School Lunch #Foodrevolution in Full Swing (but keep an eye on counter-revolutionaries)

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Warning: this post may be harmful or fatal to naïve & overly patriotic American flag wavers…

This is sort of a follow-up to a post just over a month ago: It’s The Crap; Just Eat Real Food. In large part that post was about the abysmal state of “school lunches” in the USA — especially in comparison to the far higher quality exhibited in pretty much every other country on the face of the Earth. That’s right: America sucks. When it comes to food, most Americans are treating their kids like shit.

When I see how kids are eating in general in America now, I’m satisfied to declare that I’m becoming increasingly embarrassed to even refer to myself as one. I’d be perfectly happy to see the 200 & somthing-yr-old project go right down the shitter for good, given that such loathsome atrocities have been perpetuated for so long. But you can’t do that because these are kids we’re talking about and so, I’m all for beating adults into submission on this topic — with truncheons, if necessary. And if you think that’s extreme then realize that what we’re talking about here is a pernicious form of abuse — malnourishment — carried out over roughly two decades — and increasingly less — until the kids become adults and then go perpetuate the same sort of abuse on their own children because the food culture in this country, particularly for kids, has been driven down to the lowest depths of mediocrity and depravity of anyplace on the face of the planet. Even dirty little third-world shitholes have a better food culture than America, now. I know, because I’ve had fabulous street vendor meals in many of them, from Djibouti to remote Islands in the Philippines without even the benefit of electricity. Poor people care about their food because getting it requires so great a proportion of their time and income. They care, and it is precisely this high time & effort value in food that forms the basis of healthful and wholesome food cultures around the world in the first place. How much time & effort goes into a trip to McDonald’s? Hell, we can’t even be bothered with taking the time to go in and sit down, anymore.

When I now hear tripe about how America is “the greatest country on Earth,” I wanna puke. It’s real simple: the Greatest Country on Earth would be absolutely the last place on Earth you would find its most precious members of society — its children — eating garbage, getting obese to the rate of 20%, now; and developing diabetes and fatty liver disease at ages unprecedented in all of human history. A quote from that post linked above.

What impressed me most of all about the French school lunch was not just the deliciousness of the food, but that everything about it — the brightly decorated lunchrooms, the gorgeous kitchens, the lunch moms, the chefs — sent such a deep message of caring. To my ears it fairly screamed, “We care about and love our children. They are us, after all, and we want them to eat well and be nourished.”

Unfortunately, that is about the last message American school lunch sends to our children. Instead, we’re saying, “We have to feed you something; it’s gotta be cheap, and we don’t really care about it or you.”

So stop with that “greatest country” BULLSHIT! until the house is in order, by which I mean a general public default on the most basic and fundamental responsibility an animal ever has in its entire life: proper care, nourishment and training of offspring until they are competently self-sufficient.

What is more fundamental than that? What does it say about a country that’s the richest in the world, yet has the world’s most obese and unhealthy children? Greatest country? You’re deluded, then. It’s not even close. How can it be, with such a deeply damaged culture of basic food, nutrition, health?

Americans: Here’s what Real Food looks like, you despicable, uncaring, ignorant fools; you child molesters. Get off your fat, lazy, miserable asses; go shopping, and for a change, instead of filling your cart with pop-tarts, hot pockets, fruit loops, frozen pizzas, ice cream, candy, and sugar drinks, fill it with Real Food. Then dust off that cookbook you never even cracked open and get busy.

You’re too tired you say? Well try Real Food. It’s amazing what it’ll do for energy. Processed garbage is a vicious circle. Get off, and get your kids off it too.

Thankfully there seems to be a Food Revolution underway. And I’m going to stay entirely off the political aspects of this because, you know what? I don’t give a damn. It’s the food culture that’s totally fucked. It’s not about whose pockets are being picked to pay for it, really. If we had a food culture that existed as it did when my grandparents, parents, and I were growing up, this wouldn’t even be an issue. People would simply eat well whether they bought it at school, it was a “free lunch,” or whether they brought it from home. If food and its quality and wholsemeness were essential, inviolable concerns the money would take care of itself, rest assured.

Part of the previous post I linked to above was about the mysterious Mrs. Q, the school teacher documenting her year of torture eating school lunches. Well, she has now grabbed the attention of Good Morning America, as well as Jamie Oliver and others.

But not so fast… Evil lurks in the shadows. Yes, I’m talking about the dual menace to society: Margot Wootan and the Center for “Science” in the Public “Interest” (CSPI).

…but what’s perhaps most striking is what the meals look and taste like – and the rogues’ gallery of components (fries, canned green beans, cling peaches in heavy syrup) that are missing.

Revolution shuns high-fructose corn syrup, artificial colors and flavors, trans fats and deep-frying. Its meats and milk are hormone- and antibiotic-free, and many of its ingredients are organic and locally sourced. […]

Margo Wootan, nutrition policy director for the Center for Science in the Public Interest, says she’s slightly concerned with Revolution’s insistence on natural, local ingredients.

“You can have full-fat cheese from a local farmer, and it’s still going to clog your arteries and give you heart disease,” she says. “Having the food be natural is nice, but a bigger threat to children’s health is making sure that there’s not too much salt and not too much saturated fat.”

…[tapping fingers on desk]…

So I know this post is largely preaching to the choir because all you great readers are part of the revolution to restore a rational, caring Food Culture in America we can once again be proud of. So get out there and talk and celebrate and promote Real Food.

Links, Quick Hits & Meatballs Again

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~ As a GERD sufferer for many years, on prescription Proton Pump Inhibitor meds also for years before going Paleo and stopping them, I had been toying with a post on how to get off the meds. Well, someone else is now doing a series so those interested will want to follow along. Here’s part I: What Everybody Ought To Know (But Doesn’t) About Heartburn & GERD.

In this first article I will present evidence demonstrating that, contrary to popular belief, heartburn and GERD are caused by too little (not too much) stomach acid. In the second article I’ll explain exactly how low stomach acid causes heartburn, GERD and other digestive conditions. In the third article I’ll discuss the important roles stomach acid plays in maintaining health and preventing disease, and the danger long-term use of acid suppressing drugs presents. In the final article, I’ll present simple dietary and lifestyle changes that can eliminate heartburn and GERD once and for all.

