August 24, 2008


From my cavescape series : Fish for Dinner

Women were born to store fat to preserve the species and to make it to the next meal. In prehistoric times they just sat around the cave and ate pretty much what the hunter-gatherer mate rustled up . That was usually berries, roots, plants and fish that were abundantly available. Then the ice age came and the plants were gone. Humans faced starvation so they were forced to hunt animals for food. Going days or weeks without food our ancestors bodies converted excess blood sugar into stored energy as body fat. Our bodies still behave this way which is why we lose weight when we starve ourselves but gain it back when we return to normal.

The rich diet that most Americans eat today replicates the starvation response : lots of meat, fat and foods our bodies were never mean to deal with : refined carbs and processed foods. As a result we store the fat instead of burning it . No wonder at any given time 1 in 5 of us are trying to lose weight and even those that lose weight regain it 95 per cent of the time.

I was always skinny growing up probably because the diet I consumed was mainly whole foods from our own farm. The meat we consumed was mostly chicken, fish and pork in limited quantities.

Why is it that when it's popular for gals to be "stacked " as we called it in high school you're thin as a rail and when it's trendy to be thin as a rail you're not ? Murphy's law certainly applies to that. Men on the otherhand have a metabolism that's through the roof. A 65 year old man has the same metabolism as a 23 year old woman. Now I ask you, is that fair ? My mate can eat and drink anything he likes and he does without so much as gaining an ounce. As a matter of fact he could use 10 to 15 of my pounds and boy would I love to give it to him.

Anyhoo, after 3 children, quitting smoking and not being able to move my body for over 2 years I am no longer the 98 lb. weakling I once was. I am by no means overweight but like many I would love to be 10 to 15 lbs. thinner. The good news is , despite being a couch potato in the long, cold Chicago winters, I haven't added any weight .

I've never been one to diet because I'm active and a pretty healthy eater and have been a vegetarian for over a year now. Years ago when I stopped smoking and put on weight I tried the low calorie diet ( Hilton Head ) which didn't work at all so I know from experience that restricting calories alone doesn't work . It's a little known fact that that calories don't measure the fat-forming potential of food and some of the most common diet foods create six times more fat than other. The female fat cell rules, especially so with each passing decade, thus giving meaning to " middle aged spread. "

Browsing in the bookstore the other day I came across an interesting book titled THE GOOD CALORIE DIET by Dr. Philip Lipetz . What he says makes a lot of sense and it's basically to eat low unsaturated fat and low-glycemic foods that don't increase your blood sugar. And, most importantly, try to eat whole foods instead of processed. With the exception of white potatoes and carrots almost all vegetables are good calorie foods. White and even whole wheat breads are bad calorie foods, while pumpernickel is a good one. I was surprised to learn that pasta is a good calorie because the fiber in it undergoes changes during processing. Another surprise is that Tofu, while a perfect plant protein, is high in fat and is to be avoided unless is the low fat variety . While the diet doesn't allow meat until fat storage is depleted it does encourage eating beans and whole grains as a protein source.

Following the diet is as easy as the popular Atkins diet because there are few rules to follow. While exercise is a good thing it's not necessary for the purpose of losing fat. One rule is don't mix starches with protein ( steak and potato for example ) instead eat salads or green veggies . Know the fat content of your food and the glycemic index. If you slip and eat bad calorie meals then follow them with 2 good calorie ones to balance it out.

Dr. Lipetz stressed that the amount of calories you consume is not as important as where they come from. You can eat as much good calorie food as you want and minimize bad calories so that you keep fat formation at a low and keep weight off permanently.

It's hard to believe that something so painless can be so powerful. Instead of following a conventional diet that proposes any low-fat food in lesser amount the Good Calorie diet says that it is best to chose the proper foods and eat as much as you want of it.

Sounds good to me. Any diet that allows me to eat pasta, rice, and pizza is worth a shot.


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  2. This is super information, Carolyn. Most I've heard but some I've not, and that book is now on my purchase list. Thank you for this post. Very enlightening as I, too, adore pasta, rice and pizza but avoid them.

  3. Thanks, GHT. I thought I knew everything about diets but this book showed me that I didn't.


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