Dear Holly: Nixing Your Baby Bottles and Pacifier in the Same Week

1 year, 4 months.

Dear Holly,

This is the last new picture of you with a pacifier.

The time has come. The days of “no more pacifiers” have begun. This picture was taken on your final day with a pacifier; last Saturday.

Things changed on Sunday. That marked for the first time you had to learn to fall asleep without a pacifier.

I helped you cry it out. I laid on your bedroom floor, next to you, as you exhausted yourself in tears; eventually giving up the fight and allowing me to wrap you up in a blanket and rock you to sleep.

Since then, each time has been easier for you. Sure, you sort of form a make-shift pacifier out of your little burp rag, but you’re getting there.

Personally, I didn’t care or think much about you still having a pacifier. But Mommy had been telling me that it was past time for you to still be using one.

So I used this opportunity to help, but with a personal selfish motive…

Mommy had also been telling me that it was time to get rid of your milk bottles; that you should be drinking out of sippy cups instead.

It now is safe to say that you no longer drink out of your baby bottles, nor use a pacifier. I personally saw to it. In just one weekend, it all ended.

There were two reasons I didn’t want you drinking out of those bottles:

First, those bottles were just extra trouble to be cleaning every day.

And second, I am personally opposed to you drinking any more dairy than you have to. I know you have the same genes as me; you can’t process dairy either. It just leads to eczema and sinus issues.

Since taking your baby bottles away, I have already noticed you naturally don’t even want to drink much milk anyway. I want to see you eating more solid foods.

I guess this means we’ll be able to see your whole face in pictures now, and hopefully, less skin rash as well.

Love, Daddy

Healthy Parents: Why We’re a Whole Milk Family

Super Lactate Me: The Results, A Month Later- My Weight Difference After Switching to Whole Milk

Read this, then decide whether or not you believe that switching to whole milk caused me to gain weight or not.

This is the anticipated follow-up to Super Lactate Me: Does Switching From Skim Milk to Whole Milk Really Cause You to Gain Weight?

Exactly a month ago, I switched from low fat milk to whole milk. I did a science experiment on myself to see if the traditional belief was true that “whole milk makes you fat.” Because in theory, that shouldn’t make sense. There are good fats and bad fats, and nutritionists say that milk fat on its own (not added with sugar, like in ice cream, yogurt, milk shakes, etc.) is good fat.

My weight a month ago, before whole milk, was 156.6 pounds.

My weight today, after whole milk, is…

Drum roll please…

157 pounds.

Yes, technically, I gained a fraction of a pound.  If you’re being really technical. Of course, you do realize, if I was using a normal scale instead of a digital scale, it may not have indicated any change in weight at all.

And let me just be perfectly honest and direct with you:  That fraction of a pound could be directly related to fraction more of a pound of water, or other disposable bodily substances, inside of me that morning compared to 30 days earlier .  Surely I don’t need to spell it out…

Here’s what’s really interesting.  I loved whole milk so much that I began drinking nearly twice as much milk than I did when I drank low fat milk.  Plus, I added even more fat into my diet by introducing string cheese (not the reduced fat kind) and by returning hemp seeds into my diet.  They are loaded with fat- but again, good fat.

So how has this experiment changed my life?  I consume more milk every day.  I switched from low fat sour cream to regular sour cream.  And I eat a lot more cheese now, knowing that dairy fat is not bad fat!  My wife was convinced and has now switched to whole milk, as well.

Dairy fat becomes bad when combined with sugar, or with meat (which is one of the reasons I observe a Kosher diet.)  But on its own, dairy fat is good and necessary.

Would this experiment have ended up differently if I consumed meat and cheese together in the same meals, which I don’t?  It’s very possible.

What if I still ate as much sugary snacks as I used to?  Again, I probably would have gained some weight.

But because I already abide by a strict, kosher Mediterranean diet, I’ll never know exactly how this “whole milk experiment” would affect someone else, who didn’t share my some wacky diet.

