C4 Grasses and Sedges In Human Evolution: Gatherer-Gatherers

Here's an example of the intransigence I see so often when considering new pieces of the puzzle, or even considering new perspectives on existing ones.

A Grassy Trend in Human Ancestors' Diets

...But new studies show that human ancestors expanded their menu 3.5 million years ago, adding tropical grasses and sedges to an ape-like diet. The change set the stage for consuming more modern fare: grains, grasses, and meat and dairy from grazing animals.

In four studies of carbon isotopes in fossilized tooth enamel from scores of human ancestors and baboons in Africa from 4 million to 10,000 years ago, researchers found a surprise increase in the consumption of grasses and sedges--plants that resemble grasses and rushes but have stems with triangular cross sections.

I recall when that came out back in 2013 to great wailing and gnashing of teeth by the anointed. Can't be right! You're totally fucking with our cool narrative! We're meat and fat hunters! Look at our big brains and small guts! We're supposed to be keto-adapted! We're natural fat burners! Like war, starches are unsafe for children and other living things!

A very nice comment conversation took place the other day between Duck Dodgers and Dan Bassett, PhD  (some may recall Darwin's Table from way back). It begins here with Duck.

Interestingly, Cordain tried to refute the June 2013 revelation by the National Academy of Sciences that multiple studies had shown increased C4 intake from eating sedges. But, his argument was fairly weak as while he acknowledged that the researchers had concluded that plants likely contributed to the bulk of C4 intake, he responded, "Nevertheless, when the isotopic data is triangulated from archaeological, physiological and nutrition evidence, it is apparent that the C4 signature in ancestral African hominin enamel almost certainly is resultant from increased consumption of animals that consumed C4 plants."

Well, no. Unfortunately for Cordain, anthropologists had already tossed aside the idea of a carnivorous hominid, since dental morphology did not present as carnivorous and hominid tools were too primitive for butchering when the timeline showed a significant jump in C4. And just a few months after he wrote a formal letter to the Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences complaining about the findings, researchers from Oxford University discovered that it was indeed Tiger Nuts that contributed to higher C4 intake in P. boisei making his scrambled rebuttal look fairly weak. If I remember correctly, researchers showed evidence that these early hominids ate nutrient-dense sedge tubers, ate termites and likely scavenged animals when they could obtain them. So, I guess you could say Cordain tried to refute the National Academy of Sciences, but he soon quit once the evidence piled up against him.

I'll not copy the whole thing here. Read the nicely organized, mutually respectful thread if you please. Nice to see this level of discourse on FTA. Here's one additional comment by Duck in reply to Dan that really gives and excellent overview of the science of this new discovery.


I'm familiar with the Hadza as an example. National Geographic recently referenced that sentiment, explaining that most anthropologists believe that these "fallback" foods likely made up the majority of the diet, as the hunters usually come back empty-handed.

National Geographic : The Evolution of Diet

They even use the Hadza's reliance on "fallback" foods in the article to prove their point.

"Every ecological study that tracks predator and prey populations (even if prey is grass) shows that predator populations grow in relation to the prey population."

Well, I believe that's a gross oversimplification. For instance, if that rule were always true, we'd expect to see anteaters everywhere, since there is virtually an unlimited supply of ants. But that isn't the case. Clearly there are other factors involved that limit populations (higher prey, disease, etc). With hominids, the factors limiting populations were likely disease and infant mortality (just guessing).

"I draw this conclusion because in your post you mention there incredible abundance and growth rates, and how the paper you mentioned talks about how it would take a few hours to get enough calories for the day. If this was true, however, it would mean we would expect to see a population increase in hominids to match that abundant food source."

Let me clarify. It supposedly takes 3 hours of foraging for a single hominid (like P. Boise) to obtain 80% of its calories from tiger nuts. If you are gathering for two or more, it will take longer. If you are gathering tiger nuts for a population of people, you need the skills of agriculture and lots of slaves—which is what we see in Ancient Egypt.

In other words, it's "easy" for a single hominid to gather tiger nuts for 1 or 2 individuals. But it's much harder to gather other people's tiger nuts. You need slaves or machinery for that.

Finally, P. Boisei was not just a "snapshot". P. Boisei was one of the most successful hominid species—its reign lasting millions of years. Though we aren't descended from them, the same shift in C4 isotopes was simultaneously observed a wide array of hominid species, as shown by multiple studies covered by the National Academic of Sciences announcement last year. So, this isn't just one snapshot. It's actually many snapshots showing the same thing over and over again as homo moved into the grassy savannas.

Now, another clarification... P. Boisei is only significant because it had the largest levels of C4 of any hominid—nearly 70%! Combined with its dental morphology and dental calculus, all signs point to high tiger nut consumption.

But, Homo was a bit less (50-55% C4), indicating that our diet was more varied than P. Boisei. If we consider that Homo consumed animal foods, and we know they did (we are omnivores after all), then we can imagine that early humans probably consumed tiger nuts alongside a wide variety of foods. I never said that homo sat around just eating tiger nuts all day.

P. boisei is mostly useful because its diet probably wasn't very varied (and it did evolve with a very unique jaw musculature...they called it "nutcracker man"). But, as I pointed out in my last comment in that other thread, we still see evidence that our direct ancestors ate starchy sedges as well as Neanderthals and early humans ate them too. But, again, I never said that humans sat around eating tiger nuts all day. They were likely just part of a varied diet.

I think that tiger nuts were used to fill in the nutritional holes in the homo diet and were a reliable source of carbohydrates. Tiger nuts are very rich in magnesium, calcium, potassium, Vitamin E and folate. Not coincidentally, these are the very nutrients that are often lacking from a modern "Paleo" diet.

