Why are you listening to that person?

 

I recently came across this article in the Huffington Post. It is written by David Katz M.D. Dr. Katz has a very impressive bio and I enjoy his articles and find his views quite spot on. This particular article got me thinking. At first I found parts of it a bit arrogant. Some of the examples he gives are silly, by his own admission, to make a point. But is the overall point an accurate description? Fad diets that make a lot of promises are BS! There is no disagreement here. But what about following recommendations from professionals with degrees and formal education that may be outdated or plain wrong? What about listening to a genetically gifted trainer that gains muscle regardless of the regimen?

What constitutes an “expert” in the fitness industry? Experience? A college degree? Appearance? Let’s look at it from a different perspective. Do the most talented and gifted athletes make the best coaches? Have the most successful coaches in any sport always been the best athletes in their sport? Tom Landry? Don Shula? Phil Jackson? John Wooden? They played professionally but were hardly superstars themselves. So why should anyone listen to them if they weren’t the best athlete in their sport?

Perhaps it may be that their ”natural abilities, capabilities and genetic potential” were not enough to allow them to be better than what they were. Maybe they played at the top of their potential due to proper hard work, perseverance and by meticulously studying every aspect of their chosen sport. Is this any different from what  Michael Jordan, Lebron James, Dwayne Wade have done? No! Except that in their case they seemed to possess more natural abilities and capabilities. When natural ability and capability are matched with perseverance and proper hard work you get “super stardom” as opposed to a good player.

What about “fitness” experts? Would you listen to an out of shape individual or a highly lean and muscular one, offering fitness advice? Most answer that they would listen to the fit person, after all how can you teach something you don’t follow yourself? It makes perfect sense that if you want to look a certain way finding someone that looks like what you want to look at or that exemplifies leanness and muscularity would be the person to listen to. But what about if that person has always been naturally lean and or muscular? What if that person eats anything they want and not gain any bodyfat? Can they still be the best person for the job?

One of the advantages that comes with age is that time is a great instructional tool. By that I mean the passing years can serve up a lot of reference topics if you pay close enough attention and were blessed enough to listen. My first foray into weight training was joining a gym at 15. It was a no frills old style bodybuilding gym. At that young age my primary motivation was to get more muscular so I could get more attention from girls! What do you want, I was 15! I was fortunate enough, even at that young age, of being a relatively good observer. I remember reading about how Einstein had remarked something about the power of simple observation that was extremely powerful in both problem solving and the forming of hypothesis. So who was I to argue?

In my desire to improve my physique my first attempts were to try to emulate what the top guys were doing. As I got to get acquainted with more of the gym members I began to notice that there were many different body types and they responded very differently to training. I categorized them as follows, Very lean, low bodyfat and sinewy. These guys had trouble increasing body mass and size but were ripped to shreds! Heavier carrying more bodyfat and larger frame individuals. These types had the tendency to be strong yet they weren’t particularly muscular. Their challenge was looking muscular and losing bodyfat. Then there were what I referred to guys like me, average, relatively lean but not ripped, not particularly strong, and muscularity was what  would be considered normal. In other words we would not stand out in a crowd with our physique, at least back in the late seventies and early eighties. Our challenge was gaining muscle and losing bodyfat. Then there were the “Greek gods.” These guys were very lean, ripped and had a good degree of muscularity even before they started working out.

They seemed to be impervious to the laws of Nature. They ate anything they wanted and kept their low bodyfat. Their training was almost irrelevant as they would easily gain both mass and strength, regardless of training protocol. I know, I had very close friends that fit all the above. What clearly became evident is that if I wanted results I needed to pay attention to someone that had my general physique and improved it. If I could emulate what they did I should be able to duplicate the results. What could I possibly learn from the type who was naturally gifted? Sure they might develop great knowledge but “the proof is in the pudding” and clear results from a proven plan is pretty strong “pudding!”

I found several “mentors” that had my general body type. It clearly became evident that, although their regimen differed somewhat, there were similarities in principle that stood out. Very important was the diet. In order to compete as bodybuilder you need to lower your bodyfat and retain muscularity. Losing weight, although necessary for most in order to make weight for your weight class, was not the main goal. The main outcome was losing bodyfat! Training helps and is invaluable. Attitude? Tremendous importance. Rest? Of course. What really stood out were the principles to get rid of bodyfat through the diet.

I learned invaluable proven techniques to lower my bodyfat to competition levels. As time passed I kept searching and continued to learn different ways to improve my health, lifestyle and eating habits to not only keep my weight and bodyfat controlled but my health in check. Today there are far too many “gurus” and “pseudo scientists” claiming to have all this “new” information on how to lose weight. Low carb, Paleo, Ketogenic, Vegan and on and on. Next time a “guru” or “pseudo scientist” claims to have all these answers, I suggest you note the following;

* They talk the talk, but do they walk the walk? Too often those that argue through “pseudo science” and claim to have the answers are generally out of shape. If their “science” is so infallible, why are they still out of shape or struggling with their health?

* Are they in good health? What use is there to any regimen if it is detrimental to your health? You can follow the “concentration camp” diet and lose weight, fat and muscle, but at what cost?

* Have you seen pictures of them before in order to determine if they are “naturally gifted” individuals or they achieved their current level through proven protocols? I do not want to listen to an individual that has been muscular or very lean all their life because of genetics, claim that a particular regimen is the reason for their success, and try to sway others to mimic them and obtain the same results!

* How long have they looked like this? Just about anyone can lose weight through a diet. The key is to lose fat and even more importantly to keep it off without great sacrifice, enjoying your food and lifestyle choices because otherwise it’s unsustainable!

* Does their advice require fancy supplements, expensive equipment or complicated formulas to achieve the so called “magic effect?” We need to think and not take everything at face value. Losing weight or fat and improving one’s health is not terribly complicated. Sure there are certain principles that must be adhered to but it’s not complicated in the least bit! We tend to make it complicated because we want it to be “easier!” That explains why there are so many “shams” and overly complicated systems out there. Marketers know this and exploit this desire. Sad really!

“Rome was not built in a day” and you did not gain weight and develop poor habits overnight either. Guess what? It takes time, persistence and the desire to adopt common sense lifestyle and eating principles that will get you back on track. It will not happen overnight, however changing your thoughts and patterns can occur immediately! Just as you are capable of making the wrong choice you are equally empowered to make the right one!

Mokolo’s Lesson.

Mokolo was your typical middle aged male. He wasn’t obese yet he was overweight. He did not exercise but was passively active. In 2005 his close friend Brooks died from heart failure which prompted Mokolo to come in for a check up. The results were not promising. Mokolo had high blood pressure, high cholesterol and high levels of CRP. His doctors were quite surprised since Mokolo did not smoke or drink alcohol. He ate no meat whatsoever. As a matter of fact he even supplemented his diet with vitamin enriched power bars. Why then was Mokolo headed down the same road as his friend Brooks who followed the very same lifestyle as Mokolo?

