The Paleo Diet

I'm finally getting around to reading The Paleo Diet, by Loren Cordain. I'm doing so on my new Amazon Kindle, which I love. I've had the Sony Reader (500, then 505) for some time, but though it's wonderful quality hardware, it requires software to interface (a kinda iTunes-like thing) and Sony simply refuses to make its Connect software compatible with the Mac (I switched about a year ago, never to look back). So, Sony Corporation: YOU'RE FIRED! I've been purchasing their high-quality products for as long as I can remember, but will never give them another dime for anything if I can help it.

So anyway, one cool thing about the Kindle is that you can clip excerpts and either have the Kindle email 'em to you via the cellular network for a small charge, or, just use USB. Accordingly, I've got an except from the book's intro.

I have examined thousands of early-nineteenth and twentieth-century photographs of hunter-gatherers. They invariably show indigenous people to be lean, muscular, and fit. The few medical studies of hunter-gatherers who managed to survive into the twentieth century also confirm earlier written accounts by explorers and frontiersmen. No matter where they lived -- in the polar regions of Canada, the deserts of Australia, or the rain forests of Brazil -- the medical records were identical. These people were free from signs and symptoms of the chronic diseases that currently plague us. And they were lean and physically fit. The medical evidence shows that their body fat, aerobic fitness, blood cholesterol, blood pressure, and insulin metabolism were always superior to those of' the average modern couch potato. [...]

Amazingly, scientific studies of Greenland Eskimos by Drs. Hans Bang and Dorn Dyerberg from Aalborg Hospital in Aalborg, Denmark, showed that despite a diet containing over 60 percent animal food, not one death from heart disease-or even a single heart attack-occurred in 2,600 Eskimos from 1968 to 1978. This death rate from heart disease is one of the lowest ever reported in the medical literature.

These are the same sorts of things I've been reading in Nutrition and Physical Degeneration, as well as Good Calories, Bad Calories. The failure of the "health authorities" to integrate this information, combined with the murderous advice to "cut the fat and eat more grains" boggles the mind. And here's where it has gotten us.

Hunting Fail

My brother found this one.

But here's the best one of all time, I think.

Enjoy the Holiday.

Cardiovascular Health

Here are a couple of must listen podcasts. You can call 'em up on your computer, or, put them on an iPod, iPhone, or other player and listen whenever. I like taking them in while driving.

These two particular podacasts are a two-part interview by Jimmy Moore.

‘Livin’ La Vida Low-Carb Show’ Episode 185: Interviewing ‘Heart Scan Blog’ Author Dr. William Davis (Part 1)

‘Livin’ La Vida Low-Carb Show’ Episode 186: Interviewing ‘Heart Scan Blog’ Author Dr. William Davis (Part 2)

Cardiologist William Davis runs the Heart Scan Blog and is involved with the Track Your Plaque program. Formerly spending his professional time doing cardiac procedures such as stents and angioplasties, he's now focussed on prevention, early detection, and reversal.

Listen to what he has to say about "vitamin D" (it's actually a hormone) and how it's profoundly helping his patients. Find out also why LDL numbers are useless and that you need to know your particle size. It's the small and dense that count, not the big & fluffy. Find out about heart scans and scores. Find out why most cardiologists and hospitals aren't interested (procedures generate billions in revenue).

In the second part, he explains why following the conventional advice to lower fat intake, eat more whole grains, take blood pressure and cholesterol meds killed Tim Russert at an early age.

How Animal is That?

We're going to roast beef bone marrow tomorrow night, to have along with my aunt's French onion soup, which incidentally, she makes from scratch using this exact same thing, roasting and then making stock to a nice thick reduction over about two day's time. Her French onion soup is essentially demi glace with onion in it (and without the roux).


There's two of them like that, now cut up into 16 pounds worth. Inspiration here and here.

Good Carbohydrates, Bad Carbohydrates?

I had intended to point out that Dr. Michael Eades sponsored a Q&A with Gary Taubes, author of Good Calories, Bad Calories, and it's worth a read.

