May 24, 2001
In this issue:|
all! We ended up with a bigger-than-usual issue again this time.|
And this was after some editing!!
My family wishes all of yours a terrific Memorial Day weekend. Please drive safely. On with the newsletter!
"It's just Baby Fat, he'll outgrow it, right?"|
As we always say, our columns come from life... Here's one I hadn't fully thought about until it came up when a friend came to visit...
I hadn't seen her in years — not since her baby was born and it was terrific to hear that she (and her toddler) would be in my neck of the woods for a visit with her sister-in-law, so I invited them over to spend a day with me (a day on which I "played hooky" from work, but let's not tell anyone.)
One of the first things we spoke about that day was her concern about her child's "baby fat". It seemed excessive to her, and I have to admit it did to me as well. Our talks of sugar and carbohydrate in the diets of the very young led me to think long and hard about this...
Here are some quotes from articles snipped and placed into my "fat files" on children and adolescents:
"The problem of overweight is one of the most puzzling mysteries confronting the medical profession today... The more we learn about its various aspects, the more confusing is the role of the physician."
"Investigators are astounded by their own statistics which suggest that already at least 22,000,000 young people up to nineteen many be overweight or obese."
"In one study, 33 percent of girls, and almost 46 percent of boys were overweight. Harvard University — one of the world's leading authorities on juvenile obesity, estimates that 20 to 36 percent of all adolescents are heavy enough to be classified as full-fledged medical problems." (But the doctors don't know what made them fat. It's a medical mystery.)
In many of the articles (quoted above and others), the authors — doctors and non-doctors alike — put forward every conceivable reason for childhood obesity. In the articles I found, the following were suggested to be "the cause":
The one reason for childhood obesity they fail to see is the one that is staring them in the face — the change in the character of American food within the past 40 years (and the even bigger jump in the last 20.)
All sorts of reasons are thrown out in article after article... Children inherit their tendency to obesity. But on the other hand, perhaps they did not. Their mothers were good cooks; their mothers never learned to cook. Fat children don't eat as much as thin children; on the other hand, fat children stuff themselves all day. The contradictions pile on contradictions.
Most children today get their first taste of pure sugar — a substance that exists nowhere in nature — long before they are weaned. By the time they are in kindergarten, candy and soft drinks are considered as important a part of their diet as meat and milk.
Have you ever sat in a restaurant and watched the children order Cokes and French Fries for lunch while their parents smile and urge them to have dessert? Have you ever attended a children's party and measured the amount of pure sugar consumed by each toddler present?
Unless there is some recognition of what has happened to food in the last 40 years, our researchers will never get any nearer to solving the puzzle of obesity than they are today.
Those of us who are 40 years or older grew up in a time when there were sweets, of course, but they were treats! You had them at Christmas and Easter, or a special Saturday afternoon at a movie. Baking a cake or a batch of cookies took time and expense. They weren't available everywhere you turned including vending machines in child's school.
Nope, it's not just "baby fat"... and it doesn't seem to be going away anytime soon.
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Get The Rats Out of Your Race! ©
By Alice Fulton-Osborne
The bottom line: we want to fill our lives and homes with quality rather than quantity, and create an atmosphere conducive to eating appropriately... one that encourages, supports, and fosters our new way of living...
And one of the best ways to do just that is to get the rats out of your race. The rat always discussed in this column is the clutter/junk rat, and as promised in the last newsletter, today's topic is the most efficient approach to dealing with clutter and junk... streamlining. Today's topic: How to Streamline... the 8 steps to consistent order and control of your spaces and the things you want in those spaces.
Step 1: Prepare yourself.
Streamlining is a grueling, painful, exhausting experience (albeit a one-time experience, unlike typical "organizing," which recurs and recurs with no permanent solution in sight). You'll be making hundreds of decisions, always answering the questions, Do I like it, Do I use it, Do I want it, Do I need it, Do I have room for it. This determines what you keep and what you get rid of. Then you'll decide where to put what you're keeping. So... in preparation, you should have your meal needs thought out. At the end of a streamlining day, the last thing you'll want to do is fix a meal. Have this done ahead of time. Clear your calendar... this isn't the time to drive carpools, host the garden club luncheon, or referee the soccer game. You'll need a chunk of unbroken time. Decide what you want to do with everything you're getting rid of: garage or estate sale, charity donation, women's shelter, food bank, etc., are some ideas. The point is, move quickly... don't let stuff hang around for long, or it'll mysteriously end up back in the home. Lastly, if there are family members living with you, orient them as to what you're intending to do, when you'll be doing it, and maybe why you're doing it. Chances are, family members are part of the problem, so proper orientation can help them to buy in to this project and in the long run, be part of the solution.
