Recent Progressions

I thought I'd take an entry to talk about…me.

I've really been feeling good these last few days, and, I'm fully expecting my fat loss to begin kicking in, again. For my last photo update, I was 193 as I recall. It took another month or so to break the 190 barrier, and since then I've gotten as low as 183, and back as high as 186; currently 184ish.

As soon as I break 180, I'll get more photos done; people have been bugging me mightily for an update. There were these, just last month, from Mexico. And where does it end (or, begin)? My best current guess is about 165.

I've also been toying with the idea of some short videos of some of the exercises I do. There have been big changes there. For a long time I got into the "rut" of two sessions per week, pretty intense; but, then it seemed to get too routine, i.e., 3 sets and 10 reps in each. A few months back I incorporated a more cross fit type of workout with a rapid pace, new exercises, and so on.

Those who've followed along with my excursions into "extreme fasting" know that I've been doing nearly all my workouts fasted (12 hrs +; often 24-30), under the absurd notion that animals don't do pre and post workout "nutrition" when they go hunting for food. No; they hunt when hungry, and not always with success. We're highly adapted for it. Those adaptive genes lay dormant, and it's up to you to wake and express them. Don't be surprised if it makes you look years younger.

However, after about 15 months of working out fasted, I noticed I was getting to dread my workouts. I realized I was getting into the same rut I was in with the workouts themselves, and it was all adding up to chronic routine. So, I have modified my fasting intervals to end them at dinner the day before my workout. Then, if the workout is in the morning, it's an overnight fast — and this has always been pleasant. If the workout is in the afternoon, then I eat in the morning. So, I'm still fasted, but far more mildly — from 6-12 hours, nominally. It has made a tremendous difference, as I am now excited again to hit the gym. Also, I have changed the routine dramatically for the weight lifting day. I'm now mixing it up all over the place, with lots of new exercises. Most of all: Big Weight. Now, instead of doing 10 reps on the bench at 135 x 3 sets, I'll do 5 reps at 135, 2 at 185, 1-2 at 205, then go to 235 and have my trainer help lift it and I'll do negatives.

A new exercise I've incorporated, and it's probably my favorite ever is a bent over row using the big barbell. I warm up 3-5 reps with one 45-plate, then quickly go to 2, 3, and then 4 plates (180 pounds plus the bar). Then we slap on a 5th plate and the trainer helps lift it so I can do holds and negatives 2-3 times. It is simply the most amazing thing, because; number one, it's a very primal lifting move. Think of bending at the knees and waist and picking up something heavy. As a primal move, it's a very compound one. When I finish a set with heavy enough weight, I can feel it everywhere.

So, to make a long story short: I'm making progress, again. While it can be disappointing to go months with little progress in terms of additional fat loss, it ought to be remarkable enough that you don't go backwards. That will never be and options; and indeed, that where diet comes in and is so powerful.


Alright, enough already. I have caved to the general hysteria. I'll give it a go.

However, I must warn anyone who wishes to follow: this — "diarrhea of consciousness" — is not my style. I grew up on USENET and other forums where exhaustive completeness was the rule.

We'll see.

Saturated Fat Epidemiology for Math Geeks

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A week or so ago, I posted a bit of epidemiology concerning saturated fat intake associated with heart-disease deaths by country. As you saw, it was all over the map. I did speculate, however, that if you were going to try to fit a curve, it would slope downward, meaning: more saturated fat, less heart disease deaths.

Well, owing to my vast network of resources [grin], physicist Robert McLeod offered to fit a curve if I could get him the tabular data, which, thanks to Ricardo, I did. So, here's the graph (see here for the one with the country labels).

Picture 2

Here's what Robert had to say.

All statistics done in MATLAB. I found that if I define

SF = % saturated fat intake

CHD = # heart deaths per year per 100,000 men


CHD = (-4.734 +/- 2.003)*SF + (144.5 +/- 21.4)

+/- errors are standard deviations (i.e. one sigma) with an R^2 =
0.13 (terrible) between the fit data and experimental data.

The plot I provided shows the baseline along
with a top and bottom curve which are the 95 % confidence interval
lines (~1.96 sigmas).

Although the statistics appear fairly poor, we can make one statement
of interest. A positive slope is equivalent to a positive
correlation between CHD and saturated fat (i.e. saturated fat bad!)
and a negative slope is a negative correlation (i.e. saturated fat
good!). Evaluating that statement using confidence intervals we have
a 0.9 % chance of a positive slope and a 99.1 % chance that the slope
is negative.

In other words, increased saturated fat intake is 99 % likely to be
correlated with decreased incidence of death from heart disease.

Rational Animal Philosophy

While going through reams of links this morning to come up with a handful for you, I felt I had to make this one a separate entry, thanks to Chris Highcock at Conditioning Research, always a great source of useful diet and exercise information.

One of the aspects of my approach to the "Free the Animal" theme is that we are, very much indeed: animals. Our technological, industrial, and social development is such that we have lost sight of that core, fundamental identification. We have literally forgotten who we really are, at root, base, and foundation. Look around you at all the decrepit, overweight, constantly grazing, feeding, shopping bodies. That's the result of failing to live by one's true animal nature.

