Paleo diet wins races!

A low-carb, high-fat Paleo dieter just won the Western States 100, an ultramarathon through the Sierra Nevadas.

…somewhere in those final 15 miles, Tim Olson opened up an an additional 15 minute gap between himself and all the other runners.  That means, after running 85 miles, he was able to put on a burst of speed at the end of the race, and he finished 15 minutes ahead of his next closest competitor.

Tim Olson finished 15 minutes ahead?

STEVE PHINNEY:  Yes, but more importantly he knocked 21 minutes off the overall time course record.

He beat the course record by 21 minutes! 

STEVE PHINNEY:  That’s correct.  This is all on a low-carb high-fat diet with relatively little of what people call in-race calories.

 

What you eat affects your immune system.

We all hear talk about our immune system. You know it’s important to get the proper nutrients, like zinc, to support it, so we can fight back those bad infections and seasonal colds, and avoid the flu that seems to be floating around the office.

You even hear some people complain, exclaiming “I have no immune system”, or “My immune system has taken a hit since last weekend”. People also think that aging and a weaker immune system go hand-in-hand. Not true.

But what if I told you that you are completely in control of your immune system? Would you believe me if I said that diet is one of the largest contributing factors in how well your immune system functions, or doesn’t function?

Here are the 3 tiers of the human immune system, as described by Mark Sisson:

  1. Anatomical barriers – Skin is the basic line of defense, along with mucus membranes and other physical responses like sweat, tears, and salivation, against the intrusion of foreign bodies and antigens.
  2. Innate/non-specific immune system – The innate immune system is the broad, generic response to bacteria and viruses that have made it past the anatomical barriers. Imagine bacteria entering through an open wound and the resultant inflammation, which is pretty much the body’s attempt at a catch-all response. Technically, the physical barriers are included in the innate system.
  3. Adaptive/specific immune system – The immune system can learn and improve its response to specific microbes over time and with repeated exposure; this is the adaptive immune system, and it’s only present in jawed vertebrates.

It’s generally accepted that gut flora affects and informs our immune systems, and how it does so, though a complicated, multi-faceted process, is beginning to be teased out by researchers.

 

…the human gastro-intestinal tract houses the bulk of the human immune system, about 70% of it. And foreign gut flora actually aids and abets our innate immune response system by improving the function of our mucosal immune system and providing a physical barrier to invading microbiota

…Healthy gut flora populations protect against invading microbes by simply taking up space and generally being more proficient at obtaining nutrients than the intruders. They’re playing defense, and informed, experienced defenders who know their way around always have the advantage…

Good bacteria talks to the lymph nodes and provides a safe word, and the lymph nodes’ stromal cells produce “normal cell” antigens that tell the immune system not to attack the good bacteria. This conserves resources and improves the immune response by making it more efficient

 

Gut flora plays an integral part in our immune system function. So it stands to reason that we should do our best to promote a good spectrum of gut flora, and avoid things that damage it.

Much of your gut flora for the rest of your life is determined at birth. You inherit the majority of your gut flora from your mother and the surrounding environment during birth and for the first year or so.

Proper gut flora also promotes the formation of healthy immune system organs. For example, the thymus is responsible for creating T-cells. In formula-fed infants, the thymus is smaller and less productive, compared to the healthy and fully-functioning thymuses of breast-fed infants! Breast milk is full of beneficial bacteria that is essential for the formation of proper gut flora in infants.

Of course, if you’re reading this, you have been born already, for many years. You are now stuck with the gut bacteria you were born with…Just kidding!

The best way to promote a heatlhy gut, and healthy gut bacteria, is to avoid things like sugar, grains, and vegetable oils and legumes, and include a diet rich in animal fat, protein, leafy veggies, starchy tubers, and fermented foods that provide a rich source of probiotics!

What damages gut flora, and hurts our immune system?

Lets start with sugar. Sugar causes insulin resistance, promotes systemmic inflammation, leads to weight gain, contributes to non-alcoholic fatty liver disease, and acts like a fertilizer for cancer cells. High gructose diets also decrease HDL levels while making LDL more dense and dangerous, contributing to heart disease. Glucose and fructose also bond to (glycate) proteins and lipids without proper enzymatic control. I think it’s safe to say that with all this crap going on, your body is going to have a much harder time focusing on an invader; your immune system won’t be up to full steam.

How about grains? Grains share many of the same problems as sugar, since they are a cheap source of sugar calories in the form of glucose. They also cause lots of gut irritation form their excessively high lectin and fiber content, not to mention all the other substances in grains that are difficult to digest, gluten is only one of them! 

Grains also promote mineral deficiencies and systemmic inflammation. Phytic acid makes much of the nutrients you eat unavailable to human digestion. That’s right, those vital minerals and nutrients that are absolutely necessary for tip-top immune system function are being swept away by phytic acid and end up in the toilet, literally! Legumes share many of the immunosuppressive properties of grains, with their high insoluble fiber and lectin content.

Not getting enough sleep, causing systemmic inflammation from the wrong veggie oils, using hand sanitizer, and too much cardio also suppress the immune system.

The Standard American Diet and following “conventional wisdom” takes the largest toll on your immune system. Of course it’s no surprise that following the SAD just perpetuates the problem, making you buy up all those supplements to make up for your lack of nutrients like Cold-EEZE, Halls, and Vicks, and overuse things like hand sanitizer and antibiotics (which actually weaken your immune system).

What’s the best way to support our immune system?

Healthy animal fats from healthily raised animals provides clean burning natural energy, as well as valuable fat soluble nutrients that support your immune system.

Protein provides the basic needs of our lean structure, for repairing bones, muscles, and organs. Eat plenty of animals at every meal!

Fruit and veggies also provide valuable nutrients, as well as antioxidants and flavanoids that all aide the immune system.

Do your best to follow this Paleo diet framework and lifestyle, and you’ll be sick less often! Not to mention much healthier and better looking for the long-haul!

Like this post? Leave a comment!

Want to find out more about how to get in shape fast? Check out these articles about getting in shape, feeling great, and controlling your genes!

Lose stubborn body fat. (Intermittent fasting)

Control your gene expression.

Heavy strength training is a required aspect of long term health. For everybody.

How to train your body to burn fat all day long. High intensity interval training (HIIT).

Why you should avoid too many polyunsaturated fats.

What is chronic inflammation. What to eat to avoid it.

The final word on grains and legumes: AVOID them.

The final word on Saturated fat and Cholesterol: EAT them

Recovery from injury could be dependent on your diet

I came across an impressive list of things that proper diet has cured in many people. It looks very impressive, and to those who are unfamiliar with Paleo/Primal type diets, may seem far-fetched.

But to us in the know, those of us who have tried and applied and seen actual positive long term changes in health, body composition and so on, those of us who have an intimate understanding with the link between diet and our immediate and long term health, those of us who have a basic even limited understanding of our biological mechanisms, we understand how possible and real these results are.

Among the list of ills that Paleo has cured:

Joint pain, regular bouts of gout, Depression, chronic fatigue, mental fog, Lyme, arthritis, Diabetes, Obesity, Inflammation, Sugar addiction, Stress, Better Sleep, Mental clarity, Migraines, mild obesity, kidney stones, No “fire-in-the-hole” scorcher bathroom visits, lower back issues, and acne, Nails and teeth are stronger and my senses seem to be like they were when I was in my teens. It’s like somebody turned the lights on in the world.

It seems that everyone’s body (at least those that reported these changes) is now able to heal itself naturally. That’s the common theme. In my personal case, I no longer wake up fatigued, sore, or groggy. I don’t have those mysterious sore muscles during the day. My old football knee injury (which used to show itself after long walks) has disappeared. Chronic eczema and GERD have been cured. Bad acne. Headaches. Cold, flu, fever, ear infections. You name it, I’ve been free of it for a full year plus. I also train hard in the gym often, have seen very radical results in terms of muscle tone and recovery.

Now, let me move on to something a little more scientific I found regarding healing, relating more directly to sports injuries:

