Tuesday, November 30, 2010

The One about CrossFit

By Jenn Casey

So anyway, I started up with the CrossFit at the end of September. I have friends who have done it for a while (one of them gave a CrossFit lecture and short class at last year's MiniCon) and it has always sounded fun to me.

But. It had been years since I'd done any kind of real exercise, you know, like at an actual gym. I have a treadmill and have gone through fits and spurts with that, but other than that and walks around the neighborhood and chasing and lifting up and carrying small kids (which I do think counts for something), there had been no real exercise to speak of.

I wanted to get going on something more though, for lots of reasons, not the least of which was that I was approaching a birthday that ends with '0' (in case you hadn't heard!). I've been working really, really hard in the last few years, and particularly in 2010 to get into better shape and health, and I'd been fairly successful--I'm down about 40 pounds from this time last year (woohoo!).

I'd accomplished this weight loss mostly through changes in my diet (The Paleo), and had made an extra effort to be more physically active. But I was frustrated when my progress in losing weight stalled over the summer. Now, as it happens, I've apparently got some kind of hypothyroid thing going on, which doesn't help in that department (and I'm seeing an endocrinologist for that, maybe I'll write up a post about that sometime just for posterity). But hypothyroidism aside, the time had come (the Walrus said) to get me to a gym.

Okay, CrossFit looked fun, and that's mostly what appealed to me about it. Swinging kettlebells? I mean, it's a little strange, and FUN. And who knew there were "medicine balls" around any more? I thought those were some kind of old-timey thing from the turn-of-the-century (and maybe they are). Anyway, I'm usually up for some kind crazy--I can't ever just do anything the quote-unquote-NORMAL way (just ask my parents).

The other appealing things about CrossFit were that it seemed like a good mix of weight-bearing exercise and cardio, and that the workouts are different every single time. I am easily bored with stuff like treadmills, and even walking around the neighborhood--I need some intellectual stimulation! Or at the very least, intellectual confusion--when things get changed up all the time, it forces me to stay focused on what I'm doing. No lapsing into cruise control.

Also, CrossFit is very scaleable, meaning it's easy to adapt the exercises to the out-of-shape, just-getting-back-into-working-out likes of me. I love that the workouts are measured and tracked, because I'm a measurey kind of person (essentially, measuring and improving processes was a big part of my pre-Mommy career, and a focus in grad school). Because of the scaleability and measurement, it helps me remain focused on my own progress and while I can admire what someone else can accomplish, I'm not constantly beating myself up for not measuring up to someone else's time. I can focus on me, and that's really where my focus needs to be.

I checked out a couple of places near me (we seem to have many CrossFit gyms in my area), and then Kellyfound a gym about halfway between us and suggested we go together. I loved the idea of having a workout buddy, especially someone who is already a bestest friend. She'd already gone to a class there and talked to the owner/lead trainer peopleguy about us and said he seemed pretty nice. She has more experience with gyms and CrossFit gyms, too, than I do, and she was looking for a gym that would be pretty welcoming of women who were not super-fit and not in their early 20s. Not that there's anything wrong with super-fit women in their early 20s, or men, for that matter. But gym atmosphere/ambience/whatever-you-want-to-call-it makes a difference. If you feel out of place, it can be discouraging. Anyway, she found us a good one.

I signed up for the Introduction to CrossFit class--6 classes in 2 weeks. It was designed to teach you all of the basic moves and get you somewhat used to the feeling of kicking your own ass until you can't stand up any more. Kelly decided to take it with me as a refresher since it had been a while for her.

Our first Intro class was HARD. Running, squats, sit ups, dips, lunges, etc. Conceive of my surprise when I learned that we hadn't yet begun the actual workout! I completed the first workout, which was Run 200 meters, then do 21-15-9 Squats, Push Ups, and Ring Rows (three rounds of each, 21 in the 1st round, 15 in the 2nd round, 9 in the 3rd round), then run 200 more meters. I finished in 12:34. Holy Smokes.

And boy was I in pain the next couple of days! OWWWW...Turns out I was turning my knees to the front during my squats and so that caused my quads to hurt lots (whereas, when you do squats in the proper form, your ass and hamstrings hurt). But I felt good about completing the workout and taking the first steps toward getting fitter.

Each Intro class was just the same--killer warmup, then Even More Killer workout. But I went. I'd committed to myself to at least completing the Intro classes. At the last Intro class, we repeated the workout from the first class--and the second time I completed it, I did it in 9:34, three whole minutes faster! In two weeks I'd already made tons of progress!

I bought a punchcard and started going two times a week. This is one of the advantages to this gym, the punchcard thing, which allows for flexibility. With three kids, and Brendan's terrible Atlanta rush hour commute, sometimes I can't get there when I want. (Though I have to say I have a great husband and babysitters who have made all of this possible, thanks!) And at the beginning twice a week seemed to be more than enough self-ass-kicking for this beginner.

The Owner Peopleguy, Chris, is super great. He is very encouraging, and really helps me focus on form. I decided going into this endeavor that I would focus on form first, then intensity, as I'm eager to avoid injury (which would seriously derail all of my awesome progress). Chris really watches and gives helpful advice about how to improve my form, and he's good at breaking down the more complicated maneuvers. And he didn't even laugh when my chest got in the way of the bar during a clean and jerk lesson (though I did, 'cause it was pretty funny!).

The other people at the gym--they are awesome! I'm always amazed at what they're able to do, and it's really inspiring to think that I, too, might, one day, maybe be able to do an unassisted pull up (that day is lightyears away). And they are really nice and encouraging of us newbies, too. One night when Kelly wasn't there, we did the Lumberjack 20, which is a killer workout (my lifting weights are much lower, of course). I'm nearly always the last one to finish any workout, but as I was completing the last few rounds solo, the other people were so encouraging, saying stuff like "You can do it!" and "You're almost there!" and then we all applauded ourselves at the end! (Incidentally, this is a great example of encouragement versus praise--I'd have hated to be on the receiving end of praise in this situation, but being on the receiving end of encouragement, feeling like others are pulling for you, feels great!)

