Careful Out There

Here’s an example of how one needs to be careful about interpreting studies. Vitamin D Status and Its Relationship to Body Fat, Final Height, and Peak Bone Mass in Young Women Context: Vitamin D insufficiency has now reached epidemic proportions and has been linked to low bone mineral density, increased risk of fracture, and obesity in adults. However, this relationship has not been well characterized in young adults. Objective: The objective of the study was to examine the relationship between serum 25-hydroxyvitamin D (25OHD), anthropometric measures, body fat (BF), and bone structure at the time of peak bone mass. Design: This was a cross-sectional study. Outcome Measures and Subjects: Anthropometric measures, serum 25OHD radioimmunoassay values, and computed tomography and dual-energy x-ray absorptiometry values of BF and bone structure in 90 postpubertal females, aged 16–22 yr, residing in California were measured. Results: Approximately 59% of subjects were 25OHD insufficient (29 ng/ml), and 41% were sufficient (30 ng/ml). Strong negative relationships were present between serum 25OHD and computed tomography measures of visceral and sc fat and dual-energy x-ray absorptiometry values of BF. In addition, weight, body mass, and imaging measures of adiposity at all sites were significantly lower in women with normal…

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Steve Jobs’ Health

Mr friend Dr. BG of Animal Pharm, in including an addendum comment to my Oprah Diet post, suggested I take on Steve Jobs’ health issues. I was set to do that, but I backed off because reports seem to demonstrate a relationship between his pancreatic cancer and subsequent surgery, to what’s going on now. So, while Oprah Winfrey is clearly a victim of diet-induced metabolic syndrome, I can’t be so certain about Jobs. There is this, however: Steve Jobs’ Diet Secrets And while Apple employees eat healthy, Jobs takes it to an extreme, one employee says, eating dark green vegetables such as broccoli and asparagus, grilled or steamed. Jobs has been a vegetarian for years but his enthusiasm for green may have taken on an extra dimension since his brush with cancer. Jobs has surgery in 2004 to treat pancreatic cancer, and, again, earlier this year, according to The New York Times, to address “a problem that was contributing to a loss of weight.” The veg-heavy diet, however, likely will not help him pack on any pounds. “No wonder he’s cranky all the time,” one Apple insider says. Modern ignorance, coupled with audacious arrogance, I’d say. Recipe for disaster. It’d…

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Oprah’s Recipe For Failure — And My Solution For Success

Well, she’s done it again. If she even succeeds in getting the 40 or so pounds off she gained since her last failed “success,” how long until we see another week-long series instructing hundreds of thousands of women on the path to weight loss and fitness failure, peppered with appearances by others who have failed? My gosh, already. When is she going to fire that Bob Greene? Alright, let’s dig in a bit. First, watch the 5-minute video about how she’s changing everything for this year, “Oprah’s New Year, New Plan.” I watch that, and I can find only about one thing right in the whole deal: time for herself on her own schedule. Duh! The rest of it is a huge recipe for failure, misery, and probably both. Why is it ultimately destined for failure, for both her and anyone else? It’s not sustainable. Hunger will always win in the end, and in the simplest terms possible: she and Greene have done everything possible to stimulate even more hunger and haven’t done the things necessary to take hunger almost completely out of the equation. Most human beings would go stark raving mad on this regime — from the awful…

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Fasting Note & Food

This is the best fast in a while. My last meal was left-over braised short ribs yesterday at 2 pm, and here it is the following day at nearly noon (22 hours in) and I haven’t experienced even the slightest bit of hunger. I’ll work out at 4, and dinner will be around 6 or 7. By the way, here was the braised short ribs. This one took a while. Initial prep was about 15 minutes to preheat the over to 300 and then brown the ribs nicely in the covered pot I’d be using (I used leaf lard). Once browned, I removed the meat, deglazed with some red wine, place the meat back in, then added enough beef stock to just cover the meat. I also tossed in a vegetable bullion cube and some garlic. Then it cooks for three whole hours in the oven. At the 2:15 mark, add your vegetables (onion, carrot and celery in this case) so they only cook for 45 minutes. Otherwise, they’ll be mush. Once done, I put everything on a cookie sheet, covered with foil, and in the oven to warm (140) while I reduced the sauce. This took a whole hour…

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Figuring it Out

Reader and frequent commenter Monica seems to have figured this whole thing out. It’s not hard at all. It’s simple, effective, and fun. She’s at nearly 15 pounds lost so far, so good for her. She indicates that intermittent fasting is what has really tipped the balance for her and got things really moving in the right direction. She got a lot of her info on fasting right here at Free the Animal. Congratulations to Monica.

