Friday, December 31, 2010

The Paleo Rodeo #041

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% Cherry & Almond posted at Musing Aloud, saying, "My review for Theo's 70% cacao dark chocolate with cherry & almond. It's so mild and boring that it's on the verge of being a tasteless rectangle of matter. I'm still interested in the Theo company since I really like the balance of their orange bar, but this variety is a flop."

Patty Pittman presents The Top 10 Fitness and Health Trends of 2010 posted at Kihon Wasa, saying, "A look back on the year in health and fitness."

Patty Pittman presents Pumpkin Paleo Pancakes posted at Primal 30 Day Challenge, saying, "Want the comfort of warm pancakes drizzled with real maple syrup and topped with chopped pecans on a cold winter's morn? Have the pancakes and keep them paleo with these pancakes made from Almond butter and pumpkin."

Melissa "Melicious" Joulwan presents Paleo Comfort Food: Cottage-Flower Pie posted at The Clothes Make The Girl, saying, "Cold evenings, holiday burnout... it's time for healthy comfort food to start the new year right. This recipe for paleo cottage pie is easy, super tasty, and packed with nutrition."

Adam Farrah presents CrossFit Goes Globo-Gym? posted at PracticalPaleolithic.com, saying, "Blog post about the recent CrossFit/Reebok merger and how it might affect the Linchpins in the community."

Richard presents Primal Christmas Gifts posted at Primal Fed, saying, "So what did everyone else get for Christmas?"

Tyler presents Alcohol and Evolutionary Nutrition posted at Evolutionary Health Systems, saying, "A discussion on alcohol's role in an evolutionary diet. How to have fun while minimizing potential damage."

Nell Stephenson presents Paleo Truffles-Decadence Suitable Only for This Time of Year! posted at TrainWithNellie.

Laurie Donaldson presents Guest Post from My Daughter - Carrot Latkes posted at Food for Primal Thought, saying, "A guest post from my daughter who is turning out to be quite a cook!"

Robin presents Does Paleo Eating Improve Thyroid Function? posted at Everymom To Ironmom, saying, "Experiences in decreasing thyroid medication after eating paleo for months."

Nicole Markee - Astrogirl presents A Quick One posted at Astrogirl.

Melissa "Melicious" Joulwan presents Dino-Chow New Year's Eve Nibbles posted at The Clothes Make The Girl, saying, "Nosh in the New Year! I've got 21 ideas for tasty nibbles so you can celebrate the start of 2011 with good taste and good health!"

Sara Hatch presents Happy Holidays! posted at Edible.

Richard Nikoley presents A Most Successful Self-Experiement: Over 18 Months Soap and Shampoo Free posted at Free The Animal, saying, "Time for the annual no soap, no shampoo report."

Angelo Coppola presents This Week in Paleo - Episode 17 - Cholesterol, Grass Fed Beef, Joel Salatin, Gary Taubes, Mark Sisson posted at This Week in Paleo Podcast, saying, "First of two holiday episodes of This Week in Paleo. Instead of the regular format, I'm playing audio clips of potential interest to the Paleo crowd. Some real gems!"
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: The New Year

By Diana Hsieh


(Photo courtesy of c_r_i_s)


Paleo Questions of the Week: How do you plan to celebrate the new year? What new habits will you try to cultivate?

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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Sunday, December 26, 2010

Hsieh PJM OpEd: Beware Counterfeit "Responsibility"

By Paul Hsieh

Last week, PajamasMedia published my OpEd, "Beware Counterfeit 'Responsibility'":

My theme is that the Obama Administration's version of "individual responsibility" (also shared by many Republicans) is a counterfeit version of the concept aimed masking its drive to subvert genuine responsibility and freedom.

Here is the opening:

The ObamaCare individual insurance mandate met its first courtroom defeat when Judge Henry Hudson ruled it unconstitutional in Commonwealth of Virginia v. Sebelius. But while the legal battle is likely to smolder on for years until it reaches the U.S. Supreme Court, the rhetorical battle is heating up in the court of public opinion.

In particular, the Obama administration is attempting to defend the individual mandate as a matter of "individual responsibility." If Americans allow them to get away with this counterfeit notion of "responsibility," it will jeopardize the freedoms that make genuine individual responsibility possible...
(Read the full text of "Beware Counterfeit 'Responsibility'".)

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Saturday, December 25, 2010

Merry Christmas!

By Diana Hsieh

Merry Christmas, Everyone!

Perhaps that seems strange, given that Modern Paleo is the work of Objectivists. After all, we don't merely deny the existence of God. We're staunchly opposed to the mysticism and altruism at the core of Christianity. So what gives? Why are we celebrating merrily too?

Personally, Christmas has always been a completely secular holiday for me. I grew up in a secular household, so we celebrated Christmas with Santa, a decorated tree, yummy treats, and piles of presents. I remember that my sisters and I used to write lengthy questionnaires to Santa, in the hopes that he would make some mistake and then we'd know for certain that he wasn't real. His answers were always pretty good, however -- although our suspicions were aroused by the similarity of his handwriting to that of my father. :-)

So, unlike many, I don't regard Christmas as inherently religious. In fact, it's not much a religious holiday, despite its name. As Richard Salsman explains, the end-of-year celebration is rooted in Roman paganism, and serious Christians opposed it when it arose in its modern merry form in the 19th century. Plus, Jesus was likely born in September. (Doh!)

Here's Ayn Rand's view of Christmas -- and to make matters even more interesting, she was raised in a secular Jewish family in Russia.

[In answer to the question of whether it is appropriate for an atheist to celebrate Christmas:]

Yes, of course. A national holiday, in this country, cannot have an exclusively religious meaning. The secular meaning of the Christmas holiday is wider than the tenets of any particular religion: it is good will toward men--a frame of mind which is not the exclusive property (though it is supposed to be part, but is a largely unobserved part) of the Christian religion.

The charming aspect of Christmas is the fact that it expresses good will in a cheerful, happy, benevolent, non-sacrificial way. One says: "Merry Christmas"--not "Weep and Repent." And the good will is expressed in a material, earthly form--by giving presents to one's friends, or by sending them cards in token of remembrance . . . .

The best aspect of Christmas is the aspect usually decried by the mystics: the fact that Christmas has been commercialized. The gift-buying . . . stimulates an enormous outpouring of ingenuity in the creation of products devoted to a single purpose: to give men pleasure. And the street decorations put up by department stores and other institutions--the Christmas trees, the winking lights, the glittering colors--provide the city with a spectacular display, which only "commercial greed" could afford to give us. One would have to be terribly depressed to resist the wonderful gaiety of that spectacle.

The Objectivist Calendar, Dec. 1976
For more, see Why Christmas Should be More Commercial by Leonard Peikoff.

So... once again... Merry Christmas, Everyone! Or, if you don't celebrate Christmas, I hope that you have a fabulous day today!

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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.

Mother of Exiles 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, December 24, 2010

The Paleo Rodeo #040

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:
mark owen-ward presents the paleo diet without eating like a caveman | new habit posted at new habit, saying, "Read this great guest post by Nell Stephenson, coauthor of the Paleo Diet Cookbook."