One aspect considered was looking into his lifestyle. True, he did not appear to have your typical unhealthy habits associated with heart disease but yet he was on the same path as Brooks. On closer look Mokolo was not eating the same way as his counterparts living in his native land nor did he partake in the same habits. Although his diet did not include meat it did include high starchy and sugary foods that his counterparts did not consume. His physical activity was considerably less than those of his native counterparts. His bodyfat levels were also higher than his compadres. Could reverting back to eating and engaging in similar physical activity levels as his native land counterparts help Mokolo?

Surprisingly, the answer turned out to be yes. Mokolo, in real life is a Western lowland gorilla residing at Cleveland Metroparks Zoo. The number one cause of death among captive male gorillas is heart disease, just like humans. In 2005 after the unfortunate death of Brooks a 21 year old male gorilla, a team of researchers decided to look at how lifestyle may be impacting their health. The team was led by Elena Hollein Less, a PhD candidate in biology at Case Western Reserve University. Mokolo’s diet was based on the guidelines set forth by the National Research Council which clearly stated the macronutient, micronutrient profiles and calorie density for non human primates held in captivity.

For decades this translated to bucket loads of high vitamin, sugary, starchy foods to ensure they were reaching the required nutrient profiles. A specially blended “biscuit” was also added to ensure all vitamins and minerals were absorbed. This typical diet that they were now exposed to produced a couple of habits not seen with gorillas in the wild. First the gorillas kept spitting up their food and re ingesting it numerous times over and over. Perhaps it was due to the starch and sugar not sitting so well in their stomach or it may have been their way of tasting the sugar once more. They also kept plucking their hair away to the point where there were noticeable bald spots.

The research team began changing their diet. Gone was all the high sugar and starchy foods which were calorie dense and fiber poor. They were replaced with romaine lettuce, dandelion greens, and endives. Alfalfa hay for them to pick through, young tree branches for them to strip the bark and leaves and even green beans. Instead of providing the food all at once it was spread out through their habitat over time to get them back to a foraging type routine. So in essence they attempted to get the gorillas as close as they could to the diet and lifestyle of their native counterparts. One very important fact needs to be mentioned before we move on.

Although the diet was changed to have more fiber and be as close in macro-nutrients to that of their counterparts, it was not the same in some very crucial elements. Researchers have identified 118 different plants that gorillas consume in the wild and how the compounds in these plants may influence their health. What is really astonishing is how these non human primates are able to select and ingest plants and seeds that act in a synergistic manner. For example, gorillas regularly consume leaves from the plant Crossandra guineensis, which is used to treat diarrhea and some skin diseases. They also regularly consume Aframomum melegueta or “Grains of Paradise” a species of the Ginger family. Aframomum “is a potent antibacterial, antiviral, antifungal and anti inflammatory natural drug,” says primatologist Michael Huffman from Japan’s Kyoto University. He goes on to add that “The plants may be as much a source of preventative medicine for gorillas as they are of food.” That is a powerhouse statement!

The interactions between animals and the phenomena of self medication may offer a glimpse of one of the mechanisms that have allowed us to evolve. Think of it, how else would our most primitive of ancestors would have known what to eat? Observe the reaction or response from what someone else ate. Or even some animal. Another action may have been some sort of primal “desire” to ingest a particular plant, seed or combination thereof that may have conferred a “cure” for a particular ailment. In the absence of doctors and knowledge what other mechanism would our ancestors have relied upon for survival? It is well documented that the Natural world is the basis of many if not most of our current pharmaceutical drugs. Why deny ourselves this ageless wisdom? Why not harness the best of both worlds?

Today we focus too much on “reductionist” science. In other words we try to reduce results to what our current understanding tells us is the main cause of a benefit. The reality is that, as much as we have advanced, we are still “cavemen” when it comes to understanding the myriad of intricacies that interact in our bodies. Why not “regress” a bit and do what may have worked for most of our history. Even better, adopt all those actions that we have recently discovered that have proven to be both beneficial and cause no harm. Marry the two and what do you get? Paleo Nouveau! The best of our inherited wisdom and the advantages of our Modern knowledge.

So what is Mokolo’s lesson? Or better yet lessons? If a magnificent creature such as a gorilla develops modern day health maladies due to environment, lifestyle and dietary changes, what makes us think we are so “unique?” Could this be a mirror into our own problems? Perhaps we are as Mokolo, captives in our own “human zoo!!!” Why should we let Modern conveniences and lifestyles turn our lives into a quagmire of disease and maladies? Wouldn’t it be better to maintain our primal traits that can benefit us and couple those with Modern advantages? How about some of the following?

Move. Exercise your body in such a way you are truly utilizing all muscle groups and strengthening your core. Don’t stay sedentary. Don’t spend hours on end just sitting in front of a computer screen and then coming home and doing more of the same!

Don’t rely on processed foodstuff for nutrition.This may “feed” you but it surely does not nourish you.

Find the recipes that work together to enhance food’s healing, nutritious, or absorption properties.

Consume nutrient dense delicious whole foods and learn to prepare them correctly.

Nurture your family and your friends. Build a solid framework of continuous improvement in all facets of life.

Strive to prevent disease always through sound lifestyle practices.

Value and enjoy the moment you are in! Improve upon your stress management skills! How we respond to stressful situations is of paramount importance in maintaining our health.

To sum it up, EAT correctly and discover recipes that improve food’s healing and nutrition, so that we can MOVE in such a way that our bodies do not “rust” similar to how a child is limber so in turn we can THRIVE and keep a level head and enjoy all that life has to offer! Simply put we must EAT to MOVE to THRIVE!!!

What did we eat? Paleo! Paleo. Paleo?

TAKE ONE.

Our strong, limber, athletic and heart disease free hunter gatherer Paleolithic ancestors roamed the savannas and sprinted to either catch prey or run from a predator. They were pictures of robust health and vitality. No high blood pressure, no cholesterol issues, no diabetes. They only succumbed to trauma, infectious diseases or old age. Even though life was somewhat challenging, after all chasing down a wooly mammoth or running from a vicious predator would stress the best of us, our Paleolithic ancestors seemed to enjoy a robust diet. They ate mostly lean meat and the healthy fat from the organs, tubers, plenty of foraged greens and occasional fruit and honey. No toxic dairy, grains or legumes to cause us inflammation. Their diet was 61.0988% fat mostly saturated, 38.9876% animal protein and the rest were carbs from plants. Lot’s of fiber too. This diet is what made them so robust!

No sir! They got plenty of daily exercise through the course of the day, lots of sunshine (vitamin D) rested and had plenty of time for leisure. Life was, well, Paleo of course!

TAKE TWO.

No, they were not hunter gatherers they were gatherer hunters. Their teeth and digestive system are not designed for tearing up meat! Meat was only consumed as a last resort. After all, we were literally climbing trees a few million years before, so we are closer to herbivores than carnivores. Their diet was 67.8975% complex carbs, 19.802% simple carbs and the rest was plant protein plus 899 grams of fiber and 0% saturated fat! This diet is what made them so robust!

