Recent Progressions

I thought I'd take an entry to talk about...me. I've really been feeling good these last few days, and, I'm fully expecting my fat loss to begin kicking in, again. For my last photo update, I was 193 as I recall. It took another month or so to break the 190 barrier, and since then I've gotten as low as 183, and back as high as 186; currently 184ish. As soon as I break 180, I'll get more photos done; people have been bugging me mightily for an update. There were these, just last month, from Mexico. And where does it end (or, begin)? My best current guess is about 165. I've also been toying with the idea of some short videos of some of the exercises I do. There have been big changes there. For a long time I got into the "rut" of two sessions per week, pretty intense; but, then it seemed to get too routine, i.e., 3 sets and 10 reps in each. A few months back I incorporated a more cross fit type of workout with a rapid pace, new exercises, and so on. Those who've followed along with my excursions into "extreme fasting" know...


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Twitter

Alright, enough already. I have caved to the general hysteria. I'll give it a go. However, I must warn anyone who wishes to follow: this -- "diarrhea of consciousness" -- is not my style. I grew up on USENET and other forums where exhaustive completeness was the rule. We'll see.


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Saturated Fat Epidemiology for Math Geeks

A week or so ago, I posted a bit of epidemiology concerning saturated fat intake associated with heart-disease deaths by country. As you saw, it was all over the map. I did speculate, however, that if you were going to try to fit a curve, it would slope downward, meaning: more saturated fat, less heart disease deaths. Well, owing to my vast network of resources [grin], physicist Robert McLeod offered to fit a curve if I could get him the tabular data, which, thanks to Ricardo, I did. So, here's the graph (see here for the one with the country labels). Here's what Robert had to say. All statistics done in MATLAB. I found that if I define SF = % saturated fat intake CHD = # heart deaths per year per 100,000 men then CHD = (-4.734 +/- 2.003)*SF + (144.5 +/- 21.4) +/- errors are standard deviations (i.e. one sigma) with an R^2 = 0.13 (terrible) between the fit data and experimental data. The plot I provided shows the baseline along with a top and bottom curve which are the 95 % confidence interval lines (~1.96 sigmas). Although the statistics appear fairly poor, we can make one statement...


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Rational Animal Philosophy

While going through reams of links this morning to come up with a handful for you, I felt I had to make this one a separate entry, thanks to Chris Highcock at Conditioning Research, always a great source of useful diet and exercise information. One of the aspects of my approach to the "Free the Animal" theme is that we are, very much indeed: animals. Our technological, industrial, and social development is such that we have lost sight of that core, fundamental identification. We have literally forgotten who we really are, at root, base, and foundation. Look around you at all the decrepit, overweight, constantly grazing, feeding, shopping bodies. That's the result of failing to live by one's true animal nature. So, here is a fabulous introduction into who the Animal inside you really is, by Frank Forencich of Exuberant Animal. There are, I think, three very core aspects to his presentation. First is the loss of sensory input that we're all subject to. Some may recall past blogs where I talked about walking outside barefoot daily in summer (or in Vibrams). What was astounding to me, at first, was the sensory overload. But, after a period of adjustment, it...


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Tri-Tip, Sauce, Sweet Potato and Primal Cheescake

My cousin, Adam, has been following my Paleo ways for some time and occasionally comments on this blog. His wife, 'Z', does too, and this weekend they were visiting us up at our cabin where we cooked up various storms. At one point, Z was remarking how just a year ago, she couldn't imagine not having her cereals for breakfast and then being ravenously hungry by 10 a.m. Now, she usually doesn't even eat until lunch and it's meat, salad, nuts...things like that. Of course, her chubby co-workers think she's a lean nutcase. Here's Adam & Z at work last night. Here's Adam slicing up my low & slow tri-tip. Now, back up to a few years back, Adam & I playing corn toss on a camping trip. He wasn't what you'd call "fat" by any means, but you can certainly see -- especially by the face -- how terrifically he's leaned out. The Paleo / Primal / Evolutionary / Animal life way works for everyone, every time, to deliver lean bodies, health, and vitality. So, here's dinner. The sauce is coconut milk, beef bullion, a bit of red wine and a bunch of crushed blueberries. On the side was...