So, while tiger nuts are easy for a foraging primate to pluck right out of the ground and chomp on—dirt and all. I think that tiger nuts are a massive pain in the ass for agriculture. The Egyptians figured out how to cultivate them, and even turn them into flour, but it required a ton of work and skill. Unlike wheat, tiger nuts are by no means easy to harvest in large quantities. The Paleo Indians at Mashantucket only used wild / weedy tiger nuts as a supplement to their maize and sorghum, but never figured out how to cultivate them—nor did they care to.

Read more about The Incredible Edible Tigernut. Did you know they have the same macronutrient profile as mother's milk and pack more micronutrient nutrition than red meat?

What Childhood Image Does the Word “Beans” Conjure?

For my wife, of Mexican descent, it's solidly pinto beans. We make them a lot around here. Had them for breakfast with an o/e egg and bowl of fruit both Saturday and Sunday.

But when I was a kid, I knew nothing of pinto beans. Chili was chili. There was baked beans, but like chili, not very often.

Nope, for me, "BEANS" meant we were having navy beans with ham in it. I didn't much care for it as a kid. When mom said "BEANS," it was always a disappointment. Not sure why. Perhaps it was just the least favorite; or more likely, that a single dish was the meal in itself. ...And hell, even breakfast had eggs, bacon, toast, and jam.

Yesterday, I made it for the first time. As you might imagine, these days and ages afford perhaps more of the ham than 4 growing boys got on a single plate in the early 70s.

The "recipe" is ridiculously simple:

  • Navy beans
  • Ham
  • Onion

Here's how I did it.

  • 2 pounds navy beans
  • 1 smoked pork shank (about 1 pound, w bone)
  • 1 pound ham steak, trimmed of fat
  • 1 large yellow onion, chopped
  • 1 quart chicken stock

I didn't soak the beans (sometimes I do; I do both). Rinsed and into the crockpot with the shank, ham steak, onion, quart of Kitchen Basics UnSalted Chicken Stock, and water to cover the shank. Took about 5 hours on high for the shank meat to melt off the bone, then I let it sit there on high for another hour, uncovered, so some of the liquid would reduce off, thicken a bit, and concentrate flavor.

I needed to add zero salt. I say again, never add salt to a dish where liquid will reduce, until you're done. Sometimes, it might not need any—most commonly with cured or smoked pork in the mix.

IMG 2718
The way to get "bone broth." Put a bone in your damn dish!
IMG 2719
No salt or fat added, but I do like finely ground pepper.

If there's any recipe or dish I post you might be inclined to try, do this one, exactly as outlined. Sit down when you eat because your knees might buckle from flavor intensity and pure mouth-feel satisfaction.

Someone recently asked me in comments what I think in terms of weight loss. We've been doing rice, beans and potatoes as staples around here recently. I have leftovers for days on that one above. Of all three, I think beans hold the best promise in terms of satiation leading to eating less, while getting very decent nutrition. I had that bowl at 7m last night and it's 9am next morning. I am only just beginning to feel the first tinges of hunger, and it'll be another bowl of that, reheated.

Taking a Self Accounting: Losing Favor With The Who’s Who of Paleo

I refuse to join any club that would have me as a member. - Groucho Marx

November 2nd of this year will mark 11 years blogging. I'd break it down thusly:

  • 2003 - 2007: Strictly as a hobby / diversion / outlet. Never any designs on being full time, having an extraordinarily popular presence, or influence. I didn't even open up commenting for about the first year. It went from about zero visits to 10-20,000 visits per month in that time.
  • 2008 - 2012: Paleo happened. Low Carb happened. Food Blogging happened. No Soap / Shampoo happened. I became poop-u-lar. Got invited to speak places. Got implicitly held to standards external to me for both decorum and confirmation bias of accepted dogma. It went to about 80-100,000 visits per month during this time.
  • 2013 - 2014: Dumped all that shit and returned to blogging whatever I want, without a care in the world to anyone's expectations of me. In terms of dietary dogma, I think for myself, consider everything, assume we're all still wrong, but strive to be less wrong each cycle.

That last one rubs some the wrong way, results in bunched panties, etc. I was admonished the other day in an email, the same day I got tagged in a tweet by someone with 18 followers notifying me that I was irrelevant:

Make a list of the most interesting / meaningful / fun / engaging / smart people in your life over the last 5 to 10 years. Then ask yourself if those people are moving closer to you or if those people are moving further away from you.

And if they're moving away from you, you might want to stop and ask yourself why.

It's actually an excellent question and nobody ought shy away from it. But for me, it's a really complex deal. My life has changed so radically in ways apart from the blog. So, let me limit it to the general paleosphere for purposes of this post.

As for making a list, that's simple enough. I pretty much rubbed shoulders with all of the who's who in Paleo back in those heady days of 2009 - 2012, culminating in the high water mark that was the inaugural Ancestral Health Symposium, 2011, where I was one of the anointed speakers. I spoke at 2012 as well—just barely, thanks to Melissa McEwen and Seth Roberts' persuasion, on the heals of 'cuntgate'—but my caché amongst the tried and true was unmistakably waning.

But here's where some measure of begging the question (assuming the premise) arises in that admonition, above. It's both. There's no doubt many of the great who's who have distanced themselves from me. It's pretty simple (and shallow) to chalk it all up to using the c-word, being labelled a misogynist in reams of out of context stuff, or inebriated blogging and social engagement for fun.

