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.
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.
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I believe Sean is going to be contributing to the new Paleo magazine as well. Good stuff.
Rule of thumb: follow the science/ lab tests and/or subjective appraisal of health. It is so easy for amatures without a formal education in this stuff to make a simple mistake like believing that arachidonic acid in eggs kills you dead, heck even Mike Eades thought that at one point (the 90s… take a hint Inflammation Nation. It’s called DHA).
I would like to say “oh just eat real food and do Sean Croxton’s awesome workouts” and be done with it but without being picky I would probably end up short-changing myself. Plus it’s interesting to learn this stuff and be able to spread useful knowledge. Although indeed, that doesn’t mean turn it into an obsession where the fine-tweaking becomes a religion and only yields a marginal difference.
Fortunately I’m still on the “discovery” curve, so my website is still romping through the facts – hopefully from a perspective others haven’t already considered.
I think there is much to be done as far as moving “paleo” forward (including killing the “arterycloggingsaturatedfat” myth)…but as you point out, the diet end is turning into more of an advocacy and PR problem than an informational problem. Those of us that have spent time doing the research are fairly clear on what we should and shouldn’t be eating (though I still occasionally discover new information, i.e. Why Snacking Makes You Weak, Not Just Fat).
To me, the consequences of social and cultural evolutionary discordance are the unexplored frontier of “paleo”. It’s a major theme of my novel…and you’ll see more on that topic from me in the future.
I’m glad you’ve found my website helpful, and I’m looking forward to the debate!
thanks, I love your blog.
Yeah, I’ve found my interest in the nuts and bolts of nutrition to have waned almost completely, I don’t bother reading more involved, technical blogs like Masterjohn’s much anymore. Same goes for exercise. I don’t plan to read any more nutrition books, though I really ought to check out Perfect Health Diet. And I’ve gotten allergic to the terms paleo and primal (and especially paleo/primal/flavor of the week).
I’ve got a good idea of what I should be eating, or more importantly what I shouldn’t be eating, even if I don’t always follow through on it. Not nearly as exciting as when I first stumbled across all this but that’s the way everything is once the new wears off.
Meanwhile, I’ve a new passionate interest: cat juggling!
What breed of cat do you prefer? Any suggestions for a beginner?
Well, if you are practicing at home, be sure to put little kitty muzzles on them so the neighbors don’t get suspicious. Also, try to avoid the claws. Start with those fluffy white cats with flat faces, with the eventual goal being wily alley cats.
You might want to try CatFlexing. Some pictures from the book are posted here
I’m secure enough with being a male to post pictures of my cute kid and cooking. I can even admit I got a little teary eyed (no saline fluid actually left any eye regions, of course), when they shot Two Socks in Dances with Wolves.
BUT, that page is simply going too far!!! I had to spend twenty minutes discussing football and making fart jokes after looking at it.
You gotta love that cat’s face. But if you thought that was too much – just check this out!
(Found it while looking for the above link)
Watch it at your manly peril …
The only bit that upsets me is that they are being fed crappy kibble, but my cat pretty much does the same for a nice juicy raw chicken wing.
“Watch it at your manly peril …”
Lisa, “manly peril” is my new favorite catchphrase.
Sean: I used to volunteer at a shelter for cats, so I might be able to hook you up with some feral ones. We had a whole large room full of the wild critters.
Travis: I initially read that as : “I used to volunteer at a shelter for carbs.” 🙂
7 years ago I probably read 3 hours of ef/primal/paleo blogs per day…now I’m down to 7 minutes.
I continue to update my own blog with meals…my way of giving back a little…hopefully it inspires someone or makes their effort a bit easier.
There’s still waaaaaaayyyyyy to many people that use the info on online as mental masturbation….but never really put the simple principles into practice in their own lives.
“simple principles”…..that about sums it up for me. You just gotta do it and get on with your life. Enjoy it!!!
Have a good one Richard!
I don’t know if it’s going mainstream as much as it is the fact that you’ve settled into your new way of looking at the world. Everyone goes through the “wow this is fun” phase when undergoing a radical life shift, but eventually what was once incredible becomes mundane, everyday reality.
