A Conversation with Mark Sisson About Primal Business

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After the Jimmy Moore interview, I took comments to heart and wondered what I could do distinctively.

How about an ugly face? Distinctive enough? (That would be mine, not my guest’s.)

So I thought about it. One idea was short blurbs of a minute or two, kinda rage-ish, but I think I’m better off writing them on Twitter. I just could not get myself interested in audio only. Really, it’s too close to writing in my view — or, I’d just rather write. Video, on the other hand, is amazingly different from both.

But…videos are often too long. What I have, below, my first foray, is nearly 40 minutes and I had intended 15. FAIL. But, it’s with Mark Sisson, and wanting it to be more conversational than a formal interview, that’s what happened. I had a good time and I think Mark did too. You can see for yourself. Please do.

And, so, beyond what I hope is a lively conversation about paleo/primal qua business, what might be your input as to production, quality, format, etc? I really want to know. I have my own lessons learned and I was going to include those, but I want to see if you have the same criticisms I had, so I’m keeping my mouth shut.

And oh, I promised to let you know the software I’m using to do this, in case any of you fabulous bloggers out there wish to do likewise. Here it is. It’s basically a plugin for Skype. For $20, you can do what used to take a studio and hundreds of thousands of dollars of equipment. THe world is a changin’.

Finally, don’t be afraid to tell me you hate it; really. I’m perhaps funny in that I like to read my writing, which drives me to make it good in my estimation, but I just don’t like hearing myself in audio, or seeing myself in video. That’s not a call to make me “feel” better. I don’t need that. If you think there’s something here, then let me know how to make it better. I may still hate it, but I think I can follow your collective bidding in thins one.

Just a final note: please don’t take the foregoing to in any way detract from the content of the interview. Please, please have that as your foremost topic of conversation. Any clues about how I might improve it ought to be secondary.

Recent Meals and a Surpise

I’ll start with the surprise! Yesterday afternoon I had the pleasure of doing a 35 minute video interview & conversation with Mark Sisson. It’s all in split screen which has some drawbacks which I’ll write about when I publish it. So check back later for that. I’m mashing video now.

In the meantime, here’s some samples of my current meals. In this program I’m undergoing, nothing is fixed. Some days are lower in fat and higher in carbs and others, the reverse. Let’s jump right in. As always, click on the images for hi-res.

The scramble is just roast beef, onions & tomato scrambled up with some eggs.

Roast Beef Scamble
Roast Beef Scramble

This was scallops, shrimp, calamari and cod all done up in a bottled cioppino sauce I found with exclusively real ingredients. Nothing unpronounceable.


A cinch to prepare. Left over roast beef with a sweet. Put the potato in the oven at 400 for an hour, and then prep your beef with a drizzle of stock in an aluminum foil wrap on a plate and put in the oven for the last 15 minutes. Talk about 1 minute prep time.

Roast Beef Sweet Potato
Roast Beef Sweet Potato

Grilled ahi tuna, and in the meantime, a chicken stock reduction with a little butter, a little slurried potato starch to thicken, and my favorite: tarragon.

Ahi Tuna Taragon
Ahi Tuna Tarragon

This one was done sous vide, 122F for 45 minutes, then seared.

Ahi Tuna Sous Vide
Ahi Tuna Sous Vide

Links From Readers: Exercise, Standing, Frankenfats, Frankensweets and Collectivized Obesity

My readers are really on the ball. Not a day goes by that I don’t receive an email it two — or more — with links to some article relevant to the topics we discuss around here. I thought I’d give you a sample. These are all things I got from readers and not on my own.

~ From WilfredoWeighing the Evidence on Exercise. A lot of interesting stuff in there. The bottom line seems to be that while exercise isn’t that helpful to lose weight (I say it is, if combined with a paleo / primal diet and sensible IF) it’s very helpful in keeping it off once lost, even if returning to bad eating habits. Most notably, even consistent walking and standing rather than sitting has profound effects. I’m standing at my desk right now.

~ And on the subject of standing rather than sitting all day, looks like the mainstream is catching onto something I was all over a year and a half go. From Benjamin in The New York TimesCan’t Stand to Sit Too Long? There’s a Desk for That. I now have minimalist barstools so that I can alternate. Oh, and the prices of those models shown in the NYT article are outrageous in my view (as much as nearly $3,000). My application at the foregoing link cost $200 for two people and is built like a brick shithouse.

~ Here’s a few from David BrownDiets High in Omega-6 to Omega-3 Fats Linked to Obesity.

Adipose tissue is more than a dormant energy storage depot. Fat cells, known as adipocytes, release chemical mediators, which promote inflammation. This may be the key link between obesity and increased risk of inflammatory diseases. […]

Extrapolation of the present data to human populations showed a stark parallel to the increased dietary intake of omega-6 fats in most developed countries in the last 100 years. Due to the competitive relationship between omega-3 and omega-6 fats the inevitable increase of the omega-6 HUFA pool may irreversibly lead to both obesity and the inflammation resulting in increased mortality.

Also, see Dr. Stephan Guyenet’s take on this issue: Have Seed Oils Caused a Multi-Generational Obesity Epidemic?

What this all means to me is that eating out too often is a bad idea. I have fallen prey to that myself, most often breakfast. And while I always ask for my eggs to be cooked in butter, who really knows? I think eating out subjects you to a lot more omega 6 than if you eat at home and don’t use seed/ grain oils or products that contain them, such as bottled dressing and other bottled & canned products. Dr. Eades recently posted about this specific thing: Dining out and bad fats.

~ Moving from frankenfats to frankensweets, three readers (David, another David and Kevin) sent these pieced on added sugars.

Added sugars increase heart-disease risk

Higher Amounts of Added Sugars Increase Heart Disease Risk Factors

And here’s a couple of videos from MSNBC, and while a bit all over the map and you may have to tolerate the guy who "trusts his heart to Lipitor," it’s at least good to see some awareness and waking up to the reality that SUGAR MAKES YOU FUCKING FAT!!!

Visit msnbc.com for breaking news, world news, and news about the economy

Visit msnbc.com for breaking news, world news, and news about the economy

Now of course it would have been fun to actually have a reporter on scene who’s not your run of the mill useful idiot in order to pose a brain teaser for Dr. Miriam Voss, something like, "OK, Dr., during this interview you’ve said that’s it’s well established that dietary fat is associated with increased risk of heart disease, and now you’re telling us that added sugar — an enormous if not chief source of dietary carbohydrate for most Americans — is also associated with increased risk. Since that implies a low-fat diet combined with a greatly reduced carbohydrate diet, can you tell us what people are supposed to eat?"

~ And finally from William comes this pretty wide ranging article in The Atlantic by Marc Ambinder about his decision to undergo bariatric surgery, and much more: Beating Obesity. I find it interesting that in four pages he covers so much ground — most of which I find to be nauseating collectivism — about obesity yet identifies the basic problem right on page one.

The rise in obesity is associated with a rogue’s gallery of individual, social, and technological factors. The “Big Two,” as scientists call the leading factors, are reduced exercise and increased food consumption: Americans are ingesting more and more calories than they’re burning. But underlying that simple energy-in, energy-out equation is a complex, and so far inexorable, interplay between powerful physiological and societal forces.

Start with our bodies. Molded by evolution in the Pleistocene era, when grains and meat were not easily acquired, they are hardwired to store as much energy in reserve—fat—as possible. Some scientists think that the brain tries to regulate our caloric intake and metabolism to keep our weight within a range that is heavily influenced by our genes. This “set-point theory” argues that an obese person’s body will actually “defend” an excessive weight. An alternative hypothesis, “settling-point theory,” argues that body weight settles into a range determined not just by genes, but by their interaction with learned behaviors and environmental cues. […]

Obesity is also correlated with lack of sleep, with exposure to certain chemicals (like bisphenol A, used in making plastic bottles), even with the type of bacteria that is found in our intestines. And, of course, we adapt, not necessarily in the most healthful way: a high-fat, high-sugar diet can alter the composition of the bacterial flora to persuade our gut to signal the brain to eat even more.