Kelly and Aaron and I went yesterday, since the gym was closed on Thanksgiving (normally it would be open, but Chris was running a half-marathon or something). Both Kelly and I noticed something remarkable--we could run 800 meters without feeling like we're going to pass out--AND while talking to each other the whole time!

I can definitely see an improvement in my fitness in only two months. I am stronger and my clothes fit better (still haven't lost much weight, but there are lots of reasons for that, including that I'm adding muscle as I'm getting rid of fat). I am lifting heavier weights than ever--I did 20 thrusters yesterday with the 35 pound bar. Okay, I know that might sound wimpy to you veterans, but that's great progress for me! My form is better and I haven't injured myself.

And somehow, even though I'm still new and way out of shape, I feel like this is something I'm good at. I'm getting in touch with my athletic side, a side of me that lay dormant for so many years. I'm super flexible still (thanks to all those years of gymnastics I think) and any time there's something that calls for flexibility, I rock on it. Somehow, I'm pretty good at rowing, too. And the lifting stuff, while somewhat scary (for I really REALLY do not want to injure myself!), is coming along, too. For the record, I am NOT good at pull ups or jumping rope. My jump rope skills have declined horrifically since my elementary school days, let me tell you. It's shameful, really. (Though I did catch myself chanting "Cinderella, dressed in yella, went upstairs to kiss a fella..." Heh.)

And mostly, it's lots of FUN. I'll be picking up a weekend workout for a while because somehow twice a week just isn't quite enough as it was before now.

Since doing CrossFit, I am stronger, healthier, and really, just that much more awesome. :) Now when I need to encourage myself to do something hard, I say "I can do this....I not only survived three c-sections, I made it through the Lumberjack 20 in 32 minutes!"

Originally posted at Rational Jenn.

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Monday, November 29, 2010

October Thyroid Labs

By Diana Hsieh

On October 19th, I had another round of thyroid labs. At the time, I was on 1.25 grains of dessicated thyroid. And I was enjoying (!) various hypothyroid symptoms, most notably terribly dry skin and severe carpal tunnel pain. Due to the latter almost any time spent on the computer was very painful for many weeks. (That wasn't all bad, however, as that gave me the excuse I needed to buy my new horse Lila.)

The results of these new labs were as follows:

  • TSH = 1.75 (normal range .3 to 3.0)
  • Free T3 = 2.7 (normal range 2.0 to 4.4)
  • Free T4 = .97 (normal range .82 to 1.77)
Although within the normal range, those Free T3 and Free T4 numbers are still lower than they ought to be. So, realizing that 1.5 grains was not too much, as we'd previously thought, my doctor was willing to increase my desiccated thyroid dose to 1.75 grains for six weeks, then to 2.0 grains if my symptoms persisted. (I just increased to 2.0 last week, since my carpal tunnel pain returned, albeit not quite so strongly.)

The difficulty for me -- as you can see from my prior lab values -- is that my TSH will read as normal, even though my Free T3 and Free T4 are low and even though I'm experiencing unmistakable hypothyroid symptoms.

Most doctors use the TSH as the gold standard in diagnosing and treating hypothyroidism. Some ignore the patient's symptoms. Some refuse to test anything other than TSH. Happily, my doctor is willing to work with me, provided that we manage the risks of too great a dose of thyroid medication, particularly increased heart rate and palpitations and osteoporosis. To monitor the latter, she ordered a bone density scan to use as a baseline. Mine was normal, with a z-score of -0.9 for lumbar spine, 1.3 for femoral neck, 1.1 for total hip. Also, we re-scanned my thyroid on ultrasound at the same time, and the single-nodule goiter had shrunk quite a bit.

The most interesting -- but distressing -- news was my thyroid antibodies. Due to a simple oversight, I'd never had those tested before. Here are the results:
  • TPO Ab = 11 (normal range 0 to 34)
  • Antuthyroglobulin Ab = 68 (normal range 0 to 40)
Here's how Janie Bowthorpe of Stop the Thyroid Madness explains these tests:
Hashi's is confirmed by two antibodies labs: anti-TPO and TgAb. The first antibody, anti-TPO, attacks an enzyme normally found in your thyroid gland, called the Thyroid Peroxidase, which is important in the production of thyroid hormones. The second antibody, TgAb, attacks the key protein in the thyroid gland, the thyroglobulin, which is essential in the production of the T4 and T3 thyroid hormones.
In essence, my hypothyroidism has some auto-immune component, although it's not clear to me just how bad those number are.

For some people, gluten seems to be a major contributor to auto-immune thyroid disease, such that thyroid antibodies disappear on a gluten-free diet. I've not eaten gluten (except unknowingly and/or accidentally) over the past year, but I do wonder whether dairy consumption might be an issue. So at some point, I'll want to do another dairy-free experiment, then test my thyroid antibodies again. I'm not sure what else I can do to preserve my thyroid over the long term. Mostly, I need to do a whole lot of reading on Hashimoto's.

Finally... I was first diagnosed as hypothyroid on November 6th, 2009. It's rather depressing that I'm still struggling to understand the nature of my problem and to find the right dose of my desiccated thyroid. It's depressing that I'm 20 pounds heavier than I was a year and a half ago. Every ounce of that weight gain was due to thyroid insufficiency, in that it happened before I began taking desiccated thyroid and then when I've been on less than 1.5 grains. I hope that I can lose some of that, now that I'm on a decent -- even if likely still not adequate -- dose of dessicated thyroid.

Mostly though, I'm hugely grateful that I'm no longer in the very sorry state that I was last winter. I've got a working brain and tolerable energy again, and that's huge. All the rest is gravy.

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Saturday, November 27, 2010

Objectivist Roundup & Rationally Selfish Webcast

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.

