Back From The Cruise

      104 Comments on Back From The Cruise

I had such a great vacation, I’m exhausted. I guess that’s the result of too many late nights hanging around the karaoke bar on the Carnival Freedom, followed by too many early-morning seminars and shore excursions. In any case, it’s good to be back.

Before I write about the low-carb cruise, I need to give a big thanks to the Older Brother for sitting in the official Fat Head chair while I was gone. He not only wrote two excellent posts, he also answered all the comments, including those that came in on posts I wrote before leaving. Best of all, his replies were informative while still including the requisite amount of wisecracking. As I checked in over the course of the week, I was beginning to feel a bit like Johnny Carson back in the day, wondering why that Leno guy was drawing such big ratings as a guest host.

For those of you who asked, yes, the Older Brother is certainly invited to write more guest posts. I’m also considering updating my will so that if I croak before retiring, this blog will be turned over to him.  In the meantime, he’ll be writing regularly on his own brand-spankin’ new blog, JerryNaughton.com.

His post about the wide variety of low-carb meals he and The Wife make at home reminded me of a question a reader asked before I left: how do you eat low-carb on a cruise? The answer: Are you kidding me?! It couldn’t be easier. Where else can you grab a plate at lunch and take your pick of salads, vegetables, cold cuts, cheeses, burgers, tandoori chicken, curried fish, pork loin, salmon, or roast beef? Where else can you toddle down to a restaurant for breakfast and fill your plate with any combination of bacon, sausage, ham, scrambled eggs, omelets, or Eggs Benedict without the muffins?

It didn’t occur to me until the end of the cruise to take food pictures, but here’s what I got:

Our dinners during the week included prime rib, lobster, Cornish game hen, flat-iron steaks, salmon, cream soups, shrimp cocktails, and a variety of salads and vegetable dishes. The great thing about having dinner on a Carnival cruise is that you can just keep ordering. One night my prime rib didn’t quite fill me up, so I ordered the lobster for dessert. Not to be outdone, Fred Hahn ate five lobsters. Yes, five.

After indulging in all that great food for a week, the scale in the gym told me I’d lost two pounds.  Boy, I’ve got to stop eating like this.

There were more than 100 people in the low-carb group, so we took up an entire section of our dining room. Tables were assigned, but those of us who were speakers rotated to a different table every night, which gave me the chance to meet several loyal blog readers and Fat Head fans. That was perhaps the best part of the whole cruise … along with watching the waiters looking confused when everybody in our section turned down the dinner rolls.

The second night, Chareva and I sat at a table full of Swedes and learned that 20 people on this year’s cruise were from Sweden. (Given Sweden’s small population, I’m guessing the folks back home were wondering where the heck everybody went.) For those of you who don’t already know, there’s been a diet revolution going on in Sweden. I’ll explain how it happened in a future post, but the upshot is that after some heated national debates, the Swedish health service officially declared the Lipid Hypothesis dead. (Please, let that happen here next.) The popular diet in Sweden isn’t even called low-carb — it’s called low-carb/high-fat. In other words, they get it. Fat is good for you. Butter and eggs are health food.

The Swedish gentleman getting friendly with Chareva in the picture below figured out that fat is good for you even before the Swedish government did – by accident.

Sten (his first name) was overweight and sick for much of his adult life, and the standard-issue advice wasn’t helping him. Figuring he was going to die soon anyway, he said to heck with it (häcklaren med det in Swedish) and began living on bacon, eggs, butter, steaks, and all the other high-fat foods that were supposed to kill him. But a funny happened on the way to the Viking funeral: he began losing weight and feeling better. If you look closely at his shirt, you can see a picture of him posing with the pants he used to wear.

Another Swede I got to know is Katarina Wikholm (below). Like me, she’s the opinionated type, and we ended up having a debate one night which (if memory serves … which it doesn’t) had something to do with libertarianism and the World Court, among other issues. Then we became buddies. She assured me that my debating skills had been seriously hampered by a bit too much red wine, and she’s no doubt correct. Oh well … after finishing a huge project (such as a new speech), I tend to cut loose at least once.

I’m sure many of the Swedes were aboard because of this man, Dr. Andreas Eenfeldt (below), who has achieved something approaching rock-star status in Sweden. (I don’t know of any rock stars who are 12 feet tall, but go with me on this.)

Dr. Eenfeldt’s presentation on the diet revolution in Sweden rocked the house – pretty neat trick, since this was only his third time giving a lecture in English. Frankly, I wish more Americans spoke English as well as he does.

In addition to treating his patients with proper nutrition, Dr. Eenfeldt writes the single most popular nutrition blog in the world — and it’s in Swedish, mind you. I’ve tried reading his blog through Google Translate, but the translation tends to produce sentences along the lines of “Do not be alarmed by the rotund of pigs because their dripping is beneficial,” so I gave up. Well, I’m happy to report that Dr. Eenfeldt is now blogging in English on DietDoctor.com.

The other presentations were excellent as well. Dr. Mary Vernon (below), who began treating diabetics with a low-carb diet years ago, spoke about how nutrition affects metabolism.

Dr. Michael Fox (above), a reproductive endocrinologist who’s had amazing success helping women become pregnant by changing their diets, gave a fascinating presentation on how diet produces changes in our hormonal balances. (Bottom line for you ladies: if you want a healthy pregnancy and don’t want to resemble your husband when you’re 70, stop eating refined carbs.)

Jacqueline Eberstein (below), who was Dr. Atkins’ nurse for 30 years, spoke about the causes of weight-loss stalls.  (You can learn more about other low-carb nutrition topics on her web site.)

We had a bit of equipment trouble in the lecture room before Jacqueline’s speech, so she filled the time by telling an amusing story: after her job interview with Dr. Atkins, she told him she didn’t want to work for him because she thought he was a quack. He leaned forward over his desk and asked how soon she could start. Shades of the Seinfeld episode in which George berates George Steinbrenner during his interview with the Yankees, and Steinbrenner responds with “Hire this man!”

