Archives for posts with tag: Diet

2.25.19.BURGER_NEW

Monday is moon day, and we like to eat something round, like the moon, today. Husband Tom Robinson and I have long been students of symbols, use them often in his art and my art and writing. Burgers are round like the full moon, so it’s Burger Monday. Vegetarian spicy black bean burgers, that is.

I do eat fish and, every four months or so, turkey, but am otherwise vegetarian. Tom is completely vegetarian, though he does eat dairy and eggs so he isn’t vegan.

I highly recommend Morningstar Farm’s meat substitutes. We especially like the Spicy Black Bean Burgers, Vegetarian Sausage Patties, Vegetarian Sausage Links, and Vegetarian Bacon Strips. The Vegetarian Corn Dogs are good for a quick meal.

They’re “meaty” without trying to taste like meat. That is, the protein is solidly good, derived from soy protein, fat-free milk, and fat-free egg whites. They’re fortified with vitamin B-12, an essential nutrient you can only get from animal sources.

In another thread about another topic on Facebook, a friend remarked that she never understood meat substitutes. If you’ve decided not to eat meat, she asked, why eat some substitute that reminds of you meat?

As I stated, the MS products taste satisfyingly “meaty” without trying to be meat. I became a vegetarian when I went away to college at 18, left my mother’s meat-centric kitchen, and could choose my own food. I read Diet for a Small Planet, which was first published in (I think) 1971. In those days, Morningstar Farms wasn’t even around and, for protein, I was over-reliant on dairy, to which I have a slight allergy. So I’m really grateful for the MS products.

But I wanted to address the rest of the question.

Please note I’m not trying to preach to you or convert you. People especially resent lectures on diet. Go ahead and eat whatever you want. I’ve got a roundtable on my website discussing nutrition at Keep Fit, Keep Writing: A Roundtable with Kevin J. Anderson, Lisa Mason, and Linda Nagata (Part 2: Chow Down!) http://www.lisamason.com/fitnessblog2.html But I wanted to explicate my position on this issue.

Nutrition: MS meat subs generally have a third of the calories of the equivalent meat serving. Also, they have 70% less overall fat, just a trace of saturated fat (the rest is mono or poly) and zero cholesterol. That’s important to me.

Fiber: The MS meat subs have great fiber. Meat has none.

Protein: The MS meat subs have great protein. As Diet for a Small Planet points out, meat has less usable protein than people think. Using complementary combinations of plant foods, you can achieve usable protein equal to meat.

Ethics: I’m at peace with the fact that no cow (or pig or lamb or chicken) had to die for us to be nourished tonight. I’m not at peace with the butchering of animals.

Green: The raising and slaughtering of animals for human food is one of the most polluting businesses on the planet. Huge portions of the South American rainforest have been destroyed to raise cattle for the fast-food franchise beef burgers. If you want to be green (or more green), stop eating meat. Or cut way down.

Personal History: My father was addicted to beef. He also ate pork, lamb, veal, bacon, chicken and the like, but beef was his first choice virtually every day. He was a little pudgy around the middle, but by no means obese or even really fat. He still had color in his hair, hardly any gray. He was looking into joining a computer start-up in San Diego; he was a math genius and fascinated with computers. Since I’d become a vegetarian at 18, I begged him to cut down the beef, but he refused. The last I saw him, he and my mother had come to visit me in San Francisco. We went out to a traditional Japanese restaurant. Tom had a vegetarian dish, I had fish, my mother had chicken, and Dad had the only beef dish on the menu. It was my last dinner with him. He and Mom drove off to the airport to fly back to Cleveland. I never saw him again. He had his first and last cardiac arrest shortly after that. He was sixty, and the sunshine of my life. I was thirty. The autopsy indicated he had arteriosclerosis, a condition directly associated with too much consumption of saturated fat and cholesterol. He’d also been exhibiting clear symptoms of colon cancer, a condition directly associated with eating too much red meat.

So there you have it. Happy Burger Monday!

From the author of Summer of Love (a Philip K. Dick Award Finalist and San Francisco Chronicle Recommended Book). On BarnesandNoble, US Kindle, Canada Kindle, UK Kindle, Smashwords, Apple, and Kobo. On Kindle worldwide in Australia, France, Germany, Italy, Spain, Brazil, Japan, India, Mexico, and Netherlands. BACK IN PRINT! Find the beautiful trade paperback at https://www.amazon.com/Summer-Love-Travel-Lisa-Mason/dp/1548106119/ or IN PRINT at Barnes and Noble at https://www.barnesandnoble.com/w/summer-of-love-a-time-travel-lisa-mason/1104160569.

The Gilded Age (a New York Times Notable Book and New York Public Library Recommended Book). On BarnesandNoble, US Kindle, Canada Kindle, UK Kindle, Apple, Kobo, and Smashwords. On Kindle worldwide in Australia, France, Germany, Italy, Spain, Brazil, Japan, India, Mexico, and Netherlands. BACK IN PRINT! Find the beautiful trade paperback at https://www.amazon.com/Gilded-Age-Time-Travel/dp/1975853172/ or IN PRINT at Barnes and Noble at https://www.barnesandnoble.com/w/the-gilded-age-a-time-travel-lisa-mason/1106038566.

The Garden of Abracadabra (“Fun and enjoyable urban fantasy . . . I want to read more!) On BarnesandNoble, US Kindle, Canada Kindle, UK Kindle, Apple, Kobo, and Smashwords. On Kindle worldwide in Australia, France, Germany, Italy, Spain, Brazil, Japan, India, Mexico, and Netherlands. NOW IN PRINT! Find the beautiful trade paperback at https://www.amazon.com/dp/1978148291/ or IN PRINT at Barnes and Noble at https://www.barnesandnoble.com/w/the-garden-of-abracadabra-lisa-mason/1108093507

Arachne (a Locus Hardover Bestseller) is an ebook on US Kindle, UK Kindle, Canada Kindle, Australia Kindle, Barnes and Noble, Apple, Kobo, and Smashwords. On Kindle worldwide in France Kindle, Germany Kindle, Italy Kindle, Netherlands Kindle, Spain Kindle, Mexico Kindle, Brazil Kindle, India Kindle, and Japan Kindle. Back in Print! Find the beautiful trade paperback at https://www.amazon.com/dp/198435602X or IN PRINT at Barnes and Noble at https://www.barnesandnoble.com/w/arachne-lisa-mason/1000035633.

