The Alkaline Diet and perhaps the silliest Ana diet The Rainbow Diet: Part 1 of the series: Weird Bants and the people who love them!

The Alkaline Diet and perhaps the silliest Ana diet The Rainbow Diet: Part 1 of the series: Weird Bants and the people who love them!

Irrelevant preface:

I have decided to change the name of this series, as this is the first post I am sure no one will mind. Banting is an old fashioned term for dieting. The term was popularized in the 1800’s by an undertaker named William Banting, this whole thing was about low carb dieting. He started his low-carb diet based on the advice of a Doctor name William Harvey, who had heard of low carb dieting as a means to control diabetes. Before the discovery of insulin the ONLY way to control diabetes was with proper Banting.

A reader that I care for deeply pointed out to me that she disliked the word “Dieting”… I have to agree. Diet is the word DIE with a “T” tacked on to the end of it. Words by themselves can mess with the psyche, word associations can play with the mind.

I prefer the term bant and banting, because it makes me think of pant and panting. Pant and panting make me think of exercise (not all exercise needs to involve panting). Chances are you thought of exercise when I suggested bant sounds like pant, but I bet you thought of a different kind of exercise! GET YOUR MIND OUT OF THE GUTTER !!! Or keep it there (that all caps thing was a joke)… I don’t really care what you do with your own mind as long as you keep it to yourself, it’s yours, and so is the word Banting. If you learned a new word today, HOORAY.

Now for the article:

The Alkaline diet is all the rage, in researching for my last series this diet kept popping up over and over again. A lot of people love this diet, but as of right now I would call this a hipster diet. Meaning that if you are reading this and you are on the Alkaline diet most likely you are in fact a hipster. Do you ever wear wool caps when it’s 90 degrees outside? You might be a hipster. (I have hipster friends I actually enjoy these people they entertain me.)

So what is wrong with this diet nutritionally, good news, not much. This can be a healthy diet. The basic things to eat on this diet are fresh citrus, low-sugar fruits, vegetables, tubers, nuts and legumes. Doing this you can pretty easily get all the nutrition you need and avoid many bad things that are in other foods. All of the foods you are supposed to eat on this diet are health foods.

Root vegetables and potatoes are tubers. Tubers are a neat way for plants to repopulate and spread without seeds, they also function as a way for the plant to survive the winter by using them as food. Potatoes are stem tubers, and grow off of stem shoots (you have seen this if you did not cook your potatoes right away). Technical lingo: they are a development of large stolons (means branch) that thicken into a storage organ. MIND BLOW TIME: PLANTS HAVE ORGANS TOO.     

The Alkaline Diet is a lie, shim sham, you have had a blind fold pulled over your eyes and been Wet Willyed in the ears. It is riddled to the brim with laughably wrong pseudoscience.

The pseudoscience: following the diet is said to help maintain a slight alkalinity to the blood, without stressing the body’s regulators of acid-base homeostasis. Doing this, they claim, as most fraud diets do; will do just about everything that is good for you: from speeding up your metabolism to improving your eyesight. (Remember, the Alkaline diet is a healthy diet, the “science” behind it just happens to be complete bull poopy). I find this diet’s pseudoscience so laughable because it actually does the EXACT OPPOSITE that it claims to do. Alkaline dieters following the diet have a tendency to have slightly more acidic blood than average.

The actual science:

The body makes chemical compounds, and we eat chemical compounds that the body then proceeds to use, the whole thing is so complicated that we may never run out of stuff to study. The body keeps the blood’s acid level roughly between a pH of about 7.35-7.45. The blood must stay very close to this range, if it gets too acidic (blood pH drops) it’s bad, and if gets too basic (alkaline, blood pH raises) it’s ALSO bad. It is bad if it gets too acidic (acidemia) primarily because the enzymes in the blood can lose their ability to function, potentially causing DEATH. If the blood pH get too alkaline (alkalemia) the body’s immediate response is to decrease ventilation, (breathe less) you may not notice it. Meaning if you did manage to chronically have alkaline blood not only would you be suffering from the unique dangers of pH imbalance, you would suffer from ALL THE PROBLEMS that you would get from not getting enough oxygen.

