Friday, 30 September 2011

Nutrition and National Health

Sir Robert McCarrison's Cantor Lecture 'Nutrition & National Health' makes fine reading.
  • "Man is made up of what he eats. The constituents of his food are those of which his body is composed. His foodstuffs, derived from the vegetable and the animal kingdoms, consist, for the most part, of matter that is living, that was formerly living or that is derived from matter that was formerly living. Man cannot himself build up living tissue from materials which have in themselves no necessary connection with living protoplasm. This, plants do for him. Out of the earth and air, and under the influence of the sun, they transmute certain inorganic substances -- mineral salts, water and carbon dioxide -- into organic foodstuffs suited to his use and to the use of the animals whose produce or whose flesh he uses as food. He is, indeed, created out of the earth; and according as the earth provides, by way of plant and animal life, the materials needed by his body, so is that body well, ill or indifferently made and sustained."
Nothing new here, but ahead of its time for the early part of the 20th Century.  Let's look at McCarisson going 'paleo' on our collective ass:
  • "Disorder of the function of nutrition, brought about by faulty food, causes the body to react in a variety of ways, depending on the nature of the food-faults that give rise to it, the part or parts of the body effected by it, and the intervention or the non-intervention of toxic or microbic agents of disease. These reactions, involving as they do disturbance in structure or in functions of various parts of the body, manifest themselves as subnormal states of health or as actual disease in great variety of form"
So whilst dentists may advise those with tooth decay to 'brush better', and obesity specialists tell the obese to 'eat less, do more', and an skin specialist may advise those with acne to 'deep cleanse', McCarisson may well be open to the advise in each case to 'address the quality of your nutrition'.

Looking at the physique and stature of Indians, quoting McCay, McCarisson notes,
  • "'As we pass from the North-West region of the Punjab down the Gangetic Plain to the coast of Bengal, there is a gradual fall in the stature, bodyweight, stamina and efficiency of the people. In accordance with this decline in manly characteristics it is of the utmost significance that there is an accompanying gradual fall in the nutritive value of the dietaries."
Here he suggests that grains are actually one of the reasons for the superior physiques of the Northern Indians:
  • "In general the races of northern India are wheat-eaters, though they make use also of certain other whole cereal grains. Now the biological value of the proteins of whole wheat is relatively high; and the wheat is eaten whole, after being freshly ground into a coarse flour (atta) and made into cakes called chapattis. It thus preserves all the nutrients with which Nature has endowed it, particularly its proteins, its vitamins and its mineral salts. The second most important ingredient of their diet is milk, and the products of milk (clarified butter or ghee, curds, buttermilk); the third is dhal (pulse); the fourth, vegetables and fruit. Some eat meat sparingly, if at all; others, such as the Pathans, use it in considerable quantity"
One assumes traditional techniques of food preparation would be employed.  Now comes an interesting point; contrary to Paleo 2.0 McCarisson seems to disfavour rice consumption,
  • "White flour, when used as the staple article of diet, places its users on the same level as the rice-eaters of the south and east of India. They are faced with the same problem; they start to build up their dietaries with a staple of relatively low nutritive value. If their health and physical fitness are not to suffer, they must spend more money on supplementary articles of diet in order to make good the deficiencies of white flour than if they had begun to build on the surer foundation of whole wheat flour (Fig 2). So it is with rice, which is the staple article of diet of about ninety millions of India's inhabitants. The rice -- a relatively poor cereal at best -- is subjected to a number of processes before use by the consumer; all of which reduce -- some to a dangerous degree -- its already sparse supply of certain essential nutrients. It is parboiled, milled or polished; often all three. It is washed in many changes of water and, finally, it is boiled. It is thus deprived of much of its proteins and mineral salts and of almost all its vitamins. Add to this that the average Bengali or Madrassi uses relatively little milk or milk-products, that by religion he is often a non-meat-eater, that his consumption of protein, whether of vegetable or of animal origin, is, in general, very low, that fresh vegetable and fruit enter into his dietary but sparingly, and we have not far to seek for the poor physique that, in general, characterizes him. In short, it may be said that according as the quality of the diet diminishes with respect to proteins, fats, minerals and vitamins, so do physical efficiency and health; a rule which applies with equal force to the European as to the Indian"
There is something about these old-skool doctors.  They have clinical experience and seem to have been driven by curiousity whilst being unencumbered by modern commercial drivers (they did it for the King and Empire).  Nor were they burdened with modern dietary dogma, which unlike the dogma of their time, would not have had the investment of big pharma nor agribusiness - well certainly not in the capacity it has today.

