Friday, 31 December 2010

Boston's Eleven

I stumbled across Boston Globe today and, in keeping with every other paper this time of year, it had a list of resolutions.  Number one was to do with dieting; Don't Diet:
  •  Unless you want to doom yourself to feeling frustrated and deprived, that is. Dr. David Ludwig, who directs the Optimal Weight for Living Program at Children’s Hospital Boston, says diets backfire when people put a lot of energy into unsustainable ways of eating — cutting way back on a whole food group, for example. It’s better to follow the advice even the 5-year-olds in his clinic can grasp: Eat real foods, not fake foods. Stay away from food that is made in a factory, comes in a package, and has unpronounceable ingredients. Stick with food our Stone Age ancestors would recognize
 The other ten are worth reading, and all pretty much touch upon paleo ideas (nothing about sleep though, which I feel is an undervalued tenet of 'paleo'). 

I think that as these paleo ideas are aired, the climate will arise where a graceful exit can be made by various institutions from their fat phobic and calorie obsessed position.  We are definitely seeing a broader acceptance of paleo's contrary ideas to the current status quo.

A further link addressed why Why a Calorie is Not Just a Calorie, slap-bang in the middle of which is this rather illuminating paragraph:
  • ...numerous studies have been done on more effective ways to lose weight that focus on the regulation of hunger - a dieter's greatest obstacle - which can vary dramatically by the type of fat or carb in a food, the water and fiber content of what we eat, and possibly the timing and spacing of meals throughout the day. What triggers hunger signals to the brain is a lot more complex than the calorie counts in the foods we eat.

(My emphasis).  There is a lot to take in with that statement.  It touches not only upon hormonal issues beyond calories, but also hints at IF.  Amen to that!  Sadly the rest of the article recycles busted concepts about fat.  Ah well.



Thursday, 23 December 2010

Agent Provocateur

The Primal Blueprint Cookbook has just been nominated as one of the five worst (unhealthy) cook books of 2010 by the Physicians’ Committee for Responsible Medicine.  I don't know much about the PCRM but they had the sitting duck of 'Primal Fuel' and somehow ended up not only missing it, but also of shooting themselves in the foot:
  • The Primal Blueprint sets back evidence-based nutrition nearly 2 million years with its meat-heavy diet. Along with artery-clogging “Paleo” recipes for Primal Pot Roast and Sausage Stew, this book includes an entire section of cholesterol-laden recipes for offal—entrails and internal organs. The authors say recipes like these are ideal for followers of Atkins and other low-carb diets. But a recent study funded by the National Institutes of Health found that a low-carbohydrate diet based on animal food sources increases mortality risk from all causes, including cancer and heart disease.
Do you think they even know how rich breastmilk is in cholesterol?  Do you think they ever thought how Man survived through several ice ages without eating LOTS of meat (including organ meat/offal), and little in the way of plant?  Will reducing dietary cholesterol REALLY reduce cholesterol levels in the body?

It is kind of embarrassing for the PCRM to be lining themselves up so thoroughly against evolutionary biology.  Once this branch of biology extends in to medicine (and it WILL), it is going to be great fun watching the PCRM squirming on the hook.  You cannot argue against evolutionary adaption - unless you are really, really stupid and/or really, really arrogant.

Needless to say I will be purchasing one of Mark's books in the new year by way of support.  By all accounts his Primal Blueprint is a definitive and essential paleo text.  Anyone new to 'paleo' should spend time on his comprehensive site.

Sign O' the (LA) Times

'Paleo' is losing its 'fad diet' tag.  I have reservations about the word 'diet' being used in conjunction with the 'paleo framework' because it suggests some kind of 'temporary artificial manipulation' of nutritional intake to lose weight.  And, as paleo eating does not fixate on calorie restriction, this rubs hard against the wider wisdom that we need to 'eat less and do more!'

But there is a change coming.  There is wider recognition that grains and sugar are a serious problem in obesity.  From the LA Times:
  • Most people can count calories. Many have a clue about where fat lurks in their diets. However, fewer give carbohydrates much thought, or know why they should.

    But a growing number of top nutritional scientists blame excessive carbohydrates — not fat — for America's ills. They say cutting carbohydrates is the key to reversing obesity, heart disease, Type 2 diabetes and hypertension.
There is little understanding of the underlying hormonal and metabolic factors at play - there is still the fixation of calories in vs calories out, but at least word is spreading.  Think Cluedo; the is an awareness 'the crime' was in the library with the lead-piping. Give them time and they'll work out that it was Professor Plum!

Such stories are an important step in moving the paleo philosophy above 'diet' and so 'fad'.  As other stream of learning such as Evolutionary Biology develop, and new streams of learning arise (such as Evolutionary Medicine), the paleo framework can only become more robust.

Monday, 20 December 2010

Spot Workout (RPT)

Another quick workout.  There are so many disruptions this time of year that I just grab a window of opportunity to LSHS (lift some heavy shit).

Warm Up (5 mins)
Main (20 mins)
1. Deadlifts (3x140kg, 4x125kg) - RPT
2. One Arm Chins (6 x BW-50kg, 6 x BW-45kg, 40 x BW-50kg)
3. DB Press (12x10kg, 7x12kg, 3x16kg, 2x18kg neg) Heirarchical

No sign of any problem from my elbow after the OACs.  Go a bit of hip tightness from the DLs but nothing major.  The only mildly annoying bit is the lack of 'heavyness' with the DBP - although I was doing hierarchical sets which tend to hurt! 

Weight is about 84kg.

Thursday, 16 December 2010

Spot Workout (Heirarchical Sets)

This routine was made up on the fly.  The set and rep scheme was based on ADV's Hierarchical Sets idea with minimal rest (only to change weight):

Warm Up (5 mins)
Main (20 mins)
1. Pistols 12x(60kg assist), 7x(40kg assist), 3x(20kg assist)
2. Chins 12xBW, 8xBW+20kg, 3xBW+25kg
3. DB Press 12x14kg, 8x16kg, 3x18kg

Legs are now jelly! 
I should just mention some improvement in planching and levers having maintained a grease-the-groove protcol over the past few weeks.  Nothing major - just very little, of a high intensity, last thing at night.
I have a dose of Man-Flu at the moment that has persisted for the last week.  It peaked over the weekend with bodily aches and cycles of being too hot and too cold.
I have eaten only three times in the last five days but am definitely over the worst of it.  I am trying to roll with it all.  I follow my appetite and embrace the rest from exercise.  One of the reasons I worked out today is because I really wanted to - a sure sign of recovery.
Next year I will embark on a more organised phase of training.

Wednesday, 15 December 2010

Monday, 13 December 2010


Dont forget the total lunar eclipse next week, or the partial solar eclipse soon after!  In the meantime, head out tonight:
  • "The Geminids are a meteor shower caused by the object 3200 Phaethon,[1] which is thought to be a Palladian asteroid.[2] This would make the Geminids the only meteor shower not originating from a passing comet. The meteors from this shower are slow moving, can be seen in December and usually peak around the 13th - 14th of the month, with the date of highest intensity being the morning of the 14th. The shower is thought to be intensifying every year and recent showers have seen 120–160 meteors per hour under optimal conditions, generally around 2am to 3am GMT. Geminids were first observed only 150 years ago, much more recently than other showers such as the Perseids and Leonids (Wikipedia)"

Friday, 10 December 2010

Should animals have the same rights as humans?

Skip to the Immortality Phase

"The key is not to slow the rate of aging, but go directly to the immortal phase at a lower rate of mortality, which is exactly what the fruit flies do....

How do you make the transition to the immortality phase earlier and stop aging sooner? Adhere to a regimen of “what is natural for humans, what is our best environment.”

That excludes an industrial lifestyle and a Western-style diet that involves sitting several hours in front of a TV or computer and munching on Twinkies, he explained. Instead, adopt an ancestral hunter-gatherer lifestyle and diet (the paleolithic, or “paleo” diet).

A paleo diet is a regimen that includes only foods available before the agricultural revolution of the Neolithic, which includes lean meats, shore-based foods, fruits and vegetables. Foods that became available after the Neolithic such as grains, dairy, and processed foods are all avoided."

Read more here!

Thursday, 9 December 2010

Spot Workout (Wendler)

The continuing cold spell has meant a lot more walking and snow shovelling.  The formal routine has fallen by the wayside, but I have embraced the new workouts the weather has brought.

Today though, it is back in to the gym for a little bit of gentle iron to ensure I keep my gains.  This is just a 'spot workout' - nothing too demanding (I may well push the levels a bit).  The idea is based upon a Wendler template.  I have not really thought about rests - think I will suck it and see.

Warm Up (5 mins)
Main (30 mins)
1. Deadlift 5x91/100, 5x105/120, 5+x119/130
2. Wall Walk : BackBridge 2, 2, 2
3. Planche Press Ups 6, 5, 4
4. Ice Cream Makers 6, 5, 4
5. Four-Way Rotator Cuff 10, 10, 10

Friday, 3 December 2010

'Fight or Flight' and 'Fast or Feast'

I have just finished Malcolm Kendrick's "The Great Cholesterol Con".  I have reached the point where anything I read that tackles the cholesterol/lipid hypothesis strikes me as being akin to shooting fish in a barrel.  There appear to be so many inconsistencies in the established thinking that when you come to it from a non-medical background, wood and trees become distinguishable.  But Kendrick turns over fresh stones, exposing a variety of evidence that builds to a credible case against the current obsession with cholesterol and saturated fat.

What prompts this post is something that Kendrick wrote about the Parasympathetic and Sympathetic nervous systems - two systems that are antagonistic to one another.

The Sympathetic NS gears you up for flight or fight.  Your heart rate increases, blood flow is redirected to muscles, the liver releases glucose pushing up blood-sugar levels and various blood clotting factors are released in to the blood stream.  This is a 'catabolic' state and is just what you need when faced with either conflict, or significant exertion (such as exercise).

The Parasympathetic NS offers opposing actions, slowing your heart, stimulating insulin and the release of bile, and redirecting blood to the gut to aid digestion.  An 'anabolic' state that is perfect when you are ready, as Kendrick notes, 'to eat, digest and store energy'.

Wednesday, 1 December 2010

Passing of a Paleo Pioneer

Wolfgang Lutz' obituary from The Guardian:
  • Wolfgang Lutz, who has died aged 97, was a doctor who investigated the links between nutrition and health. Concerned over the dramatic escalation in what he termed the "diseases of civilisation", he developed the idea that humans are insufficiently adapted to the comparatively recent high-carbohydrate foods of the Neolithic age. He suggested that a diet similar in composition to that of the Ice Age hunter-gatherer might be more suitable to our genome. He recommended a "modern Paleolithic diet", unrestricted as to protein and fat, yet low enough in carbohydrate to be compatible with our genetic inheritance.

    Wolfgang further surmised that the pattern of our hormonal secretion must be tuned to the largely animal diet of that distant epoch. He demonstrated clinically how today's comparative overload of carbohydrate requires compensatory adjustments in our hormonal secretions – primarily in insulin, but also in thyroid, adrenal, growth and sex hormone levels. Wolfgang was the first to describe how these often prolonged disturbances in hormonal regulation could underlie many of our modern diseases.
World War II put nutrition back a long way.

How Long Did They Trial This For?

You may want to ask this question of any drug you are prescribed.  I am not talking about your common or garden drugs - but lets just say stuff like antidepressants and statins.

In reading about these two drug classes, most of the trials that I have seen referred to seem to be trialed for a very limited period - downwards of five years.  This is fine unless you are going to be taking these drugs for longer than five years - where suddenly you become a 'pioneer test subject'.