Potato dal or “How to make a sturdy vegan meal”

I remember once I was home when my mother said that we couldn’t eat a vegan meal that I cooked all together because my stepfather needed a sturdy meal. How curious then that, except the indigestion, I get at least as sturdy meals as a vegan than I did as a carnist. No, even more sturdy I would have to say. After I have been working a while I get ready to have a nice meal again. Today I decided to make a great sturdy dal. Today I used a variation of this recipe by Adriana, thanks a lot 🙂 – http://vegan-magic.blogspot.se/2012/03/aloo-chana.html?utm_source=feedburner&utm_medium=feed&utm_campaign=Feed:+VeganMagicBlog+%28Vegan+Magic%29

500 grams of potatoes

1 tbsp curry powder

1 tbsp powdered ginger

1 tsp chili powder

1 tsp cumin

1 tsp coriander

1-2 tbsp turmeric (optional, but improves color)

2 tbsp tomato paste

1 cup black lentils

Note, I did not know this, but black lentils behave like black beans, i.e. you need to parboil them separately then transfer to the main dish, otherwise the entire thing will become black. I managed to save the color a bit, by using turmeric, but for future reference I will parboil them.

  1. Dice potatoes and put them in a pot with 1.5 cups of water and the spices (except turmeric)
  2. Lower heat and boil for 5-10 minutes
  3. Add lentils and 3-4 cups of water
  4. Lower heat and cook for 15 minutes.
  5. After about 10 minutes add in turmeric and tomato paste.
  6. Serve either as is or with brown rice.
  7. Enjoy 🙂

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Sciency, not science

As I was going through some reminders on my phone I remembered an article I had seen the headline of at a newsstand when I was travelling home from Sundsvall last time about EU regulations about healthy food so I googled the article to see what it was all about. It basically means that products can’t make claims that are scientifically unproven. I think this is a great idea, we could remove all the advertising for animal products in one swell swoop 😛 As if we would be that lucky…

        No, this is not recommendations to base our diets around whole foods. It will mostly hit supplement sellers. And they approved things that are either bad or from a perspective making it extremely problematic. Let us go through the list.

€ Vitamin-D is good for the immune system. Can be found in fat fish and eggs.

        - Vitamin-D is a super nutrient. It cleans the blood, disinfects the lymph (if you do not have too much fat as it only penetrates about 1-1.5 cm), is essential to avoiding osteoporosis, just so much great stuff. The problem is the assumption that every nutrient should be gotten from food (or what they call food). Vitamin-D is created by our bodies when we react to sunlight. Sitting just 20 minutes in the sun will create something like 20 000iU of vitamin-D. And this is how we should get it. If you do cannot get a nutrient properly, one needs to look for something that resembles this nutrient as close as possible. This is not from flesh products, which contains high doses of fat and cholesterol. To gamble with your health just to get one specific nutrient cannot be how nature intended things to be. And fish in particular, due to the pollution of our seas is now filled with heavy metals like mercury. No, vitamin-D is essential and if you cannot get enough sun you need to supplement. It should be from a plant-based source, either D2 or a D3 created from sunlight (not sure how they do it) or mushrooms.

€ Potassium is good for muscles, nerves and blood pressure. Can be found in potatoes and milk.

        - Potassium once again is essential. But dairy is extremely unhealthy. One of the most unhealthy foods on the planet. Extremely high levels of cholesterol and saturated fat. Been linked to many diseases like type-2 diabetes, a trigger for type-1 diabetes, lupus, cancer, heart disease, asthma, MS, so much it’s not funny. You can find potassium in basically any whole food, the best sources are fruit.

        Speaking of best sources I have a bone to pick with mainstream. They tend to confuse the best source with the highest source. If I ask for the highest source of carbohydrates, what would you answer? Well, the highest source will always be sugar in a bag. It’s refined sugar so there is nothing, but sugar in there. This does not mean it is the best source. The best source would be fruit. Similarly even if a single nutrient may be higher in some animal foods, it does not mean it is the best. When you buy a shirt you do not want the biggest shirt, but one that fits you well. In nutrition we are looking for the foods that closest mimics our nutritional needs.

€. Now in the interest of logic I will combine three of their recommendations.

        - The fiber Guar gum is good for cholesterol. Can be found in guar flour that is used as a thickener

        - The fibers arabinoxylan and beta-glucanos kan fight blood sugar spikes after a meal. Can be found in wheat, oat and barley.

        - The fiber chitosan is good for cholesterol levels. Can be found in shellfish.

        - rye fiber is good for the intestines. Can be found in some varieties of bread.