So, here is a fabulous introduction into who the Animal inside you really is, by Frank Forencich of Exuberant Animal. There are, I think, three very core aspects to his presentation. First is the loss of sensory input that we're all subject to. Some may recall past blogs where I talked about walking outside barefoot daily in summer (or in Vibrams). What was astounding to me, at first, was the sensory overload. But, after a period of adjustment, it becomes normal and you then realize that you have actually heightened your senses in a very fulfilling way.

Next is how our social arrangements are about as far from what we were designed to be as possible, and I say: this is why collectivist political institutions will never work (for me) — though we may yet somehow manage to physically and neurologically evolve into the social equivalent of ants & bees. It is for this reason that I eschew modern politics utterly and completely. A primal hunter-gatherer used to accounting for the values and actions of about 30 other people — having real and important influence in his group — would quite rightly find the notion of voting (getting a 1 in 200,000,000th say in his own affairs) absurd. He might even cut off your head for suggesting such an unnatural thing (and I wouldn't blame him).

Finally, Frank does a fabulous job of demolishing the modern notion of the mind-body dichotomy with a very interesting approach: body-centric education. I previously blogged about mind-body dichotomies.

Exuberant Animal's Frank Forencich gives hope to the modern man (and woman) from Lauren Muney on Vimeo.

Tri-Tip, Sauce, Sweet Potato and Primal Cheescake

My cousin, Adam, has been following my Paleo ways for some time and occasionally comments on this blog. His wife, 'Z', does too, and this weekend they were visiting us up at our cabin where we cooked up various storms. At one point, Z was remarking how just a year ago, she couldn't imagine not having her cereals for breakfast and then being ravenously hungry by 10 a.m. Now, she usually doesn't even eat until lunch and it's meat, salad, nuts…things like that. Of course, her chubby co-workers think she's a lean nutcase. Here's Adam & Z at work last night.


Here's Adam slicing up my low & slow tri-tip.


Now, back up to a few years back, Adam & I playing corn toss on a camping trip.


He wasn't what you'd call "fat" by any means, but you can certainly see — especially by the face — how terrifically he's leaned out. The Paleo / Primal / Evolutionary / Animal life way works for everyone, every time, to deliver lean bodies, health, and vitality.

So, here's dinner.


The sauce is coconut milk, beef bullion, a bit of red wine and a bunch of crushed blueberries. On the side was mashed sweet potato with a cheese melt, and here's what they did with the skins.


Fried on medium low heat in lots of butter, then as soon as they come out, lightly sprinkled with cinnamon. Unbelievable.

Finally, desert was a great cheesecake. Unfortunately, I didn't get a photo of the plated version with sliced strawberries on top.


While I don't have the complete recipe (yet — and maybe Adam can put it in the comments), the crust is hazelnut meal, coconut flour and butter. The filling is cream cheese, pureed strawberries, and eggs (I think). No sweetener, and it was quite good without.

Steak Tips & Masaman Curry Sauce

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Some of my curry and chili posts have sparked quite a bit of interest in just how I go about it. Various ways, always, but here's one, and I'll take you through all the major steps. But let's start with the finished product.


This is my Masaman beef curry, but instead of using stew meat or roast for a stewy concoction with vegetables, It's nuthin' but the meat. And, it's quality steak. The idea was to have just enough sauce. The side is cauliflower, and we decided it's easily as good as the rice, so those occasional splurges on starch are about to become even more occasional.


The base ingredients begin with the steak, 2 pounds in this case, finely chopped up cauliflower, coconut milk and Masaman curry paste. You could also grate the cauliflower, which I began to do, but it gets a bit messy, so I chopped. I may have finally discovered a reason to invest in a food processor.

Not pictured are the sea salt and fresh ground pepper I seasoned the meat with, the coconut oil I seared the steak in (and sir fried the cauliflower), or the almond meal that you see mixed in with the cauliflower.

The coconut milk I'm now using from a local Asian market has two ingredients: coconut meat and water.


When I do this with stew meat or roast, the idea is to slowly braise the meat, then add the coconut milk and paste, then simmer. In this case, I want medium rare steak in a sauce, but also taking advantage of the steak juices from cooking. This was done in coconut oil on medium high heat, turning continuously.


When medium rare, it comes out of the pan to rest.


Then I put about 1 cup of coconut milk in the cooking juices and 2 rounded teaspoons of the curry paste, mixed it all together, brought to a simmer and let reduce and thicken for a minute or so. Then I covered it, turned the heat to low, and positioned the pan to be just on the edge of the burner.

Then it's time to go to work on the cauliflower.


There's about 2 tbsp of coconut oil on a high flame to start. Then, there's as much almond meal as I can grasp with my five fingers from the bottom of the package. You let that sit there on medium high while you stir and agitate, waiting for the meal to begin turning brown. Then, in goes the cauliflower and some salt & pepper seasoning, if you like.

Basically, I cook it as I used to cook hash browns or fried potatoes. This goes a lot quicker, but you'll know it's ready when not as much steam is coming off and it begins to brown up nicely.


Then it's back to the meat, where, It's all simply put back in the pan (along with the resting juices, and tossed. Just flash it with only a few second of high heat. You don't want to further cook the meat.