Should be good. PPIs are awful things, and you should get off them if you can. My quick list for making it easy?

  1. Go very low carb Paleo, at least initially.
  2. Cease all alcohol consumption until you’re off the meds.
  3. Employ 1 or 2 intermittent fasting sessions of 18-24 hours per week. If you get bad heartburn 10-12 hours into your first couple of fasts, use water to dilute, but keep fasting. This gives your digestive system the rest it needs to “reset.”
  4. Don’t drink any fluids before a meal and only sip liquids during a meal. If you can go without any fluid during the meal, better.
  5. Don’t overstuff yourself, even low-carb paleo. Better to eat half your meal, see how you feel after 30-45 minutes then eat more if you don’t feel full or stuffed.

~ National Post reporter Adam McDowell is giving Paleo a try, and he’s also blogging about it.

Should you be interested in detailed updates, I’ve created a blog, called Me, Caveman, to chart my progress (warning: some posts may not be as clean as you could expect from a family newspaper). Meanwhile I’ll be condensing the updates and posting them here at The Appetizer a few times a week, using the tag Caveman Month.

So go check out the Caveman Month condensations and his blog, and give some encouragement in comments where appropriate.

~ This has been around so maybe you’ve seen it. At Let Them Eat Meat, a blog by an ex-vegan, his Interview With an Ex-Vegan: Kaleigh Mason. I’ll quote from a couple of Q&As.

What made you realize that you needed to quit veganism?

I was so depressed I couldn’t laugh at funny things or smile anymore. I had always been depressed, but always able to at least smile. This was a new low.

I discovered I was deficient in a multitude of different nutrients that are readily available in animal products. (b12, zinc, iron, magnesium, vit D, Retinol Vit A). I also found out I had hypothyroidism, and when I did some research I found the link between raw cruciferous vegetables and soy blocking thyroid function. Protein and pre-formed Vitamin A from animal products are critical for thyroid health. When you have a slow thyroid you cannot convert beta carotene into Retinol Vitamin A, the form you need for healthy thyroid function.

Before I was vegan I had ONE cavity. I developed eight new cavities in the first two years of being a vegan.

What do you miss about veganism?

I miss believing in the blanket vegan solution for all of our health and ecological problems. Just kidding. I don’t miss one fucking thing.

~ Last night’s grassfed meatballs & a salad.

Meatballs in Beef Stock Red Wine Reduction
Meatballs in Fatty Beef Stock & Red Wine Reduction
Green Sals with Cabbage
Spring Mix with Cabbage & Grape Tomato Dressed in Olive Oil & Fresh Lemon

Chicken Sous Vide with Tarragon Rosemary Sauce

Last night’s dinner using the Sous Vide Supreme. Chicken was brined in a weak solution (5 tbsp per quart of water) for an hour, sealed up with a pinch of sea salt & pat of butter, like here, then cooked at 146F for two hours. Click for the high quality version.

Chicken Sous Vide
Chicken Sous Vide

The sauce was a quart of a quality low-sodium, organic, free range chicken broth reduced by about half, along with a pinch or two of a poultry dry rub mix, about 1/2 cup of chopped fresh tarragon, a small sprig of fresh rosemary and two good tbsp of butter. Then it was strained and thickened with a slurry of 1 tsp potato starch. Save a half cup of the cold broth to make your slurry (if it’s not cold it will lump up).

Once the chicken came out I saved the butter-chicken juice from the bag, laid the chicken out on a cookie sheet, brushed it with the juice and fired under the broiler for a short time — then finished it off with the kitchen torch. Tasted the juice and it was very rich, yummy, buttery so I stirred it into the sauce and it made it even better than it was.

The mash was a standard semi-lumpy mix of potatoes, butter & heavy cream. Heat the butter & cream on the stove first so it doesn’t cool off the potatoes. Also, that was just the right amount starch, or, there was so much fat in the meal that it blunted any kind of blood glucose crash. We were all drinking wine and easily stayed up until 1am playing cards, nobody showing any signs of drowsiness.

Dinner for six. Huge hit, especially the sauce. I’m gonna have to start bottling some of my concoctions…

Enjoy Your Saturday Evening Folks; Here’s Some Emmylou Harris

Not exactly rock, but it is from an album named "Wrecking Ball," Emmylou Harris, from 1995. Deeper Well.

I’m working on dinner. Chicken in the brine, Sous Vide Supreme warming up, and a tarragon sauce planned with some lumpy mash. Dinner for six, tonight. See you on the other side.

Poor Poor Matt Stone

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I think it’s time to expose some serious hypocrisy on the part of Matt Stone. I take no particular pleasure in it and frankly, had reservations about doing it, so sent out some email probes to people whose opinions I respect and received unanimous encouragement to move forward. One of the rules I try to follow is to save my ire for the truly bad stuff out there. I think it’s counter productive to fight with people who are largely on your side.

But is Matt Stone on “our” side at all? As always with what I’m going to reveal, you be the judge. And, you know, I don’t follow him on Twitter anymore but when people alert me to stuff like this

@DianaHsieh Nikoley’s health/nutrition/lifestyle advice is some of the most metabolically-destructive advice I have found in all my studies.

…I just have to shake my head. Hyperbole, much? Here, check out all the people whose metabolisms have been destroyed.

First, a little background. Way back when, Matt Stone and some of his readers began showing up in comments promoting something they were calling the “High Everything Diet.” I believe I called it right back when I blogged about it: HED: High Everything Diet (If eating garbage is your problem, just eat more of it).

Fast forward to a couple of months back where suddenly, Matt Stone was all over the place in comments on various blogs I follow, and here too. He reached out to me and we began some correspondence. Well, then it resulted in this nonsense: Richard Nikoley has a “Low Body Temperature” and “Edema?” You be the judge.

Even at that point I was prepared to let it slide and just move forward. Until this.

