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JJeffreyBragg

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Everything posted by JJeffreyBragg

  1. JJeffreyBragg

    CRON-O-Meter Frustrations

    Yes, of course, Chaya. But for many bulk products, imports especially, that information just isn't available; the same for wild and natural products. I bought a package of frozen lake smelt in the local super; no idea where they came from, they weren't local to my area for sure; no nutritional info! One also runs into situations in which the package info disagrees significantly with the tables in Dr. Walford's book and/or with the USDA database. Often for simple, basic items in which the probability of much difference from one source to the next is low. All too often I've found these nutrition labels to be "not too particular, not too precise" (again quoting Jimmy Buffett's "Cheeseburger in Paradise"). And of course the nutrition labels don't carry the detailed micronutrient breakdowns found in the USDA database with which CRON-O-Meter performs its balancing act. It just isn't quite as simple as it would seem at first look. If one truly attempts "Optimum Nutrition" on minimum calories then that micronutrient balancing act isn't optional, it's mandatory.
  2. JJeffreyBragg

    CRON-O-Meter Frustrations

    Finally I got my gumption up to try CRON-O-Meter (the online version), as of yesterday. I made it through yesterday and half of today, but suppertime proved too much for me and the app -- I'm all done with it. Frustrating, because the concept is a grand one, even if the app itself is a little clunky (at least on a cheap, touchy notebook computer like the msi I'm using). I do my own cooking, cook things like hot cereal mixes for breakfast, soups and stews for supper, and freeze them down in individual meal portions to reduce the daily workload. My recipes somewhat resemble those in the Roy Walford book's 14-day menu section, that is to say, adventurous ingredients and a fairly long list of them for each recipe. And I have quickly discovered that CRON-O-Meter's foods database just isn't up to the job. Today's supper entree was a mixed beans with ham and vegetables soup. The mixed dry legumes weren't in the DB; in fact not all of the individual beans in the mix were there! OK, there's a "create a food" function -- but to use it demands that one have access to a comprehensive nutritional analysis of each new food. Even if I knew where to go for that (and I'm not a nutritionist), who's got the time to enter that much data for a whole flock of missing food ingredients? Not I. So once again it all comes down to support. CRON-O-Meter needs the attention of a fanatical, dedicated nutrition professional to work practically full time on the expansion of its foods database. So it's back to the steno pad and the cheap ballpoint pens that only write half the time for me, unfortunately. I can see the enormous usefulness of being able to use CRON-O-Meter to quickly spot nutritional shortcomings in each day's menu, but if the menu's food ingredients aren't already there in the database it all remains an impossible dream. Sad, really. Jeffrey :( (Now down to BMI 21.9)
  3. JJeffreyBragg

    CRON-O-Meter Frustrations

    Let me be sure I understand correctly here -- does CRON-O-Meter access the entire USDA db file in its search, or are you suggesting that I need to become familiar with the USDA db myself to locate ingredients? I confess I've been avoiding that thus far. I will be honest and say that I'm a bit daunted by the challenges of the "ON" part of CRON. As I've said elsewhere, the "CR" part is relatively easy and straightforward but ON's a bear. I feel just now as though I really need to be a graduate nutritionist to do this thing correctly. I've spent the past week chasing calorie data for Ready Reserve foods -- I have quite a quantity of RR food stores (nitrogen-packed long-term-storage dehydrates in #10 cans). RR pack high-quality, very satisfactory products but the company's behind the curve in nutritional data; their website doesn't post it, though their competitor Thrive has all their products nutrition-labelled onsite. And I find that even the company veep hasn't a clue about all this; they need the services of a nutritionist to come in and sort them out. And it's like that all over -- there seems to be little nutritional awareness in the North American food biz. Over and over again I run into obviously wrong data, inconsistent data, no data at all. I see now why many CR practitioners settle on "standard meals" that they eat day after day. ("Heard about the oldtime sailor men, they'd eat the same thing again and again! Warm beer and bread they said could raise the dead, it reminds me of the menu at a Holiday Inn." -- Jimmy Buffett.) For someone like myself who tends to be a diversity feeder, ranging over a variety of ethnic cuisines and specialist ingredients, acquiring and using the nutritional data to do the Optimal Nutrition balancing act gets to be a formidable task with a very high investment in time and effort. I think glumly of the recent guy on the email list who seems to subsist on scissored-up cabbage and Purina Primate Lab Chow mostly. That's a high price to pay for nutritional balance. I find since I've been on CR for four months that I savour every mouthful that I do eat and I'd hate to quit *enjoying* my food, particularly since CR has given me a renewed appreciation for it. The understanding has now sunk through to me that if one is to reap the benefits of CR, the ON part isn't optional. I am certain that, given the diversity and quality of my present dietary constituent ingredients, I must be doing relatively better than I was when I was eating more; my general health seems to bear that conclusion out as well. Nonetheless, it seems beyond argument that if one is existing on minimal calories, the diet ought to be monitored to be sure that it satisfies all *known* requirements of basic human nutrition insofar as possible. (I cannot help but think of what we DON'T know versus what we do, and to recall how inconsistent scientific nutritionists' take on various foods has been over time, with dramatic reversals of position a regular feature of their public pronouncements.) I did not intend to disparage the efforts of the volunteer developers of CRON-O-Meter. Most of my frustration is with the incompleteness of the database. Please, Dave, clarify for me if you will, whether I need to go directly to the USDA db to search uncommon ingredients or whether CRON-O-Meter is already doing that. BTW my "mixed beans" product was a comnmercial mix *similar to, but not packed by the same people as, this one:* "Ingredients: Contains 15 of these varieties: Northern, Pinto, Large Lima, Blackeye, Garbanzo, Baby Lima, Green Split Pea, Kidney, Cranberry Bean, Small White, Pink Bean, Small Red, Yellow Split Pea, Lentil, Navy, White Kidney, Black Bean, Pearl Barley." And that's just an analogue to what I was actually using, which was from a bulk source with no ingredients list. I'd need to make a SWAG about the actual ingredients and their relative proportions. I haven't the spare time for so much research!
  4. JJeffreyBragg