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Failure

We talk a lot here about The Animal, which means: don’t forget about it. Yea, we’re humans, but to command nature, we must first obey it (thanks, Francis Bacon). So, we’re devoted to the obeying nature part of the equation. We have to eat — a lot — so that’s pretty much the focus. But we also celebrate the human spirit. The way of the Luddite holds no sway, here, though a web surfer could indeed get that cursory impression. The other day I was downtown and saw a poster for a free public talk at Stanford to be given by Daniel C. Dennett. The subject of the talk was “Free Will Via the Evolution of Why.” That’s what I call a ponderable, as philosophically speaking, I’m a materialist (everything is ultimately matter / energy) and I tend to recoil from various mysticisms (soul, Eastern unity or oneness; take your picks). I think we either have genuine free will, or our belief in it it tantamount to free will. Moreover, values seem to transcend determinism. I just think we’re highly complex; end of story, but let’s go ahead and figure out how complex, if we can. So when I read…

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Meat & Morality

One feature of the hit & run vegans (who sometimes comment here) is that they always eagerly provide a link to photos of feedlots, slaughterhouses, and so on. That’s their lazy way. Of course, it’s effective. 1 in 200 Children are Vegetarian Nichole Nightingale, 14, was exposed to a YouTube video that showed the graphic details of how chickens are slaughtered for meat. The letter ended with an invitation to visit the Web site of People for the Ethical Treatment of Animals for more information. This information prompted Nightingale to become a vegan – meaning she consumes no animal meat or animal products such as eggs or milk. In complete defiance of human evolutionary biology, the “wise & experienced” 14-year-old decides to eat the diet of long-extinct pea-brained hominids and chimpanzees. Just wonderful. Not to drag on, because frequent commenter Monica Hughes, PhD biology, has a pretty wide ranging post on the issue. Go read it. As far as the photos go, at the end of her post she quotes Garrett Hardin. In passing, it is worth noting that the morality of an act cannot be determined from a photograph. One does not know whether a man killing an elephant…

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Vitamin Supplements – Part Three

Part One Part Two Part Four In part three of what will now most assuredly be four parts total, I’m going to show why, if following a Paleo diet, you probably don’t require supplementation (with a few exceptions). Whereas, if you eat bread, pasta, sugary foods, rice, cereals, corn products, processed foods and such, you very likely have numerous vitamin deficiencies under the surface. In your case, supplementation might be a good idea indeed. Now, unless you’re a Paleo eater who has already seen this sort of thing, prepare to be shocked. You grain eaters: prepare for great chagrin, because you are about to see in living color how nutritionally bankrupt your diet is; you know, the one based on “lots of servings of ‘healthy’ whole grains.” But the honest truth and hard reality is that if you eat grains, beans, rice, breads, cereals and so on as daily staples, you are getting awful nutrition. That’s a fact; not an opinion. Let me go a step further: if you give any of your kids this crap as daily staple, it’s tantamount to starving them. I’m serious. In Loren Cordain’s book, The Paleo Diet, he has a slightly flawed but fabulous…

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Low-Carb Meatloaf

Lots of stuff in this one. Let’s see if I can remember it all from last night. The ground beef was about 3/4 pound I had left over. I think 80/20 (or even 70/30 if you can find it) quality ground beef is a fine paleo food. It’s a good way to boost fat intake — essential to the paleo way — where a minimum of 50% of your energy ought to be coming from fat. Remember, this is a battle over hunger. So, in addition to the ground beef we’ve got an egg, 1/4 chopped onion, 1/3 cup shredded broccoli / carrot, further chopped, clove of minced garlic, a splat of mustard, few dashes of Worcestershire, three tablespoons tomato sauce, and maybe a quarter teaspoon each of the following: salt, pepper, sage, thyme, parsley, oregano, basil. A dash of apple cider vinegar, about 1/3 cup of almond meal, teaspoon of dry basmati rice, 6-8 whole pistachios (more next time), and a half handful of whole cranberries. I had to fashion a baking dish. The oven was at 325 and I brought the internal temp to 145. You owe it to yourself to get one of these temp probes. It…

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“Sunday Rock You”

Quotes, as this is Monday. Sorry, got sidetracked in a card game with friends last night, and, well, …sometimes I leave a card game to blog to you. But not always. let’s make it short and sweet. While I generally won’t give you a whole lot you’re likely to have heard on a decent album rock station, this will be an exception. It’s a reasonably popular song on the classic stations, but what I really like about this version is the b&w vids. You’ll see; judge for yourself. I’m not a big Stones fan, nor much of a country fan at all. But what happens when you combine ’em? Magic? I give you the Rolling Stones doing Wild Horses impromptu. Hope you enjoyed as much as I, and that’s one I never tire of.

