Saturday, December 31, 2011

Chauve Cave

What did paleolithic man think of, aside from paleolithic woman?  Interesting answer to that question here:
The BLUF: they were not dreaming of fruits and vegetables.  Those folks wanted MEAT!  (and liver, and kidney, and heart, and brains, and eyeballs, and marrow ...)

It is always interesting to me to be confronted with someone else's assumptions, when those assumptions are just about the opposite of mine.
"Scientists examined a series of palm prints within the cave and determined that one of the artists was at least six feet tall, a somewhat rare size in an era where proper nutrition could be hard to come by."
Man, and I was thinking it is hard to come by "proper nutrition" in the current age, in which we all get enough protein to be tall but our teeth and jaws are a mess, our lives defined by fear of food driven disease, and our science of diet is still trying to decide if it would like to be a discipline within the field of biological science (and therefore based on evolution as the defining model) or just stumble around in the dark trying to measure discrete elements of health until they find the golden health BB in the form of enough medications to treat all the diet induced diseases we give ourselves. 

The other interesting assumption or artifice of the author is his/her use of the terms "scientist."  It's a catch all meaning "authoritative figure." 
"Chauvet Cave was unearthed over fifteen years ago, and in order to maintain it's integrity scientists have restricted the public's already limited access."
If you need to validate any action or opinion or practice, especially when performed by the government, just inform the "public" that "scientists" did it or wanted it done.  Apparently that's satisfactory for many a "public" reader. 
I prefer to think of scientists as what they are - folks like us.  They likely know more than you do about one thing, but they are no more likely to make good decisions than any other homo sapiens.  Keep in mind - the defining characteristic of the scientific method is the belief that one should never trust the opinion of a scientist.


Friday, December 30, 2011

Dr. Weil on Fat

I read one of Dr. Weils' book in the late 1990s and enjoyed it, and I've always enjoyed seeing his videos; he's a likeable guy.  I never thought I'd see him switch to the carbohydrate hypothesis, but apparently, he's as open to new evidence as most of us Paleo folk are.  It's always a nice surprise to see someone shift from the the accepted dogma to a demonstrably useful alternative hypothesis.
Highlights of this clip:
-Fat does not make you fat
-Fats help create satiety
-Some fats are essential
-Whole fat milk better than skim/low fat

Thursday, December 29, 2011

Gout from Taubes

Ever had gout or known someone that did?  Ever heard the line about excess purines being the cause?  Consider this:
Because uric acid itself is a breakdown product of protein compounds known as purines – the building blocks of amino acids – and because purines are at their highest concentration in meat, it has been assumed for the past 130-odd years that the primary dietary means of elevating uric acid levels in the blood, and so causing first hyperuricemia and then gout, is an excess of meat consumption.
The actual evidence, however, has always been less-than-compelling: Just as low cholesterol diets have only a trivial effect on serum cholesterol levels, for instance, and low-salt diets have a clinically insignificant effect on blood pressure, low-purine diets have a negligible effect on uric acid levels.

That's right - eating foods with less purine content does not help with gout.  How can that be true, you may wonder.  The answer is that eating foods lower in purine content does not reduce the intake of purines enough to matter; even vegetarians can have relatively high rates of gout.  What matters is why your body stops clearing the purine fueled uric acid, which, at high blood concentrations, results in accumulation of destructive crystals in (most commonly) the joints.
About that, Taubes comments:
... there’s the repeated observation that eating more protein increases the excretion of uric acid from the kidney and, by doing so, decreases the level of uric acid in the blood.(7) This implies that the meat-gout hypothesis is at best debatable; the high protein content of meats should be beneficial, even if the purines are not.
The alternative hypothesis is suggested by the association between gout and the entire spectrum of diseases of civilization, and between hyperuricemia and the metabolic abnormalities of Syndrome X.
In other words, there's really no reason to think that gout is "caused" by anything other than what causes all of the clusters of diseases known as the diseases of civilization.  In fact, the treatment that works best for gout is carbohydrate restriction, generally, with particular attention paid to fructose consumption. 