Your philosophy – eat real food – does not really leave much room for “blog every few days about food”. If it’s as simple as eating real food and living a real life, then why the hell are you on the computer talking about it instead of eating real food and living a real life? I love this blog, but if tomorrow I woke up and saw a post saying, “Yeah so instead of trying to expand something incredibly simple into another blog post I’m going hang-gliding”, I’d not fault you in the least.
Obviously blogging brings you some pleasure or you wouldn’t do it, but I think there is some dissonance inherent in the activity given your stated philosophy. Ultimately the number of people reading or commenting or whatever doesn’t matter as much as how you reconcile the contradiction; if you can make it fun enough to be part of a real life, cool, but if it’s just a drag then screw it. Mainstream or not mainstream shouldn’t matter. It’s real or it’s not no matter how many people are reading.
I was going to say something to the effects of this but Pfw said it better.
I have gotten a lot out of your blog but i also wouldnt be surprised or upset if one day soon you decided that you took it as far as you needed and shut er down. Real life is a much better place then the internet any day of the week and some times we lose track of that fact.
I enjoy the blogging Zach and am sure I will continue.
I’ve just lost interest in what I perceive as a high and increasing degree of “nutritionism” that abounds in the blogosphere.
In sum, I suppose everyone has to go through a stage where they learn all about what saturated fat is really all about, cholesterol, sunshine and vitamin D, excess n-6 and so on, but once one confirms with their own results that there’s something too it then the signal/noise ratio diminishes quickly.
So what’s left? For me it is as I have said and alluded to before. There are many other aspects of our evolution to explore vis-a-vis a modern, increasingly top-down collectivized existence, and I don’t mean barefoot running (another thing I’m so fucking sick of).
I’ll be around. Count on it.
So I was reading your comment and thinking about how I like when you do your anarchic posts and I realized… where’s the book outline?! You’re 13 days late! =P
Regarding the “continuing with Sean” part, that indecision in choosing a guru only happens to people who don’t treat nutrition as a science. They shouldn’t act as blank slates looking to be persuaded to join a religious group. A little while back, Pal Jabekk made the point that in science, disagreements imply at least one person is wrong. We [usually] all have access to the same information and data–why purposely restrict yourself to listening to only one person? Over time I’ve come to find that on new topics of which I’m unsure, I do give more weight to certain people’s ideas, Dr Harris (as you mentioned above) for example; but, it’s not because I like how he looks or because he’s an MD who eats bacon: it’s because his other ideas are well-supported and/or well-reasoned. It is tough though for someone starting out to know where to look and to know how to interpret: there really aren’t shortcuts. For me, reading Fuhrman and Mcdougall opened my eyes: their references and logic are so shoddy that I realized the need to read papers myself, instead of just interpretations.
Regarding “What’s left to say?”, it seems as if the curve of “helpful nutrition knowledge” vs “time spent studying/reading” looks like arctan: there’s a period of confusion and slow growth, followed by a period of rapid growth, followed by slow growth again.
Good point, John.
I actually just went and read Sean’s article and it smacks of pseudo-scientific relativism.
“Don’t get me wrong. It’s fun and intriguing to try to figure it all out. But none of us will ever have the opportunity to take the darn watch apart. The pictures we draw and the stories we write today will be proven dead wrong tomorrow. That’s kinda how it goes.”
Actually, no. That’s not how it goes at all.
Scientific paradigms are always an approximation of the truth. Newtonian mechanics was superseded by relativity, but it wasn’t proven dead wrong in one day. Even the lipid hypothesis and all the circle-jerk BS science gone into proving it won’t be proven dead wrong because high blood cholesterol *is* related to ischemic heart disease in the same way firefighters are related to fires.
The stories we write and the pictures we draw do matter if they are well reasoned and supported. They won’t be dead wrong tomorrow.
Sean, I agree with you about that para in Sean’s post.
All knowledge is contextual.
When you take a list of items like that and separate them into bits, they look bland and static. Your use of language gives the bits meaning in a way that will never cease to be entertaining and valuable, and the amount of combinations of those bits into different meanings is endless.