When we subject our Pleistocene bodies to our modern era, in which corn is cheap and animals are killed by others and safely prepared, the effect on waistlines might seem predictable.

Of course, getting it right — implicit in all of the foregoing links submitted by astute readers — won’t make any big corporations big bucks, nor increase the figurative penis or boob size of your average commissar holding a public office. The only one to benefit is you, your friends & loved ones, and perhaps those specific individuals or groups you have stepped up for, like readers of a blog. And why should you really give a shit about anyone else anyway?

Update: Via Dr. Eades’ Tweets, this just out, in Scientific American: Carbs against Cardio: More Evidence that Refined Carbohydrates, not Fats, Threaten the Heart

The KFC “Double Down” is Going Down!

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So I was intrigued a couple of weeks ago when I read Fat-Head’s…uh…Tom Naughton’s account of getting his final affairs in order in advance of trying out Kentucky Fried Chicken’s New Double Down Sandwich. "I Doubled Down and Lived to Tell."

After learning a few weeks ago that KFC would begin offering the Double Down nationwide on April 12, I made plans to try one. But first, given the hysterical health warnings prompted by KFC’s announcement, I put my affairs in order: I made sure my life insurance was paid up and placed a copy of the policy on my desk. I had an attorney update my will. I called my mom to tell her she was a great mother. I also tucked away a note for my wife, telling her I’d understand if she remarried after a reasonable grieving period — say, 25 years.

Now of course, Tom is more of a low-carber than a paleo guy; though, if you saw Fat Head the Movie, which you must, you understand that his low-carbishness is well informed by his sense of evolutionary human biology; i.e., the natural diet humans evolved on. See, unlike the vast majority of the medical, agricultural, "health," and dietitian communities, Tom doesn’t think "Mother nature is stupid," naturally selecting humans with a propensity to eat real foodstuffs that cause their bodies to "want to kill them."

And moreover, Tom is very sympathetic to a paleo guided lifestyle as I practice, even though — as virtually all other people on Earth — I don’t limit myself exclusively to paleo foods. Tom’s particular approach is to focus his energies on the obviously stupid and evil, not wasting his time in attempts to replace conventional dietary dogmatism and fanaticism with another one that starts with ‘P’. Here, Tom just took up my "Potato Controversy" for himself. And he even learned something. Sweet potatoes don’t make his glucometer explode.

…So anyway, at least in the photos, that sandwich looked rather enticing to me so I went and had myself one, with iced tea, no chips or other side dish. And, I had the grilled version but went ahead and let them put on their doubtless HFCS, 50-franken-ingredient filled "sauce." After all, it wasn’t more than a light spread of the stuff. And, the sandwich was OK. The breaded & deep fried one probably would have made me feel bloated, tired, congested and generally like crap for hours. The grilled one made me feel fed, energized, satisfied.

But I went ahead and outdid them yesterday, in a big way. I stumbled upon the idea a few days ago. As I’ve blogged about previously, I am undergoing a self experiment with professional, paleo sympathetic guidance. While I can’t reveal specific macronutrient ratios, which vary in any case depending upon a number of factors, suffice to say that I have to actually track my intake and as you might guess, I often find myself butting up against the limitations on fat. And so, I cook up packages of skinless chicken breast tenders. I was looking for a way to make them a little tastier. Of course, mustard is always an option but it suddenly struck me: French style cornichon pickles. I just eat them right together. Truly delicious; a great way to rescue a relatively dry piece of lean meat. You know, back when I lived in France I always loved a good sandwich jambon beurre. It’s a truly simple delight: a crunchy baguette liberally spread with sweet butter and thin slices of jambon, a French style of cured ham. I completely forget where I learned of the variation but one of them is to add in those cornichon pickles and so having a butcher, baker and a market within walking distance of my Mediterranean flat, it was a popular thing for me to eat. Looks like it is for at least 28 other people, members of this Facebook group: Pour la sauvegarde du cornichon dans le sandwich jambon-beurre. Basically: Save the pickle in the sandwich!

Well I can tell you that they are also awesome on my version of the Double Down Sandwich (click for hi-res).

A Better Double Down Sandwich
A Better Double Down Sandwich

This was one large chicken breast, butterflied & grilled, pepper jack cheese, thick sliced butcher counter bacon, and the cornichons. No need for a sauce as the cheese is plenty.

There in the background is a half of one of those evil white potatoes sliced chip style and fried in tallow and coconut oil.

Désolé, mon Colonel.

Weekend Inspiration: Michelle Matangi and The Primal Blueprint on New Zealand TV

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How about Mark Sisson’s The Primal Blueprint showing up on a New Zealand morning news show featuring one of Mark’s big success stories? I checked Mark’s results pages to see if Michelle Matangi was already there and she’s on page one about halfway down with lots of photos. She’s has also shown up here a time or two in comments. Here’s the before & after they showed on the program.

Michelle Matangi Before After
Michelle Matangi, Before After

And now go take a look at the program. It’s a real hoot with an obviously overweight female host trying to hide her horror over Michelle’s advocacy of arterycloggingsaturatedfat and then the idea that she doesn’t need carbs and in particular, from hearthealthywholegrains.

In the end, to my eye, Michelle ends up looking like a competent success story who could help others, whereas the dumbshit conventional "wisdom" regurgitator comes off looking like the ignorant puppet she is.

In fact, Michelle can help others and has set out to do so via her own blog: Primal Journey. Go give her a visit and tell her how great she did in that interview.

One Potato, Two Potatoes

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You know, I almost never have any clue what particular posts are going to explode in comments. It seems to be the general case, however, that those entries in which I invest the most time get less attention in comments than other posts I just toss up. Perhaps it’s length, or perhaps the ones I spend more time on have less loose ends that need to be explored in comments. At any rate, it can be interesting.

…Like last week’s "Paleo Fear of Potatoes" post, now at 152 comments and still going… Wow, what sacrilege I’m apparently guilty of. For some, it’s resistance to the idea that paleo lifestylers ought do anything but low or very low carb (evil insulinz, y’know) and any carbs you do get should come from non-starchy vegetables & fruit. For others, it’s more of a orthodox, even fundamentalist religious insistence that the concept of "paleo" not be sullied with any neolithic foods that may nonetheless be more-or-less "primal" or real food in nature. So, while various sweet potatoes are clearly "paleo," the poor ol’ white potato didn’t come on the scene until a few thousand years ago, missing its 10,000 year cutoff, and while reasonably comparable to sweet potatoes in terms of nutritional density, it’s neolithic, not paleo.

Actually, I don’t really have a problem with the distinction. I already consume a decent number of primal, real foods that are neolithic, not paleo: dairy (butter, cream, cheese, yogurt), minimally processed meats (bacon, sausages, ground beef), dark chocolate (rarely), supplements (a few), sparkling water, wine & other spirits and likely a few other odds & ends. So where does one draw the line? How many neolithic agents are you allowed before you’re looking at damnation, or, in my case, excommunication?

Apparently, Don Wiss, proprietor over at the fabulous Paleo resource center, paleodiet.com, thought enough was enough, I guess. See, I was one of the few blogs listed, along with Mark Sisson, Don Matesz, Stephan Guyenet. But not anymore. I have sinned the unpardonable sin.

Well said James. Because of this thread I removed my link to FreeTheAnimal. […]

The way you and I define paleo is what could be called orthodox. I don’t want to see the term diluted.

OK, I don’t begrudge anyone the links they choose to have or not have on their sites. I’m happy to have been included in the first place and it was appropriate. At around 200,000 real people (not bots, as so many like to report) page views and 35-40% of visits being first timers, I’m…well…doing my job. At the end of the day, it’s about the real results. So, upon due consideration I responded to Don’s comment thusly.

“Because of this thread I removed my link to FreeTheAnimal.”

