For the Love of Food

by | Jun 13, 2014
For The Love of Food

For The Love of Food

Welcome to Friday’s For The Love of Food, Summer Tomato’s weekly link roundup.

This week fun is necessary for weight loss, how self-identity shapes success, and why pregnant women need more fish.

Want to see all my favorite links? (There’s lots more). Be sure to follow me on on Delicious. I also share links on Twitter @summertomato,  Google+ and the Summer Tomato Facebook page. I’m very active on all these sites and would love to connect with you. (And yes, I took that pepper heart pic myself).

Read the rest of this post »

Tags: , , , , , , , ,

For the Love of Food

by | Mar 14, 2014
For The Love of Food

For The Love of Food

Welcome to Friday’s For The Love of Food, Summer Tomato’s weekly link roundup.

This is one of the best link roundups in a long while. Learn everything you’ve always wanted to know about protein and mortality, the real reasons habits are hard to build, and new guidelines for sugar intake.

Want to see all my favorite links? (There’s lots more). Be sure to follow me on on Delicious. I also share links on Twitter @summertomato,  Google+ and the Summer Tomato Facebook page. I’m very active on all these sites and would love to connect with you. (And yes, I took that pepper heart pic myself).
Read the rest of this post »

Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , ,

For the Love of Food

by | Nov 22, 2013
For The Love of Food

For The Love of Food

Welcome to Friday’s For The Love of Food, Summer Tomato’s weekly link roundup.

This week skim milk spikes controversy, how to feed your gut microbiome and how your alarm clock impacts body weight.

Want to see all my favorite links? (There’s lots more). Be sure to follow me on on Delicious. I also share links on Twitter @summertomato,  Google+ and the Summer Tomato Facebook page. I’m very active on all these sites and would love to connect with you. (And yes, I took that pepper heart pic myself).

Read the rest of this post »

Tags: , , , , , , , , ,

For the Love of Food

by | Nov 15, 2013
For The Love of Food

For The Love of Food

Welcome to Friday’s For The Love of Food, Summer Tomato’s weekly link roundup.

This week Trader Joe’s salads get E. coli, BPA is hurting us more than we realized (by a lot), and a 3-minute alternative to potato chips.

Want to see all my favorite links? (There’s lots more). Be sure to follow me on on Delicious. I also share links on Twitter @summertomato,  Google+ and the Summer Tomato Facebook page. I’m very active on all these sites and would love to connect with you. (And yes, I took that pepper heart pic myself).

Read the rest of this post »

Tags: , , , , , , , , , ,

For the Love of Food

by | Apr 12, 2013
For The Love of Food

For The Love of Food

Welcome to Friday’s For The Love of Food, Summer Tomato’s weekly link roundup.

This week foie gras is more ethical than chicken, paleo diets take some heat, and organic labels change how food tastes.

Want to see all my favorite links? (There’s lots more). Be sure to follow me on on Delicious. I also share links on Twitter @summertomato,  Google+ and the Summer Tomato Facebook page. I’m very active on all these sites and would love to connect with you. (And yes, I took that pepper heart pic myself).

Read the rest of this post »

Tags: , , , , , , ,

How Butter and Real Food Saved My Health

by | Apr 11, 2012

Photo by Robert S. Donovan

Huge thanks to Emilia for sharing her story. I think she brings a very important message about the value of nutrition and the importance of trying different things until you find the diet that works best for you.

While Emilia found that more fat was necessary for her optimal health (as did I), keep in mind that some people thrive best on a diet with less fat. Humans vary substantially in their genetic background, so you can’t assume that what works for someone else will work for you. Experimenting with your healthstyle is the only way to figure it out.

Emilia has a certification in holistic nutrition from Bauman College and has worked in community health education.