This may not look too appetizing, having been mostly consumed, but here's what I mean about getting it medium rare. With steak as tender as this was, this is the way to go. It takes some care, but it's well worth it.


More Stupid Nonsense

So, Rashmi Sinha, PhD; Amanda J. Cross, PhD; Barry I. Graubard, PhD; Michael F. Leitzmann, MD, DrPH; and Arthur Schatzkin, MD, DrPH all set out to prove that eating red meat kills you, and — surprise! surprise! — they got the result they were looking for in the first place.

Now, I have not looked at this in detail, mostly because it's the same formula I see all the time. In this case, they get a half million old people, give them a questionnaire on their eating habits over the past 12 months (relying upon their memories), then they see who croaks and who doesn't over the next ten years — ten years riddled with general, increasingly hysterical propaganda about cutting fat, avoiding meat, eating more grains and vegetable oils — not to mention an explosion of high-sugar, highly processed, vegetable oil and grain ladden packaged foods — many of them criminally labeled and advertised as "healthy" or "heart healthy;" and the assumption in the study, of course, is that the subjects continued to eat as they had eaten (or, rather, how they recalled from memory how they had eaten).

It's utter crap, and here's their bias on display going into the thing in the first place.

To investigate whether the overall composition of meat intake was associated with mortality, we created 3 diet types: high-, medium-, and low-risk meat diet. To form these diet variables, red and white meat consumption was energy adjusted and split into 2 groups using the median values as cut points. Individuals with red meat consumption in the upper half and white meat consumption in the lower half got a score of 1 (high-risk meat diet), those with both red and white meat consumption in the same half got a score of 2 (medium-risk meat diet), and those with red meat consumption in the lower half and white meat consumption in the upper half got a score of 3 (low-risk meat diet).

So, even before knowing what results they would get, they assessed the "risk" of the diets based on the amount of red meat consumed. You don't think for a second that they would design a study that had any major risk of showing a result where the "low-risk diet" was highest in associated risk, do you?

This kind of crap means nothing to us, folks. And the reason it means nothing is because they are simply comparing a bunch of people eating mostly crap diets (as most Americans do, now) in various mixes of crap & decent food. This is totally inapplicable to a Paleo-like dieter who eats 95% + whole, real food and abstains from killer whole grains, heart-attack-in-a-bottle vegetable oils, concentrated sugar — and all the derivatives loaded with one or more of these — and takes it easy on the starches and fruits.

Now go eat your blood red meat.

Lottsa Links

How about a few links as I mull over my next post, which will be a sort of overview of my personal progress and some things I've learned recently and modified.

– How about a cure for gray hair, maybe even baldness via stem cell stimulation? Dr. Mercola explains: "So the idea is that by stimulating the stem cells with special polypeptide signals you may be able to reverse this process and keep both your hair color, and your hair. I’m actually beta testing one of these polypeptide signal topical therapies right now, and my hair is slowly starting to come back in…and most of the gray is disappearing."

– Dr. Mercola, again, this time on cancer. "And though this article doesn’t mention it, well in excess of half of the cancers worldwide would simply disappear if vitamin D levels were optimized." And what are optimal levels? Well, opinions vary, but my own research leads me to believe that you want 60-80 ng/mL of 25-hydroxyvitamin D.

And now more on vitamin D, this time presented by Michael Holick, PhD, MD, Professor of medicine, physiology and biophysics
and director of the General Clinical Research Center at Boston University Medical Center.

– Amazing upper body strength. Attention: the background music isn't work safe and may be offensive to some. So, you may want to keep the volume low or off. (I forgot who sent me that or where I saw it, so thanks).

– Lard, one of the kings of wonderful fat, is making a comeback. I picked this up from Diana's place, yesterday.

– Finally, reader "Tin Tin Wonder Dog" emailed in to report on a UK family who gets to live at everyone else's expense because they're "too fat to work." Punchline: it's not enough to "live." Yes indeed, bring on that nationalized health care here in America. I for one just can't wait to start paying for all the health problems caused by Big-Agra, its chief sales representative — the U.S. Department of Agriculture — and all its other sales account managers (ADA, AHA, and research whores).

Monday Morning Hang Gliding Diversion

At least a couple of more posts today, but I just had to toss this one up, discovered in my morning rounds reading my friend Davis Straub's daily Oz Report. For better than ten years Davis has had the fortune to travel the world flying in hang-glider competitions and reporting on them. He's tireless, and a really great guy I've had the opportunity to meet in person a couple of times.

This 3-minute video is a recent competition in the flatlands near Forbes, Australia. Ultralight tugs tow up the hang glider pilots who then race cross country, typically for 80-100 miles, depending upon where the goal is declared.

I'm getting back to the weight and strength ratios I was at when I first began this great sport. Flying for a few days last August was far less exhausting than it had been over the last five years, causing me to fly less and less. So, it just may be that I'll be doing this more and more in years to come.

It is great compound exercise for the upper body. A hang glider is maneuvered by weight shift, i.e., you have to deflect you body's entire weight, suspended from a single point, both side-to-side and forward and back (with all compound positions imaginable to make certain maneuvers, coordinated turns, etc.). In one scene you'll see a guy shifting weight quite dynamically. He's trying to stay behind the tug that he being towed by. This is similar to the level of weight shifting required when circling up in a thermal. Most thermals are not big and smooth, but broken and raggedy. It often takes intense effort to remained "cored" in order to maximize climb efficiency.

