Thursday, 30 June 2011

Walking the Amazon

Ed Stafford's amazing 860 day journey, walking from Peru, the length of the Amazon, to the Atlantic, recently aired in the UK, finishing this evening.  Channel 5 have the episodes online.

part one:
  • Ed Stafford attempts to walk the navigation of the Amazon river. Ed faces the prospect of completing the mission solo when both his companion and his guide threaten to quit the expedition. As the journey progresses, Ed encounters wary villagers, murderous drug traffickers and deadly wildlife.
part two,
  • Having reached the halfway point, Ed and Cho still face the prospect of at least another 12 months of trekking across dangerous terrain. Another Brit decides to join the mission, but can he keep up with the intrepid pair as they face hunger, disease and parasites in the depths of the jungle?

The whole adventure is totally enthralling as Ed and his colleagues fight infections and bugs along with Caymen and drug dealers! 

From a nutrition point of view you get to appreciate the importance of energy, its availability, its expenditure and it sources in such endeavours.  Part two features some great moments when hunting and gathering comes good!

As always it is the inner journey that is the toughest and most interesting as Ed fights personal demons.  Awesome.

Muppets State the Obvious

Another example of how educated professional muppets can state the obvious without shedding any light on a problem:
  • "Snacking and super sizing are two of the dieter's worst enemies, research suggests. "
  • "They suggest efforts to prevent obesity should focus on reducing the number of snacks and meals a day as well as portion size."
No shit Sherlock?  These guys should research alcoholism whilst they are at it.  No doubt they would recommend that alcoholics should 'focus on reducing the number of alcoholic drinks as well as the alcoholic strength of the drinks they consume'.

You see, as has been pointed out many times in the LC and paleo communities, these guys are simply restating the problem.  There is no causal information, they are simply making an observation of a consequent behaviour.

You'd think it ludicrous to spend money on research in to the CAUSE of alcoholism only to be told, 'alcoholics drink too much alcohol, too much of the time'.  You'd probably ask for a refund. 

What you want to know is WHY they engage in compulsive and uncontrolled drinking.  Even worse would be a diagnosis that alcoholics should seek to reduce the amount of alcohol they consume.  The same can be said for obesity.

When riding a dead horse it is important to first beat the dead horse harder, then change the riding crop, and ultimately change the rider:
  • "These findings suggest a new focus for efforts to reduce energy imbalances in US adults," write Kiyah Duffey and Barry Popkin of the University of North Carolina in the journal PloS Medicine.

Baise moi!

Tuesday, 28 June 2011

More Snatch Grip DLs

Time is still a limiting factor - and I have a big weekend coming up, so I am keeping the workouts simple.

The fear factor has returned with the backflips so they are to one side for now. Odd that after a day of awesome flipping a week or two ago, I am on a downward trajectory with flip fear!

Warm Up (Grok Squat, Side Grok Squat, Lunging Walks)
1. Fig-8 Sprints (10sec:50rest x 4)
2. Snatch Grip Deadlift with a Deficit (5x5xBW)
3. Chins (3x6xBW+25kg - 1 min rest btw)
4. Handwalking x 2
5. 3x Planching Variations

Saturday, 25 June 2011

A Biochemical Pathway Controlling Ageing

In Life Ascending, Nick Lane explores the conventional wisdom that explains away illness, disease or degeneration as a property of genes which is 'beyond the reach of natural selection'. But more recently it was discovered that a mutation in one gene can suspend this whole degenerative process!

This biochemical pathway is exploited as a trade off between longevity and sex; something first suggested by a British gerontologist by the name of Tom Kirkwood:
  • Kirkwood pictured exactly such a 'choice', on the grounds that energy is limited and everything has a cost.  The energetic cost of bodily maintenance must be subtracted from the energetic cost of sex, and organisms that try to do both simultaneously will fare less well than organisms that apportion their resources.
This is called the 'dispoable soma theory' and in this economic analogy, the Greece of the animal world is the Pacific Salmon.  This animal puts all its resource in to sex at the cost of bodily maintenance, after which its demise is astonishingly fast - a matter of days.  Reminds me of a holiday in the Mediterranean a few years ago...I digress....

Thursday, 23 June 2011

Planet of the Apemen: Homo Erectus

The BBC's natural history output is beyond compare.  They usually do a good job when approaching science in general.  Every so often they do err a little, and so it was with the edu-tainment that constituted 'Planet of the Apemen':
  • In the not-too-distant past, humans shared this planet with other species of hominid. This series tells how, against all the odds, Homo sapiens survived.

