Archives for the month of: June, 2015

The USA’s Food and Drug Administration has given all food manufacturers three years to deliver trans fatfree (i.e. all the products you get from making fat from vegetable oils ) products, as CNN reports.

Trans fats are also found in animal products such as cows’ milk, but in vastly smaller quantities than in partially hydrogenated vegetable fats.

The CNN report includes a great quote from Dr Steven Nissen (cardiovascular medicine, Cleveland Clinic):

“In many ways, trans fat is a real tragic story for the American diet,” Nissen said. “In the 1950s and ’60s, we mistakenly told Americans that butter and eggs were bad for them and pushed people to margarine, which is basically trans fat. What we’ve learned now is that saturated fat is relatively neutral – it is the trans fat that is really harmful and we had made the dietary situation worse.”

Yep.

This has become one of my staples. It freezes really well and it is suuuuper delicious if you heat it up in a pan after defrosting.

Done and done!

Done and done!

I defrost a piece of spanakopita overnight in the fridge ans take it to work the next day for an easy late lunch with meatballs and avocado. It’s even tasty served cold.

The recipe is so easy: mix everything together in a bowl and stick in the oven. Now that’s my kind of cooking. 🙂

I based my version off this one from Young, Broke and Keto. (Recipe at the bottom of the post.)

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Frozen spinach: nice and cheap and great as a back-up in the freezer.

Look at all that delicious parmesan and feta! (Yes, I forgot to beat the eggs before adding everything else. This happens regularly.)

Look at all that delicious parmesan and feta! (Yes, I forgot to beat the eggs before adding everything else. This happens regularly.)

Mixed and poured into baking dishes, ready to get some colour.

Mixed and poured into baking dishes, ready to get some colour.


Crustless spanakopita

500g defrosted, chopped spinach

3 large eggs, lightly beaten

1 tsp dill

About 8 spring onions, chopped (a little bit of chopped onion also works well)

1 tbs olive oil

2 tbsp lemon juice (or a cap of vinegar)

1/3 cup sour cream

1/3 cup grated parmesan + 1/3 cup grated parmesan to sprinkle on just before baking

100g crumbled feta

1/2 tsp salt

1/4 tsp pepper

—————————————————————————–

Mix everything! 

Pour into muffin pan OR into baking dishes. Pour about an inch thick if pouring into a dish.

Sprinkle liberally with the remaining parmesan.

Bake for 30min at 180 C (375 F).

If you want to freeze portions, let it cool first before you cut and freeze.


Investigative science journalist and author Gary Taubes gives a lecture at Cornell on November 10th 2014.

There are numerous versions of this lecture on YouTube, but this one is the most recent and complete version I found.

The lecture might be too in depth for some watchers, but he really covers a lot of the issues out there concerning the Standard American Diet and the generally accepted obesity-energy paradigm (model).

Before you watch, you can ask yourself why you think people get fat. Take a few minutes to think about it, maybe even write down the logical steps a regular person should follow to make themselves put on weight.

I seemed to have jumped the gun in my first basic science post! I followed the route that most textbooks (the ones I could easily find online) set out: highlighting the importance of glucose as the fuel needed for our body to function and that the metabolism of glucose is akin to the metabolism of fuel. And then later on there is a short chapter on the role of fats and keto acids, often paired with the phrase starvation mode.

So through this unintended marketing ploy, I already assume that glucose is the one and only preferred fuel of my body. I have heard that it can survive off of my stored fat, but this is only in case of emergency…

Let’s do it a bit differently, then.

As I outlined in my previous post, our cells need the molecule ATP to survive. This molecule is the food our cells need to function and perform all their tiny tasks. The food our bodies need to create ATP is often grouped into what people call macronutrients.

Food is our fuel.  What we eat can be divided into three main sources of energy: carbohydrates, proteins and fats.

Food is our fuel.
What we eat can be divided into three main sources of energy: carbohydrates, proteins and fats.