Sound familiar? When you read percentages you would have thought that they were written by Paleo doctors of the time. However they are given to us by current researchers using their best “guesstimate” based on their own findings. We do not know exact percentages since it would most likely have varied due to availability, geographical location and the capabilities of that particular group of people. Just as it does now, in spite of modern methods of transportation and so on. We don’t all eat the same percentages of any nutrient, not even close.

Another key aspect that seems to always go unmentioned is water. Plain old H2O. Everyone hypothesizes about where our ancestors lived and what they ate but seem to neglect our total reliance on water. Everyone knows you can live weeks even months without food but you will last just a few days without water. I would argue that our ancestors would follow the water at every turn. Their whole existence and survival would depend on it as it does today.

So, what did we eat? Anything we could! We were opportunistic eaters. It depends where WE lived. If we lived in a subtropical climate fruits would have been way up there in our food totem pole (fructose anyone?). Arctic climate? Lots of fat and protein through shellfish, fish and land based animals. Somewhere in the middle of these environments? You guessed it, our diet would probably have been more varied.

What you would not have seen were any processed or junk foodstuffs. Everything we ate was in it’s most natural state. We simply did not have any choice in the matter. Which brings us to a simple question, what does it matter? Our past was extremely diverse and was not stagnant. At times some ancient people may have subsisted on nothing more than bugs and larvae due to environmental factors. At other times there may have been nothing more than what they could have scavenged.

Does this mean we should do the same? The fact is there was a progression of eating patterns through time and location. Even so this does not translate into an “ideal” pattern for nutrition we should follow. There is no concrete irrefutable proof that eating a certain percentage of protein, fats and carbs is “ideal” based on our past. How some of our ancestors ate does not mean they were thriving on that diet. Most likely they were living, sometimes barely.

What is the take home lesson though? We can safely argue that eliminating or limiting our intake of processed and junk foodstuffs is ideal. Eating foods that are as close to their natural state as possible can be beneficial. What about dairy, legumes and grains? Some may have great or slight intolerance to some of these. Others do not. The simplest way to know is to eliminate one of these for a month and note how you feel. Re introduce the ingredient and note your reaction and how you feel. If all is well and you have no health challenges the item may be benign.

Just because a segment of our ancestors at a certain period in time may have eaten a certain way does not mean it is the IDEAL way to eat!

 

Do Your Homework 2!

The internet is a tool. It can be of great benefit if used correctly or it can add up to a wasted life if all you do is live vicariously through social media and internet games. It can also educate you immensely or confuse you to a staggering degree. This is what I want to address in this post.

It is very disheartening to see someone who is searching to improve their health and see them fall victim to ideologies from, sometimes well intended individuals, who are plain wrong. There are internet gurus and self proclaimed experts that set forth their “ideas” as absolute certainties that are proven beyond any shadow of a doubt! They have searched the internet far and wide and are now “experts” in health and nutrition. If they find a like minded community then the real fun begins. You know the deal. Everyone repeats the same take on a particular study. Eggs are good. Eggs are bad. Saturated fat good. Saturated fat bad. Low carb. High carb. Low fat. High fat.

Every “side” high fives with their like minded peers and just keep on repeating what they hold dear to their heart. Researchers and doctors are all shills or ignorant idiots with a degree. The problem with being certain without a shadow of a doubt about anything is that it usually leads you to ignore those things that differ from your belief. It’s easier to dismiss something that seems to point the other way when you are so invested in your belief.

Paleo Nouveau’s mantra is that we have far more questions than answers. We focus on the science and sometimes listen to anecdotal evidence that if followed will not likely cause harm. Is there only one way to better health? Maybe. There are certain guidelines that seem to be sound and timeless, such as avoiding refined and junk foodstuff, eating whole foods prepared and cooked properly, managing stress better, exercising properly, getting adequate rest and enjoying life more. Not rocket science and not very profound but pretty straightforward.

I found this article on this website. This gentleman has a very set stance on the roles of saturated fat and dietary cholesterol. In this article he asks that you look at this study and then goes on to state “The results from this study reveal that a low-fat, low-cholesterol diet increases the risk factors associated with heart disease compared to a high-fat, high-cholesterol diet.”

Very impressive and the best part is Mr. Evans (the blogger) provides a link to the study. As I have mentioned before we should always do our own “Wesearch” and try to see if what is stated as fact is indeed so. Mr. Evans position seems to be that since the low fat diet reduced HDL and according to him high levels of HDL and Apolipoproteins A-I may offer protection from heart disease, then the inverse seems to be harmful. Again let me make this perfectly clear I am in no way shape or form criticizing Mr. Evans, only the content of this article. I will show you what I found and you can look for yourself. What will this prove? Do your own “Wesearch” and never rely on any internet person, including myself, to make a statement of fact that you cannot fact check for yourself!

This is from the authors of that study “We feel that this fundamental metabolic difference renders it inappropriate to assume that a diet induced decrease in HDL-C carries the same risk of atherosclerosis as does a low HDL-C within a given diet. This seems particularly so since epidemiologic data consistently show that populations with low fat diets and low HDL-C have reduced atherosclerosis incidence. As a corollary we recommend that guidelines for antiatherogenic diets continue to emphasize the lowering of LDL, rather than avoidance of HDL reduction.”

Not exactly the same conclusion Mr. Evans asserts. Quite the contrary. This study certainly shatters the position that high fat and saturated fat are protective for heart disease! Not sure why he chose it. I am also not sure why anyone would take such a stance against a healthy low fat diet since there are numerous studies and populations that follow this very diet and enjoy great heart health.

Does this mean that I believe he is wrong about his entire beliefs? No! I don’t have an opinion on his beliefs. I only looked at this article and am commenting on what I found by reading the study. I applaud that he cited the study so we can look it up. I have no opinion on Mr. Evans as it would be irrelevant to the subject at hand. If we have a true desire to learn and grow as individuals and a species, name calling and drama have no place in any discussion. I have yet to read other of his articles but I will certainly do so as I enjoy and admire that he has taken the time to cite all the studies he has used to formulate his opinion.

Always fact check any health claim you read or hear!!! There are way too many people regurgitating the same erroneous claims just because some smart sounding internet guru said so.

 

 

 

Do Your Homework!

This is an article from a well respected, articulate and intelligent blogger from the Paleosphere, Chris Kresser. I have several issues with the content and as such I decided to reply as noted. I do not pretend to be on the same level as Chris Kresser. All I wish is to keep the argument based on the facts. If I am wrong I will gladly accept it, since my only desire is to find the best dietary pattern that fits most of us. I respect Chris Kresser and continue to keep an open mind to anything he says. I am in no way trying to attack him in any way shape or form! Accuracy of facts is the only goal. I will not get caught up in blogosphere drama! That is not conducive to anything positive or of benefit to anyone! My comments are in red.

