Inform Yourself Friday

My weekly rundown of articles, recipes, photos and quotes that grabbed my attention. I think everyone should read, make and see these.

Quote of the week:


This quote works for me in so many ways: as a teacher of teenagers with complex learning and behaviour needs, I know that I’ve applied this to my teaching practice, both with regards to discipline but also teaching skills, and it’s worked. As someone who has recently changed their diet (and lost 10kg = 22 lbs = 1 stone 8 as a result), this is totally applicable to those of us that think we eat ‘healthy’ according to mainstream nutrition, and that exercise religiously (because calories in vs. calories out… not), but still don’t lose weight. Why would we keep doing the same thing over and over again if isn’t working? Or we inherently know it doesn’t work? If anything doesn’t work the first time, change it. Although I’m typically hesitant to it, I know change is good.

I was wrong: We should be feasting on fat by Dr. Michael Mosley (I know him from his BBC 4 series): primal eating basically goes against everything we’ve ever been told by mainstream health authorities, including your doctor. There is a small handful of medical professionals that are now on board the low-carb, high-fat train, but it will take decades before the rest of the world is brought up to speed. One doctor putting it out there that he was wrong does help though, especially in a mainstream publication. It’s a tiny step in the right direction.


Authority Nutrition’s post Xylitol 101 – Everything you Need to Know: when it comes to low-carb sweeteners, xylitol is my choice to sweeten my bulletproof espresso in the morning and for baking (keep this in mind when I start posting recipes). It scores extremely low on the glycemic index – only 7/100 – making it an excellent, natural sweetener for diabetics and primal eaters. The glycemic index is 0 to 100, and ranks how quickly foods can raise your blood glucose levels, which, if you’re a primal eater of any kind, you’re trying to avoid. Normal table sugar has a glycemic ranking of 70/100, while paleo-friendly sweeteners honey (56/100) and maple syrup (54/100) aren’t much better. This is why I choose xylitol. You may already consume xylitol without even knowing it: it’s an ingredient in all sugar-free gum. The best part about xylitol is that there is no sickly sweet aftertaste in your mouth, totally different than sugar; it’s like your palate is left completely untouched. The downsides to xylitol include stomach upset and diarrhea when you’ve eaten too much of it (which, let’s face it, you won’t – but some are more sensitive to it), and it’s toxic to dogs. Some people shy away from xylitol because of this, but if you think about it, there’s a lot of things dogs put in their mouths and eat that can make us humans very sick, so comparing how we handle xylitol to how dogs do doesn’t make sense at all. If you do own a dog, and want to use xylitol, keep it high in a cupbaord, out of harm’s way. I buy my xylitol at larger Tescos, my health food store in Aberdeen or online from Amazon.


Mark’s Daily Apple – Why Grains Are Unhealthy: There is one thing that all low-carb eaters, whether paleo, primal, keto, or atkins, can agree on: grains are bad. They don’t contain anything nutritionally that we can get uniquely from them, and they lead to a plethora of both major and minor health issues. If you have a mystery ailment that just won’t go away, no matter how many ointments, lotions, creams, or medications you take, and your doctor is scratching his/her head trying to figure out what exactly is going on, chances are that simply eliminating grains from your diet could clear up your issues. For some reason though, non-primal peeps keep trying to tell us they’re good! That we’ll be missing out on key, essential nutrients if we don’t eat wheat, rye, barley, spelt, etc, etc…. Mark Sisson isn’t convinced and his article tells you why.


*And yes, I know last week’s post featured Authority Nutrition and Mark’s Daily Apple – I can’t help myself, I just find some much good stuff on both websites!

The Clothes Make the Girl’s Magical Tahini Dressing: Oh. Wow. Before I went primal, I had ordered a 6-pack of tahini, a sesame seed paste typically used to make humus – I bought it to make nut and seed bars. After going primal, the jars just sat because I wasn’t sure whether tahini is primal. I now know that it is (tons of fat and protein!), but was still looking for a way of using it. This dressing/dip is amazing! It’s basically humus without the chick peas, which for my husband, who reacts horribly to all legumes but loves humus, was a saviour. We eat it with salads, we dip raw vegetables in it, and I love it as a fatty dip for my roasted sweet potatoes.


Steve Way: From Cigarettes and Alcohol to Marathon Man: Great athletes aren’t always lifetime athletes. They’re not always people who have been doing their sport since childhood. Take Steve Way for instance: a previously overweight, overeater from England who took up running to lose weight. At age 33. His finished his first marathon, the Virgin London Marathon, in just over three hours. His FIRST marathon. He has since gotten faster and ran for England at the Commonwealth Games in Glasgow last weekend, (thanks to Allison for bringing this to my attention). This great story reminds me of Erika Huerta, a formerly overweight girl from Miami, Florida, who also cleaned up her diet and took up running to lose weight, and is now training to qualify for the 2016 USA Olympic Marathon trials.



And finally some sobering news from my favourite naked chef, Jamie Oliver:

IMG_15358005583779This is absolutely true! We talk about obesity epidemics, but it’s all just surface talk with nothing more than eat ‘healthy’ and exercise lots to lose weight. Yes, we know that obesity and a poor diet is linked to Type II diabetes, but that’s just the tip of the iceberg in terms of diet-related diseases. Take Metabolic Sydrome for instance: this is a disorder diagnosed by the presence of high blood pressure, high blood glucose levels (and eventually insulin resistance to combat this), high small particle LDL levels, and large amounts of abdominal fat. It’s a disorder of the metabolism, which becomes so incredibly damaged by poor food choices. And metabolic syndrome leads to heart attacks, heart disease, stroke, diabetes, even cancer, and most important: death. We’re trying to get healthy, but we’re being educated the wrong way. Rather than accept the fact that we’ll all eventually get sick and need medication, why not change things from the start and try eating a different way? Because after all:


What have you read this week?

What changes have you made recently?


7 thoughts on “Inform Yourself Friday

  1. Another great post. The Jamie Oliver statistic is particularly worrying.
    My main changes lately have been in my training. Since I can’t yet get back to running, I’ve been embracing cycling and also booked a session with a swimming instructor so I can learn the front crawl. Learning the breathing is tricky, but once I master that I’ll have another type of training session available to me.

    • Thanks! I agree about the Jamie Oliver stat too.

      Good luck with the swimming! I quite like it but it definitely is a challenge: the breathing, the desire to swim fast but not having that fitness yet, and the way a short session can leave you feeling so tired.

      • I am finding it tiring. My arms and legs feel strong but the breathing is tiring and since I’m just learning I know I need to go really slowly to get it right when my brain is wired to go fast! I’ll get there though. Hope your tri training is going well.

      • I feel exactly the same! I can’t believe how tiring 25 minutes of swimming is in comparison to an hour of running. I guess part of it is training your body to work in different ways?

      • Yeah I think so. The trainer I saw for my swim session said that land fitness and water fitness were completely different and I think she’s right. I guess with both running and cycling you just go ahead and “do” them, whereas swimming needs technique. Good job running makes us tenacious!

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