If you're in the USA and are interested in learning more about this sport, you can find local chapters and clubs here on the USHPA website.

Saturated Fat and Heart Disease Deaths

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Ricardo Carvalho, whose great database work I highlighted yesterday, just emailed me another graph. The latest saturated fat data he could find was from 1998, but see if you can find any correlation.

Picture 3

It's all over the map. If you had to draw a trend, however, how would it look? I'd probably start it from the left at the 120 and finish off to the right at about 80, i.e., more saturated fat associated with less CHD mortality.

Update 3/30/2009: Physicist Robert McLeod took the tabular data I provided and did a fit in MATLAB. The punchline is that there's only a 1% chance of the slope being positive (more saturated fat correlated with more CHD deaths) and a 99% chance the slope is negative (more saturated fat correlated with fewer CHD deaths).

Interesting how, once again, the French thumb their noses at the rest of the world. Red wine? Gimmeabreak. I lived there, and most people have no idea how much animal fat most of them eat. From their fat-heavy sauses to their fatty charcuterie and pâté, to their sweet butter and many fine cheeses. I've remarked before about the difference between how Americans eat cheese and how the French do it. In America, I see people taking a whole slice of bread (or a cracker) and thinly spreading cheese on it. In France, you take a small bit of crust and pile a huge mound of cheese on it. And that's often not all. Many French first put a big pat of sweet butted on, and then the cheese. Like this; tiny piece of cracker, big butter, and big cheese:

Cheese and cracker

Yea, I ate it. It was in the interest of science. Frankly, I think the "French Paradox" has a lot more to do with getting a healthy dose of K2 in their diets from all the organ meats they frequently eat (tripe, kidney, liver), as well as the butter and cheese.

Saturday Rock You

OK, a bonus edition for this weekend (Sunday's a comin' too), and something quite different. It's not technically rock, but I say: any rock music lover who doesn't hear the essential beauty of this, in so many respects, has a few things to learn.

And, so, I give you a master: Johnny Cash, circa 1966. Solitary Man.

Now, the other person in that video is Neil Diamond, and here's his version of the same song in a "groovy" Doors-eque mid-60s style.

Low Cholesterol to “Die For”

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I was having an email exchange with my aunt the other day who was lamenting how her husband's doctor told him that his total cholesterol of 117 (!) is one that most people would "die for." Maybe he's right, as we'll see in a minute; but first, I should point out that George is in his late 80's. So, always be careful about assigning causes to correlations. Correlations are great things, but the best way to regard them is as falsification (disproof) of hypothesized causation.

Reader and commenter on this blog, Ricardo, and blogger in his own right at Canibais e Reis has done something truly amazing (and has surely put Ancel Keys in short pants). Lots of this is going to go over the heads of most people, including myself, but I'm quite confident a number of math and health whizzes will be on this project in short order.

Ricardo has essentially combined data from the following sources into a single database anyone can access:

  • UN Food and Agriculture Organization Statistical Yearbook
  • FAOSTAT food consumption database
  • British Heart Foundation Health Statistics database
  • World Health Organization Global Health Atlas

In the end, he had data on 170 countries, which he eventually narrowed to 86 countries in order to get a complete data set for all available parameters. You can read about the whole thing right here. This just scratches the surface of what can be done, but here's a couple of examples. How about death in men from heart disease against total cholesterol? (click here for full size).

Picture 1

While the correlation isn't great, it is interesting to note that the lowest heart disease mortality is associated with total cholesterol of 200-220 for quite a group of countries. And do note the saturated fat junkie French right down there at the bottom, edged out only slightly by the Japanese.

Now let's look at life expectancy for women from birth against total cholesterol (click here for full size).

Picture 2

Here, the correlation is much stronger and shows unmistakably an association between higher total cholesterol levels and longevity for women. Interestingly, it looks again like total cholesterol of 200-220 seems to be the sweet spot.

So, guys & gals, how much do you want to "die for" low cholesterol?

Let me stress and reiterate, however. This does not prove or suggest that higher cholesterol causes longevity or reduced mortality from heart disease. Nor does it prove that low cholesterol causes decreased longevity or increased mortality from heart disease. What it does do is prove that "high cholesterol" does not cause more death from heart attack or decreased longevity and it proves that "low cholesterol" does not cause less death from heart attack or increased longevity.

Finally, it proves that every single person, worldwide, out there touting "low cholesterol" is an abject ignoramus. That means we're probably talking about more than 95% of physicians, including your own.

Here's a good primer on the cholesterol con from Dr. Malcolm Kendrick, which I blogged a bit over a year ago.

Quick, Easy, Delicious Chicken Mole

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There's a local restaurant, Consuelo Mexican Bistro, where I believe I had chicken mole for the first time. The sauce was thick, brown, chocolaty and amazing. While I've never looked up a recipe until this morning (good luck finding something not loaded with flour), I figured I'd give a try at making something similar last evening.

Before leaving San Jose yesterday afternoon to head up to our cabin in the mountains with friends, I stopped at the store and secured a large, 3-pound rotisserie chicken (already "rotisseried"). I also took along one 14-oz can of coconut milk and a bar of Trader Joe's dark chocolate (70% coco).

