The Paleo Diet

I’m finally getting around to reading The Paleo Diet, by Loren Cordain. I’m doing so on my new Amazon Kindle, which I love. I’ve had the Sony Reader (500, then 505) for some time, but though it’s wonderful quality hardware, it requires software to interface (a kinda iTunes-like thing) and Sony simply refuses to make its Connect software compatible with the Mac (I switched about a year ago, never to look back). So, Sony Corporation: YOU’RE FIRED! I’ve been purchasing their high-quality products for as long as I can remember, but will never give them another dime for anything if I can help it. So anyway, one cool thing about the Kindle is that you can clip excerpts and either have the Kindle email ’em to you via the cellular network for a small charge, or, just use USB. Accordingly, I’ve got an except from the book’s intro. I have examined thousands of early-nineteenth and twentieth-century photographs of hunter-gatherers. They invariably show indigenous people to be lean, muscular, and fit. The few medical studies of hunter-gatherers who managed to survive into the twentieth century also confirm earlier written accounts by explorers and frontiersmen. No matter where they lived — in…

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Cardiovascular Health

Here are a couple of must listen podcasts. You can call ’em up on your computer, or, put them on an iPod, iPhone, or other player and listen whenever. I like taking them in while driving. These two particular podacasts are a two-part interview by Jimmy Moore. ‘Livin’ La Vida Low-Carb Show’ Episode 185: Interviewing ‘Heart Scan Blog’ Author Dr. William Davis (Part 1) ‘Livin’ La Vida Low-Carb Show’ Episode 186: Interviewing ‘Heart Scan Blog’ Author Dr. William Davis (Part 2) Cardiologist William Davis runs the Heart Scan Blog and is involved with the Track Your Plaque program. Formerly spending his professional time doing cardiac procedures such as stents and angioplasties, he’s now focussed on prevention, early detection, and reversal. Listen to what he has to say about “vitamin D” (it’s actually a hormone) and how it’s profoundly helping his patients. Find out also why LDL numbers are useless and that you need to know your particle size. It’s the small and dense that count, not the big & fluffy. Find out about heart scans and scores. Find out why most cardiologists and hospitals aren’t interested (procedures generate billions in revenue). In the second part, he explains why following the…

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How Animal is That?

We’re going to roast beef bone marrow tomorrow night, to have along with my aunt’s French onion soup, which incidentally, she makes from scratch using this exact same thing, roasting and then making stock to a nice thick reduction over about two day’s time. Her French onion soup is essentially demi glace with onion in it (and without the roux). There’s two of them like that, now cut up into 16 pounds worth. Inspiration here and here.

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Good Carbohydrates, Bad Carbohydrates?

I had intended to point out that Dr. Michael Eades sponsored a Q&A with Gary Taubes, author of Good Calories, Bad Calories, and it’s worth a read. I found this quote concerning the general leanness of Asians on relatively carb-rich diets particularly interesting in light of my own conclusions: The Asian question first. I do address this in the book and I address it again in the afterward of the paperback. There are several variables we have to consider with any diet/health interaction. Not just the fat content and carb content, but the refinement of the carbs, the fructose content (in HFCS and sucrose primarily) and how long they’ve had to adapt to the refined carbs and sugars in the diet. In the case of Japan, for instance, the bulk of the population consumed brown rice rather than white until only recently, say the last 50 years. White rice is labor intensive and if you’re poor, you’re eating the unrefined rice, at least until machine refining became widely available. The more important issue, though, is the fructose. China, Japan, Korea, until very recently consumed exceedingly little sugar (sucrose). In the 1960s, when Keys was doing the Seven Countries Study and…

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Selfish Fat – Barry Sears on CBN 700 Club

Here’s something I was going to toss up the other day, but got sidetracked. It’s an interview of Barry Sears, author of The Zone and other books, and his latest: Toxic Fat. Take a look: It’s interesting how he characterizes fat (adipose tissue) as a kind of “cancer.” It immediately reminded me of my “tumor” analogy I wrote about back at the first of the year: I think the tumor analogy is an interesting one, at least in the way I understand Taubes at present. What do you often hear expressed about tumors, short of outright removing them? Well, sometimes they’re “small,” such that the risk of surgery isn’t called for. So, you try to keep them small. Why? Well, because when they’re small their effect is minimal. They aren’t cannibalizing good tissue sufficiently to cause a large effect. How about shrinking a tumor? Same thing. And what happens when a tumor gets to be of sufficient size? Does it not then become a self-sustaining cannibalistic parasite, sacrificing healthy bodily tissue for its own sake in a positive-feedback mechanism, such that the bigger it gets, the bigger and more parasitic its influence on the rest of the body until eventually…

