Where we get fit and spin (wool)

Archive for November, 2014

Bone Broth and it’s Aftermath

I was listening to an episode of Ben Greenfield’s fitness, and he was interviewing Lance Roth, a purveyor of commercially prepared bone broth. Here’s the link if you’d like to listen. I have heard of bone broth before, and I like the idea, even though there is little or no proven benefit. Eating collagen has no proven effect on skin, your body breaks it down to individual amino acids, but hey, we need those amino acids.

Before I get all nerdy on you and debate whether this is even worth doing, it led to some unexpected results that I’d like to share.  I cooked the carcass for 24 hours in the crockpot, along with some carrots and celery that were past their prime. Lance suggests putting vinegar in to leach more of the calcium out of the bones, but I forgot to add it. In spite of that, when I took the carcass out and deboned it, the bones were so soft they crushed in between my fingers. I started squeezing all the bones with the same results. I finished separating the meat, bones and broth. Then I took what I would normally thrown out and put it in the blender.

pureed chicken bones and skin

You can make a smoothie out of anything, right?

It created a smooth slurry. I tasted it, it wouldn’t win awards, but it was definitely edible. I had already decided before starting the blender that  whatever it turned out like, at least the dogs would benefit.

So now I have cooked chicken, bone broth, and… Chicken paste? Bone and skin pâté? For those that are into “nose to tail”, this is perfect. I only had to throw out the equivalent of the humerus and femur, they didn’t soften as much. Unless I can come up with a recipe I could use this in, it’ll probably benefit the dogs alone.

So, how does this experiment measure up in food fad terms? Paleo- a yes, our ancestors wouldn’t waste a thing. Vegan and vegetarian, obviously no. Raw foodists, again nope. “Gut health”? Yes, long slow cooking makes food easier to digest. If you are looking for low fat, both the skin and marrow are fatty, so this isn’t for you. It is dairy and gluten free. The “nose to tail” movement that believes in making meat eating more sustainable by eating every bit of a creature would be all over this.

So what do you think? Would you eat it? Have you heard of anyone doing so? Is there any benefit? Do those benefits outweigh the drawbacks? Have any recipes? Have a crossed a line that shouldn’t have been crossed?

Is Your Scale Lying to You?

How do you tell if your scale is telling the truth?

scaleIt isn’t too difficult. First and foremost, dramatic gains or losses. Unless you are Michael Phelps, you are not going into a 3,500 calorie deficit in one day. Similarly, while you might have gorged yourself last night, it would take a real effort to eat that same 3,500 calories in one evening. So, if you see your scale going up and down by pounds in a day, it isn’t fat that’s the answer, it’s water.The reason they suggest 1-2 lbs. a week as a reasonable weight loss amount is that, for most people, that is all that is truly achievable of real fat loss. People love to poo-poo the “calories in/calories out” advice, but the math doesn’t change. Just how you can get there does.

Water, Water Everywhere

Now for that pesky water. It is the culprit behind those dramatic weight loss diets and why people get discouraged when they can’t keep those big numbers going. I want you to do something for me tomorrow, if you are weighing yourself. Weigh yourself first thing in the morning, right after you pee. Now, drink two big glasses of water and weigh yourself again. Do I need to say anything after that? There’s your proof.

Carbs Hold Water

The reason that people on low carb diets appear to lose multiple pounds in their first week is that carbs hold water. You store extra carbs as glucose (glycogen) in your body and with it, water. Strip that out, and *bang*, “I lost 5 lbs. my first week”. Of course, once you start eating carbs again, those 5 lbs. are the first ones back. It’s also why you gained two pounds after a night on the town eating or drinking carbs.

The only other dramatic weight loss/gain factor is how much food do you have on board. In other words, what is in your digestive system? Again, much of this is water, but if you haven’t pooped in a while…. You get the idea. This is also why people appear to lose lots of weight on quick loss diets. Once you empty your digestive system and don’t refill it, that can be 3-5 lbs. right there.

