Archive | March, 2011

When food=drug

26 Mar

Drug:

  • A chemical substance that affects the processes of the mind or body
  • Something, often an illegal substance, that causes addiction, habituation, or a marked change in consciousness

I watched Super Size Me for the first time last week and let me just say, WOW!  We all know by now that fast food is inherently bad for our health, so it’s not  surprising that a diet of fast food and mammoth size portions of sugar, salt, trans fats, and hormone/steroid drenched meat had deleterious effects even in the short term.  What is shocking is just how much damage director Morgan Spurlock does to his otherwise picture perfect health in the span of less than 30 days. Even scarier, the  fact that as his health continues to precipitously decline, Spurlock has an extremely hard time stopping his consumption of the fast food.  In a word, he becomes addicted to the fast food within a short two week period of time. He literally feels lethargic, weak, and unsatisfied until he get his fast-food “fix.” I think this film really poses a greater question:

Should fast food be regulated like drugs?

Recent research from the Scripps Research Institute has confirmed that fast food and highly processed foods like fast food have a profound impact on the neurological systems and hormonal systems on the body that mimic the chemical addictiveness experienced by heavy using drug addicts.

To quote:

“”These findings confirm what we and many others have suspected…that overconsumption of highly pleasurable food triggers addiction-like neuroadaptive responses in brain reward circuitries, driving the development of compulsive eating. Common mechanisms may therefore underlie obesity and drug addiction.”

The key words here are common mechanisms that underlie the addictiveness! Essentially, these data show that fast food is as addictive as heroin!

I posit that based on what these data show, that foods meeting certain thresholds with sodium, sugar, fat, simple carbohydrates, and chemical by-products are chemically no different than drugs and should therefore be treated as such. I  do believe very strongly in free will and smart life decisions for optimal health, but people who eat massive amounts of fast food are addicts and policy to limit the amount of these illicit substances and food would greatly reduce the chronic disease burden that continues to negatively impact society.

Being Healthbent Entrepreneur that I am, maybe it would be the perfect time to open an addiction clinic for fast food addicts? Maybe develop a pharmaceutical drug that curbs fast food addiction?  Sadly, these would probably be lucrative marketplaces to enter. Just, fast-food for thought…

Always going for glory!

Craig Steinfeld

@CESteinfeld

Healthbent Entrepreneur

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My favorite powergrain has a dark side

20 Mar

Quinoa!  Pronounced KEEN-OH-WAH, is amazingly delicious and highly, highly nutritious.  With the inclusion of lysine in its amino acid profile, it’s basically a complete protein (comparable to dairy) with the added benefits of magnesium, manganese, and b-vitamins.

Quinoa has all the essential nutrients for proper muscle function and recovery.  I love the stuff and I cook with it in an unlimited number of applications including stirfrys, soups, pancakes (a trick I picked up in Peru), and salads!

I recently had the chance to meet and chat with arguably the greatest ultra-marathoner in U.S. history, Scott Jurek.  Jurek won the Western States 100 mile race 7 straight times straight, the Badwater 135 mile race through Death Valley, and recently he ran 165.7 miles in 24 hours ALL on a strictly vegan diet! I asked him if one of the secrets to his success was his diet regimen.  Jurek immediately said that quinoa is a food he includes in his diet almost daily and with every meal! He’s shown cooking quinoa in a NYT article written about him.

But sadly, even quinoa has a dark side as reported by the NYT in a recent article. The countries from where the grain-like seed originates are struggling to afford their beloved, ancient grain as international demand continues to spike. The price has been soaring to the point where many of the farms growing quinoa can literally not afford to keep any for themselves. Even more troubling, the shift of the local people of Bolivia and Peru to switch to, and prefer, processed food over more traditionally revered foods.

While I love and utilize quinoa and will undoubetly continue to do so, articles like this certainly make me more aware of the impact that my purchasing decisions can have on a global scale.