Uric acid is cleared from the body via the kidney, but with the metabolic derrangement that results from high carbohydrate diets, the kidney becomes overloaded and uric acid clearance becomes secondary. 
... a series of studies in the 1960s, as clinical investigators first linked hyperuricemia to glucose intolerance and high triglycerides, and then later to high insulin levels and insulin resistance.(14) By the 1990s, Gerald Reaven, among others, was reporting that insulin resistance and hyperinsulinemia raised uric acid levels, apparently by decreasing uric acid excretion by the kidney, just as they raised blood pressure by decreasing sodium excretion. “It appears that modulation of serum uric concentration by insulin resistance is exerted at the level of the kidney,” Reaven wrote, “the more insulin-resistant an individual, the higher the serum uric acid concentration.” (15)

Second, fructose directly raises uric acid levels. 

Third, fructose, which is broken down in the liver in a manner similar to that of alcohol, can over task the liver and contribute to accelerated insulin resistance, which exacerbates all of the symptoms of metabolic syndrome. 

In other words, just like statins and blood pressure medications treat symptoms of metabolic syndrome, but don't cure it, gout medications treat the symptoms of gout but don't deal with the cause.

I recommend you read the article linked above, but for treatment, all you need do is eat meat, vegetables, nuts and seeds, little fruit or starch, and no sugar or wheat as you pursue vigorous health vice relief of symptoms.

I'll include more on why fructose consumption should be moderate in following posts.

Wednesday, December 28, 2011

Classic Quote, Unknown

"1000 days a beginner, 10,000 days a master."

As told to me by Mr. Greg Johnson, a senior ranking kyokushin man, from whom I learned and to whom I have always been grateful.  Shihan J, those late 90s NKJU and NMAA training camps were brutal and fun, thank you!

Monday, December 26, 2011

Eades On Human Design

I can’t help but recall the great quote by Dr. Blake Donaldson, who changed the complexion of his practice in New York after spending some time with Vilhjalmur Stefansson.  Wrote Dr. Donaldson in Strong Medicine, his book about an almost all meat diet:
During the millions of years that our ancestors lived by hunting, every weakling who could not maintain perfect health on fresh meat and water was bred out.

Are we meat eaters or vegetarians? Part III

Another cut:
(I am aware that Denise Minger put up a post not too long ago showing all the high-starch, high-sugar tropical fruits available in tropical areas, intimating that early man must have consumed these and, therefore, should have evolved to do okay on high-carb diets.  Problem with this reasoning is that archaic homo sapiens migrated out of tropical areas anywhere from 60,000 to 150,000 years ago and went through the crucible of natural selection in other less fruit-laden climes.  People of European descent certainly had ancestors who could not avail themselves of tropical fruits at any time.)

Another great post from Mike Eades.  As a practical matter, some folks can tolerate carbs better than others, and in general, those who have never been significantly sick (metabolic syndrome, or worse) can tolerate carbs in relatively large amounts.  Still, the human requirement for carb intake is so low it is difficult to eat and avoid "getting enough" carbs in the diet.  I am in the Eades camp on this one.

It is definitely worth going to the link for the whole article and the prior two versions.

Mark on Cholesterol

BLUF:  If your triglycerides are below 100, and your HDL is above 50, you are on the right track.

The bad news - taking drugs to manipulate the numbers isn't really going to help a ton.  In other words, manipulating numbers to avoid the consequence of eating the nastiness that most of us eat is no panacea.

Friday, December 23, 2011

Taubes in the CFJ

A condensed version of the full presentation Gary Taubes made at the CrossFit Trainer's summit - 18 minutes to be introduced to the "carbohydrate hypothesis of obesity."  Free.  Enjoy!

Taubes Mac
Taubes Windows Media

BLUF:  The majority of fat people got that way because eating the wrong amounts of the wrong foods (IOW too many carbohydrates) created a hormone imbalance that results in energy sequestration as fat.  Because so many calories are sequestered as fat, the normal feedback loops acting to defend the body against sugar toxicity result in hypoglycemia and hunger signals.  Because hungry people tend to eat more, the cycle of over-carbization leading to hypoglcemia and then to hunger results in increased food intake and decreased fat utilization and therefore obesity. 