I’ll leave that experiment up to someone else.

What do you think?  Based on the results, would you say I’ve gained weight?  Or is the fraction of a pound irrelevant to the switch to whole milk?

Super Lactate Me: Does Switching From Skim Milk to Whole Milk Really Cause You to Gain Weight?

For the next month, this former skim milk drinker will switch to whole milk.  Yes, I am making my body a scientific experiment.

It just makes sense: People who want to become or stay slim drink either skim or 1% milk, right? That’s the only kind of milk we had at our house growing up.  And when you are used to watery milk, when you do have whole milk, it “tastes gross.”  But when I received the May 2011 issue of Details magazine (which they strangely keep sending me though I didn’t renew my subscription after January), I was intrigued by the front cover.  I’m not referring to the picture of Mark Ruffalo, but instead the caption that read, “Is Skim Milk Making You Fat?

After reading the article, I’m convinced the answer is yes- skim milk can cause weight gain .  Basically, here’s how it works:

As you know, there are “good fats” that your body craves and needs.  They don’t cause you to gain weight as long as you don’t gorge in them and/or combine then with processed sugar.  These good fats can be found in nuts, avocados, and extra virgin olive oil.  There are also “bad fats” that we often substitute in the place of the good fats.  Our body craves the good fats but it’s easier and more convenient to eat the bad fats; they can be found in fried foods, large portions of red meat, ice cream and any other dairy product with added sugar.

According to the article, milk fat actually falls in the category of good fats.  So when the fat is removed from the milk (making it a more processed food), essentially you’re depriving yourself of the most important part of the food; which is the good fat.  Fat doesn’t make you fat as long as it’s good fat and you don’t add sugar to it.

Not only does it not cause you to gain weight, but fat from whole milk does not raise your cholesterol.  Here’s why: There is also “good cholesterol” which is not bad for your heart and “bad cholesterol,” which does cause heart disease.  And conveniently, the good fat from the whole milk is the good cholesterol.

A third reason that fat from whole milk is good for you (I didn’t realize we were counting) is that fat slows down the flow of sugar into the bloodstream. Sugar causes fat to stick to your body.  It’s like this:

fat + sugar = fat is stored in body

fat + no sugar = fat passes through the body

So if you consume whole milk with Fruity Pebbles, the fat from the whole milk may cause you to gain weight because of the sugar.  But if you consume whole milk with straight oatmeal or a high fiber/low sugar cereal like Wheat Chex, the fat will pass through.

(I recognize that milk contains lactose, which is a form of sugar, but it’s a natural part of milk so I’m not worried about it.  Just like the way fruit contains lots of sugar, but when you eat the fruit itself, the fiber in the fruit basically cancels out the negative effects.)

Need another reason whole milk is the best choice?  It triggers the “I’m full” hormone, causing you to want to stop eating.

And this may not gross you out, but it does me: Skim and 1% milk become a bluish-white, chalky liquid by the time all the fat is removed.  Therefore, powdered milk is added to these low fat milks to whiten them.

So back to the question in the title of this post: Does switching from skim milk to whole milk really cause you to gain weight?

No, I’m convinced it does not.

And I’m convinced that yes, skim milk does make you fat.  But I’m not just taking Paul John Scott’s word for it (the guy who wrote the article for Details magazine).  I am trying this theory out for myself; and more importantly, on myself.  As of yesterday, May 14th, I have switched to whole milk.  On a daily basis, I consume around 12 ounces of milk (in my coffee, which I don’t add sugar to) and in my oatmeal; also no sugar added.  I weighed myself on a digital scale:

156.6 pounds

On June 14th, after a month, I will write a sequel to this post proclaiming my weight again.  Obviously, nothing else in my diet or lifestyle will change- just the milk.  Let me point out that I am not trying to lose weight.  I am simply testing out a theory.  If anything, I’m trying to prove that I won’t gain weight.