All five sections are available here:

1. Food, Nutrition, and Health
2. Relation of Certain Food Essentials to Structure and Functions of the Body
3. National Health and Nutrition
4. Introduction to 'Studies in Deficiency Diseases'

5. Diseases of Faulty Nutrition

Food & Health in the Scottish Highlands

"Food & Health in the Scottish Highlands" - another great installment from W. W. Yellowlees:
  • "The cooking oils, shortening, or margarine manufactured from the oil of maize, cotton seeds, soya beans or sunflower seeds cannot qualify as natural foods. Their mass production requires the use of techniques for repeated heating at high temperatures and of solvents, catalysts and various other chemical additives. The relatively higher levels of blood cholesterol in Western nations have for long been regarded as a major risk factor in the cause of coronary heart disease; the purpose of substituting vegetable oils, especially polyunsaturated oil, is to lower levels of blood cholesterol.

    When blood cholesterol has been successfully lowered by changes in diet or by drugs no overall reduction in death rate has been demonstrated. Indeed some trials have seemed to show that we lower blood cholesterol at our peril. In the recent WHO sponsored European study on the primary prevention of coronary thrombosis using the drug Clofibrate, blood cholesterol levels were lowered by approximately 9%. This certainly seemed to reduce non-fatal attacks of coronary thrombosis by some 26%, in the experimental group of men taking the drug.

    But there was no reduction in fatal heart attacks and an alarming increase of 37% in the treated group in the death rate from causes other than coronary disease. This unfortunate outcome was due to an increase in cancer deaths, particularly cancer of the gastro-intestinal tract. There was an astonishing increase -- more than double -- in the operations for removal of gallstones in the treated group.

    In the two primary prevention trials in which diet was used to lower blood cholesterol it seemed death rates from causes other than coronary diseases were higher in the treated group.

    To the ecologist would not these results suggest that cholesterol may have a protective function in the life of human cells, and that the raised blood cholesterol levels observed in Western societies may be a response to faulty nutrition which has nothing to do with animal fat? There appears to be no constant relationship between the incidence of fatal myocardial infraction and levels of blood cholesterol, nor between dietary cholesterol and blood cholesterol. Some statisticians have pointed out that when the effects of sugar consumption and of smoking are taken into account, eggs, meat, milk and saturated fat cease to be a more statistically significant cause of mortality than heart disease."
Ironically it MUST have been much easier to identify substances that do not qualify as 'natural' food a decade or two ago - familliarity breeds contempt and all that.

Yellowlees concludes with words that could have been written today and which show the glacial progress we seem to have made in Western disease prevention:
  • "The minutiae of human pathology are infinitely complex, but the basis of health outlined in this paper is simple. The rise and spread of diseases of civilisation in spite of all the amazing advances in medical technology, in spite of all the efficacy of new drugs, and in spite of State fundings of medical care for everyone, is a demonstration of ecological disaster on a vast scale.

    Failure by professional leaders and by Governments to grasp the truth of the ecological basis of the diseases of our time finds both Government and profession faced with ever-mounting expenditure on medical care, groping blindly for priorities in prevention. One example of such blindness is the belief that the integrity of our hearts could only be achieved by substituting unnatural polyunsaturated margarine for natural butter. Another example is the proposal, supported by finds from the DHSS, to achieve dental health by dosing the entire population via the water supply with highly toxic compounds of fluorine derived from the waste products of certain industries."
Amen to that.

Thursday, 29 September 2011

Ill Fares The Land

W.W Yellowlees 1978 lecture 'Ill Fares the Land' was pioneering, profound, perceptive but only 'politely applauded' by a cynical audience who thought that saturated fat was the scourge of modern life and who also thought that by 1990, everyone would have one of these to do housework, and one of these to get to work.  Probably.  But Yellowlees was obviously on to something.

Yellowlees came from a Scottish settlement that earned its living from the land.  Yellowlees soon realised that this self-same land was perhaps the source of health in the community.  As modern foods became increasingly available, Yellowlees noticed a decline in health.

This is masked by a delusion noted by Yellowlees,
  • "...that if only everyone had unfettered access to the best available medical services, people would get healthier."
This question itself was a natural extension of that asked by Dr. Robert MaCarrison in 1936,
  • "Where do we go for prevention?"
This latter question was apparently met with a 'deafening silence by the medical community!  And it gets better,
  • "The simplicity of the idea that so much disease could be caused my modern malnutritn may be difficult to accept, and the though of nature's laws quite baffling.  Man bestrides a natural world.  He dominates all living things but he is utterly dependent on them.  He is supported by the plants, the trees, and the animals.  The whole system rests on the soil which is itself vibrant with life.  If any part of the supporting system is taken away, man will begin to fall off his perch.


