Monday, May 31, 2010

Esther Gokhale on Spine Health

By Christian Wernstedt

This is an excellent presentation by Esther Gokhale about natural- and healthy spine position as induced from observations of children, cultures without back pain, ancient sculptures, and a functional view of human physiology.

Gokhale's method is also a great example of proper epistemology in medicine (inductive, integrative, and informed by evolution) as opposed to disconnected rationalistic deductions about the workings of the human body, or the inappropriate use of the average (typically unhealthy) person as the norm for health.





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Sunday, May 30, 2010

Open Thread #011

By Diana Hsieh


(Photo courtesy of 7326810@N08)


This post hosts Modern Paleo's weekly open comment thread. Please feel free to post any random questions or remarks you have in the comments on this post. Personal attacks, pornographic material, commercial solicitations, and other inappropriate comments will be deleted.

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Paul Hsieh LTE in NYT on Cass Sunstein

By Paul Hsieh

The New York Times just published my LTE on former University of Chicago law professor Cass Sunstein, a leading advocate of so-called "libertarian paternalism".

My LTE was in response to their May 16, 2010 article in the Sunday Magazine section, "Cass Sunstein Wants to Nudge Us" praising his work as President Obama's director of the Office of Information and Regulatory Affairs (OIRA) to use his philosophy to push people into behaviours the government deems desirable.

As we know, there are many in government who wish to dictate what sorts of food we should (or should not) eat, as well as what sorts of health care we should (or should not) receive. This implementation of "libertarian paternalism" is just the latest version of the nanny state.

The LTE appears in the May 30, 2010 print edition of the NYT in the Sunday Magazine section (as opposed to the main letters section of the newspaper). It's the second one down:

Cass Sunstein explicitly compares Americans to Homer Simpsons requiring government guidance to live. In my view, the proper function of government is to protect individual rights and freedoms. Unless we violate others' rights by force or fraud, the government should leave us alone to live according to our best judgment.

Of course, individuals may voluntarily "nudge" themselves to achieve long-term goals, like having your bank automatically deposit a portion of each paycheck into a child's college fund. But each person must make these decisions for himself based on his goals and circumstances. These choices are his responsibility and his right -- not the government's.

Libertarian paternalism in essence says, "Don't worry -- we'll do your thinking for you." If Americans start surrendering their minds thus to the government, they will become easy prey for demagogues and dictators.

PAUL HSIEH
Sedalia, Colo.

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Saturday, May 29, 2010

Objectivist Roundup

By Diana Hsieh

As part of Modern Paleo's weekend schedule of blogging on Objectivism on Saturdays and free market politics on Sundays, I post a link to "The Objectivist Roundup" every week. The "Objectivist Roundup" is a weekly blog carnival for Objectivists. Contributors must be Objectivists, but posts on any topic are welcome.

Secular Foxhole hosted this week's Objectivist Roundup. If you're interested in learning more about what Objectivists are writing and doing, check it out!

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Objectivism Versus Environmentalism

By Diana Hsieh

[Note: This post is part of Modern Paleo's weekend schedule of blogging on Objectivism on Saturdays and free market politics on Sundays.]

In the sidebar to the right, you'll find the following statement:

Modern Paleo offers writings by Objectivists on the principles and practice of nutrition, fitness, and health most conducive to human flourishing. We seek the best that modern life has to offer, informed by a broadly paleo approach.
One implication of that, perhaps unforeseen, is that Modern Paleo is no friend of environmentalism.

No, Objectivists don't want polluted rivers and seas... but that's because they'd be damaging to human life, whether directly (via our own consumption) or indirectly (via the food supply). No, Objectivists don't want to pave the earth... but that's because most of us find value in wild places, just civilized enough for the fun of hiking, biking, camping, hunting, and more. In essence, Objectivists value human life; we don't regard nature as an intrinsic good, apart from human life. Yet we're not blind to the fact that humans can only flourish under certain conditions. We need clean air to breathe, clean water to drink, and nutritious food to eat.

The only way to ensure those values for ourselves -- and future generations -- is through ironclad respect for private property. All property should be privately owned, and the property owner should be able to do whatever he pleases with it, provided that he doesn't cause undue harm to other people or their property in the process. Dumping toxic waste into a stream that runs through your property isn't an exercise of your rights; it's a violation of the rights of everyone downstream.

Human ingenuity -- protected and nurtured by ironclad respect for property rights -- is the only moral and practical solution to environmental problems like pollution, endangered species, and soil erosion.

About the problem of pollution, Ayn Rand wrote the following in her 1971 essay "The Anti-Industrial Revolution":
City smog and filthy rivers are not good for men (though they are not the kind of danger that the ecological panic-mongers proclaim them to be). This is a scientific, technological problem--not a political one--and it can be solved only by technology. Even if smog were a risk to human life, we must remember that life in nature, without technology, is wholesale death.

As far as the role of government is concerned, there are laws--some of them passed in the nineteenth century--prohibiting certain kinds of pollution, such as the dumping of industrial wastes into rivers. These laws have not been enforced. It is the enforcement of such laws that those concerned with the issue may properly demand. Specific laws--forbidding specifically defined and proved harm, physical harm, to persons or property--are the only solution to problems of this kind. (Return of the Primitive)
I'll post more on this topic in coming weeks, but I thought I'd leave you with an illuminating dissection of environmentalism as an ideology by Keith Lockitch of the Ayn Rand Institute:
Most people have a mistaken view of environmentalism. They see it as a movement whose goal is to protect the environment so that we, and future generations, may continue to enjoy it. Environmentalists might call for certain sacrifices--like stern priests calling upon us to do penance for our sins--but people take their word for it that those sacrifices will turn out to be for the good of "society." People feel virtuous in paying more for those organic blueberries and spending time washing out tin cans and nasty cloth diapers, because they see it as a sacrifice for the "greater good." And although "going green" may demand some cost and effort, it need not--on this view--be too burdensome nor demand personal hardships that are too great.

But in fact, the goal of environmentalism is not any alleged benefit to mankind; its goal is to preserve nature untouched--to prevent nature from being altered for human purposes. Observe that whenever there is a conflict between the goals of "preserving nature" and pursuing some actual human value, environmentalists always side with nature against man. If tapping Arctic oil reserves to supply our energy needs might affect the caribou, environmentalists demand that we leave vast tracts of Arctic tundra completely untouched. If a new freeway bypass will ease traffic congestion but might disturb the dwarf wedge mussel, environmentalists side with the mollusk against man. If a "wetland" is a breeding ground for disease-carrying insects, environmentalists fight to prevent it being drained no matter the toll of human suffering.

It is simply not true that environmentalism values human well being. It demands sacrifices, not for the sake of any human good, but for the sake of leaving nature untouched. It calls for sacrifice as an end in itself.
Objectivists reject the ideology of environmentalism precisely because we want to enjoy the best that modern life has to offer. We're not seeking to re-enact the life of paleo man, particularly not when forced on us by an eco-fascist state.

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Friday, May 28, 2010

The Paleo Rodeo #010

By Diana Hsieh

Welcome to this week's edition of The Paleo Rodeo!

The Paleo Rodeo is a weekly blog carnival featuring the best paleo-related posts by members of the PaleoBloggers e-mail list. The past editions are collected on this page.

What is "paleo"? As I say in Modern Paleo Principles:

A "paleo" approach to health uses the evolutionary history of homo sapiens, plus the best of modern science, as a broad framework for guiding daily choices about diet, fitness, medicine, and supplementation. The core of paleo is the diet: it eschews grains, sugars, and modern vegetable oils in favor of high-quality meat, fish, eggs, and vegetables.
The purpose of The Paleo Rodeo is to highlight some of the best blogging of the ever-growing paleosphere. As always, you'll likely find some new paleo bloggers that you'll want to read regularly!

