Or thoughts on food. So many titles, so few posts!
Anyhow, occassionally I run across food research that makes me go well, huh. It usually isn’t enough to make me run an all-out experiment but I had to share a few interesting tidbits.
The theme for today is fertility:
Love Chocolate? You’re Neurotic.
Don’t feel bad. I’m a neurotic mess too. And I didn’t even need this study to tell me that! According to researchers down under, craving chocolate is a hallmark of a certain personality type. Specifically: highly irritable (check), sensitive to rejection (check), anxious (double check), self critical (triple check) and self focused (um…)
I love chocolate. The darker the better. And of course I tell myself it has antioxidants so really it’s almost like health food. However, I am also neurotic. Just ask my husband. So I guess this study is right on that count. Although… they didn’t mention the time of the month involved. Hmmm.
Moral: Neurotics rock!
Your Ovaries Hate Meat
Harvard researchers (love Harvard! Maybe it shouldn’t but just writing “Harvard researchers” gives it so much more credibility, no?) found that eating just ONE serving of meat per day DOUBLED a woman’s risk of developing endometriosis. For those of you who aren’t used to scrutinizing your female bits, endometriosis is a painful overgrowth of uterine tissue outside the uterus. It causes I-just-ate-glass kind of pain and the only real cure is surgery. With lasers.
These same researchers found that eating just ONE (again with the caps!!) serving of green vegetables reduces a woman’s risk of endometriosis by half. Fruit, having only passed its nutritional exam on the third try, just cuts your risk by 20%. If you are bad at math you would conclude that eating fruits and veggies would cut your risk by 70%. Which, unrelatedly, is why I decided to stop teaching computers to college students and start teaching math to high schoolers.
Moral: Eat your fruits and veggies! Lasers hurt.
Babies Hate Meat (and white bread and twinkies)
If you are trying to get pregnant (which I’m not but I loooooove other people’s pregnancies so I’m all for it if you are!) then the Harvard (hee!) School of Public Health has some recommendations for you. Women following this “fertility diet” were 70% less likely to have problems with infertility. The study followed 17,500 women and was rigorously controlled so, you know, it’s actually a decent study.
They recommend eating (no shocker here) monounsatured fats (like olive oil), whole grains instead of refined carbs and a multivitamin. The surprise for me was that they found that women who got their protein and iron from plant sources instead of animal sources were markedly more fertile. This goes against all the conventional wisdom of encouraging pregnant women to chow down on lots of meat. One of the questions I get asked the most as a vegan (who eats eggs) is “how do you get your protein/iron?” The truth is that not only can you get adequate amounts of both vital nutrients from plants but in this case, it’s even better than eating animals! Well, huh.
Moral: Despite what your pregnancy cravings tell you, your baby does not actually want you to chow down on that hamburger or those ho-hos. But ice cream, now that’s different. The study actually found that a moderate amount of high fat dairy helps those little egglets.
My Latest Nutrition Experiment
In a sick slap of karma, my skin has suddenly started breaking out like crazy. Barring a few bumps (literally) in adolescence, I’ve always had decent skin, so this new development is very disconcerting to me. Upon examining what has changed in my life, the only thing I can come up with is… the White Satan. That’s right, sugar. Siiiiiighhhhh. I love candy. In a deep, whole soul kind of way. And yet, as soon as I added it back into my diet after the Skinny Bee-yotch experiment, my skin exploded. So I’m going to take sugar back out for 30 days and see what happens. Although I’m kind of hoping this experiment fails. I don’t know if I could face a life without Sweetarts and Tiny Speckled Eggs (Willy Wonka, you evil man!). I’ll let you know how it goes. Any of you notice this with sugar??