This e-mail sent to me the other day by a prolific Paleo blogger that was tired of being sick and infertile and decided to abandon her Paleo ways says it all. My kudos to Mark Sisson. His “Primal Challenge” may just be the thing that solves this population problem, saving mankind from walking over the edge of the overpopulation cliff. And the best thing about it is that the metabolism slows down so much that delayed stomach emptying can still give women the satisfaction of feeling pregnant even though they are far from it! […]

Please, for the love of the planet – its resources, and more, please leave this blog immediately and seek the sage advice of the real heroes of humanity such as Mark Sisson and Kurt Harris… and dare I say Richard Nikoley – a guy who lost weight exercising, fasting, and eating a low-carb diet to the point where he has become the almighty guru of everlasting health and a sustainable planet!

I decided that Stone had simply been duplicitous all along in an effort to elevate himself above those who have earned their readership and influence through consistent hard work and proven results for many over significant time. But rather than create a raucous over it, I simply chose to ignore him and, above all, to afford him no aid whatsoever in promoting his efforts.

And then he attacked Jimmy Moore: Poor Poor Jimmy Moore. I don’t know about you, but this sort of fake compassion makes me want to vomit.

Jimmy is such a good guy. It really is upsetting to see Jimmy digging himself deeper and deeper into the low-carb dungeon. But Jimmy is trapped.

Even still, I just shook my head and let it pass. Jimmy can defend himself and on top of that, the only reason people know of Jimmy’s difficulties is because he’s meticulously honest about reporting everything, with photos to boot. And that includes his successes too, like the 20 pounds he’s taken off in the last two weeks following a dietary regime prescribed by two low-carb doctors who actually treat real live obese patients.

Then, a few days back a reader tweeted me with a link to one of Matt Stone’s recent videos asking, “Ya notice, Matt’s lookin’ puffy faced. Hope his thyroid’s okay….” So then I began to wonder. If you go to Matt’s blog, what you see on the header is a photo of a young man who, while not ripped is certainly lean & healthy looking. On a lark, today, I set out to compare a photo from his main website with a screen clip from that video.

Matt Stone Before After
Matt Stone Before & After

Looks like a carb face to me. Ok, but what if the video image through compression just makes him appear that way. You know how they say that TV puts 10 pounds on you. Benefit of the doubt? So I checked something else, his recent video on making Steak Tartare. First, let’s look at another image from his blog demonstrating a perfectly respectable flat tummy.

Flat Respectable
Flat & Respectable

And here’s a screen clip from that video of an entirely recomposed tummy.

Pretty Doughy
Pretty Doughy

Now, in case you think that’s just catching him at a bad moment, represents a bad angle or whatever, then watch the whole video and see if that isn’t entirely fair and representative.

If this is the way Matt wants to go about pursuing “health” then it’s really none of my business. Notice — unless I’ve missed it — that he’s not much into talking about LDL particle size, vitamin D levels, systemic chronic inflammation often signaled by “carb face,” coronary calcium scores, etc. That’s fine too. But dishing out uninvited “health” advice to fellow bloggers when he seems to have some “metabolic” issues of his own? Or, is it just that High Everything Diet (HED) is really Too Much Food (TMF)?

I’ll finish by saying something nice. In spite of the apparent hypocrisy, he does seem to at least be following his own advice. Question is, do you want to follow it? Or, perhaps you can do just what he said to do in that quote above and “…please leave [his] blog immediately and seek the sage advice of the real heroes of humanity such as Mark Sisson and Kurt Harris…

Mark Sisson
Mark Sisson

Well, I guess he did mention me, too. I still have more “metabolic destruction” to go in order get to the kind of metabolic havoc Mark & Kurt have wreaked on themselves. I’ve done about an additional 7 pounds of harmful metabo-destruction since this photo was taken

Richard Nikoley
Richard Nikoley

I’m 49, Mark is 55, Kurt is 49. Matt’s blog says he’s 32. We’ll see what he looks like at 50 — in 18 years.

Update: the Modern Paleo Blog weighs in on the matter.

Peaceful People, Modern Society and Paleo Principles

I think a number of readers get a bit uncomfortable when we wander off the diet, health, conditioning and other closely related subjects on this blog. On the other hand, isn’t the Paleosphere replete with blogs and other resources devoted exclusively to diet, to recipes, to workouts, or some combination?

I never wanted to specialize, and the primary reason for that is because my own great leap forward in health has been so multi-faceted, and too, I hate feeling boxed in. I have often related that hand-in-hand with the brief intense workouts and paleo-like diet, that I also got off the cable news addiction, talk radio addiction, financial news addiction, and hand-wringing-over-politics addiction.

The whole aim of practical politics is to keep the populace alarmed — and hence clamorous to be led to safety — by menacing it with an endless series of hobgoblins, all of them imaginary. — H.L. Mencken

And then I began sleeping like a baby again — and guiltlessly so, in great splendor. So: isn’t that another piece of the overall Paleo puzzle?

But why cherry pick, since I’m also not going to go "live like a cave man?" Because "Paleo" is in some sense a philosophy; or, rather, a framework of knowledge & principles whereby one assembles a foundation from whence a modern philosophy might be built, and we want that: modernity, advancement, improvement. The last thing I want Paleo to represent is static stagnation, or primitivism, squalor, separatism. And while so many of us have done marvelously in constructing a modern approach to food choices, exercise choices and entertainment, fun and relaxation, how many of us have extrapolated some of that deep evolutionary understanding of our own humanity to how we might best conduct ourselves as free animals in a modern society?

It’s too bad I have to deal in labels that don’t quite clearly convey what I mean. …And there’s probably no word in the world more loaded, more misunderstood, more confused, more bi-polar, than: anarchy. I mean, for most people, it’s hard to even see the word without finishing the phrase: "& chaos." Much was made of Lierre Keith’s recent assault at the hands of "anarchists." But was that an essential description or would "bullies" might have sufficed and been more accurate? Ok, ok, let’s answer the implicit question: what kind of "anarchists?" Well, none at all, from my perch. They were really just your run of the mill communists & deep socialists (redundancy alert!) and all applicable varieties therein. I’m not going to belabor the point here. More accurately, they’re nihilists.

