“Avoiding entire food groups is a mistake, critics say”

Oh they do, do they?

And it's really the best they can do, now, whenever The Caveman Diet gets any press. Of course, Chicago Tribune reporter, Anne Stein, does what your typical reporter reporting on things she's ignorant of does: she goes out for quotes from rent-a-experts, such that she, and by extension them, can maintain the silly little illusion that they know a single fuck about anything worthy of dietary attention.

They don't.

They're worse than ignorant, really. They're merely pathetic excuses for the status-quo bullshit we see every day, have seen for decades, and have see the results.

Oh, get this:

Dr. Joanne Slavin helped devise the 2010 Dietary Guidelines for Americans.

Well I don't know about you, but if I were Dr. Slavin, I certainly wouldn't be so slovenly about bringing up such a miserable and total failure, one that's directly at the root of obese and diseased America. And it's lackeys like Slavin and this guy, Dr. Keith Ayoob, who are the very root cause of this sort of thing. From that link, Denise Minger:

Are you as excited as I am? Can we live without bread yet? Leave the fat on our dairy? Ditch the rancid vegetable oils? Gobble down butter and coconut oil without fearing imminent death? By golly, has the USDA finally pulled its head out of the soybean fields and given us something useful, emerging as a reliable authority instead of a food industry puppet?

Nah.

Yea, nah. Not with the Whores of Conventional Wisdom like Slavin and Ayoob around. Just get a load of the same, tired, miserably failed dietary dogma.

...dietitians argue that eliminating entire food groups is a mistake.

The notion of "food groups" is utterly arbitrary. It's all just various forms of plant and animal foods...and processed derivatives. What they're not interested in recognizing is that Paleo cuts out the processed "food group." The entire fucking disaster of it. Ayoob:

In particular, whole grains and low and nonfat dairy are inexpensive sources of nutrients that are essential to good health. They point to the Mediterranean diet, which emphasizes grains, along with fruits, vegetables, fish, lean dairy and limited amounts of meat, as a proven way to decrease the risk of certain cancers and heart disease.

There are tons of different kinds of whole plant and animal foods that are "inexpensive sources of nutrients that are essential to good health." What's not essential is getting those nutrients from any particular food, such as grains -- which of course raises the question of why the emphasis. Slavin:

Grains are really cheap, and for the average teenage boy it would cost a fortune to do this (Paleo) diet," ... "Animals are a really inefficient way to get calories, and you don't need that much protein."

Oh bullshit! Anyone who says that "Animals are a really inefficient way to get calories" is simply a fucking moron worthy of immediate summary dismissal for life. Animal foods are the most nutritionally dense foods that exist, and because they contain natural fats as well, they are efficient for both caloric energy and pack the biggest punch nutritionally, ounce for ounce. It doesn't take a rocket scientist, but it clearly takes a lot more than a dumbshit nutritionist.

Ayoob argues that there's "a mountain of evidence for eating low-fat and fat-free dairy. People who eat dairy have better bone density..."

Nonsense. Flat out lie. Western countries that consume the most dairy have much higher rates of osteoporosis and hip fractures than do Eastern countries where dairy consumption is very minimal. So, who paid for this "mountain of evidence?"

Also, said Ayoob, people who eat grains enriched with folic acid have reduced risk of neural tube defects, including spina bifida. Fortified grains "are cheap and there's no downside," he said.

Don't you love this emphasis on cheap? Yea, that's what we need. Priority number one: let's eat "cheap." After all, it's only our bodies and health we're talking about.

At any rate, if you want folic acid, why eat something that has to be "fortified" (that's euphemism for "it was a weak pile of shit to begin with") when you can simply eat real whole foods rich in folic acid: liver, giblets, kidney, eggs, nuts, potato, sweet potato, spinach, beets, brussels sprouts, broccoli, cabbage, asparagus, banana, oranges, peaches. Du-uh?

Eliminating beans is another bone of contention. They're a cheap source of protein and have so many good qualities that it would be foolish to give them up, said Joan Salge Blake, a Boston-based dietitian and spokeswoman for the American Dietetic Association.

"Americans are only coming in at 14 grams of fiber, and we need 25 to 30," she said. "Beans are a great way to add fiber and protein at the salad bar and in pasta dishes.

Again: cheap, cheap, cheap. She's cheap. You want a good source of fiber and quality protein as well, in a "cheap" package? Potatoes & sweet potatoes. There you go, and you don't have to soak and sprout them to mitigate all the anti-nutriens.

And they don't stink up the room. Hasn't it ever occurred to anyone ever that the fact beans are so effective at creating flatulence...that they just might not be such a "super food" after all?

The bottom line is that you don't need to eat any of this stuff: grains, dairy, or legumes. And in fact, there are plenty of whole, real food sources that are far superior. This is all just the typical whoreing ploy to get you to keep buying industrially processed crap-in-a-box. That's what they want, and it's why they do what they do.

We know better.

Tired of authoritarian, dietitian, lackey whores for the industrially processed food juggernaut? I am, and that's why I wrote this rant. Help out by sharing on Facebook and Twitter using the buttons up top.

What’s the Absolutely Coolest Thing you OWN?

I've had in mind to do this post since a while ago, perhaps a year or two back, when I was sitting on the front deck of our mountain "cabin," in the summer, sipping a scotch, looking out and observing, verbally, to Beatrice, in a kind of a Duh-uh tone: "that's the coolest thing I own." Of course, she'll retort with "...that WE own." Details, details.

It's a very large & mature cedar tree, in excess of 150 years old, according to an arborist who was in the neighborhood. Here's the pics, hot off the iPhone.

View from the Porch
View from the Porch

Well that's just probably a third of it. I'll call it half and here's the other, same perspective.

The Other Half from the Porch
The Other Half from the Porch

But looking at those images myself, there's no real justice because it doest really look quite as big and majestic as it really is. So here.

1000000065
The Root

The base circumfrance measures 29 feet. And as you can see, there are burn marks, many more on the south, downhill side which would make sense. This thing was at a time big enough to survive fires that came up the hill and raged through to consume the underbrush that accumulates (and that we clean out, once per year), quickly, leaving the fittest to survive Darwin-style, and grow even stronger.

Here's a shot from right at the base.

1000000066
A Giant

So what's the coolest thing you OWN? I emphasize, "own," of course, because it's such a lost concept. If you want to test that, try not paying your "property taxes" (that's euphemism for rent). It's primarily a neolithic concept I suppose, but nowadays, we like our Hot Pockets, Pop Tarts, Krispy Kreme, Cable and all the other stuff -- good and bad -- far more than we do the very concept at the root of it all.

And for anyone who wishes to assert the "our" in front of a thing such as sits in the front of MY yard, just go get your own. Thanks.

Recent Cooking and Meals: Classic caesar dressing, chicken picatta, pork chops, fried potatoes, and beef filet

First of all, image quality is not up to usual standards because I'm away from home and am using my iPhone. But nonetheless, we've been doing 100% home cooking up here at our maintain retreat all week. Here are some selections.

Caesar Dressing
Caesar Dressing

This is completely the classic recipe you can find on the net: raw egg yolks, anchovies, garlic, lemon, parmesan, EVOO. Just for shits & giggles I looked at the list of ingredients on some so-called "high end" bottled caesar dressings while at the market. Total crap. Most even proudly proclaim: "No egg, no anchovy." Then it's not caesar dressing.

Of course, that went on the salad with plenty of shaved parmesan.

Caesar Salad
Caesar Salad

And this went together with chicken picatta.

Chicken Picatta
Chicken Picatta

I basically used this recipe. What I did differently was to use Red Mill corn flour for the dredging and then about half white wine (to deglaze the cooking pan) and half chicken stock. It was really, really tasty. You could make it without the flour, I suppose, but the amount is pretty minimal, it's gluten free, and it helped thicken the sauce.

For "breakfast" the next day I had enough dressing and romaine left, as well as a leftover chicken breast, so I made chicken caesar salads.

Chicken Caesar Salad
Chicken Caesar Salad

That's garnished with some green onion, fresh parsley and of course medium boiled egg. My method for getting a nice medium boiled egg is to bring the pot to a boil, immediately tun off the heat and cover the pan for exactly 10 minutes, then immediately remove the eggs to a cold bath to stop cooking. This gives you a nice soft & moist yolk. For soft boiled, go 5 minutes and for hard, 15 minutes.

For dinner it was going to be pork chops fried in bacon drippings.

Pork Chops Pt 1
Pork Chops Pt. 1

This is one of those comfort foods. The gravy is just a simple chicken gravy where I deglazed the cooking pot with stock, leaving the bacon drippings in place. Make sure you don't salt whatever you're cooking if you do the gravy in the same pan like this.