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

Also and once again, my Rationally Selfish Webcast -- where I answer questions on practical ethics and living well -- will be tomorrow (Sunday) morning at 8 am PT / 9 am MT / 10 am CT / 11 am ET. You can submit and vote on questions, as well as watch the live webcast and join the chat, from this page: Rationally Selfish Webcast. You can listen to these webcasts later as NoodleCast podcasts by subscribing in iTunes to either the enhanced M4A format or the standard MP3 format.

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Friday, November 26, 2010

The Paleo Rodeo #036

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.

Here is this week's edition:
Benjamin Skipper presents Chocolate Review: Endangered Species 72% with Cacao Nibs posted at Musing Aloud, saying, "Here's my review for Endangered Species' 72% chocolate with cacao nibs. The nibs contribute a crispy texture and hazelnut-like aftertaste, but all very subtly."

Richard Nikoley presents Jimmy Moore the Muckraker: Paleo and Christianity posted at Free The Animal, saying, "Jimmy More included both mine and your host Diana's comments about Paleo vs. Christianity (my characterization) in a post which, for his milieu, I consider very bold, respectable, admirable. My post is to both acknowledge Jimmy's fortitude, as well as to take it a step further."

Nell Stephenson presents A Happy, Healthy Thanksgiving Meal?? posted at TrainWithNellie.

Yael Grauer presents The Paleo Experiment: My 30 Day Summary posted at Yael Writes, saying, "Now that Yael's 30-day Paleo experiment is over, she offers a recap and some thoughts as well as positing some questions for readers."

Kerri Heffel presents progess... posted at the functional foodie, saying, "I made the shift from high intensity and volume to body weight and control training."

Travis Schefcik presents Paleo Approved and The Paleo Diet posted at Uncommon Wellness.

Melissa "Melicious" Joulwan presents The Dinner Diaries posted at The Clothes Make The Girl, saying, "The New Yorker published a really touching piece about one man's diary of 15 years of dinners. It got me thinking about how a food diary -- even for us non-tracking, non-measuring paleo eaters -- can provide insight to better understand ourselves, our habits, and the powerful role food plays in our lives."

Frank Hagan presents The Truth about Beef posted at Low Carb Age, saying, "f you are on the fence about adopting a low carb / paleo lifestyle, and fear the cost of grass fed beef will be too much, consider the truth about plain old supermarket beef."

Patty Pittman presents Primal Hypnosis - Paul McKenna posted at Primal 30 Day Challenge, saying, "This article is for people just starting out in the Paleo life. It can be hard to break years of bed food habits. The hypnosis from this man, Paul McKenna has helped me a lot."

mark owen-ward presents top 20 paleo blogs (updated!) posted at new habit.

Laurie Donaldson presents Thanksgiving posted at Food for Primal Thought, saying, "What else are you going to post about on Thanksgiving?"

Paul Jaminet presents Dangers of Zero-Carb Diets, IV: Kidney Stones posted at Perfect Health Diet, saying, "Here we look into the causes of kidney stones, and why their incidence is elevated 100-fold on the ketogenic diet; and suggest ways to avoid them."

Mike Fout / New Renaissance presents Fail-eo Thanksgiving, and Why I'm Not Guilty. posted at Every Day A New Adventure, saying, "Paleo Fail."
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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Question of the Week: Thanksgiving Regrets

By Diana Hsieh


(Photo courtesy of deiru)


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.

Paleo Questions of the Week: Did you eat anything for Thanksgiving that you later regretted? If so, what and why?

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Saturday, November 20, 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.

The 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!

Also, my Rationally Selfish Webcast -- where I answer questions on practical ethics -- will be tomorrow (Sunday) morning at 8 am PT / 9 am MT / 10 am CT / 11 am ET. You can submit and vote on questions, as well as watch the live webcast and join the chat, from here: Rationally Selfish Webcast. You can listen to them later as NoodleCast podcasts by subscribing in iTunes. You can choose between the enhanced M4A format and the standard MP3 format.

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Friday, November 19, 2010

The Paleo Rodeo #035

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.

Here is this week's edition:
Benjamin Skipper presents Chocolate Review: Theo's 70% Mint posted at Musing Aloud, saying, "This is my review for Theo's 70% cacao mint chocolate bar. I LOVE mint and had high expectations for this variety, but I'm disappointed by its weak and odd flavor profile."

Rational Jenn presents My (Mostly) Paleo Thanksgiving Menu posted at Rational Jenn, saying, "I'm excited about our mostly paleo (primarily primal?) Thanksgiving menu!"

Amy Kubal presents Hold the Holidays!! posted at Fuel As Rx, saying, "Just how much damage does holiday eating do?? This will send you into Sugar Shock!!"

Julie Sullivan Mayfield presents Thanksgiving is just around the corner...Part One: Appetizers posted at BTB's Nutrition and Performance Blog, saying, "Part one giving some ideas for choosing and/or making some Thanksgiving paleo appetizers."

Melissa "Melicious" Joulwan presents A Lot Can Happen In 30 Days posted at The Clothes Make The Girl, saying, "I've been paleo for 18 months, but just did a 100%, no-cheat for 30 days after a month-long vacation where I completely indulged. It feels wonderful to be on track again."

Patty Strilaeff presents 30 Days of "Beyond" Paleo posted at following my nose..., saying, "My 30 day experiment free of not only sugar, grains, legumes, alcohol and dairy but also the foods that Robb Wolf lists as problematic for those with autoimmune or inflammation issues: eggs, nuts and seeds, and nightshades."

Jacqueline presents Daddy's Enchildas....Paleo Style posted at Paleo for the Rest of Us.

Yael Grauer presents Paleo Experiment: Week 4 Summary posted at Yael Writes, saying, "Yael Grauer wraps up her 30-day challenge!"

Frank Hagan presents RD Turn-About: Fat Not So Bad posted at Low Carb Age, saying, "The American Dietetic Association is a low fat bastion, with member dietitians rarely advising patients to embrace a low-carb lifestyle. But now, a symposium at their recent meeting raises the alarm about low fat diets ..."

