Spider Eggs – The New Superfood?

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Spiders can be creepy crawly. But did you know that a spoonful of their unborn young can help speed up your metabolism and even strengthen your bones?

Gross.  But is it worth it? I don’t know.

…I say that losing weight sucks. And we can all use a little help.

In theory – spider eggs shouldn’t be any grosser than let’s say chicken eggs or caviar. The idea just takes a little getting used to.

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Just think of it as Earth Caviar.

If you are a regular reader of my posts, you’ll know that I’m not one to put too much stock in shortcuts (see my post Seven Magic Pills to Regulate Your Appetite).

Even so, I’m not going to deny a tactic that might help you achieve your goal weight solely because it’s unconventional. We always need to be open to try new things.

Even if those new things consist of…. spider eggs.

Omelion – C 

The reason spider eggs work is because of a little compound called Omelion-C (O-C).

Like certain proteins, you body naturally creates Omelion-C every day. The only problem is that your body can only create small amounts – which will vary based on a number of factors including your age and genetics.

If you’re of East-Asian descent, you’re in luck. You naturally create the most Omelion-C of any other ethnic group. This might be why East-Asian people, as a whole, tend to be more petite. Bastards!

If you’re unlucky enough to be white, black, or anything other than East Asian – the amount of Omelion-C circulating in your blood is likely far too low to allow you to function at your optimal metabolic rate. Thanks ancestors!

But luckily there are Spider Eggs. Ugh.

How it Works

Well it doesn’t always.

First of all, you need to find the right species of spider. And even so, there’s a chance the spider egg diet might not work for you.

To protect the cute baby spiders from potential insect, bird, and mammal predators – CERTAIN species of spider eggs are wrapped in a special fat-rich membrane. That’s because some of these predators have a hard time digesting the fat. This has two effects on the predators:

  1. The eggs will pass right through the predator’s digestive system and still hatch; and
  2. The fat will make the predator immediately full and uneasy, therefore making it less likely to attempt at eating the spidery siblings and cousins.

In humans, this membrane acts very much the same, but also a little differently.

When this membrane comes in contact with proteins in the human body – it has two effects:

1. the fat-rich membrane increases your levels of satiety; AND

2. the membrane actually triggers a very light immune response which causes your body to flush not only the eggs, but also other toxins in your colon.

But many people are immune! That’s why eating spider eggs won’t work for everyone.

And not all species work! But luckily there are about 2,000 species to choose from. Here are a few species you can try, that are common in North America:

  • Arrowhead Orb Weaver
  • Basilica Orb Weaver
  • Cribellate Orb Weaver
  • Eastern Harvest Man
  • Jerry Orbach head Spider
  • Feather Legged Spider

Unfortunately!

Unfortunately – Spider Eggs haven’t made it to your local Whole Foods just yet, so you might have to try your local Russian food store or international market.

If you find them, you can dissolve them in tea, or even add them to your favorite green smoothie! Blending won’t hurt them, but excessive heat might.

..You can also buy certain species of spider eggs freeze dried on amazon.com. But many people say that the freeze dry process decreases the potency and effect.

I’m not sure myself. I haven’t tried Spider Eggs yet. But I’m working my way up to it.

If you do try any species of spider eggs, please let me know!

..And if you’ve heard of any other weird metabolism stimulating foods – share the wealth.

Happy April Fools!

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Your Food Can Talk

Vegetables and fruits background.
“Listen up, human. We’re trying to tell you something.”

Your Produce is Alive!!!

It lives. It breathes. When you close the refrigerator door, the citizens of your fridge even communicate amongst one another through chemical signals.

So how you store and prepare your veggies affects them. And who you store them with affects them as well.

Examples

1. Ripen your avocado.  Want to ripen your avocado faster? Store it in a brown paper bag with a couple of bananas. The bananas emit ethylene gas, which speeds the ripening process.

2. Save your avocado with onion. Chop up some onion. Place it in an airtight container with your avocado or guac. If possible, keep the pit. The gasses from the onion will slow browning.

3. Torture your lettuce. This is kind of disturbing. Your lettuce is still living. If you tear it up, it begins to produce higher amounts of anti-oxidants to protect itself from the horrors of your inhumanity.

On the downside, the torture makes it respire faster. I mean – wouldn’t you respire faster if someone was tearing you apart? So once torn, it won’t last as long. (Neither would you!). But if you plan to eat it in the next day or so, tear that ish up and watch the anti-oxidant levels rise.

Preparing Your Veggies

How you prepare your veggies has an enormous impact on their nutritional value.  Some nutrients are destroyed by heat. Some are enhanced by it.

Some fruits and veggies are made less nutritious through the process of freezing/thawing. Others (quick respirators) lose nutritional value so quickly that you are better off freezing them than not!