With a constant new supply of characters and current events to serve as foils, you will never want for new and evolving meanings.
Thanks for linking my post, Richard! It’s good to know that I’m not the only one who feels this way.
Sean’s article is one of the thousand and one ways to try to relativize the low carb approach and portray it as one diet more among many. Is one of those subtle insults that”we” as public will not be able to distinguish the shaft from the grain. The science of obesity and posibly many other diseases is incontrovertible and was solidly established by the german biochemists in the early xx century. It is patently obvious, for example, that one only get overweight by excessive ingestion of carbs. It can be seen in the feeding of animals. You can not get into a metabolic state of fat accumulation without the insulin secretion. Why we are still going in circles bespeaks of the “cognitive disonance” Taubes has written about.
I’ve got to disagree, Jose.
I think Taubes is to be taken in context, i.e., neolithic diets and most particularly, of the highly industrialized/processed sort over the last 50-100 years. There are plenty of primitive, pastoral / non-industrial societies that live long and prosper on plenty of carbs, the Kitavans and Kuna perhaps being the most notable.
Kurt Harris is saying the same thing.
Now, I fully agree that in the context within which Taubes is to be taken, he’s dead on right. Low carb is definitely the way to go for anyone who has already fucked themselves up on industrial crap. But whether then need to stay low carb once they have shed the fat is a question only an individual can answer for themselves.
Thankfully, in my case, now that I’ve been at 175-180 pounds for more than a year I am actually noticing a number of benefits the more natural carbs I eat. This is an ongoing experiment and I still have plenty of zero of VLC meals or even days, but I no longer fear a day of 150g of carbs from fruit and potatoes.
As another anecdote, my wife never messed up her metabolism, being of mexican descent and eating a good amount of rice, beans, and tortillas. Her trigs were still always under 100. But she also always ate plenty of eggs, was never a junk foodie too much, and loves beef liver and menudo about more than anything and grew up eating that, along with lots of her dad’s caldo with plenty of marrow bones in it.
And, if she eats too much of my meat preparations at the expense of her cherished veggies she begins to pack on the pounds. Back to higher carb and they come off.
Individuals truly are different and what they ate growing up I think has a profound impact on how their metabolisms function after 40 that we haven’t even begum to understand.
I appreciate your response . Taubes do talks of the individual variations and genetic predispositions in certain people. I myself can provide multiple examples from Dominican Rep of people eating with abandon carbs and living in good health. But that was much more in the past. Now is a totally different picture so I guess the notion of Dr Harris of “nutritional transition” might be one of the keys to explain the current debacle.
I think you nailed it when talking about whom Taube’s prescription is for. It is for fat people.
I keep explaining this as people confusing what Taubes is saying as a sufficient condition–as opposed to a necessary condition. It’s so obvious to Taubes that it is not a sufficient condition (hi carbs) that he doesn’t even make this distinction. However, I’ve heard countless people use the fact that people do exist that eat most of their calories in easily digestible carbs but are not fat. This is all you need to disprove a sufficient condition, one counter example. Making this reasoning ridiculous…
Taubes, however, does not present excess easily-digestible carbs as a sufficient condition, just a necessary one. That is, if you’re not metabolically deranged. Taubes is not talking to you; “Why We Get Fat” is directed at fat people.
This seems completely obvious to me but so many people think they can disprove Taubes, for example, saying they only eat fruit and are thin. They basically need a lesson in logic….
But Taubes also deals extensively with the diseases of civilization, and clearly states in his conclusions that these and obesity have probably the same cause. Does it follow that somebody being lean in spite of high carbs would also be inmune to the DOCs? The question might be silly but I don’t find any other way to express it.
Yes, that’s an expanded context or implication of his work but is still lacking beyond the Neolithic paradigm.
The primitives I spoke of don’t generally get diseases of civilization, including cancer, so to me, Taubes remains locked in the fat context. That said, GCBC is invaluable in its scope of implication that goes beyond his context.