Fred Hahn (below) spoke about the many, many benefits of proper strength training. He also conducted training sessions in the gym throughout the week. Several times at dinner, I’d hear someone say something like, “I can barely walk up the stairs. I had a session with Fred today.” Yeah, I know how they feel. I lift weights with Fred’s Slow Burn method, and it works those muscles deep. That’s why I’m stronger now than I was 20 years ago.  I also stopped injuring myself during my workouts.

Dana Carpender (below center, with fellow cruisers Howard and Georgene Harkness) gave a speech titled Behind the Low-Carb Headlines.

Like my speech, Dana’s was about how to spot the nonsense studies that are always popping up in the media. Reading the seminar program, we at first thought we’d be covering the same ground, but it turns out the speeches were complementary; she just happened to hit the areas I didn’t cover in mine and vice versa, and she did an excellent job of taking a particularly bad study (Low-carb diets raise all-cause mortality!) and picking it apart piece by piece.

Finally, there was The Man himself: Jimmy Moore, who gave a speech about finding your passion and following it, whether it’s through blogging, video-making, podcasting, or just spreading the word about real food and real health among your friends. Jimmy was everywhere on the cruise … emceeing the seminars, handling some issues that popped up with the lecture room, making sure the speakers were rotated around the dining room at dinner, and of course, taking the stage in the karaoke bar. I took the stage a few times myself, often to sing duets with members of our group.

For shore excursions, Chareva and I chose to walk around and explore. On Grand Cayman, I noticed the local merchants are happily accommodating tourists who don’t have their diets under control:

See you all next cruise.


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104 thoughts on “Back From The Cruise

  1. mezzo

    Wow. Don’t y’all look just great! Healthy, shiny people all of you. No pasty (vegetarian) faces, all full of energy otherwise known as buck and beans. Meanwhile, something strange is going in some blogs – it seems that in some corners the low-fat, high-carb, medium-protein diet is coming back. It all started with the Venus of Willendorf and the claim is that paleolithic people were fat because of the high-fat, high-protein diet they ate – it had the highest food efficiency and promotes the highest body fat percentage, or so they say. What are we to make of that? (check out Primal Wisdom if you want the details).

    The emphasis in the rat study was on “over-feed.” Clinical studies show that people on low-carb diets spontaneously eat less, so I don’t make much of the rat study. In Dr. Eenfeldt’s lecture, he showed that since the low-carb/high-fat diet has become the rage in Sweden, rates of obesity (which are lower than ours) appear to actually be dropping.

    Reply
  2. Charlie Shaughnessy

    WOW! Looks like you had a blast!!! So great to see most of the low-carb diet innovators in the same room! Glad to see you making an impact in the grand scheme of things Tom!

    Also, a huge HUGE +1 to this comment:

    “After some heated national debates, the Swedish health service officially declared the Lipid Hypothesis dead. (Please, let that happen here next.) The popular diet in Sweden isn’t even called low-carb — it’s called low-carb/high-fat. In other words, they get it. Fat is good for you. Butter and eggs are health food.”

    PLEASE. YES PLEASE.

    I posted this on my Facebook and I’ve gotten about 40 comments in the last 30 minutes so far… I’m having a lot of fun with this.

    I have to admit, as a comedian who happened to make a documentary and start a blog, I’m both surprised and thrilled to end up sharing a stage with people like Dr. Mary Vernon, who is one of my heroes.

    Reply
  3. eddie watts

    mezzo beat me to it!
    i was wondering about that, although the human studies normally compare low fat high carb limited calorie diet vs low carb ad libitum diet.
    this should surely be compared on a like for like basis, either both ad libitum or both calorie restricted?

    i agree with low carb dieting however and nobody will stay on a restrictive diet for long, so want to see ad libitum diets compared head to head to at least keep this equal.

    looking forward to seeing the presentation videos 🙂
    also please don’t add more low carb blogs for me to follow! MDA added some already and my favourites list will become too big before too long!

    I hear you. By the time I catch up on the good blogs out there, my day is half gone.

    Reply
  4. mezzo

    Wow. Don’t y’all look just great! Healthy, shiny people all of you. No pasty (vegetarian) faces, all full of energy otherwise known as buck and beans. Meanwhile, something strange is going in some blogs – it seems that in some corners the low-fat, high-carb, medium-protein diet is coming back. It all started with the Venus of Willendorf and the claim is that paleolithic people were fat because of the high-fat, high-protein diet they ate – it had the highest food efficiency and promotes the highest body fat percentage, or so they say. What are we to make of that? (check out Primal Wisdom if you want the details).

    The emphasis in the rat study was on “over-feed.” Clinical studies show that people on low-carb diets spontaneously eat less, so I don’t make much of the rat study. In Dr. Eenfeldt’s lecture, he showed that since the low-carb/high-fat diet has become the rage in Sweden, rates of obesity (which are lower than ours) appear to actually be dropping.

    Reply
  5. Charlie Shaughnessy

    WOW! Looks like you had a blast!!! So great to see most of the low-carb diet innovators in the same room! Glad to see you making an impact in the grand scheme of things Tom!

    Also, a huge HUGE +1 to this comment:

    “After some heated national debates, the Swedish health service officially declared the Lipid Hypothesis dead. (Please, let that happen here next.) The popular diet in Sweden isn’t even called low-carb — it’s called low-carb/high-fat. In other words, they get it. Fat is good for you. Butter and eggs are health food.”

    PLEASE. YES PLEASE.

    I posted this on my Facebook and I’ve gotten about 40 comments in the last 30 minutes so far… I’m having a lot of fun with this.

    I have to admit, as a comedian who happened to make a documentary and start a blog, I’m both surprised and thrilled to end up sharing a stage with people like Dr. Mary Vernon, who is one of my heroes.

    Reply
  6. Milton

    I’m glad to see that it went well and it looks like everyone had a great time. Thanks for the link to Diet Doctor; I don’t think that we can have too many sites urging people away from bad eating. It’s been two months since I made drastic reductions in my intake of sugar, grains, and refined flour. Heartburn? Gone. Acid Reflux? Gone. Gastric issues? Gone. And no confirmation bias either, as I wasn’t aware that the issues were caused by those foods, and thus had not expected any changes. To say that it’s been a pleasant surprise is an understatement.