I think I get some credit for distancing my own self, too. The simple fact is, I just don't operate like most other people in this realm. From my perspective, I see the vast, vast majority of them asking the same limited questions, advancing the same romantic Paleo Myths, "debunking" the same stuff in exactly the same way, and striving to confirm the same set of assumptions and biases. Add to that endless whoring maneuvers to make lots of money off Paleo (and some have made pretty enormous sums). Need I go into it? Endless gimmicks, same books, affiliate programs, summit launches. Mountains of paleo treats, dubious recipes, and baked goods in packages available for order.

I think everybody is always all wrong, including myself. But I strive to be less wrong tomorrow, so that I can look back and laf at how fucktarded I was today. By implication, I'm calling a lot of who's who fucktards, and they're perceptive enough to know that.

They don't like it, and including myself is no comfort. They hate being wrong. I love and adore being wrong. There are exceptions. So far, I have a list of about 4 prominent who's who personalities, for whom this doesn't apply and have been more than willing to question everything. There's probably more.

The other fallacy in the admonition is that if indeed it's true that I'm distanced from all these great folk from the past, that it's a net loss to me.

  1. If these are the sorts of people not continually questioning their assumptions and integrating every new piece of relevant data, how can it be my loss to no longer be tightly affiliated, in no way beholden or sensitive to their feelings?
  2. How about the new set of "most interesting / meaningful / fun / engaging / smart people in [my] life?"

It's true I was being quite a pill on-blog in the 2012 timeframe. A lot of that was due to off-blog issues like closing down a business that I hated—but that also provided significant income over a long time. Pictures were changing rapidly for me on all fronts and I didn't always handle it in the best ways.

But more importantly, other things happened too, that converged.

  1. I'd come to reject the LC/Paleo fantasy that "calories don't matter." No, a "calorie is NOT a calorie," but calories count. The idea that so long as it's LC/Paleo, one can be a glutton (first of all, supermarkets 5-min away are not "Paleo") struck me increasingly like snake-oil schtick.
  2. The "Potato Hack" clearly demonstrated to me that all of this is way more complicated than "carbs drive insulin drives fat storage." More snake-oil schtick.
  3. I found the trend towards chronic states of deep ["nutritional"] ketosis by means of less and less carbohydrate, protein restriction, and eating sticks of butter alarming. I was miffed that many of the who's who were going right along with it.
  4. I noted that while lip service was being given to the burgeoning science of the gut microbiome, it was limited to confirming Paleo bias and almost never new data that calls many Paleo assumptions into serious question.
  5. New science on C4 plant sources, and the recognition that it was starchy sedge tubers that were being eaten (and that baboons still eat in great quantity to this day) turns the entire Paleofantasy on its head in terms of man the animal and fat hunter. It's getting little to no coverage (except here), all while the who's who still think we should be talking about ketones.

Now it's history. The potato hack led to resistant starch and a host of gut-bug stuff. Now it's all over the place. I have more links from other websites to the more than 100 posts on resistant starch over the last 18 months, than links in the previous 5 years combined. The science on the gut biome is more Paleo than "paleo," and overshadows it. It's where all the news and science is, now. Microbes have been evolving for billions of years. Paleo is a blip on that map—a comparison often used to illustrate the puny Neolithic, compared to the rest of hominoid evolution.

So surely, my falling out of favor with many of the great who's who must have come with significant consequences in terms of success with the blog, right? Well let's look at the numbers.

  • Previous 12 months (Oct '12 - Oct '13) visits and page views: 1 million visits / 1.7 million page views.
  • Last 12 months (Oct '13 - Oct '14): 1.4 million visits (40% increase) / 2.5 million page views (47% increase).
  • Unique visits increased from 600k to 700k over the same period (17% increase).
  • I don't have an exact count, but since the gut biome / resistant starch explosion, I've done well over a dozen podcast and print interviews, as many or more than the previous years combined.

How about the money?

Well, I started off misguided. The blog had never been about money, though I thought about various ways along the way. Once I closed the business, I was faced with lots of options and turning the blog into some sort of income stream was one of them. So, I joined a bunch of affiliate programs, participated in a couple of those "book bundle" deals where for only $39.95, you get 40 books you don't need, a "$2,500.00 Value!"

All of that put too bad of a taste in my mouth, so I decided it would be a combination of Google Ads and Amazon Associates, or nothing. Why?

  1. Google primarily serves up ads according to your cookies. Accordingly, it's pitching you stuff you're likely to already have some need or interest in. The ads you see are not the ads others see.
  2. People primarily buy stuff from Amazon they want or need. In terms of me pitching stuff explicitly, everything is stuff I use myself and recommend. It costs nothing. Amazon pays me out of their cut.

So how's it going?

Revenue from Google ads is more than triple (up 210%) over the last 12 months compared with the previous 12-month period. That's dwarfed by Amazon. I'll use screen clippings, otherwise you're not likely to believe me. Number of items shipped went from 1,009 to 11,144 (1,045% increase) and retail revenue went from $16K to $285K (1,673% increase).

2012  2013
Oct 2012 - Oct 2013
2013  2014
Oct 2013 - Oct 2014

So, while some part of me does lament that I'm not quite part of the in-crowd club as I once was, I feel pretty decent about what I've accomplished. I also feel pretty decent about some of the new alliances and affiliations I've formed, with people more inclined to question what they know, over searching for bias-confirming "facts."

Moving on in life is part of life itself. C'est la vie. Evolve or die. For this and all of the forgoing reasons, I must conclude that I generally know what the fuck I'm doing.