Joe Berne presents A (Too?) Merry Holiday Season posted at Karate Conditioning, saying, "Everything you need to know to survive all the perils this holiday season will throw at you, except zombies. If the zombies come you're on your own. Sadly, brains are paleo."

Laurie Donaldson presents Breakfast for Dinner posted at Food for Primal Thought.

Nell Stephenson presents Technique: Tying a Filet Mignon Roast posted at TrainWithNellie.

Josephine Svendblad presents Spice Detox Fish in Parchment Paper posted at Nutty Kitchen, saying, "Good to have some white fish in between all the pork and beef and of course before the big Thanksgiving feast!"

Angelo Coppola presents Paleo Vitamin D - AKA a Hike in the Desert posted at This Week in Paleo, saying, "I don't do Omega3 or Vitamin D supplements anymore...I talk about that and post some pictures of Amy & me on a recent hike in the nearby desert."

Paul Jaminet presents Dangers of Zero-Carb Diets, II: Mucus Deficiency and Gastrointestinal Cancers posted at Perfect Health Diet, saying, "This post in our series on zero-carb dangers looks at why long-time Optimal Dieters in Poland have been coming down with gastrointestinal cancers."

Kristy A. presents Slow Cookin' My Way to Delicious posted at Feasting on Fitness, saying, "I'm back in the kitchen with some time-saving, delicious recipes that will set you up for the week. How about Slow Cooker Coconut Curry Pot Roast with Cilantro-Lime Cauliflower Rice? It's feast-worthy deliciousness!"

paleo_rob presents Vivid Dreaming and Eating Paleo posted at PaleOZ, saying, "My theory on why people have been dreaming a lot more vividly since going Paleo."

Nicole Markee presents For Goodness Sake, Just Eat the Damn Potatoes! posted at Astrogirl.
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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Question of the Week: Thanksgiving Turkey

By Diana Hsieh


(Photo courtesy of 22863752@N06)


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.

Paleo Questions of the Week: How do you plan to prepare your turkey for Thanksgiving this year?

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Thursday, November 18, 2010

My (Mostly) Paleo Thanksgiving Menu

By Jenn Casey

I am starting to get in the mood for Thanksgiving! Even though there are many happenings happening between now and next Thursday, I've planned out our menu.

Before I tell you what it is, here's a big difference between this Thanksgiving and Thanksgivings Past--I've been cooking lots and lots of real food all year long, so THIS Thanksgiving is going to be a snap! No stressing out about where to put the meat thermometer or what to do with certain side dishes. Even the things I'm not really quite sure how to make--no worries. I am confident I can figure out how to make them palatable, and if they turn out to be inedible, oh well! There will be plenty of other food.

So, here's what I'm making:


  • Roasted Turkey
  • Sausage Stuffing
  • Gravy
  • Sweet Potatoes
  • Some other side veggie--maybe asparagus, green beans, or brussel sprouts
  • Salad with balsamic vinegar and lots of red onions (Ryan's favorite)
  • Flourless chocolate cake
  • Pumpkin pie

Doesn't that sound yummy?

But, no rolls this year. I hate to miss this holiday tradition, which really is about much more than just the rolls, but I also know that it will be hard to resist eating them. I am planning to make them for Christmas, though. Once a year is more than enough (they are SO GOOD, I promise).

I think I'll roast the turkey with lemon and rosemary. And I'm eager to try out the sausage stuffing idea again. My husband will confirm for you that it was really, really delicious. I'm planning to stuff the turkey with it, and there will probably be extras, too.

Sweet potatoes--I have no idea how I'll make them. I think I might just roast them whole, low and slow. And because it's a holiday, serve a little cinnamon sugar and butter with them. Though I think they taste just grand in coconut oil, so maybe I'll make a couple of those, too.

The pumpkin pie will be a regular with-a-crust kind (I don't eat pumpkin pie), and I'm super excited to try the flourless chocolate cake (made with peanut-free chocolate from Vermont Nut Free Chocolates, of course. Everything will be Ryan-safe [my eight-year-old son has a life-threatening peanut allergy], as always!). I think the chocolate cake can be made in advance (I hope) because that will make it easier to coordinate on Thanksgiving Day.

So anyway, what are you having for Thanksgiving (paleo or not)?

(Originally posted at Rational Jenn)

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Tuesday, November 16, 2010

Mushrooms, Mold, and McDonalds: Day 26

By Monica



Time for another McMold update! For those of you who haven’t been following, here’s the experimental design and initial pictures, and a video of the 17 day results.

Let’s get right to it. Here's Day 26. Salted homemade fries. From left to right: dry (no growth), lid (mold), lidded with water (bacteria).


Salted McD's fries. From left to right: dry (no growth), lid (mold), lidded with water (bacteria and mold).



Unsalted homemade fries. From left to right: dry (no growth), lid (mold and bacteria), lidded with water (bacteria).




Unsalted McD's fries. From left to right: dry (no growth), lid (fungi), lidded with water (bacteria).



And here's a closer picture of the burgers. Homemade on left, McD's on right. From top to bottom: dry (no growth on either), lid (mold on homemade, bacteria on McD's), lidded with water (bacteria on homemade, mold on McD's).



Fries

Basically, what this experiment has shown is that under very high water activity, the fries have problems cultivating molds but bacteria will grow just fine. At lower water activities , molds will grow just fine. Obviously, none of the fries in the top row are rotting because the water activity is too low for either bacteria or fungi.

This little experiment demonstrates that the salt, at least in the amounts McDonald’s uses, and types of fats or fat content have nothing to do with decomposition, as some food scientists have been claiming in popular news reports. It’s all about the moisture: not the salt, not the fat, and not the preservatives, at least for french fries. The amount of moisture determines whether the fries decompose, and also the type of decomposition: bacterial or fungal.

