Saturday, February 28, 2009

CRON Blog Carnival - February 28, 2009

Back to Basics Theme

The basics are a foundation to our CR practice and keep a lot of us centered, focused and on track to our goals and long healthy lives. This week I did a CRON blog carnival that highlighted a back to basics theme. Enjoy!

Cron Diary
Mary is back to basics with her CRON regimen. What a great view into some guidelines that help make CR work. I too am an unconscious carb avoider (#5 and follow up post).

Although not regularly posting now, I found this great article from JD that links in with the back to basics CRON theme.

My CRON experiment
Sara has a funny post about her foibles with green smoothies. Ah yes, who hasn't tried to change up their recipes and met with disaster. We try new things and when they fail: back to basics.

Quest for Life
Ali posted this week about how she overeats when nothing sounds appealing to her. She was reminded of the important basics of having nutritious CRON compliant food available.

April's CR Diary
April's 1400 challenge, a back to basics approach she uses to firm up her resolve to CRON, seems to work. She had only 2 off days when she was unprepared.

CRON Yogitect
Arturo is back to basics in a new culture. Funny how humbling it can be to relearn the basics you thought you had already mastered. This time learning them in a language you don't fully know.

Tuesday, February 24, 2009

CRON is Good for Lean Times

As someone who went and bought lunch almost everyday before CRON, I have noticed a whole lot more money in my bank account at pay day. This is a very nice bonus and the funds are welcome.

The other way that I notice I'm saving some money is by not purchasing as much food at the grocery store. Sure, the savings aren't as readily noticeable as the ones from not buying lunch every day, but they are noticeable.

So, by eating less and eating healthier I'm living longer, better looking, and have more money... It almost seems too easy. Where are the mobs of people hating me in fits of jealousy?

Friday, February 20, 2009

CRON-ival - February 20, 2009

This is a CRON-ival. It features the best of CRON blogs over their last few posts.
A Blog Carnival is like a magazine with links to various blog articles often centering around a central theme (in this case CR). They are a great way of building links between blogs and building traffic for newer blogs. They also have the great ability to give people new to CRON a fuller taste of what a day in the life of a CRONie is like. I thought I would do one manually this week and see what happens... If anyone really likes this idea please let me know. I would love to set one up as a regular occurrence, but it is a bit of work.

April's CR Diary - 1400 Calorie Challenge
This week April issued a 1400 Calorie Challenge, or whatever caloric goal you have, from Sunday to Sunday. What a great idea. Do the CRON thing together. Measure everything for one week. Know your caloric consumption. Get back on track to health, happiness, and longevity. Way to go April and crew!

Cave Cooking - and another recipe
Rachel posted a great Paleo diet recipe this week. I too am a huge fan of cabbage. I think with a little of my own spin on this one... it's going to become a regular recipe around my house.

Skinnybitch - when she was good...
Skinnybitch's last post is one that many bloggers will likely know and understand. Leave a comment and spur her on with greater motivation.

CR 4 Life - What About Alcohol
Johan had a great post this week on Alcohol. I've noticed many CRONies include a glass of wine or two... in their diet. Are the empty colories worth it?

Quest for Life: Adventures in Calorie Restriction
Dealing with CR on the weekend was the post I chose to highlight. I checked and yup, if I stray from my caloric goal I'm most likely to do so on a Friday or Saturday. So, I too have troubles being CR on the weekend. A great read.

My CRON Experiment - Winter Wonderland
Sara's last post was about Winter. Sigh. I can't wait for one about my favourite season: Summer.

CRON Yogitect - Chinese Anyone?
Being a vegetarian in China isn't very easy. Especially if you don't speak the language. Oh, the adventures we CRONies face. How exciting. A great read.

CRON Diary - Splenda
Mary had a great post last week about Splenda and really artificial sweeteners in general.

CRON-IC - You Don't Have to be Hungry
A great article about CRON and hunger by yours truly.

Matts CR Blog - Great BBC program
This week Matt posted a video of a BBC program on longevity. CR was, of course, featured. Big thanks to Matt for posting. It's an excellent segment and a must watch!

Macro Nutrient Ratios - So What?

On the Calorie Restriction Society's email discussion list there are many heated discussions about the right macronutrient ratios. Is higher protein healthy despite its appetite suppressing tendencies? Are animal proteins bad and vegetable proteins good? Is low carb better than low fat?

One thing is for sure: few people in North America get too little protein from their diet.

