Later On

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

Interesting book: “How Not to Die,” by Michael Greger M.D.

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How Not to Die: Discover the Foods Scientifically Proven to Prevent and Reverse Disease, by Michael Greger M.D., is essentially a very readable collection of research findings on nutrition, the gist of which that a plant-based diet is much more healthful than a diet that includes animal-derived foods (meat, fish, dairy, eggs). Greger also has a website,, which contains a large library of brief (typically 5 minutes) videos on a wide range of nutrition facts. Here’s a list of topics.

I’m convinced enough to switch my diet while still maintaining some of my own restrictions:

a. I don’t eat any foods that contain refined sugar, and I don’t use sweeteners (because I deliberately developed a taste for savory in preference to sweet), and I avoid simple carbs that are quickly digested (because I have type 2 diabetes). Artificial sweeteners, BTW, are toxic to the gut microbiome.

b. I favor foods low in net carbs (total carbs minus dietary fiber). Thus I favor fruit low in net carbs (berries, for example). [Update: Natural sugar in fruits is not the problem that refined sugars are. I now eat several pieces of fruit a day – LG] For foods high in carbs (e.g., grains), I buy them in a form and prepare them in a way that I minimize minimize the impact of the carbs. For example, I eat intact whole-kernel grains (oat groats, hulled barley, wheat berries, whole rye) rather than grain that has been cut (steel-cut oats, pot barley), or polished (pearled barley, white rice) or crushed (rolled oats, kamut flakes) or ground (wheat flour, rye flour), and I chill the grain after I cook it, which makes the starch resistant so that it is not digested so quickly. (When I eat it, I take a 1/2 cup serving and reheat it. — update: I am not terrible active, so I cut the serving size of grain (and beans) — first to 1/3 cup, then after a while to 1/4 cup, and currently 2 heaping tablespoons. And I no longer bother reheating it. /update)

I don’t eat any corn or rice or white potatoes, which are high in starch and do affect my blood glucose levels strongly. I did eat sweet potatoes (but rarely) until I found that they also hit my blood glucose hard. I do eat beans, but they are high in fiber, and I also refrigerate them after cooking and before I eat them. I rarely reheat them — for example, I’ll I eat them on a salad or mixed with a bowl of cooked veggies and greens, along with some cooked grain.

c. I formerly used WW Freestyle online (no meetings) to assist in portion control, tracking points. A great many foods (200 or more) are zero points, so this is not burdensome, particularly since I quickly learn the point value of foods I frequently eat (much like supermarket checkout clerks quickly learn the product codes for fruits and vegetables). [Update: WW Freestyle did shift my food choices away from beef, pork, and lamb and toward more fruit and vegetables and seafood. But now I use which has a couple of advantages over WW Freestyle: 1) Cronometer is free; and 2) Cronometer provides a detailed analysis of nutrients, which is quite handy when you’re making a big change in your diet. (I did pay the modest annual fee to upgrade to Cronometer Gold, which offers a more detailed analysis.) – LG]

I find the effort interesting and actually enjoy figuring out meals that are satisfying, healthful, and meet my criteria. It’s early days yet, so I am still figuring out a working menu, but it’s no more problematic than learning to play chess.

To facilitate meal preparation, I prep and cook foods ahead of time and keep them in the fridge. Right now I have greens (kale and red chard), Lima beans, hulled barley, and oat groats. [Update: I bought quite a few Glasslock storage containers in different sizes, and I label them with the name of the food and the date, using masking tape and an extra-fine Sharpie. That has helped a lot in refrigeration organization and management. – LG]

Because I’m buying more from the bulk bins, I stopped by the hardware store and bought a dozen canning jars ($9). We’re a two-person family, so I got pint/500ml jars, but a family of four would find quart/1L jars more suitable. I like that they are clear glass (and not plastic). I strongly recommend also getting a canning funnel, a wide-mouth funnel that fits the jars perfectly. It makes filling them easier and less spill-prone.

Based on my reading, I have jars for quinoa, beans of various sorts (good source of iron), oat groats, kamut, spelt, hulled barley, pecans, walnuts, peanuts, pepitas, flaxseed, and chia seed, and I’m sure I’ll be finding other foods suitable for a jar. [Update: I did find other foods, and soon I bought a second dozen of canning jars. – LG] If I think I might recognize the contents by sight, I label the jar, using masking tape and an extra-fine-point Sharpie.

Regarding beans, this video is quite interesting. I now eat 1/2 cup of cooked beans and 1/3 cup of cooked grain at every meal: it’s the core of the meal. (update: My current serving size is a rounded 2-tablespoon measure of beans and a similar measure of grain. Given my activity level, that turns out to work well. Also, serving size for greens and for other vegetables is now 1/3 cup. /update)

Written by Leisureguy

18 May 2019 at 11:18 am

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