Recipe Spotlight - Rosemary Porkchops with Cream Gravy

Okay, I was going to wait for a while to post this, but I had a request to post this, and I shall. This is a recipe that everyone loves. It’s simple to make, and absolutely delicious.

Ingredients:

  • 1 lb boneless pork chops
  • 1-2 tsp dried rosemary (or two sprigs of fresh rosemary)
  • 1 Tbsp cooking fat (I use butter, but feel free to use bacon grease or tallow)
  • salt (to taste)
  • 2 cups (one pint) heavy cream
  • pepper (to taste)

Instructions:

  1. Melt fat in a cast iron skillet over medium high heat and add pork chops
  2. Add half of the salt and rosemary, rubbing rosemary between your palms
  3. Turn the pork chops after ~5 minutes (until they’re medium brown)
  4. Repeat steps 2 & 3 before removing pork chops to a cooling rack (or plate)
  5. Pour off the excess fat and pour cream into the pan, whisking to integrate the bits at the bottom of the pan
  6. Reduce the heat to low and add pepper and salt, if necessary, and reduce until the gravy is somewhat thickened (it will thicken more as it cools, I find that a medium brown works well, but I like mine plenty thick), whisking periodically to ensure that the gravy doesn’t boil over
  7. Add pork chops for just a moment more on each side to coat with gravy, then plate, cover with more gravy, and serve.

Enjoy!

Monday Musings - No More Vitamins

You’ve heard the news reports: Vitamins are a waste of money. Heck, this story even says that vitamins have been dealt a “death blow”! Clearly, this means that I’m going to stop taking my vitamins, right? Of course, if there’s anything we’ve learned from news stories about studies, it’s that the stories are almost always full of crap. Okay, so most news stories about studies are bad, but that doesn’t mean we should just dismiss this out of hand. As with all things, we must look at the studies.

Now, I’m not going to go through every vitamin study ever published and point to issues here or there or where good science happened or whatever. Instead, I’ll be looking at the studies that supposedly deal a “death blow” to vitamins. Thankfully, there are still some news outlets that actually source their information. Unfortunately, the AoIM is hiding two of these studies behind a paywall, so I can’t talk about anything that isn’t discussed in the abstracts. One day, maybe I’ll be able to subscribe to journals for a single Monday Musings entry, but right now, that paywall is just too daunting. Okay, it would only cost $15 for this issue, but that’s still too rich for my blood.

Anyway, let’s get down to business. Let’s deal first and foremost with the study on which I’m sure everyone wants to focus. This particular one studied what happened when they gave multivitamins to patients who had suffered a miocardial infarction. Starting point: Miracles of miracles, but this is actually a clinical trial. I’m shocked, news outlets. Then again, I’m not that shocked, since it’s pretty close to impossible to show negative results for vitamin usage in observational studies (thanks to the effects of health consciousness, an effect shared by vegetarian diets). Now if we could only get the news outlets to report clinical trials in regards to vegetarian, low carb, and low fat diets… Anyways, that’s aside from the point. The point is that the study design is actually good. At least, as far as I can tell from the abstract. There is a problem with the study, however: The drop-out and non-compliance percentages are huge. This, too, was reported by the news outlets. They’ve reported all the facts, haven’t they?

Well… no. See, there’s one very important number that they didn’t report: 79%. What do I mean by that? Well, a (very) inaccurate way of explaining CI is this: When the relative risk’s 95% CI falls to the point where the larger number is less than 1, there’s a 95% chance that what they did actually did something positive. But what happens if, say, the larger number is 1.01? Do we just toss out something that shows a 90% chance of effectiveness? Oh, you say, but this didn’t end at 1.01! In fact, the 95% CI was .75 - 1.07. Clearly, this debunks any chance at all that the vitamins were effective, right?

Oh, you silly boy… or girl. Or intersexed/androgyne/genderqueer/etc.

No.

