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CRON Conundrum: Menus and Recipes

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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? :huh:

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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? :huh:

 

Well, it's not quite as empty as you suggest. There's another very active section of the site here:

http://arc.crsociety.org/index.php

 

Despite the fact that it's called an archive, several people post messages there via email on a daily basis and have lots of stimulating conversations.

The CR forum is really about discussing scientific research and perhaps specific problems related to CR. The Community forum is for everything else. The search functionality can be very useful.

 

Basically any on-line society is run by a dedicated group of users that usually number from 10 to about 50 or so. Others drop by, post for a while, then may leave and come back when they find problems.

 

With respect to recipes and other such stuff, it's been tried before, but what's really needed is an admin with the time to organize and monitor the submissions for recipes. An open model would just lead to embarrassing trouble.

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Well, it's not quite as empty as you suggest. There's another very active section of the site here:

http://arc.crsociety.org/index.php

 

Despite the fact that it's called an archive, several people post messages there via email on a daily basis and have lots of stimulating conversations.

The CR forum is really about discussing scientific research and perhaps specific problems related to CR. The Community forum is for everything else. The search functionality can be very useful.

 

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!

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Well, it's not quite as empty as you suggest. There's another very active section of the site here:

http://arc.crsociety.org/index.php

 

Despite the fact that it's called an archive, several people post messages there via email on a daily basis and have lots of stimulating conversations.

 

<snipped>

 

Hi Keith!

 

Actually, the archive IS an archive -- although there's a button on it for replying to an email, if you try it, you'll get a message that "the archives are currently read-only".

So, while the archives are very useful in themselves, they can't be used for posting yet.

 

-- Saul

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Well, it's not quite as empty as you suggest. There's another very active section of the site here:

http://arc.crsociety.org/index.php

 

Despite the fact that it's called an archive, several people post messages there via email on a daily basis and have lots of stimulating conversations.

 

<snipped>

Hi Keith!

 

Actually, the archive IS an archive -- although there's a button on it for replying to an email, if you try it, you'll get a message that "the archives are currently read-only".

So, while the archives are very useful in themselves, they can't be used for posting yet.

 

-- Saul

Heh he, well I guess it's a question of terminology. Here you post your message into a web page. In the "Archives" you post a message by sending an email to the email list. The mechanism is different, but your messages still show up on the internet somewhere!

 

Both the forum and archive have search functionality. The forum only needs a more active membership to make it seem alive.

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