Oh, my. Guess I’ve been excommunicated, then. That’s fine, Don. Actually, it was because of this that I discovered my oversight of not having your reference pages in my blogroll, an oversight I intend to correct, since the real results of my readers is infinitely more important than orthodoxy. I wouldn’t want newbees to miss out on good information on account of disagreements that at best, constitute only 10% of entire dietary makeup.

Don’t know how much of a cop you want to be in all this, but I think I’m in pretty good company with others listed on your pages.

Dr Stephan:

“I eat a lot of potatoes. I agree with commenter Aaron in the last post, they seem like a ‘clean’ fuel. Rapidly absorbed, low anti-nutrients, some fiber but not excessive, plenty of vitamin C. Plus the protein quality is quite high, so you don’t have to complement it with other protein sources to make good use of it. It also contains a surprising amount of protein (roughly 10% of calories). I also like that they’re cheap and totally unprocessed.”

Don Matesz:

“I think any potato fits the picture, but I prefer sweet potatoes.”


“On the other hand, I know from experience that people can lose fat while eating 100-200 g carbs daily and including bananas and sweet or white potatoes. I consider them primal foods since they appear in H-G diets.”

And by the way, I am not “encouraging” anything, but I do discourage potatoes for those trying to lose significant weight still, diabetics, or those who feel bad eating them.


Jeez, and I didn’t even get mean with him… Glad I didn’t or I might be a bit…crispy by now.

I don’t know… I rather hate seeing this all turn from the increasing international popularity we’re currently enjoying into a Shiite / Hezbollah hysteria over doctranary authority & dogmatism.

So what do you think? At what point ought not someone refer to themselves as "paleo?"

To recap, according to some:

Unpardonable Sin:

Grilled Bavette Baked Potato
Grilled Bavette & White Baked Potato

Super Duper Paleo Ring, with Decoder:

Sweet Potato
Sweet Potato

I must finish by noting that last night was my first ever baked sweet potato. In the oven, 400 for an hour. I was pretty amazed. I’ve used them in cooking, before, mostly in stews & such. I’ve also done mashed orange sweet potato, or yams or whatever you call them. Both my wife and I couldn’t get enough of this, and it really didn’t even require the cinnamon (or anything else). It was like a sweet pie filling. So, thanks to some commenters on that last potato entry; the sweets will definitely be figuring more prominently in the future.

Grassfed Cheeseburger Salad and a Fish Taco

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First up, dinner the other night. Now some like to take the fixin’s and make up a lettuce wrap burger. I find Green leaf lettuce or iceberg to be the best for that, but I nearly never buy iceberg unless it’s for a little crunch in a salad with nutritious greens in it — but then why not just use radicchio? In this case, the store was out of green leaf, so romaine had to suffice. OK, I’ll stop stalling. This was for four of us Sunday evening. Of course, that burger is all mine. (Click images for the high-res versions).

Raw Materials
Raw Materials

Others chose various means of salad or wrap and here’s what I chose to do.

Cheeseburger Salad
Cheeseburger Salad

Requires a knife & fork. Or, maybe not.

This was lunch just now, one of my versions of a fish taco. As you can see, romaine was made for this. Make up tuna salad in your favorite way, garnish however you like, and it’s super simple, quick & tasty.

Fish Taco
Fish Taco

I have a number of ways I like to do tuna salad but the common elements in all of them are: water packed white albacore, bacon (1/2 – 1 slice per 6oz can, and some of the fat, too), garlic powder, onion, salt & pepper.

Variations include a little yellow or dijon mustard, 1/4 tsp per can; a pinch of Indian Yellow curry powder per can; a sprinkle of paprika; chopped cornichon or dill pickles; and/or chopped celery. In this case I did the curry powder & paprika. Note that you should not be able to clearly taste the curry. It’s used for a subtile taste.

A first for this batch of tuna was that I finally succeeded in making my own mayo. It was whisking by hand that did the trick.

Anyone else have some great & secret tuna salad recipes?

Real Results: Austin from Singapore

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Time for another installment of Real Results from readers. Austin is an international reader, from Singapore. That’s another very rewarding aspect of this blog that would not have been possible prior to the Internet. Here’s Austin’s report and photos

I’ve been a reader of Free the Animal for over 6 months now, and enjoy it tremendously. I’ll keep my story short. For the last 10 years, my weight has been hovering between 85 to 92kg, until concern over my long term health (my mother’s family has a history of diabetes and hypertension) finally led me to to do something about my weight and eating habits in June of 2009. I’m currently 34 years old by the way.

Austin Before
Austin Before

Google searches led me to Gary Taube’s Good Calories Bad Calories, and blogs like Mark Sisson’s Mark’s Daily Apple, and Free the Animal. I applied what I learned, and slowly but steadily dropped nearly 20kg. My current weight is 70kg, and I went from size 34 jeans to size 30 jeans. The best thing is, I never, ever, felt hungry or deprived. I eat mostly real food,in the form of meat, vegetables & eggs, do IF occasionally, but I do eat a moderate amount of white rice daily. What can I say, I’m Chinese! A blood test done in December 2009 revealed these figures:

TRIG: 39
HDL: 55
LDL: 94

Fasting blood glucose was also in the healthy range.

As you can imagine, I was a very happy man when I read the report. Thanks Richard, for providing lots of useful information and entertainment throughout this process. I have to say It’s a lot easier to identify with someone who is not a young stud and/or a former or current elite sportsman. I can’t even begin to describe how my quality of life has improved since I made the change. Higher energy levels and no more dozing off in the office after lunch are just some of the things that come to mind. I’m in this for the long haul, and plan to continue to make progress in both health and body composition. As far as I’m concerned, there is always plenty of room for improvement.

And now, here’s the amazing and impressive progress.

Austin After
Austin After

A hearty congratulations to Austin for a job very well done. I’m am honored to have played a role. This is what it’s really all about folks, not the looming dietary purity raising its ugly head with increasing frequency in the Paleosphere as Paleo becomes increasingly popular. 

Update: In comments, Austin posted a link to another before picture, from 2006. With that comparison, the body recomposition is even more dramatic. Here, I’ve cropped down the image:

Austin in 2006
Austin in 2006

Paleo Fear of Potatoes

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I really don’t get it. Now, if for some reason you must stay low-carb; say, for weight loss, diabetes or other health or well being reasons, then fine. But if not, what’s the deal? Potatoes are Real Food. Sure, the various white varieties are a neolithic introduction, but c’mon, so is virtually every fruit and vegetable we consume. Most in no way, shape, form, fiber content, nutrient makeup, or sugar content resemble pre-domesticated versions. So why pick on the white potato?

I got a question in email this morning from reader Benjamin.

I’m traveling Europe for a couple months as a college graduation gift, and I’ve been doing a lot of walking, some bodyweight and sprint workouts at pubic parks, and my eating has definitely been sporadic, much like intermittent fasting.

My last meal was about 8pm last night, and today around 1pm I went to a "Whole Foods" type market in Amsterdam and ordered a whole rotisserie chicken for 13.50 euros. That’s like over $15 in the U.S.! Amsterdam is really expensive. Anyway, the chicken came with either french fries or potatoes. I can’t remember the last time I touched either, but since the place seemed to source only organic vegetables, and I’m hoping they only cook using real fats, I decided that I should eat the potatoes. I mean I need to eat something. Yes, I could have just ate the chicken and refrained from the potatoes, but I never "splurge" or "cheat." I noticed that I was pretty full after eating the potatoes and chicken, rather than just the chicken.

Why are potatoes not "Paleo?" Is it because they have a higher glycemic index than other vegetables? Is there a difference between consuming potatoes, rice, quinoa, or do they have the same impact on our immune system? I’m pretty sure I’m right when I say potatoes don’t contain gluten.

Nope, no gluten. They’re a root vegetable that’s low in fructose, high in starch (the best way to get into the moderate carb range) and while having a high GI, have a very low glycemic load (see here). Sure, probably sweet potatoes and yams are better as more truly ancient and paleo, but I just can’t get worked up over it. I use both with reasonable regularity; that is, 2-3 times per week, on average.

