We are a commune of inquiring, skeptical, politically centrist, capitalist, anglophile, traditionalist New England Yankee humans, humanoids, and animals with many interests beyond and above politics. Each of us has had a high-school education (or GED), but all had ADD so didn't pay attention very well, especially the dogs. Each one of us does "try my best to be just like I am," and none of us enjoys working for others, including for Maggie, from whom we receive neither a nickel nor a dime. Freedom from nags, cranks, government, do-gooders, control-freaks and idiots is all that we ask for.
Our Recent Essays Behind the Front Page
Thursday, December 18. 2014
Had to visit my friendly local dentist early this morning for what I term a "cosmetic emergency." Mrs. BD did not want me going through the rest of the holiday season looking like a Halloween pumpkin - or like a visitor from England (famous for its rotten and/or missing teeth).
He did give me one tip while I was there: he advised me to use interdental brushes instead of flossing. He said they are best for your gums, and clean better between teeth.
They come in different sizes to fit your tooth spacing. These things are news to me. I always avoided flossing and these are easier to use. He gave me a demo.
Friday, December 5. 2014
Wednesday, December 3. 2014
"I'll go on a diet after the holidays." Right. Sure you will, just like last year.
Being fat in the US is highly correlated with social class. Like academic degrees and choice of clothing, being heavy is a social marker of sorts for men and women.
In a sexist way, men are given some leeway for a few extra pounds but only if they are wealthy, powerful, or brilliant.
Black women, recent immigrants, working class and lower middle-class, and the poor seem to display the most consistent overweight. (In the midwest US, fat in women seems to be near-universal outside of urban centers. What is that about?) Cause, effect, coincidence, or what? I have no idea what it is all about.
One must accept that, in many ways, it is a great success of the western world - to give everybody the opportunity to be fat if they want to be, even if on welfare. (See Dramatic Increases in Obesity and Overweight Prevalence and Body
There was a time, over 100 years ago, when prosperous men displayed their prosperity in their bulging bellies. Fashion and expectations change. In eastern Europe and Russia, fat was good. It meant you had more potatoes than the next house. In the 1600s, fat was popular in western Europe too - see Rubens. Today, see a WalMart aisle. It used to be difficult to be pudgy and today it is difficult to be fit. Fortunately for us, we do live in a fitness-oriented world despite our (mostly) daily lack of manual labor. Fitness makes everything in life better and longer, reduces indolence, lethargy, and fatigue, and puts old age farther into the future. Nothing but sinful laziness stands in our way.
In the Western world today, with its abundance of cheap and tasty carbs, thin has been in for 100 years and being fat has been a public sign of giving up on an energetic life in many aspects: sex, romance, social attractiveness, sports, fun, agility, and overall vitality.
In my view, you can be too thin, you can be too heavy, but you can't be too rich.
Monday, December 1. 2014
As I have been saying here for years, forget about it. Dietary fat has nothing to do with cardiac disease. Lowering saturated fats does no good. This video h/t SDA
Keeping thin is a good idea, though, for many medical reasons. Yes, people have been conned. Low-fat is foolish, and science and politics is always a mess. Junk science, indeed. Carbs make you fat and harm your arteries, joints, energy, and everything else.
Friday, October 31. 2014
Wednesday, October 29. 2014
Governments try to control what kids eat, and they'd like to control what you consume also.
However, government planning rarely can do anything right not only because central planning can never work but because government is plain dumb.
Dietary fats do not cause vascular disease, and dietary fats do not make you fat. From The Last Anti-Fat Crusaders - The low-fat-diet regimen is turning out to be based on bad science, but the USDA has been slow to catch on:
Monday, October 20. 2014
Friday, September 26. 2014
Friday, September 19. 2014
What are the things which most emotionally engage ordinary Americans? I think love and family, sex, God, money, freedom from government - and death. Two deathy links:
Wednesday, September 17. 2014
Thursday, September 11. 2014
Wednesday, September 10. 2014
Wednesday, September 3. 2014
Many years too late, the MSM and the government are getting the obvious message which docs have known all along. Unless you do manual work all day and are skinny, you don't need hardly any carbs to be fit and healthy. What carbs to eat very sparingly, if at all, to be strong and lithe? See below the basic list of the bad things which few Americans need to thrive:
All fruit (except strawberries and blueberries). Fruit is just flavored sugar, as are fruit juices
Carb-produced fat on your body is the worst thing for your heart, your joints, some cancers, your sex drive, and your youthfulness, vigor, and energy. If you are skinny and fairly muscular, ignore this.
Unless you are too skinny or healthily-skinny, I suggest one to one and a half smallish meals per day, mainly meat, eggs, greens, and vegetables. Why Westerners decided three meals daily was needed is a historical mystery, and very wrong unless you were a farmer or a growing child: most people used to be farmers, who worked until they dropped and their little kids helped all day too. Being overweight was a sign of wealth, and now it sort of functions as a sign of poverty and the underclass.
OK, a sugary dessert once weekly as a special treat. Alcohol as desired. Your hunger and your stomach will shrink quickly, as will your burdensome lard.
You will feel better and more vigorous, if that is what you want. Some people want that, some do not. Our current prosperity gives us that free choice, in the Western world.
Thursday, August 21. 2014
We have commented on the subject of the human diet and health before, but it's time for another comment, because the NYT Science Times has written on it.
"Healthy food" has been an on-and-off American obsession, comparable to the obsession with flavor in France.