Here is this week's edition:
Rational Jenn presents Paleo: It's What's For Dinner posted at Rational Jenn, saying, "We made (and are still making) the switch to paleo eating by making small incremental changes over time, starting with relatively easy changes. It's taken a while, but we've been successful!"

Amy Kubal presents Solving the Meat Label Mystery... posted at Fuel As Rx.

Kristy A. presents Sunshine of Your Love Part 3: What is e-D-ible? posted at Feasting on Fitness, saying, "The third installment of our series on Vitamin D. Can you eat your way out of vitamin D deficiency?"

Nell Stephenson presents Cedar Plank Salmon posted at TrainWithNellie.

Chris Kresser presents Is eating fish safe? A lot safer than not eating fish! posted at The Healthy Skeptic, saying, "New evidence reveals that concerns over contaminants in fish have been exaggerated, and that the benefits of eating fish far outweigh the risks."

Laurie Donaldson presents Green Gardens posted at Food for Primal Thought, saying, "A little update on "how does my garden grow.""

Marc presents Cod Loin Filet posted at Feel Good Eating.

Todd Dosenberry presents My First Time Experience In My Brand New KSO Vibram Five Fingers (VFF) posted at Toad's Primal Journey, saying, "My first time experience in my new vibram five fingers was exhilarating. Enjoy the video!"

Richard Nikoley presents Sous Vide Filet with Demi-Glace and Roasted Veggies posted at Free The Animal, saying, "These were done sous vide, using the SousVide Supreme. I did them at 131F for about an hour & a half. In the meantime, I got going on slowly reducing beef marrow bone stock with red wine and at the end, thickened a bit with a a potato starch roux. This demi-glace came out perfectly -- perhaps my best ever -- with just the right amount of concentrated sweetness from the wine."

Nicole Markee - Astrogirl presents Excuses, Excuses posted at Astrogirl, saying, "This was inspired by the Whole9 'Tough Love' speech that's part of their current round of 'Whole30'."

Josephine Svendblad presents Thai Bananas in Coconut Milk (Kluai Nam Wa) Paleo-ized posted at Nutty Kitchen, saying, "Today we’d like to share a very popular and traditional Thai dessert with you, minus the added sugar. Thai Bananas in Coconut Milk or Kluai Nam Wa, eliminating the sugar makes this a perfect Paleo dessert."

Earl Parson presents Yet Another Homemade Yogurt Tutorial posted at Creatures of Prometheus, saying, "If you think you can't make yogurt at home because you have neither a yogurt maker nor a pilot light in your oven, think again! My method uses an electric heating pad (like you would use to soothe a muscle strain) and makes fantastic yogurt. Lots of pictures, but unfortunately, no free tastes with this demo."

Tricia presents Speaking of 100 day challenges. . . posted at Lean Mean Roomie Machine, saying, "I'm starting a 100 day paleo challenge to solidify the lifestyle. Come join!"
Many thanks to the PaleoBloggers who submitted to this edition of the The Paleo Rodeo! I hope to see this blog carnival grow in the future. If you blog on paleo-related matters and you'd like to submit your posts to the carnival, please subscribe to the PaleoBloggers e-mail list. You'll receive instructions and reminders via that list.

Finally, you can find all of the blogs of the PaleoBloggers on this continuously-updated list:
Enjoy!

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The Sous Vide Review #003

By Diana Hsieh

Welcome to this month's edition of Modern Paleo's second blog carnival, The Sous Vide Review!

The Sous Vide Review is a monthly blog carnival featuring the best blog posts on sous vide cooking from members of Modern Paleo's SousVide e-mail list. What is "sous vide"? As Wikipedia explains:

Sous-vide (pronounced /su ˈvid/), French for "under vacuum", is a method of cooking that is intended to maintain the integrity of ingredients by heating them for an extended period at relatively low temperatures. Food is cooked for a long time, sometimes well over 24 hours. Unlike cooking in a slow cooker, sous-vide cooking uses airtight plastic bags placed in hot water well below boiling point (usually around 60°C or 140°F).
Sous vide is an up-and-coming cooking method, one still quite new for most of us home cooks. The Sous Vide Review aims to expand our horizons. It highlights the best blogging on this emerging culinary art every month.

Unfortunately, the Sous Vide Review is rather small this month with just two submissions. Clearly, I need to do more to connect with the people blogging about sous vide, as well as to encourage sous vide cooks to blog about their experiences!
Jason Logsdon presents Sous Vide Chicken Breast with BBQ Sauce posted at Cooking Sous Vide.

Extreme Cook presents Bistecca alla Fiorentina Sous-Vide/Wood Fired Oven posted at Extreme Cooking Blog.
If you blog on sous vide cooking and you'd like to submit your posts to the carnival, please subscribe to the SousVide e-mail list. You'll receive instructions and reminders via that list.

Finally, you can find the blogs of the SousVide; bloggers on this continuously-updated list:
Enjoy!

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Thursday, May 27, 2010

Curry Country Pork Ribs

By Diana Hsieh

A few weeks ago, I made some excellent curried country pork ribs. The recipe wasn't intentional. I just used what I had in the fridge and pantry. (I was disappointed, for example, to discover just one can of coconut milk. Oh, the horror!) Happily, the result was utterly delicious!

Diana's Experimental Curried Country Pork Ribs

Sauté in a dutch oven over medium-high heat for a while:

1 tbsp bacon grease
3 medium onions

Then add:

5-6 lbs country pork ribs
1 small can diced tomatoes, with liquid (14.5 oz)
1 can coconut milk (13.5 oz)
1-2 tsp red curry paste

Add enough water to cover, perhaps about 4 cups. Simmer, covered, for a few hours, until the meat is falling-apart tender. Strain the meat, returning the liquid to the pan. Allow the liquid to cool somewhat, skim off the top layer of fat, then simmer it uncovered to reduce it. Meanwhile, after the meat has cooled sufficiently to handle it without excruciating pain, strip the meat from the bones and other refuse. Return the meat to the pot. Continue to cook the meat and liquid until reduced to the desired amount, if needed. (I like it just a bit wet.) Beware the possibility of burning as the liquid reduces: it's far safer to reduce the liquid fully before you add back the meat.

Serve and enjoy!
My total cooking time was about 6 hours.

A few notes: (1) I'm not sure that you need to sauté the onions beforehand; I just did that as I was preparing the other ingredients. (2) I'm sure that you could make the recipe in a slow-cooker. (3) It's a great dish to freeze for later eating. (That's where the meat in the picture is headed.) And (4) when you eat, beware the little bones that sometimes linger in the meat.

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Wednesday, May 26, 2010

Yet Another Homemade Yogurt Tutorial

By Earl3d

I have been making my own yogurt for a while now, and highly recommend it. I first learned how based on this tutorial. The beauty of this method is in the heating pad.

Usually, yogurt recipes/tutorials tell you to put the warm milk and yogurt starter in the oven, and let the pilot light warm it. My problem is that I don't have a pilot light on my oven. And I'm not about to go cluttering up the place with a yogurt maker.

I'm actually kind of looking forward to being able to make yogurt in August and September and just leave it out at room temperature (I live in L.A. and have no air conditioning. At least yogurt making will give a little bit of productive purpose to all the misery of living in triple digit heat 24/7.)

I have made yogurt by this method so many times that, at this point, it is a pretty easy routine for me:

1. Set it up before bed,
2. Let the yogurt culture overnight,
3. Transfer it into the strainer the next morning and refrigerate,
4. Let the whey separate out during the day,
5. Move it into a storage container(s) that evening.