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Steak Tips & Masaman Curry Sauce

Some of my curry and chili posts have sparked quite a bit of interest in just how I go about it. Various ways, always, but here's one, and I'll take you through all the major steps. But let's start with the finished product. This is my Masaman beef curry, but instead of using stew meat or roast for a stewy concoction with vegetables, It's nuthin' but the meat. And, it's quality steak. The idea was to have just enough sauce. The side is cauliflower, and we decided it's easily as good as the rice, so those occasional splurges on starch are about to become even more occasional. The base ingredients begin with the steak, 2 pounds in this case, finely chopped up cauliflower, coconut milk and Masaman curry paste. You could also grate the cauliflower, which I began to do, but it gets a bit messy, so I chopped. I may have finally discovered a reason to invest in a food processor. Not pictured are the sea salt and fresh ground pepper I seasoned the meat with, the coconut oil I seared the steak in (and sir fried the cauliflower), or the almond meal that you see mixed in with...


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More Stupid Nonsense

So, Rashmi Sinha, PhD; Amanda J. Cross, PhD; Barry I. Graubard, PhD; Michael F. Leitzmann, MD, DrPH; and Arthur Schatzkin, MD, DrPH all set out to prove that eating red meat kills you, and -- surprise! surprise! -- they got the result they were looking for in the first place. Now, I have not looked at this in detail, mostly because it's the same formula I see all the time. In this case, they get a half million old people, give them a questionnaire on their eating habits over the past 12 months (relying upon their memories), then they see who croaks and who doesn't over the next ten years -- ten years riddled with general, increasingly hysterical propaganda about cutting fat, avoiding meat, eating more grains and vegetable oils -- not to mention an explosion of high-sugar, highly processed, vegetable oil and grain ladden packaged foods -- many of them criminally labeled and advertised as "healthy" or "heart healthy;" and the assumption in the study, of course, is that the subjects continued to eat as they had eaten (or, rather, how they recalled from memory how they had eaten). It's utter crap, and here's their bias on display going...


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Lottsa Links

How about a few links as I mull over my next post, which will be a sort of overview of my personal progress and some things I've learned recently and modified. - How about a cure for gray hair, maybe even baldness via stem cell stimulation? Dr. Mercola explains: "So the idea is that by stimulating the stem cells with special polypeptide signals you may be able to reverse this process and keep both your hair color, and your hair. I’m actually beta testing one of these polypeptide signal topical therapies right now, and my hair is slowly starting to come back in...and most of the gray is disappearing." - Dr. Mercola, again, this time on cancer. "And though this article doesn’t mention it, well in excess of half of the cancers worldwide would simply disappear if vitamin D levels were optimized." And what are optimal levels? Well, opinions vary, but my own research leads me to believe that you want 60-80 ng/mL of 25-hydroxyvitamin D. - And now more on vitamin D, this time presented by Michael Holick, PhD, MD, Professor of medicine, physiology and biophysics and director of the General Clinical Research Center at Boston University Medical Center....


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Monday Morning Hang Gliding Diversion

At least a couple of more posts today, but I just had to toss this one up, discovered in my morning rounds reading my friend Davis Straub's daily Oz Report. For better than ten years Davis has had the fortune to travel the world flying in hang-glider competitions and reporting on them. He's tireless, and a really great guy I've had the opportunity to meet in person a couple of times. This 3-minute video is a recent competition in the flatlands near Forbes, Australia. Ultralight tugs tow up the hang glider pilots who then race cross country, typically for 80-100 miles, depending upon where the goal is declared. I'm getting back to the weight and strength ratios I was at when I first began this great sport. Flying for a few days last August was far less exhausting than it had been over the last five years, causing me to fly less and less. So, it just may be that I'll be doing this more and more in years to come. It is great compound exercise for the upper body. A hang glider is maneuvered by weight shift, i.e., you have to deflect you body's entire weight, suspended from a...


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Saturated Fat and Heart Disease Deaths

Ricardo Carvalho, whose great database work I highlighted yesterday, just emailed me another graph. The latest saturated fat data he could find was from 1998, but see if you can find any correlation. It's all over the map. If you had to draw a trend, however, how would it look? I'd probably start it from the left at the 120 and finish off to the right at about 80, i.e., more saturated fat associated with less CHD mortality. Update 3/30/2009: Physicist Robert McLeod took the tabular data I provided and did a fit in MATLAB. The punchline is that there's only a 1% chance of the slope being positive (more saturated fat correlated with more CHD deaths) and a 99% chance the slope is negative (more saturated fat correlated with fewer CHD deaths). Interesting how, once again, the French thumb their noses at the rest of the world. Red wine? Gimmeabreak. I lived there, and most people have no idea how much animal fat most of them eat. From their fat-heavy sauses to their fatty charcuterie and pâté, to their sweet butter and many fine cheeses. I've remarked before about the difference between how Americans eat cheese and how the...