I highly recommend taking a good read of Don Matesz’s 4-part series on Primal Potatoes (Part 1, Part 2, Part 3, Part 4). While Don’s emphasis is on the sweet potato and good health, he’s certainly not condemning the white potato as far as I can tell.

Now, here’s three of my own recent meals (last two dinners & yesterday lunch) which, vary somewhat from normal fair because of my "getting ripped" routine. However, I cannot yet divulge any specifics about the program. But I can tell you it’s working — working fast and working big.

Pot Roast with Onions Carrots Baked Potato
Pot Roast with Onions, Carrots & Baked Potato
Grilled Chicken Breast Baked Potato Smothered in Sauce
Grilled Chicken Breast & Baked Potato Smothered in Sauce
Grilled Taco Burger Mash with Sauce
Grilled "Taco" Burger & Mash with Beef Reduction

The "taco burger" is simply adding a whole lot of taco meat spice to your ground beef. So, given that potatoes and other starchy Real Foods are…uh…Real Foods, the thing to do, simply, is to incorporate them in your diet if you like them, and see how you do.

And I don’t see much of a concern about carbage. On average, I’m still under 100g per day. Just, but still under 100.

4/22/10: I have a follow-up to this posted here.

Metabolism & Digestion: A Key to Weight Loss & Health, Part II

Fooled by randomness

Here is Part I to this series. Let me illustrate the subtitle. Timeframe, context and a lot of other factors go into getting some clue about what the future might hold, and predicting it is a low-probability endeavor; meaning, it’s a high-payoff play for those lucky enough to get it right or a huge loss for those who get it wrong.

Oh Shit  Oh Good  No Oh Shit

So, you have: "Oh, Shit!" "Hallelujah!" and, "No, Oh Shit!." I could go on and on with this, and it all depends on scale…so not to belabor the point from an ex options-trader, let’s cut to the chase. Click to open the BIG version.


That’s the S&P over the last year. So in the figures above, (1) covers June-July, 2009, (2) covers July-August, and (3) covers January-February, 2010.

I’m not going to get into the dynamics of why it’s not even close to linear, the shorter the timeframe you examine (these are all daily bars, called "candles" in trader speak). In my trading platform, I can get down to tics or candles by a few seconds interval, and it’s all over the map on a minute, hourly or daily basis. The level of potential foolishness is unmatched and it’s extremely attractive and addictive for risk takers. Suffice it to say that what you see above is the result of trading transactions between buyers and sellers, all of whom have no idea of what the future holds. in a sense, every last one of them is being fooled by randomness. There are exceptions, but those mainly involve traders holding stocks  or tangible assets who have a good idea of what they’re worth tangibly, taking advantage of fools undervaluing them or overvaluing them (you can play it either way). That’s the basic Warren Buffet, Value Investing, long term approach. I don’t think he ever shorts the market, but he looks for severely undervalued stocks in terms of assets, management and other crucial factors and when he finds them, he buys & holds. But there are others — Bears — who do just the opposite & sell short.

Before I move on to link this to health in the broadest sense — metabolism, digestion and body temperature in the narrow — let me just say that I’m very keen to this sort of dynamic. As a full-time trader for several years, I at times made lots, like 800%+ in six months, once. I’ve also have the educational privilege to have lost over $200K in the space of a couple of weeks. In short, I allowed myself to be fooled.

How did I do that? I’ll give you an analogy: I lost the forrest through the trees. Sure, I had some success with drilling down, i.e., looking at a single tree, discerning the forrest, and getting lucky. But it could not last. When I got into trouble, not only was I looking at a single tree, I was looking at the pattern of the bark on that tree, then the fibers, then any grubs & parasites. I’d have gone microscopic, but it was too late by then.

The point is that a whole lot of the "health" markers we hold dear, thanks to modern medical science, might be serving only to fool us. Just as bad, or worse, it makes us susceptible to opportunists — those who claim to have it all figured out. After all, they have nothing but a steep upward slope over some period of time (they won’t tell you about the intraday fluctuations, i.e., troubled emails from troubled adherents to The Strategy). I’ve seen it in trading, and I’ve see it here.

We now have folks getting their cholesterol measured regularly, they check their BP several times per day, weigh themselves every day or more, get D levels checked habitually…and then there’s the coronary calcium scores, the particle LipoProfiles, and on and on it goes. And, now, body temperature.

…And I’m fed up.

How is it we all seem to be attempting to falsify the "absurd" notion of eating only Real Food, paloesque? One guy calls it — Paleo — a "restrictive diet," only a few breaths after admonishing you to stay away from fructose, omega-6 and other odds & ends. Like you need grains in your diet (you don’t, ever; it’s an inferior nutritional choice and that’s not even to get into the huge anti-nutrient load, ignored by the same guy).

Yes, I have been guilty of promoting some of this sensationalism myself by posting lipid profiles & such and posting about all of it. But you know what? The posts that really matter as to my path are: the food and the progress. The food is regular but fairly varied in composition and the progress discounts the randomness of the  +-4 pounds regularly gained & lost throughout this journey.

So the next and likely final post will be about what I think the real issue is in terms of metabolism and digestion. You can go ahead and pig out on High Everything and gain weight (body fat — it’s surely not lean, and that should be noted) in hopes it will "cure your metabolism," or, you can implement a few very effective strategies to ensure that you are getting every microgram of nutrition out of every gram that you eat, not gain any weight, and go forth.

I’ll finish with a laugh. You must know: I laugh at the idea of chasing body temp. It it truly absurd, and a crude, snake oil approach to health. See comments in the previous post for how 98.6 was arrived at. Fooled by randomness… Or, just the same: averages.

So then, what do I say about all those people who report to have bean raising their body temperatures? Well, other than a congratulations with a smirk, I’d say either 1) they were hypothyroid, probably pre-existing, so probably good, or, 2) they’re eating grains and other chronically inflammatory foods and body temperature is rising in response to systemic inflammation, just like it does in response to infection. It could be seen as a rather natural prophylactic measure.

Onward and more later.

The underlying theme of this post is inspired by the seminal insight of now EvFit enthusiast and friend of Art guy, Nassim Nicholas Taleb. Fooled by Randomness , a book that changed my life and set me on the path to better.

Born to Run?

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I received an email the other day from a reader Cynthia Kuni who has some different ideas about running. She makes good arguments that I think deserve consideration. I’ll save my comments for after.


I’ve enjoyed your blog since I discovered it at the beginning of this year. I really like your approach and appreciate the amount of time it must take you to put together your posts. When I realized that you also share our (hubby’s & mine) political philosophy of individual liberty, I became an even bigger fan.

I hope you will do me the honor of reading this letter. I do appreciate your time. It’s rather long, and I apologize for that. I have put off writing it for over a month, but I cannot stop thinking about it. The dogma about which I am writing to oppose keeps popping up. This letter is my first foray into proposing an alternative viewpoint.

If you think I have a valid point, you might have a way to spread the idea since you are a "player" in this nascent paleo / lowcarb / Taubes movement (will refer to as LC hereafter), with a voice and an audience. Maybe you would reprint my letter, or part of it. If you think I’m wrong, I will thank you for your time and move on.

I had been trying to eat Paleo for a couple of years when I discovered Jimmy Moore and low carb in January. That was when I began to realize how addicted I was to carbs, even though I was getting them from massive amounts of fruit (especially dates & bananas). I also believed in Cordain’s "lean meats" recommendation and, along with the high fruit intake, I was starving for the right macronutrients and gaining weight on the wrong ones. I immediately set forth to change my diet and it’s been an incredible 3+ months! I’m sold. :)

As I have been reading (and listening) to everything I can get my hands on about low carb living, something keeps popping up that is bothering me. I don’t have a blog or a podcast, so I really don’t have a public voice, but I keep thinking I need to say something to someone or I’ll go nuts. I decided to try you first because I relate to you and perhaps am less intimidated because you feel like a friend. It’s not that you have offended me in any way, it’s more that I see you as a person with influence who might be sympathetic.

