Later On

A blog written for those whose interests more or less match mine.

Archive for November 2010

More diet thoughts

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Over the past week, I’ve been steadily losing weight, and I have mentioned some things that seem to have helped:

a. Eating the fruit snack (1/2 apple or 1 cup berries) faithfully at mid-morning and mid-afternoon.

b. Not putting ANY food into my mouth except for the two fruit snacks and at meals.

c. Eating the balanced meal (protein, starch, and vegetables) as recommended—without (for example) omitting the starch.

d. Managing portion size.

The last is obviously critical, and I found that it’s almost impossible to do at first if you do not measure portions. Fat guys, like me, can’t accurately judge portion sizes by looking at them—that’s one of the reasons we’re fat.

But over the last six months, I’ve (a) become better at judging portion size (currently I estimate, then measure (weight or volume), training my eye); and (b) I’ve finally internalized the realization that a larger portion means that I will have to lose that weight again—i.e., a bigger portion adds weight, when I then have to lose even though I already lost that weight once.

With that realization in my gut, as it were, rather than merely being a rule that I can recite, I’m finding it increasingly easy to avoid bites between meals and large portions at meals.

I’m now at the last hole in my belt—last week it was iffy: some days, I seemed to find the next-to-last hole comfortable, others the last hole. But now it’s definitely the last hole, so I guess in a week or so I’ll be looking for a new belt.

Written by LeisureGuy

30 November 2010 at 8:10 am

Posted in Daily life, Fitness

Rethinking vitamin D

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I’ve been following the Vitamin D story since it first began to emerge a decade or so ago, and I’ve routinely taken Vitamin D supplements. My doctor tested my Vitamin D levels and pronounced himself pleased. But then I see this story by Gina Kolata in the NY Times:

The very high levels of vitamin D that are often recommended by doctors and testing laboratories — and can be achieved only by taking supplements — are unnecessary and could be harmful, an expert committee says. It also concludes that calcium supplements are not needed.

The group said most people have adequate amounts of vitamin D in their blood supplied by their diets and natural sources like sunshine, the committee says in a report that is to be released on Tuesday.

“For most people, taking extra calcium and vitamin D supplements is not indicated,” said Dr. Clifford J. Rosen, a member of the panel and an osteoporosis expert at the Maine Medical Center Research Institute.

Dr. J. Christopher Gallagher, director of the bone metabolism unit at the Creighton University School of Medicine in Omaha, Neb., agreed, adding, “The onus is on the people who propose extra calcium and vitamin D to show it is safe before they push it on people.”

Over the past few years, the idea that nearly everyone needs extra calcium and vitamin D — especially vitamin D — has swept the nation.

With calcium, adolescent girls may be the only group that is getting too little, the panel found. Older women, on the other hand, may take too much, putting themselves at risk for kidney stones. And there is evidence that excess calcium can increase the risk of heart disease, the group wrote.

As for vitamin D, some prominent doctors have said that most people need supplements or they will be at increased risk for a wide variety of illnesses, including heart disease, cancer and autoimmune diseases.

And these days more and more people know their vitamin D levels because they are being tested for it as part of routine physical exams.

“The number of vitamin D tests has exploded,” said Dennis Black, a reviewer of the report who is a professor of epidemiology and biostatistics at the University of California, San Francisco.

At the same time, vitamin D sales have soared, growing faster than those of any supplement, according to The Nutrition Business Journal. Sales rose 82 percent from 2008 to 2009, reaching $430 million. “Everyone was hoping vitamin D would be kind of a panacea,” Dr. Black said. The report, he added, might quell the craze.

“I think this will have an impact on a lot of primary care providers,” he said.

The 14-member expert committee was convened by the Institute of Medicine, an independent nonprofit scientific body, at the request of the United States and Canadian governments. It was asked to examine the available data — nearly 1,000 publications — to determine how much vitamin D and calcium people were getting, how much was needed for optimal health and how much was too much.

The two nutrients work together for bone health…

Continue reading.

Written by LeisureGuy

30 November 2010 at 7:55 am

Spice is the variety of life

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A spice theme today: Kell’s Original Arabian Spice Hemp & Aloe shaving soap, which produced a fine lather with the Omega artificial badger brush. Three passes with the Eclipse holding its Swedish Gillette blade, a splash of Lustray Spice, and I’m ready for the day, which in this case involves packing and mailing holiday gifts that The Wife has wrapped.

Written by LeisureGuy

30 November 2010 at 7:51 am

Posted in Daily life, Shaving

Nice lunch

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As I thought about iron-rich foods, I of course thought of steak and, even better, beef liver, but oysters and spinach are good, too, and those reminded me of Oysters Rockefeller, indeed quite tasty, and I’ve had it at Antoine’s, at a dinner in a private dining room—a story I should sometime relate. But when I googled Oysters Rockefeller recipes, I saw why it had been created in a restaurant: way too fussy for me. So I made this:

2 tsp olive oil

Heat oil in large sauté pan. Add:

1/2 cup thinly sliced shallots
2 Tbsp minced garlic

Sauté those for a while, then add:

1 Meyer lemon, sliced thinly (don’t peel it)
cayenne pepper
nutmeg (always good with spinach)

Sauté that a bit, then add:

1 lb fresh spinach, roots cut away, rinsed thoroughly, and chopped

Cover and cook over medium heat until spinach cooked—about 8-10 minutes

Drain 10 oz shelled oysters, add those, cover, and cook another 8-10 minutes.