    CRON Conundrum: Menus and Recipes

    Dr. Walford's Beyond the 120 Year Diet continues to fascinate and stimulate me. There is no doubt whatever that it is a stunning piece of work in its unique combination of scientific integrity and accessibility to the lay public. That's a rare combination these days. I've been reading his 14 days' worth of recipes and menu plans with a strong sinking feeling, though, as the sophistication of them sinks in. I wonder how many CRON-ers are actually even attempting to do what the good Dr. W. has suggested as our most prudent course of action. I know already that CR as a broadly-based movement has already engendered some pretty strange variations; I'm tempted to describe some of them as aberrations. The Brian Delaney/Lisa Walford book The Longevity Diet hints at this variety with its varied personal anecdotes. Peter V. says he "hardly ever cooks" and buys most of his food at the local supermarket chain store. Lisa Walford has adopted the risky-sounding lifestyle combination of vegan vegetarianism combined with CRON and intermittent fasting! Her co-author Brian Delaney states that he was on "very severe CR" for a period of time but now adopts a milder and very simple "skip lunch" version of the Longevity Diet. Dean Pomerleau, another vegan, "eats two identical meals every day, in the morning and evening." He eats "the same kind of meal every day" -- a "standard meal." Other variations are also mentioned in the Longevity Diet book; but there is very little indication there of the kind of thing that Dr. Roy Walford suggests in his book. Dr. Walford intimates that the two-week recipe and menu plan given in the 45-page Appendix A "Food Combinations and Tasty Menus" of his book are there to illustrate the kind of planning, nutrient balancing and optimisation that is needed to achieve Optimal Nutrition (the "ON" part of "CRON"), and states outright that nutrition must be optimised when calories are significantly restricted to the degree he feels may be necessary in order for humans to emulate his laboratory's "45-month-old mice." The book is literally packed with fine-print nutritional information and specific data on a wide variety of healthy foodstuffs. He very honestly says that this kind of balancing *can* be done "by hand" if one is determined enough and intelligent enough, but admits that computer optimisation is more effective and efficient; accordingly he offers his own specialised software for the purpose. After looking at the nutrient tables in Appendix B "Nutritive Values of the Best Foods", I can see why he urges the use of computerised diet planning. It doesn't sound like very many are adopting Dr. Walford's suggested strategy, to judge from the individual anecdotes in the Delaney/Walford book. I've heard other and more bizarre stories in the forums and e-mail lists -- the member who pigs out on packets of straight Splenda to deal with his cravings; the member who constructs his standard meal from Purina primate laboratory feed biscuits and chopped veg, the various individuals who attempt to reconcile the conflicting principles of CRON and "Paleo". We are probably ALL better at Calorie Restriction than we are at Optimal Nutrition. CR is the easy part, although it is demanding enough to the newcomer as I can personally attest. I've arrived at the point of gaining some facility at the calorie-counting part of it all, but I have to be honest and say that although I am obviously eating at two or three levels higher toward Optimal Nutrition than I did previously, I am NOT attempting to evaluate the amino acid balance of my meals, nor to assure that my meals comply with the Recommended Daily Allowances of all the vitamins, minerals and phytochemicals tracked in Dr. Walford's nutrition tables, nor even to adhere to specific proportions of protein, carbohydrate and fat inputs to my diet. I have a LONG WAY TO GO before I'll actually be practising what the good Dr. W. considered the safe, prudent and efficient route to a true CRON lifestyle. I think the software package will be a virtual necessity as soon as I can afford to order it, even though I hate to spend the kind of time at the computer that will probably be involved (I'm more comfortable lounging at ease with the book, a pad of paper and a pocket calculator, I'll admit). It strikes me that what is sorely needed -- and what the CR Society ought to be attempting to provide on an in-depth, comprehensive basis, is computer-optimised menu plans with SIMPLE recipes. I despair at emulating Dr. Walford's exemplary recipes; out of the entire 14-day gamut there are probably only two or three recipes that I might even attempt. The majority are too complex, too time-consuming, too large in quantity for a single individual (yes, freezing is an option, but you can't freeze fresh salads for eight servings), and to top it all off, most of them demand ingredients that are obtainable only in the big stores and health food outlets found in urban centres. I live in the rural Manitoba boondocks; my local co-op supermarkets do not stock stevia, mirin, millet, tamari, soy protein isolate powder, rice bran, potassium-based baking powder, shiitake mushrooms, saffron, cumin seed, coriander seed, wakame, kombu, and similar items. Once in a blue moon I can find grossly overpriced and probably out-of-date tofu. I can admire and drool at these recipes, but they won't work for my location and lifestyle. The Society should be providing a massive array of recipes and menu plans, all computer-optimised to Dr. Walford's admirable standards, to suit various budgets, tastes, regions and lifestyles. The SUPPORT for the CRON lifestyle just isn't there as far as I can see. These forums are another case in point. Keith faithfully answers us confused newbies. Bless him for his compassion and dedication. Where are all the other experienced CRON practitioners? And why is the recipes section of the society website so pitifully neglected -- one might say nearly nonexistent? I seriously wonder whether many of us may not be endangering our health by paying insufficient attention to Dr. Walford's cautionary words and whether the Society is really doing all it can and should be doing to provide the kind of support that appears to be needed for safe serious CRON practice. Whaddaya say, Keith? And are you and I conversing in an otherwise empty room through which the odd isolated newbie quickly passes?
  5. JJeffreyBragg