Self-accounting complete, for this round. Ongoing, always.

A New Svelte Dr. Robert Lustig

I get endless shit over being a friend of Jimmy Moore.

Let it stink.

I'm also a fan of Dr. Robert Lustig.

Go pound a pound of sugar.

Way back when, Dr. Bob (I hope he hates that) came on the scene with this, blogged in 2009: Dr. Robert Lustig on Fructose: “Alcohol without the buzz”. I can't even account for how much shit he got from all those out there looking to get Attention By Picking Nits ("ABPN"). ABPN is an ancient disorder whereby, people seek to pretend to have created values greater than those created by the (typically prominent) subject value creator, by means of picking at nits.

OK, I just made that up.

But I like Lustig. I can't help it, and it's in spite of the fact that when I spoke with him face to face at AHS11, he looked so very condescendingly at me when I mentioned fasting as part of my own truc. Oh, well. Nobody's perfect.

Anyway, if he's following his own advice, it appears to be working.


There's a PBS program premiering tonight, Oct 18: SWEET REVENGE: TURNING THE TABLES ON PROCESSED FOOD. You can find out about it here.

Beyond that, I learned of this new film, Fed Up. Believe I'll rent and watch that tonight.

Girl: You Can Tell Everybody. I’m The Man. Go Ahead And Tell Everybody. Yes I Am.

It's rather fun to be internet savvy at 54, since before Al Gore jerked off to Internet porn. For every invention, there's a need.

Some fantasize about manhood.

Oh, Myyy. Tilted head for the promo still? Obvious lip sync for the vid? Well, it did make a good TEEVEE commercial for Colin Kaepernick. Not way off, particularly juxtaposing him, with the artist. I'll admit though: catchy tune. Message? "Girl you can tell everybody I'm a man man man I'm a man, the man, really, really, really, the/a man." Laf. Do you even need a hint? No? Onward, then.

The other day, It was laf and mok over James Fell and his "Body For Wife" pussyness.

Looks like today, it's URBAN ANTONIOThe Paleo Problem with Racism and Sexism. Like James "All My Life, For Wife" Fell, Antonio "Untypically Not Macho" Valladares kicks it up a notch.

Nobody gets out alive from this 18 MILLIONTH MOST POPULAR WEBSITE IN THE WORLD! My only lament is that I got mentioned last, not first, as in the 1.6 Millionth most popular BodyForWife. Thanks James. Here's a link for your your troubles: Body For Wife.

People generally hate it when I argue these irrelevancies, comparing to my 0.13 Millionth most popular website in the world, that occasionally ranks 0.08 million. But, this is sport for me.

  1. I spend little time going into the forrest to carry on conversations with screeching monkeys.
  2. Don't care how much monkey sex they get, from monkeys who think they're the man, and tell everybody, because they can.

But it's true that it's irrelevant in meaningful respect. That's a popularity metric, most of the world is fucktarded, etc.

But, what if James and Antonio, with their dismal and dismal-er blogs, actually have more fucktards than I?

See? I'm a one individual mind at a time guy, representing the true understanding of the power of the Internet. I'll take my vegan commenter Gina over 20 of James' or Antonios' regurgitating, stupid cunts any day.

The other part is, those who know me best always tell me not to do this sort of thing. Why give a link or promote someone who's fucking with you, that won't be heard much, but will get many more eyeballs if you blog about it?

Yin. Yang. Lemons. Make lemonade. Negative publicity from "nobodies" is better than positive publicity, unless it's Oprah. Stench lasts longer that sweet perfume.

I'm gratified that anyone in the world takes the time & effort to hate me. Love is easy. I get lots of love, but it's the hate I yearn for, because it's solid. When someone hates you, they're simply not lying. Passion is two sides of the same coin. But hate? It's bankable.

Truthfully, I haven't even read Antonio's post, yet (I will, though; I'm the man, and girl, you can tell everybody). Sorry, I just scanned for my name like a cheap whore. This is the sum total of what I've read:

Nikoley speaks at AHS for some odd reason and is friends with Jimmy Moore (LOL). He is a case study in modern day ‘health blogger’ dysfunction. He has also done workshops on dating...

Well, it is an oddity that I've spoken at AHS. Actually, I led off the inaugural '11 with just that perplexity. I'm assuming Antonio hasn't listened to it. In short, it has to do with my friends, Aaron and Brent, paying the hundreds of attendees to come see me, rather than Andreas Eenfeldt in '11, and then Terry Wahls in '12. Complete scandal, but not public, yet.

It is true that I'm pretty much friends with Jimmy Moore. It's very odd, since I go out of my way more and more to trash many of his ideas, but always stop short of attacking him or Christine personally or, of what I have zero idea of in terms of their life together. I've been on his show 2 or 3 times and even guest hosted recently with carte blanche. What more can one expect from someone you're at odds with?

Yep, so dysfunctional qua blogger that the entire paleosphere is talking about resistant starch while resisting taking about James and Antonio Living For Wife, or being the man, man, man...that girl, you have license to tell everyone about.

And holy doG. Can someone sign me up to do dating workshops? I did speak at The 21 Convention twice. The first time was about diet and the second, philosophy. I didn't make the dating cut on those. But: "great research."

Anyway, it's Friday...

James. Antonio: Go have a drink on me. You're getting more undeserved attention from my posts that you'd get from a few dozen girls telling everybody that you're the man, you're the man, you're the man.

Refining The Starch-Based Paleo Message: No Added Fat

First, here's the background for review, if you're just getting wind of all this.