It’s hard to overstate the impact that cardiovascular disease (CVD) has in the U.S.. Consider the following:

  • Cardiovascular disease affects 65 million Americans.
  • Close to one million Americans have a heart attack each year.
  • In the U.S., one person dies every 39 seconds of cardiovascular disease.
  • 1 of 3 deaths that occurs in the U.S. is caused by cardiovascular disease.
  • 1 in 3 Americans have metabolic syndrome, a cluster of major cardiovascular risk factors related to overweight/obesity and insulin resistance.
  • The total cost of cardiovascular disease in 2008 was estimated at $300 billion.

To put that last statistic in perspective, the World Health Organization has estimated that ending world hunger would cost approximately $195 billion. One might argue that the $300 billion we spend on treating cardiovascular disease in the U.S. is a necessary expenditure; however, a recent study which looked at the relationship between heart disease and lifestyle suggested that 90% of CVD is caused by modifiable diet and lifestyle factors. (1)

Unfortunately, cardiovascular disease is one of the most misdiagnosed and mistreated conditions in medicine. We’ve learned a tremendous amount about what causes heart disease over the past decade, but the medical establishment is still operating on outdated science from 40-50 years ago.

In this 4-part series, I’m going to debunk 3 common myths about heart disease:

  1. Eating cholesterol and saturated fat raises cholesterol levels in the blood.
  2. High cholesterol in the blood is the cause of heart disease.
  3. Statins save lives in healthy people without heart disease.

In the fourth and final article in the series, I’ll discuss strategies for naturally protecting yourself against heart disease.

Myth #1: Eating cholesterol and saturated fat raises cholesterol levels in the blood.

Most of us grew up being told that foods like red meat, eggs and bacon raise our cholesterol levels. This idea is so deeply ingrained in our cultural psyche that few people even question it. But is it really true?

The diet-heart hypothesis—which holds that eating cholesterol and saturated fat raises cholesterol in our blood—originated with studies in both animals and humans more than half a century ago. However, more recent (and higher quality) evidence doesn’t support it. What evidence is that?

Cholesterol and saturated fat: dietary enemies or innocent victims of bad science?Tweet This

On any given day, we have between 1,100 and 1,700 milligrams of cholesterol in our body. 25% of that comes from our diet, and 75% is produced inside of our bodies by the liver. Much of the cholesterol that’s found in food can’t be absorbed by our bodies, and most of the cholesterol in our gut was first synthesized in body cells and ended up in the gut via the liver and gall bladder. The body tightly regulates the amount of cholesterol in the blood by controlling internal production; when cholesterol intake in the diet goes down, the body makes more. When cholesterol intake in the diet goes up, the body makes less. True!

This explains why well-designed cholesterol feeding studies (where they feed volunteers 2-4 eggs a day and measure their cholesterol) show that dietary cholesterol has very little impact on blood cholesterol levels in about 75% of the population. The remaining 25% of the population are referred to as “hyper-responders”. In this group, dietary cholesterol does modestly increase both LDL (“bad cholesterol” and HDL (“good cholesterol”), but it does not affect the ratio of LDL to HDL or increase the risk of heart disease. (2) “Although higher plasma levels of low-density lipoprotein cholesterol are associated with an increased risk of coronary disease and lipid-lowering therapy has been shown to reduce the risk of cardiovascular disease, the relation between dietary cholesterol and the risk of CHD is not clearly understood. This article reviews the current evidence on the association between dietary cholesterol and the risk of CHD.” This is from the citation. I could not find it online however I do not see anywhere in the abstract anything to indicate what the author so convincingly states.

In other words, eating cholesterol isn’t going to give you a heart attack. You can ditch the egg-white omelettes and start eating yolks again. That’s a good thing, since all of the 13 essential nutrients eggs contain are found in the yolk. Egg yolks are an especially good source of choline, a B-vitamin that plays important roles in everything from neurotransmitter production to detoxification to maintenance of healthy cells. (3) This citation is from an article not a study. Eggs are the richest source of choline but not the only one. There are vegetarian sources such as wheat germ, quinoa, beets, legumes, etc. Studies show that up to 90% of Americans don’t get enough choline, which can lead to fatigue, insomnia, poor kidney function, memory problems and nerve-muscle imbalances. (4) This is another article 2 years earlier from one of the same authors as before. It clearly states that our bodies produce choline and the problem is when we are deficient. You don’t need to eat more choline unless there is a deficiency and a problem.

What about saturated fat? It’s true that some studies show that saturated fat intake raises blood cholesterol levels. But these studies are almost always short-term, lasting only a few weeks. (5) This study was a cohort of 60 studies.

“The studies included in our meta-analysis lasted between 13
and 91 d. This raises the question of whether the effects observed
are transitory. However, long-term epidemiologic findings support
our findings. For example, a life-long high intake of carbohydrates
is associated with increased triacylglycerol concentrations (110),
whereas the effects on total cholesterol of fatty acids in observa-
tional studies also agree with the trials analyzed here (111). This
gives us confidence that the effects seen in our present meta-analysis
are not transient.”
It is not conclusive but shows a constant association. If it quacks like a duck and walks like a duck then it might be a duck! Not conclusive either way but strongly associated against Chris Kresser’s argument. And yes it was short term!

Longer-term studies have not shown an association between saturated fat intake and blood cholesterol levels. In fact, of all of the long-term studies examining this issue, only one of them showed a clear association between saturated fat intake and cholesterol levels, and even that association was weak. (6) This is a link to a blog post by Whole Health source written by Stephan Guyenet. It is not a study but an opinion by another blogger. Whether it has merit or not would be too lengthy now. However the lone wolf syndrome comes to mind. Why rely on a blogger although a researcher as well, instead of more established scientists?

Moreover, studies on low-carbohydrate diets (which tend to be high in saturated fat) suggest that they not only don’t raise blood cholesterol, they have several beneficial impacts on cardiovascular disease risk markers. For example, a meta-analysis of 17 low-carb diet trials covering 1,140 obese patients published in the journal Obesity Reviews found that low-carb diets neither increased nor decreased LDL cholesterol. However, they did find that low-carb diets were associated with significant decreases is body weight as well as improvements in several CV risk factors, including decreases in triglycerides, fasting glucose, blood pressure, body mass index, abdominal circumference, plasma insulin and c-reactive protein, as well as an increase in HDL cholesterol. (7) Above the author complains that the studies were of short duration yet this cohort ranged from 3 to 36 months and  “The authors stated that further research was needed on the long-term effects of low carbohydrate diets, perhaps including the follow-up of existing cohorts.” And just because LDL levels did not change significantly does mot mean it was a good thing if baseline was high to begin with. Not a real good study! Not conclusive by any stretch of the imagination.