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What You’re Up Against – Eggs Linked to Diabetes

Via reader Chris S. comes this absolutely astounding news: “Eating an egg a day can raise the risk of developing diabetes.” And, of course, such “startling” news is being uncritically reported all over the place. You can access the abstract here. In a word: absurd. I don’t know what’s worse, actually doing this sort of meaningless and useless “research” in the first place, or mindlessly shilling for it via sensational “news” reporting. In my opinion, the whole lot of ’em ought to be pelted with rotten fruits, vegetables, and of course, eggs. Now, here’s why. This is an observational study, not a controlled intervention study. And not randomized, either. In essence, what they did was to take data from two other studies, data that was gathered by means of an annual questionnaire. As it turned out when they analyzed the data, those who developed type 2 diabetes were largely the same people who tended to eat a fair amount of eggs. Correlation or association, however, in no way implies causation. It could also turn out that the people who got diabetes take hotter showers, on average. The only thing you can really say is that type 2 is surely linked…

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It’s Gotta Be The Fat…

Via Mark’s Daily Apple, comes this Prevalence of Obesity map. Click right here to see an animation of how it changes year over year from 1985 – 2007. Then, stop to consider that at no time ever in history have there been so many diet programs, TV shows, books, programs, emphasis — and by far and away, most of the diets all have a similar common theme: less fat (especially animal), more “whole” grains. So: how’s that workin’ out fer ya? Later: In that same list of links at Mark’s, there’s this: “How do French Eat What They Want and Stay Slim & Healthy?” Despite a diet stuffed with cream, butter, cheese and meat, just 11 percent of French adults are obese, compared with America’s 33 percent. The French live longer too, and have lower death rates from coronary heart disease. They don’t diet and they don’t spend hours panting round the gym. I lived and worked in France for two years, most of my meals taken at the facility I worked at, so authentic French. Never in my life did I eat so well, with so much luxurious animal-based meals and fats of all kinds. My weight reduced about…

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Something to Keep You Busy – Lotsa Links

While working on a promised summary page to lay out the basics of my approach to food and fitness, I’ve been lax in making regular postings. But, there’s still lots of great stuff out there. Here’s some of it to keep you busy. Doc Eades and Jimmy Moore both take on the 2010 Dietary Guidelines Board which, no doubt, will again tell you that you need to “eat more whole grains, less fat, and get more exercise.” It’s the approach that has led America to unprecedented levels of obesity and diabetes over these last decades, but at least Big Agra is going to be pleased. Scott the Modern Forager does a post on Vitamin D, and a three-part series on A, D, E and K: Part 1, Part 2, and Part 3. Jimmy Moore gives short reviews of 14 diet and health books. Cardiologist William Davis gives the scoop on LDL and HDL, and then talks about Crestor, the JUPITER study, and c-reactive protein (CRP) — and then how to reduce it. Mike OD gives you the scoop on personal trainers. Dr. John Briffa gives you the ins & outs of the omega-6 to omega-3 fatty acid ratio and how…

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Wellsphere

You may have noticed the new badge to the right. I’ve been invited to blog at Wellsphere. Not something I sought out — they contacted me — but it looks to be an interesting gig. I’ll do my best. Wellsphere’s mission is to help millions of people live healthier, happier lives by connecting them with the knowledge, people and tools they need to manage and improve their health. Recognizing that each person has their own unique health questions, we developed a model that combines personalized information and social support to help people address their individual concerns. After extensive research and development, Wellsphere launched WellPages, powered by its innovative Health Knowledge EngineTM, enabling users to quickly and efficiently find comprehensive, personal answers and support for their specific health needs – all on one personalized webpage. Wellsphere’s unique ability to quickly and efficiently answer user’s specific health needs has made Wellsphere.com one of the leading consumer health websites in the world. One of the keys to Wellsphere’s success is the breadth of knowledge across its network of experts and experienced health writers, and within its caring community. Wellsphere’s network of writers and bloggers includes almost 1,500 of the leading medical minds from…