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Theory to Practice

Dr. Dan lays out the theory: Optimal Foraging Strategy. When you look at cost/benefit analysis, a major investigative technique in optimal foraging theory, it becomes obvious that meat is by far the more efficient choice. Optimal foraging theory is a powerful new theory which states that animals forage in a highly efficient manner so that they maximise energy intake and minimise energy expenditure. For example, a crow trying to crack open a nut will fly just high enough so that it cracks the nut but no higher. it could fly 100’s of meters into the air and drop it but this would be a waste of energy and would not be ‘optimal’ foraging. Optimal foraging theory has led to a much greater understanding of many ecological and evolutionary concepts (adaptation, energy flow, competition). And so it is true for our paleolithic ancestors as well. Want a practical example? Observe various plant foraging or grazing animals. Pretty much, they’re eating all the time. Gorillas are a prime example. To sustain those massive, strong bodies on the fibrous, very low density food they eat, they pretty much have to be chewing every waking hour. Then you have the ruminators. When they’re not…

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Lobster, Scallops & Broccoli Slaw

Here’s one for my personal record books. For one, it was far less expensive than you might imagine (about $25 for the two of us, total). For another, total prep time was about 20 minutes. Here was the start of it; six large scallops, and two good sized lobster tails totaling about a pound. I sheared the tops of the shells and pulled out the meat. For the lobster, I did essentially the same thing as with the alaskan cod the other night. This time I used ghee instead of butter, about 1/3″ in the covered skillet, a tablespoon of water added (ghee, by definition, has the water removed) and the juice from half a lime (out of lemons). The moisture is necessary for the poaching. That’s at about medium low for perhaps five minutes. Then, remove, and you’ll have to make small slits in the back to lay them back flat in their shells. Then, spoon on some of that ghee from the pan, sprinkle on the obligatory paprika, and under the broiler for 2-3 minutes. In the meantime, I simply pan fried the scallops in coconut oil, finishing off with a few dashes of toasted sesame oil and…

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In Search of the Perfect Human Diet

This looks to be excellent as well as perfectly accessible for those not tuned into a lot of reading. That’s CJ Hunt, who has taken on quite a worthwhile project. It’ll save thousands of lives, at minimum. Visit the project website. (HT: Dr. Dan)

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What You’re Up Against

Dr. Mercola isn’t one I follow intensely, yet he gets far too much right to ignore. My preference for other sources is probably mostly that I have to wade through far less commercial advertising, or none at all, so you’re forewarned. At any rate, this article about WebMD’s 12 top cancer advances for 2008 caught my eye. Wanna guess? Erbitux for Lung Cancer Gemzar for Pancreatic Cancer Treanda for Chronic Lymphocytic Leukemia (CLL) Avastin for Metastatic Breast Cancer Long-Term Hormone Therapy for Breast Cancer Zometa for Breast Cancer Pegylated Interferon for Melanoma Targeted Erbitux for Colon Cancer The Pill Cuts Ovarian-Cancer Risk HPV Vaccine May Cut Oral Cancers Oncologist Shortage Looms Caring for Childhood Cancer Survivors Two of these are not like the others didn’t escape Dr. Mercola’s notice. Is it any wonder that 10 of the 12 “major cancer advances” named by the American Society for Clinical Oncology (ASCO) involve drugs of some sort? Not at all. Most oncologists are completely intertwined with the conventional route of cancer treatment, which almost always involves using powerful drugs, radiation or surgery, and as I mentioned above, WebMD funding is primarily from the drug companies. Note: not a single mention of vitamin…

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Two Meals – Alaskan Cod and Taco Frittata

Here’s two that are ridiculously simple. First up is butter-poached and broiled cod with tartar sauce. First, a good 1/3″ of butter in a covered skillet, medium high for about 3-5 minutes, until it looks about done and you can tell. Then, onto a cookie sheet with some of the butter spooned over the top and lots of paprika sprinkled on. Under the broiler until the paprika is brown. Then, spoon some butter over the top and serve. Tartar sauce was equal portions of coconut milk, sour cream, and mayo. To that, finely chopped cornichon and radish, spiced with fresh lemon, black pepper, and paprika. The veggies are just a mix, wok fried in coconut oil. Next was this morning’s breakfast. I’d call it a taco-flavored ground beef frittata. There’s eight jumbo eggs, about 3/4 pound of 80/20 ground beef, two fingerling potatoes, 1/3 onion, just a bit of reconstituted dried mushroom variety and about 3 tablespoons of tomato sauce, as I had no fresh tomatoes. In one pan I got the beef going, and in the other, the potatoes (cubed very finely) and onion in leaf lard. Once both are done, I combine them, add the mushrooms and tomato…

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“Millions of Needless Deaths”