Ligamentous tissue, because it is poorly vascularized, takes much longer than soft tissue to heal. However, there are a number of elements of the Paleo Diet that may promote rapid tissue healing:
It has been demonstrated that protein deficient patients recover more slowly than a control group. This makes the Paleo Diet, because it is a high protein diet, a perfect intervention in this MCL injury and similar injuries. In such cases, it is desirable to have a diet in which protein reaches 1.2 grams/kg/day.
Increased branch-chain amino acids (valine, leucine and isoleucine) from the high animal protein diet will also speed up healing time.
More rapid resolution of the acute inflammatory stage of tissue injury will occur because of increased consumption of long-chain fatty acids (DHA, EPA, and AA).
Increased trace nutrient density (such as zinc, iron and phytochemicals) further promotes healing and tissue regeneration.
In addition to the diet, there are also supplements that could help in wound healing.
Vitamin C is an important cofactor in synthesis of collagen and proteoglycans, and other components of bone, skin, capillary walls, and other connective tissues. It is important for hydroxylation of proline and lysine residues in procollagen. Vitamin C is also an important supplement in immunomodulation and antioxidation.
Oxidative stress delays wound healing so wounds increase the necessity of vitamin C due to the increased reactive oxygen species generated. Vitamin C is also able to regenerate other antioxidants such as vitamin E.
It is recommended that you not exceed 2 grams a day since some adverse health effects have been demonstrated, such as hemolysis (red blood cell destruction), especially in glucose 6-phosphate dehydrogenase deficient patients. The recommended dosage is 1-2 grams per day.
Glucosamine increases hyaluronic acid synthesis, which is an important substance in extra cellular matrix composition. Glucosamine may increase insulin resistance and glucose levels so it should not be taken by diabetic patients. Otherwise, it is safe at a dose of 500 mg 3 times per day.
Omega-3 fats will reduce inflammation and help promote the healing process.
Glutamine has been demonstrated to decrease the number of days in the hospital for wound patients. It supports the immune system in the initial phase of inflammation, and serves as an energy source for fibroblasts and protein synthesis. The recommended dosage is 0.2 grams/kg/day.
Arginine is another important amino acid in tissue regeneration. Some of its actions include stimulation of cell migration (for wound recovery), and it is a precursor for proline during collagen synthesis.
Zinc is essential in DNA synthesis, protein synthesis and cell division. All of these are important factors in wound healing. Zinc content is high in the Paleo Diet. A recommended dosage to promote healing is 15-30 mg per day.
Other nutrients that could be beneficial for wound healing are garlic (with antioxidant and anti-inflammatory properties), pineapple (because bromelain accelerates wound healing and decreases inflammation), and grape-derived phytochemicals (such as proanthocyanidin) that exert anti-inflammatory effects and support healing of elastin and collagen.
We expect both athletes and surgery patients to recover more quickly on the Paleo Diet than they otherwise would eating a conventional modern diet.

So again we see a common theme, that proper nutrients and avoiding anti-nutrients in grains and sugar etc, promotes proper healing. Don’t take this to mean that we can simply supplement to make up for nutrient deficiencies. That’s not the case. You have to take into consideration that all the nutrients in whole food work in harmony together, so one will not necessarily function without the other.

That’s why nutritionists just add confusion to everything. They take the focus off the whole food, and focus on single nutrients, as if we even know the whole story. We don’t. You can’t weigh and measure shit food and get the same results as you can with Paleo, and adding supplements to a shit diet won’t do you any good either. Along those lines, I want you to take a good read at this post by J. Stanton: “what is nutritionism?” It takes a look at some of the more important anti-nutrients, and asks some really hard questions. Things you need to think about. Read it, then come back. I’ll still be here…

What’s my point?

My point is that there are a lot of people out there training, including the most elite athletes, who take every aspect of training into account, analyzing everything they can and taking advantage of the newest-in-new hip-technology supplements or training protocols, but they just haven’t considered their diet may be one of the most contributing factors to their ability to heal after they beat the shit out of their bodies day-in-and-out just to compete in the Ironman. They aren’t asking themselves the tough questions. You need to question everything, to come out on top with the best answer.

I’ve questioned everything, and it seems blatantly obvious to me now that grains screw up every system in your body, along with sugar and too many veggie oils. There’s tons of info out there, so don’t just rely on me to spoon feed it to you. Sometimes you just have to ask your own questions and be able to filter out the bull-shit. Honestly, give me one GOOD reason why I should even bother eating grains. Is there anything in there that I can’t get from veggies, meat or tubers or fruit?? Thought not…

My point is that if you know about inflammation, and you KNOW that you are overtraining and about cortisol, and you KNOW that you need to limit systemic inflammation in order to recover propery, why don’t you pay attention to the biggest item contributing to your inflammation: YOUR DIET. Get it under control and only eat what you could pick, dig, or spear (mostly spear) in the words of J. Stanton.

If you couldn’t tell, this post was inspired by a good friend of mine who is training for Ironman, and has found out very quickly what systemmic inflammation can do to your ability to compete.

 

So what’s a good diet for marathoners and Ironman-ers? Here’s a great post from Mark Sisson about marathon fuel, the cleanest way possible. 

End rant…

Like this post? Want to find out more about how to get in shape fast? Check out these articles!

Why you should avoid too many polyunsaturated fats.

What is chronic inflammation. What to eat to avoid it.

The final word on grains and legumes: AVOID them.

The final word on Saturated fat and Cholesterol: EAT them

What it takes: Survival of the fittest.

Written by Paleo blogger, Jamie Scott. Here is an excerpt.

From the Christshurch experience (and seen similarly in subsequent events such as the Japanese tsunami and UK riots,) many  people required the stamina to walk 3–4 hours, often over hills and dodging rock falls, to get home. If they were required to run, they were required to run fast, as was seen in 9/11 as people ran from the World Trade Centre. If you need to get out of a building under threat of collapse or need to escape an angry mob, you are not going to jog your way out of the situation. You require strength that is functional – not the ability to simply lift a nicely balanced bar that is set at just the right height – but often awkward objects with little grip.

You might require the ability to pull yourself up over a high fence and scale the side of a building to escape an impending wall of water, as was witnessed by a film crew escaping the Japanese tsunami. You may be required to belay large people down the side of a building as was seen in Christchurch. You might need to push a car, barge a door in or drag a body. You will require enough hip mobility to get into a low squat position, to move in that position, to crawl through small and narrow spaces that have been formed, either for you to get into or out of a building.

You may also require the ability to exert yourself for many hours without the opportunity to stop and refuel. My following of a high-fat, hunter-gatherer-type diet has given me that capacity. My energy levels do not rise and fall with a wildly fluctuating blood sugar level, nor do I have to stuff my pockets with energy bars to get me through. During the Christchurch earthquake, whilst everyone was stocking up on bread, cereal, and milk, my survival kit contained eggs, bananas, coconut cream, and dark chocolate. how long one might have to

With no idea how long one might have to stand in the face of disaster, you may also require a degree of mental stamina – a mentality that allows you to manage your thoughts, and asserts that you can rather than you can’t. Knowing you have the skills and capacity in your body allows you to have a similar capacity in your mind. At the point at which I decided to dig through large amounts of silt with a plank of wood to rescue my car and get out before the road collapsed, there was no requirement for me to question whether my body could dig for three hours. I didn’t need to convince my mind. I knew I had the physical capacity and the mind followed.

As you prepare for disaster, you wouldn’t prepare an emergency kit with supplies that were old, broken and not up to the task that you would expect them to be able to perform. So why would one expect a slow, tired and weak body to get them through when put to the test? Strength and conditioning will take you so far, but without skills you really only have capacity and health without useful ability.

In Interesting Times, the most important thing in your emergency response kit is you – your physical capacity and your ability to turn that capacity to the useful skills those times will inevitably require.

Read the whole article by downloading the magazine [here] Article is on pages 44 – 47

Big caloric deficits and high activity levels don’t work for fat loss.

I’m going to share a couple case studies I came across to illustrate an important point, that having a large energy deficit and a very high activity level is a recipe for failure. There’s also plenty of evidence here that cardio itself doesn’t help fat loss either…

The first example is common. This study was also discussed in great detail by Lyle McDonald. A woman began marathon training sessions with a reported low-calorie diet, and instead of losing weight, either maintained it or gained more. Her metabolic rate was also below normal.

Once diet was corrected and energy intake was increased gradually, her BMI came down and her metabolic rate increased.

That said, I’ve mentioned in previous articles that one oddity that I’ve seen (and personally experienced) over the years is one where the combination of very large caloric deficits and very large amounts of activity (especially higher-intensity activity) can cause problems for people either stalling or slowing fat loss.

The second example regards a young man trying to drop fat rapidly in order to pass a Navy diving exam and increase endurance capacity. You can read the full discussion by Jamie Scott here. He had a very high training regimen that included Crossfit, fasted training, lots of glycolitic work.

Once he dropped the activity level down substantially, and began comsuming more food, fat loss and energy levels improved rapidly.

Just a quick message to say the article is great. The fat is falling off me like it never actually has before and I’m feeling fuelled for every workout. I honestly can’t thank you enough. Coconut milk and cream have become my new best friends and I am talking everyone’s ears off at the gym with how good they are. I will keep in touch with the progress as I think something a bit crazy (good crazy) might be happening here, exciting.

So what’s going on here? We have a young man and an older woman, both trying to lose fat rapidly, following the conventional wisdom of eating less and jacking activity levels up, but they are moving backwards in terms of progress!

One important factor here is cortisol. It’s a stress hormone released by the body in response to pretty much all kinds of stress. Even though we hear a lot about it in the fitness world and it gets a bad rep, it’s really a necessary component of a healthy functioning body. Acute pulses can tend to be beneficial and cause adaptive changes, but chronic elevated cortisol levels start to become problematic.

For example, the morning cortisol pulse helps to promote fat mobilization.  In contrast, a chronic elevation of cortisol (especially in the face of high insulin levels) tend to promote visceral fat accumulation.  As a non-fitness related topic, acute pulses of cortisol tend to be good for memory (why we often remember stressful situations in such detail) while chronic elevations (as often seen in depression) make memory go down the toilet.  And there are endless other examples of where acute cortisol pulses are good and chronic elevations are bad; again see Sapolsky’s book for details.

In any case, dieting in general is a stress.  And of course training is a stress.  And the more extreme you do of each, the more of a stress occurs.  And I suspect that a lot of what is going on when folks try to combine excessive caloric deficits with massive amounts of activity is that cortisol just goes through the roof (there’s another issue I’ll come back to at the end that relates to this).  Simply, you get these massive chronic elevations in cortisol levels.