Quite tasty, and I have some left for afternoon snack.

Written by LeisureGuy

29 November 2010 at 12:45 pm

Posted in Daily life, Food, Recipes

Time for an Impact Assessment of Drug Policy

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Interesting post at Transform with much information. From the post:

All stakeholders in the debate on drug policy share the goal of maximising social, environmental, physical and psychological wellbeing. At a time of economic crisis, it is particularly important that drug policy expenditure is cost-effective. Yet despite the many billions of dollars in drug-related spending each year, there are significant concerns about the effectiveness of current approaches at the domestic and international level. The time has come to provide an objective mechanism for assessing the relative merits of different policy approaches, by developing a genuinely evidence-based Impact Assessment (IA) of Drug Policy that compares the impact of alternative policies on human development, human security and human rights.

For too long, the debate around improving drug policy has been emotive, polarised and deadlocked. A useful way to determine the best mix of evidence-based drug policies is through an independent, neutral process that all stakeholders can support, because it does not commit anyone to a particular position in advance. One way to achieve this is through IAs of Drug Policy, at the national and international levels, that compare the economic, environmental and social costs and benefits of existing policies with a range of alternatives. To ensure all stakeholders can support the process, the alternatives assessed should range from more intensive/punitive enforcement approaches, through options for decriminalisation of personal use, to models for legal regulation of drug production and supply. . .

Read the whole thing. Useful materials at the link.

Written by LeisureGuy

29 November 2010 at 7:56 am

Posted in Daily life, Drug laws

New Wikileaks release

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The new documents are out and seem mostly just to be embarrassing, though Peter King of NY is, of course, calling for a military strike on Wikileaks, more or less. But Greenwald makes a good point:

. . . McClatchy‘s Nancy A. Youssef documents how prior claims by the U.S. government that WikiLeaks disclosures would endanger lives turned out to be pure fiction:

American officials in recent days have warned repeatedly that the release of documents by WikiLeaks could put people’s lives in danger.

But despite similar warnings ahead of the previous two massive releases of classified U.S. intelligence reports by the website, U.S. officials concede that they have no evidence to date that the documents led to anyone’s death. . . .

Pentagon spokesman Geoff Morrell has said previously that there was no evidence that anyone had been killed because of the leaks. Sunday, another Pentagon official told McClatchy that the military still has no evidence that the leaks have led to any deaths.

Will that prevent media figures and many other people from running around this week mindlessly parroting the Government’s claim — without pointing to any specifics or other evidence — that WikiLeaks has endangered lives with this latest release?  No, it will not.   Beyond specific disclosures, WikiLeaks’ true crime here is to strike a major blow against the U.S. Government’s authority generally and secrecy powers in particular; how one views the American Government’s behavior in the world is likely to determine one’s reaction to WikiLeaks (i.e., is it a good thing or a bad thing when America’s attempted power projection in the world is subverted and its ability to act in the dark undermined?).  Ultimately, WikiLeaks’ real goal appears to me to be anti-authoritarian at its core:  to prevent the world’s most powerful factions from operating in the dark.  There may be reasonable objections to this latest release — such as the fact that war becomes more likely if diplomacy is undermined — but I’d argue that one’s views in general of WikiLeaks is shaped primarily by one’s views of the legitimacy and justness of those authorities.

John Cole notes an added irony of the furor over this latest disclosure:  "I have a hard time getting worked up about it – a government that views none of my personal correspondence as confidential really can’t bitch when this sort of thing happens."  Note how quickly the "if-you’ve-done-nothing-wrong-then-you-have-nothing-to-hide" mentality disappears when it’s their privacy and communications being invaded rather than yours.

I’d note an added irony:  many of the same people who supported the invasion of Iraq and/or who support the war in Afghanistan, drone strikes and assassination programs — on the ground that the massive civilians deaths which result are justifiable "collateral damage" — are those objecting most vehemently to WikiLeaks’ disclosure on the ground that it may lead to the death of innocent people.  For them, the moral framework suddenly becomes that if an act causes the deaths of any innocent person, that is proof that it is not only unjustifiable but morally repellent regardless of what it achieves.  How glaringly selective is their alleged belief in that moral framework. 

Either way, McClatchy describes how WikiLeaks took great pains to redact information harmful to innocents.  Claims that WikiLeaks has endangered lives should be accompanied by specific disclosures and evidence of that harm before being considered credible. . .

Written by LeisureGuy

29 November 2010 at 7:53 am

Halfway to goal

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My goal was to lose 75 lbs. This morning I noted that I have now lost 37.7 lbs—just over halfway to goal. OTOH, it has take me six months to do that, so I doubt I’ll lose the other half in the next three months. Still, all loss is good, and there is no reason I cannot continue to remain on this weight-loss diet for six months more if need be.

I think that the mid-morning and mid-afternoon snacks (1/2 apple, a cup of berries, etc.—generally fruit) have proven to be important, and I’ll not be skipping that any more.

Written by LeisureGuy

29 November 2010 at 7:48 am

Posted in Daily life, Fitness

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