Juxtapositions in Image

So after getting my CSS custom code sorted thanks to a commenter, I've been wanting to get up as many banner images as I can juxtaposing the more natural human life—that of the Animal—and the neolithic, central-authority-based life of a minion and a tadpole.

Just reload about every 10 seconds. I think there are about 2 dozen thousand-word pics, now. You have everything from African cat kills to church and state.

This one makes me laf the most. The facial expressions do not lie.

Bedfellows (click for the big version)

Have at it, because I will.

One Neolithic Mind At A Time

I get email.

I had never considered anarchy or what it is before reading about your views. Government was always assumed in my political thinking before. I could write on and on about my past issues with "the general public" and their views on religion, government, and everything else. I'm sure you already know everything I'd say about that moment where your nebulous thoughts that would seem crazy to everyone around you realize into your "code."

Sometimes all it takes is one missing piece, like a key that unlocks the code and arranges your feelings into a system. The very basic principle of "I don't have the right to force anyone else to do something" was the key that brought clarity to my thinking. the word "anarchy" once evoked a vision of chaos in my mind. Well chaos is a pretty good word to describe the infinite complexity that has stemmed from governing people by force.

The "downside" is that I've come to realize I have deep moral issues with my profession, haha. I suppose at some point when I was in high school, college, and law school, sitting in class thinking "this is bullshit, am I really spending my life learning about all this nonsense?" I could have embraced that thought and done something else. Well here I am trying to figure out the next step. And I've found my next area of discussion where people either don't comprehend what I'm saying, or think I'm crazy.

"Why don't you like being a lawyer?"

"Basically, I feel like the law is bullshit, and the system is evil. And I sort of feel like I'm supporting it. And I sort of feel like I'm wasting my life dealing with needless complexity and becoming a master of nothing and contributing nothing of substance to the world, at best."

"Well, you help people!"

Well these are people that should be able to help themselves, but can't because of that endless complexity I just talked about. That complexity serves to safeguard my income, I feel. These people must pay people like me vast sums of money to deal with issues they should be able to solve on their own, without getting caught up in the wheels of government.

So I'm figuring out what is next, now. I'm facing a problem I've never faced before. Now, I'm in my 30's—after spending my life in school—with a present skill set that involves demonstrating unwavering respect to fabricated authorities and navigating others through archaic inefficient systems. At least I haven't bought into the deep debt for appearance and comfort game of my peers, and don't need much to live on.

I'll figure it out, and I will make myself better than before.

I have been thinking for a while that it would be great to be able to thank you personally. Beyond diet/exercise/politics, in the past few years of reading your work I've learned to respect and develop fluidity of thought. Dynamic beliefs. For all of my questioning everything before, I was building my own weakness, a wall of ideals. Questioning everything includes my own beliefs and assumptions, INCLUDING those that have already been questioned and reshaped.

Also, the concept that truths can come from people you wouldn't normally like or believe; and learning the truth trumps criticizing the messenger. That's been hugely valuable to me. This concept has opened the door to information I'd have never looked at before.

So, after writing such a long comment to The Daily Fucktard and knowing you are busy, I hope this comment doesn't frustrate and makes you feel something like "good." You've helped me become a better person.

All in a day's and decade's work. I do take note that it's typically the educated folks who come around easiest. Any ideas why?

...Oh, and by the way, I have been reworking my whole 9-Part Anarchy Begins at Home series on Medium, heavily edited, switching out pics, cool banners, etc. Check it out. I'm through part 4.

Blog Redesign

You may have noticed I've done a bunch of design stuff over the last few days.

But I wanted to change the header image, so finally got to it today. I think I have about 6 now, and they load up randomly. I'll be adding more pictures-worth-a-thousand-words over time (do reloads or click different internal links to see what's there now). Suggestions or submissions welcome...but I only work with images that are a minimum of 940px wide.

