Eat Drink and Be Healthy

I finished the book Eat, Drink and Be Healthy a few days ago. I read it on the recommendation of my friend JonnyX. Overall I think this is a great book. It is not preachy but matter-of-fact. Willet is not making any wild eyed assertions but backs up all his recommendations with loads of data and is clear about the things for which the data is as yet inconclusive. It’s eminently readable and even kind of fun. I’ve been trying to eat closer to his recommendations for a few weeks now. Here’s a quick summary of his advice:

  • Avoid refined sugars, refined flours, saturated fats, and trans-fats.
  • Most of your diet should come from fruits, vegetables, and long grains. Brown rice is better than white, whole grains are better than ground. Whole wheat bread is better than white bread.
  • Eat sparingly on the beef and pork. The same goes starchy foods like potatoes.
  • Make sure to eat enough unsaturated fat (ie, don’t eliminate all fat from your diet). Nuts and olive oil are good sources and can be eaten with relative abandon.
  • Excercise.
  • Take multivitamin suplements to ensure you keep vitamins and minerals covered.
  • Even when you follow the guidelines, stay cognizant of the total calories you are eating. Even eating the right mix of foods, you still need to keep your intake at a level that matches what you burn.

It’s pretty simple and mostly common sense stuff. I have switched most of my intake to longer grains. I eat a big bowl of oatmeal every morning and take a Centrum with it. I’m eating more salads, brown rices and things like bulghur. I’m trying to avoid the foods with high fructose corn syrup in high amounts, and lean towards the grainy foods. As I examine Gardenburger’s ingredients on the box, they are basically all the foods Willet says to eat, pressed into a patty. The hard part for me is getting enough fruit. I’m trying to have it as between meal snacks, grapes and apples and such, and pistachios as fillers when I need a little crunch and fat to feed the inner man.

So far it seems to be working. I had reported a weight of 239 before, which was on the crappy unreliable old scale. I bought a new one with digital readout and that does body fat. It said 245.5 when the other said 239, so I’m assuming that I was actually at 245.5 before. According to the fat measurement, it says that I’m at 35%! That’s high, but not inconsistent with the tables and predictions for a guy of my height and weight. Each weekend now I’ll be posting my weights from the newer better scale and we’ll see how it goes. 245 is the starting point.