You won't believe how easy this is, and, since the chicken is already cooked, quick. First, put your pot on medium heat with the entire can of coconut milk, about 1/2 cup water, and the whole chocolate bar broken up. As that's coming to a simmer, cut the chicken into pieces, taking care to keep the skin intact and connected to the bird. Place them on a cookie sheet, skin side up, under the low broiler on the center rack so you're not too close. The idea is to crisp the skin. It should take 6-8 minutes until the chicken is sizzling pretty nice. In the meantime, scoop out any chicken fat from the bottom of the rotisserie container and add to the sauce. Then add the chicken to the sauce, pack tightly so that it's covered in sauce completely (add a bit more water if you have to. Also, return any drippings from the cookie sheet into the pot.

Should take 15 minutes or less to come up with something like this:

Chicken mole

And here's the finished product, with basmati rice cooked with about a teaspoon of cinnamon. This is the second recent dish I've featured with rice, so while it may seem I'm eating a lot of it, I'm not; so I hope I'm not leading anyone astray. I think it's one of the more innocuous non-paleo foods, in moderation, and I'm pretty convinced it's better than potatoes. And let me tell you, the cinnamon rice and chocolate and creaminess of the coconut-milk sauce was just killer. My good friend Robert, a very lean gentleman of Korean descent — who is not a big eater and is a natural intermittent faster — pigged out unlike I've ever seen him do.

Chicken mole2

I heartily encourage everyone to give this a try.

Vitamin D Testing

Well so now I have an enigma on my hands. Some weeks back you may recall that I blogged about the great Vitamin D Project by Grassrootshealth. That was Feb 27th and within a few days I had my test kit, punctured my finger, blotted blood, and sent it off.

Roughly two weeks later, a couple of days ago, I had blood drawn for my various series of tests and one I requested was a vitamin D test (25-hydroxy vitamin D). Coincidentally, I got both results today, one from blood taken two weeks ago and one from a current sample.

2 weeks ago: 120 ng/mL

Current: 85 ng/mL

That's quite a difference (the magnitude being greater than the average total vitamin D level for most people). One possibility is lab error, of course. Another is that the first test was at only a week back from spending hours per day in the Puerto Vallarta sun (I continued my 6k IU per day). But it's hard to imagine it could dissipate so rapidly in such a short time, so is something fishy somewhere?

I'm hoping it's the latter one that's fine, as 85 is exactly where I want to be; as well it must be noted that it was an actual blood draw; whereas, the former was a drop on blotter paper. I have no idea of the comparative difference in terms of test quality.

Anyone have any ideas?

My High HDL “Secret”

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For reference, see the last post about my 133 (mg/dL) HDL.

Fat is King. More particularly: saturated fat. Now, how do you get that? Well, you can eat a lot of fatty beef, chicken skin, and so on, but only about 30-40% or so is saturated (15% saturated from olive oil). Or, you can get it very efficiently by eating all that, but by also dipping, slathering and generally enjoying the hell out of your life with sauces. I'm an absolute fiend for sauces. Even, now, with grilled meats.

Gotta have a sauce. Mine are all home made, and they are almost all based on: coconut milk. It's more efficient in saturated fat delivery — far more so — than even heavy cream. Let's take a look; the average can of full-fat coconut milk being 14 ounces. Here's nutfacts for 8 ounces, a little more than half, which is an average amount I'd use to thicken or base a sauce for 2-4 people (unless it's a Thai curry, in which case I might use two full cans, four times the amount below — so go ahead and have your heart attack now):

Picture 5

Holy shit, Batman! 88% of the damn thing is fat, and of those 57 grams in a cup, 51 grams, or 90%, is "ARTERY-CLOGGING SATURATED FAT!!!" Yep, God is trying to kill you, seeing as how coconut is a staple food for a number of (heart healthy) populations.

Modern ignorance (and moronity).

Here's a characteristic dish from a couple of mights ago which I'll call Indian / Thai / Polish.

Indian thai polish

In all my time in Asia, it never escaped my attention — even in the 80s — that Thais generally have wonderful body composition and Indians generally have lousy body composition. Well, they both eat lots of hot curries. The difference? Indian curries are water based. Thai? Coconut milk based, not only making them way easier to prepare, as they require very little reduction for a nice thick sauce, but wonderfully creamy on the palette (though HOT!).

On the other hand, I generally like the complexity and variety of Indian curries over Thai curries. The solution? Use coconut milk in your Indian curries, and use whatever the hell meat you want. (The coconut milk) Doesn't change the flavor a lick, so far as I can tell, though I'm sure some would disagree. Fine. I'm fine and know what I'm doing. In fact: it's a wonderful discovery.

The other part is that I don't do nan, the Indian bread (amongst many others you can have) that goes along with most curries, in addition to the rice. I don't think Thais do that, at least not that I've seen. Don't get me wrong: love nan; I can eat a whole lot (prior to the nuclear heartburn I used to get every time — now none — regardless of how spicy).

I do often cook up a bit of Basmati or Jasmine rice. Two to three heaping tablespoons will do it. Eat it with a tablespoon (as the Thais do). This introduces sauce and a spot of rice (if you're adding a starch) to each bite.