I'm getting good at making oven fries and it's so much easier than frying in a pan or deep frying, and it uses way less of your valuable animal fats or coconut oil. In oder to get chips that don't break apart when you toss them halfway through the process, I cut the potato in half sidewise, then cut up accordingly. So, they are thicker and shorter and stay together quite well. I used the rest of my bacon drippings. I just put the cold drippings on the cookie sheet, put the cookie sheet on the stove top just long enough to get warm enough to spread the fat around. Then I just toss the chips with my hands to get a good coating. Then they go in the oven at 400 for about 20 minutes or until brown. I try to toss them a couple of times during the process. Here's another view.

Pork Chops Pt 2
Pork Chops Pt. 2

I hardly ever eat bacon anymore. I'd say less than once per week, or even less. I just got completely tired of applewood smoked, for example, and most cured bacon tastes unpleasantly salty to me, now. But I was out of bacon drippings and I wanted some fried potatoes and onions with my eggs, so I went and got some bacon for perhaps the first time in a few months.

Bacon and Eggs
Bacon, Eggs & Fried Potatoes

Yesterday morning Beatrice headed out with the dogs for the drive down to SoCal to spend the rest of her vacation week with family, so I was on my own, both for the breakfast above, as well as dinner. Well, I took the opportunity to go full-on carnivore for dinner. Two filets, pan fried in butter and then fired under the broiler with a pat of butter on top of each in order to get that burned butter effect (that's what makes the filets at Ruth's Chris Steakhouse so awesome).

Filets
Filets

I had myself a cup of Häagen-Dazs pistachio ice cream for dessert.

I'm sitting here listening to a recent interview with Dr. Ray Peat someone sent me in email this morning and I'm just marveling at how complicated some people want to make the simple act of getting real food, preparing it, eating it and just enjoying life. I'm becoming increasingly impatient with this sort of nutritional reductionism that seems to serve more a purpose of confusing people so that they flock to certain "gurus" just to know what they can eat. Peat seems like a nice, geeky guy, but I can't say that for some of the others out there.

Eat real food. Stop stressing about it. Enjoy life and share this post if you like it.

Low Carb Man Hank Garner Sheds 100 Pounds in Six Months

Hank Garner, the man behind My Low Carb Journey and its excellent podcast, is relatively new to the scene, but man is he ever making less and less of a splash in the low-carb and paleo communities. Sure, he has a great, entertaining and professional podcast where he interviews all the names you know, including yours truly, but I'm not sure that even at the pace he's gaining in attention and popularity, it's enough to offset having 100 less pounds at his disposal to "make an impact" and "push his weight around."

OK, enough of the silly metaphors. Let's hear about Hanks journey which is only a remarkable six months in. But first, here's where that journey began.

Before Hank
Before Hank

My name is Hank Garner and I am a formerly fat man. I realized some time ago that I had lost control of my life. I was not happy and felt like a failure in so many ways. I was not the husband to my beautiful wife that I wanted to be and I was not the father to my 5 kids that I wanted to be. I felt like I was trapped inside this cocoon and I couldn't break free.

When I was a young man, I was in pretty good shape, but as life progressed on and the stress and routine of life set it, the weight just packed on. The next thing I knew, I was sitting on the couch at nearly 300 pounds. I had to make a change. I started doing research and through folks like Jimmy Moore realized that low carb was probably the best way for me to lose the weight. I dropped about 20 pounds, but didn't really commit to it. I decided in October 2010 that I had to do this thing and get my life back. I weighed in officially at 276 pounds. I was on a mission.

To keep myself accountable I started a blog to "put myself out there". I started sharing my story and my struggles. I used to work in radio and I had the bright Idea that if I started a podcast I would get to talk to some of the best experts in fitness and nutrition. I got to meet and pick the brains of folks like Jimmy Moore, Ton Naughton, Gary Taubes, Richard Nikoley, Art Devany, Mark Sisson, Robb Wolf, Steve Cooksey and many others.

Along the way I discovered primal/paleo and was able to really dial in my diet and rid myself of the sugar addictions that were holding me back. I switched to eating real food and the weight seemed to be pouring off. I started exercising with a tractor tire, sledge hammer, kettle bell and running sprints. The weight kept pouring off.

April 15th was my 6 month anniversary of starting on this journey. I weighed in at 179 for a total weight loss in 6 months of 97 pounds. Since then I am down 100 pounds. If I can do this, anyone can!

When I started this I was so out of shape that I couldn't play with my kids for very long, much less run. The more weight I lost, the better I felt. I wanted a challenge. I turn 40 this year and I wanted to prove that I had totally transformed my life. I found a half marathon in my state and signed up for it. I put my money where my mouth was so to speak and started training. The half marathon is in one week and I am ready. I have already hit my distance in training. As soon as the race is over I am going to concentrate on more primal movements and packing on some muscle to fill out the flab that is left over from losing so much weight so quickly.

Thank you, Richard for being a great source of information, inspiration and entertainment.

I call my category that highlights these stories "Real Results" for a reason. There's so much BS out there -- so obviously TV Guide and Parade Magazine ad scammy -- and posts like this and so many others, here and at other great paleo, primal & low-carb sites, serve to show you the real thing and that makes it so easy to spot the counterfeit, the scam -- particularly when you see what they're peddling. You don't fight by shutting them down, you fight by showing them how it's really done.

Six Month Hank
Six Month Hank

Congratulations to Hank: for getting his life back, for his family getting him back, and for his willingness to put himself out there as an inspiration and source of real information to others.

Know anyone who could use some inspiration? Then share it on Facebook and Twitter using the bottons up top.

A 100% Raw Vegan Success Story

Well, I tweeted this story a couple of hours ago, it got immediate traction in terms of mentions and retweets, then Robb Wolf retweeted it and things really took off. So, based on that, I figured I better just blog it. This is about a tragedy, not ridicule -- except for those so deserving.

This morning I got a WTF? email from reader Clarice with a link to this raw vegan "success" story over at 30 Bananas a Day. It comes complete with before and after photos. Here's some highlights of 17-yr-old Harout's story.

I first got introduced to a better diet of mostly vegetarian foods with the occasion of some fish here and there by my high school assistant basketball coach for the Varsity team. i stuck to that for the course of my basketball season and stuck to it ever since i came to this site and moved on to the raw food movement. I was feeling so good on a vegetarian diet and looking so good that i believed that going on a raw food low fat raw vegan would make things even better for me with all the success stories.

So, he went from a diet that included cooked animal products to one that excluded them completely and...

I never jumped to high fat raw first. I barely tried being vegan for the time in transition. I just jumped straight in and have been 100% ever since mid September and have only had cooked plain brown rice pasta a couple times down the line. Every time i ate the cooked food though im like why am i eating it? It gives me energy yeah, but it doesnt taste good.

After 5 months of living this lifestyle i reversed my diagnosis of hypothyroidism. I took the pills for the first week and after that left it, on the verge of wanting to cure it myself. It worked, i shared with family my success stories and have influenced my households to go vegan and my brother a raw vegan as well. Its truely an amazing thing once you get into it. Its not just about diet anymore , i really realise the true aspects of this lifestyle and its NATURES GIFT. It really is, i wouldnt do anything nor let anybody do anything to change my insight on the way i live and my diet.

Well, so far so good, I guess. Or is it?

I have received great benefits and realise the only downfall is that i have gained a significany amount of fat, but i accept the fact of my body storing up what its been missing for a few years now and i respect it. I put my body through hell now its my price to pay for recovery. ...

A few cons that ive been going through lately and like i said respect for the time being of going through the struggles. I cant expect to become the hulk right away. It takes time to feel good , 8 months is just a drop in the ocean to my 16 years of abuse. Another con is slight acne on the forehead, being someone who never had acne in the past.

Like i said these are all little things that take time to recover frrom and im not going to whine about it. I believe in nature and this is as natural as it gets. Ive given up cosmetics as well.

Another thing i'd like to mention is that i used to be the fastest player on my basketball team. Played on A division for my traveling team while i was in high school and thats a good level. Now i play B cause i cannot keep up and even though i am in the starting five, i am not the top player of my team. I cant train as hard as i used to, the gained percentage of fat slows me down a bit. For the meantime i suppose. ...

Even though this last paragraph may be quite negative, i want to share my emotions one way or another, cause things arent perfect and i must share that. I think there is a big difference to feeling good and being able to perform good. I feel good , there is no question about that , but i suppose i am in the process of regaining where i cant perform as well yet. It really puts me down sometimes but i know there is no other option of just picking myself up and aiming for the best i can be day in and day out. Basketball has always been my true love and it just gets me how i let it get to me. Not being able to perform the same ways. It seems its a drag for me moving my feet up , down , slides on defense. I dont know, i hope i see in the light on the other end cause its just a tough time for me right now, still being in high school and ruining my hopes of college ball has been a tough sacrifice. It's not the fact that the lifestyle isnt the answer to health. Its not that at all. But we all go through cleansing and elimination at some point. And fininshing my high school career very poorly in regionals ,being one of the best players. Is really dissapointing to me , it really is. Once again , i dont blame the lifestlye. Its just a sacrifice of present success VS. future health. As much as i think its the wrong thing to do morally , i shouldve waited and stuck with cooked vegan so i didnt do dramatic change to my body right away with basketball in the picture. My bodys foreign to this and thats the only issue. Every day im doing something better and better for myself. It just draws me out of success in what i love doing temporarily. For the time being i guess.