So, although it takes about 24 hours, it is really just 5 simple steps, as you can see above. Actually, 2 of the 5 steps don't even involve any action on your part. Also, I am giving you the instructions for my method of making yogurt. Feel free to consult any of the gazillion other web tutorials on the topic and mix and match or adjust the method to suit your own needs. It is really a very flexible process, and those yummy little cultures don't need much more than a little bit of encouragement to do their thing.

Here are the supplies you need:

  • A gallon of whole milk
  • Optional: extra pint or quart of heavy whipping cream
  • A pot to warm it in, with a lid
  • A thermometer (although, if you are brave, you could probably get it to work without this - read on)
  • Some yogurt starter. I use a little bit from my last batch, or Greek Gods Yogurt if I need a new starter.
  • Optional : a large cutting board
  • A heating pad
  • A collander
  • A lightweight cotton kitchen towel
  • A few extra towels
  • A large baking dish (a bowl would work)
  • Storage containers for the delicious yogurt and whey you are going to end up with.
I like my yogurt very thick, hence step 4. If you follow these instructions, you will end up with something in between what you commonly think of as yogurt, sour cream, and cream cheese. I can typically scoop up a spoonful and turn it upside down, and the super thick yogurt clings to the spoon. You will also end up with extra whey. I use mine to make protein smoothies, by blending it with protein powder. I would like to find something more exciting to do with the whey, so if you have a good use for leftover whey, please tell me in the comments.

So, let's see how it's done!

1. Set It Up Before Bed

This week, I had consumed some of the milk already, but happened to have some heavy whipping cream on hand. I added it to the milk, and I think I will make that a regular part of the process, because it transformed the yogurt from really really good, to absolutely heavenly.




Use low heat. Heating the gallon of milk to 100 degrees usually takes me 15-20 minutes. Stir it about every 5 minutes.

Use your thermometer to check the temperature. I have a candy thermometer that I use:


Like I said, you want the temp around 100. If it goes over a little bit that's ok. If it accidentally boils because you are distracted reading blogs in the other room, it's still ok. You just have to let it cool down.

Here's how I think you could get it to work without the precise thermometer temperature reading: body temperature is pretty much the same as yogurt culture temperature. Your body is 98.6 and the yogurt needs to be around 90-100 to work. So, if your hands are at normal body temperature, and you stir up the warming milk and stick your finger in it, and it feels just barely warm, but not cold and not hot, you are probably close enough to the right temperature. Also, remember that the real action takes place with the heating pad overnight. The stove part is very preliminary.

Like I said, the low flame shown above takes about 15-20 minutes, with occasional stirring, to warm a gallon of milk from 'fridge cold' to 100. I will probably quit messing with the thermometer at all after a few more yogurt-makings.



Then, I transfer the pot of warm milk/cream over to the counter where I have set up the heating pad. I use a large cutting board and lots of extra towels in between all the parts. I'm all about protecting my countertop from the heating pad, even though it doesn't get that hot, really. I set the heating pad on medium.

Mix the starter:
I take the last bits of yogurt from the last batch I made and scrape it all up with the spatula. You only need a couple tablespoons, or no more than a 1/4 cup.


Add a cup or so of the warm milk from your pot and mix it up:


Pour the starter into the pot of warm milk/cream and mix it together:


Then I cover it with a couple more towels just to tuck those yummy little cultures in for the night, and then I go to bed. Or go read blogs for a while.


And you're done with Step 1! Easy!

2. Let the Yogurt Culture Overnight

When you come downstairs in the morning, it should look something like this:


My thermometer tells me that we're holding steady at right around 90 f.


And you're done with Step 2 - super easy!

3. Transfer it into the Strainer and Refrigerate

Here's where it gets interesting. My basic strainer setup is as follows: I have a large colander, which I prop up on some little supports I made from cutting up a bamboo chopstick. This is an optional step, but I think it helps the whey drain out more easily. Don't agonize over it if your colander is just sitting on the bottom of the bowl or dish. It will be fine. Trust me.


Line your colander with the thin cotton towel like this:


and then pour in the yogurt:


If I start with a full gallon of milk/cream, it just comes to the very top of my colander. Here it is a bit below because the gallon wasn't a full gallon at the beginning. They whey starts immediately streaming out:


Now the whole thing goes into the fridge, and you're done with Step 3.


4. Let the Whey Separate out During the Day

Here's what it looks like several hours later:


Look at all the whey that has separated out! Oh, and here's an important tip: tuck the ends of the towel into the dish, otherwise, through the miracle (not really) of capillary action (I think), the towel will wick the whey out of the yogurt and dribble it all over the inside of your fridge.

5. Move the Yogurt and Whey into Storage Containers

Now it's really thick, and at the same time ultra smooth and creamy. These photos don't do it justice.



Then it's just to transfer it into containers and enjoy!


I have also found some other links on making cream cheese, and sour cream, that I would like to try out. And here's one on home made ricotta cheese. I once tried making ricotta from all the leftover whey and it was a massive fail. These days I make protein smoothies with the whey and some protein powder. Given how fabulous this super thick yogurt is, it seems kind of anticlimactic to not have something just as amazing to make with the leftover whey. So, as I said earlier, if you have a way with whey, please share it in the comments.




Cross posted from Creatures of Prometheus

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Tuesday, May 25, 2010

Another Round of Thyroid Labs

By Diana Hsieh

On May 11th, I had another round of thyroid blood tests. For reference, here were my prior labs on February 26th, after taking one grain of desiccated thyroid per day for two months:

  • TSH = 3.24 (normal range: .4 to 2.5)
  • FreeT3 = 2.6 (normal range: 2.0 to 4.4)
  • FreeT4 = 1.0 (normal range: .82 to 1.77)
After that, my doctor bumped me up to one and a half grains of dessicated thyroid per day for two months. Here were my new labs results on that dosage, taken on May 11th:
  • TSH = 0.115 (normal range: .4 to 2.5)
  • FreeT3 = 2.8 (normal range: 2.0 to 4.4)
  • FreeT4 = 1.14 (normal range: .82 to 1.77)
I'm surprised that my TSH suddenly plummeted because I feel basically the same as I did on one grain per day. In general though, I've seen almost zero correlation between my lab values and my sense of well-being. Perhaps my iodine intake -- still about 25 mg per day -- is having some beneficial effects. I don't know.

Although my Free T3 is slightly higher than before, it's not much changed. And it's still in the low-normal range. I've read that it should be in the high-normal range from hypothyroid advocates, but I've also read that perhaps somewhat lower is better. Again, I don't know. I just want to feel and be well.

Due to the low TSH, my doctor wanted me to back off my thyroid meds a bit, so she's asked me to skip a half to one grain per week. I've been doing that for a few weeks now. She thinks that might help with my lingering symptoms, given that the symptoms of mild hypothyroidism are often the same as the symptoms of mild hyperthyroidism. (Nice, eh?)

I know that Janie Bowthorpe (of Stop the Thyroid Madness) advocates dosing with desiccated thyroid to alleviate all symptoms, even if that pushes the TSH down to zero. I'm hoping that I won't need to do that. I'd rather take as little thyroid medication as I need. And given that I'm fully functional right now -- unlike this winter, when I was a brain-dead corpse -- I'm willing to play around with a more conservative approach for a while.

As for my lingering symptoms... I've had bouts of unbearable cold during the middle of my monthly cycle when body temperature drops naturally. I'm fine now, but I'll find out over the next few weeks whether that happens again. (Right now, my morning temperature is about 97.3.) My skin had been terribly dry, but that's improved in the past few weeks. My energy levels aren't quite as high as I would like, but CrossFit seems to be helping with that. That's it... otherwise I'm great. I'll be interested to see what happens to my cholesterol with my annual exam this fall. My numbers improved on paleo for a while, then went to hell as I developed hypothyroidism, then improved slightly as of late February.