    The laws of nature applied to nutrition simply require that the flow of nutrients from the soil through the plants and the animals to man should be as little meddled with as possible.  The flow is dependent on an infinite number of biological relationships which can neither be counted not measured."
Simple, yet profound - and pretty much where the modern science is pointing at the moment.  Yellowlees also throws in this caveat (so we cannot say we were never warned, nor that politicians listen beyond the rustle of cash),
  • "At a time of ever-increasing centralisation of government control there is a grave danger of such beliefs being enshrined as dogma and incorporated in programmes for prevention, of unproven value and of possible danger...This danger is well illustrated by the dogma f animal fat and the branding of animal fat as the villain of human nutrition."
Yellowlees concludes with this profound quote by Professor Ross Hall of McMaster University, Ontario,
  • "We are moving gradually into a world of designed consumer foods.  Natural farm produce such as milk, potatoes, and grains are no longer just complete foods to be eaten as part of a meal.  They have become ever-expanding sources of raw material to be utilised as building blocks for new and more diverse synthetic foods."
It is great to know we walk in the shoes of others, but disappointing to know that in nearly 35 years, we are further from the revolution in health and nutrition we really need, than ever before.

Baise moi.

Volume Week 4 W/O2

Time to add a rep to the second set of DLs. Same with the chins!  The UK is experiencing unseasonally fine and sunny weather (28 degrees), so what I really intend to push is the D3.

Warm Up (5 minutes)
Main (40 minutes).
1a. Deadlift (4/5x137, 6/7x124)
1b. OACs (4/5x48kg, 5/6x43kg, 2-arm 10xBW)
2. HSPU (assisted 10, 10, 10, short rests)
3. Backbridge (15s, 15s)
4. 5-Way DB Rotator Cuff (10)
5. Reverse DB Wrist Curls (10)

Tuesday, 27 September 2011

November 8, 2011

It is hard to comprehend how precarious our existence is at times.  On November 8th 2011 a 1300-foot-wide  (400 metres) asteroid will pass within 0.85 lunar distances of earth.  There is no cause for alarm - well not for another 100 years anyway (click on the graphic above).

You might also considering freeing up your diary beyond 2028 when another asteroid (153814) 2001 WN5 will pass to within 0.6 lunar distances.

Should this latter asteroid impact the earth, it is anticipated that although mankind will, by necessity, have to return to a hunter gatherer existence, the various heart/diabetes/nutrition NGOs around the world will recommend we hunt only lean meat whilst focusing our foraging skill on wild grains*.

*I might have made this bit up.

Monday, 26 September 2011

All Aboard!

A few times each month I stumble across some "WTF" news story.  Today was one such day.  I was listening to NaturalMessiah favourite 'The Food Program' on BBC Radio 4.  The program looked at junk food advertising to kids:
  • Sheila Dillon explores the issue of advertising junk food to children, and how companies have changed their marketing since the banning of the showing of food advertisements during children's television programmes four years ago.
All very much as I expected - the marketing men placing subtle adverts in online games and so on.  The usual yada yada (but very much worth listening to), and then my world was rocked!

Sh*t Sometimes Floats Upstream
Suddenly there was mention of Nestle's latest attempt to push their First World produce in to Third World markets; Nestle actually has a maritime supermarket that it floats up and down the Amazon:
  • The first Nestlé floating supermarket will set sail on the Brazilian Amazon to extend its reach to over 800,000 customers.Named Nestlé Até Você a Bordo – or Nestlé Takes You Onboard – the barge will journey to 18 small cities from July 1 for nearly 3 weeks, docking one day in each city. Leaving the Brazilian port of Belém, the vessel will sail to the region of Marajó Island to the city of Almeirim, into the Baixo Amazonas, or the Amazon Lowlands region, before returning to Belém.
My God, those poor ignorant souls subsisting without the help of 'Honey Nut Shredded Wheat', 'Drumstick Ice Cream' and Baby Milk?

  • Offering over 300 well-known Nestlé brands on-board including Ninho, Maggi and Nescafé, the Company has adapted its products to the region by offering smaller and cheaper versions for more accessibility for low-income customers.
Now I am fully aware of caveat emptor and all those vacuous arguments about 'why should we deny others foods that we in the West enjoy', and I am all for free markets and what-not, but this to me looks like the nutritional equivalent of shooting fish in a barrel. This isn't about feeding hungry people, this is about markets and mark-up; about selling 'food-like' products - engineered to be more-ish, to those ignorant of the consequences - and like all good dealers, the first hit comes at a discount.
What this is in NO uncertain terms, is selling crapinabox to slum dwellers.  Sure that crapinabox will taste good, but it comes at a price - and perhaps if nutritional education was in place, then the folks of the Amazon wouldn't be prepared to pay that price.  Oh wait a minute, Nestle IS offering nutritional advice on board this supermarket:
  • The floating supermarket develops another trading channel which offers access to Nutrition, Health and Wellness to the remote communities in the north region of Brazil.
That's all alright then.  Glad to see that Nestle will not be taking advantage of uneducated folk by offering non-impartial advice on 'health and wellness'.  Ideally they'd include a copy of Good Calories, Bad Calories (an audio book version if necessary), in their information packs which would give the locals a pretty graphic illustration of what happens to the health of indigenous peoples when they forsake their local and seasonal foods.
Time have already reported on the problem of obesity in Brazil,
  • Already one-quarter of hospital beds are taken up by people suffering from weight-related ailments such as heart attacks, back surgeries and hip and joint replacements, says Luiz Vicente Berti, president of the Brazilian Society of Metabolic and Bariatric Surgery. Unless preventive action is taken to educate people, he warns, Brazil faces a sick and expensive future. "If we don't teach people how to eat properly and exercise, then in 10 years no one will have the money to pay the hospital bills that will arise," Berti says, adding that the number of stomach-reduction surgeries carried out in Brazil had risen 500%. "The U.S. can't solve its problem, and it is the biggest economy in the world."
We know how this will end.  I give it a decade.