I do this a lot, and more and more. By the way, that's an Indian lamb curry paste (they have a dozen different curries for everything) with some water (it called for 2 cups, but that was to simmer and braise the lamb — the polish is already cooked). To that I added probably half a can of coconut milk and a good teaspoon of cayenne to boost the heat several notches. There's uncured Polish and an Onion.

Save your leftovers and toss a couple of eggs on them in the morning. Seriously.

New Lipid Panel

Well I went and ordered up some blood work the other day and results began coming in today. While my past Lipid Panel was blogged right here, this is the new one.

Picture 4

The past one shows a total serum cholesterol of almost the same (219), while I had an HDL of 106 and a calculated LDL of 104. You know what I think of calculated LDL. Well, this isn't a NMR LipoProfile or a VAP. It's the best I can get from Kaiser and it purports to be a direct measurement of LDL (though not a particle count). However, if accurate, I would expect my particle count to be 660-669 nmol/L, which would be considered optimal in terms of particle number (< 1000). Size is something we can only guess on, but my HDLs make it clear that I'm pretty high in fat consumption and that's highly associated with mostly large fluffy LDL and little to no small dense LDL.

It's interesting to note that if you look at Patrik's NMR LipoProfile and assume my LDL Direct to be accurate (for now — I am still going to do an NMR as well), then calculated LDL overstated our actual LDL by about 50% (45% for him, 56% for me). This is consistent with Dr. Davis' experience. For grain, high-carb, low-fat dieters, calculated LDL usually understates actual LDL particle number (most of the particles small and dense as well) while for Paleo-like, no grain, high-fat, low-carb dieters, calculated LDL usually overstates actual LDL particle number (the vast majority of particles being large and fluffy). Moreover, I predict that as more of these Paleo NMRs come in and get published, we're going to find the understated LDL for the grain eaters is going to be a larger percentage on average than the overstated LDLs for the Paleos.

I didn't have Trigs measured. They were 47 before and I'm quite certain they are still under 50 (and probably closer to 40, now, as I'm lower carb than before and have been on it longer. Let's assume the same 47 for ratio calculation. Here's the ratios from before:

  • Total/HDL = 2.07 (average is 4-6 and ideal is 2-3; I'm on the extreme end of ideal)
  • HDL/LDL = 1.02 (average is .3-.4 and ideal is above .4; again extreme end of ideal)
  • Triglyceride/HDL = 0.44 (optimal is less than 2, so again, extreme end of ideal)

And now:

  • Total/HDL = 1.68 (19% improvement; I'm now off the scale)
  • HDL/LDL = 2.02 (98% improvement; again off the scale)
  • Triglyceride/HDL = 0.35 (20% improvement; off the scale)

Want to know my "secret?" Click right here

I may have some additional test results to report on later, after they come in.

Lottsa Links

While I work on a couple of more substantive posts, let's give you some links to check out at your leisure. Thanks to all the readers (several, in many cases) who sent many of these along.

– Start 'em early. Let's get kids scared to death about their cholesterol levels.

– I think Monica does a good job dispelling notions that veganism is more friendly to the environment than carnivory. Can you handle the truth? Also, congrats out to Monica who continues her fat loss progress (towards a goal of better fitting into her wedding dress this summer).

– Not for the faint of heart, but Robert McLeod has some interesting thoughts on Acylation-Stimulating Protein (ASP): A potential explanation for metabolic advantage of low-carbohydrate diets? That was as a result of this long comment thread at Keith Norris' Theory to Practice.

– Wow; very impressive 12-week weight loss, blood pressure drop, and blood lipid improvement on what they're calling a "Spanish Ketogenic Mediterranean Diet." Looks reasonably Paleo-esque, to me. I think it emphasizes a great bottom line, whether you're low-carb, Paleo, Mediterranean, or whatever: eat Real Food and only real food.

-About five people, at least, have emailed along this link to an interview with Dr. Stephan Ilardi: Is the "Stone Age" Lifestyle the Answer to Eliminating Depression? Due to the number of recommendations I got, I'm forwarding it along, not having yet listened to it myself (but I will).

– Does the "calorie is a calorie" mantra, that likes to rest on the 1st Law of Thermodynamics actually violate the 2nd Law?

– Literally everything you will ever need or want to know about salt & pepper at Mark's Daily Apple.

– And, finally, the best for last: three great posts from Stephan at Whole Health Source.

Margarine and Phytosterolemia

Are the MK-4 and MK-7 Forms of Vitamin K2 Equivalent?

Paleopathology at the Origins of Agriculture

Sunday Rock You (Hot Chick Version)

Probably in my top five favorite rock bands of all time: Heart. Here's a great oldie featuring the hot Ann & Nancy Wilson sisters; 7 minutes in duration, live & fantastic! Crazy on You.

Any Ideas For a Fellow Traveller?

I got this email the other day, most of which is a fascinating and fantastic success story, but with a bit of disappointment at the end. Jeff and I (along with some input from Dr. B.G of Animal Pharm) have tossed around a few ideas, but I'm wondering if there's any out there who might offer their own ideas.


Hi Richard. I hope that you can please bear with me as this is going to be a rather long winded post, but it is currently 3am, and after several recent sleepless nights I am having a difficult time coping!