How Butter and Real Food Saved My Health

by Emilia

Hello Summer Tomato Readers,

My name is Emilia and I’m hugely honoured to be guest posting on Summer Tomato. I have been a big fan of Summer Tomato since the beginning and I love Darya’s clear explanations and refusal to accept cliche. Most of all though I love her ‘healthstyle’ message and I wish I’d found a resource like Summer Tomato, back when I began dieting.

My unhealthy experience with dieting came after University when I decided I wanted to lose a few vanity pounds. I looked to various women’s magazines for guidance, and soon came up with a diet that was low in calories and very low in fat. It centered around salad without dressing, fruit, fat-free yogurt and muffins, scrambled egg whites and a small amount of seeds and fish. I lost weight quickly and was thrilled.

The problem was that not only did I lose weight, but I also developed other problems. These included extreme anxiety, irrational behavior if food was late and incredibly low immunity. People who knew me joked that I got sick an awful lot for the healthiest eater they knew. The worst symptom however was that my hormones became completely off balance. To put it bluntly, I barely menstruated for four years.

During this time I sought lots of medical advice about the problem. It was assumed to be a temporary result of my weight loss. After that many doctors made the diagnosis of polycystic ovaries, despite the fact that none were evident in scans. Since I wasn’t (quite) technically underweight, lifestyle factors were barely considered. The only advice some doctors gave me was to gain weight, exercise less or eat more protein. I did all of these dutifully, without result.

The transformational moment came after Christmas one year. I spend Christmas with my husband’s family who eat a very traditional British diet: fresh meat from local farms and homegrown vegetables. Everything is cooked in copious amounts of butter, but served in small portions. The only consistent time my cycles would re-start was after Christmas, despite the fact that my weight and exercise habits didn’t change. Since I was eating meat at home regularly by then (albeit grilled chicken breasts), I began to wonder if there was something unique about eating a diet high in both saturated fat and protein that helped me.

I began to study Nourishing Traditions and the Paleo diet, and started to (very loosely) incorporate some of the principles. I chose to first focus on including more saturated fat in my diet: butter, full fat milk and yogurt, whole eggs and fattier cuts of meat. I also refused to see fat as a negotiable, and stopped skimping on butter in my cooking so I could have a cookie later.

Second, I started to ensure I was getting some good protein at every meal. Meat or fish once per day, plenty of nuts, and legumes instead of bread. I also began including more exceptionally nutritious sources of protein like oily fish of all varieties, as well as organ meats like liver and kidney (yes, really!).

Third, I switched my attitude toward food. Instead of trying to eat more food for fewer calories, I started trying to eat moderate amounts of highly nutritious and enjoyable food. Buying smaller portions of vegetables, but getting them from the farmers market. Having the occasional delicious ice cream, instead of a daily frozen yogurt. Pretty much entirely cutting out refined flours, artificial additives and other non-foods. It was, I believe, this third change that was the most important. It was also the hardest since it defies our current societal instruction to seek out the most food or pleasure, for the least calories or money.

After I started eating this way, the improvements to my health were virtually immediate. My anxiety subsided, my moods normalised. Within two months my hormones began to re-stabilize. I am certain the dietary changes were pivotal because any time I reverted to eating less fat and protein, or relying on refined carbohydrates, my problems returned.

It took time to change my eating habits permanently—starting to eat butter can be as hard as stopping—but I am now a devoted and healthy convert. My current healthstyle is enjoyable, sustaining, affordable and supportive of my fertility. It it is also rather like Darya’s weight maintenance recommendations: high in healthy fats served with vegetables, and rich in legumes and good sources of protein; focusing on quality over quantity and resisting redundant ideas about ‘healthy’ packaged foods. Which brings me full circle to my first point.

For me, the impression many doctors gave that my fertility had everything to do with my weight, calorie intake and genetics turned out be far from the truth. I believe that for many people fertility has everything to do with nutrient intake. I am therefore so pleased there are rational websites like Summer Tomato that can help spread the message.

Thanks so much for allowing me to tell my story Darya!