See, the p value here represents the probability that the null hypothesis (the null hypothesis in this case being that vitamins don’t do anything) is true (see above about 95% CI). Now, I did my own math… with a calculator, and the p value they present seems a little… off. Not being a professional study writer, however, I can only assume that this is the standard way these are written or else the distribution is a little wonky. Either way, though, I’m going to go ahead and use their p value just because .21 works just as well for my point as .10 - .15 (depending on what standard deviation I used to describe that CI). What does that .21 mean? Well, it means that there was a 21% chance that the multivitamins either did nothing or were harmful… in comparison to a 79% chance that they were helpful. In the world of Texas Hold ‘Em, this is like holding a pair of kings against a pair of aces pre-flop.

And that 21% chance, to those editorialists and journalists, trumps the 79% chance that the opposite is true. I’m sorry, but I think I’m justified in calling bias here. Oh, don’t get me wrong; I’m not saying that this study proves beyond a shadow of a doubt that multivitamins help all-cause mortality or hospitalization due to the listed effects in the study in individuals that have previously experienced a myocardial infarction. Nonono. But to come to the opposite conclusion from these results is absurd at best. You want to know what these results should say? Take multivitamins for now, but we’ll keep doing research on them to find an answer for sure. Unfortunately, medicine doesn’t work like that because screw probability, we have bias.

This, by the way, is why I’m a firm proponent of the default null hypothesis. The default null hypothesis is this: Instead of the null hypothesis being that X doesn’t do anything, have it be that we don’t know if X does anything until it’s studied, at which point the null hypothesis favors probability, with a strength depending on how strongly the probably favors that side.

I don’t know about you, but I’ll play my aces against their kings any day of the week.

Okay, but that’s not the only study. In fact, the next one isn’t actually a study, but a systematic review. That’s one where they take a bunch of studies and re-figure the statistics, which means that, say, 5 studies that found no statistically significant results could end up in a systematic review where, all together, they do produce results. These are a heck of a lot better than individual studies. We may actually have something that provides conclusive results. Right?

…In some ways yes, but in some ways… no. First of all, the majority of studies reviewed dealt with specific vitamins, not multivitamins, and at least one in particular (vitamin E) is already known to be harmful when supplemented at high doses (note that that article was published two and a half years ago).

There were some studies they reviewed that studied multivitamin usage, however, and, in spite of most of the multivitamins actually only having a few vitamins or minerals involved… we find the same thing there as with the previous study: The probability is just shy of 95% that multivitamins had a positive effect on all-cause mortality. On cancer, it was actually within that 95% CI for male patients and the reviewers noted this. And yet, it spite of this, the advice the editorialists and journalists give is still to not take vitamins.

As for the last study that’s mentioned in these articles, I’m not going to try to debunk it or show probability issues. Truth is… I don’t think I can. Even if I knew what SU is (full disclosure: I don’t), the results look pretty reasonable to me in the claim that mulitvitamins don’t do anything to aid in cognitive function… in those studied. See, here’s a major issue with vitamin studies: Most vitamins are taken in the morning, which is also when most people have breakfast… breakfasts that often consist of fortified cereal (note that, as someone eating a whole food diet, that doesn’t apply to me). What’s the significance of this? Well, B12 is the vitamin in most multivitamins that arguably has the largest effect on cognitive function, and thanks to intrinsic factor (seriously, WTF is with that name?), your body can only effectively absorb 17-33% of your RDA of vitamin B12 in one sitting (of course, I imagine that the RDA is about twice what your body needs in a day to reflect the poor absorption even with intrinsic factor). This means that, if you’re eating fortified cereal with 100% of your RDA of vitamin B12 per serving and have perfect absorption, measuring abilities, and a completely homogenous cereal (yay physics!), you’re actually getting around 1.18 mcg of B12. Add another 100% on top? You’re now getting 1.26 mcg. Whoopdie friggin’ doo. If, on the other hand, you’re only getting a small amount of B12 in the morning, that extra B12 might help. We can’t say because studies of this nature are severely limited in this way. This, by the way, doesn’t take into account the absorbability of the supplements or the fortified cereal.