Baise moi!

Sunday, 25 September 2011

Volume Week 4 W/O1

I felt slighlty lethargic today.  I'd been out for a heavy bouldering session yesterday so that probably explains feeling below par today.  There will be no 321s or fingerboard action in general today.

Warm Up (5 minutes)
Main (40 minutes).
1. Stairgators (1)
2. Barefoot Sprinting (1x10s, 1x10s, 1x10s, 1x10s)
3a. MU to Ring Routine (4, 4)
      Rope Climbing (1)
3b. Pistols (assisted: 9, 9, 9)
4a. Scissor Splits (2L, 2R, 3C)
4b. Planche Variations (20s, 25s, 20s)
4c. Golfers Elbow Drumstick Rotation (10)
5. Barefoot Kill Carry (2)
6. 321 (All 4 down the rung sizes)

Friday, 23 September 2011

Volume Week 3 W/O2

Rather than pushing numbers or volumes I want to avoid cluster setting in the DLs. However with the chins I intend to push the pedal slightly.

As always I need to keep in mind the other training I have done in the week (climbing last night), and its impact on my body.

Warm Up (5 minutes)
Main (40 minutes).
1a. Deadlift (4x137, 5x124)
1b. OACs (4x44/48kg, 5x40/43kg, 2-arm 10xBW)
2. HSPU (assisted 10, 10, 10, short rests)
3. Wall Walk (2, 2)
4. 5-Way DB Rotator Cuff (10)
5. Reverse DB Wrist Curls (15)

Tuesday, 20 September 2011

You Are What You Eat

Just as it appeared that the mantra 'you are what you eat' had been satisfactorily replaced by 'you are what your body does with what you eat', it turns out that it is more complicated than that! 

It isn't that 'you are what your body does with what you eat' is wrong, its just that 'you are what you eat' is right also!

Nature magazine reports that plant RNAs are found in mammals - which may help ' increase the understanding of how specific ingredients in food can mediate health and disease':
  • MicroRNAs from common plant crops such as rice and cabbage can be found in the blood and tissues of humans and other plant-eating mammals, according to a study published today in Cell Research. One microRNA in particular, MIR168a, which is highly enriched in rice, was found to inhibit a protein that helps removes low-density lipoprotein (LDL) from the blood, suggesting that microRNAs can influence gene expression across kingdoms.

    “This is a very exciting piece of work that suggests that the food we eat may directly regulate gene expression in our bodies,” said Clay Marsh, Director of the Center for Personalized Health Care at the Ohio State University College of Medicine who researches microRNA expression in human blood but who was not involved in the study.
 One of the microRNAs, MIR168a (found in rice and cruciferous vegetables), shares 'sequence complementarity' with mamalian genes.  MIR168a can make its way to the liver where it binds to LDLRAP1 mRNA which ultimately can impair removal of LDL (no mention of which sub type though!).

Maybe the vegetarians have it wrong and we should follow Vilhjalmur Stefansson's dietary example!

Monday, 19 September 2011

Low Impact Woodland House

Check out Simon Dale's low impact woodland house. The extract below contains some beautiful points about the relationship between us (and children in particular), and nature.  I'd say many of us would benefit from an experience such as this, whatever our age:
  • "Many people ask how we managed to build a house whilst camping without mainstream facilities and as the mum rather than the full time building blokes (my husband and father) I can assure you of a few things. Children like mud, diggers, tools, wood and candlelit extended camping. Mums fret about washing. Dads build all day long and then look after mum. Children are entertained by the outdoors ad infinitum even when it rains. Mums hanker after cosy cafes and make frequent excursions to venues with warm, clean toilets. Children find sticks, look under stones for insects, collect acorns, simulate diggers and do a lot of puddle splashing. Dads carry on building and look after family in the evenings when they are not completely exhausted. Children see materials taking form, observe the construction process and make a lot of connections; they see their parents being effective. Mums wash up whilst yearning for tiled utility rooms, learn to ignore the mud and fend off slugs. Dads build, console mum, read children bedtime stories and make muddy imprints on the sheets. Everyone wonders at the nature of slug slime. Then one day you get a house."
Incredibly inspiring!

