A blog about nothing.

Sunday, December 25, 2011

THE SECRET TO A FULL HEAD OF LUSTROUS LOCKS


The thinking used to be that if you were meant to lose your hair, there was nothing you could do about it short of taking Rogaine or Proptia all your life, getting a transplant, or (yikes) wearing a wig.


Recent research tells us otherwise. It turns out that, though there is a genetic predisposition to hair loss, diet plays a key part. Specifically, animal foods such as meat, eggs, and dairy, can accelerate hair loss, especially in genetically susceptible individuals. This includes both gals and guys.

First, a quick lesson in physiology. Hair loss occurs because of the action of a hormone called dihydrotestosterone, or DHT. This hormone is concentrated in the follicles of your hairline, and it causes them to thin and become wispy and eventually erode altogether, giving rise to the horseshoe pattern of hair loss also known as male pattern baldness.





Where does DHT come from? It is a metabolite of another common hormone, testosterone.


Testosterone is made primarily in the testicles, which is why men usually have more of it (and more DHT) than women. But it is also found in the diet. Animal products can contain high levels of testosterone, which are then converted by your body to DHT. Interestingly, DHT also causes beard and chest hairs to thicken and become more dense, as if to compensate for the balding pate.

Evidence for this? Men who have their testes removed owing to medical problems do not go bald, even when they come from families in which male pattern baldness is common. However, if these men are given testosterone injections, hair loss quickly reaches levels similar to that which occurs in their siblings.

Note also that your testosterone production (both males and females produce testosterone, women just produce less of it, and lose their hair less frequently than men) is twice as high in the fall as in the spring. Not coincidentally, your rate of hair loss in the autumn months is twice as high (60 hairs per day) than in the vernal months (30 hairs lost per day). This is a natural cycle and your body replenishes hair with regrowth every six months.

The problem is that diets that contain animal foods keep our testosterone levels artifiicially elevated the whole year through.

Some may argue that testosterone levels occurring in meat are a fraction of what your body produces and so have a negligible effect on DHT levels. While this may or many not be the case, there is no getting around the high fat content of animal products, and high fat diets contribute to high levels of DHT for a number of reasons:

Diets high in fat (the same diets that contain animal protein, since meat, eggs and dairy are major fat sources) contribute to hair loss in three ways. First, fatty foods produce oilier hair follicles. The oil glands are the source of the enzyme that converts testosterone to DHT. Consequently, when they grow in size, more DHT gets produced, and the balder one becomes.

Also, fatty diets increase the production of testosterone (and estrogen) in the blood. They also reduce the amount of sex hormone binding globulin, which keeps testosterone inactive. Reduced amounts increase the likelihood that testosterone will be converted to DHT.

Incidentally, the Chinese and Japanese are known to contain less of the enzyme (reductase, see above) that converts testosterone to DHT, and are therefore much less likely to go bald, a fact which observation supports. However, when Asians migrate to America and adopt the Western diet (or eat large amounts of fast food in their home countries, which is becoming increasingly common) they go bald just like their American counterparts. Assimilation to the extreme.


It should be noted that men with higher cholesterol and a history of heart disease are also more likely to be bald than men with healthier diets. What's the connection? Two words, animal food.

Good news: If you are starting to lose your hair, you can reverse or at least stall the process by modifying your diet. Adopt a diet that is naturally low in fat, and low in animal hormones. Reduce or eliminate the consumption of vegetable oils (high in fat) and animal protein (high in fat and in testosterone).

And enjoy an abundance of lustrous hair for life . . . or at least for a lot longer than you otherwise would.
And yes, Billy Idol is a vegetarian...

Saturday, December 24, 2011

THE PARADIGM GUY

Our friend David, 30-something from Santa Monica, sent in his daily diet for proud display. In truth, big D is actually 40 years young, but he has the healthy glow of someone half his age. Welcome back to high school, big guy! For many of us high school glory is the best it gets, but it doesn't have to be. By eating well and breaking a sweat you can retain the vim and vigor of youth well into the twilight of your life, which in the case of celebrated vegetarians can end up well into the triple digits. With that said, take a gander at:

DAVID'S BREAKFAST

A typical breakfast smoothie for David includes bananas, berries, flax, lemon, and apple.

Measuring 6-8 cups, this regal repast provides 650 calories, with a carb/prot/fat ratio of 80/7/13, in addition to 38 g of fiber, and 50 percent or more of the daily requirement for 10 nutrients. Fit for a king, David is starting off the day better than many people accomplish in a whole week. Bitchin'!

HEALTHY SNACK

A representative snack includes 2 oranges and 1 apple, for an addl 200 calories and 8 g of fiber

LUNCHEON MUNCHIN'

A typical lunch for David includes beans, greens, and tomatoes, which taken together provide roughly 650 calories and an additional 30 g of fiber.


DINING RIGHT

Dave's do-right dinner is almost without exception clean and exemplary. He often includes a large salad with nutritional yeast and his favorite variety of bean (pictured is black bean) which comes out to 420 calories, and an additional 27 g of fiber.

TOTAL  NUTRITION

calories: 1,955


carbs: 385 g (74% of total calories)


protein: 92 g (16% of total calories)


fat: 25 g (10% of total calories)


fiber: 110 g!!!


micronutrients: 100% or more of all major nutrients, except vitamin D (which you can get from sunlight) and vitamin E (which exists in leafy greens, and is also obtainable in a multivitamin, which David takes)

Quite simply, David is . . . doin' great.

Let this holiday season be a time for celebration and cheer. Honor your body and provide it with the nutrition it deserves. With simple choices, you can enjoy a long life brimming over with energy and joy, enough to make each day a cause to commemmorate . . .

The Joy of Being.

Merry X-mas (and Hanukkah) to all, and to all a goodnight!

Friday, December 2, 2011

QUANTITY COUNTS

When you think of big portions, chances are you are GROSSLY underestimating your stomach's capacity. Your stomach is a primary organ of digestion lying just below your diaphragm. It can accomodate 3 L of food easily. This is 12 cups, or more!

While loading up on meat and cheese will cause you to consume excessive amounts of calories long before your bulk needs are met, often what happens when people focus on fruits and vegetables is exactly the opposite: you have to make an effort to eat enough, and eating too much is impossible!

Take this lunch, for instance:

That looks pretty huge. Would you be surprised if we told you that this HUGE bowl serves one??? What is in it, exactly?

4 cups chopped kale
2 bananas
2 oranges
7 dates
2 tomatoes
7 olives
1/2 an avocado
juice of one lemon

At 1,050 calories, this lion-sized lunch provides 35 grams of fiber and over 50 percent of the daily value for 14 essential vitamins and minerals, including 600 percent of the USRDA for vitamin C.

In addition, this lunch includes nearly 4 cups of water, so you'll be hydrated all the way up till dinner.

So go ahead and pile it high. Where nutrition is concerned, quantity counts just as much as quality - maybe more!