Would you like to predict whether I will gain or lose weight by taking this month-long milk challenge?  Leave a comment. Then find out in a month whether your prediction was correct, when I write the follow-up post.  Mark your calendar now for this exciting event: June 14th.

Or just click here to travel to the future and learn the results!

The Shell Diet: Fresh- Forget about Processed Foods and Replace Sugar with Whole Fruits

Cut out all processed foods.


1) The worst thing about processed foods is that they are typically loaded with “bad sugars” and “bad fats”, not to mention too much sodium. This means all fast food, fried food, candy, snack cakes, sodas, coffee bought at a coffee shop, even yogurt (loaded with sugar!) just to name a few examples.  “Good sugars” are whole fruits and “good fats” are nuts- they’re good and necessary as part of the Shell Diet.

How do you know if a food is processed?  Any kind of food you wouldn’t have been able to find 200 years ago, if it contains more than 7 ingredients, and/or if it comes sealed in a box or bag sent from a factory, there is a good chance it is processed.  And that means you shouldn’t eat it because it has too much fatsugar, and or sodium.  Those three things are some of the rarest elements found in food, yet in today’s culture, a lot of our food choices are based on those things, and those are the things making us unhealthy.  Jesus didn’t eat Hot Pockets.  Abraham Lincoln didn’t eat Twinkies.  So neither will I.

2) So if you’re not eating junk food, or even “healthy” processed snacks (made with soy or tofu), what can you eat? Eat anything that is a plant, as a snack. Fruits, vegetables, nuts, and even whole grain cereal as long as no sugar has been added (admittedly, there aren’t a whole lot of cereals that fit that description, so unless I am having plain oatmeal with fruit, I buy plain shredded wheat and add honey, which is natural and healthy to eat).

3) Drinking your calories is just as bad, if not worse, than eating them. Soda is what I call “diabetes juice”.  Sugary coffee and sweat tea are “liquid cigarettes”.  And 100% fruit juice?  Still processed.  I call it “vitamin infused Kool Aid”.  We’re supposed to be eating fruit on a daily basis, not drinking it.  Because unless we’re eating the fiber with the fruit, we’re cheating ourselves and just drinking the vitamins and sugar from the fruit, wasting its fiber.

I don’t buy into the advertising ploy of V-8 and other “healthy juices” advertising that if you buy drinking their product, you’re getting the proper number of servings of fruits and veggies.  You may be getting the vitamins, but you’re getting too much sugar, and not enough fiber.  Sure, it’s better than soda, or not eating any fruits or veggies at all, but you’re still cheating yourself out of a healthy thing.

Acknowledgement: This far into reading about the “Shell Diet”, you have every reason to feel discouraged at how demanding of a lifestyle change it is.  But this is the price you pay to be healthy now, and to prevent Diabetes, cancer, and all that other bad stuff.  And there’s no way around it.  Even if you’re thin, it doesn’t mean you’re necessary healthy.

4) So what does Nick Shell drink, the creator of the Shell Diet, drink? Because obviously there isn’t much left to choose from. Mainly water– no less than two liters (ideally 3 liters) per day.  A little bit of milk with cereal or coffee (but no processed creamer or sugar).  Certain select fruit juices like carrot juice or Bolthouse Farms’ Green Goodness- they are the only exceptions to my “no fruit juice rule” because they both contain a power house of nutrients that are difficult to get a hold of and are more of a puree than a juice.

And lastly, one alcoholic beverage per day. Yes, it may sound like I’m going against everything I’ve established so far, but it’s a key factor of the Shell Diet being successful.  Almost every day, I either have a classy beer (like Leinenhugel’s, Fat Tire, Blue Moon, Shock Top, etc., but never Bud Light or anything people use to get drunk on during sports events or that underage teens with fake I.D.’s are drawn to) or a glass of wine (my favorite brand is actually Macaroni Grille).