  1. See the first sections of this recent post on Tiger Nuts and consider that it's very plausible that starch consumption played a major role in our big brain / small gut evolution. Tiger nuts, a starchy tuber, have roughly the same macronutrient profile as mother's milk, and are more nutrient dense than red meat.
  2. What If You Modified Dr. McDougall’s Program To “Starch-Based Paleo?”
  3. What If You Ruin A Vegan Potato Salad With Chicken Stock?
  4. Cooking, Cooling, and Reheating Starches For Even More Digestive Resistance.

Those last three are posts over the previous three days in succession. Note the comment threads. Nearly uniform acceptance as a plausible idea.

But let's refine it a little more. In #2, above, the primary focus was an introduction using Denise Minger's AHS14 presentation on what we might learn from vegans. Moreover, the emphasis was on VLFHC vegan diets that reverse T2 diabetes (yes, reverse; since diabetes is a dysfunction of carbohydrate metabolism; and since this is high carb, it's reversal; VLCHF diets merely control). So in terms of these reversing diets being 10-15% fat from whole foods with no added fat, I'm looking to them as experimental for those curious who wish, diabetics, and the metabolically superfucked. Plus, I allowed for small bits of all whole animal products.

#3 was a fun post with lots of calls out to fucktardedness on both extremes.

#4 demonstrates we've probably been right all along about resistant starch, but this in a food and not supplemental context. It includes a chart, so neener.

...Let's talk about old Art De Vany, the granddad. So yesterday, I'm sitting around a lot in contemplative lafing: at myself. So sad his blogging archives from back 'round 2007 and 8 aren't around. He was the original "Paleo Food Pic" guy. Let me tell you what I recall in fundamental terms:

  1. Always animal protein (beef, pork, seafood, typically) in substantial portion.
  2. Always raw, cooked, or both kinds of non-starchy veggies.
  3. Very often substantial portions of non-starchy fruits. He didn't eat bananas, for example, but lots of melons, berries, etc.
  4. Salads were very simple and if dressed much at all, very light. He didn't cook with fat as I recall, except a little bit of olive oil brushed on grilled veggies. You never saw drawn butter or mayo-concoction next to his plate of crab, for instance.
  5. In short, while anti-starch, not anti-sugar from fruit. While not anti-fat, he primarily got his fat from what's in the foods he's eating and he trimmed excess fat from meat.

And so, I wonder. Was Art more properly described as a moderate carb (plenty of fruit, beer and dark chocolate sometimes), moderate fat (almost all from the whole foods he ate), and moderate to high protein (although, many of his plates of protein were leftovers from a bigger plate of protein)?

Folks have brought up Cordain in comments in some of those posts above, but Art seems like a better guiding light to me. Both are generally anti-starch, but Art wasn't afraid of fat, nor was he a lean protein guy. And, apart from the low fat experiment above, I'd like to see a place where we're not afraid of fat in any foods, but that's where we keep it. We don't refine and isolate it, then augment all of our meals with added fat from an elsewhere.

So, here's some off the top of head thoughts on how this might work.

  • If you feel a hunger for fat, eat a whole food with fat in it. If trying to drop pounds, choose leaner whole foods (crab instead of pork ribs).
  • Instead of eating butter, cheese or drinking cream, have a glass of whole milk. Do we really know the totality of the hormonal and metabolic effects that comes with rendering and isolating the fat from the whole?
  • Learn to make sauces without added fat. It's easy. Reduce out the water, concentrate the flavor. Kitchen Basics unsalted chicken and beef are my go-to stocks. Use unsalted so you can reduce without making your stuff taste like a salt lick. Season when it's done.
  • Check out the vegan recipe sites for no-added-fat dressings and dips for salads, veggies, and meats (plus, using on meats will piss off vegans). Millions of options using vinegars, fruit or veggies purees, hummus, etc.
  • Use isolated fats only minimally, for cooking (greasing a pan with butter or coconut oil, a pat to do some eggs, but leave 90% in the pan, etc.). This mimics grilling, incidentally. If you leave the cooking fat or whatever's rendered from the food you cook in the pan, it's similar to having grilled it.

Here's a few theory-to-practice applications from the last few days.

IMG 2711
Broiled Chicken Thigh and Potato Salad With Tarragon Chicken Stock Reduction

I blogged the potato salad here. It's no-added-fat vegan, but rendered poisonous because there's a few tablespoons of chicken stock in the recipe.

That would be a skin-on, bone-in chicken thigh, but I was pressed for time and it's all I could source. The reduction (for 2 servings) is three soup ladles of my recent chicken-apple soup broth, reduced to about 6 tablespoons. A pinch of tarragon (less is more with tarragon) and some black pepper. The soup had been seasoned, so no salt (I was reducing), and I didn't salt the thigh either, for that same reason.

IMG 2713
Breakfast at Gunther's

Gunther fries my eggs in butter (always perfect o/e), as well as finishes the German potatoes in butter, too. The potatoes are previously boiled, taken from the fridge to finish (remind you of something?). But as you see, no pools of fat on the plate. Used to be, he'd serve with fresh butter and I'd create those pools. No Paleo Bacon! Fruit in place of the toast or English muffin dripping with butter. Gunther's fruit salad is prepared the day before and marinades in the fridge overnight...in orange juice. Fucking best fruit salad you'll ever have.