Oh wait... I have one more update! (I'll be vague about this matter; you'd thank me if you knew!)

After a year of utterly perfect digestion on paleo, my hypothyroidism caused major blood sugar regulation and digestive problems. Most of that came and went with my other major hypothyroid symptoms, but some problems lingered. Despite months of tracking and testing what I ate, I just couldn't figure out the root of the problem.

Happily, thanks to a strict elimination diet for a few weeks, I realized that the recent digestive problems were due to magnesium. Most people can take 400 mg of magnesium without a problem, but I found that even the 250 mg in my multivitamin had most unwelcome effects. So I've cut out any and all supplements with magnesium. Cruciferous vegetables seemed to magnify the nasty effects, so I'm taking care not to eat too much of them. Even chocolate can be a problem. Basically, I'm just exquisitely sensitive to magnesium. Now that I know that, my digestion has returned to utterly perfect. Hooray!

In other thyroid news, Mary Shomon reports on a new study showing clear benefit to some people with the addition of T3 to the standard T4-only regimen. Good!

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Monday, May 24, 2010

Paleo: It's What's For Dinner

By Jenn Casey

I've been trying for some time to think about how to talk about our diet and the way I prefer that all of us eat. For some reason, it's been a difficult post to try to organize in my mind, so I think I'm just going to write this out in brain-dump fashion and hope for the best!

By the way, the working title for this post was "There and Back Again: A Paleo Tale." Because as you'll see, this whole change in the way of thinking about eating has taken a looooooong time, with many stops and starts. Fortunately, there weren't any trolls.

The purpose of this post is not to analyze the benefits of the paleo/primal/evolutionary diet, and I am by no means an expert and can't quote you many health statistics. For information about that kind of stuff, and to read about it if you're trying to decide about the diet for yourself, check out Modern Paleo or any of the excellent blogs and websites that MP links to. So anyway, I'm not going to try to prove to you that it's the best diet for humans. Accept it as given that I think so, have been thoroughly convinced of this lo these past many years based on my research and personal experience.

My first introduction to what I'll refer to as "paleo" for this post (though I much prefer "evolutionary" diet) was through Kelly, who sent me to the Weston A. Price website once upon a time. Ryan was about a year and a half old. Mind you, I don't agree with all of the diet recommendations by WAP (for example, eating sprouted grains), but they were my first resource, and a good one. (Please, if you go there, ignore the breastfeeding advice. They do offer excellent nutritional advice for pregnancy though.)

I read through WAP, picked up Nourishing Traditions, read some more, started to become overwhelmed at the amount of cooking and stock-making that seemed to be required, panicked, calmed down, and decided to make incremental changes that would be relatively easy and painless.

One of the early changes we made was staying on whole milk. Since Ryan was still a toddler, this was what we were drinking anyway, as the AAP recommends (our pediatrician certainly does) that babies drink whole milk until age two. (In fact I expect them to tell me to switch Sean off of whole milk at his next checkup.) This was an easy change to make, and it made sense to me--the vitamins in milk, I had learned, are fat-soluble, which means that when you drink less than full-fat milk, it's harder for your body to get the nutrition out of the milk. Also, babies need fat, even medical doctors recognize that! Unfortunately they think that children need to go to skim milk at age 2 years, 1 day. (They also think that children ought to be weaned off of human milk by that age, but that's a different post, I think.)

Other early changes: butter, more yogurt, cheese. In other words, I was no longer worried about having fat in our diet. We knew from Brendan's experience as a diabetic and from an early foray into Atkins that too much sugar is bad, and in fact, the body converts it to fat. Sugar is what makes you fat, not fat. Another early change: switching to sea salt. Oh! And another one: switching from fluoridated water to non-fluoridated water (we drink bottled).

Then Ryan had the Big Peanut Kaboom, and honestly, that was at the forefront of my mind for the next couple of years. Nearly all of my thinking about what we were eating was focused on peanut avoidance. If two years sounds like a long time, it was, but keep in mind that part of this thinking wasn't just about peanuts and finding hidden sources of peanuts and identifying companies we could trust. Some of the thinking was processing emotions about the allergy, dealing with the fear, the logistics, and basically managing a paradigm shift when it came to food and Ryan's safety. The world was rocked and would never be the same again. And when the Rocking of the World involves a threat to someone's life, there are a lot of emotions to process and re-integrating you need to do. Living with the allergy is second-nature to me now, but getting to that second-nature point takes a while.

Even so, I was making more changes toward eating in a more paleo way. I started looking for sources of grassfed beef and tried some of the online places, which are good but expensive. I went in on a grassfed cow with a friend for the first time when Morgan was about two. That, in my opinion, is the ONLY way to go! It's fresh, cheap, and then you have meat and meat and meat for months. I also started making more of an effort to avoid soy and legumes, and to consume more eggs. I tried a friend's raw milk, but still have yet to make the switch fully (which I'll explain later).

I was also switching away from processed foods, and learning to prepare real food from real ingredients. I started to look in my copy of the cookbook my grandmother used to use for recipe ideas. Instead of laughing at the authors, like my sister and I used to, for often listing lard as an ingredient, I started to look for ways to obtain lard. :o) And through Kelly and our friend Jessica, I sampled some delicious food and learned some cooking tips! (In fact, Jessica is giving a paleo cooking lesson at MiniCon and you should go because she's the best cook ever!)

The other major thing I was doing consciously at this time (beginning around four years ago perhaps, once I kind of got through the peanut business) was introspection. I was slowly but surely beginning to identify some bad premises I was holding regarding eating in general, not just diet. Because as I was slowly trying to commit to eating in an evolutionary way, I was realizing that I couldn't stick to my commitment. That's a whole other post, though, and one that I am planning to write soon, because I finally am ready to talk about the psychological aspects of eating, my struggles with it, and my successes at changing my premises (and losing lots of weight in the last few months!). But still, know that I was thinking thinking thinking about diet and food and how to be strong and healthy.

By the time I got pregnant with Sean, in October of 2007, I was pretty far along the path of getting better premises and had made more and more incremental diet changes for myself and the family. I found it easier to eat in a healthy way during that pregnancy, and cheerfully ignored the dietary advice given to me by the obstetrician and midwife. With his consent, though, I set out not to gain a lot of weight during the pregnancy, as I started off very overweight to begin with. So I gained 10 pounds with Sean (8 pounds of that was Sean!), compared to 27 and 23 pounds with the other two. I did this by snacking on cheese and kefir and lots and lots of grassfed steak. :o)

In the last two years, I have gotten over being afraid of The Sun, and even gasp! let the kids run around the pool and beach last summer without sunscreen! The only time I used sunscreen was on long days at the beach, and only after we'd been exposed for at least 30 minutes. We are supplementing with fish oil, but that's a little problematic still because we are not going to expose Sean to fish/shellfish for a while. And in January of this year, I decided to finally give up wheat, my last big hurdle.

So now here's what paleo eating looks like at my house. We regularly eat:

  • Full-fat yogurt when possible (and as of today, kefir!)
  • Whole milk
  • Grassfed beef (we're getting another quarter of a cow in a couple of weeks)
  • Bacon (mmmm....bacon)
  • All kinds of meat, really
  • Lots of veggies, usually smothered in bacon grease
  • Pastured eggs
  • Liberal use of coconut oil, especially in scrambled eggs!
  • Some fruit (mostly the kids eat that, but I do, too) such as berries and apples and grapes
  • Cheese (cow and goat)
Additionally, we supplement with Vitamin D3 in the winter (my D has gone from 46 to 87 in the last year, and Brendan's has improved from a shocking 15 to 45!). And I've recently started to add some iodine back into my diet, taking a drop of Lugol's every day or so. (I mix it with some water and a little squeeze of lemon juice and can't really taste it.)