[emphasis added to highlight denial and self delusion]

Well, there you have it. And now, here's the dramatic, 8-month anti-transformation of a poor, ambitious 17-yr-old young man. On the left, you have Harout as he looked on a diet that he called "vegetarian," but included fish and whatever other animal sources, and his food was cooked. To the right you have his 8-month results after being 100% raw, plant based, excluding all animal sources of nutrition. You can click for the full-size image, where the acne problem is more apparent.

Before After
Before (left) and After (right)

Now, this would certainly remain a tragedy, especially given his passion of being a top basketball player on his HS team, with serious aspirations for a college scholarship, but he's only 17 and this condition could be reversed just as quickly as it progressed. So not to worry, right? ...because the 30 Bananas a Day crowd are there for him, there to help him for his sake; to point him in the right direction.

Let's take a look at some of the comments.

Maybe this is that adjustment period for you.

Perhaps your body is just 'rehydrating' after so many years of being dehydrated. I betcha it's all water! ... look at all of the muscle you've put on!

So your super flexing in the top shot and 'letting it go' in the bottom shot. You gotta compare flex shots with flex shots otherwise its like comparing a limp banana to an erect banana! lol! [Durianrider]

THIS IS WHAT IS MOST IMPORTANT!! You are still YOU, no matter your physical appearance! You are loved!

...and then its BANG! CRASH BOOM! and we come back to earth and people around us blame the fruit. ... ITS NEVER THE FRUITS FAULT LOL! [Durianrider]

...how old are you in that top shot? You have the body of a 40 year old gym rat. [Durianrider]

Like I said HM, your on the right track now and just gotta let your body 'do its thing' as you do your thing. Keep eating right, eating lots, staying hydrated, GETTING EARLY NIGHTS and get on them b12 shots. [Durianrider]

In the above shot you look like your taking drugs. ... In the below shot, you look like an off season Tour De France rider that is not taking drugs. Still look like you are super fit, just not drug fit. Somewhere in the middle is the more sustainable range. 😉 THEN again, you confuse me cos your flexing hardcore in the top shot and are 'letting it go' in the bottom one. [Durianrider]

I think you look much healthier in the second photo.

Well, so there you have it. In case you think I may have selected only the comments that offered no help, only encouraging him to keep to his delusion, his self-destructive path, then feel free to read through all of the comments. As of 18 hours ago, the last comment, there is not a single one that even hints or suggests that he's doing something seriously wrong to himself.

Not a single one of those mutherfuckers is willing for one second to even entertain a whiff of a notion that something just may be rotten in The Garden of Eden.

If this is not the hallmark of a cultish religion, then there's no such thing as cultish religion. This just pisses me off. For the sake of being "right," they are literally willing to toss away the aspirations of a young kid who clearly doesn't know any better.

So, folks, assuming Harout may get wind of this post, anyone out there want to offer him some real help and guidance? Some real love? Please take a moment to do so. And also take a moment to share this with Facebook Friends and Twitter Followers. You never know who you might save from embarking on a similar path of self destruction; one that's enforced by denial & delusion and encouraged by cultists.

And for any vegans who do stop by with an open mind, here's what real results look like. Kit Perkins is the most recent success. Check out Tim. Or, this "Sterling" transformation. Who hasn't heard of Super Mike? And Chris? He's singing a different tune. Murray to this day constitutes one of the most amazing transformations ever. Anyone remember how Austin in Singapore turned his life around? And how about Michelle and Timothy? And then there's Mel, a PhD biology researcher. All of the resources at her disposal and yet, she had to come to some guy's blog to find a sound path for living and looking the way a human animal is supposed to look.

Good thing none of the above sought dietary and health advice from a fruit cult.

Soup for a Quick & Easy Meal

In an effort to dramatically lower my frequency of restaurant eating I have some up with a solution: soup.

There are many ways to do soup: a quick & easy and a really quick & easy. So first, the quick & easy. You'll need some form of beef in this case. I prefer to use a nice big roast that I toss in the oven at about 150 at some point in the afternoon and by bedtime or before, it's up to an internal of 135; I take it out, wrap it in foil and toss it in the fridge. Now I'm ready to do soup at a moment's notice.

Trader Joe's has an organic beef stock with no unpronounceable ingredients, and since it takes quite a lot to make soup, I reserve my home made stock for my sauces. I'll typically use one container, a quart, and set it to boil -- reducing it by about 1/3 to concentrate the flavor. In the meantime, I slice and chop up the meat, 8-10 oz per serving, which in my household is usually two. Yea, it's a real "Hungry Man" soup, not any of that Campbell's canned crap that purports to be meaty, with its measly 2-4 oz of meat, if that. To that, I'll add some form of veggies in reverse proportion to what you might see in the canned crap. In this particular case, a few oz of carrot, celery, potato. That all goes into the pot and at this point you can herb & spice as desired, or none at all. In the photo below it was about a half tsp of Thai Massaman curry paste which is just enough to give it a bit of a spicy kick.

Let it reduce a bit more while the veggies soften up. Serve with some chopped up green onion and in this case, I also had some fresh spinach to chop up and top with. Click for the hi-res.

Beef Soup
Beef Soup

To me, there's just something about a warm (I prefer well warm to piping hot -- more intense flavor) hearty soup that just leaves me feeling euphorically satisfied.

Now for the really quick & easy, such as when I head off to the office. I just pour my stock into a good sized plastic container, add my meat & veggies (Trader Joe's has chopped veggies in various mixes you can use for super quick ease) and if I have green onion to garnish I'll just chop it and put it in a baggie. When it's time to eat, about 4-5 minutes in the nuking machine will do the trick. The flavor will not be as intense, because you haven't reduced and concentrated the stock, and I don't do herbs & spices beyond some salt & pepper, but it'll pass, and it's still preferable to going to a restaurant and loading up on omega-6 PUFA.

Of course, this can be done with chicken, pork, lamb, and even pre-cooked ground meats or pre-made meatballs. And don't forget to drink down ever last drop of that stock at the end. I use it to swallow my modest number of supps: (vitamin D, vitamin K2 (MK-4), 2-3g fish oil and magnesium).

Raw & Cooked: Flexibility and Varied Nutrition

Two of the things I attempted to get across in last Thursday evening's raw vegan debate were that:

  1. We can eat anything and everything the raw vegan can eat, plus high density nutrition from animal sources.
  2. We can take advantage of the nutritional advantages of raw foods from plants & animals, but also the nutritional advantages of cooked foods, as cooking often increases bioavailability for some nutrients.

So here's last night's meal to illustrate. We began with some sushi; a piece each of maguro (tuna), sake (salmon) and hamachi (yellowtail). That went along with a dollop of cooked white rice for each. Click images for the high-res versions.

Raw
Raw

For the main course I had been thinking of a way to enjoy something along the lines of one of my favorites of all time -- a French dip sandwich -- without resorting to baking some sort of "bread" with the various things many folks use such as coconut flour and almond meal.

There are a couple of ways to prepare a French dip sandwich in terms of the meat. One way is to have nice, pink, medium rare slices that are then dipped into the beef broth. The other way, my preferred way, is to use as little broth as possible and then simmer the meat in the broth. Yes, this gets the meat well done, but it's infused with more intense flavor and as well, the broth is concentrated & beefy. I also had some chopped onion in there. When done, I strained the meat and chopped it up with some raw fresh spinach leaves and then used raw & fresh butter lettuce as the delivery device.

Cooked
Cooked

Some raw green onions and a snappy Nathan's dill pickle rounded things out. And of course, you lose some of the beef and the green onions into the broth in the process of dipping, but not to worry: you then have a wonderfully tasting and nutritious chunky soup to drink down when done.

I won't bother to do a nutritional profile on all the above, but you intuitively know it's a powerhouse that no strictly raw plant meal can touch, especially in terms of weight and bulk.

Just food for thought.

Kit Perkins Gets Himself Results, Blogs: Go Figure

And why shouldn't he? Tell me again how the food giants were there for him. How about his friends, who told him, most likely: "everything in moderation?" The drug companies? The media? How about academia and research institutions with with their CAFOs of Grant Whores?

Nobody was there for Kit Perkins who was supposed to be there -- who one might expect to be there -- and consequently, at the tender age of 21, Kit ends up looking like this. But I suppose that looks pretty average to most folks in our increasingly acclimated society.

Kit before
Kit Before

Kit writes:

When I went to college, my focus shifted to academics and social matters, and before long I had stopped exercising completely. I didn’t realize it at the time, but I was headed down a risky road in a poorly maintained vehicle.