Since Rev. Sylvester Graham, a minister, vegetarian, and food-obsessive invented the Graham Cracker in the 1820s to provide "digestive fiber," Americans have been food faddists and vulnerable to food quackery.
More famously, Dr. John Kellogg of Battle Creek, Michigan, an 1870s charlatan with a diet fad, fooled Americans into thinking that cereal was breakfast food. It is not. In Yankee-land, breakfast is eggs, bacon, sausage, toast, potatoes, fruit and apple pie.
Eat what you want, and be happy. All humans are prone to "magical thinking" - aka "wishful thinking." We'd like to imagine that we have some control over things like health, and that things we put in our mouths will make a difference. There is essentially no evidence for that idea, assuming absence of a disease, or a problem like high cholesterol, or pregnant, etc.
Even being fat doesn't seem to make any significant difference to health. (Being obese is a bad plan, though.) I advise patients to eat plenty of salmon, trout and char for their magical properties, and whatever else they want; to exercise and work out if they want to be strong and fit but not because they will live forever; to lose weight if they want to look better and feel less tired; to eat all the salt and steak they want; and to avoid magical health diets. Vegetarian? Fine. Leaves more lamb and steak for me. Just don't imagine that it's about health. What's a healthy diet? Any average mix of stuff, but most of all - enjoy it, and don't fuss about it too much.
(Image from the excellent medical blog Kevin, MD. That steak could be a bit more rare, if you ask me.)
Sunday, August 17. 2014
We have had a decade or two of some experts preaching that fat and salt will kill you. Many of us docs have been debunking those old claims, to little avail.
Pour on the Salt? New Research Suggests More Is OK
Friday, August 1. 2014
I've been preaching this ad nauseam but everybody has his own food religion based on superstition, old wive's tales, antiquated misinformation, and various quackeries.
If ignorance floats your boat, then go for it and be happy with the placebo effects, but just do not pretend that it makes sense.
There is no reason at all to avoid dietary fats, and this has been well-known for over a decade. I was wrong - we should be feasting on fat, says Dr. Mosley.
If your triglyceride numbers scare you or your doc, take some statins.
Eat all the carbs you want, too, unless you want or need to lose weight. If you wish to be more slim, trim, and muscular, quit the carbs and exercise hard. And, for God's sake, quit with the stupid organic stuff. It's just marketing. Marketing genius for sure, just like the people who sell water in bottles.
Wednesday, July 30. 2014
I don't know what practicing clinician has time to write guidelines for other docs, but guidelines are nothing but trouble. The best medical care is both art and science. Knowledge is always incomplete, patients are individuals with unique situations, and all docs have their own preferences and points of view. Guidelines end up being little more than fodder for tort lawyers and time-wasters.
Worst of all, young docs feel as if they have to follow them. Many things go wrong when practicing by the book. Medicine is an art and a science.
Sunday, June 22. 2014
Wednesday, June 18. 2014
Friday, June 13. 2014
Sunday, June 8. 2014
Monday, May 12. 2014
I view part of my duty as to debunk folk myths about health and medicine. Readers know that one of my bugaboos concerns the human diet and the First World preoccupation with what we eat as if it mattered all that much. Food faddism has always been part of American life since we became a wealthy country and had food choices.
Eating fats does not make you fat. Carbs make you fat. That is no longer in dispute.
Do saturated fats "cause" heart disease? There is no evidence for it. Bacon and eggs is the Great American Breakfast, with or without grits, or biscuits and gravy. In the WSJ, The Questionable Link Between Saturated Fat and Heart Disease -Are butter, cheese and steak really bad for you? The dubious science behind the anti-fat crusade.
Friday, May 9. 2014
I agree with some of this, disagree with some of it. For one thing, she ignores insulin physiology. For another, she ignores menopause. She is right that losing weight is difficult given all of the abundant and cheap carbs available to everybody, and she is surely correct that people without weight issues are those who hear an internal signal that says "That's enough."
In the end, though, carb "addiction" is the main challenge for anyone who is overweight.
Wednesday, May 7. 2014
A Cholagogue containing Iron, Quine, Strychnine, and who knows what else:
I found this somewhere:
Continue reading "The ancient and ongoing pharmaceutical scams"
Friday, April 25. 2014
Still no links found. No links found for diet and heart disease, either.
Nutrition remains folklore, magic, superstition, and there is essentially no science in it except to avoid scurvy and Beriberi. Of course, being overweight predisposes to almost all medical ailments except starvation. If you do not want to be fat, quit those tasty carbs and try to satisfy yourself with something else like reading blogs, or sex, or doing unto others. If you want to be strong, exercise hard or do physical labor. Otherwise, quit with the magical thinking and accept that death will arrive (unbidden usually) no matter what you do.
People hate to accept that reality because it feels powerless. Well, people don't dine on sacred offerings to gods anymore, and food is no longer magic medicine.
Vegetables and fruit? I do not particularly enjoy them so I am always pleased that they supposedly don't matter. For me, vegetables are just an excuse to eat the olive oil or butter. About fruit, when I get the impulse, I will occasionally eat a whole lemon or a whole lime, skin and all. Oranges are too sweet for me. Otherwise, fruit is good only for cheese. Pears, especially.
Somebody recently told me that they refused to donate to the American Heart Assoc. because she preferred to go by heart attack rather than by cancer. Well, those are the two main choices on life's menu these days, with the eradication of many infectious diseases. Carpe diem, and pursue what your soul needs before it's too late.
I am grateful that my needs are simple other than Jimmy Choos, that my life is rich and complete, and that food is not very important to me other than Shad Roe and caviar.
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