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kotmj

kotmj's shift towards a meat-reduced diet: Sort of like a diary.

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This is cereal-on-the-go, remember Nestum? In an attempt to reduce caffeine intake, there are grain-based substitutes to coffee in the market like wheat bran, quinoa, rye, peas etc. You might enjoy 2 other grain-based 'teas' I too drink when I am in China or Japan or Korea. The first is roasted brown rice 'tea' which is 玄米茶 and the other is roasted barley 'tea' 大麥茶.  

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Caffe bene, a Korean café chain, serves misugaru beverages; apart from that, even their regular Americano is excellent. I was in their outlet in Sunway Pyramid just a few days ago (for the first time) and was very impressed with their coffee.

 

I have tried Japanese green tea with roasted rice, and also brown roasted barley, but was not impressed; maybe the tea was not high grade enough or I did not prepare it the right way. I'll give it another try.

 

Misugaru is very inexpensive; the 1kg bag I bought was only maybe RM25.

 

Nestum, and anything Nestle, can go to hell.

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I bought it in the Korean quarter adjacent to Ampang Point. I was there to meet someone to order supplies for my parent's side business. I was surprised to see that every shop in that block is Korean. I asked the person I was there to meet what the Koreans are doing there. "Business," he said. Turns out his landlord is Korean; they own the whole block.

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Ate so much meat during CNY I came back with the beginnings of central obesity. Meat was the main course of every meal. Phuargh. It occured to me that, maybe even in my lifetime, the tide will turn and the consumption of animal products will drop dramatically. It's so obvious to me, as someone who is primarily vegan, that there are no benefits to meat eating and many disadvantages. Much like smoking -- tobacco or opium.

 

Humankind has repeatedly shown itself capable of shaking off practices which harm more than they help. Not too long ago, opium was openly available and regarded as normal as tea. How many lives has that wrecked? Same thing with tobacco -- smoking was once considered therapeutic. Everybody smoked. Cigarettes were at one time part of a soldier's ration -- a necessity of life, much like price-controlled chicken today.

 

The amazing thing is that people can collectively identify a threat to their own well-being and shake off even the most addictive of things. Opium is a done story; tobacco is on the way out. In some countries like Brunei, even the ridiculous practice of banks showering the population with super expensive and super addictive credit has been curtailed. It had to be curtailed by the government because the entire population became addicted to consumer credit and were deeply indebted to the banks. Malaysia still has not moved on this front, but then government and bankers are nearly one and the same. Gambling, also a very addictive thing, is now controlled and contained by legislation in most countries.

 

The most obvious addiction I see right now is to animal products. 8 out of 10 of the people I see are obese. The entire population is eating meat at every meal. Meat is seen as fortifying and essential. Meat is the new tobacco. However it took several decades and millions of premature deaths before tobacco is seen for what it really is, namely, that it's just plain bad for you. The smart ones are already ahead of the curve on animal products. It's just plain bad for you.

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One doesn't have to go against the grain. It's only about giving up a personal addiction. The way you know it's an addiction is by wanting to give it up, knowing it is for your own good to give it up, but succumbing anyway. In my immediate family of five, I am the only one with normal blood test values. They all know this. They also know why. But they cannot eat as I eat. Why? Because they are addicts.

 

I think meat addiction is very similar to money addiction. Most people are addicted to money the way they are addicted to meat. It is this addiction to money that makes politicians so bribable. To expect a politician to remain bribe-free over say a five year period in office is like expecting a normal meat addict to give up meat for five years. It is a very unrealistic expectation to have of him. How to find a politician with the potential for honesty is left as an exercise for the reader.

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IMG_20161011_174242_zpsll8hlkgi.jpg

 

There are many roadside greengrocer stands where I live selling vegetables grown in the immediate vicinity. Today, a curiosity: edamame. First time I ever saw it sold here. It was grown by the woman who sold it to me.

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I just thought of writing about an observation. It's something I've noticed for some time.

 

A lot of people are conscious they should lose weight. The way they go about this is really curious: they cut back on the rice. And bread. There is a conventional wisdom making the rounds that carbohydrates make you fat.

 

So you see people ordering a half-portion of rice with a fried chicken drumstick and an egg. This is considered a tasty yet disciplined meal since its "reduced carbs".

 

As the years go by, they get fatter and fatter.

 

For a low carb diet to work, your body needs to be so starved of carbs that it enters starvation mode, a.k.a. ketosis. That's when your body switches over to consuming its own fat stores. People who write well-reviewed diet books in this vein are really telling you how to gently ease your body into ketosis and how to stay in ketosis. However, most people don't read. They hear that carbs make you fat. So they cut the rice.

 

To get into ketosis, you can consume no more than 50g of carbs a day. Not a single person who does "nasi separuh" ever comes close to ketosis. All they are doing is eating a lot of meat. It's the meat that makes you sick and fat and ultimately prematurely dead.

 

A much better diet is minimal meat and maximal starch. Don't believe me? Try it for three weeks. No meat, no eggs, no dairy. Instead, eat rice, noodles, bread, tubers (potatoes, sweet potatoes, yam). Watch your weight plummet and your general sense of wellbeing skyrocket.

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A couple of months ago, I took notice that I no longer had to survive on the carcasses of dead animals. It was quite the relief. But I also understood that I spend maybe 40% of my waking hours either thinking of what to eat next, driving to the eatery, eating, and driving back from having eaten. I found it ridiculous. I thought it was time to get myself accustomed to eating once a day, like large parts of Africa.