Now, that’s not to say that any old multivitamin will do. I take a multivitamin that I chose because of its price and composition. As many of you may know, my mother and I share our meals, and thus also food. On her latest trip to the store, I asked her to pick up another bottle of my multivitamins, which her store apparently does not sell. She instead got a 60 capsule bottle of two-a-day vitamins (one month’s supply) for $8. I immediately looked at the label and saw the bad news. These vitamins had 50 mcg of B12 (833% RDA). Remember that talk we had above? Perfect absorption would mean 1.6 mcg over a multivitamin with 100%, which would be 1.18. Vitamin C, which is water soluble and thus large amounts become expensive urine, is in these at a rate of 300 mg (500% RDA). But it gets worse. Remember that talk we had about excess vitamin E? Yeah. These have rather high amounts, as well as other vitamins that shouldn’t be taken in high amounts. And all this so they can charge people that think that more is better $8/month. Yeah, I went ahead and got my own brand when I went to the store.

My own brand, by the way, costs $6.49, is one/day, contains a reasonable amount of vitamins and minerals (you won’t find, nor would I want, 100% of every vitamin and mineral in a supplement), and comes with 250 capsules. That’s 2.6¢/day. Look at all that money that I’m wasting.

You might not want to take multivitamins for one reason or another. That’s fine. But for 2.6¢/day, I’m going to play my aces against their kings. Every single day.

Week 62 Update

Well, we’re late again, aren’t we? It’s understandable, though. My mother was gone for most of the weekend, so she couldn’t weigh in on Saturday.

What’s surprising, however, is that she lost weight in spite of the extra cheat days. I had thought that we wouldn’t see improvement for the first week of carb refeeding, since we did it on Wednesday this week and are going to do it Thursday this week (the week after has Christmas, where we’ll be carb loading anyway, so I figure that Christmas might as well be our carb refeed day). I had thought for sure that we’d see initial weight gain and then weight loss, but that doesn’t seem to be the case.

Obviously, it’s a little too early to call success on this experiment, but it looks promising. It seems that leptin leapt in to save the day.

Huh? Huh?

…Sorry. I’ll go now.

Oh, before I do: We’ll be running mental measures this Monday if at all possible and Sunday of next week if not, so there might be some mental measures (probably the Sudoku one, the one that only I do) this Saturday if we can swing it. If not, it’ll be next week. As for the blood pressure, I’ve been unable to gain access to the machine for the past few weeks. I apologize, but it is beyond my control.

I think that’s it for the report, so here’s the raw data:

Recipe Spotlight - Pumpkin Pie Soup

And I didn’t like it.

Honestly, I just had trouble getting it down. And then I watched the Good Eats episode on pumpkin pie, and Alton Brown mentioned how good butternut squashes are as a replacement for pumpkins in pumpkin pie. Sure enough, the recipe I was using for soup even called for cinnamon.

And I knew that I had to take it to the next level.

So, after some experimentation, I’ve come up with this recipe for pumpkin pie soup. Keep in mind that all measurements are approximations and, aside from that, you should customize it based on your own preferences.:

Ingredients

  • 1 medium sugar pie pumpkin or butternut squash (if sugar pie pumpkins are unavailable)
  • butter for brushing
  • 1 - 1 1/2 cups vanilla cream
  • 1 Tbsp unfiltered honey (or more or less, to taste)
  • 1/2 tsp salt (again, more or less, to taste), I prefer pink Himalayan Sea Salt
  • 2 tsp cinnamon
  • 1 tsp nutmeg
  • 1/2 tsp ginger
  • 1/4 tsp each cloves and allspice

Directions:

  1. Bake the pumpkin/butternut squash (skip everything except the squash and the butter here) and let cool
  2. Scoup out the flesh of the squash into a food processor and begin processing. Use the feed chute to add the remainder of the ingredients until the puree is uniform
  3. Add to a 2-4 quart slow cooker and cook on low for 8 hours or until a light brown crust forms
  4. Serve and enjoy!

Pretty simple and very good. I tend to avoid making it simply because of the fact that it’s somewhat higher on the glycemic load than I tend to prefer, but in reality, it isn’t too bad.

