The Meaning of Life, Love and Everything

42…that's the answer…

Do Low-Carb Diets Work?

Posted by joetb on 08/11/2011

Once upon a time, we were all on a “low-carb” diet with minimal grains and processed foods. But then, we started moving away from this plan because of the influence of agriculture. In the beginning when agriculture took hold, it was a good idea because of the rapidly expanding population.

Grains were easier to transport and they kept fresher longer. Feeding many more people proved challenging at best in the old style of hunting and gathering, so this new style was born. The problem, however, is that our genetic code still has not caught up with this newer eating style and we have many problems such as heart disease and diabetes. What does this mean for you?  Absolutely nothing if you still believe that cholesterol and foods high in saturated fats are bad for you.

Low Carb Diets

To get on the same page, let’s examine a few of the more popular low carb diets. When you think of these diets, what word comes to mind first? Atkins? This makes sense because this diet is the very first low carb diet that came on the scene in the mid-1970’s, then became popular again in the mid-1990’s. The hallmark of this diet is that a dieter can eat unlimited meat and saturated fat, while limiting carbohydrates in dairy, vegetables, fruits and grains. Some issues with this diet include the use of soy products and less than healthy oils, along with wheat and other grains containing gluten. But the concept is on target.

Another low carb diet is the South Beach Diet. Though this is placed in the same category of low carb diets that the Atkins diet is placed in, that’s where the similarities end. The South Beach Diet bases the carbohydrate content on “good carbs” v. “bad carbs”, or the Glycemic Index. Basically, fruits and vegetables along with whole grains are allowed, while highly processed foods are out.

Other low carb diets focus more on counting carbohydrate grams, making sure not to go over 100 grams per day. This, according to the Primal Blueprint diet, is the prime spot for fat burning.

Another Fad?

Most people, when they think of diet fads, tend to lump low carb diets in with all the other ones. However, low carb diets are much older than they think. Regardless of your religious beliefs, this way of eating has been around much longer than just the last 40 years or so. Hunter-gatherer tribes have existed since time began, which is naturally low in carbohydrates and grain sources. Agricultural changes created different practices in how we procured our food supply, but it was still relatively low in carbohydrates. The carbs that were consumed were still minimally processed and contained whole nutrition compared to the grains and carbs found in today’s Standard American Diet (SAD). People still ate a higher saturated fat diet, with plenty of vegetables and meat.

We got away from that practice as time went on and we got lazier and let the big food companies create convenience for us. With newer technology came higher processed food lacking proper nutrients needed for basic health. This also meant that we ended up having a higher carb diet with less nutrition. To make sense of all this, we began creating a false truth for ourselves that we need a lot of carbohydrates for energy and health. This phenomenon created several new government standards, which have been in circulation for so long everyone sees it as truth.

So—the question is—is the low carb diet a new fad or is the government high carb diet a new fad?

Do They Work?

Now the question originally asked in the title—do low carb diets work? You can reach your own conclusion, but here’s some food for thought (pun intended). For the many years that humans were naturally on a lower carb way of eating, there was no “obesity crisis”. People automatically knew that if they ate more bread, cereals, pasta and sweets, they were going to put on more weight. But if they ate less of that stuff, they were going to either maintain their weight or lose weight. Now some would argue that people did not sit around as much back in those days because they had to work harder at procuring food and other survival items. This may be true, but have you seen how people work out so much at the gym and still struggle with their weight?

Reach your own conclusions…but if high carb diets worked better, wouldn’t we all be thin right now?

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Losing Weight May Save Your Health

Posted by joetb on 08/10/2011

It’s no secret that being overweight can wreak havoc on your health and take away your energy. It’s also no secret that being overweight can shorten your life and take away your freedom of mobility eventually. This does not mean you have to be stick thin, but you don’t want to be morbidly obese either. Having just a little bit of fat on your body is fine, because it protects your organs and gives your immune system support to fight off infections.

But a lot of fat is different. Having a lot of fat in your midsection will actually increase your risk of heart disease, strokes, diabetes and other diseases. What causes a large midsection? Grains, and other high carbohydrate foods, as well as a lot of sweets and junk foods will cause this problem. Getting rid of belly fat is not that easy and may take some time. The trick is to be patient and do the work—whatever it takes. In the meantime, here are some things you can start working on to achieve the results you want.

Lower Carbohydrate Intake

You need meat and saturated fats to build lean muscle and reduce body fat. If you are concerned about cholesterol, here is a good article for that. Briefly, cholesterol has gotten a bad rap in the medical community because of the erroneous claim that it causes heart disease. But in fact, it protects against heart disease. More on this can be found in that article. Lowering your carbohydrate intake to just fruits and vegetables, along with some dairy carbohydrates, can help to reduce your belly fat. Grains are not needed for folate or other minerals and nutrients, because you can get all you need with meat, dairy, eggs, fish, fruits and vegetables.

Gentle Exercise

You do not need to run or do any high impact exercise to get fit. In fact, when you do high impact exercise like aerobics or running, you risk injury to your joints and increase your heart attack risk. Clinical cases are too frequent showing this happening way too often. Biking, swimming, walking or even gardening can help get you fit without hurting yourself. 30 minutes per day is all you need to achieve a reduction in belly fat.

