Why I’m No Longer Vegetarian

Note: veg*n is a shortened version of “vegan/vegetarian”
People often ask me about why I started eating meat again after 18 years of being vegetarian and how I dealt with the ethical issue of killing and eating animals.  So I did an entire podcast on it recently on Evil Sugar Radio.  In this article, I’ll address some myths, misconceptions and psycho-social aspects of vegan and vegetarian diets.
Please keep in mind that many of these problems are inherent in other diets, as well.  There are, however, specific environmental and spiritual claims unique to veg*nism, which people need to know are complete bullshit.
http://www.evilsugarradio.com/40-why-im-no-longer-vegan-problems-with-vegetarianism-and-veganism/361/

Note: veg*n is a shortened version of “vegan/vegetarian”

People often ask me about why I started eating meat again after 18 years of being vegetarian and how I dealt with the ethical issue of killing and eating animals.  So I did an entire podcast on it recently on Evil Sugar Radio.  In this article, I’ll address some myths, misconceptions and psycho-social aspects of vegan and vegetarian diets.

Please keep in mind that many of these problems are inherent in other diets, as well.  There are, however, specific environmental and spiritual claims unique to veg*nism, which people need to know are complete bullshit.

http://www.evilsugarradio.com/40-why-im-no-longer-vegan-problems-with-vegetarianism-and-veganism/361/

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Eating Your Emotions part 2

Eating Your Emotions
a look at emotional eating
by Aubin Parrish
part 2
In part 1 of this piece, we learned about personal stories of emotional eating and its origins, things about our modern society that foster it, and some of its consequences.  This time, we’ll take a look at possible connections with eating disorders and so-called food ‘addiction’, and consider whether emotional eating can sometimes be a helpful coping mechanism.  We’ll also learn about some tools to determine whether hunger is physical or emotional, and ways some people have recovered from or diminished the behavior and taken steps to heal their relationship with food.
Emotional eating can resemble addictive behavior.  Some people find they eat automatically when upset, without conscious thought for their actions, and feel helpless to stop.  They may be obsessed with a particular kind of food when under stress, and feel a physical and mental craving for it so strongly that they seem unable to control themselves.  Emotional eating can be closely tied with bingeing, and the two conditions of emotional eating and Binge Eating Disorder can be difficult to distinguish from each other.  This is exacerbated by the fact that BED is frequently confused by lay-people with food ‘addiction’ and can have an emotional component.
There is a great deal of controversy over whether food can actually be addictive or not.  It’s become a commonly-held belief that some people are addicted to food, either to the act of eating in general or to specific foods.  Sugar is generally portrayed as the bad guy in this scenario.  This is problematic, because food is not physiologically addictive in the same way that drugs or alcohol are.  Not even sugar!  Studies indicating addictive response in rats or mice to sugar are generally very limited in scope and don’t test real-world conditions.  It’s true that sugar consumption triggers release in the brain of ‘happy hormones’, but so does any other pleasurable activity, including eating anything.  This fact in and of itself doesn’t mean sugar, or any other food, is addictive.  When a non-addictive substance is granted addictive status, it can have the effect of removing the power to change behavior concerning that substance from the person in question, and place the blame on the substance.  This can distract from the fact that the source of the addictive behavior is within the person, not derived from some nefarious quality of the food.  Many people have had success breaking their patterns of addictive behavior concerning food by recognizing the power to change lies within themselves and with the process of healing their inner relationship with food and eating.  The food has no power over them that they don’t allow it to have.  This differs from substances that are physiologically addictive, which create physical dependencies.
Some people who engage in emotional eating also have eating disorders, whether clinically diagnosed or not.  There can be a complex interplay between emotions, psychological conditions, clinical eating disorders and food behavior, as well as a broad spectrum of severity of disordered behavior.  Each person struggling with this spectrum will have an individual landscape shaped by these factors.  The process of coming to terms with out-of-control emotional eating is worth pursuing, because it can be a  distressing and heavy burden, as well as affect one’s physical health.
Many people have success with examining the roots of their urge to eat in response to unpleasant emotions and becoming more mindful of it in the present moment.  While therapy can be effective for dealing with emotional eating, untangling the source and current circumstances that trigger emotional eating can often be accomplished on a private level as well.  However, anyone who suspects they may have an eating disorder should seek professional treatment for it.  EDs are associated with the highest mortality rate of any mental disorder, and need to be taken seriously.  There are many grave misunderstandings about eating disorders in general.  As a result, affected people often don’t seek professional treatment even if they or their loved ones suspect they have an ED.  It’s a common misconception that a person with an eating disorder will be either extremely underweight or overweight.  This is inaccurate.  A large percentage of those with an ED are in the normal weight range.  Therapists specializing in eating disorders are trained to recognize the range of different disordered food behaviors, and treatment is effective.
How do you determine if a hunger is physical or emotional?  It’s not always easy to tell the difference, especially when an emotional upset is fresh.  Often times, the simple act of being mindful of the urge to eat can make it clear.  Some people find when they observe themselves more objectively, by stepping outside the heat of the moment and engaging a more rational thinking process, it’s easier to tell if a hunger is physical or emotional in origin.
Establishing healthy habits and regular but flexible routines concerning food can also help bring some clarity to the situation.  If you give yourself the freedom to eat enough to fuel your activities, don’t punish yourself with food restrictions, and create space in your life to let food be in balance with your other necessary activities, it can release the tension you may have associated with food.  If there is no cycle of indulgence/guilt/remorse/punishment in regards to eating, then actual physical hunger as opposed to emotional longing can often be more clearly perceived.
In some cases, a brief distraction (for instance, taking a short walk, talking to a friend, or any other activity that doesn’t involve eating) can break the fixation to eat emotionally, and allow a person to come back after a short time and re-evaluate whether they are actually hungry.  Sometimes a hunger is both emotional and physical.  Therapists who specialize in food-related issues will be able to provide other coping tools you can learn to make these distinctions, and to assist with out-of-control emotional eating.
Is it always ‘bad’ to eat emotionally?  Perhaps not.  Food is a primal pleasure as well as a necessity, and in some situations, eating can be used as a way to relieve stress, process grief, get in touch with happy memories, or gain a feeling of being more centered in oneself.  This doesn’t mean eating to excess or bingeing, as those are rarely good ideas.  But for instance, at the end of a stressful day or after an emotional upset of some kind, enjoying some food you find pleasurable simply for the fact that you like it and it helps you feel like you’re nurturing yourself by savoring it, completely aside from whether you’re physically hungry or not, is not necessarily harmful.  It’s human nature.  While eating as a primary way to cope with emotional upset or stress is likely to have unwanted effects, not the least of which is weight gain, it may not be necessary to try to completely eradicate the behavior, if it happens only occasionally and within reasonable bounds.
Some of my friends whose stories we learned about in part 1 have successfully curbed their tendency to eat emotionally.  They shared with me some of their tactics.
Catherine says, “…I do therapy, I keep a gratitude journal, I walk, I talk to a friend/family member, I go on ETF [Facebook group], I make art. These are all better ways for me to deal with my emotions rather than eating a lot.”
Cheri has taken a structured and scientific approach to more aware self-guidance with food.  “Once I truly understood how the metabolism worked, how we burn energy and require energy, I began to eat and move accordingly. I also don’t have the stressors I did growing up, and try to keep my stress to a minimum. Learning coping skills has helped me to stop emotional eating 90% of the time. And because I eat to TDEE now [total daily energy expenditure], I rarely binge and if I do, it’s not related to under eating (sometimes I will due to hormones, but they’re rare and pretty small.) I counted calories on My Fitness Pal for over 2 years, which really helped.”
This was Cara’s response to my inquiry about specific methods or tools she’s used to help:  “Relaxing all rules around food. No longer beating myself up about food choices. I’ve come a long way but I’m not there yet. There are some habits I am yet to overcome. For example, when eating something like candy or popcorn, I tend to grab massive handfuls and have the next handful ready before I’ve swallowed the first mouthful. Like I’m still in a rush to shove it all down. I do catch myself and remind myself that there’s no rush, food supply is never going to end or be taken away by my mother or my own inflicted diet rules. I do still crave ‘junk’ food when I’m a bit down but it takes a lot less to satisfy me. I allow myself some ice cream or a chocolate, for example, and I’m satisfied without bingeing on it.”
Tiana’s process differed somewhat, coming from a background of bulimia:  “Even when I no longer purged, I would still occasionally binge because of feeling upset. When I finally quit the bingeing, and was relearning how to eat, I no longer ate my feelings. When I was going through my divorce, there were a few times that I binged because of feeling overwhelmed; other than that, my feelings have not driven what or why I eat.”
Kristin told me that to help overcome her episodes of emotional eating, she did the following:  “Admit I was eating emotions.  I was not hungry.  I was stuffing feelings down – a whole variety of feelings.  So owning it was the first step.  Also identifying hunger.  Am I hungry?  Or bored?  Or angry?  Or lonely?  Once identified, did I still want the food?  If I did, I was still making an honest connection.  If I didn’t, that was okay, too.”
There are many paths to peace of mind for those who find themselves eating emotionally on a regular basis.  Step one for most people seems to be mindfulness and acknowledgement of the behavior, then taking action by seeing a professional therapist and/or learning tools to expand on the self-awareness needed to shift their behavior.  It’s easy to feel despair or frustration, to feel essentially a step behind your own behavior, but the tables can be turned and power to appropriately direct your eating behavior can be regained.  It’s worth the effort.
I would like to thank the community of the Facebook group Eating The Food for many thoughtful and enlightening conversations, not only about various facets of emotional eating, but also every other aspect of food and fitness.
About the author:  Aubin Parrish is a mom, wife, martial artist and student of the human condition, with a keen interest in the physical and mental health effects of food and exercise, and in the cultural trends that influence our relationships with food, fitness and ourselves.