Cyberweb (sequel to Arachne) is on US Kindle, BarnesandNoble, Apple, Kobo, and Smashwords. Also Kindle worldwide on UK Kindle, Canada Kindle, Australia Kindle, Brazil Kindle, France Kindle, Germany Kindle, India Kindle, Italy Kindle, Japan Kindle, Mexico Kindle, Netherlands Kindle, and Spain Kindle. Back in Print at https://www.amazon.com/dp/1984356941 or IN PRINT at Barnes and Noble at https://www.barnesandnoble.com/w/cyberweb-lisa-mason/1001932064

Strange Ladies: 7 Stories (“A must-read collection—The San Francisco Review of Books). On Nook, US Kindle, Canada Kindle, UK Kindle, Smashwords, Apple, and Kobo. On Kindle world wide in Australia, France, Germany, Italy, Spain, Brazil, Japan, India, Mexico, and Netherlands. NOW IN PRINT at https://www.amazon.com/Strange-Ladies-Stories-Lisa-Mason/dp/1981104380/ or IN PRINT at Barnes and Noble at https://www.barnesandnoble.com/w/strange-ladies-lisa-mason/1115861322.

One Day in the Life of Alexa (“Five stars! An appealing narrator and subtly powerful emotional rhythms”). On BarnesandNoble, US Kindle, Canada Kindle, UK Kindle, Smashwords, Apple, and Kobo. On Kindle worldwide in Australia, France, Germany, Italy, Spain, Brazil, Japan, India, Mexico, and Netherlands. Order the beautiful trade paperback NOW IN PRINT at https://www.amazon.com/One-Life-Alexa-Lisa-Mason/dp/1546783091 or IN PRINT at Barnes and Noble at https://www.barnesandnoble.com/w/one-day-in-the-life-of-alexa-lisa-mason/1126431598.

Celestial Girl, The Omnibus Edition, A Lily Modjeska Mystery (Five stars) On Nook, US Kindle, Canada Kindle, UK Kindle, Smashwords, Apple, and Kobo. On Kindle worldwide in Australia, France, Germany, Italy, Spain, Brazil, Japan, India, Mexico, and Netherlands. SOON IN PRINT!

Shaken (in Asimov’s Science Fiction Magazine) on BarnesandNoble, US Kindle, Canada Kindle, UK Kindle, Apple, Kobo, and Smashwords. Also on Kindle in Australia, France, Germany, Italy, Spain, Brazil, Japan, India, Mexico, and Netherlands.

Hummers (in Fifth Annual Year’s Best Fantasy and Horror) On BarnesandNoble, US Kindle, Canada Kindle, UK Kindle, Apple, Kobo, and Smashwords. Also on Kindle in Australia, France, Germany, Italy, Spain, Brazil, Japan, Mexico, Netherlands, and India.

Daughter of the Tao (in Peter S. Beagle’s Immortal Unicorn) on US Kindle, Canada Kindle, UK Kindle, BarnesandNoble, Apple, Kobo, and Smashwords. Also on Kindle in AustraliaFrance, Germany, Italy, Spain, Brazil, Japan, India, Mexico, and Netherlands.

Every Mystery Unexplained (in David Copperfield’s Tales of the Impossible) on BarnesandNoble, US Kindle, Canada Kindle, UK Kindle, Apple, Kobo, and Smashwords. Also on Kindle in Australia, France, Germany, Italy, Spain, Brazil, Japan, Mexico, Netherlands, and India.

Tomorrow’s Child (In Active Development at Universal Pictures) on BarnesandNoble, US Kindle, Canada Kindle, UK Kindle, Apple, Kobo, and Smashwords. Also on Kindle in Australia, France, Germany, Italy, Spain, Brazil, Japan, India, Mexico, and Netherlands.

The Sixty-third Anniversary of Hysteria (in Full Spectrum 5) on BarnesandNoble, US Kindle, Canada Kindle, UK Kindle, Apple, Kobo, and Smashwords. Also on Kindle in Australia, France, Germany, Italy, Spain, Brazil, Japan, Mexico, Netherlands, and India.

U F uh-O (Five Stars!) on BarnesandNoble, US Kindle, Canada Kindle, UK Kindle, Apple, Kobo, and Smashwords. Also on Kindle in Australia, France, Germany, Italy, Spain, Brazil, Japan, Mexico, Netherlands, and India.

Tesla, A Screenplay on US Kindle, Canada Kindle, UK Kindle, BarnesandNoble, Apple, Kobo, and Smashwords. Also on Kindle in Australia, France, Germany, Italy, Spain, Brazil, Japan, Mexico, Netherlands, and India.

My Charlotte: Patty’s Story on Barnes and Noble, US Kindle, UK Kindle, Canada Kindle, Australia Kindle, Smashwords, Apple, and Kobo. On Kindle in France, Germany, Italy, Spain, Brazil, Japan, Netherlands, and Mexico.

“Illyria, My Love” is on US Kindle, Barnes and Noble, Apple, Kobo, and Smashwords. Also on UK Kindle, Canada Kindle, Australia Kindle, Germany Kindle, France Kindle, Spain Kindle, Italy Kindle, Netherlands Kindle, Japan Kindle, Brazil Kindle, Mexico Kindle, and India Kindle.

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Since I know folks on Facebook, on Twitter, and in my real-life neighborhood who have mentioned they read this book, I thought I’d pass along this review (not mine) from Amazon.com of Grain Brain:

Some important information, but lots of holes in this science, September 20, 2013

By Sandy & Richard (Maryland, USA)

This review is from: Grain Brain: The Surprising Truth about Wheat, Carbs, and Sugar–Your Brain’s Silent Killers (Kindle Edition)

I applaud Dr. David Perlmutter’s effort to help conquer Alzheimer’s and other neurologic disease, from autism to migraines, through the use of nutrition. Information abounds elsewhere on heart health and cancer nutrition, with little focus on diseases of the brain. Dr. Perlmutter also brings our attention to the potential dangers of taking daily pills and our nearly century-long experiment of abandoning real food for processed food. (Unfortunately, he advocates the use of pills that are supplements, which also should be unnecessary for those who have appropriate nutrition.)