    In a previous post, someone commented regarding their lactose intolerance, and I seem to be experiencing the same thing. Granted, I have not had much dairy lately, but I never did in the past either because it caused me such grief. But the last few times that I have had cheese or milk, I’ve had either very mild discomfort that didn’t last long (the milk) or no discomfort at all (cheese). Which is awesome, because I love cheese. All those years wondering if the problem with cheeseburgers was the meat or the cheese, and it turns out it was the bread!

    No confirmation bias for me, either. Several ailments that had been nagging me — arthritis, psoriasis, restless legs, etc. — went away without me knowing anything about the connection to grains. I learned about the connection later.

    Reply
  7. eddie watts

    mezzo beat me to it!
    i was wondering about that, although the human studies normally compare low fat high carb limited calorie diet vs low carb ad libitum diet.
    this should surely be compared on a like for like basis, either both ad libitum or both calorie restricted?

    i agree with low carb dieting however and nobody will stay on a restrictive diet for long, so want to see ad libitum diets compared head to head to at least keep this equal.

    looking forward to seeing the presentation videos 🙂
    also please don’t add more low carb blogs for me to follow! MDA added some already and my favourites list will become too big before too long!

    I hear you. By the time I catch up on the good blogs out there, my day is half gone.

    Reply
  8. Jimmy Moore

    Excellent wrap-up my “Fathead” friend. SO great to have you and Chareva with us this year and I can’t wait for the 2012 cruise. We’ve already got Robb Wolf, Dr. Jeff Volek, Dr. John Briffa, Dr. Andreas Eenfeldt, Jackie Eberstein, Monique Forslund and Dr. Mary Vernon confirmed as guest speakers. Working on Dr. Eric Westman, Dr. Larry McCleary, Dr. Jay Wortman, Dr. Richard Feinman, and, of course, Gary Taubes. We’ll have THREE days at sea on next year’s cruise which we’ll announce soon at http://www.lowcarbcruiseinfo.com. If all these people say YES, then we’re gonna be jam-packed with speakers! WOO HOO!

    Outstanding lineup! As we discussed earlier, if you get that many top-notch doctors and researchers on the panel, my contribution will be a standup comedy show just for the group.

    Reply
  9. Angel

    Jimmy looks awesome … it’s great to see how successful he was in getting rid of his paunch from last year. Kudos, Jimmy!

    How tall is he, anyway??

    I’ve asked him but don’t recall. I believe he’s 6’4″ or 6’5″. And yes, Jimmy’s looking good.

    Reply
  10. Lyford

    Sounds like fun.

    Could you answer a question for me? Laura Dolson’s cruise report included the tidbit that a Q&A yielded a consensus on intermittent fasting, and the consensus was “bad.” If that’s accurate, what is the rationale? I ask because pretty much everything I’ve read has been “good,” and it certainly seems to be working for me…

    Thanks.

    The consensus was that people who are prone to hypoglycemia — which is often the case with overweight people — shouldn’t fast and risk sending their blood sugar even lower. Someone in the audience (can’t remember who) asked if that would also apply to those of us who are keto-adapted, and the consensus was that in that case, fasting probably won’t produce hypoglycemia, but they still don’t recommend fasting. I’ve had good results, so I’m sticking with the IF for now.

    Reply
  11. Milton

    I’m glad to see that it went well and it looks like everyone had a great time. Thanks for the link to Diet Doctor; I don’t think that we can have too many sites urging people away from bad eating. It’s been two months since I made drastic reductions in my intake of sugar, grains, and refined flour. Heartburn? Gone. Acid Reflux? Gone. Gastric issues? Gone. And no confirmation bias either, as I wasn’t aware that the issues were caused by those foods, and thus had not expected any changes. To say that it’s been a pleasant surprise is an understatement.

    In a previous post, someone commented regarding their lactose intolerance, and I seem to be experiencing the same thing. Granted, I have not had much dairy lately, but I never did in the past either because it caused me such grief. But the last few times that I have had cheese or milk, I’ve had either very mild discomfort that didn’t last long (the milk) or no discomfort at all (cheese). Which is awesome, because I love cheese. All those years wondering if the problem with cheeseburgers was the meat or the cheese, and it turns out it was the bread!

    No confirmation bias for me, either. Several ailments that had been nagging me — arthritis, psoriasis, restless legs, etc. — went away without me knowing anything about the connection to grains. I learned about the connection later.

    Reply
  12. Jon

    Glad to hear your trip went well, Tom! And all that food you ate looks mighty delicious. As I was looking at your blog with the pictures, a nurse happened to look over my shoulders to see what I was looking at. Here was the conversation…

    Nurse: What are you looking at?
    Me: Oh, it’s a blog called fat head.
    Nurse: Fat head? What’s that?
    Me: Basically a blog discussing the whole misconception behind saturated fat and cholesterol, how they don’t cause heart disease and such, and that actually it’s been carbs, mostly grains and sugars
    Nurse: (Eye roll)
    Me: Hard to beleive huh?
    Nurse: Um, yeah…but, I guess everyone is entitled to their own opinion
    Me: Well yeah, but it’s not really an opinion because there is no science to back up the claims
    Nurse: Well I don’t know, I guess everyone can just think what they want…(walks away thinking I’m crazy…)

    At this point I generally try to help them understand and provide some information, but I decided to give up on that. Everyone thinks I’m crazy and they always say, “Oh please…this is just another thing that people are supposed to believe. No carbs, and then eat carbs, no fat, and then eat fat…”

    Keep up the good work, Tom!

    Ha … we’re all entitled to our own opinions, but not to our own facts.

    Reply
  13. Katie @ Wellness Mama

    Definitely making plans to make it next year! Would have loved to go this year, but my midwife wasn’t too fond of me being in the middle of the ocean during third trimester…
    What a great group! Looks like you all had a great time and the speaker list for next year sounds awesome!