Benjamin Skipper presents Chocolate Review: Dagoba's 74% Xocolatl posted at Musing Aloud, saying, "This is my review for Dagoba's Xocolatl 74% dark chocolate with cacao nibs and chilies. It's wonderfully aromatic, balanced, savory, fruity, and more! It's also probably one of the most unique chocolates I've ever tasted."

Yael Grauer presents The Cheat Meal (Sure, We're Paleo -- Most of the Time.) posted at Yael Writes, saying, "Yael writes about the cheat meal and its inevitable repurcussions. (Sure, we're Paleo... most of the time!)"

Jessica Herschberg presents Just because it's edible doesn't mean it's food posted at The Metamorphosis.

Amy Kubal presents Can You Blame McDonald's?? posted at Fuel As Rx, saying, "Placing blame. The new solution..."

Laurie Donaldson presents Festivus and Primal Chili posted at Food for Primal Thought, saying, "Festivus in a "mixed" social setting."

Paul Jaminet presents Fasting and the Ketogenic Diet for Migraines posted at Perfect Health Diet, saying, "Reader Rob Sacks shares his experiences relieving lifelong migraine headaches with a long fast and a ketogenic diet."

Julie Sullivan Mayfield presents Paleo Shrimp (or crab) Bisque posted at BTB's Nutrition and Performance Blog, saying, "A velvety, luscious soup that can stand alone as a meal! Note: everyone has different standards as to what is "okay" for them in regards to paleo. For this recipe, I was "okay" with some brandy and sherry added - if that's not your thing - simply omit! Happy holidays to one and all!"

Nell Stephenson presents Sneak Peek # 3 From The Paleo Diet Cookbook - HOLIDAY STUFFING posted at TrainWithNellie.

Tyler presents Mastering Muscle Soreness posted at Evolutionary Health Systems, saying, "Details the most effective measures for decreasing muscle soreness."

Richard presents Recipe: Cooking Rabbit on a Campfire posted at Primal Fed, saying, "Cooking a Barbecued Rabbit over a campfire."

Joe Berne presents Before and During Photos posted at Karate Conditioning, saying, "Before and After shots of me - before and after giving up grains and getting serious about Paleo. View at your own risk."

Robin presents Welcome Back Light posted at Everymom To Ironmom, saying, "Welcoming the turn of the seasons and the Return of the Light with some summery berries"

Diana Hsieh presents Perverse Effects of the Horse Slaughter Ban posted at NoodleFood, saying, "What's wrong with eating horse meat? Nothing that I can see, but like so many other "humane" laws, the federal ban on horse slaughter has only increased the suffering of horses."

Jean-Patrick Millette presents Portrait of a killer : Wheat posted at Primal Journal, saying, "reductionism?"

Kristy A. presents Breakfast: Cinnamon, Smoked Salmon Kale and Eggs posted at Feasting on Fitness, saying, "Why breakfast when it's the holiday season? Because it is the simplest way to start your day right and set up your body, especially your blood sugar, for a day that might not be as "on the diet" as you hope. This breakfast tastes like an indulgence without actually being one!"

Dr. John presents Books: 5 Recent Selections posted at Paleoterran, saying, "The subjects include the coming population crash, the story of a neuroscientist who lost part of her mind following a stroke and how she recovered, a primal cookbook, an extensive treatise on biodiversity and its impact on human health, and a synthesis of the origin of humankind."

Richard Nikoley presents I Get Email From a UK Heart Surgeon posted at Free The Animal, saying, "He's a big fan of the Labor Theory of Value."
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: Cookies for Santa

By Diana Hsieh


(Photo courtesy of ladydragonflyherworld)


Paleo Questions of the Week: If you celebrate Christmas, will you give Santa cookies and milk ... or something more paleo?

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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Chocolate Review: Theo's 70% Orange

By Benjamin Skipper

For those of you who have expressed concern over such a matter, Theo's 70% dark chocolate with orange marks the first of the chocolates I have reviewed that is explicitly free of soy. That ingredient is just entirely omitted with nothing else to take its place, so hopefully this bar is more palatable to my more strictly health-conscious readers.

After interacting with a fruit and chocolate loving friend of mine I have lately been seized by a craving for oranges. It's one of those fruits I could typically live without, but am amazed by its flavor whenever I do choose to partake. Somewhere along my craving I remembered one Christmas where I tried this odd dark chocolate, probably with no cacao percentage listed, that came in the shape of a sphere and broke into orange-shaped wedges when smashed against the table. It was one of the best chocolates I had ever tried, as it had the perfect balance of orange in comparison to chocolate. Unfortunately, I haven't eaten it again since my childhood and don't remember the brand name, so I went out to see what other orange chocolates could be offered. In comes Theo's orange.

Now for a spontaneous change I would like to make my reviews more logical in their transition. I think it violates the natural hierarchy of chocolate eating to comment on the flavor and mouthfeel of a chocolate before its packaging aesthetics since one will obviously encounter them in the reverse order. Also, since the mouthfeel and flavor are the absolutely most important considerations of a chocolate it would make more sense to leave it for slightly later in the article since it can serve as a sort of build-up to a climax, no? Unless persuaded otherwise, I'll start conducting my reviews in accordance to the natural order of a chocolate eating experience.

As far as packaging aesthetics go, I have to say this is the most disappointing bar to date. The wrapping paper itself is nice enough what with the orange halves floating around, but overall it leaves the impression in me of bad wallpaper in an ugly house. It's barely acceptable, but upon unwrapping I saw the bar itself was atrocious. There is no attempt at artistic design whatsoever: It's just plain rectangles. No shapes, no lines, no brand name, no anything! I appreciate it when a company at least tries, but I cannot give Theo any credit, especially when cheaper varieties still manage to make their bars look beautiful, like Lindt. Worse yet, the bar lacks any gloss and seems to be covered in its own chocolaty dust, which almost makes it look old. The very least I can give it is that it doesn't look gross or unappetizing, so it shouldn't be a deterrent to eating, but they could have tried better to go the extra mile.

The eating, however, is a whole other world. This bar is somewhat noticeably pressed thinner, which makes the bar much easier to break off from. From a functional standpoint that makes this bar nearly fragile, warranting caution in handling, but the peril of its fragility is negated by the mouthfeel value. Its brittleness comes as a plus when biting off, as it practically breaks off like a piece of glass and starts to melt amazingly fast, perhaps even competing with the meltiness of Lindt's 90%. The flavor makes me forget all about its terrible aesthetics, for it replicates my childhood memory of that other classic chocolate perfectly. The chocolate is not too sweet and shows no signs of bitterness, and the orange note integrates into the experience rather than being distinct and is of the perfect intensity. The chocolate is certainly the major player, but it doesn't mute or cover the orange at all. I usually only allow myself to eat half of a chocolate bar per day if I choose chocolate as my daily sugar indulgence, even if the chocolate is fantastic, but this bar was so delicious that I was practically compelled to eat the whole thing in one sitting, something unusual to me. This bar is ugly, but it's flavor is at the height of beauty.