    CRON Conundrum: Menus and Recipes

    Yes, Keith, I keep forgetting about the "archive." However, after just visiting there, I now remember why I keep forgetting. It's all on the level of peer-reviewed scholarly papers from scientific journals. Personally, I just don't have the time, dedication and theoretical interest to wade through it all. As far as I can see, the "Community" forum is nearly all on the same level as the main one and almost indistinguishable from it. At this point the theoretical side of it isn't my main interest. The information I need at this point is overwhelmingly on the practical side of things, because this isn't really that easy or simple a discipline, as Dr. Walford makes clear. His "Beyond the 120 Year Diet" book is a godsend, but it raises questions of its own. Questions like those I'm asking here and shall probably continue to ask even though I feel there's quite a yawning void here. (If people don't take the initiative to *make* forums active, then they needn't complain. As a forum admin elsewhere in my own right I understand that well enough.) I just find it hard to understand why there isn't more online interest and activity. CRON is something that has a solid scientific basis (perhaps that is being overemphasised on the Archives forums), that far from having been discredited or disproven continues to accumulate validating evidence. There should be more people interested in all this, surely. I ask myself where they all can be lurking!
  6. JJeffreyBragg

    New to Cr and need some help

    Hi Heather! I live in Canada, too. It's a big place... do you live in all of it? ;) I live in a little rural corner of it on a quarter-section of former farmland in the Parkland region of west-central Manitoba near the little village of Rossburn. The nearest city of any size is Brandon a good two hours hard drive distant; I get there maybe half a dozen times a year. Like you, I'm struggling with the "keeping track of everything" challenge. (See my topic posted this evening "CRON Conundrum: Menus and Recipes" for some of my other newbie concerns.) For me, though, it isn't just keeping track of everything, it's obtaining some of the things that are needed for the kind of sophisticated nutritional balancing act recommended by Dr. Walford's book (the one that's supposed to be required reading for all who post in these forums). Some of these things I can probably obtain on my next trip to Brandon (if I have the spare cash to buy them, that is), but the fresh highly-perishable ingredients like tofu I simply have to forego and forget about. And yes, the winters. I've been successfully coping with -25C and windchills of -40C whilst consuming between 826 and 1250 calories and I'm not dead yet! :P It can be done. I have my moments of hunger and low energy, granted. But they pass and the determination remains. As many seem to do, I started Calorie Restriction blindly, feeling I just had to do something to shed my ridiculous belly flab and to feel better. My height is 5'11", my age 67, and I've gone from an estimated 215 pounds (I didn't even own a scale at the time) to my present weight of 160 pounds since the beginning of last November. I found about CRON and the CR Society just after New Year. I'm still evolving rapidly, finding my way, gaining practice, learning more and more about nutrition, and *feeling better* with *more energy* despite the calorie restriction and steady weight loss. I'm now trying to slow it down just a bit preparatory to feeling out my equilibrium point of calorie intake, at which I'll neither gain nor lose weight. There is inevitably a good deal of trial and error involved, and you can expect to make some mistakes. Let me STRONGLY suggest that you buy Dr. Roy Walford's "Beyond the 120 Year Diet" if indeed you have not already done so. It is absolutely indispensable. There are other books by other authors around but this one is the definitive presentation of CRON by the man who knew more about it than anyone else. It's beautifully written and organised, a real treat to read and work with. Funny about these forums. Nobody here but just us Canucks, huh? B) Best of luck with your CRON practice, Jeffrey
  7. JJeffreyBragg

    Diamond V Dehydrated Yeast Culture

    A small correction: Dr. Williams' suggested dosage referred to the more concentrated XPC version. I've since found the comparative dosages of the various Diamond V products for livestock, which would suggest that Original XP should be fed at four times the dosage rate of XPC. That translates to 12g daily at Dr. Williams' suggested rate. I weighed 3/4 cup by volume of the product and got 4 ounces (113.5g); so one Tablespoon = 9.46g. Four teaspoons ought to be about right (12.6g). I mixed 1T. with my morning hot cereal after it was cooked; whatever difference in flavour was small, and positive.
  8. JJeffreyBragg

