Drop 13 Pounds By Friday with Panda Poo!

Science-Based Nutritional Advice

When I worked in medical research, our primary investigator used to laugh: most people, he said, when they get old, glom onto either religion or diet. The worst ones, he said, swallow both. I struggle with this sometimes, doing my religious morning quiet time eating cherries and drinking organic coffee. I skirt around the remark by reminding myself that we were both in our forties when we said that, too young to feel the pinch of dying that looms closer each year, like a cloud.

It’s both true and false. If, by religion, you mean a faith that restores you to a relationship with G, then go. If you mean investing in golf courses in Arizona because a warrior from Atlantis tells you to do so, that’s a little questionable. To me. I’m revealing my biases here, of course, believing that my faith makes more sense than yours. You might not agree, and I won’t argue. I admit: it’s not a logical proposition easily parsed.

Diet is similar. You live your whole life, eating without care, and now, at 60 or 70 or 80, with a year left, you’re going to clean it up. This is something I can talk about logically: there’s not much new under the sun when it comes to diet and no, those pills or that drink or that spoonful of yak muscle extract won’t do a thing for you. If you want health, the best advice is boring and won’t cost a thing and, yes, you should have started 20 years ago. But there’s a problem: Americans don’t do boring and cheap. We prefer exciting and expensive.

For diet? To live the Good Life? To live the Good Life for a long time? Cook your meals, go heavy on vegetables, eat sweets moderately, drink water, and do a bit of exercise two or three times a week. In between it all, hug a lot and laugh a lot. There are details to all of these suggestions, and that’s where the books come in. Before you start scanning bookstore shelves, let me tell you that there are no superfoods and there are no foods that will put you in the hospital next week.

So, read on for some healthy eating advice whether you’re 30 or 70.

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It’s all dreck. It’s a way to extract money from your pocket to line someone else’s. Whoever sells this probably just read the latest self-help guru’s book about Internet marketing, and they are out to make their millions.

Why do these products always have Oriental names? And why do they sell a thirty-day supply when you only need a few days to drop thirteen pounds? If you ask these questions when thinking about health and nutrition, you might be looking for something even more elusive: science-based nutritional advice. It’s rarely flashy, makes few promises, won’t sell many books, but it works.

There are several people I follow who practice this kind of weird science. One of my favorites is Dr. David Katz from Yale. He has an impeccable CV but, more than that, works hard to funnel seriously good, science-based, nutritional advice down to users who might not know or care about how soluble and insoluble fiber differ. Another is the great bearded guru, Dr. Weil, who has his inflammation calming diet. I mix this with Dr. Amen’s Healthy Brain diet and get along just fine. I’ve never been on long-term medication, and doctors call me a modern medical miracle. “A sixty-year-old White American male whose not taking 15 pills a day?” they ask. “You’re lying, or you’re a miracle.” I’ll take miracle.

Another is my favorite for down-to-earth advice: The Nutrition Diva.

A book I’ve reviewed before – A Short Guide to a Long Life – has a whole raft of health advice.

Two sites I trust for proven and reliable advice, regardless

 of whatever is popular this week, are the Mayo Clinic and WebMD.

Note that the amount of diet information available on the Internet is overwhelming, and I mean overwhelming. I just did an Internet search for ‘best diet’ and returned OVER 1.5 billion – billion with a b – hits on Goggle, so I have some research advice for you:

Stick with the tried and true. Ignore salespeople touting superfoods, toxic chemicals, and – good gawd! – the dangers of grain. The folks and centers I’ve listed here avoid scaremongering and mostly reject the idea that any food is dangerously toxic or magically nutritious.



By David Katz: Disease Proof

By Dr. Weil; Healthy Aging

By Dr. Amen: Change Your Brain, Change Your Life

The Nutrition Diva: Secrets for a Healthy Diet

By Dr. David Agus: A Short Guide to a Long Life


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  1. I think good nutrition comes down to the basics. Eat real food, mostly plants (as Dr. Pollan would say). I will check out ones you mention. Timely advice. Thanks, Dennis!

    • Thanks Laurie. Agree with you completely. Unfortunately, good nutrition isn’t nearly as exciting as charcoal milkshakes or dropping 13 pounds by Friday! Hope you have a great holiday season. Any runs planned?

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