The only potential problem I could see would be with one of personal preference. If you're looking for a very intense citrus experience then this isn't your bar, as the orange still plays somewhat of a background singer to the chocolate. It is of perfect intensity to please me however, so for now I'll consider this my orange chocolate of choice. 

I am so pleased with this bar that I'm going to include it on my list of favorite chocolates, period. The next time I go chocolate shopping I'm going to buy several of these bars to ensure a consistent supply on hand, woe to me otherwise. But of course I am not blind to the competition. I have been notified that Endangered Species offers its own orange bar. It will certainly be the subject of a future tasting.

In summary, this bar offers the worst aesthetics I have ever seen and an almost dangerous fragility in its thinness, but it more than makes makes up for it in its ease of eating, fantastic mouthfeel, and perfect ratio of orange-to-chocolate. If you like oranges and if you like chocolate, I greatly recommend trying this bar.

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Thursday, December 23, 2010

Chocolate Review: Lindt's 90%

By Benjamin Skipper

A long time ago I promised that I would do a review for Lindt's 90% Cocoa dark chocolate, but unfortunately I could only get my hands on a bar of Lindt's 85%. Fortunately, it does turn out that some local Walgreens continues to carry the 90% variety, as I was gifted a bar and can now do a review of it. Even better, I still had some of Lindt's 85% leftover in my fridge, so I was able to sit down and taste them side-by-side. Given how close they are in cacao percentages one may think there's not enough of a difference to consider one over the other, but delicate attention will expose the subtle differences.

The biggest differences I noticed were in flavor and texture. Here I think the 90% has the upper hand, though again it's to be left up to your own personal preference. The higher fat and cacao content makes the 90% a more creamy, meltier bar while the 85% is a little more prone to firmness and breaking up before melting. Oh, they'll both melt in your mouth fairly quickly, but I noticed that the 90% one was quicker to do so. Better yet, the vanilla seems to be more integrated into the 90% version and heightens the chocolate experience while smoothing out the bitterness, whereas in the 85% it tends to be more of a distinct note that plays alongside the chocolate rather than with it. Oddly enough, the 85% comes off as more bitter, and I attribute that to the better vanilla integration in the 90%.

In considering which bar to purchase, the flavor profile is more important than the texture. Both of them are fast-melting, and the difference between them in that area is so subtle as to be insignificant. However, the bitter notes and the vanilla integration are noticeably different between these two. In the 90% bar the vanilla works as a helper to boost the chocolate and integrate itself into the overall experience, resulting in a complete bar that offers an incredibly dark experience with almost no detectable bitterness (that applies, of course, only if your cacao threshold is up to this level), but the vanilla seems to be more distinct in the 85% version, so the result there is a tri-fold experience of vanilla, chocolate, and bitterness all strongly related, but not perfectly combined. I am now of opinion that the 90% bar is my plain dark chocolate bar of choice, but I may continue buying the 85% variety if I can't justify traveling to that particular Walgreens.

And what of nutrition? After a commenter on one of my reviews on Modern Paleo pointed out that the overall carbohydrate count is higher in the 90% version than in the 85% version I investigated and confirmed it was true. The 85% version has a higher sugar total, whereas the 90% has a higher overall carb count. For me, personally, I worry the most about the sugar content in my diet distinct from carbohydrate consumption, so if I had to make a choice on the basis of nutrition I'd still stick with the 90% version. However, if you're trying to utilize a low-carb diet to lose weight, then you might want to choose the 85% bar.

But let us not forget there are competitors. Remember Endangered Species' 88% dark chocolate? (Here's my initial review, and my recent reassessment of it.) In comparing this to both of Lindt's varieties, I still say Lindt comes out on top. The thicker ES bar makes for a crunchier experience that I do not like, and the chocolate is particularly resistant to melting even as you let your body heat try to overwhelm it. The vanilla is also weaker, so weak that I couldn't detect it, so its purpose is either ineffectual or technical and does not contribute to the aesthetics. Oh I do love ES' mint, but when I'm looking for plain chocolate this is the kind of experience I detest! If you like to gobble and crunch your bars then go ahead and choose this brand, but I'm on the lookout for a more delicate experience. 

So my take-home conclusion is that Lindt 90% is my plain dark chocolate of choice, as it offers the creamiest mouthfeel I have ever come across, the most integrated experience, the most intense chocolate with the least bitterness, and the best vanilla note. To boot, it's one of the most affordable dark chocolates out there, so that it's such a price makes it great that such a value is so obtainable.

This does not, however, end my hunt for other plain chocolates. There's still the Lindt 99% to save up for, and I'm also eying Green and Black's 85% dark chocolate. The latter brand will result in a strange full-circle, for it was either the 85% or 70% variety of Green and Black's that got me into dark chocolate to begin with.

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Wednesday, December 22, 2010

Chocolate Review: Dagoba's Beaucoup Berries (74% Cacao)

By Benjamin Skipper

At long last I have restocked my fridge with new chocolates to try and can restart my stream of chocolate reviews. This time, however, I think I'll leave you in the dark as to what's in my fridge so you'll be nicely surprised when the reviews come. I've got some nice ones for this round, including a variety I promised previously to review and two soy-free bars.

This time Dagoba's 74% cacao Beaucoup Berries will be taken into consideration, which is a mixture of cranberries, cherries, and vanilla. Someone recommended this brand to me on Twitter, and I have to admit that I'm pleased enough to try the line.

Overall, I am satisfied. Unlike other bars with fruit integrations I've had this bar has done well to ensure everything is thoroughly integrated, so you won't run into the problem of getting different flavor impressions in each bite; every section delivers on its fruity promise. However, the cherries and the cranberries tend to combine in a way that their flavors fuse together and offer their own combination, so I couldn't distinguish them. This is alright since they do leave a nice fruity impression, so I guess it might be a bit irrational to want to dissect the flavors in such a fashion. Unfortunately, the vanilla appears to either be very weak or muted by the other flavors, so I couldn't detect it at all, though it could be the case that it was merely utilized to round off any bitterness of the cacao. Still, I would like to see it made more intense, but it seems like Lindt is still the brand to depend on for that level of vanilla-intensity.

I'm totally satisfied with the texture. The bar is nicely thin to allow you to work with your incisors, melts nicely in the mouth, and is overall easy to deal with. The berries themselves add the addition of a nice squishy, gooey bite every now and then, which is a pleasant contrast to the solidity of the chocolate itself. How it can be the case that the berries can be uneven in texture but fully integrated in flavor I do not know, but it is a very nice paradox.