Sunday, 18 September 2011

Volume Week 3 W/O1

I've managed to get an 'early doors' session together today. Captain Kid, Flash, Mrs A and I spent lunchtime at the park - the kids and I throwing berries at one another pretending they were poisonous (they might well be, I don't know what the hell they were). On completion of the game, Captain Kid said it had been the best day of her life! ;)

Warm Up (5 minutes)
Main (40 minutes).
1. Stairgators (1)
2. Barefoot Sprinting (1x10s, 1x10s, 1x10s, 1x10s)
3a. MU to Ring Routine (4, 4, 4)
3b. Pistols (assisted: 9, 9, 9)
4a. Scissor Splits (2L, 2R, 3C)
4b. Planche Variations (20s, 25s, 20s)
4c. Golfers Elbow Drumstick Rotation (10)
5. Barefoot Kill Carry (1)
6. 321 (All 4 down the rung sizes)

Saturday, 17 September 2011

Fashioned to be Food-Like 2

Something I didn't put in to 'Fashioned to be Food-Like' but which is worthy of mention is gut flora.  Whatever gets past your 'is-it-food' filters (taste, smell etc...), and no matter how much food technologists can fool these filters (making you imbibe that which you'd otherwise deign to consume), how will this play out with your gut flora?  How easily can they be fooled?  More importantly, how will their malnourishment manifest itself?

The Economist delves deeper than simply 'diet' here, looking and the issue of gut flora:
  • "Rates of inflammatory disease have been rising for decades among adults and children alike. Puzzlingly, this increase has occurred largely in developed countries, bypassing poorer places. (Rural poverty brings many hardships; inflammatory bowel disease is not among them.) This has left scientists struggling to pinpoint exactly what about the rich world is making people sick. New data from Paolo Lionetti, of the University of Florence in Italy, supports the view that diet may be the culprit."
You might be thinking 'So what?'  Well, if your gut flora is malnourished and impoverished in both volume and diversity, it can't really tell you.  But you'll exhibit the consequences:
  • "[researchers] speculate that reduced intestinal diversity could permit unwelcome bugs to gain a foothold...[and certain] bacterial profiles [can] indicate a greater risk of obesity."
This research was performed on Italian children whose gut flora was compared against their African peers:
  • " In contrast, African children had lots of bacterial species associated with leanness, and a higher proportion of microbes known to produce beneficial chemicals called short-chain fatty acids (SCFAs). Such compounds have been associated with lower levels of allergies and inflammation"
 Your conscious self is only part of 'you'.  You are actually an ecosystem.

UPDATE: Check out the use of sand, feathers and coal tar in your diet!

Friday, 16 September 2011

Fashioned to be Food-Like

I have cautioned before about eating chameleon food, you know, food that changes its nutritional stripes to reflect whichever fad is blowing through the world of diet and fitness.

A great point along this theme was raised by J Stanton in the comments section of his consistently excellent Gnolls site,
  • " one seems to make the connection that our bodies need all these vitamins because they're supposed to be in food!  And if what we're eating requires us to take vitamins, or dump vitamins into it (“fortification”), maybe we're not eating the right food! "

Thursday, 15 September 2011

Volume Wk2 W/O2

Time to ramp it up a bit. Got to keep in mind my DL technique as I think I have lost the groove a wee bit:

Warm Up (5 minutes)
Main (40 minutes).
1a. Deadlift (4x137, 5x124)
1b. OACs (4x44kg, 5x40, 2-arm 10xBW)
2. HSPU (assisted 10, 10, 10, short rests)
3. Wall Walk (2, 2)
4. 5-Way DB Rotator Cuff (10)
5. Reverse DB Wrist Curls (15)

Wednesday, 14 September 2011

The Healthiest Cartoon Character?

Scooby Doo is healthiest cartoon, says Department of Health!  No fucking way.  Scoob is orthorexic and what the hell goes in to a Scooby Snack anyway?  Captain Caveman or The Flintstones on the other hand.....

Monday, 12 September 2011


I've previously blogged about faecal transplants used to heal extreme diarrhea.  Now it seems our gut flora is getting its own equivalent of Facebook!  New Scientist reports on the social networking site MyMicrobes which aims to bring together people who share the same intestinal bacteria:
  • "The site offers its users a way to meet people with similar gastrointestinal complaints, and provides a forum for sharing diet tips and digestive anecdotes with one another - remember, we did say it was niche. In exchange for providing users with the ability to share their - quite literally - innermost thoughts, the researchers will gather a wealth of data about the bacteria that live in peoples' guts."
I'm sure Art Ayers would approve!  Personally I think I'll stick with Facebook.