I've done it all myself, but one thing I've not been able to figure out is that I want to put the title and tagline above the header image, and in a single line. Same background color code as the menu (with white text), so that it sort of creates a boundary area above and below. Seems to me that all I need to do is apply padding of 30px or so to the header image, set background color, and go from there; but nothing I try works.

Anyone has tips, appreciated; or, if it's more than off the cuff, I'm happy to PP some bucks.

Update: Thanks for the help. As you can see, I got steered in the right direction. Just a bit of custom CSS code did the trick.

The French “Smash” Sandwich

Back when I lived in Toulon, France in the early 90's I discovered a curious sort of sandwich popular in the southern region—always made-to-order in small, charming sidewalk stands. They call it sandwich américain. It's not only one kind, but rather a style, of which there are lots of variations.

My favorite was a ground beef patty on a baguette, SMASHED with shredded gruyère in your basic panini maker. Then, you open it back up, slather in the mayonnaise, and add the pomme frites (french fries). Other variations include using sausages, or not having cheese; using moutarde, or having various produce—just like a typical burger here. And, of course, it's not typically smashed when it has produce.

First you'll want to get your fries going. Twice fried, of course. Those are done in a mix of coconut oil and bacon drippings.

IMG 2488
Pomme Frites

Don't even bother unless you have access to something resembling a true French baguette. Here in San Jose and the Bay Area, Acme Bread Company is about the most authentic I've found, and both Whole Foods and Lunardi's carry it. Sweet, of course, not sourdough.

IMG 2491
Une Baguette

A convenient way to cook the patty is to just use the panini maker. It's done as soon as you see the first sign of drippings.

I added a bit of cheddar I had on hand to the gruyère in this case. 

IMG 2493

Time to smash it.

IMG 2494
Smash Sandwich

Then pull it back open, add the mayo and your fries. Note: it's often smashed with the fries as well as the cheese, but this is likely because the fries aren't hot right out of the fryer as were mine.

IMG 2495
C'est complètement fou, non?

Back in those days, at 30ya, I could easy down a whole one often, and I never added an ounce to my frame. Today, something like this is a rare treat, and I split it with Bea.

IMG 2496
Not Paleo Approved!

Sure, I can see being criticized for even putting stuff like this out there but you know what? You're going to have your indulgences now and then anyway. I'd rather you go get a quality loaf of bread, source some quality ingredients, fry whatever needs frying in good oils, and make it an overall better option than a fast food burger.

Next food post will be about Sous Vide pork chops; but after that, I'll show you a few other great options for a good baguette from Acme Bread Company.

Simple Infrared Grilled Chicken With Mashed Potatoes and Chicken Stock Reduction

Before I explain the meal and in particular, how I grilled it from raw, on high, without torching it, just a bit of blog admin.

The other day I explained that I had decided to revive the Free the Animal Facebook Page. That's gone well and I'm generally limiting posts to the general evolutionary diet, fitness, health realm. At the request of a reader, I've also created a separate page to serve as an outlet for my, uh, unbounded energy: The Daily Fucktard. Take a look and follow along if you like. A good amount of stuff I post is from fans who alert me to stupid shit. As you might imagine, endless supply. I'm having fun with it.

Here's the story of my Char-Broil TRU Infrared Urban Gas Grill. A few years back I purchased one of these and was very happy with it. I basically cook everything on high, because you can't get a flame up, but you can get some flame that quickly dissipates.

But there was a design flaw. The surface was pretty impossible to clean, and what was worse was that is was in about a dozen pieces and if they came apart, nightmare.

IMG 2447
IMG 2448
From 30 total pieces to four

The top section for each half was 14 pieces of stainless steel, assembled via tabs & slots. Recently I was at one of the box stores and saw that they had redesigned it. Replaced those 14 pieces with a single cast iron grill surface and in addition, redesigned the single-piece lower section with larger holes and corrugation—in order to channel away the melted fat to reduce flame ups.

