Random Thoughts from a Restless Mind

Dr. Darrell White's Personal Blog

Cape Cod

Sunday musings…10/18/2020

Sunday musings…

1 Schnorrer. Yiddish for “alligator arms”. 

2 Season. Lake season is officially over. 

3 Tub. Hot tub season has officially begun.

4 Virtual. It has now been 7 months since I’ve attended a meeting of any type in person. In the spring I just couldn’t make myself log in to our second biggest professional meeting of the year. In a typical year I can get all of the educational credits necessary to renew my license by attending only our 2 biggest meetings. Now I am reduced to just another WFH wonk wearing my screen goggles.

How do you full-time WFH warriors do it?

5 Nutrition. Again. Anyone who has spent any time reading my drivel knows that I have been on a 20-year quest searching for the optimal nutrition plan. One that would simultaneously fuel all of my pursuits and lead to some sort of health risk mitigation. Does such a thing exist? I’m not really ball that sure to tell you the truth. Still, since I have the freedom to explore the topic and a willing partner in Beth, why not?

At the enthusiastic suggestion of Lovely Daughter Megan, Beth and I watched a documentary called “Forks Over Knives”. Its thesis can be summed up as this: eating basically any food that emanates from an animal in any way is ultimately unhealthy. One of the issues I’ve confronted as I’ve been on my little nutrition quest is the challenge of separating science from belief. Indeed, each time I think about the whole “no animal” thing I harken back to a breakfast that John Brown shared with Randy and me in Ramona while visiting our friends the Martins. A couple also visiting were literally preaching at us once they saw our order arrive. They’d been vegan for years; their nutrition choices had long ago become a quasi-religion. 

Still, there is much to ponder about nutrition at a macro level. Especially if you, like me, have a number of probable inherited health risks. “Forks Over Knives” makes much of research that implies a marked increase in cancer risk from eating animal products (including dairy). As a (now casual) CrossFitter I’ve read an equal amount of studies that conclude pretty much exactly the opposite: eating diets high in animal protein and fat leads to a longer, healthier life. 

So, which is it?

In the end I certainly don’t know. Still, the most impactful article I’ve ever read about the effects of markedly different dietary patterns on an individual was in Outside Magazine so many years ago that it predates my CrossFit journey. The author ate using various diets (IIRC Keto, Vegan, Paleo, and Mediterranean). Since he was relatively young (40ish) he then tested stuff that was easily accessible: serum lipids and inflammatory markers. It’s been a really long time so I don’t recall which one was the winner, but I do remember that his numbers were pretty crappy on 3 of the diets, and superlative on the one. Is it possible to measure something without experimentation to come to the same conclusion? There are certainly lots of companies that would like to sell you a test of your genome, but at the moment the answer is no. The only way you can know is to experiment. 

What are we doing then? With Megan’s encouragement Beth and I are now about 2 months into what can be fairly called a pescatarian diet. We are eating primarily plant-based, but we are eating fish several times a week as well. Kinda Mediterranean I suppose. We are eating small amounts of cheese for flavor purposes, and I am also eating eggs on occasion. I am finding that I can combine this largely plant-based strategy with the knowledge that I’ve gained about insulin sensitivity over the course of the day. By over-weighting protein in the AM and carbs in the PM I have been sleeping better both objectively (tracker-based metrics) and subjectively (I wake up rested). 

Will it last? Meh, who knows? Life is short, and if we start to feel like we are missing something by not eating meat I’m sure we will return to our carnivorous ways. For the moment at least it’s been relatively easy. After all, we changed to a predominantly white wine lifestyle 5 years ago. If we can do that, well, this should be a snap! 

I’ll see you next week (send me your recipes)…

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