It’s about… running. (Endurance running, not sprints.) Specifically, it’s about the anti-running sentiment that seems to exist so prevalently in the LC community. At the same time that I was discovering this wonderful new way of eating, I seemed to be surrounded by voices denigrating something I loved to do. But their logic just didn’t hold up.

Please believe me, that I am not asking anyone to become a runner. Really, I’m not. I only want certain facts to be considered by those major LC figureheads before they go out bashing running as a sport/hobby. I also am not claiming that running will make people thin, a goal which brings a lot of people to the many LC blogs and podcasts. Thirdly, I am not denying the benefits of strength work, which is a vital part of my fitness routine.

What I do want to share with you are the reasons I believe running is a healthy and natural activity for humans and is part of our paleolithic heritage. Anyone who rails against bread being the "staff of life" on the basis of evolution, but refuses to examine the evidence I am about to share, has cherry-picked their philosophy just as much as the runners who have embraced "evolutionary running" but still cling to their high carb diets.

In 2004, two scientists published a paper in Nature describing their findings regarding humans as runners, based on the fossil record. (http://www.nature.com/nature/links/041118/041118-1.html) Dennis Bramble and Daniel Lieberman enumerated a list of characteristics that separate the genus Homo from our primate ancestors, and that are specifically adaptive for endurance running.

Bramble and Lieberman showed that we humans have our current shape and physiology not because we walked upright, but because we ran. Not sprinted to escape (absurd – just try to out-run a tiger), not sprinted out of bushes to capture prey (such a survival skill would actually make us look less like we do and more like the big cats, with huge haunches) — but ran, at easy paces for long distances.

I am no match for the authors who have presented popular, layman’s summaries about the Bramble / Lieberman paper, so I will list their articles below. But here are just a few of the traits that distinguish us from our primate predecessors, traits which we would not have if "Grok" had not been a distance runner:

We dissipate heat by sweating and lack of fur. We have long legs & ligaments, most notably the Achilles tendon (a liability for merely-walking animals). Along with other stabilizing adaptations, we have large gluteals to stabilize a running gait (check out the tiny butts of primates at your zoo). Mere bipedalism does not require the stabilization traits abundant in humans. We have numerous "anti-bobble-head" adaptations, such as our unique inner ear structure and, in sharp contrast with Australopithecus, a shallow groove in the skull for a nuchal ligament (only present in running animals). We, unlike all running mammals, can take breaths that are not in sync with our steps. Other running mammals must breathe in a one-step-one-breath pattern. This incredible adaptation is what enables us to continue running when we reach the over-heating point, and together with our furless, sweating bodies, make us "the best air-cooled engine that evolution has ever put on the market." (Bramble, interview in Born to Run, Christopher McDougall)

Until Bramble and Lieberman published their research in Nature, the image of human-as-runner seemed as ridiculous as the current anti-running LC bloggers portray it to be. Our lack of speed prevents us from being competitive as predators and doesn’t exactly protect us from becoming prey. So why would natural selection favor adaptations for running? Because, we did not sprint out with spears and surprise the antelope. Nor did we outrun it like a cheetah. We out-endured it. It is called Persistence Hunting, and it is still practiced today by a very few hunter-gatherer tribes (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Persistence_hunting).

I am condensing dozens of pages of reading here (see below for some full text sources). I just want to provide enough information to explain why I feel the LC world is missing a crucial piece of the puzzle.

I don’t have a blog or a podcast and no one knows who I am, so I don’t really have a voice. But if I had one, my message to the LC community regarding runners would be, "Lay off." Or if you must criticize, go with the truly viable paleo argument – that we can and should run on low carbs. If people don’t want to run, fine – don’t run. But if you are going to bash it, you’d better have a better argument than "it’s not paleo."

I have never told another person they "should" run, nor will I ever do so. I only say, we humans are built for distance running. To the LC icons (trying not to name names here) who are vocally anti-running: let me enjoy my marathons in peace, stop trying to discourage people who love running, and get your facts straight.

The other arguments against running that pop up in the LC world usually have to do with negative medical consequences. I’m sorry, but no one has ever conducted a valid, long term study of the effects of running on health, because no one has EVER had a big enough population of runners eating a species-appropriate diet to make a valid sample, free from the influence of a toxic diet.

One LC blogger begrudgingly said that diet might have something to do with health problems among runners… Might? MIGHT?!?! The enormous and horrendous health problems of our nation can be linked directly to the crappy USDA food pyramid diet, and runners are the worst carboholics! In Advanced Marathoningby Pete Pfitzinger (one of the most popular distance training books), there is a section entitled "Hope You Like Carbs." An entire industry exists to provide runners with little packets of sugar-gels they can suck down every 20 minutes. It’s insane to study these people as a model of runners’ health! You might as well study heroine addicts to determine the health effects of wearing denim. I suppose they could study the tribes that still practice Persistence Hunting, but instead they insist on sticking sugar burners on treadmills.

Well, I’m getting worked up enough to resort to typing in caps, so I had better wrap this up. Thank you, Richard, for hearing me out and for your time. I truly appreciate it. The references below represent quick links to summaries of the Bramble & Lieberman research. Additionally, I would particularly recommend chapter 28 of the book, Born to Run, by Christopher McDougall (Knopf, 2009), which goes more into the history behind B&L’s research and the reasons why we would have benefitted from this evolutionary shift to running. Like Taubes’ GCBC book, the concepts I am discussing have the truth of ages, but are only recently published.



So there you have it. I personally don’t run. I walk a lot (60-90 minutes per day, on average) and I sprint now and then. I used to run way back when, in college, and for a few years after that. The only time I really enjoyed it is when, somehow, that "runner’s high" would kick in where one feels to be able to go forever. That usually happened when I was living in the Pacific northwest and it would be raining or misting out. I liked running in the rain but always hated running in the heat.

But that’s me. The last time I really ran any significant distance was a few years back when my wife & I signed up for a 23 mile power walk. At times during the walk I couldn’t help but to just start running, so I’d do so for a couple of miles, then return to walking until irresistibly drawn to running again. It was quite enjoyable.

It is interesting about those bottled of glucose syrup. It was during that power walk where I saw them for the first time — folks with their little belts & pouches carrying bottled of syrup, and of course, the organizers had the little packets of what I assume is the same thing at every station along the route, along with fruit and sugar drinks. She’s right: it was a total carb extravaganza and at the finish line, it was basically fruit, bagels, beer & soda pop.

I think Cynthia is definitely talking about something other than what we commonly refer to as "chronic cardio." Here’s a video that explains some of our evolutionary adaptations in the context of the Persistence Hunt. Highly recommended. Seven minutes well worth it. Getting out and running a few times per week on a proper diet, keeping it real so as to avoid injury, is probably fine if that’s what you like. And I doubt those persistence hunters were out there day in, day out, running their asses off.

Update: Long time reader, commenter and fantastic blogger in his own right, Methuselah, points out in comments that he recently covered the same topic. Go take a read.

Protein Power #FAIL

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From my friend Julie, who did the paleo meal for Bea & I last summer.

Power Protein
"Power Protein"

A bagel, apple slice, and grapes. Oh, yea, and a hard boiled egg….one hard boiled egg. Man, what Protein Power.

I could have also titled it Starbucks Fail.

Steak Tartare in the Classic French Way

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Truth be told, my absolute favorite tartare concoction is wonderfully lean, red, fresh & chilled ahi tuna. A good tartare must be very lean. Instead of using fat for flavor, you’re using spice. I can’t recall exactly, but I don’t believe I’ve actually done steak (filet) since I lived in France.

But tonight I did, and it was inspired by this post by my friend Michael Miles at Nutrition and Physical Regeneration.

I used the traditional French method as outlined in the video (try not to laugh with how he pronounces French words, especially cornichon). Quality dijon mustard, cornichon pickles, capers, shallot, egg yolk, a drizzle of EVOO and salt & pepper. Click for the high res. I did this one with flash in order to make sure to get the texture.

Steak Tartare
Steak Tartare

Here’s a few clues to doing it right.