    It’s a blast to be on a cruise with 100 instant friends. See you next year.

    Reply
  14. Auntie M

    That looked like so much fun! I would love to go next year. Being able to pick and choose your own food makes the cruise that much better. It looks like everyone had a really great time.

    Sort of off-topic (okay, totally off-topic and I’m sorry), but dealing with food choice and the stupidity of CW, I wanted to share my experience in the hospital last week. I commented a while back about my two failed pregnancies and the horror show that were the meals forced on me by the hospital nutritionist during my hospital stay in 2007. Well…even though we were trying to adopt, I managed to unexpectedly turn up pregnant again. I think it was the cod liver oil we started taking in December. Anyway, I have more high-risk factors than you can shake a stick at, and I needed surgery to try and keep the baby in this time–a cerclage.

    So I’m in the hospital for “23 hours”, which is insurance-speak for “We won’t charge you as an inpatient as long as you get out within 23 hours of getting to a room”. They finally let me eat at lunchtime. The menu, granted, is somewhat improved since my last stay, but they’re emphasizing the “Mediterranean Diet”. As a diabetic, I’m supposed to get a certain number of carbs, but I had NO idea what I was in for.

    I called in to order, and was told that I was supposed to order 75 grams of carbs for lunch! I usually eat that many carbs in a DAY! So I’m bumbling around the menu, which had no carb counts, and I ordered like 5 things that seemed okay. I said, “I really don’t want anything else. Can I stop there?” The answer? “You only have 55 carbs. Don’t you want some bread?” They literally wouldn’t let me order less than their magical 75 number. Also, they don’t have real butter, just margarine. I had my mother sneak in a block of Kerrygold for me. God knows what they cook in. Probably canola oil.

    Someone brought me a poorly-typed menu listing carb counts, and I went through the whole thing at dinner time, too. I didn’t eat all of the carbs forced on me, of course, and I spread the food around on the tray to try and make it look like I ate more of that crap than I did. Seriously, I’m 36. I shouldn’t have to smuggle butter and play with my food to avoid getting in trouble!

    At breakfast, I was told I had to get 80 grams of carbs! However, I could have EITHER one slice of bacon OR one sausage patty, but not both. So I ordered scrambled “eggs”, one slice of bacon, grits, Cheerios, 1% milk, rye toast, blueberries, strawberries, and tomato juice. I threw the Cheerios away immediately, and I didn’t eat most of the other carbs. So they’re protein starving a pregnant woman while forcing her blood sugar levels sky high. How does this make sense?

    This time I’m doing everything in my power to stay out of the hospital. I’m eating a healthy, low-carb diet at home. My endocrinologist can’t figure out why my blood sugars are so good (I do have to inject insulin during the pregnancy, though). He’s sort of down with the low carb thing, but I just smile at him if he asks what I’m doing. If I end up in the hospital, I will have people bringing me butter, bacon, protein shakes, and anything else to keep me sane and healthy.

    The nurse I talked to also thought it was ridiculous that they don’t have butter. It seems some of the nurses have a clue, but the hospital itself is very Big Brother–I was forced to order food that I shouldn’t eat, and prevented from ordering extra protein and fat that I need while trying to grow a baby. It’s criminal.

    So…wish me luck! My due date is 11/11/11. Frankly, I’d be thrilled to make it to September. I know that I’m doing everything in my power, especially nutritionally, to help this work out well. I fear the day when the FDA and/or the government mandates what we can and can’t eat in our private lives. They already control places like the schools and hospitals.

    I wish you the absolute best of luck, but secretly hope your baby is born 11/14/11. Then it will be my birthday, and when I’m very, very old, your adult child can bring me a low-carb cheesecake for mutual birthday celebrations.

    Dr. Fox would be horrified at what the hospital wanted you to eat while trying to get through pregnancy.

    Reply
  15. Kelly

    Sounds like a great time! I don’t know if I could convince my husband to use our precious vacation days for the low-carb cruise, but telling him about those 5 lobsters may help!

    I’m looking forward to your report on the Swedish movement. I have a friend from Sweden who is constantly trying to lose weight. (She even did the HCG diet. Eek!) I told her recently that I heard there’s a movement in Sweden toward low-carb. She’s tried low-carb before and lost weight, but always says she can’t stick with it. Maybe I’ll send her the link to Dr. Eenfeldt’s Swedish site.

    If he can’t convince her, she can’t be convinced. He’s a brilliant guy and very persuasive.

    Reply
  16. Debbie

    Great post, and I agree – a cruise is probably one of the easiest places on earth to stay low carb. After Fred ordered his 4th and 5th lobster tails I didn’t hesitate to order my 3rd for dessert. 🙂

    You can of course go carb-crazy on a cruise too, but man, what a lovely selection of low-carb foods we had every day.

    Reply
  17. Peggy Cihocki

    I’m wondering two things: Were the talks open to everyone on the cruise? If so, that’s fabulous–more “outsiders” hearing about LC/HF and given some serious food for thought. Second, did the diet revolution in Sweden (I, too hope that happens soon here!) have something to do with the fact the Uffe Ravnskov is a native. That would mean at least some government is listening to him and that is a good thing! If only more would. I’m going to check out the link to the doctor from Sweden.

    Sounds like you had a great cruise. Everyone–and the food–looks wonderful and the talks and their presenters sound awesome. I’m envious. Will work on the hubby to try to make one one of these years. I’d love to be on one with Gary Taubes–and you, of course–you are an amazing entertainer as well as blogger, movie maker and speaker. And I’d love to get my daughter and her boyfriend on it, too. They eat more junk and especially sugar for my comfort. She did finally listen to me when I told her natural fats are good–eat more of them–trying to undo the damage of my earlier misguided low fat mantra that she grew up with. (I’ll never forget how when she first saw me eating lots of eggs and coconut oil, she said “Mom, you’re going to die!”) But then she did listen and she lost all the weight she had gained from her vegetarian diet in vet school and then some. I’m hoping she will listen now, too, as I slowly get her to think about what all that sugar is doing to her. I sent her and her BF the link to Gary Taubes’ NYTimes article and am (gently) urging them to watch Fat Head. Let’s hope they read and watch and it gets them thinking!