Oh, and just a suggestion? If you buy cream by the pint, use the leftover vanilla cream to make whipped cream (sans the mascarpone) to serve with the soup. If not, then just whip up some vanilla cream. No need for perfect completion, I suppose.

Monday Musings - Self-Experimentation

So, in case you missed my latest update, my mother and I will be partaking in a bit of self-experimentation in the coming weeks. We’re going to start out with a carb refeed, as Thanksgiving weekend seems to have helped with our weight loss somewhat. Well, it set us back first, but we ate a lot of pretty terrible things in those five days and it was five days.

If that doesn’t work, I do have a list of a number of things to try.

But I want to talk about self-experimentation in general for a bit. See, I can research guidelines about what I should eat, but when it comes right down to it, nobody can really tell me the exact specifics of what’s healthy for me. Everyone is different. Maybe you can absorb and convert beta-carotene better than I can. Maybe I can’t absorb quite as much B12 per meal as you. Maybe a billion other different variables. Certainly, we can take a “safety net,” such as ensuring that we get enough pre-formed retinol, B12, and EPA in our diets that we don’t have to worry about those common problems, but when you get right down to it, to achieve great health (and I’m Taoist, so it would be remiss of me not to try to achieve this), you need to figure out some of your body’s particulars. Some people manage to be healthier when they add some benign starch into an otherwise low glycemic diet. Others won’t be able to handle that starch at all. Some can’t tolerate dairy, whereas for others, it provides fantastic nutrients and no problems whatsoever.

As I said before, however, you can use studies and reliable sources as guidelines. Maybe the exact way I eat wouldn’t work for you. It certainly won’t if you’re lactose intolerant. But the way I started this diet was from guidelines I set forth. Whatever I do, it won’t be too far off from those guidelines, and you can rest assured that the food I eat and the diet I maintain will be within the “positive results” range for just about anybody. In order to get better than just positive results, however, you may not be able to eat exactly the same way I do.

I feel like I’ve started to repeat myself, so basically… if you’re using this blog as a guideline to how you eat (or primal or paleo or whatever), make sure that it’s just that: A guideline. If you’re fine with the results you see, then don’t worry about it. If you’re like me, however, and you want to achieve great health, you’re going to need to make adjustments for your own personal requirements. Ideally, you’d run actual blood tests and the like, but who among us is really going to shell out for two NMR LipoProfile tests (one before, one after, not to mention any number of other tests) just to confirm if dairy is okay? The point is this: Do some research, real research, and find some guidelines. Be honest with how you feel and why you feel the way you do. Then, do some self-experimentation and continue to be honest with how you feel. If you find a reason to update your guidelines, do so and experiement that way. As long as you’re honest with yourself, you do the research, and you try things for yourself, you, too, can achieve great health.

Week 61 Update

Is this week 61? I hope so, or I screwed up.

Well, I mean… I haven’t really been updating you guys every week like I’m supposed to, but I was away for Thanksgiving last week, and the week before were the first measurements I’d taken since the year one update, so they weren’t of much use.

Which brings me to a note about the measurements: They’re starting over… sort of. Because I don’t want the charts to get cluttered and whatnot, I’ve gone ahead and deleted all the measurements up to the ones we took on October 5th. The mental measures… I’m going to try to start doing those next week, but those charts will stay. As I only did those for about three weeks last year, I don’t think that’s a big issue.

Right. So. About these measurements, you’ll notice a spike in weight, body fat percentage, etc from the end of November to the beginning of December. That’s pretty obviously due to Thanksgiving, since Thanksgiving weekend was five cheat days in a row (no, seriously), but there’s also a pretty quick drop after that to today. Even assuming that the scale was off (not an unlikely issue, that’s a fairly significant drop.