So I went online and found that they had the parts as a retrofit, so basically a new grill that works better than ever. Highly recommended.

Here's one of the reasons why. I'm sure that everyone has had the experience of BBQd chicken that's burnt to a crisp on the outside; cold, pink, raw and crunchy on the inside. So for years, the conventional way was to bake the chicken first for the dual-purpose of getting the inside cooked, as well as melting away some of the fat so as to reduce flame up.

So Friday I did a flex test. Cooked completely raw chicken on high the whole time.

Made some mashed potatoes too, and reduced 1/2 gallon of Kitchen Basics Unsalted Chicken Stock to this much, for 4 servings:

Deep chicken gravy

Do use the unsalted. If you don't, that much of a reduction will make it quite salty.

Money shot - click for the larger hi-res version

Our friend Julie brought a nice salad with cheese and pecans, dressed with a home made honey dijon.


She also brought dessert, which was fresh watermelon, cubed and tossed in salt and lime juice.

Last night I fired up the Sous Vide Supreme. I'll show you what went down with that soon.

Free The Animal Facebook Housekeeping

Just a quick note to let folks know that I've resumed posting to the Free The Animal Facebook Page.

A little background. Some months ago I stopped updating the page and instead opened my personal profile to following/commenting for all of my public updates. (Note: I only accept friend requests from actual real life friends/family—people I know in person; hence, I have a perfect hunter-gatherer number of 34 friends to keep track of.)

So, since it's my personal page I've been free-er to post whatever I wanted, and I have. So, it's a total eclectic mix of everything, including me at my worst. However, I've come to realize that's left a lot of good folks out in the cold who don't want anything but the Paleoish stuff. Since I always aim to please when I can, I'll be firing the page back up and will post only things relevant to the Paleo/Primal/Real Food community.

I'll continue to post whatever I damn well please on my personal profile. So, everybody happy, now? I hope not, because I'm not happy unless you're not happy. :)

Evidence Mounts on the Therapeutic and Healing Benefits of Fasting

I used to blog about this all the time. About 230 posts going back to 2008 that are either about fasting, or mention it in some way.

There were several things that intrigued me. Off the top of my head:

  1. Makes weight loss pretty easy
  2. Once adapted to it, most people find enhanced mental attitude and clarity
  3. Many religious institutions have various fasting regimens. Hmmm...
  4. It may confer the hypothesized longevity benefits of chronic caloric restriction diets, without being chronic, but acute.
  5. It may protect healthy cells against the ravages of chemotherapy while weakening cancer cells.

It's that last one I blogged about way back here, more than 6 years ago: Counterintuitive Cancer Therapy.

Fasting for two days protects healthy cells against chemotherapy, according to a study appearing online the week of Mar. 31 in PNAS Early Edition. Mice given a high dose of chemotherapy after fasting continued to thrive. The same dose killed half the normally fed mice and caused lasting weight and energy loss in the survivors.

Fortunately, Dr. Longo didn't sit still on this: Fasting triggers stem cell regeneration of damaged, old immune system.

In the first evidence of a natural intervention triggering stem cell-based regeneration of an organ or system, a study in the June 5 issue of the Cell Stem Cell shows that cycles of prolonged fasting not only protect against immune system damage — a major side effect of chemotherapy — but also induce immune system regeneration, shifting stem cells from a dormant state to a state of self-renewal.

In both mice and a Phase 1 human clinical trial involving patients receiving chemotherapy, long periods of not eating significantly lowered white blood cell counts. In mice, fasting cycles then “flipped a regenerative switch,” changing the signaling pathways for hematopoietic stem cells, which are responsible for the generation of blood and immune systems, the research showed.

We could not predict that prolonged fasting would have such a remarkable effect in promoting stem cell-based regeneration of the hematopoietic system.

