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Sunday, 17 November 2019


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I pre-ordered that book a while back. Looking forward to it. He's been teasing bits and pieces with his videos.

I'll have to try the vinegar and lemon. The past several days I've tried a teaspoon of ginger powder in hot water (cheating with a little honey to help it go down). That's also supposed to help weight and some other things, according to Greger. Not as bad as it sounds, but definitely strong.

Also back at the gym, lifting weights and working the treadmill. That makes a big difference. Can't stand staring at the brick wall and walking, but I make it through with podcasts.

Re Brazil nuts and selenium: Selenium is in fact an important micronutrient, but, as you correctly said, high doses are toxic. Poisoning symptoms have been reported to set on above 3 mg/day. To put this into perspective: You would have to eat 200 g of Brazil nuts per day to take up poisonous doses of selenium! This amount of nuts also makes for about 1,300 kcal and contains about 130 g of fatty acids, so you'll likely become sick before poisoning yourself. One thing to keep an eye on, however, is Aflatoxin. This highly cancerogenic substance is produced by mold fungi, and shells of Brazil nuts from Brazil are often contaminated with it.

Best, Thomas

Grits make a great breakfast, much more nutritious than Oatmeal. BTW I detest smoothies, at any time of day—yech!

And I abhor Iceberg and Romain. But I eat a lot of fresh Baby Spinach, plus Kale and Arugula. And it ain't a real salad without White Onions and Mushrooms.


I'm not much good at rigorous anything, but I've experienced a number of diets, and finally have honed it down to this: to lose weight, only calories count.

Suggesting a particular diet for a general audience is fruitless (no pun intended) because everybody is different. Also, those rigorous diets almost always fail, because after you've reached your goal, you go back to eating like you always did, and get fat again.

In the last couple of years, I've lost a lot of weight, and I don't think I'll regain it, because I'm happy enough eating as I do.

Here's my diet: I'm a mostly-veggie, so, unlike most Americans. I can use a little extra protein in my diet. When I get up in the morning, when I feel hungry, I drink a 340 calorie protein smoothie from the supermarket. That alone will hold me for a few hours. When I get hungry in the afternoon, I eat a footlong "Veggie Delight" from Subway (bread, tomatoes, lettuce, onions, spinach, green peppers, cucumbers.) That gets me a nutritious raw salad wrapped in some carbs, but no fat at all. Now I'm up to around 800 calories, and not too hungry, until late in the day.

Then I'll eat something else -- a salad, oatmeal, a peanut butter sandwich, whatever, I don't care much. Later at night, I may drink a bottle of hard cider, another 180 calories. I'm never hungry, my caloric intake averages around 1800 or so , and I slowly but steadily lose weight. Oh, and I take a multi-vitamin in the morning, don't really think it's necessary, but, who knows?

Exercise is good for you, but don't think it has much effect on weight. Maybe some people can lose through exercise, but I can't, because exercise makes me hungry. I only do formal exercise because I'm at the age when I have to; but I loathe it, even as I faithfully do it.

I suggest everybody craft a diet of their own, keeping an eye on nutrition, and not trying to lose all the weight in a month. Think about getting leaner by Christmas -- Christmas of 2020.

I am glad food talk is again legal here. My morning smoothie consists of several handfuls of organic spinach, organic blueberries, 1 lemon squeezed well, an small handful of organic cherry tomatoes and a banana blended in nutmilk with a small shot of honey for fun. I try to include a handful or two of nuts everyday.

Tell them to search for (OT) on your site - they will see how often you cover other ground and send you ship-loads of stuff ;^)

"But there are some things that are much more likely to be contaminated by pesticides."

It is more the environment than the food that gets contaminated by conventional agriculture. I buy organic, but I do it for the water, the soil, the air, and the wildlife. I'm not sure it does much for me directly.

And artificial fertilizers, not just pesticides, are a big part of the problem. They run off from the Midwest (where all the animal feed is grown: corn and soy) into the Mississippi River and then into the Gulf of Mexico. As a result, there is a dead zone in the Gulf around the size of New Jersey. Organic doesn't use artificial fertilizer (a fossil-fuel product).