An interesting study could be set up with many more replicates to determine if there is any difference in species composition of fungi and bacteria in the jars under different water activities. This might be of marginal interest to mycologists, but probably not to the general public, and it would be a lot more work, so I probably won’t do it. There are also personal concerns, such as objections from spouses.

Burgers

I think it’s possible that the different textures of the buns might have something to do with the microbial growth in these jars, but it would take far more replicates to determine exactly what is going on. None of the burgers are growing copious amounts of mold as the fries are. Ideally, a much bigger experiment could be done testing a variety of different types of buns -- e.g. storebought white, whole grain, organic, and homemade -- under different water activities to find out what sort of microbial growth is fostered. For bread specifically, it seems logical that preservatives might alter the rate of microbial growth, even if they can’t stop microbial growth altogether. Otherwise, why would the food industry use them?

Conclusion

We can conclude that food pretty much rots, whether it comes from McDonald’s or anywhere else. It just needs some moisture to do so.

I am on the verge of discarding the fries, since I don't think there is any more to be learned from them. Stay tuned to see what develops on the burgers and the butter and “not butter”s.

Update: 11/16 Replaced an incorrect photo.

Crossposted from Spark a Synapse.

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Saturday, November 13, 2010

Rationally Selfish Webcast

By Diana Hsieh

Lately, I've been having all kinds of fun experimenting with webcasting. At present, I'm doing a Rationally Selfish Q&A Webcast every Sunday morning at 8 am PT / 9 am MT / 10 am CT / 11 am ET. There, I answer questions on practical ethics and advice, informed by Ayn Rand's Objectivist ethics. Those questions are submitted during the the week via Google Moderator.

This week, I'll be discussing:

  • "What is the proper etiquette in regards to dealing with a deeply irrational person you have to deal with temporarily? Especially when his irrationality interferes with your value pursuits to some extent."
  • "My father and his side of the family are very religious while I am not. Is it moral for me to jeopardize my relationship with them to share the countless fallacies and inhumanities that is religion? If so, how does one go about this process?"
  • "What are your thoughts on using philosophy rather than psychology for therapy?"
  • "If you were physically abused as a child, but have grown up and "gotten over it," is it still reasonable to demand justice if only in the form of refusing to deal with the abuser?"
  • "Under what circumstances is it reasonable for a teacher to demand from his prospective students that his lessons be kept confidential?"
  • "A topic that has come up off and on over the past several months in the Objectivist blogosphere is the concept of "Value Density". Can you suggest how one would go about applying this concept to a specific event or area of life, such as a vacation?"
If that sounds interesting, you can watch the webcast and participate in the chat on the web page for Rationally Selfish. Once the webcast is done, I'll post it to NoodleCast as a podcast on Monday. You can subscribe to my podcasts in iTunes with enhanced M4A format or standard MP3 format.

If you'd like to submit a question or two for next week, please submit questions for next week! You can do that here: Google Moderator. I use the voting to determine how much time I'll devote to each question, meaning that the more popular questions are discussed at greater length.

I still have much to learn about using the medium of webcasting well, but I'm having all kinds of fun in the process. And perhaps, just perhaps, I see a paleo-related webcast in my future!

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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.

Sacred Ego 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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Friday, November 12, 2010

The Paleo Rodeo #034

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.

Here is this week's edition:
Richard Nikoley presents Real Paleo Results: Amazing What a Month Can Do posted at Free The Animal, saying, "Not only are the results fantastic for a month's time but many commenters ring in with amazing results too. Very inspiring on many levels."

John Durant presents Video highlights from the NYC Barefoot Run posted at Hunter-Gatherer blogs.

Benjamin Skipper presents Chocolate Review: Dagoba Superfruit (74% Cacao) posted at Musing Aloud, saying, "This is my review for Dagoba's Superfruit bar. It provides a wonderfully inconsistent texture and complex flavor profile dominant in acai berry notes, but the goji berries and currant raisins don't receive just representation and so still need better chocolates to represent them."

Yael Grauer presents Paleo Experiment: Week 3 Summary posted at Yael Writes, saying, "Week 3 of the Paleo Challenge--trucking along."

Joe Berne presents The Wizard, The Scarecrow, and the Paleo-Hating Munchkins posted at Karate Conditioning, saying, "Answers to the most common paleo-bashing arguments all in one convenient location, with a complimentary logic lesson thrown in!"

Amy Kubal presents A Pill That's Hard to Swallow... posted at Fuel As Rx, saying, "Success Guaranteed - Or Your Money Back!!"

Nell Stephenson presents In Today's NY TIMES: While Warning About Fat, U.S. Pushes Cheese Sales posted at TrainWithNellie.

Laurie Donaldson presents The Absolute Best Potato-Leek Soup - Oh no, is it paleo? posted at Food for Primal Thought.

Patty Strilaeff presents Dr. Su's Egg Pizza posted at following my nose..., saying, "Dr. Robert Su (author of "Carbohydrates Can Kill") and his family have had this breakfast almost every day for the past eight years."

Paul Jaminet presents Dangers of Zero-Carb Diets, I: Can There Be a Carbohydrate Deficiency? posted at Perfect Health Diet, saying, "This is the first in a series on dangers of zero-carb or very low-carb diets. Why do some people have negative health effects quickly from a very low carb diet, and what long-term problems can be expected?"

Adam Farrah presents Where'd the science go? posted at PracticalPaleolithic.com, saying, "An irreverent blog post that asks Modern Healthcare where the science went."

Tara presents Just Watch the Animals posted at Tribe of Five.
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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Question of the Week: Beets

By Diana Hsieh


(Photo courtesy of ulteriorepicure)


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.

Paleo Questions of the Week: This is a picture of "Jellied Beet Soup & Beet Salad." Do you like beets? If so, what's your favorite way to prepare them?