Let me explain. Suppose there were some in our society who had a problem giving up the fun & jolly Santa Claus myth by around age five or so. Such a condition might motivate the formation of "asantaists" as some epistemological position (or ethical and political if "santaism" went along far enough). So what is an "asantaist?" How about a group that wishes to destroy by force, if "necessary," all vestiges of the jolly old man with a little round belly, that shook when he laughed, like a bowl full of jelly? Sure, they’re "asantaists" alright, but aren’t they more importantly bullies, nihilists, spoilsports, party-poopers and…vegans? And how do they compare with the down-to-reality "asantaists" who just want to talk sense? Or, those who wish simply to admonish you — but only if you’ll listen — that willingness to entertain fantasy in one area might carry over to others and end in real harm? We’re talking about a bi-polar condition surrounding the same concept: brutality & force vs. peaceful persuasion and freedom of association; opposites, in fact. But even so, they are to some extent both still "asantaists."

So there’s a one-paragraph metaphor that I think pretty much describes the essential problem with the word "anarchy."

Are you interested in where this is going? I hope so. If not, that’s cool and there’ll be more Food Porn or Dietitian Ridicule or SatFatGood soon enough. But if so, do you have 10-15 minutes to inform yourself in some radical, but eminently peaceful, political philosophy that might make the rest of this far more valuable in terms of considering alternatives to the political and social status quo? From a seemingly unlikely source: an old friend; a realtor in Phenix, AZ, with a pretty deep background in things classical, Hellenic, and Greek. Greg Swann; SplendorQuest: A real-estate professionals’ guide to anarchy in the USA.

If you would, please go read it and return so the quotes I use will make more complete sense. Now that we’ve dismissed the nihilist anarchists as, essentially, mostly engaged in nihilism, how about the next branch? These guys — and I used to be one of them — are super "free-marketeers." They’re so super-free-market that when they noticed that governments exist by force & coercion, preventing competition in governance — a monopoly of force, coercion…destruction — that they drew the natural & obvious conclusion: the problem is with monopoly. We need a lot more force & coercion — competition over it — which, by virtue of "market forces," will somehow result in not more but…less destruction. Yep. Don’t like the government you have? Fine. Hire another and go to war with the former. That’ll be peaceful.

I know I’m glossing over finer points but it’s only as a means to get to where I want to be. First, here’s Greg outlining the foregoing in his way.

In general, advocates of free-market anarchism will insist that the polities they envision will be entirely voluntary. I dispute this claim. The two best known defenders of free-market anarchism — David Friedman (son of Milton Friedman) and Murray Rothbard — both envision free-market police forces that would engage in violent trespass onto private property and forceful coercion of individuals suspected of having injured other members of the polity. I think this is simply thoughtlessness — the failure to have thought through the unwillingness of each member of the polity to volunteer for this kind of abuse. But, to my knowledge, Janioism is the only argument for free-market anarchism that foreswears system coercion both of members of the polity and of strangers who might find themselves subject to the dispute resolution systems of a Janioist polity.

Sorry; as I said, you’ll need to read his post to decode some of that.

So let’s get back to the Paleolithic. How did we get here? What were we like? What sort of social framework did we evolve in? Modern society is certainly far different, but is that advancement, or something else?

If it’s something else and I think surely it is, then it’s that we’ve conditioned ourselves to be slaves, but slaves of the worst possible kind: slaves who live in the fantasy that they’re really free. Moreover, and get ready: modern "social food" is cannibal food. When someone says "socialism," I immediately think: "cannibalism." But no one could dispute that cannibal isn’t Paleo, so what gives? Do I jest, much? Well, what does give? Isn’t that a vestige of primitive savagery — cannibalism — that we could put aside — at fucking least, please! — instead of figuring out loopholes?

I think it’s an interesting parallel that rather than slaughter certain animals for their meat, we domesticated them so we could milk them and derive far more value over a lifetime. I have no idea how widespread human cannibalism may have been in the Paleolithic and beyond, but did agricultural civilization represent, essentially, a trade — even an unconscious, evolutionary one — of cannibalism for slavery? "Don’t worry, we’re not going to take your fingers & toes — or bleed you outright & eat your liver. Instead, you get to be a citizen. And hey, in a few thousand years, you’ll even get to vote!!! (oh joy). But wait! There’s more. You’ll also get this combination spaghetti pot, clam steamer…and, you’ll get to vote to live at everyone else’s expense! Now how much of your freedom will you give up?"

And so we come full circle, from real cannibals at times to metaphorical cannibals who get to vote on it: who goes into the pot & who gets to feast.

But let’s get back to the question. How did we get here? Who are we? Where can we go from here? Greg, again:

Almost everyone is sane and normal. Few people understand egoism as I defend it, but that’s simply because the forces of evil in our civilization do everything they can think of to smear ideas like egoism, individualism, capitalism, anarchism, etc. Their dominance games will not work without your active, continual surrender, so they indoctrinate you from childbirth to submit to their authority, to fear and resist your own desires, to yield to them in any conflict, to be their perfect little slave at all times. And it works, too. Not only do you sacrifice fifty percent or more of every dollar you produce, you will defend with righteous indignation your glorious servitude.

So until Part II, you glorious slaves! I’ll write about how we could be and how best we might engage in political activism of sorts, towards breaking the chains. There are distinctions to make.

The Bavette Will Be My Downfall!

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Once again I’ve wasted time trying to find Mark Sisson’s blog about flap steak or bavette. Wanted to give him credit, which this is, but also a link, which I can’t do. Alas, it was in one of his Insider emails. A stern email to Mark will follow! :). I am totally and completely in love with this cut of meat. For my money, this is the best cut of meat, ounce for pennies, bar none. I used to love grilled tri-tip roasts as the best flavor for dollar. This beats it hands down for my taste buds. Onward.

Last night. I grilled it this time, just like the first time (link above). From La Cense. Hope you’re not hungry. Click to get HQ.