Personally, I think if one is eating a varied yet healthy diet with an eye towards optimum nutrition that the macronutrient ratios should change a bit. And for those that struggle to stay within such a tight range of protein... is it really going to allow you to eke out 6 more months of longevity?

I think sometimes I know where the media is coming from when I see obsessive and rigidly disciplined people content to keep their variety of food constrained to ensure they get a certain macronutrient ratio of protein. So, my message is this: lighten up. Live the extra life you are getting.

I increasingly like Peter Voss' approaches to CRON. Especially his ideas around classifying the typical North American diet as Calorie Poisioning. So subversive. So right. And a great way to promote CRON as the new mainstream. Perhaps I will expand in another post later.

Monday, February 16, 2009

CRON is Vegan and Raw Food Compatible and Desireable

With my weekend review of my favourite CRON sites I noticed Matthew Lake once again pointing out some Raw Food evangelists and his similar experiences. I must say that I think the Raw Food approach is fine generally. However, I have noticed that there are some who pursue it with an almost religious fervour blindly assuming that all of their dietary needs will be met with Raw Food. And it is this fact that I take exception to.

Without properly tracking your food intake and the vitamins and minerals you are taking there is an increased risk of having problems from deficiencies. I for one am not prepared to take that chance. If I were to go on a Raw Food cycle (and I've thought about it) I would continue to track my foods in Cron-O-Meter. I would also let my doctor know.

You see, I firmly believe that the human body has adapted to be omnivorous and that although Raw Food and Vegan or Vegetarian are largely safe, there are those who do not realize what vitamin and mineral deficiencies they may be exposing themselves to. When you look at these approaches and the nutrients they tend to favour, you will see the need for ensuring some balance or the inclusion of certain foods to round out the approach.

So, it makes sense that CRON should be the over-arching guide to Vegan and Raw Food approaches. Therefore to ensure you are CRON compliant you should track your vitamin and mineral intake from your food before embarking on a Vegan or Raw Food approach. Longevity and common sense dictate that Optimum Nutrition comes from a balanced approach.

Now, I raise a Green Smoothie #2 to Matt for his latest post of great smoothie recipes.

Saturday, February 14, 2009

You Don't Have to Be Hungry on CRON

Recently a co-worker of mine and I were talking about my weight loss and CRON. Apparently he used to be about 170 pounds and went on what I would describe as a starvation diet to get down to a lean 140 pounds. The mental anguish of this diet was with him still. It may have been a contributing factor to his maintaining the weight loss.

His approach by the way, was that he would fill a bowl with food and wouldn't eat anything more than he could fit in that bowl for the day.

Now, this guy is a smart guy. He has two degrees and is quite successful. He certainly knows how to achieve his goals and quickly. Why didn't he know how to do this without being hungy?

Further, he couldn't imagine doing CRON as the hunger and mental anguish would kill him. I told him that I was seldom hungry. He didn't believe me.

I told him that I had learned and continued to learn (one of my favourite things about CRON - the continuous learning) about various foods that I could eat that filled me up with a minimum of calories and a maximum of vitamins and minerals. I named a bunch of my favourites like broccoli, cauliflower, kale, cucumber, salads and told him I often add to these base foods with a little bit of protein or grains. He was interested but a bit skeptical about my statement that you don't have to be hungry on CRON. It was like he thought CRON was inherently unhealthy because of the increased likelihood of hunger.

The perception that CRON is synonomous with constant hunger needs to change. I certainly haven't found it to be true. Occassionally I get cravings, but I satisfy them within reason and make allowances elsewhere.

The term Caloric Restriction implies gulag prison camp like restriction of food to some people and makes them think of rationing and scarcity. When in actual fact, although calories are being restricted there is an abundance of food that can be consumed to meet both CRON and hunger needs concurrently. I certainly think that the perception of abundance needs to somehow be injected into the CR movement.

Friday, February 13, 2009

Shopping and Planning are Key

For me, shopping and planning are key to staying on track with CRON. Having the proper foods around to support my new habits is absolutely essential to reaching my goals.

Despite this, there are times when I do overeat or eat unapproved items.

Planned overs are a big part of my regimen as are my mid-meal items that reduce hunger until my next full meal.

Sunday, February 8, 2009

Brown Rice Sushi - this week's planned overs


Tonight I had some brown rice sushi. It took about 30 to 40 minutes of actual work time, but the start to finish time was about 2 hours and above average clean up time. So... it was more work than I'm used to for a meal but I ended up cranking out 6 servings total. Two of those servings the trophy wife and I had for dinner. The rest I hope to use up over the next few days as planned overs. With the planned overs, the total cooking time per meal goes way down. Very nice indeed. AND... I love the taste of sushi.