I’m still fraught with getting caught up after being away for two weeks, but here’s something I can get out quickly which I saw pop up in my Google alerts a few days back. Here’s an article worth reading by William Faloon in Life Extension Magazine. Key excerpts: For instance, a study published in June 2008 showed that men with low vitamin D levels suffer 2.42 times more heart attacks. Now look what this means in actual body counts. […] To put the number of lives saved in context, tens of millions of dollars are being spent to advertise that Lipitor® reduces heart attacks by 37%. This is certainly a decent number, but not when compared with how many lives could be saved by vitamin D. According to the latest study, men with the higher vitamin D levels had a 142% reduction in heart attacks. […] Vitamin D-deficient women, for example, have a 253% increased risk of colon cancer. […] A study published in January 2008 showed that women with the lowest level of vitamin D were at a 222% increased risk for developing breast cancer. […] Men with higher levels of vitamin D have a 52% reduced incidence of…

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The “Experts”

While I’m busy wrapping up some business before getting back to some additional and serious blogging, take a look at a great one my Mark Sisson, dissecting what I’ll refer to as the “myth of authority.” This is a recurring theme here at Free the Animal, where animals don’t need gurus. I tell anyone who will listen that lawyers, doctors and CPAs don’t have answers. They only have opinions and sometimes those opinions are no better (and often worse) than your own instincts. This is why we at MDA are on a mission to try to help you better understand how your body works, so you can make educated, informed decisions when it comes to matters of health. Armed with an understanding of what might truly be behind your problem, that little extra you pay for a second or even third opinion might just make the difference. Now go read the whole post.

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Odds & Ends: Admin Note, A Question, and Food Porn

I have some pressing business maters to attend to, so I’m probably not getting to Part 3 of the vitamin supplements series today. Maybe tonight, but no promises. Plus, I’m glad I waited to do some additional digging. Right now, I’ trying to decide what I think about the vitamin A in cod liver oil. There’s ongoing turmoil right now and lots of smart people I trust are on both sides of the issue. As to the admin note my blog host, TypePad, tells me the issue with how the blog displays in IE6 should be resolved. Please let me know if you still have the issue (but make sure to do a hard page reload, first). Now for a question. “I am trying to set a goal for muscle gain…I have no idea what to expect…my body comp is the same as the last set of pics I sent you…any idea what I can expect from 2, 30 minute workouts a week?” Presuming those workouts are going to be weights and other forms of high-intensity training, and you set up the conditions properly, you could probably expect to add on 5% or more lean mass. As to the setup,…

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Hunger

The longer I go down this path of paleo-like eating, the more I am convinced that hunger is the key. I tell people, now: ultimately, this is not a battle of the bulge, fat, or weight. This is a battle over hunger and ultimately, your hunger is going to win in the long run unless you simply have the rare constitution to be miserable all the time — like many of the calorie restriction folks do. Fortunately, there is a solution, and that solution is to eat a natural diet of plenty of meats, fish, natural fats (animal, coconut, olive), vegetables, fruits (moderation), and nuts (moderation too). I think that the reason so many Atkins dieters ultimately plateau, stall, fail and put weight back on is that they have the wrong focus: low carb. Now, a natural diet is almost always going to be low carb unless you opt to have starchy tubers play a big role in your diet. But so often I see those who focus on low carbohydrate eat way too much processed junk (just like many vegetarians, now), much of it chock full of anti-food like unfermented soy protein, soy oil, and other heavily processed and…

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“Spilling the Beans”

Isoflavones, genisteins, lectins, saponins, and phytoestrogens — don’t these wonderful names signal a whole host of cancer fighting, heart disease preventing, cholesterol-lowering miracles? Uh, no. They’re anti-nutrients and toxins. Guess where you’ll find them — some in pretty high concentrations? Meat? No. Natural fats? Wrong again. How about junk food? Bingo! But wait; junk food is processed, refined, shaken, stirred, emulsified, liquified, toasted, frozen, dried, baked, broiled, fried, fortified, vacuum packed, and spoon fed. So, then, what is it in junk food that’s composed of all those toxins? Ah, the chemicals: preservatives, coloring, flavoring, deodorizing, odorizing, texturizing, viscocitizing, right? Naturally…wrong! Alright, enough suspense: soy. Yep, as “foods” go, soy is among the most toxic. Of course, soy never existed in our diet until some few thousand years ago. Lorette Luzajic has a very worthwhile article on the whole thing, if you’d like to know. You’ll be shocked. More on the toxins here (and here, too). By the way, Asians don’t eat a lot of it as is claimed (they never have), and also, what they do eat is in fermented form like tempeh, miso, tofu, sauce. Fermenting, soaking, and sprouting are wise techniques and traditions for breaking up toxins and…

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