        This is just silly. I’m not campaigning against fiber, though it should be mostly the insoluble fiber found in fruit, compared to the insoluble fiber found in all of these things, because it actually scrapes the inner lining of our bodies, which cause some damage. But that is for another day other than consuming a lot of rye bread to help the intestines will not get the result you wish, at least if you are already on a healthy diet. What upsets me is the extreme compartmentalization of fibers they are putting this through. At the same time, they are giving insufficient information and complicating things, making sure that most people will be unable to understand the recommendations. If you eat whole foods you will get enough. And taking fiber to lower cholesterol? Well, I’m not saying it will not work, but if you had a wallet and there was a hole in it so money fell out and someone told you to take this other wallet that had a much smaller hole, it might improve the situation, but your reaction should be that you’d rather have a wallet with no hole in. To improve cholesterol levels there is a simple way – don’t eat it. It only exists in animal foods. We create our own cholesterol, any cholesterol added to that works to the detriment to our health.

        

€ Melatonin can relieve jet-lag. Can be found as pharmaceuticals.

        - this one might actually be reasonable. But melatonin is a hormone and should really not be messed around with. I would rather go out more in the light and maybe get a sunset alarm clock that will use natural sounds that existed alongside our sleep as we evolve, which stimulates our melatonin levels for falling asleep or waking up. Make sure it can do both sunset and sunrise though.

€ Meal replacements with less than 250 calories/portion can help with loosing weight.

        - More from the anorexic propaganda society. You can loose weight short-term like this, same as you can loose weight short-term by not eating anything. But this will not work long-term, because you can’t do the stuff you normally do with insufficient fuel. It’s like putting half the amount of gas in your gas tank and still expecting your car to go all the way. It will not happen. And even if you are into it for the short-term, you will set yourself up for a binge, undoing the effects and more. Trust me, I’ve been there. No, the true way to weight loss is eat as much as you want, but eat it from the right things. That means, no animal products, 10-15% of calories maximum coming from whole food fats (no oils), 80% minimum coming from carbohydrates (especially fruit). Then also do exercise 20-30 minutes/day on average and you will loose weight. Everything is so short-term in our society, but the truth is that it is not so. Health is long-term, both loosing it, maintaining it and gaining or regaining it.

€ Fructose is better than regular sugar for blood sugar levels. Can be found in fruit.

        - No comments, rather an applause from getting off the fruit-phobia. Wish they would have said there is no comparison, but it’s a start.

€ Post-workout recovery meals that contain glucose, sucrose and sodium helps to minimize fluid loss.

        - Two things. First if you want to minimize fluid loss you need to rehydrate. Taking a powder and thinking it’s going to rehydrate you is wishful thinking. And if you take it with sodium that will never happen, because sodium causes the body to retain more water weight.

€ The antioxidant polyphenol protects the cells of the body. Can be found in olive oil.

        - Plant foods are extremely rich in antioxidants, especially berries. There is no need to eat more fat (something our society already eats way too much off), especially from refined sources.

€ Caffein in moderate amounts (about 2 cups of coffee), gives increased alertness and performance. Yes it does, but this is not a good thing. If you slap my face I will get more alert too and I’ll probably work harder so you will not repeat the procedure, but that does not mean it’s good. Coffee dehydrates the body, it exhausts the adrenals, increases blood sugar levels, insomnia, reduces serotonin. There is so much bad with coffee and it is addictive. If you are not alert enough eat some fruit, that gives natural sugars. And sleep more. Fighting off the symptoms of a bad lifestyle with drugs is no solution.

€ Unsaturated fats is good for the cholesterol. Can be found in olive oils, corn oil, peanut oil, rapeseed oil and walnuts.

        - Once again if you do not eat cholesterol you will not need to lower it. All whole foods contain both saturated and unsaturated fatty acids in just the amounts needed, no need to eat extra. In a natural environment we would be able to eat whole food fats at most a couple of months each year, that is all the time they are in season. We can definitely enjoy some avocados, coconuts, walnuts and sesame seeds, but we do not need them. In addition rapeseed and corn is probably Genetically Modified and should not be eaten. Especially rapeseed, which is an industrial oil (and the source for mustard gas) that should exist, at best, in things like shampoo and not in our food. It’s just used because it is cheap.

That became longer than I though. Well anyways, I applaud the European Union for at least taking a first step, which is more than my country has done on these issues, we need more consideration and knowledge about nutrition. But their science board is a present just sciency. I’ll wait for part 2 of the trilogy, maybe they will have gotten themselves an education in nutrition by that time.

Chai datorade and “how do you get enough protein for recovery?”

