Zucchini Lasagna – Are you kidding me?!?!

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Here is a delicious lasagna that I’ve made at home many times.  It gets better each time I make it!  Here is the recipe.

Cauliflower Pizza (mmmmmmmm…) and More!

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“Dr Hoop! No pizza!  I can’t do this LCHF diet.”  I hear that comment (or a similar one) every now and then.  Although truth be told, by the time people  are sitting in front of me at the office, they are fairly motivated.  They are looking for information.  It does not get any better when you are able to share all of the delicious meals that you CAN eat.  I plan to make recipes a big part of this blog, but in the meantime try this wonderful cauliflower pizza recipe that is a hit in our house and with friends who have tried it.  If you like it, go ahead and google “Paleo Recipes” for more ideas.  If it is a paleo recipe, it is “Dr. Hoop approved” no questions asked.  You don’t have to count your carbs (the carbs are much slower in the paleo recipes).   When using Atkins, I start my patients out (those with a BMI over 95%) with a 20 gram net carbohydrate induction diet just like low carb gurus recommend in The New Atkins For A New You.  The book then goes onto expalin the Ongoing Weight Loss, Pre-Maintenance and Lifetime Maintenance Phases.  There is the accompanying New Atkins Cookbook.   Also check out Bowulf’s phenomenal recipe collection (including a great video series).

How Bad Science and Big Business Created The Obesity Epidemic

Here is one of my favorite videos on the obesity epidemic.  Dr David Diamond Ph.D. talks about how the “light bulb” came on for him.  He realized he had been given bad information and after he started eating REAL food (LCHF), his body began to heal.

School Lunches

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I received a comment yesterday about school lunches that I think is worth repeating here.  Sending your child to school with a packed lunch will give you much greater control over his or her diet.  It probably comes as no surprise that, across the board, our school lunches are not good.  I had suggested using lettuce leaves instead of bread (I use the large Romaine lettuce leaves).  Indeed, that would be messy in a school lunch.  I’ve also used slices of cheese outside the deli meat without condiment added.  Finally, I would check out Eat Like a Dinosaur by The Paleo Parents.  I LOVE THIS COOKBOOK.  There are some recipes with small amounts of sugar and dairy, but if you used this with your kids on a daily basis, they would be much healthier.  I’ve been showing it to about every parent that will let me.  Anyway, there is a wonderful chapter in the book on how to pack school lunches.  They basically use a compartmentalized lunch box that would serve as it’s own “lunch tray”.  Something like the Bento Laptop Lunch Box or the Goodbyn.   I love the idea so much that I want to start using it with my own kids.

Science for Smart People

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I feel part of my job with this blog is to pass along some basic knowledge on how to interpret studies.   It really is not as hard as it sounds and it can really help you make heads or tails of that study that you see published in the morning paper.  There is a lot of bad science out there for various reasons.  When we talk about observational studies, we are simply looking for patterns.  Observational studies do NOT prove causation and can be very misleading!  The classic example that I was given in med school is this:  You can run a study that compares rates of coffee consumption and rates of lung cancer.  If you run a retrospective (looking back in time) observational study like this, you would conclude that the more coffee you drink, the higher your risk for lung cancer.  Now we know this is ridiculous but how can this possibly be explained?  Well, it just so happens that if you are a coffee drinker, you are more likely to be a smoker.  These confounding variables come up in observational studies ALL THE TIME.  In fact, when people worry about meat consumption and the health risks purportedly linked to it, we will see that the studies used to make that conclusion are fraught with confounding variables.  Particularly a confounder called the “compliance bias” — which we will get into in a later post.  For now, here is a wonderful video lecture by Tom Naughton which I think does a great job on explaining some of the problems with these studies.  Finally, remember this: the gold standard study in science is the Randomized Controlled Trial.  An RCT is a prospective study (a study that looks at data going forward in time). It isolates one variable (a test, treatment, procedure, etc.). Participants in the study are randomly assigned to either the “treatment group” or the “control group”. If you know you are looking at an RCT, you are more than likely looking at an excellent study.