If you have any religious reservations about this, read this, and if that doesn’t help (or you’re a recovering alcoholic or think you might become one), I have to admit you are at a disadvantage regarding the Shell Diet, but I don’t want to be responsible for you feeling like you are sinning against God (or lead you back into a lifestyle of abuse if you have a history of alcoholism).  If the Southern-small-town-Baptist restriction applies to you, I of all people completely understand where you’re coming from: I never had any alcohol until after high school and college.  It wasn’t until age 24 (right after moving to Nashville; the official crossroads of the Bible Belt and honky tonks) that I was able to process how I truly felt about Jesus Juice (wine) and Baptist Brew (beer).  Ironically, when I abandoned my “drinking is wrong” theology, for me, it was one of the most spiritually maturing times in my life.

Why do I strongly endorse daily consumption of one alcoholic drink per day?  Aside from the abundant health benefits mentioned here, it is a filling and healthy rival (again, in small amounts, not abundance) to sugar.  Plus, at the end of the day, with dinner, it is relaxing.   And that is a good thing.  It’s important to relax, because stress causes cancer.

*But wait, there’s more…Go back to the main page of the The Shell Diet by clicking right here.

Today is Copyrighted

Important Rule in Life: When someone asks you “what’s up?”, it’s good to have something cool or funny to say.

A good thing to ask yourself at the end of each day is “What happened today that makes this day different from every other day I’ve lived?”  So many of the days of our lives seem normal and insignificant.  As a way of making them seem more meaningful, I like to observe what makes each day special.  It makes future conversations more interesting. 

Like today, I jumped in my Honda Element for the drive to work, and immediately I was taken back to the smell of the boys’ locker room from my high school in 1996.  But there are never dirty clothes in my car and I never leave the windows down (in the event it had rained during the night) and there’s no carpet in my car at all.  So why did my car smell like a sour milk sock?  I endured the odor for 22 minutes until I arrived at work when I took a minute to sniff around, but to no avail.

Six hours pass and I’m getting my mountain bike out for my lunch break ride.  And near the front of the bike tire, underneath my emergency hoodie, was a black-and-brown banana, wrapped up in a clear plastic grocery bag from Publix.  And then I thought to myself, “So that’s where left that banana!”  I’m thinking it had been there for around 16 days.  It was so rotten that it was liquefying and running out of the bag.  Good thing I keep emergency Wet Wipes handy.

That mildly entertaining story will become the copyrighted material of today.  It’s why today is different than any other day of my life.  Nothing too dramatic or life-changing.  At best, just a reference I can make at some point in the future in a conversation with a group of friends where the conversation topic is “smelly things”.  This day will live in infamy.  And comedy.

healthnutshell: A Tablespoon of Sugar or a Cigarette?

A new way to view the worth of the happiness that sugar brings us.



I have never understood the addiction a person encounters who is dependant on alcohol or nicotine. Half-jokingly I have even said that I should take up smoking to prove that I have the will-power to stop. And while my body knows no enticement to the addictive qualities of alcohol or nicotine, I have been fighting a physical addiction my own life.

In high school, when I was “using” the most, I quickly became aware that I had symptoms of an unhealthy person. I had a lot of difficulty breathing, to the point it took hours to fall asleep at night. Not to mention my abundant allergies. So what was my addiction? Refined Sugar. (Sugar that is added to a food or processed in any way.)

Back in those days I ate a king size Little Debbie fudge round for breakfast every morning and another for an afternoon snack. And that was just the tip of the iceberg lettuce.

Evidently, men aren’t supposed to admit to loving sugary things. But I openly acknowledge my love and addiction. Chocolate. Ice cream. Cookies. Milk shakes. Peanut butter brittle. Candy. Sweet tea. Dr. Pepper.

Since childhood, I could never finish a meal without having some kind of sweets. My worst vice was Reese’s Peanut Butter Cups. I even overdosed on them one time back in 2003, eating 36 of them in a 16 hour period. From that day I developed a rash that lasted 6 years. Six years, not days.

In October 2008, I “hit rock candy bottom” after my hand eczema (dyshidrosis) got “out of hand”. Take a look at the pictures on this Wikipedia entry to see what I was suffering from: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Dyshidrosis.