IMG 2715
Chicken and Mushroom Rice

This was crazy good. Made it last night in the rice cooker. Remember, small fats for cooking, no added fat. So, I first toasted 2 cloves of garlic in a tiny bit of butter, then added about 6 chopped crimini shrooms  and 1/3 chopped yellow onion to sweat and bring out the flavor (1tsp salt). Added about 1TBS chicken stock to help. Into the rice cooker, along with a chopped stalk of fresh celery, 2 broiled chicken thighs left over from the dish above (none of the fat rendered from broiling, just like grilling), 1 cup of parboiled rice, and 2 cups of the aforementioned chicken stock.

When done, I opened the cooker to let moisture escape. Don't want soupy for this dish. Then, I added chopped green onions and stirred them in. Let it sit for a few minutes. Then I served with a fresh green onion garnish, plus liberal finely ground black pepper.

So, 2 chicken thighs and their included fat, but no added fat, and it rendered dinner for Bea and I, and it's lunch for both of us today as well (cooled overnight and reheated).

I will continue to experiment with all of this. Go and do likewise.

Cooking, Cooling, and Reheating Starches For Even More Digestive Resistance

One of the more common questions we've had since the very beginning of the Resistant Starch Explosion is: if cooling your cooked starches (e.g., potatoes, rice, beans, pasta) increases the resistant starch (retrograded RS3), will reheating it destroy it?

It was Tim Steele who came up with the info that not only does it not destroy the RS3, successive cooling and reheating actually increases it—though the the first cycle is by far the biggest bang.

Well, so now we have some testing on real people, using pasta: Is reheated pasta less fattening?

The volunteers were randomised to eating either hot, cold or reheated pasta on different days.

On one day they got to eat the pasta, freshly cooked, nice and hot with a plain but delicious sauce of tomatoes and garlic.

On another day they had to eat it cold, with the same sauce, but after it had been chilled overnight.

And on a third day they got to eat the pasta with sauce after it had been chilled and then reheated.

So what did happen?

Well we were fairly confident the cold pasta would be more resistant than the stuff that had been freshly cooked and we were right.

Just as expected, eating cold pasta led to a smaller spike in blood glucose and insulin than eating freshly boiled pasta had.

But then we found something that we really didn't expect - cooking, cooling and then reheating the pasta had an even more dramatic effect. Or, to be precise, an even smaller effect on blood glucose.

In fact, it reduced the rise in blood glucose by 50%.

So there you have it. Short & simple, too.

It makes me wonder if this is why I didn't get fat eating all that pasta at the mom & pop Sicilian place down the street from my flat when I lived in France. I'd walk down 2-3 times per week and if it wasn't a wood fired pizza, it was a bowl of pasta. But I recall one evening asking their son, Salvatore (who's limonadier he gave me when I left is still used to open wine around here, 22 years later), how they do their pasta so quickly, in single batches.

They precook it and put it in the fridge. Then they reheat in salty, boiling water, portion by portion. Go figure.

Update: OK, found the actual program website, as well as the short video segment.

And here's a chart I clipped.

Screen Shot 2014 10 16 at 11 38 58 AM

Update 2: This appears to work for freezing and toasting bread, too.

The impact of freezing and toasting on the glycaemic response of white bread.

CONCLUSIONS: All three procedures investigated, freezing and defrosting, toasting from fresh, and toasting following freezing and defrosting, favourably altered the glucose response of the breads. This is the first study known to the authors to show reductions in glycaemic response as a result of changes in storage conditions and the preparation of white bread before consumption. In addition, the study highlights a need to define and maintain storage conditions of white bread if used as a reference food in the determination of the glycaemic index of foods.

What If You Ruin A Vegan Potato Salad With Chicken Stock?

Well first of all, I'm floored. ...No, it's not about Lyle McDonald's revelation today over living a double life as a porn producer.

Nope, I'm talking about yesterday's post: What If You Modified Dr. McDougall’s Program To "Starch-Based Paleo?" I was prepared to duck for cover; but as it turns out, the comments are not that at all. Rather, I see a combination of folks who've already adopted something similar, along with folks asking some of the same questions that plague me.

For instance: is added fat in any way Paleo or Primal? No, it's not. Rendering and isolating fats is solidly a neolithic/agriculture/pastoralist thing. Can we be honest with ourselves? Is a huge part of the backlash over Paleo over the last half decade well deserved—with its images of bacon in pounds, and swimming pools of added fat? On the other hand, I'm no big vegan fanboy. Just ask DurianRider: Live Debate: The Animal (That’s Me) vs. Durianrider (Raw Fruit Vegan Harley Johnstone).

Over the ensuing years, it has nagged at me that I think they're just both very wrong, but for different reasons. The vegans are just wrong because they're fucktarded about basic anthropology and simply dismiss mountains of science that we've been omnivores for a very fucking long time—and gorillas get more animal product than vegan humans (via insects). It was the Tiger Nuts, however, that made me realize that Paleo, as currently peddled, is just as fucktardedly wrong. Different reasons.

And so, I'm at the point where I desire to see if there's a possible synthesis between the two. Real Food veganism has profound elements of paleo, and they rightly put paleo in short pants over some things (like added fats). And bacon is just not Paleo in any stretch of the imagination, nor are virtually any of the snacks and treats from the flashy money whores out there. Nor are any of the similarly fucktarded "Paleo" websites devoted to baking shit.

So, in some respects, the Real Food vegans are more Paleo than faux Paleo. But, just as for the low carbers, no animal is as fucktardedly baked into the cake as is the fuclktardism of no-or-low carbs.

Pissed off, yet? If not, then here. Let me help some more.

IMG 2704

...After yesterday's post, I got into in-for-a-penny-in-for-a-pound mode. I'm curious. I actually have never done anything but a relatively high meat/fat diet. It was more "balanced" when I was growing up—vegetables and starches were always part of every meal. Meat was always treasured but as I retro-spect, so were so many of the veggie or starch preparations. I have my mom's cookbook and it's loaded with vegetable preparations across the board.