Grilled Bavette
Grilled Bavette

Notice how it’s fall apart tender, which you can actually see in the photo, owing to how it’s separating from the slicing.

Did a beef stock reduction with butter and then added some crème fraiche I had in the fridge for a bit creamier texture. I’ll tell you what, it took a rare level of chivalry to give up my last slice to Bea for her lunch. You must try this.

With Sauce
With Sauce

For the side dish, I did a three-fat veggie sauté: butter, tallow, bacon drippings.

Sauteed Veggies
Sauteed Veggies


Links & Commentary: Cavemen in the News; Vitamin A Toxicity; and Saturated Fat Will Kill You

Wow, I don’t think I can even remember the last time I was so unmotivated to blog much. Not quite sure what it is. Spring has sprung, I feel great, workouts going better than ever — due at the gym in 45-minutes — and yet I sit down to write and it’s just not coming to me. Burnout? Perhaps. Hopefully only temporary. Well, fortunately I have lots of tidbits to hit up here & there. So links is all today, folks.

Thanks to so many readers who often sent me heads up on many of these.

~ Another mainstream news report on "cavemen" in The Denver Post: Their secret: Work out hard, and eat like a cave man.

CrossFit’s embrace of the paleo way, also called the "cave man" diet, also has thrilled Colorado State University professor Loren Cordain, though he isn’t swinging a club in celebration or grunting for joy. At least not yet.

But the scholar, who teaches in the university’s health and exercise science department, wrote the book "The Paleo Diet" in 2002, based on decades of research into the diets, and the health, of people who get their food from hunting and gathering. Among other things, Cordain found people who eat diets rich in meat, vegetables, fruits, nuts and seeds suffer fewer diseases and health problems than Western contemporaries.

The book didn’t do gangbusters in the marketplace. Cordain continued publishing articles and teaching. And then, nearly a decade later, the book started selling. Its ranking on began creeping up. Now, Cordain is a celebrity among CrossFitters. It all surprises Cordain, a tall, ruddy guy who has dedicated his life to scholarship.

Still some of the "lean meat" nonsense, but otherwise pretty good.

~ Is the "Vitamin A is Toxic" BS ever going to end? Cannell at Vitamin D Council. Echoed by Mercola. But it just doesn’t pass muster with me. If they were right it would be harmful to eat liver and that just makes no sense. Fortunately, Chris Masterjohn of The Weston A. Price Foundation comes to the rescue with some sense talking.

The researchers split people into three groups according to vitamin A intake: those who consumed less than 1500 IU/day, those who consumed more than 3000 IU/day, and those who consumed some amount in between those two values. To put this in perspective, the RDA for vitamin A is 3000 IU/day for men and 2300 IU/day for women. In those consuming less than 3000 IU of vitamin A per day, low vitamin D status was associated with an increased risk of cancer and high vitamin D status was associated with a decreased risk of cancer. In those consuming more than 3000 IU of vitamin A per day, however, the magnitude of these relationships became so small that they lost statistical significance, which means the effect of vitamin D status was so small that it could not be distinguished from the effect of chance.

Naturally, opponents of vitamin A supplementation like Dr. Cannell have seized on the fact that high vitamin D status was not associated with the benefit of a decreased risk of colorectal cancer in those consuming the RDA for vitamin A. They have, however, ignored the fact that low vitamin D status was not associated with the harm of an increased risk in the same population. And thus they claim without any true justification that vitamin A intakes at or above the RDA render vitamin D useless and that vitamin A-rich cod liver oil constitutes "poison."

~ Anyone have time to take apart this study? Effects on Coronary Heart Disease of Increasing Polyunsaturated Fat in Place of Saturated Fat: A Systematic Review and Meta-Analysis of Randomized Controlled Trials. It concludes:

These findings provide evidence that consuming PUFA in place of SFA reduces CHD events in RCTs [randomized controlled trials]. This suggests that rather than trying to lower PUFA consumption, a shift toward greater population PUFA consumption in place of SFA would significantly reduce rates of CHD.

And the BBC reports:

Experts said cutting down on saturated fats, found in butter and meat, was just one part of a healthy diet.

It is recommended that adults get no more than 11% of their energy from saturated fats.

This is because the fats raise the levels of bad cholesterol that block the arteries to the heart.

In comparison, polyunsaturated fats have the opposite effect by increasing the levels of good cholesterol.

The Harvard analysis suggested that for every 5% increase in polyunsaturated fat consumption there was a 10% fall in heart disease.

Well, so now we have something to balance out the other recent meta-study by Ronald Krauss that concluded: "A meta-analysis of prospective epidemiologic studies showed that there is no significant evidence for concluding that dietary saturated fat is associated with an increased risk of CHD or CVD. More data are needed to elucidate whether CVD risks are likely to be influenced by the specific nutrients used to replace saturated fat." Here’s a recent post that deals with that and bunch of other studies.

I’m wondering whether the associations found in the underlying RCTs were themselves statistically significant… One way to fool you — and, it must be said, this would apply to Krauss as well — is to gather up a bunch of insignificant data, pool it, and magically attain significance because of the higher numbers.

…And I guess lead researcher Dariush Mozaffarian has never heard of the Tokelauans who seem to do just fine on 50% of energy from saturated fat — until, that is, they begin consuming modern processed foods.

Update: Dr. Stephan has given an initial impression of the Harvard study. Can you guess?

Update 2: And now he has a post up on it. Go read it. Oh, and frequent commenter Ned Koch also has a takedown on his blog. Both are appropriately short (guess why), so read ’em both.

Pepperoni Meatza, Liver & Onions, Tex-Thai Lamb Chili and Smoked Salmon Pasta

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Greetings Cannibals! I suppose the only question left at this point is who goes into the pot and who gets to feast. Buts that’s life I suppose, when everyone now endeavors to live at everyone else’s expense.

So in honor of such robust American gluttony, I thought I’d just give you all the Food Porn in my current stash. As always, click the images for the high quality.