And, well… it’s no secret that my weight loss has stalled, and my mom’s was stalled for even longer. As sucfh, in the coming weeks (perhaps coming months), we’re going to be experimenting with possible causes. The first will be leptin levels, which means that we’re going to have one “carb day” per week. We’ll have a high carb breakfast (complete with hash browns), jasmine rice with veggies and chicken for lunch, and meatloaf (recipe coming soon) with baked potatoes for dinner. This is our plan for the first couple of weeks. If it produces positive results, we’ll continue to do this until it stops. After that, I guess we’ll see. If it [i]doesn’t[/i] produce results, however, then we’re going to need to look into other aspects of our diet. If we don’t need the carb day, chances are that it’s the somewhat high amount of high-glycemic fruit that we eat. After that, I’ll examine some other aspects.

As for there being no blood pressure measurements this week, I apologize. I really wanted to get some post-Thanksgiving measurements, but I was unable to join my mother for taking the measurements.

So. Speaking of measurements, here they are:

So, like I said, experimenting the next few weeks, hopefully getting the mental measures back on track, and I should be able to get the blood pressure measurements going at some point.

Recipe Spotlight - Vanilla Milk and Vanilla Cream

What’s this? Two recipes? Well… sort of. They’re essentially the same recipe, so simple a child could do it (which explains how I manage), but they can be used to make many very tasty things.

But here’s the deal: If you’ve never tried real vanilla beans, you won’t realize just how great this is. You seriously need to try doing this to believe how much of a difference this can make.

And it’s incredibly simple, too.

Ingredients:

Steps:

  1. Split and scrape each vanilla bean
  2. Place the vanilla seeds and pods in the milk or cream
  3. Shake gently
  4. Leave in the fridge for at least one day
  5. Shake gently before each use

Bam. Done. Simple, right?

A couple of things I’d like to note: First of all, this works best with screw-cap containers. Secondly, i can only get cream by the pint, so I just put a half a vanilla bean in each. Thirdly, I recommend grade A, but this application might be better suited for grade B. I’ll stick with A, as they produced fantastic results, but if you would like to compare, let me know. As a final note, I prefer the Tahitian kind, though I believe that it is probably a matter of preference. That set is the one I got to try this process, and it works very well. Oh, and you can probably make this with coconut milk or cream as well, but I haven’t bothered.

As for uses? Well, you could just pour some milk with a touch of cream into a glass (only one has to be the vanilla-infused version, but it can be both) and add just a touch of honey. Heat it up in the microwave for a minute or two and then stir. You will never drink better milk. Alternatively, you could use this any time a recipe calls for milk and/or cream alongside vanilla extract. In fact, vanilla cream makes absolutely divine whipped cream (stabilized or no) and don’t get me started on the pancakes I’ve made with this.

Bottom line? Vanilla milk and vanilla cream are awesome, and this is a quick and easy way of making it at home so you don’t have to deal with all the sugar and other questionable ingredients they put in the storebought stuff. Besides, this is a lot more flavorful. Just remember to label the containers with vanilla in them so you don’t accidentally use vanilla cream to make a cream gravy. Oh, and do be careful about the pods ending up in your dishes. I haven’t had an issue with it yet, but it’s just something of which to be aware.

Monday Musings - Fringe Benefits

Okay, I promised you guys a look at the other benefits I’ve had, aside from the weight loss, improved blood pressure, and what have you.

Well, first of all, I’m more energetic. I actually have energy to get things done in a day, which is… rather strange to me. Before I started this diet, doing anything seemed like a chore. Nowadays, though, I can get all my meals made, my artsy and programming stuff done, and still have time leftover to play some games at the end of it.

The pain. I used to have pain all over my body. My chest, my knees, my feet, you name it. A large part of this probably has to do with my weight loss, but it could very well be affected by the diet itself.

It’s not just benefits I’ve gotten, either. I asked my mother about a few things. She can’t remember the last time she had heartburn, when it used to plague her very often. She also can’t remember the last time she had bad gas (neither can I), and she took her blood sugar the other day right after lunch: 97 mg/dL. For those that don’t know, that’s pretty huge. non-diabetics actually tend to go higher than that after eating about a standard lunch’s worth of starch. And no, her blood sugar doesn’t dip below a normal range (or spike above a normal range) between meals, either. She just has a lot more control of her blood sugar because this diet doesn’t spike it as most diets do.