    This episode is set 75,000 years ago in India, following a catastrophic super-volcanic eruption which forced a showdown between our ancestors and a completely different species of human, Homo erectus, who up until that point had reigned supreme.
The mix of drama and factual analysis is always going to sit uncomfortably together, but the factual content was sufficient to hold my attention.  Little nuggets of interest include the unearthing of fossilised ostrich eggs in Africa where appear to have been used as a water container by early Homo Sapien. 

Next time ADV criticises people who carry water bottles around the gym I might just mention this to him! (Joke).

Further information is available on this link "Why is there only one human species?"

Tuesday, 21 June 2011

It's Not Unusual... lose a lot of weight on a Caveman Diet!
  • Being one of our biggest stars no longer suits Tom Jones. So the 71-year-old singer decided to slim down, losing more than two stone in just five months.

    His new svelte shape is all down to a healthy eating plan known as 'the caveman diet', which advocates fresh raw foods over carbohydrates.
 I hate the term 'Caveman Diet' - but despite the absence of the words 'red' and 'meat' in an adjoining capacity, at least the general spin on the story was not negative.

Snatch Grip Deadlift

The mayhem continues and so I am going for another workout on-the-fly.  The broad theme will be:

Warm Up
Backflips x 4 interspersed by Grok Squat, Side Grok Squat, Lunging Walks
1. Fig-8 Sprints (10sec:50rest x 4)
2. Snatch Grip Deadlift with a Deficit (5x5xBW)
3. Chins (3x6xBW+25kg - 1 min rest btw)
4. Handwalking x 2
5. 3x Planching Variations

Monday, 20 June 2011

The Beasties We Need Near Us

From New Scientist:
  • As humans became urban and industrial, we also separated ourselves from other species. Pets aside, we have laboured to rid our houses and cities of creatures - not just visible predators and pests but also the microbes on our countertops and hands. Some of these steps were sensible acts of self-preservation, but others were driven by an ideology of humans as separate from nature. Dunn, a biologist at North Carolina State University as well as a science journalist, catalogues the dangers of that ideology.

    To illustrate how species influence one another's evolution, he points to the pronghorn, a small antelope-like mammal in North America that runs inexplicably fast. The pronghorn's speed, Dunn says, only makes sense if you consider the large predators that once hunted it. The "pronghorn principle" also applies to the human body. We too are "haunted by ghosts" of parasites, pathogens and predators that shaped our evolution.
One for the reading list methinks: "The Wild Life of Our Bodies" By Robb Dunn

Saturday, 18 June 2011

Waste Not, Want Not

I was reflecting upon some of the recent arguments in the paleosphere around the ratios/percentages of macro nutrients that would compose a paleo-compliant diet.  Let's start off with the premise that very little would go to waste - hell, we cracked open bone to get at marrow!

When considering macro nutrient ratios there are a few factors that need to be considered, not least the seasonal availability of plant food.  But for me the elephant in the room is the utility of an animal carcass.

Friday, 17 June 2011

Unnatural Histories: Yellowstone

This excellent series continues with the domestication of what was to become Yellowstone National Park.
  • As the world's first national park, Yellowstone has long served as a model for the protection of wilderness around the world. For Americans it has become a source of great national pride, not least because it encapsulates all our popular notions of what a wilderness should be - vast, uninhabited, with spectacular scenery and teeming with wildlife. But Yellowstone has not always been so. At the time of its creation in 1872, it was renowned only for its extraordinary geysers, and far from being an uninhabited wilderness it was home to several American Indian tribes.

    This film reveals how a remote Indian homeland became the world's first great wilderness. It was the ambitions of railroad barons, not conservationists, that paved the way for a brand new vision of the wild, a vision that took native peoples out of the picture. Iconic landscape paintings show how European Romanticism crossed the Atlantic and recast the American wilderness, not as a satanic place to be tamed and cultivated, but as a place to experience the raw power of God in nature. Forged in Yellowstone, this potent new version of wilderness as untouched and deserving of protection has since been exported to all corners of the globe.
Two things stood out for me; firstly the health and vitality evident in the images of the early indigenous peoples compared to those from the modern day, and secondly, rise of ecology which brought a realisation that if man 'defeats' the wild (which seemed to manifest in reckless hunting and ultimately the extermination of predators), he ruins an ecosystem.  Thus initial (misguided) efforts towards conservation and management of Yellowstone were directed towards firstly a ban on hunting and poaching, and later, to exterminate wolves.  Eventually the place of both these species in the ecology of Yellowstone was recognised and redress made.

Royal Marine Initial Fitness Test

I completed the Royal Marine Initial Fitness Test (RMIFT) today:

Part One (One point for each rep)
Sit Ups:  (As many as possible in 30s) - 32
Press Ups: (To a maximum of 30 with no rest) - 30
Squat Thrusts: (As many as possible in 30s) - 32
Dips: (As many as possible in 30s) - 50

Part Two

Run 2.4Km within 15 mins.

