Odds and Ends On a Windy Day

      25 Comments on Odds and Ends On a Windy Day

Tornado Alley

Looks like I’ll spending this evening catching up on the programming work I couldn’t do for much of the day.  I shut off the computers when lightning began striking in our neighborhood.  Soon after, the tornado alarms began sounding.  Apparently a tornado did indeed move through town just north of us.  We didn’t see it, but we sure felt the 80-mph winds.

I looked out a front window after the storm passed and saw this, which won’t be happy news for our landlord:

I’m not sure if the tree was felled by wind or lightning.  I know one of the lightning strikes sounded WAY close.  The area around the break in the trunk is black, but that could’ve been a rotting area that made it vulnerable to the wind.

The local schools also kept the kids inside past the usual dismissal time, until the storm had moved on.  When my daughter Sara (a huge fan of Man vs. Wild) came home and saw the tree, she decided to practice creating her own shelter from the natural environment:

Family Business

My older brother became a convert to low-carb eating last year and is 25 pounds lighter as a result.  Like me, he’s the type who wants to understand the science behind he diet, so he’s also read several of the books I recommend on the blog, including Good Calories, Bad Calories.

When the newspaper in his hometown of Springfield, Illinois ran an essay written by a lipophobe in which trans fats were described as “once believed  to be a more healthful alternative to saturated fatty acids,” he felt compelled to write a reply.  The newspaper published that reply today.  Here’s the opening:

Dr. Kemia Sarraf’s In My View column March 26 tells some truth by pointing out the evils of trans fats, but ignores the big lies in the current nutritional zeitgeist.

The innocuous explanation that trans fats were “once believed to be a more healthful alternative to saturated fatty acids” rings a bit hollow. In reality, the government nutritional “experts” and professional nags stampeded everyone into adopting trans fats — based on exactly zero clinical evidence against saturated fat.

You can read the rest of his reply here.  I guess if I need some vacation time, I should ask him to write a couple of guest posts.

The History of Medicine

I received this in an email:

2000 B.C. – “Here, eat this root.”
1000 B.C. – “That root is heathen, say this prayer.”
1850 A.D. – “That prayer is superstition, drink this potion.”
1940 A.D. – “That potion is snake oil, swallow this pill.”
1985 A.D. – “That pill is ineffective, take this antibiotic.”
2000 A.D. – “That antibiotic is artificial. Here, eat this root.”

Time to go eat some roots and then get back to the programming work.


25 thoughts on “Odds and Ends On a Windy Day

  1. Be

    gee whiz – I wonder where Gerald is getting his facts! I support ALL the Naughtons in their educational efforts – keep up the good work!

    Jerry (when he’s not signing a letter or document) has been zipping through books on the topic lately … not that he doesn’t trust me, of course. He’s one of those who can read a thick book in day or two and remember it all.

  2. Ryan

    Got to love that first comment on your brother’s reply to the essay.

    Yup, I saw that one. Same old, same old.

    The local delicacy he mentions — the horseshoe sandwich — is pretty wicked. Also wicked good. Fortunately, I’ve only had one of them in the past two years.

  3. Elenor

    Ah jiminy crickets!!

    Did you read the idiot who posted an answer to your brother? “Everything” in moderation” — strychnine? arsenic? poisonous mushrooms? Why not trans fats “in moderation”? Someone get that jerk a copy of your film!! I hope Gerald answers him!! (you know, throws some pearls before swine!? (And not even the good bacon kind of swine!!)

    Yup, I saw that. I would bang my head against my desk, but I kind of expected that kind of response.

  4. Angela

    Dear Mr. Naughton,

    Wow. All I can say is that you have really opened my eyes and changed my way of thinking about food. About a week ago I watched your movie Fat Head and I am 100% convinced that everything you presented is true. Scary, yes…but, oh, so true.

    Since watching it set a spark off in me and I have went back through your blog archives and am reading everything thus far written. I am almost caught up. I have been recommending your movie to people left and right. I want everyone to see it.

    I was recently diagnosed with Type II Diabetes. It came out of the blue and completely took me by surprise. I thought I was eating all the correct things. I was reading labels, watching calories, choosing low-fat alternatives. Who knew it was the carbs that were killing me? The unhealthy manufactured oils and corn that is present in every damn thing these day.

    I was sent to a nutritionist recently that recommended my diet contain 45 grams of carbs per meal with an extra 15 per day as snacks. That’s 150 grams of carbs per day! I wasn’t even eating anywhere near that amount and it seemed crazy to me to actually increase my carb intake to control my blood sugar. Shortly after, I watched your movie. Thank God for that! I have cut out most sugar and carbs and I feel so much better.