Background information: male, 46 yrs of age. High caliber athlete my whole life – top level ice hockey player until 20yrs of age; national flatwater kayaker after that; then ironman triathlete for 7 yrs until 2001.

Nutritional and health background: ate a typical North American diet until about 1992, at which time became interested in diet in terms of health and performance improvement. Result: strict vegan from 1985-2001. However, despite 20+ hrs of intense training per week could never lose abdominal fat, had a blood pressure of 140/100, and developed exercise induced cardiac problems (supraventricular tachycardia) and an irregular heartbeat at rest (PAC’s). Other than these problems though (which I just “lived with”) I never had any of the “energy crash” or “foggy” problems with an extremely high carb diet. In fact, I felt great eating grains and high carb.

In 2003 though my hypertension and increasingly “annoying” exercise induced SVT (now up to 100 ten minute episodes a year) were really starting to bother me. So I sought medical advice. By now though, I had become increasingly disillusioned with the mainstream medical establishment. So I went to see Dr. Mercola (yes, THE Dr. Mercola!).

Since then, and for the last 6 yrs, I have been eating 100% strict paleo foods. And by 100% strict, I mean 100% strict!!!! Not one speck of sugar, chemicals, crap, grains of any kind, or dairy – NOTHING, other than fruit, vegetables, meat, and fish. NOTHING!!! And drinking only water.

What I found was that my health improved dramatically. I felt great, I never got sick, and I lost some weight, despite exercising very little (although admittedly, I only had about 10 lbs of fat to lose with my previous high carb, exercise fanatic lifestyle).

However, I did note one thing. Despite my strict paleo diet, I was not eating low carb. In fact, I was probably eating upwards of 20 pieces of fruit a day!! Like my pre-paleo days though, I never felt bad, nor did I experience any energy crash eating higher carb. My blood pressure improved slightly (maybe 130/90), but my heart rate was still irregular (PAC’s) and I had fewer, but still present episodes of SVT.

So, 6 months ago, after reading hours and hours of you, DeVany, Eades, Sears, Davis, Colpo, Lyle McDonald, MDA, TTP, Hyperlipid, Whole Health Source, Animal Pharm, etc, etc, etc, I decided to go TRUE low carb paleo. Shouldn’t be too hard I thought, since it didn’t require changing ANY of the foods that I was currently eating, only the ratios.

Result: absolutely astounding……almost!!! For 6 months now, blood pressure perfect (118/78), heartbeat absolutely regular. Not one irregular heartbeat – no PAC’s, no SVT. All of this sustained for the past 6 months. Leaned right out too – very low % bodyfat, and this on no exercise at all!! However, this has come at a cost, and hence the requirement of this post.

For the past 6 months I have restricted my carbs to 40 grams a day, eating only pure clean paleo foods as previously mentioned. And while my heartbeat regularity, blood pressure, and physical appearance have been great, my energy is now non-existent. I am overcome with immense, excruciating fatigue. Something that sleep cannot overcome, and something that I have never felt before in my life. I have also had a headache and brain ”fog” for approximately 4 out of the last 6 months. A low grade headache, but debilitating nonetheless, and I hadn’t had a headache previous to this since 1985.

I have tried reducing carbs down to 20g for a few weeks, and even upping them to 75g for a few weeks, but neither has had an impact on the headaches or fatigue. As far as I know, I am eating perfect. Plenty of calories. High fat, med protein, low carb. Pure, organic food. Strict paleo. Plenty of fresh, clean water. No other beverages at all except water. Fish oil and vitamin D.

I know Lyle McDonald has written that some individuals who are not overly insulin sensitive (FYI – my fasting insulin was < 2 when I saw Mercola when I was a high carb vegan) never fully overcome the fatigue of LC and actually require a minimum of 110-150g of carbs a day. Still LC I guess, but I am having trouble “seeing this” given all else that I have read regarding no actual requirement for carbs etc, etc.

I feel that I am 95% of the way there to finding my perfect diet. I have to be. The improvement in blood pressure, heartbeat, and body composition cannot be ignored. But the fatigue and headaches……..HELP!!!! I am having an increasingly difficult time coping, and the frustration is truly depressing.

Thank you very much for taking the time to read this.


I'm sure Jeff will appreciate any and all comments that help him toward fixing this single disappointment in an otherwise terrific story.

Reader Real Results

I'm perilously behind in many small posting projects, and that includes a number of things my great readers have emailed over to me. Trust me: I see everything. Hell, I even have a very complimentary email from Dr. William Davis of Track Your Plaque heroism and fame, as yet unanswered, and that's woefully embarrassing. But I'll get to everything, sooner or later. Man, it has been one busy week.

But, first things first. With all adoration and respect to all readers and supporters of this blogging effort, not to mention the mutual support and help out to those who need it most, this reader is just a bit special to me.

Email from mom, who turns 68 one month from today.


Just about a year ago I went to a new doctor at Kaiser. He seemed different than other doctors I had. He had read my file and was familiar with my history. He said I was the most controlled diabetic he had ever had for a patient. He told me that if I would lose about 15 pounds he would work with me to get off insulin. Another 15 after that and he believed I could get off oral medication and control the diabetes with diet alone.