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Wednesday, November 10, 2010

Frozen Treat Not Such a Treat

By Kelly McNulty Valenzuela

Some of you may have seen my Facebook status a week or so ago about my experience after eating a Sonic Blast. I rarely eat ice cream, much less ice cream from a fast food joint with whipped "topping" and Reese's Peanut Butter Cup bits in it, but I thought I would treat myself to dessert while I was out running errands. A treat it was not!

Over the next few days, I broke out in cystic-type acne all over my neck, shoulders, back and chest. I got a few smaller bumps on my face as well. Many of them were quite painful and I still have them nearly a week later.

I emailed Sonic for the ingredients of the Sonic Blast since I've eaten store-bought ice cream (such as Häagen-Dazs five™) and not had this effect. I know diary doesn't cause my acne despite all the rumors about that because I eat dairy products all the time, so I wondered if it was the high sugar content or something else?
After taking a look at the ingredients (see the list below), I don't think my problem was caused by sugar or dairy. I feel fairly certain my reaction was caused by one, if not several, of the unnatural and likely toxic ingredients that made up my "treat."

The obvious lesson learned here is that there is real harm involved with eating toxins. The effect was obvious on the outer portion of my body and I don't know what it did inside my body, but it couldn't have been good. Granted, I don't eat this way all the time (well, not anymore), but even small amounts of toxins on rare occasions appears to be quite bad for me. Yes, the "treat" satisfied my rare urge to eat something sweet, but the harmful and long-lasting effects are simply not worth it in my opinion.

That being said, I would like to give credit where it's due. When I eat fast food (maybe once every 2-3 weeks or even less), I usually go to Wendy's. Their meat tastes like real meat, their chili is pretty darn good (even though it has beans), and on the rare occasion I want dessert, I've never had any trouble with their small, chocolaty Frosty. I know the Frosty has some bad ingredients, but at least they use real dairy products like milk and cream, plus they use real cocoa! The bad ingredients are the last few things on the list, so they're in small quantities. (See Junior-sized Chocolate Frosty here.)

Anyway, I thought I'd pass that along for whatever it may be worth to any of you. If I can spare just one person this annoying acne-like outbreak, I will feel better about my experience!

The ingredients in the Reese’s are:

Milk Chocolate (milk chocolate contains sugar, cocoa butter, chocolate, non-fat milk, milk fat, lactose, and soya lecithin and PGPR (as emulsifiers), Peanuts, Sugar, Dextrose, Salt, and TBHQ and Citric Acid (to preserve freshness).

The ingredients in the ice cream are:

Milkfat and Nonfat Milk, Water, Sugar, Buttermilk, Whey, Corn Syrup, Less than 1% of: Mono & Diglycerides, Cellulose Gum, Tetrasodium Pyrophosphate, Carrageenan, Artificial Vanilla Flavor, Annatto (Color).

Whipped Topping ingredients are:
WATER, HIGH FRUCTOSE CORN SYRUP, PARTIALLY HYDROGENATED PALM KERNEL OIL, CONTAINS LESS THAN 2% OF THE FOLLOWING: *SODIUM CASEINATE (A MILK DERIVATIVE), DEXTROSE, ARTIFICIAL FLAVOR, POLYSORBATE 60, SORBITAN MONOSTEARATE, XANTHAN GUM, GUAR GUM, COLORED WITH TURMERIC AND ANNATTO EXTRACTS.
*NOT A SOURCE OF LACTOSE

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Tuesday, November 09, 2010

All New, 100% Guarantee! Weight Loss Solution! The Twinkie Diet!

By Monica

You're going to love this, if you haven't already seen it. Man loses 27 pounds eating 3/4 of his food as Twinkies and the like, daily. This is about as intelligent an "experiment" as the woman who is leaving 1 McDonald's burger out for 6 months and "proving" that it doesn't rot.

Most of my writing over the past month has been devoted to the "McDonald's doesn't rot" meme floating around the internet and getting picked up by the likes of major media outlets like CNN. But let's get real... just because McDonald's rots doesn't make it health food, and I would never use my experiment to try to make that point.

But wait... you can lose weight on Twinkies! The new health food!

This guy went from a diet of "healthy whole grains and fruit" to junk food, but with both diets having probably equal proportions of macronutrients. But he cut calories to around 67% of his needs and lost weight. He's a nutrition professor. You have to love that. Really, a nutritionist or a dietitian would be the only type of person stupid enough to abandon all common sense in order to subject themselves to this diet. I would never go on this diet, damaging my health, in order to prove that people in "food deserts" can lose weight on junk food.

You can lose weight be restricting your calories eating almost anything. This is news? Imagine eating only 2/3 the food you eat now. This would be tough. Of course, when you allow yourself a Twinkie every three hours when you're having a sugar crash, it might make things easier.

I was also fairly lean on a donut-, cookie-, brownie-, sandwich-, pasta-, and rice and beans-diet in grad school. I weighed quite a bit less than I do now, actually. Of course, I was also 6 years younger and a miserable, nervous wreck. My leanness didn't last, though. It also caught up with me until I was at an all-time high on the scale.

The big thing missing in this article is how he felt on this diet. I think this is an important indicator of health that people forsake for traditional measurements of "health" including cholesterol (I didn't realize anyone still cared about that) and the scale.

Do I really need to point out that this diet is a recipe for your body to burn lean muscle mass over the long term in order to satisfy metabolic requirements? Anyone who wants to see (literally, as pictures as provided) what the effects of this type of diet are over the long term need only read about Ancel Keys' starvation experiments in Good Calories, Bad Calories.

Gotta love this one:



"These foods are consumed by lots of people," he said. "It may be an issue of portion size and moderation rather than total removal. I just think it's unrealistic to expect people to totally drop these foods for vegetables and fruits. It may be healthy, but not realistic."

I love this. "These foods" he's talking about are Hostess Twinkies, Little Debbie snack cakes, and the like.

So let me get this straight.

It's "practical" to eat vending machine snacks every few hours and wipe out your food budget, but it's impractical to plan a little and eat real food that you bought and prepared from the grocery store, maybe 1-2 meals daily, and not be hungry all the time.