    Diamond V Dehydrated Yeast Culture

    Whilst perusing my new copy of the absolutely fascinating book by the late Dr. Roy Walford, Beyond the 120 Year Diet, I happened to notice the miscellaneous food item "yeast" in the excellent nutrition analysis tables therein. It got me thinking. A year or so ago a friend passed me an offprint of an article by Dr. David Williams from his newsletter "ALTERNATIVES for the Health-Conscious Individual" (Sept. 2007 issue). Dr. Williams discussed the serendipitous discovery that plant workers at the Diamond V fermented yeast culture plant in Cedar Rapids, Iowa, enjoyed extraordinary freedom from illness, rarely taking sick leave: Diamond V has since licensed a human version of their product called EpiCor in (expensive) 500mg capsule form, for those who are interested. My interest -- and Dr. Williams' as well -- is in the bagged livestock product. I already use this product as a nutritional supplement for my kennel of sleddogs and recently started taking it myself instead of the brewer's yeast tablets I used to use. It's extraordinarily cheap, being an animal feed; but it's on the GRAS (Generally Recognised As Safe) food list. I went to the Diamond V site in search of detailed nutritional information on the "Original XP" product which is the one I buy (the plant makes three different versions that vary mostly in concentration; XP is the middle one). First of all, it's a high-energy product at 343 kcal/100g, roughly comparable to pinto beans, split peas and similar legumes in its energy concentration. But we aren't talking about consuming this stuff 100g at a whack! Dr. Williams suggests a daily dosage level of 3g for human adults, as a nutritional supplement. For interest's sake, here is a link to the pdf file on the Diamond V website for the Original XP yeast product with a detailed nutritional analysis: http://www.diamondv.com/languages/en/product-pages/original-products/original-xp/PP_OriginalXP_0112_FINAL_lores.pdf The amino acid, vitamin and mineral values look interesting. The flavour of the product seems quite palatable to me, sort of a nutty taste. The forum is granular so it could easily be sprinkled on rice or veg as a top-dressing, or even incorporated into some dishes. I intend to do some experimentation with this! Just FYI, the crude analysis is protein 12%, fat 3% and fibre 6.5%. The dehydrated culture includes the media upon which it is grown, consisting of ground yellow corn, hominy feed, corn gluten feed, wheat middlings, rye middlings, diastatic malt and corn syrup, and cane molasses. I wonder whether anyone here has any experience with this yeast culture product or other similar products. (I note that Dr. Williams seems to have shared quite a few of Dr. Walford's concerns and nutrition/health issues in the past, so maybe others here are familiar with his newsletter.) The cheapness and palatability are attractive; one can buy the stuff in 50-lb bags at most feed dealers in horse country -- it's a popular equine supplement. Perhaps someone here who's more accomplished at nutrition analysis than I could take a look at the above link and suggest ways in which yeast culture might be of use in a CR dietary regimen.
  9. JJeffreyBragg

    The Elusive Central CR Question

    Now THAT'S a pithy summary if ever I read one! Thanks for that, Keith, you clarified a couple of issues there quite economically and effectively. My understanding is increasing by leaps and bounds. Today the Roy Walford book (Beyond the 120 Year Diet) finally arrived in the post! I am very impressed by this book. Dr. Walford wrote so clearly and effectively. I've been dipping into it over the past few hours, superficially as yet but at this point can certainly say that it appears to be a very elegant, comprehensive and compelling presentation of his own concept of CRON. I look forward to reading every word of it. It's tragic that amyotrophic lateral sclerosis claimed his life prematurely. He gave us all so much, yet one cannot help but feel that he had much more still to give had he survived for a couple more decades. The void he left obviously has yet to be filled.
  10. JJeffreyBragg

    The Elusive Central CR Question

    Getting started with CR has been an interesting and intriguing experience. Like many people, I first began calorie restriction by sheer instinct: fed up with being overweight, looking like an 8-months-pregnant old man , feeling tired most of the time, I just determined to lose some weight by amending my dietary habits, dropping certain high-calorie foods, and mostly just *eating less*. I started at an estimated 215 pounds (at the time I didn't even own a viable scale) around the beginning of last November. All through November and December I knew I was making progress but couldn't quantify it. Then whilst researching the topics of weight loss, calories and the like on the Internet, I came across CR. I ordered the Delaney/Walford "The Longevity Diet" book through eBay and bought a decent scale. By then it was the 5th of January, I weighed 175 pounds and I began keeping a dietary journal and immediately thereafter, to count my calories, weigh myself twice daily, and record it all. Over the last month's time I have read through the book several times and spent a lot of time trying to get a handle on CR strategy and numbers. I'm now comfortable with counting calories, although doing a nutritional breakdown and recording protein, fat, omega-3s, ORAC etc. are still things I have yet to address systematically. My diet has changed to favour things like blueberries, brussels sprouts, broccoli, beets and so on, mind you; I'm just not tracking it all numerically yet. Frankly, before I lose myself in the detailed nutritional breakdown of my diet, I need to figure out "the elusive central CR question"! The book gives hints, the CR site does also, but I don't seem to have understood one simple, basic issue. Up to this point it didn't seem that urgent -- I knew I wanted to rid myself of all that belly flab so I just worked on that and improving the quality of my diet. No more 600-cal slices of chocolate cake, no more big dishes of chocolate ice cream late in the evening, no more 3-eggs-with-bacon-toast-and-hashbrowns breakfasts, forget the cheddar cheese, etc. Fortunately I already had a lot of good food habits along with the bad ones -- I love spelt, kamut, buckwheat and quinoa, enjoy fresh salads, like berries and avocadoes, enjoy fish, and so forth. Okay, here's the question: when CR books, websites and people talk about calorie restriction, it is often in terms of a reduction by various given percentages of caloric intake. That's virtually intuitive, given the "CR" label of the discipline. But I have yet to see much general agreement concerning the caloric baseline from which CR is supposed to occur! I know what the conventional, government-approved received wisdom is respecting caloric allotment, as quoted in the book: (Table 4.1, page 71) Moderately active men of average size - 2,500 calories/day; Moderately active women of average size - 2,000 calories/day. That "standard wisdom" is characterised in the book thus: "these recommendations are extraordinarily high compared with the calorie intake of people on the Longevity Diet." I'm committed to a combination of the Weight Watcher and Calorie Counter strategies; I don't have easy access to and cannot afford extensive biomarker assays. So on the basis of a month or so of recorded personal data I've tried to determine what my own personal point of caloric equilibrium must be: the caloric intake that should just balance the needs of basal metabolic rate plus calories burnt through physical activity. An online calculator (based on gender, age, weight and height) puts that point at a notional 2450 calories for me (I'm male, 67 y.o., 5'11", and now 160 lbs.) For the past nine days I was trying to get from 165 down to the 160 pound target I had set for myself; over those nine days my caloric intake averaged 826 cal/day; I lost about 4.6 pounds over that period. (Yes, I know that's too rapid; I just wanted to get there and have done with it.) For the 24-day period previous to that, I averaged 1080 cal/day and lost 7.2 pounds. Now: applying the conventional generally-agreed average caloric value for body fat, I tried a rough calculation of caloric intake via food plus calories from burnt fat. For the recent 9-day period, I came up with a combined average value of 2615 calories/day; for the previous 24-day period, the average was 2130 calories/day. The mean of these two figures is 2372.5, not that far from the notional value of 2450 for a guy of my age, height and weight. If CR means a reduction of 30% to 50% of what I used to eat (a figure which I cannot tie down too exactly, largely because I'm too chicken to go into the gruesome details of how many calories I used to knock back in a day), then probably I'm laughing. If it was ~3000 calories or more (which seems likely) I'd be looking at a CR allotment of 1500 to 2100 cal/day! But if I should be working from a baseline of 2450 (or 2372?) my allotment should be 1225 - 1715 cal/day -- or less. At the moment I intend to shoot for a daily allotment of ~1250/day and see how that works out. What bothers me is wondering whether I'll be continuously losing body weight at these lower levels. Perhaps my body will eventually adjust and find equilibrium at a body weight somewhere between 130 and 150 pounds? I wonder if some of the old hands here can clear up this confusion for me, particular with respect to *what reference baseline* constitutes the orthodox CR point of reference for percentile reduction of caloric allotment. I'm listening!
  11. JJeffreyBragg