  - Under 9mins - 90
  - 9 to 10: 80
  - 10 to 11: 70 (10:21)
  - 11 to 12: 60
  - 12 to 13: 50
  - 13 to 14: 40
  - 14 to 15: 30

Total Score 214

Over 205 - Commando
165 - Marine
135 - Nod
105 - Civvie
75 - Couch Potatoe

So I got a total score of 214.  I could have pushed faster on a few of the exercises - there is definitely more to come.  As for the running, I was running 14km/h for at least half the time and as I have not run over a mile for about 5 years, I had no idea what level of intensity I could manage.  In retrospect I could push it to 16km/h (the max on the running machines).  Looks like that sprinting is paying off with a carry over in to short distances.

I have my eyes on completing an O'Neill Test and a '300 Workout' over the coming months to ensure my training is developing functional physical integrity and metabolic headroom.

Thursday, 16 June 2011

Another Improvised Workout

I really didn't feel it today.  LGKB was tough last night and I went to the gym with a priority of sunbathing and just going through the motions:

Here was the basic plan:
Warm Up (the usual Katz inspired stuff)
Backflips x 4 interspersed by Grok Squat, Side Grok Squat (I should have done lunges as well)
Rowing (easy 1x3mins)
Handwalking x 2
Chins (3x5)
Deadlift (3x5 auto regulate)

Tuesday, 14 June 2011

More Workout Quickies

Things are busy at the moment - but not stressful. I am rolling with it, and one of the easiest (and most enjoyable) ways of flowing with life is to pucker up with some play!

So I did a basic bodyweight workout little regard for weights or TUL and just a rough handle of 'three sets':

Warm Up (the usual Katz inspired stuff)
Backflips x 4 interspersed by Grok Squat, Side Grok Squat, Lunging Walks
15s Sprints x 4
Handwalking x 2
Chins (3x10)
Planching Variations
Lau Gar Forms.

Monday, 13 June 2011

Suspending Degeneration

In Life Ascending, Nick Lane gives hope to those who are not immortal by offering a couple of problems with Medawar's explanation for ageing, not least that when we talk of diseases (CVD, stoke etc....), associated with ageing, these are symptoms of ageing, not the cause of ageing itself

To put it another way, age may 'unmask' the disease, exposing 'aberrant' genes, but you might get to 120 and die of 'old age' rather than any disease for which you carry a genetic predisposition.

It is worth taking a step back here and noting that Lane explicitly states that Medawar's explanation for ageing is the one broadly held by the medical establishment.  In terms of an explanation it is quite linear - you're born, you get old, things wear out, you die.  At a basic level this is true, but we are dealing with biological systems which can adapt.  There is nuance here.

US News “Best” Diets: Rebuttal 2

Rebuttal to U.S. News and World Top 20 Diets

Loren Cordain1, Ph.D., Maelán Fontes Villalba2 and Pedro Carrera Bastos2

Department of Health and Exercise Science. Colorado State University, Fort Collins, US

Center for Primary Health Care Research. Faculty of Medicine, at Lund University, Malmö, Sweden

The writer of this article suggests that the Paleo Diet has only been scientifically tested in “one tiny study”. This quote is incorrect as five studies (1-7); four since 2007, have experimentally tested contemporary versions of ancestral human diets and have found them to be superior to Mediterranean diets, diabetic diets and typical western diets in regards to weight loss, cardiovascular disease risk factors and risk factors for type 2 diabetes.

The first study to experimentally test diets devoid of grains, dairy and processed foods was performed by Dr. Kerin O’Dea at the University of Melbourne and published in the Journal, Diabetes in 1984 (6). In this study Dr. O’Dea gathered together 10 middle aged Australian Aborigines who had been born in the “Outback”. They had lived their early days primarily as hunter gatherers until they had no choice but to finally settle into a rural community with access to western goods. Predictably, all ten subjects eventually became overweight and developed type 2 diabetes as they adopted western sedentary lifestyles in the community of Mowwanjum in the northern Kimberley region of Western Australia. However, inherent in their upbringing was the knowledge to live and survive in this seemingly desolate land without any of the trappings of the modern world.