My junior year in college, the wheels fell off. Mounting personal issues, paired with a heavy load of engineering coursework, resulted in severe stress, and my friends and I medicated with beer and video games. I became more sedentary, slept less, and was constantly worrying about one thing or another. My lifestyle led to significant weight gain, and by the summer, I was at 200lbs with very little muscle on my 5’10” frame.

What I think is that Kit was very fortunate to head down this path very early in life. For me, I was always pretty reasonable in body composition until the latter half of my 30s, then dind't do anything about it for 10 years until I found myself at 235lbs on that same, 5'10" frame.

But while I don't think the Paleo mileu mandates a low carb approach, it can certainly be effective for the initial weight loss.

I moved back in with my parents and was set to take a few quarters off from school for an internship in the bay area. The week I was set to start work, the company all but went under and I was stuck with nine free months and no job. Suddenly I lacked purpose and began doubting my self-worth.

Salvation came in the form of pick-up hockey and home cooking. My parents had been low-carb for years (my brother and I complained for years about the bacon smell originating from the seemingly unhealthy diet), and though I didn’t realize it at the time, I’m sure my carbohydrate intake dropped significantly during this time period. I was lucky enough to find another job, and spent the remainder of my time at home working and playing hockey 2-5 times per week.

I lost roughly 40 lbs during my stay at home. I looked better, felt better, and regained the confidence and sense of self-worth I had lost.

And then he went back on his own. Oh, oh.

I returned to school last March, determined to maintain my rediscovered health (and waistline). Shopping for myself again, I ate nothing but salads and pasta. School limited hockey to once per week, so I started jogging and mountain biking. I watched my portions and used low-fat pasta sauce and salad dressing.

Over three months, I gained almost ten pounds. My new clothes were getting tighter, I was losing stamina on the rink, and I was hungry after every meal. It didn’t make any sense. This was the first attempt I had made at watching my diet and I was exercising more, but I felt worse and was gaining fat. Now I realize I was starving and getting fat at the same time.

Yes, I know: calories count. Or so they say. Lots of controversy about that and who knows if it will ever be resolved; so until then, I think I'll just stick with reader and commenter Nigel Kinbrum's adage: "calories count, but why bother counting?" It just seems that for me and a lot of others, we felt the most hungry when gaining fat and the most satiated while losing fat.

This also illustrates the inherent limitations with the low-carb dietary approach. Does it work? Absolutely, very effectively for most, but in so many cases, only to a point, and that point is not the leanness and muscular strength retention -- and even increase -- you see in Paleo folks. Why? Well, because low-carb is sort of a license to eat easy crap. Paleo excludes easy crap in favor of real food: meat, fish, fowl, vegetables, fruits, and maybe nuts & dairy if it works for you. Chiefly, exclude all wheat (and other gluten grains or grains in general), refined sugar, and anything with former industrial lubricants: vegetable and seed oils.

Let's see how that worked out for Kit.

I went home for a week in June before starting summer school, and my dad was in great shape. He told me he had been eating a “paleo diet.” He pointed me to Mark’s Daily Apple, Robb Wolf, and Free the Animal; I was off and running. I bought The Primal Blueprint, and the science of insulin management struck a chord with me. I looked back at the cycles of body composition I had experienced in my young life, and it seemed to hold true – carbohydrate was a problem.

I scheduled my birthday at the end of July for a last Neolithic hurrah, then embarked on a low-carb paleo/primal lifestyle on 8/2/10. For the first six weeks, I tracked my dietary intake and body weight, and wrote a post every day on a blog constructed for that purpose (now indexed here).

Maybe the carbohydrate was a problem, maybe it wasn't, but the point is, taking a Paleo/Primal approach does two things: first and foremost in my view it eliminates Dr. Kurt Harris' "Neolithic agents of disease." Second, it is typically, at most, moderate carb.

The story gets better, as expected.

In those six weeks, I lost 13.6lbs, and got my abs back. I had boundless energy and no crippling hunger. It was easy to get out of bed every morning, and I found I actually enjoy cooking when the food tastes good. I was actually excited to see people I hadn’t in awhile, instead of embarrassed to show my added pounds. For the first time since high school, I craved activity. Suddenly, the couch wasn’t enough for me; I wanted to be enjoying the sunshine and challenging myself athletically.

This lifestyle has also had the unexpected, but certainly welcome effect of lowering my stress. I used to worry about everything. I’m not sure how it happened, but now I am an expert at letting it go; I truly release the stress of everyday issues from my body and mind. Perhaps it is because I feel confident in my health in a way I never have before.

The paleo/primal diet has been like a drug for me. I can’t get enough of the science of nutrition and diet; I’m constantly thinking about how the body works. Since those first six weeks, I’ve been experimenting with my health and fitness, all on a strong paleo base. Most recently I’ve been experimenting with Leangains and I’ve added quite a bit of muscle. In addition to this passion for knowledge, I developed a love for writing, a rare romance for an engineer.

Well damn fine congratulations to Kit. He looks like a human again. Here, see?

Kit
Kit After

Do make sure you take a scroll up to see the before shots. [Update: Kit emails in that, "I didn't notice this until now, but the lefthand picture in the two "after" pics is actually sort of a middle pic - after living with my parents, but before really going paleo/primal."]

I thought it would be a good time to post something like this owing to the higher visits the last few days, probably as a result of the debate with raw vegan frutarian Harley Johnstone of 30 Bananas a Day. They seem to think that meat makes you fat. In science, the above is what you call falsification of that hypothesis. The cool thing about Popperian falsification is that it only takes one single instance to know you need not consider it any further. Translation: PLONK!

And for you new visitors, vegan visitors, this is no fluke. Check out Tim. Or, this "Sterling" transformation. Who hasn't heard of Super Mike? And Chris? He's singing a different tune. Murray to this day constitutes one of the most amazing transformations ever. Anyone remember how Austin in Singapore turned his life around? And how about Michelle and Timothy?

And finally, one of the most recent, Mel, a PhD biology researcher. All of the resources at her disposal and yet, she had to come to some guy's blog to find a sound path for living and looking the way a human animal is supposed to look.

You likee? Then shout it to the mountain tops. Let others know, because they don't know. Facebook and Twitter buttons are up top. Just do it.

Random Interaction With Readers: Progress, Reports, Misc.

I increasingly have difficulties answering emails from readers in a timely fashion unless they just happen to to hit me at the right moment with something apropos to what I happen to be up to or thinking about. I always love the progress stories and photos and those always go into a file for possible use.

I hate not getting back to people at all, even though I read every email. So, as a compromise I'm going to take some of those most appropriate from time to time and just include them in a post. Often they offer info and insight, sometimes to plug a decent product or service and sometimes it's just whatever.

~ I hear about you a lot through Marks Daily Apple - I think what you've done with your life and what you're doing to help others is awesome. I, too, follow a Paleo/Primal lifestyle and I've made it my career, too: I'm a nutrition therapist with a Paleo bent and I'm the blogger for Paleo Plan (www.paleoplan.com), which is a Paleo meal planning subscription site.

Anyway, the reason I'm emailing is that I'd love it if you'd look the website over and if you like it, put it up on your website in the list of blogs/sites. Even better than that, though, it'd be awesome if you'd do a review of the Paleo Plan. The service provides recipes (free on the site) organized into a meal plan every week (each week's menu is different) and a modifiable grocery list to accompany it. If you wanted, we could give you access to the meal plan and grocery list for a week, you could follow it and tell your readers what you think? I think it's a service that a lot of people could benefit from - we're just trying to get the word out.

[Looks to me like a worthwhile service. I'll let the proprietor know about this post. While I don't have the cycles to do a review and do fine in my own meal planning, perhaps he'll have some promotional ideas.]

~ I have a real life study for you! My wife came from Thailand 5 years ago, cooking with palm oil and coconut oil only (just asked her if that’s true and she confirmed). After she came here she seeks and makes the exact same food with friends but the only thing she changed was that palm and coconut oil is sort of banned here in order to “protect the people of Norway from heart attack.” Canola, soy and even olive oil has been the substitute and she haven’t even questioned it since the Thais haven’t had the same problem with the western style of eating.

What happens with my wife is nothing but spectacular seen from a western man's poor eyes. She gains 20 pounds without knowing what struck her! She has tried many times but with no success to lose the excess weight.

Today I introduced butter, I threw away the canola and soy. I am convinced that something Is seriously wrong with the way we eat. What do you think?

[There is a growing and I think valid notion that excess n-6 may just be the worst of the "neolithic agents of disease." For myself, while I don't have any of that stuff in the house except olive oil, I do eat at restaurants a lot. I intend to redouble my efforts to avoid.]

~ I shut down the survey just a few minutes ago. It was a pretty good run, with around 2,600 entries on just the first day! In all, there are 6,104 entries, but with quite a few incompletes or abandoned entries (~500). That puts the effective population size at around 5,500.

I copied down every bit of feedback on the survey, and will be doing a write up on the methodology and proposed mechanisms for improving the survey design. I'm fairly sure I'll do a follow up survey next year.