Step 2: Gather containers:
plastic trash bags, cardboard boxes, and small container (shoe boxes, Rubber Maid and Tupperware, cottage cheese tubs, old bread pans, baskets, etc.). You don't need to buy anything to get rid of clutter... I streamlined my entire home with just doubled-up paper grocery bags. Most of our clients, however, prefer the 30 gal.-size plastic trash bags. You'll need large containers for charity items, trash, and someplace-else things. Of everything you toss, 80% will go to charity, only 20% is true trash.
"Someplace else" items are keepers, but they don't belong in the room you're currently working in. Don't try to put them "away" now, there's no logical place for them to go (and besides, "away" is already full, which is why the item ended up where you found it in the first place). Create an out-of-the-way holding spot for all the someplace else containers you'll be filling (and you will be filling lots of them). A corner of the basement or garage, a spare room or closet, even along the wall of a hallway will work. Don't get frantic over the accumulation of someplace else stuff. When all your spaces are streamlined, someplace else things almost put themselves away because you've created specific and sensible places for them to go.
If you use plastic trash bags for the charity and trash, be sure to cinch them up differently... maybe the twist-ties for trash and yarn or string for charity. This will differentiate the contents so at haul-off time you know exactly what goes where. Don't let anyone open a closed bag or box because they'll sidetrack you by playing the "Hey, I can use this!" game.
Step 3: Work in a clockwise pattern.
Begin in the master bedroom, in the closet. And as you move from area to area (in a clockwise direction), haul your containers with you, filling them as you go. Working clockwise is not only the best for streamlining, it's great for general cleaning as well, because if you must stop during the process, you can see where you've been and where you need to go.
You may feel you have an area that needs streamlining more urgently than the master bedroom, so you want to cheat and go to that area first. Don't do it. Follow this advice and begin in the master bedroom. We start here because it's boot camp training for the rest of the home. It's the toughest room to do because of the large concentration of your stuff living there. This is the sentimental repository for you. Sentimental things are difficult to deal with. Clothes are the other impediment. You may need a trusted, objective friend to help you deal with your clothes. I did. It made the process go much quicker to have the opinion of someone who wasn't tied to the wardrobe.
The other reason (and perhaps the most important) for starting in the master bedroom is that our self esteem starts and ends there every day. It's the first room we see in the morning, the last we see at night. Physical things send out silent messages, telling us who we are, how we're doing, where we're headed, and so on. Thus we want whatever our gaze falls on to speak messages of encouragement and hope. Again, the goal is quality over quantity... the best we can possibly afford. Colors and patterns that we love, styles we enjoy looking at, things we delight in using. This room should be a little corner of heaven, a refuge from the stresses and burdens of the world, a place of nurturing and peace. This standard should apply to children's rooms as well, as the same principle holds true. Everyone we love should awaken each day to beauty and order.
When finished with the master bedroom, continue in the clockwise pattern through the rest of the home. Deal with whatever room or area comes next in that clockwise pattern. You should leave the kitchen until the last, however, as it is the most time-consuming and perhaps exhausting room to do, second only to the master bedroom.
Step 4: Use Keeper Questions.
You've heard them before... Do I like it, Do I use it, Do I want it, Do I need it, Do I have room for it. This is the criteria for deciding what to keep and what to get rid of. Be ruthless... quality over quantity... pare your possessions down to the bare bones. Nothing should take up any space in your home that you don't absolutely like, use, want, need, and/or have room for. I'm asking keeper questions every day. I keep a large plastic trash bag in the laundry area and am always assessing the clothing as I'm doing it. I use to fill a charity bag once a month (with 7 children this wasn't hard to do). Now that there's just my husband and me, I fill a bag about every three months. Using keeper questions is the preventative measure to becoming buried in clutter again.
Step 5: Evaluate and assign.