  1. Use half the mustard you think you might want, mix it all up, and add more to taste, mixing as you go.
  2. Do the same with the shallots. Cut up the most you think you might want (and what the recipe shows at the link, above), put in 2/3 and then try it out.
  3. DO NOT grind the meat. And do not use anything but lean filet, well trimmed of fat (the light marbling is fine & good). Grinding it makes dogfood tartare. Don’t be stupid and wasteful of a wonderful cut of meat. It takes more work, but have some respect. Slice, dice, chop and chop. It’ll be worth it and you’ll retain that "just so" texture.
  4. Tartare is best served chilled. Keep the meat in the fridge until just ready to cut (after you’ve done everything else), and when chopped & mixed, return it to the fridge until all else is done and you’re ready to plate & serve. Even 5-10 in the freezer is not a bad idea.

So there you have it. The chips are one potato, split between the wife & I. I got them started in the cast iron for only a couple of minutes, with a combo of coconut oil and tallow. Then onto a baking sheet at 350 for about 30, turning them at about the 20m point.

Well, Bea had never had steak tartare (tuna, yes) so to be on the safe side, I cooked her a grassfed burger shrouded in New Zealand grassfed sharp cheddar.

Burger with Grassfed Cheddar
Burger with Grassfed Cheddar

But bless her heart, she tried two bites, loved it, and is ready for round two. We’ve come a long way from the days when I met her and she ordered her meat medium well.

Nature Doesn’t Care if You’re Ripped

…Nonetheless, today begins a push for the final phase of my journey which began about a month and a half shy of three years ago. At 49 and formerly fat, I don’t think nature, evolution or even my body gives a damn about being ripped and having visible abs. At my current body composition, I could remain this way — 175-180, back-&-forth — for the rest of my life and all would be fine. I’d be happy.

But I’ve come this far, so why not take it all the way? If, upon arrival I don’t feel as well as I think I should, then I can always pack on a few pounds if needed. But I want to give it a real good shot.

Having done so much self-experimentation along the way, I probably could go the rest of the way just doing the same sorts of things like upping the fasting (my IF is quite varied, now…nothing like the formal 24-30 hour fasts I did to get from 235 down to 180), going VLC, and so on.

Instead, I’ve decided to enlist the private and personal assistance of a professional I trust to take me the distance. Having used a personal trainer — who believes in the paleo approach to diet and exercise — from the outset has been a tremendous part of my overall success in staying mostly on course throughout. I believe using competent professionals is an excellent strategy to keep yourself on track and to get the results you seek. So, where you find a seemingly insurmountable barrier that might ultimately lead to giving up, the pro will have the experience to know what to do, reduce your anxiety and keep you moving forward.

…And so of course you want to know whose help have I enlisted. I’m not going to reveal who, yet, and please don’t start a guessing game in comments, either. You also want to know, roughly, what I’ll be up to. Not going to tell you that, either.

I will be posting updates on the progress, but you’ll just have to wait for the appointed time when all will be revealed.

In the meantime, here was breakfast (at 12:45pm) this morning. A frittata cooked in the oven in butter with La Cense uncured grassfed beef frankfurter, diced red & yellow bell pepper, and a bit of grated New Zealand grassfed sharp cheddar.


It’s garnished with full fat greek yogurt and on the side, full fat cottage cheese heavily sprinkled with finely ground black pepper. Of course, this portion size was for the photo. I ate the whole panful.


Now it’s off to the store to get the necessary ingredients for tonight’s steak tartare.

Metabolism & Digestion: A Key to Weight Loss & Health, Part I

The Evolutionary Angle

This has been brewing for more than a week, originally under a completely different title, but I couldn’t get past the first paragraph without reflection. Procrastination is a virtue — in the proper context — and so I’ve just been chewing on it; thinking, reading stuff here and there, emailing some of my go-to people for references, thoughts, insights and it has ballooned to a multi-part series.

Now moreso, after what I leaned this morning. At first, what I had in mind was only going to be peripherally related to Mr. Matt Stone. I hadn’t even planned on mentioning him as I didn’t want to get tiresome. Let the implications fall where they may. But now he has his reworked ebook out on Metabolism. There’s now no way to do this series without acknowledging that. It would be silly and weird, and I’d rather be tiresome than silly and weird. What great choices I leave for myself… Let me get a few things out of the way. Do I begrudge Matt his living? No. If you want to read the book, buy it and read it. Will this series serve to promote his book for free? Probably. Will I buy it, read it and review it? Maybe, once I judge feedback in comments over at least the first 2-3 parts which are pretty well mapped out. Am I concerned about promoting values I’m at odds with, at least in part? Well, my dispute with Matt is really more about his style than his content, quality of thinking, quality of work, diligence and so on. Being rather abrasive myself, I can hardly be hypocritical enough to dismiss his work without doing my own, at least in the way I do it which, as far is I can tell, is way different than he does his.

Finally on this subject, you have Matt’s interview with Jimmy, and mine — if you haven’t listened already. Do I think Matt did a good job outlining his approach? Yes. Do I agree with lots of it? Of course, but I disagree with important elements, which is what this is all about. Is his interview nonetheless worth listening to? Absolutely. And mine too.

So, please, let’s not waste any time in comments about the propriety of my approach. It is what it is and I’m in for the haul. Let’s go. There is absolutely no point in sweeping this under the rug. Matt has obviously garnered some attention from a contrarian stance which he’s chosen to take, or feels his research has led him. He’s right or he’s wrong, and having any fear or trepidation over which one is just silly — kinda like not being able to face the fact of human mortality, constructing all manner of fantasy to hide from it. Let’s confront it and see where it takes us.

Is obesity, seemingly inexplicable weight gain, and ill health a function of diet? Obviously yes. Can it be cured or ameliorated by diet, by what you eat (or don’t eat)? Again, obviously yes. I think Matt and I would agree. So, where do we part? It’s in the how.

As a paleo blogger and lay student of evolution, anthropology and natural selection — far more than of health and nutrition vis-a-vis current science, medical research and stacks of books — I have a certain time-saving luxury. I tend to dismiss out-of-hand studies, papers, hypotheses, blog posts, podcasts, newsprint, and books that clearly contradict one of the most established fields of human knowledge: evolutionary biology and its underlying natural logic of natural selection. Humans are animals. Being as well established as it is, it’s my position that the onus of proof is upon those who, when contradicting clear implications of our evolution, do so, i.e., clearly lay out how human evolution is either toast, or got it wrong in a particular area. And none do, because they likely can’t. Their research, studies, books and whatnot exist in a scientific vacuum for me. And that makes them less than worthless, and I’m being girly generous. …By the way, I often find myself in need of kindling for a campfire…

From this point forward I’m just going to assume some familiarity with Matt’s ideas. Judge for yourself, but to summarize how I think of it, it’s kinda like the guy with only a hammer and so everything is a nail. The hammer is body temperature. Get that up to the 98s and it means you have a good functioning metabolism and everything should start taking care of itself. Yea, I’ll accept the criticism that this is likely oversimplified. As I said, I’m assuming familiarity.

I think this is unfounded. I don’t think there is any basis whatsoever that I can find to suggest that body temperature correlates well with obesity or health. As I can recall from my fat days, any time I felt like I was coming down with something and checked my temp it was 98.6 or higher. Hell, I was always running hotter than hell, or at least my vision of it. …A prime motivation to turn things around. And how exactly did I lose 60+ pounds with a "slow metabolism" while at the same time getting 300-400% stronger in the gym eating low-carb paleo and fasting my ass off, even working out severely fasted? Was I an anorexic male with a workout fetish? Do anorexics double and more in strength? Could something else be going on? …You betcha, and that’s what this is all about.