Aesthetically, I'd rate the totality of this bar to be well above average, though not exemplary. The package itself, combined with its dark pink colors and design of cacao plants, leaves a good impression of cheerfulness, romance, and femininity all at once while delivering a bar suitable to those emotional evaluations. The bar itself isn't very artistically designed, but I do give them full credit for what they did accomplish. Instead of being dividable by squares the bar is divided up into rectangles along the width, and on each rectangle the Dagoba brand is spelled fully out. The rectangle method of division is new to me so this bar takes on a unique individuality, and while the writing out of the brand may sound unimaginative, it's better than putting nothing or, worse, putting some lame bizarre design of arbitrary shapes, like lines and dots. I forgot to investigate more closely while I was eating, but I believe the brand is also written in the same font as the one on the wrapper, which further emphasizes the name as more of a signature rather than a mere printing or advertisement. The only downside I can find is that this bar is divided too finely -- into about ten or so sections for a 56 gram bar -- so despite my careful efforts I kept breaking the bar into shards rather than its individual sections. However, I won't subtract credit since I think I could have been more careful, and the division does make for a nice way to break things into bite sized pieces or pieces for sharing (since one those tiny rectangles it probably all you'd want to share). You could possibly even save money by breaking these bars up for tasting parties rather than buying actual tasting squares.

On price, I'd have to say it's a bit on the high side for a 56 gram bar. I paid $1.26 per ounce, whereas I paid .90 cents per ounce and lower for brands like Endangered Species and Lindt. That means it can be quite out of reach, similar to the New Tree line though bigger and slightly cheaper. Still, I have to admit that I've softened my view on how much I'd be willing to spend on chocolate, so I won't consider this too much of a deterrent for trying this brand out in the future. Additionally, the Lucky Vitamin shop carries, I believe, the whole Dagoba line and can offer a more justifiable source of this chocolate since you can buy it in conjunction with other products and pay an acceptable shipping cost. The shipping cost for New Tree's chocolates from the manufacturer is positively outrageous ($10 base!) at my income level, so I'll continue to abstain from that brand until I've otherwise saved up a significant amount or can find a more palatable source.

In summation, I like this bar and believe it to be above average, though I'm not impressed enough to include it into my list of favorite chocolates. Sure, I'd certainly be willing to pay for it again, but since it's beaten out by other favorite chocolates in my hierarchy I'm not sure when exactly I'd buy it again. Its virtues consist of nice aesthetics, thorough flavor integration, and a pleasantly inconsistent texture. On the vice side, the vanilla extract is too mild for it to be worthy of advertisement, the division might be a little too fine, and it's a bit on the pricey side, though somewhat still fair. I'd recommend this bar, and I will continue to give consideration to other varieties of this brand in the future.  

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Tuesday, December 21, 2010

Chocolate Review: Hershey's 100% Cacao Baking Bar

By Benjamin Skipper

Hershey's 100% cacao baking bar (the variety in consideration is on the left) makes for the third variety of unsweetened chocolate I have given consideration to. Previously I considered Ghirardelli's 100% Cacao, and that review considered in conjunction another brand, Baker's. While some may think "chocolate is chocolate," there are some subtle differences to take into account. I don't use this type of chocolate for magnesium supplementation anymore -- I've been able to treat my muscle cramps successfully with pickles and pickle juice -- but that doesn't mean I don't enjoy the taste of it!

Immediately noticeable was how incredibly less intense the bitterness was. It's very, very mild in this one, making Ghirardelli's and Baker's variety seem to offer a punch in comparison. Now how one interprets bitterness will vary from individual to individual in accordance to one's taste buds, but I personally find that bitterness can be both an on-and-off pleasure: some days I might want it, others not. If you have been intimidated by the prospect of advancing your dark chocolate eating to full cacao, then Hershey's might be somewhat of a good start.

Nutritionally, some questions are raised. When I looked at the nutritional info on my bar I noticed it had two ingredients: chocolate and cocoa. Cocoa is a product of chocolate after going through certain processing, so that may explain why this bar is less bitter despite being 100% cacao: It's all chocolate, but it doesn't contain all the parts of chocolate. If my memory serves correctly, Ghirardelli and Baker's is nothing but chocolate, no cocoa, so there may be some nutritional differences to take into account. Unfortunately I could not find nutritional info on either Ghirardelli's or Kraft's website, so I cannot confirm it. If I am correct, then I hypothesize one may derive greater health benefits by eating Ghirardelli or Baker's since you'd be eating cacao and its complete parts; the difference in bitterness does indicate something is different.

As for the flavor profile, it isn't all that great. It just tastes mildly of chocolate. Ghirardelli and Baker's pretty much tastes the same except for the higher bitterness. Perhaps that Godiva bar has ruined me; wherever these guys are getting their cacao, it ain't all that special. That isn't to say I'm disappointed, however. It's just that after having more enjoyable and complex experiences with other, sweetened varieties these unsweetened varieties seem lackluster in comparison. Nonetheless, they do make for some excellent pairings with some other foods. I, for instance, like pairing something sweet with it, like sweetened almond butter. Wonderful contrast! Though Godiva does prompt an interesting thought for me as to whether it would be nice to try unsweetened chocolate imported from different geographical areas. That would certainly be something to look forward to in the future.

But since Hershey's variety is so similar to Ghirardelli's and Baker's minus the bitterness, the most important thing to consider would be price and how easy it is to eat. If you recall, I detested Baker's variety since the squares were so huge and thick that I had a hard time breaking them with my hands or cutting them, and drooled all over my face struggling to bite through it. Its cheap price might be good for those with tight finances or for those who want to cook/bake with it, but I avoid it since it's an absolute hassle to eat. Ghirardelli, though more expensive, is pressed thin and is much more easy and enjoyable to eat. Hershey's takes a bit of a middle ground, both being inexpensive and somewhat indeterminate in its "eatability." The squares are thick, but not so much so that I couldn't break them with my hands or bite off of it. You won't be able to bite off it with your incisors, however. I don't think it's so difficult that it takes away from the eating experience, but it is noticeably crunchy, sturdy, and not at all a delicately textured chocolate.

It's a bit confusing for me to say, but I'm tempted to say that Ghirardelli is still my pick. I like the higher bitterness, and its thinness makes for a more enjoyable eating experience, especially if you're a connoisseur. Hershey's is just one of those take-it-or-leave-it brands that leaves me neither impressed nor disappointed. It's less bitter and milder in its chocolatelyness, and it's equal parts easy and difficult to eat.

As such, I'll have to conclude with the verdict that the chocolate you should choose ought to be based on your own preferences. If you want the full punch of chocolate, an easy to handle bar, and something delicate to chew, then I'd go with Ghirardelli. If you want something cheap, then Baker's. Hershey's serves as the middle ground and will please those who want mildness in both bitterness and chocolate, an okay price, and a crunchy, though not frustrating, texture. I choose Ghirardelli, though feel neutral towards Hershey.

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Monday, December 20, 2010

Nutritional Relativism Versus Facts

By Diana Hsieh

A new article in the LA Times -- A Reversal on Carbs -- reports on the increasing awareness that cutting carbohydrate intake improves health. For example:

"Fat is not the problem," says Dr. Walter Willett, chairman of the department of nutrition at the Harvard School of Public Health. "If Americans could eliminate sugary beverages, potatoes, white bread, pasta, white rice and sugary snacks, we would wipe out almost all the problems we have with weight and diabetes and other metabolic diseases."
That's great, but why focus on white bread rather than just bread? (Too many people just can't challenge the mantra of hearthealthywholegrains, unfortunately.)

