Yes, the New Year is almost here.  I’m sure I’ll do like most of you and make some resolutions–but really all I should do is make a resolution to try to keep the ones that I made last year…and the year before that, too.  My big one has to be one that was only partially successful last year–lose weight and exercise more. I guess that’s really two.  Duh!

I’m trying to plan how to be more successful with keeping my well-intentioned resolutions this year–after all, my doctor did tell me (again) that I really need to lost weight (and I know that the exercise really does go with that effort). Just like so many other people needing weight loss, I’ve read, though not just about weight loss, but about responsible eating, too. Recent reading includes:

  • Gary Taubes, Good Calories, Bad Calories (incredible bibliography)
  • Mark Bittman, V6B (another good bibliography and interesting that it’s written by someone who is a serious “foodie”)
  • Eric Westman, The New Atkins for a New You  (Duke University)
  • Richard Wrangham, Catching Fire: How Cooking Made Us Human (fascinating physical anthropology discussion of how cooking changed our evolution)
  • Pierre Desrochers and Hiroko Shimizu, The Locovore’s Dilemma: In Praise of the 10,000-Mile Diet (interesting for the energy analysis that they do regarding the various energy expenditures related to putting food on the table)
  • even some Kindle samples on the “flat belly” diet, and the “Paleo” that never got past the “sample” stage!

I have to confess that I’ve done the high-protein, low-carbohydrate one—it does work, but….true to promises made in the books, I wasn’t hungry. Now here’s the kicker, I wasn’t hungry, but I really, really, really missed some things that were “forbidden”:  milk, fruit, and some of the higher carbohydrate veggies, and legumes.  Even though I like greens and use a fair amount of them, I got SO tired of greens—spinach, lettuce, kale, collards, arugula, and the like. I found that as soon as I tried adding back some carbohydrates, weight loss came to a standstill. Not a sustainable program, especially when you consider the amount of energy it takes to raise meat, particularly in the quantities that we in the US consume. I’m a meat-eater, but my mind boggles at the statistics about how much meat Americans eat. Then we could go on to the “factory farming” issues.

Some of these (Gary Taubes, Eric West (MD) and Mark Bittman) actually do some impressive and almost-scholarly nutritional and metabolic literature reviews. Some have prefaces written by medical people with credentials that are impressive. The studies cited are from reputable journals. The data presented on insulin resistance and metabolic syndrome were convincing though–we really cannot continue to ignore obesity issues and the disease consequences of these.

No matter how scholarly or well documented, or which particular method they tout, it all comes down to cut calories and increase your energy expenditure. One of   the ways to do that is to eat more plant-based foods since many are not as calorie-dense as animal products–more fruits and veggies. I’m not planning to give up meat or animal products, but I will opt for better quality and less to keep the budget in balance and be somewhat “green”. I am an omnivore!

I can’t escape that if I’m going to lose weight I  have to expend more energy than I take in; that’s the physics of the situation–so I’m right back where I started: eat less and exercise more. Seems this is where I started this year….

But all that aside, I wish all of you a healthy, happy, prosperous 2014 with lots of good food, wine, and friends!

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