If you’re wondering whether saturated fat may contribute to heart disease in some way that isn’t related to cholesterol, a large meta-analysis of prospective studies involving close to 350,000 participants found no association between saturated fat and heart disease. (8) “Clinical trials that replaced saturated fat with polyunsaturated fat have generally shown a reduction in CVD events, although several studies showed no effects. An independent association of saturated fat intake with CVD risk has not been consistently shown in prospective epidemiologic studies, although some have provided evidence of an increased risk in young individuals and in women. Replacement of saturated fat by polyunsaturated or monounsaturated fat lowers both LDL and HDL cholesterol. However, replacement with a higher carbohydrate intake, particularly refined carbohydrate, can exacerbate the atherogenic dyslipidemia associated with insulin resistance and obesity that includes increased triglycerides, small LDL particles, and reduced HDL cholesterol. In summary, although substitution of dietary polyunsaturated fat for saturated fat has been shown to lower CVD risk, there are few epidemiologic or clinical trial data to support a benefit of replacing saturated fat with carbohydrate.” Read carefully what the authors say. Bold accents are mine. Why would Chris Kresser state that this study found no association? It did. The main argument this study points to is that you need to look at what you replace saturated fats with. Refined carbs AKA processed and junk foodstuff, are not what your supposed to substitute saturated fat with! A Japanese prospective study that followed 58,000 men for an average of 14 years found no association between saturated fat intake and heart disease, and an inverse association between saturated fat and stroke (i.e. those who ate more saturated fat had a lower risk of stroke). (9) This is the conclusion from that study in 2010

“SFA intake was inversely associated with mortality from total stroke, including intraparenchymal hemorrhage and ischemic stroke subtypes, in this Japanese cohort.” This one is from some of the same authors on another study published in 2013 “Conclusions In this Japanese population, SFAs intake was inversely associated with deep intraparenchymal haemorrhage and lacunar infarction and positively associated with myocardial infarction.

So if your Japanese and consume low saturated fat you may suffer from a stroke but if you increase saturated fat intake you can get a myocardial infarction! I don’t know about you but this does not seem to be conclusive of anything. What do you think? If you read the study you will see the folly that drawing a concrete conclusion from any of these studies are. “Therefore, recommendation to increase SFA intake cannot made in current Japan, since both SFA intake and coronary heart disease incidence rate are increasing among urban Japanese men.[38,39]“

Thought you might enjoy that sentence as well from the article. Conclusive? Yes it is conclusively pointing to the fact that it is not conclusive.

That said, just as not everyone responds to dietary cholesterol in the same manner, there’s some variation in how individuals respond to dietary saturated fat. If we took ten people, fed them a diet high in saturated fat, and measured their cholesterol levels, we’d see a range of responses that averages out to no net increase or decrease. (If dietary saturated fat does increase your total or LDL cholesterol, the more important question is whether that’s a problem. I’ll address that in the next article in this series.)

Another strike against the diet-heart hypothesis is that many of its original proponents haven’t believed it for at least two decades. In a letter to the New England Journal of Medicine in 1991, Ancel Keys, the founder of the diet-heart hypothesis said (10):

Dietary cholesterol has an important effect on the cholesterol level in the blood of chickens and rabbits, but many controlled experiments have shown that dietary cholesterol has a limited effect in humans. Adding cholesterol to a cholesterol-free diet raises the blood level in humans, but when added to an unrestricted diet, it has a minimal effect. Why would this be indicative that there is dissension among the research or the hypothesis? It is not a statement on saturated fat but dietary cholesterol intake. Basic Human Physiology states the same.

In a 2004 editorial in the Journal of American College of Cardiology, Sylvan Lee Weinberg, former president of the American College of Cardiology and outspoken proponent of the diet-heart hypothesis, said (11):

The low-fat, high-carbohydrate diet… may well have played an unintended role in the current epidemics of obesity, lipid abnormalities, type 2 diabetes, and metabolic syndromes. This diet can no longer be defended by appeal to the authority of prestigious medical organizations. This is an article and an opinion by Dr. Weinberg.

There followed what became perhaps one of America’s most extensive public relations campaigns: convincing the profession as well as the public that avoiding dietary fat was a key element in the prevention and treatment of atherosclerotic CAD. The NIH, NCEP, AHA, USDA, and a host of medical organizations were joined by the food industry in publicizing and promoting this concept. One had only to walk through any supermarket to find a plethora of cookies, cakes, ice cream, and nearly every imaginable food product prominently marked “low-fat.” The message, perhaps unintended, was unmistakable: eat all the low-fat foods you want; they are safe. Yet many of these low-fat foods were high in carbohydrates (Carb) and prepared with saturated and trans-fatty acids (6).”

Are you following this? This is not what a low fat diet is supposed to be. This is simply substituting one evil with another! That seems to be the message ignored by everyone that claims the diet heart hypothessis is flawed. This was never the intent of the diet! You cannot eat refined processed junk foodstuff that is “low fat”, yet full of saturated fat and trans fats, and expect to prevent anything. It is ludicrous! 

We’ve now established that eating cholesterol and saturated fat does not increase cholesterol levels in the blood for most people. In the next article, I’ll debunk the myth that high cholesterol in the blood is the cause of heart disease. How can Chris Kresser say this? We cannot blindly follow what anyone says without investigating the basis of the claim! Your health and that of your loved ones is way to valuable to simply rely on hyperbole. Not one of his citations backs any of his assertions. A low carb diet or a stereotypical Paleo diet will be better than a low fat diet that substitutes saturated fat with processed and junk foodstuff. But that what was never the intent. The message was eat real food, mostly plant based and reduce or eliminate processed and junk foodstuff while reducing saturated fat intake. Your thoughts?

Paleo Diet

What is the Paleo diet? Today it’s a popular dietary plan based primarily on a the writings of Dr. Loren Cordain, a professor in health and exercise science at Colorado State University. The current Paleo diet is based on what he believed were the main staples of our Paleo ancestors diet. Mainly it loosely translates to eliminating grains, legumes, dairy, processed foods, reducing sodium intake while increasing potassium, eating lots of fruits and non starchy vegetables, lean meat and switching fat intakes from high Omega-6 to Omega-3 rich fats.

Let me ask you this, based on what you just read above, what is it that anyone would find offensive or detrimental? Vegan moral issues notwithstanding, since we are discussing the nutritional aspects only, is there anything inherently dangerous or controversial in the above general principles of the current Paleo diet? There seems to be more emphasis on a stereotypical macho caveman massive red meat eating freak than the actual diet itself.

We can argue with Dr. Cordain on whether we evolved eating one way or another and whether we consumed grains or not. Those can be worthwhile arguments, but does it really change the essence of the suggested guidelines? Suggesting that we increase our vegetable and fruit consumption, reduce bad fats and eat lean meats is not controversial by any means! Eating less or no processed foods is certainly beneficial. What about dairy? The science seems to back this up as well, although there may be exceptions such as Kefir and authentic Greek yogurt. Grains, legumes and starchy vegetables is where the Paleo diet seems to be at a scientific disadvantage, from both an evolutionary and nutritional point of view.