And keep on mind, Jose, the title of his just published book. He’s zeroing in on a specific target. I get it and applaud. I just don’t think it should be taken beyond that without careful and original consideration.
Well, there is another reason to keep blogging – a lot of people that came to Paleo through the low carb movement still seem to think “carbs” are a Neolithic agent of disease.
Jose – Vegetable oil isn’t really a carb, but I agree with your list. “Carbs” are pretty meaningless in this context though, and it is misguided to vilify macronutrients.
I think you’re right, Richard. I think for say 80% of the obese people in the Western world, 80% of their problems can be cured by low-carb, no need to go paleo.
You might be misunderstanding me Walter, as that’s certainly not what I said nor meant. And I don’t see a clear implication, either.
Well, at least some of the elements of carbs are agents of disease:Wheat. fructose and vegetable oils. For instance, I will check the statistics of DOCs in DR since the introduction of vegetables oils in 1970 and see if the data confirm an increase in incidence of these diseases. For diabetes and Alzeihmers the anecdoticals are overwhelming. Specially the latter, people are just shocked. We did have people with mental senility in the past but this modern manifestation is entirely different. It feels like something unnatural. And thank you again Richard for your response, very kind of you. Luck in the debate.
In wheat, it’s the gluten proteins and wheat germ agglutinin, not the starch.
Fructose is technically a carbohydrate, but is metabolized differently from starch and glucose – so the issue is not that it’s a carb, it’s that it’s fructose.
And excess linoleic acid – like in every salad oil made and every baked food snack you might find in a box – is a fat.
So the NAD hypothesis is that these are the neolithic agents of disease – it only looks like CARBS are responsible because of too much lumping and not enough splitting.
There is no such thing as a “macronutrient”.
I’m also a newbie, about 3 months + change into this whole experience. I’m at the point where the novelty has worn off and it feels like a normal part of my life, save the occasional blip. I actually started blogging early because I wanted to chart the trajectory, and recently, it’s occurred to me that I will eventually reach the point you’re at with this. I am already sick of the orthorexics and feel comfortable ignoring them because their crashing of the Paleo party was inevitable. We shouldn’t let them get us down about our own choices. But I try to take a wider perspective rather than micro. It’s a lifestyle and it’s one that has to evolve as we go about our lives. There is so much rich material there beyond macronutrients, inflammation, and weight loss. The research goes on and so do we.
I personally do think that the LC/Paleo/primal/whatever way is the correct way, and the science I’ve seen and my own results seem to back it up but I understand where Sean is coming from in that article and I agree to an extent.
there’s not point in getting so wrapped up in your life that you aren’t really living…at least that’s what I took from his post.
Great post! I was just thinking about this idea this morning. As someone who’s struggled with obesity most of my life and who’s familiar with just about every diet out there, I find that simplifying and getting back to the basics has been the most helpful. Atkins (eat low carb and don’t fear fat) was a life changing diet for me back in 1995, but since then I’ve learned a lot about my body and what makes it feel good and bad. As long as I stick to REAL food, the rest is just tweaking for MY benefit.
Enjoying life is probably even more important and beneficial to health, and that’s difficult to do when obsessing over every little dietary idea, becoming religious about things, and hating myself when I’m not perfect.
Thanks for your blog!
Heh. Took a long time for you to get to this point!
It takes almost no time at all (comparatively speaking) to arrive here if all you are doing is researching for personal benefit !!
One thing I find amusing is that most of the bloggers in the ‘Paleo’ camp have a lot of good stuff, with a dose or two of crack-pot quackery mixed in. FWIW, those nasty bits turn me right off, and I never go back to their crapola.
I believe we can get it right, focus on what properly conducted and reviewed science reveals, and enjoy_your_life. Everything else is garbage.
PS – Dr Harris has it down very nicely, and points out when he does not have firmly proven foundations underneath him. I like that. Keeps things clear and minus any charlatanism.
Where is *here* Kimosabe?
I find that writing a blog forces me to collect my thoughts, do some research and become more aware of a subject. That’s really the only reason I do it. (that, and all the virtual groupies, can’t really talk about it)
If it was all so obvious what was properly conducted and reviewed science, I don’t think people like Kurt Harris would find it necessary to revise their views. We could all just settle on a common viewpoint and move on with our lives.