In Search of The Perfect Human Diet

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I had a chance to watch In Search of The Perfect Human Diet a few weeks ago and I thought it was well worth it.  Host CJ Hunt does a wonderful job spelling out why our bodies are designed to eat REAL food.  He interviews many of the people that I consider to be dietary legends.   People like Loren Cordain, Gary Taubes, Robb Wolf, Dr. Micahel Eades, Dr Jay Wortman and many more.  If you are not inclined to read the many books out there on Low Carb or Paleo type diets, then this might be something that will spark your interest.  Check it out!

Atkins/Low Carb

Someone asked me today if I was going to post anything on Atkins (which would involve counting carbs).  The answer is absolutely, yes.  Many people prefer this over paleo.  I’ve started with the paleo information only because that is what I personally do right now.  It is also what I do with my most carb sensitive kids in the office.  But when I started all this 5 years ago, I started by counting carbs.  It works for sure and I’ve met many wonderful people who do it this way.  On the Low Carb Cruise, I met Kent Altena.  Kent was struggling with his weight 7 or 8 years ago.  It was bad enough (I think he was around 400 lbs) that he was unable to pass his physical and was unable to deploy with his National Guard unit.  Soon after that though, Kent followed the advice of his brother and began Atkins.  He has been extremely successful and is the ultimate Atkins Geek.  He was later able to rejoin the military!

Kids and Food Commericals

Last year you may have read about a proposal from the American Academy of Pediatrics (AAP) that food commercials during children’s television shows be banned.   I happen to agree with the AAP on this particular issue.  Why?  Let’s look at what the science tells us.  There was a wonderful study done at Yale that was published in 2009 that looked at this very problem.  We know this is a great study because it is NOT an observational study.  It was a randomly controlled study that looked at just one variable — food commercials.   The results of the study were clear in that the group of children who watched television shows with food commercials ate 45% more food (whatever food was available) than children who watched television shows without food commercials.  In other words, food commercials PRIME your appetite. I don’t think this really surprises anyone.  Watching television with commercials makes you hungry!  My recommendation is to NOT LET YOUR CHILD WATCH FOOD COMMERCIALS.   Do not let your child’s appetite be manipulated (or yourself for that matter).  Do the following:

1. Minimize screen time
2. If you watch a show, watch it on a DVR where you can skip the commercials
3. Watch shows on DVD or Digital download
4. During commercials you can: turn off the TV, change the channel, or walk out of the room

Low Carb Fun Dessert for Kids

My wife whipped up a treat for the kids today that was a big hit.  She cut up watermelon into bite sized pieces and squirted lime juice over the fruit.  She then stuck a plastic fork into the each piece.  Spread out over a tupperware lid and freeze.  Be sure to keep them seperate so they don’t stick together.  The kids loved them.  Watermelon popsicles! Other fruits that would work well: sliced grapes, pineapple, pear and mango.

Are Carbohydrates Necessary In the Diet? Less So Than You Think.

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This is a question that is often asked in my office and something that people worry about.  “Don’t we need carbohydrates in our diets?”  The answer is essentially no.  When you see “Dietary Recommendations” for a specific macronutrient such as carbohydrate, it helps to remember that these recommendations were made on poor science.  We can easily thrive without carbs. Think about eskimos who have thrived for generations on protein and fat only.  As a physiology undergrad a long time ago at Michigan State University, I learned about gluconeogenesis but that may be something a lot of nutritionists and physicians have forgotten about.  Glucose, the primary fuel for the brain, can be synthesized in the liver via gluconeogenesis from products including lactate, glycerol, alanine and glutamine (the latter two are amino acids obtained from protein).  So the human body is really built to handle low exogenous intake of carbohydrate. Our genes have been programmed to do this for millenia.  Dr. Eric Westman, who specializes in obesity, metabolic syndrome and Type II diabetes at Duke, recently gave a lecture aboard the Low Carb Cruise and he reiterated this point.  Here is his lecture. If someone tries to convince you that the human diet “requires” a large portion of carbohydrates, don’t let them fool you!

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