The gist of Dr. Perlmutter’s recommendations is to eliminate sugars, gluten (wheat and barley), and processed foods, and to greatly limit whole carb foods like fruits and whole grains, and also potatoes, beans and lentils. He also advocates eating more fats from nuts, olive and coconut oil, and avocados, but also from beef, butter and cheese.

I compare his book to those of other “popular” doctors who make names for themselves writing books, appearing on TV, and treating prominent personalities, doctors like Caldwell Esselstyn from the Cleveland Clinic, Dean Ornish, Neal Barnard, Susan Blum, and T. Colin Campbell, a nutritional science professor and researcher. It is noteworthy that among them, Dr. Perlmutter is the only neurologist.

Eliminating sugars, refined wheat products and processed foods from the diet is agreed upon by all. Dr. Perlmutter’s assertions about gluten’s adverse effects on the brain are supported by Dr. Blum’s warnings about its association with autoimmune disease. While Dr. Esselstyn, who focuses on heart disease, argues that only small amounts of plant-based fats are required by the body, perhaps he could be convinced to concede a bit on this point, as he seems to have done with regard to people who are not already suffering from heart disease, although the proper amount of fats needed for good health remains in dispute.

But what remains most controversial are Dr. Perlmutter’s contentions that food products derived from animals are healthy, that saturated fats are necessary, that whole carbs are dangerous, and that high total cholesterol and LDLs are healthy. Some of the doctors listed above might concede that a little fish and the occasional egg in the diet may be beneficial (though some would not). One or two of these doctors might sign off on a piece of chicken a couple of times a week. One or two might be okay with limited amounts of dairy products (though Dr. Perlmutter too restricts milk, for reasons he does not explain well).

What I believe is unanimous among the doctors listed above, as well as cardiologists everywhere, if not oncologists, is that the excessive amounts of beef and eggs prescribed by Dr. Perlmutter, the three-times-a-day consumption of animal products, and the elimination of beans, legumes and most whole carbs, are a dangerous prescription for heart health and cancer prevention, if not also for brain health. And therein rest the holes in Dr. Perlmutter’s hypotheses. I list below some obvious ones.

Dr. Perlmutter overemphasizes our need to return to the diet of our hunter-gatherer “caveman” ancestors in order to stave off diseases like Alzheimer’s. Let’s return to the non-packaged diet of our grandparents. But to advocate the “caveman” (i.e., Paleo) diet is naïve. Members of today’s rare remaining hunter-gather societies who survive infant mortality and childhood disease live on average into their early 50’s. […] While it’s true that our increased life expectancy in the developed world may be nearly entirely attributed to the eradication of infectious disease with antibiotics and vaccines and certain other safety, hygiene, and medical advances, rather than to improvements in our diet, it is also true that “cavemen” did not live long enough to contract Alzheimer’s in their 70’s and 80’s. Returning to a caveman diet may argue well for accepting that human beings were simply designed to only live to their 30’s-50’s and does little to convince those of us who would like to live well into our 90’s.

Dr. Perlmutter points out that our caveman ancestors could eat fruit only when it was in season, not every day of the year (implying that we too should not eat it year round), but says nothing of the fact that in the same geographic locations they also would not have had green vegetables all year round (but does not advise us to abstain from greens, ever). He does not talk about the fact that caveman diets differed in different parts of the world. Some ate more plant foods than animal foods. Those who ate animal foods were not “hunting” primarily for cows but for deer, rabbits, duck, mountain goats, or whatever the locale offered. The Paleo argument borders on absurdity and does not support a diet based on cows.

Dr. Perlmutter points to the increased consumption of grains during the 20th century as a cause for declining health but ignores the exponential increase in the consumption of cheese and beef. […] Moreover, Dr. Perlmutter ignores the diets of modern societies with extraordinarily long life expectancies. For example, the staple in Okinawa, which enjoys one of the world’s longest life expectancies, is the sweet potato, which Dr. Perlmutter shuns. […]

The Mediterranean diet of residents in Ikaria, Greece is low in dairy and meat and emphasizes potatoes, beans and legumes. A recent study there revealed residents living 8 to 10 years longer than Americans and suffering only a quarter as much dementia. […] In the “Comments” section following this review, I have listed a number of other societies as examples, with links to the supporting data. The bottom line is that Dr. Perlmutter’s attack on potatoes, whole grains, beans and legumes is unfounded.

Dr. Perlmutter cites a study (Barberger-Gateau, et al.) that he claims supports the notion that people who don’t consume Omega-3 rich fish have a higher risk of dementia and Alzheimer’s. The study’s actual conclusion was that those who consumed Omega-6 oils without compensating with sufficient Omega-3 oils were at higher risk. In other words, as long as a person doesn’t consume inappropriate Omega-6 rich oils, s/he can be amply healthy without fish.

Dr. Perlmutter’s assertions about cholesterol are contested by much scientific literature in addition to many or all of the doctors listed above. Moreover, Dr. Perlmutter’s opinions are positively confusing for the casual reader. He acknowledges that high oxidized LDL’s are unhealthful but gives no advice on how to determine one’s oxidized LDL’s rather than the LDL levels as presented on common blood test reports. He believes that total cholesterol should be high, but triglycerides shouldn’t be. But nowhere does he give clear guidance on what ideal cholesterol levels would look like. He cites a 1994 article (Location 1230, Kindle) that demonstrates that the risk of heart attack with total cholesterol under 200 was as high as for total cholesterol over 240. In his book on heart disease, Dr. Esselstyn agrees that 200 is not safe but presents evidence instead to support the fact that total cholesterol should be even lower, 150 or less. And while improving diet before resorting to pills would always make good sense, doctors at Columbia University just this year reiterated the opinion that high LDL’s are dangerous, and they continue to believe that statins have saved lives. […]. The bottom line here is that the public needs a lot more guidance, untainted by the pharmaceutical industry. And Dr. Perlmutter should remember that before people worry about getting Alzheimer’s in their 70’s and 80’s, they must survive their 50’s and 60’s without heart disease and cancer. His discussions on cholesterol may have some validity, but they are are too confusing to be convincing. I found Dr. Esselstyn, who has brought heart patients back from the brink of death, to be a lot more convincing.