[If you recall taking the Paleo Survey, you can see the results here, and feel free to discuss implications in comments. Two pleasant surprises for me: this is not a man's game, but it's a pretty young game, both of which bode well for the future.]

~ Just wanted to pass on how your particular flavor of Paleo has been working out for me. I've been mostly eating beef, carrots, potatoes, oranges, dairy, and eggs since about Chirstmas time. I didn't think I was much fatter then than I am now, I just have a little bit of a belly. However, my Mom saw me a few weeks ago and said "where did your butt go???" She said that my butt is about half the size it was at Christmas time. I thought she was exagerating at first, but then I realized that the jeans I was wearing were barely even button-able when I got them for Christmas, and yet now I'm wearing them with a belt! She was highly skeptical about Paleo because she is a certified dietary manager and had to drink mass amounts of western diet kool aide. When she saw my results she finally gave in, and now she is doing Paleo as well. As a matter of fact I just visited her this weekend, and she can't tell me enough about how much healthier she feels and how her appetite has reduced. We made a quiche together with almond flour crust and it turned out very well.

Anyway, just wanted to share the positive improvements I've had with you, thank you for all your work spreading the word out! ... I forgot to tell you the most important part of this story! I used to follow the FDA food pyramid religiously, and all through my teens my doctors told me that I had dangerously high cholesterol and blood pressure. In fact, just 2 years ago I was told at a check up that if my cholesterol was much higher, the doctor would have "called an ambulance". Fast forward to last week, I go for a check up, and I return a week later for my blood test results. My doctor told me, in his words "all your levels look great. Whatever you're doing, keep doing it."

I will indeed!

Human Face Transformation
Human Face Transformation

[Needless to say, a hearty congratulations to Ian, and to his mom, and plenty of encouragement to stick with it.]

Nutrition Density Challenge: Fruit vs. Beef Liver

In Thursday evening's debate with Harley Johnstone, aka Durianrider, of 30 Bananas a Day (see here for the debate wrap up and reader discussion), I issued a challenge for listeners to get a sense for comparative nutrient density by comparing some measure of beef liver with what it would take in any mix of fruit to roughly approximate the nutrition, buy which I basically meant: vitamins and minerals.

While not a precise comparison and we don't have the actual nutrient breakdown, 30BAD member Harrison -- to his credit -- was honest and open enough to do just that. Basically, he compared his breakfast of 1800g of papaya and 450g of strawberries to a measly 113g of beef liver. That's 79.4 ounces of fruit (5 POUNDS!!!) compared to 4 ounces of beef liver (1/4 POUND!!!). Here's the chart, the top one being the fruit and the bottom one the liver.

liver vs fruit
Fruit (top) vs. Liver (bottom)

In rough terms, this makes liver about 20 times more nutritious than fruit by weight. Also note the protein. Four ounces of liver and you get 10g more protein than in 5 pounds of fruit. What you don't get, however, is 211g of sugar, a full 207g more than in the liver.

Now here's where Harrison flubs the experiment all up, making it an apples to oranges comparison (who can fault him?).

I exceeded the vitamin and mineral content of 4 ounces of beef liver with my breakfast. It's not really so tough.

He's comparing a reasonable amount of caloric energy in his breakfast to a breakfast that wouldn't satiate my 15 lb. rat terrier. So let's do a little work on FitDay and see how his 850 kcal breakfast compares to a breakfast with the 4 ounces of liver, plus eggs, potato and fruit, to get up to an equivalent level of energy.

But first, let's look at the actual nutritional breakdown for the fruit. You'll need to click it to open up the full size version.

Fruit Nutrition
Fruit Nutrition

Green numbers are those nutrients that exceed the daily RDA and red, those that fall short (but in fairness, this is but one meal). Dashes mean the meal doesn't contain the nutrient at all.

So here's the full meal I constructed and again, click to open it to full size if you need.

Full Meal
Full Meal

Now, for a breakfast I would be more likely to go with double the meat (8oz) in the form of a sirloin or other breakfast steak and adjust the other stuff accordingly. At any rate, let's stick with the 4 ounces of liver for continuity.

Here's the nutritional breakdown.

Liver Meal Nutrition
Liver Meal Nutrition

And now finally, here's a graphical comparison of both ~850 kcal meals, with the fruit meal at top.

850 Calorie Comparison
850 Calorie Comparison

So, while he was able to achieve a rough vitamin and mineral equivalent consuming 850 calories and 5 pounds of fruit to  150 calories and 4 ounces of beef liver, if you actually add the rest of what you would need for an 850 calorie meal from eggs, starch and fruit, you simply blow the 5 pounds of fruit out of the water by a very wide margin, on average. What's more, you don't have to eat five pounds. Estimating my meal at 650 grams total, you're under a pound and one half of total food.

This ought to give any vegan pause, especially feeding infants and children.

So, commenters, what have you to add? Any other insights to glean from this? Vegans: see if you can do better. Better mix of fruit? Perhaps some leafy greens? Paleos, can you do better? Just how about everyone stick to the same 850 kcal meal so that we're comparing animal flesh to animal flesh.

The Real Health Debate: WouldaCouldaShoulda?

[This is a complete replacement of my previous post announcing the debate, so as to keep the existing comment thread intact.]

So the debate went off last night, on time, and without a hitch. Thanks again to Steve Prussack of Raw Vegan Radio for doing such a masterful job in putting it together and executing flawlessly. Steve was pro throughout, even in the face of a few problems in the preparation phase. In terms of success, well, he had capacity for 1,000 listeners via the phone lines provided and that was "sold out" to capacity. There was unlimited capacity to listen online and I have no idea how many listened that way. So, worth it? On that basis, I'd have to give a thumbs up. Who knows how many vegans and raw vegans heard things they never hear from within their cloistered circles?

For those who did not get a chance to listen live, there is a recording which I understand will be available as early as today, as well as a transcript that will be ready in a few day's time. You can purchase that as a package here.

The debate was a real debate and my first experience with such a thing. There was a 2-minute introduction for each party to give background about themselves, who they are, etc. Then there were six questions, known only by the moderator, except for the first question that was basically: tell us about your diet and its benefits. Each party had 5 minutes to answer and we alternated who went first for each question. After the 5-minute answers, we each had a 2-minute rebuttal. The final question was couched sort of as a conclusion: anything else you wish to add? That too was followed by 2-minute rebuttals. In total, the debate ran about 90 minutes.

If you think that I might have been at a disadvantage having a raw vegan as a moderator, put it out of your mind. Steve was meticulously objective and I'm sure those who listened would agree that there was no question asked that would have given any inherent advantage to one or the other of us. This whole thing grew out a a recent series of debates called The Great Health Debate with a lot of well knowns in the Paleo, WAPF, and vegan communities, but from what I gather, there was a lot of dissatisfaction; that it was really just a recorded phone conversation between the participants, and not a feet-to-the-fire debate. Steve did something about it and intends to carry it forward. So, if you're interested in supporting that sort of thing, you can do so by purchasing the Mp3 and transcript. And if you're wondering, I absolutely trust raw vegan Steve to carry it forward with the same level of professional objectivity. He understands the absolute essential requirement for transparency.

You want to know how I think it went. Well, judging by the comments already in place below that began popping up during and after the debate, it was a resounding success for me. Oh, there was this one comment, which reads, in part:

You made the whole paleo community look bad.

What, again!?

He or she -- I don't know because it's an anonymous comment and not anything like putting yourself out there live in front of 1,000+ people in a debate -- thinks I ought to leave this to the real experts like my friend Mark Sisson, or Loren Cordain, going forward, to which I say: gladly!

In terms of approach, that was a tough one. It was about a month ago that Harley issued the challenge, so during most of that time I collected dozens upon dozens of references, the usual stuff. Then in the run up, I began constructing a complex topical bibliography and notes, numbered, so that I could simply reference the number, giving a link during the debate and publishing the page immediately after. All neat and tidy. Well, "the best laid plans...," so they say. I began to question this strategy in the last couple of days and ended up dumping it completely. I decided that instead of quoting references, dropping names and so on that I would simply approach things as generally as possible, paint veganism as somewhat of a religious-like cult, and contrast "Paleo" as open-ended, flexible, inclusive, guilt shattering.

About four hours before the debate I had a nice long phone conversation with my good friend and intellectual soul-mate, Dr. Kurt Harris at Archevore, and it became increasingly clear that my newer strategy was essential. "STOP READING THE REFERENCES, NOW!" Kurt told me. I complied.

So basically, it ended up me being the inclusive generalist, and Harley using every version of the tired apple and rabbit in a baby's crib bromide he could come up with. Oh, and saturated fat and cholesterol clog your arteries; and we're all such nice [fat] guys and he really hopes we don't keel over with a heart attack or succumb to cancer. And did he mention? He rides a bike. A lot. Apparently, he's date-smoothie drinking buddies with Lance Armstrong. [After the debate, Harley posted in comments below that he drank a 3,000 calorie date smoothie during the debate. I, on the other hand, ate my first meal around noon, a big ribeye and raw vegan salad. I wasn't even very hungry when I finally accepted my wife's invitation to dinner around 8:30pm. He had more calories by far, I had more nutrition, by far.]