After you've asked the keeper questions and have decided what to keep, you must decide where to put things. Evaluate your spaces as to their best use, then give each space a specific assignment. Consciously decide what you want to go where. You may need to label spaces in the beginning because bad habits die hard.
Step 6: Group and store like items together.
In deciding how to fill your spaces, remember that things tend to fall into categories or families. Group these like items together. For example, I removed the shelves from a basement linen closet and assigned all our family sports gear to it (skis and boots, tennis and racquet ball racquets, golf clubs, a drawstring bag of balls, etc.).
Step 7: Use memory boxes.
Every member of the family should have a memory box. This is the safe place for the sentimental items we accumulate as we move through life. My memory box holds my baby items (bronzed booties, blessing dress, photo album, etc.), my first dollie, the first piece of embroidery I did when I was ten years old, a couple favorite toys, the beaded clutch I was given for my first prom, my grandmother's piano scarf, and so on. This box can be a cardboard apple or orange box with lid (perhaps covered with pretty contac paper), a cedar chest, or custom-made box. It's not a toy box and the neighbor children never get into it. It's stored out-of-the way in a child's room (perhaps on the closet shelf) and brought down for special times... a quiet Sunday afternoon for instance. Everyone needs a special place for treasures. It's wonderful to be able to show children and grandchildren samples of our life from times past, and a memory box ensures that these treasures will be around to be shown, admired, and loved.
Step 8: Enjoy the empty space.
Because most of us need to be trained to appreciate and keep empty spaces in our lives, this is a true step to streamlining. It doesn't do us any good to go through this process only to fill up the spaces all over again. Empty space is soothing and restful. It visually opens rooms up, makes them appear cleaner and larger, and it shows off our decorator touches and personality. Empty spaces make cleaning and managing rooms easier and saves on cleaning time. It takes less energy to maintain rooms with less stuff in them, we don't lose things, and we can put things "away" quickly and easily. Make empty spaces part of your homemaking value system and work to keep them. Empty space will be the constant sign that you are now in control of your stuff, it's no longer controlling you.
If this quick overview wasn't enough to get you well on your way to streamlining your home and/or office, you can find more help in our book, It's Here...Somewhere. But the main thing to remember is to get rid of things before you do any organizing. How you organize stuff is immaterial, just be sure you're only organizing what you like, use, need, want, and/or have room for. If you follow this pattern, you'll not only find a better way to run a home, you'll find new energy and enthusiasm for mastering all aspects of your life... especially your new way of eating and caring for your physical health.
Next time: Ideas on dealing with clothes and laundry. Until then, feel free to e-mail me with questions: Alice.Osborne@gecapital.com, and when we meet again, may there be fewer rats in your race! ©
Low Carb Connoisseur is Making your life Sweeter and Easier!
The Twinkie Defense
Back in 1997, a movie called Trial and Error starring Jeff Daniels and Michael Richards hit the big screen. It involved the defense of a sleaze played by Rip Torn — a mail-order con artist who's been defrauding pensioners by selling "engraved copper portraits of the great emancipator". Of course, in reality he was simply selling pennies (at an exorbitant sum!), so there really was no viable route to acquittal. Desperate to mount SOME defense for their client, they brought in an expert to testify that the defendant ate copious amounts of sugar and since sugar was simply one molecule away from cocaine, he was clearly not in control of his actions at that time. It was the classic "Twinkie Defense."
In the end — as you might guess — the case was lost. But what the movie's plot point illustrates is how very well known it is that "the white stuff" in the 5-lb bags at your grocers is indeed a judgement-altering drug. You who have given it up (you HAVE given it up, right?) can attest to the struggles and physical realities of saying goodbye to that opponent. But this column is not about the physical addiction of sugar. We preach it a lot because we want to arm you with this information when nay-sayers tell you sugar is "just another food".
What I want to discuss here is the EMOTIONAL attachment to sugar (and all its high-carb/high-starch cousins.) If you don't think you HAVE an emotional addiction (one that lingers FAR longer than a physical one), then ask yourself why we all spend SO much time, trouble, and expense working to recreate low-carb versions of these same, comforting foods.