I have learned how to cook, even have homemade stock in the freezer! I know, go me! And I've found that cooking with just a few ingredients in the simple old-fashioned way my grandma used to is quite easy and very delicious! For this weekend, I'm going to roast a chicken, and roast red peppers and asparagus (covered in bacon grease), too. It'll take me 10 minutes to prepare that yummy food, and everyone will snarf it down and drink the fat. And I'll feel like a good mommy and wife. :o)

Oh yeah, we haven't switched to raw milk yet. Most of the reason has to do with personal logistics. It's illegal to buy raw milk for humans to drink in Georgia, but you can buy it for your pet. How dumb is that? The upshot of that silly law is that you either have to get your milk from across the border through a milk-buying co-op, or buy milk for your "pet" from a local farm. And since it's a Herculean feat for me to get to the grocery store on a regular basis, going out of my way to get raw milk just isn't worth my time. None of us are big milk drinkers. Sean is still nursing quite a bit, and I'm of the opinion that human milk is best for growing humans anyway. However, I'm beginning to think about making the effort to get some raw milk on a semi-regular basis because I'm interested in learning how to make our own yogurt and kefir.

So anyway, that's my paleo story! I am stronger and healthier than I was ten years ago (and weigh less, too). I think eating in this way makes good sense and it has definitely changed our lives for the better. In future posts, I'll address some of the premise-checking I did, and how the kids eat paleo, and how we're still transitioning over (we're not quite 100% yet).

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Sunday, May 23, 2010

Open Thread #010

By Diana Hsieh


(Photo courtesy of mattjiggins)


This post hosts Modern Paleo's weekly open comment thread. Please feel free to post any random questions or remarks you have in the comments on this post. Personal attacks, pornographic material, commercial solicitations, and other inappropriate comments will be deleted.

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Saturday, May 22, 2010

Objectivist Roundup

By Diana Hsieh

As part of Modern Paleo's weekend schedule of blogging on Objectivism on Saturdays and free market politics on Sundays, I post a link to "The Objectivist Roundup" every week. The "Objectivist Roundup" is a weekly blog carnival for Objectivists. Contributors must be Objectivists, but posts on any topic are welcome.

Trey Givens hosted this week's Objectivist Roundup. If you're interested in learning more about what Objectivists are writing and doing, check it out!

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The Active Mind

By Diana Hsieh

[Note: This post is part of Modern Paleo's weekend schedule of blogging on Objectivism on Saturdays and free market politics on Sundays.]

In our modern culture, many people adopt a rigid, rule-bound approach to their lives: whatever they learned from their parents, their preacher, and their peers must be the right way, and that's the end of the story. They're unwilling to question their assumptions; they often can't even see that alternatives to those assumptions exist. On the other hand, many people reject that kind of stagnation in favor of acting on the range-of-the-moment. They act based on their gut feelings, i.e. their raw emotions.

These two approaches to life are wrong, often disastrously so. Yet they're not as different as you might think. Both approaches reject reason: they deny paramount importance to human life of rational identification and evaluation of the facts. The people who adopt them seek to coast through life without the effort of understanding the world in which they live. Those often pay a very steep price for that in the form of abandoned dreams, wrecked relationships, and emotional turmoil.

Two years ago, when I began peeking my nose into the uncharted waters of the paleosphere, I was impressed to find that a better approach was pretty common. By and large, people were willing to check their assumptions. They did not submit their judgment to the government and its lackeys, nor blindly follow the advice of their doctors. They were willing to test their theories against the facts of biochemistry, quality medical studies, and their own n=1 experiments. They wanted to know the truth, even if that meant rejecting seemingly universal beliefs about hearthealthywholegrains and arterycloggingsaturatedfat. They wanted to identify general principles, and then practice them, so as to live better.

Basically -- although not universally, of course -- I've been impressed with the "active minds" that I've found in the paleosphere. An active mind isn't an "open mind," nor a "closed mind," as Ayn Rand explains:

[There is a] dangerous little catch phrase which advises you to keep an "open mind." This is a very ambiguous term--as demonstrated by a man who once accused a famous politician of having "a wide open mind." That term is an anti-concept: it is usually taken to mean an objective, unbiased approach to ideas, but it is used as a call for perpetual skepticism, for holding no firm convictions and granting plausibility to anything. A "closed mind" is usually taken to mean the attitude of a man impervious to ideas, arguments, facts and logic, who clings stubbornly to some mixture of unwarranted assumptions, fashionable catch phrases, tribal prejudices--and emotions. But this is not a "closed" mind, it is a passive one. It is a mind that has dispensed with (or never acquired) the practice of thinking or judging, and feels threatened by any request to consider anything.

What objectivity and the study of philosophy require is not an "open mind," but an active mind--a mind able and eagerly willing to examine ideas, but to examine them critically. An active mind does not grant equal status to truth and falsehood; it does not remain floating forever in a stagnant vacuum of neutrality and uncertainty; by assuming the responsibility of judgment, it reaches firm convictions and holds to them. Since it is able to prove its convictions, an active mind achieves an unassailable certainty in confrontations with assailants--a certainty untainted by spots of blind faith, approximation, evasion and fear. (Philosophy: Who Needs It)
Personally, I'm always on the lookout for ways in which I might have a closed mind or an open mind rather than an active mind. I try to ask myself why I think and act as I do, particularly as concerns cultural norms. Is some practice just tradition -- or does it make rational sense? I know that when I've been able to do that, I've reaped huge rewards. For example:
  • If I'd not been willing to question my assumptions about diet, I'd still be eating wheat, sugar, and other forms of junk food. I'd be bouncing between blood sugar highs and lows. I'd be obsessively thinking about the cookies in the pantry. I'd be slowly packing on the pounds, year after year. My liver would be getting ever-fattier, and I'd slowly ease my way into type 2 diabetes.
  • If I'd not been willing to question my assumptions about shampoo, I'd still be frustrated with my limp, dull hair. Instead, my hair is soft, well-bodied, and easy to manage. I'm unhappy with my haircut right now, but I've finally got my no-poo system working well. (I'll post more on that later.)
  • If I'd not been willing to question the quasi-socialist political views of my youth, I'd be cheering on the government takeover of the economy initiated by Bush and hastened by Obama. (EEEK!)
  • If I'd not been willing to question my assumption that my friend Paul was just too old for me due to our 13-ear age gap, I'd not had the best eleven years of my life as his wife! (He looks the same age as me now; that's a blessing and a curse!)
Life -- in the fullest sense of that term -- requires an active mind. There's no way around it.

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Friday, May 21, 2010

The Paleo Rodeo #009

By Diana Hsieh

Welcome to this week's edition of The Paleo Rodeo! (BlogCarnival was down for nearly a whole day this week, so submission to the carnival was somewhat more difficult than usual. However, we managed well enough!)

The Paleo Rodeo is a weekly blog carnival featuring the best paleo-related posts by members of the PaleoBloggers e-mail list. The past editions are collected on this page.

What is "paleo"? As I say in Modern Paleo Principles:

A "paleo" approach to health uses the evolutionary history of homo sapiens, plus the best of modern science, as a broad framework for guiding daily choices about diet, fitness, medicine, and supplementation. The core of paleo is the diet: it eschews grains, sugars, and modern vegetable oils in favor of high-quality meat, fish, eggs, and vegetables.
The purpose of The Paleo Rodeo is to highlight some of the best blogging of the ever-growing paleosphere. As always, you'll likely find some new paleo bloggers that you'll want to read regularly!

Here is this week's edition:
Paleotron presents 8 Ways To Stay Motivated posted at Paleotron, saying, "Here are 8 tactics I've used to keep myself motivated since the newness and excitement of going paleo began to fade."