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Saturday Rock You

OK, a bonus edition for this weekend (Sunday's a comin' too), and something quite different. It's not technically rock, but I say: any rock music lover who doesn't hear the essential beauty of this, in so many respects, has a few things to learn. And, so, I give you a master: Johnny Cash, circa 1966. Solitary Man. Now, the other person in that video is Neil Diamond, and here's his version of the same song in a "groovy" Doors-eque mid-60s style.


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Low Cholesterol to “Die For”

I was having an email exchange with my aunt the other day who was lamenting how her husband's doctor told him that his total cholesterol of 117 (!) is one that most people would "die for." Maybe he's right, as we'll see in a minute; but first, I should point out that George is in his late 80's. So, always be careful about assigning causes to correlations. Correlations are great things, but the best way to regard them is as falsification (disproof) of hypothesized causation. Reader and commenter on this blog, Ricardo, and blogger in his own right at Canibais e Reis has done something truly amazing (and has surely put Ancel Keys in short pants). Lots of this is going to go over the heads of most people, including myself, but I'm quite confident a number of math and health whizzes will be on this project in short order. Ricardo has essentially combined data from the following sources into a single database anyone can access: UN Food and Agriculture Organization Statistical Yearbook FAOSTAT food consumption database British Heart Foundation Health Statistics database World Health Organization Global Health Atlas In the end, he had data on 170 countries, which he...


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Quick, Easy, Delicious Chicken Mole

There's a local restaurant, Consuelo Mexican Bistro, where I believe I had chicken mole for the first time. The sauce was thick, brown, chocolaty and amazing. While I've never looked up a recipe until this morning (good luck finding something not loaded with flour), I figured I'd give a try at making something similar last evening. Before leaving San Jose yesterday afternoon to head up to our cabin in the mountains with friends, I stopped at the store and secured a large, 3-pound rotisserie chicken (already "rotisseried"). I also took along one 14-oz can of coconut milk and a bar of Trader Joe's dark chocolate (70% coco). You won't believe how easy this is, and, since the chicken is already cooked, quick. First, put your pot on medium heat with the entire can of coconut milk, about 1/2 cup water, and the whole chocolate bar broken up. As that's coming to a simmer, cut the chicken into pieces, taking care to keep the skin intact and connected to the bird. Place them on a cookie sheet, skin side up, under the low broiler on the center rack so you're not too close. The idea is to crisp the skin. It...


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Vitamin D Testing

Well so now I have an enigma on my hands. Some weeks back you may recall that I blogged about the great Vitamin D Project by Grassrootshealth. That was Feb 27th and within a few days I had my test kit, punctured my finger, blotted blood, and sent it off. Roughly two weeks later, a couple of days ago, I had blood drawn for my various series of tests and one I requested was a vitamin D test (25-hydroxy vitamin D). Coincidentally, I got both results today, one from blood taken two weeks ago and one from a current sample. 2 weeks ago: 120 ng/mL Current: 85 ng/mL That's quite a difference (the magnitude being greater than the average total vitamin D level for most people). One possibility is lab error, of course. Another is that the first test was at only a week back from spending hours per day in the Puerto Vallarta sun (I continued my 6k IU per day). But it's hard to imagine it could dissipate so rapidly in such a short time, so is something fishy somewhere? I'm hoping it's the latter one that's fine, as 85 is exactly where I want to be; as...


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My High HDL “Secret”

For reference, see the last post about my 133 (mg/dL) HDL. Fat is King. More particularly: saturated fat. Now, how do you get that? Well, you can eat a lot of fatty beef, chicken skin, and so on, but only about 30-40% or so is saturated (15% saturated from olive oil). Or, you can get it very efficiently by eating all that, but by also dipping, slathering and generally enjoying the hell out of your life with sauces. I'm an absolute fiend for sauces. Even, now, with grilled meats. Gotta have a sauce. Mine are all home made, and they are almost all based on: coconut milk. It's more efficient in saturated fat delivery -- far more so -- than even heavy cream. Let's take a look; the average can of full-fat coconut milk being 14 ounces. Here's nutfacts for 8 ounces, a little more than half, which is an average amount I'd use to thicken or base a sauce for 2-4 people (unless it's a Thai curry, in which case I might use two full cans, four times the amount below -- so go ahead and have your heart attack now): Holy shit, Batman! 88% of the damn thing...