Dr. Perlmutter advises to eat grass-grazed beef, free-range chickens and wild-caught fish, ignoring the fact that most people can’t afford these products, and even if they could, the planet could not sustain a sufficient supply of them. Even the relatively affluent would be hard-pressed to be able to eat these products three times a day at home and in restaurants. They’re difficult to find, and he offers no alternatives in his menu plans. It is not clear whether he would favor factory-farmed beef over plant-based proteins like beans, or vice versa, when those are the choices.

Dr. Perlmutter ignores the research by T. Colin Campbell at Cornell University, which showed that the protein casein, found in dairy products including milk and cheese, promotes cancer growth. He also ignores Dr. Campbell’s extensive research in rural China during the 1980’s that revealed that a vegetable-based diet with very little animal products resulted in extremely low levels of heart disease and cancer (and total cholesterol in the 120-150 range, without dementia). A more recent study at Loma Linda University showed that vegetarian and vegan diets were protective against a large number of cancers. […]. Dr. Neal Barnard’s book Power Foods for the Brain presents ample evidence to support the benefit of a plant-based diet for brain health.

Finally, Dr. Perlmutter’s book does not include sufficient numbers of footnotes, and some of those that he does include reference websites without referencing specific pages, making it all but impossible to find his sources.

In summary, I believe that Dr. Perlmutter offers a lot of useful information, and some good advice. But he concludes his book by saying, “It’s hard to separate truth from fiction, and to know the difference between what’s healthful and harmful…” He’s right about that, and his book fails to end the confusion. I do believe that I learned some useful things from this book and have made slight changes to my diet (which, in my opinion, was already very healthful). But I can’t give the book more than two stars because Dr. Perlmutter’s opinions about eating so many cow and chicken products and saturated fats, and cutting out nearly all whole-food carbs, are too controversial to endorse. It seems that unless and until his theories are better proven, they are too potentially dangerous to follow.

It is noted that wherever you see “[…]” above, I had included links to the supporting documentation for the facts cited. Apparently, Amazon has bleeped out these links. I suggest that if you google the subject matter, you will find the supporting studies.”

So there you have it, my friends. This is not my review, but I urge you to consider it.

On New Year’s Day, 2014, I posted two WordPress blogs that I also posted on the Lisa Mason Official Website: Keep Fit, Keep Writing: A Roundtable with Authors Kevin J. Anderson, Lisa Mason, and Linda Nagata (Part 1: Move It!), discussing exercise,and Keep Fit, Keep Writing: A Roundtable with Kevin J. Anderson, Lisa Mason, and Linda Nagata (Part 2: Chow Down!), discussing diet. Now that you’re done with your taxes, check it out!

Happy New Year! Now that everyone is earnestly making resolutions for the year ahead, we asked authors Kevin J. Anderson, Lisa Mason, and Linda Nagata to chat about fitness and writing. We’re focusing here on diet. (And we won’t mention this topic again for at least a year, promise!)

Q: Do you follow a diet?

Kevin: My wife (the author Rebecca Moesta) and I have been on a low-carb diet for years, but just over the summer the Mayo Clinic strongly encouraged her to modify that to the Paleo Diet, which is an even stricter low-carb diet. Basically meats and vegetables, avoid processed food, no breads, pasta, rice, flour, dairy.

Lisa: I’ve been seeing a lot about the Paleo Diet, Kevin.
Since my parents died fairly young after decades of the typical American diet of red meat, butter, refined grains, and sugar, my husband, the artist Tom Robinson, and I have committed to an extremely low-fat, low-sugar, high fiber, mostly vegetarian diet.
That amounts to lots of vegetables, some fruit, some nuts, fat-free plain yogurt, olive oil, fat-free evaporated milk and fat-free egg whites for cooking, a sprinkle of low-fat cheese for garnish, whole wheat, and brown rice. Some seafood for me (but not for Tom; he’s totally vegetarian).
We eat a lot of vegetarian meat substitutes, which I suppose amounts to “processed food” and is concocted of soy, corn, whole wheat proteins, and some fat-free milk (I think). Morningstar Farms products are delicious, sugar-free, low fat, zero cholesterol, and high fiber. I also like a butter substitute called Smart Balance Lite, which is made of flaxseed and canola oils and has 30% of the calories of regular oils. For me, keeping the fat as low as possible is important.

Linda: A few years ago my husband and I spent two months trying out a very low-fat diet, and I’ll admit I dropped seven or eight pounds that I didn’t need—but it wasn’t something that either of us were dedicated enough to stick to. So while we don’t follow any specific diet regimen, we do try to eat generally healthy, with whole grains and vegetables and lower-fat meats. Neither of us likes to spend a lot of time in the kitchen, so we tend to do what’s easy and convenient, but we avoid high-fat, high-sugar processed foods, and desserts are usually limited to special occasions.

Lisa: Linda, I’m curious—and forgive me if this sounds rude—but is it true Hawaiians eat a lot of Spam?

Linda: Yes, Spam is quite popular in Hawaii and I really like it—but rarely eat it because of the fat and salt. The most common way to eat Spam is in a “Spam musubi.” There are variations, but the basic idea is a block of sticky rice with a slice of fried Spam on it, and a strip of nori—seaweed—to hold it together.

Q: How has the diet worked out for you?

Kevin: I’ve always had to keep an eye on my cholesterol levels, and after three months on the diet I had a full blood chemistry panel and got the best test results in my entire adult life. Rebecca also had blood work done and *hers* was the best blood chemistry she’s ever had in her life. We know other people who are following the regimen with amazing and obvious results, so we can see that it works. We’ll stick with it.

Lisa: That’s great, Kevin. And great for Rebecca!