Dr. O’Dea requested these 10 middle-aged subjects to revert to their former lives as hunter gatherers for a seven week period. All agreed and traveled back into the isolated land from which they originated. Their daily sustenance came only from native foods that could be foraged, hunted or gathered. Instead of white bread, corn, sugar, powdered milk and canned foods, they began to eat the traditional fresh foods of their ancestral past: kangaroos, birds, crocodiles, turtles, shellfish, yams, figs, yabbies (freshwater crayfish), freshwater bream and bush honey. At the experiment’s conclusion, the results were spectacular, but not altogether unexpected given what known about Paleo diets, even then. The average weight loss in the group was 16.5 lbs; blood cholesterol dropped by 12 % and triglycerides were reduced by a whopping 72 %. Insulin and glucose metabolism became normal, and their diabetes effectively disappeared.

The first recent study to experimentally test contemporary Paleo diets was published in 2007 (5). Dr. Lindeberg and associates placed 29 patients with type 2 diabetes and heart disease on either a Paleo diet or a Mediterranean diet based upon whole grains, low-fat dairy products, vegetables, fruits, fish, oils, and margarines. Note that the Paleo diet excludes grains, dairy products and margarines while encouraging greater consumption of meat and fish. After 12 weeks on either diet blood glucose tolerance (a risk factor for heart disease) improved in both groups, but was better in the Paleo dieters. In a 2010 follow-up publication, of this same experiment the Paleo diet was shown to be more satiating on a calorie by calorie basis than the Mediterranean diet because it caused greater changes in leptin, a hormone which regulates appetite and body weight.

In the second modern study (2008) of Paleo Diets, Dr. Osterdahl and co-workers (7) put 14 healthy subjects on a Paleo diet. After only three weeks the subjects lost weight, reduced their waist size and experienced significant reductions in blood pressure, and plasminogen activator inhibitor (a substance in blood which promotes clotting and accelerates artery clogging). Because no control group was employed in this study, some scientists would argue that the beneficial changes might not necessarily be due to the Paleo diet. However, a better controlled more recent experiments showed similar results.

In 2009, Dr. Frasetto and co-workers (1) put nine inactive subjects on a Paleo diet for just 10 days. In this experiment, the Paleo diet was exactly matched in calories with the subjects’ usual diet. Anytime people eat diets that are calorically reduced, no matter what foods are involved, they exhibit beneficial health effects. So the beauty of this experiment was that any therapeutic changes in the subjects’ health could not be credited to reductions in calories, but rather to changes in the types of food eaten. While on the Paleo diet either eight or all nine participants experienced improvements in blood pressure, arterial function, insulin, total cholesterol, LDL cholesterol and triglycerides. What is striking about this experiment is how rapidly so many markers of health improved, and that they occurred in every single patient.

In an even more convincing recent (2009) experiment, Dr. Lindeberg and colleagues (2) compared the effects of a Paleo diet to a diabetes diet generally recommended for patients with type 2 diabetes. The diabetes diet was intended to reduce total fat by increasing whole grain bread and cereals, low fat dairy products, fruits and vegetables while restricting animal foods. In contrast, the Paleo diet was lower in cereals, dairy products, potatoes, beans, and bakery foods but higher in fruits, vegetables, meat, and eggs compared to the diabetes diet. The strength of this experiment was its cross over design in which all 13 diabetes patients first ate one diet for three months and then crossed over and ate the other diet for three months. Compared to the diabetes diet, the Paleo diet resulted in improved weight loss, waist size, blood pressure, HDL cholesterol, triglycerides, blood glucose and hemoglobin A1c (a marker for long term blood glucose control). This experiment represents the most powerful example to date of the Paleo diet’s effectiveness in treating people with serious health problems.

So, now that I have summarized the experimental evidence supporting the health and weight loss benefits of Paleo Diets, I would like to directly respond to the errors in the U.S. News and World Report article.

1. “Will you lose weight? No way to tell.”

Obviously, the author of this article did not read either the study by O’Dea (6) or the more powerful three month crossover experiment by Jonsson and colleagues (9) which demonstrated the superior weight loss potential of high protein, low glycemic load Paleo diets. Similar results of high protein, low glycemic load diets have recently been reported in the largest randomized controlled trials ever undertaken in both adults and children.

A 2010 randomized trial involving 773 subjects and published in the New England Journal of Medicine (8) confirmed that high protein, low glycemic index diets were the most effective strategy to keep weight off. The same beneficial effects of high protein, low glycemic index diets were dramatically demonstrated in largest nutritional trial, The DiOGenes Study (9), ever conducted in a sample of 827 children. Children assigned to low protein, high glycemic diets became significantly fatter over the 6 month experiment, whereas those overweight and obese children assigned to the high protein, low glycemic nutritional plan lost significant weight.

2. “Does it have cardiovascular benefits? Unknown.”

