Cookies & Calories
As many of my readers are likely aware, I have attracted the attention of a few true bullies and stalkers who consider it noble to ridicule my every word and move. In line with this, they have picked apart my interview with Jimmy Moore and made fun of various parts. Two of the issues both happened to involve cookies, hence the title of this post.
My (long, long ago and one time) Cookie Diet:
The purpose of my interview with Moore was ostensibly to discuss my issues with the science of Gary Taubes. It wasn't to discuss my own life, weight, history, etc. However this was around the time of the Twinkie diet so I guess Jimmy felt compelled to waste time (less for the real issues) discussing that. In that context, I related a story from long ago. I don't remember exactly what year that was, but as I recall what apartment I baked in I would have been under 25. My weight struggles were continuing at that time having began with a crash diet in my late teens and progressed through frank eating disorders to mostly a yo-yo weight cycling.
I was single, living alone, and most of my friends were also colleagues at work. The holiday season rolled around and some of the women in my department asked me if I wanted to participate in a cookie exchange. I love to bake and didn't really have a lot of opportunity to do so, as baking as a single gal meant dealing with what to do with an entire batch of cookies, a cake, etc. Easier for such a person not to bake at all. So without giving it much thought, I jumped at the chance. The way the exchange worked, each person baked several dozen of one type of cookie, and shared a half-dozen with each other member in exchange for a half dozen of each of their cookies. Small planning faux pas on my part ... I neglected to consider that I would end up with a zillion cookies to deal with! Further, since everyone at work was involved with this scheme, I couldn't just bring the cookies to work... What to do.
That year I was bound and determined not to gain a bunch of weight during the holiday season. I imagine that had I been a low carber or paleo and the internet existed back then, I would have rushed off to my favorite facebook group or discussion board to get advice, and I imagine that advice from the pure on high might go something like:
- Tell your SAD co-workers you've changed your mind and want nothing to do with their unhealthy filthy sugar and grain addiction fueled schemes.
- If you must participate, throw out the cookies. They will do more damage to your body than they are worth. Imagine them as rat poison to make tossing them easier.
- Eat a pound of bacon for each half-dozen cookies you toss and dunk it in a nice tall glass of coconut or almond milk for the "experience". Pat yourself righteously on the back for doing so. Be sure to tweet and post your victory on your FB status!
- Make bacon and almond flour cookies dusted with stevia for your contribution -- at least they'll all get a half dozen healthy cookies. Wear your Wheat is Murder t-shirt on the day of the exchange, then see above about tossing the deadly delicacies you receive.
- Time for a 21 Day Sugar Detox or a Whole30 "intervention" for your addiction for even considering such folly! At the very least, after you have sinned, repent with one of these or similar paleo soul cleansing rituals.
I imagine if I had inquired about the potential strategy of eating just a cookie or two each day, it would go something like:
- Good luck with that. It's not possible, because ... Monsanto.
- A little wheat is still murder.
- Ditto even a little of that sugar. One cookie per year, maybe. One, let alone -- gasp! -- two a day? The horror! Now go wash your mouth out with fermented cod liver oil.
- No, one cookie is not possible. Eat an unripe banana or a small green apple each day and join up with the ongoing, evergoing, 21 Day Sugar Detoxers on FB where you will learn strategies to cope with the errant strawberry that might jump into your mouth.
- Time to go on your 99th Whole30 because: "just about nobody does well with “moderation.” It’s a bullcrap concept, to be honest, created by diet gurus who sell tons of books by telling people what they want to hear—that they can still eat all the junky foods they want, as long as it’s in “moderation.” (What does that even mean? Eat just one cookie a day? Or eat as many cookies as you want, as long as it’s only once a week? Or eat 7 cookies a day, as long as you only take one bite per hour? You see my point…)"
- Mark Sisson preaches the 80:20 rule so yeah, should fit with that. However the cookies are not primal and you will destroy all your fat burning beastliness, rot out your gut, inflame your liver or whatever, and inflict various other bodily scourges. Best to just eat two dark chocolate chips with a tablespoon of whipped cream on top. Mark Sisson says cream is primal and we all know there was a chocolate chip tree in the paleolithic.
So here is what I considered at the time:
- Tossing the cookies.
- Eating them all as quickly as I could to get rid of them
- Freezing them and eating one or two a day here and there
There was a fourth thought, one I ended up going with. I am going to be talking about the socially accepted eating disorders that permeate the paleo community in great detail in coming times, which is why I'm discussing my thought processes back then. First, why I rejected the three options above, in the same order:
- When you are a restriction-induced binge eater, getting rid of the stimulus almost never works in the long run. Based on past experience, I knew there was a high likelihood that after tossing these delicious, homemade, variety of unique cookies, I would still want that food, and I would buy and down a box of way inferior cookies in a bag.