I stopped eating shellfish and realized that it helped tremendously, because I learned by wearing my metal wedding ring that my hand eczema is triggered half by contact with heavy metals, which shellfish are full of. The other 50% is the consumption of refined sugar.

It has taken me since October 2008 to get to the point where I am now.  Which is basically a 0% tolerance policy on refined sugar. I couldn’t quit cold turkey. I needed my sugar too much.  Like any threatening drug, I was addicted.  Mentally and physically.

It’s been a long process. The only sugar I eat now comes from 100% fruit juice, fruit, and whole grain bread. Sweets are out of my life.

Aside from the hell that resided on both of my hands for most of last decade, something else helped inspired me to stop my sugar addiction. A realization. A new mindset:

Consuming a tablespoon of sugar is equal to smoking one cigarette.


That may seem like a broad claim since I am not a doctor nor has there ever been a clinical study to prove it. All we really have to go on is the following research I have done, along with the fact my hand eczema is currently 95% cured (thank God).

But consider this: It wasn’t until people began adding sugar into their diets that they began getting cavities. Toothbrushes and toothpaste came about because people starting eating sugar.

Even today, people from tribes in the world that do not have access to Coca-Cola and do not have a concept of adding sugar to their diet coincidently do not suffer from tooth decay. Nor do they suffer from the rate of cancers and diseases that the rest of us do.

I’m not the first to say it: There is a definite link between the health of a person’s teeth and how prone they are to developing health problems in the rest of their body:
http://www.hc-sc.gc.ca/hl-vs/pubs/oral-bucco/2009-smile-sourire/index-eng.php

No one needs to be told of all the horrific things smoking does to the human body. Just in case, here’s an overview:
http://quitsmoking.about.com/od/tobaccorelateddiseases/a/smokingrisks.htm

However, most of us truly don’t realize that arguably, the presence of sugar in our diets causes all kinds of cancers and diseases as well.  Most notably, the consumption of refined sugar leads to diabetes, obesity, and tooth decay.  Plus:
http://answers.yahoo.com/question/index?qid=20060818171925AA5czDQ
http://www.rheumatic.org/sugar.htm

This isn’t to say that consumption of refined sugar causes lung cancer and the same exact health problems that tobacco causes. But eating foods that are processed with refined sugar leads to just as many health problems.

I am confident that a person who smokes a pack of cigarettes a day (20 cigarettes), compared to a person who consumes 20 tablespoons of sugar a day, will be just as affected with an unhealthy body. Whether it’s for 5 years or 30 years.

The more sugar in a person’s daily diet now, the unhealthier they will be later in life. Like cigarettes, the damage isn’t instantly obvious. It can take decades before the person’s body begins to scream for help, like mine did.

To find out how much sugar is in a product, take a look at the nutrition facts. Look under “Total Carbohydrate”. Then scroll down to “sugars”. Divide that number by 12. That is how many tablespoons (not teaspoons) of sugar is in one serving of that product.

The average can of soda contains around 3 ½ to 4 tablespoons of sugar, or according to my analogy, has the same health dangers as smoking 3 ½ to 4 cigarettes.

Therefore, a person who drinks a 2 liter of soda (or the sugar equivalent of it through other sweets) a day will have the comparable health risks of a person who smokes one pack of cigarettes a day.

(For some great visuals, click here: http://www.sugarstacks.com/ )

But as we know, it doesn’t take smoking an entire pack of cigarettes day for a person’s health to be affected by it. So it’s important to check out those forgettable smaller amounts of sugars we consume as well.

Let’s a take a look at a classy favorite, Starbucks. Just a tall (the smallest size) Caramel Frappaccino has 53 grams of sugar, which is 4 ½ tablespoons of sugar, or 4 ½ cigarettes. A tall iced white mocha has 41 grams of sugar, which is 3 ½ tablespoons of sugar, or 3 ½ cigarettes. http://www.starbucks.com/retail/nutrition_info.asp

A Snickers bar has 28 grams, or nearly 2 ½ tablespoons of sugar, or cigarettes.