    The Elusive Central CR Question

    The experimental analogy breaks down immediately because it treats the mice as "two groups" without reference to individual food intake although we are trying to establish CR norms for human individuals. There's no knowing which mice are eating more and which are eating less; the possibility exists that some might be thriving whilst others are close to malnutrition. Unless they are individually caged and fed one is reduced to assuming that there is no functional difference between one mouse and another. Even with highly-inbred specialised strains in which differences between individuals are minimal this caution is likely to be applicable. So this tells us nothing about how to establish a baseline for a human individual. Yep, questionnaire data are likely to be suspect with respect to accuracy and reliability. ;) And yes, the childhood and teenage obesity epidemic is truly a deeply disturbing phenomenon. What you describe is essentially a process of trial and error, which is exactly what I'm engaged in at this moment. From the 826 kcal/day level that was resulting in fairly rapid weight loss, I've upped my intake to 1250 kcal/day to see whether the weight loss now stops or merely slows down. The trouble is that one's own psychology introduces unwanted variables! My newly-established CR eating habits (I am and have long been primarily a two-meal-a-day person, with perhaps an added late snack in the evening) seem to result naturally in a 1000-1100 kcal/day menu, giving me a left over 150-250 kcal/day for "treats." Now the nature of these treats is apt not to be another serving of salad or vegetables! More likely a cup of hot chocolate and a couple of cookies, or a small whole-grain muffin dressed with peanut butter and blueberry jam. And I cannot help suspecting that the calories that represent those treats might be qualitatively different to those of my main meals, that they may be more likely to result in stored fat. So I wonder: IS there a qualitative difference, or is there none in this regard? A calorie is a calorie is a calorie -- or not? Some people seem to have no trouble snacking on carrot curls and celery stalks, but I'm not really in that category. I can improve the *quality* of my treats, but I like them still to be recognisable as treats. :P The Delaney/Walford book abundantly confirms those enormous variations! Humankind make abysmally poor experimental subjects in most cases.
  12. JJeffreyBragg