In part 1 of this piece, we learned about personal stories of emotional eating and its origins, things about our modern society that foster it, and some of its consequences.  This time, we’ll take a look at possible connections with eating disorders and so-called food ‘addiction’, and consider whether emotional eating can sometimes be a helpful coping mechanism.  We’ll also learn about some tools to determine whether hunger is physical or emotional, and ways some people have recovered from or diminished the behavior and taken steps to heal their relationship with food.

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25 Things You Should Know About Sugar

paleo, primal, vegan, gluten free, diet, sugar, sugar free, sugar addiction, sugar is toxic

An article from babble.com went viral in social media this week. The headline was simple enough, but the sub-headline and web address should win the most hysterical, outrageous exaggeration of the year award:

‘25 things about sugar that will terrify you: You’ll stop eating sugar after reading this post’

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Scientific Illiteracy in the Diet Industry: Why It’s Dangerous and What You Can Do to Fight It

“Scientific literacy, quite simply, is a mix of concepts, history, and philosophy that help you understand the scientific issues of our time. Scientific literacy is not the specialized, jargon-filled esoteric lingo of the experts. You don’t have to be able to synthesize new drugs to appreciate the importance of medical advances.” – Robert Hazen

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Eating Your Emotions

Eat Your Feelings
a look at emotional eating
by Aubin Parrish
part 1
Emotional eating is an experience shared by many.  It’s probably safe to say that most people have engaged at some point in what would be considered emotional eating, but there are many degrees of this behavior, and perhaps not many people have closely examined the reasons behind it or the psychological consequences.  On one end of the spectrum, eating comfort foods during times of distress is harmless, and in fact can be a useful coping mechanism.  However, at the other end of the spectrum, a person may feel very out of control with episodes of eating in reaction to emotional upset, and it may happen frequently enough to negatively affect both mental and physical health.
In examining this topic, I reached out to friends and invited them to share their experiences and opinions, in order to expand my own understanding and with the hope of bringing to light some of the many reasons for and results of emotional eating.  I received eloquent and thoughtful responses from these friends, and I’m grateful for their willingness to share, in order to perhaps cast a light on this subject that is difficult for many who experience it to discuss or articulate.
It’s not unusual to use food as an emotional salve.  On a primal level, this makes sense.  If one is experiencing emotional distress, turning to the comfort that food can provide is natural.  Eating, especially highly palatable things, activates the pleasure centers of the brain, and can temporarily dull the ache of emotional upheaval.
We also frequently associate foods with times of joy or contentment, such as holidays, personal celebrations, family gatherings, or being in the home of a loved one.  Drawing on foods as a way of trying to invoke the warm feelings that accompany such times can seem logical to the emotional mind.  Unfortunately, this method of reconnecting to loving times through food can easily go awry.
My friend Cara sums this up beautifully.  She told me, “Food was the biggest connection to the happiness and contentment I felt being with my Nan.”  Cara experienced episodes of emotional eating for years, and in the moment, she didn’t make the connection with trying to recreate the loving feelings of being with her grandmother while she was eating in an emotionally-reactive way.  It was in hindsight, during the process of coming to have a healthier relationship with food, that she realized she had been seeking to bring that connection to the times in her life that were emotionally upsetting.
Cara grew up in a house with extremely strict and arbitrary food rules, and an emotionally-detached mother.  She says, “Growing up with my mother, all food was totally off-limits unless she gave explicit permission.  Not just unhealthy snacks, but even apples.  She wasn’t the easiest woman to approach, so asking for a bite of anything when I was starving was super scary.  Admitting that I was hungry was interpreted as ungrateful for what she’d already provided (which was never much).  She would have ‘treats’ in the house, but they were all hers and she’d count the contents of packets to be sure we didn’t steal food from our own damn kitchen.”
Cara’s grandmother’s house was a refuge from that.  She and her brother were allowed to eat anything, anytime they wanted when they visited.  “…we would raid the cupboards and make ridiculous concoctions like ice cream with crumbled biscuits followed by bags of crisps and doughnuts.  We’d keep going until we were stuffed.  We’d have no problem eating our main meals too, and as long as that continued, our Nan was happy to let us have the run of the kitchen.”
Cara feels this contrast of extreme restriction at home coupled with the sweet release of freedom and being able to satisfy her needs without reservation at her Nan’s house set up a binge-and-restrict pattern that carried over into adulthood.  She found bingeing to be a source of comfort, because it reminded her of the freedom and control she had at her Nan’s house as a child, which at the time brought her great happiness.  She says, “My Nan’s home and her loving presence made it my happy place.  In my happy place, there was bountiful food.  So, when I was down, I’d make the connection to food, taking me back to my happy place.  Then would come the feelings of guilt and shame.  The guilt because by then, the media had taught me that eating certain foods will make you fat, and fat = greedy and lazy.  The shame because I was still waiting for my mum to jump out at me and catch me bingeing, then chastise me for being greedy and ungrateful and disgusting with the amount of food I was consuming.”
Another friend, Cheri, grew up with a single, alcoholic mother who “would often choose her addiction over being a mom.  It would stress me out and make me sad/angry/scared as a child, and I would often turn to food for comfort.  It was always there, I could depend on it.”  They were also poor, and “It would be feast or famine and I would overeat when the house was stocked.”
Catherine also links emotional eating with childhood comfort-seeking.  “I couldn’t escape negativity in my life because growing up my parents were always fighting, my dad had untreated anxiety and that manifested in angry rants combined with a lack of empathy and often verbal and sometimes physical abuse.”  “My relationship with food was weird to start with because my mom always forced us to eat everything she fed us even if we didn’t like it, and she treated food as an expression of love so we couldn’t refuse it…the only thing that was accessible for me to comfort myself with was food.”  “Food was right there, it was easy, it felt good to eat.  It was a pattern that established early in my life and I’ve really had to work hard to get past it.”
One more friend, Kristin, experienced emotional eating as an expression of frustrations from other parts of life in a slightly different way.  She says, “I actually ate full meals after the kids and husband went to bed.  I also hid food I didn’t want to share so I could eat it ‘later’.  The more I connected the dots between nighttime eating, and loving feeling alone, and calling that time ‘me time,’ the more I realized that this was not true hunger, or something I could easily stop, but something that had a definite emotional undertone.”  She was unhappy in her marriage, and wonders, “…if it was because I had been single for so long (married at 33), being alone late at night reminded me of the life I had left behind and sometimes longed for.”
Tiana tells of yet another path of emotional eating.  “I was bulimic so I could lose weight and eat at the same time, as it progressed I binged because I was sad, stressed or angry.  I had never been an emotional eater before then.”
We frequently associate food with love and nurturing.  It certainly can be those things.  Feeding someone we love, or being fed by someone who loves us, is a very powerful experience.  It’s a foundational activity in human relationships  But it can be easy for the emotions and thoughts associated with food to become disordered and get out of control, in our high-stress world of easily-available food.  Outside the paradigm of a loving, interpersonal relationship, trying to recreate that sense of being loved and nurtured simply by eating without physical hunger can be a shallow substitute for the experience of loving human interaction, and may be ultimately counter-productive.  It can weaken the emotions that accompany actual acts of love involving food (celebrations, etc.) and cheapen the experience of truly enjoying good food in a rich, full-spectrum manner that engages all the senses.