Even the big kahunas in the American Heart Association seem to be hedging their bets in face of the growing evidence that their low-fat, high-carb dietary recommendations have failed miserably:
Though the movement to cap carbs is growing, not all nutritional scientists have fully embraced it. Dr. Ronald Krauss, senior scientist at Children's Hospital Oakland Research Institute and founder and past chair of the American Heart Assn.'s Council on Nutrition, Physical Activity and Metabolism, says that while he fundamentally agrees with those advocating fewer dietary carbs, he doesn't like to demonize one food group.

That said, he adds, those who eat too many calories tend to overconsume carbohydrates, particularly refined carbohydrates and sugars. "It can be extremely valuable to limit carbohydrate intake and substitute protein and fat. I am glad to see so many people in the medical community getting on board. But in general I don't recommend extreme dietary measures for promoting health."
In fact, whether some practice or principle counts as "extreme" depends on the cultural context. Consider that to advocate the rights of Jews during the Third Reich was "extreme." Today, just the opposite it true: to advocate the extermination of Jews in Germany would be "extreme." What counts as "extreme" depends wholly on the dominant ideas and values of one's culture: it doesn't tell you what's right or wrong. So to criticize some practice or principle as "extreme" is to implicitly adopt a standard of cultural relativism: other people's collective opinions trump the facts. That's wrong in theory -- and often disastrous in practice. Such matters should be discussed in terms of the relevant facts, e.g. that every human person, whatever his religion or origin, deserves to have his rights recognized, respected, and protected.

Similar considerations apply to questions about nutrition. To speak in terms of certain diets being "extreme" presupposes cultural relativism. On that all-too-common approach, the facts are not important, not in face of majority opinion or standard practice. Again, that's wrong in theory -- and often disastrous in practice. And in this case, it's quite myopic too, since apparently the kind of diet that most people have eaten throughout most of human history, even up to 100 years ago, now qualifies as "extreme."

In fact, the critical questions in the science of nutrition should be whether the consumption of that food tends to promote human health or not, what kinds of costs and benefits accure with different quantities of that food, and what kind of variation in effects people experience in eating that food. In other words, facts about foods should be our sole concern in nutrition -- not whether eating or not eating some food is "extreme" relative to our current eating habits.

Finally, I'm particularly pleased with the end of the article, which suggests an evolutionary approach to diet:
As nutrition scientists try to find the ideal for the future, others look to history and evolution for answers. One way to put our diet in perspective is to imagine the face of a clock with 24 hours on it. Each hour represents 100,000 years that humans have been on the Earth.

On this clock, the advent of agriculture and refined grains would have appeared at about 11:54 p.m. (23 hours and 54 minutes into the day). Before that, humans were hunters and gatherers, eating animals and plants off the land. Agriculture allowed for the mass production of crops such as wheat and corn, and refineries transformed whole grains into refined flour and created processed sugar.

Some, like Phinney, would argue that we haven't evolved to adapt to a diet of refined foods and mass agriculture — and that maybe we shouldn't try.
For me, low-carb or not isn't so important. The critical issue for health is not macronutrient ratios, but rather food quality. As it happens, however, the worst-quality foods that people eat are very high in sugar and wheat, and hence, eating low-carb is often a step in the right direction. Of course, macronutrient ratios can be important to achieve particular goals (like weight loss, muscle gain), and eating low-carb can reverse metabolic derangement. But at the beginning, middle, and end of the day, food quality should be king.

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Sunday, December 19, 2010

Perverse Effects of the Horse Slaughter Ban

By Diana Hsieh

On OEvolve, Robert O'Callahan reports on the suffering inflicted on horses because of the federal ban on horse slaughter:

This Western Washington farmer reports on how much harm that federal laws banning horse slaughter do:

"When we outlawed slaughter for horses in the USA we shifted some of the market to Canada, and some to Mexico, and for many horses, instead of being slaughtered in a regional plant that means a trip of many hundreds or a thousand miles before they're slaughtered, often in cattle trailers that aren't tall enough for the horse to stand upright -- an uncomfortable journey, and certainly the last thing that the folks who outlawed the USA slaughter of horses had in mind."

There isn't much people can do with useless, but tasty, cheval. "I've been to several auctions in the past 3 months where horses have sold for between $1 and $10 each -- 800 to 1,000lb animals." At those prices, I would slaughter themself for my own freezer!

15% of the Snohomish county animal rescue budget is in taking care of seized horses. But then Bruce King's suggested half-measure: "Maybe we should just license all horses and use the fees generated to fund the rescues that regularly appear. As a non-horse owner, I don't see anything wrong with all horse owners chipping in to pay for their chosen animal. We do that for dogs and cats." Grr. I realize that repealing the horse slaughter ban is pretty low on our agenda for repealing all government intrusion laws, but more government intrusion is not the answer!

Sources:
In a recent post, Melissa McEwen discusses eating horse too.

I've ridden horses all my life, and I currently own the two horses pictured here: Lila and Tara.



I'm deeply attached to these horses. As with my general feelings of affection and concern for dogs and cats, that feeling encompasses all horses, to some extent. Yet I see nothing wrong with eating horses, provided that they were raised and slaughtered humanely. (Given my affection for horses, that would be important to me.) If they're good to eat, they're good to eat. And by all reports, they're good to eat.

In contrast, I see so much wrong with the ban on horse slaughter.

Consider what this bleeding-heart ban does and does not do. It does not prevent the slaughter of horses, but merely requires the transport of horses to Canada or Mexico. As a result, it causes much suffering to the horses slaughtered, because they will be shipped long distances in often terrible conditions. Moreover, I imagine that the ban causes more suffering to old horses who could have been slaughtered, but instead are allowed to painfully linger into death. I've seen painful old age in my own horses, and I know that humane slaughter would be a blessing in that state. In fact, the farmer-blogger notes that very problem:
What faces many horse owners now is that there is just no good way to dispose of a horse that is lame, dangerous to ride, or that the owner simply cannot afford to keep any more. In my area there are several well-publicized cases of horses being slowly starved to death (there are horse animal hoarders) or abandoned. You take your own horse to a trail, go riding, and find your trailer filled with horses on your return.
As someone who loves horses, I find cold comfort in the fact that the advocates of the horse slaughter ban surely did not intend to cause such pain and distress to horses. Their noble motives are worthless to the horses suffering because of them, worthless to the owners of these horses, and worthless to every horse-lover.

The fact that the ban would result in such suffering could have -- and should have -- been known in advance. The advocates of this ban were willfully blind, and they are responsible for its ill effects. If they were truly concerned about the welfare of horses, they would agitate for its repeal. Instead, they'll ignore the problem now that they've done their good deed -- or they'll demand more controls that will only conceal the problem -- like banning the export of horses for slaughter.

That tells me that they're more concerned about feeling humane than actually being humane. Speaking as a horse-lover, what deserves to be said about that isn't fit to print.

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Saturday, December 18, 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.

