I have this list of favourite websites I look at each morning. Some are financial to keep me up to date as to where our finances are at and some are just general interest, mostly around health and tech.
One of those is Daring Fireball by John Gruber. He’s usually got a lot of good things to say around tech (you’re welcome, John!) and one recently was a link to Ricky Mondello’s tweet about a lot of iOS12 highlights.
I was at my daughter’s parkrun on Saturday in Yokine, Western Australia. Lovely place and a great location, albeit a tad freeeeezing on this particular day.
The FBH and I were doing our usual casual but brisk walk that turned into a bit of a light run from about half way. We eventually warmed up and enjoyed yet another parkrun which we tend to do every weekend. It’s always hard getting out of bed but it’s always well worth the effort.
As I handed in my token, a couple were sitting down after their run and one of them complained of having chest pains during the run. He also mentioned he was asthmatic and this could have been the cause.
I normally mind my own business in these things, not out of lack of care but not having the whole story and I may be off the mark.
But this time I decided to have a chat and show him my arm wound just for impact.
“Have a guess how I got that?”, I asked. It certainly got his attention!
I was able to have a good discussion with him about my altercation with chest pains and what it led to. I certainly advised him I was no doctor and I wasn’t diagnosing his symptoms but I did suggest he get checked out. At least if there were no issues he’d have some peace of mind.
I’d hate to turn into someone who catastrophes every little niggle but in some cases where it’s life or death maybe a little bit of caution is helpful.
This is a podcast featuring Dr Zoe Harcombe. It’s 33 minutes long so if you are interested in this topic around health and diet, I encourage you to listen. Not only does she convey some very interesting information, Zoe is really easy to listen to and her passion about the topic comes through.
A couple of really interesting points for me:
the question as to whether saturated fat really is the enemy. What I am learning on this journey is that there are many factors that can affect someone’s health and it may point to things like cholesterol, sugar and saturated fat but let’s not be too quick to point the finger until we rule out other aspects that may be contributing (like a sedentary lifestyle for one obvious example)
the other point is similar and that with the US and UK Diet Standards were not based on evidence based research. To this end, Zoe states that these standards are based on a study involving 2500 men (no women) and that these subjects were already unwell (or, all had prior heart disease). So it’s quite amazing that the 220 million Americans and 56 million Britons at the time were being guided by 2500 unwell men!
It’s almost hilarious that the world diet is being governed by this small group! That’s a group small enough to be celebrities in this day and age.
All that said, as this blog’s approach is to do what works for me, this constant research into the history of the current diet is interesting and, perhaps, not all it is cracked up to be. It also means there are a lot of people (dieticians, nutritionists, doctors etc.) who are promoting the standard diet without fully knowing the background or consequences. Don’t get me wrong, use whatever diet works for you, but it appears not every diet suits everyone and that includes the Standard Dietary Guidelines of various countries.
Have a listen and see what you think. Comments welcome.
I’m speaking purely from observational experience. I know observational studies are not that reliable but I’m not writing a paper so take this for what it is.
It’s also inconclusive but I still think there are benefits to be gained.
While reading the Pioppi Diet by Aseem Malhotra and Donal O’Neill, they observe that a diet is more than just food. It is lifestyle, the culture, the location and a range of other variables, many of which may simply be fortunate than by conscious design.
I see this in my wife’s family, particularly her and her parents.
The following are simply observations, don’t shoot me! I also realise many could cite counter examples. Again, just observations.
My Wife’s Parents
Amadeo and Giselda, Italians from a small village (Villa Oliveti) in the Abruzzi region. Local farmers who migrated to Australia in the mid-50s to settle in Guildford, WA.
Mum and Dad both worked jobs during the day and then came home to a half acre property of which most was tilled and turned into a vegetable garden.
There was constant work and things to be done. Tend to the garden, make dinner, housework, more gardening if light permitted and only then, sit back and relax, go to bed and do it all again the next day.
The gardening was constant and hard work at times. The rotary hoe used to break down constantly but the soil still needed to be worked. So it was.
Dad made his own sausages from the pig he’d keep out there back and fatten up over time so the meat you ate could not have been fresher and guaranteed of no added hormones or chemicals.
The annual tomato sauce making ritual started at 5am. You had to be there at 5am which, for me, meant getting out of bed at 4am! WTF!
Because it was a production line everyone played a role which developed the social aspect. But first, coffee. Espresso to be exact and my god, how good!
Then on to the sauce and how we made it. And how our sauce was the “best in WA” and no-one could make sauce like ours and it was only Mum who could make Lasagne properly so don’t even try, girls! (Yes, a little sexist back then). Yada, yada, yada. It was an all-day affair. Usually on a Sunday.
But it was family and, after a few years, being an Australian from a completely different background you get used to it, look forward to it and enter into the banter along with everyone else. Even, perhaps, more than my wife who grew up with this ritual. It was a great social event on the family calendar.
The fundamental family environment was never ending from a constant movement point of view.
Dad would often say to me: “Bill, slowly, slowly”. And he was right. There is no rush with gardening. Take your time and do it properly. It’s not a task to be finished. It’s an activity to be enjoyed. If it took all day, so be it. The point was you weren’t so knackered that you were useless the next day.
Mum and Dad lived like this until they passed away. Dad at 87 and Mum at 91.
Neither had diabetes or heart disease. Mum could still easily touch her toes 20 times the year she passed away.
The simple point to make here is, with our current sedentary lifestyle, if I may categorise it as follows:
“Work in order to finish your tasks as quickly as possible so you can sit down and relax …
… a lifestyle where there is always something to do, going about it slowly and methodically and only rest when you need to.”
I’m not suggesting people are lazy or hate work and don’t want to be constructive and productive. What I am suggesting is there may be benefits in the latter approach above that will help our overall health by constant movement and constructive socialising that we may inadvertently be missing out on by only looking at diet to address whatever malady besets us.
Yes, diet is important. We are what we consume. But consumption isn’t related only to food and drink.