Pepperoni Meatza with Fresh Tomato

Pepperoni Meatza Tomato
Pepperoni Meatza & Tomato

You most definitely, from now on, want to use Justin Owing’s meatball recipe for the crust. I did a slight mod by adding in some fennel seeds (about half as much as the caraway) and upping the red pepper flakes about 50%.

Pepperoni Meatza
Pepperoni Meatza

Liver & Onions with German Style Fried Potatoes

Liver Onions
Liver & Onions

Onions take a long time to get that way so I like to get them started first and then move them to the cast iron skillet after the liver is done. To do german-style fried potatoes, you boil them first. I quarter them, boil for only a few minutes, drain & slice. Then fry in bacon drippings. Notice I added back in the bacon bits at the end. I gave the liver a dusting of a tapioca flour.

Tex-Thai Lamb Chili

Tex Thai Lamb Chili
Tex Thai Lamb Chili

This is somewhat similar to my regular Texas chili, but this basically has the lamb, onion, garlic and the parsley you see. It was just beef stock, some water, lots of massaman curry paste and lots of chili powder. It was nice & spicy hot. Oh, and the garnish is full-fat creamy Russian yogurt & parsley.

Pasta with Smoked Salmon – Pasta al Salmone Affumicato

Smoked Salmon Pasta
Smoked Salmon Pasta

Recipes abound for this. I basically used this one. Of course for the "pasta," I used spaghetti squash, setting a new record by going to four stores before finding one. Since I had all the other ingredients and I had guests over (this was Saturday) and had to do something I was very close to making my very first batch of wheat spaghetti in a very long time. Other variations: I used more smoked salmon than called for, the freshly grounded parmesan, about a half tub of crème fraiche added, and some capers.

Warning: this is a very rich dish owing to the smokiness of the salmon. I used 12 oz for four people and while everyone loved it, you got the sense that you wouldn’t eat it often. Next time, I’m going to do maybe 1-2 oz per serving and augment with freshly grilled salmon.

…Well I know the foregoing isn’t going to cure America’s insatiable appetite to feed upon one-another, but I tried.

Some Days You Just Don’t Feel Like Blogging

So I built a store instead.

More organization & categorization to come soon. As many know, anything you buy off that, I get a little piece of. I’ll also be taking down the ads over on the right sidebar in favor of this approach.


New word. I coined it, if Google is to be believed.

Use royalties can be via PayPal. :)

And Chris Gabel Rings In

I was going to include this in a link roundup I’m doing but then I thought nope, this really deserves it’s own entry, the roundup can wait a bit.

You remember Chris, right? A mere shadow of his former self at 106 pounds lost in 7 months. He’s not done, yet. Via email.

It’s been awhile since I checked in.  Last week I weighed in at 253 – 121 lbs lost now.  This is officially the lowest weight I’ve been at since my 20’s (I’m now 51).  At 6’3", I’d like to get down to at least 210.  Frankly, I’m not sure what my "mature adult weight" really should be.  But the mirror is telling me I’ve got a way to go yet.  Nevertheless, I’m thrilled with the results.  To say the least, life is much better these days.

I asked what sorts of reactions he’s been getting from family & friends.

Well, you can imagine the reactions are one of the best parts.  One of my quartet mates has taken to calling me "the incredible shrinking man".  And there’s nothing quite like running into someone who hasn’t seen you for a good while.  It’s often: "I almost didn’t recognize you!" or "HOLY CRAP!  You look great!"  One of my favorite comments was – "Who invited Chris’ younger brother?"  I’ve been reluctant to spend much money on clothes, because I’m changing sizes so fast.  Recently, we invaded the closet in my son’s old room & I grabbed some shirts he wore in high school, much to his chagrin…. I’ve gone from 4-5XL down to XL shirts & 2XL on the bottom (unfortunately, I’ve always been pear-shaped).  I’ve got to take some shots of me in my old clothes – hilarious!
Lots of people ask me what I’m doing, but I’ve learned to just say – "Oh, you know…..good old diet & exercise."  Because, frankly, most people don’t really want to know (unless you tell them about a secret pill or something).  Once you say they have to make changes, their eyes glaze over……oh well.  I’ve frequently referred people to your site & MDA, though.  I figure the results speak for themselves & if they’re really interested, they’ll check it out.
As you can tell, I’m not much of a writer, but I can respond to promptings just fine.  Let me know if there’s anything else you’re looking for.

Be so kind as to drop in a word of encouragement for Chris in comments and let him know if you want to know more and what. Yea, I love how this only solidifies the Palo way, but most importantly, Chris has gained a lot of health and I would imagine: self love. That’s the healthiest place to be in life.

Modern Paleo

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I’d like to announce a great new resource that I hope you’ll check out and enjoy. My friend, Diana Hsieh, whom I’ve been aware of as an Objectivist philosopher since the mid 90s — and who emailed me out of the blue a couple of years ago to let me know she’d been reading my blog and had "gone paleo" — has now really contributed to the movement in a big and unique way: Modern Paleo.

One thing that has irked me to some extent about the paleo movement and I’d bet far more for Diana, is a sort of romanticizing of the primitive. If that also bugs you then you’ll be right at home where…

My philosophy, in essence, is the concept of man as a heroic being, with his own happiness as the moral purpose of his life, with productive achievement as his noblest activity, and reason as his only absolute. –Ayn Rand

And how that works in paleo and in practice is…

We live by that philosophy. We do not seek to return to the past: we want to fully enjoy the amazing benefits of modern life. We do not cling to dogmas or submit to authority: we think and act for ourselves, based on our best grasp of the relevant facts. We do not sacrifice our judgment or our values to others, nor ask others to sacrifice to us. We seek the best for ourselves by producing and trading voluntarily with other rational, productive people. We reject government controls and welfare on principle: every person should be free to live as he pleases, so long as he respects the rights of others. […]

We regard Objectivism as compatible with a paleo approach to nutrition, fitness, and health. Yet we recognize that most Objectivists do not eat a paleo diet, just as most paleo diet advocates are not Objectivists. We’re happy to forge our own path to secure our life, health, and happiness. That’s what it means to be human.