We, as a nation, have made mashed potatoes an expected occurrence at nearly every meal (except those made with fries, baked potatoes, rice, or noodles.) I remember when planning dinners my mother would always ponder what that meal's "starch" would be... Now, we look to "faux potatoes" and the like. I see from looking over this issue that we already have these very recipes in the newsletter. And I'll enjoy them as always. Because they represent comfort and tradition to me.
Now... think about all the times in your life when you "broke up" with a romantic interest. Or when you felt depressed. Or a friend moved away. Did you reach for ice cream? Cookies? Donuts? You can be sure you didn't reach for a slice of roast beef or an extra helping of broccoli.
Refined carbohydrates — in all their forms — represent comfort to us as a society. We were taught it from birth. You go to the pediatrician for a shot and to comfort (and reward) you, a lollipop is granted. You come home from school and are greeted (and comforted) by milk and cookies.
Has low-carbing changed this? Well, for many of us, it hasn't... We're smarter about it. We've beat the physical addiction, we're healthier. But ask any vendor of low-carb products what really sells through the roof. You'll find it's those comforting sweets and replacement foods.
The idea of food as friend is one capitalized on with great verve by our friends in the processed foods industries. You see parents bonding with their children over a plate of Pillsbury slice-and-bakes. A woman frazzled and needing comfort finds it in Sara Lea cheesecake. And teenagers are made stronger, more athletic, and accepted by friends — if they just drink Coca Cola (or Pepsi, etc.)
All of this power of persuasion is fed by tradition — parents who pass it on generation after generation. Now that you've wised up to the dangers, the health hazards, and the addictive nature of sugars, I implore you to think twice before you make it a reward or a comfort-giver for YOUR child.
Not Rice/Not Potatoes
I recently spent some time helping a newbie (yes, I'm the one that converted her) get used to our new way of eating. Her big cravings were not for sweets, but for the white rice and oodles of potato dishes she was used to having each and every day. So we worked on finding low-carb recipes that could really fill these needs and the recipes below are the best of them, so of course we're sharing them with you all!
First up, two versions of Faux Rice. They are both excellent, but really different. One uses cauliflower as a substitute (in most dishes, you'll never guess it's based on cauliflower!) and the other uses a truly unique combination of low-carb staples to create a "rice" you can use anywhere.
Finally, a group of sides that will easily fill in for potatoes and give you that same "comfort feeling".
Faux Rice - Version I
Faux Rice - Version II
Faux Stuffed Baked Potatoes
Easy Broccoli Casserole
"Just a Little Sleight of Hand"
A saleswoman walks into an office building in Glenview, IL on a cool Wednesday morning in April for a meeting set up a few weeks before. She is not nervous, as this is the fourth such meeting she has had this week, and far from her last. Upon announcing who she is to the receptionist, she's told to go right in.
The man sitting behind the imposing oak desk rises, shakes the saleswoman's hand, and says, "It's good to see you, though frankly, I'm not sure what this could be about..."
"Well Sir," the woman replies, "It's about strategy; it's about chemistry; it's about success. You see, I think we can increase your sales 20% over the next year."
The man pauses for a long moment, peruses the stack of paperwork that's just been placed in front of him, and looks up blankly. "What exactly does sugar have to do with cheese?"
I'd imagine the saleswoman goes on to show him charts, graphs, and studies that show that eating even small amounts of foodstuffs imbued with refined sugars cause a "more, more, MORE" affect in most people. They feel comforted by the food — though they can't say just why — and their hunger for more increases as they eat it. She may go on to tell him of the reports by restaurant owners that show that main dishes and even salads that are made with the addition of sugar — even a sprinkling in the dressings, the meat marinades, the cheese sauces and the gravies — strongly increase the incidence of the patron ordering desserts (one of the highest profit margin foods for restaurants since refined carbs are cheap but they can charge a LOT for dessert items.)
Exactly what goes on behind the closed doors in the processed foods industries can only be speculated on, but the increasing incidence of formerly all protein/fat food items now containing one or more sugars is a testament to the validity of such speculation.
I purchased a "bar" of Velveeta cheese the other day ... I've been buying and eating it off and on for years. To my surprise, it now contains sugar in the ingredients list. Hmmmmmmm....
You know what? It tastes exactly the same. It melts exactly the same. It feels exactly the same. There is virtually no difference in the least, except that it now, for no damn good reason, contains an addictive anti-nutrient to increase sales.