So I'm just going to do an experiment where fruits and starches make up the foundation, augmented with all that leafy shit, plus an egg every now and then, and meat/seafood measured in ounces.

What happens? I don't know. What I do know is that I'm not afraid of the result in any slight manner. I embrace the 'what it is, is.' Do you? What really stops you from taking any action out of your comfort zone? Is it fear on various levels, or is it something rational?

Here's the vegan foundation of that dish:


  • 2 pounds Yukon gold potatoes
  • 1/4 cup red wine vinegar
  • 3 tablespoons vegetable broth
  • 1 teaspoon creole or other whole grain mustard
  • 1/4 teaspoon salt, or to taste
  • generous grating of black pepper
  • 1/16 teaspoon hickory smoked salt or other smoked salt
  • 1/3 cup sliced green onions or chopped red onions

What I did was:

  1. Used apple cider vinegar (no diff)
  2. Used 3 tablespoons of EVIL CHICKEN BROTH (in place of veg broth), from leftover chicken soup with an apple in it (completely ruined it as inedible for vegans)
  3. Used Maille Dijon mustard (no diff)
  4. Used finely ground back pepper (no diff)
  5. Used 1/8 teaspoon of smoked paprika in place of the smoked salt (no diff)
  6. Added 1/3 cup of thinly sliced celery (no diff)
  7. Used both green onions and paper-thin sliced yellow onions (no diff)

So, see how adding chicken stock ruined it for vegans? Fucktarded? Of course.

See how it's potatoes, ruining it for physiologically insulin resistant VLCers and diabetics, convinced that their pancreas and metabolism must remain a couch potato in fear of a spike—analogous to a rapid heart beat when climbing stairs after a year of playing Call of Duty? Fucktarded? Of course.

Later, I'm going to piss off vegans and LC/Paleos even more. I have a half dozen chicken thighs in the fridge. I'm going to broil them, no added fat. Then, I'm going to eat exactly one of them (2-3 oz of actual meat, I guess) with about a half plate of that potato salad.

So, it pisses off the vegans twice, and the Paleos, twice or more:

  1. Vegans are vegans. So, the dish is ruined because of the chicken stock. Plus, there's the thigh of a face on my plate and it's poison.
  2. Paleos are paleos (and VLC are VLC). So, the dish is ruined because it has starchy white potatoes and not cauliflower purée. Furthermore, its calorie and fat content have not been boosted by exponential factors by adding olive oil, butter, mayo, coconut oil, or any and all. Moreover, it's not 4-6 chicken thighs, all sautéed in some cooking fat, reduced to a sauce on top, sprinkled in bacon bits.

OK, I didn't even start writing this post until I tasted the dish. Never had a fat free potato salad before. I hope there's enough left for Beatrice and the chicken thighs.... Now I'm thinking about a million ways I can fuck with this recipe.

What If You Modified Dr. McDougall’s Program To “Starch-Based Paleo?”

Let's put our heads together. I'll start.

First, I watched Denise Minger's very interesting AHS14 Presentation the other day, Lessons From the Vegans: What the Paleo Movement Can Learn From the Success of Plant-Based Diets. I also noted that I'd not have believed or taken any of this seriously had I not seen what "The Potato Hack" did for people (that's eating nothing but potatoes with herbs, vinegar, spices—no-to-very minimal added fat or animal protein). Since then, it's been about various starchy things in order to feed the gut biome with Resistant Starch and other plant fibers.

So clearly, what Denise covers seems to indicate that starch-based vegan protocols like Dr. McDougall's work (for both weight loss and diabetes). But what I found most enlightening is this realization, juxtaposing with very low carbohydrate diets:

  • VLC diets work for both weight loss and diabetes control; but for the latter, one must remain VLC and indeed, a return to "excess" carbohydrate intake often tends to bring on both rapid weight gain and very significant glucose spikes into the 200s and beyond.
  • Starch-based vegan protocols also work for both weight loss and diabetes control; but for the latter, this constitutes a reversal, since by definition, diabetes is a disfunction in carbohydrate metabolism and carbohydrates are precisely the basis of the therapy.

In a potato skin, one can look at the difference between these two extremes (VLC and Vegan) as a baked spud with a scoop of butter and sour cream on it. For the VLCers, the problem is the potato. For the vegans, the problem is the added fats (plus, it's animal sourced but that's probably superfluous—they don't do added EVOO either). But, again, through the lens of the VLC extreme, McDougall's "cure" certainly must strike one as highly ironic, eh?

So I suppose one has to decide what dog they have in the fight. For VLCers, it's carbohydrate restriction by definition. For vegans, it's animal-food elimination by definition (and for McDougall, also the elimination of added fats, even vegetable based). What's my dog? Omnivory, because that's simply what we are.

However, there is vast flexibility in an omnivorous context. VLCers are still typically omnivorous (unless doing LC veg*n). On the other hand, starch-based solutions appear to have merit, with the added flexibility that in the case of diabetes, the 'poison' is the cure.

So, I'm open to the idea that there could be a McDougall-esq Paleo approach. A high starch / fruit / vegetable diet that excludes grains and other highly refined foodstuffs, excludes all added fats (but for minimal cooking), and allows for small portions of animal foods like eggs, meat, fish, shellfish, and fowl.

McDougall has a Free Program on his website (Warning: you will have to grit your teeth for all of the cholesterol, saturated fat, and vegan propaganda). He also has a fairly recent book: The Starch Solution.