It's "practical" to have to be within 100 yards from a vending machine or a calculator most of the day to make sure you're not going over your limit but impractical to eat meats and vegetables like your grandparents did 70 years ago, and be a normal weight without even having to think about it because your appetite functions properly and will regulate how much you eat.

How times have changed. Now we have "nutritionists" telling us we can lose weight by eating Twinkies, so long as you eat few enough in terms of calories to force any outcome. Would anyone have listened to this sort of nonsense 70 years ago if it came from a "nutritionist" whose body fat is still almost twice what it should be, even after losing 27 pounds? No, instead they listened to this type of thing, from a man who looks like he knows what he's talking about:



Now, if Jack Lalanne were telling me to eat Twinkies in order to look like he still does, I might be listening.

Listen closely to what he says. Refined sugars (and wheat, notice!) as bad, sugars in fruit are not as bad because they come with other nutrition, i.e. minerals. Lalanne's prescription? "Protein and fruit" for breakfast, more protein and veggies for lunch, same for dinner. Basically? Paleo, primal, whatever you want to call it. This man was way ahead of his time, and so were our great-grandparents who had enough common sense to know that a steady diet of this type of stuff isn't healthy:

http://www.esquire.com/cm/esquire/images/twinkies-0407-460x360.jpg

Every Monday and Wednesday, I teach 3 hours in the AM and 3 hours in the PM. I'm away from the house for 14 hours. Sometimes I don't eat anything on those days, and sometimes I have a small late lunch, which is my first meal of the day. Then I eat when I get home at 10PM. The only thing I have during my classes is some water.

Yet all the while I'm teaching, I'm watching students have to take frequent breaks, like drug addicts, to get their hits of vending machine snacks and sodas. They can't go even 3 hours without food. Almost all these students (young and old) eat junk, and that is all they eat during the class. I have seen two students this whole semester bring cut fruit or vegetables for snacks. By and large, they are almost all snacking on sugar, all the time. With "news" like this in the media, telling them they can lose weight by eating junk so long as they don't eat too much, it's not hard to understand why.

Let's use some common sense, people. Someone might be able to lose weight eating 8 Twinkies a day if that's about all they eat. And I might be able to show that Twinkies rot in my jars. Doesn't make 'em health food.

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Monday, November 08, 2010

Mushrooms, Mold, and McDonald's, Day 17

By Monica

The story that McDonald's food is immortal and forever resistant to decomposition has gotten massive amounts of public attention. When Richard Nikoley blogged about my preliminary results, he made a perfect comment:

...everybody and their extended family has seen the hyperbole by Morgan Spurlock, Sally Davies, Mike Adams and others, has forwarded breathless emails to their entire address book, posted links to their Facebook pages and, how could they possibly resist...? Tweeted with self righteous glee.

Well, folks, it's time for a little reality check. J. Kenji Lopez-Alt over at Serious Eats just showed that McDonald's burgers do, indeed, rot. So did a blogger in China, back in May. And so did another blogger, again, way back in May.

But... how about the fries? McDonald's fries have different types of fats, plenty of salt, and preservatives. Mike Vaughan has a nice write-up on McDonald's fry ingredients, calling for an experiment on them.

On Oct. 21, before I knew about the other experiments that had been completed or were in the process of being conducted, I set up a well-controlled experiment to find out whether McDonald's burgers and fries rot or not, and if not, why not. In particular, I was interested in the lack of decomposition of the fries, observed by so many different people.

I have 18 different jars of McDonald's and homemade burgers and fries, and it's Day 17 of my experiment. And we've finally hit the mother lode of mold! Check it out:

McMold Day 17, Part III from Monica Hughes on Vimeo.



I'll save my commentary on this issue for another post.

What about the butter and the "not butter"s, you ask? There's nothing visible growing on any of them. Check back again for another update. As for the fries and the burgers, I'll be keeping them until they're too disgusting to keep anymore. When I throw away one set of fries, I'll throw away all of them. Likewise with the burgers. I won't be throwing away parts of the experiment before it's all over, as Morgan Spurlock did.

Stay tuned for next week's "McMold" update!

Correction: I incorrectly state in the video that 1/6 c. water was added to the foods. Actually, 1/3 c. water was added to burgers and fries. 1/6 c. water was used for the butter, margarine, and spreads.

Crossposted from Spark a Synapse.

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Sunday, November 07, 2010

Of Mushrooms, Mold and McDonald's

By Monica

The Unhappy Happy Meal

No doubt you’ve heard of that unhappy Happy Meal by now. Photographer places Happy Meal out on the shelf, and it just won’t decompose ...for months... or over a decade! And perhaps you've seen Morgan Spurlock’s McDonald’s burgers that decompose, but the McDonald’s fries that appear to be immortal even after weeks! Morgan Spurlock’s french fry experiment concludes by stating, “How long would they have lasted? Try this experiment for yourself.”

Spurlock, you’re on!

The Need for a Good Mold Study

I decided to set up my own little experiment to test a few simple hypotheses about this supposed lack of decomposition. More details for motivation and rationale are given here.

Over time and in moist enough conditions, many species of fungi can degrade rocket fuel and polycarbonate on CDs. So, given what I'd learned about decomposition over the past 10 years in graduate school (I have both a master's and PhD in mycology), I was pretty confident that fungi and other microbes really shouldn’t have much of a problem with a Happy Meal. But an experiment needed to be done to find out!

