15 November 2015

Our Broken Plate, or Evidence Based Diets [by @NLi10] @RayCronise

As someone who is Public Health trained, but loves snack food I am saddened by the Obesity Epidemic.  Seemingly in a single decade people have increased in size to the point where what is considered normal has shifted. Combined with the (admittedly reduced) number of smokers ours is predicted to be the first generation since the Victorians that has a reduced average life expectancy compared to the one before it.  This seems crazy - we've got a lot more science and technology on our side - what are we doing wrong?!

Way back in April this year I found out about the research that Ray Cronise and his team had done, purely through the weight loss of Magician Penn Jillette. Essentially they are looking at a lot of the myths and theories we hold about food and could potentially revolutionise how we eat - using information that we kind of already know. The book from this research - Our Broken Plate (well one of two books if you count Penn's 'Presto') is now in it's final stages and is up on Kickstarter here - which is why I'm putting this up now.  It's already fully backed so don't worry about that unless you want the rewards - once a KS hits target it's much less riskier to wait until the project is complete, although it's bound to be a pain to find the book in the UK initially.  It's worth taking a look at for the video and updates of where the research is at (indeed a lot of that is on Ray's blog in the links at the bottom of this post).

The diet side, which I've discussed on here before , is based on the work of Dr Fuhrman who advocates that if you make up 90% of your diet from unprocessed fresh foods then you will become more 'healthful'.  And it works - I lost almost too much weight (from just over 1st to just below 1st and I'm 6'4") by following the diet and have had to work hard to put it back on without just resorting to the typical western diet. and just putting it back as belly fat again.

I'm looking forwards to looking the research behind some of the other aspects such as mild cold stress (not freezing, just less constant heat) increasing our calorie consumption, and how Ray's body reacted during his recent 21 day water-only fast, amongst other tales.

Now the food angle (which is admittedly what we mostly care about here) is more refined they have begun to use the term Evidence Based Diet.  This means that instead of looking at what worked for the one example model on the weight loss poster we are treating each aspect of the diet as a separate health experiment and tracking how this made a difference.  This also means looking at what it is about eating a lot more cruciferous vegetables compared to pizzas makes the most difference.  Indeed the main take home message for me was that it's about the amount of nutrients per calorie and not about the amount of calories per gram.  Switching from stodgy sandwiches to salad & nut lunches was a pleasure and probably the biggest change for me.  Breakfast removed all the sugar so I no longer went to work hyper, and with the almond milk (that I loved?!) I was consuming so much less that I had to increase the size of all my portions just to keep up.

I've not managed to keep all that up though.  I got taken down by some underlying virus that made me move quickly back to the milk and sugar breakfast just to try to put some comfort food back in the routine (even though I love my blueberry porridge!) and when work is busy I don't always get time to pop to buy the weeks supply of premade salads.  The new blender has helped to use up the fruit that was starting to get a bit squishy and I think really kick started the recovery.  Switching to 4 meals a day and being less picky about what I ate when out was the final push towards putting the weight back on and I like to think I'm doing it right - but there aren't really any guidelines for the 'underweight' version of the healthy diet other than eat a lot more nuts and larger portions.

Also a problem on the diet was finding things to review that didn't cause massive sugar spikes or get me back on the caffeine (another easy slip for me), I'm sure that not everyone wants to read about the latest trends in Kale or what I put in the Blend Active this week!

Anyway - I figured that it was interesting enough to talk about the book becoming a reality, and the next time I talk about it will probably be me trying the techniques out.  Heck I may even do some actual exercise!  Now that will require me to take on more calories...

From here on out I suspect that the massive piles of christmas things in the food aisle will occupy my time... and if you too want an early signed copy of Our Broken Plate then check out the Kickstarter.

Our Broken Plate

Ray Cronise's Blog - Thermogenex

Potential Declining Life Expectancy In American Adults

Our Fuhrman reviews

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