Who among us never said, “if I knew now what I knew then…”? As I transition to the new website, I’m painstakingly reviewing old posts to make sure they are relevant to the new direction. As I examine each one, I find myself repeating “if I knew now what I knew then.” This post from July 30, 2015 strikes a chord because it’s from when I just started working on The Karma Sense Eating Plan (available here). Some recent followers and readers probably never saw it before. For those who’ve been around awhile, I’ve annotated it with “what I know now” stuff.
[Original] Executive Summary
I’ve been transitioning from writing a blog about the Karma Sense Eating Plan [when referring to the book, it’s now officially The Karma Sense Eating Plan] to writing a book about the Karma Sense Eating Plan. Noob that I am, I predict this will be at least a 6-month process. [It was a 7-month process] For those of you who are continuing with the plan, I’ll keep providing updates of relevant information that I uncover along the way and respond to any comments or questions I receive. So as it relates to the Karma Sense Eating Plan, this is a Post-Blog Post.
In this Post-Blog Post, we’ll examine some relevant information for each of the 5 mantras. And because I’m feeling nostalgic, we’ll do it in the style of Casey Kasem (which is geezer speak for Ryan Seacrest) and start from the top…
Mantra #5 Eat Good Fats Daily and Get a Balance of the Different Types of Good Fats
The description of mantra #5 of the Karma Sense Eating Plan does not support the consumption of industrial, artificial trans fats in any form and at any quantity. Some readers feel this is contrary to my claim that the Karma Sense Eating Plan is inclusive and does not restrict any foods. But with trans fats, I’ve found a loophole. Because artificial trans fats are not food. Artificial trans fats are poison. The National Academy of Sciences (an organization that provides nutritional guidance based on something known as “Science”.) declared that “there is no safe level of trans fatty acids and people should eat as little of them as possible” This conclusion is based on significant research, including this meta-analysis (meta-analyses are considered the most reliable of all research methods) that says eliminating trans fats from the diet will prevent a quarter-million cardiovascular deaths in America alone.
You can learn more about the dangers of trans fats in this excellent article from Examine.com.
Mantra #4 Eat Whole Food Carbohydrates After Vigorous Exercise
Some people who read the description of Mantra #4 feel I am a carb bigot. This surprises me. The second part of the description clearly states some of the undesirable effects of low carbohydrate consumption. But besides these hormonal issues, I don’t even believe carbs make you fat. It is absolutely true that low carb diets help you lose weight and body fat. This occurs through a number of mechanisms, the most important being ketosis which is a normal and healthy process of mobilizing fat stores to feed your body’s cells in the absence of sugar.
But the fact that limiting carbs helps people lose weight does not mean the opposite is true…that eating carbs makes you gain weight. There are a lot of fallacies about the role of carbohydrates and insulin in weight gain, but research does not support most of these claims. An in-depth exploration of this can be found in this blog post by Dr. Stephen Guyenet.
When it comes to weight gain, only the simple equation of “calories consumed exceeds calories burned” matters. Your metabolism drives most of the right-hand side of that equation and people metabolize carbohydrates in wildly different ways, but the Karma Sense approach to carbohydrates is for you to enjoy them in a way that takes the metabolism variables out of the equation, after vigorous exercise.
[I recently posted an infographic from Precision Nutrition about the problems with counting calories consumed (posted on my social media properties Facebook, LinkedIn, Twitter) . In the near future, I’ll post one about the problems with counting calories burned. These excellent resources do not change the claim “When it comes to weight gain, only the simple equation of ‘calories consumed exceeds calories burned.'” When we lose weight, it is because this equation applied (unless your weight loss is due to the removal of part of your body). But counting calories is not the best way for most people to lose weight and that is for all the reasons stated in the infographics.
When I talk about the simple equation in any of my writing, it’s not because I believe you should count calories. I talk about it to put some of the crazier diets into perspective. A certain diet may cleanse your innards, detoxify your outtards(?), or even turn your betweenards from acidic to basic, but if it’s helping you lose weight, it’s because you’re burning more calories than you’re taking in. And there’s an infinite number of ways to do that. Let’s find the way that works for you. You don’t need to drop that dinner roll just yet.]
Mantra #3 Eat More Vegetables and Fruits
The description of mantra#3 included a discussion about how our tastes for food develop. It’s a complex melange (which I believe is French for gallimaufry which is also French) of genes, habits, memories, and so on. I offered up cilantro as an example of the genetic influence.
There is a known single-nucleotide polymorphism (aka SNP or snip) in the human genome that seems to affect how people perceive the flavor of cilantro. If you are one of the 10% of the population whose genome at SNP Rs72921001 has a cytosine molecule at this location instead of an adenine molecule, then you likely think cilantro tastes like soap.