    The diet revolution began when two dieticians attempted to bring charges against a doctor (not Ravnskov) who was treating patients with a high-fat, low-carb diet. She challenged them to prove their accusation that the diet was harmful.

    Reply
  18. Jimmy Moore

    Excellent wrap-up my “Fathead” friend. SO great to have you and Chareva with us this year and I can’t wait for the 2012 cruise. We’ve already got Robb Wolf, Dr. Jeff Volek, Dr. John Briffa, Dr. Andreas Eenfeldt, Jackie Eberstein, Monique Forslund and Dr. Mary Vernon confirmed as guest speakers. Working on Dr. Eric Westman, Dr. Larry McCleary, Dr. Jay Wortman, Dr. Richard Feinman, and, of course, Gary Taubes. We’ll have THREE days at sea on next year’s cruise which we’ll announce soon at http://www.lowcarbcruiseinfo.com. If all these people say YES, then we’re gonna be jam-packed with speakers! WOO HOO!

    Outstanding lineup! As we discussed earlier, if you get that many top-notch doctors and researchers on the panel, my contribution will be a standup comedy show just for the group.

    Reply
  19. Phil J

    “For those of you who don’t already know, there’s been a diet revolution going on in Sweden. I’ll explain how it happened in a future post, but the upshot is that after some heated national debates, the Swedish health service officially declared the Lipid Hypothesis dead. (Please, let that happen here next.) The popular diet in Sweden isn’t even called low-carb — it’s called low-carb/high-fat. In other words, they get it. Fat is good for you. Butter and eggs are health food.”

    This is amazing and very encouraging. I would love to have some links to official sources on this story, maybe some government sites. An entire country officially refuting the Lipid Hypothesis would go a long in convincing friends and family that think this lifestyle is a “fad”.

    I’ll try to find out from my new Swedish friends where I might find those links … which would of course be in Swedish.

    Reply
  20. js290

    re: Venus of Willendorf… As pointed out in the book Sleights of Mind, the features of Venus of Willendorf are exaggerated to create a superstimulus. It was probably used more as an artifact of a fertility ritual than it is a representation of the actual physical proportions of the people using it.

    Based on the body types of the hunter-gatherer societies still in existence when white explorers met them, I’d be surprised if paleo people were fat.

    Reply
  21. Angel

    Jimmy looks awesome … it’s great to see how successful he was in getting rid of his paunch from last year. Kudos, Jimmy!

    How tall is he, anyway??

    I’ve asked him but don’t recall. I believe he’s 6’4″ or 6’5″. And yes, Jimmy’s looking good.

    Reply
  22. Maria

    As a Swede, I follow the reports of Dr Eenfeldt as well as many other low carb/high fat “officials”. To me, it seems like a “war” between the official representatives still recommending the low fat/high carb diet and regular people who no longer care what they say, our money speaks as customers… (the most famous professor (or whatever he is) has given up, concluding gastric bypass surgery is now the only option left to save humanity…) And that is great!
    Dr Annika Dahlqvist, the physician reported by dietians has a translated version of the statement on her blog (you need to scroll down some):
    http://blogg.passagen.se/dahlqvistannika/?anchor=socialstyrelsen_lchf_%C3%A4r_i_%C3%B6verensst%C3%A4mmelse

    That’s what I think will turn the tide here as well: when most of us no longer care what our government health officials tell us.

    Reply
  23. Phil J

    “I’ll try to find out from my new Swedish friends where I might find those links … which would of course be in Swedish.”

    Am I missing something? This seems like a really huge deal and yet no one except for you has even mentioned this. Maybe I just haven’t been paying close enough attention, or it’s too soon, but I would think this would be all over the various Fat friendly blogs and even in the news.
    I am really excited for your future post on this, thanks Tom!

    Jimmy Moore wrote about it awhile back too, but I think the story is worth re-telling. I’m hoping to get some comments from Dr. Eenfeldt for the post.

    Reply
  24. Jan

    Ah, but js290, the Venus of Willendorf (and other Mother figurines like her) are far too realistic to be exaggerated – someone HAD to pose for them! Bah – I was disgusted with the whole line of “reasoning”; he went off on a tangent about how just 100 extra calories of animal fat – just two tablespoons would have caused the paleolithic persons to become grossly obese over a period of time. I sat there as I read this, and scratched my head, thinking, “Didn’t Gary Taubes pretty much cover all of that in Why We Get Fat?”

    The old 100-calories-per-day nonsense again … argh. As if the body can’t adjust to that.

    Reply
  25. Lyford

    Sounds like fun.

    Could you answer a question for me? Laura Dolson’s cruise report included the tidbit that a Q&A yielded a consensus on intermittent fasting, and the consensus was “bad.” If that’s accurate, what is the rationale? I ask because pretty much everything I’ve read has been “good,” and it certainly seems to be working for me…

    Thanks.

    The consensus was that people who are prone to hypoglycemia — which is often the case with overweight people — shouldn’t fast and risk sending their blood sugar even lower. Someone in the audience (can’t remember who) asked if that would also apply to those of us who are keto-adapted, and the consensus was that in that case, fasting probably won’t produce hypoglycemia, but they still don’t recommend fasting. I’ve had good results, so I’m sticking with the IF for now.