We’ve followed our vegetarian diet for over twenty years. Tom recently had a complete physical; his cholesterol, blood sugar, and blood pressure were textbook. At six feet tall, he weighs in at about 158 pounds.
As for me, I’m comfortable eating this way. I feel good. I never have nasty digestive problems. I’m trimmer than I was in college. Though I admit when I want to trim a bit these days, I cut the grains.
It certainly doesn’t follow that just because you don’t eat meat, you’re healthier. Vegetarians who gulp down sugary granola, smoothies, yogurt with fruit jam, whole-fat cheeses, and sugar-fatty whole-grain muffins need to rethink their regimen.

Linda: My not-trying-too-hard diet works all right. Cholesterol hasn’t been a problem (thanks Mom and Dad!). I’m healthy so far and I’m not gaining weight—but I’m not losing it either. The amount of calories it takes to sustain a middle-aged woman is incredibly small! So I’m starting to make changes: more vegetables, more protein, fewer carbs.

Q: Do you eat breakfast? What do you have?

Kevin: I eat breakfast every morning before I work out. Usually eggs, breakfast meat, fresh fruit, some munchie vegetables (bell peppers, cucumbers, tomatoes). Sometimes I make a really good Paleo hot cereal made from blended nuts, bananas, coconut milk, cinnamon, topped with fruit. (Since we’re not allowed the grains, we can’t eat oatmeal or other hot cereals, but this one hits the spot.)

Lisa: Breakfast is, of course, the meal that literally breaks the fast of your sleep time. Your blood sugar is very low. I can’t think of anything worse than the typical American breakfast of coffee with milk and sugar, orange juice, and some sugary cereal. What a sugar shock to your system! No wonder people are starving by mid-morning.
Actually, I can think of something worse. The late, great Charles Brown, the founder of Locus Magazine, once told me he loved Coke for breakfast as a kid. That’s worse.
That said, no, I don’t usually eat breakfast. I just don’t like eating early in the day. Half a cup of black coffee and I’m good to go.
When I do need to eat something, I’ll whip up a nice little bowl of microwaved fat-free egg whites. Yummy. I actually like scrambled egg whites (proof that human beings can adapt to anything). I especially like how the pure protein makes me feel fueled without any sugar rush. Protein takes longer to digest in small intestine, which staves off hunger.

Linda: Low-sugar cereal with low-fat milk for me. Easy and convenient, right? Of course this means I’m hungry within a few hours, but by then I’m willing to put a little more time into preparation, so lunch is a more significant meal.

Q: What about dairy?

Kevin: On the Paleo we’re not supposed to have dairy, but I don’t want to be a diet-nazi about it. I put half and half in my coffee and sometimes we like cheese or yogurt. If your diet is so strict that it’s more like medicine than food, then you won’t stick to it. (Sorry, Lisa, but if I had to eat those nasty meat substitutes you talked about above…yechhhh.)

Lisa: Hah! Egg whites do take some getting used to, but Morningstar Farms products are quite delicious. Spicy black bean burgers, sausage links, sausage patties, and bacon are our favorites.
Dairy, as Kevin mentioned, is forbidden in the Paleo Diet and in vegan diets, as well. Many people have dairy allergies. Dairy is sugary. Even my fat-free plain yogurt has 6 grams of sugar per cup. That’s a lot of sugar.
When I was a child, I hated milk and cheese. Hated. Since the conventional wisdom was “Drink your milk to build strong bones,” milk-drinking (or lack thereof) was a constant source of rancor between my mother and me. Which is probably why I have problems dealing with authority figures to this day.
It turns out that children with milk allergies get lots of earaches. I got earaches all the time.
I do eat a bit of yogurt for the calcium and a sprinkle of Parmesan on my pasta.

Linda: We don’t do a lot of dairy, in part because my husband can’t digest milk—so that eliminates the temptation of all kinds of cream sauces, ice cream, etc. We do eat hard cheeses though, and I use low-fat milk on cereal and will drink a glass at night if I’m having a hard time sleeping. It really does help.

Q: What about diet while you’re traveling?

Kevin: Because I travel a lot, sometimes it’s hard to keep to a strict diet when somebody else is cooking. Traditional low-carb diets are fairly easy to stick to even in restaurants; you order extra vegetables instead of the potato/rice/pasta accompaniment, skip the sandwiches and pizza and chips. For breakfast, I usually go to a Starbucks to get my coffee, a Greek yogurt and a banana. I try to behave, but I’m not super strict about it.

Lisa: Oh I agree, keeping to a diet can be difficult on the road. In places like New York and Los Angeles, where hotels and restaurants are savvy to vegetarians and our preferences, I usually have no problem finding something to eat. In other places, like Grand Forks (where I was guest of the Science Fiction Research Association), Philadelphia (where I was a guest of the Philadelphia Science Fiction Society), and even Chicago (where I was a guest of the Library Information Technology Association and the American Library Association) I’ve faced more challenges. This is when I’ll eat turkey (I dislike chicken so that’s not an option) or whole eggs. Decent seafood may be difficult to find, and I always have to ask the cook not use butter. Sometimes a bag of peanuts and a can of V8 will have to do.
Speaking of nuts, everyone is allowed to eat them—Paleo, vegan, vegetarian, and omnivore. The only caveat is nuts do contain a lot of fat—but it’s monounsaturated, which is good fat—a bit of fiber, and beneficial minerals. A decades-long study of Seventh Day Adventists, who eat nuts several times a week, found that nut consumption correlates well with very low rates of heart disease. Proof there is some justice in the world.

Kevin: And note that fat isn’t a bad thing (contrary to the dietary misinformation we were given growing up that we should eat lots of white bread, pasta, and Minute Rice, which were all “good” for you because they were low fat). It’s the empty carbs and junk food that has made Americans fat.

Linda: Traveling is hard. I’m sure I consume far more calories when we’re on the road, but then I tend to be more physically active too. My husband actually handles himself better than I do. He’ll order salads for dinner, while I eat whatever looks interesting.

Q: Do you have a guilty pleasure?

Kevin: I am a big fan of microbrew beer, in particular hoppy IPAs. Beer is high in carbs, and strict diets tell me I should avoid it. That is my exception. I can give up the ice cream and cookies and potatoes and bread, but I allow myself a beer when I want one. Oh, and a lot of high-and-mighty diets insist you should cut out coffee and in fact all caffeine…but that’s just plain crazy talk.