These macronutrients are luckily words we’re all familiar with: carbohydrates, protein and fats. Interestingly enough, alcohol also provides energy, but I think we can all agree that we can’t live off a diet of pure alcohol, even though we sometimes try…

In the end, all three of these macronutrients have to be converted to the ATP molecule so that our cells can function. The journey from food as a body fuel to a potential cell fuel occurs through digestion. Carbohydrates get stored as glycogen, protein as amino acids and fats as triglycerides.

Once broken down into these compounds, they can be metabolised, chemically transformed, into the type of energy an individual cells can use. Each compound has its own path that it must follow to be metabolised. These are called metabolic pathways, and as you can see in this chart, I am greatly simplifying all the processes happening. And that chart should give you some idea of the headaches biochemistry students surely must endure.

In simple terms, carbohydrates and protein can form glucose, while fats can form keto acids (also called ketone bodies).

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Two paths to a working body: glycolysis and ketosis.

The cells can use either glucose or keto acids to create ATP. When you’re body has any reserve glycogen stored up, or available glucose in the bloodstream, it will choose to run on glycolysis. When your body sees that there is no more stored glycogen and no available glucose in the blood, it will naturally switch to ketosis and use the stored fatty acids to form keto acids for energy.
This switch between processes is not a strange or frightening occurrence. In fact, most people switch into ketosis at night since the body is not getting fresh glucose supplied from food.

Something to note is that ketosis is not your body’s starvation mode if you are on a high-fat, carbohydrate-restrictive diet. How can it be if you are actively putting fuel into your mouth? Starvation is only starvation when you are actually starving.

Now, how about your brain?

Your brain needs fuel, too!

Your brain needs fuel, too!

Your brain also needs fuel to thrive, and like your cells, it will run on glucose as long as it is readily available.

However, your brain can also tap energy from keto acids! Just as in the rest of your body, your brain changes its metobolism method in order to use the keto acids as its source of fuel.

There is a catch, though. Your red blood cells need glucose to create ATP. Luckily, as mentioned in the previous post, your body can produce enough glucose through gluconeogenesis for the red blood cells to function, even while running on ketosis. It’s amazing, really!

Is ketosis dangerous? Well, in the case of Type 1 diabetics it can be! In their special case, they can develop ketoacidosis. This happens when they can no longer produce enough insulin to tell their bodies to metabolise glucose, so their bodies over-produce keto acids while also retaining high levels of blood glucose. Total energy confusion, it seems.

This state only poses a threat to people who don’t know that they have type 1 diabetes. This is not a concern for the average human able to produce insulin. However, as always, if you are worried go see a medical doctor for a check-up! But please go prepared and read up on type 1 diabetes.

I hope this post gave some insight into what happens after we eat! As always, this is a incredibly simplified outline, but I hope it gives a reasonable, bare-bones overview of what goes on inside.

Don’t fear fat. It is fuel. 🙂

Last weekend I over-enthusiastically boiled what felt like a thousand eggs. This, as surprising as it may seem, proved too much for me to eat through in one week.

Quick and delicious mix of leftovers.

Quick and delicious mix of leftovers.

I had three medium-boiled eggs left, as well as some of the great chopped, fatty bacon that I found earlier in the week.

Into the pan to sizzle went the halved boiled eggs and the bacon. Once nicely heated up, I scooped it all onto a bed of rocket, baby spinach leaves and half an avo, and topped it all off with a snowy dusting of grated parmesan.

Yum.

Prof Tim Noakes  in an inquiry with the Association for Dietetics in South Africa (ADSA). It all started with a tweet recommending weening a baby onto low-carbohydrate foods.

Here is the position of the ADSA regarding the offensive, infamous tweet.


Update: postponed until November 23.


No words today. Just creams and yoghurt. 🙂

Norwegian goodness.

Norwegian goodness.

The first episode of the series: The Men Who Made Us Fat by the BBC.

It’s in the typical sensationalist documentary style that the BBC seems to keep producing, but it gives the watcher the factual context of the sugar and greater food industry over the last four decades, and how saturated fats became to be demonised.