When we eat to deaden the senses, in an attempt to escape pain or discomfort, we may also deaden the joy that can be associated with food in a healthy interaction.  If we use eating as a substitute for human comfort or deep emotional connection, we run the very real risk of weakening the ability to fully experience all our emotions in an honest fashion.  The crutch of over-consuming food can cause the ability to process emotions without that crutch to atrophy.  Many people who become dependent on emotional eating behaviors for comfort find that they have to essentially re-train themselves to fully feel their emotions, without using food to cover them up or distract from them.
Tiana has this to say about the process of uncovering those emotions.  “Getting more in touch with my feelings by identifying exactly how I was feeling, journaling about my feelings, talking with trusted friends, mindful eating, reading Geneen Roth.  That all helped.  When I finally quit the bingeing, and was relearning how to eat, I no longer ate my feelings.”
Catherine finds, “There are still times that I succumb to emotional eating, but most of the time I can identify that I am emotionally vulnerable and need to address that and do something that will truly improve the emotion.”
In our modern world, the easy availability of high-calorie, low-nutrient foods can make frequent eating in reaction to emotional upset a losing proposition in the long run.  To eat mindlessly in an attempt to lessen emotional pain, whether consciously or subconsciously, can in a sense be considered disrespectful of one’s own psyche, trying to shut it up by stuffing it with food, burying or diverting the emotions instead of processing them and moving forward.  If the foods being eaten in this manner are low in nutrient value, they may displace higher-nutrient foods and result in nutrient deficiencies.  In addition, if emotional eating causes a person to consume excessive calories and therefore gain weight, it may result in directly increasing emotional distress if that person wishes to lose weight instead.  Also, in some cases, a perceived over-consumption can cause a person to want to punish themselves, to atone for their indiscretion.
Cara relates, “I would often feel so stuffed it was painful, but that pain was a welcome distraction from the emotional alternative.”  “…serious restricting would follow a binge.  There was a direct correlation between the length of the binge (weeks at a time sometimes) and how far I took the restriction.”  Tiana says she felt “…guilt and shame and just an overall feeling of disgust.  Even when I was no longer purging by throwing up, I would punish myself by restricting, making strict food rules, over exercising and calling myself terrible names in an effort to ‘be better’.”
Some people have experienced that a restrictive diet makes it more likely for them to binge when emotionally upset.  Aside from the fact that calorie restriction frequently can cause reactive eating as a physical defense mechanism (the body demands more calories when it doesn’t get enough, producing an irresistible urge to eat), the psychological component of habitual restriction can cause a strong urge to indulge excessively when emotional pain is intense.  Several of my friends reported a dramatic reduction in their emotional eating episodes after they began to consciously eat closer to their total daily energy expenditure (TDEE), indicating a physical component to the the urge to binge when under emotional duress.
The variety of life experiences that lead to a tendency to eat emotionally is matched by a variety of ways that people have found to recover from this pattern of behavior, to move towards a healthier balance with food and their emotions.
Coming soon, in part 2 of this examination of emotional eating, we’ll explore the connection with eating disorders, such as bulimia or binge eating disorder, with the common but perhaps misguided idea of food ‘addiction’, and consider the idea that sometimes emotional eating can be helpful.  We’ll also look at ways to analyze whether a hunger is emotional or physical (or both), and learn about some ways that people have found to help themselves recover from emotional eating behaviors and take steps to heal their relationship with food.
I would like to thank the community of the Facebook group Eating The Food for many thoughtful and enlightening conversations, not only about various facets of emotional eating, but also every other aspect of food and fitness.
About the author:  Aubin Parrish has a keen interest in the physical and mental health effects of food and exercise, and the cultural trends that influence our relationships with food, fitness and ourselves.  She is a mom of two, with training in traditional martial arts and an irresistible desire to write.Eat Your Feelings
a look at emotional eating
by Aubin Parrish
part 1
Emotional eating is an experience shared by many.  It’s probably safe to say that most people have engaged at some point in what would be considered emotional eating, but there are many degrees of this behavior, and perhaps not many people have closely examined the reasons behind it or the psychological consequences.  On one end of the spectrum, eating comfort foods during times of distress is harmless, and in fact can be a useful coping mechanism.  However, at the other end of the spectrum, a person may feel very out of control with episodes of eating in reaction to emotional upset, and it may happen frequently enough to negatively affect both mental and physical health.
In examining this topic, I reached out to friends and invited them to share their experiences and opinions, in order to expand my own understanding and with the hope of bringing to light some of the many reasons for and results of emotional eating.  I received eloquent and thoughtful responses from these friends, and I’m grateful for their willingness to share, in order to perhaps cast a light on this subject that is difficult for many who experience it to discuss or articulate.
It’s not unusual to use food as an emotional salve.  On a primal level, this makes sense.  If one is experiencing emotional distress, turning to the comfort that food can provide is natural.  Eating, especially highly palatable things, activates the pleasure centers of the brain, and can temporarily dull the ache of emotional upheaval.
We also frequently associate foods with times of joy or contentment, such as holidays, personal celebrations, family gatherings, or being in the home of a loved one.  Drawing on foods as a way of trying to invoke the warm feelings that accompany such times can seem logical to the emotional mind.  Unfortunately, this method of reconnecting to loving times through food can easily go awry.
My friend Cara sums this up beautifully.  She told me, “Food was the biggest connection to the happiness and contentment I felt being with my Nan.”  Cara experienced episodes of emotional eating for years, and in the moment, she didn’t make the connection with trying to recreate the loving feelings of being with her grandmother while she was eating in an emotionally-reactive way.  It was in hindsight, during the process of coming to have a healthier relationship with food, that she realized she had been seeking to bring that connection to the times in her life that were emotionally upsetting.
Cara grew up in a house with extremely strict and arbitrary food rules, and an emotionally-detached mother.  She says, “Growing up with my mother, all food was totally off-limits unless she gave explicit permission.  Not just unhealthy snacks, but even apples.  She wasn’t the easiest woman to approach, so asking for a bite of anything when I was starving was super scary.  Admitting that I was hungry was interpreted as ungrateful for what she’d already provided (which was never much).  She would have ‘treats’ in the house, but they were all hers and she’d count the contents of packets to be sure we didn’t steal food from our own damn kitchen.”
Cara’s grandmother’s house was a refuge from that.  She and her brother were allowed to eat anything, anytime they wanted when they visited.  “…we would raid the cupboards and make ridiculous concoctions like ice cream with crumbled biscuits followed by bags of crisps and doughnuts.  We’d keep going until we were stuffed.  We’d have no problem eating our main meals too, and as long as that continued, our Nan was happy to let us have the run of the kitchen.”