And Diana has put together quite a list of resources. There’s the BLOG, of course, an amazing and comprehensive statement of paleo principles with expandable text with tons of resource info (including many, many links to articles here and other blogs you know so well), three email lists and that’s probably just to start with, an enormous list of resources, and finally, a description about what makes this particular approach to paleo modern & different.

So there you have it and rather than take up even more time talking about it, just go have yourself a good look and explore.

The Primal Blueprint Push

One of the more rewarding aspects of this whole health & fitness venture and blogging about it has been making so many friends amongst other bloggers. What you may not always be aware of is some of the "back chatter" that goes on from time-to-time.

One of those fellow blogger, email buddies is Mark Sisson of Mark’s Daily Apple. And I’m here today to lend a hand with a very worthy goal Mark has set for himself. Mark is offering an amazing deal for anyone who purchases a copy of his most excellent book, The Primal Blueprint: Reprogram your genes for effortless weight loss, vibrant health, and boundless energy, from Amazon, but you have to do it today!

Mark explains.

Since the release of The Primal Blueprint readers like you have helped propel my book to the top of the book charts; it’s been as high as #4 on the bestselling Health and Fitness list. But I think we can do better. In the next 24 hours I’m looking to push The Primal Blueprint to #1, so I’ve put together an irresistible offer. It’s a win-win situation – you get all kinds of free gifts and get to have a hand in helping spread the word, and I get The Primal Blueprint the sort of exposure it needs to affect real change.

This offer is only available for the next 24 hours. It expires at 12 pm PST on Thursday, March 18.

Mark has delineated an impressive list of incentives for various numbers of copies purchased. Even if you purchase only one copy for yourself, friend, family member or co-worker there’s five bennies Mark is making available to you.

So you get those, you get the book (for only $16.19), you help yourself or the person you give it to, and you help the Primal / Paleo / Evolutionary Fitness movement in general by helping to propel this state-of-the-art book to a #1 sales rank which will earn it a lot of publicity on Amazon & elsewhere.

So don’t wait. If ever you were thinking about giving this book out, think of who all that might be and go ahead and get them today.

The Primal Blueprint

Update: If you want to read an extensive, excellent review of the book that just went online today, see my good friend Karen De Coster’s review on Healthy, Moving, Modern Humans – Not Cavemen.

Update 2; 3/17/10, 12:45 PST: As of this update, The Primal Blueprint is now at #3 on Amazon, for all books. Very impressive. Also, I just learned that Dr. Stephan Guyenet at Whole Health Source posted a very positive review of the book today.

Update 3; 13:00 PST: Just hit #2 on Amazon. Let’s help bring it home. I’ve ordered 5 copies so far today. They will be easy to make use of. And also, the price has dropped to $14.84.

Lierre Keith Gets a Cayenne Laced Pie in the Face During San Francisco Book Fair Speech

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And here’s the gloating over it.

Bound Together Books and PM Press continue to try to prop up and foist veg*n antagonist Lierre Keith onto the radical community in the Bay Area. Today, at the 15th Annual San Francisco Anarchist Bookfair, where she was scheduled to be a featured speaker, Keith was served her just deserts for her obnoxious attacks on veg*ns in The Vegetarian Myth. She was pied in the middle of her speech in the main auditorium at the SF County Fair Building in Golden Gate Park.

According to the various reports by eyewitnesses — many who have now commented at that link and condemned the actions of the three young "men" who assaulted Ms. Keith — she was just beginning the part of her speech critical of factory farming.

While I’m tempted to rage a bit about this and call names, I think the assault & battery speaks for itself and is an excellent representation of vegetarianism and veganism in general. They deserve those three "gentleman" as their standard bearers.

Here are my past posts about Lierre Keith and her excellent book, The Vegetarian Myth. It would be great to see a good spike in orders for her book, so if you’re inclined to help out, please do so. You can also listen to Lierre’s recent podcast interview with Jimmy Moore.

Update: Jimmy Moore has now published an extensive entry on this incident. And when I exchanged an email with Lierre last night, she echoed the same thing she wrote to Jimmy: that the worst part was hearing the cheers of onlookers in the audience as the assault took place. Shameful.

Update 2: Now Tom Naughton has weighed in.

Update 3: Lierre Keith responds. This is a 15-minute interview with Keith in the beginning of Jimmy Moor’s normally scheduled podcast for today.

Update 4: Comedian Tom Naughton has a new post on True Believerism using the attack on Keith as inspiration.

Update 5: A Local News report on the incident.

The Crock Pot: Dinner in 10 Minutes

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I’ve done a few crock pot dishes lately and am really enjoying the simplicity. Basically, toss a few ingredients in over the space of 10 minutes, turn it on, and you’re done preparing dinner (or whatever). Another thing is that the last couple of times I’ve used it I get things started at 1pm in the afternoon, turn it on high, and all is perfect 6 hours later for dinner. I see no advantage to the slower cooking on low for 10-12 hours, though if it’s a weekday and you’ve got to be at work, then that makes perfect sense.

Yesterday I just decided to experiment with some adding some unusual ingredients added to a basic crock pot of boneless pork ribs, cabbage & onion. Click for the HQ version.

Boneless Country Pork Ribs
Boneless Country Pork Ribs

This was 2 pounds of pork, a large bulb of fennel, one medium yellow onion, one large jalapeno pepper with seeds, a half head of cabbage and about 1 cup of chicken stock. Six hours on high.

It was fantastic.

Human Intelligence, Part I (Sexual Exclusivity and Intelligence)

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I think the only thing one could possibly take from this study is that people who tend toward marching to their own drummer, charting their own path, preferring contrarianism when possible, going against the grain — and any other metaphorical descriptions you can think of — tend to be more intelligent. Does running your life that way make you more intelligent or, does innate intelligence just make it more likely that you tell the rest of the world to go get stuffed? Ah, mere observation can be confounding!