    The Elusive Central CR Question

    I fully intend to monitor specific nutrients as I gain skill and familiarity with this. It has been a giant step for me just to start counting calories seriously and I'm still struggling to get that right; I don't want to take on too many unfamiliar tasks at once. At the moment I'm quite certain that I'm getting more ORAC foods than I ever have before (as well as more omega-3 sources), as I've added several that were not previously part of my normal diet and upped my intake frequency of others. Back in the 1980s I was a vegetarian for awhile, so I'm pretty conscious of potential nutritional deficiencies; in fact, that's why I'm not a vegetarian now -- it's a lot easier to ensure amino acid balance if one consumes modest amounts of flesh, fish, poultry, eggs and dairy products. Vegans are just asking for problems unless they undertake serious study of nutritional balancing, which is one reason why it makes me pretty nervous to see folks routinely attempting to associate CR *and* vegan practice. I'm perplexed about this CR baseline question, though! To write a book about calorie restriction, making frequent reference to percentile reductions, whilst never clearly specifying the baseline or starting point for such reductions seems somewhat strange to me. I note that you haven't dealt with that part of my question either, Keith. I -- naively, perhaps -- just assumed that the old hands would know what defined the take-off point for CR; surely Dr. Walford must have addressed that issue at some point. (I've ordered "Beyond the 120-year Diet" but haven't received it yet.) There are only a few possible definitions for it: (1) the standard nutritional recommended daily intake as published on government and other websites as adjusted for gender, age, height and body weight, (2) the individual's pre-CR normal daily caloric intake, (3) the individual's body-weight equilibrium point of caloric intake -- I would say those are probably the three main contenders, but those three are far from identical in most cases. I think this is an important issue, particularly for "serious" or "extreme" CR practitioners. Thanks for good advice. I had already surmised as much. You are entirely correct that at my age the last thing I would wish to do would be to lose muscle or bone mass. (In fact I'm considering joining a local fitness centre in order to resume doing resistance work with free weights, something I did a bit of several decades ago.) In any case, I think I'd start to panic long before my weight hit 133 pounds (which for my 5'11" frame would be 18.5 BMI). It is largely due to the potential for continued steady weight loss that I'm concerned to discover what the take-off point for CR percentile levels should be. I have, of course, read the parts of the Delaney/Walford book that discuss "set point" but found the discussion less than satisfactory. I can remember various points in my life when my accustomed body weight was 164 lbs, 170 lbs, 180 lbs, and 200 lbs. And the further back I seek to pin it down the less certain I seem to be. I cannot honestly say that I have any certainty at all as to my body's supposed set point, if indeed it even has or ever had such a thing. So that particular concept isn't any good to as far as determining a baseline or take-off point for CR. For now I'm using option (1) until/unless I hear otherwise from someone more knowledgeable than my newbie self. Thanks for your personal rundown of the numbers. Personal examples are quite helpful with this stuff. I'd love to attend the CRSoc meeting but I don't seem to be that much of a traveller these days -- too broke to afford it!
  13. JJeffreyBragg

    The Elusive Central CR Question

    This evening I have a little more time to flesh out some of details omitted above. First of all, the notional caloric value for body fat: I used the conventional 3500cal/lb. I'm aware that there is a lot of potential variability there, but if one has to pick a value for calculation, that one seems most commonly in use. (In any case, one shouldn't expect the maths to work out too precisely in this sort of thing as there are too many potential variabilities and inaccuracies involved: inaccurate assessment of portion size, inaccurate nutritional data for specific products, errors and omissions, daily variations in hydration and elimination, variable digestibility, etc.) I feel that the present sales-pitch book (i.e., the Delaney/Walford) could use a new edition, with a view to clearing up some of the confusion. Just for a couple of examples, several different views of what is "fast" versus "slow" weight loss are presented -- wildly different. "JW" says "My weight didn't fall that much at first, it took about six weeks to drop down to 172 pounds from 206 pounds" -- !!! OTOH, Peter Voss says, "I lost weight slowly, not more than one pound per month." In general, the personal examples given are so strikingly varied that it can be difficult for the newbie to decide just what the typical or orthodox practice of CR looks like. Not that there's necessarily anything wrong with all these personal variations, but it might be helpful to indicate some sort of standard practice, thereby giving beginners a clear idea of where to start. So much effort has been put into explaining the details of human nutrition -- and rightly so, since there appears to be rather little general public understanding of those details -- that the job of presenting a clear CR model has perhaps not been positioned front and centre. I would also like to see the caloric value tables for various foods and food groups expanded yet further; inevitably these tables are heavily used for reference by the newbie, yet too many items seem to be missing -- kiwi fruit, zucchini, ginger root, e.g. Finally perhaps I should clarify that I know it's early days yet for me with CR, I'm still struggling to discover what it all means for me, and I know that much will change. It's changing even now, as I've reached my initial preliminary target weight and, as indicated in the previous post, I'm now trying to discover an equilibrium-point caloric allotment for the next phase of all this, in which I'll probably continue to lose weight but much more slowly. After all, from a BMI of ~30 I've come down to a relatively normal 22.3; many CR practitioners, I'm sure, are lower than that on the BMI scale. Peter Voss, seven years into the lifestyle (in the book) says he weighed 155 pounds when he began but doesn't state his present weight -- yet tells us that 1800-1850 calories is his maintenance level for <5% body fat. I'm pretty sure that if I returned to that high a caloric allotment I'd immediately start to regain body weight, yet from the sound of things he's basically a smaller person than I. Obviously I need a better handle on caloric allotment. Meanwhile, I FEEL SO MUCH BETTER! Today after several weeks of fairly close confinement to home in winter weather conditions of -18C to -28C with semi-constant light snowfall, the temperature shot up to -5C, the sun shone, and I took a walk with my favourite dog. Normally during the past few years those walks haven't been much more than a quarter to half a mile, but today I kept up a brisk walking pace for forty-five minutes and must have gone at least three miles! Heart rate in mid-walk was only about 60. Obviously the body LIKES CR! I'm feeling definitely more energetic and experiencing small waves of euphoria and wellbeing such as I haven't known for many years. I feel that I'm definitely onto something here, which is why I'm anxious to understand the practice better, as well as the principles.
  14. JJeffreyBragg

    Another Newbie

    Thanks, Keith! Much obliged for the tips. It's so good to get this kind of survey of available lists, rather than having to find out the hard way. ;) ~Jeffrey
  15. JJeffreyBragg

