Saturday, June 27, 2009
Saturday, June 20, 2009
By Diana Hsieh
I was at my doctor's office not long ago to address a long-neglected problem. My blood pressure -- which had risen to around 130/90 for some time before my change in diet -- was 94/72. My doctor said that blood pressure in that low range is not a problem unless a person is suffering from symptoms like dizziness. Since I'm suffering no such symptoms: Hooray!
By Diana Hsieh
Of late, mostly out of curiosity, I've tracked my eating on FitDay. The numbers are definitely approximate -- not only because the food quantities inputted are mere educated guesses, but also because all foods vary in their composition more than the numbers given suggest. Moreover, some of the foods I eat aren't in the database or labeled. So I'm not sure what the average fat composition of my raw milk is, nor the amount of carbohydrates left after fermenting it into kefir.
Despite that, I've seen a consistent trend in macronutrients. I eat about 20% carbohydrates, 25% protein, and 55% fat. Right now, I'm only eating about 1500 calories per day because I'm in weight-loss mode. (I'd probably eat about 2000 calories otherwise.) Consequently, I'm eating an average of 77 g of carbohydrates, 90 g of protein, and 96 g of fat every day.
Let's compare my numbers with those of two other approaches to diet I've tried, without success:
|Diana||The Zone||USDA Food Pyramid|
|Fat||55%||30%||20 to 35%|
Nearly a year later, I'm still completely happy with my diet. I've strayed from it on rare occasion, usually for something sweet. However, I've almost always found the pleasure not worth the pain. I've not felt like I've given up anything of genuine value to me. And the benefits have been huge. I've lost 19 pounds of fat so far, meaning that I have just one more to lose to reach my goal of 130 pounds. I'm stronger than ever before, and my energy levels are consistently high. When deciding what to eat for a meal, the question is often of the form "Which of the many delicious things that I love to eat will I enjoy now?"
Life is good!
Saturday, June 13, 2009
By Diana Hsieh
I recently ran across an article entitled "By-Product Feedstuffs in Dairy Cattle Diets in the Upper Midwest" by Randy Shaver (Professor and Extension Dairy Nutritionist, Department of Dairy Science, College of Agricultural and Life Sciences, University of Wisconsin at Madison). It describes "by-product feedstuffs commonly used in dairy cattle diets in the Upper Midwest." In other words, the article describes some of the foods given to and eaten by the cows that produce the milk that most people drink. Here's a few of the items that caught my attention:
Candy. Candy products are available through a number of distributors and sometimes directly from smaller plants. They are often economical sources of nutrients, particularly fat. They may be high in sugar and (or) fat content. Milk chocolate and candy may contain 48% and 22% fat, respectively. They are sometimes fed in their wrappers. Candies, such as cull gummy bears, lemon drops or gum drops, are high in sugar content. Several ingredient firms that handle food processing wastes produce blends of candy or chocolate with other ingredients, such as pasta or peanut skins. These are generally standardized to a certain content of protein and fat. ... The upper feeding limits for candy or candy blends and chocolate are 5 and 2 lb. per cow per day, respectively. ... The feeding rate of high-sugar candies should be limited to 2 to 4 lb. per cow per day.Notice that the wrappers on these candies may not be removed before feeding. And here are other modern milk cow foods:
Nuts. Peanuts, cashews, and various nuts or nut mixtures are sometimes available from processors. ... This high fat content restricts their use to less than 2 to 3 lb per cow per day. Nuts and nut mixtures should be analyzed frequently, particularly for fat and protein content, because the different kinds and mixtures are highly variable.And:
Pasta is available from pasta plants and some ingredient distributors as straight pasta or in blends with other ingredients, such as candy. Pasta must be used in limited amounts to avoid depression of milk fat test, because it is mostly starch. It does not have as much of a propensity for depression of milk fat test as cooked starch or bread. ... Pasta can be fed at up to 4 to 8 lb of DM per cow per day depending on the starch content of the diet.Oh, and here's another possibly involving wrappers:
Bakery Wastes. Stale bread and other pastry products from stores or bakeries can be fed to dairy cattle in limited amounts. These products are sometimes fed as received without drying or even removal of the wrappers. They may be run through a forage chopper to facilitate feeding. Some distributors and dairy producers dry and grind the material for inclusion into a concentrate or TMR. The feeding rate of bakery wastes must be limited to avoid milk fat test depression, because they are relatively high in cooked starch. The upper feeding limit for dried bread is 20% of concentrate DM and 10% of TMR DM. Higher levels may be fed to replacement heifers and dry cows. For bakery wastes that are relatively high in fat (i.e. donuts at 25% fat), the feeding rate should be limited so that no more than one pound of added fat per cow per day is consumed. This level may need to be reduced if other sources of non-rumen inert fat are included in the diet. Dried bakery product is a fairly standardized ingredient used by the feed industry. It generally consists of a mixture of bread, cookies, cake, crackers, flours and doughs.None of those foods are even remotely appropriate for cows -- and I have no doubt that relying on such impoverished and unsuitable foods affects the nutritional quality of the milk produced by them. (Measurable differences can be found in conventional versus pastured eggs, as Stephan has observed.)
In contrast, here's a picture of the cows at Isle Farms -- where I have a herdshare -- eating a meal:
Yes, it's the species-appropriate food of high-quality alfalfa hay. Unfortunately for most people and most cows, that diet is no longer the norm.
Saturday, June 06, 2009
By Diana Hsieh
Paul and I are huge fans of the bulk nuts at Whole Foods, including their pistachios. However, the pistachios I bought earlier this week simply weren't up to their usual standard. They were all the dregs. So, on Thursday, after eating a few of them without much delight, I posted the following tweet:
The @WholeFoods pistachios I just bought are way below their usual standard. Perhaps an effect of the earlier recall?Although the Whole Foods pistachios weren't subject to any recall, I thought that perhaps pulling so many pistachio products off the market might have affected the quality of the available supply. However, within about 12 hours, I got the following tweet reply from WholeFoods, the twitter account of the Whole Foods corporate office:
@DianaHsieh Quality shouldn't have changed - if you're unsatisfied with the product, feel free to bring back for an exchange/refund.Of course, I already know that I can do that. Nonetheless, to hear it from them gives me warm fuzzies. Plus, now I think I might return them. Why suffer through mediocre pistachios?