Cara feels this contrast of extreme restriction at home coupled with the sweet release of freedom and being able to satisfy her needs without reservation at her Nan’s house set up a binge-and-restrict pattern that carried over into adulthood.  She found bingeing to be a source of comfort, because it reminded her of the freedom and control she had at her Nan’s house as a child, which at the time brought her great happiness.  She says, “My Nan’s home and her loving presence made it my happy place.  In my happy place, there was bountiful food.  So, when I was down, I’d make the connection to food, taking me back to my happy place.  Then would come the feelings of guilt and shame.  The guilt because by then, the media had taught me that eating certain foods will make you fat, and fat = greedy and lazy.  The shame because I was still waiting for my mum to jump out at me and catch me bingeing, then chastise me for being greedy and ungrateful and disgusting with the amount of food I was consuming.”
Another friend, Cheri, grew up with a single, alcoholic mother who “would often choose her addiction over being a mom.  It would stress me out and make me sad/angry/scared as a child, and I would often turn to food for comfort.  It was always there, I could depend on it.”  They were also poor, and “It would be feast or famine and I would overeat when the house was stocked.”
Catherine also links emotional eating with childhood comfort-seeking.  “I couldn’t escape negativity in my life because growing up my parents were always fighting, my dad had untreated anxiety and that manifested in angry rants combined with a lack of empathy and often verbal and sometimes physical abuse.”  “My relationship with food was weird to start with because my mom always forced us to eat everything she fed us even if we didn’t like it, and she treated food as an expression of love so we couldn’t refuse it…the only thing that was accessible for me to comfort myself with was food.”  “Food was right there, it was easy, it felt good to eat.  It was a pattern that established early in my life and I’ve really had to work hard to get past it.”
One more friend, Kristin, experienced emotional eating as an expression of frustrations from other parts of life in a slightly different way.  She says, “I actually ate full meals after the kids and husband went to bed.  I also hid food I didn’t want to share so I could eat it ‘later’.  The more I connected the dots between nighttime eating, and loving feeling alone, and calling that time ‘me time,’ the more I realized that this was not true hunger, or something I could easily stop, but something that had a definite emotional undertone.”  She was unhappy in her marriage, and wonders, “…if it was because I had been single for so long (married at 33), being alone late at night reminded me of the life I had left behind and sometimes longed for.”
Tiana tells of yet another path of emotional eating.  “I was bulimic so I could lose weight and eat at the same time, as it progressed I binged because I was sad, stressed or angry.  I had never been an emotional eater before then.”
We frequently associate food with love and nurturing.  It certainly can be those things.  Feeding someone we love, or being fed by someone who loves us, is a very powerful experience.  It’s a foundational activity in human relationships  But it can be easy for the emotions and thoughts associated with food to become disordered and get out of control, in our high-stress world of easily-available food.  Outside the paradigm of a loving, interpersonal relationship, trying to recreate that sense of being loved and nurtured simply by eating without physical hunger can be a shallow substitute for the experience of loving human interaction, and may be ultimately counter-productive.  It can weaken the emotions that accompany actual acts of love involving food (celebrations, etc.) and cheapen the experience of truly enjoying good food in a rich, full-spectrum manner that engages all the senses.
When we eat to deaden the senses, in an attempt to escape pain or discomfort, we may also deaden the joy that can be associated with food in a healthy interaction.  If we use eating as a substitute for human comfort or deep emotional connection, we run the very real risk of weakening the ability to fully experience all our emotions in an honest fashion.  The crutch of over-consuming food can cause the ability to process emotions without that crutch to atrophy.  Many people who become dependent on emotional eating behaviors for comfort find that they have to essentially re-train themselves to fully feel their emotions, without using food to cover them up or distract from them.
Tiana has this to say about the process of uncovering those emotions.  “Getting more in touch with my feelings by identifying exactly how I was feeling, journaling about my feelings, talking with trusted friends, mindful eating, reading Geneen Roth.  That all helped.  When I finally quit the bingeing, and was relearning how to eat, I no longer ate my feelings.”
Catherine finds, “There are still times that I succumb to emotional eating, but most of the time I can identify that I am emotionally vulnerable and need to address that and do something that will truly improve the emotion.”
In our modern world, the easy availability of high-calorie, low-nutrient foods can make frequent eating in reaction to emotional upset a losing proposition in the long run.  To eat mindlessly in an attempt to lessen emotional pain, whether consciously or subconsciously, can in a sense be considered disrespectful of one’s own psyche, trying to shut it up by stuffing it with food, burying or diverting the emotions instead of processing them and moving forward.  If the foods being eaten in this manner are low in nutrient value, they may displace higher-nutrient foods and result in nutrient deficiencies.  In addition, if emotional eating causes a person to consume excessive calories and therefore gain weight, it may result in directly increasing emotional distress if that person wishes to lose weight instead.  Also, in some cases, a perceived over-consumption can cause a person to want to punish themselves, to atone for their indiscretion.
Cara relates, “I would often feel so stuffed it was painful, but that pain was a welcome distraction from the emotional alternative.”  “…serious restricting would follow a binge.  There was a direct correlation between the length of the binge (weeks at a time sometimes) and how far I took the restriction.”  Tiana says she felt “…guilt and shame and just an overall feeling of disgust.  Even when I was no longer purging by throwing up, I would punish myself by restricting, making strict food rules, over exercising and calling myself terrible names in an effort to ‘be better’.”
Some people have experienced that a restrictive diet makes it more likely for them to binge when emotionally upset.  Aside from the fact that calorie restriction frequently can cause reactive eating as a physical defense mechanism (the body demands more calories when it doesn’t get enough, producing an irresistible urge to eat), the psychological component of habitual restriction can cause a strong urge to indulge excessively when emotional pain is intense.  Several of my friends reported a dramatic reduction in their emotional eating episodes after they began to consciously eat closer to their total daily energy expenditure (TDEE), indicating a physical component to the the urge to binge when under emotional duress.
The variety of life experiences that lead to a tendency to eat emotionally is matched by a variety of ways that people have found to recover from this pattern of behavior, to move towards a healthier balance with food and their emotions.
Coming soon, in part 2 of this examination of emotional eating, we’ll explore the connection with eating disorders, such as bulimia or binge eating disorder, with the common but perhaps misguided idea of food ‘addiction’, and consider the idea that sometimes emotional eating can be helpful.  We’ll also look at ways to analyze whether a hunger is emotional or physical (or both), and learn about some ways that people have found to help themselves recover from emotional eating behaviors and take steps to heal their relationship with food.
I would like to thank the community of the Facebook group Eating The Food for many thoughtful and enlightening conversations, not only about various facets of emotional eating, but also every other aspect of food and fitness.
About the author:  Aubin Parrish has a keen interest in the physical and mental health effects of food and exercise, and the cultural trends that influence our relationships with food, fitness and ourselves.  She is a mom of two, with training in traditional martial arts and an irresistible desire to write.
A Look at Emotional Eating part 1