Where to Find the Truth?

First, remember the scale is only a tool. Like all tools, it isn’t the only, or even the best one. It’s only as good as how it’s used. If it is controlling your life, don’t use it.

Second,if you are a frequent weigher, you’ll see a range. I don’t recommend frequent weigh ins, as they can lead to mood swings and eating disorders, but in case you are, you’ll see the numbers fluctuate daily. Your true “weight” lies somewhere in that range. If the range starts to go up, or if it never gets down to where it used to, you’re gaining weight. If the lowest number is a new one, and it pops up over and over, you are losing.

Third, weigh yourself at the same time of day, under the same conditions. I recommend naked, first thing in the morning. Your clothes can weigh anywhere from 1-5 lbs. Your water content should be relatively stable first thing as well.

Fourth, no matter what the scale says, how are your clothes fitting? It is one of those truisms that if you are strength training, you’ll see the clothes change before the scale does. Muscle weighs more than fat, and if you are eating to fuel your workouts, you are holding more carbs/water than before.

Fifth, what direction is it heading over time? Have you seen new numbers that you’ve never seen before? High or low?

I hope this helps, especially if you are panicking. Remember, when it comes to weight loss, you need to take the long view. One spike or dip means nothing. It’s like the stock market. Daily fluctuations mean nothing, it’s the overall trend that you need to look at.

 

Sloooow food.

We’ve been warned of the dangers of fast food till we’re bored with it. Judging by how full the parking lots are, it  hasn’t made a dent in people’s eating habits. I’ve recently become even more enamored with slow food. Really slow food. I’ve been making bread using only sourdough starter, and still making my yogurt.

This isn’t going to be a “how-to” post, rather a yes, you can. I realize we are all busy and tired, but these are foods that don’t take a lot of time. Or rather, they do, but not from you. For example, it takes less than a few minutes to feed your starter:

potato sour dough starter

potato starter

Starter

This starter is made from a few table spoons of instant potatoes, sugar and water. It can survive in your fridge or freezer almost indefinitely. You just feed it and it does its own thing.

Sourdough

You use it to make sour dough bread. I’ve been using the recipe it came with (from a friend), and one from the internet, and you don’t have to use yeast. It does take a looong time, but you just put it in a bowl and ignore it. You can start it the night before and it’ll be ready for the second rise when you get up in the morning. I started my last one on a weekday and didn’t have time for it for days, so I put it in the fridge till I was ready for it. sour dough

It did fine.

yogurt being cultured in little glass jars

Yogurt

The yogurt is the same thing. I saved some of the last batch I had made in the freezer. I take a little over a liter of milk, microwave it for 11 minutes till it bubbles, then let it cool to 115/120 degrees. Add some of the frozen yogurt, stir and pour into jars. Put them in my yogurt maker and walk away. This time it took longer. It was yogurt in the morning, but I wanted it thicker, so I went to work and popped them in the fridge when I got home. I drained them after dinner and I was done.

Beans

I also recently read that you don’t have to soak beans before cooking. I tried that, and it’s true. I put them inbeans simmering in the crockpot after dinner, and they were well cooked the next morning. Since beans are such a good food, cooking up a big batch and having them on hand to add to a variety of other foods is a great thing.

Fast Food

Now, in telling you all this, don’t think I hate fast food. I can use my microwave and frying pan to get dinner on the table in 20 minutes. I cook fish straight from the freezer and nuke broccoli and potatoes. Any way you can get tasty healthy food instead of garbage is ok in my book. But if you want fast food all week, take a few minutes here and there to add slow food. Cook a batch of rice while you are eating dinner for the next day. Always through roasted vegetables in with your chicken, make your stove work harder. I don’t think anything’s easier than roasting a whole butternut while my chickens cooking, then I de-bone the chicken and scoop the squash at the same time. Could be then, could be two days later. Make your fridge, freezer, microwave and oven really work for you.

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