    Thank you, Mr. Naughton. I will continue to recommend your movie and the books available by the experts you have learned from.

    I’m sorry to hear about your diabetes. If you haven’t already come across them, I’d recommend Dr. Steve Parker’s book Conquer Diabetes and Prediabetes or Dr. Bernstein’s Diabetes Solution.

  5. eddie watts

    i hate that “everything in moderation” line
    my response now is “ok so i’ll need half a syringe of heroin, to fall off a garage roof and be hit by a 10mph car. i assume these are all moderate doses and therefore good for me?”

    soon shuts them up

    As well it should. Once you start learning about the biochemical effects of some foods, “moderation” becomes kind of a meaningless term.

  6. Lori

    Well, there ARE two kinds of carbs: bad and worse. (Hat tip to Dr. Michael Eades.)

    And YES! Everything in moderation–umm, including good health.

    Trans fats in moderation, anyone?

  7. Elizabeth

    Yipes about the tree!

    On a different note, I am really enjoying the higher protein and sat fats. Because now I’m not running to the pantry for chips/crackers/etc… or even to the freezer for icecream(as often). That one’s going to be a harder habit to kick. I look at all the carbs I’d been eating (even whole grain), I didn’t realize how many places they were!!!! We’d also been BIG on fruit and now we’re finding cheesy veggies is fun too! So we’re finally able to replace some of them.

    There is diabetes in my family (discovered in the last 2 years) and in my husbands as well PLUS heart disease on his side too. So this super important for me AND my kids!

    Once you break away from the carbs, you’ll probably miss them less and less over time. It used to take discipline for me to pass up foods like chips and fries. Now it doesn’t. They don’t appeal to me anymore.

  8. Mike

    It is always nice to see people rely upon properly executed science.

    Riddle me this – why is it that people with credentials – those with ‘MD’s’ in their title so often spout an opinion that is unfounded? I see it a lot. Even MD’s in the Paleo movement appear to constantly proffer their ‘qualified opinion’ rather than simple proven facts?

    So much damage has been done in the name of ‘I’m a Doctor, dammit’, you’d think that they *might* develop a touch of humility and follow the credo: Primum non nocere.

    I find it disturbing to look at my Doctor and realize that the best nutritional advice I get comes from a Programmer/Comic. No offense of course, I am sure you are a worthy Programmer – LOL

    Some doctor who appeared on Jimmy Moore’s show (Dr. Michael Fox, maybe) said most doctors form their opinions about diet and health based on newspaper and magazine articles — just like the rest of us. Not many of them dig out the journal articles and read the studies with a critical eye.

  9. Dy Stone

    Great letter by your brother – definitely ask him if he’ll write some guest posts!!!
    The misunderstandings and lies by the “current nutritional zeitgeist” continues to be perpetuated. I’m currently in college for a laboratory technology program, and I have to bite my tongue often when my instructors start talking about nutrition and cholesterol and tests to measure it, and how its because of the high fat diets people are eating. I would speak up but I need to pass, and annoying my teachers isn’t the way to do it *grin*, so I just bear it, and know that after I graduate, I can hopefully help spread the truth by being the truth – 40 pounds down so far and off cholesterol and high BP meds as a result.

    I’m with you … bite your tongue, pass your tests, then spread the truth when you’re out of school.

  10. Your Older Brother

    Well, judging by the responses to some of the initial online feedback on my editorial, I’m pretty sure that:

    A) the people answering came from here and

    B) the average IQ of SJ-R commenters just went up about 7 points.

    obscureknight (who I don’t intend to imply anything about, IQ-wise), the first commenter, is a regular commenter who I think represents most folks without a “dog in the hunt” — reasonably well read and suffering for it.


    Thanks — as anyone who’s spent even a little time here realizes, the editorial was just a synopsis of Fat Head and the rest of Tom’s work. The only credit I take is for agonizing over which 300 words to use (the SJ-R editorial limit).

    I appreciate the folks who chimed in at the SJ-R site, whoever you were. Kind of like walking down a mean street with 2 or 3 friends behind you who happen to be 6′ 5″ and weigh 230 lbs!


  11. Phil

    While the traditional horseshoe is terrible & delicious, you can make a (somewhat) better version pretty easily. Just skip the bread, fry the french fries in lard or bacon grease, and use good cheese & whole milk to make the sauce. Yeah, there are still plenty of carbs in the fries, but for an occasional treat (I always have one on my birthday, with a porkburger in place of the hamburger) it’s not too bad.

  12. monasmee

    Wish I had some family members who were as invested as your brother.