Emotional eating is an experience shared by many.  It’s probably safe to say that most people have engaged at some point in what would be considered emotional eating, but there are many degrees of this behavior, and perhaps not many people have closely examined the reasons behind it or the psychological consequences.  On one end of the spectrum, eating comfort foods during times of distress is harmless, and in fact can be a useful coping mechanism.  However, at the other end of the spectrum, a person may feel very out of control with episodes of eating in reaction to emotional upset, and it may happen frequently enough to negatively affect both mental and physical health.

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6 New Years Tips That Don’t Suck

“I hope that in this year to come, you make mistakes.
Because if you are making mistakes, then you are making new things, trying new things, learning, living, pushing yourself, changing yourself, changing your world. You’re doing things you’ve never done before, and more importantly, you’re Doing Something.
So that’s my wish for you, and all of us, and my wish for myself. Make New Mistakes. Make glorious, amazing mistakes. Make mistakes nobody’s ever made before. Don’t freeze, don’t stop, don’t worry that it isn’t good enough, or it isn’t perfect, whatever it is: art, or love, or work or family or life.
Whatever it is you’re scared of doing, Do It.
Make your mistakes, next year and forever.” ~Neil Gaiman
Personality:
To believe in your own identity, it needs to be proven firstly to yourself.
It’s hard to stick to new habits because we try to achieve goals without first changing our identity.
There are steps that we can take to improve our beliefs about ourself which will lay down the foundation for change and improvement in the areas where we seek growth.
Seek habits that will stimulate change, without focusing on long-term results.
http://www.businessinsider.com/how-to-build-good-habits-2014-1
Goals:
When setting large goals that require a lot of motivation, there are certain qualities that are incredibly important to keep motivation sustainable. Resiliency, passion, perspective, transcendence and fearlessness are all qualities that have been helpful to some of the biggest entrepreneurs of our time.
http://www.fastcompany.com/3007098/how-maintain-motivation-when-your-goals-are-epic?utm_source=facebook
Mental Strength:
Mental strength is composed of many different ideas of what should be done to reinforce strength, but there are also ideas of what should not be done.
Notably, mentally strong people don’t believe they are owed anything by the world and don’t have expectations of what should be given to them.  They believe success is achieved, not handed down.
http://www.forbes.com/sites/cherylsnappconner/2013/11/18/mentally-strong-people-the-13-things-they-avoid/
Resolutions:
Resolutions fail because people expect immediate results and immediate change, which is unfeasible.
Specific habits, accountability and flexibility are all key in allowing for the long-term change that people desire when making resolutions.
http://gokaleo.com/2013/12/27/making-resolutions-stick-10-tips-for-new-years-success/#comment-45370
http://www.worldlifestyle.com/health/5-ways-make-new-year-s-resolutions-stick
Mindful living:
Mindfulness helps us become aware of what is going on inside of us, focusing consciously and not just acting impulsively.
Meditation, compassion, releasing expectations, and accepting people and life as they are all contribute to mindful living.
http://www.fastcompany.com/3023459/how-to-be-a-success-at-everything/12-tools-for-more-mindful-living?utm_source=facebook
Productivity:
It’s incredibly easy to get distracted from tasks, especially with social media being prevalent.
However, there are ways to keep to the task at hand. These include to-do lists, “reducing decision fatigue”, time-blocking your day and reducing social media exposure.
http://www.fastcompany.com/3024252/11-expert-tips-to-help-you-be-more-productive-in-2014?utm_source=facebook
Mark Twain quote:
“Twenty years from now you will be more disappointed by the things you didn’t do than by the ones you did do.”

Here are some simple tips and insights to help you have a great new year:

Personality:

To believe in your own identity, it needs to be proven firstly to yourself.

It’s hard to stick to new habits because we try to achieve goals without first changing our identity.

There are steps that we can take to improve our beliefs about ourself which will lay down the foundation for change and improvement in the areas where we seek growth.

Seek habits that will stimulate change, without focusing on long-term results.

http://www.businessinsider.com/how-to-build-good-habits-2014-1


Goals:

When setting large goals that require a lot of motivation, there are certain qualities that are incredibly important to keep motivation sustainable. Resiliency, passion, perspective, transcendence and fearlessness are all qualities that have been helpful to some of the biggest entrepreneurs of our time.

http://www.fastcompany.com/3007098/how-maintain-motivation-when-your-goals-are-epic?utm_source=facebook


Mental Strength:

Mental strength is composed of many different ideas of what should be done to reinforce strength, but there are also ideas of what should not be done.

Notably, mentally strong people don’t believe they are owed anything by the world and don’t have expectations of what should be given to them.  They believe success is achieved, not handed down.

http://www.forbes.com/sites/cherylsnappconner/2013/11/18/mentally-strong-people-the-13-things-they-avoid/


Resolutions:

Resolutions fail because people expect immediate results and immediate change, which is unfeasible.

Specific habits, accountability and flexibility are all key in allowing for the long-term change that people desire when making resolutions.

http://gokaleo.com/2013/12/27/making-resolutions-stick-10-tips-for-new-years-success

http://www.worldlifestyle.com/health/5-ways-make-new-year-s-resolutions-stick


Mindful living:

Mindfulness helps us become aware of what is going on inside of us, focusing consciously and not just acting impulsively.

Meditation, compassion, releasing expectations, and accepting people and life as they are all contribute to mindful living.

http://www.fastcompany.com/3023459/how-to-be-a-success-at-everything/12-tools-for-more-mindful-living?utm_source=facebook


Productivity:

It’s incredibly easy to get distracted from tasks, especially with social media being prevalent.

However, there are ways to keep to the task at hand. These include to-do lists, “reducing decision fatigue”, time-blocking your day and reducing social media exposure.

http://www.fastcompany.com/3024252/11-expert-tips-to-help-you-be-more-productive-in-2014?utm_source=facebook


Food for Thought:
“I hope that in this year to come, you make mistakes.

Because if you are making mistakes, then you are making new things, trying new things, learning, living, pushing yourself, changing yourself, changing your world. You’re doing things you’ve never done before, and more importantly, you’re Doing Something.

So that’s my wish for you, and all of us, and my wish for myself. Make New Mistakes. Make glorious, amazing mistakes. Make mistakes nobody’s ever made before. Don’t freeze, don’t stop, don’t worry that it isn’t good enough, or it isn’t perfect, whatever it is: art, or love, or work or family or life.

Whatever it is you’re scared of doing, Do It.

Make your mistakes, next year and forever.” ~Neil Gaiman


Words to Live By:

Twenty years from now you will be more disappointed by the things you didn’t do than by the ones you did do.” Mark Twain

2014 Keep Your Eyes Open: I have an all new Healthy Urban Kitchen coming out in a few weeks!!! I am also involved in a new exciting project with some of the leading experts in fitness, nutrition, and stress management which includes scientists and physicians and a few friends. It is unlike anything you have ever seen in the internet, stay tuned for updates…

Be sure to sign up for my newsletter. Enter your email above and get my Free Report!