This comment shows just how uninformed this writer really is. Clearly, this person hasn’t read the following papers (1 – 6), which unequivocally show the therapeutic effects of Paleo Diets upon cardiovascular risk factors. Moreover, as we have already reviewed elsewhere (10-12), high protein diets have been shown to improve dyslipidemia and insulin sensitivity, and are potential effective strategies for improving metabolic syndrome. Furthermore, mounting evidence suggests that a reduced-carbohydrate diet (which is obviously lower in sugars and cereal grains) may be superior to a western type low-fat, high-carbohydrate diet, especially in metabolic syndrome patients, because it may lead to better improvement in insulin resistance, postprandial lipemia, serum fasting triglycerides and HDL-C, total cholesterol/HDL-C ratio, LDL particle distribution, apo B/apo A-1 ratio, postprandial vascular function, and various inflammatory biomarkers (13, 14).

Finally, the evidence for recommending whole grains to reduce cardiovascular disease risk is based on epidemiological studies or intervention trials with soft end-points, while randomized controlled trials with hard end points do not seem to support it. For instance, the DART study, found a tendency towards increased cardiovascular mortality in the group advised to eat more fiber, the majority of which was derived from cereal grains (15). And of relevance, this non-significant effect became statistically significant, after adjustment for possible confounding factors, such as medication and health state (16).

“And all that fat would worry most experts.”

This statement represents a “scare tactic” unsubstantiated by the data. As I, and almost the entire nutritional community, have previously pointed out, it is not the quantity of fat which increases the risk for cardiovascular disease or cancer, or any other health problem, but rather the quality. Contemporary Paleo Diets contain high concentrations of healthful omega 3 fatty acids and monounsaturated fatty acids that actually reduce the risk for chronic disease (10-12, 17-22).

3. “Can it prevent or control diabetes? Unknown.”

Here is another example of irresponsible and biased journalism, which doesn’t let the facts speak for themselves. Obviously, the author did not read the study by O’Dea (6) or Jonsson et al. (2), which showed dramatic improvements in type 2 diabetics consuming Paleo diets.

“but most diabetes experts recommend a diet that includes whole grains and dairy products.”

If the truth be known, in a randomized controlled trial, 24 8-y-old boys were asked to take 53 g of protein as milk or meat daily (23). After only 7 days on the high milk diet, the boys became insulin resistant. This is a condition that precedes the development of type 2 diabetes. In contrast, in the meat-group, there was no increase in insulin and insulin resistance. Furthermore, in the Jonsson et al. study (2) milk and grain free diets were shown to have superior results in improving disease symptoms in type 2 diabetics.

Finally, in an interventional study including 2263 postmenopausal women, participants were assigned to a low-fat (<20% en), high whole-grain fiber (>6 servings per day), high fruit (>5 per day) and high vegetable (>5 servings per day) diet or comparison group with no advice. After 6 years of follow-up, those women with diabetes at the start of the study, and allocated to the low-fat/high whole-grain fiber, actually worsened their glucose control (24). Notwithstanding, the majority of the evidence, supports the beneficial effect of soluble fiber, found mainly in vegetables and fruits, while the evidence supporting the beneficial effects of insoluble fiber, found in whole grains, seems less evident (25-28).

4. “Are there health risks? Possibly. By shunning dairy and grains, you’re at risk of missing out on a lot of nutrients.”

Once again, this statement shows the writer’s ignorance and blatant disregard for the facts. Because contemporary ancestral diets exclude processed foods, dairy and grains, they are actually more nutrient (vitamins, minerals and phytochemicals) dense than government recommended diets such as the food pyramid. I have pointed out these facts in a paper I published in the American Journal of Clinical Nutrition in 2005 (11) along with another paper in which I analyzed the nutrient content of modern day Paleo diets (19). In addition, micronutrient analysis derived from the two studies performed by Lindeberg, et al. (5) and Jönsson et al. (2) shows that, except for calcium, a Paleolithic type diet, not only meets all of the micronutrients DRI, but in some cases exceeds that of the whole grain and dairy food diets. Regarding vitamin D, as we have already pointed out in a recent paper (12), except for fatty ocean fish, there is very little vitamin D in any commonly consumed natural (that is, not artificially fortified) food, and throughout history, almost all hominins (except for those living in the far North, such as the Inuit people) depended on the sun to satisfy their vitamin D requirements.

Moreover, most nutritionists are aware that processed foods made with refined grains, sugars and vegetable oils have low concentrations of vitamins and minerals, but not all have realized that dairy products and whole grains contain significantly lower concentrations of the 13 vitamins and minerals most lacking in the U.S. diet compared to lean meats, fish and fresh fruit and vegetables (11, 19). Interestingly, although micronutrient intake is important, intestinal absorption is even more impactful. It is widely known that some antinutrients contained in cereal grains, such as phytate, binds to divalent minerals (i.e., zinc, iron, calcium and magnesium) compromising their absorption (29).