Recipe:

HE’s Caprese Quinoa:

  • 1 cup dry quinoa
  • 2 cups water
  • Organic red or yellow baby tomatoes (cut in half)
  • Basil (chopped)
  • Mozzarella cheese (in water, small spheres)
  • Balsamic vinegar and olive oil (1-3 tablespoons)
  1. Bring 2 cups of water to a boil with a pinch of pink himalayan sea salt
  2. Add quinoa, reduce to a simmer, stir, and cover
  3. Cook 12-15 minutes until water is fully absorbed
  4. Fluff quinoa with a fork and add halved tomatoes, chopped basil, cheese, oil, and vinager
  5. Combine ingredients gently and add salt, pepper, and a squeeze of lemon

Always going for glory!

@CESteinfeld

Healthbent Entrepreneur

The concept begins to take shape

15 Mar

And so it begins...

This is a basic sketch of the concept and invention that has been convalescing in my mind now for months.  I have been hard at work fleshing out the minutiae and tailoring the product to the correct target market.  All of my heart and soul are in this project and I have enlisted the help of both an MIT engineer and engineering firm in Austin to help make this dream a reality.  I believe that ideas + products are merely the culmination of concepts that people absorb around them.  At the recent trade show the Natural Products Expo in Anaheim, CA, I had a minor epiphany: there’s no better time then the present to pursue a concept that I consider to be groundbreaking.  I met a plethora of entrepreneurers who fought tooth and nail to get their product to market at all costs.  For some that meant 5 years of unprofitability, while for others, it meant keeping a day job and working 18 hour days until the product was fully realized.

In the prophetic words of Ayn Rand:

“The great creators, the thinkers, the artists, the scientists, the inventors, stood alone against the men of their time. Every new thought was opposed. Every new invention was denounced. But the men of unborrowed vision went ahead. They fought, they suffered, and they paid – but they won.”


Always going for glory! HE @CESTeinfeld


RISE Austin: Inspirational lessons on entrepreneurship

10 Mar

This week, RISE (Relationship and Information Series for Entrepreneurs) is taking place across Austin, TX as we speak.   Austin is a refuge, sanctuary, and hub of entrepreneurs and we strive whole-heartedly to keep Austin as weird as possible.  Meaning, Austinites love to support small and local businesses.  I managed to meet some start-up entrepreneurs, many of whom started their companies right out of college and are now securing upwards of a million dollars in funding (i.e SpareFoot.com, JobSpice,com)

I feel honored and privileged to learn from the past experiences of entrepreneurial and start-up experts.  The importance of learning from other’s successes and failures is tantamount for the success of the entrepreneur. Fortunately, RISE is streaming the videos on their web page for many of the seminars you and I were unable to attend.

Some of these lessons I learned are worth sharing to the community of entrepreneurs out there:

On branding (Dr. Neil Burns):

  • Brands=Experience!
  • Brands: more enduring than patents, viral, and measurable
  • Brands have and maintain a following
  • Branding IS a business strategy
  • Brands must be personally relevant

On seed generation/incubation of start-ups (Serial entrepreneur Joshua Baer of Capital Factory):

  • Start ups must have an excellent team in place (ideally 2-3 people)
  • Tech expertise is essential for a company in tech
  • Have a strong mentoring team in place of people with past experiences (they could end up being angel investors)
  • Keep in touch with the mentors you develop relationships with
  • Understand your market better than your competitors!
  • Be confident about your idea but be open to others opinions because after-all, you have things to learn!
  • Be capital efficient and stay as lean as possible while not sacrificing product quality and integrity

On exploring market potential/market research (Dr. Rob Adams):

  • “Success is achieved through a series of fast failures.” (Emphasis on fast.  If the idea isn’t taking shape, be willing to ditch it immediately for a better one)
  • 20% of start-ups succeed. So be willing to start at least 5 companies for the best chance of success
  • In product development, start with at least 100 exploratory calls to figure out what your target market wants.  Then design the product based on the needs of 20-30% because you simply cannot afford to please everyone (approx. 2 months)
  • Conduct interviews, conduct surveys, and compile lists of potential clients.  Ask them specific questions, figure out what they want, and design the product to meet their needs
  • Get your product to market ASAP! Correct the problems later (aka Microsoft products, first gen iPod etc.)
  • American buyers are forgiving to entrepreneurs and almost always will give a second chance if the first model requires improvements
  • Sales and marketing budget MUST EQUAL budget for product development (at minimum)

Anyone have any lessons worth sharing from RISE or otherwise on start-ups and entrepreneurship? Thoughts on the above advice? Please do share!