Both acidemia and alkalemia, you may call them thingies as I might in a personal conversation, can cause kidney problems. The body compensates for fluctuations in blood pH using primarily two methods: breathing (the faster method) and the kidneys (the more long term method). The body does not choose one method or the other it uses both at the same time. We increase ventilation, by breathing more or deeper to raise our blood pH. More air means more oxygen to bond to free hydrogen making the blood more alkaline and back to normal, we decrease ventilation to do the opposite. The kidneys directly make, release into blood, excrete into urine, or do some other sort of kidney voodoo with acids and bases. This stuff gets COMPLICATED; it is so complicated in fact that your doctor may not feel comfortable treating you if you have a disorder related to blood acid-base homeostasis. Seeing a specialist is often a good idea.

The bright side:

Good news though, even though the pseudoscience behind The Alkaline Diet is complete bull poopy, it is still a diet that tells you to eat healthy foods. With typical use this diet is typically healthy. I would not mind having a client on The Alkaline Diet, because: with my guidance, I could ensure they get enough of each macro nutrient. Many foods on their “no” list are healthy foods, and I think it is sad that Alkaline dieters might not be enjoying these foods flavors.

Most people who are strong proponents of one diet or another are guilty of FEARMONGERING; the Alkaline diet is no exception. Most “this is the best diet you should do it” people use a number of tactics to scare you. When they scare you of something, very rarely do they scare you of a thingy that you should earnestly be afraid of. Most of the time they are just being greedy and mean, they happen to not care that their pants are on fire. Some of them are just plain stupid, but most of them are regular old fashioned unethical, sorry.

If ingested in small enough quantities, even many POISONS will do little to no harm… So you should never spend time being afraid of what you should or should not eat, fear sucks, do not be afraid. Instead of fear try the concept of awareness, you should be aware that eating an extra strip of bacon may be bad for your heart. (This is not going to stop me from eating the extra strip of bacon, I love bacon, and I will just have less bacon next time and not eat bacon every day).

These fad diets that get famous (The Alkaline Diet is a fad diet) are great because they often spread awareness and they get people thinking. Unfortunately, they often have people eating bull poopy sandwiches. Everyone and anyone explaining anything tries to make what they are explaining sound understandable; those that are great at this make the best teachers and the best con artists. As far as I know, everything that could be used for good; can also be used for evil.

These “My diet is the best” people are trying to get you to accept their concept by using what I call the sandwich technique (I am not alone in calling this technique the sandwich technique.) I am going to explain how to properly do the sandwich technique.

The sandwich technique:

The Top Piece of bread: it is always something that you are at least a little familiar with, you may even understand the top piece of bread. You are comfortable with the top piece of bread. Even if you are not comfortable with the top piece of bread the top piece of bread is normally verifiably true. If you looked it up you would find credible sources to confirm the facts found here.

The Middle of the Sandwich: this is often something either completely amazing or seemingly so simple that you FEEL stupid about never noticing it before. The middle of the sandwich is all about convincing you that the facts in the middle of the sandwich belong there; between the two pieces of bread that you already know belong in the sandwich. The middle can be used for good and evil: If the middle of the sandwich’s facts is true then it is being used for good; if the middle of the sandwich’s facts is a lie then it is being used for evil.

The Bottom of the Sandwich: this is also always something that you are at least a little familiar with that is verifiably true. This part of the sandwich is usually not easy to understand. It is filled with facts you know to be true, but maybe you have not personally experienced to be true. These facts are usually harder to physically see or touch, but they are hard facts. The facts here can be seen or touched by experts, using the right equipment, which you don’t have. Even if these facts don’t take the “you trust the experts” approach; they always take advantage of the best, kindest, most loving, parts of our nature like: our natural DESIRE to trust, our WANT to be caring, and our NEED to feel like we belong.