    Reply
  26. Jonas Gunnarsson

    What was said by some swedish authority that I can’t recall the name of at the moment was that lchf is based in science and good practice. When news broke recently that 5% of swedes are strictly lchf and an additional 18% are actively reducing their carbs Jimmy Moore made a very good post about the story behind the low carb surge in Sweden.
    livinlavidalowcarb.com/blog/poll-nearly-one-fourth-of-the-swedish-population-are-now-eating-low-carb/10337

    Reply
  27. Jon

    Glad to hear your trip went well, Tom! And all that food you ate looks mighty delicious. As I was looking at your blog with the pictures, a nurse happened to look over my shoulders to see what I was looking at. Here was the conversation…

    Nurse: What are you looking at?
    Me: Oh, it’s a blog called fat head.
    Nurse: Fat head? What’s that?
    Me: Basically a blog discussing the whole misconception behind saturated fat and cholesterol, how they don’t cause heart disease and such, and that actually it’s been carbs, mostly grains and sugars
    Nurse: (Eye roll)
    Me: Hard to beleive huh?
    Nurse: Um, yeah…but, I guess everyone is entitled to their own opinion
    Me: Well yeah, but it’s not really an opinion because there is no science to back up the claims
    Nurse: Well I don’t know, I guess everyone can just think what they want…(walks away thinking I’m crazy…)

    At this point I generally try to help them understand and provide some information, but I decided to give up on that. Everyone thinks I’m crazy and they always say, “Oh please…this is just another thing that people are supposed to believe. No carbs, and then eat carbs, no fat, and then eat fat…”

    Keep up the good work, Tom!

    Ha … we’re all entitled to our own opinions, but not to our own facts.

    Reply
  28. CarbsRbad

    Hello Tom,

    I’m glad to hear your cruise went well. Sounds like lots of tasty food! I had a question for you. I’m currently on week 4 of my low carb diet (under 25 carbs a day). I’m getting to the point where I want to start phasing back a few carbs. While breakfast and dinner are very easy to prepare for myself at home, lunch is the hardest to have low carb because I have to eat in the office. The easiest thing for me to have for lunch is a sandwich because I can load it with (non processed) lunch meat, cheese, mayo, and veggies. My question to you is – what’s the best kind of bread you can have if you are on a low carb diet. I realize the question is kind of counter intuitive because breads aren’t the thing you think of when you think of low carb. But I also realize there are some breads that are better than others. I was thinking either multi-grain or whole wheat. Do you know which one is better for you from a low carb perspective (and also have a lower GI impact)? All the resources that I am finding online are looking at everything from a ‘low fat’ diet perspective, and don’t really state which is better or worse for a low carb diet. Thanks for your help Tom.

    On the very rare occasions that I eat bread, it’s Ezekiel bread. The grains are sprouted, so there’s less impact from the lectins, which have been largely neutralized.

    Reply
  29. Katie @ Wellness Mama

    Definitely making plans to make it next year! Would have loved to go this year, but my midwife wasn’t too fond of me being in the middle of the ocean during third trimester…
    What a great group! Looks like you all had a great time and the speaker list for next year sounds awesome!

    It’s a blast to be on a cruise with 100 instant friends. See you next year.

    Reply
  30. Auntie M

    That looked like so much fun! I would love to go next year. Being able to pick and choose your own food makes the cruise that much better. It looks like everyone had a really great time.

    Sort of off-topic (okay, totally off-topic and I’m sorry), but dealing with food choice and the stupidity of CW, I wanted to share my experience in the hospital last week. I commented a while back about my two failed pregnancies and the horror show that were the meals forced on me by the hospital nutritionist during my hospital stay in 2007. Well…even though we were trying to adopt, I managed to unexpectedly turn up pregnant again. I think it was the cod liver oil we started taking in December. Anyway, I have more high-risk factors than you can shake a stick at, and I needed surgery to try and keep the baby in this time–a cerclage.

    So I’m in the hospital for “23 hours”, which is insurance-speak for “We won’t charge you as an inpatient as long as you get out within 23 hours of getting to a room”. They finally let me eat at lunchtime. The menu, granted, is somewhat improved since my last stay, but they’re emphasizing the “Mediterranean Diet”. As a diabetic, I’m supposed to get a certain number of carbs, but I had NO idea what I was in for.

    I called in to order, and was told that I was supposed to order 75 grams of carbs for lunch! I usually eat that many carbs in a DAY! So I’m bumbling around the menu, which had no carb counts, and I ordered like 5 things that seemed okay. I said, “I really don’t want anything else. Can I stop there?” The answer? “You only have 55 carbs. Don’t you want some bread?” They literally wouldn’t let me order less than their magical 75 number. Also, they don’t have real butter, just margarine. I had my mother sneak in a block of Kerrygold for me. God knows what they cook in. Probably canola oil.

    Someone brought me a poorly-typed menu listing carb counts, and I went through the whole thing at dinner time, too. I didn’t eat all of the carbs forced on me, of course, and I spread the food around on the tray to try and make it look like I ate more of that crap than I did. Seriously, I’m 36. I shouldn’t have to smuggle butter and play with my food to avoid getting in trouble!

    At breakfast, I was told I had to get 80 grams of carbs! However, I could have EITHER one slice of bacon OR one sausage patty, but not both. So I ordered scrambled “eggs”, one slice of bacon, grits, Cheerios, 1% milk, rye toast, blueberries, strawberries, and tomato juice. I threw the Cheerios away immediately, and I didn’t eat most of the other carbs. So they’re protein starving a pregnant woman while forcing her blood sugar levels sky high. How does this make sense?

    This time I’m doing everything in my power to stay out of the hospital. I’m eating a healthy, low-carb diet at home. My endocrinologist can’t figure out why my blood sugars are so good (I do have to inject insulin during the pregnancy, though). He’s sort of down with the low carb thing, but I just smile at him if he asks what I’m doing. If I end up in the hospital, I will have people bringing me butter, bacon, protein shakes, and anything else to keep me sane and healthy.

    The nurse I talked to also thought it was ridiculous that they don’t have butter. It seems some of the nurses have a clue, but the hospital itself is very Big Brother–I was forced to order food that I shouldn’t eat, and prevented from ordering extra protein and fat that I need while trying to grow a baby. It’s criminal.

    So…wish me luck! My due date is 11/11/11. Frankly, I’d be thrilled to make it to September. I know that I’m doing everything in my power, especially nutritionally, to help this work out well. I fear the day when the FDA and/or the government mandates what we can and can’t eat in our private lives. They already control places like the schools and hospitals.