The main argument is that we have not yet adapted to eating these substances. That they have been in our diet for only the last 10,000 years or so. The other argument is that they have anti nutrients and are detrimental to our health. That is true. If you eat them raw! Properly prepared and cooked the science and anecdotal evidence certainly point otherwise. Let’s look at it from a different perspective. Pretend we found this very old “menu and recipe” book from the Paleolithic period that precisely detailed what we ate at the time. What would that prove? Other than knowing precisely what we ate in that period, what would that offer us as a benefit? Even knowing what we ate, the meat, vegetables and fruits today bear no resemblance to that period. None! Not even close. How would we know that what they ate was the best diet for them?

By most accounts we were opportunistic eaters as being picky would have not allowed you to survive very long. The premise that we ate that way or this way is not an ironclad assurance that it’s the best diet for us. It certainly paints a picture of what we may have evolved eating but it does not prove that it is the best diet for us. There is also evidence suggesting that we may have been using tools to process grains and plants for well over 30,000 years ago.

The problem is that this diet has taken on a life of it’s own. Now most Paleo enthusiasts promote the consumption of fatty meat, saturated fats and a relatively low carb approach. Grains, legumes, starches and dairy are the enemy. All saturated fats and cholesterol rich foods are good, as long as they don’t come from dairy or CAFO meat. The main reasoning is “conventional wisdom” AKA modern medicine and research are wrong and we’ve been led astray by listening to their dietary recommendations.

What do you think? Are saturated fats good for you? Does dietary cholesterol influence your health? Is eating lot’s of red meat good for you? Is dairy bad? What about grains and legumes? Are carbohydrates the enemy?

Food for thought. The skeptics battle cry has been that we have blindly followed “conventional wisdom” much to our detriment. That we didn’t do proper research and just followed dietary advice like cattle being led to the slaughter. Are we fact checking the skeptics or simply changed who we are blindly following?

“Psst, wanna hear the secret to losing weight? Sshhh, follow me!”

Could it be that simple? Could weight loss and maintenance be very simple? There are so many opinions, methods, fad diets and “extreme” workouts to choose from that it’s very easy to get sidetracked. But why are there so many? Could it be that we are all searching for the “magic pill?” Think of this for a moment, what would be the profile of the ideal consumer for the weight loss industry? I would propose the following;

* Overweight

* Disposable income

* Frustrated

* Busy

* Has tried other diets before

* Searching for an answer to lose and keep weight off

I think these are accurate traits for the typical weight loss seeker. I know, I was obese and I was definitely frustrated with myself. The only difference is I knew how to lose weight and manage it. My reason for getting overweight stemmed from an emotional trap that I set for myself. (In a future post I will elaborate further.) Nevertheless I wanted to jump start my journey and was willing to try just about anything to get me started and get some kind of momentum going.

We all want to hear the latest “secret” that will help us lose weight. After all it’s the twenty first century and there has to be major advances in medicine and in the health industry to help us do this, right? OK let’s cut to the chase, what most of us are looking for is the path of least resistance. We want to know what is the easiest way to lose weight? It’s normal to try to do things as efficiently and effortlessly as possible. That is the smartest approach to just about anything, isn’t it?

What if this is the problem? Could it be that in our search for easy or fast or new we are setting ourselves up for failure? How? By starting off on the wrong foot! For most of us knowing why we gained weight is absolutely critical in helping us control our weight once we lose it. After all if you are not keenly aware of the reason(s) for your weight gain you can be doomed to repeat them. Perhaps it was emotional eating. Or lack of knowledge. Maybe the weight crept up on you through the years of poor eating or being less active. There are many possibilities that influenced your weight gain. You need to learn what those are!

Defining what is easy and hard is one of the most powerful weapons we have to do this weight loss thing right! For me I simply defined hard as being obese, unhealthy, uncomfortable and miserable. I was not a happy fat guy! Putting on my shoes was now relegated to my wife as I was unable to tie my shoelaces. Clothes kept getting tighter and tighter. Breathing became more labored. Eating less enjoyable. Good sleep was a distant memory. Blood pressure, cholesterol, triglycerides, liver enzymes and blood glucose numbers were spiraling out of control. Life was not good! Easy I defined as anything I needed to do to reverse this successfully and healthfully!

Please read that last line again. And yet again! That is the “secret” for weight loss! Losing weight and keeping it off starts with the simple agreement that you need to make with yourself that you and your family are worth the effort you are about to put forth. That is the easy part. Hard is what you are doing now! Being unhealthy and or overweight is hard for your family. Dying young and leaving a grieving spouse and children is hard on your family!

One of my cousin’s best friends just suffered a massive hemorrhagic stroke at the age of 43. His BP was well over 250 most of the time. He weighed over 300 lbs and had recently stopped smoking. He is not responding and in a vegetative state. You want to see hard? You want to feel what hard is? Go and see how his 10, 12 and 16 year old girls are handling it! Go see them, no not see them, you don’t just see them cry you feel the unbearable pain in their sobs! The pain that can only be felt when children are robbed from their parents! That my friends, is HARD!!!

Eating differently, exercising and changing whatever negative lifestyle habits you currently have is EASY! It is within your power to create a better you through proper perception of what is truly easy and hard. Once you come to this agreement you are in the proper mental state to change for the better and do it permanently. Now all you need to do is gain proper knowledge on how to best approach this venture. Guess what? It’s easy!!!

Eating The Paleo Nouveau Way!!

I always get the same looks or comments when someone who doesn’t know me sees me wearing my Paleo Nouveau T-shirt. “Oh yeah I heard about Paleo. My friend’s cousin’s aunt who married his stepsisters dad who was orphaned at 6 years old did it when he joined Crossfit. He eats tons of meat, stopped eating bread and drinking any milk. He loved it till he stopped doing it! Why did he stop? Ahh, he missed eating bread and drinking milk. Plus he threw out his shoulder and got a hernia while doing Crossfit!”

That’s pretty much what people think when they hear or see the word Paleo. I then begin by explaining that this is Paleo Nouveau.The Paleo portion is to look at what our ancestors, as well as different cultures, did that might be beneficial in following today to improve our health and fitness. The Nouveau part is to utilize the best of our times to improve upon or enhance these very same concepts. Good science with some common sense can lead us to ask better questions and gain an understanding of some very sound dietary principles.

Paleo Nouveau has no dogmatic beliefs. The only concrete pillars of belief are the following;

* Eating processed and junk foodstuff on a regular basis is detrimental to all aspects of health and vitality.

* Smoking cigarettes will never ever be risk free and have no value or place in anyone’s life.

* CAFO meat should be eliminated or drastically reduced due to quality of food, the general inhumane treatment to the animals associated with these operations and the polluting effects of same.

* Refined sugars, flour, artificial coloring, artificial flavorings, preservatives and anything on an ingredient list you would never find in a cupboard should not be consumed on a regular basis.

* Deep frying foods is not conducive to good health, ever.

* Advertising processed and junk foodstuffs should not be permitted to anyone under the age of 18.

* Food should be revered, appreciated, enjoyed thoroughly and never taken for granted!

* Food should be enjoyed and shared with friends and family on every possible opportunity.