Our ancestors go back to surviving the ice ages and way beyond — and please, stop a moment to consider what that must have been like, without a single scintilla of modern convenience. How should I elaborate? It’s cold. It’s always cold, freezing; harsh, and there’s little to no plant life for a "plant based ‘moron’ diet." Get out your thermometer…but not to see how freezing it is outside, or even in your cave or makeshift animal-skin tent, but to test your underarm temperatures. Gotta watch that Shwarzbeinesque "metabolism." You may need to go out and dig up some starchy tubers from the frozen tundra. …Oh, wait…

Now, I don’t mean to dis Shwarzbein. Frankly, I’ve not read her. Doubt I will. If she’s talking science in an evolutionary vacuum, of which I get the sense of from her fans, no need — dismissed. If she’s not, no need either, ’cause I’ve got enough already. I pretty much don’t value much that doesn’t explicitly — and I mean explicitly — account for human evolution. …Going back to mudfish that breath air might be nice from a deep evolutionary perspective. I’m serious, and I’m always prejudice…on the lookout for non-accounting "science" that glosses over or overlooks the fact of human evolution, so I can look elsewhere.

Here’s what I think: we have no concept of how sturdy, long lived, and robust is our genetic lineage. See, I come from a different perspective entirely. We’re so susceptible to the neolithic because it’s so new to us. It’s the equivalent of another ice-age, nearly back-to-back from the one we already survived. Will we survive it? Not you, but the human race will; but that’s also thousands of years off, yet. Whether or not you choose to "do your part," evolution will march on. Either we’ll emerge as tubs of lard working in cubicles, but perfectly healthy and well adapted to Pop Tarts, Hot Pockets and Cheetos as primary food sources — mutually-sexually attracted to the physically grotesque — or sexual selection will win out (one can hope), and we’ll select over time for those who can eat neolithic crap and still look good & attractive (what choices!). Have you considered this? I look upon the obesity epidemic — from an evolutionary context — as a full on assault on sexual attraction as a prime driver to propagate our species. Long live hot babes.

So much for body temps & overeating for libido. On that basis, just bring on the scotch!

I’ll end this part by ending the banter a bit and ask you some questions which, I hope bring on some good dialog in comments. Remember, comments are all read, and it could change the direction of things. But feel free to comment on any aspect, as you always do.

  1. Is chasing a constant body temperature akin to chasing a constant heart rate?
  2. Is average heart rate and basal body temperature inversely correlated?
  3. How about blood pressure?
  4. Do different healthy people at different times and in different circumstances possesses different heart rates, blood pressures, metabolisms, body temperatures?

I’m not arguing for having a "low" basal body temperature. I simply don’t know what that means. I searched far & wide for data on pure H-G average temperature plots and didn’t find. If it exists, I doubt two things: 1) that it’s unequivocally the same for individuals and, 2) that there’s not some variation by season, environment, diet.

I dont think it’s wise to chase any constant. That goes for food, movement, heart rate, blood pressure, metabolism, or, body temperature. Eat real foods, eat when you’re hungry. Stop when you’re full. Go until you’re hungry and then some. And sometimes, some, some and some more; then eat. Eat as varied a diet as you can, from real foods, including as much animal fat and seafood as you can. Think tide pools. Think kelp washed up on the beach. Would you have eaten it if very hungry?

I’m sure they did too. Seafood is critical, I believe. I’ll get into that more, later.

In part II I’ll begin to reveal the how, and lots of it is based on my own self-experimentation over the last week or so. Stay tuned.

Part II

My Livin’ La Vida Low-Carb Interview with Jimmy Moore

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No need to expound upon it, other than that I owe a tremendous debt of gratitude to my good buddy, Jimmy. One of the reasons I have never — and never will — engage, entertain, or suffer on my blog — "Jimmy bashing" — is because he’s a superstar. You don’t like his particular food choices? So?

Has he not brought you myriad alternatives via his podcasts? Respectfully? Professionally? Yes, he has.

One of my favorite parts of the interview is at the beginning, where he acknowledges that I’m a huge fan of the show. That’s absolutely true and I’ve put some money where my mouth is (after he invited me on). These things don’t get done for free, you know. So, please, if you like this, consider financial support. I’m sure anything helps.

So, anyway, listen here.

My take, having istened to it just now in our vacation place in San Diego? Way to many "y’knows," but, I was intent, and I believe was able to cover the gamut and, I’m really happy about that. One perhaps forgets the whole scope of something like a paleo lifestyle, and it was a pleasure to hear that we covered so much ground — rather than focussing in on one or a few elements of animals. So; if you will, the wide scope covered made this a rather distictive interview in my experience.

Thank you, Jimmy Moore. Anything you need, buddy, let me know (and I have an idea or two for the future). Onward.

Update: Man, I’ve been totally out of the loop while on vacation in San Diego for the last 24-hours. Just getting back on line. Here’s the link to Jimmy’s regular blog entry on the podcast.

Melinda Wenner Moyer: The war on fat may be making us sicker

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One of the links I got from a reader this morning was to the subject article in The Dallas Morning News. Very worthwhile read, very nice dealing with the science and best of all, wide in scope.

Thirty years ago, America declared war against fat. The inaugural edition of Dietary Guidelines for Americans, published in 1980 and subsequently updated every five years, advised people to steer clear of "too much fat, saturated fat and cholesterol" because of purported ties between fat intake and heart disease. The message has remained essentially the same ever since, with current guidelines recommending that Americans consume less than 10 percent of their daily calories from saturated fat.

But heart disease continues to devastate the country, and, as you may have noticed, we certainly haven’t gotten any thinner. Ultimately, that’s because fat should never have been our enemy. The big question is whether the 2010 Dietary Guidelines, due out at the end of the year, will finally announce retreat. The foundation for the "fat is bad" mantra comes from the following logic: Since saturated fat is known to increase blood levels of "bad" LDL cholesterol, and people with high LDL cholesterol are more likely to develop heart disease, saturated fat must increase heart disease risk. If A equals B and B equals C, then A must equal C.

And then she goes on to summarize the scientific broad strokes that all add up to a simple conclusion. Lots of stuff there and the implications should be obvious to anyone paying attention.

And in the end?

Will this new research on fat and carbs be reflected in the 2010 Dietary Guidelines? According to Meir Stampfer, a Harvard professor of nutrition and epidemiology who worked on the 2000 guidelines, scientists on this year’s committee know perfectly well what the evidence says. But few researchers want to shake the status quo or risk confusing the public.

Better a dead & maimed public than a "confused" one, I guess. Or, more likely, "few researchers want to shake the status quo or risk" pissing off Big Agra & Big Pharma, losing their golden eggs.

If indeed these researchers "know perfectly well what the evidence says" then they’re essentially the equivalent of paid hit men if they allow the genocide to persist unfettered. And who are they for the 2010 guidelines, yet to be published? What are they up to?

Agriculture Secretary Ed Schafer and Health and Human Services Secretary Mike Leavitt today announced the appointment of 13 nationally recognized experts to serve on the 2010 Dietary Guidelines Advisory Committee. The Committee members are made up of prominent medical and scientific researchers from universities and scientific institutions across America that are leaders in their field.

Selected for their expertise in dietary intake, human metabolism, behavioral change, and health, the new Committee will advise the Secretaries on any nutritional and dietary revisions necessary to the existing Dietary Guidelines. Following their review of the scientific literature; listening to and receiving public comment; and deliberating in open forums, the Committee will prepare an advisory Report that will be submitted to the Secretaries of Agriculture and Health and Human Services and used in setting the 2010 Dietary Guidelines for Americans.

The Dietary Guidelines are based on the preponderance of scientific, medical, and related knowledge and inform both the general public and government policy makers on ways to improve the overall health of the American public through proper nutrition. As mandated by Congress, the Dietary Guidelines are reviewed for revision every five years. The administrative responsibility for supporting the Dietary Guidelines Advisory Committee alternates between Departments. The Department of Agriculture has the administrative lead for the 2010 revision; the Center for Nutrition Policy and Promotion is the agency within the Department that is leading the effort. The first Committee meeting will be October 30-31, 2008, in Washington, DC.

So given Ms. Moyer’s avalanche of evidence that buries the saturated fat myth miles deep, combined with the statement that "[t]he Dietary Guidelines are based on the preponderance of scientific, medical, and related knowledge," I guess we’ll know soon enough whether the secretaries and their 13 nationally recognized stooges are liars and paid hit men or people with the courage to stand against Big Government, Big Agriculture and Big Parma. And who are the stooge candidates?