    Another Newbie

    It's disappointing to see these forums aren't terribly active. So newbie or not, I'm jumping in with a post, if only because hanging back just contributes to the lack of activity! I've read "The Longevity Diet" (haven't yet got my hands on a copy of the older Roy Walford book but I'll try to find one). I think I understand the basic principles pretty well; of course, the devil's in the details, it's the *application* of the principles that's the real challenge. I got into this thing sort of backwards. After years of carrying around a big load of belly fat (and I'm now 67) I finally became convinced that I was needlessly endangering my own survival. My blood pressure was high; my breath often seemed ketotic; I felt rotten much of the time. Six years ago I had an emergency gall bladder operation; the gb turned out to be partially gangrenous by the time they got it out; the hospitalisation was worse than the gb attack -- with their morphine, their antibiotics, etc., they managed to give me a massive case of oral thrush (candidiasis - yeast infection) as well as edema so severe my genitalia were swollen to basketball proportions; docs and nurses were unconcerned, apparently regarding all that as normal. The thrush was so bad I could *feel* the yeast sizzling and fermenting in my throat, like a continuous alka-seltzer. I got myself signed out as quickly as I could, threw away the Nystatin they sent me home with (for the thrush), bought a bottle of Bragg's Vinegar and stopped the thrush cold in its tracks in 24 hours. I had to get out fast before they killed me, lol. I quake with fear at the LD book's constant advice to "see your doctor" -- I haven't seen one since I got out of that hospital. If I'd been seeing one, I'm sure I'd already be on statins and heaven knows what else; most mainstream medics these days seem to have completely sold out to Big Pharma. So I just decided to start losing weight. I'm 5' 11" and I guess I weighed something like 215 pounds (I had no scale when I started so I'm just estimating) and I looked like I was eight months pregnant -- NOT good for a 67-y.o. guy! Now two and a half months later I'm closing in on 170 pounds. There's still some visible fat and I think I'd like to get down to 160 (what I weighed in my late twenties) and then perhaps gain back a bit in lean muscle mass. (There's a brand-new community fitness centre in the village near me; 30 years ago I learned resistance training with free weights so it would be simple to take that up again, and very much to the point given my age + my interest in CR; maintaining bone mass and muscle are obvious concerns on both counts.) I've only just bitten the bullet and started trying to count calories to see how much I'm eating or not eating just now. Last couple days it looks like it's on the order of 1000 cal/day; I was surprised it was that low, but I've cut way back on how much I eat, slashing portion sizes and just not eating things like ice cream and cheddar cheese. Hunger pangs were quite annoying at first, but the old body switched into fat-burning mode pretty easily and I don't have much trouble with that now. Perhaps my weight has come down somewhat rapidly, but that's the way it happened; once I hit 170 (and I'm nearly there now) maybe I can slow things down a bit for those last ten pounds. I'm a bit surprised at some of the posts here, the fear of carbohydrates, the concern with eating the minimum possible protein that some seem to have. I didn't read much of that in "The Longevity Diet" -- the emphasis there seemed to be on flexibility and moderation, with very little emphasis on prohibiting any classes of foods other than perhaps fast-food junk. Personally I LOVE whole grains and would not willingly go without my hot cereal in the winter. I take delight in oats, spelt, rye, kamut, buckwheat, quinoa etc. I also enjoy peanut butter; the hardest thing for me is cutting back hard on my consumption of that item (it IS rather energy dense and fatty). At the moment, while I'm burning fat and losing weight, I'm relying a lot on big salads and soups with lots of veggies in them. I keep thinking, "this would be so much *easier* if I lived in an urban centre with big supermarkets." I'm in a very rural area of Manitoba and our small local co-op supermarkets just don't get the variety of fresh produce that I see when I go to the city -- which happens only every couple of months unfortunately. I could really enjoy all those exotic vegetables (assuming I could afford them, that is; I'm retired and pretty poor). My wife is Not Interested and has a pretty typical North American diet; so I cook for myself and don't have a lot of time or energy for elaborate recipes; that's not a bad thing necessarily -- pure and simple is often tastier and more enjoyable anyway. I do have one serious question for you experienced CR people: obviously if my daily caloric intake is only around 1000, much of the deficit is currently being made up by body fat that's being consumed. As my BMI gets lower, at what point will I suddenly start to experience much more serious hunger? Or will that happen at all? My BMI is 24 at the moment; at my target weight it would be 22.3; 20 seems like it would be a bit extreme, but who knows. At this point I only know I'm still not anything like skinny. (I think I probably *need* that resistance training to build up some muscle mass. I do occasional heavy household lifting and snow shoveling but that's not consistent enough to really keep in shape.) I want to know basically if I'll hear alarm bells when the surplus body fat's all gone. Anyway, there's my introduction to the forums, FWIW! :D
  16. JJeffreyBragg

    Another Newbie

    Thanks for the archives link, Keith. It says at page bottom on the actual forums that the forums are read-only and that this is a temporary situation. Is that correct? And if so, any info as to when active posting status will be restored? Actually, though, what I'm really looking for is a *support group* list that routinely deals with newbie questions and concerns. From what I read of the archives (in both sections) it looks like newbie posts are rare and most of the traffic has to do with scientific papers and technical issues. I'm looking for help with nuts-and-bolts questions about CR in practice, particularly when getting started and becoming accustomed to a radically different way of eating and living. Any suggestions? Isn't there an email list or forum somewhere that has such a focus? Thanks! ~Jeffrey
  17. JJeffreyBragg