How has eating real food helped your health?

 

Tags: , , ,

For The Love Of Food

by | Oct 14, 2011

For The Love of Food

Welcome to Friday’s For The Love of Food, Summer Tomato’s weekly link roundup.

This week the emphasis seems to be on the value of whole foods over single nutrients or supplements. Check out my article on the danger of vitamin E supplements over at KQED, the cool new study about why whole broccoli is better than its single nutrients as well as a cool trick for preventing avocados from browning.

Want to see all my favorite links? Be sure to follow me on on Digg. I also share links on Twitter (@summertomato), Google+ and the Summer Tomato Facebook page. I’m very active on all these sites and would love to connect with you.

Links of the week

What inspired you this week?

Tags: , , , , , , , , , ,

For The Love Of Food

by | Apr 15, 2011

For The Love of Food

Welcome to Friday’s For The Love of Food, Summer Tomato’s weekly link roundup.

This is probably the best week of the year so far for food and health writing. Taubes’ provocative piece on sugar and its possible role in cancer is a must read. Also check out the latest consensus on saturated fat, the power of exercise, and the lovely ingredient found in processed ice creams.

Want to see all my favorite links? Be sure to follow me on on Digg. I also share links at Twitter (@summertomato) and the Summer Tomato Facebook fan page. I’m very active on all these sites and would love to connect with you.

Links of the week

What inspired you this week?

Tags: , , , , , , , , , ,

Healthy Vegetarian & Vegan Diets – Episode #4 – Summer Tomato Live [video]

by | Apr 6, 2011

Thanks to those of you who participated in episode #4 about healthy vegetarian & vegan diets. I learned a lot while researching this post, and there’s valuable info on omega-3 fatty acids, essential minerals and other nutrition information that’s important for omnivores as well.

All show notes, including my annotated Kindle notes of Amazon’s most popular vegetarian nutrition book (I’m not a fan) are below. Everyone should at least skim through them, there’s a lot of great information/clarification in there.

Episode #5, Dairy: Friend or Foe? is airing on Monday, April 11 at 6:30pm PST. Does milk help or hurt your chances or getting osteoporosis? Does calcium cause prostate cancer? What’s the role of milk in acne? What about raw milk, is it really the holy grail? Join us on Monday to learn the answers.

______________________________________________________

March 29, 2011 | Episode #4 of Summer Tomato Live. The topic is healthy vegetarian and vegan diets (with lots of interesting nutrition information for omnivores too).

Live participation is only available to subscribers of the newsletter Tomato Slice. You can sign up at any time, even during the show, and the password for participation will be emailed to you immediately.

Click here to sign up and get the password

Read this for more information on the show and newsletter

To watch live and join the discussion click the red “Join event” button, login with Twitter or your Vokle account, and enter the password when prompted.

I encourage you to call in with video questions, particularly if your question is nuanced and may involve a back and forth discussion. Please use headphones to call in however, or the feedback from the show is unbearable.

The show will be recorded and released to the public next week. Show notes are below.

Show notes:

Follow Darya on Kindle

Darya’s Kindle notes on Becoming Vegetarian by Vesanto Melina and Brenda Davis

Health:

Tools:

I hope to see you there!

Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , , ,

Can You Live Longer By Cutting Calories?

by | Mar 30, 2011

Photo by Werwin15

Photo by Werwin15

The science of aging is among the most dynamic and provocative in modern biology. Over the past two decades we have seen a virtual explosion in research investigating the molecular and behavioral systems that control the aging process. But the more researchers uncover about the science of aging, the more questions emerge.

Dietary restriction has long been considered the most potent regulator of aging. Restricting food intake by any means induces a series of metabolic changes in organisms from yeast to primates that serve to extend life. Studies are currently underway to investigate the ability of dietary restriction to extend life in humans.

Several biological changes are known to occur upon the onset of dietary restriction including a decline in reproductive ability, increased stress resistance and a slowdown of some metabolic processes.