Suppose your car had a storage tank for fuel, a back up tank.  Suppose that every time you filled the regular tank, some of the fuel spilled over into the back up tank.  Suppose the mechanism that allowed you to access the fuel in the back up tank was inoperative.  Over time, your vehicle would accumulate fuel in the back up tank.  That's a very rough analogy of what makes us fat.  To take it one step further, if you drive more, you will not solve the problem of accumulating "fuel."

To change the process, one must restrict carbohydrate intake, but do so intelligently.  Eating according to the paleolithic model is one way to address the problem of excess carbohydrate intake.

Thursday, December 22, 2011

BCAA Supplementation

BLUF:  Branched chain amino acid supplementation reduced post exercise muscle soreness.
Or, as they put it: "... muscle soreness increased after exercise and was 64% reduced in BCAA

They started out with this observation:
"Branched-chain amino acids (BCAA) supplementation has been considered an interesting nutritional strategy to improve skeletal muscle protein turnover in several conditions. In this context, there is evidence that resistance exercise (RE)-derived biochemical markers of muscle soreness (creatine kinase (CK), aldolase, myoglobin), soreness, and functional strength may be modulated by BCAA supplementation in order to favor of muscle adaptation."

Subjects used "3.5 g of leucine, 2.1 g of isoleucine, and 1.7 g of valine; divided in 4 daily doses."

Dosing schedule was:  "In the exercise day (12 sets of 10 repetitions at 120% of concentric 1 repetition maximum), subjects consumed the supplement 30 minutes before, 1.5 hour after, between lunch and dinner, and before bed; on the following 2 days, 4 doses of supplementation given between meals."
This concept of dosing would be appropriate for any athlete subject to a significant degree of eccentric loading (for example, a CrossFitter!), and in particular for a beginner athlete, for which high rep resistance exercise (especially functional movements like pullups, squats and deadlifts) offers a significant penalty in the form of post exercise muscle soreness.

Lastly, BCAAs are relatively inexpensive, easy to take, and offer little to no potential for side effects.

supplemented group when compared to the placebo group. Thus, it appears that BCAA
supplementation can also modulate muscle soreness independently of biochemical markers."

Wednesday, December 21, 2011

Kresser: Chronic Stress = Obesity

When stress becomes chronic and prolonged, the hypothalamus is activated and triggers the adrenal glands to release a hormone called cortisol. Cortisol is normally released in a specific rhythm throughout the day. It should be high in the mornings when you wake up (this is what helps you get out of bed and start your day), and gradually taper off throughout the day (so you feel tired at bedtime and can fall asleep).
Recent research shows that chronic stress can not only increase absolute cortisol levels, but more importantly it disrupts the natural cortisol rhythm. And it’s this broken cortisol rhythm that wreaks so much havoc on your body. Among other effects, it:
Each one of these consequences alone could make you fat and diabetic, but when added together they’re almost a perfect recipe for diabesity.

In other words, you may need to change more than what you eat to obtain and sustain optimal health.  However, some of these things go together.  Smart exercise helps to regulate lipids, as well as cortisol levels, and improves insulin sensitivity - that's all good.  Good quality sleep, in adequate amounts, also helps to improve your ability to adapt to stressful circumstances - not least because it improves your ability to think clearly and identify what you can and cannot control, and have creativity in identifying options going forward.  Identifying an option to work your way around, through or with stressful demands is a huge stress reliever all on its own.

Demands from the life we choose are inevitable - and not bad, per se.  There are many sad rich, bored, unstressed people as there are sad, poor, stressed people (percentage wise).  How we respond to the demands determines how those demands will impact us.  The more abundant your health, the more capacity you have to adapt to any demand.  This is the point of striving for health in my view - not to live forever, not just to have an optimal appearance, but to have options and resources from within yourself that you may bring to bear when life makes the unexpected demand. 