    Although, I did have an Uncle who could light his chest hair on fire….

    Two questions: 1) was the uncle from your Irish side of the family? 2) was there whiskey involved?

    I ask question number two because during my first-ever experience drinking, I spilled liquor on my jeans and decided the best way to avoid detection by my parents was to apply a match and burn it away.

  13. monasmee

    Wow, that alcohol-burning trick may come in handy someday….

    In my family’s case, whiskey was involved, but not from the Irish side.

    Let’s just say my Uncle was a welder, yet, could only perform such hair-razing feats of magic once a month.

  14. Amy Dungan

    Yikes! Glad that tree didn’t come down on the house! We had some nasty stuff here yesterday, but thankfully no sirens were needed.

    One of our neighbors who is attempting to sell her house did have a tree come down on it. I hope the damage is minimal.

  15. Cindy Drake

    I was at the dog park today (Anchorage, Alaska) and a group of people were talking about Fat Head! Someone was telling the others that they had to see this movie, so I jumped into the conversation and gave a very positive (and zealous!) review.

    And thank you for sending “Big Fat Fiasco” so quickly. Much appreciated!

    That is great news.

  16. savetheCows

    Dear Tom,

    Your butt smells and your documentary sucks.

    a CSPI loyalist and dedicated vegan for life

    Another vegan intellectual chimes in …

  17. Pam

    Doesn’t necessarily apply to this post, but…

    I went to a nutritionist about 15 months ago, before the birth of my 1st child (yes, I have 2, less than a year apart). I was interested in getting healthy, back in shape, and being a good role model for nutrition for my new baby (even though she wouldn’t be eating ‘food’ for sometime). I figured I had about a year to ‘get on the stick’ and then help my child get some good habits and learn about nutrition early on.

    First, the nutritionist gave me some science background about proteins, fats, and carbs in the body. She also talked about some scientific studies that talked about low-fat dieting, and the like. Eventually she explained how refined carbs/processed food were not healthy (especially low fat/no fat foods), butter was good, & gave me some recipes that included ingredients like sour cream, butter, and full fat cheese. Essentially, she told me a lot of what you included in FatHead.

    At the time, I was like, “What a whacko! I can’t believe I wasted my money for a one-on-one consultation with this woman! Where the heck did she get her degree!?” So, I decided I was going to have to do some research on my own.

    Fast forward 15 months & 2 babies later. I have read books, journal articles/studies, and watched ‘FatHead.’ Now I really know who the whacko is! She & you have the science & studies to back up everything. I’ve been eating low carb for about a month now, and I feel GREAT–better than I’ve ever felt on ANY low fat diet of the past. (And, believe me I’ve done practically EVERY ONE you can name!)

    I went back to the place where I met with the nutritionist this past Monday for a class called “Foods to Build Happy, Focused Kids.” This time, it was a much different experience. I got some more good information as well as recipes for my 15-month old. I was also able to recommend ‘FatHead’ to the room, since none of the moms there (including the instructor!) had seen it.

    I was left wanting more after ‘FatHead’ ended, & I was so happy to find this blog. Keep doing what you’re doing. I know it’s made a difference for me, and I can tell by reading the comments that you’ve made a difference for others as well.

    It’s good to hear there are some nutritionists out there who’ve done the actual research instead of parroting what they were told in class about the evils of fats in the diet. Best to you and your little ones.

  18. Heather

    What-why are vegans and CSPI loyalists commenting on your blog? If they hate you don’t you think they have better things to do than Google your blog just to give you one stupid hateful comment? What goes through their mind before they do this? “Hmm, what should I do today? I could spend time with my family, or write a short story, or maybe take a refreshing walk in the park…hmmm…naw! I’m gonna leave hateful comments on people’s blogs!”

    But I guess I would be hateful too if I tried to shove my “save the cow” speeches on people having lunch at Whataburger. Maybe the lack of saturated fat is the reason why they’re so hateful?

    What about animals that eat other animals, are they gonna start feeding them salads, grain, and tofu? Because they’d all die if we did that, is that a much different result than if humans were to start eating only fruits & vegetables?

    You rock, and your documentary rocked my world!

    We call them vegan trolls. They’re the dietary equivalent of Jehovah’s Witnesses, true-believer types who feel it’s their obligation to convert the heathens.

  19. Bullinachinashop

    I think you misunderstand savethecows; This is exactly the sort of joke I like to do when mocking idiot trolls, you act like them.

    Could be. The trouble with mocking vegan trolls is that no matter how ridiculous you make your comment, you still sound a lot like the real thing.


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