    I wish you the absolute best of luck, but secretly hope your baby is born 11/14/11. Then it will be my birthday, and when I’m very, very old, your adult child can bring me a low-carb cheesecake for mutual birthday celebrations.

    Dr. Fox would be horrified at what the hospital wanted you to eat while trying to get through pregnancy.

    Reply
  31. Kelly

    Sounds like a great time! I don’t know if I could convince my husband to use our precious vacation days for the low-carb cruise, but telling him about those 5 lobsters may help!

    I’m looking forward to your report on the Swedish movement. I have a friend from Sweden who is constantly trying to lose weight. (She even did the HCG diet. Eek!) I told her recently that I heard there’s a movement in Sweden toward low-carb. She’s tried low-carb before and lost weight, but always says she can’t stick with it. Maybe I’ll send her the link to Dr. Eenfeldt’s Swedish site.

    If he can’t convince her, she can’t be convinced. He’s a brilliant guy and very persuasive.

    Reply
  32. Debbie

    Great post, and I agree – a cruise is probably one of the easiest places on earth to stay low carb. After Fred ordered his 4th and 5th lobster tails I didn’t hesitate to order my 3rd for dessert. 🙂

    You can of course go carb-crazy on a cruise too, but man, what a lovely selection of low-carb foods we had every day.

    Reply
  33. Peggy Cihocki

    I’m wondering two things: Were the talks open to everyone on the cruise? If so, that’s fabulous–more “outsiders” hearing about LC/HF and given some serious food for thought. Second, did the diet revolution in Sweden (I, too hope that happens soon here!) have something to do with the fact the Uffe Ravnskov is a native. That would mean at least some government is listening to him and that is a good thing! If only more would. I’m going to check out the link to the doctor from Sweden.

    Sounds like you had a great cruise. Everyone–and the food–looks wonderful and the talks and their presenters sound awesome. I’m envious. Will work on the hubby to try to make one one of these years. I’d love to be on one with Gary Taubes–and you, of course–you are an amazing entertainer as well as blogger, movie maker and speaker. And I’d love to get my daughter and her boyfriend on it, too. They eat more junk and especially sugar for my comfort. She did finally listen to me when I told her natural fats are good–eat more of them–trying to undo the damage of my earlier misguided low fat mantra that she grew up with. (I’ll never forget how when she first saw me eating lots of eggs and coconut oil, she said “Mom, you’re going to die!”) But then she did listen and she lost all the weight she had gained from her vegetarian diet in vet school and then some. I’m hoping she will listen now, too, as I slowly get her to think about what all that sugar is doing to her. I sent her and her BF the link to Gary Taubes’ NYTimes article and am (gently) urging them to watch Fat Head. Let’s hope they read and watch and it gets them thinking!

    The diet revolution began when two dieticians attempted to bring charges against a doctor (not Ravnskov) who was treating patients with a high-fat, low-carb diet. She challenged them to prove their accusation that the diet was harmful.

    Reply
  34. Amy Dungan

    Thanks for the recap Tom! We are really excited about next year. The line up sounds amazing! Rachel is already looking for an “evening gown” for formal night. LOL

    We’re already debating if we should bring the girls next year. Dr. Fox is thinking of bringing his kids. If we can get a few families to show up with kids, they’ll all keep each other amused.

    Reply
  35. Phil J

    “For those of you who don’t already know, there’s been a diet revolution going on in Sweden. I’ll explain how it happened in a future post, but the upshot is that after some heated national debates, the Swedish health service officially declared the Lipid Hypothesis dead. (Please, let that happen here next.) The popular diet in Sweden isn’t even called low-carb — it’s called low-carb/high-fat. In other words, they get it. Fat is good for you. Butter and eggs are health food.”

    This is amazing and very encouraging. I would love to have some links to official sources on this story, maybe some government sites. An entire country officially refuting the Lipid Hypothesis would go a long in convincing friends and family that think this lifestyle is a “fad”.

    I’ll try to find out from my new Swedish friends where I might find those links … which would of course be in Swedish.

    Reply
  36. js290

    re: Venus of Willendorf… As pointed out in the book Sleights of Mind, the features of Venus of Willendorf are exaggerated to create a superstimulus. It was probably used more as an artifact of a fertility ritual than it is a representation of the actual physical proportions of the people using it.

    Based on the body types of the hunter-gatherer societies still in existence when white explorers met them, I’d be surprised if paleo people were fat.

    Reply
  37. Laurie

    You all look amazing and happy and I’m looking forward to posts! (Older Brother was great in your stead- but he wasn’t you).
    I’ve found nothing I don’t like about IF. A few years before I discovered GCBC I was tested because metabolic syndrome was suspected. My Hb A1c turned out to be really high (BAD). I don’t know how much damage and if it’s permanent I did to my body and metabolism back then, but my current IF practice doesn’t hurt me now. I’m sure there is individual variation though. Also, it makes me angry thinking back to the diet recommendation I got after the Hb A1c test results. “EAT LOW FAT”.
    As to bread, grains, cereals and adding them back on a low-carb/high fat diet- Peter over at Hyperlipid said he “wouldn’t touch grains with a barge pole”!

    I’m with Peter. I started out looking for the low-carb breads and such, but now I just skip the grains.

    Reply
  38. Joanne

    Thanks for the recap Tom, and double thanks for the food pictures. As one who has done numerous food blogs on various cruises, I always appreciate additional pictures to drool over. My husband and I already have plans to join everyone on the cruise next year and look forward to spending 7 days eating that glorious food and attending all the group sessions. Thanks for taking a few minutes out of your evening in Ft Lauderdale to say hello and please know that we are very pleased to be a part of this whole low carb movement. I’m sure you can understand how thrilled I was this week during my annual health screening to advise my nurse practitioner as we reviewed a few of my yearly numbers (HDL 87; total/HDL ratio 2.4) that I eat bacon and eggs for breakfast every day!

    Wow, that’s a great result! I’ll bet the practitioner was stunned.