If you look around yourself in the locker room of a gym you will undoubtedly see quite a few people chugging down protein drinks in hopes of gaining strength. Problem is that this is not really doing much good, because muscle isn’t build totally from protein. Not even a third of muscle is made up of protein. More than seventy percent of healthy muscle is water. In fact, there’s barely eighty grams of protein in a pound of muscle – certainly no more than a hundred grams. if the extra intake of one-hundred and forty grams of protein advised by modern writers was really added to water and turned into muscle, a guy consuming this much protein would gain more than six-hundred and fifty pounds of pure muscle in a year. To put it another way, he would have five or six times as much muscle on his body than Arnold Schwarzenegger in his prime as Mr Olympia – after only twelve months of training. Even if you somehow lost more than three quarters of this protein as energy or through faulty digestion or via inefficient tissue-bulding, our average two-hundred pound bodybuilder would still become easily the most muscular man on the planet within a year, if all this extra protein was transformed into body muscle. In fact, as research like the China Study has found, the optimal range for protein intake is around 5-10% of calories from plant sources, which is easily found is almost all whole foods. There are a few, like dates, which are lower, but eating a variety of whole foods and you will get enough.

In fact when we work out we primarily use our muscles and the fuel for this is glycogen, a simple carbohydrate that fuels all our cells, including muscle cells. In order to recover properly from the workout, one must supply the carbohydrate lost during the workout. The most easily assimilable source is the simple carbohydrates found in fruit. Now I know, you do not want to become a raw vegan, I understand, I’m not 100% either, but I do eat fruit after workout. But if this is impossible, make sure to resupply with a meal of complex carbohydrates like potatoes, rice, oats, even some rice noodles, legumes (they are a bit higher in protein, but predominantly carbohydrate). I will give you some interesting recipes for this as we go along, but for now hold steady with a chai dateorade.

250 grams dates (about 20 iranian)

spices – cinnamon, powdered ginger, cardamom

1 liter (more if you like) of water (I substituted about half of the water with homemade oat milk to increase the calorie content

– Blend, blend, blend. Pour into a jug and then enjoy while doing something productive or just relaxing. Writing a blog post like this for example.

Training

Good morning everyone!

Hope you have had a good nights sleep. I managed to get to bed decently early so I feel pretty well-rested today and motivated to get going with my fitness regimen after I finnish drinking my liter of water. I’ve been going to the gym haphazardly for years without success yet this bodyweight program I’m on now is getting me far greater results. This is due to a few reasons one has to remember about getting training to work (that I have learned through not doing it).

        The first one is that you have to enjoy the kind of training you do. If you do not enjoy it, you will not do it. Or at least do it often enough and consistency really is the most important aspects of building fitness in my view. I used to work-out less than 1 day/week on average (though more in periods), of course I could not build fitness on that. I heard Doug Graham say that fitness development follows the formula F.I.T. – frequency, intensity, time and I agree with it so it is not the only variable, you start cycling every day you are not doing strength, then once you have adapted you increase time, then you increase intensity.

        The second thing I have learnt is not to make any big promises. Or rather commit to these things when you are in action committing to them. I have for all my years of failed gym going had an expectation that I would go 5-7 days/week and train. That expectation was too big. It was too far removed from what I was actually doing that I actually ended up not going at all. Do not commit to doing this when you are sitting in front of the computer, do not make big declarations. Just make the steps. When I do my bodyweight training I do not commit to doing bodyweight training every day, I commit to doing this is the new. Similarly, when I go for a bike-ride I commit to cycling in that moment. When I finnish training I commit not to make a perfect diet for the rest of my life all my time. We are not perfect, this is not possible, but I commit to making a smoothie for my athletic recovery. Now if you excuse me I am going to commit to doing some calisthenics…

Survivorship bias

A recent discussion I had has prompted me to write this host about what I realize to be one of the biggest problems assailing not only the world of nutritional research, but science at large, the problem is, as the name of the title, survivorship bias. Now, what is survivorship bias? Let’s illustrate with an example. Say you have a certain model that is followed, say a certain way to do stock exchange. And then you poll a number of CEO’s, the actual number is not important, say 100 of them and it shows that 100 of them did use this model. This would then be reported as a 100% chance that by following this model you would become a CEO. That is the survivorship bias, because we are told absolutely nothing about either the CEO’s who did not follow this model or the people who followed the model and did not become CEO’s. We are told about one single variable about the past and are asked to generalize about it to the future. The future is by it’s very design unpredictable and lead to chance. A lot of things happen by randomness, which plays a huge part of our lives. The model is not always the reason for success. Boxers in the past ate a horrible diet, sometimes steak right before the match, abused their bodies without getting sufficient rest or sometimes even hydration. This does not make a good model for a boxer to follow, but by following only the survivors of the program we are led to think so.