From The Introduction on the free website, here's the basis of his program:

  • A diet of plant foods, including whole grains and whole-grain products (such as pasta, tortillas, and whole-grain bread), and a wide assortment of vegetables and fruit.
  • Plenty of spices and usually small amounts of sugar and salt to enhance the flavor of food.
  • Exercise as simple as a daily walk.
  • The exclusion of animal foods, including red meat, poultry, dairy products, eggs, and fish – all of which provide toxic levels of fat, cholesterol, protein and, very often, infectious agents and harmful chemicals.
  • The exclusion of all oils including olive oil, safflower oil, and corn oil. Oils are nothing more than liquid fats that increase obesity, which in turn, depresses immune function and contributes to the most common chronic diseases.

So, how might one "Paleoize" it?

  • A diet of plant and animal foods, including a wide assortment of starchy vegetables, legumes, and fruit, with minimal amounts of non-processed eggs, meat, fish, shellfish, and fowl.
  • Grains, except rice, are excluded. Generally, all highly processed and refined foods are excluded.
  • Plenty of spices and usually small amounts of sugar and salt to enhance the flavor of food.
  • Exercise as simple as a daily walk.
  • The near exclusion of all added plant and animal fats. Natural fats (plant and animal) may be used in minimal amounts to cook food, excluding deep frying anything.

I went through the web-based program but saw nothing indicating any sort of macronutrient ratio. Here's a 10-day meal planner, but I don't find much use in that for my purposes. I prefer to kinda "reverse engineer" the thing. So, given the parameters, here's how I might formulate as a starting point.

  • 4 oz. animal-based food per day per 100 pounds body weight.
  • Whatever food, but a good starting point might be 2 days land-based, 2 days air-based, and 2 days sea-based with the 7th day as wild card.
  • The remainder is starchy plants, grain (rice), legumes, other vegetables and fruits.
  • After the animal food limit is reached, all hunger is assuaged with plant foods.
  • No added fats. However, if good success is achieved, experiment with small amounts of olive oil, butter, cheese, etc., but think of it as "herbs & spices;" i.e., flavor and texture enhancers.
  • Don't discount the value of reduced beef, lamb or chicken stock as extreme flavor enhancers. Very little calories, protein, or fat.

Alright, there's my shotgun, shit-against-the-wall way of doing things. Your turn. Contributions, refinements, critiques and GFYs welcome. Keep in mind: this is about exploration and not dogma from any extreme. With any luck, some folks, perhaps even adventuresome Type II diabetics, will give this a shot. For the diabetics, I would add (ESPECIALLY if you have been LC or VLC): expect to have to cover heavily with insulin initially (this would be my guess). But, if the claims have merit, it seems to me that insulin requirements ought to gradually diminish over time. But yea, you're probably going to be freaking right out for a while.

A few afterthought footnotes:

  1. When you watch Denise's presentation, take particular note that these effects seem to diminish or go away at fat levels above 10-15%. It's for this reason I've shotgunned this to exclude added fat and allow for only minimal amounts for cooking, as well as only 4 oz from whatever animal (including its fat) per 100 lb body weight daily.
  2. Do take a read at Stephan Guyenet's interesting post about his experience rubbing elbows with the McDougalls, et al, up in Santa Rosa: Thoughts on the McDougall Advanced Study Weekend.
  3. Still Stephan. I just saw this as I popped in to grab the link for #2: Metabolic Effects of a Traditional Asian High-carbohydrate Diet. "A recent study supports the notion that an 'ancestral diet' focused around high-starch agricultural foods can cultivate leanness and metabolic health."

Monday Morning Laf & Mok

1. The United States, once considered a bastion of economic freedom, now ranks 12th in the world.

Either get by, get your asses out, or whatever. I don't really care. Well, the only thing I do care about is abject moron fucktards spouting that 'land of the free' meme. I don't even bother to capitalize it, anymore.

Question: would it be possible for cannibals to ever be #1 in economic freedom? Or, how about a people for whom voting (forcing others to pay for your shit) has become their greatest Super Bowl?

I understand that I am repeating myself.

2. I can die now. I've been exampled in an article—writ by a "syndicated journalist"—with Tucker Max.

Screen Shot 2014 10 13 at 10 53 15 AM

Well, with BOTH a twitter feed and a website called BodyForWife, it's just kinda too delicious to ignore for at least a few hours of Laf & Mok. I must stipulate, though: Both Tucker Max and John Durant advised me against this.

But, I'm a shameless whore.

Screen Shot 2014 10 13 at 11 09 27 AM
Shameless Whore

The fun is limited to Twitter, and this. No need for any further, with Laf and Mok. Plus, at least one pussy male in league has already given the "adult conversation" admonition. Aaron Fuller's Twitter profile (@AndreYoungPhD) indicates that he's a "Future NBA coach." So, perhaps I'm out of bounds.

You can see the poking, laf, & mok  beginning here for me. My favorite:

Richard Nikoley ‏@rnikoley 3h3 hours ago
@TuckerMax @johndurant @BodyForWife I cook for my wife: "FEED THE ANIMAL!"

Here's Tucker:

@johndurant @rnikoley @BodyForWife scrub toilets for wife, save a ho for wife, be a barista for wife, icy hot stunnaz for wife

And John:

John Durant ‏@johndurant 3h3 hours ago
@TuckerMax @rnikoley his handle and website is @bodyforwife, Hahhahahhahahaha

Alright, time to get back to work. Plus, I need to walk the dogs or, Free The Animals.