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October 2005 after the first frost and summer grasses had turned brown.  The growth of winter grasses was delayed by the drought.

Columns

This is the Home Page for our quick-read nutritional health column for regional newspapers. If you have a local publication that might want to carry it, let us know or pass the link onto them.

Bias

Column #183

The Merriam-Webster definition of bias is:
●    1a: an inclination of temperament or outlook especially: a personal and sometimes unreasoned judgment: prejudice
●    b: an instance of such prejudice
●    c: bent, tendency
●    d (1): deviation of the expected value of a statistical estimate from the quantity it estimates
●       (2): systematic error that’s introduced into sampling or testing by selecting or encouraging one outcome or answer over others

We are all biased. No one is immune. Columnists quickly learn that readers can respond differently to words and ideas with one person launching a verbal attack while another calls the author a genius.

Green New Deal

Column #182

According to National Public Radio, the new Congressional bill proposed by Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez (AOC), called the Green New Deal (GND), has many “lofty goals:”
●    “upgrading all existing buildings” in the country for energy efficiency;
●    working with farmers to “create a sustainable, pollution and greenhouse-gas-free food system that ensures universal access to healthy food and expands independent family farming”;
●    “Overhauling transportation systems” to reduce emissions — including expanding electric car manufacturing, building “charging stations everywhere,” and expanding high-speed rail to “a scale where air travel stops becoming necessary”;
●    A guaranteed job “with a family-sustaining wage, adequate family and medical leave, paid vacations and retirement security” for every American;
●    Provide to all Americans “high-quality health care, housing, economic security, and healthy food.”

New Food Analysis Tables

Column #181

It’s been a long time since I updated my Food Analysis Tables. With the Ketogenic Diet competing with the Paleo Diet in health, the time has come to include carb, protein, and fat parameters.

Ten years ago the most popular diet was the Paleo Diet. But as time went by marketers bastardized the science behind Paleo in order to sell better. That meant recommending foods that were nutrient lite, high glycemic, and loaded with inflammatory Omega-6 essential fatty acids (EFAs).

Food Sustainability

Column #180

Modern food mantras include affordability, convenience, flavorful, sustainability, earth friendly, healthy, fresh, local, humanitarian, organic, natural, and other notable clichés. Then we must take note of the overriding concern many have about man not being able to raise enough food to feed the planet’s growing human population. Of course global warming only adds to those worries and, naturally, many claim livestock grazing grasslands (like they have since time immemorial) is a primary culprit for that event.

How far back do we have to look to find respected economists who seriously worried about the world running out of food? The most famous example occurred over 200 years ago. Between 1798 and 1826 Thomas Robert Malthus published six editions of “An Essay on the Principle of Population” where he argued that populations multiply geometrically and food arithmetically. Consequently, whenever the food supply increases the population will expand and eliminate the abundance stunting living standards forevermore.

Too fat? Eat Fat

Column #179

There are many top notch people doing credible work in nutritional science. Dr. Stephen Phinney is one of them. As a physician-scientist who has spent 40 years studying diet, exercise, fatty acids, and inflammation, he has published over 80 papers and has several patents to his credit.

After receiving his MD from Stanford University he realized there was a “bunch of paradoxes”  between what he was taught to believe and what the evidences seemed to present regarding chronic diseases. So he went back to school and got a PhD in Nutritional Biochemistry from MIT then did post-doctoral training at Harvard and the University of Vermont.

In the 1970s Phinney was a proponent of carbohydrates because of his personal experience using carbohydrates as fuel in long-distance bicycling. So he set out to prove the theories about fat being a better fuel wrong. He says he ended up proving he was wrong and the fat for fuel approach was better. Now, after decades of research, his specialty has made him one of the world’s leading authorities on the Ketogenic Diet.

“ANDI” for Weight Loss?

Column #178

In 2003 Dr. Joel Fuhrman started promoting his Aggregate Nutrient Density Index (ANDI) diet for losing weight and regaining health. The ANDI diet is based on the nutrient density formula he created which he calls the “Health Equation” which is: Health = Nutrients/Calories.