Lisa: Moderate coffee-drinking is associated with all kinds of health benefits, including lower heart disease, less depression, even less diabetes. And let’s face it—who could live without that cuppa?
The guilty pleasure for me would be wine. Strict health enthusiasts avoid all alcohol, of course, and too much alcohol can certainly cause a lot of damage. But wine with food is one of my pleasures in life. Wine is made from grapes, grapes are good, therefore wine is good (or at least not so bad). How’s that for a syllogism?

Linda: Coffee, wine, and dark chocolate—those make up a basic food group, right?

Lisa: Absolutely!

Q: Do you follow the latest research about diet and nutrition?

Kevin: I subscribe to Mens’ Health and Mens’ Fitness, and I have friends who are “nutritionally aware” (but they seem to come up with a trendy new good or bad food every week). I think the key is not to go overboard and get fanatical about it (trust me, your friends will hate you if you become a proselytizer). LIVE your life, but if you’re healthy and if you feel good, you’ll be able to do more things and enjoy it more.

Lisa: I follow the research, too. I’m always curious to discover what new insights come up. My mother was a professional nutritionist. She always had nutrition magazines around, which fascinated me.

Real Age is a great site. So is Web MD. You always have to remember, though, there’s lots of misinformation, disinformation, and information funded by vested interests.

Fads on the fringe never work. Remember liquid protein? That vile stuff literally caused people to have cardiac arrest. Or how about honey, oil, and vinegar (the HOV diet). Proponents wanted people to drink the stuff three times a day before meals, claiming they’d lose weight. I wouldn’t be surprised if some people lost their lunch.

Linda: It’s probably easy to deduce by now that I don’t follow nutrition news too closely. I’ve heard so much advice over the years, and so much of it completely contradictory, that my primary dictum is simply “moderation in everything.” So far, so good.

So there you have it, my friends. People take different approaches to diet (sometimes very different approaches) depending on their needs and what works for them. Find the diet that suits you best and stick with it.

We thank Kevin J. Anderson, Lisa Mason, and Linda Nagata for a lively and provocative discussion. Be sure to visit them at their websites and buy their books.

If you enjoy a title, please “Like” it, add five stars, write a review on the site where you bought it, Tweet it, blog it, post it,, and share the word with your family and friends.

Your participation really matters.
Thank you for your readership!

Kevin J. Anderson has published 125 books, more than fifty of which have been national or international bestsellers. He has written numerous novels in the Star Wars, X-Files, and Dune universes, as well as a unique steampunk fantasy novel, Clockwork Angels, based on the concept album by legendary rock group Rush. His original works include the Saga of Seven Suns series, the Terra Incognita fantasy trilogy, and his humorous horror series featuring Dan Shamble, Zombie PI. He has edited numerous anthologies, including the Five by Five and Blood Lite series. Anderson and his wife Rebecca Moesta are the publishers of WordFire Press. Wordfirepress.com.

Lisa Mason is the author of ten novels including Summer of Love, A Time Travel (A Philip K. Dick Award Finalist and San Francisco Chronicle Recommended Book) and The Gilded Age, A Time Travel (A New York Times Notable Book and New York Public Library Recommended Book), as well as dozens of stories published in magazines and anthologies worldwide. Her latest release, Strange Ladies: 7 Stories was called “a must-read collection” by the San Francisco Review of Books. Visit her at Lisa Mason’s Official Website.

Linda Nagata is the author of multiple novels and short stories including The Bohr Maker, winner of the Locus Award for best first novel, and the novella “Goddesses,” the first online publication to receive a Nebula award. Her story “Nahiku West” was a finalist for the 2013 Theodore Sturgeon Memorial Award. Though best known for science fiction, she writes fantasy too, exemplified by her “scoundrel lit” series Stories of the Puzzle Lands. Her newest science fiction novel is The Red: First Light, a near-future military thriller published under her own imprint, Mythic Island Press LLC. Linda has spent most of her life in Hawaii, where she’s been a writer, a mom, a programmer of database-driven websites, and lately a publisher and book designer. She lives with her husband in their long-time home on the island of Maui.
Find her online at:
MythicIsland.com
twitter.com/LindaNagata

facebook.com/Linda.Nagata.author

From Lisa Mason, the author of Summer Of Love, A Time Travel (a Philip K. Dick Award Finalist and San Francisco Chronicle Recommended Book) on BarnesandNoble, US Kindle, Canada Kindle, UK Kindle, Smashwords, Apple, Kobo, and Sony.
Summer of Love, A Time Travel is also on Amazon.com in France, Germany, Italy, Spain, Brazil, Japan, and India.

The Gilded Age, A Time Travel on BarnesandNoble, US Kindle, Canada Kindle, UK Kindle, Apple, Kobo, Sony, and Smashwords.
The Gilded Age, A Time Travel is also on Amazon.com in France, Germany, Italy, Spain, Brazil, Japan, and India.

The Garden of Abracadabra, Volume 1 of the Abracadabra Series, on BarnesandNoble, US Kindle, Canada Kindle, UK Kindle, Apple, Kobo, Sony, and Smashwords.
The Garden of Abracadabra, Volume 1 of the Abracadabra Series, is also on Amazon.com in France, Germany, Italy, Spain, Brazil, Japan, and India,

Celestial Girl, The Omnibus Edition (A Lily Modjeska Mystery) on Nook, US Kindle, Canada Kindle, UK Kindle, Smashwords, Apple, Kobo, and Sony;
Celestial Girl, The Omnibus Edition (A Lily Modjeska Mystery) is also on Amazon.com in France, Germany, Italy, Spain, Brazil, Japan, and India.

Strange Ladies: 7 Stories on Nook, US Kindle, Canada Kindle, UK Kindle, Smashwords, Apple, Kobo, and Sony.
Strange Ladies: 7 Stories is also on Amazon.com in France, Germany, Italy, Spain, Brazil, Japan, and India.

Visit me at Lisa Mason’s Official Website for books, ebooks, stories, and screenplays, reviews, interviews, and blogs, adorable pet pictures, forthcoming projects, fine art and bespoke jewelry by Tom Robinson, worldwide Amazon.com links for Brazil, France, Germany, India, Italy, Japan, and Spain, and more!