Liberalism, atheism, male sexual exclusivity linked to IQ

Evolutionary psychologist Satoshi Kanazawa at the the London School of Economics and Political Science correlated data on these behaviors with IQ from a large national U.S. sample and found that, on average, people who identified as liberal and atheist had higher IQs. This applied also to sexual exclusivity in men, but not in women. The findings will be published in the March 2010 issue of Social Psychology Quarterly.

The IQ differences, while statistically significant, are not stunning — on the order of 6 to 11 points — and the data should not be used to stereotype or make assumptions about people, experts say. But they show how certain patterns of identifying with particular ideologies develop, and how some people’s behaviors come to be.

So, just to get this out of the way, I’m a sexually exclusive (married 9 yrs), anarchist atheist. IQ tests pretty high, but that was a long time ago. And I really can’t get over the fact that IQ tests are designed by smart people to test things they’re probably interested in. I don’t really trust them. I just have to wonder if they are designed more to test for non-ignorance. Ignorant people can be highly intelligent. It’s just that the right software has yet to be installed and executed. Perhaps knowledgeable commenters (Aaron?) can enlighten me.

I’ve always far preferred being around "hands on" people to intellectuals, except perhaps at fancy, exclusive cocktails and/or dinner parties. Intellectuals are really, really good at that shit. Auto mechanics? Not so much. I draw from people I’ve known and learned from in my own family & surroundings since I was a kid. I learned mostly hands on stuff like hunting, fishing, gardening, woodworking, auto working, painting, construction and a host of other things. Me and my family: we can beat ourselves out of concrete paper bags. Always have. Perhaps this is why I was the top rated junior officer by wide margin on my first ship in the Navy as a missile maintenance officer, then deck officer, and then electrical officer, obliterating guys with engineering degrees from top schools (I was a lazy business major) — even an MIT honors grad with a photographic memory who got 100% on every single test at Surface Warfare Officers School. I barely scraped by in that school with him, ’cause so much of it was bullshit and I figured I’d kick ass when we got down to practicalities: hands on, driving ships at all hours, and leading a division of men, some of which have 20 years and more of experience. So I sized ’em up and had no fear. For once, things went exactly as planned.

So that’s a lot of boorish self-indulgence in one paragraph. Kinda nauseating, but there you have it. I don’t really know of a better way of explaining where I’m coming from and this sentence is being written five days after I started this uncomfortable post. Let’s move on then, and take the variables one by one in hopefully an evolutionary context.

Sexual exclusivity. Well there’s hardly any doubt in my mind that a big part of our success as a genus, over other Homo, is reproductive success. Fecundity (the Nova series Becoming Human makes this point). But if you look at most of the animal kingdom, males are pretty much dogs. They’ll fuck anything they can stick it in, often by brute force. But don’t discount females in the human species, the tamers of males and the root of human success in my opinion. This is a tough one to work out for me. The animal is always there, but it’s easy to resist for all that a good female offers. Getting by with your teeth & claws (or human brain) is possible but it’s a hard life if that’s all that gets you by (or you’re too fucking stupid to get it). Females balance things out. For my money, we wouldn’t even exist but for the innate female-to-male taming…the frustratingly obvious, annoyingly practiced, devastatingly effective ability of females.

Fuck them! [with a grin]

But could you chalk it up to shame…and where does that come from on the evolutionary scale? I bet shame is old. Hell, you can even seemingly make a dog feel shame. Shame, whenever it came from, was but another arrow in the female quiver of lots of arrows. Or, perhaps it was the first…

Given that males could physically wipe out females in almost any species easily, combined with the fact they don’t, and never will, makes for a most interesting existence and I think the best, smartest and most practiced females are those who realize this implicitly. Is it that we hate to love them, or love to hate them, or a bit of both? Passion; love & hate, are two sides of the same coin and indifference is not indifferent. Questions…

…I just think that men who screw around on their wives or committed relationships are weak pussies unless all is out in the open and everyone is game, which is rare and probably irrational, which’ll come home to roost eventually.

Nothing I’m more motivated to avoid than shame.

Liberalism. Part II, maybe tomorrow. Or maybe I’ll do Atheism first. And I have a related article on cultural evolution to integrate. We’ll see.

Saturday Afternoon Rock Roots: Rush

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While 2112 isn’t my favorite album, there’s this. I like the whole thing surrounding The Temples of Syrinx, and here it is, in two parts; 1976, B&W, and when they were all still long-haired hippies. I like Part II a little more, which I’ll explain after the show. Oh, and watch Lifeson tune his guitar mid-solo at about 6:10 or so on Pt 2.

They say that The Blues is the root of rock (true), and that Folk is the root of country (true too). But I think that this sort of themed album-rock is a bit different. One goes from hard-driving rock to some tender moments (especially in Pt 2) and I have often thought that for Rush and a few others — even Led Zep at times and certainly Pink Floyd — what really prefigures their music is Classical music. I have a lot of classical that I listen to often, love, and I can never escape wondering what the fuck Mozart could have done with an electric guitar, bass, & a drum set.

Remember, Rush has always been a 3-man power band, never more that I’m aware of. They ought to go down as the greatest rock 3-man power band in history.

Lazy, Guiltless Dogs on a Cold Saturday Morning

Just for fun and click the images for the HQ versions.

Who Me
Who, Me?

How to Eat Out With Care

Headed off to the cabin in the mountains in a bit. Sometimes that brings on a blogging whirlwind ’cause I love it. Haven’t been up there since Xmas/NY, and had a tree take out power (like, the whole junction box, meter & pole) in the interim but the insurance Co treated me very well and the repair by phone went off without  hitch.

with so much rain, lately here in the Bay Area when the sun finally came out all I wanted to do is go have lunch whilst bathed in rays, on a patio at a nice place. Rive Gauche, AKA, Left Bank was the place. Santana Row was the location.

A couple of oysters to start, served in the French manner, with red wine vinegar (my favorite).


You can make a nice vinaigrette with the vinegar, a bit of garlic, horseradish, lemon & chopped shallot. Yum.

After that, a salade frisée with a light creamy bluecheese dressing, and crumbled bluecheese on the bavette grillée.

Salade de Bavette Grille
Salade de Bavette Grillée

A tout a l’heure.