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Reader Input, Results, Q&A

A bit busy right now, so let me just round up a bunch of things in one post. You know the drill. Reader Bud sends a link to an article along so that we know that diabetes in America is now costing $200 billion per year. Of course, if this and other similar blogs were “required reading,” costs would drop to under a 10th of that in time. Well, at least we can be grateful that so many generous Americans are so anxiously clamoring to pay for everybody else’s avoidable health problems via “universal healthcare.” Good luck with that. Spending other people’s money is so much fun. Reader Tex says: “As an occasional reader of your ‘old’ libertarian blog, I stumbled upon Free The Animal just a few weeks ago. I’ve found it utterly riveting so far. […] what you’re putting out there right now makes a lot more sense than most of the health-industry nonsense I’ve endured so far.” Then he asks: “…is there some kind of omnibus post somewhere which offers an introduction/summary to/of your project thus far? Trawling through blog archives isn’t an ideal way to grasp the essentials of what you’re doing.” Answer: In addition to…

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Confirming a Bias

The problem with doing science is enormous. I have often said that science is a “discipline,” and what I mean when I say that involves the recognition that it can be used even more easily to conceal the truth — or even advance falsehood — than to establish the truth. In fact, science, qua discipline, can’t really “establish the truth.” It can only really show what’s unequivocally false. Doing this involves confining one’s self (through discipline, over the desire to “prove” one’s self “right”) to speculations and hypotheses that are falsifiable. I’ve linked this before, but here’s my favorite passage that serves to explain the principal. So, in short, we speculate and hypothesize, and then if doing science in a disciplined way, we set about to prove our speculations and hypotheses…not true, but false. Failing to do that, time and again, is the basis of real science. Look at it logically. Even if I came up with a million different associations to “confirm” or suggest that a hypothesis could possibly be true, I only need one single contradictory fact to render a hypothesis useless. In the fields of nutrition and health, it’s an unmitigated disaster. Has been for decades. It’s…

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Eggs: They’re Trying to Kill You

Newly minted with a PhD in biology, Monica, who links to a couple of my posts on healthful fat, also dissects for you the differences in all the labeling concerning eggs. Go take a look. There’s a picture, too. And note: properly raised chickens are not vegetarians. They eat bugs of all sorts when allowed to forage in pastures and this is a huge source of proper nutrition for them; and it shows in the quality of the eggs they produce. This also seems like a good time to dispense with some lunacy regarding the use of eggs; in particular, the practice of tossing out the yolk in order to have a “healthy” egg-white omelet. Bullshit. …And Idiotic! And ignorant. This could go under the category of “is god stupid?” if you’re a religious person. Otherwise, “is nature malevolent?” Here, presumably, you would have a good source of protein worthy of human consumption, packaged along with something that’s trying to kill you. Yea, eggs & chickens: trying to kill you. You’re supposed to just eat the unappetizing “good” white and leave the tasty “bad” yolk part alone. Forbidden fruit. That’ll teach you. See? Moronic, huh? So how about some facts?…

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More on Vitamin K2

No need to do much here but point you to the goods. Stephan (who else?) asks: “Can Vitamin K2 Reverse Arterial Calcification?” 2 MK-4 (and perhaps other menaquinones like MK-7) may turn out to be an effective treatment for arterial calcification and cardiovascular disease in general. It’s extremely effective at preventing osteoporosis-related fractures in humans. That’s a highly significant fact. Osteoporosis and arterial calcification often come hand-in-hand. Thus, they are not a result of insufficient or excessive calcium, but of a failure to use the available calcium effectively. In the warfarin-treated rats described above, the serum (blood) calcium concentration was the same in all groups. Osteoporosis and arterial calcification are two sides of the same coin, and the fact that one can be addressed with K2 MK-4 means that the other may be as well. Both osteoporosis and arterial calcification may turn out to be symptoms of vitamin K2 deficiency, resulting from the modern fear of animal fats and organs, and the deterioration of traditional animal husbandry practices. So eat your pastured dairy, organs, fish roe and shellfish! And if you have arterial calcification, as judged by a heart scan, you may want to consider supplementing with additional K2 MK-4…

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Carnitas & Persimmon with Cinnamon

Sorry for the crappy pic, but this was dinner last night. Pork carnitas & persimmon with cinnamon. Very easy to make, quick, and surprisingly delicious. For the carnitas, I used the pre-cooked & packaged version from Trader Joe’s. Doesn’t appear to have any ingredients I couldn’t pronounce. I conceived of this only minutes before, while sipping on a glass of The McCallan, 12-yr-old (just as good as the 18, in my very experienced opinion), over at my favorite pub. I reasoned that fruit tends to go really well with pork, and especially pork that you can caramelize a bit. Here’s how it went. First, I unpackaged the carnitas and mashed then up with the ball of my hand into a cookie sheet and spread them all over. Preheat oven to 400. As the oven is warming, I chopped up two whole persimmons just as you see, then did about 1 1/2 cups of vegetable and chicken broth, half & half, in a covered skillet, along with about I rounded tablespoon each of butter and high-quality lard from Prather Ranch. Once I got that to a boil, I added a little dried parsley and a good amount of cinnamon (about a…