I don’t think the people who buy into fad diets are stupid, and I don’t look down on them, and neither should you. Chances are the people that believe in these fad diets are good people with big hearts. Being a kind, loving, trusting person who wants to belong, is a wonderful thing. At the same time we probably should not make fun of skeptics, because it looks like having a little bit of skepticism is a good idea.

I believe that athletes come in all shapes and sizes. I believe that the super fat sumo wrestlers are athletes and the super thin marathon runners are athletes. For me amazing physical ability = athleticism. I feel it is important to recognize that while there are of course examples of all shapes and sizes being healthy, there are also examples of all shapes and sizes being unhealthy. The extremely thin and the extremely fat are usually unhealthy. The perfectly sculpted body builder, that guy/ girl you think is “hot”, the average person, and Mr. Couch D. Potato, all can have health problems and all of them can be “unhealthy.” This proves that health is not about the scale or the mirror, health is about what is hidden on the inside. Weight is an indicator of health it is not a decider of health.

If the body of their dreams is healthy, I will do my best to help my clients get into their dream bodies. I accept and respect the decisions people make about how they want to look. I would help a sumo wrestler train for their next match, and an ultra-thin marathoner train for their next race. I want my clients to be comfortable with themselves and how they look.

I have personally been fat and I have personally been thin, but I have always been comfortable in my own skin. This comfort is a product of having kind and loving parents, great family, friends that feel like family, and an amazing wife. How I feel about myself and the people I have that help me feel that way, no matter how I look at it, is luck. I am a lucky man, personally I feel that all of these people are blessing from God, but I respect your beliefs if you call it all happenstance.

Lol no segue, whatsoever… segue is pronounced Segway. A Segway is that two wheel scooter thing, a literary segue is a transition. All that emotional stuff made me have to take a break so… On my break I looked up how to spell segue properly.

Ana diets are all about tricking the body into one thing or another. Sometimes I look at these and see the methodology and perhaps even how they may scientifically be working physiologically. When it relates to the human body, Physiological effectiveness is not always all that relevant, when something has physiological effectiveness. We can think our way into and out of, a lot of things, our minds are very powerful and the placebo effect is very real.

The rainbow diet is possibly the prettiest diet of the Ana diets I know of. No Ana diet is healthy, and fasting when you are THAT thin is an unhealthy idea. The rainbow diet is popular in the pro-anorexia community and most anorexics already know about it. The rainbow diet does not have to be a “for anorexics only” diet. Some people have tried doing this with a healthy amount of calories like 2000 calories for fun or as a challenge, perhaps because they were bored and unchallenged.

The basic idea of the Rainbow Diet: Eat a different food of a different color each day of the week. For each day ONLY eat foods of the same color, making a rainbow of colors. This as a traditional Ana diet is dangerously restrictive when it comes to calorie intake.

Many find this diet especially effective perhaps because it is not boring, when a diet is not boring it is easier to stick too. A food’s color can sometimes be an indicator of what nutrients are in a food like the color orange: apricots, pumpkins, tangerines, oranges and carrots all have a good amount beta carotene. Because of this relationship between food nutrients and food color, eating a diet with a wide variety color is a good idea. It is a good idea to eat a diet that resembles a rainbow. This diet is a challenge, but an achievable challenge. Each day is a different achievement. If you finished a day without eating a food that is a different color than the allowed color that day, you achieved that ENTIRE day, and it feels great to do so. If you slip up and accidentally eat the wrong color or “cheat” you have to try again the next day. When done by an anorexic if they cheat they simply just exercise to counteract the “cheat” (this is actually common of most all Ana diets). There are so many lessons that can be learned from this diet it deserves reiteration in the form of a list.

You can skip the list you just read ALL of it.