Once I get the transcript, I will tear Harley apart as I do best, in writing. It will be the death of a thousand cuts. In the meantime, here's my opening and closing from the debate:

OPENING

My diet is omnivorous and here's why: because human animals are omnivores. This is a simple fact accepted by the vast majority of biologists and anthropologists worldwide, and for good reason. The natural selection logic of the evolution of species in the face of geographic and climatological upheaval over millions of years makes it perfectly clear that in order for human animals to have migrated to, inhabited and thrived over all corners of the globe -- from equator to arctic circle, and from sea level to elevations in excess of 16,000 ft -- it was essential to have evolved the capacity to exploit sources of nutrition in a general manner, from plants and animals alike. I take full advantage of that.

Benefits for me have been the loss of 60 pounds with massive strength increase, normalized blood pressure, off allergy meds, off GERD meds, better sleep, better self esteem, improved blood lipids with HDL that runs in the 120s and triglycerides under 50, and on and on. So why didn't I try vegan? I'll tell ya.

A fruit-based, raw vegan diet that excludes all animal nutrition is only theoretically possible in narrow, niche environments such as a rain forrest. I say "theoretical" because even supposed primate herbivores are importantly omnivorous, from bug, worm, grub and termite eating to actual predation and eating of other primates. So, veganism in general and raw veganism in particular, is a recent human phenomenon that constitutes a mass nutritional experiment with basis more in ideology, feeling, and myth, modern production, and delivery to market than in biology, physiology and nutrition.

It's important to draw a clear distinction: vegetarians traditionally consume nutritionally dense animal nutrition. Vegans do not. Nutritionally, this makes a world of difference. A vegetarian society such as India, for example, has thrived for millennia whereas, there is and has never been any such thing as a vegan society. So you've embarked on a massive experiment and mostly what you have to look for is pictures on the internet -- and don't forget to but the book. So where is your long term successful experiment to point to? You don't have one. You're experimenting with your life in a hugely profound degree far removed from tweaking a variable or two. Rather than eliminate the most egregious neolithic agents like wheat, sugar and high-omega-6 industrial oils, you eliminate everything going back more than 4 million years.

Worse, you subject your unborn fetuses, developing babies and children to your precarious and I would say, precocious self-experiment.

What I'm getting to is that veganism in general strikes of religion. Most specifically, the mode of reason and argument is that of creationists. As someone brought up in a fundamental Baptist, "born-again" home and having attended private indoctrination at both the high school and college level, I retain a keen perspective on the power of guilt & shame, the promise of redemption, and the key to it all: the terrestrial motivation of social separation as both a tool of control and a source of feeling superior.

Vegans begin, as do many Western religions at base, with their own version of the doctrine of Original Sin. You're guilty by nature. You love the taste & smell of grilling animal flesh. You sinner. But unlike a celestial fantasy that doesn't play out until your life on Earth is over and the full context of your life is weighed for the balance of your deeds, good & evil, you do have a chance to make amends now. How? Well, we're back to the catechism. You sacrifice your desires of the flesh in favor of "higher ideals" -- as if there was anything higher than to live the life of a human animal on Earth as nature has suited.

CLOSING

You've heard here tonight from two proponents of health and fitness. But don't think or assume that what you've heard was from two dietary extremes. Because you have not. You have heard from one far-reaching extreme that goes so far in its restrictions as to eliminate nutritionally dense foods that even primates in the jungle eat as we sit here.

In stark contrast, what you have heard from me is that it's far simpler than that, far less restrictive than that, does not require any counting or macro-nutrient apportioning, and is flexible enough to allow you to eat what you desire amongst a vast array of cooked foods and raw foods, from nutritionally dense animal sources to fiber rich plant sources. Allow me to reiterate: "Paleo" is not really a diet. Rather, it is a framework within which any individual determines their own lifelong, sustainable regime.

In answer to my first question I used the phrase "from equator to arctic circle, and from sea level to elevations in excess of 16,000 ft" to describe the human experience in the context of migration. And this is a good way to think of the Paleo framework. Or, in terms of primitive humans at dietary extremes, from Kitavan to Inuit and everything in between. Now, you see, Kitavans eat about 70% of energy as carbohydrate primarily in the form of starchy tuber while the Inuit have a very low carbohydrate intake and only in the spring and summer. On average, they are 70% or more from animal fat.

And allowing for each to escape the harshness of childbirth and growing up in the hostile, unprotected wild, both reach advanced age in excellent health presenting with none of the diseases of civilization such as diabetes, heart disease, cancer, autoimmune and others.

And in between, there are numerous examples of primitive people who have been studied who equally enjoy good health. Their diets vary dramatically, but they all include animal products.

What's ideal? Who's to say? Your only task is to find what's ideal for you and the options are open-ended.

I agreed to this debate not to convince Harley Johnstone of anything, but primarily to speak to those vegans out there who may not be convinced that what they are doing is ideal for themselves, long term. I'm here to tell you that you should not let anyone shame you, or make you feel guilty for your own desires as a human animal. I'm here to set you free, should you desire it.

