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Red meat & mortality & the usual bad science

This is a great explication by Zoe Harcombe of the article in Archives of Internal Medicine released March 12 reporting the teeny association between eating meat and premature death. Skip the numbers if you want. The “meat” of her summary is in the first 2 points:

“1) This study can at best suggest an observed relationship, or association. To make allegations about causation and risk is ignorant and erroneous.

2) The numbers are very small. The overall risk of dying was not even one person in a hundred over a 28 year study. If the death rate is very small, a possible slightly higher death rate in certain circumstances is still very small. It does not warrant a scare-tactic, 13% greater risk of dying headline – this is ‘science’ at its worst.”

If you are so inclined, also read the rant on Gary Taubes’ blog post, Science, Pseudoscience, Nutritional Epidemiology and Meat

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This Is Your Diet On Grief

OK, let me rephrase that… These are my diet/food/hunger experiences during the grieving of my mother’s death after leaving the family and friends.

  • Forget to eat.  Breakfast and lunchtime are over? Oops.
  • One severe episode of wanting to binge, and I mean binge as in consume whatever edible substance could be found. Fortunately nothing in the pantry or fridge was “binge-able”. In the past, I would not have let that stop me and would have gone questing for food – fast food or obscenely fat and sugar-laden grocery store items.
  • Monitoring food intake via Livestrong.com (my go-to site) or even by hand – totally forgotten about. How could that habit be so quickly extinguished?
  • Food cravings – none. Thankfully, I still don’t have my ice cream fetish, even during my binge fantasy. In fact, food just doesn’t taste much at all. During the immediate post-death period when we were all gathered at my parents’ home and food was in abundance, some food tasted great such chocolate chip cookies, Tex-Mex, my birthday cake. Did I mention Mom died 28 hours before my birthday?
  • Summer Diet Buddies – sorry about the last 2 weeks of not checking in except to say that I wasn’t checking in
  • Physical activity – as if
  • Sleep – erratic

This is what I know that I should be doing now, which is to rely on my eating and physical activity plan as a structure to keep me grounded. So easily stated and written. Grief is what it is, however, and I can’t fight it. Sadness, poor sleep, ridiculous feelings of abandonment, a sense that the world will never be the same – I have zero control over those normal adult responses to the loss of a parent. I can, however, fight my tendency to bad self-care.

Starting last night, I resumed my food diary at Livestrong and checked in with Summer Diet Buddies. Today – breakfast, no; lunch, yes; plan in place to resume regularly scheduled meals. Tomorrow I am headed to the new gym that I found just before Mom died – a gym specifically targeted to folks over age 50, which means a lot of younger people go there also for the accepting atmosphere, good rates, great pool, and classes for every body type and level of fitness. I made an appointment with a podiatrist to get my foot examined for the bony growth on top that is causing my 4th and 5th toes to splay out. (This might not sound like much to some readers, but it has only taken 2 months to finally schedule – another self-care issue…)

I’ll try not to rag on and on about my grief work here (and the irrational thoughts that burst forth) but will up date how I’m doing re-establishing my diet health behaviors and will probably refer to my emotional state at times.

Sorrow makes us all children again – destroys all differences of intellect.  The wisest know nothing.  ~Ralph Waldo Emerson

My Blog Has Been Dark

Words, especially typed ones without affect, have escaped me since the sudden and unexpected death of my 79 year-old mother 10 days ago.

Joyce was loved by absolutely everyone who really knew her. She was a  woman of her time – the wife of minister, life-long homemaker, and mother of 4 adoring kids who are as different as she was funny, witty, gracious, brave, and feisty. Despite her failing health, she was always smiling, saying please and thank you (like any true Texan), wanting to help, frustrated by not being as physically independent (oh, how she loved to drive!), and cracking us up with her inability to remember a joke – except the punchline.

Her wake, burial, and memorial services were attended by family and friends from across the country. I had forgotten how many true friends our family has. Sad that death has to bring us closer together.

We laughed, cried, ate, respected her wishes for no purple or organ music and did not take her body to church. “If heaven is like church, I don’t think I want to go,” she told us. Spoken like a true minister’s wife.

I loved her fiercely. I miss her greatly. She lives on in my siblings and my memory. We will celebrate her life always.

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