A must-read, eye-opening article about artificial fertilizer:


Salads are a pain to make. I have a good friend who, back in his single days (long ago and far away) decided the most odious task of making dinner was salad. So, he had an idea: he went to the grocery store and bought a lot of vegetables and an assortment of plastic containers. He went home and made himself a big batch of salads and put them in the freezer. He was rather surprised when he thawed the first one. Now, you can buy salads in bags but back in those days, the technology just hadn't caught up to my friend's ideas. Salads are good for you but don't freeze them. And, watch the dressing.


In the early 1960s I was doing thyroid research at the National Cancer Institute in Bethesda when a report in the NYT appeared just before Thanksgiving claiming that cranberries “caused thyroid cancer”. Obviously the cranberry farmers in Massachusetts were up in arms because the article questioned the safety of their product at the time of peak demand. My boss, a world expert in thyroid tumor genesis, was asked to investigate and comment to the Times. By his calculations, cranberries could possibly influence the development thyroid cancer if you ate 10 pounds per day for 5 years and even then it was far from a certainty.

A letter was published in the NYT a few days later debunking the whole idea as unfounded but we both suspected that the mischief had already been done, at least for that Thanksgiving.

The original article must have appeared on a slow news day. Enjoy your Thanksgiving turkey with all of the fixings.

George Andros

Somewhere, some long time ago, I read that the Italian custom is to follow the main course with the salad. True or not, I don't know.

I have a hunch that "salad first" was invented by restaurants, to fill the time until the entree could be prepared and delivered.

With regard to the so-called "Clean Fifteen", it's good to buy organic produce not only for the health of the consumer but also for the health of the workers who produce the food. Even producing a crop that is relatively safe for consumers exposes workers to dangerous pesticides.

Thanks for sharing this Michael. I would love to buy the ebook while avoiding Amazon. A pdf format that I can open with Goodreader would be great. I already had my first cider vinegar soda!

I think the thing about breakfast predates the cereal companies' malign interventions. There's an old saying: 'Breakfast like a king, dine like a gentleman, sup(per) like a pauper'. As a general indicator that one should eat most before the body is likeliest to utilise the calories, and least when it isn't, it seems pretty sound advice.

And obviously, whether king, gentleman or pauper, its best to eat a well-balanced, as-far-as-possibly unprocessed diet that doesn't sway too far towards any new wonder-theory (whose half-life is likely to be less than that of my unwashed socks).

The Dirty Dozen list has been debunked. Furthermore, most dietary pesticides people consume are naturally occurring pesticides plants themselves produce. And many of those plant produced toxins cause cancer in rodents in high enough doses according to Dr. Bruce Ames, who invented the Ames Test for carcinogenicity (a test I learned how to do in college). https://www.acsh.org/news/2017/06/13/9999-pesticides-we-eat-are-produced-plants-themselves-11415

A novel approach to the scientific process in the link to brazil nuts.
No need to verify or reproduce the data from the "research". It is up to the non-believers to produce data showing that it doesn't work.

...cravings for the sugar, alcohol, oil and grease.

Not everyone is like you—many mistakenly make this generalization.

I buy sugarless spaghetti-sauce which I use to make whole-wheat Spaghetti Bolognese (ground turkey). I buy 92-95 percent lean ground beef to make grease-less hamburgers (whole wheat bun, kosher dills, sliced white onions). The only oil I use is extra-virgin olive-oil—mixed with vinegar for salad-dressing.

I eat lots of berries, beans, hominy and way too much pastrami and cheese (cottage and cheddar). I've been cooking/eating this way for over forty years. I don't have a cholesterol problem, I'm not diabetic, and I'm not allergic to anything.

I think North America is the first culture on earth that has forgotten how to eat. I blame the price of sugar. Sugar is basically free, addictive and harmful.

When I lived in New York, it was very difficult to find bread without sugar. I think it is worst in other North American cities. In other parts of the world, only things that are meant to be sweet contain sugar.