Insulin signaling was among the first molecular pathways to be identified in the regulation of aging, and offered a direct tie between diet and the aging process.  In 1998 UCSF scientist Cynthia Kenyon showed that removing an insulin receptor gene (daf-2) in worms could double their lifespan. Her lab later showed that removing another insulin signaling gene (daf-16) could extend life even longer. I spoke to Kenyon about the relationship between diet and aging for this article.

Blocking insulin signaling in these worms did not just prevent the worms from dying and allow them to age longer. Instead the aging process actually slows so that older worms continue to behave like young worms. Also, as these experiments were repeated in different animals, it was shown that lowering insulin signaling also helps protect animals from stress and diseases such as cancer and heart disease.

Insulin is released as a direct response to glucose in the blood. This means that any time you eat a meal with carbohydrates, you are increasing your insulin signaling and likely accelerating aging. But this does not mean that you will live forever if you stop eating carbohydrates.

Interestingly, protein metabolism also contributes to accelerated aging, but through a different mechanism. Even more intriguing is that restricting protein increases lifespan to a greater extent than restricting sugar.

So is it simply calories that promote aging?

Probably not. For one thing, the effect of a calorie from protein is greater than a calorie from carbohydrate, making it unlikely that a calorie is the basic unit of impact. Second, there is evidence that calories are not required to accelerate aging.

Recent studies have shown that the mere act of smelling food can reduce lifespan. The mechanism for this effect is still unknown, but seems to be tied to respiration.

According to Kenyon it is clear that “sensory perception influences lifespan,” at least in worms and flies.

Thus it is likely that aging is controlled by the interaction of several pathways, including metabolism, respiration and stress. Importantly, however, lifespan seems to be dependent on a handful of specific pathways rather than global changes in cellular function or breakdown. The idea that aging is an inevitable function of time must be put aside given the evidence that it is controlled at a genetic and environmental level.

This makes sense when you think about it. Different organisms exhibit vastly different lifespans and rates of aging that are too great to be explained by some kind of universal cellular breakdown. A more parsimonious hypothesis is that organisms differ in specific genetic factors that, combined with environmental influences, regulate lifespan.

So how should we mortal humans react to these findings?

The genes linking diet and aging are highly conserved through evolution, indicating that there is a great chance human aging is sensitive to diet. Indeed, insulin-related genes have been found to be important in long-lived human populations. This suggests that the pathways discovered in worms and other organisms have similar functions in humans.

What is not clear is how much influence diet has on lifespan and to what extent we are able to manipulate it. It is already known that abnormal insulin activity in humans is linked to higher disease rates, especially “diseases of civilization” such as heart disease, hypertension, type 2 diabetes and cancer. And these diseases are clearly associated with diets rich in processed foods, especially refined carbohydrates.

The effect of protein consumption on lifespan in humans has yet to be investigated. Envisioning an experiment that would test the influence of smelling food on human aging is difficult to even imagine.

Although direct evidence is not available, there is good reason to suspect that a diet with low glycemic load may extend human lifespan. In November 2009, Kenyon’s lab reported that adding glucose to a worm’s normal diet shortens lifespan, but has no effect on the long-lived worms that lack insulin signaling genes daf-2 and daf-16. This discovery prompted Kenyon herself to adopt a low-carbohydrate diet.

Despite this there is still not sufficient evidence to recommend a calorie restricted diet for humans to extend life, largely because optimal nutrition levels for a given individual are unknown. However, most people would benefit vastly by eliminating processed foods and refined carbohydrates from their diets as much as possible.

Focusing on fresh, whole foods, enjoying an occasional glass of wine, avoiding smoking and getting regular exercise can add 14 years to the life of an average person. Maintain a healthy weight as well and your outlook gets even better.

Would you change your diet to be healthier and live longer?

Originally published February 3, 2010.

Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , ,