Saturday, September 29, 2012

Philosophy Weekend: Philosophy in Action Radio Preview

By Diana Hsieh

In Sunday morning's episode of Philosophy in Action Q&A Radio, I'll answer questions on greed in the NFL dispute with referees, a religious wedding for an atheist groom, preventing information overload, food safety in a free society, and more with Greg Perkins.

  • Who: Dr. Diana Hsieh and Greg Perkins
  • What: Philosophy in Action Q&A Radio: NFL Referees, Religious Weddings, Food Safety, and More
  • When: Sunday, 30 September 2012, 8 am PT / 9 am MT / 10 am CT / 11 am ET
  • Where: Philosophy in Action's Live Studio
This week's questions are:
  • Question 1: Greed in the NFL Dispute with Referees: Were the NFL owners guilty of greed in their dispute with the referees? Until earlier this week, the NFL was in a labor dispute with its referees, and so the first three weeks of games used replacement referees. Those replacements, however well-meaning, simply weren't capable of performing up to the standard required in the NFL. Games were rife with missed or wrong calls, dangerously dirty play, and out-of-control fights. Commentators and fans were disgusted and furious, particularly after the touchdown ruling in Monday night's game between the Packers and the Seahawks. That furor seemed to force the NFL's hand. An agreement with the regular referees was reached on Wednesday night. Before that, lots of people claimed that the NFL owners were motivated by "greed." Is that right? If the NFL hadn't brought back the regular referees, should fans have boycotted games?
  • Question 2: A Religious Wedding for an Atheist Groom: Should an atheist refuse to have a religious wedding? I'm an atheist, but my fiancĂ©e is a not-terribly-devout Christian. My parents – and her parents too – are Christian. Everyone wants and expects us to have a religious wedding, but I don't want that. My future wife would be willing to have a secular wedding, but she prefers a religious one. Mostly, she doesn't want to argue with her parents over it. Should I insist on a secular wedding? Or should I just let this one go? What's the harm, either way?
  • Question 3: Preventing Information Overload: How can I prevent information overload? What are some good ways to limit the amount of information I process in the age of the internet? Besides Philosophy in Action, I follow several other podcasts, blogs and news feeds. What's the best way to prioritize and limit my inputs without feeling like I'm missing something important? How can I retain the information I process and not feel like I'm jumping from one feed to the next without remembering anything?
  • Question 4: Food Safety in a Free Society: How would the government protect the safety of food and drugs in a free society? Would the FDA (Food and Drug Administration) exist in free society? If so, would food or drugs have to gain FDA approval to be sold? Would it have the power to remove food or drugs deemed unsafe from the market? If not, what would protect consumers from harm due to adulterated or otherwise unsafe food or drugs?
After that, we'll tackle some impromptu "Rapid Fire Questions."

To join the live broadcast and its chat, just point your browser to Philosophy in Action's Live Studio a few minutes before the show is scheduled to start. If you attend the live show, you can share your thoughts with other listeners and ask me follow-up questions in the text chat.

If you miss the live broadcast, you'll find the audio from the episode posted here: Q&A Radio: 30 September 2012.

Philosophy in Action Radio broadcasts every Sunday morning and Wednesday evening. For information on upcoming shows and more, visit the Episodes on Tap.

I hope that you join us on Sunday morning!

Read more...

Friday, September 28, 2012

The Paleo Rodeo #129

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 of the Rodeo 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:
Kris presents How to Overcome Food Addiction -- A Step-by-Step Guide posted at Kris Kris, saying, "How to overcome food addiction once and for all? Here is an 18 step guide that you can use to permanently get rid of your addiction."

Neely Quinn presents What Does A Ketogenic Paleo Diet Look Like? posted at Paleo Plan, saying, "Ever wonder what your plate would actually look like if you were on a ketogenic diet without dairy?"

Crystal Fieldhouse presents How To Make Your Own Blackout Blinds posted at Eat Sleep Move, saying, "How to DIY fix the light leaks around your windows for a good quality sleep every night."

Nell Stephenson presents GI Distress While Running posted at Paleoista, by Nell Stephenson, saying, "What to do if you have a case of GI Distress while running."

Kelly Fitzsimmons presents Do You Think Oatmeal is Good For You? posted at Weight Loss Ninja, saying, "We provide you with a wealth of information on the benefits and pitfalls to eating oatmeal. Read this article now to learn if oatmeal is good for you."

Suz Crawt presents 75 Paleo Snack Ideas posted at The Paleo Network, saying, "Stuck for Paleo snack ideas? Not after you've read this list!"

Tony Federico presents The Definitive Guide to Doing a Muscle Up posted at Fitness in an Evolutionary Direction, saying, "The muscle up (a combination of a pull-up and a dip) is an impressive movement, and learning it can be daunting. To help you along the way, I put together a series of exercise progressions that, in combination with some effort on your part, will guarantee that you will be muscling up things in no time!"

Rafael B., PhD presents Protein and Kidney Disease posted at Does Protein damage kidneys?, saying, "Does Protein damage kidneys? Learn it by yourself."

The Cavegirls presents Apple Almond Pancakes posted at Northwest Cavegirls, saying, "With the abundance of apples on my tree this year I'm putting apples in everything! This morning while making the usual Sunday morning pancakes I decided to put them in those as well. I altered the recipe a bit to make up for apple vs. banana, but they turned out really great."

Angie presents Zucchini Spice Bread posted at Angie's Suburban Oasis, saying, "My friend Jennifer asked me to make a Paleo Zucchini bread recipe. Well, I took that as a challenge and went in search of recipe I could convert to Paleo ingredients. I found an old one I'd marked up and dog-eared and seemed to like. So I started there and went to work. The result was almost like a zucchini gingerbread, which was just perfect."

Peggy Emch presents When Kids Complain of Symptoms, Listen posted at The Primal Parent, saying, "What symptoms have you or your kids recovered from since going Primal? My laundry list is on this week's post!"

Yael Grauer presents 5 Ways To Make Better Eggs posted at Yael Writes, saying, "We all love eating eggs for breakfast--or other times of day! Here's some tips and tricks to make your morning meal even tastier."

Primal Kitchen's Family Grokumentarian presents Love Letter: 52 Reasons Why I Love Crossfit posted at Primal Kitchen: A Family Grokumentary, saying, "It's my one year Crossfit-aversary, and I'm celebrating with an open love letter. Crossfit has shaped me for the better in the past year, including as a lover of nutrient dense eating. Now I've learned through our box's nutrition challenges to use nutrient dense fuels to feed myself even more effectively, so that I can keep improving my health and fitness."

Carmen Fraser presents Spring Sunlight posted at Carmen Eat Joy, saying, "Why we are so excited at the end of winter for the sun to be coming out in spring..."

Carmen Fraser presents Lay It All On Me... And Laughter posted at Carmen Eat Joy, saying, "The importance of stress relief through chats with loved ones."

Dr. French presents Leek, Prosciutto and Goat Cheese over Spaghetti Squash posted at PaleoMD, saying, "This recipe is so rich and delicious! Will become a regular on our table."

Victoria presents Thought of the day... posted at Principle into Practice, saying, "In our world of chronic disease and diseases of civilization, some people think our medical system is broken and failing. But look at the medical progress this system has made, and imagine what we could do with our knowledge and skills in a population of people living an evolutionarily appropriate lifestyle."

Max Ungar presents 9 Tips to Never Getting Sick at School posted at Caveman College, saying, "It is almost unheard of to be able to avoid sickness at school. But the Paleo diet and a few other factors can help students stay healthy for the duration of the school year."

Amy Kubal presents Want Dinner On The Table Fast -- Try Paleo Slow Cooking! posted at Robb Wolf, saying, "If you're looking for awesome paleo friendly recipes for your slow cooker - this book is a must have! Check out my review and find out more."

Beth Mazur presents An addiction myth? posted at Weight Maven, saying, "if you're addicted to food, maybe, just maybe, abstinence needn't be the end-all, be-all of recovery."

Diane Sanfilippo presents Easy Recipe: Pumpkin Cranberry Muffins from Practical Paleo posted at Balanced Bites, saying, "Pumpkin Cranberry Muffins from Diane's book Practical Paleo."

Meghan Little & Angel Torres presents Paleo Curried Chicken Salad, A Light Lunch with Cranberries & Apples posted at Paleo Effect, saying, "This recipe is the perfect balance of sweetness from the fruit, spices from the curry, and earthiness from the celery and green peppers. Perfect for a picnic, lunch, dinner or anytime! Try it on our fluffy paleo bread for a delicious sandwich! SO good."

Fatisfied presents Jumping Through Hoops posted at Free Your Fat, saying, "It's back to the schoolyard with this mini exertion."

Jedha presents Weight Loss Motivation: Michelle Loses 42kgs/92lbs! posted at Paleo Diet Blog, saying, "An amazingly inspiring weight loss success story!"

Mary Catherine Horgan presents 6 Menus for Mostly Paleo dinner Parties Even Your Non-Paleo Guests Will Love posted at Nourish Paleo Foods, saying, "Delight your dinner guests and stay true to your Paleo ways with this recipe round up."

Hadass Eviatar presents In Praise of Coconut Oil posted at My Coat of Many Colours, saying, "We used to think that tropical oils were the devil incarnate, but we've learned a few things since then."

J. Stanton presents Dietary Protein 101: What Is Protein, And Why Do We Need To Eat It Every Day? posted at GNOLLS.ORG, saying, "Protein' is a term so broad as to be nearly useless when applied to nutrition. Learn what protein is, what it's made of, why we have a daily requirement for it, and why all proteins are not equivalent."

Many thanks to the PaleoBloggers who submitted to this edition of the The Paleo Rodeo! We love new members! So 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!

Read more...

Saturday, September 22, 2012

Philosophy Weekend: Philosophy in Action Radio Preview

By Diana Hsieh

In Sunday morning's episode of Philosophy in Action Q&A Radio, I'll answer questions on the morality of nuclear weapons, passing genetic diseases to kids, using an unjust law to stop an annoyance, productiveness versus recreation, and more with Greg Perkins.

This week's questions are:
  • Question 1: The Morality of Nuclear Weapons: When should nuclear weapons be used, if ever? Under what circumstances would a free society use nuclear weapons – or chemical or biological weapons? Are they so destructive that their use would never be acceptable? Or might they be used in self-defense to win a war or win a war more quickly?
  • Question 2: Passing Genetic Diseases to Kids: Should people with severe genetic diseases take active measures to prevent passing the disease to their children? Some people have severe hereditary diseases – such as Huntington's or Multiple Sclerosis – that might be passed on to their biological children. If that happens, the child will be burdened with the disease later in life, perhaps suffering for years and dying young. Is it wrong for such people to conceive and merely hope for the best – rather than screening for the disease (and aborting if necessary), using donor eggs or sperm, or adopting? Are the parents who just hope for the best harming their future child? Are they violating their child's rights by refusing to take advantage of available technology for preventing the disease?
  • Question 3: Using an Unjust Law to Stop an Annoyance: Is it moral to use the law to force someone to stop doing something that shouldn't be illegal? Is it moral to make use of a law that shouldn't exist? For example, suppose you live in a condo and your next-door neighbor smokes marijuana. You're annoyed by the smell. On the one hand, it shouldn't be illegal for him to smoke up; on the other, the law's existence precludes your finding a condo association with a voluntary agreement not to use pot. Is it morally proper to call the cops or should you let him be?
  • Question 4: Productiveness Versus Recreation: Is time for recreation compatible with the virtue of productiveness? If productive work is the means by which I achieve my values, how can one justify spending even one minute doing something that doesn't propel me toward some value? I am specifically referring to leisure activities like going to the movies, playing video games, and following sports. I'm not referring to activities that have obvious benefits like sleep, exercise, or cooking healthy food. What about hobbies that are enriching, but ultimately have no productive purpose like dance or guitar lessons (assuming I don't want to perform in either context as a career)? Is pursuing such hobbies wrong?
After that, we'll tackle some impromptu "Rapid Fire Questions."

To join the live broadcast and its chat, just point your browser to Philosophy in Action's Live Studio a few minutes before the show is scheduled to start. If you attend the live show, you can share your thoughts with other listeners and ask me follow-up questions in the text chat.

If you miss the live broadcast, you'll find the audio from the episode posted here: Q&A Radio: 23 September 2012.

Philosophy in Action Radio broadcasts every Sunday morning and Wednesday evening. For information on upcoming shows and more, visit the Episodes on Tap.

I hope that you join us on Sunday morning!

Read more...

Friday, September 21, 2012

The Paleo Rodeo #128

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 of the Rodeo 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:
Tony Federico presents How Sucking Less is the Key to Success posted at Fitness in an Evolutionary Direction, saying, "To celebrate my 500th blog post, I wanted to take a look at how getting comfortable with being terrible is a prerequisite for learning any new skill."

Nell Stephenson presents Curry Up posted at Paleoista, by Nell Stephenson.

Kerri Costa presents Roasted Tomato Soup posted at the functional foodie, saying, "Soup weather is almost here!"

Paul Jaminet presents Do the Elderly Need Paleo More than the Young? posted at Perfect Health Diet, saying, "We ponder an interesting question: Have we evolved an age-specific adaptation to Neolithic foods, such that the elderly benefit the most from Paleo diets?"

Julie Campbell presents swiss chard and leek potato cake posted at the crankin' kitchen!, saying, "a really lovely fall dish that would be perfect for brunch or as a side for roast chicken. or chicken confit. i will make that soon, or else."

Crystal Fieldhouse presents Introducing The Wild Food Challenge posted at Eat. Sleep. Move., saying, "Are you bored with what you're cooking in the kitchen and feel like you're stuck in a culinary rut? To live a life a little less ordinary you have to think outside your current shopping basket. The Wild Food Challenge is all about 'taking a walk on the wild side" and opening your mind to tasting and experimenting with new foods and turning a few small behaviours into habits that can be sustained for life."

Kelly Fitzsimmons presents 10 Foods Surprisingly High in Sugar posted at Weight Loss Ninja, saying, "Many foods we think are healthy actually contain surprisingly high levels of sugar. Read this article now to hone your high sugar foods radar."

Jedha presents Weight Loss Motivation: Tammy Loses 110lbs! posted at Paleo Weight Loss Coach, saying, "An inspirational story about Tammy's paleo/crossfit journey to losing 110 pounds."

Rafael B., Ph.D. presents Exercise is NOT good for weight loss posted at Real Food = Better Health, saying, "I still believe exercise is great for many reasons but Exercise alone is not good for weight loss. Learn why at Real Food = Better Health. Or you can read it in Spanish at our sister site: Coma mejor (http://comamejor.blogspot.com)."

Angie presents Maple Glazed Salmon with Sauteed Carrots and Kale and Sundried Tomato Green Beans posted at Angie's Suburban Oasis, saying, "For dinner last night I got some nice looking Wild caught Coho salmon from the grocery store and looked to the garden for the sides. The result was carrots and kale sauteed in bacon grease and green beans with sun dried tomatoes sauteed in coconut oil. I used a maple glaze on my salmon and the full meal was amazing! Looking for ideas for dinner tonight, try this 30 minute meal!"

The Cavegirls presents Zucchini Noodle Pesto posted at Northwest Cavegirls, saying, "This salad was served at our local PCC several times this summer. Re-making this dish proved to be fairly simple. I've combined zucchini '"noodles"" with a fabulous pesto making the perfect salad for dinner tonight!"

Meghan Little & Angel Torres presents Paleo Salmon Salad, A Portable Seafood Lunch or Picnic Idea posted at Paleo Effect, saying, "This salmon salad is light, quick and easy to make. Its perfect for lunch at the office or on the go! Tastes great on our fluffy Paleo Bread!"

Beth Mazur presents Is there a "Coolidge effect" for food? posted at Weight Maven, saying, "I'm back with more from the creator of YourBrainOnPorn.com and how novelty and extreme versions of natural evolutionary rewards related to sex and food can result in overuse and addiction."

Fatisfied presents Honey Hooch posted at Free Your Fat, saying, "Walk like an Egyptian and drink like an Ethiopian! Employing natural fermentation and an exotic ingredient you can easily make a wine with an ancient appeal."

Yael Grauer presents Yael Writes posted at Book Review: It Starts With Food, saying, "Just a quick review of Dallas and Melissa's book, It Starts With Food, including who it's best suited for."

Neely Quinn presents Still Having Digestive Problems While Eating Paleo posted at Paleo Plan, saying, "Still having bloating, diarrhea, constipation, or other belly issues even while on a Paleo or low-carb/ancestral/ketogenic diet?"

Max Ungar presents 10 Ways to Spice up Your Salad Bar posted at Caveman College, saying, "Great tips and ideas to improve your salad bar!"

Amy Kubal presents What the Paleo World Eats - Round 2 posted at Robb Wolf, saying, "If you missed it the first time - here's another chance for you to show us what you eat in your paleo life!"

Jennifer Hunt presents A Bucket List, Because There's More to Life Than Paleo posted at Vibrant Sexy Strong, saying, "Paleo can be all-consuming if one allows it, but there is much more to life than food."

Peggy Emch presents How To Be a Responsible Parent Of Unvaccinated Kids by Boosting Natural Immunity posted at The Primal Parent, saying, "If you choose not to vaccinate (or even if you do) you had better take great care of your child's immune system!"

Many thanks to the PaleoBloggers who submitted to this edition of the The Paleo Rodeo! We love new members! So 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!

Read more...

Monday, September 17, 2012

"Organic", is it worth it? Q/A Part III

By Christian Wernstedt

[Also check out part I, and part II of this mini series.]

If toxicity depends on highly individualized factors, then what basic evidence should a person look for to indicate that it could be affecting him?

Aside from clear cut cases where removal of a suspect substance is immediately associated with better health, one's evaluation of the impact of toxicity isn't so much about getting conclusive evidence, but about stacking the cards favorably in terms of the totality of your lifestyle.

As with many things related to health, the cumulative effect over decades of affecting something seemingly marginal, is often astounding. This is why you can have two fifty-something siblings (or twins), where one is a health wreck, and the other perfectly healthy and fit. (The health wreck is typically the person who only thought in binary terms about health: "My doctor says I'm healthy, so I don't need to do anything", whereas the fit sibling is the one somewhat obsessed about health optimization.)

People ask me: "You look so young for your age, and you are so healthy, so why are you so picky with diet? Why do you take all these lab tests? Why do you eat fistfuls of supplements?". My answer is "Duh."

If farm workers who were exposed to pesticides got "alterations of the digestive, neurological, respiratory, circulatory, dermatological, renal, and reproductive system", and my goal is to be continue to be healthy and youthful for as long as possible, why shouldn't I want to minimize my own exposure to these substances if I can do so with minimal financial hardship or other negatives?

Anyway, I shall stop dodging your question. Here are some suggestions if you want some hard data to work with:

1) Check your genetics. Do a 23andMe. There are a couple of polymorphisms or SNPs such as APOE and MTHFR associated with poor detoxification capacity.

2) Run functional lab tests to assess your toxic load and excretion rates. Examples of such tests are hair minerals analysis, urinary organic acid tests, and tests for urinary lipid peroxides and urinary bile acids.

If your detoxification/excretion capacity is low, then you have a stronger case for working on reducing exposures and on improving detoxification/excretion.

Note that as a matter of sound therapeutic philosophy, removing overtly- or potentially harmful items (as determined by what our bodies could be reasonably exposed to be exposed to in evolutionary times) has the least inherent risk, whereas adding things like medications and supplements have higher risks because of their inverse U shape dose/benefit curves.

The first consideration in health is always to look at eliminating bad "stuff", before adding good "stuff" (over and beyond baseline nutrition).

Personally, since I have rather good genetics and decent hormonal- and gastrointestinal health, I don't actually obsess over buying pesticide free veggies, but rather take a middle of the road approach: I get some of my veggies form a CSA for part of the year, and I buy organic when a particular item is on the EWG's dirty dozen list. I supplement periodically with detoxification supporting supplements, and I do regular functional lab testing to monitor the status of important systems in my body.



Read more...

"Organic", is it worth it? Q/A Part II

By Christian Wernstedt

I got some intricate questions on my first post on this subject, requiring more intricate answers. :)

How does the quantity of ingested pesticides compare to the total quantity of toxins absorbed by a human being in realistic quantities?

First of all, toxicity as a phenomena is not an either/or issue. A given substance's toxicity is a function of dose and exposure time relative to the organism's capacity to handle that particular profile of exposure without compromising health. This means that quantifying the toxicity of a given substance in a generalizable way is often difficult. This is particularly so when we are considering substances that are not toxic enough to reliably kill in a small acute quantity, but that with some probability may cause harm with chronic exposures.

I think that the above problem of context and quantification is one of the fundamental reasons why there will never be complete consensus about the toxicity of substances that are not positioned at extremes of the toxicity spectrum (such as botulinum toxin and water).

Those who expose us to pesticides and other synthetic, or "evolutionary novel", substances (with or against our will), tend to declare these substances as universally safe. And they do so with reference to relatively high "LD50s" (median lethal doses), while downplaying the potential harm from chronic low grade exposure.

Those, however, who take the opposite view will point to subtle effects observed with lower dose exposures on factors such as cancer risk and various health markers. The doses that are used in such studies are typically quite high compared to typical "realistic" everyday exposure, as this approach may be the only way to achieve statistical significance in the presence of confounding variables. So, for example, to study the effects on toxicity in humans, investigators often chose to include people who, for instance, get occupational exposure to the substances on a frequent basis.

Each side of this debate can easily be accused by the other side of cherry picking data; to not account for various contextual factor; to use either too low or too high doses in experiments; to be biased for financial or ideological reasons, etc.

So (to get back to your question!) an attempt to make an inventory of all our exposures (through ingestion, inhalation and skin contact) and assign a universally applicable toxicity level to each of them is a difficult task to say the least, and probably not meaningful as individual variability in terms of both specific exposures and "total body burden" is so high.

Another problem related to both exposure and individual propensities is the compounding effect of all types of environmental stress including toxicity. The presence above a certain threshold level in an individual of a given toxin could make that individual more vulnerable to any, or all, classes of toxins than would otherwise be the case. For example, if a person is exposed to mercury from leaking fillings his antioxidant reserves may be depleted and not be sufficient to neutralize the load of other potentially toxic exposures.

So, should you worry more about the pesticides in your food than, for instance, the air pollutants that you inhale?

Generally speaking, I think that you must come to some reasonably accurate estimates of your specific exposures and your vulnerabilities, and act accordingly.

Identify and take care of the obvious problems first.

If you, for instance, smoke a daily pack of cigarettes, jog frequently in a high traffic zone, live in a mold infested home, drink contaminated well water, eat junk foods on a daily basis, or expose yourself to any other established health risk, you should probably change those habits before you even think about pesticides in your vegetables, or low grade air pollution for that matter.

In other words, prioritize getting rid of the big and sustained exposures, and then survey your entire "perimeter" for potential lower risk threats and eliminate them as far as possible and desirable. (Context beyond pure health considerations, such as time, money, etc, obviously plays in strongly here.)

Remember that if the totality of what you are doing for your health (including diet, exercise, sleep, stress reduction, supplementation) is enough, you should be free of all persistent symptoms of any kind; or, if you are not there yet, you should see a gradual improvement of any persistent symptoms that you do experience. You should see good or improving results on functional lab tests. You should feel good, or gradually feel better. You should get stronger in the gym, or at least not move backwards.


What is the basic evidence that pesticides ingested in realistic quantities are harmful for a normal person?

Aside from the fact that there is no typical person relative to low potency toxins, and that harm is a very broad concept, the first types of evidence to consider are studies on health markers in animals exposed to pesticides, and studies on populations with occupational exposure.

You will probably find that you can look at such studies and come to very different assessments depending on your perception of risk and of harm, but that there are a lot of indicative findings.

I think that from a biological perspective it makes sense to believe that the toxic burden from manmade chemicals that have been added to the the background burden of natural toxins over just, say, a hundred years, is likely to be a challenge to the human body. This is because our genes have not had sufficient time to develop adaptations to the new level of environmental toxicity and/or to specific types of new toxins.

It it also reasonable to believe that we are even more vulnerable to toxins now (vs. pre-agricultural eras) because of a higher load of chronic stress which degrade the body's overall resistance to challenges, including chemical challenges. Incidentally, a crude measure of detoxification capacity is the presence of bile acids and lipid peroxides in the urine, and these markers tend to improve with reducing psychological-, dietary- and other types of chronic stress.

(I'm not saying that early eras were free of stress - quite the contrary, but that chronic stress was less common, and I think that the basic evidence in support of this idea lies in the fact that the human body is very vulnerable to chronic stress.)

So, the core issue is not that our bodies are inherently unable to deal with a variety of toxins. The issue is how to not exceed its capacity to do so.

Further regarding capacity, one needs to also take into account that even if one's body can detox and eliminate a certain quantity of toxins, such "processing" occurs at the expense of other processes in the body such as repair and regeneration. The body can only do so much given the resources that it has at its disposal.

The same Bruce Ames as mentioned above has proposed a compelling "triage theory of aging", essentially pointing out that modest shortages of micronutrients (vitamins and minerals) are likely one important factor behind the rise in chronic illness and premature aging. (The idea is that when the body is low on micronutrients, it will prioritize their use for processes needed for survival in the moment above repair processes that keep us functionally young).

If we integrate Ames' theory with the biochemical observation that micronutrients are used up in detoxification processes in the body, we arrive at the conclusion that the greater our toxic exposure (regardless of source), the greater our need for micronutrients for keeping ourselves youthful and healthy.

A problem however with adding micronutrients (or other compounds) as one's sole strategy to deal with toxicity is that micronutrients also become harmful above certain thresholds that are dependent on factors in each individual (each person essentially has an "RDA" at any given time for all nutrients), so reducing one's total toxic load seems to be the prudent choice over (only) trying to throw supplements at the problem. (I'm all for supplementation under reasonably controlled and monitored circumstances.)

Now, aside from these more theoretical types of arguments, it is frequently reported by health practitioners that helping patients discover and eliminate various toxins (which may be current exposures, or toxins accumulated in the body) improves symptoms and health outcomes. Perhaps these patients represent a subclass of particularly vulnerable people, but, how do you know for sure that you are not one of them now, or will become one of them later?

[Also read part III in this series!]

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"Organic", is it worth it? Q/A Part I

By Christian Wernstedt

Q: Are organically grown fruits and veggies really healthier to eat? I mean, there's new research recently touted in the mainstream media indicating that their nutrient content isn't better than that in conventionally grown produce.  

Yes, I think that organic produce is generally healthier and safer to eat than conventionally produced products. This is basically because they tend to have less pesticides in them. (More about the nuances of this later in this post.)

This said, note that the label "organic" is sometimes applied to questionable products, and more so after the USDA got involved in handing it out.

Some excellent and conscientious food producers can't afford to (or don't want to) buy the label "organic" from the USDA-maffia, whereas some shady operators who don't give a sh*t about the health of their customers are able to get the label.

So the label "organic" doesn't mean that you can happily suspend your thinking about if a particular product is really good for you.

Q: So, labels aside, what kinds of produce should I choose for health purposes?

There are two major health considerations with all foods:

1) How much potentially harmful "stuff" is in it?
2) How much nutritious "stuff" is in it?

Regarding the first consideration, it has been found (HT: SuppVersity) in a comprehensive study that organic produce (that is veggies and fruits grown without synthetic pesticides) generally has orders of magnitudes lower pesticide content than conventional products. (Duh!)

Why does that matter?

There is a large body of research that indicates that pesticide chemicals, ingested in realistic quantities, may impair health in numerous ways.

Yes, it is also true (as the brilliant Bruce Ames showed) that plants themselves produce toxins that may be just as harmful as toxins that are man made.

HOWEVER: One's total body burden of absorbed toxins in relation to one's body's detoxification/elimination ability (a function of genetics, health status, and stress levels) is what ultimately counts.

Most of us live in environments which, by default, expose our bodies to a higher toxic load than they are "designed" to cope with optimally (especially if we want to live for a long time past our reproductive age).

If we want to stay healthy our task is therefore to keep the total body burden of toxins as low as (practically) possible, while, on the other hand, optimizing our bodies' ability to deal with the toxins that we can't (or don't want to) avoid. (The latter involves, for instance, making sure that our digestive-, hormonal-, detox- and immune systems work correctly. A wide subject.)

What about the second consideration (nutritional content)? How can I get the most nutrition out of my fruits and vegetables? 

To begin with, major factors that matter for the nutritional value of these foods are:

1) The nutritional quality of the soil in which the produce was grown. This factor is a function of what nutrients are already in the soil (how "depleted" the soil is), and of the type of fertilizer used during the growing process.

Regarding fertilizer, taking a biological viewpoint, I don't think that enough is known about nutrition to design a "multi-vitamin/mineral" for soils that produces as nutritious results as using, for instance, manure, or dead animals or plants for fertilizer.

2) The strain or variety that is grown, and its propensity to absorb and retain nutrients from the soil, as well as its ability to synthesize nutrients that we benefit from.

A focus on crop yields in the development of new strains (e.g., GMO) compromise these nutritional aspects.

3) The level of processing and transport that the produce undergoes before it reaches your plate. (The longer the supply chain, the less will be left of volatile nutrients.)

[Let me know if I missed or misinterpreted some aspect - I'm not an expert on agriculture!]

Regarding these nutritional considerations, I think that the label "organic" matters less than when considering toxic load.

Rather, the most important factor is probably large scale production vs. small scale local production - not necessarily "organic" vs. conventional.

Small farms typically (but not always) access less depleted soils to begin with, and if they also use good crop rotation practices and natural fertilizer (e.g., manure, and crop waste materials) their products should be more nutritious.

In addition, small farms, often try to compete by growing tastier products. This means using varieties which may grow slower than those used in large scale production and which both absorb and produce more nutrients. (Think about the difference in taste between the tomatoes that you get in Tuscany, Italy vs. supermarket tomatoes.)

Bottom line: (Here taking the luxury of considering health as virtually the only consideration.)

BEST: Locally produced fruits and vegetables from small farms that use "organic" practices and with a focus on taste, but not necessarily labeled organic. Ideally, visit the farm that you will be buying from. Make sure that it is not situated next to a major source of pollution. (I don't think I'd like to buy veggies home grown on a roof top next to a known polluter).

NEXT BEST: Items that are labeled "organic", but that are not necessarily local and/or small scale. 

NEXT NEXT BEST: Conventional produce products that are not on EWG's dirty dozen list. ( http://www.ewg.org/foodnews/summary/ )

[Also see part II, and part III of this mini series.]

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Saturday, September 15, 2012

Performance-Enhancing Drugs in Sports: Philosophy in Action Podcast

By Diana Hsieh

In the 2 September 2012 episode of Philosophy in Action Radio, I discussed performance-enhancing drugs in sports, and I thought it might be of interest. The question was:

It is wrong for athletes to use performance-enhancing drugs? Lance Armstrong was recently stripped of his record seven Tour De France titles after allegations that he used performance enhancing drugs – particularly EPO, human growth hormone, and steroids. These drugs act to enhance vitality and endurance by increasing red blood cell count, stimulating new cell growth, and helping to regulate metabolism and immune function, respectively. Although I don't have a medical background, I can't find a moral difference between a competitive athlete taking such medications for peak performance and a regular person taking vitamins, herbs, and supplements for increased performance. Professional athletes are encouraged and expected to adopt other modern technologies such as lighter bicycle frames, carbon nanotube rackets, aerodynamic helmets, and expertly designed running shoes. So isn't it proper to embrace advances in medicine as well, so long as athletes are aware of the risks? Should we vilify such athletes on the grounds that they create an unfair advantage – or applaud them for maximizing performance via technology? Should sports leagues regulate or ban performance-enhancing drugs?
My Answer, In Brief: The government should not ban performance enhancing drugs, and the arguments for doing so within private sports leagues are weak.

Download or Listen to My Full Answer:


Tags: Contracts, Ethics, Law, Medicine, Sports

Relevant Links:To comment on this question or my answer, visit its comment thread.

A podcast of the full episode – where I answered questions on performance-enhancing drugs in sports, sexual values in romance, manipulating people for good ends, intellectually inferior professors, and more – is available as a podcast here: Episode of 2 September 2012.

Philosophy in Action Radio broadcasts every Sunday morning and Wednesday evening. For information on upcoming shows and more, visit the Episodes on Tap.

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Friday, September 14, 2012

The Paleo Rodeo #127

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 of the Rodeo 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:
Rafael B., PhD. presents ¿pocos carbohidratos o pocas grasas? (Low carb vs Low-fat) posted at Eat Better (COMA MEJOR!!!!!), saying, "What is better: low car or low fat? Your Paleo Blog experience in Spanish."

Kris presents Confessions of a Food Addict posted at Kris Kris, saying, "In this post, I explain my personal battle with food addiction, as well as my current action plan to get rid of it... permanently this time."

Suz Crawt presents The Most Pointless Paleo Product Ever? posted at The Paleo Network, saying, "Is this the most pointless paleo product yet?"

Max Ungar presents Staying Active and Healthy with a Busy Schedule posted at Caveman College, saying, "Live a busy lifestyle? Here are some great tips to stay active and healthy!"

Nell Stephenson presents Tough Day at the Races posted at Paleoista, by Nell Stephenson.

Kelly Fitzsimmons presents Magnesium Deficiency -- The Definitive Guide posted at Weight Loss Ninja, saying, "We provide you with a wealth of information detailing the signs, symptoms and treatment of magnesium deficiency. Read the this article now to learn more."

The Cavegirls presents Paleo Apple Cake posted at Northwest Cavegirls, saying, "It's apple season! Collect those apples from your trees or buy some at your local farmer's market to make this moist, delicious Apple Cake. With a hefty dose of cinnamon and cloves along this yummy warming cake will fill that need for a treat."

Melissa Joulwan presents Tuesday 10: Excellent Body Image Posts posted at The Clothes Make The Girl, saying, "Eating paleo's made me healthier and happier, mentally and physically -- but body image stuff still pops up. Here are some excellent posts to help with body acceptance."

Neely Quinn presents Do You Need to Supplement Iodine? posted at Paleo Plan, saying, "A lot of organs and tissues in your body depend on iodine to keep them healthy: your thyroid, breast, uterus, and prostate to name a few. Do you need more iodine than you're getting from your diet?"

Meghan Little & Angel Torres presents Paleo Dill Pickles, A Quick, Crunchy Vegan Side for Burgers or BBQ posted at Paleo Effect, saying, "These refrigerator pickles require NO FERMENTATION, so delicious! We even use the vegetables in our dill pickle relish!"

Beth Mazur presents When it's time to give diet and exercise a rest posted at Weight Maven, saying, "if you're struggling with paleo, it may be time to give diet and exercise a rest."

Primal Kitchen's Family Grokumentarian presents Managing Sensory Processing Disorder (SPD) with Paleo & GAPS Diet Principles posted at Primal Kitchen: A Family Grokumentary, saying, "Lingering in the background of the my blog's last few posts describing GAPS diet related stuff is a full and complex story. Early in the spring, my 2.5 year old daughter was diagnosed as having speech delay and sensory processing disorder (SPD). Fine tuning her 80/20 paleo to a gluten free dairy free take on the GAPS diet has been a cornerstone in managing her SPD and her apraxia / speech delay while we work through other therapeutic approaches."

Adam Farrah presents Going on a Diet vs. Building a Life... posted at Practical Paleolithic, saying, "A post that encourages everyone to START their journey to better health habits and learn more as they go. Paleo eating and living is a long-term endeavor..."

Amy Kubal presents Hey Perky, Let's talk about the Coffee... posted at Robb Wolf, saying, "What does your morning brew do for you and do you really like 'coffee'. This post examines and questions the morning habit."

Diane Sanfilippo presents How can I eat Paleo on a budget? posted at Balanced Bites, saying, "Some of these tips are directly grocery-shopping money-savers, while others are going to challenge you to rearrange your budgeting priorities to allow for more dollars towards food each week and month."

Blair presents Mojo Mushroom posted at The Found Link, saying, "Found links connecting the breaking of a world record in running and increased health and libido to a parasitic fungus that grows out of the head of insects."

David French MD presents Two New Converts posted at PaleoMD, saying, "So wonderful to see patients changing their lives for the better!"

Wenchypoo presents "One-Half Teaspoon of Sugar Puts White Blood Cells to Sleep For Four Hours" posted at Wisdom from Wenchypoo's Old Bat Cave, saying, "The numbers may be off, but the effect is the same!"

Patty Strilaeff presents My Whole30 Recap posted at following my nose, saying, "How we fared on Whole30, including a photos of many of our meals."

Penny Price McIntosh presents Confused About Diet? Use Common Sense! posted at Health Coach Penny, saying, "My common sense tips about nutrition that you can use to figure out if a food is healthy and REALLY food."

Peggy Emch presents A Mathematician's Apology posted at The Primal Parent, saying, "Within nature, there are laws for everything -- the way things fall, the way mammals feed their young, the foods which each creature needs, the way we grow, the movement of the stars, etc. And I believe it is the same for humans. There is a program which we should be running -- for child raising, for diet, for sport performance, for optimal memorization, for everything we do and every way we operate."

Many thanks to the PaleoBloggers who submitted to this edition of the The Paleo Rodeo! We love new members! So 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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Sunday, September 09, 2012

Alex Epstein on How Coal Improves Our Environment

By Diana Hsieh

On August 21st, Alex Epstein of the Center for Industrial Progress gave the opening keynote at the American Coal Council conference.

I was particularly impressed with his discussion of how to make the positive case for coal, particularly why merely attacking the anti-industry environmentalist critics of coal is insufficient and unpersuasive. The same, obviously, applies to any kind of activism: merely attacking your opponents doesn't change the minds of critics.

Here's the talk: How Coal Improves Our Environment:



I'll be interviewing Alex on this very topic -- of how the energy industry improves our lives -- on the September 12th episode of Philosophy in Action Radio. I hope that you'll tune in!

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Hsieh PJM OpEd on ObamaCare 2.0 and "Global Spending Caps"

By Paul Hsieh

PJ Media has just published my latest OpEd: "In Top Journal, Obamacare Boosters Push 'Global Spending Target'".

I discuss the latest push for a "global spending cap" on health care -- but public and private.

Here is the opening:

Free-market economists have long known that “controls breed controls.” In health care, leading Obamacare supporters are now proposing unprecedented new government controls over all medical spending — private as well as public — to “solve” problems caused by prior controls. Welcome to ObamaCare 2.0.

In a recent article in the New England Journal of Medicine (NEJM), several prominent Obamacare supporters have called for a binding “global spending target for both public and private payers.” In regular English, this means a government-enforced cap on how much Americans may spend in aggregate on their health care, both public and private.
The co-authors of this article include former Obama administration officials Dr. Ezekiel Emanuel (former White House health care advisor and brother of Rahm Emanuel, former White House chief of staff), Dr. Donald Berwick (former head of Medicare), and Peter Orszag (former budget director)...
 In particular, I cover 5 implications of this new approach.
1) This means rationing.
2) Get ready for the lobbyist feeding frenzy.
3) The government will exert increasing control over how doctors can practice.
4) Controls breed controls.
5) We need free-market reforms more than ever.
These "global spending caps" have already been enacted into law in Massachusetts. Under a second Obama administration, the rest of the US would likely follow.

(Read the full text of: "In Top Journal, Obamacare Boosters Push 'Global Spending Target'".)

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Saturday, September 08, 2012

Philosophy Weekend: Philosophy in Action Radio Preview

By Diana Hsieh

In Sunday morning's episode of Philosophy in Action Q&A Radio, I'll answer questions on fear of rape, conflicts between family members, prayers of atheists, bans on smoking, and more with Greg Perkins.

This week's questions are:
  • Question 1: Fear of Rape: Should men be sensitive to women's fears of being raped? Recently, I became aware of an ongoing debate among the online atheist community regarding proper conduct of men toward women they do not know. In a June 2011 video reporting on a conference, "Skepchik" Rebecca Watson talked about her experience of being asked to the room of a strange man in an elevator at 4 am. (See 4:00 to 5:45 in this video.) That invitation made her very uncomfortable, and she thought it was very wrong to so sexualize her. Her comments created a firestorm of controversy. Do you think that men need to be sensitive to women's fears about being raped? Should women have such fears around unknown men?

  • Question 2: Conflicts Between Family Members: How can I stay out of conflicts between family members? When two people you love have competing claims about the facts in a conflict between them, how do not imply that one or the other is lying? My daughter said she told my wife something important. My wife said my daughter didn't say anything about it. How can you react without destroying one or the other's trust? I wasn't there: I can believe or dis-believe either one. But I am forced by each to choose. When I refuse to choose side, I'm still subjected to being accused of taking the other's side and calling each one a liar. What can I do to make peace, at least with me?

  • Question 3: Prayers of Atheists: Is it wrong for an atheist to pray? I used to be a Christian, but I've not believed in God for many years. However, I still pray when I'm under stress, even though I know that it doesn't accomplish anything. What's the harm in praying to a non-existent being?

  • Question 4: Bans on Smoking: Do smoking bans violate rights? Cities are banning smoking in private businesses like bars and even smoke shops. Are these bans immoral – meaning, do they violate rights? Does second-hand smoke violate the rights of non-smoking patrons or employees? What should be the policy for government-owned property like parks, court houses, sidewalks, etc?
After that, we'll tackle some impromptu "Rapid Fire Questions."

To join the live broadcast and its chat, just point your browser to Philosophy in Action's Live Studio a few minutes before the show is scheduled to start. If you attend the live show, you can share your thoughts with other listeners and ask me follow-up questions in the text chat.

If you miss the live broadcast, you'll find the audio from the episode posted here: Q&A Radio: 9 September 2012.

Philosophy in Action Radio broadcasts every Sunday morning and Wednesday evening. For information on upcoming shows and more, visit the Episodes on Tap.

I hope that you join us on Sunday morning!

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Friday, September 07, 2012

The Paleo Rodeo #126

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 of the Rodeo 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 MoNat - my newest New Habit posted at New Habit, saying, "My report on the MovNat Power & Agility workshop in Edinburgh on 1/2 September 2012."

Nell Stephenson presents Orthorexia- Really? posted at Paleoista, by Nell Stephenson.

Diana Hsieh presents SuperSlow Update: The Fourth Sheet posted at NoodleFood, saying, "I just completed my fourth 16-week session of SuperSlow. In this post, I report on my progress."

Neely Quinn presents Why Such Tough Love? posted at Paleo Plan, saying, "Weight loss is a tough thing, and sometimes tough love is a necessary evil."

Max Ungar presents 5 Ways to Explain Your Lifestyle To Judgmental Friends posted at Caveman College, saying, "Have trouble explaining the paleo diet to your friends or relatives? Check it out."

Kelly Fitzsimmons presents Vitamin D Deficiency -- The Definitive Guide posted at Weight Loss Ninja, saying, "We provide you with a wealth of information detailing the signs, symptoms and treatment of Vitamin D deficiency. Read the this article now to learn more."

Fatisfied presents More Moves posted at Free Your Fat, saying, "Tabletop toe touching, backward burpeeing, and pistol squatting are presented as the makings of a mini exertion."

Tony Federico presents Grok Pot Bones & Beef posted at Fitness in an Evolutionary Direction, saying, "Grass fed beef and marrow bones cooked 'low and slow" in a crock pot create a delicious, affordable and convenient meal."

John Oro presents THE WEIGHT OF THE NATION posted at PaleoTerran, saying, "New contributor Suzanne introduces this new four-part presentation on the multi-factorial causes of the U.S. obesity epidemic. While the videos are not specifically Paleo, she will review each part in upcoming blogs to identify how Paleo will play a role."

The Cavegirls presents Coconut flour cinnamon cookies posted at Northwest Cavegirls, saying, "Looking for a gluten-free, dairy-free, nut-free cookie recipe that can fill that need for a treat? This recipe uses coconut flour and fruit/veg puree to make a deliciously moist starter cookie that can become chocolate chip cookies, snickerdoodles or any other variation you can imagine."

Susie T. Gibbs presents Low Carb Wiener Schnitzel posted at Fluffy Chix Cook, saying, "It's a Fluffy Chix Cook Flashback Friday. Fall is in the air and for many of you, harvest time looms and there's already a nip in the air. This low carb Paleo treat warms you with comfort and gives a very credible Wiener Schnitzel alternative to high carbage, gluten filled nonsense!"

Victoria presents Journeys and Destinations posted at Principle into Practice, saying, "Thoughts on hiking, med school, and life."

Hadass Eviatar presents Encouraging Paleo Kids, One Egg At A Time posted at My Coat of Many Colours, saying, "Heart-shaped omelette FTW!!"

Angel Ayala & Meghan Little presents Paleo Baked Salmon w/Basil Peach Habanero Sauce, A Seafood Dinner posted at Paleo Effect, saying, "This recipe is sweet, spicy, fresh and clean. It tastes really great with our steamed veggies and mashed no-tatoes!"

Jedha presents What are some health benefits of the paleo diet? posted at Paleo Weight Loss Coach, saying, "I share my experiences, ask others to share theirs and put a few side notes from the experts too."

Amy Marrero presents Paleo Away From Home posted at Paleosophy, saying, "How I manage to stay healthy while traveling for both work and pleasure."

Yoga and Bacon presents Shame...or maybe we are not connected enough?? posted at Yoga and Bacon, saying, "I have been exploring shame in my life and on my blog for a couple weeks now, I am desperately trying to understand how we can rebalance our sense of shame in order to love ourselves enough to experience pure, authentic health. This post was written after I was enlightened in a Yoga class that I attended for the sole purpose of forgetting about all this for a while...funny how it is."

Many thanks to the PaleoBloggers who submitted to this edition of the The Paleo Rodeo! We love new members! So 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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Monday, September 03, 2012

SuperSlow Update: The Fourth Sheet

By Diana Hsieh

Last Friday, I completed my fourth sheet of SuperSlow training, i.e. another 16 sessions. If you've not read my prior posts on SuperSlow, check out:

This last sheet was something of a bear, but let's see how I did. (Click to enlarge.)



Here's a summary of my progress on various movements, starting from Session 48 from Sheet 3 to Session 64 on Sheet 4. All the machines are Nautilus, except the the lower back and the torso rotation. As before, only Leg Press and Lower Back are done every session; all other movements are done every other session.

With this sheet, we decided to allow the leg press to take a back seat, given all the progress that I made in Sheet 3. So I did it last every session, which was insanely hard. I was focused on making progress on my lat pull-down, hip adduction, and hip abduction.

Every week:
  • LP: Leg Press: 280 to 285 lbs. My trainer moved my seat forward, and that just killed me. For the past few sessions, I've been extending my legs less (due my my knee popping down once), and that's increased the difficulty too.
  • LB: Lower Back: 178 to 182 lbs. My weight on this machine is ridiculously high for a woman, so I'm not pushing myself too hard on it at present. Still, it's the sole machine that I don't hate!
Every other week:
  • CR: Calf Raises: 300 to 305 lbs. Progress is hard to make on this movement, because the heels are just moving a few inches up and down. Still, I can see better definition in my calves, and I expect to be up to 310 lbs soon.
  • Hip AB: Hip Abduction: 85 to 95 lbs. I've made some, but not much progress. It's really hard, and I might be near my max weight.
  • Hip AD: Hip Adduction: 105 to 115 lbs. Again, I've made some, but not much progress. I might be near my max weight with this machine too.
  • Lower Back (see above)
  • Bicep: Steady at 50 lbs: Hrmph. I didn't realize that I made no progress on this machine. My times aren't great either.
  • Tricep: Steady at 85 lbs: Again, no progress. Boo!
  • Ab C: Ab Crunch: Steady at 20 lbs. I'm okay with that.
  • Leg Press (see above)
Every other week:
  • PD: Lat Pull-Down: 115 to 130 lbs. I'm really happy with my progress on this machine, particularly after being at 115 lbs for the whole of Sheet 3. You'll see that my trainer accidentally increased me by 15 lbs, but I was able to do it! (We kept 10 lbs of that increase.) Sometimes, a mistaken weight increase is a great way to make progress.
  • CP: Chest Press: 65 to 70 lbs. I've struggled to make any progress on this machine, so I'm very happy with a 5 lb increase. My times didn't really justify the increase, but sometimes an increase when stalled can get me out of a rut. I've done okay with 70 lbs, so I think that was the right decision.
  • Row: Row: 55 to 60 lbs. I alternate between pulling and a 2 minute static hold. I hate this machine, and I'm still having trouble with my form. But hey, a little progress is good!
  • LE/LC: Leg Extension: Steady at 70 lbs. I wasn't able to make much progress on this machine due to its later placement in the workout. I'm okay with that. (LC is a 90-second Leg Curl of progressive intensity against a stable frame.)
  • Lower Back (see above)
  • Rot T: Rotate Torso: 50 to 40 lbs. My trainer dropped my weight to work on form, and I think that was helpful.
  • Leg Press (see above)
I can't quite recall what my trainer and I decided to do on the next sheet. We've moved a bunch of machines around, yet again. Leg press is at the end of every other workout, and I think it's in the middle of the others. The lat pull-down is still early, I think. For more than that, you'll have to wait for my report in 16 weeks.

Overall, I'm still really happy to be doing SuperSlow. It's the most difficult half hour of every week, but I just need that half hour to keep in great shape for the sports that I love -- horseback riding, skiing, and snowboarding. Plus, my injury risk is negligible. I love that.

P.S. If you decide to try my SuperSlow gym (now TruFit Health) in south Denver, please tell them that I referred you!

Read more...

Saturday, September 01, 2012

Philosophy Weekend: Philosophy in Action Radio Preview

By Diana Hsieh

In Sunday morning's episode of Philosophy in Action Q&A Radio, I'll answer questions on performance-enhancing drugs in sports, sexual values in romance, manipulating for good ends, intellectually inferior professors, and more with Greg Perkins.

This week's questions are:
  • Question 1: Performance-Enhancing Drugs in Sports: It is wrong for athletes to use performance-enhancing drugs? Lance Armstrong was recently stripped of his record seven Tour De France titles after allegations that he used performance enhancing drugs – particularly EPO, human growth hormone, and steroids. These drugs act to enhance vitality and endurance by increasing red blood cell count, stimulating new cell growth, and helping to regulate metabolism and immune function, respectively. Although I don't have a medical background, I can't find a moral difference between a competitive athlete taking such medications for peak performance and a regular person taking vitamins, herbs, and supplements for increased performance. Professional athletes are encouraged and expected to adopt other modern technologies such as lighter bicycle frames, carbon nanotube rackets, aerodynamic helmets, and expertly designed running shoes. So isn't it proper to embrace advances in medicine as well, so long as athletes are aware of the risks? Should we vilify such athletes on the grounds that they create an unfair advantage – or applaud them for maximizing performance via technology? Should sports leagues regulate or ban performance-enhancing drugs?

  • Question 2: Sexual Values in Romance: How important are a person's particular sexual values in a romantic relationship? The problems in many relationships seem to be due to conflicting sexual values, such as one partner wanting variety while the other opposes an open relationship. So why aren't such sexual values considered at least on par with other important values in a relationship? When faced with sexual problems, why is the assumption that a couple needs to "work on them" – as opposed to thinking that such problems should be resolved before any commitment? In other words, before accepting and establishing a relationship, shouldn't people seek sexual compatibility in the same way they seek emotional compatibility?

  • Question 3: Manipulating for Good Ends: Is it wrong to manipulate a dishonest person into honoring his promises? A friend of mine bought tires from ACME Tire Company (that's not their real name) and purchased the additional road hazard coverage. Road hazard coverage says that Acme will repair the tire if it loses pressure due to driving over some hazard. If the tire is too damaged to repair, they will sell you a pro-rated replacement tire. My friend's tire started losing air and he took it to Acme, but they couldn't find anything wrong, so they put more air in it and let him go. Three weeks later, it lost air again and he went back. He did this five times. One time they told him they found a bit of metal in his tire, but when he asked to see it they said they already threw it away. Another time they said the tire didn't have a good seal, so they re-sealed it. Another time they said they found a little hole and that they fixed it. He has explained each time his history with it and expressed a desire to simply purchase a pro-rated tire according to the terms of the agreement if they can't fix it, but they won't do it since each time they claim they found a problem and fixed it. But after five times he simply does not believe them. (Adding to his incredulity is the fact that during all this he has had his tires rotated and the same one still leaks.) If the tire were actually fixed, he wouldn't mind, but since it never gets fixed he's thinking that the only solution is to get a new tire. He's contemplating doing something to damage the tire to a point where they can't repair it. Would this be an ethical thing to do? Why or why not? What other options would you suggest?

  • Question 4: Intellectually Inferior Professors: What should a student do when he thinks his professors are intellectually inferior? The idea is i'm aiming at is how to learn from a teacher whom shows no genuine interest in the fundamental aspects of knowledge in terms of it's fundamentals. For instance, I had a teacher whom never asked us to question the merit of given theories to mass media ethics, the ideas were presented as ready-made packaged deals of how censorship was ideal in the communication model presented to us via textbook. Considering also when asked the verity of such concepts, the teacher will hide by claiming since the textbook says so, it is truth, and if that is not satisfactory then look it up online. [Note from DH: I did not edit this question.]
After that, we'll tackle some impromptu "Rapid Fire Questions."

To join the live broadcast and its chat, just point your browser to Philosophy in Action's Live Studio a few minutes before the show is scheduled to start. If you attend the live show, you can share your thoughts with other listeners and ask me follow-up questions in the text chat.

If you miss the live broadcast, you'll find the audio from the episode posted here: Q&A Radio: 2 September 2012.

Philosophy in Action Radio broadcasts every Sunday morning and Wednesday evening. For information on upcoming shows and more, visit the Episodes on Tap.

I hope that you join us on Sunday morning!

Read more...

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