And on Lisa Mason’s Blog, on my Facebook Author Page, on my Facebook Profile Page, on Amazon, on Goodreads, on LinkedIn, on Twitter at @lisaSmason, at Smashwords, at Apple, at Kobo, at Sony, and at Science Fiction and Fantasy Writers of America.

If you enjoy a  title, please “Like” it, add five stars, write a review on the site where you bought it, Tweet it, blog it, post it,, and share the word with your family and friends.

Your participation really matters.
Thank you for your readership!

Happy New Year! Now that everyone is earnestly making resolutions for the year ahead, we asked authors Kevin J. Anderson, Lisa Mason, and Linda Nagata to chat about fitness and writing. We’re focusing here on exercise. (We promise not to mention this topic again for at least a year.)

Q: What is your philosophy about fitness?

Kevin: I live by the philosophy that it’s easier to *stay* in shape than to *get* in shape. I keep myself moving, work out, expend the effort to keep myself healthy because if my body doesn’t function well, then I can’t DO the things I want to do.

Lisa: Yes. You have only one life and one body: Take care of it!
I was really active as a child, climbing trees, bicycling, dancing ballet, swimming, riding horses. I walked several miles to school, even in three feet of snow. In college, I hiked and biked all over the sprawling campus at the University of Michigan.
But when I started working as a lawyer, all that activity dwindled to walking to the office in downtown San Francisco from my apartment on Telegraph Hill. When we and the office moved to East Bay, we bought a home where I could walk to work again, but it wasn’t enough. I didn’t feel comfortable in my body anymore.
On my birthday in 1996, I made a vow to get back in shape and, as Kevin says, stay that way. So far, I’ve been doing pretty well. If I used to walk to school in three feet of snow, now I’ll go for my walk in pouring rain. I’m committed!

Linda: I’ve always enjoyed being fit. I competed in swimming in high school, ran track one year, did a lot of hiking. In my early twenties I was into weight-lifting/strength training on my own machine, but I stopped when I had children. I was just too worried they would venture near the moving weights and get hurt. After that, fitness became an intermittent thing. Lots of heavy-duty yard work, occasional jogging, some hiking, but it wasn’t until my late forties that I got serious again, returning to weight-lifting and fairly regular running. My philosophy is to aim for both cardiovascular fitness and strength. My quirk is that when I do work out, I like to work out hard. I’m not sure that’s really a good idea now that I’m 53 years old, but it keeps the routine from getting boring.

Q: What is your exercise regimen?

Kevin: I am 51, last summer I did two segments on the Colorado Trail out in the deep wilderness (38 miles in two days), climbed a couple of 14,000 ft mountain peaks, and did some other strenuous hikes. This winter, I plan to do some great snowshoe hikes.
I have a weight room in the house and I do about a 45-minute workout every day when I can (and because I travel a lot, sometimes it’s hard to keep the schedule.)

Lisa: Wow! You’re one of a kind, Kevin.
I speed-walk 3.5 miles carrying 6 pounds of weights four to seven days a week. I always carry a pencil and notepad and jot down ideas, paragraphs, snippets of dialogue.
On days when I don’t do the long walk, I’ll walk to chores (we’ve got a fabulous Whole Foods a few blocks away), use the stationary bike and the stepper in my office.
I don’t run marathons or engage in extreme exercise. I’m mindful of my joints, which are good. I want to keep them that way.

Linda: It sounds like I’m the only gym rat here! I am utterly without Kevin’s discipline, and I’m sure if I had exercise equipment at home, I wouldn’t use it, but I love to go to the gym. Even if I don’t particularly feel like working out, once I walk in the door I almost always get into the flow. Getting your head set to want to workout is critical to staying in shape and for me, the gym does that. And the people at our gym are terrific, and very inspiring to watch.
The problem with the gym, for me, is that I live outside of town, so it’s a twenty-five minute drive to get there—which means I only go if we have other business in town.
I’m supposed to go jogging when I can’t get to the gym. Sometimes I’m dedicated about that, running five miles or so in hilly terrain, but sometimes I let weeks go by in-between runs. I try not to be too critical of myself, and do what I can.
There is a terrific book called Younger Next Year, which I highly recommend. It’s very inspirational. It lays down a regimen of exercising an hour a day, six days a week. That’s what I aim for, even if I rarely actually meet that goal.

Q: Where do you exercise?

Kevin: There’s too much to see and do out there in beautiful Colorado; what’s the fun in a sedentary life? I don’t much like to drive to a public gym and work out with a bunch of other sweaty people, so I’m glad I have my own equipment in the house. I also try to walk as much as I can, and I prefer to take the stairs rather than waiting for an elevator. I see people (without physical handicaps) take the elevator up one floor. Really? I don’t get that.

Lisa: Oh yeah, there are so many opportunities to walk, to take stairs. And I’m not a gym person, either.
I grew up with an old-growth forest in my backyard, so I too have a deep appreciation of nature. I’m fortunate now to live on the edge of a park with a hundred-year-old bird sanctuary and a lake with an excellent trail around it. Giant eucalyptus, pines, palms, oaks, and other greenery line the paths. I love watching the mallards, snowy egrets, and Canadian geese gracing the lake, along with the occasional swan, great blue heron, and red-tailed hawk.

Linda: I live on the island of Maui, which sounds like it ought to be a great place to work out, but things aren’t always what they seem. I live “upcountry” at an elevation above 3000’ where nearly all the roads have a significant grade, so jogging is either uphill or downhill—neither of which is easy!—but when I break out from the trees, the views are beautiful.
I almost never jog outside at lower elevations. Even though I’ve lived in Hawaii almost all my life, I’m a wimp when it comes to the heat and humidity we have at sea level. Even jogging in the evening down at the coast is a slog for me—but strange as it may sound, I really like running on the treadmill at the gym. The terrain is flat and nothing gets in my way, so this is where I do my “speed” workouts. I put “speed” in quotes, because fast for me isn’t going to be fast to someone else, but on good days I can run 3.5 miles in under 32 minutes, and I feel pretty good about that.