I should also mention, though it’s not a subject about which people like to talk, that my bowel movements are a lot healthier. I used to be plagued by, well… the two opposing forces of too fast or too slow. Now? That doesn’t happen. I asked my mother about it and she said that hers have been rather healthy as well.

I should point out that these are not scientific measurements, merely things that I’ve noticed since I’ve started this diet. There’s probably half a dozen or more benefits I haven’t noticed or forgot to mention, but the point is that it’s more than just weight loss. I’m healthier. And that’s the point of it all, isn’t it?

Oh, and a minor update: I’m going to be gone Thanksgiving weekend. I’ll put up some things to publish while I’m gone (if I can figure out how to do it), but in case that doesn’t work, I thought I should let you know.

Also so you know that it’s a cheat day coming (several, in fact).

One Year Measurements

Well, it’s been a while, hasn’t it? Since it’s been so long, I’m going to try something different. Instead of linking the measurements at the end, I’ll link them right here and I can go over them with you.

So let’s start with the thing about which everyone cares: Weight. This has some positive and some negative, and it’s going to take a while, so let’s get down to it:

First, in terms of absolute weight, I lost just under 90 lbs in a year. Considering the fact that the only other time I’ve experienced significant weight loss in my life was when I was homeless, I’d like to think that this is pretty huge. This is including the times when I went off-schedule and ended up eating pretty poorly, along with the fact that I got very little exercise this past year. I think that, if I had been on-schedule the entire time, I would have lost a full hundred. As far as exercise goes, well… that may or may not have had an effect, considering that the primary advantage in terms of weight loss seems to be when people are on the standard American diet or diets that are just wildly different than the one I follow.

Now here’s something that a lot of runners and dieters seem to forget: Absolute weight loss is bad if it happens solely in the active cell mass. Good for me that I was aware of this fact when I started this diet, and thus purchased a bioelectrical impedance scale for this purpose. Let’s talk about the actual numbers first. Almost 55 pounds of pure fat loss. Roughly 61% of my weight loss was from fat. Now, that’s not 100%, and I’ll explain why that’s not an issue in just a second. As far as active cell mass, that accounted for about 24% of my weight loss, with a little over 20 lbs lost. For my bone mass, that accounted for 9% with just over eight pounds of weight loss coming from that.

So why don’t I hate the fact that I’ve lost some active cell mass? Well, having too much in terms of percent isn’t a good thing, either. In fact, around 50% seems to be ideal for a male my age. That would put my ideal weight at 275 lbs. No thanks. Active cell mass is nice to have, but I don’t want a ton just to have a ton. While 275 lbs with 138 lbs of active cell mass may be just as easy on me as 180 lbs with 90 lbs of active cell mass, I’m just not that interested in the extra 100 lbs just for the sake of the extra weight. The same, for the record, applies to bone mass. A person at 275 lbs might find 46.2 lbs to be a bit too much. For someone at 180 lbs, it’s just right out. Furthermore, I know for a fact that I’m not getting the protein requirements to maintain that (another consideration, as I’d need 50% more protein to support 50% more active cell mass). I expected to lose some active cell mass from the start.

But, in spite of losing some active cell mass and bone mass, the percentage of my weight attributable to each has gone up. Bone mass has gone up almost a half a percent in terms of contribution to my body’s total composition. Active cell mass has gone up about 2%. On the flip side, body fat has gone down by 3.5%. In the midst of all this good news, however, we must keep in mind that my bone mass percentage is still not optimal, nor is my active cell mass or body fat percentage. 43.9% is still a high BFP and 33.5% is still a low active cell mass percentage. Given where I started, however, it’s a very good start and I’m making my way to a healthy body composition.

Now let’s get to the not-quite-as-good news: My mother’s weight. She has lost about 20 lbs, but that’s nowhere near my 90 lbs. Why? Well, a few reasons: First, she’s a post-menopausal woman. Weight loss for her is difficult in the first place. Second, she cheats… a lot, in a lot of ways. She drinks beer (sometimes wine) at least a couple of times per week, she eats out with her friends on a fairly regular basis, and she uses artificial sweetener in her coffee. To compound these issues, she’s taking a pharmacy’s worth of medication, any one of them could be causing her weight loss to stall.

