The Meal Matters Most

Stress musings and perspectives


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Twitter Response: The Magic of Exercise: How exercise protects the brain from stress-induced depression

New study and Twitter chat:

The magic of exercise: How physical exercise protects the brain from stress-induced depression http://t.co/FZZgTXjMwY @sweatscience

— Timothy Caulfield (@CaulfieldTim) September 29, 2014

A profoundly interesting and important study on how exercise or state of physical health can be protective against stress-induced depression. I enjoy Alex Hutchinson, he comes from the science of exercise and has an open mind and desire to delve into epigenetics as “guided evolution”.  I follow his posts and like his book “Which comes first Cardio or Weights“.

Timothy Caulfield while a “skeptic” naysayer, he advocates typically for a generalized “diet and exercise”.  I personally prefer a more detailed clarity of the nuances and caveats involved. Which is why he leans toward the linear perspective (defaulting to the average), while I the nonlinear perspective.

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Can we start being as kind to Saturated Fat as we would an (unfairly) Jilted Lover?

My Sunday morning peruse of recipes and news led me to click on Jamie Oliver’s post “Dairy & gluten-free Chocolate Chip and Avocado Cookies”. It started off very politically correct and Jamie (correction: This was written by Bee Berrie of Bee’s Bakery) carefully skirting any political do’s or don’ts of agreement on removing such things as gluten and dairy and just discussing the joys of learning something new. This is the way many of us live our lives exploring options and respecting others curiosity and even issues. He does such a great job of expressing this until he gets to one sentence. “… butter is high in saturated fat – the bad type of fat that can increase the levels of cholesterol in your bloodstream”. I don’t blame Jamie Bee she is only repeating what she has heard. Replacing or getting larger variety of fats is healthy for us. But calling saturated fat “bad” is like yelling at your dog or your lover that he/she is bad when they misbehave. Continue reading


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How do you classify “good food”?

A recent question “What exactly is good food?”:

Here’s my reply…

For me I take the philosophy of a “stress approach” and systems (it depends on the system) approach to good food. So  fats/sugars can be physiologically stressful, so balance those main (high quality sourced) macronutrients (meat-carb-fat) with quality micronutrients (whole fruit, vegetables, herbs) or traditional sauce condiments that include fermented foods or dairy (probiotic source). This creates a “balanced” meal for our systems that is also delicious!

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A Stress Perspective on the Challenge of ALS

I haven’t been challenged to a bucket of ice, but a day or so ago I spent an unexpected hour with a woman who recently lost her husband to ALS. We talked about what I do on my blog about stress mechanisms and disease and we had a good cry together. What I did resonated with her and her experience and she in her own way challenged me that I need to share what I know in whatever way I can. So here is my challenge to put together a post on ALS and stress mechanisms.

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Michael Pollan thinks the Paleo diet is wrong. Here is why I think he’s wrong.

Michael Pollan is in Mother Jones with an article entitled: “Michael Pollan explains what’s wrong with the Paleo Diet” by Cynthia Graber (Jan. 17, 2014). It’s a great article and Michael is a great inspiration but he seemingly doesn’t know all that much about human physiology nor the science of ecosystems. So while most of what he writes on the history of food and the inspiration “cook for yourself” I love. What I don’t love is that his science leaves much to be desired. He’s not entirely on the wrong track. As a matter of fact I would agree with his general assumptions for maybe a large portion (certainly not all) of the general population a majority of the time: “Eat food. Not too much. Mostly plants”… and now he adds microbes. And that’s the one shining star he has above the medical model of healthy eating is that he includes microbes. Why do we include microbes? He’s got it right that it is our “second genome” and we can greatly influence it. Also that the “germs”, once the immortal enemy, are a  huge part of our immune function (stress reactivity). And he also has it right that we have been unwittingly destroying these all important germs with our out-dated and overly applied “Germ Theory Model of Modern Medicine.”

Michael writes in 2013 NYTimes article:

“Such a paradigm shift comes not a moment too soon, because as a civilization, we’ve just spent the better part of a century doing our unwitting best to wreck the human-associated microbiota with a multifronted war on bacteria and a diet notably detrimental to its well-being. Researchers now speak of an impoverished “Westernized microbiome” and ask whether the time has come to embark on a project of “restoration ecology” — not in the rain forest or on the prairie but right here at home, in the human gut.”

So, the question is: If I agree with him so much, why do I disagree with him? Continue reading


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How can someone so loved be so sad? My brief comment on the tragic death of Robin Williams

Robin

I don’t have much time to write these days, but the death of Robin Williams has me wanting to put out some brief thoughts on depression, what it is and what it isn’t.

My site here is about how we approach food, but really it’s about how we approach everyday issues. My perspective is that we approach too many of these issues with a limited singular view. That obesity is about calories or depression is about being sad. My view is that it is more multidimensional and more realistic to talk about it in more complex, but simple ways.

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“Is it our food we are allergic to or what’s been done to them?” Video by Robyn O’Brien

Thanking a friend on facebook for the link to Robyn O’Briens TED talk about GM Foods “Are we allergic to foods or what’s been done to them?”. I honestly have not looked at GM foods that much, but once she called the foods pesticides themselves I got it. I take a stress perspective to the problems she mentions; cancer, autism, allergies, ADD. That the less resources, more exposure and more misinformation we experience the more stress becomes stressful– we get diseases and disorders. Lots of things and small mistakes of what we’ve put in and what we’ve taken out for profit and for lack of a proper scientific framework create this pool of stress and stress influencers we swim in. Pesticides are endocrine disruptors. They give our hormones the wrong information, they interrupt the signals for us (children’s) immune systems and nervous system to properly gauge the environment they are in. The systems over and under respond. Its a terrible fix we are putting ourselves in, but I’m glad I finally see the role for (edited: to be fair- “certain”) GM foods. This is a great heartfelt genuine thoughtful intelligent speech by Robyn. Well done.


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The Cholesterol Conundrum: Root cause or still missing stress dynamics?

Great Speech by Irish-born Ivor Cummins. I think it’s a powerful contribution, but I think the “root cause” is more complex than sugar or fat or cholesterol. Without taking a systems (instead of thing) perspective we miss the bigger picture. My response is below.

 

Hi Ivor, it’s a great speech and lots of good info.

The problem I see is you are using the language of disease instead of the language of chaos dynamics in these systems from a stress regulating perspective. What that means are things toward the end of your speech you talk about eating being about what you “save”. Why do we “save”? And is not getting calories really the goal? (it could be for being buff, but is it evolutionarily viable?). I don’t argue that the low carb is necessary in our current state of disarray and also evolutionarily viable, but the science we need here is still more complex, and 100 times more elegant and simple. It’s not what we eat getting to these goals we’re trying to hit, what we eat isn’t about using/saving… it’s about building a complex structure and getting the resources it (its particular needs) in the most efficient and least draining or damaging way. Continue reading

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