Other than that the Paleo Nouveau way is very flexible. Can you thrive being a vegan? Absolutely! Can you excel as a vegetarian? Yup. Omnivore? Yes. Raw foods? Yes siree.”What kind of populist thinking dogma is this? Are you running for president?” “A little touchy today aren’t we!” What these eating methodologies share in common is that they reduce or eliminate highly processed and junk foodstuffs and eat vast amounts of fresh real unadulterated food. So the possibility to thrive is there. With that being said if you were to ask me “Can everyone thrive being vegan, vegetarian, an omnivore or consuming raw foods?” Then the answer is NO!

We are all individuals and respond differently to food intake. Not everyone can eat like a vegan. Some don’t like red meat. Or any meat. Others can’t handle certain grains. Some dislike dairy or are lactose intolerant. If you are to thrive you have to enjoy your food! There are no two ways about this. You cannot eat in a way that is not sustainable to you, no matter how healthy it may be. Sooner or later you will revert back to your bad habits.

The Paleo Nouveau way of eating that I currently follow is in the following paragraph. I am an omnivore. These are the principles that I personally follow but that does not mean I believe they are superior to vegans or vegetarians. I believe that everyone should follow the intent of these guidelines no matter how they eat.

 An Introduction to the Omnivore version of Paleo Nouveau

* Eat when hungry.

* Don’t drink your calories unless it’s a protein shake, a shot of wheat grass or an occasional natural juiced drink. No packaged fruit juices.

* Eat mostly a plant based diet. Your plate should be piled high with properly prepared and or cooked vegetables. The more colors the better!

* Eat wild caught salmon 2-3 x a week. Do not overcook it.

* Meat consumption should be lean cuts prepared and cooked properly to avoid HCA’s and AGE’s.

* Try to limit red meat consumption to 2-3 x a month.

* Eat grass fed liver or heart 7-10 x a year. Do not overcook it.

* Incorporate sea vegetables into your diet 1-2 x a week.

* Reduce or eliminate milk consumption. If you enjoy cheese, eat the best quality cheeses you can find, on occasion.

* Incorporate Kefir, Greek yogurt, Kimche, raw sauerkraut snacks into your daily diet.

* Have a glass of 10-12 oz of water with the juice of half a lemon or lime and a small capful of Organic Apple Cider Vinegar with the Mother first thing in the morning before breakfast.

* Try to eat half of your vegetables raw.

* Always season your salads with the best Extra Virgin Olive Oil and Balsamic vinegar you can find. Add a pinch of lemon or lime juice as well.

* Incorporate Quinoa into your diet.

* Properly soak legumes before cooking. Regulate servings of both legumes and starches according to your activity level. Don’t overindulge regularly with either.

* Limit or eliminate deli meats.

* Bread should have no more than 5-7 ingredients and none of those should be preservatives or anything you would not find in a cupboard. You will only find them in the refrigerated section.

* Don’t overindulge in fruit consumption on a regular basis. Enjoy all fruits and variety should be always striven for.

* Try Okinawan Sweet potatoes, Asian sweet potatoes and every variety you enjoy.

* Avoid artificial sweeteners and low fat foods.

* Use a great variety of herbs to season food. Asian and Indian spices are particularly good.

* Minimize canned food consumption.

The above is not an exhaustive and all encompassing list. It is merely some general guidelines for an omnivore diet from the Paleo Nouveau perspective. What true Paleolithic era people ate is debatable and quite frankly probably varied according to the region they roamed. Paleo Nouveau’s perspective is that they were opportunistic eaters and would eat whatever they could find. The notion that they ate vast amounts of meat and saturated fat is unlikely. As the use of tools progressed meat was probably eaten with greater frequency. Foraging was the most likely the main source of calories. Obviously they ate no grains, legumes and most likely did not consume much animal milk. However as we evolved, the introduction of grains, legumes and dairy became part of our diet. I am not talking about the Agricultural revolution but rather much earlier than that. Records have been found that indicate that some early civilizations may have been consuming some sort of grain.

Again some will thrive with grains and legumes and others will not. Paleo Nouveau does not find overwhelming evidence to support the notion that we are not adapted to eat either. The above guidelines follow a general format of lots of vegetables (foraging) some lean meats (hunting on occasion) and the consumption of organ meats a few times a year (the occasional hunt would have yielded these and the yield would have been shared among the tribesmen.) The Nouveau version introduces properly prepared grains, legumes and some dairy products such as Kefir and Greek yogurt. The introduction of spices is also part of the Modern era. The advantage of this is variety and an abundance of nutrients from different food sources, not to mention the explosion of flavors to our palate!

Is it “evidence based irrefutable proof” that this is better? I think it has some science behind it and thousands of years of “field” studies behind it. Is it the best way to eat? There is no such thing. There is only the best way to eat for you! For the vegan crowd the substitution of meat with other protein sources will take care of this exchange. The consumption of fats from avocados, olives and coconuts and nuts will take care of the occasional feast on fats.

For me personally this is my current way of eating. I find it effortlessly to follow and never feel hungry or have any intestinal discomfort whatsoever. There may be days I eat no meat and then there are others where there is hardly anything else but meat consumed. Yes there is the occasional Pizza which I eat from restaurants that prepare the crust themselves and use fresh natural ingredients, never anything mass produced.

Eat like this 90% of the time, share great moments and food with friends and family along with some good wine and savor the experience. Learn the art of preparing and cooking foods properly and you will reap the myriad of health and culinary benefits that this will bring. Eat in moderation and relax. Keep it simple.

 

 

 

 

Some of the things we can (should!) agree about Paleo!

I am not going to go real scientific here, simply because, well, I’m not a scientist! I think there are some things that can be so simple and pure that to try and explain it down to it’s minutiae and or break it down is missing the point. Sort of “I can’t see the forest for the trees” kind of rationale.

With that being said, why don’t we start with what would be a typical Paleo life. We are not going to go nuts with macro and micro nutrient content of foods or argue about whether an act was more natural than another.  We are simply going to look at this from a simplistic and common sense point of view. After all we are descendants of these Paleo peoples and should possess a modest amount of “instinct” of what “feels” right about what they (Paleo) did.

A good example for us in the Modern era to get us to imagine what our Paleo brethren were up against is to picture ourselves re settled to a wild forest like environment devoid of any modern conveniences or distractions. Before setting on this journey you would need some instruction as we have lost the art of survival being past down generation to generation. In this case our modern family would have taken a course similar to  any of these http://www.codylundin.com/courses.html. Otherwise  they were doomed to be organic matter for the elements!

If we are truly trying to be honest and find a way to improve our health and better ourselves and our Planet while enjoying the best of both the Paleo and Modern worlds then lets imagine what we will do to ensure our survival. I specifically mention survival first because “thriving” is still not on the radar. If you have not had any water for 2 days, then wondering whether your 5k pace is up to par or your vertical leap is as good is irrelevant! You want water! Truer yet, you NEED water!!