Linda V. Van Horn, PhD, RD, LD, (Chair) Professor and Interim Chair, Department of Preventative Medicine, Feinberg School of Medicine, Northwestern University, Chicago, IL. […]

Naomi K. Fukagawa, MD, PhD, (Vice Chair) Professor of Medicine and Associate Program Director of the Clinical Research Center, University of Vermont and Fletcher Allen Health Care, Burlington, VT. […]

Cheryl Achterberg, PhD, Dean and Professor, College of Education and Human Ecology, The Ohio State University, Columbus, OH. […]

Lawrence J. Appel, MD, MPH, Professor of Medicine, Epidemiology, and International Health (Human Nutrition), Division of General Internal Medicine, and Director, ProHealth Clinical Research Unit, Johns Hopkins Medical Institutions, Baltimore, MD. […]

Roger A. Clemens, DrPH, Associate Director, Regulatory Science, and Adjunct Professor, Pharmacology and Pharmaceutical Science, The University of Southern California, Los Angeles, CA. […]

Miriam E. Nelson, PhD, Director, John Hancock Center for Physical Activity and Nutrition, Tufts University, Boston, MA. […]

Thomas A. Pearson, MD, PhD, MPH, Senior Associate Dean, Clinical Research and Albert D. Kaiser Professor, Department of Community and Preventive Medicine, University of Rochester School of Medicine and Dentistry, Rochester, NY. […]

Rafael Pérez-Escamilla, PhD, Professor, Nutritional Sciences and Public Health, University of Connecticut, and Director, Connecticut Center of Excellence for Eliminating Health Disparities among Latinos, Storrs, CT. […]

Xavier Pi-Sunyer, MD, MPH, Professor of Medicine, Columbia University College of Physicians and Surgeons and Chief, Division of Endocrinology, Diabetes, and Nutrition, St. Luke’s-Roosevelt Hospital Center, New York, NY. […]

Eric B. Rimm, ScD, Associate Professor of Medicine, Harvard Medical School, and Associate Professor of Epidemiology and Nutrition, Harvard School of Public Health, Boston, MA. […]

Joanne L. Slavin, PhD, RD, Professor, Department of Food Science and Nutrition, University of Minnesota, Minneapolis, MN. […]

Christine L. Williams, MD, MPH, Vice President and Medical Director Healthy Directions, Inc., and former Professor, Clinical Pediatrics, and Director, Children’s Cardiovascular Health Center, Columbia University, New York, NY.

We’ll have to wait & see but so far the reports I’ve heard are not encouraging and while I’m sure there will be dissenters in the ranks, how they’re judged should be determined by how loud and how long they scream against the prevailing insanity responsible for the maiming and early deaths of millions. This is a serious matter. These people should be held accountable for what they produce. If anyone has any knowledge concerning the direction things are going, please let us know in comments.

At any rate, this is a great mainstream article to have in your arsenal. Pass it around liberally. Hat’s off to Ms. Moyer.

Update: It appears the linked article originally appeared in Slate. I saw that last week and somehow it didn’t grab me like it did this time. At any rate, now there’s two links in case someone you send it to might respond better to one than the other.

Links & Quick Hits

~ I’m working up a post now on Intermittent Fasting, weight loss, muscle gain and its relation to “slowed metabolism” and “low body temperature.” As you might suspect, I laugh. I laugh a lot. Here’s a couple of things to give you a head start and get you thinking.

Increased p70s6k phosphorylation during intake of a protein–carbohydrate drink following resistance exercise in the fasted state. To summarize, post-workout muscle biopsies revealed much higher levels of the goodies that stimulate muscle growth in those doing resistance workouts fasted than those doing them fed. No surprise there, when one understands that animals don’t hunt on full bellies.

Study on fasting and dieting suggests why diets fail — and why a weekly fast might work. Basically, this suggests that since people don’t seem to automatically overeat the day after a fast but gain back the weight slowly, over 10 days or so, that a weekly fast might just be the ticket for sustaining weight loss over a long period.

~ Vitamin K2 has been one of my favorite topics for a long time. Here’s new evidence that higher vitamin K intake is tied to lower cancer risks.

In general, the researchers found, the one quarter with the highest intakes of vitamin K2 were 28 percent less likely to have died of any one of the cancers than the one-quarter of men and women with the lowest intakes of the vitamin. That was with factors like age, weight, exercise habits, smoking and consumption of certain other nutrients, like fiber and calcium, taken into account.

Of the one-quarter of study participants who got the least vitamin K2, 156 — or 2.6 percent — died of one of the four cancers. That was true of 1.6 percent of participants with the highest intakes of the vitamin from food.

When Linseisin’s team looked at the cancer types individually, there was no clear link between either form of vitamin K and breast cancer or colon cancer. However, greater consumption of vitamin K2 was linked to lower risks of developing or dying from lung cancer — a disease for which smoking is the major risk factor — or of developing prostate cancer.

Of the one-quarter of study participants with the lowest vitamin K2 intakes, 47 — or 0.8 percent — developed lung cancer, versus 0.4 percent of the one-quarter who got the most vitamin K2 in their diets.

When it came to prostate cancer, there were 111 cases among the one-quarter of men with the lowest vitamin K2 intakes, and 65 cases in the group with the highest consumption.

K2 has been on my short list of supplements for a couple of years. I now take the LEF K2 Complex product and the results have been far superior and more consistent to any of the others I’ve tried.

~ Underground restaurants, i.e., operating outside the law? You bet. It’s catching on and I love the idea.

~ This is really just more moronic than anything political. Here’s House Representative Hank Johnson expressing concern that the island of Guam might “tip over and capsize” with the addition of 8,000 US troops and their families.

What a dummy. Certainly, if he had any brains, the much longer term concern would have been Guam floating away. :) And here you thought Idiocracy was just a movie. I’m sure everything will improve, though, right after the next election.

~ Heading off for Spring Break tomorrow and will probably be gone a week. But I should have no problem getting a couple of posts up, at least.

Thanks Readers. So Here’s Another Food Pic

Here’s a heartfelt thanks for those who seem to continue to find value in this blog such that they tell others, and that’s what it’s really all about. Readers come and they go all the time and that’s understandable. They either come to realize that they’re ready to move on and just live paleo, or they find a blogger more to their liking, many of whom I’ve likely promoted here and which I’ll continue to do.

The most common thing I see from those who email me now and then — often to send me a link for posting ideas, which I hugely appreciate even though I have to pick & choose because I can’t blog every relevant thing out there — is that they tell everybody they can about the blog. Believe me: that’s the most valuable thing you can do to help grow this thing. Helping to grow it simply brings more opportunities to spread the word. Feet on the ground. Steady. Consistent.

Had it not been for your efforts along these lines, no Der Spiegel article, no MacLean’s, no Rob Breakenrige interview. Yea, I’d have probably still done the DRW article because that came from the BoingBoing link on no soap & no poo that really got things going on December 31st, and which carried over into January and raised the blog’s basal metabolism significantly. Things like that can be fabulous, acute stimuli, but what really builds something like this long term is readers who, before they move on to something else, introduce two, three or even more new readers who likewise reproduce.

Visits Page Views
Visits & Page Views

So thanks folks. And also, thanks for the steady donations that come in and those using the Amazon portal more and more. Hey: to whomever bought an Apple AirPort Extreme for around $200 and a nice commission to FTA, big salute! Anyone need a 65" Plasma flat screen. :)

OK, it’s not much but here’s a small token for today.

Sauerkrout Polish Sausage
Sauerkraut & Polish Sausage

The sausage is grassfed beef from La Cense and the sauerkraut is fresh, from the Campbell Farmer’s Market. This one is done with jalapeno peppers and was hugely spicy. To tone it down I added some beef stock & heavy cream and cooked it a while. Also, the black caraway seeds are my addition as well.

Thanks folks.