How Animals Made Us Human

From New Scientist,

  • Our bond with animals goes far deeper than food and companionship: it drove our ancestors to develop tools and language

    TRAVEL almost anywhere in the world and you will see something so common that it may not even catch your attention. Wherever there are people, there are animals: animals being walked, herded, fed, watered, bathed, brushed or cuddled. Many, such as dogs, cats and sheep, are domesticated but you will also find people living alongside wild and exotic creatures such as monkeys, wolves and binturongs. Close contact with animals is not confined to one particular culture, geographic region or ethnic group. It is a universal human trait, which suggests that our desire to be with animals is deeply embedded and very ancient.

    On the face of it this makes little sense. In the wild, no other mammal adopts individuals from another species; badgers do not tend hares, deer do not ...

Sunday, 11 September 2011

Volume Week 2 W/O1

Another weekend of heavy eating (sugars!), has left me feeling heavy. I need to hit tonight hard!

Warm Up (5 minutes)
Main (40 minutes).
1. Stairgators (1)
2. Barefoot Sprinting (1x10s, 1x10s, 1x10s, 1x15s)
3a. MU to Ring Routine (4, 4, 3)
3b. Pistols (assisted: 9, 9, 8)
4a. Scissor Splits (2L, 2R, 3C)
4b. Planche Variations (5s, 30s, 30s)
4c. Golfers Elbow Drumstick Rotation (10)
5. Barefoot Kill Carry (1)
6. 321 (All 4 down the rung sizes)

Observing Factors Regulating Body Fat

A couple of interesting articles in today's Observer.  The article "A 'lean gene' causes thinness" recognises that regulation of body fat is subject to genetic factors.  Recognition is even given to the impact of food quality on bodyfat levels, although to my mind the analysis ends in an epic fail, clinging as it does to an 'eat less, do more'/'calories in vs calories out' paradigm:

  • In many countries, including the UK, social services are keen to blame parents when children are too heavy or too thin. I think it is important for people who work in social or health services to know that children may be underweight because of genetic factors. It is easy and inexpensive to analyse genetics these days. When you have the answer, you don't take the child to a psychologist, you don't try to increase their appetite; instead you take them to a dietician and try to increase the quality of their food – they won't eat more but if you can increase the density of calories you can increase the weight. We do the same for people who have cancer or old people.
Given the claim that obesity in the west has,erm, 'ballooned' in the past twenty years, we should be looking for what is causing our genes to express themselves in the way they are.  Abundance of food and to some degree, food palatibility don't seem to offer much by way of explanation to me as I don't seem to recall the great western famine of the 1980s, nor do I remember that food tasted bad back then.  Basically I cannot remember a time when food wasn't available in abundance to all of us in the west, and boy, didn't it always taste good?

So on to 'Experts targeting obesity raise hope of drugs to stop us feeling hungry'.  Experts eh?  You've go to love them.  The experts who are targetting obesity in this article are probably economists and accountants, but I digress (when I should be ranting):
  • "Humans evolved at times when food was scarce and when we faced starvation all the time," says Professor Waljit Dhillo, at Imperial College, London. "Those who survived were the ones who were able to eat most food and could sustain themselves through periods of famine. They passed on the genes for that ability to future generations. It was useful then, when times were hard, and it ensured our species survived famines.
You know when I see statements like the one above my anthropological BS detector fires big-time.  Consider us in our true context as animals; now how many wild animals have a robust source of food?  Pretty much all of them.  The only ones who have a fragile source of food are modern humans (post agriculture).  If you don't believe me then you should have seen what happened in the UK supermarkets during the fuel strikes of 2000,
  • During the 2000 fuel strike, Sainsbury’s chief executive wrote to the prime minister to warn that food supplies would run out “in days rather than weeks”. Supermarkets rationed bread, sugar and milk.
Sure there are longer term swings in terms of food availability, and you cannot rule out black-swan events, but you'd imagine we were ALWAYS on the pin-head of famine, and I don't really buy that.  A cursory look at wildlife (and any quality survival program), shows that food is in abundance in most terrains if you know where to look for it.  Humans THRIVED in marginal areas and used migratory tactics to ensure their survival.  There is none so blind as an agriculturist or a consumer.  Or a scientist,
  • "There appears to be many chemicals involved in sending chemical messengers from the gut to the brain," added Dhillo. "The trick is to find the most important ones."