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Obesity – How the Media Misleads You

Here are some news headlines reporting on a study published earlier this week:
“Can you be obese and ‘healthy’? Study says no” – FOX News, via ScienceLive http://www.foxnews.com/health/2013/12/03/can-be-obese-and-healthy-study-says-no/
“Healthy and overweight is a myth, study suggests” – BBC News http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/health-25118857
“No ‘healthy pattern of obesity,’ review finds” – CBC News http://www.cbc.ca/news/health/no-healthy-pattern-of-obesity-review-finds-1.2448856
Those headlines are certainly compelling, but as a scientist I have learned to take health and science stories in the media with a significantly oversized cube of sodium chloride.
Most journalists do not have the training or experience to critically analyze scientific research papers. Often they don’t even read the paper before they report on it, they just quote from a press release!
I think that sucks, so let’s go through the study in more detail and see what it says. Then we can decide for ourselves whether the headlines are truthful.
Here is the full reference for the paper: Kramer, C. K. et al. 2013. Are metabolically healthy overweight and obesity benign conditions? A systematic review and meta-analysis. Annals of Internal Medicine 159: 758-769 and here is a link to the abstract: http://annals.org/article.aspx?articleid=1784291 and
Strap yourselves in.
1. What did this study look like?
This paper is a meta-analysis, which means it borrows data from many previous studies and runs statistical tests on all of them simultaneously.
In this meta-analysis the authors are looking at the difference in health outcomes in people of varying body mass index (BMI) and metabolic health status. The authors want to know if either of these variables can predict the risk of a cardiovascular event (= heart attack or stroke) or all-cause mortality (= dying).
Participants in all of the previous studies were sorted into 3 BMI categories and 2 metabolic health categories. The BMI categories are:
- normal-weight (BMI 18.5 – 25)
- overweight (BMI >25 – 30)
- obese (BMI >30)
The metabolic health categories, determined by an assessment of waist circumference, blood pressure, fasting glucose level, and other parameters that indicate metabolic syndrome, are simply:
- metabolically healthy
- metabolically unhealthy
So there are 6 groups of people overall:
- Metabolically healthy normal-weight (MH-NW)
- Metabolically healthy overweight (MH-OW)
- Metabolically healthy obese (MH-OB)
- Metabolically unhealthy normal weight (MU-NW)
- Metabolically unhealthy overweight (MU-OW)
- Metabolically unhealthy obese (MU-OB)
On to the results!
2. What did this study find?
To assess the differences in health outcomes among the different groups, the authors calculated a number called “relative risk” (RR). In these RR estimates, the MH-NW group is assigned a “risk” of 1.0 as a standard to compare everyone else to. Individuals in any groups with RR > 1 have a higher chance of death or cardiovascular events (CVE) than the MH-NW, while individuals in any groups with RR < 1 have a lower chance of death or CVE than the MH-NW.
Furthermore, the authors divided the previous studies into two groups: those that followed people for short periods of time (< 10 years) vs. long periods of time (> 10 years) after the initial assessment of BMI and metabolic health. Note: people were not allowed to change categories over their lives. If they started the study labelled MH-OW, then that was the category their death or CVE was attributed to.
a) Metabolically unhealthy people: The meta-analysis found that all of the MU people had the same increase in mortality and CV risk, regardless of their BMI, in both the short- and long-term follow-ups. There was no difference in RR among the MU-NW, MU-OW, or MU-OB groups.
So for these groups it’s being metabolically unhealthy that was the issue, not being overweight or obese. Pretty straightforward.
b) Metabolically healthy people: As long as a person was metabolically healthy, being overweight (BMI >25 – 30) did not increase their RR, even when the follow-up period was extended to >10 years. Only individuals in the MH-OB category (BMI > 30) had an increase in RR. This increased risk only appeared when the shorter <10-year studies were excluded from the analysis.
This is where the study is adding to our knowledge, because the meta-analysis was able to differentiate between short- and long-term follow-ups in the MH-OB (remember, overweight had no effect). In short-term studies the MH-OB were NOT at elevated risk of death or CV events relative to the MH-NW control group. However, when looking only at long-term studies that followed individuals for 10 years, the MH-OB were at slightly elevated risk.
3. Let’s look a little deeper
Here are the numbers in the Results for the >10 year studies only, presented as mean (lower 95% confidence interval, upper 95% confidence interval):
MH-NW: 1
MH-OW: 1.21 (0.91 – 1.61)
MH-OB: 1.24 (1.02 – 1.55)
MU-OB: 2.65 (2.18 – 3.12)
MU-OW: 2.70 (2.08 – 3.30)
MU-NW: 3.14 (2.36 – 3.93)
I presented the groups in order of lowest risk to highest risk. Do you notice something surprising?
The increased risk for metabolically unhealthy people of all BMIs was much larger than the increased risk for MH-OB in the >10-year follow-ups.
Being normal-weight does not protect you from the health consequences of being metabolically-unhealthy.
So what’s actually happening? To me it sounds like the major finding here is that being metabolically unhealthy is bad, regardless of your weight.
4. Time to re-write the headlines
Unfortunately, the media coverage of this study has been, in my opinion, misleading. Let’s look at those headlines again:
“Can you be obese and ‘healthy’? Study says no” – FOX News, via ScienceLive
“Healthy and overweight is a myth, study suggests” – BBC News
“No ‘healthy pattern of obesity,’ review finds” – CBC News
Are those statements true? Do they communicate the major findings of this study? Are journalists, editors, and media outlets providing factual health and science information?
By letting the finding that MH-OB are at slightly elevated risk relative to MH-NW dominate the headlines, the media is ignoring the fact that the metabolically unhealthy at any BMI had far worse health outcomes than the metabolically healthy obese. Presenting the narrative in this way does nothing to encourage improved metabolic health in the people at the highest risk of all: the metabolically unhealthy normal-weight individuals.
If what we care about is improving health outcomes, shouldn’t we focus on keeping people of all weights in the “metabolically healthy” category, and less on getting people to change their BMI category? This means promoting habits that we know improve metabolic health, such as regular physical activity, reducing stress, and getting more sleep – not fixating on the number on the scale.
Read the original source when you can. Use your critical thinking skills. Don’t take media health claims at face value. Refuse to click on substandard journalism.
We can do better than this.