Okay, I live in the real world and my rose colored glasses were tidily packed away in a time capsule years ago, so I have very few illusions left. This is, after all, KRAFT foods: now owned by Philip Morris — big tobacco — who knows very well about the profits to be made by steadily increasing the addictive properties of its products.
Okay, but what about weight loss? Even in the patently absurd Food Pyramid they place sweets (meaning plain white sugar) at the top (sadly with all fats.) Surely sugar can't be peddled as PROMOTING weight loss, right? Well, you know I'm gonna say WRONG...
I'm in the doctor's office recently and I pick up a magazine (one of those "health" magazines that are seen ONLY in doctors' waiting room racks.) There's an article titled "The Sweet Route to Weight Loss — That REALLY works!" Okay, I GOTTA see this.
This article — glossy and slick with smiling beauties munching M&M's and holding brightly colored candies — spouts words that seem quite unbelievable. They tell you that candy has such a powerful influence on the blood sugar level that it can help you in your struggle for weight control. (And they herald its lack of FAT.) They explain that when the blood sugar level is raised, hunger disappears. That's true, of course. And what is equally true is that in a short time, hunger reappears again in an agonizing, nerve-wracking way if one has not previously stabilized his blood sugar levels with plenty of protein and a fair amount of fat.
No, the candy industry wants you to eat a piece of candy an hour or so before a meal. This will, they say, decrease your appetite. Or, you can eat a piece of candy at the end of a meal instead of "a rich dessert." They do not point out that many overweight prisoners of the candy and sugar trade often eat BOTH candy and a rich dessert at the end of a meal. Nor do they point out that a piece of low-sugar fruit and an ounce of cheese (about 100 – 140 calories) at the end of a meal will go down slowly, and be digested as nature meant food to be digested, and will give a feeling of complete satisfaction for hours afterward, because the protein in the cheese helps to stabilize the blood sugars.
Of course they've also failed to mention that many addicts can't stop at one piece of candy, especially an hour before meal time, when blood sugar levels are at their lowest, nerves at their most jittery; tension high; fatigue at its worst. Why not have two pieces of candy? Or three?
The sugar industry in America is less likely to herald the "benefits" of sugar in an openly, public way, but we found plenty of "bragging" with a quick web search in the UK. At the "British Sugar" site (their slogan is "the essential ingredient" — see their logo here. ) we found an article heralding sugar as the way to stay slim. You can read the article here.
Here's a quick quote:
"Over many decades our consumption of carbohydrate has fallen, our fat intakes have increased and at the same time our levels of activity have dropped significantly. The majority of us eat too much fat, not enough carbohydrate and are not active enough. This means that we increase the chances of becoming overweight. We should aim to eat more foods which are high in carbohydrates, such as pasta, rice and sugar..."
Of course if you're reading this newsletter, you probably already know the truth, but the facts are that as the decades have passed, people eat MORE carbs (especially sugar and processed carbs) and less fat (people go crazy eating low-fat candies and treats) and we've all seen us grow and grow...
Mainstream magazines, health organizations, and websites continue to promote the "More, more, MORE sugar" philosophy and sadly, so many believe...
Perhaps a more well-known book — the Bible — said it best:
"Beware of sweet dainties; they are a deceitful food." — Proverbs 23:3
"A Prescription for Nutrition"
I am on my third doctor since first trying to learn more about this plan (low-carbing.) No matter what nutrition questions I ask, I am told the same "canned answers" about the food pyramid, lowering calories and fat, etc. Two of them handed me the same pre-printed sheet with a "diet" on it. Am I just having bad luck with finding a good and supportive doctor, or is this pretty much what I can expect?
Dear Ruthie —
It's not just your imagination. The fact is, most physicians are not trained in dietary matters at all. While there are exceptions (I have been very lucky to now have a great physician who DOES understand and there are others who frequent our site), the reasons most are nutritionally challenged are:
Thanks for all your letters, everyone! I get hundreds of letters each week and try to answer as many as I can.
Thanks for reading! Keep your suggestions and questions
coming in — we always want to hear from you! Remember, we
can't address every request and query, but the ones we hear
about the most or offer the greater potential to help others
will surely make their way here.|
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