- The logic behind this one is only understood by those in the throes of ED as it makes no rational sense. Bingeing on cookies so I could then be "good" for the rest of the month is not a solution, and I knew this on some level.
- This would have been the best option, but at that time I did not trust myself enough to one day not just raid the freezer and finish them all up.
So I did my own little unplanned n=1, though nobody called it that back then or announced it to the world and whatnot. It sounds a little whacky, but in retrospect it is one of the more sane things that I ever did ... and part of a mindset "reprogramming" if you will that eventually extinguished eating disorders for good. I decided to go on an all cookie diet until they were gone. Like the "Twinkie guy", I didn't just eat cookies, I had a salad or veggies here or there, but my main "meals" consisted of cookies and milk. This worked. It lasted as long as the cookies lasted. I even lost a little weight though my goal was just not to gain.
Moderation? Yes and no. Yes, in that there was no bingeing or overeating involved. No, in that it's not advisable to base one's healthful diet around cookies, so eating them as a staple for several days doesn't fit the definition of moderation in its true spirit. I am almost 100% positive that doing so for a short time, however, had no negative impact on my health, and absolutely certain that it had a positive influence on healing my dysfunctional relationship with food as I moved forward.
A Pound of Cookies, A Pound of Fat:
This is so silly. If a 150 lb person holds a pound of butter, or steak, or bread, or ice cream, or cookies in their hand and steps on the scale, they will weigh 151 lbs + weight of container if applicable. If they then eat that pound of food (and remain standing on that scale), the weight will not change. That one pound has simply gone from being outside of you to inside of you. If the person waits a few hours until all has been absorbed and they haven't used the bathroom, they will still weigh 151 despite the insulin spike or lack thereof. Go look at the calories on a 1 lb package of cookies, or a 1 lb tub of macaroni salad, or in 1 lb of anything. Unless its pure fat, it's going to be less than 3500 calories, and nothing that evil insulin can do will make it more (or lack of insulin to make it less).
This was something I exploited in the ED days to rationalize the impending damage, I won't bore you with the details other than to say this was NOT healthy thinking. But this knowledge and truth can be turned into healthy thinking with just a little change in perspective. Whether you are on a structured calorie restricted diet or a low carb diet and you slip a little? Realize just how little the maximum damage actually is. Chances are it won't even be that bad. Move on without trying to compensate. It is tempting to compensate but it is the compensation that can trigger the problems in most, and the dread of the impending restriction that keeps most from just hopping right back on that proverbial wagon. This is ESPECIALLY important for the low carbers, because your excesses will likely translate to more pounds on the scale simply because of glycogen-associated water weight (and additional water weight depending on your level of chronic LC dehydration). Heck, the LCer is less likely to gain fat with the occasional binge. Why? Because their glycogen is depleted and that's where the carbs will go (and there may not even be caloric excesses to increase fat stores ... only works for a bit though!).
Eating Disorders and Real Healing
I'm not aware, however, that the pro-ana sites do any sort of extensive recruiting or that they feel their lifestyle deserves any sort of seat at the table of discussion of mainstream nutrition and health. That they would hope their children joined their ranks. Perhaps there's an AnoBuli-15 or something out there where one can go to buy the book, or read the free info on the blog, and join the next 15 day challenge to cure them from their addictions to food and/or normal eating patterns ... where the tag line is "it's for your own good" and you are encouraged to push through the first few difficult days to reach nirvana "for your health". I can hear some reading this going "but but but ... it's different to encourage people to just eat real food!" Yes it is. But that's not what a substantial faction within the Paleo™ movement is promoting these days. This is something that is an open secret of sorts in the community -- mostly because people just don't talk about it.
That long overdue discussion begins now.
I'm sure you've seen this before. Fathead is one I've seen proclaim that the fat is taking up all the calories so the rest of the cells starve or something. I think it's load of bunk, but it can be difficult to counter.
I have thankfully come out the other side of my short stay at paleo-world unscathed, largely thanks to discovering smart folk like yourself, Danny Roddy, Ray Peat, Matt Stone who I think are on the right track.
Now when I skim down the paleo buzz feed on occasion for shits and giggles, I cringe at the sort of crap I got sucked in by. It is occasionally entertaining though.
Maintaining good health seems to me to be more about stress and hormones, and doing whatever makes you happy, getting as much rest as you need, and above all, just stop worrying about all this garbage that these internet wack-jobs purvey as "science". Carbs are not the devil.
I believe the explanation for that is well understood; namely, that some people massively (and spontaneously) up-regulate their Non Exercise Activity Thermogenesis (NEAT) in response to overfeeeding, while others do not. The variation between individuals with respect to this compensatory response is well explained by hereditary factors, but can of course be deliberately controlled if desired.
