Saturday, July 29

Caloric Restriction: Healthy Weight Loss with Pinolenic Acid

I was taking the time to read this morning and I ran across something that segues nicely into a topic I was discussing before. In particular, I was talking about calorie cycling as being both very healthy and a possible way to save money because food is one of our larger expenditures. I've run across something I thought was absolutely fascinating... a study concerning pinolenic acid, which is derived from pine nuts, and satiety.

Now, I've struggled with my weight most of my life. Yeah, I'm sure nobody else out there has had this issue, heh. Anyway, there is a type of fatty acid that helps control appetite. Apparently it stimulates the body, specifically our digestive tract, to produce satiety hormones. This means you can, or will, eat less and feel satisfied.

Anyway, here are some pertinent details about a recent study:


Calorie Restriction without Hunger!
In a study just published in the Journal of the American Medical Association, the effects of caloric restriction were measured in a group of overweight adults over a six-month period. The findings were nothing short of astounding!

In response to reduced food intake, fasting insulin levels plummeted. As Life Extension members learned long ago, excess insulin functions as a death hormone that devastates virtually every cell and organ system in the body.

Insulin overload increases the risk of heart disease, cancer, blindness, stroke, Alzheimer’s, and other age-related diseases.

The most exciting finding of this study was the amount of weight lost in the groups that restricted their calorie intake. The moderate caloric-restriction group experienced a 24% reduction in body fat mass, while the very low-calorie group achieved a 32% reduction in fat mass.

...

The remarkable news is that pinolenic acid - a natural plant extract discovered in Europe - has been shown to suppress appetite dramatically without causing any stimulatory effect. This plant extract attacks the underlying mechanisms involved in hunger so effectively that study participants reduced their food intake by 36%

...

Satiety is the sense of food satisfaction and fullness experienced after eating. Hunger and satiety both depend on a complex feedback loop involving many hormones and other substances secreted by the gut that interact with control centers in the brain. The gut participates in the hunger-satiety circuit by secreting two important hormones, cholecystokinin (CCK) and glucagon-like peptide-1 (GLP-1), among others.

...

Recent findings demonstrate that pinolenic acid, a polyunsaturated fatty acid derived from pine nuts, stimulates the secretion of the hunger-suppressing hormones CCK and GLP-1. This exciting finding suggests that pinolenic acid may have powerful effects in reducing appetite and increasing food satisfaction and fullness.

...

The benefit of appetite control at mealtime is critical to anyone interested in cutting calories and losing weight, especially those who have struggled to overcome feelings of hunger and deprivation while dieting. Pinolenic acid, a natural fatty acid derived from the Korean pine nut, offers an effective tool to help enhance satiety and appetite control.

Promoting satiety and thus curbing the impulse to over-indulge at mealtime is just one of the beneficial effects of pinolenic acid. Recent research has demonstrated that when subjects are given GLP-1 before a meal, their blood sugar remains lower and their blood cholesterol levels are reduced compared to subjects given placebo. Since elevated blood sugar and high cholesterol after meals are associated with diabetes and cardiovascular disease, researchers speculate that therapies that boost GLP-1 levels (such as pinolenic acid) may be helpful in preventing cardiovascular disease.

I don't know if you've heard of the LEF (lef.org) but they are a group of scientists that look into extending our ability to live long healthy active lives. They provide peer reviewed research and very high quality supplements. You may want to look into their pinolenic acid supplemented called natural appetite control.

Anyway, this is why I think this is the one! Most methods of weight loss involve short term changes to our diet or use of stimulants. Of course, over time, we become used to stimulants and they become less effective or cause unhealthy side effects. As for short term changes to our diet, what happens when we go back to eating the way we used to? This is different. This is simply our own body looking at what we ate and telling us we have eaten enough... although we have eaten slightly less than we otherwise would have. If it is this simple to increase satiety then it should be a no-brainer. The health benefits are fantastic, the smaller meal sizes are huge in monetary savings, and as someone who has always been a bit pudgy, I can't wait to see how this works.

Good luck!

Wednesday, July 26

Paying Off Debts

Several years ago, when I was unemployed for a short while, I was forced to survive on my credit to buy food and pay bills. I've been carrying some amount of that debt for quite a while now. Every month I have an interest fee that I pay which is annoying because I see how much value I could be getting out of that money with my frugal ways.

Of course, if you can, paying off your debt is simply the best plan. However, if you can't afford to pay it off, you might be able to reorganize it. If you can convert it into a personal loan or a second mortgage you might find you are paying a lot less interest on it. You will want to be be disciplined and use some of that saved money to speed up your payments.

Right now I'm slowly whittling away at a car payment, my personal line of credit and a low interested credit card balance. Yippee! I realize it is my own fault, and I did whittle down my spending as fast as I could once I was unemployed, but nonetheless, I am not where I had expected to be. I wonder if there are people out there with fantastic frugal living habits that didn't earn them by finding a way through tough times?