Tom Jones presents My Paleo Story posted at Modern Paleo.

Naomi Kooiker presents Week menu for May. posted at My Paleo Kitchen.

Todd Dosenberry presents "Born to Run, Yea?" "Oh Yea." Barefoot Style... posted at Toad's Primal Journey.

Chris Kresser presents Podcast episode I: interview with Stephan Guyenet on obesity and weight loss posted at The Healthy Skeptic, saying, "In this episode I talk with researcher Stephan Guyenet about the true causes of the obesity epidemic, the failure of conventional weight loss approaches, and strategies for preventing weight gain and promoting weight loss."

Christian W presents Fasted Training, Cortisol, and Stress posted at Modern Paleo, saying, "This is a discussion about how too much stress and cortisol may counteract the benefits from fasted exercise. I think it is relevant for most people trying to push themselves too hard."

Kristy A. presents Sunshine of Your Love Part 2: The D Factor posted at Feasting on Fitness, saying, "Think you are getting all the vitamin D you need from the sun? Good luck with that. Here's why."

Nell Stephenson presents Paleo Pesto posted at TrainWithNellie.

Laurie Donaldson presents Sweet Potato Hash with Crystallized Ginger posted at Food for Primal Thought, saying, "This is really tasty. It's a little borderline primal because of the tiny amount of sugar on the ginger and maybe the sweet potatoes for some people, but not enough to worry over."

Josephine Svendblad presents Coconut Ginger Salmon posted at Nutty Kitchen, saying, "Who doesn't love the combination of coconut, ginger, veggies and salmon? This is a very easy dish to prepare and make."
Many thanks to the PaleoBloggers who submitted to this edition of the The Paleo Rodeo! I hope to see this blog carnival grow in the future. If you blog on paleo-related matters and you'd like to submit your posts to the carnival, please subscribe to the PaleoBloggers e-mail list. You'll receive instructions and reminders via that list.

Finally, you can find all of the blogs of the PaleoBloggers on this continuously-updated list:
Enjoy!

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Thursday, May 20, 2010

Anticlimax: Raw Milk Event Postponed

By Earl3d

I was all ready. I was set. I was going to cover the Raw Milk Event for two blogs. Two! (Since my paleo-lifestyle posts here at C of P usually get cross-posted to Modern Paleo.)

Today having been primarily a work-from-home-in-an-old-comfy-t-shirt type of day, I had gone upstairs and had a brief wardrobe crisis due to lack of clean laundry (I almost tweeted "What does one wear to a Raw Milk Event?" but thought better of it). I didn't just want to show up in a shlumpy old t-shirt, if I was going to be a Reporter On The Scene. I settled on my red shirt since it was clean festive and I was going to a Cinco de Mayo thing afterward. Then I found my camera, composed my list of questions, in case I forgot when I got there, and finally made it out the door for the 3-minute drive over to Figueroa Produce.

Upon arrival, I got rock star parking. Normally this would be seen as a Good Thing, but my immediate thought was more along the lines that this didn't particularly bode well as an indicator of strong attendance for the event. They weren't exactly lined up down the sidewalk or anything. I only tweeted this thing about a million times - where was everybody?

Then I saw it: there was a sign on the door. "Event canceled, we hope to reschedule soon." I had to read it like 5 times. Apparently Organic Pastures had canceled that morning. Wanting a better explanation of some kind, I went on in anyway, and, not seeing any of the owners hanging around the front area, headed back to the meat department.

I figured that if there wasn't going to be any raw milk sampling or raw milk information to be consumed, then I might as well gaze at the beautiful grass-fed beef in all it's glorious array.

Rick, the chief butcher peopleguy, was there. We chatted and he didn't seem to know much about the Raw Milk Event or why it had been canceled. By now, my disappointment was sinking in. I had been really excited to take pictures of the Raw Milk peopleguy in action, and check out the sample table, and explain in a really cool voice that I was covering the event for my blog (two blogs, actually).

I decided that some retail therapy was in order, of the grass-fed kind!

I checked over the meat in the case and there was a fantastic, thick chunk of gleaming red meat right there, calling to me. "What's that one?" I asked.

"Chuck" said Rick.

"Will you grind it for me?" I asked.

"Sure, no problem!" he answered.

That piece turned out to be 3 1/2 pounds, which was a little much. The piece next to it was only just over 2 lbs. and I settled for that instead.

He put it in the grinder. My gloom lifted as I watched it emerge from the nozzle. He expertly caught the whole mass of it with one hand, and put it back through a second time before he bagged it up and put the sticker on it and I was on my way.

I got home and pulled off a small hunk of the freshly ground chuck, salted it, and popped it into my mouth. I've always liked my beef rare, but I'm beginning to think that cooking it at all pretty much ruins it. (Plus it's a lot easier to eat this way when you've recently had a tooth pulled, which is my case.)

I guess if my big event for today isn't raw milk, the next best thing is a little raw grass-fed chuck. I'm still a little disappointed, but what can you do? Stay tuned for future updates...

Oh, and I almost forgot to mention, they are looking to hire a part-time butcher peopleguy, experienced only. If that's you, call Anthony, Luis, or Ruben at Figueroa Produce at 323-255-3663.

Cross-posted from Creatures of Prometheus

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Wednesday, May 19, 2010

My Paleo Story

By Tom Jones

A year ago I was 255lbs. My waist size was 44. I ate a diet of cheeseburgers, steak and potatoes, soda, and lots of dessert. I was tired all the time, out of shape, unfocused, I snored, I felt an unholy pain in my chest whenever I exerted myself, and I hated looking in the mirror.

After looking up Objectivism on the web for the first time I joined a popular Objectivist site and got on the chat room. I mentioned having a problem with acne and struck up a conversation with Rob O'Callahan privately in the chat room and he said that he was able to get his acne under control just by changing his diet. I was dubious at first but he explained some of the foods he eats and it reminded me of the Atkins diet, which is what my mom has advocated as the best diet since I can remember, though she was never able to stay on it, or get me on it for any length of time. He linked me to Whole Health Source and that blog made a lot of sense to me.

I remember when I first read about grains and that they are actually poisonous. That was when the diet paradigm began to shift for me, when I realized that the food I choose to eat might not just be making me fat, it might actually be causing me real harm. (As a side note, it's amazing how easy it is to rationalize obesity as not harmful when you are obese.) The transition after that was slow, but mostly by talking to Rob and reading blog posts I was able to glean a diet similar to Dr. Harris' at PaNu, which made me all the happier when I found and began to read PaNu.


It took a lot of self discipline. Ultimately the philosophy that helped me the most was to forget the idea of 'diet food' and 'breaking my diet' and just start having some meals that are paleo. By slowly learning to make paleo meals, while still eating junk whenever I felt like it, I was able to phase out the junk until finally I spent a whole month eating only paleo approved foods. I had to tell myself that eating a cheeseburger at McDonald's is not the end of the world, or the end of my diet, or even the end of all weight loss. I had to be able to say “I'm having a tasty meal now, and when I finish, I'll go back to eating what's healthy for me.” By avoiding a cycle of self guilt tripping I was able to avoid making the diet a negative experience for me. I also completely avoided scales for over half a year after I started the diet. I didn't want to get emotionally caught up in the ups and downs of my metrics when I knew all I had to do was just stick to the diet and not worry about it.

I cheated, I cheated a lot. So much that I thought I would never lose weight because of how much I cheated. But despite all the enchiladas and hamburgers with fries, I was able to lose weight after all.

