Ode to Calorie Restriction - Part 1
So you want to live forever, cowboy? Well, start by cutting back on those calories. Last week, yet another study demonstrated the benefits of a calorie-restricted diet. The results: people who eat between 1600 - 2000 cals per day were found to have more elastic, resilient hearts that, among other things, are better able to relax between beats as do younger people's hearts.
Dr. Roy Walford has been advocating such a diet for the last 20 years. His book "The 120-year Diet" was based on years of research on lab mice and humans to show that those who restrict caloric intake AND maintain nutritional requirements do not fall victim to many typical age-related diseases. Dr. Walford died last year from Lou Gehrig's disease (a neuromuscular disease unrelated to diet or age) but his organization carries the torch of calorie restriction (CR) and offers many educational links.
Harvard has been looking into the connection between disease and the Standard American Diet (SAD). Yep, it's actually referred to as SAD! An article on the causal relationship between calories and obesity, in Harvard Magazine's June 2004 issue noted "Today, Americans eat 200 calories more food energy per day than they did 10 years ago". Looking at around at what's for sale in your typical grocery store confirms this fact. Most processed, packaged foods are quick to eat and "tasty" but terribly high in calories.
The calorie restriction concept is all about removing processed, refined foods from the diet (which happen to be high in calories) and keeping the fruits and especially vegetables (low in cals) and leaner meats (which with less fat, have lower caloric value). I support this formula completely and such a diet is recommended by many experts within allopathic and alternative health circles.
In the spirit of adventure, and with yet another birthday looming, I've decided to do my heart a favour and monitor the number of calories I actually eat in a day. I'm sure it's a lot! Once established, I'll then see how difficult it would be to reduce that amount to between 1600 and 2000 calories. Just to test it out.
I've just finished breakfast: a small bowl of soy milk, ginger granola and a banana. This added up to a whopping 400 calories. This tiny amuse-bouche is only the first of four or five meals I eat each day. I'm still a bit peckish but I don't think I'll reach for my typical after-breakfast cookie. "But it's a healthy cookie" says the inner piggie voice. "And we always have cookie after breakfast!" But just for today, I'm going to have a green drink which has only 20 calories. Because green drinks are almost as good as cookies. Hmm. I bet my will to change breaks down on this cookie issue......