“Also, if you’re not careful about making lean meat choices, you’ll quickly ratchet up your risk for heart problems” .

Actually, the most recent comprehensive meta-analyses and reviews do not show fresh meat consumption whether fat or lean to be a significant risk factor for cardiovascular disease (30-34), only processed meats such as salami, bologna, bacon and sausages (30).


1. Frassetto LA, Schloetter M, Mietus-Synder M, Morris RC, Jr., Sebastian A: Metabolic and physiologic improvements from consuming a paleolithic, hunter-gatherer type diet. Eur J Clin Nutr 2009.

2. Jönsson T, Granfeldt Y, Ahrén B, Branell UC, Pålsson G, Hansson A, Söderström M, Lindeberg S. Beneficial effects of a Paleolithic diet on cardiovascular risk factors in type 2 diabetes: a randomized cross-over pilot study. Cardiovasc Diabetol. 2009;8:35

3. Jonsson T, Granfeldt Y, Erlanson-Albertsson C, Ahren B, Lindeberg S. A Paleolithic diet is more satiating per calorie than a Mediterranean-like diet in individuals with ischemic heart disease. Nutr Metab (Lond). 2010 Nov 30;7(1):85

4. Jonsson T, Ahren B, Pacini G, Sundler F, Wierup N, Steen S, Sjoberg T, Ugander M, Frostegard J, Goransson Lindeberg S: A Paleolithic diet confers higher insulin sensitivity, lower C-reactive protein and lower blood pressure than a cereal-based diet in domestic pigs. Nutr Metab (Lond) 2006, 3:39.

5. Lindeberg S, Jonsson T, Granfeldt Y, Borgstrand E, Soffman J, Sjostrom K, Ahren B: A Palaeolithic diet improves glucose tolerance more than a Mediterranean-like diet in individuals with ischaemic heart disease. Diabetologia 2007, 50(9):1795-1807.

6. O’Dea K: Marked improvement in carbohydrate and lipid metabolism in diabetic Australian aborigines after temporary reversion to traditional lifestyle. Diabetes 1984, 33(6):596-603.

7. Osterdahl M, Kocturk T, Koochek A, Wandell PE: Effects of a short-term intervention with a paleolithic diet in healthy volunteers. Eur J Clin Nutr 2008, 62(5):682-685.

8. Larsen TM, Dalskov SM, van Baak M, Jebb SA, Papadaki A, Pfeiffer AF, Martinez JA, Handjieva-Darlenska T, Kunešová M, Pihlsgård M, Stender S, Holst C, Saris WH, Astrup A; Diet, Obesity, and Genes (Diogenes) Project. Diets with high or low protein content and glycemic index for weight-loss maintenance. N Engl J Med. 2010 Nov 25;363(22):2102-13

9. Papadaki A, Linardakis M, Larsen TM, van Baak MA, Lindroos AK, Pfeiffer AF, Martinez JA, Handjieva-Darlenska T, Kunesová M, Holst C, Astrup A, Saris WH, Kafatos A; DiOGenes Study Group. The effect of protein and glycemic index on children’s body composition: the DiOGenes randomized study. Pediatrics. 2010 Nov;126(5):e1143-52

10. Cordain L, Eaton SB, Miller JB, Mann N, Hill K. The paradoxical nature of hunter-gatherer diets: meat-based, yet non-atherogenic. Eur J Clin Nutr. 2002 Mar;56 Suppl 1:S42-52

11. Cordain L, Eaton SB, Sebastian A, Mann N, Lindeberg S, Watkins BA, O’Keefe JH, Brand-Miller J. Origins and evolution of the Western diet: health implications for the 21st century. Am J Clin Nutr. 2005 Feb;81(2):341-54.

12. Carrera-Bastos P, Fontes Villalba M, O’Keefe JH, Lindeberg S, Cordain L. The western diet and lifestyle and diseases of civilization. Res Rep Clin Cardiol 2011; 2: 215-235.

13. Westman EC, Feinman RD, Mavropoulos JC, et al. Low-carbohydrate nutrition and metabolism. Am J Clin Nutr. 2007 Aug;86(2):276-84.

14. Volek JS, Fernandez ML, Feinman RD, et al. Dietary carbohydrate restriction induces a unique metabolic state positively affecting atherogenic dyslipidemia, fatty acid partitioning, and metabolic syndrome. Prog Lipid Res. 2008; 47, 307–318.