    Another Newbie

    Dave, I've already signed up for the "CR Support Group" Yahoo email list, but there doesn't seem to be much activity there either. I note you gave me email list addresses for two other email lists that are neither Yahoo nor Google groups. How does one subscribe to those two lists? I Googled and found a subscription form but have no idea if it's current or not. Meanwhile I continue trying to learn a bit more about CR itself in practice (as distinguished from CR/paleo, CR/vegan and the rest of the hybrids). Rereading the "Longevity Diet" book it finally crashed through to me that the preferred CR target weight (for those that have one) is based upon one's "set point," the weight one's body naturally tends towards and probably was in early adulthood. In my case that is probably 165 or 170 pounds; as best I can recall that was my weight range in my late twenties and early thirties. Later on, that changed first to 180, then to 190 and then upwards of 200 pounds; but I was manifestly quite overweight then. Picking 170 as a probable set point, then CR target is 10% to 25% less, according to the book. Let's see... hmmm... that's anywhere from 153 pounds to 127.5 pounds -- eek!!! :o That's a bit scary. However, getting to 170 from an estimated 215 hasn't been all that difficult even though most of that journey happened without benefit of the excellent advice in the "Longevity Diet" book. I'm just starting to crack through 170 at the moment. Maybe it won't be *too* tough to make it into the actual CR target zone in the fulness of time. ;) What puzzles me is that it seems to take (for me) a daily caloric allowance of 1000-1200 to make any discernible progress. As my diet continues to improve hunger is less of a problem, but I'm not sure why it's taking that much of a reduction to lose weight. I would have thought that 1500-1750 would have done the trick. I'm sure I must have been consuming at least 3000 calories/day (if not more than that) before I started this. Of course I am 67 and fairly sedentary in winter these days (well, it was -24C with a windchill well below minus thirty today, which has something to do with it -- though I did go for a walk with the dog even so, I've been feeling so much better with 45 pounds gone). Maybe I just don't need as much as I think to keep me going. Could be a question of needing to form some new eating habits, I suppose. Jeffrey
  18. JJeffreyBragg

    Another Newbie

    Thanks so much for your welcome and your thoughtful response to my initial post, Dave. Believe me, I understand the difficulties with new forums, getting people to participate, weaning members from email lists to forums, etc.! I've been through that mill several times; I like forums because it's all *there* in front of you, easy to follow the development of a thread, and prebuilt forums apps like phpBB and IP Board are pleasant to use and easy on the eyes. Yet so many people stick stubbornly to the old email lists. I guess in the end we need both options. I'm relieved to discover that most of my instincts seem to be reasonably well on target. Funny... it's only now after having already lost forty pounds that I'm suddenly starting to *feel better* on a regular daily basis. I'm sleeping more soundly, having less trouble with depression, even feeling a bit more energetic. But it took two months and a loss of forty pounds before any of that started to kick in! I've already implemented several of the things you suggest. I'm relieved to hear your strong vote for the whole grains, and pleasantly startled to hear the recommendation to get 25% of caloric intake from fats; I have never shared the general horror of fats that seems to be such a big feature both of mainstream allopathic medical advice and of most weight-loss programmes. One book I read (by a medical doctor) stressing dietary defenses against strokes and heart disease insisted that egg yolks are "out" entirely, I think on the unproven assumption that their cholesterol goes straight onto the arterial walls. Mind you, I now eat eggs very rarely, but when I do they are whole eggs, which I enjoy as an occasional treat. I haven't enough patience for rigorous calory counting; to do it right would mean weighing (or carefully measuring) much of what goes into my meals, and that's entirely too obsessive/compulsive for me. I don't cook by recipes and measured ingredients. So I tend to regulate things by keeping a diary of what I'm eating (which is new for me and plenty compulsive enough at that) and keeping a close eye on the weigh scale to tell me what's happening. It seems to be working well enough, especially since I continue to research my calories and thus to grow gradually more familiar with the caloric values of various foods. I'm looking forward to getting back into resistance training; I enjoyed my spell of weight-lifting thirty years ago and have tried now and again to take it up again at home, which hasn't worked for lack of a dedicated space. Now there's a little community fitness centre in reach that may be all I need to get going again. I regard CR as something worthwhile in and of itself, regardless of whether the theory behind it is proven or unproven. It *feels* better to weigh less, it's nicer to enjoy a higher-quality diet without stuffing oneself, and what *is* proven is the immediate effect on various health biomarkers. That's good enough for me right there; if indeed it should turn out that there are longevity benefits, well so much the better. As in your own case, two meals a day, six hours apart, with perhaps a small late snack at night occasionally, works well for me. My body feels like it needs the fasting period. And yes, I plunged into it without even knowing I was doing CR at first; I was just determined to eat less and to slash portion sizes; it also made sense to start by eliminating a few of the obvious fattening items in which I knew I overindulged. Then later on the discovery of CR was an "Ah!" moment; itmade wonderful sense and gave me a framework upon which to order my knowledge and expand it. CR is pragmatic enough to appeal greatly to me. What gets me shaking my head, though, is the various strange combinations of CR with other dietary disciplines that one notices in some of the posts here. Particularly the vegan and the paleo combinations. I would have thought that the average vegan would find CR superfluous -- doesn't it virtually happen on its own for them? And I'm totally unable to comprehend how paleo and CR mesh, really; but then, I tend to think paleo is based on a large overlooked fact: the fact that there's no evidence that paleolithic man was longer-lived than modern man, rather the opposite, and that evolution does not select for longevity, because the evolutionary process is so directly related to reproduction. (Once the organism has reproduced, a new selection cycle begins and what happens to the superannuated reproductors no longer matters in an evolutionary sense!) Anyway I think it would be *harder* to maintain a CR regimen whilst maintaining the paleo bias for large quantities of fatty meat. Thanks for the various links and the list references. Those will be helpful in getting better oriented. And again thanks for the friendly welcome and the refusal to scold me! It feels good to be here.
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