So your first order of business would probably be to find a reliable source of fresh water. Not only that, it’s a natural source for animals, EDIBLE animals, to come and drink as well. Once you locate a water source, or even before, we need to seek or build and or secure a shelter. Keep in mind that as we are doing this we are walking, cutting, pulling, pushing, lifting, balancing, jumping over obstacles, twisting, squatting and so on and so on. In other words we are expending energy! A good amount of it.

Once we have a fresh water source and we have a suitable and reliable shelter we next focus on food. Here is where everyone wants to get very cozy with their preferred feeding methodology. Are we going to gather? Hunt? Eat only fruit? Red meat animals? Fish? Insects? What will eat? Now please be honest, if you have not had anything to eat for several days and your next meal is NEVER assured wouldn’t the correct question be, WHAT WOULDN’T I EAT?!?! Seriously, forget for now your convictions about any aspect of eating, you and your loved ones have not eaten for several days, this is your new way of living, and going to a grocery store is not an option. Food is a necessity. It’s not a luxury. Are you seriously going to debate whether you will eat anything with a face? Or will you argue that foraging or eating greens is only for rabbits? I don’t know about you but when it comes down to me and mine I am going to eat anything I can  to ensure we are here for another day! Wouldn’t you? Seriously if your life and that of your loved ones depended on it, would you be squeamish?

There are vast accounts of survival that recount how human beings have ingested the most foul liquids or the most gut wrenching food just to stay alive. Each other on the menu? May I suggest reading about  the Donner party http://donnerpartydiary.com/ ? Or more recently http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/1972_Andes_flight_disaster. Fact is, when we are faced with life or death situations and there is a way to live out we will do whatever is necessary to survive. It’s not an opinion but fact based on countless survival stories. True, there may have been people that refused to do whatever it took to survive, based on their moral views or any other reason, but how many of these actually survived?

Ok, so now we may have established that if you are now dependent on living off the land without any modern necessities feeding is paramount. Security from other predators is sure to be right up there. I want to interject something here, what would you say your physique might look like in 9 months or so? Would it be like this?

Or would it look like below?

Not being a scientist and relying on plain old common sense I would venture to say that it would be a challenge indeed to carry this much adipose tissue if you had to search for food everyday and sometimes go without. Am I simplifying this? If so, how?

Could we agree with the following, if we were in need of living off the land without any modern conveniences similiar to our Paleo brothers and sisters. Might we face any of the following;

* Active lifestyle

* Simple unprocessed foods

* Varied diet

* Stress different but present

* Most pressing danger comes from trauma or predators

If the above can be true what would be the advantage of the Modern age? What could we use from our time to mitigate danger and or trauma? Improve our shelter? Improve our skills in foraging and hunting? Without resorting to any means that are detrimental to nature and planet Earth how could we improve our new way of life? Could we observe Nature and learn?

Could our Paleo ancestors have done some of these very same things which led to our current knowledge and culture? This only scratches the surface of the way we would behave and act with Nature. Can you imagine not knowing when you would eat again and be wasteful? Not taking care of any clothing or any tool you rely on? Now going to Wal Mart or Home Depot is not an option. Would you desecrate the land and animals you depend on for your very existence? Would you denigrate the land and animals that will feed and clothe and shelter your offspring and their offspring?

Could you think of 7 things the Modern era would enhance the Paleo one and vice versa, if you now had to live off the land and in the wild?

 

Processed foods and you.

It begins here. Before we dive right in so to speak let’s get one thing out there for the “scientific everything needs to have evidence or it’s quackery” people. You are correct there are no “conclusive evidence based studies” about what we are going to talk about in the next few paragraphs. It is an opinion based on observation, lots of reading, personal experimentation (mine) and a dose of common sense. Yes, the opinion that follows could be wrong! It is shared by many others in and out of the science fields, though. But alas there doesn’t seem to be any “conclusive evidence” to support these opinions.

Now that we heard your point I would encourage you to consider this. If the following opinions are wrong, what will be the harm caused? I will ask you a follow up question in a few more paragraphs, if that’s alright with you?

What is the main highly debated and “controversial” opinion that we are referring to? Reduce, or better yet, eliminate the consumption of processed foods! I know, I know it’s a veritable hot bed of controversy and a stretch to think that processed food could harm our health in any way. How dare we think this when the science is lacking? After all what else could explain this? “Excessive calories?” “Since we are living longer we are seeing more signs of age related disease.” “Most of  these ingredients are GRAS (Generally Recognized As Safe).” “They are FDA approved!” “Sedentary behavior?” “Too much sitting?” “It’s hereditary.”

Just a sampling of the counter claims for this position. What are the perceived problems with processed foods? Here are three pesky ones.

(1.) They are poor in nutrients and usually high in calories.

(2.) They usually contain preservatives, artificial coloring and flavors, excess salt and or sugar, trans fats and bad fats, stored in containers or plastics with bisphenol chemicals.

(3.) They have been primarily “engineered” using biological and chemical data to elicit the most popular responses from consumers and cut production costs.

Let’s start with #1. What is the health, biological or emotional advantage to consume any food that has an excess caloric to nutrient factor? When we sit and eat or drink foods that are high in calories and low in natural nutrients we tend to overeat. Caloric consumption and ingestion of poor ingredients such as bad fats, sodium and high glycemic starches and sugars is increased.

#2. There is a growing concern with the amount of chemicals we are being bombarded with and how they may be affecting our health. The usual response that is offered is that the FDA has deemed them safe. The questions most seem to skirt are, How do we know what the long term consequences of ingesting so many different chemicals has on our health? How do these chemicals interact with each other in so many combinations? Some of these are known Endocrine Disruptors which are beginning to raise red flags and elicit further research.

#3. What generally happens when we start eating potato chips? We don’t seem to get full. Is it coincidence? From his soon to be released book “Salt Sugar Fat: How the Food Giants Hooked Us” NY Times investigative and Pulitzer winning reporter Micheal Moss, we have a slice of information that may help us understand this better. But the largest weight-inducing food was the potato chip. The coating of salt, the fat content that rewards the brain with instant feelings of pleasure, the sugar that exists not as an additive but in the starch of the potato itself — all of this combines to make it the perfect addictive food. “The starch is readily absorbed,” Eric Rimm, an associate professor of epidemiology and nutrition at the Harvard School of Public Health and one of the study’s authors, told me. “More quickly even than a similar amount of sugar. The starch, in turn, causes the glucose levels in the blood to spike” — which can result in a craving for more.” Food manufacturers are just that, manufacturers, and they spend an enormous amount of money in researching how to engineer their foodstuffs so people eat more of their product to increase their profits! And it works!!

Another question to consider. If the regular consumption of refined and junk foods is found to be detrimental to our health, say twenty years from now, then what? How are you going to undo the damage that ingesting these substances may have caused? Abstaining from them has absolutely no drawback in any way shape or form. Eating them regularly may be harmful to your health, or maybe not. Are you willing to bet your health and that of your children’s on it? Is the bet even worth any possible risk?