Because sugar is free, it is what poor people turn to for calories around the world, and why obesity is mostly a poor person's problem. When sugar was expensive (about 400 years ago), obesity was a rich man's problem.

Is WFPB the best eating protocol ever devised? Probably. But the sugar epidemic seems like low hanging fruit (pun intended) of diet problems.

I like Brazil nuts. If selenium is good for a nice toning of prints it is also good for your body! :-D
And indeed, I never had problems with cholesterol!
Good article, btw!

Speaking of lemons...... I don't claim any particular knowledge about diets and nutrition, but every morning for the last 25 years I have had a whole squeezed lemon, with some tomato juice, ground pepper and tabasco. A kind of virgin mary. Mostly I like it because it gives me a nice refreshing kick, and I don't like coffee.

Not saying anything in particular, but in the those 25 years I can only remember contracting one or two of what we call in the UK "colds"--ie viruses or summat.

Incidentally, I also calculated the cost of eating one fresh lemon every day for 25 years.....

I for one enjoy your articles on nutricion. I spent my working life mostly in oilfield camps where food choices were limited. Time off was devoted to drinking. In my forties I quit the drinking and smoking, but still pretty much ignored my health otherwise.
Now in my seventies, I pick and chose the advice I take. I believe the studies that recomend great quantities of coffee, and small amounts of red wine. I will try the vinegar, and have ordered the book.

should you want to immerse yourself in some REALLY detailed stuff about diet, health, longevity, etc., try this source:


Re peeling garlic cloves. I didn't believe this either, but it actually works!

Save the Mennonites the trouble!


[That can't possibly work! But I'm going to try it. --Mike]

I'm not familiar with the work of the Cochrane Group but would put your information up against anyone's anytime. We each have to be informed consumers, and that means sometimes moving in directions not supported by prevailing "best practices". For me that includes a WFPB diet (actually lacto-vegetarian) for two decades now, liberal use of the myriad of resources on the Web, and active discussion of said info with my medical providers, when needed. Perhaps the Cochrane Group will be one of those resources in the future.

I like the nutrition posts but like everything else in life, extremism eats the bandwidth. Sure, new science comes along with small tweaks and certain people surely benefit from different things. But in the end, if most people just eliminated the low-hanging culprits, it would solve many problems. Processed sugar is a poison. Try to cut it out as much as possible. Eat as much "real food" as possible. Stuffing yourself at every meal probably isn't good. Meat every meal probably isn't good. Soda is bad. Candy is bad. Water is good. Exercise is good. Yoyo dieting with weight going up and down is probably not good. Personally, I think that any "diet" that is so extreme that you set a goal of following it for a certain number of days, is doomed to fail. You either change your lifestyle or you don't. You habits are either good or bad. If you generally have good eating habits, you can have a nice dessert with no negative impact. If your general eating habits are bad, you will be unhealthy. I believe all that to be generally true for the overwhelming majority of people. Some people certainly have unique genetic circumstances that require more attention. Headed upstairs for some beef stew. Grass fed stew meat, fresh vegetables. Some dark chocolate waiting for me when I'm done!

Yet more diet stuff. I checked the reference you quoted on the effects of fruit juice on cancer. The experiment they did was to drop fruit juices of various types and concentrations onto cancerous liver cells in vitro. They found that lemon and cranberries did best at inhibiting the growth of the cancerous cells. This, of course, tells us absolutely nothing about the effects of fruit juices on the human body when ingested and it it unscientific and misleading to suggest that drinking these juices will have any effect in inhibiting or curing cancer. If it were that simple we’d have got rid of cancer years ago.

I know that you can find pros and cons for nearly everything on the web but the article on the site
sciencebasedmedicine.org/death-as-a-foodborne-illness-curable-by-veganism/ is worth reading.

mediafacts.org says the following about your source:

Overall, we rate NutritionFacts.org a moderate Pseudoscience source due to exaggerated health claims.

I’m happy that your diet makes you feel better but experiments on a sample of one -yourself- have little or no scientific weight. They ignore many things, not least the placebo effect.