Supplements

Sometimes, diet and exercise are just not enough to lose weight or reduce belly fat. Certain vitamins and minerals have been used to achieve results sooner, and I am not talking about the dangerous diet drugs that contain fen-phen or anything like that. No, natural supplements can work wonders at melting body fat, especially around the belly. Maxalife has come up with a good combination of these natural supplements, sourced with pure ingredients, to help shrink fat around the middle. Slender Factor is made with Guarana, green tea extracts, bitter orange extract, inositol, and other herbs meant to shrink belly fat.

Putting it All Together

Some fat is fine, but a lot is not when it comes to good health, loads of energy and clear mental focus. Using a good blended supplement with a low carbohydrate diet and gentle exercise can help put your body into a great fat burning mode. Begin your nutritional plan first, along with the supplements, and then move gently into exercise. Do not try high intensity exercise until your body is a little healthier. Honor your body and its signals, and it will honor you with good health and longevity.

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Bottled Water?

Posted by joetb on 03/24/2011

It began simply–pouring water into bottles and then selling them to the rich as status symbols. If you were rich, you paid for water in bottles, because you wanted people to see that you could buy anything you wanted, no matter how insane it was. Oh, there are the opinions that bottled water began as a way to have “healthier” water than what came from a tap. And while there are studies to back this up, other studies show that bottled water is not necessarily healthier than regular tap water–at least that found in the United States. Several studies have shown to the contrary–that it is just regular tap water, poured into bottles and sold under the guise of being safe. An interesting blog post shows evidence to back this up.

Eventually, bottled water caught on to the rest of the population, creating a type of mania that only previously existed in religion and pop culture stars. (Remember the Beatles?) Before this craze took hold of most of us, people thought it was crazy to pay money for a bottle of something you could get for mere pennies from a tap source. (Or free, depending on where you lived…) But the problem is that, while people think bottled water is safer, it ends up being worse for your health than tap water. For one thing, the government department who oversees each source is different, meaning there are different rules to regulate the safety of the water.

The FDA regulates bottled water, which really means that they have little authority to enforce safety rules for bottlers. If there are known contaminants found in the bottled water, companies are not required to give notice to the consumers like tap sourcers are. On the other side of this, the EPA regulates tap water sources and have more authority to regulate the safety of the water. What this boils down to then is that tap water must meet the minimum requirements for safety. If the water does not meet these requirements, then customers are given the required 24 hours notice, and then the water source must be cleaned up and tested by a certified laboratory before being restored or declared safe once again. Bottling companies do not have to meet these rigorous standards. Kinda scary, if you think about it–your bottled water may be more dangerous than the water coming from your tap.

Bottled water for many companies today, in spite of all the protests otherwise, is simply filtered tap water. And you’re going to pay all this extra money because you think it is safer than your tap water? If you are worried about extra contaminants from your tap water, or do not like the taste, would it not be better and cheaper in the long run to purchase a filter and put on your sink? You’re not doing yourself a favor by buying bottled water, so you may as well either drink tap water, or filter it using a convenient water filter as found here: Culligan FM-15A Level 3 Faucet Filter from Amazon.com. It fits directly on your faucet in minutes, using no tools whatsoever, and it gives 200 gallons of filtered water per filter, with a 5 year warranty. If you are concerned about your water, try this first before going out and spending hundreds of dollars on something that isn’t any more healthy for you to begin with.

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What is the Meaning of Life?

Posted by joetb on 03/16/2011

If you have ever watched the “Hitchhiker’s Guide to the Galaxy”, then you understand what this blog is about. It is a satirical look at the ever present themes of society that are asinine and redundant…the themes that have no “real” purpose in the big picture. I will be getting down and dirty about all of life, and seeing how this is my ranting space, I will disable the comments for many posts. This is not because I don’t value your feedback or want to read all the sides of a debate, but because I, like everyone, need a space to just rant and express myself without criticism or word wars. When I want feedback, I will enable the comments for the post. Thanks for understanding.

What is the meaning of life? Why are we here? What is our purpose in life? What does all this around us mean? Myths and legends since the beginning of language have tried to answer these questions, and so far, all we have are myths and legends. Some would say that we have guidance from above…others would say that we are like fish and instinctively know our purpose. There is a wide variety of answers we could come up with about why we are here and what we are doing on this planet, but none of them have the “definitive” answer. None really explain without a shadow of a doubt for every single person on this planet why we are here.

Like the super computer on the movie, “42” is the answer. 42 is what it is all about…does this make sense? Of course not, but neither do all the stories of origin make sense. We are here. We have been here for countless generations…and when we cease to be here, what will remain? What will be left of our civilization? No one seems to know everything there is to know in life…that is what will make this blog so fun to write and interesting to read. If you want to, hang out with me for a while and go on my journey with me. I may not always be politically correct, or be polite, but know that I write what I write to encourage you to dig deeper than you ever have before…to get clear on what it is you are here for. May you get something truly great from being here.

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