Erosophia 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, December 17, 2010

The Paleo Rodeo #039

By Diana Hsieh

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

Blog Carnival is back up and running, so I was able to add all the entries submitted before it went down. Yay!

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:
John Durant presents Internship opportunity posted at Hunter-Gatherer blogs, saying, "Looking for a research assistant and intern!"

Benjamin Skipper presents Chocolate Review: Chocolove 65% with Crystallized Ginger posted at Musing Aloud, saying, "This is my review for Chocolove's 65% cocoa dark chocolate with crystallized ginger pieces. As a result of this review, I don't think I'll be reviewing any more of Chocolove's products in the future."

Dr. John presents Run 2,800 miles in 64 days - loose muscle, fat, and brain! posted at Paleoterran.

Kelly Elmore presents My Whole30 Summary: Less Frodo Going to Mt. Doom (misery and pain) and More Sam Replanting the Shire (satisfying, hard work) posted at Reepicheep's Coracle, saying, "This post is a summary of my Whole30 experience (a month of very strict paleo eating), which was a ginormous success."

Sara Hatch presents Best Recipes posted at Edible.

Kerri Heffel presents paleo honey mustard chicken nuggets posted at the functional foodie, saying, "I would love to get some feedback from people with kids for these."

Nell Stephenson presents The Paleo Diet Cookbook Sneak Peek # 2 - HOLIDAY SPROUTS posted at TrainWithNellie.

Richard presents 7 Reasons I Love Paleo posted at Primal Fed.

paleo_rob presents 5 Paleo Lunches you can take to work. posted at PaleOZ.

Richard Nikoley presents Leangains: The Dietary Approach posted at Free The Animal, saying, "The Paleo friendly Leangains method for body composition improvement. Tons of food porn. No, you don't need to eat dry, skinless chicken breasts, egg whites and protein shakes to get seriously strong and ripped."

Josephine Svendblad presents Have you had a Leek lately? posted at Nutty Kitchen, saying, "The leeks are so beautiful right now, and what a great alternative veggie line up for the Holidays! Enjoy!"

Mark Owen-Ward presents Why Personal Training is Cheap posted at Why Personal Training is Cheap.

Paul Jaminet presents Two Art de Vany Related Ideas posted at Perfect Health Diet, saying “This post comments on two ideas I associate with Art de Vany, the economic analysis of diet and the benefits of intermittency in diet.”

Laurie Donaldson presents Heading Toward Winter Solstice posted at Food for Primal Thought.

Patty Strilaeff presents 30 Days of Beyond Paleo - Recap posted at Following My Nose, saying, " Results of Paleo eating without eggs, dairy, nightshades, nuts and seeds."

Joe Berne presents Moderation, the 80-20 rule, and a painful analogy posted at Karate Conditioning, saying, "Moderation - essential if you want mediocre results, barely moderate success, or lack the stones to do things right."

Nicole Markee presents Art DeVany's "The New Evolution Diet".

Beth Mazur presents The 4-Hour Body's Slow-Carb Diet posted at Weight Maven, saying, "Provides an overview of the diet in Tim Ferriss' new book with paleo editorial comments."

Diana Hsieh presents The Value of CrossFit posted at NoodleFood, saying, "I went skiing recently, and my CrossFit workouts prepared me fabulously well for three five-hour days on the slopes."
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: Cooking Whole Chicken

By Diana Hsieh


(Photo courtesy of elanaspantry)


Paleo Question of the Week: What's your favorite method of cooking a whole chicken?

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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Tuesday, December 14, 2010

My Whole30 Summary: Less Frodo Going to Mt. Doom (misery and pain) and More Sam Replanting the Shire (satisfying, hard work)

By Kelly Elmore

Now, about a month out from the Whole30, I think I can give a summary of what I did and what happened to me that might be useful.

What I Did:

Basically, for 30 days (with two evenings of eating less that perfectly at a rehearsal dinner and a wedding) I ate only meats, vegetables, nuts, and a little bit of fruit. I ate no dairy, no yucky oils, no alcohol, no potatoes, no added sugar, and no grains of any kind. I blogged the whole experience, and you can find my posts about it here. During these 30 days, I also did Crossfit 2x a week (except when I didn't) and was otherwise only mildly active with daily kinds of movement like gardening, cleaning, walking from the train to school, etc.)


How it Went:

For the first few days, I was excited, and sticking to it was fairly easy. I had recently quit smoking (a month before I started the Whole30 and now nearly 4 months), and I was way more confident about sticking to this month than I usually am when starting a diet. I mean, if I can quit smoking, I can do anything right?

Then came Days four and five. Suddenly, I hated all the cooking, I started having cravings, I felt like crap with no energy or happy feelings, and my Crossfit workouts became nearly impossible to complete. I had read to expect this, though, and my Crossfit coach seemed to think it was normal, so I just kept eating right and watched a lot of cheer-me-up TV.

After Day six, it was all easier. My body adjusted to the diet, and I had my energy and good mood back. Some of the highlights of the rest of the month were: greatly reduced PMS symptoms, improvement in my attitude and performance at Crossfit, managing a huge Halloween party without cheating and without too much misery, wearing my old pants, finding new foods to enjoy, and falling in love with a new paleo-friendly restaurant (a Brazilian steakhouse where actual Brazilians go, where it's affordable, and where the food is better than the big chains).

The Results:

Over the 30 days, I lost 15 pounds, dropped down a size in pants, dresses, and shirts, looked slimmer in my face and neck, and fit into my favorite bras again. My acne (which wasn't terrible, but it bothered me terribly) was gone, and my PMS symptoms were reduced. I felt better all around, including during exercise, with a clearer head and a little more energy (I was fairly energetic before). At my thyroid checkup, my doctor and I were happy to see that all antibodies pointing to Hashimoto's Thyroiditis were gone; he credits the gluten-free and the dessicated thyroid and iodine I take.

My Plans:

I was happier on the Whole30 than I thought I would be. I wasn't dying to go eat a big bowl of pasta on day 31. So, I think I will mostly stick with it. I'm going to allow myself alcohol at social events, but stick with the no dairy, no grains, no sugar. I am going to have a cheat once in a while; I can't imagine life without the potstickers at the Cheesecake Factory. But I don't mind giving up my daily crap. I don't need grains or sugar in my diet except for those occasional treats. When I eat them, I want it to be worth it. A slice of bread along with soup? Not worth it. High quality peppermint bark on Christmas morning? Worth it.

Last Observation:

I have had trouble in the past with an eating disorder, and any diet scares me. I don't want to become obsessed with the way I am eating like I was before. I don't want the process of making good changes in my nutrition to lead me to all kinds of self-hating mental talk. I want to continue to like my body and feel good about all it can do. For some reason, I had less trouble with the Whole30 than I have had before. I didn't focus on food every second of the day; I didn't start to hate myself more as pounds dropped away. For whatever reason, for the first time, I was able to remain rational about my body while following a food plan. That really might be the biggest benefit I have gotten from the Whole30.