The Experimental Design

I hypothesized that the lack of moisture, presence of salt, or presence of certain types of fats might be responsible for the lack of decay that various bloggers and food activists like Spurlock were seeing. That led me to the following experimental design:

McD’s burger (3): glass jar without lid, glass jar with lid, glass jar with lid and 1/3 c water
Homemade burger fried in beef tallow (3): glass jar without lid, glass jar with lid, glass jar with lid and 1/3 c water
McD’s french fries with salt (3): glass jar without lid, glass jar with lid, glass jar with lid and 1/3 c water
McD’s french fries without salt (3): glass jar without lid, glass jar with lid, glass jar with lid and 1/3 c water
homemade french fries with salt (3): glass jar without lid, glass jar with lid, glass jar with lid and 1/3 c water
homemade french fries without salt (3): glass jar without lid, glass jar with lid, glass jar with lid and 1/3 c water

Because I suspected that the vegetable (seed) oils that McDonald’s uses might have something to do with their lack of decomposition, I decided to do a butter, margarine and “healthy spread” experiment as well.

Butter (3): glass jar without lid, glass jar with lid, glass jar with 1/6 c. water and lid.
Margarine (3): glass jar without lid, glass jar with lid, glass jar with 1/6 c. water and lid. (Highly hydrogenated seed oils)
Smart Balance (3): glass jar without lid, glass jar with lid, glass jar with 1/6 c. water and lid. (Lightly hydrogenated seed oils)
Here We Go!

I wanted to make sure that I didn’t create unintentional bias by pulling out a bunch of old glass jars that have sat in my kitchen for a few years and thus, have varying levels of inoculum. So, I ran all my glassware in the dishwasher before beginning the experiment:


Here are the ingredients from the store. I meant to test two different types of Smart Balance but ended up not having enough jars, so I only tested the normal one, not the lowfat version:


McD's burgers and fries, with storebought (Target) buns and Costco hamburger. The McD's employees were helpful in providing unsalted fries so that I could isolate the salt variable:

The McD's fries (3 salted, 3 unsalted) and salt for the homemade fries (450 mg. per 6.5 oz fries):

Here’s the beef tallow (US Wellness Meats) and potatoes from Target. Getting ready to make the homemade french fries!

Scale and french fry cutter. I wanted to make sure that I placed equal weights of french fries in all the jars (6.5 oz split in three portions, for McD's and homemade fries). A little wine in the background for entertainment as I was waiting for the deep fryer to heat up!

Here are the potatoes I peeled and cut:

Here are the homemade fries:

I placed all foods at the very bottom of the glass jar, and added water to the requisite jars. I noticed that the homemade burger took up the water readily, while it took the McD’s burger several minutes to absorb the same amount. That was interesting.

Homemade hamburgers: happy or not? We’ll see...


And here’s the entire experimental design, set up in my sunroom. You can see that curiosity is killing these cats. "Where's the mold?" They want to know.



Will the McDonald’s fries decompose? Will my homemade fries decompose? Is it the type of fats, the lack of water, or the salt that hinders decomposition of fries? Or none of these? And what about the burgers, the butter, and the “not butter”?


Finally, here are close ups for the start of the experiment, so that we can track the amount of decomposition on each food.

In each case, the jars are in order, from left to right: dry (left), lidded (middle), lidded with water (right). Dry jars are covered with cheesecloth secured by a rubber band. Lidded jars are covered with Kirkland (Costco) brand plastic wrap secured by a rubber band.

Jars 1-3: Salted McD's french fries


Jars 4-6: Unsalted McD's french fries


Jars 7-9: McD's burgers


Jars 10-12: Margarine, Market Pantry brand (Target)


Jars 13-15: Salted butter, Market Pantry brand (Target)


Jars 16-18: Salted homemade fries


Jars 19-21: Unsalted homemade fries


Jars 22-24: Smart Balance "healthy spread" (There are labels still on the outside of these jars, so I wanted to photograph from above so as not to obscure the food.)


Jars 25-27: Homemade burger fried in beef tallow from US Wellness Meats, with Market Pantry brand (Target) white buns, topped with Heinz ketchup (cane sugar, not HFCS). No pickles or onions on the burger.


Thursday Oct. 21, was Day 1 of the experiment. Last week on Day 9, there were small amounts of mold in various jars, but this week we've hit the mother lode!

Stay tuned for this week's McMold results! Meanwhile, I'd love to hear comments about how you think the experiment will turn out, particularly the butter and the "not butter"s!

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Saturday, November 06, 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.

The Playful Spirit 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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Friday, November 05, 2010

The Paleo Rodeo #033

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.

Here is this week's edition:
Sara Hatch presents Recipe of the Week: All-day Paleo Stew posted at Edible.

Benjamin Skipper presents Chocolate Review: Theo's 70% Orange posted at Musing Aloud, saying, "An orange craving has driven me to try out this bar, and I have to say that I'm certainly pleased with that decision. So pleased, in fact, that I'd like to make this a regular staple. Note that this chocolate is explicitly free of soy, a concern some readers have expressed to me."

Patty Strilaeff presents Soft Boiled Eggs and Sauteed Kale posted at following my nose....

Nell Stephenson presents Halloween Candy? No Thanks... posted at TrainWithNellie.

Amy Kubal presents Don't Go To Low... posted at Fuel As Rx, saying, "Not losing weight or getting as lean as you would like too? Maybe you need to eat more..."

mark owen-ward presents two radical yet simple ways to improve your wellbeing posted at new habit.

David Csonka presents Some Thoughts On Juice Fasting posted at Naturally Engineered.

Laurie Donaldson presents Caroline's Stuffed Acorn Squash posted at Food for Primal Thought.

Travis Schefcik presents Simple Paleo Recipes Cookbook Review posted at Uncommon Wellness.

Josephine Svendblad presents Paleo Fig & Barberry Lemon Bites posted at Nutty Kitchen, saying, "Great for upcoming Holiday parties, or as a gift in a beautiful little box for friends or loved ones."

Yael Grauer presents Paleo Experiment: Days 8-14 posted at Yael Writes, saying, "Paleo, week 2! With discussion on food costs in the comments"
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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Question of the Week: Squash

By Diana Hsieh


(Photo courtesy of ospohlminhas)


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.

Paleo Questions of the Week: What is your favorite squash? How do you like to prepare it?

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