Tuesday, December 20, 2011

Intermittent, Low-Carbohydrate Diets - Better

This was a very interesting intervention study - the good kind - which compared the results for 150 women who were assigned to one of three dietary approaches - calorie restricted "mediterranean", calorie restricted low carb 2 times per week, or "eat all you want" low carb 2 times per week.
The result?
Data revealed that both intermittent, low-carbohydrate diets were superior to the standard, daily Mediterranean diet in reducing weight, body fat and insulin resistance. Mean reduction in weight and body fat was roughly 4 kilograms (about 9 pounds) with the intermittent approaches compared with 2.4 kilograms (about 5 pounds) with the standard dietary approach. Insulin resistance reduced by 22 percent with the restricted low-carbohydrate diet and by 14 percent with the “ad lib” low-carbohydrate diet compared with 4 percent with the standard Mediterranean diet.
Insulin has long been identified as a player in cancer growth, because many cancers run only on glucose (which they ferment for fuel), are more insulin sensitive than normal tissues, and are also more sensitive to insulin like growth factor one (aka IGF1).  In short, a high glucose, and therefore high insulin human provides an ideal environment for a cancer to outgrow surrounding tissues.
These factors are of  course another indicator of the validity of the paleolithic model as a guide for human health.

How It Was Done

John Durant (@johndurant)
12/20/11 1:42 AM
Long-time diabetic Kim Jong Il successfully assassinated by Western foods

Friday, December 16, 2011

Nutrition Seminar At CrossFit Memphis

Faction Strength and Conditioning

Faction S&C team and I will be presenting a nutrition seminar at their fabulous gym on 7 January - at which you will learn why food choice has more impact than portion control, how to develop your body's ability to burn fat as grade A fuel, and how eating in a paleo style is likely best approach to reduce your risk for the diseases of the West - and to look, feel and perform your best!

Tips on how to start?  Of course.

Testimonials from those with experience in this approach?  Heck yes.

Information for both beginners and veterans?  Of course!!  Click the link, sign up today.  Get your 2012 started off with a transformational, root cause performance enhancement!

Wednesday, December 14, 2011

Article in the CrossFit Journal

The CrossFit Journal published an article I wrote about the POSE Method of running; take a look!

Monday, December 12, 2011

Fat Is Fuel, Fat Is Good

There are two ways to sustain adequate blood sugar levels.  Because the brain shuts down when deprived of glucose, producing and sustaining blood glucose levels is a primary driver of metabolic processes.  Given the significance of maintaining blood glucose, it would be no surprise that the body has more than one way to get the job done.

That said, how many times have you experienced, or known folks who experienced, hypoglycemia?  This is characterized by feeling droopy, irritable, and hungry - for anything but often especially for carb foods.  Most folks experience this as "reactive hypoglycemia", in which the "victim" eats a large amount of carbs, resulting in a blood sugar spike, to which the body reacts with an insulin surge, after which, blood sugar levels fall too far.

Normally, as blood sugar levels fall, the body compensates by making blood sugar in the liver, and by producing ketones, which allow the brain to use less sugar.  Also, most non-brain cells run well on fatty acids, which is why we store energy as fat.  In short, it should be very hard to achieve "hypoglycemia" in a healthy person.  Strangely, it's so common that folks speak of it often and even plan for a mid morning or mid afternoon snack to avoid the "sugar low light."

The reason for that is that the body has a finite and relatively small capacity for glucose storage, and folks who eat a big dose of carbs are giving themselves a glucose management problem.  The body is equipped for glucose management, but it appears to be the case that when the body has to deal with glucose management problems routinely, it does not sustain the process well.  One reason is that cells will burn sugar inside the cells preferentially, so if the body is always stuffing cells full of sugar, the cells so rarely burn fat for fuel that they begin to maintain very low levels of fax oxidizing enzymes.  In short, repeated high carb intake makes you both sick from the excess sugar, fat, and at the same time, dependent on exogenous sugars as your body's fat burning systems atrophy from lack of use.

Based on the above described cycle, it's no wonder that folks who eat a lot of carbs all the time often get fat - except for the ectomorphs (tall and lean) who seem less capable of using fat for fuel in general.

The question then, is "what do I do about it?"  That's a question we can answer next time.

Tuesday, December 6, 2011

Cholesterol Disinformation

So, you think people are to ignorant to know and process the truth, the whole truth, nothing but the truth.  You decide you need to tell them something simple enough to follow, and so what if it is unproved - YOU MUST ACT!!  So you tell everyone to stop eating cholesterol in your foods (no more eggs), and to stop eating foods with saturated fat.  Easy, simple, a prescription anyone can both understand and act on.  

Just one problem - it doesn't help anyone to be healthier!  This Rx does not result in much "improvement" in your cholesterol numbers, and an even smaller improvement in mortality reduction. 