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Monday, December 13, 2010

The Value of CrossFit

By Diana Hsieh

Last Friday, Paul and I headed to Breckenridge for some fun in the snow. I've not skiied in nearly three years -- first due to my dissertation, then due to my hypothyroidism. In addition to re-learning the skills I'd forgotten, I was curious to see how my six months of CrossFit training at CIA FIT Gym prepared me for a few hard days of skiing. My workout routine is one to two hour-long classes at the gym per week, plus some form of lighter exercise (such as one or two miles of rowing or running, or an hour of horseback riding) on most other days.

So, the question is: How would that translate on the slopes? Would CrossFit prepare my body for the exertion of hours and hours of skiing?

As for my long ski weekend, here's what I did:

  • Saturday: Five hours of skiing at Breckenridge
  • Sunday: Two hours of snowshoeing in Frisco
  • Monday: Five hours of skiing at Keystone
  • Tuesday: Five hours of skiing at Breckenridge
Oh, and that last day at Breckenridge was in six glorious inches of fresh, light powder. (Yes, you should be jealous!)

Basically, I skied fifteen solid hours over four days. On my ski days, I took two or three fifteen minute breaks each day, but I've subtracted those from my total time. During those breaks, I chowed down on turkey or ham, hard-boiled eggs, cheese, sweet potato chips (roasted, then dehydrated), and macadamia nuts. Much to my amazement, I was not seriously sore after any of these ski days. Sure, I felt some twinges in my calves and quads, but nothing that could be called pain.

I returned to Denver on Tuesday evening. On Thursday evening, I went to the gym for a grueling hour-long CrossFit session involving deadlifts, kettlebell swings, burpees, wall balls, and more. And wow, I'm seriously, seriously sore.

That makes me happy though! Those painful workouts enable me to jump on the skis for fifteen hours in four days after a three year break without any problem. And that's darn awesome.

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Sunday, December 12, 2010

Bureaucrats and Paperwork Versus Food Safety

By Diana Hsieh

Will the food safety bill actually do anything to make your food more safe? Absolutely not. More bureaucrats and paperwork only create the illusion of safety. The substance of food safety depends on the day-in and day-out habits of food producers, as reflected in their reputations with food distributors and consumers. To see how the food bill only demands more useless paperwork and ineffective inspections, check out this op-ed. And then write your representatives to oppose it!

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Saturday, December 11, 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.

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!

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, December 10, 2010

The Paleo Rodeo #038

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: Green & Black's 85% posted at Musing Aloud, saying, "Here's my review of Green & Black's 85% dark chocolate. This is actually the brand that first got me into eating dark chocolate. I had very unpleasant memories of its bitterness since I hadn't adjusted to dark chocolate yet then, but now I can't believe how fantastic this variety is. In fact, it's now one of my top favorites."

Taryn Romanowich presents Paleo Breakfast: Bacon and Strawberries? posted at Tabata This, saying, "If you haven't had this delicious combination of ingredients, it's a must-try! Don't shun it before you try it! It's my new favorite addiction."

Yael Grauer presents Hannukah Recipes for Paleo-ish Eaters posted at Yael Writes, saying, "Yael tries her very best to come up with Paleo variations for Hannukah fods. Links posted; feel free to share your favorites too."

Amy Kubal presents Food Fight!!! posted at Fuel As Rx, saying, "Big Food on the Defensive..."

Melissa "Melicious" Joulwan presents That Makes Me Blanch posted at The Clothes Make The Girl, saying, "For me, the key to eating paleo is lots of prep and tons of variety, so blanching a big pile of vegetables so they're ready for salads, sautes, and snacks is weekly task. This post explains the technique and includes a list of favorite veggies and their blanching times."

David Csonka presents Do Europeans Care More Than Americans About What They Feed Their Children? posted at Naturally Engineered.

Richard presents GERD and Paleo posted at Primal Fed.

Nell Stephenson presents Reader Challenge- Cooking Your Way Through The Paleo Diet Cookbook posted at TrainWithNellie.

Laurie Donaldson presents Spicy Cauliflower Soup for a Blustery Day posted at Food for Primal Thought, saying, "Cold winds here in southern PA and a fresh head of cauliflower provide the inspiration for this soup."

M presents Roast Your Veggies Doused in Lard! posted at Nom Nom Paleo.

Jessica Herschberg presents What You Are Up Against posted at The Metamorphosis, saying, "Part One of a two part series."

Joe Berne presents SLIDE your way to a healthy, lean body posted at Karate Conditioning, saying, "At last, an acronym that reveals the complete hierarchy of steps to losing fat in a healthy way! (Because you can never have enough acronyms.)"

Paul Jaminet presents Do Microwaves Destroy Flavonoids? posted at Perfect Health Diet, saying, "After a reader posted a link to a paper finding that 97% of broccoli flavonoids were lost in microwave cooking, I investigated the effects of microwaving on flavonoids. Read the post for more ... but I'm keeping my microwave!"

Josephine Svendblad presents Persimmon Salmon en Papillote posted at Nutty Kitchen, saying, "This is an exquisite way of preparing a perfect Salmon filet with a different flair. The persimmon was a beautiful companion to the wonderful taste of Sockeye."

Beth Mazur presents Ben's paleoprimal food pyramid posted at Weight Maven.

Robin presents Do Toe Shoes Make Your Feet Stronger? posted at Everymom To Ironmom, saying, "The arch is a miracle of construction. Its strength has been known to humans since Roman times. Why weaken your own amazing arch with shoes? How to ease into barefoot walking and running and rediscover the power of the arch."

Nicole Renee Markee presents What I actually don't eat posted at Astrogirl, saying, "Just because a food is paleo approved doesn't mean it's problem free for everyone."

Patty Strilaeff presents Venison Tenderloin Recipe - Paleo Style posted at following my nose....
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: Fruit for Spring

By Diana Hsieh


(Photo courtesy of zabowski)


Paleo Question of the Week: Now that it's winter, what fruits are you most eager to eat in the spring and summer?

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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Monday, December 06, 2010

No-Poo? Alternatives to Shampoo and Deodorant

By Jessica Stone

It's been a while since I've seen any discussions of the No-Poo topic and I am curious about people's results, i.e., how long, successes, failures, other solutions (instead of the defined No-Poo method of baking soda and vinegar)...Below I describe my experiences and experiments with all natural products to replace shampoo, laundry soap and deoderant.

I stopped using shampoo about a year ago. At first I tried variations of baking soda and vinegar rinses, baking soda and lime or lemon juice, etc. and hated all of them, especially the vinegar and baking soda because it dried my hair out too much, and every time I would sweat or get caught in the rain my head stunk of vinegar. The lime juice rinse was better, but required straining (I learned the hard way - had bits of lime in my hair for days the first time I tried it), but it all seemed like a huge bother and I still had a flaky scalp. Just using water all the time was great for a while as well, but then I noticed that I had a really gunky, oily, dead skin build-up and my hair didn't smell or look too nice.

It took about 4 or 5 months of trial and error before I found something that really worked - Soap Nuts. I highly recommend them! They are actually the dried, de-seeded fruit of a tree, are naturally full of saponin, and they've been used for thousands of years in India. (For more information on what a soap nut is: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Sapindus.)