I missed making my point. Eventually, no matter what the endeavor – be diet and exercise or how to trade Forex, there are a zillion divergent opinions. The hard part is recognizing this and standing back And attempting clear headed analysis to find what can be termed ‘ current truth’.
No truth is complete, but guys like Harris got it down because they approach their craft with a sense of humility. I like that. It seems you do as well. Properly conducted and reviewed science does not equate to truth. Not at all. Ask Einstein, his theories hold water only to a point. Shoot, when Einstein crafted his General Theory of relativity, science knew that there was only One galaxy. But truth is quite different.
Humanity is complex beyond our ability to see. What will a deeper view into science do to our dietary views? You never know. Humility is the eye opener. ‘Here’ is just that.
I enjoy the blog.
Ah, sorry. Totally agree with all that, Mike.
The nice about the recent explosion of information sources is that it enables these zillion divergent opinions to flourish, allowing the awesome wisdom of crowds effect we are seeing now with nutrition.
Pretty sure i do not believe in the wisdom of the crowds. Wait a minute – nope, I certainly do not. I’ll save the why for another coment. Sufficient for now is that the wisdom got us to where we are – right now. Crowds, generally suck.
These are some of my thoughts on the subject http://praguestepchild.blogspot.com/2011/03/wisdom-of-bloggers.html
Feel free to rebut me at your leisure. Or if you come up with a clever comment let me know, also.
I’m really enjoying your videos on Vimeo, especially after a few glasses of wine. We are on the same wavelength man.
Kelly, have a few glasses of scotch and they’ll be even better.
I’m fairly new to Paleo and very new to blogging. So, for me this is still fun. I’m an old hippy and now a new Caveman. It’s all good…at least so far!
I think that blogs that try to post something new every single day tend to “jump the shark” eventually because there are only so many legitimate topics to write about, if you feel compelled to post something every single day eventually you wind up with touchy-feely subjects like “How Noise Impacts Your Health.”
You are right on, rob. Jesus, my thought always about those posts and the lights out and on an on is just head smack. I’ll never post about that banal crap.
As a vegetarian who eats no flesh and finds the concept of raw veganism absurd (esp. the banana shit), this is basically going to be a win-win for me. I’m going out to get beer and snacks and when I get back I can’t wait to sit down for a good fight. Do not disappoint!
Meant to post the above with regards to “the great debate” – sorry!
I am really enjoying your blog great articles!
Richard, you might find item six in this article interesting.
Let me know if you do.
And one you can tell to the Vegans:
Like I said, turning back the clock more than 4 million years.
Oh my god, so Tarzan and Mowgli stories could not be true, as they would have probably be eaten instead of being brought up by the chimps, that’s tragic. Would this mean that the TV is lying to us? No way….
As you pointed out, there are many other aspects of our evolution to explore. I’d love to see the paleo community use an evolutionary perspective to dive into some of the many other, highly interesting topics in human development. What do we know about evolution that can help us maximize well-being, have more harmonious interpersonal relationships, be kinder to the environment, etc.? What do the latest findings in paleoanthropology tell us about ourselves? If boredom with exploring just one aspect of health is the problem, then focusing on this broader universe might be an interesting and challenging solution. After all, the trick here would be to avoid indulging in the pseudo-scientific excesses that Dr. Harris rants about. That’s not easy to do, and yet there are actual scientists looking into this stuff. It’s interesting to me that Dr. Harris talks openly and without embarrassment about meditation. He just sees it as a straightforward, physiological technique. No need to complicate it with magic/mythic projections. Exploring all of these different dimensions could be fun. Instead of another podcast about vitamin D, someone like Sean could talk to John Hawks or Emily Deans. Hmmm…
The more we think about an idea, the more noise we produce without generating real insight. A blog, to be useful as a source of information, must treat more than one subject: we cannot generate new information that is good without significant down-time. (We can rant all we want though, as long as no one expects the rant to reveal the fundamental truths of the universe.)
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