Quote for thought: “We’d pay a lot if someone would just build…” If you can answer this question and you may be able to leave your job and create a winning business 🙂

Always going for glory!

C.E. Steinfeld

(Healthbent Entrepreneur)

@CESeinfeld

The past (and future) of nutrition is a grotesque animal

8 Mar

Of Montreal

To quote the pictured band (one of my favorites ever!) Of Montreal:

The past is a grotesque animal
And in its eyes you see
How completely wrong you can be

The grotesque animal in question is fat of all kinds.  In this case, the past is the last 50 years or so in which we, the people, were fed amazing, misinformation about what causes diet related problems, namely obesity.  Fat, particularly saturated fat, was vilified, demonized, and admonished for being the culprit of burgeoning disease and obesity.  Even more horrifying, trans fats became the en vogue fat, remaining stable at room temperature, maintaining a shelf life of 6000 years, and reducing or even fully replacing of the ever-dangerous, grotesque animal that is saturated fat (more on trans fats later).

In the book Freakonomics, authors Levit and Dubner describe the “convenience of conventional wisdom.” For 50 years, convenient, conventional wisdom has once again let us down.  Even food writers and nutritionists today are rescinding their recommendations to eat low fat diets with Martha Rose Shulman, longtime advocate of low-fat and New York Times author, doing a complete 180, dropping the term “low-fat” from her vocabulary altogether*.   Gary Taubes has written extensively about this subject and this “Big fat lie” that we were fed (pun intended) all these years and in his book “Why we get fat.” . He advocates for a hardcore, Atkins-like diet (which I’m not personally crazy about) but the moral of the story is clear: fats are NOT your mortal enemy nor are they Lucifer himself!

I’m amazed at the nutritional nihilism going on in the world.  Nutritional nihilism is a term I coined describing those in our modern age that deny the causal relationship between diet and modern disease.  But at the same time, I can empathize with nutritional nihilists because quite frankly, diet trends seem to change by the day, minute, second, + milisecond.  The confusing nature of convenient information we are fed (from reputable channels) has undoubtedly contributed to problem of chronic disease, obesity, and the continued strain these diseases are putting on our society.  I am at a complete loss that we are quite literally, beginning to tear at the seems. With the exponential growth of Type II Diabetes, we could literally bankrupt our healthcare system in the next decade or so and completely destroy the productivity of our society altogether.  Case-in-point: We are even making ambulances larger just to accommodate the morbidly obese!

There’s a few new grotesque animals in town and they are called carbohydrates and refined sugars.  The LA Times wrote a great article about the Reversal of carbs here.  While it seems like we have gotten to the bottom of this, I have little doubt that in another decade, minute, or so there will be a new grotesque animal in town(probably fruits and vegetables this time).

Always going for glory!

C.E. Steinfeld

Twitter: @CESteinfeld

p.s. —– I will be unveiling some sketches of the project/invention I’ve been working on for months this week! Stay posted! In addition, look out for my post next week about “The real food groups.”

*Important link!

*The timely eulogy of low-fat

Assorted links for peak entrepreneurship and health

1 Mar

Entrepreneurship/Business:

1. Eight entrepreneur attributes you can’t fake

2. LinkedIn IPO will usher in a new crop of internet stocks

3. 14 Twitter feeds startups/founders should follow

Health/Nutrition:

4. Bone marrow omelet from the paleo man himeself, John Durant (Yuck or YUUUMM!?)

5. Chocolate’s startling health benefits by John Robbins

6. How to make oatmeal….wrong! by Mark Bittman (Mickey D’s oatmeal has more sugar than a Snickers bar!)

 

The value of nothing: The $200 hamburger by Raj Patel

Let’s connect on Twitter! @CESteinfeld

and be sure to tweet me some links of your own!

Always going for glory!

HE