    A region of the brain called the hypothalamus plays a critical role in dealing with digestion and controls chemical messengers that pass between the brain and the gut. Researchers have isolated two of these messengers, chemicals released by cells in the intestine which are closely linked to appetite suppression. One is known as Glucagon-like peptide-1, or GLP-1, and the second is known as Peptide YY, or PYY. "We recently carried out experiments on adults who had fasted for 12 hours," added Dhillo. "We monitored their brain activity and found, when we showed them pictures of food, particular areas of their brains lit up in our scanners. It was a measure of how interested they were in food.

    "Then we gave them an infusion of GLP-1 and PYY and again showed them the pictures of food. Their brains did not light up nearly so much. In other words, they were less stimulated by the sight of food. They had lost their hunger. Essentially, PYY and GLP-1 suppressed their appetites."

    Both hormones break down easily in the gut and so their direct use as a drug is limited. However, chemically altered versions of GLP1 – known as exenatide and liraglutide – are already used as a treatment for diabetes because they cause weight loss and also boost insulin secretion in the body. "The trouble with these drug hormones is that they are short-acting," added Dhillo. "Most break down quickly. So pharmaceutical companies are developing analogue versions which have the same effect but last for longer in the body. Some could be administered once a week.

    "The future will be to develop a multi-hormone injection that is given in a low dose, so that you do not get any side-effects, and will be long-acting enough so that you need only take it once a day or once a week.
Given the decentralised nature of control throughout the body, the complexity of the energy and signalling systems and so forth, I am sure most of us cannot wait for someone to swing a pharmaceutical sledgehammer to crack a small nut; a cure for obesity which short-circuits the hormonal control system governing energy regulation.  I guess it is no better or worse than the hard engineering of gastric banding, cutting out the fat or eating lowfatcrapinabox, but hell, shouldn't we first be looking at WHY we are getting fat?  At WHY obesity is trending the way it has done in the past 20 years?

You always have to ask yourself with these 'cures' whether they are treating a symptom or the underlying cause.  Follow the money and don't expect to 'get well'.

Friday, 9 September 2011

Enlightened Agriculture

The revolution will be swift when it comes.  Capitalism in its current form is truly screwed at the moment.  Europe is massively in debt as is America, and there may well come a point when China realises it holds a trillion bitss of US paper that ain't worth what they paid for it.

Of course we didn't have truly free markets over the past 50 years and consumers have not been able to make informed choices (not that they always act rationally).  Few politicians change things.  Markets are controlled by the wealthy few, with disproportionate power.  A man in a suit in London working eight hours a day, who has never planted a seed nor picked a piece of fruit from a bush, can dictate the livlihood of a (subsistence) farmer in South America who grafts hard on the land for 15 hours a day, seven days a week.

I see promising seeds of revolution in the Paleosphere.  Maybe not enough to ignite the revolution (Capitalism is eating itself so there is no need for further intervention), but perhaps fuel for the fire.  There are too many stories of the sick mending themselves by simple dietary change for 'something' not to tip.  What manifests from this dietary change goes against NGOs (heart foundations and cancer charities), against the advice of the medical establishments, against pharmaceutical companies, against governmental advice, against the corrupt research coming out of academia, against corrupt 'official' advice from all corners designed not to help you, but to drive profits.

If you eschew grains and sugar you are hitting BIG multinational conglomerates where it hurts.  You are striking at those that fund political parties, stifle research and ultimately control your sickness.

You can further assist in this process by making sensible decisions about what food you buy and where you buy it from - through support of local, sustainable agriculture.  We have a lot of political power, but we have to play our own game.  The oppressor usually defines the nature of the struggle, but as 'paleo' has shown, we can think alone and independently, and act collectively.  Politicians, the super-rich and the multinationals need YOU much more than you need them!

Once you have changed WHAT your put in your mouth, think about WHERE it comes from.
  • "While the world as a whole is moving beyond 19th century manufacture, agriculture is still trying frantically to move in to it; still trying to re-enact the process that took Britain, and the rest of the world, in to the Industrial Age at the end of the 18th century.  Enlightened agriculture can be seen as post-industrial agriculture: not gratuitously nostalgic as defenders of the status quo tend to insist, but ahead of the game; leap-frogging the 200 years of heavy machinery and pollution that the Industrial Revolution brought to manufacturing.  Some wise person observed that we can envisage a post-industrial society, but we cannot envisage a post-agricultural society.  Enlightened Agriculture can properly be seen to be modern, for it belongs to the age of biology; while the corporate, highly mechanized, industrially-chemicalized, homogenized, monoculture kind of farming that we are still so frantically being urged to develop can properly be seen as yesterday's news, as crude in its way as the sulphurous hell-holes of the early 19th century that excited the wrath of social reformers...enlightened agriculture emphatically is not retrospective.  It should appeal above all to those with a penchant for progress, when progress is sensitively defined.