Why, then, would I still see such a poster on the wall of a medical professional's office?!

It's simple enough, in that once enough people said "saturated fat and cholesterol is bad", folks believed it, science be damned.  The old model, which seems so banal now that it is hard to believe anyone truly believed it, was that cholesterol was floating around in the blood in excess, and stuck to the arteries like grease clogs a drain.  In hindsight, this seems almost impossibly simplistic.  

The best understanding at present is that, unlike the poster above's clear message, LDL isn't "bad" per se.  Further, reducing cholesterol via statins, oatmeal, or any other "number manipulation" does not improve mortality (as has been addressed in this blog often).

What you can do to measure your health, the best measure known now, is to reduce triglycerides while raising HDL.  While you do this, control your glucose levels.  To do this, eat meat, vegetable, nuts and seeds, little fruit or starch, and no sugar or wheat.  Adjust your intake after measuring glucose levels and re-evaluating TG/HDL levels.  With TG under 100, and HDL over 50, and with fasting glucose under 100 and falling, you can be confident you are eating well.

Cholesterol isn't the villain, and never was.  This has been known for a long time.  It's a shame that an otherwise proud profession cannot catch on.

Monday, December 5, 2011

Romanov On Running

the key to overcoming your limitations isknowledge. Knowledge of your circumstances gives you thewisdom to successfully integrate your running into your familyand home life. Knowledge of proper running gear, hydration andrest permits you to run in any conditions. Knowledge of your neighborhood and your hometown allows you to nd suitabletraining routes.Most importantly, knowing
to run gives you the possibility torun freely. When you know your body and you know how to run,you will have no fear of overtraining, no fear of injuries. You can betruly free to run long distances, to run hard intervals. You can befree to run faster than you ever have before.To reach your peak performance, you must have the psy

...the key to overcoming your limitations is knowledge. Knowledge of your circumstances gives you the wisdom to successfully integrate your running into your family and home life. Knowledge of proper running gear, hydration and rest permits you to run in any conditions. Knowledge of your neighborhood and your hometown allows you to find suitable training routes.
Most importantly, knowing how to run gives you the possibility to run freely. When you know your body and you know how to run, you will have no fear of overtraining, no fear of injuries.  You can be truly free to run long distances, to run hard intervals. You can be free to run faster than you ever have before.  Belief in your technique then gives you the confidence to move past your limitations and explore your true potential.

There's no question in my mind, a weekend training with Dr. Romanov resulted in running "enlightenment."  If you like to run, or if you would like to like to run, you have to re-learn how to run with gravity, vice running against gravity.  Dr. R can show you how.  

Bottom line - it feels delightful to run this way!

Friday, December 2, 2011

CrossFit Mainstream
This was a really interesting video of folks who don't do CrossFit style stuff, being asked to.  They are fitness professionals, but weirdly uncomfortable doing a short, intense workout with complex movements.  That said, it was a gutsy move that they accepted the challenge to do this on a public stage.

My compliments to Jillian - she didn't "crush"this workout by any means, but she at least got the concept of force production using the hips; they other guy was almost comic in his inability to grasp how to do sumo deadlift high pulls.  Jillian, though, was not as impressive with the push presses - that is a weight that my beginner client could smoke.

That folks can be fitness professionals, but totally unable to understand effective force generation, and also be unable to work at high intensity for short intervals, that CrossFit has made the impact in the fitness world that it has.  They look good, they are lean, presumably they are healthy - but if they had to use their bodies to get work done, would you want them on your team?  Likewise, as you choose how to invest your fitness hours, do you want to look good but be relatively low in work capacity, or would it better to chase work capacity headlong - and as a bonus, look like CrossFitters do?

As the saying goes, "you pays your money, you takes your chances."

Thursday, December 1, 2011

And He Could Play the Guitar Just Like Swinging a Bell ...

I always wondered what that song was about, now I know ...

How to Swing A Bigger Kettlebell, Faster and Easier, by Squatting Less…
Check out my good friend, who is also one of the maestros leading CrossFit Memphis, Doug Larson, and his supreme instruction on how to get to the most bang from your butt while swinging a kettle bell.

It may not look it, but blasting that bell overhead with precision and power is just plain fun!