I was working two jobs for a while. That was helpful! I am considering finding some part time second job work again in order to start taking some chunks off of my debt. The alternative is to develop my income to the point that it becomes sizeable enough that my debt is completely shrunk in comparison. Both are good ideas, I just have to put either one of them into practice -- with the second being harder than the first.

Tuesday, July 11

Feeling the Pressure

Well, sometimes you have to spend money to save money. Yes, it's true. I don't just mean spending more when you find a bargain either. I mean that sometimes something you buy can be used as a tool to help you spend your money more efficiently. And no, smarty pants, I'm not talking about a calculator either.

Okay, enough games. I bought a tire pressure gauge earlier today. It was a moderately priced tire pressure gauge, compared to some of the very fancy ones available. I don't know why I'd need to spend $40 to have the latest dual head digital plastic tire gauge so that it could break or require new batteries. No, I have a plain metal doohicky which costs about $7. There were cheaper ones there, but I felt if I looked at them too long them might disintegrate.

Anyway, I'm sure I don't have to explain the purpose of this thing. I mean, beyond just checking the tire pressure, I can save on gasoline spending. Sure, it's possible that if I happen to have magic tires on my car which stay at the perfect pressure year round for the life of the car I may have wasted a few dollars. However, I don't know about you, but I rarely have to worry about having magical perfection in any part of my life. And no, that's a reality, certainly not a complaint.

So, yes, from time to time I tend drive a fair distance. About once a month I'll do a four hour round trip. About once a year I'll do a sixteen or thirty-two hour round trip. Mostly though I drive myself to the gym, to the store and sometimes even to the movie theatre. Yes, yes, I know, it is cheaper to watch rentals, but I find I rent way too many and don't really save any money that way.

Did I go off topic again?

I figure if I can save somewhere in the vicinity of a gallon of gas for a two hour drive then I'll have earned back my money in two months. From then on I'll be raking in the cash and rolling in the dough. Well, actually, I'm sure that won't be the case, but I will be spending a little bit less on gas for a long period of time. I may just end up with a few extra dollars in my pockets from time to time. That can only enhance my lifestyle and improve my chances of finding that elusive magical perfection.

Right?

Saturday, July 8

Household Habits

I've just returned from a short vacation, so I don't have much to relate by way of being frugal. However, I did have some time to reflect on my household habits and think of some ways of improving things. These aren't exactly frugality ideas but are simple helpful points of view or strategies.

Pace Yourself
You can only do so much at one time. You can only devote all of your time to work related efforts for so long. Of course there will be deadlines in life, but generally you do have control over much of your decisions and how high you raise the bar with respect to your activities. If you honestly can't be away from something for a while, such as me getting away from this blog for a couple of weeks, then consider finding ways to either let go or get involved in less demanding efforts.

Chores are Investments
As a bachelor you can imagine that it is easy for me to drift into living in a sty. Based on the goals I've set for myself, and I often don't enforce the discipline required to pace myself all that well, I find that I feel I need to just stack dirty dishes on the counter top and find time to do them later. It seems that there are always things popping up to take precedence over minor chores. After coming back from my vacation I am going to look at these chores as investments.

A clean kitchen enhances my lifestyle. It is more enjoyable. It is less stressfull than looking at a large pile of dishes and knowing how much effort is involved to get them back under control. Making time to do my chores on a regular basis will reduce my stress and increase my enjoyment of my home on a daily basis. They are an investment in my happiness. Why on Earth have I been allowing myself to find ways to keep putting them off?

As a humorous side note, I am not going to keep my home absolutely spotless. I'm a single guy, yes, but I'm not gay. I don't imagine I'll have any trouble avoiding becoming a neat freak, since I've managed to do so my entire life.

Enjoy your Work
As much as I hate spending endless hours cleaning, I don't find it that bad to do a small amount at a time. Perhaps I can pop in a good CD mix and work away during the good songs. As you may have guessed, I've come back from vacation to grungy apartment. So, I've decided to get the kitchen under control.

I've done a load of dishes at a time and have the third and final load soaking in the sink as I write. So, I'm doing small chunks. As I do a load I find more of the counter is left bare - which is incredibly convenient given the size of my kitchen. And I think about how much I'm going to enjoy using a clean kitchen while I'm doing the dishes. There are plenty of other things, such as the stovetop, that will need my attention, but I'm not setting any particular goals or deadlines.

It's not like I won't immediately see what needs attention every time I walk in the kitchen. It's not like I don't see things to improve every time I walk in the bathroom. It's not like I don't notice the dust on the television and the rest of the furniture every time I look. It's not like I don't notice grit on the floor if I walk around in bare feet. However, I'm pacing myself, making sure to consciously look forward to the end result, and trying to keep doing these chores as a lighthearted or enjoyable task.

Wish me Luck
This isn't the first time I've decided to change my habits and move myself into a higher plane of existence. It's been quite a while since I was originally knocked down to this level - it happened several years ago during an economic downturn and a period of unemployment. I guess my household was a reflection of the depressive effect that not being in control of your life exerts. However, not too long ago I quit a formal job that I was unhappy with and now I do freelance consulting from home. While I am much happier, I am also home a lot more, two good reasons to get motivated don't you think?