His formula ranks vegetables, especially dark green leafy vegetables, at the top. Consequently Fuhrman advises eating at least one pound of raw vegetables and another pound of cooked vegetables each day. His approach, which tends to make him a stealth vegetarian and anti-meat advocate, has some serious flaws.

There is no question that when people follow the ANDI diet they will lose weight. But it’s a diet that’s safe only in the short-term. That’s because over time it will likely cause massive muscle loss.

Tough Questions

Column #177

In a letter-to-the-editor (LTE) in a local paper a lady said consumers should ask “tough questions” about food. What were her tough questions and were they relevant?

I started raising livestock in 1969. I was pretty conventional at first, but since I’ve always been quite progressive, I kept changing and improving. By 1999, I had progressed to reading peer-reviewed nutritional science about how food impacts human health. I read reports such as “Essential Fatty Acids in Health and Chronic Disease” by Artemis P Simopoulos that inspired me to change the way I eat and to market grass-fed meats. Everyone should read that report. It’s as current today as it was in 1999.

Not knowing very much about the nutrition of foods is ubiquitous amongst consumers. I was there once. Most farmers and ranchers are in the same boat. They all eat traditional foods and stick to what they like. Then there are those who try to eat sensibly. It was that group the lady was addressing in her LTE. So what were her favorite “tough questions” she deemed necessary for determining what is fit to eat for optimizing health and wellness?

Indoctrination

Column #176

Indoctrination is the process of getting a person or group to accept a set of beliefs without question. No one is 100% immune to the many forms of indoctrination. Therefore, all of us have been indoctrinated with certain beliefs: some good and some not so much.

How many forms of indoctrination can you name besides religious and political beliefs. Here are a few I thought of:

Looking back at recorded history, it’s easy to see how amazingly foolish people were at times in swallowing pure nonsense such as the world was flat, fear of hot air balloons, burning witches, tulip mania, the Holocaust was good, and on and on. Unfortunately, we assume we’re smarter than people in the past and we can’t possibly be fooled by stupid or dangerous indoctrinations. Yet many very popular modern beliefs are actually just myths. Today’s “fake news” media is a reminder of how devoid of facts many messages are that we’re subjected to. And I’m not just talking about politics.

Let’s Get SMART

Column #175

We all make resolutions, but how often do we follow through? Is there more to it then just saying I want to be healthier, thinner, live longer, or exercise more? It turns out that unless we’re smart, the odds of success fall by the wayside.

A couple days ago Dave Pratt from Ranch Management Consultants published a terrific article about making resolutions which reminded me about the importance of SMART. It’s a management concept established by George T. Doran in an article “There’s a S.M.A.R.T. Way to Write Management’s Goals and Objectives.” It was originally published in the November 1981 issue of “Management Review.”

Here’s what his SMART acronym stands for:
●    Specific – target a specific area for improvement.
●    Measurable – quantify or at least suggest an indicator of progress.
●    Assignable and Actionable – specify who will do it.
●    Realistic – state what results can realistically be achieved, given available resources.
●    Time-related – specify when the result(s) can be achieved.

‘Tis the Season

Column #174

No matter one’s religious or non-religious beliefs, most people are spiritual to some degree. This is underscored by the annual end-of-October through New Year’s Day period which hosts a certain universal charm. It’s a season for numerous religious and pagan celebrations–especially in December.

In the northern hemisphere this 65-day period celebrates the fall harvest, the shortest day of the year, the beginning of longer days, Hanukkah, the celebration of the birth of Jesus Christ, several other notable religious events, bowl games, and of course New Year’s Day. In the southern hemisphere this period celebrates the longest day, soccer games, the notable religious events, and the coming New Year.

Consequently, this is a joyous time for all of mankind which makes all the Scrooges think a little differently. They may even become joyous and actually look forward to more fulfilling lives. But is a joyous mood dangerous to your health?