Here are some news headlines reporting on a study published earlier this week:

Can you be obese and ‘healthy’? Study says no” – FOX News

Healthy and overweight is a myth, study suggests” – BBC News

No ‘healthy pattern of obesity,’ review finds” – CBC News

obesity healthy myth, paleo, primal, vegan, best diet plan, gluten free, weight loss, Antonio Valladares

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The Gentle Art of Making Enemies

The Gentle Art of Making Enemies
Tell a lie, get fans.
Expose a lie, people hate you.
That’s the way it works on the internet.
If you read my blog regularly or follow me on social media, you may have noticed that I enjoy debunking popular diet ideas.
Typically, only a few people come after me for it, trying to defend the ideas I criticize or attack the facts I present.  However, when my female friends who exceed me in intellect and writing skill do the same, a virtual wolf pack of predators come out to attack them.  This is an interesting example of gender relations and bias, that more people (men and women) feel justified in attacking a female writer for making bold, unapologetic, critical observations about cherished diet ideas.
When you discard unnecessary diet rules and grow personally, some people will hate you.  They don’t want you to change because it threatens their sense of self, their security.  They don’t want you to express views that challenge their beliefs, and most especially they don’t want you to be eloquent or make sense while you’re doing it.  It’s not necessary to be rude or confrontational in order to make enemies.  It’s really quite easy.  You can even do it while being articulate and gentle.  Just speak your mind, point out the obvious, state the truth.  Done – enemies made.
There’s a version of this phenomenon that’s unique to those writing about health, fitness or diet.  People who have a broad perspective on health notice something that others don’t, especially those who are fixated on good/bad foods or a particular diet philosophy.  It’s this:  Health is more than food.  It’s more than your body.  One often overlooked aspect of health is self care and compassion (for others for self).  Compassion for self means not beating yourself up, and ditching any shame or guilt associated with food.  Self-care is overlooked in our pursuit of the perfect body.  Self care means respecting yourself enough to walk away from ideas or people that no longer support your well being.
Sometimes, self-care means not giving a f**k when others talk smack about you or what you say.  Being anti-fragile (http://healthyurbankitchen.com/blog/misconceptions-in-exercise-and-stress/) can be hard, but it’s liberating, because when you have it, you don’t let the uninformed or mean-spirited words of others get you down or destroy your objectivity.
It is possible to disagree with someone without being rude.  Unfortunately, many people go right to being nasty and dismissive, mocking and shaming, when they feel threatened by someone else’s growth, self-assurance or when confronted by hard facts.  Typically, the person being attacked isn’t trying to make enemies, the enemies make themselves by taking the ugly road.  But you don’t have to let it shake your confidence.  By managing your expectations and practicing an attitude of anti-fragile, you can remain detached from the criticism.  You can be open to any value in it, but not let it determine the direction of your ethical compass.  Anti-fragile doesn’t mean cold and callous either, it means being centered in your convictions and resilient in your thought processes.  It means when someone does attack you, your emotions don’t control you and you grow stronger from the experience.
Compassion for self is one part of health, while compassion for others, is another part. Apparently, being concerned for others well being is also implicated in the gentle art of making enemies.
Compassion for Others Will Make You Enemies.
Have you seen what happens when some dumbass makes bigoted comments about overweight people?  It’s called fat shaming (http://healthyurbankitchen.com/blog/fat-shaming-and-obese-children/).  I’ll typically offer an explanation as to why that doesn’t help them, and how it is in fact, harmful.  The troglodytes intent on shaming people (for their body, race, gender) will hate you when you call them out.  In my opinion, it is worth it, in these circumstances, to take on new enemies.
The diet culture is rife with disordered habits being promoted as ‘healthy’.  It is part of my (and some of my friends) professional responsibility to call it out, or hold others accountable, especially if they are in a position of authority wielding influence on others.  Of course, people will hate you for it.  Especially the gurus that are actively promoting the ideas.
Certain Paleo organizations have strangely enough elected an clearly unhealthy person as their official dietitian.  Anyone familiar with eating disorders knows how people with ED (similar to alcoholics) can vehemently deny and expertly manipulate their peer group.
Out of compassion for this person and others who may follow ill fated advice, myself and others brought this ‘open secret’ to the surface.  I’m sure you can guess what happened, or if you have experience working with ED, then you know what happened.  Instead of addressing the topic, people hated rather than taking ownership, enemies were made.  For the record, not calling this out is unprofessional.  Holding someone accountable can be a sign of compassion and you bet it will make you enemies.
Similarly, last week, a popular paleo website (MDA) showcased a similarly eating disordered person who went from healthy to anorectic skinny.  The entire article was full of red flags.  Unfortunately, due to the popularity of disordered eating and the lack of education on this topic within the diet culture, most comments were fully supportive of this person’s disordered habits. This is extremely dangerous and thoroughly unprofessional.  The blogger eventually turned off comments, because people reaching out to help this woman were perceived as criticism by ‘haters’.
http://carbsanity.blogspot.ae/2013/11/paleo-approved-enough.html
http://carbsanity.blogspot.com/2013/08/when-orthorexia-goes-bad.html
How do you identify a restrictive eating disorder?
http://www.youreatopia.com/blog/2012/11/23/phases-of-recovery-from-a-restrictive-eating-disorder.html
Eating disorders are very serious, they have the highest mortality rate of all mental illness and require professional counseling/therapy.
http://www.eatingdisorderhope.com/information/eating-disorder
Skepticism Will Make you Enemies.
Many people don’t understand the purpose of skepticism, or even the meaning of it.  When I’m skeptical, it doesn’t mean I’m being negative, criticizing or envious.  People also mistake it for being cynical, which it isn’t.
Skeptical  adj.  ’Not easily convinced; having doubts or reservations; questioning.’
The purpose of skepticism in diet and fitness is so we can tell the difference between fact and fiction.  It helps you know which diet guru is taking you for a ride.  Health means not wanting to delude ourselves, or accept the delusions of others.  Many of your favorite diet and fitness gurus are banking on you believing their lies.  They don’t like skeptics.
When someone makes a diet claim, 9 out of 10 times they don’t know the difference between their opinion and a fact.  My friend and favorite blogger, Amber (http://gokaleo.com/) asks for evidence when claims are made, sure enough, she gets called a bully for it.  [meme]
Asking for evidence, so we can tell the difference between facts and ‘making shit up’, will make you enemies and get you called a bully.  Try it some time, it’s fun!
Use Science, Make Enemies.
Recently a friend of mine, Michelle Marino, Brooklyn-based doula, mentioned on Facebook that she was growing and starting to question and hence discard a lot of former nutrition ideas.  This is health skepticism and is refreshing to see.  Many of her friends and peers from the ‘natural mothers/birthing’ community attacked her for expressing ideas that clashed with their beliefs.
To illustrate the importance of knowing the crucial difference between fact and opinion, leading nutrition and fitness experts chimed in:
“Scientific research is never perfect or free of bugs & bias. However, the alternative (wallowing around in subjective hearsay, opinion, & imagination), is infinitely worse in terms of its ability pick away at the truth.”
PS – The scientific method, from the standpoint of principle is actually “perfect.” It’s the attempt of the research process to carry out the scientific method that’s subject to all sorts of threats to both internal & external validity. Nevertheless, it still beats the shit out of anecdote & groundless speculation.” – Alan Aragon http://alanaragon.com
“When people start to become frustrated with science, it is because they hit a wall with understanding deduction of quality and critical thinking skills. People who say “Well, you can find a study that refutes anything” or “yeah, but who funded it!?” obviously have failed to understand the methods of reading and reviewing studies. By these arguments, any person in the world can merely go “that’s wrong!” to what it is you’re expressing and be taken as a serious contender. That isn’t science, that’s lack of education in the scientific method, deduction, and patience.
Those who are good at what they do aren’t good because they can read statistics or collect research data. They are good because they use critical thinking and exercise patience and thoroughness in their work. They are good because when you hit the wall that shows you multiple points to the story, you then start to understand the flaws, variables, and details of those points. You do so again, and again, and with every bit of information you have available. Sometimes the answer after all that is one big shoulder shrug. Sometimes we actually learn something new or applicable.
You can’t lose faith in science. You only lose faith in your ability to care to work through it.”
- Leigh Peele http://healthyurbankitchen.com/blog/metabolic-damage-starvation-mode
Conclusion
Above, I said manage your expectations: We’ll always have lovers and haters.  I’ve known this from experience my whole life, since I was a child.  It’s rather easy to make enemies, you don’t even have to try.  But you should expect it.  Don’t get emotional or defensive about it or ever give anyone the power to ruin your day.
“A standard mistake is to do something to avoid criticism (as opposed to doing something because it is *right*), and, what’s worse, show it. This seems trivial but smart people make the mistake all the time, not realizing the hormetic effect: critics will now have the stimulating challenge to find something else.
If you are ever told “your critics will attack you for this”, you should
1) answer: fuck them, 2) do more of it.”
- Nassim Nicholas Taleb (from Facebook)
“There is only one way to avoid criticism: do nothing, say nothing and be nothing.”
This quote is frequently misattributed to Aristotle, but actually comes from another man: Elbert Green Hubbard
Actual quote: “Do nothing, say nothing, and be nothing, and you’ll never be criticized.”
Hubbard (1856-1915) was an American writer, publisher, artist, businessman, anarchist and libertarian socialist philosopher. He was an influential exponent of the Arts and Crafts movement. He and his wife Alice Moore Hubbard died in the sinking of the RMS Lusitania.
For a little more reading on the topic of haters and what they can do for you, check out this link, from what I consider an empowered, excellent women’s fitness blog:
http://www.fitnessbaddies.com/the-real-reason-we-need-haters/
The title of this blog The Gentle Art of Making Enemies is a song from Faith No More on their 1995 album King for a Day, Fool for a Lifetime.  Originally, it is a book by the painter James McNeill Whistler, published in 1890.