Well, I tell you, it has been a slow and difficult journey. When you are taking insulin it is so difficult to lose weight. Added to that, I was not totally convinced that low carb was completely ok. I didn't see the need to follow your program completely. I thought moderation was the answer. As I lost weight I slowly decreased the amount of insulin I was taking, but it was still slow, with many ups and downs.

I am now within seven pounds of the first goal the doctor set for me. My insulin was down from 12 N insulin (slow acting) and 4 R insulin (fast acting) in the morning and 16 N insulin and 5 R insulin at night to no R insulin at all and 5 N insulin in the morning an 6 N insulin at night. I thought, "what is 7 pounds, what difference could that make?" So 5 days ago I stopped taking insulin. I also started following your recommendation totally. My blood sugar levels are non diabetic, ranging from 84 to 98. I am taking the supplements you suggested and am totally off grains and all the other things you say are unhealthy for us. I have been off sugars and vegetable oils for a long time.

I think our trip to Puerto Vallarta was the turning point. I could really see the difference in Dad, plus being with you every day, discussing this with you, and feeling the results myself did it for me. I am feeling great. Next week I will go in for blood test and about a week after that I will see my doctor. He said at the beginning of this that when I got off insulin he would change my oral medications till I could get off them. I want that to happen as soon as possible. By the way, in the first 4 days, I lost two pounds, the most I have lost in that amount of time in years and years. I don't think it was water either because I have been continually dieting for years and even changing diets has not resulted in a big water loss in years.


"By the way, in the first 4 days, I lost two pounds, the most I have lost in that amount of time in years and years." Couldn't have a thing to do with the decreased amount of insulin. "A calorie is a calorie." That one's for the theoreticians over practicians, out there.

Well that's wonderful news, eh? Could not be happier or more satisfied. A big part of why I do what I do here is keeping my wonderful parents in good health. Thankfully, they don't follow physician advice blindly. While I wouldn't want them to follow my advice blindly, either, they do know that I have the respect of many respected MD's and other highly educated people in the health field, and they know that I care tremendously.

Mom mentioned dad. Well, he does look great, and at 71, has regained a youthful outlook and activity level. He was out in the sun, the pool, even the ocean every day in Puerto Vallarta. He still has about 30 pounds to go (about 30 lost so far), but he's on his way. He just emailed this morning to say that he just completed his first 30-hr fast, felt great, and couldn't even finish his break-fast steak. He's done a number of 24-hr fasts, so, just as expected, this was a cinch for him.

And, he's becoming quite the efficient fat burner. See, there was some concern in the last couple of weeks, as he began having random, even fasted blood glucose levels of 120-130 and even slightly above, but never over 140, which is the real danger zone. While his A1C remains a reasonable 5.1, randomness was causing worry. My intuitive (i.e., non-medical) thinking was that he's in vastly uncharted territory for modern medicine. How often do doctors deal with high random glucose readings for a patient who has been very low carb for months (paleo style), has dropped 30 pounds, and fasts regularly? Based on my own experimentation with taking my (24-hr) fasting BG from 85 to 115, not by eating sugar, but by going to the gym and hitting the weights hard for 30 minutes, reasoned that the blood glucose can only be coming from body fat mobilization and that his body is fine with the level. In fact, it seems an ideal situation for me. His body is allowing his BG to remain slightly elevated rather than secreting insulin to drive it back into tissues (as fat, of course).

So, I posted an inquiry on Art's private blog, and Dr. Doug McGuff (a reader of this blog; and who just published Body by Science) was kind enough to provide some very useful and interesting information:

WRT your dad’s slightly high glucose reading, I might have a few possible explainations.

1) Was he truly fasted? If he cheated with a little black coffe, the caffeine could have activated phosphorylase and cleaved some glycogen which was released into the blood.

2) His returning insulin sensitivity may have set him up for a variant of the “Somogi phenomenon”. The Somogi phenomenon can occur in diabetics who take too high of a dose of their evening insulin. During the wee hours of the morning hypoglycemia kicks in triggering epenephrine-induced glycogen cleavage which produces an elevation of their AM glucose. With your dad, his improving insulin sensitivity allows him to fully stock his glycogen stores. During his overnight fast, his insulin now works with a vengence, his blood sugar drops enough to trigger glyogenolysis from his glycogen stores, and voila! A transient supranormal rise in blood sugar. A tip off would be if his pillow case or pajamas were a little sweaty upon wakening. The same epinephrine that cleaves glycogen will activate the sweat glands. You may have experienced the same thing when you first started paleo, or when you first tried intermittent fasting. This is just part of the transition from being a sugar-burner to a fat-burner, and IMO is no big deal. Fasting insulin is a much better metric to follow.

Yep. It seems obvious to me, and some may disagree, but if fasting insulin levels are low in the face of an elevated BG that's less than 140 (150 is when tissue damage stats to occur), then that tells me that your body is simply seeing no reason to spike insulin. It's doing just fine. Leave it alone. Moreover, if BG is "elevated" thusly and insulin remains low, then that blood sugar is going to fuel your body's work, which equates to weight loss. To lose body fat, you must first mobilize body fat, which your body then converts to useable energy (glucose), and then uses it.