15. Fish and the heart. Lancet. 1989 Dec 16;2(8677):1450-2

16. Ness AR, Hughes J, Elwood PC, Whitley E, Smith GD, Burr ML. The long-term effect of dietary advice in men with coronary disease: follow-up of the Diet and Reinfarction trial (DART). Eur J Clin Nutr. 2002 Jun;56(6):512-8

17. Cordain L. Saturated fat consumption in ancestral human diets: implications for contemporary intakes. In: Phytochemicals, Nutrient-Gene Interactions, Meskin MS, Bidlack WR, Randolph RK (Eds.), CRC Press (Taylor & Francis Group), 2006, pp. 115-126.

18. Cordain L, Miller JB, Eaton SB, Mann N, Holt SH, Speth JD. Plant-animal subsistence ratios and macronutrient energy estimations in worldwide hunter-gatherer diets. Am J Clin Nutr. 2000 Mar;71(3):682-92.

19. Cordain L. The nutritional characteristics of a contemporary diet based upon Paleolithic food groups. J Am Nutraceut Assoc 2002; 5:15-24.

20. Kuipers RS, Luxwolda MF, Dijck-Brouwer DA, Eaton SB, Crawford MA, Cordain L, Muskiet FA. Estimated macronutrient and fatty acid intakes from an East African Paleolithic diet. Br J Nutr. 2010 Dec;104(11):1666-87.

21. Ramsden CE, Faurot KR, Carrera-Bastos P, Cordain L, De Lorgeril M, Sperling LS.Dietary fat quality and coronary heart disease prevention: a unified theory based on evolutionary, historical, global, and modern perspectives. Curr Treat Options Cardiovasc Med. 2009 Aug;11(4):289-301.

22. Cordain L, Watkins BA, Florant GL, Kelher M, Rogers L, Li Y. Fatty acid analysis of wild ruminant tissues: evolutionary implications for reducing diet-related chronic disease. Eur J Clin Nutr. 2002 Mar;56(3):181-91

23. Hoppe C, Mølgaard C, Vaag A, Barkholt V, Michaelsen KF. High intakes of milk, but not meat, increase s-insulin and insulin resistance in 8-year-old boys. Eur J Clin Nutr. 2005 Mar;59(3):393-8.

24. Shikany JM, Margolis KL, Pettinger M, Jackson RD, Limacher MC, Liu S, et al. Effects of a low-fat dietary intervention on glucose, insulin, and insulin resistance in the Women’s Health Initiative (WHI) Dietary Modification trial. Am J Clin Nutr. 2011 May 11 [Epub ahead of print]

25. Mann JI, De Leeuw I, Hermansen K, Karamanos B, Karlström B, Katsilambros N, et al. Evidence-based nutritional approaches to the treatment and prevention of diabetes mellitus. Nutr Metab Cardiovasc Dis. 2004 Dec.;14(6):373–394.

26. Robertson MD, Bickerton AS, Dennis AL, Vidal H, Frayn KN. Insulin-sensitizing effects of dietary resistant starch and effects on skeletal muscle and adipose tissue metabolism. Am. J. Clin. Nutr. 2005 Sep.;82(3):559–567.

27. Erkkilä AT, Lichtenstein AH. Fiber and cardiovascular disease risk: how strong is the evidence? J Cardiovasc Nurs. 2006;21(1):3–8.

28. Chandalia M, Garg A, Lutjohann D, Bergmann von K, Grundy SM, Brinkley LJ. Beneficial effects of high dietary fiber intake in patients with type 2 diabetes mellitus. N. Engl. J. Med. 2000 May 11;342(19):1392–1398.

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Thursday, 9 June 2011

Unnatural Histories: Serengeti

More superlative programming from the BBC.  "Unnatural Histories:  Serengeti" charts the anthropogenic and political drivers behind this national park:
  • "More than anywhere, the Serengeti is synonymous with wilderness and has even come to represent Africa. But the story of the Serengeti is just as much about humans as it is about wildlife. Right from the origin of our species in Africa, humans have been profoundly shaping this unique wilderness - hunters and pastoralists with cattle and fire, ivory traders and big game hunters, conservationists, scientists, filmmakers and even tourists have all played a part in shaping the Serengeti. Probably most powerful of all was a tiny microbe unknowingly brought to Africa by a small Italian expeditionary force - Rinderpest, a deadly virus that swept through the continent decimating cattle and wildlife alike and forever changing the face of the wild. The Serengeti is far from timeless, it is forever changing - and wherever there is change, the influence of Homo sapiens is not far behind."
It is available on the iPlayer until 30th June 2011.

Another Quick Workout

Another spontaneous workout with some more deep lunging.  Not to failure.

Backflips x 4 (Number 1 was average, number two good, number three meek and number four indifferent). TBFF 30!