Ten years ago, the Atkins diet surged with popularity, and suddenly everyone was avoiding carbs. But we need carbs. It’s the sugar in them that’s bad.

Whole grain bread is an important part of our diet, since it contains a good amount of fiber that we need to our food to push through our intestines. But even whole grain, whole wheat fiber has some sugar in it. It’s a matter of finding bread with the most fiber and the least sugar. And dividing that sugar content by 12 to find out how many tablespoons of sugar it contains in a serving.

From all my research, it’s difficult to find a nutritionist who will give a solid number for the amount added sugar we are allowed in a day. Because many that I talked to said ideally, none. But for the ones would give me an answer: 37.5 grams of added sugar per day. About 3 tablespoons.

In other words, a king size Snickers bar or a Starbucks tall iced white mocha will meet this limit 100%. (Though a can of soda would be over the limit.) So we have a fun snack like that and think we’re okay. But, what about the rest of the added sugar we are going to eat that day too?

Like bread? Fruit juice? Whole grain cereal? Yogurt? Milk?

By simply eating the healthy foods we should be eating already, we are naturally going to get close to that those 37.5 grams (or 3 tablespoons) of sugar. So it leaves out room for any sugary snacks.

Because even if we eat completely healthy balanced meals, once we add a bag of M&M’s, we exceeding our daily allowance. And keeping in my unproven theory that a tablespoon of sugar is equal to a cigarette, just one sugary snack on top of an already healthy diet would be like smoking a few cigarettes.

But the truth is this: Most people don’t already eat healthy, balanced meals. So that’s even more “cigarettes” in a day.

The good new is, we don’t have to count all sugars against our 37.5 gram allowance:  Like whole foods such as bananas or blueberries. Or really any food that has not all been processed and has had some kind of sugar added to it.

Because even healthy bread and yogurt have added sugar, even if its organic evaporated cane juice. For example, I just finished a serving of Stonyfield strawberry yogurt which contained 34 grams of sugar. They added organic sugar and strawberry juice to sweeten the yogurt. That’s my full allowance of added sugar, and that was an attempt to be healthy. Not to mention the grape juice I drank earlier today. Lesson learned. Next time I’ll go with cottage cheese and strawberries I slice myself.

And even 100% fruit juice is processed- juice is only a part of the whole fruit. So it must count against the 37.5 gram allowance.

But somehow if the fruit is eaten whole, with the fruit flesh, it counteracts the negative elements of the sugar it contains.

And of course, there’s no cheating the system. Artificial sweeteners are not a safe alternative, with links to potential cancer risks, negative effects on the liver, kidneys, and other organs, gastrointestinal problems, developmental problems in children and fetuses and headaches, to name a few:
http://www.truthaboutabs.com/artificial-sweeteners-natural-stevia.html

I think the most motivating element for me in all this is not so much a fear of getting cancer, but more about getting diabetes. Multiple sources continue to report that 1 out of 3 American children will become diabetics as adults if their current lifestyle continues:
http://www.truthaboutabs.com/artificial-sweeteners-natural-stevia.html

I have lived the first 28 years of my life in favor of becoming a diabetic. After seeing a few photographs of people who had to have their legs removed because of the disease, I decided that I don’t mind getting old, but I do mind getting old and unhealthy and account of my carefree lifestyle in my young adulthood.

So which is worse? A tablespoon of sugar or a cigarette?

At best, they’re the same. They both have enough potential to give us cancer and diseases. I’m not willing to risk my life for either one. I want to be the next Juice Man. Out of control eybrows and all.

Related posts by the same author:

Barley into Beer  http://wp.me/pxqBU-2L

1.2 Billion People Can’t Be Wrong  http://wp.me/pxqBU-43

 Beauty and Self-Worth aren’t the Real Issues  http://wp.me/pxqBU-2c