I started using soap nuts for laundry back in June as an alternative to the regular heavily chemical soaps. They are very cheap - a 1lb bag of soap nuts cost me $20 on Amazon.com and 5 soap nuts in a small cotton bag (included with purchase) will do about 5-6 loads of laundry. I still have half of my original bag left, and I do about 3-5 loads of laundry per week. Soap nuts have a faint antiseptic smell when wet and are not super sudsy, but they leave no odor on your clothes and their natural oils eliminate the need for fabric softener (although static is still a problem). The only thing they don't do is remove heavy stains like grease or blood, so I pre-treat those with other things, but for everyday, simple laundering they are gentle and effective. I know moms who swear by them for their cloth diapers!

I decided that since these little guys work so well for laundry, why not give them a try for my hair? At a farmer's international market I found a commercial product imported from India which is just powdered soap nut. It's called aritha powder, or reetha, and my husband and I have been using it for about 6 months. It's stronger smelling than the laundry soap nuts and I don't know if that's because it's aged or comes from a different variety of shrub or tree, but we mix it into a paste or thick liquid in a squeeze bottle and work it into the scalp, then leave it on for a minute or two and rinse. The paste is fairly gritty and feels good rubbed into the scalp, and it seems to help get rid of dead skin. We both use it once a week, and it leaves our hair shiny, silky, soft and clean without stripping the oils away. I add cinnamon to my mix so my hair smells very pleasant!

Recently, I decided to shift away from the commercial aritha powder because it's hard to know about impurities such as pesticides in a product coming from India. I've discovered that most henna is contaminated with dyes, pesticides and chemicals, so why not aritha? (Henna, btw, is another WONDERFUL thing for hair...I use it to color and condition my hair, and it always leaves my hair thicker, silkier and more vibrant. Even the color-neutral variety does this.) I've been experimenting with my laundry soap nuts, and will have to report back in a bit as I try more things. Currently, I soak 2-3 nuts in boiling water and then mix in some powdered aritha (and cinnamon) and it works really well. The next step is to replace the aritha with my own ground soap nuts and see if that changes the results.

Now, on to the deoderant...Huge success here! I make a mixture of coconut oil, baking soda, corn starch, a few drops of red palm oil (for vitamins like e), and a few tiny drops of essential oils (lavender and tea tree). I started with equal portions of the coconut oil, baking soda and corn starch, but it was way too thick and powdery when applied, so I added a lot more coconut oil. I think an ideal ratio would be 1/4 cup of coconut oil to 1/8th cup of baking soda and 1/16 cup corn starch, but I recommend adding a bit of oil at a time to get a consistency you are happy with. You can always leave the corn starch out, too. I keep it in a small jar in the bathroom. A tiny bit works all day, the coconut oil is very soothing, especially after shaving, and one jar lasts a really long time!

So how about it? What have all you other no-poo'ers been doing with your hair?

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Saturday, December 04, 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.

Reepicheep's Coracle 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, December 03, 2010

The Paleo Rodeo #037

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:
Dr. John presents The end of night posted at Paleoterran.

Benjamin Skipper presents Chocolate Reassessment:: Baker's Unsweetened Chocolate (100% Cacao) posted at Musing Aloud, saying, "I recently purchased a box of Baker's unsweetened chocolate and have found it to be easier to eat than when I used to store my chocolates in the fridge. This reassessment is to correct my error of judgment and to let it be known that I have changed my storage methods."

Yael Grauer presents Paleo Flour and Other Sundry Substitutes posted at Yael Writes, saying, "Yael explores Paleo flour, and the concept of Paleo substitutes in general... looking for your thoughts, ideas and suggestions in the comments!"

Amy Kubal presents The BEST Options for Post Workout Carbs posted at Fuel As Rx, saying, "The most effect way to fuel your body!!"

Melissa "Melicious" Joulwan presents Spicy Beef Lettuce Wraps posted at The Clothes Make The Girl, saying, "Time to batten down the hatches and eat really clean between Thanksgiving and Christmas... so I can indulge in a glass of bubbly with Santa. This recipe is fresh and easy to make, and hits all the notes: warm, cool, crunchy, chewy, savory, spicy... perfect for a fun dinner."

Adam Farrah presents Perfectionism and Self-Sabatage - Paleo Style posted at PracticalPaleolithic.com, saying, "A blog post about keeping Paleo practical, low on dogma and high on RESULTS."

Jean-Patrick Millette presents The global paleo conversion movement idea is a joke posted at Primal Journal, saying, "Globally converting people to our way of life is an absurd idea that is based on dogma, religious-like beliefs, supremacy and dishonesty. Instead, I suggest that we debate ideas, facts and science."

Patty Strilaeff presents 15 Tips for Eating Paleo on the Cheap posted at following my nose....

Nell Stephenson presents Christmas Time Is Here...30 Days of Holiday Paleo Ideas posted at TrainWithNellie.

Paul Jaminet presents Intermittent Fasting as a Therapy for Hypothyroidism posted at Perfect Health Diet, saying, "This post suggests that arranging eating times and light exposure so as to accentuate natural circadian rhythms may be therapeutic for hypothyroidism."

Jacqueline presents Did Paleo Help Me Get Pregnant? posted at Paleo for the Rest of Us, saying, "I just found out we successfully conceived after only a month eating Paleo. Coincidence? I'm not so sure. Either way, I'm excited about a Paleo pregnancy, but not sure what to expect."

Frank Hagan presents Vitamin D-isappointing? posted at Low Carb Age, saying, "A quasi-government panel issues a new recommendation for vitamin D that is far below what paleo / low carb doctors recommend. What is going on here?"

Richard Nikoley presents Budget Paleo posted at Free The Animal, saying, "Written as a bit of a tongue-in-cheek, over-the-top rant, hating on vegetables (I don't hate them THAT much) but it nonetheless seems to have resonated with many readers, generating 170 comments so far with all kinds of tips on how to do Paleoish on the cheap."

Robin presents My Mom's Paleo-Inspired Success Story posted at Everymom To Ironmom.

Marc presents Grilled Veggie Soup posted at Feel Good Eating, saying, "Try using this soup over grilled meat or chicken. I think you will be pleasantly surprised."

Laurie Donaldson presents Everyday Local Food posted at Food for Primal Thought, saying, "Fresh food in December? Priceless."

Diana Hsieh presents October Thyroid Labs posted at NoodleFood, saying, "My efforts to properly manage my hypothyroidism are still in full swing, even though I was diagnosed over a year ago. And, of course, diet is an issue!"

Dennis Ryan presents Slow-cooking a whole chicken posted at Paleo Eats, saying, "Slow-cooking a whole chicken, start with a 3-4 pound chicken, add some celery and carrots, and end up with fall-off-the-bone goodness that tastes delicious."

Dr. John presents Paleoterran - Journal - Paleolithic & hunter-gatherer sleep posted at Paleoterran, saying, "Can sleep naturally be bimodal or multimodal?"
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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