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Bones & Fat

Back a month or so ago I posted about Jennifer McLagan’s book Fat: An Appreciation of a Misunderstood Ingredient. I’ve been going through it and, well, it’s just fabulous. It’s really reminiscent of a sort of “tragedy” where it’s the virtuous and the good who are vilified which, is bad enough in itself. But to add insult, this all comes at the injustice of elevating the completely fraudulent to undeserved lofty heights. Now think about that. Here we have wonderful, nutritious foods with literally millions of years of evolutionary credentials, not to mention the visceral pleasure almost anyone in their right mind gets from eating them when handled and prepared properly. …And they get tossed aside by self-important minions — those arrogant and obstinate, but ultimately woefully ignorant. And they have blood on their hands, as far as I’m concerned; and I’m never going to let anyone forget it. They have, through their arrogant ignorance and disregard for human evolution and its unassailable logic, condemned millions upon millions to moribund lives of physical unattractiveness, gross obesity, diabetes, heart disease, and the list goes on. And as we have seen the statistics get worse, year after year in the very face…

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Vitamin K2, Menatetrenone (MK-4)

Since my last but fairly recent vitamin K2 post, Stephan has posted on K2 from the perspective of cardiovascular disease. Take a good look at it, as well the references he cites. Did you read his other posts on K2, as I suggested? If not, maybe now is the time. I previously wrote: You really owe it to yourself to look into this. Think of it this way: 60 years ago they were curing cavities in teeth by getting them to re-calcify using this exact thing. Now, think of what happens with a vitamin D deficiency; rickets, right? rubbery bones. Calcium. Other mineral salts. What you will find is that these vitamins, in combination, essentially cause your minerals to go everyplace they should, and no place they shouldn’t (such as the walls of your arteries). Now here’s some of the research Stephan dug up. Tissue-specific utilization of menaquinone-4 results in the prevention of arterial calcification in warfarin-treated rats. (link) Dietary intake of menaquinone is associated with a reduced risk of coronary heart disease: the Rotterdam Study. (link) High dietary menaquinone intake is associated with reduced coronary calcification. (link) Matrix Gla-protein: the calcification inhibitor in need of vitamin K. (link) Coincidentally,…

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Evolutionary Nutrition

I came across a great post from Robb Wolf of CrossFit NorCal. If you live anywhere near Chico, CA, this is definitely the place you want to be working out and training. The thing about Robb is that not only is he running quite a show out there in terms of physical conditioning, but he’s a biochemist as well. He knows his nutrition. You might have noticed that the nutrition approach we recommend at CrossFit NorCal is a bit…oh, shall I say, contrarian? Where the USDA, AMA and the rest of the Government sponsored entities recommend grains and legumes as the base of the diet, we recommend lean meat, fruits, vegetables, nuts and seeds. That’s crazy, right? aren’t we going to die from heart disease and cancer if we eat meat? How will we ever get fiber if we don’t eat grains!? I mean, fruit and veggies…what have they got to offer?! I’m being fecetious here, I hope you get that. I do understand our recommendations fly in the face of what we are told to eat from nearly every source you can find…what’s the deal? Well…the deal is, our nutritional approach, a diet the attempts to emulate that of…

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More on Alzheimer’s and Ketogenic Therapy

It was last April when I pointed to a study suggesting that Alzheimer’s might be linked to the whole sugar-insulin deal. That is: refined carbs and sugar, again. I pointed to this post at The IF Life in last weekend’s roundup, but here it is again for reference. This adds an interesting twist, in identifying an inflammatory omega-6 fat, arachidonic acid, as a potential culprit. And all this leads to speculation and hypotheses, now, that Alzheimer’s is actually a kind of third type of diabetes. Now scientists at Northwestern University have discovered why brain insulin signaling — crucial for memory formation — would stop working in Alzheimer’s disease. They have shown that a toxic protein found in the brains of individuals with Alzheimer’s removes insulin receptors from nerve cells, rendering those neurons insulin resistant. (The protein, known to attack memory-forming synapses, is called an ADDL for “amyloid ß-derived diffusible ligand.”) With other research showing that levels of brain insulin and its related receptors are lower in individuals with Alzheimer’s disease, the Northwestern study sheds light on the emerging idea of Alzheimer’s being a “type 3” diabetes. As Mike O’Donnell says: Insulin and inflammation do run hand in hand. So could…

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