CICO still holds in these cases, as we would expect. But yes, it is more than just calories ingested that accounts for fat and weight flux. Calories expended, whether by deliberate or spontaneous activity/thermogenesis is the other side of the equation.
I do avoid the poly fats now though when I can (at home, when out I don't care because it's not that often), and take great delight in cooking with butter. Probably the only positives I've taken away from my journey to paleo world.
Having seen it from the "inside", and now being on the "outside", it definitely has the hallmarks of a cult.
Per your comment to snr, part of the cultish behavior is the need to ostracize those who "leave" and paint them as ill in some manner. The favorite barbs are things like "you don't care about your health" and my favorite "you're just addicted".
So the confirmation bias is there, albeit in a different form, in that the failures are hidden. I have no doubt the track record of paleo is no better than any other fad diet.
Personally, I just felt cranky and agitated all the time, even though I was eating "clean", and pretty low carb. Adding back in carbs (and I consume them liberally now, and no, I didn't experience sisson's insiduous weight gain despite going well over the "safe" limit!) made me a much calmer person. It was very noticeable to me, so I can imagine my wife was happy about the change!
LC is bad enough to break out of because of the fear of insulin or a glucose spike that is now beaten into folks' heads, but paleo is orders of magnitudes worse from what I've seen because there are seemingly infinite reasons to paint foods as toxic and unhealthy.
Since there's one main hormone that usually gets fingered,
from the wiki (first hit on that google search)
children of pregnant women exposed to famine were more susceptible to diabetes, obesity, cardiovascular disease, microalbuminuria and other h
I'm not getting the point of this - we each must play the hand we've been dealt.
Scientists ought to study these issues; an obese person wanting to lose weight NOW (and MUCH MORE IMPORTANT: keep it off long term) must shrug their shoulders on how lucky others may or may not be and pursue the best available strategies.
This result's HIGHLY REPEATABLE: most people under-report habitual intake (the obese do it worse), and inflate reported habitual activity (the obese do this worse), and the "I just cannot gain weight" types are at the low end of exaggerating intake (or in fact actually over-report intake), and are at the low end of exaggerating activity (or even under-report activity)
In this case, and I know plenty of others, the amount of calories ingested and activity levels are not that different yet the bodyfat storage is. Genetics? Of course. But what is the driving mechanism?
My GUESS is that part of the mechanism may be how the body utilizes the calories in trying to maintain their natural propensity for musculature. By being naturally lean and more muscular they may have a slightly elevated BMR which may be influential as well. Keep in mind that when most people are given either HGH or TRT they tend to lose bodyfat irrespective of activity levels or diet.
Yes, the whole toxins fear campaign is pretty full on. Never mind that every single food out there contains something that could be considered undesirable.
The stressing over your diet usually has more damaging effects than any one food can possibly do.
Nice post Evelyn,
The point I'm trying to make is not that steroids are good but that extreme action is a variable that tells us that there is more to fat storage than calories or insulin or any other "one guilty party" factor. It varies from person to person and there will be a combination of factors, not just one. Insulin? Maybe for some. Calories? Probably for most.
I really hope that more can be built upon this data. That they can actually evolve the knowledge of these issues beyond arbitrary nonsense like, "low birth weight" and "high birth weight".
Body fat is rapidly "laid down" in the late stages of pregnancy and babies born too soon are playing catch up with that. They will have often have an RQ>1. These babies oddly enough are fattier.
For some reason here in the US, small "skinny" babies became a goal for some. Babies are supposed to "fat".
Every time someone has told me they consume too much or too little for their weight and I've decided to track it over the short term (This is definitely flawed as a method of course) this is the result I get.
"For some reason here in the US, small "skinny" babies became a goal for some. Babies are supposed to "fat"." <- Don't know what this is about. Never heard of it. Quite frankly, don't even want to hear of it. Been to every bloody corner and every bloody mantra I hear is about having nice plump babies.
Of course, the interpreters know such a gimmick would never sell so it's rarely considered by scam artists. In addition there is also the simple fact that businesses that promote obsessive behavior will tend to retain more of their clients therefore will be more successful in the future.
My thoughts on hormones is that they are all inter-related, the inter-reactions making it difficult to parse cause from effect and that they play a role in weight loss/gain. At the same time however hormonal changes fit into the overall physiological response of the organism's current health status (Genetic factors, birth weight, history of health conditions, etc) to the environment (Food reward, toxin load, nutrient status, light exposure, hours of sleep, level of social interaction).
But yeah, I agree with you.
