Recipes by Zola / Recipes

(Easy) Tarragon-Mustard Shrimp

An old buddy of mine told my husband and me about a book he was reading called Younger Next Year. Written by an older guy (Chris Crowley) and his doctor (Henry S. Lodge, M.D.), it’s subtitled Live Strong, Fit, and Sexy – Until You’re 80 and Beyond.

Here’s a section on starch that I thought really hit it on the head.

“One of the foods that are killing you is starch (refined carbohydrates), which means the current buzz about bad carbohydrates is basically correct. How refreshing to have a major food fad turn out to make some sense. Bad carbs are the white foods—potatoes, white rice, and pretty much everything made with refined flour. The good carbohydrates are the ones found in nature—in fruits, vegetables and whole grains, which have relatively few calories per pound. Starch is bad because it continually signals you to take another bite. Fat and protein signal your body to stop eating after a certain point, but carbohydrates, whether good or bad, don’t. In nature, you had to eat prodigious amounts of them to get enough calories to stay alive, so a full stomach was the only shutoff signal you needed.

“Here’s something to think about at dinner tonight. There’s more free sugar (the stuff that flows right into your bloodstream to trigger your digestive response) in mashed potatoes than in tablespoon of sugar. And here’s something else. There’s as much free sugar in a single can of cola as in five pounds of venison. And what about this –- there’s more free sugar (to say nothing of saturated fat) in a super-sized side of fries than in five pounds of elk. How does your body respond? With confusion. Because the signal you send with a 1,000 calorie meal of soda, fries and a burger is that you have just eaten 10,000 calories of “natural food” and your body goes nuts rushing out insulin and other digestive chemicals in response.

“That’s the real problem with starch. You have called for ten times the amount of digestive power you actually need. Ten times the insulin, gastric acid and a few other dangerous chemicals. And things start to happen. First, you hyperabsorb every last calorie from the food you ate. Second, because you obviously just killed a huge animal, your body tries to store every excess scrap of energy as fat. Third, because you now have enough insulin to digest a large animal, but have killed only a soda and some fries, your blood sugar plummets and you’re hungry again. Very, very hungry, and so you eat, usually quite a lot. What your poor Darwinian body reads is that you’ve gone from gluttony to starvation in a couple of hours -- and it has no possible explanation for this! This ultra-rapid cycling between gluttony and starvation has no parallel in nature. We talk about the signals you send with exercise or being sedentary, but our modern diet is so far outside your original design parameters that you are not sending any coherent signal. The whole system breaks down into a welter of hyper absorption and decay. It’s like rock stars smashing their guitars onstage. Noise comes up, but no more music. Adult diabetes is one of the results of this breakdown. Obesity, arthritis, heart disease, cancer and stroke are some of the others.”

When you do Plan Z the diet by Zola, you find you can live without sugar and starch. When you are on the next phase, ZReboot, it’s fine (even important) to add back fats, fruits and vegetables. Just don’t add back the “white stuff.”

Chris Crowley looks pretty good for a 71-year-old. I found a link to his speech and agree with the notion that you can avoid a lot of the ravages of aging. You’re going to spend a third of your life in old age. Don’t let it creep up on you.

You can get by on a lot less exercise than Chris Crowley advocates but you do need to exercise to get stronger (you do NOT need to exercise while you are losing weight). Getting stronger will buy you bonus time as you get older. You won’t become frail as soon.

My grandmother lived until about two weeks before her 100th birthday. I hope I have her genes.

In the late 1970s the local newspaper went to her house to do a feature story. This was a 90-plus year-old woman who was still living alone in her stand-alone home. She was a story.

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