A 1999 Mayo Clinic study carefully assessed the number of calories a group of 16 subjects needed to maintain their weight (also known as their Basal Metabolic Rate or BMR). Then they were each given an extra 1000 calories per day for 8 weeks and not allowed to do any extra exercise. While fat gain occurred, it varied widely, from less than a pound to more than 9 pounds. What was the secret that allowed some of the subjects to gain almost no weight while others gained more than a pound a week?
Quick: what did you have to eat last week Thursday? And I mean everything. Every drink, snack, meal, and mouthful throughout the entire day. Chances are, you can't recall, and that's fine...unless you're trying to analyze problems with your current dietary habits and improve upon them.
Tracking everything you eat is the only reliable way to detect unhealthy patterns and measure your progress in correcting them. (The same is true for fitness, but that's another story.)
But there's more to it than that.
A high-ranking op-ed in today's NY Times (based on most-viewed and most-emailed) is titled "The Myth of High-Protein Diets" and was written by Dean Ornish, an outspoken proponent of a low-fat diet and critic of high-protein, low-carb diets like Atkins.
Headlines are usually written by editors, and this one was clearly written to be provocative. But the antenna-raiser on this one is that Ornish has an agenda, which makes me skeptical that the op-ed will be objective. To be fair, op-eds typically aren't objective, but when it's allegedly dispelling a "myth," it really shouldn't be filled with misinformation. And yet...
You have no idea how much I wanted to write "Simple Stuffed Selery" but search engines and all that.
Anyway, this isn't much of a recipe, but then I'm not much of a cook. I did a quick search on "stuffed celery" after making mine, and found there are many variations, pretty much all of them more complex than this one. But hey, whatever works.
When mingling at a party (or bash), I try to avoid talking about macronutrients. Despite my obvious passion for the subject, chances are people's eyes would glaze over (though they still would prefer it to me talking about cats). Yet you already know a fair amount about macronutrients: carbohydrates ("carbs"), protein, and fat. These help define the types of foods we eat to provide energy for the body.
There are other purposes for macronutrients, such as providing the necessary components for body growth and repair, but the primary purpose of proteins, fats, and carbohydrates (especially fats and carbs) is to provide energy. Energy for the body is measured in calories. While vitamins and minerals (micronutrients) are required in small quantities, macronutrients are needed in large supplies. Our bodies use lots of energy every day (even when we're not particularly active) and we get that energy from food.
We here in North America (and an increasing percentage of the planet) eat too fast. We eat on the run, on the road, at work, in front of the TV...anywhere we can. And we do it fast. The result? We eat more and enjoy it less. And that doesn't just sound bad, it is bad.
In the classic movie Star Wars Episode IV: A New Hope (you know, the first one), Luke is getting schooled in the ways of The Force by Jedi master Yoda when Yoda tells him to use The Force to levitate his X-Wing fighter out of a swamp. Luke is skeptical, to say the least, and tells Yoda, "Alright, I'll give it a try." Yoda's response is a classic within a classic: "Try not. Do. Or do not. There is no try." (Luke gives it a shot but fails.)