yummy that the old potato chip slogan of "betcha can't eat just one" is especially apt. I've tried to limit my intake by buying the smallish jars in the supermarket - typically 4 or 6 ounces. Yet a jar goes in a single sitting, or a single morning or afternoon at least. I get the jar home, pour a handful into my palm, or a bowl if I'm being fancy. I'll eat those, and decide a couple more can't hurt, so have a few more, then I'll notice there are aren't that many left in the jar, and I'll end up polishing them off! No wonder I don't buy them often.

But the other day I found a solution to it, :-). I was at Costco looking for the wonderful big blocks of KerryGold cheese that they sell there. I found the cheese, but took a quick spin around some of the other aisles too, and spied a large cannister of macadamia nuts. 24-ounces large to be precise. Having that many nuts in the house was a bit scary to contemplate, but the cannister jumped into my cart anyway and I allowed it to stay there. They are dry-roasted (no rancid high-PUFA oils) and salted with sea salt.

And I found that a LARGE cannister of macadamias is better for portion control than a small jar. Who'd a thunk it. But much as I adore macadamias I could still never eat 24 ounces worth at a single sitting. And I could take a good handful to eat but the cannister still looked sufficiently full that I had no urge to go back for more to finish it off. So for the last few days I've had a handful of macadamias as a treat at some point during the day. And I was content with just that handful. I didn't need to go back for more.

So so-far-so-good. Interesting that more means less, as far as eating goes. My weight was down to a new low this morning also, so it is not hurting me there either.

Tuesday, June 15, 2010

The tyranny of the scale


To weigh or not to weigh is always a big debate among the community of people who hope to lose weight by whatever method they choose - and there are often heated arguments on both sides. At one end you have people who weigh themselves several times daily, and on the other you have people who never weigh themselves!

Of course there is no right answer to this debate, as the only correct answer is the one that works for the person in question. For ME the correct answer is daily weighing - first thing in the morning.

This helps keep me honest, and keeps me from rude surprises. How many times in the past have I given up daily weighing, only to find that somehow I have gained 20 or 30 pounds in the meantime without realizing it? Alas when you are not a skinny Minnie, as I am not, 20 or 30 pounds is hardly noticeable. That is until you step on the scale and then it creates depression.

Only last summer I spent two weeks up in Canada without a scale, and I would have SWORN I kept to my eating habits, and ate only Real Food, and didn't eat any differently than usual. But when I got home I found I was 12 pounds heavier than I had been on the day I left for Canada, and I HATE rude surprises like that. Even eating as healthily as I can does not save me from those sorts of surprises.

So daily weighing keeps me on top of things before that 12-pound gain happens. But this past week I spent in North Carolina without a scale. I tried to be careful about what I ate, but I was still worried. I was especially worried as the day before I left for North Carolina I had inexplicably gained 4 pounds overnight. In the past such overnight gains were very common, but since I have modified my diet to avoid most all processed foods, and sticking to healthy real foods, I have rarely seen overnight gains like that. The scale varies up and down, but in much smaller increments.

So being scaleless in North Carolina had me nervous. Another 4-pound gain there would have put me at a number that would have been depressing for sure. The only good thing was that I tried on my jeans the day before I left to head home, and they still fit comfortably. The jeans are the only good barometer for me without a scale, as most of my other clothes can easily accommodate a 10-20 pound gain without perceptible change in comfort.

But getting on the scale on the day after my return home I found I was down the 4 pounds I had quickly gained, and was at the current lower end of my weight journey. So that was a relief for me. But getting on the scale after a gap of 8 days is just too nerve-wracking for me. That's why daily weighing is what I need to live with.