A year ago I was 255 lbs. Upon weighing myself last week I came in at 180lbs on the dot. My waist size used to be 44. I recently had to buy new pants, as the ones I had (which were also new) didn't fit anymore, I fit comfortably into size 34. I am energetic, I have a happy attitude, I don't snore, I can focus easily, I can run without chest pain, and best of all: I make constant double takes in the mirror, wondering who that sexy guy looking back at me must be. I've lost 75 lbs on a low carb paleo diet. I've gained good health, self esteem, and the confidence of knowing I have a good immune system and I'm doing what I can to reduce my chances of disease. In retrospect, this reward is well worth giving up some double cheeseburgers.


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Tuesday, May 18, 2010

Fasted Training, Cortisol, and Stress

By Christian Wernstedt

It has been proposed that performing intense workouts (such as weight training) in a fasted state is a particularly efficient way to ensure that muscle glycogen reserves are emptied during training, and that achieving this state magnifies the metabolic benefit of increased insulin sensitivity in muscle tissue that comes from high intensity training.


The concept of fasting in combination with exercise also neatly fits with the quite plausible idea that paleo-man probably hunted when he was hungry, which would indicate that perhaps some beneficial gene expression is associated with this approach.

I have found these ideas quite compelling, and I have worked out this way myself for quite some time, but I have learned about some qualifiers (from Robb Wolf and others) that one might want to take into account before rushing headlong into fasted training, particularly if one's mode of training entails frequent- and/or intense workouts added to a perhaps already somewhat stressful life situation.

The physiologic reasons for being cautions are the following (in my somewhat crude understanding):

Even in a person who has adhered to a low carb paleo diet for a long time, the brain never becomes completely independent of glucose as a fuel source, and there are also other tissues such as red blood cells that need glucose as fuel, so after muscle- and liver- glycogen has been depleted during a training session the liver must begin to convert other energy stores (fat and protein) to glucose. This process of fuel conversion is called gluconeogenesis, and in the context of a glycogen depleted state, it is tied to the release of the stress hormone cortisol.

This is all fine if it happens occasionally and acutely, however if more cortisol is added on top of an already elevated cortisol level, the result may be a cascade of unwanted side effects such as fat accumulation (typically around the waist), poor blood sugar control, and lowered sex hormones. (Cortisol is made out of the same precursor hormone as testosterone and estrogen, and thus "competes" with them for the same building material.)

Elevated background cortisol can be caused and exacerbated by chronic stress, lack of sleep, high coffee intake, and other stressors - unfortunately, few of us doesn't have at least a few of such in our lives.

Having cortisol out of control can actually lead to the paradox of a lot of sugar floating around the blood stream, even if one eats as little as zero carbs.

An example from real life is my recently measured fasted morning blood sugar of 95 after spending weeks in ketosis. This high reading might be benevolently explained by my generally up-regulated gluconeogenesis from being very low carb, elevated morning cortisol levels, and a bit of acute stress before the blood test, but I think the lesson is that the body can very well produce a lot of glucose with just the right hormonal inputs, and we don't particularly want something like this going on chronically.

Where the exact sweet spot lies in terms of fasted training vs. cortisol and stress likely (as all things health related) varies a lot from person to person, and according to each particular individual's total life situation in terms of stressors.

I think that if one lives a relatively stress free life, gets a lot of sleep, and doesn't work out intensely for more than say 45 minutes at a time, fasting both for several hours before and for an hour or so after a session of intense weight training may be the way to go. (Classic De Vany style.)

However, for many people it may be better to prioritize cortisol control before aiming for the boosted insulin sensitizing effect from fasted training, because elevated cortisol can negate many benefits from the paleo lifestyle, including exercise.

If one is already stressed out right out of the gate, yet aims for a prolonged monster work out, then eating a little something (not a gigantic meal, but perhaps a few low GI carbs - I really have no detailed idea) before going to the gym may be a good idea.

Another implication from the above is that in a person with an intense life style (career, kids, mortgage, etc) the infrequent, brief, yet intense style of workout offered by the Body By Science protocol may provide a reasonable "island of safety" in terms of cortisol, while achieving the insulin sensitizing benefits from fasted training. BBS seems to allow for fasted workouts without the risk of adding that much extra stress and cortisol. (This is also part of the strategy behind De Vany's training style.)

Note: I have no particular axe to grind when it comes to training styles, so my general point is only that the stress impact from exercise is something to consider when choosing what kind of exercise to engage in.

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First Graders Versus Food

By Diana Hsieh

A classroom of first graders is unable to identify fruits and vegetables in their natural form:



Sheesh, are kids today eating nothing but chicken fingers and go-gurt?

Update: The video I posted originally was made private, but I just found a public version. So it's working now!

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Monday, May 17, 2010

Paleo-O-Rama

By Diana Hsieh

  • Here's some interesting debate on the value of Vitamin A between Dr. Cannell of the Vitamin D Council and Chris Masterjohn writing for the Weston A. Price Foundation. Personally, I'm pretty solidly in the pro-cod-liver-oil camp with Masterjohn. I suspect that he's right on the science, and personally, I've seen huge improvements in my overall dental health thanks to cod liver oil. Even more remarkably, the inflamed and painful section of my gums from last summer's gum surgery is now only a tiny bit sensitive thanks to rubbing two drops of fermented cod liver oil on it every day or so.
  • Dr. Kurt Harris on The Only Reasonable Paleo Principle: "a food being evolutionarily novel was a likely condition for it being an agent of disease, but that novelty was neither necessary nor sufficient for agent of disease status." See also The Paleolithic Principle: The Panu Version and Health and Evolutionary Reasoning: The PaNu Method. I don't always agree with Dr. Harris on particulars, and I have some disagreements with these posts too. However, I agree with his overall approach of "duplicating the evolutionary metabolic milieu," as well as his opposition to "paleo re-enactment." And bonus, even Mr. Grok himself, Mark Sisson, weighed in with a nice post on When Science Trumps Grok.
  • I've begun experimenting with kefir-cheese. Fun!
  • Ari Armstrong gave the Health Nanny Statists a well-deserved spanking.
  • Ryan Koch discusses some complications with life expectancy data in Were Early Americans Really Living Shorter Lives?
  • Yup, I'm pretty sure that the standard American diet has turned handsome, slender movie stars into ... well... something else. Good genes will only take you so far.
  • I love the little "re-evolve" icon on this Paleo Brands web site. (I've not ordered any of their foods, so I can't vouch for them. They look yummy though.)
  • I've been experimenting with sleeping in total darkness for the past few weeks, so I'm particularly curious to read about studies like this one, even if only on mice: Artificial Light at Night Disrupts Cell Division.
  • Grrrr. A few weeks ago, Whole Foods has decided to stop carrying raw milk nationwide. From what I understand, their insurance carrier refused to cover it. So I don't blame them too much, but I wish it were otherwise.
  • Here's some good advice on keeping it simple in the kitchen. You don't need that fancy emulsifier to make salad dressing, just shake a mason jar.

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Sunday, May 16, 2010

Open Thread #009

By Diana Hsieh


(Photo courtesy of rhettmaxwell)


This post hosts Modern Paleo's weekly open comment thread. Please feel free to post any random questions or remarks you have in the comments on this post. Personal attacks, pornographic material, commercial solicitations, and other inappropriate comments will be deleted.

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The Health Insurers' Faustian Bargain

By Paul Hsieh

[Note: This post is part of Modern Paleo's weekend schedule of blogging on Objectivism on Saturdays and free market politics on Sundays.]

The May 15, 2010 American Thinker has just published my latest OpEd, "The Health Insurers' Faustian Bargain".

My theme is that the compromises that the insurance industry have made with the Obama Administration will merely lead to their own destruction and to a nationalized "single-payer" health system.

Here is the opening:

In early 2009, health insurance companies struck a Faustian bargain with the Obama administration. In exchange for a law requiring Americans to purchase health insurance, they agreed to regulations requiring them to offer coverage to all comers regardless of preexisting illnesses. Now that ObamaCare is law, insurers are learning that they may have sold their souls to the Devil -- along with the lives of the American people.