I found this quote concerning the general leanness of Asians on relatively carb-rich diets particularly interesting in light of my own conclusions:

The Asian question first. I do address this in the book and I address it again in the afterward of the paperback. There are several variables we have to consider with any diet/health interaction. Not just the fat content and carb content, but the refinement of the carbs, the fructose content (in HFCS and sucrose primarily) and how long they’ve had to adapt to the refined carbs and sugars in the diet. In the case of Japan, for instance, the bulk of the population consumed brown rice rather than white until only recently, say the last 50 years. White rice is labor intensive and if you’re poor, you’re eating the unrefined rice, at least until machine refining became widely available. The more important issue, though, is the fructose. China, Japan, Korea, until very recently consumed exceedingly little sugar (sucrose). In the 1960s, when Keys was doing the Seven Countries Study and blaming the absence of heart disease in the Japanese on low-fat diets, their sugar consumption, on average, was around 40 pounds a year, or what the Americans and British were eating a century earlier. In the China Study, which is often evoked as refutation of the carb/insulin hypothesis, the Chinese ate virtually no sugar. In fact, sugar consumption wasn’t even measured in the study because it was so low. The full report of the study runs to 800 pages and there are only a couple of mentions of sugar. If I remember correctly (I don’t have my files with me at the moment) it was a few pounds per year. The point is that when researchers look at traditional populations eating their traditional diets — whether in rural China, Japan, the Kitava study in the South Pacific, Africa, etc — and find relatively low levels of heart disease, obesity and diabetes compared to urban/westernized societies, they’re inevitably looking at populations that eat relatively little or no refined carbs and sugar compared to populations that eat a lot. Some of these traditional populations ate high-fat diets (the Inuit, plains Indians, pastoralists like the Masai, the Tokelauans); some ate relatively low-fat diets (agriculturalists like the Hunza, the Japanese, etc.), but the common denominator was the relative absence of sugar and/or refined carbs. So the simplest possible hypothesis to explain the health of these populations is that they don’t eat these particularly poor quality carbohydrates, not that they did or did not eat high fat diets. Now the fact that some of these populations do have relatively high carb diets suggests that it’s the sugar that is the fundamental problem. Ultimately we can only guess at causes using this kind of observational evidence. To know anything with certainty we’d need the kind of randomized controlled trials I yearn for in the epilogue of GCBC.

It has been some time that I have thought it's less to do with carbohydrate and more to do with grains (wheat, in particular), sugar, vegetable oils, and all the heavy processing and refinement that goes into those commodities, as well as the thousands of cheap derivative Frankenfoods derived therefrom.

Selfish Fat – Barry Sears on CBN 700 Club

Here's something I was going to toss up the other day, but got sidetracked. It's an interview of Barry Sears, author of The Zone and other books, and his latest: Toxic Fat. Take a look:

It's interesting how he characterizes fat (adipose tissue) as a kind of "cancer." It immediately reminded me of my "tumor" analogy I wrote about back at the first of the year:

I think the tumor analogy is an interesting one, at least in the way I understand Taubes at present. What do you often hear expressed about tumors, short of outright removing them? Well, sometimes they're "small," such that the risk of surgery isn't called for. So, you try to keep them small. Why? Well, because when they're small their effect is minimal. They aren't cannibalizing good tissue sufficiently to cause a large effect. How about shrinking a tumor? Same thing. And what happens when a tumor gets to be of sufficient size? Does it not then become a self-sustaining cannibalistic parasite, sacrificing healthy bodily tissue for its own sake in a positive-feedback mechanism, such that the bigger it gets, the bigger and more parasitic its influence on the rest of the body until eventually its pathological selfishness kills the very host that feeds it?

Harping on Vitamin K2

I'll keep harping on it so long as Stephan keeps harping on it, and I don't think that's happening anytime soon. My previous K2 posts here, here, and here.