    Reply
  39. Maria

    As a Swede, I follow the reports of Dr Eenfeldt as well as many other low carb/high fat “officials”. To me, it seems like a “war” between the official representatives still recommending the low fat/high carb diet and regular people who no longer care what they say, our money speaks as customers… (the most famous professor (or whatever he is) has given up, concluding gastric bypass surgery is now the only option left to save humanity…) And that is great!
    Dr Annika Dahlqvist, the physician reported by dietians has a translated version of the statement on her blog (you need to scroll down some):
    http://blogg.passagen.se/dahlqvistannika/?anchor=socialstyrelsen_lchf_%C3%A4r_i_%C3%B6verensst%C3%A4mmelse

    That’s what I think will turn the tide here as well: when most of us no longer care what our government health officials tell us.

    Reply
  40. Phil J

    “I’ll try to find out from my new Swedish friends where I might find those links … which would of course be in Swedish.”

    Am I missing something? This seems like a really huge deal and yet no one except for you has even mentioned this. Maybe I just haven’t been paying close enough attention, or it’s too soon, but I would think this would be all over the various Fat friendly blogs and even in the news.
    I am really excited for your future post on this, thanks Tom!

    Jimmy Moore wrote about it awhile back too, but I think the story is worth re-telling. I’m hoping to get some comments from Dr. Eenfeldt for the post.

    Reply
  41. Jan

    Ah, but js290, the Venus of Willendorf (and other Mother figurines like her) are far too realistic to be exaggerated – someone HAD to pose for them! Bah – I was disgusted with the whole line of “reasoning”; he went off on a tangent about how just 100 extra calories of animal fat – just two tablespoons would have caused the paleolithic persons to become grossly obese over a period of time. I sat there as I read this, and scratched my head, thinking, “Didn’t Gary Taubes pretty much cover all of that in Why We Get Fat?”

    The old 100-calories-per-day nonsense again … argh. As if the body can’t adjust to that.

    Reply
  42. Jonas Gunnarsson

    What was said by some swedish authority that I can’t recall the name of at the moment was that lchf is based in science and good practice. When news broke recently that 5% of swedes are strictly lchf and an additional 18% are actively reducing their carbs Jimmy Moore made a very good post about the story behind the low carb surge in Sweden.
    livinlavidalowcarb.com/blog/poll-nearly-one-fourth-of-the-swedish-population-are-now-eating-low-carb/10337

    Reply
  43. CarbsRbad

    Hello Tom,

    I’m glad to hear your cruise went well. Sounds like lots of tasty food! I had a question for you. I’m currently on week 4 of my low carb diet (under 25 carbs a day). I’m getting to the point where I want to start phasing back a few carbs. While breakfast and dinner are very easy to prepare for myself at home, lunch is the hardest to have low carb because I have to eat in the office. The easiest thing for me to have for lunch is a sandwich because I can load it with (non processed) lunch meat, cheese, mayo, and veggies. My question to you is – what’s the best kind of bread you can have if you are on a low carb diet. I realize the question is kind of counter intuitive because breads aren’t the thing you think of when you think of low carb. But I also realize there are some breads that are better than others. I was thinking either multi-grain or whole wheat. Do you know which one is better for you from a low carb perspective (and also have a lower GI impact)? All the resources that I am finding online are looking at everything from a ‘low fat’ diet perspective, and don’t really state which is better or worse for a low carb diet. Thanks for your help Tom.

    On the very rare occasions that I eat bread, it’s Ezekiel bread. The grains are sprouted, so there’s less impact from the lectins, which have been largely neutralized.

    Reply
  44. Peggy Cihocki

    @Auntie M, my sympathies for your very unsympathetic treatment by the hospital. I would recommend for your reading while pregnant: “Deep Nutrition: Why Your Genes need Traditional Food” by Catherine Shanahan, M.D. She’s all about pregnant and soon to be pregnant Mom’s needing to build up nutrients for a healthy baby by ditching sugar, vegetable oils, and other such modern horrors and loading up on traditional fare. She studied some of the healthiest (and most beautiful!) populations past and present and searched for commonalities in their diets that make them and their babies healthy and beautiful generation after generation and discusses these commonalities and why they are important. I haven’t finished it and I’m not pregnant (a little past that at 64), but I’m interested in the field of epigenetics, which features heavily in the book and find much of what I’ve read thus far convincing and not at all incompatible with a low carb approach to nutrition. She was impressed enough with Weston A. Price’s work that she cites it often. Anyway, good luck for a healthy pregnancy and a beautiful baby in November, with no more trips to the hospital!

    Reply
  45. Laurie

    You all look amazing and happy and I’m looking forward to posts! (Older Brother was great in your stead- but he wasn’t you).
    I’ve found nothing I don’t like about IF. A few years before I discovered GCBC I was tested because metabolic syndrome was suspected. My Hb A1c turned out to be really high (BAD). I don’t know how much damage and if it’s permanent I did to my body and metabolism back then, but my current IF practice doesn’t hurt me now. I’m sure there is individual variation though. Also, it makes me angry thinking back to the diet recommendation I got after the Hb A1c test results. “EAT LOW FAT”.
    As to bread, grains, cereals and adding them back on a low-carb/high fat diet- Peter over at Hyperlipid said he “wouldn’t touch grains with a barge pole”!

    I’m with Peter. I started out looking for the low-carb breads and such, but now I just skip the grains.

    Reply
  46. Joanne

    Thanks for the recap Tom, and double thanks for the food pictures. As one who has done numerous food blogs on various cruises, I always appreciate additional pictures to drool over. My husband and I already have plans to join everyone on the cruise next year and look forward to spending 7 days eating that glorious food and attending all the group sessions. Thanks for taking a few minutes out of your evening in Ft Lauderdale to say hello and please know that we are very pleased to be a part of this whole low carb movement. I’m sure you can understand how thrilled I was this week during my annual health screening to advise my nurse practitioner as we reviewed a few of my yearly numbers (HDL 87; total/HDL ratio 2.4) that I eat bacon and eggs for breakfast every day!

    Wow, that’s a great result! I’ll bet the practitioner was stunned.

    Reply

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