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New Lipid Panel

Well I went and ordered up some blood work the other day and results began coming in today. While my past Lipid Panel was blogged right here, this is the new one. The past one shows a total serum cholesterol of almost the same (219), while I had an HDL of 106 and a calculated LDL of 104. You know what I think of calculated LDL. Well, this isn't a NMR LipoProfile or a VAP. It's the best I can get from Kaiser and it purports to be a direct measurement of LDL (though not a particle count). However, if accurate, I would expect my particle count to be 660-669 nmol/L, which would be considered optimal in terms of particle number (< 1000). Size is something we can only guess on, but my HDLs make it clear that I'm pretty high in fat consumption and that's highly associated with mostly large fluffy LDL and little to no small dense LDL. It's interesting to note that if you look at Patrik's NMR LipoProfile and assume my LDL Direct to be accurate (for now -- I am still going to do an NMR as well), then calculated LDL overstated our actual LDL...


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Lottsa Links

While I work on a couple of more substantive posts, let's give you some links to check out at your leisure. Thanks to all the readers (several, in many cases) who sent many of these along. - Start 'em early. Let's get kids scared to death about their cholesterol levels. - I think Monica does a good job dispelling notions that veganism is more friendly to the environment than carnivory. Can you handle the truth? Also, congrats out to Monica who continues her fat loss progress (towards a goal of better fitting into her wedding dress this summer). - Not for the faint of heart, but Robert McLeod has some interesting thoughts on Acylation-Stimulating Protein (ASP): A potential explanation for metabolic advantage of low-carbohydrate diets? That was as a result of this long comment thread at Keith Norris' Theory to Practice. - Wow; very impressive 12-week weight loss, blood pressure drop, and blood lipid improvement on what they're calling a "Spanish Ketogenic Mediterranean Diet." Looks reasonably Paleo-esque, to me. I think it emphasizes a great bottom line, whether you're low-carb, Paleo, Mediterranean, or whatever: eat Real Food and only real food. -About five people, at least, have emailed along this...


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Any Ideas For a Fellow Traveller?

I got this email the other day, most of which is a fascinating and fantastic success story, but with a bit of disappointment at the end. Jeff and I (along with some input from Dr. B.G of Animal Pharm) have tossed around a few ideas, but I'm wondering if there's any out there who might offer their own ideas. ~~~ Hi Richard. I hope that you can please bear with me as this is going to be a rather long winded post, but it is currently 3am, and after several recent sleepless nights I am having a difficult time coping! Background information: male, 46 yrs of age. High caliber athlete my whole life - top level ice hockey player until 20yrs of age; national flatwater kayaker after that; then ironman triathlete for 7 yrs until 2001. Nutritional and health background: ate a typical North American diet until about 1992, at which time became interested in diet in terms of health and performance improvement. Result: strict vegan from 1985-2001. However, despite 20+ hrs of intense training per week could never lose abdominal fat, had a blood pressure of 140/100, and developed exercise induced cardiac problems (supraventricular tachycardia) and an irregular heartbeat...


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Reader Real Results

I’m perilously behind in many small posting projects, and that includes a number of things my great readers have emailed over to me. Trust me: I see everything. Hell, I even have a very complimentary email from Dr. William Davis of Track Your Plaque heroism and fame, as yet unanswered, and that’s woefully embarrassing. But I’ll get to everything, sooner or later. Man, it has been one busy week. But, first things first. With all adoration and respect to all readers and supporters of this blogging effort, not to mention the mutual support and help out to those who need it most, this reader is just a bit special to me. Email from mom, who turns 68 one month from today. ~~~ Just about a year ago I went to a new doctor at Kaiser. He seemed different than other doctors I had. He had read my file and was familiar with my history. He said I was the most controlled diabetic he had ever had for a patient. He told me that if I would lose about 15 pounds he would work with me to get off insulin. Another 15 after that and he believed I could get off…

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