If the survivorship bias is used negatively, that is that we know of something here, that could really be a problem. It’s only variable, but we would urge you to be cautious about it and maybe try to remove it from your life I don’t have as much problem with it. My issue is more when it is used in a positive fashion, positive here meaning, using the survivorship to justify continued use of something on the basis that these people did fine while using it, and maybe even improved on something, e.g. disease reversal. As long as we are told only one variable, doing these comparisons are EXTREMELY dangerous and irresponsible.

A few moments in the mind of a philosopher

1.  I am human, this means that I will make mistakes

2. I am often impulsive, because of my passion about certain subjects. This can cause me to jump to some conclusions ahead of time.

3. I may sometimes overstate my case and come on a bit too strong. This is not always conclusive to good persuasion or my intents.

4. I feel shame whenever I am made aware of these things.

5. But negative emotions are not there for us to remain at the bottom, but a stimulus for improvement.

6. I can see my mistakes and the people who will bring me awareness are those who care and in those that I will get the chance to grow.

7. Perfection is impossible. With every mistake I do, I fall back and learn and I come back stronger. The next time I will do a little better.

8. One day I believe that I truly will be able to keep my actions to the demeanor and strategies that my beliefs commit me to.

9. I do not however allow this to make myself feel smaller. I am proud of the person I have become from my past difficulties and look with expectation of the person I will be able to become in the future.

10. I love myself.

 

Fat addiction

Have you ever been addicted to fat? No, that was a rhetorical question. Of course we have all been addicted to fat, just as we have been addicted to salt and sugar, because humans are created to seek out salt, fat and sugar- they are the three tastes that we have receptors for at the tip of our tongue. In a natural environment, where we are not interfered with this is no problem we get them in the right amounts within the fibrous contents of other foods and the concentrations will be regulated with the seasons. Unfortunately we no longer live in a natural environment, but are very much interfered with. Some subtle, some not so subtle. This is a great hazard for us, as we like all other lifeforms are designed for two primary functions – survival and reproduction. Many functions aid in our survival, but for now let’s concentrate on food. Food is the most important survival issue and each creature must make sure to always get enough. To this end we are capable of catching the caloric difference of 5 calories/bite between one apple and another. Let’s consider a few interferences and how they relate to this condition:

  • Refined foods: Brown sugar lies at 3800 calories/kilo. Olive oil lies at 8840 calories/pound. If we compare this with natural foods, an apple is at 520 calories/kilo, a banana is at 890 calories/kilo, even a fatty fruit like avocado is only at 1600 calories/kilo, so most of the weight in natural foods would be fiber and water. In this situation our survival instances of picking up the caloric content is essential to make sure we get enough to continue to live. But while our modern environment has changed drastically we have not. The reason why so many people are addicted to junk food is because when we take a bite out of that corn chip our survival instincts kick in and tell us “you are doing the right thing”.
  • Another form of interference is globalization. Thanks to globalization we can get all kinds of fruit almost all season of the year. This means that our diet can be incredibly varied, we can have mango and avocado in december if we want to, even though those fruits is not in season during that time. While convenient, it is also dangerous. In the natural environment the kinds of foods we would eat is geared so that we eat them all in their proper place. Especially fats are dangerous, because they only come in season during the summer, which would give us that extra caloric bang, maybe putting on a few kilos for the winter and getting a bit extra vitamin-e and vitamin-k that our body need. In the natural environment however the winter never comes, this coupled with the fact of constant availability and the increased caloric content of fats as compared to other foods, makes it extremely easy to become addicted to them. This has many consequences, two of them being that we do not get enough other nutrients and since our cells demand carbohydrate to function, our energy levels will drop significantly. We also will not be able to be as satiated.

How do you fix a fat addiction once you realize you are in one? It’s easier to say than to do as we are geared to get that most calorically dense foods. Also when we increase the intensity of something (e.g. caloric content) our bodies will given a little bit of time get used to it. You can run this experiment, e.g. at your local swim hall. Take a swim in the normal temperature pool, then get in the warm pool. It feels warm, stay in there 5-10 minutes and it will feel like the other pool and when you return to that pool it will feel really cold.

This makes just not eating the fat problematic. You have become used to this increased caloric bang. Dropping straight out is going to go against all your survival instincts (even though we don’t call them such, we call them “cravings” or similar). There are a few ways that one can help however. It takes 3-5 weeks for you to be most the way out of this trap and 6-10 weeks to be all the way out, the first time is the hardest. One way to give yourself a boost is to do juice fasting for 2-3 days, taking your fat and salt receptors TOTALLY out of the equation, even on the amounts in whole, natural plant foods. When you then taste these foods after the fast you will be able to pick up on this a lot easier. More intense way is to do a water-only fasting. You just drink water for the same amount of time and getting your body TOTAL sensory deprivation. After the fast the whole, natural plant foods are going to taste a lot better.