Tell a lie, get fans.

Expose a lie, people hate you.

That’s how it works on the internet.

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Audio Ammunition

Words matter. Definitions matter.

In the world of health, fitness, diet and nutrition, words get misused and definitions get twisted. Often.

For example:  toxic, clean, poison, superfood, addictive, cure, carbs, sugar.

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The Truth about Starvation Mode and Metabolic Damage

So you’ve heard the terms ‘adrenal fatigue’, ‘metabolic damage’ and ’starvation mode’ in the fitness, Paleo, alternative health and functional medicine realms for a few years now.
Have you wondered what they mean? There’s more than one definition and a long list of symptoms that can actually fall under many health problems. Do you notice most of the people with these ‘diagnoses’ have a history of dieting?
I was gluten and dairy intolerant for years. As a kid, I had extreme stomach pain, like a knife stabbing the inside of my gut. I’ve had farts so stinky, it would make you question your religion. I’ve been to the hospital and endured horrible tests (some I would never repeat), all to no avail.
I did the functional medicine and alternative therapies. You know what? They are heavy with false or unproven claims, a boatload of unnecessary supplements and couched in restrictive, orthorexic concepts. Have you noticed the people selling solutions to these issues offer you a massive assortment of supplements and yet another restrictive diet?
The fact is though, that many lean ‘health conscious’ (non-obese) people who have dieted are not well, many of your favorite group fitness instructors and authors/bloggers included. In short, if you have a history of dieting, eating disorder or over-exercising, your metabolism can slow down and you can experience problems in normal metabolic functions (thyroid, hormones). A restrictive diet is not the solution, that should be obvious.
There are very real health consequences from dieting. The human body does not want to be super lean, it can interfere with fertility and can lead to real metabolic disorders and disordered eating. Energy levels, mood, sex drive, body temperature and sleep are all common casualties of the damage done by restrictive dieting and over-exercising.  Problems with these normal life processes are so common, many people think they’re normal.
Leigh Peele, trainer & author, has just released Starve Mode: Explaining and Resetting Metabolic Problems that come from Dieting.
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What I most appreciate about Leigh Peele, as you might expect, is that she is straightforward, science-based, doesn’t fear-monger and brings clarity to a muddled topic.
The first chapter is called “This is Not a Diet Book” – what’s not to love? Leigh explains succinctly and provides scientific references in this 200 page masterpiece about many important topics, including:
What is metabolism?
What affects metabolic rate?
Is there a metabolic advantage from diet?
What role do hormones play in fat loss?
Can metabolism be fixed or revved up?
Is a calorie a calorie?
The importance of carbs for normalizing thyroid, cortisol and leptin.
Leigh not only explains the science behind these ideas, but also provides real-world solutions.  In addition, the book comes with an mp3 version, so you can listen to it on your commute!
There is also a brief but important primer on how to do research, to help you understand and evaluate the relevance of health and fitness studies.
In a nutshell, I think this is a brilliant, much-needed contribution to a dysfunctional diet culture. Every personal trainer, health coach and dieter needs this book. If you’ve considered yourself or been diagnosed as having adrenal fatigue, metabolic damage or have a history of dieting, this is for you.

So you’ve heard the terms ‘adrenal fatigue’, ‘metabolic damage’ and ’starvation mode’ in the fitness, Paleo, alternative health and functional medicine realms for a few years now.

Have you wondered what they mean? There’s several definitions floating around the web and a long list of symptoms that can actually fall under many health problems. Do you notice most of the people with these ‘diagnoses’ have a history of dieting?

I was gluten and dairy intolerant for years. As a kid, I had extreme stomach pain, like a knife stabbing the inside of my gut. I’ve had farts so stinky, it would make you question your religion. I’ve been to the hospital and endured horrible tests (some I would never repeat), all to no avail.

I did the functional medicine and alternative therapies. You know what? They are heavy with false or unproven claims, a boatload of unnecessary supplements and couched in restrictive, orthorexic concepts (everything is toxic!) and although they claim ‘let food be thy medicine’, their solution is yet another restrictive diet.

The fact is though, that many lean ‘health conscious’ people who have dieted are not well, many of your favorite group fitness instructors and low carb authors/bloggers included. In short, if you have a history of dieting, eating disorder or over-exercising, your metabolism can slow down and you can experience problems in normal metabolic functions (thyroid, hormones). A restrictive diet is not the solution, that should be obvious.

There are very real health consequences from dieting. The human body does not want to be super lean, it can interfere with fertility and lead to real metabolic disorders and disordered eating. Energy levels, mood, sex drive, body temperature and sleep are all common casualties of the damage done by restrictive dieting and over-exercising. Problems with these normal life processes are so common, many people think they’re normal.

Leigh Peele, trainer & author, has just released what I consider to be on the most important books on this topic: Starve Mode: Explaining and Resetting Metabolic Problems that come from Dieting.

metabolic damage, adrenal fatigue, metabolism, dieting, fat loss, energy, gluten, low carb flu, paleo

What I most appreciate about Leigh Peele, as you might expect, is that she is straightforward, science-based and brings clarity to a muddled topic.

The first chapter is called “This is Not a Diet Book” – what’s not to love? Leigh explains succinctly and provides scientific references in this 200 page masterpiece about many important topics, including:

  • What is metabolism?
  • What affects metabolic rate?
  • Is there a metabolic advantage from diet?
  • What role do hormones play in fat loss?
  • Can metabolism be fixed or revved up?
  • Is a calorie a calorie?
  • The importance of carbs for normalizing thyroid, cortisol and leptin.

Leigh not only explains the science behind these ideas, but also provides real-world solutions.  In addition, the book comes with an mp3 version, so you can listen to it on your commute!

There is also a brief, but important primer on how to do research, to help you understand and evaluate the relevance of health and fitness studies.

In a nutshell, I think this is a brilliant, much-needed contribution to a dysfunctional diet culture. Every personal trainer, health coach and dieter needs this book. If you’ve considered yourself or been diagnosed as having adrenal fatigue, metabolic damage or have a history of dieting, this is for you.

Get Starve Mode now!


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