I’ve really never had a problem with weight gain or obesity, mostly because I’ve been an exercise devotee for all of my adult life. I never understood why a person would work like a dog playing sports in high school and then quit. Football, baseball and track in high school morphed into handball, then racquetball, slow-pitch softball and basketball, running until my lower back gave out, weight lifting, backpacking and now lots of walking.
And so it goes.
But I’ve always relied on my exercise ethic to offset not particularly good eating habits. Actually, my wife and I stopped salting stuff to death 30 years ago, we rarely eat fried food and I’ve never been a big soda or beer drinker. But I’ve had a lifelong love affair with ice cream, have never met a donut I didn’t immediately fall in love with and think the Lays wavy potato chip is a gift from heaven.
All of which did not help keep the main left artery in my heart unplugged, leading to a heart attack two years ago.
I’ve also been a career breakfast eater, mostly Honey Nut Cheerios.
After my heart attack, I cleaned up my act a bit, mostly removing donuts from my diet, but still relied on ice cream and potato chips as comfort food. But I started reading a bit more on how the American diet is likely the main cause of heart disease and more pointedly, Type 2 Diabetes.
It’s not red meat, butter and eggs that are turning America into a diabetes factory, but too many carbohydrates and way, way, way too much sugar. The other big thing on carbs and sugar is the effect it has on inflammation, which is linked directly to arthritis, but also to some cancers.
I haven’t gone the Keto route, purging myself of carbohydrates because there are really good reasons to have carbs in your diet, but I have been paying attention to a guy named Dr. Jason Fung, a Canadian nephrologist and a world-leading expert on intermittent fasting and lowering carbohydrates. My daughter the physical therapist and a good friend who radically changed his eating lifestyle to drop 30 pounds and combat growing arthritic problems, directed me to Dr. Fung’s theories, which are pretty simple actually.
Dr. Fung thinks the idea of eating a big breakfast as the most important meal of the day is something concocted by the cereal industry. And in his metabolic research, he thinks you ought to eat when you’re hungry, not because of the time on the clock. The trick is to know if you’re actually hungry, or if you crave food for some other reason (stress at the top of the list, along with being in various social settings). But if you keep feeding yourself, your body’s natural metabolism won’t have a chance to burn fat.
If you are hungry, says Dr. Fung, then eat. But then don’t eat until you’re hungry again, which could be 12 to 18 to 24 hours (the intermittent fast). If you’re digging fence posts all day, or training for a marathon, that’s a different story. But not many Americans dig fence posts and regularly train for marathons. Mostly we live sedentary lives and sit on the couch at night, eating sugary junk.
There is something extremely positive about a family sitting down together for a family meal, but that’s even becoming archaic, as we load up our plates and head for the nearest TV. It’s also somewhat counter productive to weight management and health if half the family isn’t hungry and doesn’t need food at 12 noon or 6 p.m.
And when you do come off the intermittent fast, you need to fuel your body with the right stuff.
The big thing in Dr. Fung’s mind isn’t so much avoiding red meat and eggs, but dodging highly processed, high sugar content food and drink. Eating that stuff is destroying our ability to ward off Type 2 Diabetes, and creating enormous amounts of inflammation.
I’ve done the Readers Digest version of Dr. Fung’s theories, but in three weeks of not particularly strict but better management of carbs and the eat when your hungry idea, I’ve dropped about eight pounds. More importantly, cutting way back on processed sugars, I’ve experienced a noticeable reduction in arthritic and joint pain. A “trigger finger” on my right hand that needs a cortisone injection, is about 50 percent gone.
I’m pretty sure I’m going to continue down this road, although family reunion time and the Fourth of July is around the corner and there is a big bowl of homemade ice cream waiting with my name on it. Check it out. Dr. Jason Fung.
I didn’t watch the President’s opening campaign rally speech Tuesday night because I was finishing a David Baldocci novel and trying to keep a new family puppy from tearing up the family room. But I did see Bernie Sanders’ and Joe Biden’s response, which I found completely unhinged.
Both called him a bigot, homophobic, xenophobic (fearful and hateful of foreigners, the fact that two of his three wives were foreign-born not withstanding), a hater of women and despotic in disposition.
I’m pretty sure Joe Biden is reading from a prepared script because he’s too dim to use big words like xenophobic, and it seems odd that Sanders (an avowed socialist) would suggest Trump is Hitleresk when the Nazi party, along with Stalin’s Soviet Union and Mao’s China are all part of the socialist way of thinking.
And Trump a racist and a xenophobe because he advocates a strong border? Color me racist, but the historic nature of borders is to control who enters our country. Trump’s border policies are also nearly identical to the policies of former Presidents Bill Clinton and, yes, even Barack Obama.
It is simply bizarre the level of hatred these people (along with a very large portion of the national media) have for Donald Trump. Were it only possible they place the energy and emotion they have in hating Trump into solving real problems facing the United States.
So I’m watching Albia’s Rookie League where my grandson’s Hillcats are getting thumped by a team from Blakesburg. A grounder is hit to shortstop where five Hillcats converge (from third base, shortstop, centerfield, pitcher and second base) like a scrum in rugby. Out of this, the shortstop stands up with ball in hand, loudly proclaiming with great pride and joy in his voice, “I’ve got it,” as the opposing players advance around the bases.
It made me laugh. It was one of those moments you’re thankful for the lowest levels of Little League baseball.