Here's the recipe I ended up using:

2 cups of short grain brown rice
3 tbsp sugar
4 tbsp rice vinegar
2 tsp salt
1 1/4 cup seeded, peeled and cut cucumbers (I had way too much, so... do less)
1 medium carrot
6 sheets of nori
1 oz. of avocado
imitation crab meat (pollock) - I had about 360 cals worth and cut it into strips

The trophy wife ended up adding mayonnaise to her roll.

So, this ended up making 6 rolls total. Each of those was cut into 6 to 8 little maki sushi. And there were quickly and tastily consumed with added soya sauce and a touch of wasabi.

I highly recommend planned overs. It is always nice to have a backup plan for lunches and dinner when you have a hectic week or just don't feel much like cooking.

Saturday, February 7, 2009

Daisy's CR article and body image

Reading some other blogs I came across Daisy's CR article. It really is a good one that outlines the first thoughts and the lightbulb of interest and understanding that comes from first discovering CRON.

And then in the comments... a number of people who obviously scanned her article and did not look any further. Other people with their negativity and lack of support for Daisy's new found approach. The common comments like "That's too skinny for a person of that height" from people who don't realize that their idea of preferred bodytypes has nothing to do with health or science but the influence of media and social networks.

CRONies as Social Deviants

I, for one, have become acutely aware of how others mental constructs of normal body types impact others. "Oh he's a meat and potatoes kind of guy" enables a bigger guy to stay big and unhealthy. "She's too skinny, she must be anorexic" assumes that her skinniness is unhealthy and that she may have mental problems... great. No wonder there is an obesity epidemic with quick cop-outs and mental barriers all over the place.

These hurtful comments by the uninformed and intolerant who don't realize how much the media and the rest of society has "programmed" their small brains into taking such a stance are quickly working their way into being a favourite cause of mine.

I would appreciate hearing any other types of comments you have come across. Please leave a comment.

Thursday, February 5, 2009

All hail, kale!

This evening I cooked a great kale soup.

The ingredients were:

1 onion
1/2 tbsp olive oil
10 cups organic chicken broth
3 tbsp miso
4 cups finely chopped kale
1 medium sized carrot
2 full boneless, skinless chicken breasts (roasted) 242g after cooking

And that added up to being just under 1000 calories, high in vitamins and minerals (ON) and very tasty.

This soup will break down into 4 meals at 250 calories a pop and it is very filling, tasty, and healthy. Mmmmm.

I like doing planned-overs for work lunches, suppers, and more. This soup reheats really well too.

Sunday, February 1, 2009

How to Cut Calories

There are many different ways to cut calories and help yourself with Caloric Restriction.

The most important thing, in my mind, is to count calories and measure the nutritional content of your food so that you have Optimal Nutrition and your intended Caloric Restriction. I use the free Cron-O-Meter software for those reasons.

So, in no particular order, here are a number of different strategies to achieve Caloric Restriction:
  • Exercise
  • Eat breakfast (some people who skip this meal have troubles adhering to CR)
  • Eat low energy density foods (vegetables are good for this)
  • Avoid simple carbs and sugars
  • Increase dietary fiber (beans are a good way to do this)
  • Eat slowly
  • Stop eating before you are full
  • Eat smaller portions
  • Eat from smaller dishware and with smaller silverware
  • Get plenty of sleep
  • Count your calories
  • Weigh yourself regularly
  • Avoid bad fats (trans fats, saturated fats, and animal fats)
  • Reduce use of artificial sweeteners
  • Increase the amount of plant based and lean animal proteins in your diet
  • Eat regular meals (many who "snack" have troubles with discipline)
  • Plan your meals (by the time you are ravenous it is too late)
  • Know your portion sizes
  • Fast food (may lead to binges and excessive consumption of calories)
  • Don't deny excessive cravings (but know the difference between normal and excessive)
  • Be very careful with appetite enhancers (alcohol, marijuana, many medications)

So there are a tonne of strategies. What's right for you? Only you can answer that one.

Exercise Revisited

Okay, I decided to add exercise to CRON. So far, I've quite enjoyed it but am only at a couple of times a week. My goal was to exercise 3 or 4 times a week for at least a half hour of solid exertion.

At this point, I like the exercise but it is sometimes inconvenient and I don't have the amazing motivation I have for CRON. A few more weeks and I'm hoping that the exercise will become a habit. The endorphin high is certainly worth the exertion.