The choice is yours: live a life of restriction, denial, hunger and potentially far more serious long term problems everyone knows about so I'll not review, or live with open-ended possibilities to discover your own diet for life within the framework of a real-food paradigm, only with ALL real foods available.

~~~

Finally, the folks from 30bananasaday are perfectly welcome to come and engage here, as a few brave souls have already in comments below. I promise on my own account to treat you with relatively the same respect and decorum you show me (but I don't moderate and can't speak for other commenters). Tit for tat. It's open. There's nothing to hide here, shield my readers from, or anything of the sort. Apparently, there's a thread going on over there about the debate (Harley only announced the debate to the 30bad crowd in the last day) but of course, that's not an open debate since you have to adhere to strict guidelines to even be a member. Dissent is not tolerated. What I find interesting is that in perusing those forums now and then, there are some obviously smart and talented people over there. Apart from questioning their dietary wisdom, I have to wonder how a science minded, smart person would ever be a part of a moderated group of separatists.

“This is Silly”

One thing I never do is write a blog based on one single post by another blogger, especially if I really have little to nothing to add except: WORD.

I'll make an exception for Sean Croxton of Underground Wellness. Here's the link.

Well, I think I’m going through a phase that all health bloggers go through at some point or another. It’s the point at which we ask ourselves just what the heck else can we say about food that we haven’t said before. And how do we continue the discussion without losing the average Joes and Janes who just want to eat/live well and without attracting the neurotic orthorectics who turn food into a religion?

Yep. Search my blog for vitamin D, cancer, vitamin K2, inflammation, PUFA, saturated fat, cholesterol and its con, or just about anything you like. It's all there. What's left to say? And for the record, I was not blogging these topics as some health or fitness expert -- and I see that description of me far too often out there for my comfort -- but as some guy who took matters into his own hands, heart and mind and goddammit, changed his own life pretty much on his own.

My blog posts on all those topics and more simply represented my extensive note taking as I was learning myself. But I suppose that's the best sort of education. Back when I had sufficient hours under my belt flying hang gliders and the local shop wanted me to take the necessary clinics to begin instructing newbies, Pat, the proprietor of 30 years said to me: "if you want to learn, teach." So I think that adequately describes what I've tried to do here for a number of years.

Continuing with Sean.

I read the comments after I post my YouTube videos. A lot of them have to do with viewers being so fed up with the health game that people don’t know what the hell to eat anymore.

Meat is bad. But wait, meat is good. But wait again, I read Inflammation Nation last week and the author says that egg yolks and meat are high in arachidonic acid and cause inflammation. But wait just one more time, because I interviewed Mark Sisson yesterday and he said meat and egg yolks are good.

Shiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiit!!!!

Wasn’t sugar bad for us last week? Well, today we have the Ray Peat crowd who say it’s good for us and that if we don’t have enough of it we’ll fry our adrenal glands and slow down our thyroids.

Low-carb is good. No, wait! Low-carb is bad!

Sheesh. When is enough enough?

Well, I shouldn't steal any more of Sean's thunder because there's more there. OK, one little sentence:

Eat real food. Listen to your body. Live a great life. And do what works for you.

I should point out the the essential point Sean is making is something that has been bugging me more and more, to the point where I felt I'd written half that post myself. I often get the feeling that my funnest times blogging were back in the day where I was one of only a handful, really, of the "Paleo" persuasion (there were lots of L/C blogs, but the communities had yet to cozy up). I had maybe a 10th of the readership. Now I have lots more and in many ways it's not as much fun. I get this nagging sense that "going mainstream" is going to be an increasing pain in the ass, and I say that fully recognizing I have in my own comments in the past argued against the exact position I lean towards now.

Well, for better or worse, I guess. I just have to continually figure out how to keep making it fun for me in a changing climate, as I've always done.

To wrap it up, I think my friend Dr. Kurt Harris has been having some thoughts of his own. If you have not already, read his introduction to the new concept of "Paleo 2.0." Moreover, he has changed the name of his blog from PaNu to Archevore. Click here to go read why.

HUMAN PLANET

Last evening HUMAN PLANET, a BBC production, premiered on Discovery Channel here in the US; and I was not disappointed.

Here's the BBC trailer for the series. Be sure when it starts to watch it in as high of a resolution as your pipe can take.

Here's the BBC page for the series and here's Discovery Channel's page. And Wikipedia has a good summary of each episode. From the BBC posting to YouTube:

Human Planet is an awe-inspiring, jaw-dropping, heart-stopping landmark series that marvels at mankind's incredible relationship with nature in the world today.

Uniquely in the animal kingdom, humans have managed to adapt and thrive in every environment on Earth. Each episode takes you to the extremes of our planet: the arctic, mountains, oceans, jungles, grasslands, deserts, rivers and even the urban jungle. Here you will meet people who survive by building complex, exciting and often mutually beneficial relationships with their animal neighbours and the hostile elements of the natural world.

Human Planet crews have filmed in around 80 locations, bringing you many stories that have never been told on television before. The team has trekked with HD cameras and state of the art gear to film from the air, from the ground and underwater. The result: a "cinematic experience" created by world-class natural history and documentary camera crews and programme makers.

The real lesson to be mindful of here...well, two lessons...is first, the human animal's adaptation to every environment on Earth from equator to arctic circle, and every habitat in between, as well as from sea level to elevations at 13,000 feet, and everything in between.

The second lesson is the vast array of nutrition the human animal has had to exploit to do it. Thankfully, a good portion of the two initial episodes I saw last night had to do with the lengths people in so many of these environments have to go to get food. And they don't settle for easy or meager pickings, either. In one section, about eighteen guys total in three small boats with hand thrown harpoons take a 60 ft long, 100,000 pound sperm whale. Takes eight hours after they've harpooned him by hand, but they eventually get the job done and get him to the beach for butchering. It will feed dozens of people for months. You can see a portion of that right here.

Now, the only question I have is, don't they have plenty of bananas in Indonesia? Fruit in general?

Alright, now get out and pass the word to all your peeps to set their DVRs appropriately. The more ignorance cured about the human animal and his generalist nature as an exploiter of food sources, the better. Using the buttons at the top of the post is always appreciate and very effective.

I finally raised my body temperature above the 97s

At long last

I had a relatively idle day yesterday, and knowing it would be so from the start, I did what I often do on such a Saturday, Sunday morning -- or both -- laying in bed around 8ish, room well awash in sun despite curtains -- just enjoying trying to sleep more, though not pushing the issue...rather being content when it actually does happen to suddenly realize it's 10am, and far from feeling guilty, I rejoice.

Something just feels right with my life.

But in this case something wasn't right and I contemplated, then decided. I have low body temperature. If I ever bother to measure it seems perfectly happy in the upper 97s, most of the time. But I need and want to burn brighter, even if for shorter. Because I just fucking know. There are no long term considerations. 98.6, sucker, or you're just not like everybody else and you know what that means. How can you then trust an authoritarian-contrarian guru? How can a guru operate without some sembalnce of a path or formula for everyone to follow? And I'm especially keen to learn more about aspects of this sort of deal. I've got lots of readers and its like herding cats, sometimes. Every joker out there seems to think they know what's best for them. They even have the audacity to think they're special and don't need a body temperature pegged at 98.6 degrees fahrenheit, read from a device stuck in their mouth or under their arm. I mean, there are health authorities on YouTube who wear their baseball caps backwards!!! How much more credible can you get?

So I spent yesterday working on raising my body temperature. And I got it all the way up to 100.3, at the highest point I actually measured (it's a secret how I did it, but I'll soon have a "Free Ebook"). For some odd reason, I felt quite bad, which I of course attributed to getting better. I was sure that increased body temperature means increased metabolism, et cetera, et cetera. And funny thing, the less of nothing I ate, the more my temp went up -- for a while -- and because I was on a "more is better" mission, I just kept on not eating as the temp increased, and then I ended up not eating since about noon -- I didn't feel like it anyway -- and it's 24 hours later at this point. I'm a bit perplexed, because I thought I could only even have a sufficient body temperature if I "eat the food." On the other hand, I'm just a newbie at all this cutting edge stuff. Word on the street is, I can even do better if I start downing spoonfulls of refined sugar per day. That could be a problem though. I still have to work out my inner, natural resistance to eating lots of sweets since I don't naturally crave them, or rather, crave them over another piece of meat if its available. But if that's what it gonna take to get that body temperature up and have a high metabolism so I can eat high to metabolize high, even when sitting on my ass or am deep in sleep for my normal 8 hours, well, that's what it's gonna take.

Spent the night in alternating modes of freezing and sweating. No doubt, my body was adjusting to increasing its Schwarzstonebein metabolism. Or, maybe I'm just "detoxing." Or, maybe I'm just "not doing it right"...

...Unfortunately, it all didn't last. Woke up this morning after a pretty good three hours without alternating cold sweats and I was back to a very disappointing 97.8 degrees.

I'm such a failure.

[Some of you, especially new readers & visitors aren't going to really get the foregoing. If you hang around comments I'm sure things will become obvious soon enough. There's lots of tongue-in-cheek, inside joking for the benefit of longtime readers. Sorry for the diversion and back to regularly scheduled programming soon enough.]

“The Real Health Debate:” Live; Nikoley vs. Johnstone

Time to talk smack

Well, the debate I blogged about earlier is finally on. It's a live event that will take place one week from today, Thursday, April 14, 2011 at 18:00 PST. It's being hosted by Steven Prussak of Raw Vegan Radio, and after doing a bit of checking around, I'm convinced Steve is honorable, cares, is as professionally objective as is reasonable to be (we're all biased), and really wants to put on a good and informative show for meaties and veggies alike.

card

Here's where you sign up in order to listen live.

If for some reason you can't listen live or should otherwise want a recording and transcript, that's available here.

OK, so it may not escape your notice that Harley's mean look pretty much fills up the whole space whereas, mine looks a little diminutive by comparison. Perhaps Steve's designer is a vegan. So let's set the record straight. That photo of me is two years old, now. Here's what Harley actually looks like now, clips from recent videos.

Modern Durianrider
Modern Durianrider

There's more here at Julianne's nutritional analysis of his diet. Additionally, I was curious to look into the appearance of the raw fruit vegan Harley subscribes to, Doug Graham, a chiropractor if I'm not mistaken. It's hard to know when photos on the net were actually taken so the best way is to take it from a video of some event that has a date attached to it. So here's Doug Graham in 2005 on the left, and four years later, 2009, on the right. A recent workout video calls him "57 years young." So, to the left he'd be 51 and to the right, 55.