Chins (3x10)
Shuttle Runs

Lau Gar Forms.

On the food front I am tending not to eat until much later in the day - late afternoon usually towards 1500hrs.  The morning is punctuated by a couple of coffees with milk.    A couple of times this week I have simply not eaten at all until the evening.

I *think* I am looking leaner for it, but there is no plan - it is just how my day accomodates eating.

Tuesday, 7 June 2011

Quick Workout

A spontaneous workout with some deep lunging.  Not to failure.

Backflips x 4

Chins (3x10)

TBFF is now 26!

Monday, 6 June 2011

Burgers And Meat

Regular readers will be aware of my appreciation for BBC Radio 4, and in particular 'The Food Program'.  Long term readers will also be aware of my admiration for Colin Tudge and more recently Simon Fairlie.  These authors are both to be commended for trying to fashion agriculture in a sustainable and biodiverse direction.  Today they both appeared on TFP!  This is what public service broadcasting is all about:

Sunday, 5 June 2011

Why We Age

“Of all the wonders that I yet have heard,
It seems to me most strange that men should fear;
Seeing that death, a necessary end,
Will come when it will come.”

"Don't wanna waste no more time
Time's what we don't have
Everywhere I look someone dies
Wonder when it's my turn"
('Living is a Problem Because Everything Dies', Biffy Clyro)

Nick Lane's Life Ascending is a truly impressive text. It takes the 'ten greatest inventions of evolution' and pulls apart each one apart in depth, whilst maintaining a degree of accessibility to the lay reader.

The reviews in the link above should give you a broad enough overview of this ambitious book, but what I'd like to cover in more detail here is the content of the final chapter, Death.

Living Is A Problem Because Everything Dies

We had a gathering this weekend.  I belong to a posse based upon a solid friendship.  After 20 years of get-togethers occasionally my thoughts turn to the fact that there will be a time when we cannot meet up again.  Time is what we don't have.

Friday, 3 June 2011

Some More Random Play

The half term has brought a break from training.  That does not mean inactivity, it just means a bit more in the way of fun and general, random play.

This morning kicked off with a long hot walk to the butchers and returning for a fry up.  We barefooted to most of the way - despite the hot pavement.  After the fry up we headed out for some scrambling and caving.  Flash showed some serious bravery in leading the caving expedition.  Captain Kid also did a turn in the spooky 'rear guard' position.  Caving can be scary but not as scary as scrambling....

We are blessed with lots of crags around us and so both Captain Kid and Flash went off exploring.  They both showed promising climbing skills as they headed up over rocks to investigate various caves and tunnels.

We finished with a dip in the local river.  It was quite refreshing and no where near as cold as the other week.  Both stripped down to their birthday suits for a quick dip.  The shot above captures a post-dip period of reflection!  Flash just won't stay still, and Captain Kid struck a more serious note.  Bless 'em.

It is great having kids, and sure there are stressful moments with getting them ready to go out or getting them to tidy up their mess, but heck, if you let them lead things for a day, fun and adventure is never far away.  I love them to bits.  Both of them!

Warm Up Revisited

My warm up has evolved a little. Back in 2009 I documented my warm up here. This in itself was was based upon an earlier post from 2008. My warm derived from the book 'Stretching Scientifically'.  I have since made some small additions to the routine.

The basic warm up has two parts; Rotations and Swings.

I rotate clockwise and counter-clockwise my wrists, shoulders, chin (not the neck), hips and then knees.  Usually 10 in each direction (or two sets of five).

The swings are controlled movements of the limbs.  Starting with the arms, I swing my arms back and forth in an exaggerated marching style.  Then, after completing 10 reps, I move on to swinging them to the side at various angles.

After this it is down to the legs.  I swing them to the front for ten (goose-step style), to the side for ten, and then to the back for ten.  Each leg is obviously swung one at a time!

The new additions are also leg movements.  I complete a set of squats (elbows inside of knees), side lunges, front lunges and then twisting lunges.  These ideas were taken from LGKF.

As luck would have it I recently stumbled across a very fine article on StrongLifts that covers most of these kinds of lower body stretches and offers some interesting alternatives.  The article and associated YouTube clips are rather informative and worth looking at.  My one caveat is that the leg swings are way too ballistic for my liking.  I prefer to 'lead' the limb rather than swing it.  I also start well within my ROM and only push on the last couple of reps.  Other than that, there are some useful variations to develop hip flexibility which I shall be using.

The only other addition to my warm up is a backflip - which really is a 'test' that I actually am warmed up.  This probably indicates I am mentally ready as much as physically ready as I cannot really throw one unless I am in the zone!