There is no universal best way to prepare your fruits and veggies. It all depends on the item in question, and perhaps on what your goals are.

BUT there is a nearly universal bad way to do it: Boiling!

Forget about the problem of heat. For most plants, boiling will leach water soluble nutrients into the boiling water. Unless you’re using that water in a soup, stew or broth, you’re basically losing those vitamins.

All of these tips come from one of my favorite books, Eating on the Wild Side by Jo Robinson.  You should check it out.  It’s a wonderful read.

For tips on carrots, see my post on How to Get 8X More Nutrition from Your Carrots
For tips on garlic, see my post Garlic, You’re Doing it Wrong.

If you have any tips like this, I’d love to hear them and share them 🙂

Happy Vegging!

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Finding Your Happy Chemicals

 

Was this song written about carbohydrates?
Or maybe it’s about that moment when you finally exit the gym.

God knows! I’ve got to make it on my own!

Yesterday I wrote a post about called There is No Such Thing as Emotional Eating.

Today, I want to backtrack just a little bit. Because one of the comments on my post got me thinking (yes it was yours The Farmer’s Diet!)

Eating as an Emotional Crutch

So the premise of yesterday’s post was this: when you think you are eating emotionally, you’re not. You are actually eating habitually. 

This is important because:

  • many disordered eaters believe they must address their underlying emotional issues in order to fix their disordered eating
  • I believe the opposite is true! you need to address your disordered eating first, and then your emotional issues will begin to fall away

The Emotional Crutch

I think it’s helpful to forget about emotional eating, and instead focus on habitual eating.

Even so, there are still three major ways emotions come into play:

  1. Emotions are intertwined with habits. When you do things in a highly emotional state, the behaviors you do are more likely to stick.
  2. Emotions can prevent you from ever starting! Food feels good, and it’s a wonderful crutch
  3. Once you begin to lose weight, you lose a lot of your happy chemicals. You have to learn to make them a different way.

When it comes to emotions, I don’t know how much I can help.

As far as #1, read a book about habit formation. I love “The Power of Habit” by Charles Duhigg. It might change the way you look at the world

As far as #2, you just have to be strong. That’s all I can say. Make one small step.

Where Did All the Happy Chemicals Go?

As far as #3, dear god I still struggle with this. I can’t personally deprive myself of food constantly and live a happy life.

I also don’t enjoy doing extreme exercise. I lose my weight in “spurts” and maintain for long periods in between. I find that if I lose weight relatively quickly over relatively short periods of time, it’s less taxing on my emotions.

But in general, I don’t think losing weight is “fun” for your body or mind. By definition, if you want to lose weight, you need to eat LESS than your body needs to survive. I don’t care how quickly or slowly you do that – losing fat is taxing on your body. It’s a stressor.

So your emotions might run haywire, and mine often do. It’s better not to become overweight in the first place. Because maintaining your weight can be very easy if you just eat whole foods.

I exercise by walking outdoors and hiking. These things make me feel happy and free. I don’t do exercises that make me miserable, because losing weight makes me miserable enough.

Go easy on willpower. Your willpower is limited. When you use it up, you’re more likely to slip up. And when you slip up, you’re more likely to go hard on yourself. Don’t be hard on yourself for being a freaking human being!!

We all have limited willpower. Fit people don’t keep crappy food in the house. That means they exercise their willpower less. You might even want to plan meals ahead of time. I don’t do this, but it works great for some people. Take away as many bad choices as you can. Making choices drains your willpower, and makes you unhappy.

You have to make sure you’re sleeping enough, and I think having good relationships is important also. I’m very fortunate to have two of my closest friends, Rachel and Val along with me on this journey.

Oh the loneliness! I’m self-employed, which makes things lonely. And I’m single, which makes things lonely. Carbs make lovely friends. So you have to fill up the loneliness.  I do it by getting absorbed in books, and lately by writing.

Your happy chemicals are also another reason to set tiny goals. Reaching goals boosts happiness.  Once you get a little momentum going, it get’s much easier.  Small goals changed everything for me. That’s why I wrote this post: To Lose 30 Pounds, Aim for Eight.

Set BEHAVIORAL rather then PROGRESS goals. You can’t completely control your progress, but you CAN completely control your behavior. And since your progress is a direct result of your behavior, behavioral goals are not only just as valid – they actually WORK BETTER.  They give you something to be proud of no matter what.

  • “Progress Goals” = I want to lose 2 pounds per week
  • “Behavioral Goals” = I will eat a salad every weekday for lunch

When you generally feel good about yourself, happy chemicals are easier to come by. But I won’t pretend it’s easy in the beginning.  You have to slog through it, knowing better days are coming.

In Sum

  • Don’t set insurmountable goals & take it one day at a time.
  • Eat whole foods from God’s good earth, so your body is more satisfied and less panicky.
  • Stay away from carbs or foods that addict you.
  • A small amount of carbs IS good for mental health, eat them together with fat and protein at the same meal.

