Monday, 6 July 2009

Essential Links

This post contains a list of links to blogs, sites, studies and information which I have found valuable during my quest for nutritional knowledge.

I feel the need to preface this post to implore that no piece of research, thought, post, blog or authority is infallible. As with everything, approach with caution, read critically, keep an open mind and question question question.


Bad Science: Not specifically related to health and fitness per se, but a good blog that draws attention to the need to be critical and open minded when presented with research findings.

Fat Head: The blog of the movie 'Fat Head' a rebuttal of the docu-movie Supersize Me.

Hyperlipid: Provides critique of mainstream 'high carb' 'low fat' research and commentary on important nutritional issues.

Junkfood Science
: Critical analysis and commentary of health and diet issues from a medical perspective.

Livin' La Vida Low Carb
: Blog on low carb living; also provides commentary and critique of mainstream research.

Mark's Daily Apple:The blog of the Primal Blueprint's creator Mark Sisson. For all information relating to the Primal Blueprint diet and lifestyle.

Son of Grok
: A primal living blog with some interesting looking primal recipes.


What if it's all been a Big Fat Lie? / The Soft Science of Dietary Fat (both articles by Gary Taubes)

Intermittent Fasting 101: Info on how to fast, the benefits of fasting and the research behing fasting.


Paleo in a nutshell part 1 / part 2

The Quality of Calories: What Makes Us Fat and Why Nobody Seems to Care (Gary Taubes' UC Berkeley Lecture)


Active Low-Carber Forums

My Diet: Before & After

Here is an example of my 'before' and 'after' diet. Both diets are around the same amount of calories (1500-2000). Their macros (percentage of fat, carbs, proteins) vary considerably.

The before diet, although wheat-free, was grain heavy and very low in saturated fat. This is the kind of diet that 'health experts' preach about - I was a nutritionist's wet dream!

A typical 'before' day:

Breakfast - porridge and a banana.
Lunch - chopped salad, oatcakes, tunafish.
Dinner - chicken and vegetable stirfry with brown rice.
Snacks - fruit, rice cakes, peanut butter, oat/rice cereal bars, flapjacks, nuts and dried fruit.

If I was eating as we, as a society, are prescribed then why was I chronically hungry, tired, weak, underperforming in my active pursuits and experiencing a range of health issues? This is where my nutrition research began. I was eating as directed by a society that lives by the 'carbohydrates' are necessary, fat is the 'devil' philosophy, so what was wrong with me? What was so bad about the alternatives?

So, to cut a long story short I read and read and read. And googled and googled and googled a bit more. After going through feelings of despair, confusion, anger and... well, more anger, my diet now looks a bit more species appropriate:

Breakfast - two egg omelette with bacon.
Lunch - cold meat, cheese and salad.
Dinner - vegetables and meat.
Snacks - nut butters (not peanut), fruit, nuts and seeds, small pieces of meat or cheese.

I have also started dabbling with intermittent fasting and will provide further information regarding this anon.

I guess the big question is: has the diet change been successful? Well, yes and no. With twenty-odd years of damage already done to my body from following the socially accepted and unquestioned diet 'norms' of high carbs, low fat I can't imagine that my body is going to correct itself after just a few months of this new regime. Time will tell.

Introductory Post

Who is writing this blog?

My name is Anna. I am a twenty-something student and language teacher from England. Hi.

Why are you writing this blog?

Two reasons:

Firstly, the more reading I do on nutrition and optimum health and fitness, the more I realise that the consumers are being criminally misled over what constitutes a 'healthy' diet. The dominant views that fat (especially animal and saturated fat) is bad and should be avoided, while carbohydrates (especially whole grains) are necessary for optimum health is, to me, one of the most insidious and dangerous rhetorics of Western society. The more blogs which attempt to challenge the status quo the better.

Secondly, on a more selfish note, there is a fair amount of good critical research and discourse which is attempting to readdress the balance and provide academic arguments against the systemic hegemonies circulated by institutions, politicians, health professionals and the media. This blog is an attempt to catalogue and link back to research, comment, blogs, articles and critique for my own reference, as well as anyone else who may wish to read within this area. My personal library of research, if you will!

Why Grain Free Girl?

Because I'm a girl. And I'm grain free. Perhaps a better question would be: why grain free? That is the very question that this blog is aiming to address. I can state for the record that I come from a family of coeliac sufferers and have been brought up in a wheat and gluten free environment. However, it has only been recently that I have started to question the necessity of any type of grain or pseudo-grain as a necessary part of the human diet. Combined with several of my own ongoing health issues, I made an educated leap towards a completely grain (and legume) free diet to test out the hypothesis that I, as a human being, do not need grain for optimum health.

So, you are on the Atkins diet?

Not really. I am not on any 'diet' per se. I guess the closest commercial diet would be the Primal Blueprint, although I have a dirty dairy addiction which I haven't managed to kick yet. So, I guess if you want to label my diet, it would be a hybrid of the primal and Atkins (Pratkins? Atmal?). But with more cheese!

No grains? But what do you eat?!

What human beings are 'designed' to eat. Eggs, meat, poultry, fish, vegetables, fruits, nuts, seeds. I also eat dairy, but I do this fully aware that whilst I continue to do so it is unlikely I will reach optimum health. But a girl has to have some vices, right?!