The study has major implications for healthier aging, in which immune system decline contributes to increased susceptibility to disease as people age. By outlining how prolonged fasting cycles—periods of no food for two to four days at a time over the course of six months—kill older and damaged immune cells and generate new ones, the research also has implications for chemotherapy tolerance and for those with a wide range of immune system deficiencies, including autoimmunity disorders.

“We could not predict that prolonged fasting would have such a remarkable effect in promoting stem cell-based regeneration of the hematopoietic system,” said corresponding author Valter Longo, Edna M. Jones Professor of Gerontology and the Biological Sciences at the USC Davis School of Gerontology and director of the USC Longevity Institute. Longo has a joint appointment at the USC Dornsife College of Letters, Arts and Sciences.

“When you starve, the system tries to save energy, and one of the things it can do to save energy is to recycle a lot of the immune cells that are not needed, especially those that may be damaged,” Longo said. “What we started noticing in both our human work and animal work is that the white blood cell count goes down with prolonged fasting. Then when you re-feed, the blood cells come back. So we started thinking, well, where does it come from?”

Sounds a lot like autophagy, another term that's in lots of my posts going back 6 years.

Interestingly, a chronic ketogenic diet has been touted as an effective therapy for both cancer and epilepsy, and with some evidence to justify hypothesis forming and testing, a good thing. But has it panned out? Moreover, is it less effective than ACUTE ketosis (AKA: an extended fast)? If something is good, is more of it and all the time necessarily better? Does disregarding delicate balances either way get you into trouble?

Angelo Coppola, an honest inquisitor after my own heart—with no turf to protect with stinky obvious bias—recently dropped a comment on the changing landscape with regard to chronic ketosis vs. more effective therapies.

Re: Cancer & Epilepsy

Dr. Gonzales Dismantles the Ketogenic Diet for Cancer

This Dr. claims to have worked closely with Atkins and that Atkins tested a ketogenic approach on cancer patients but failed to show benefits.

~ The surprising story of medical marijuana and pediatric epilepsy: Josh Stanley at TEDxBoulder.

~ An incredible story about the effects of CBD (a non-psychoactive compound in cannabis) on epileptic children. From CNN:

“Paige took her daughter to Chicago to see a Dravet specialist, who put the child on a ketogenic diet frequently used to treat epilepsy that’s high in fat and low in carbohydrates. The special diet forces the body to make extra ketones, natural chemicals that suppress seizures. It’s mainly recommended for epileptic patients who don’t respond to treatment."

The diet helped control Charlotte’s seizures but had a lot of side effects. She suffered from bone loss. Her immune system plummeted. And new behavioral problems started popping up.

“At one point she was outside eating pine cones and stuff, all kinds of different things,” Matt said. “As a parent you have to say, let’s take a step back and look at this. Is this truly beneficial treatment because of these other things?”

Two years into the diet, the seizures came back.”

Go ahead and sort it all out, pass it on to folks who might need it.

Here's my random thoughts about fasting:

  1. Except for fat loss, it ought not be about under eating, but crowding the same amount of food into a shorter time.
  2. I'd rather see a person do a 4-day fast and eat regularly the other 26 days of the month, than a weekly fast.
  3. I'd rather see a person do a 2-day fast and eat regularly the other 12 days of a fortnight, than a weekly fast.
  4. I'd rather see a person do a 30-hr fast weekly than do a daily fasting window, with one exception: a disciplined Leangains-styled protocol that involves holy shit heavy lifting 3 times per week, and eating your ass off, with everything counted, in an 8-hr window every day.
  5. Fasting can be seductive, in that it can gradually adapt you to chronic under eating as you get used to it and plug into the euphoria it can induce. Chronic under eating comes with a whole host of problems, not the least of which is that your body gets very good at making you not exert much energy, all while it guards every molecule of energy it can keep. In short, it can really mess up a metabolism, along with hormonal regulation. I think this was what a lot of women predominantly experienced back when intermittent fasting was all the rage.

Alright, no go empty your fridge and toss it in the trash. Starve.