And if you have any suggestions for how you deal with your emotions during weight loss, please share.

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Michael Pollan is Food Shaming Us Again

…and I love it.

In the new Netflix docu-series “Cooked,” Pollan (bestselling author of “The Omnivore’s Dilemma” and “The Botany of Desire” among others), gets deep into it.

And by “it” I mean all of it.

Pollan covers topics from traditional open-fire cooking by indigenous people of Australia, to food processing by modern corporations, to India, to hippie hog farmers.

And that’s just episode one.

Here is what the media has to say

From the New York Times

Link: “Review: Michael Pollan and Pangs of Guilt, Not Hunger

Michael Pollan is food-shaming us again, this time in a four-part Netflix docu-series. It’s a gentle sort of shaming, and informative, but unless you’ve previously been converted to Pollanology through his books (“The Omnivore’s Dilemma”) or his other screen appearances (“Food, Inc.”), you’ll come away feeling mighty guilty about what you eat.

I’m beginning to detect where this is going….
Somehow, the NYT is going to make this about class and poverty.

Am I right?  Let’s see…

Mr. Pollan’s messages are important to hear and are engagingly presented in this series. Still, there’s a disconnect that’s never addressed. It would be great if all 7.4 billion of us could hunt our own lizards and cook them over an open fire, spend hours baking our own bread from grain milled on stone, and so on. But there’s a gentrification to Mr. Pollan’s brand of culinary advocacy.

The world’s poorest people — some seen in idyllic imagery here — have to devote long hours to basic subsistence, and the world’s relatively well off have the luxury to indulge in artisanal cooking. Yet applying his ideas across the whole range of human circumstances is a trickier subject than this pretty series wants to tackle.

Aha! I was right! Well I guess I had an unfair advantage. I did, after all, read the entire article before making my prediction.

In any event, sure, this reviewer is technically right. But I hate the focus of this review.

I mean really, a review of the show should be a review of the show. If you want to write an Op-ed, then I’d understand focusing on how difficult this problem is to solve globally.

I mean – aren’t most global issues difficult to solve?

The goal of this series is clearly to reach more people with information that matters. And that it achieves. Quite beautifully, at that.

From Mother Jones

Link: “Netflix and Grill: Michael Pollan Takes His Food Evangelism to the Small Screen”

This one’s a bit kinder, although they do criticize Pollan for failing to “offer viewers detailed advice about how to increase how much they cook.”

Much of the information presented in the Cooked Netflix series won’t be new to foodies who follow Pollan’s work. It touches on the rise of industrialization and processed food, the beneficial gut microbes that thrive when we eat fermented food, and the importance of eating meat that came from ethically treated animals. However, even viewers obsessed with health food trends will be seduced by the series’ vibrant scenes, which provide a glimpse of how cultures around the world make—and break—their proverbial bread.

My Take

I think the series is fantastic, and of course, I think Michael Pollan is fantastic.

I love the series for two reasons:

1. People Don’t Read

If you are reading this blog, then I congratulate you. Because while writers at the NY Times and Mother Jones are writing to an audience that is often highly familiar with Pollan’s work, the truth is that the majority of people don’t ever read.

Sure, plenty of people do read. But even among the most educated, plenty of people don’t.

And sure, more people are reading than ever before. On all sorts of media, yes. But I reiterate – many people don’t.

Media is increasingly converting to video. So when information that is normally found in books goes to Netflix, I’m all about it. Especially when it educates people on something so important.

2. Processed Food is Still King

Again, readers of the NY Times and Mother Jones represent a small subset of the population, despite these being huge publications. So when these publications write reviews, they are writing for so called “sophisticated people” who have heard it all before.

But most people haven’t heard it all before. They’re still confused. And it’s not their fault.

And sure – Pollan’s books (and similar books) are extremely well known. They have been read by millions.  But these millions represent a tiny percentage of the population as a whole.

I don’t take a militant approach to shedding light on important issues. I take a “leaky information approach.”

Most people don’t read, but the people who do – they spread the word. The others end up reading only the headlines. And that’s OK.

Most people don’t eat a reasonable diet, but the people who do – they spread the word.  We  won’t end up eating a perfect diet. And that’s OK. There is no such thing as a perfect diet. It’s all about steps towards better information for more people. This series helps us get there.

In Sum

I am so happy that awareness of the importance of whole foods is becoming stronger everyday. But for the vast majority of people in this country (and increasingly around the world), processed food is still king!! 

So I say – the more information the better! The more people reached the better!

This, my friends, is how progress happens.

And I applaud Michael Pollan (and people like him) for bringing important concepts to new people every day.

Great series. Check out “Cooked” on Netflix and let me know what you think.

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