    Enlightened Agriculture has another, perhaps more rigorous, claim to modernity.  For millenia, philosophers have drawn parallels between organization of societies and that of living organisms.  This is far from foolish, for an organism is a miracle of organisation, with many billions of components combining to form the whole....[as a] 'neural net'....The neural net, in general form, is remarkably like the markets that Adam Smith envisaged...

    The natural economic structure of enlightened agriculture is that of the neural net.  It is old-fashioned in the sense that it reflects the vision of Adam Smith.  But it is also ultra-modern.  By contrast, the hierarchical structure of the MICG [monetarized, industrialized, chemicalized and globalized] model - everything run by a few corporations, as Egypt was run by the pharaohs - is grotesquely out of date.  Corporations may or may not be useful but society as a whole certainly does not need them..."
From "So Shall We Reap" by Colin Tudge:

Thursday, 8 September 2011

Volume Wk1 W/O2

Back to volume with the iron in the gym.  Will just use some deloaded (85%) numbers and ramp up from there.  Last night was the first LGKB session for a while and I am feeling it!  I need to adjust accordingly:

Warm Up (5 minutes)
Main (40 minutes).
1a. Deadlift (4x122, 5x110)
1b. OACs (4x40kg, 5x36, 2-arm 10xBW)
2. HSPU (assisted 8, 8, 8)
3. Wall Walk (2, 2)
4. 5-Way DB Rotator Cuff (10)
5. Reverse DB Wrist Curls (10)

Wednesday, 7 September 2011

Too Much Cardio?

Dr William J Rowe looks at the topic of 'Extraordinary unremitting endurance exercise and permanent injury to normal heart':
  • "This hypothesis is that permanent cardiac injury could develop in some endurance athletes despite the absence of coronary atherosclerosis and ventricular hypertrophy. The proposed mechanism by which this injury could arise involves two physiological "vicious cycles". The first vicious cycle would occur between severe ischaemia and high catecholamines, the second would be between coronary vasospasm (induced by high catecholamines) and endothelial injury. The likelihood of the injury becoming permanent might increase if there is insufficient time between bouts of endurance exercise for regression of ischaemia and endotheliat repair. Furthermore, magnesium ion deficiency, which can be induced byexercise, could exacerbate these vicious cycles and also contribute to catecholamine-induced thrombogenesis. In addition to ischaemia, there are several mechanisms, including the effect of free fatty acids liberated by the lipolytic effect of high catecholamines, that could cause direct myocardial injury."
His site contains an interesting article on magnesium deficiency and athlete death. (Magnesium is one of the few supplements I take along with potassium and occasional D3).

I previously quoted one of his letters on the subject of iron in 'Our Ancestors Had it Right'.

Tuesday, 6 September 2011

The Importance of Vitamin D

Optimal Health Source found this interesting video on vitamin D by David Feldam of Stanford University.  I'll add it in to Popcorn!

Elbow Rehab

A commentor requested further information on my elbow rehab.  Here are some excellent links on the matter, and the first of which contains a fundamental exercise with further details from UKClimbing:

This article by Dave Macleod on the use of eccentrics in the rehab of golfer's/tennis elbow is also worthy of reading:
  • "An intriguing new hypothesis is emerging that tendonosis might be down to underuse, rather than an overuse injury as it’s traditionally been perceived. Research into painful achilles and patellar tendons is suggesting that unequal distribution of loading exists within tendons that are chronically loaded at a certain joint range. Some areas are overworked and strained, other areas ‘stress shielded’ become atrophied and weak, and eventually strain as well. This lends weight to the importance of technique, training design and posture as being the direct causes of these injuries in at least a proportion of cases. There is some evidence that eccentric loading allows more even loading in the tendon, stimulating both the overused and underused portions in a way that allows them to recover normal collagen content and arrangement."

Sunday, 4 September 2011

Volume Week 1 W/O1

After a week relaxing in France I am now psyched for another cycle of training.  This will be 6 weeks or so, although the holiday involved lots of swimming and some 'snatched' workouts in the outdoor gym (mostly pistols and MUs, Chins and Skin the Cats on the chinning station).  Last week was effectively a deloaded phase.

Having done some research on my still-present inner elbow pain, I might need to do the rehabilitation work (Golfers Elbow Drumstick Rotations and Holy Water Hammers), on a daily basis.

Warm Up (5 minutes)
Main (40 minutes).
1. Stairgators (1)
2. Barefoot Sprinting (1x10s, 1x10s, 1x15s)
3a. MU to Ring Routine (3, 3, 4)
3b. Pistols (assisted: 8, 8, 9)
4a. Scissor Splits (2L, 2R, 3C)
4b. Planche (25s, 25s, 25s)
5a. Golfers Elbow Drumstick Rotation (10)
5b. Holy Water Hammers (10)
6. Barefoot Kill Carry (1)
7. 321 (All 4 down the rung sizes)