At first glance, ObamaCare might seem a good deal for insurance companies by guaranteeing them a market for their services. But this guaranteed market comes at a steep price, with the government dictating whom insurers must cover, what benefits they must offer, and what prices they may charge...
(Read the full text of "The Health Insurers' Faustian Bargain".)

[Crossposted from the FIRM blog.]

Update: Thank you, USA Today, for linking to my piece on your state news blog!

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Saturday, May 15, 2010

Objectivist Roundup

By Diana Hsieh

As part of Modern Paleo's weekend schedule of blogging on Objectivism on Saturdays and free market politics on Sundays, I post a link to "The Objectivist Roundup" every week. The "Objectivist Roundup" is a weekly blog carnival for Objectivists. Contributors must be Objectivists, but posts on any topic are welcome.

Erosophia hosted this week's Objectivist Roundup. If you're interested in learning more about what Objectivists are writing and doing, check it out!

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Immigration

By Diana Hsieh

[Note: This post is part of Modern Paleo's weekend schedule of blogging on Objectivism on Saturdays and free market politics on Sundays.]

Recently, the topic of immigration has flared up again, thanks to the stringent anti-immigration law recently passed in Arizona. Unlike conservatives seeking to close our borders to any new faces, Ayn Rand's philosophy of Objectivism advocates open immigration as the only policy consistent with respect for individual rights.

What would a policy of "open borders" mean? As Craig Biddle explained in a 2008 article Immigration and Individual Rights:

Open immigration does not mean that anyone may enter the country at any location or in any manner he chooses; it is not unchecked or unmonitored immigration. Nor does it mean that anyone who immigrates to America should be eligible for U.S. citizenship--the proper requirements of which are a separate matter. Open immigration means that anyone is free to enter and reside in America--providing that he enters at a designated checkpoint and passes an objective screening process, the purpose of which is to keep out criminals, enemies of America, and people with certain kinds of contagious diseases. Such a policy is not only politically right; it is morally right.
Biddle argues for that policy of open borders based on the moral right of each person to live his own life by his own judgment. As a taste, he says:
America's border is not properly a barrier for the purpose of keeping foreigners out; it is properly a boundary designating the area in which the U.S. government must protect rights. Rights-respecting foreigners who want to cross that boundary in order to enjoy the relative freedom and abundant opportunity in America have a moral right to do so. Likewise, American citizens who want to associate with foreigners in rights-respecting ways--whether through friendship, romance, recreation, or commerce--have a moral right to do so. And Americans who do not want to associate with foreigners have a moral right not to associate with them. But no one--including the government--has a moral right to prevent anyone from acting on his judgment.
If you're interested in this issue, I recommend reading the whole article.

As an addition to the points raised by Biddle about the proper response to terrorism, I would add that, contrary to popular myth, national security would be enhanced, not diminished, by open borders. Our current slew of inane restrictions on immigration creates enormous financial incentives for shady people willing to smuggle workers into the United States. While most of the smuggled workers are simply seeking a better life, terrorists can easily use those same shady networks to cross the border too. Without the black market in immigrants created by our government, those terrorists would be left without any help from smugglers... because the smugglers wouldn't exist.

On a more personal note, I simply cannot fathom viewing immigrants as a threat to my life or my work. I welcome the variety and vitality that many immigrants offer. I admire the courage of people willing to travel to distant lands in search of a better life. I want the best and brightest people in the world to work for the companies I patronize. I just don't care where people were born: I care what they make of their lives.

Illegal immigrants are not mere criminals, as conservatives claim. They're not "undocumented workers," as progressives say. They're the victims of our unjust laws. It's time to fix that.

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Friday, May 14, 2010

The Paleo Rodeo #008

By Diana Hsieh

Welcome to this week's extra-large edition of The Paleo Rodeo!

The Paleo Rodeo is a weekly blog carnival featuring the best paleo-related posts by members of the PaleoBloggers e-mail list. The past editions are collected on this page.

What is "paleo"? As I say in Modern Paleo Principles:

A "paleo" approach to health uses the evolutionary history of homo sapiens, plus the best of modern science, as a broad framework for guiding daily choices about diet, fitness, medicine, and supplementation. The core of paleo is the diet: it eschews grains, sugars, and modern vegetable oils in favor of high-quality meat, fish, eggs, and vegetables.
The purpose of The Paleo Rodeo is to highlight some of the best blogging of the ever-growing paleosphere.

Here is this week's edition:
Taryn Romanowich presents My Pet Avocado - The Beginning posted at Tabata This, saying, "A story about the birth of an avocado."

Amy Kubal presents Need a Snack??? Try Kale Chips! posted at Fuel As Rx

Tara Grant presents My Journey; Primal Girl in a Modern World posted at Primal Living, saying, "This is an extremely personal account of my path leading up to the discovery of the Paleo lifestyle and the results I've seen in just one short year."

Paleotron presents Saturated Fat, Cholesterol, and Lindsay Lohan Destroying LA posted at Paleotron, saying, "A very brief overview of the role saturated fat, LDL cholesterol, and excess carbohydrates play in our bodies.....and yes, I use Lindsay Lohan in my analogy."

Laurie Donaldson presents Maryland Crab Cakes - The Real Ones posted at Food for Primal Thought.

Nell Stephenson presents Another Raw Kale Salad posted at TrainWithNellie.

Chris Kresser presents How much omega-3 is enough? That depends on omega-6. posted at The Healthy Skeptic, saying, "In this article we discuss strategies for bringing the n-6 to n-3 ratio back into balance. There are two obvious ways to to do this: increase intake of n-3, and decrease intake of n-6. For best results, both are necessary - but reducing n-6 should be the first priority."

Todd Dosenberry presents If I Could Only Live On 10 Foods, What Would They Be? posted at Toad's Primal Journey, saying, "Please contribute by leaving a comment with your top 10 foods! It shall help others discover new foods!"

Amy Kubal presents The Not So 'Sweet' Stats on Bottled Drinks... posted at Fuel As Rx

Richard Nikoley presents Carnitas with Sweet Potato and Cinnamon Apples posted at Free The Animal, saying, "Quick, easy, delicious and colorful."

Earl Parson presents This Week's Paleo Recipe: Pork in Yellow Curry posted at Creatures of Prometheus, saying, "Have you ever eaten Boston butt picnic cushion? Try my recipe, it's delicious!"

Josephine Svendblad presents Have you had a Leek lately? posted at Nutty Kitchen, saying, "Leeks have been part of my diet ever since I can remember, as they are a part of European and Mediterranean cooking. It's not as commonly used in the American kitchen which is the reason for this post. I would like to help you discover a new vegetable that is so good for you, readily available, inexpensive and delicious."

Jeff Pickett presents The Great Concert of Life ? You, Elvis & Mick Jagger posted at Primal Chat, saying, "An easy to understand story how insulin impacts our bodies. Who knew Mick and Elvis were part of the process..."

Kristy A. presents Sunshine of Your Love Part 1: Safely Getting What You Need posted at Feasting on Fitness, saying, "So you need vitamin D, but you don't want the big C. Here's my strategy for tackling this conundrum."

Jenn Casey presents Greek Chicken posted at Modern Paleo, saying, "This is a simple and delicious recipe for Greek chicken."
Many thanks to the PaleoBloggers who submitted to this edition of the The Paleo Rodeo! I hope to see this blog carnival grow in the future. If you blog on paleo-related matters and you'd like to submit your posts to the carnival, please subscribe to the PaleoBloggers e-mail list. You'll receive instructions and reminders via that list.

Finally, you can find all of the blogs of the PaleoBloggers on this continuously-updated list:
Enjoy!

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