And with a lot less effort and planning than say, altering your TEA with a grand new exercise regime or adopting some overly restrictive eating plan. And a lot less risky than mucking around with your hormone levels.
large human brain The article in the post I linked to discusses the development of fat tissue during gestation and its distribution. The Ache I blogged about recently give more food to the pregnant and the lactating and there is at least cause for concern over our obsession with women gaining just exactly a certain amount of weight and not an ounce more. When a baby is born prematurely or very small for gestational age they generally have a different growth pattern. This is not blogging dogma trying to sell you a book stuff, it is a well studied phenomenon and studied by those in the business of saving the baby's life not promoting a nutritional agenda. But sometimes folklore is a good indicator, and skinny babies were never associated with health nor desired before recently. In any culture. Not that I've heard anyway.
Well, in that case, I am afraid I am just going to have to tell you that in this case, you assumption isn't correct nor accurate.
What's more interesting is the fact that you're going on and on about folklore and whatnotelse, when my last closing comment read, "Don't know what this is about. Never heard of it. Quite frankly, don't even want to hear of it. Been to every bloody corner and every bloody mantra I hear is about having nice plump babies."
Ergo, I don't care about folklore when I have seen the same thinking prevailing in modern culture. No one desires a skinny baby; it doesn't even jive with the mother's instincts. I don't know who's pushing for skinny babies here, but I suggest that my comment be read for what it is rather than being contextualised with the same repeated talk about numbers and skinny babies when I have repeatedly stated that a number on a machine doesn't determine a skinny baby -- folklore, or otherwise.
I plan no regular cheats; for me these tend to go much longer and higher in calories than I plan. I find I can adhere better if I cheat rarely and aim to end the cheats as best I can.
I do cheat during some social occasions and folks who have not seen the 30 days of 1.4 Mcal per day plus 4 gymnastics classes per week tell me they wish they could eat like I do and magically keep the weight off.
IMHO they are good.
It took me a month of talking to my dad every day to convince him to ask his doc for a prescription for steroids after his knee replacement, and his strength was not coming back quickly.
If our societies had rational views on these things and I could cheaply get pharmaceutical grade steroids and good injection gear I would start injecting in a NY second.
This is but one person's blog and I quite often get interested in something else and move on without publishing everything up -- doesn't mean I've forgotten everything I've read though. The statistics show an increase in LBW/premie births. The paper in the blog post I linked to was not about desired birthweight or anything like that, but it discussed the development of fat tissue. It is interesting, no, that LBW deposit more trunk fat and less limb fat and have adipose tissue with fewer GLUT4 in adipose but not muscle and more fat tissue as adults? The other paper I linked to directly discussed the fatness of babies and the reasons for it. Did you even glance at that? Any comment?
This was within the convo with PaleoN addressing what might be underlying differences aside from BMR. Perhaps I misunderstood him.
As to the skinny babies, I will point out that this is something of which the vegan community is often quite proud. Where does this come from?
Having that said, and in reference to the paper. Yes, it is somewhat interesting. . . in the case of actual skinny babies who are in fact, skinny babies where the body lacks basic fat levels and must struggle to get to an adequate level (in terms of homeostasis, I assume) of fatness, especially to make room for further growth. It is certainly something, but my interest goes a bit further beyond just the weight chart, such as looking at body fatness in proportion to the overall build and size as opposed to just scale weight based on our standard growth charts, which are also being reconsidered.
I don't know where the desire for skinny babies comes from in the vegan community. The closest I have come to this subject is over at that 30BaDSucks website where some upset party was expressing disdain against Douglas Graham's programme and using baby photos of another famous raw vegan's baby as an example of a malnourished infant, only for follow-up photos of the same child emerging as a toddler in apparently good health with limbs looking good.
This had gotten me to think about another topic that I find interesting, but perhaps I'll ask for your thoughts on that at another point in time.
Evelyn, I'm also curious if someone like Dr. Davis has an ED. He wouldn't even use 1 tbsp of rice flour to thicken something.
If you want t
I have a couple of light fixtures with red/yellow LED lamps only, and I use only these for those last 2 hours before bed. On overcast days, around 4 hours before bed time I turn on some blue LED lamps for about an hour.
The name had slipped my mind earlier - I just remembered it's called the Zeo.
As to Dr. Davis, I'm not sure that's an ED just a PD P = paranoia ;-) or phobic. I'm going to be posting some stuff on ED in gneeral very soon.
parents -- is well explained by CICO because malnourished children have
low BMR's and when they reach adulthood and are no longer growing, if
they are provided enough calories, they gain weight more easily."'
Chronically malnourished children preserve brain function at the expense of the other organs. This results in a permanent irreversible metabolic shift towards obesity and epigenetic changes that last for 3-4 generations.
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