Doug Graham
Doug Graham

I turned 50 just over 2 months ago and this is me from July and August this last summer. I sure hope I don't look like that in five years.

MovNat 2010
MovNat 2010
Camping 2010
Camping 2010

Let's predict what Durianrider looks like by the time he's 50. I don't think he can afford for his neck to get any scrawnier, given what he appears to have lost already. At any rate, this debate is going to be pretty easy if he comes equipped with asinine bullshit like this below, (and that he's probably too ignorant to understand the inanity of in the first place).

Update: While normally I wouldn't put up a link to a website ranked 1.3 millionth in the world where I'm ranked 87 thousandth in the world and 36K in the US, what the hell? So here's Harley's post about the debate.

The only person from the low carb, high fat camp that had the guts to do a debate with me was Richard Nokely. Mark Sisson, Sean Croxton, David Wolfe, Daniel Vitalis and Sally Fallon all said ‘No way!’. I dont blame em either!

Occam's Razor alert. The explanation with the fewest assumptions is usually the correct one. Since all the above have been in debates before, have put themselves out there, it seems dubious to assume they're afraid of Durianrider. More likely, they simply don't consider it worthy of their time.

I, on the other hand, simply wish to give the guy with a puny following and invisible blog a sporting leg up. It's very charitable of me.

I get the sense that Harley somehow thinks that by debating me he's getting all the others by proxy. Well, I speak for myself, I speak for the unassailable science, I speak for my own results after damaging my metabolism for 47 years and losing 60+ pounds, and I speak to the impressive results other similarly situated folks have attained.

And speaking of Sisson, here's how Paleo leaning and getting strong goes without coming out the other end with abs, but otherwise, a body that looks like an emaciated teenage girl. Plenty more examples here.

Update 2: Any former 30 Bananas a Day adherents who had a bad experience with the raw fruit diet, or former raw vegans in general who wish to relate their experiences to me, please feel free to contact me in email, which is on the About page. I won't use your last name unless you explicitly give permission to do so.

By the way, please do spread the word about the debate on Twitter, Facebook and even in the comment sections of other health and fitness websites.

Random Reader Progress and Experimentation

I seem to have hit another of my occasional slumps where not only do I not have anything originally passionate to write about, but I'm not even that happy with some of my latest posts -- so why add self-inflicted insult to my own self-inflicted injury?

Why? Well, one thing I have been doing for my Twitter followers (@rnikoley on Twitter) the last few days is a tour through the blog archives. Three tweets per day, roughly, of some of the best of the best, typically by topic. I just queued up a couple of day's worth of vitamin K2 posts in chron order that will begin tomorrow morning. I have uniformly good feedback and lots of re-tweets.

So I thought I'd let readers who email me write the posts for a while. This is progress, and tomorrow will be questions. Man do I get a lot of email, which I do love to get. I have unanswered stuff going back to early February. I am deeply sorry that I can't personally answer all emails. I just can't. I could not have a life outside of that if I did. Perhaps feeling guilty is not the right description but I do tend to torture myself by leaving everything I have not responded to in my inbox, to look at occasionally, for purposes of self loathing and I suppose, to remind myself that there's a there, there.

Onward. First, Joseph writes about how a suggestion of mine helped him.

Hey, this is Joseph, we've interacted a bit on Twitter. I mentioned I was eating a bunch of ground beef and you told me about your meatball recipe... which includes eggs. Well, I added eggs to my ground beef... and guess what? Eggs + ground beef = zero craving ketogenic diet.

You know, I've tried MANY times to go ketogenic... but the cravings were always too strong. In fact, I've never heard ANYONE say they had a ketogenic diet that DIDN'T require you to push through major cravings. ...

Anyway, I have a very long history of struggling with "food intolerances." Symptoms include major energy deficit, IBS, etc etc etc. I won't bore you with the details. Suffice it to say I've been self-experimenting for years, trying to find a stable cure.

Joseph has a blog in which he documents some of his experiments.

Matthew appears to have stalled with lots of fat loss to go.

Just wanted to check in again. Unfortunately, not much has changed in the last six months. I still weight over 300 lbs, despite my much better bloodwork. I've been exercising 30 minutes a day 5 days a week and generally eaitng primal. I've also been counting calories.

Regular menu:

2-3 eggs breakfast with bacon

6 oz tuna salad with 3 tbspn mayo

8-10oz beef with cup of veggies.

Unfortunately I still end up going off primal on the weeknds - I can't seem to quit my addiction fully, despite having toned it down from pizza and 8 litres of diet coke a day six months ago to a bottle on the weekend and maybe a slice on Saturday. Part of it is long -term biological dependence and the rest is emotional eating and other psychological issues. I started taking 5-HTP about a week ago and this is the first week I've gone 7 days without binging, so this may be a huge step.

I had some questions I hope you could give me the answer to.

Veggies: When I started I was told the importance of a bedrock of vegetables. Unfortunately, I still have trouble eating enough - eating too much of them makes eating a chore and I get disgusted with my food and reach for pizza. How many veggies should I be eating, and can 2-3 cups a day (the atkins approach) be enough?

Exercise: I do low state cardio - walking, swimming - and the Primal Blueprint bodyweight exercises. Is this eough or should I be doing isolation exercises for strength?

Calories: My body loves to eat, and I've found that if I count what I eat on myfitnesspal without limiting it I can eat 3-3500 calories a day on primal foods (and thus gain weight). Should I be counting calories? Should I not? I feel like if I don't count calories I will just eat and eat and gain weight. I read 4 hour body and he suggested not counting calories but rather just recording what I eat visually. I started a tumblr blog for this goal - heftyhammer.tumblr.com - and wondered if this might be enough or if I still need to count calories.

VLC: I am still more than 100lbs overweight. Should I consider going sub 20g carbs - Ketosis - until I am much closer to my weight goal? If so, can I get buy eating eggs, tuna, flank steak, everyday for a year or do I need to add some variety? I am still poor so I can only afford tallgrass beef about once every other week (had some tonight in my first ever tartare which was fabulous.)

Any suggestions? Offhand, intermittent fasting comes to mind, as does resistance training.

Alright, number three and final for now. Tyler writes:

I came across your blog just over five months ago through Mark Sission's website. I quickly took a liking to your brash, unapologetic style of writing and being able to spread the primal word without watering it down for the "paleo pussies". I am twenty three years old and switched to the paleo/primal lifestyle last November. I have never been over weight, but I did have irritable bowel syndrome that was quickly eradicated once gluten was cut from my diet. I have never felt healthier in my life. I love cooking primal dishes and eating large portions of meat in one sitting. My only issue is that I am in the delayed entry for the United States Marine Corps. I leave for basic training on November 15th.

I'm not naive, I realize that at basic there will be bigger concerns than sticking to a 100% Paleo diet, but I don't want to feel like shit during the hardest 13 weeks of my life either. With your prior military history and being a pillar of the Paleo community I figured you would be the best person to turn to. I don't know how to go about this. Should I attempt to eat as clean paleo as possible and risk running a calorie deficit or should I eat the grains, sugars, and garbage that will be offered just to break even with the calorie expenditure? If I do go the grain route should I attempt to readjust myself back to them prior to leaving and if so how early? I'm also going to be doing long intense cardio sessions that don't exactly fit into Mark's Primal Blueprint. Again do you think it would be best to stick to a more HIIT workout plan until I leave, or continue with the long runs and marches for boot camp preparation? I also run in Vibrams, but those will not be at basic either, again would it be best to use them now or adapt to using a boot?

I want to be a Marine and will become one, but the military in general is steeped in conventional wisdom. I know after basic training is over I will be able to go back to my old ways for the most part, cooking my own meals and back to my own workout regimen. I know that is a lot of questions to throw at you, but I'm really at a crossroads at this. So far I decided that I would stick to my own diet and every Saturday eat some grains to get used to them again, but I really think all it does is irritate my gut. I did switch over to the long runs and body weight exercises though, but I still do them in my vibrams or barefoot. What do you think?

Keep up the great work and don't let the idiots keep you down. If someone can't take an F bomb in an article they have no business on the internet. The officer corps goes through a bit different deal but, I always look back to those six weeks of Gunny's kicking our asses 24x7 in Newport, RI as one of the most challenging and memorable of my life.

I'll never forget it.

I'd say to Tyler, just enjoy basic training and never forget it. Do what you need to perform and come out the other end proud of yourself.

OK, commenters: weigh in on any or all.

What’s on Your Grill? Another Day, More Meat

Here's the just a couple of things that hit the dinner table over the last week. All images can be clicked on for the larger, hi-resolution versions.

Grassfed New York Steak
Grassfed New York Steak

That was the typical red wine reduction. And it goes good on the potatoes, too.

Spuds
Spuds

Last night I tossed a tri-tip roast on the grill. This was not from my freezer but from a local high end market. It's a butter and garlic marinade. I took that to an internal temperature of 125, let it rest quite a bit out in the open, then for even longer in the oven at the lowest warming setting of 140. Never be in a rush to cut into the thing. Preserve as much juiciness as you can.

Grilled Tri Tip
Grilled Tri-Tip

Here's another shot since one ins't enough.

More Tri Tip
More Tri-Tip

Oh, and if you must, go ahead and have yourself a small salad. It can't hurt.

Obligatory Vegetable Photo
Obligatory Vegetable Photo

Where Has the CRUNCH Gone?

I had an epiphany last night

Or perhaps it was the weather, now in the 80s and sunny. Birds chirping are driving me crazy and joyful. I love them and I hate them...but that's just how I try to do everything.

I did a meatza night before last. Meh. I'm getting a bit beyond paleo reenactment devices. But that said, it's only natural, and if you need to make coconut flour pancakes with some sort of reenactment syrup in order to feel as though you can progress, got for it.

It's just that I have kinda come to the conclusion that I like pretty heavy meat, some variation on a sauce most times, and some kinda veggie, starch, or a salad. And then maybe I'll have a real pizza a few times per year.

Dessert? What's that? I just almost never have such a thing, anymore.

OK, so meatza. As always, clicking enlarges for higher quality.

Meatza
Meatza

That's a pound of grassfed ground and a pound of pastured pork grind, done in Justin's way (he designed that FTA header graphic for me, way back when).

Here's the slices. 

Slices
Slices

Simply, since there's plenty of meat, what I did was chop up a bunch of crimini mushrooms and lightly saute them in butter. Then I drained them, and then sauteed the onions in the drainage, let it all cool, and mixed those and some sliced olives with mozzarella cheese. Then to the working finishes.

But like I said, I'm just kinda meh on the whole thing. On the other hand, I kinda like it better cold. Since I didn't eat a lot of it the night I made it, we had it as leftover last night, accompanied by a big crunchy salad.

Big Chunk Salad
Big Chunk Salad

Now here was the epiphany. I realized how much pleasure a good crunch gives off. In addition to the romaine and spinach greens, there were big chunks of radish, celery, carrot and radicchio. And yea, blueberries too. It was dressed in OO and balsamic.

I had like two plate fulls. Crunch is just grand. get those chompers chomping.