 

And so I tried. After a week or so of trying to get by with a single (big) meal a day, I noticed a fruity, alcoholic odour to my breath. Like fruit liquor. I had entered into ketosis. The first time in my life. Ketosis is a state the body goes into if it needs to break down body fat for energy. I was clearly not getting enough calories from my single meal to power my lifestyle. So I gave up the attempt. I went back to eating two meals a day.

 

But a remarkable thing happened as I came back out of ketosis. See, I thought it was normal to be dead tired in the evenings. After all, I'm not that young anymore. Fatigue, I thought, is just a fact of life. I would have a couple of hours after waking up where I felt really fresh, but even in the afternoon that freshness would have dulled. I would be tired by 5 or 6pm. By 8pm, my body would almost be achingly fatigued.

 

After that brief bout of ketosis, I found that this fatigue vanished. Even late into the night, I was strangely fresh. Mentally alert, with a body ready for more. It was bizarre.

 

Before I eventually get to my revelatory insight, I need to talk a bit about diabetes and insulin resistance. Diabetes is a disease of lipid toxicity. Meaning, fat/oil poisoning. Too much fat and oils. I was staring at a vegetarian banana leaf rice spread before me one evening trying to figure out what gives the Indians so much diabetes. I peered at the various components on the leaf. Then it occured to me every little scoop of cooked vegetable was saturated in cooking oil. It was the oil. If you do a google search, you will find reams of publications implicating cooking oil in insulin resistance.

 

The dots connected. Maybe despite a primarily vegan diet, I was still consuming too much cooking oil and that oil is giving me insulin resistance which leads to chronic fatigue. Insulin resistance is where the blood glucose remains in the blood instead of going into the muscle cells where it is needed. Starved of glucose, the body becomes tired.

 

I became very conscious of cooking oil in my food after this insight. This was 1.5 weeks ago. Until now, that old fatigue has not returned. I've never been this fresh, so late into the night. Almost like the Energiser bunny.

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A large part of the reason why pandemics of the past occurred repeatedly and for so long is because people then misdiagnosed the cause. But to say they were clueless is inaccurate. Most knew! just knew what caused it! Alas, they were wrong.

Today, there is an obesity/metabolic syndrome pandemic. People know! they know exactly what causes it. Alas, they are wrong. That's why they are still obese.

But I bet in the depths of the Black Plague there was a handful of individuals who could see that the problem was wrongly diagnosed. Through observation, they had an inkling how it actually spread. And behaved accordingly.

There is a sort of Vedic healer from India who travels the world. For a class of ailments, he would prescribe a bit of traditional medicine. He would often start the recipe by saying, "Ghee, one teaspoon, cardamom half teaspoon..." Normally, you're to take this twice a day. Notice the dosage. Ghee, one teaspoon.

I'm writing all this in a cafe in Bukit Tinggi where I had just eaten a plate of basmati fried rice. No cooking oil was used. Instead, I had bought a can of ghee from the Speedmart 99 next door and instructed the cafe proprietor to use the supplied ghee.

When they returned me the unused portion of the can of ghee, I took a look at how much they used. Half the can was gone.

Half of a 125gm can of ghee in a single serving of fried rice. Not, ghee, one teaspoon....

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IMG_20180823_133610.jpg?raw=1

I wish such meals were more readily available, but I have to drive to Bentong to get it. Ladies' fingers, cauliflower, mushrooms, gourd, chickpeas, gluten and rice. Normally, I would go with brown rice, but it was unavailable that day.

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In reality, human bodies are like rats in that we can live on pretty much any organic matter. This made it possible for humans to live in very different areas of the earth, in a way few animals could (notably the rat). People can survive on anything. A pack of cigarettes a day, half a bottle of whiskey, and fast food.

There are people trying to discover the diet we were meant to eat. If fish have planktons and other fish as their native diet, and monkeys eat leaves and fruits, what is the native diet of humans?

It turns out there is no definitive answer. The reason: Humans became humans because of our unnatural diet. Humans became humans because somehow, we grew a huge brain relative to our body size. The other primates could not afford such a brain because of a lack of calories. What made it possible for humans to evolve such a large brain is the mastery of fire, which allowed cooking.

Cooking allowed humans to eat things which are otherwise inedible, even poisonous. Plants would not exist without a defence against being eaten; this defence manifests itself as a poisonous cocktail. By cooking plants, these chemicals become denatured and the calories become accessible to us.

As humans spread out from warm tropical climates to colder places, it became necessary to eat more animals and their produce, like dairy, simply because for a large part of the year, there are no plants. It is a suboptimal diet, but over millions of generations, humans evolved (through natural selection) the ability to survive on such a diet.

The evolution did not complete itself. We were sort of halfway through becoming carnivores. Humans don't do well at all without daily intake of vitamin C, which only exists in raw plant matter. Without significant and constant fiber intake (which only exists in plant matter), humans develop autoimmune disesases. So while we can sort of survive on meat, the fact that we started off as plant eaters is very much a reality.

So we started off as raw plant eaters. Then, we evolved to eat primarily cooked foods. This created a big brain that fuelled progress, which allowed the industrial revolution and now we can produce as much meat as we want. Poultry farms are public listed companies. Today, we eat as much meat as we can. At our core, we are raw plant eaters who tolerate cooked foods and animal produce so long as raw plant matter are ingested alongside. The real food pyramid starts with animal products at the top. Lower down is cooked plant matter (like grains and tubers). At the base of the pyramid is raw plant matter.

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