What You’re Up Against – Eggs Linked to Diabetes

Via reader Chris S. comes this absolutely astounding news: "Eating an egg a day can raise the risk of developing diabetes." And, of course, such "startling" news is being uncritically reported all over the place. You can access the abstract here.

In a word: absurd. I don't know what's worse, actually doing this sort of meaningless and useless "research" in the first place, or mindlessly shilling for it via sensational "news" reporting. In my opinion, the whole lot of 'em ought to be pelted with rotten fruits, vegetables, and of course, eggs.

Now, here's why. This is an observational study, not a controlled intervention study. And not randomized, either. In essence, what they did was to take data from two other studies, data that was gathered by means of an annual questionnaire. As it turned out when they analyzed the data, those who developed type 2 diabetes were largely the same people who tended to eat a fair amount of eggs. Correlation or association, however, in no way implies causation. It could also turn out that the people who got diabetes take hotter showers, on average.

The only thing you can really say is that type 2 is surely linked to diet, diet composition is an individual thing, and it happens that the people who generally have a taste for the foods that tend to lead to the development of diabetes also happen to have a greater than average liking for eggs as well.

Apparently, they only looked for an association with eggs. They didn't look at what, for instance, those who developed type 2 ate with their eggs, i.e., bacon & sausage, or, lots of hash browns, toast, pancakes, waffles, syrup, jams, jellies, fruit cocktails and so on. They didn't look to see, in general, if those who developed Type 2 tended to have higher or lower carbohydrate intake, and, what kind of carbs, i.e., from fruits & vegetables, or from products containing white flour, white sugar, processed vegetable oils, and/or high fructose corn syrup.

But no; couldn't possibly be foods that have continually and steadily grown to super proportions in the American diet over the last century. Nope: it's the eggs, a food humans and their ancestors have been poaching from nests since the dawn of time millions of years ago.

Some of my other posts to shed light on this sort of menace to society:


It’s Gotta Be The Fat…

Via Mark's Daily Apple, comes this Prevalence of Obesity map.


Click right here to see an animation of how it changes year over year from 1985 - 2007. Then, stop to consider that at no time ever in history have there been so many diet programs, TV shows, books, programs, emphasis -- and by far and away, most of the diets all have a similar common theme: less fat (especially animal), more "whole" grains.

So: how's that workin' out fer ya?

Later: In that same list of links at Mark's, there's this: "How do French Eat What They Want and Stay Slim & Healthy?"

Despite a diet stuffed with cream, butter, cheese and meat, just 11 percent of French adults are obese, compared with America’s 33 percent. The French live longer too, and have lower death rates from coronary heart disease. They don’t diet and they don’t spend hours panting round the gym.

I lived and worked in France for two years, most of my meals taken at the facility I worked at, so authentic French. Never in my life did I eat so well, with so much luxurious animal-based meals and fats of all kinds. My weight reduced about 15 pounds in the first few months, stabilizing at about 5 pounds more than my high school weight of 165. When I returned to the US in 1992 I was 170-175. I immediately added 15 pounds, then bought into the low-fat (20% of calories) nonsense. Before I got my head on straight I was at 230. You know the rest of the story.

Something to Keep You Busy – Lotsa Links

While working on a promised summary page to lay out the basics of my approach to food and fitness, I've been lax in making regular postings. But, there's still lots of great stuff out there. Here's some of it to keep you busy.

  • Doc Eades and Jimmy Moore both take on the 2010 Dietary Guidelines Board which, no doubt, will again tell you that you need to "eat more whole grains, less fat, and get more exercise." It's the approach that has led America to unprecedented levels of obesity and diabetes over these last decades, but at least Big Agra is going to be pleased.

  • Mike OD gives you the scoop on personal trainers.
  • Dr. John Briffa gives you the ins & outs of the omega-6 to omega-3 fatty acid ratio and how getting it from the 20-30:1 in the average western diet to the 1-3:1 ratio of the ancestral diet just might yield a whole bunch of benefits including inducing a 28% increase in fat burning while in a fasted state.

Wish I had time for more, but that should do for now.