As a kid, my “extensive” vocabulary inspired my parents to frequently introduce me to the flavor of soap. Between that experience and my obsession with all things food-related, I became curious about this phenomenon. Several months ago when enjoying a pop (which I believe is midwestern for “brewski”) at a local watering hole, my neighbor who was sitting next to me was adamant about making sure the nachos he ordered did not include cilantro. I asked him if he knew if he was one of “those people” and he did not know. I asked him if he thought cilantro tasted like soap and he said “yes, if the soap was pulled from a public toilet that had never been flushed.”
Well, it turns out his aversion may only be partially due to SNP Rs72921001. Recently the FDA issued an alert about cilantro imported from Mexico causing what I will politely call “stomach upset”. An inspection at the source found what I will not-so-politely call “human feces and toilet paper” in the growing fields. [The FDA updated the alert to include the process the FDA uses to prevent you from being a victim of this problem. The cilantro you buy from trusted sources should now be fine.]
If you’re a cilantro lover, cilantro is very easy to grow yourself. So this distressing news should not be a reason to pooh-pooh cilantro.
Before Continuing with the Countdown, How About a Long Distance Dedication?
Mantra #2 Eat Protein in Every Meal
The Karma Sense Eating Plan encourages intake of protein and makes no judgments as to whether your protein of choice is animal based or plant based. To some, it’s a no-brainer that killing or exploiting animals for food is bad Karma. I’m not one of those. While I like to get the majority of my protein from plant sources, I am not opposed to animal sources. Furthermore, there are many examples in which eating animals is humane and conversely, eating plants is not humane.
But there definitely ARE instances in which the treatment of farmed animals is inhumane. Factory farms that breed animals to unnatural proportions to suit our tastes, pack the animals in tight unlit quarters, and expose human farm workers to hazardous conditions are obviously cruel. Yet many turn a blind eye to these conditions because they believe the alternative is more expensive food.
It’s true, compassionate farming is often more expensive. But a big part of that is because factory farms do not have to bear the full cost of their operations (e.g. pollution, health and safety of workers, feeds subsidized by our taxes, etc.) It would be great if there was the same level of moral outrage for the everyday mistreatment of factory farmed animals as there is for Cecil the Lion. But the Karma Sense Eating Plan is not preachy in that way.
What KSEP does ask in the Sense component is that you acknowledge the source of your food prior to eating. It asks you to recognize that everything you are about to consume was alive at some point. You extend your own life at the expense of some other organism’s life. You extend other’s lives by extending your own. The food you are about to eat lived its life at the expense of some other carbon-based plant or creature (it had to eat too). So please go through this thought exercise before eating and in the end, I have confidence you will do the right thing.
Mantra #1 Eat Slowly and Stop Before You’re Full
Meanwhile, in what I thought was the least controversial of all the mantras, there was a minor “stink” about what I wrote for this mantra and it wasn’t the usual comments on my “stinky” writing skills. The reader asked to hear more of the science around Eat Slowly and Stop Before You’re Full. Well, this mantra is more about Karma Sense than Karma Science.
There is a theory that eating more slowly engages a hormonal reaction that accelerates and prolongs a feeling of satisfaction. Unfortunately, research does not confirm this theory. In fact, this study from early 2015 confirms that eating breakfast more slowly helps people feel satisfied for longer but it could not confirm that hormones were a contributing cause. In fact, the author’s conclusion pretty much was “it just works.”
And A Different Countdown
Since completing the blog version of the Karma Sense Eating Plan, my focus is on working on the book. I am confident that I could do a half-a$$ed job by taking what I currently have and converting it but I am intent on making a complete a$$ of myself instead. To create a professional version of KSEP, [I no longer refer to The Karma Sense Eating Plan as KSEP. Often I use the term “the plan” instead. You can do whatever you want.] I’ll need to make some investments so between new research, rewrites, edits, my day job, and oh year, saving the world, I am working up the business plan. In the end, I want to make sure that there is a quality product and that it can generate enough income to support the charitable donations that are the ultimate goal.
I am telling you all this because it is an old coaching trick for establishing accountability. The more I publicly state I have a publication goal date of first quarter 2016, the more likely I’ll achieve it. I appreciate your assistance in this accountability exercise. [The trick worked. I’m proud of the results. I have to sell a lot of books before getting profitable and I have several options for getting us there. I post the status on this aspect of the book here.]
If I knew then what I know now, not much would change. That’s what Karma Sense is all about. The laws of science are constant. We just learn more along the way.
One thing that is changing is our name and website. More on that later.