Lisa: I used to jog on my 3.5-mile trail. Then I caught my toe on an uneven edge and down I crashed on my right knee. Nothing broke or tore, but my leg turned an interesting shade of green for a week. After that, I started speed-walking, with the weights for calorie burn. The problem I have with jogging is your torso is tilted forward so your center of gravity is off. When I walk, I keep my torso centered over my hips. For me, it’s more balanced.

Q: How does exercise affect your writing?

Kevin: I have to stay healthy because I do most of my writing by dictation as I hike the trails. If I’m not moving, I’m not writing. I also find it very energizing and inspirational to be writing as I’m out in the mountains or forest. (This method doesn’t work, however, on a busy and noisy city street.)

Lisa: I feel more alert and just generally better after my daily walk, which segues into more and better writing. When ideas and words aren’t flowing as freely as they should, it’s good to get out of the office and exercise a different muscle in my brain.

Linda: I’m envious of writers like Kevin who can think and work out at the same time. For me, it’s rare to come up with any useful story ideas while exercising, or even when doing yard work. Mostly I just zone out. But exercise still benefits my writing, in part just by making me feel physically better and stronger, but it’s also an emotional boost. I just feel happier when I’m working out regularly—and I’m a much better writer when I’m happy.

So there you have it, my friends. Writing may be a sedentary occupation, but you don’t have to live a sedentary life. Find the exercise regimen that suits you best and stick with it.

We thank Kevin J. Anderson, Lisa Mason, and Linda Nagata for a lively and provocative discussion. Be sure to visit them at their websites and buy their books.

If you enjoy a title, please “Like” it, add five stars, write a review on the site where you bought it, Tweet it, blog it, post it,, and share the word with your family and friends.

Your participation really matters.
Thank you for your readership!

Kevin J. Anderson has published 125 books, more than fifty of which have been national or international bestsellers. He has written numerous novels in the Star Wars, X-Files, and Dune universes, as well as a unique steampunk fantasy novel, Clockwork Angels, based on the concept album by legendary rock group Rush. His original works include the Saga of Seven Suns series, the Terra Incognita fantasy trilogy, and his humorous horror series featuring Dan Shamble, Zombie PI. He has edited numerous anthologies, including the Five by Five and Blood Lite series. Anderson and his wife Rebecca Moesta are the publishers of WordFire Press. Wordfirepress.com.

Lisa Mason is the author of ten novels including Summer of Love, A Time Travel (A Philip K. Dick Award Finalist and San Francisco Chronicle Recommended Book) and The Gilded Age, A Time Travel (A New York Times Notable Book and New York Public Library Recommended Book), as well as dozens of stories published in magazines and anthologies worldwide. Her latest release, Strange Ladies: 7 Stories was called “a must-read collection” by the San Francisco Review of Books. Visit her at Lisa Mason’s Official Website.

Linda Nagata is the author of multiple novels and short stories including The Bohr Maker, winner of the Locus Award for best first novel, and the novella “Goddesses,” the first online publication to receive a Nebula award. Her story “Nahiku West” was a finalist for the 2013 Theodore Sturgeon Memorial Award. Though best known for science fiction, she writes fantasy too, exemplified by her “scoundrel lit” series Stories of the Puzzle Lands. Her newest science fiction novel is The Red: First Light, a near-future military thriller published under her own imprint, Mythic Island Press LLC. Linda has spent most of her life in Hawaii, where she’s been a writer, a mom, a programmer of database-driven websites, and lately a publisher and book designer. She lives with her husband in their long-time home on the island of Maui.
Find her online at:
MythicIsland.com
twitter.com/LindaNagata

facebook.com/Linda.Nagata.author

From Lisa Mason, the author of Summer Of Love, A Time Travel (a Philip K. Dick Award Finalist and San Francisco Chronicle Recommended Book) on BarnesandNoble, US Kindle, Canada Kindle, UK Kindle, Smashwords, Apple, Kobo, and Sony.
Summer of Love, A Time Travel is also on Amazon.com in France, Germany, Italy, Spain, Brazil, Japan, and India.

The Gilded Age, A Time Travel on BarnesandNoble, US Kindle, Canada Kindle, UK Kindle, Apple, Kobo, Sony, and Smashwords.
The Gilded Age, A Time Travel is also on Amazon.com in France, Germany, Italy, Spain, Brazil, Japan, and India.

The Garden of Abracadabra, Volume 1 of the Abracadabra Series, on BarnesandNoble, US Kindle, Canada Kindle, UK Kindle, Apple, Kobo, Sony, and Smashwords.
The Garden of Abracadabra, Volume 1 of the Abracadabra Series, is also on Amazon.com in France, Germany, Italy, Spain, Brazil, Japan, and India,

Celestial Girl, The Omnibus Edition (A Lily Modjeska Mystery) on Nook, US Kindle, Canada Kindle, UK Kindle, Smashwords, Apple, Kobo, and Sony;
Celestial Girl, The Omnibus Edition (A Lily Modjeska Mystery) is also on Amazon.com in France, Germany, Italy, Spain, Brazil, Japan, and India.

Strange Ladies: 7 Stories on Nook, US Kindle, Canada Kindle, UK Kindle, Smashwords, Apple, Kobo, and Sony.
Strange Ladies: 7 Stories is also on Amazon.com in France, Germany, Italy, Spain, Brazil, Japan, and India.

Visit me at Lisa Mason’s Official Website for books, ebooks, stories, and screenplays, reviews, interviews, and blogs, adorable pet pictures, forthcoming projects, fine art and bespoke jewelry by Tom Robinson, worldwide Amazon.com links for Brazil, France, Germany, India, Italy, Japan, and Spain, and more!

And on Lisa Mason’s Blog, on my Facebook Author Page, on my Facebook Profile Page, on Amazon, on Goodreads, on LinkedIn, on Twitter at @lisaSmason, at Smashwords, at Apple, at Kobo, at Sony, and at Science Fiction and Fantasy Writers of America.

If you enjoy a  title, please “Like” it, add five stars, write a review on the site where you bought it, Tweet it, blog it, post it,, and share the word with your family and friends.

Your participation really matters.
Thank you for your readership!