  1. If dieting is boring it is harder to stick to.
  2. Eating a colorful variety of foods is a good, nutritious idea.
  3. Challenges are okay, because achievement feels amazing.
  4. If you make a mistake you should try to fix it and you often can.

I don’t want this post to be “thinspiration” (inspiration that anorexic people use to continue on their dangerous diets). But instead of fear mongering and telling what you already know about the dangers of anorexia. I am going to tell you how to LOOK as thin as you do, if not thinner, but do so and be healthy like a super-thin marathon runner.

Marathon runners and most runners for that matter eat a healthy diet; often they obsess about eating a healthy diet. Obsession about eating healthy is generally not frowned upon in the running community (although many people still find it confusing). Runners eat a healthy amount of calories because they understand that calories are your body’s source of energy and they come with nutrients. Runners do argue about what to eat, but they all agree that you should try to eat healthy.

Training for anything requires plenty of nutrients.

Anorexics (near always) have a much higher body fat percentage than super THIN marathon runners or super HUGE body builders. Many huge, and healthy, body builders have body fat percentages around 3.5%. I do not consider myself a true “body builder” I personally am currently around 7% body fat; most anorexics are around 10%. It is true that digital machines and scales that electronically measure body fat percentages by measuring the relative conductance of the body (how easy electricity passes through it), are not accurate for the morbidly obese and the anorexic. It is hard to get reliable body fat percentage numbers for these two demographics. Decent body fat percentage numbers can be gotten for these groups using pinch tests, and more accurate tests are difficult but possible and expensive. If you can pinch fat on the front of your thigh when you are flexing, you have more fat than I do. (No worries readers I am muscular and in excellent health, I just happen to weight a good bit and have a low body fat percentage, this paradox is why BMI is BS).

The human body has dozens if not hundreds, more likely thousands of different defensive mechanisms against the bad for us things we do. (This is not a good excuse to live an unhealthy life most of these defense mechanisms have some very negative, sometimes unhealthy, consequences.) One of the defense mechanisms the body uses to prevent rapid fluctuations in body fat percent: is making more fat cells. The more fat cells you have the harder it is to gain weight and the harder it is to lose weight. The morbidly obese have more fat cells than average.

It could be possible that anorexics have more fat cells than average too, more study is needed. Unfortunately, biopsies are the best way to discover how many fat cells a person has. IT IS NOT ETHICAL, to take a biopsy of an Anorexic’s fat, because the Anorexic needs that fat and biopsied tissue is not returned to the person. Bone marrow can be returned to the donor. It has been concretely shown that anorexics have more “yellow” bone marrow. Yellow bone marrow (medulla ossium flava) is mainly made of fat cells and its job is to make more fat cells.

Anorexics I am truly sorry if the next thing I say makes you cry, it is not my intent to hurt you. I want to let you know that you can look very thin like you want to, but have a healthy body. As of right now as you are reading this if you are an anorexic: Your bones are TOO fat. Because your BONES are so FAT your body does not get enough of a lot of the things it needs like red blood cells.

Blood cells are also made in the bone marrow, how much of each type of bone marrow we have is largely demand based; meaning if we need more red blood cells we will have more red bone marrow (medulla ossium rubra).

Training for marathon running does not have to be incredibly time consuming, but it is of course going to take a bunch of effort. Training for a marathon does not automatically mean that you will be thin or in the case of anorexics get fat or muscular. If you want to maintain your figure while you train (want to stay either curvy or thin) it is not too hard to do using adjustments in nutrition.

Anyone can become a runner; you can start today with proper diet and a couch to 5k program. Proper diet is not too hard to do and neither are couch to 5k programs.

A fun seemingly irrelevant note to end on:

It may be really hard to pat your head and rub your stomach at the same time; IF you try to start doing them at the same time. If you start rubbing your stomach and THEN start patting your head WHILE you are already rubbing your stomach at the same time, you might find it much easier to do both at the same time. (This works give it a try.) The same can be true of diet and exercise… it is just funny how the body works.

Have fun exercising and happy banting!

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