As I said, though, she has lost some weight. Once again, we get that 61% number. 61% of her weight loss was from fat. And, once again, we’re confronted with 24% coming from active cell mass. The consistency here is a little bizarre to me, but the numbers don’t lie. Coincidence, I’m sure, but there may be some signficance there. Perhaps a normal distribution? Well, with a sample size of 2, there’s not much we can say there. The point is that my mother lost a significant portion of fat and not nearly as much from her active cell mass or bone mass. Again, I’m not worried about it because her active cell mass at the start would constitute a weight much higher than is really reasonable (at her age and because she’s a woman, her ideal active cell mass is far below 50%).

As you might expect, her relatively lower results in weight loss also resulted in relatively lower results in terms of body composition. Her BFP fell just short of a 1% drop, and her active cell mass increased by about a quarter of a percent, with her bone mass percentage fluctuating between a .1% and .2% gain.

So while my mother’s results weren’t as fantastic as I might have hoped, she still had positive results (in spite of cheating) and my results were pretty great. I’m hoping for better results next year, but I guess we’ll have to see.

Now, let’s get into heart health. Surely a diet so high in saturated fat is going to wreck havoc with my blood pressure, right?

Well, blood pressure is a little harder. In addition to the fact that we haven’t measured our blood pressures since mid-July, blood pressure fluctuates a lot more than weight and my blood pressure wasn’t nearly as absurdly high as my weight, but we can still see a pretty obvious decrease in my blood pressure, especially my systolic. My diastolic isn’t quite as obvious until you examine it or add a trendline, but it has decreased as well. Heart rate has a barely lowering trend, but it’s nowhere near suggestive of anything. For now, I’ll mark “no change” for heart rate and I guess we’ll see how things go in the future.

As for my mother’s blood pressure, we can see a lot more spikes, but therein lies the interesting part: Those spikes all happen during periods where she had a lot of cheat days. The first spike, for example, happened around Thanksgiving (visiting and going out to eat with friends and family started before Thanksgiving). The second spike was after Christmas and the new year, and subsequent spikes were things like going out of town to visit sisters. The last two weeks of measurements followed this. Outside of these spikes, there does seem to be some improvement, but it’s difficult to tell.

Unfortunately, we didn’t hold to the mental measurements as well as I’d hoped. My primary objective throughout much of the past year was to get on schedule or focus on staying on schedule. That said, in the brief period when we did the testing, both my mother and I showed improvement in reaction speed and memory tests and I showed improvement in the time it took me to solve the sudoku puzzles (keep in mind that my mother didn’t do the sudoku puzzle measurement).

So… good for weight loss? Check.
Good for the heart? Tentative check.
Good for the brain? Tentative check.

If there were any doubts about this diet, let them be laid to rest. But if all this isn’t enough, I”m going to talk about some health benefits we noticed that weren’t really within our ability to measure in the next Monday Musings post.

Since we took these measurements, we haven’t been weighing ourselves or taking our blood pressure, but I’m hoping to get started on that again soon, perhaps even this week. The measurement posts are going to continue, but I’m hoping to expand them a bit, including getting the mental measures going again. Not only that, but my mother recently got test results from her last blood panel today, and I’m hoping to talk to her doctor about getting the results for her various blood panels for the past year and a half or so so that I can show you guys things like her cholesterol numbers, her HbA1c, etc. I’m making no promises there, however.

I do hope to type up a page done in the style of a study for these measurements, including methods, discussion, etc. We’ll see if I have time to do that in the future. Once again, no promises there.

Delays

Just want you to know that I’m trying to work on the year 1 update, but Tumblr really just isn’t working at all. I can’t do it without links and I can’t make links in Tumblr without form popups and their form popups don’t seem to want to work.

As such, it will be delayed a bit. My apologies.