It is generally accepted, with a fair amount of rigorous scientific study, that a diet with lots of plant foods and less but not no red meat is beneficial but it’s by no means necessary for a long and and healthy life.

I’ve read and enjoyed the blog, even when it’s not about photography, for many years but the increasing amount of food fad stuff is a bit of a turn off.

Note to Trevor: In my opinion, the Cochrane Collaboration railroaded Dr Peter Gøtzsche

Read more at: https://health.10ztalk.com/2018/09/17/cochrane-collaboration-expels-dr-peter-gotzsche/

Given that a lot of the discussion on this topic centres on the question of evidence or the lack of it, this article in the BMJ may amuse you: https://www.bmj.com/content/319/7225/1618

Re Michael Greger. Dr Michael Greger is a self admitted vegan, who has published useful information on animal diseases and their presence in the food supply (among many other publications). He is a founder member of the American College of Lifestyle Medicine: this group published a recommendation on 25th Sept 2019 that. ..." an eating plan (be) based predominantly on a variety of minimally processed vegetables, fruits, whole grains, legumes, nuts and seeds." Sure sounds like veganism to me.
All I can offer in rebuttal is a quote from Ben Goldacre, an English sceptic, who noted "The most important take-home message with diet and health is that anyone who ever expresses anything with certainty is basically wrong, because the evidence for cause and effect in this area is almost always weak and circumstantial…" (Bad Science 2008).

John Wayne suite, Hogue Hospital intensive care unit, Newport Beach, CA.

Photo made 1-29-2019 using an iPhone SE (no flash, no HDR).

Every intensive care room, on Hogue's 10th floor, has a window. Mr Wayne's had two—one south facing overlooking Newport Bay, and another looking north.

Anywhoo, I got a lot of blood work done over the next several months. The Doctors had me on a high-protien low-carb diet, and it worked-out well for me. I'll probably live to be 100 ...

Mike, I have to take Trevor Johnson’s point of view: you simply aren’t an authoritative source or aggregator of nutritional information. I know enough medical science pros to realize that this is not a field for casual non-science amateurs. (And it’s about as far from “The Online Photographer” as you can get!)

But since this is a subject area that interests you why not start a separate blog for it? You might manage to attract discussions with good authorities on the subject.

[Ken, you scold! I am an authoritative source or aggregator of information about pool tables, stereo speakers, old roadsters, vinyl, books, dead photographers, old movies, etc., etc., etc., but not diet? I'm not an expert on anything. I'm a blogger. It was a book recommendation. Point of the post: buy this book. If you don't want to, don't? --Mike]

Keep up the "off-topic" posts! I appreciate the different ideas about what to eat as I'm always looking for inspiration and ingredients to experiment with.

FWIW I have been mostly vegetarian for 20+ years and endorse a plant-based whole foods approach. Recently I've been experimenting with fermented foods, and really enjoy cooking with miso- great for soups, sautes and grilling.

Note there was a post above praising the American Council on Science and Health, which is an industry front group you can safely ignore.

I noticed his latest video is a short talk on some of the highlights in his new book. Quite informative and with plenty of his goofy jokes.


Yes to salad for breakfast! A go-to for me, especially in hot weather, is greens topped with an egg (preferably sunny-side-up and crispy around the edge), with many add-in options to suit mood (berries, nuts, seeds, chopped veggies, cut fruit, etc.), drizzled with balsamic vinegar, pinch of sea salt.

As for sugar, I've successfully weaned myself off several vices, including sugar, by trading out quantity in favor of quality and intensity (especially of the non-sugar component). Worked especially well with my favorite sweet: chocolate.

Once I'd had the good stuff, it was easy to refuse the junk (in fact I found it gross). It turned out "the good stuff" was both more satisfying and less addictive, encouraged savoring rather than consuming, engaged more of my senses and pleasure responses, and even intellect (such as it is). Maybe it was still a fix, but it was a very different kind of fix--more human, more humane, more interesting and engaging--like the difference between fine cinema and summer blockbuster movie. And it began a diminishing spiral of consumption.

Not saying this will work for everyone or every thing, but I will say that, as experiments go, it's an especially enjoyable design.

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