Carbs boost heart disease risk in women

From CNN.com:

White bread, rice, and other carbs boost heart disease risk in women: Women who eat more white bread, white rice, pizza, and other carbohydrate-rich foods that cause blood sugar to spike are more than twice as likely to develop heart disease than women who eat less of those foods, a new study suggests.

Only carbohydrates with a high glycemic index appear to hurt the heart. Carbs with a low glycemic index — such as fruit and pasta — were not associated with an increased risk of heart disease, which suggests that the increased risk is caused “not by a diet high in carbohydrates, but by a diet rich in rapidly absorbed carbohydrates,” says the lead author of the study, Sabina Sieri, of the Fondazione IRCCS Istituto Nazionale dei Tumori, a national institute for cancer research in Milan, Italy.

Well, if you’ve read either [[Mark’s Daily Apple]] or his great Primal Blueprint book, or the fantastic Good Calories, Bad Calories by Gary Taube, you already knew this. Humans did not evolve eating the by-products of wheat, rye, rice, or other grains, and as such have not adapted to them. We evolved eating animals, vegetables, fruits, tubers, and nuts. Avoid grains and grain by-products, and sugars that have been extracted from the food they were in, eat lots of animals and plants, and you’ll be far healthier than you would be on the diet recommended by the USDA…. hmmm…. did you ever wonder why grains and cereals are the base of the USDA pyramid?? Could it possibly be related to the huge number of farmers that grow grains and cereals have a strong lobby in Washington??? Or is that too cynical?

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Life, Rare and Fragile

From Mark’s Daily Apple:

Life, Rare and Fragile: Ignore evolution at your peril. Ignore the undeniable fact that the human animal (like any other) arose under certain environmental pressures, pressures that persisted for most of our formative years. Even more important than what our ancestral environments looked like is what they did not look like. They were not grocery stores with tons of refined carbohydrates and cereal grains lining the aisles. They were not sitting in traffic for an hour each way. They were not gallons of vegetable oils. They were not legions of obese diabetics.

We are animals, and we are subject to evolutionary pressures. We came of age in a time without processed foods, sedentarism, and chronic stress. That is the environment for which we are adapted, and it is the environment towards which we should strive – if we’re interested in optimum health, happiness, and longevity, that is.

I recently found Mark’s Daily Apple, a blog about nutrition, health, exercise, etc. It’s a wonderful resource, and I’d highly recommend it to everyone interested in actually improving your health and fitness.

Drinking age of 21 doesn’t work

From CNN.com:

Commentary: Drinking age of 21 doesn’t work – CNN.com: One year ago, a group of college and university presidents and chancellors, eventually totaling 135, issued a statement that garnered national attention.

The “Amethyst Initiative” put a debate proposition before the public — “Resolved: That the 21-year-old drinking age is not working.”

…Most of the rest of the world has come out in a different place on the drinking age. The United States is one of only four countries — the others are Indonesia, Mongolia and Palau — with an age as high as 21. All others either have no minimum age or have a lower age, generally 18, with some at 16.

Young adults know that. And, in their heart of hearts, they also know that a law perceived as unjust, a law routinely violated, can over time breed disrespect for law in general.

Exactly correct. In a country that was founded on the ideals of freedom and responsibility, that it can be acceptable for someone to be old enough to die for one’s country, but not old enough to raise a tankard of ale in tribute to that same country is insane. That it’s legal to drive at 16 (which causes WAY more deaths every year than drinking), and consent to sex at 16, and vote at 18 (which has a direct impact on the future of the country), and smoke at 18 (which is WAY more unhealthy than drinking)… that you are considered an adult in every way in this country, but you can’t have a beer is just plain stupid.

Plans for 2009

It’s been an interesting couple of years for me. Starting 2 1/2 years ago, I decided that it was time for me to get in shape again. I started going to the gym at work, and have been going ever since. I’m actually in the best shape I’ve been in since probably high school, and weigh about what I did when I graduated from college.

Also, about 2 years ago, I took a big step towards living with less pain by having one of my knees replaced. That’s turned out beautifully, and far more mobile that I was and pain free. Before the surgery, I was having difficulty walking. Now I can comfortable walk 18 holes of golf without issue.

A year ago now I decided to make a fairly big change: I stopped drinking alcoholic beverages. I decided that I just really didn’t want that for myself anymore, and I didn’t have a drop for about 8 months, but over the holiday season, I partook of some while at parties or visiting people, what have you. I’ve come to a similar conclusion now after the holidays: alcohol doesn’t do anything for me anymore, so I’m done with it, hopefully for good.

So, what to do now to improve my general health and life that I’ve gotten in shape and given up on alcohol? Well, I think I’m going to make a concerted effort to get off the remaining medications that I’m on, and to no longer use any other supplements that aren’t directly related to good health. The only medication that I currently take is for gastro-esophogeal reflux disease, and I think I can get off that completely this year. The key, I think, will be to watch what I eat. Certain foods just don’t agree with my stomach, and although I like them, it’s really not worth it anymore (kind of like alcohol isn’t worth it for me either).

Also, I’d like to write more in here in my blog. I took the time over the holiday break to convert it to the [Typo](http://www.typosphere.org/projects/show/typo) engine, and I’m really happy with that decision. I can now edit the blog and make new entries from my [iPhone](http://www.apple.com/iphone/) (the coolest gadget I’ve ever owned. So, given that I can now literally blog from anywhere, I’d like to do more to keep this site current.

In any case, those are my resolutions, or personal goals for the coming year. Wish me luck!