Tangentially, this is also one reason I suspect that various types of cyclical dieting help with some of this issue.  For at least brief periods, when calories are raised to maintenance or above, you break the diet/training induced elevations in cortisol.  This of course assumes that the person isn’t mentally stressed to the nines by raising calories like that but I’m getting ahead of myself.

Lyle, I couldn’t have put it better myself. Other things are also negatively affected by chronic cortisol production. It can cause water retention, leptin resistance in the brain, and even lower your metabolic rate. One study revealed that only 6 hours of cardio per week, combined with a “diet”, caused a larger decrease in metabolic rate than the “diet” alone! I don’t even approach that in my own training, but I’m sure most people who are addicted to cardio can easily go above and beyond that 6 hours.

In any case, there are several different plausible mechanisms by which the combination of excessive caloric deficits an large amounts of activity can cause problems.  Whether it’s simply cortisol related water retention, a drop in metabolic rate due to leptin resistance or something else, something is going on.  From a more practical standpoint, for a lot of people, the combination simply doesn’t work.  Mind you, some seem to get away with it but not all.

Now if we go back to the young man’s case. Let’s take a look at what he was eating.

Let’s put some numbers around this.  This is the approximate breakdown of this gentleman’s daily intake;

  • Energy: 1732 kcal
  • Protein: 162.5g
  • Carbs: 129.2g
  • Fat: 67.8g

And here was the workout regimen he was using.

4 x week run as per Crossfit Endurance – 1 x short intervals (10×400 usually), 1 x long intervals (6-8km of 200,400,800,1000 at 10k/5k race pace), 1 x stamina (2.4,4,5,10k TT) and 10×100 sprints/4×500 hill sprints alternated each week.

3 strength sessions – 5×5 Back squat and bench, 5×5 front squat and press, 5-5-5-3-3-1 deadlift

5 or 6 CF wods as per my box or something via sealfit/military athlete wods.

Swim twice a week, 1 x intervals and 1 long for recovery.

Ride the road bike 10k round trip to the box.

Rest Thursday AM and Sundays.

Usually do endurance workout in AM, Strength/WOD in PM.  I also add in specific training for my pushup/situp/pullup as required by the navy gig.

Wow. Simply not enough energy consumed to fuel all that activity! No wonder he was feeling worn out constantly, and his fat loss was stalled completely!

Edit 4/18/12: Here is one more example from Mark’s Daily Apple. It’s a success story of a marathon runner who continued to put on steady body fat, and never was able to lose it even while training for a London marathon. He was following the conventional wisdom of eating and training which included lots of cardio. Again, a perfect example of how cardio does not help you lose fat.

I’m not going to go into much more detail here. You can check out both of those discussions I linked to on your own. But basically there are some lessons to be learned from all this.

  • Fasted training and intermittent fasting has their place, but to reap the benefits you have to have plenty of food during your feeding window to meet your activity requirements. This allows a slight energy excess for training, while giving an energy deficit for fat loss during the fasted phase. Once you get down to very lean levels (roughly 10% for men and 14% for women) a slight energy deficit will work to slowly get you down to single digit bodyfat.
  • If you’re in a rush to lower BMI before some deadline, you are more likely to default to some conventional wisdom crap that will have you wasting time on a treadmill in the futile pursuit of less body fat.
  • The combination of major energy deficits and very high activity will set you backwards in terms of fat loss goals, and will waste a lot of time! It hurts rather than helps.
  • You can either cut energy intake hard, or increase activity levels hard, but you CAN’T do both. Your body will resist.
  • Some people (rarely) can get away with doing both. But they’re just lucky.
  • For most of us, fat loss and fitness goals can be met with the proper types of foods, and a relatively moderate activity level. (I mean lifting HEAAAVY things once in a while, and running really really fast every now and then) Once you are eating right and doing the right activity every once in a while to make your body adapt properly, your body will take care of the rest.

This is why I so strongly suggested AGAINST the inclusion of much cardio in The Rapid Fat Loss Handbook; it causes more harm than good.  Invariably, the biggest source of failure on that plan is when people ignore my advice and try to do a bunch of cardio.  And fat loss stops.

In any case, there are several different plausible mechanisms by which the combination of excessive caloric deficits an large amounts of activity can cause problems.  Whether it’s simply cortisol related water retention, a drop in metabolic rate due to leptin resistance or something else, something is going on.  From a more practical standpoint, for a lot of people, the combination simply doesn’t work. 

Thanks, Lyle, for that beautiful wrap-up.

You might also like to read: Cardio is for dummies, Thoughts in HIIT, Stretching is for dummies

Like this post? Want to find out more about how to get in shape fast? Check out these articles about getting in shape, feeling great, and controlling your genes!

Lower bodyfat setpoint.

Lose stubborn body fat. (Intermittent fasting)

Control your gene expression.

Heavy strength training is a required aspect of long term health. For everybody.

How to train your body to burn fat all day long. High intensity interval training (HIIT).

Why you should avoid too many polyunsaturated fats.

What is chronic inflammation. What to eat to avoid it.

The final word on grains and legumes: AVOID them.

The final word on Saturated fat and Cholesterol: EAT them

How to maintain vibrant health and good looks as you age

Aging comes with a lot of stigma these days. The slogan “I’m getting too old for this” is uttered by everyone at some point. We think that getting tired, sick, weak and slow are all part of the process. We are programmed to think that getting old inevitably includes bags, sags, and wrinkles, joint pain, cancer, heart attack, and lots of naps. Adding extra weight around our mid-sections is another accepted part of the “normal” aging process. Don’t believe any of this for one more second!

Aging does not have to come with any of that baggage.

In fact, most of these things are completely in your control. All it takes is living an active life and keeping your body in shape, while following an ancestral type diet that includes healthy animal meats and organs, vegetables and fruit, and eliminates all processed food, grains, and sugar. By doing so you will eliminate systemic inflammation, which is the cause of most modern ills and diseases. You will also find that your skin and complextion are healthier too. Lean muscle mass will provide you with the proper organ reserve to maintin strength and health through old age, and also prevents injury.

Take a look at this succss story from a 71 year old man (who looks more like 50) who has followed this type of lifestyle. Here are a couple of people (Mark Sisson, and his wife) over 50 who also have found success in an ancestral lifestyle. Here’s a few more! Gerry age 64, Paula 51, Dave 54, 65 year old mother, Norman 53, George 54.

Here is an informative list of 10 rules for aging well.

The role of lean muscle mass and organ reserve in aging

How to control your gene expression. Don’t be a victim of your own genes!

How to get that natural glow and maintain healthy skin

Is it really that easy? Yes it is! Try it for 2 weeks and tell me you don’t see immediate changes in your health and energy levels!

Like this post? Want to find out more about how to get in shape fast? Check out these articles about getting in shape, feeling great, and controlling your genes!

Lower bodyfat setpoint.

Lose stubborn body fat. (Intermittent fasting)

Control your gene expression.

Heavy strength training is a required aspect of long term health. For everybody.

How to train your body to burn fat all day long. High intensity interval training (HIIT).

Why you should avoid too many polyunsaturated fats.

What is chronic inflammation. What to eat to avoid it.

The final word on grains and legumes: AVOID them.

The final word on Saturated fat and Cholesterol: EAT them

How to smash a coconut

Smashing a coconut takes a lot of mental and physical preparation. The proper tools are crucial. And deciding how to hold it still can be difficult. But with the right mindset and know-how, enjoying your coconut can be an exciting food experience.

  1. Once you have located your coconut, take it home and locate your tools. You should have a chisel and a hammer handy, as well as a large bowl or a brave friend to help hold the sucker still. If you decided to use a machete, all bets are off. I take no responsibility for the missing limbs or any other outcome.
  2. Place your coconut in front of you. We will have to prepare the coconut for the initial attack. You will have to assert your alpha-dominance by staring the coconut down prior to smashing. You need to let it know you mean business. This will cause the coconut to submit and lie dormant, allowing you to sneak up on it with your chisel.
  3. Quickly take the chisel and hammer and drive a hole into the top, before the coconut has time to react. ejoy the coconut water as is, or pour into a glass and chill for later. Yum!

Next we want to get to the meat of the coconut, because that is the best part. Now that you have incapacitated the coconut and enjoyed it’s juice, you will have an easier tme handling the coconut for smashing, which can be a difficult and dangerous task.

  1. Bring your coconut outside to a suitable location. The concrete steps work wonderfully, but a large rock will do.
  2. The proper stance is crucial. Stand with feet wider than shoulder width. You need to bend at the knees slightly, and straddle your coconut-smashing object.
  3. Bring the coconut overhead with both hands. Prepare yourself. Quckly bring the coconut down on the sharp edge of the steps or rock, being careful not to completely release the coconut so as to not lose any pieces, but also so as to not smash any fingers.
  • If you are at a Crossfit box doing your WOD, a handy barbell or kettlebell should work as well. Do your overhead press or other olympic lift with coconut on the ground in front of you. Bring the barbel down squarely on top of the coconut, and enjoy!
  • Once your coconut has been successfully smashed, you can scrape out the insides with a tool of your chosing, or just use your teeth. Yum! Have fun and enjoy your coconut.
  • If broken properly so that you have a coconut-bowl, you can leave the water inside and add rum. This makes a great treat to sip in the sun. It’s like a mini vacation! All right!

 

Let me know about your coconut experiences. Post your results to comments!

Like this post? Want to find out more about how to get in shape fast? Check out these articles about getting in shape, feeling great, and controlling your genes!

Lower bodyfat setpoint.

Lose stubborn body fat. (Intermittent fasting)

Control your gene expression.

Heavy strength training is a required aspect of long term health. For everybody.

How to train your body to burn fat all day long. High intensity interval training (HIIT).

Why you should avoid too many polyunsaturated fats.

What is chronic inflammation. What to eat to avoid it.

The final word on grains and legumes: AVOID them.

The final word on Saturated fat and Cholesterol: EAT them

Why grass fed? Because it really does matter what your food eats!

Something I have been meaning to get to recently, but just haven’t had in the forefront of my mind until now. Since we are trying to attain optimal health and “look-good-naked” status, [wink] it makes sense to consider not only what you are eating, but where it came from and how it was grown or raised.

Not only is factory farming cruel and dirty, but it raises sick animals by feeding them cheap grains and feed, and it commoditizes our food making it lower quality, sacrificing our health for their bottom line ($$$).

Only healthy happy animals make happy healthy Paleo food for us!

Yes it does matter. Just as you would (or should) choose organic pesticide free fruits and vegetables, locally and sustainably grown, you should also ask “where did this animal come from? How was it raised?  What did my food eat before I ate it?

Residues that accumulate as a result of the factory farming system (pesticides, antibiotics) are fat-soluble, and stored in the animal’s fatty tissues. Consuming the fat from these animals causes us to accumulate these toxins as well. These toxins are also dose-dependent, meaning the more you consume, the more your health is at risk.

Bacon, for example, is one of the fattiest cuts. Bacon from the factory farming system contains some of the highest doses of these toxins. In addition, pigs are arguably the most abused, poorly fed, sick animals in the factory farming system. Therefore, to enjoy bacon and maintain your long-term health in the Paleo context, it should always come from local farms that allow their pigs free range pasture, with a diet free from grains or other commodity feeds.

The fatty acid ratio in factory farmed animals is also pretty bad. There is a total lack of omega-3 fatty acids, which are needed to balance out the omega-6 content. The omega-6 content also sky-rockets from grain-feeding, making the nutrient profile even uglier.

Grain fed animals also suffer many of the same health problems as people who follow the Standard American Diet. Being fed a steady diet of mostly grains results in systemic inflammation, intramuscular fat accumulation, poor nutrient profile, and sick animals who are shipped off to slaughter just before becoming ill or dead from it.

What should my food eat?

Your food should eat what would normally be available to it in the wild. For cows, that’s wild grasses. But, to say grass-fed cows eat grass isn’t telling the entire story. It’s more accurate to say they eat graminoids, which comprise hundreds of different species of sedges (found in wild marshes and grasslands; a famous sedge includes papyrus), rushes (a small but plucky family of herbaceous and rhizomatous plants), and true grasses (cereals, lawn grass, bamboo, grassland grass – the type of grass that produces the leaves Walt Whitman writes about). And that’s just the graminoid. Cows will also nibble on shrubs, clovers, and random leaves if they can get to them. Basically, they’ll eat whatever’s in reach, green, and leafy. Legally, grass-fed cows may also eat cereal grain crops in the “pre-grain stage,” hay, silage, and non-grain crop byproducts

You need to be careful, though, because sometimes beef may say “pastured” on the label, even though many pastures contain supplemented feed bins with grains. The same goes for chickens. Chickens and eggs will often be labeled as “free range” or “vegetarian fed” or some such nonsense. Chickens are not vegetarians, and should eat grubs and bugs to make the healthiest tastiest eggs and chicken wings for us Paleoists!

Grass fed beef is higher in necessary B-vitamins, beta-carotene, vitamin E, vitamin K, and trace minerals like magnesium, calcium, and selenium. Studies show that grass feeding results in higher levels of CLA, a healthy naturally occurring trans fat. Grass fed dairy also has more of the beneficial trans fats. Grass fed beef has plenty of healthy fats, distributed more evenly throughout the animal’s subcutaneous tissue, where it belongs (Fat accumulation in muscle tissue is not a sign of a healthy animal).

Grass-fed truly shines in the micronutrient profile for one reason. Grass-fed cows get more nutritious food. Remember: they aren’t munching on monoculture lawn cuttings (let alone soy and corn). They’re eating a wide variety of (often wild) grasses, sedges, rushes, shrubs, and herbs, each with its own nutrient profile.

Plus, it just tastes better!

The clearly superior version of beef, chicken, eggs, or pork comes from grass-fed and finished, or pastured and free-range-fed. Animals that are raised by ranchers committed to providing excellent stewardship of both soil quality (for our food’s food quality), and animal quality. Plus it’s the more responsible thing to do. I know I feel better eating animals that were treated with care, and were happy and healthy up until slaughter, and the point where it became food to sustain me as a healthy animal.

YUM I am hungry.

Like this post? Want to find out more about how to get in shape fast? Check out these articles about getting in shape, feeling great, and controlling your genes!

Lower bodyfat setpoint.

Lose stubborn body fat. (Intermittent fasting)

Control your gene expression.

Heavy strength training is a required aspect of long term health. For everybody.

How to train your body to burn fat all day long. High intensity interval training (HIIT).

Why you should avoid too many polyunsaturated fats.

What is chronic inflammation. What to eat to avoid it.

The final word on grains and legumes: AVOID them.

The final word on Saturated fat and Cholesterol: EAT them

Poor diet may have behavioral consequences

A lack of zinc in your diet may be making you aggressive.

(From the Geenpasture.org archive)

A fascinating article in Psychology Today focused on the origin of violent behavior. Was it nature or nutrition? Could the underlying cause be in one’s upbringing or in their genes? Or just maybe it could be some type of nutritional imbalance.

Taking the nutritional stance was William Walsh, Ph.D. and his team at the Health Research Institute in Illinois. Walsh and his colleagues published a study in Physiology & Behavior (1997) where they compared the results of blood tests given to 135 “assaultive” young males—who were between 3 and 20 years of age—to those of 18 in the control group without any history of violence. The results were staggering: The violent males had higher copper and lower zinc levels than the control group. The higher the copper and lower the zinc, the more aggressive and violent the behavior.

When the aggressive young males were treated with therapeutic doses of zinc, their aggressive episodes were substantially lessened.

Wow!

[Read More Here]

Why do we overeat? Why do we ever stop eating?

I’m going to use some summary quotes from a series at Gnolls.org about hunger and satiety signals. I just wanted to get some general points across that I have been talking about for some time now, and these bullet points pretty much sum it up perfectly. They relate nicely to my points about nutrient density, and your body’s ability to regulate it’s own nutrient and hunger needs if you allow it. (Check out my archives for more.)

Introductory points

  • Hunger is not a singular motivation: it is the interaction of several different clinically measurable, provably distinct mental and physical processes.
  • In a properly functioning human animal, likes and wants coincide; satiation is an accurate predictor of satiety; and the combination of hunger signals (likes and wants) and satisfaction signals (satiation and satiety) results in energy and nutrient balance at a healthy weight and body composition.
  • Restrained eating requires the exercise of willpower to override likes, wants, and the lack of satiation or satiety; the exercise of willpower uses energy and causes stress; and stress makes you eat more. Therefore, a successful diet must minimize the role of willpower.
  • A lack of satiety will leave us hungry no matter what else we do to compensate. We fail to achieve satiety by not ingesting (or not absorbing) the energy and/or nutrients our body requires, and by an inability to retrieve the energy and/or nutrients our bodies have stored due to mitochondrial dysfunction.
  • Satiation is an estimate of future satiety based on sensory input. As with satiety, we fail to achieve it by not satisfying our nutritional needs. We can also bypass satiation by decreasing sensory exposure to our foods. Some common enablers are eating quickly, eating while distracted or on the run, and eating calorie-dense packaged and prepared foods.
  • The role of reward in hunger constitutes hedonic impact (“liking”, palatability) and incentive salience (“wanting”, the drive to consume more food). The process of learning modifies both. Furthermore, reward is not limited to food, is neither static nor an intrinsic property of the food itself, and is modified by many experiences besides its taste during the act of consumption.

Conclusion Points

  • Reward systems drive all our behaviors, not just our food preferences.
  • Liking and wanting don’t exist just to make us fat: they exist to keep us alive.They are the product of millions of years of natural selection, during which animals that didn’t have our tastes died out and were replaced by those that did.
  • Liking and wanting are values we assign to food, not invariant or intrinsic properties of the food itself.
  • The modulation of reward (liking and wanting) does not require taste at all.
  • Incentive salience (“wanting”) is a product of hedonic reward (“liking”), satiation, and satiety.
  • Eating food you like may either decrease or increase your want for more, depending on the food, the circumstances, and whose studies you believe.
  • Palatability can affect satiation, either via nutritional satiation or “sensory-specific satiety”, but it does not affect satiety.
  • Hyperpalatability is an unnatural amount of hedonic reward, combined with an inability to produce satiation or satiety. Therefore, the worse a snack food is for you, the more difficult it usually is to stop eating. 
  • Conclusion: in order to keep incentive salience (“wanting”) under control, make sure that hedonic impact (“liking”) is always accompanied by nutrition. Eat delicious but nutritionally dense foods, containing complete protein, healthy fats, and ample nutrients. Otherwise you’re eating food with no brakes.
  • And when you do take the risk, eat your cheat food after you’ve already satiated yourself with a complete meal.

…Just sayin’

Paleo is the Key to smarts. Big brains require an explanation. Part IV.

Reblogged from Gnolls.org

In Part III, we established the following:

  • Bipedalism among human ancestors is associated with a dietary shift away from soft, sugar-rich fruit, and toward hard, fibrous, ground-based foods like nuts, root vegetables, insects, and mushrooms. (And perhaps some meat, though the evidence is inferential.)
  • Both bipedalism and this dietary shift occurred while our ancestors were still forest-dwellers—before we moved into savanna and grassland habitats.
  • Both bipedalism and this dietary shift precededthe massive increase in our ancestors’ brain size.
  • Therefore, neither fruit, nor potatoes, nor walking upright made us human.

Once again, I am giving what I believe to be the current consensus interpretation of the evidence…and where no consensus exists, I offer what I believe to be the most parsimonious interpretation.

(This is a multi-part series. Go back to Part I, Part II, Part III.)

A Quick Recap

4.4 million years ago, Ardipithecus ramidus still had a brain the size of a modern chimpanzee, but was a facultative biped partially adapted to a ground-based diet. By 4.1 MYA, Australopithecus anamensis had been selected for more complete dietary adaptation:

Science 2 October 2009: Vol. 326 no. 5949 pp. 69, 94-99
Paleobiological Implications of the Ardipithecus ramidus Dentition
Gen Suwa, Reiko T. Kono, Scott W. Simpson, Berhane Asfaw, C. Owen Lovejoy, Tim D. White

Ar. ramidus lacks the postcanine megadontia of Australopithecus. Its molars have thinner enamel and are functionally less durable than those of Australopithecus but lack the derived Pan pattern of thin occlusal enamel associated with ripe-fruit frugivory. The Ar. ramidus dental morphology and wear pattern are consistent with a partially terrestrial, omnivorous/frugivorous niche.”

And the Laetoli footprints show that hominins were fully bipedal by 3.7 MYA, though we have no evidence for brain size until…

Australopithecus afarensis: Upright Gait, Smaller Body, Bigger Brain

Australopithecus afarensis lived from approximately 3.9 to 2.9 MYA. (Once again, these are human-drawn distinctions between a continuum of hominin fossils.) It was slightly shorter than Ardipithecus (3’6″) and weighed much less: 65# versus 110#. The famous “Lucy” fossil is about 40% of an A. afarensis skeleton from 3.2 MYA.

One interpretation of LucyLucy might have looked like this.

Additionally, its back had a similar double curve to modern humans; its arms were shorter than Ardipithecus; its knees support an upright gait, and its feet had arches like ours—meaning that it was fully bipedal, and that A. afarensis is very likely the hominin which made the Laetoli footprints.

This is a recent finding: only last year did its discoverers announce that they had found a foot bone from A. afarensis which appears to settle this long-simmering question.

Science 11 February 2011: Vol. 331 no. 6018 pp. 750-753
Complete Fourth Metatarsal and Arches in the Foot of Australopithecus afarensis
Carol V. Ward, William H. Kimbel, and Donald C. Johanson

“A complete fourth metatarsal of A. afarensis was recently discovered at Hadar, Ethiopia. It exhibits torsion of the head relative to the base, a direct correlate of a transverse arch in humans. The orientation of the proximal and distal ends of the bone reflects a longitudinal arch. Further, the deep, flat base and tarsal facets imply that its midfoot had no ape-like midtarsal break. These features show that the A. afarensis foot was functionally like that of modern humans and support the hypothesis that this species was a committed terrestrial biped.

Most importantly, A. afarensis’ brain was much larger than Ardipithecus: 380-430cc versus 300-350cc. This means that selection pressure was favoring bigger brains as early as 4 million years ago, while allowing our ancestors’ bodies to shrink dramatically.

Now we’re getting to the meat of the problem. What could have caused this selection pressure?

“Is It Just Me, Lucy, Or Is It Getting Colder?”

During the Pliocene (5.3-2.6 MYA), the Earth’s climate—though far warmer than today’s—become cooler, drier, and more seasonal (see the temperature graphs and detailed explanation in Part I), a multi-million-year trend which began with the Middle Miocene Disruption around 14.5 MYA. Consequently, African forests were shrinking, and savannas and grasslands were growing in their place.

With less forest available to live in, some number of our ancestors faced a stark choice: adapt to living outside the forest, or die out. Those that stayed in the trees became what we know today as chimpanzees and bonobos. Those that eventually left became our ancestors—the hominins.

PNAS August 17, 2004 vol. 101 no. 33 12125-12129
High-resolution vegetation and climate change associated with Pliocene Australopithecus afarensis
R. Bonnefille, R. Potts, F. Chalié, D. Jolly, and O. Peyron

Through high-resolution pollen data from Hadar, Ethiopia, we show that the hominin Australopithecus afarensis accommodated to substantial environmental variability between 3.4 and 2.9 million years ago. A large biome shift, up to 5°C cooling, and a 200- to 300-mm/yr rainfall increase occurred just before 3.3 million years ago, which is consistent with a global marine δ18O isotopic shift.

Our results show that a diversity of biomes was available to A. afarensis. Recovery of hominin fossils through the entire stratigraphic range suggests no marked preference by A. afarensis for any single biome, including forest. Significant cooling and biome change had no obvious effect on the presence of this species through the sequence, a pattern of persistence shared by other Pliocene mammal taxa at Hadar and elsewhere (6, 27, 32). We hypothesize that A. afarensis was able to accommodate to periods of directional cooling, climate stability, and high variability.

As we found in Part I, and as we’ve seen by the chimp-sized brains of Ardipithecus, shrinking habitat does not explain increased brain size by itself—but it does provide an incentive to find ways to live in marginal habitat, or entirely different biomes. And it’s clear that bipedalism would be an advantage in forest margins and open forests, where direct travel from tree to tree wasn’t possible. In addition, more light reaching the ground would mean more food available on the ground, versus up in the tree canopy—so bipedal ground-dwelling would have been a good survival strategy in forest habitat that was marginal for a tree-dweller.

My interpretation of the evidence is that bipedalism did not cause brain expansion, but it was a necessary precondition. It allowed our ancestors to expand beyond the forest margin—and it freed up our ancestors’ hands for other tasks, such as…

How Bipedalism Enables Tool Use, Re-Use, and Manufacture

Facultative bipeds, which cannot walk on two legs for very long, can’t carry tools around with them: they must make a tool out of whatever materials exist near the point of use, and discard it soon after. Therefore, the tools they make must remain relatively simple, since they can’t spend too much time making single-use items—and it greatly constrains the raw materials they can use. (Yes, I’m ignoring any hypothesis that gives Ardipithecus ramidus the ability to construct backpacks.)

In contrast, full bipeds can carry around their tools in anticipation of needing them, and can keep them for future use. Therefore, they can spend the time and effort to make complex, reusable tools—and they can use any raw materials they have access to, not just those near the point of use.

We know that modern chimpanzees make spears, termite sticks, and other wooden tools—but is there evidence for tool use previous to the Oldowan industry, 2.6 MYA?

Recall that the Oldowan industry marks the beginning of the Paleolithic age, and happens to coincide with the beginning of the Pleistocene epoch. (If these terms are confusing you, I explain them in Part II.)

 

Rocks, Meat, and Marrow in the Pliocene

 

Nature 466, 857–860 (12 August 2010) — doi:10.1038/nature09248
Evidence for stone-tool-assisted consumption of animal tissues before 3.39 million years ago at Dikika, Ethiopia
Shannon P. McPherron, Zeresenay Alemseged, Curtis W. Marean, Jonathan G. Wynn, Denné Reed, Denis Geraads, René Bobe, Hamdallah A. Béarat

“On the basis of low-power microscopic and environmental scanning electron microscope observations, these bones show unambiguous stone-tool cut marks for flesh removal and percussion marks for marrow access. … Established 40Ar–39Ar dates on the tuffs that bracket this member constrain the finds to between 3.42 and 3.24 Myr ago, and stratigraphic scaling between these units and other geological evidence indicate that they are older than 3.39 Myr ago.”

It’s fair to say that no one knows what to do with this particular piece of evidence, so it tends to simply get ignored or dismissed. What we know is that the researchers found several ungulate and bovid bones, dated to 3.4 MYA, which were scraped and struck by rocks. The scrapes are not natural, nor are they from the teeth of predators, and they appear to date from the same time as the bones.

A bone at DikikaOne of the bones at Dikika. The reality of paleontology is far less exciting than the hypotheses it generates.

Unfortunately, no stone tools or fossil hominins were found there, so we can’t say for sure who made them. But the simplest interpretation is that a hominid used a rock to scrape meat off of the bones of large prey animals, and to break them open for marrow.

It is likely that the reason this evidence isn’t more well-accepted is because the researchers make one huge assumption: that the scrape marks were made by deliberately fashioned stone tools, 800,000 years before the first evidence we have of stone tool manufacture—even though no such tools were found.

I believe the most parsimonious interpretation is that the scrape marks were indeed made by Australopithecus afarensisusing one of the naturally-occurring volcanic rocks found in abundance in the area. Given the slow pace of technological change (millions of years passed between major changes in stone tool manufacture, and that’s for later hominins with much larger brains than A. afarensis), it would be extremely surprising if naturally-occurring sharp rocks hadn’t been used for millions of years before any hominin thought to deliberately make them sharper—

It’s Not Just The Discovery…It’s The Teaching And The Learning

—and, more importantly, before their children were able to learn the trick, understand why it was important, and pass it on to their own children.

Those of you who were able to watch the documentary “Ape Genius”, to which I linked in Part I, understand that intelligence isn’t enough to create culture. In order for culture to develop, the next generation must learn behavior from their parents and conspecifics, not by discovering it themselves—and they must pass it on to their own children. Chimpanzees can learn quite a few impressive skills…but they have little propensity to teach others, and young chimps apparently don’t understand the fundamental concept that “when I point my finger, I want you to pay attention to what I’m pointing at, not to me.”

So: the developmental plasticity to learn is at least as important as the intelligence to discover. Otherwise, each generation has to make all the same discoveries all over again. It is theorized that this plasticity is related to our less-aggressive nature compared to chimpanzees…but that’s a whole another topic for another time.

In conclusion, the Dikika evidence pushes meat-eating and stone tool-using (though not stone tool-making) back to at least 3.4 MYA, well into the Pliocene. And though we’re not sure whether that meat was obtained by hunting, scavenging, or both, we can add it to the other foods that we’re reasonably sure formed its diet to produce the following menu:

The Paleo Diet For Australopithecus afarensis

Eat all you can find of:

  • Nuts
  • Root vegetables
  • Insects
  • Mushrooms
  • Meat (particularly bone marrow)

Eat sparingly:

  • Fruit (your tooth enamel won’t withstand the acids)
  • Foliage (your teeth aren’t shaped correctly for leaf-chewing)

In other words, A. afarensis was most likely eating a diet within the existing range of modern ancestral diets—3.4 million years ago.

The only major addition to this diet previous to the appearance of anatomically modern humans is the gathering of shellfish, known from middens dated to 140 KYA at Blombos Cave.

Our Takeaway (so far)

  • Our ancestors’ dietary shift towards ground-based foods, and away from fruit, did not cause an increase in our ancestors’ brain size.
  • Bipedalism was necessary to allow an increase in our ancestors’ brain size, but did not cause the increase by itself.
  • Bipedalism allowed A. afarensis to spread beyond the forest, and freed its hands to carry tools. This coincided with a 20% increase in brain size from Ardipithecus, and a nearly 50% drop in body mass.
  • Therefore, the challenges of obtaining food in evolutionarily novel environments (outside the forest) most likely selected for intelligence, quickness, and tool use, and de-emphasized strength.
  • By 3.4 MYA, A. afarensis was most likely eating a paleo dietrecognizable, edible, and nutritious to modern humans.
  • The only new item was large animal meat (including bone marrow), which is more calorie- and nutrient-dense than any other food on the list—especially in the nutrients (e.g. animal fats, cholesterol) which make up the brain.
  • Therefore, the most parsimonious interpretation of the evidence is that the abilities to live outside the forest, and thereby to somehow procure meat from large animals, provided the selection pressure for larger brains during the middle and late Pliocene.

Live in freedom, live in beauty.

JS


Wheat, the drug. Are you an addict?

This is mostly theory, but I found it very interesting. Research is still young on the subject. Reblogged from Marks Daily Apple:

You’re addicted to wheat.

Wheat contains opioid peptides that may be able to activate opioid receptors in our bodies. You know what else activates opioid receptors? Opium, morphine, and heroin. (I’ve never tried any of them, but I hear they can inspire some real devotion from their users. See: Trainspotters, Requiem for a Dream.) I know that may sound glib, and I’ll be the first to admit that research into this is still very preliminary. You won’t find any ironclad evidence on PubMed that wheat is addictive. But the thinking goes that rather than hitting you like a ton of bricks and rendering you speechless from the sublime triggering of your opioid receptors, wheat addiction manifests as a stubborn lingering thing.

Evidence does exist, however limited. One older paper (PDF) that identifies multiple opioid peptides in wheat gluten, suggests that they are capable of binding to brain opioid receptors via a “plausible biomechanical mechanism,” and deems them of “physiological significance.” Dr. Emily Deans, of Evolutionary Psychiatry, has actually used naltrexone – a drug that blocks opiate receptors – to curb wheat cravings in celiac patients who are trying to kick the “habit.”

Wheat plays a huge role in the diets of industrialized nations. If you’re reading this, you probably grew up eating it. You may still be eating it from time to time – and that may be at least partly responsible for your urge to eat that slice of bread.

 

How to be smarter. Why sugar is making you stupid.

And how to have more energy all the time!

First, we need to enhance our mental clarity. But how do we do that? We’ve already tried the energy drinks, eaten our sugary-snacks, AND had a few donuts and bagels. But howcome we still feel slow, sluggish, foggy, and stupid? I mean, didn’t we do everything “they” told us to by keeping our blood sugar elevated?

 

Here’s what really happens when you eat sugar

After easily consuming hundreds of grams of some sugary-substance, either grains, soda, energy drinks, or snacks, we have THE DOMINO EFFECT:

Your pancreas kicks into overdirve and issues a flood of insulin to try and mop up that mess of sugar in your blood stream. Even though glucose is valuable fuel when your muscles need it during strenuous exercise, in excess this sugar is toxic to your system, and is treated as a threat. You might feel flushed, high, spastic, nauseous, or slightly drugged; unless you are insulin-resistant, in which case you might barely notice. If this is true, take note, because you are on your way to diabetes-ville.

The rush of insulin starts a chain reaction. If there is room in your muscle or liver glycogen stores, your insulin will try to store the glucose there. Chances are, though, if you follow the Standard American Diet, and eat your “healthywholegrains” every day, your glycogen stores are most likely filled to the brim. In this case, the excess is shuttled right into your fat cells. In reaction to this “quasi-emergency that looks like another life-threatening stressor”, the body steps up its efforts to achieve homeostasis by releasing both epinephrine (adrenaline) and cortisol from your adrenals. Your heart is racing, and you’re starting to feel uncomfortable, maybe even sweating. And we’re still likely within the first hour after you finished off that twinkie-pop-donut-cake!

Shortly after the adrenaline rush, the crash comes. Burnout. Oh yes, we’ve all had this before, the dreaded sugar-crash. All the glucose is now out of your blood stream, because you thretened the system and it over reacted. You start to feel sluggish and fried. Your orexin cells are yawning and putting you to sleep. Making you foggy-brained and slow to react.

Your immune system takes a hit as well. After the insulin, adrenaline, glucose, cortisol rush, your immune system starts to tailspin. Immunity related phagocytes can be impaired for up to 5 hours! Free radicals also go to town as sugar increases oxidative stress. Your blood even thickens as a result of the stress. 

A large dose of sugar can even impair your immune system for up to 24 hours. Now you’re at risk for not just diabetes, but whatever bug is floating around the office now looms over your head.

So, how do you get smarter than everyone else?

Fat is a more efficient source of energy for your body, as your mitochondria have an easier time making the conversion. Sugar, on the other hand, is a very dirty conversion, and creates lots of free radcals, which induces lots of oxidative stress on your body.

Your brain would also rather run on ketones than glucose. A study presented at the proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences in February of 2003 verified that blood sugar excess is a major vector for memory problems.

Various factors were measured in the study including how participants performed on several memory tests, how quickly they metabolized blood sugar after a meal, and, through the use of MRI scans, the size of the hippocampus, the brain region responsible for for learning and recent memory. Results indicated that people who metabolized sugar slowly (where blood sugar levels were more elevated) had a smaller hippocampus and scored worse on tests for recent memory. The study is the first to show an association between the size of the hippocampus and the ability to control blood sugar levels in the body.  Though further research is needed, this association suggests that delivery of glucose may influence hippocampal structure and function, researchers said.

Conversely,  other studies have clearly shown indication that many natural dietary fats seem to have a cognitive and memory enhancing effect, as well as the effect of  powerful neurological stabilization (as evidenced by the effectiveness of ketogenic diets for eliminating seizures).

Since glucose is reactive in the presence of oxygen and  “sticks” to things, any amount of glucose is going to have glycating and undesirable oxidative effects throughout the body–particularly the brain.  The brain is the most vulnerable organ to the effects of  glucose because it lacks the ability to respond to insulin.  SOME blood sugar is a necessary and unavoidable thing (due to the unique needs of our red blood cells)…but the less dependent we are upon it, the better.

Your liver is also able to create whatever glucose the brain and body needs for normal function via gluconeogenesis, the process by which the liver converts protein to glucose. So why load up on dietary sugar?

The less the brain has to depend upon glucose as its primary source of fuel, and the more it can be trained and adapted to depend upon ketones for energy, the better, healthier and more efficient brain function becomes.

Nature would never have been so stupid as to design the human body and brain to be chronically dependent on so unreliable, inefficient and damaging a fuel as glucose.  For one thing, we are descended from hunter-gatherers.  Sugar and starch were not readily even available through a significant portion of our evolutionary history (ice-age or seasonal times).  Glucose is naturally meant to be the body and brain’s emergency fuel–used mainly in more extreme and anaerobically demanding circumstances (read: demanding situations that leave you out of breath or during moments of major exertion).

If you examine the value of both of our utilizable fuel sources, glucose/sugar and ketones/fat strictly from the perspective of the energy they provide the truth becomes obvious.  Sugar, as a quick burning fuel can be viewed as a form of “kindling”.  Commonly prescribed “whole grains”, brown rice and legumes can be looked upon as “twigs” for feeding the metabolic fire.  Potatoes, white rice, bread and  cereal can be viewed more like “paper”.  Alcohol is the equivalent of “gasoline” on the fire–supplying a ball of flame and not much more. People who are ultra dependent on glucose will crave alcohol regularly as an emergency means to keep their metabolic fire going.  A reformed alcoholic that has not dealt with the underlying blood sugar dependence issue will compensate for the elimination of alcohol with an ongoing perpetual sweet tooth (and likely, ongoing cravings for alcohol, as well).  Changing one’s metabolic fuel dependence to ketones/fat instead of glucose/sugar changes everything.

Fat, unlike sugar, is the fuel equivalent of putting a nice big log on the fire. 

Your brain is metabolically the most expensive organ in the human body (relative to energy demands).  It occupies less than 5% of your total body mass but uses 20-30% of your total energy every day, just to maintain itself.  Doesn’t it make sense that fat would be the far better choice for this?  –Particularly since fat is what the brain is overwhelmingly made of and because healthy natural fat has no detrimental glycating or damaging impact by its presence.

The quicker you drop sugar and switch over to fat, the better (as opposed to “gradual changeover”).  Supplements such as L-glutamine, L-carnitine help facilitate the metabolic changeover more rapidly and with far less discomfort for some. But just go all out and get it over with already!

So–to put it all in a nutshell–what’s the single most beneficial step you can take to greatly improve the function and performance of your brain and memory?

Avoid the sugar, avoid the crash, avoid the inflammation. Stay strong and healthy by following a Paleo lifestyle. When you are burning healthy fats for energy, you’ll be smarter, more alert, and healthier for it!

How many calories does it take to build muscle or lose fat?

How many calories does it take? Here’s a simple way to figure it out!

At the risk of being redundant – yah yah I know – Here’s another rant about calories…[Read my last one]

First, you need to understand what a calorie is. It’s an arbitrary number assigned to food by the “powers that be” in order to make it easier for the average person to eat enough (or not too much). It is literally just a measure of temperature, or heat, given off by burning a certain amount of sugar. woop-dee-doo.

It doesn’t matter how many calories you eat. If you don’t fulfill your body’s requirement for nutrients, you will always be hungry.

Calories. Dont. Matter.

Here’s an example: Let’s say you want to build some muscle. You go to the gym, you work out hard. Now how much do you have to eat? lets make up a number. How bout 3000 calories? That sounds good…

Everyone says you need caloric excess to build muscle. That’s the “common knowledge” of bro-science. If it takes a caloric excess to build muscle, you could eat 3000 calories of brownies. What’s going to happen if you eat 3000 calories of brownies?

Brownies don’t = muscle, that’s certain. You might actually lose lean mass. (Actually, I’m certain you would). Because you will be malnourished.

What does it take to “lose weight”? Well you could eat a hypocaloric amount of brownies, lets say 1000 calories below your RDA, and you’ll likely lose weight. BUT IT WON’T BE FAT YOU’RE LOSING, it will be mostly lean mass, making up for your malnourishment. Now you’re skinny fat. Congrats.

So all it takes to “lose weight” is to be malnourished. That’s pretty clear.

So how do you build muscles and lose fat?

To build muscles you don’t need calories. To build muscles you need protein, fat, vitamins and minerals. You need to get enough to satisfy your body’s need for basic function and tissue repair and avoid a catabolic state. It’s the nutrients that matter, not the calories. If you are lifting heavy things, you will be more hungry, because there is more tissue in need of repair. Your body is a reactionary mechanism that adapts to change. If you are not lifting, you will not need so many nutrients, and you won’t be as hungry. Simple.

So, how do you measure what your body needs for nutrients if we ignore calories?

You have to listen to your body, it will tell you what it needs. (because individual nutrient needs are difficult to measure, plus counting all those nutrients is downright tedious!)

In order to hear your body correctly, you need to make sure your hormones and inflammation are in check, so that your hunger and satiety signals will function properly to deliver the right signals. When you are hungry, eat. When you are not hungry, don’t friggin eat!

Eating Paleo keeps inflammation in check, and keeps positive hormones flowing. It also ensures you are getting the nutrients you need, while avoiding food toxins that throw your signals off track.

If you are overweight, Paleo will correct your body’s regulatory mechanisms and bring bodyweight to an appropriate level. If you are creating the need to build more muscle tissue by working out, you will need more nutrients and will be more hungry. Simple. So what do we eat?

Eat Paleo. Lose fat. Build muscle. It’s that easy. Your body is able to regulate itself, you just have to listen.

How Essential are PUFAs? Don’t guzzle veggie oil!

From cholesterol-and-health.com

Current reviews and textbooks call the omega-6 linoleic acid and the omega-3 alpha-linolenic acid “essential fatty acids” (EFA) and cite the EFA requirement as one to four percent of calories. Research suggests, however, that the omega-6 arachidonic acid (AA) and the omega-3 docosahexaenoic acid (DHA) are the only fatty acids that are truly essential. Eicosapentaenoic acid (EPA) occurs in fish products but is probably not a normal constituent of the mammalian body and in excess it interferes with essential AA metabolism. The EFA requirement cited in the scientific literature is inflated by several factors: the use of diets composed mostly of sucrose, glucose, or corn syrup; the use of diets deficient in vitamin B6; the use of purified fatty acids instead of whole foods; the use of questionable biochemical markers rather than verifiable symptoms as an index for EFA deficiency; and the generalization from studies using young, growing animals to adults. The true requirement for EFA during growth and development is less than 0.5 percent of calories when supplied by most animal fats and less than 0.12 percent of calories when supplied by liver. On diets low in heated vegetable oils and sugar and rich in essential minerals, biotin, and vitamin B6, the requirement is likely to be much lower than this. Adults recovering from injury, suffering from degenerative diseases involving oxidative stress, or seeking to build muscle mass mass may have a similar requirement. For women who are seeking to conceive, pregnant, or lactating, the EFA requirement may be as high as one percent of calories. In other healthy adults, however, the requirement is infinitesimal if it exists at all. The best sources of EFAs are liver, butter, and egg yolks, especially from animals raised on pasture. During pregnancy, lactation, and childhood, small amounts of cod liver oil may be useful to provide extra DHA, but otherwise this supplement should be used only when needed to obtain fat-soluble vitamins. Vegetarians or others who eat a diet low in animal fat should consider symptoms such as scaly skin, hair loss or infertility to be signs of EFA deficiency and add B6 or animal fats to their diets. An excess of linoleate from vegetable oil will interfere with the production of DHA while an excess of EPA from fish oil will interfere with the production and utilization of AA. EFA are polyunsaturated fatty acids (PUFA) that contribute to oxidative stress. Vitamin E and other antioxidant nutrients cannot fully protect against oxidative stress induced by dietary PUFA. Therefore, the consumption of EFA should be kept as close to the minimum requirement as is practical while still maintaining an appetizing and nutritious diet.

Bottom line: NOT VERY ESSENTIAL. Don’t flood your body with PUFA. You get plenty from butter, eggs, fish, and other animal products. Any more than that leads to inflammation and atherosclerosis.

Don’t use veggie oil, don’t supplement with omega 6 or omega 3.

What the heck is inflammation, and how does it affect me?

There are two types of inflammation: acute and systemic/chronic. Acute inflammation has it’s place and is a natural reaction by our bodies to stress or injury, but when that acute inflammation becomes systemic, we can have major problems with our health.

Acute inflammation is the initial response to a pathogen or an injury. It is usually brief and only lasts a few days. Acute inflammation is usually caused by trauma, infection, burn, chemical irritation, frostbite, cuts, and allergic reactions.

Heat, redness, swelling and pain usually result, but are absolutely critical forms of acute inflammation to get the healing process started:

  • Increased blood flow heats up the injury and turns it red. The blood carries leukocytes that clean up pathogens and start healing.
  • swollen parts like a swollen ankle is full of plasma and leukocytes that start the healing process.
  • Pain is just your body’s way of saying you f**ked up! Don’t do that again!
  • Loss of function prevents you from using a broken part, so it can heal.

What about systemic or chronic inflammation? Why is it linked to obesity, heart disease, and depression?

Inflammation becomes chronic once it ceases to be an acute response, and it becomes a constant feature of your physiology that’s always engaged, always fighting what your body sees as a low level, constant threat.

This is how things really get screwed up, because inflammation is supposed to be an acute, short-and-sweet response to injury, and because a big part of inflammation is tissue break-down, targeting pathogens and damaged tissue, a chronic inflammatory response has the potential to really f**k up your body! You can see how things have the ability to get way out of hand.

Now here’s some things that cause chronic inflammation. These are things we see in most developed countries such as ours, and they all lead to a systemic breakdown of the finely tuned and tightly managed inflammatory system. The first two are the most important!

Toxic diets: High-sugar, high-processed carb, high-industrial fat, high-grain, high-CAFO meat.

Leads to: leptin resistance, insulin resistance, obesity, abdominal fat accumulation, diabetes, poor recovery, weak immune system, chronic heartburn, the list goes on and on and on….

Excessive PUFA intake: Polyunsaturated fats form the precursors for inflammatory eicosanoids, which are an integral part of the inflammatory response. High omega-6 status (High PUFA status in general) means excessive production of inflammatory eicosanoids and an exaggerated inflammatory response to normal stimuli.

Leads to: heart disease, atherosclerosis, obesity.

Lack of sleep: Poor sleep is linked to elevated inflammatory markers. Poor sleep is a chronic problem in developed nations. Either we go to bed too late, wake up too early, or we use too many electronics late at night and disrupt the quality of what little sleep we get. Or all three at once. Try a harder mattress, or no mattress. It’s natural!

Lack of movement: People lead sedentary lives, by and large, and a lack of activity is strongly linked to systemic, low-grade inflammation.

Poor recovery: Other people move too much, with too little rest and recovery. Overtraining is a form of chronic inflammation.

Lack of down time: When you’re always on the computer, always checking your email/Facebook/smartphone, you are always “on.” You may think you’re relaxing because your body is stationary, but you’re not relaxing. That’s why I’m going to Cancun in a couple weeks!

Lack of nature time: We spend too much time stuck in cubicles, cars, trains, and cities, away from the forest and soft earth. We evolved from hunter-gatherers, so the wilderness is natually home for us. Plus getting enough sun gives us much needed vitamin D! Going camping certainly has its measured benefits!

Poor gut health: The gut houses the bulk of the human immune system. When it’s unhealthy, so is your inflammatory regulation.

Leads to: depression, illness, weak immune system, poor recovery, and acne.

All that stuff really adds up and sets us up for a lifetime of woe and misery. MAJOR SUCK!! But you don’t have to fit in with the crowd and say “we all get fat and sick with age”. Hell No! Just do your body right and stick to the Paleo way of life, which will keep inflammation in check. ALL RIGHT!

Next up: Controlling our genes with positive hormone expression

Paleo for one year: My results thus far & Understanding the Paleo concept.

It’s been exactly one full year since I stumbled across my first learnings of Paleo ideas and lifestyle. Many things have changed since then, all of them for the better.

First off, understand that paleo is not a “diet” or a “fad”, it’s more of a way of integrating our knowledge of human evolution and biology into a modern context, so that we can improve our quality of life. This integrates knowledge of biochemistry, human biology, fitness, evolutionary psychology and general health, in order to make us healthier, stronger, better looking, and longer-living.

My personal experience has given me the following benefits as I’ve progressed through the past year:

  • Decreased body fat
  • Increased mental clarity and focus
  • Increased muscle mass and recovery **(this is a huge one!)
  • cured chronic heartburn
  • cured ambiguous gastric issues
  • Less illness
  • cured eczema
  • cured bad acne
  • Better sleep
  • Boundless energy

And the list goes on. Needless to say, I feel as though I’ve found the fountain of youth. And I will continue to do this as long as I live, Paleo that is, because of what it has allowed me to accomplish over the course of just one year, especially the ability to put on muscle pretty much effortlessly!

Edit 2/9/12: One more thing I’d like to mention: my teeth and gum health have drastically improved. My dentist made a comment last visit that my gums look “much better than they did 6 months ago“. I used to have pretty inflamed painful, bleedy gums at the dentist, and sometimes when I brushed my teeth. Now my dentist will tell you my gums got better because “I started to brush and floss more”, but the truth is, I lied. I actually brush once a day, if I brush at all. And hardly floss. I don’t have bad breath anymore so it’s really not necessary. See? Emulating a hunter-gatherer diet lets your body take care of itself!

Now there’s a new buzzword floating around recently. It’s an idea that encompasses everything we do relating to Paleo, and combines it with modern ideas to improve ourselves beyond just “Paleolithic” nutrition and fitness, and surpass everything from the Neolithic environment that holds us back: Hyperlithic. Sounds cool right?

Here’s the post from Evolify:

Think Like a Geek.

Intelligence is sexy. It confers both survival and reproductive advantage, and was certainly selected for in our paleolithic ancestors. It’s woven throughout so many levels of our evolutionary past that it’s hard to reduce it to one thing. In this context, it carries the implication of the very word paleolithic itself — the reference to tools. Thinking like a geek helps us choose tools and develop tools.

Eat Like a Hunter.

The fuel we provide to our biological systems has effects that ripple through every aspect of our individual life. From mental acuity to mood to structure to disease, our choice of fuels is crucial. Thinking about food from the angle of a paleolithic hunter quickly provides answers to questions science is unable to efficiently adjudicate. This is not about pure carnivory, but a nod to optimal foraging theory. Once we understand something about the strategies of a paleolithic hunter we can begin to merge our ancient food system with our modern food system. If we lose either perspective, we will quickly go astray.

Train Like a Fighter.

This gets into a mess of words and concepts. Ignoring the “hunter-gatherers don’t train” bit for a moment… This is about training as a fighter fights, and not training to be a fighter per se. It is also about adopting modern tools with the intent of unlocking parts of our DNA that lay dormant within sedentary humans anesthetized by economically abstracted violence. Humans fought their own battles prior to the rise of agriculture. Being able to pay for violence to be conducted on our behalf appears to be a moral and physical benefit, but the signals and interaction between our genes and our environment are not easily faked and not easily replaced. Our physical and mental potential as individuals is not always aligned with those of industrial agricultural civilization.

Look Like a Model.

Because “look” embodies multiple tenses in the English language, this one is open to much ambiguity. My meaning is primarily in a passive sense. If you think like a geek, eat like a hunter, and train like a fighter, then you will [more or less] automatically “look like a model” in terms of phenotypic expression. It is also important to note that “model” means many things. There are many inputs for advertisers deciding on models, but I’m specifically not talking about three types of models. 1) Men as advertised in men’s magazines. 2) Women as advertised in women’s magazines. 3) Fashion models of either sex. Without going into too much detail today, it has been shown that men pictured in men’s magazines tend to be more muscular than the ideal women find attractive, and women in women’s magazines tend to be thinner than men find attractive. Advertisers manipulate us according to evolved heuristic biases.

I use “model” to imply something closer to an ideal attractiveness influenced by Darwinian sexual selection (inter-sexual). The intent is to get at things that are relatively generally attractive to the opposite sex. This is contrasted to the use by advertisers of intra-sexual selection… or… competition with others of the same sex. Our brains do not analyze these questions in a rational way, but in a way that tracks markers of health in the context of evolutionary time. “Look good naked” is a great goal. Unfortunately, our intuitive self-assessments of looking good are likely biased to the point of being counterproductive.

Common Threads

All of the above are related to the ecological context of us as individuals. The interaction between our genes and our environment is implied in each level. The association with gyms and training with the active physical components of health is similar to synthetic and isolated components being packaged and sold to us as “food”. Real food is not enough. We need real life as well.

The impact on our psychology is entwined in each of these concepts as well. We know that points of attractiveness shift depending on the ecological context of the beholder. Some use this as a refutation of attractiveness as an evolved psychological component. However, this represents a fundamental misunderstanding of human ethology. I am not interested in mimicking the optimal attractiveness ratings of people influenced by sub-optimal (resource depleted, etc.) environments. A better question is this: What is optimal for humans in an optimal environment? We need to answer other questions to say what environments are optimal, and they are not easy questions. They are also not so difficult that we should be flummoxed by those who descend into relativist or quasi-relativist arguments representative of myopia.

 

 

 

Like this post? Want to find out more about how to get in shape fast? Check out these articles about getting in shape, feeling great, and controlling your genes!

 

Lower bodyfat setpoint.

 

Lose stubborn body fat. (Intermittent fasting)

 

Control your gene expression.

 

Heavy strength training is a required aspect of long term health. For everybody.

 

How to train your body to burn fat all day long. High intensity interval training (HIIT).

 

Why you should avoid too many polyunsaturated fats.

 

What is chronic inflammation. What to eat to avoid it.

 

The final word on grains and legumes: AVOID them.

 

The final word on Saturated fat and Cholesterol: EAT them.

 

 

 

My Progress 2/08/2012 and breaking the plateau.

I’ve done it again! Week-on-week gains have been a walk in the park for me these past 2 cycles.

I’ll post my updated logs below, but first I want to go off on a tangent about…

The Dreaded PLATEAU

I have friends that complain about hitting “plateaus” in their workouts. They just can’t lift any more weight, or get past a certain point in body composition. I wonder what the cause is? My gut tells me they’ve hit the plateaus because of poor diet, and their body just can’t support any more muscle mass with their mediocre nutrient intakes. Or they have some systemic inflammation going on, and recovery from the gym is just secondary to their body’s need to fight that inflammation.

One of my close friends follows a low carb plan (weakly though). He’s got decent definitiion, but seems to get bored easily. I think the boredom has to do with his lack of gains recently, and that exacerbates the problem. He complained to me once that he just couldn’t get past “this one lift”.

Another of my gym-going friends says he pays attention to what he eats, but it really is a shit-poor diet of grains and lean meats. So in reality, he’s eating what everyone else in the weight-lifting world eats. He also started with the “bulking then cutting” bodybuilding mentality, and has paid for it with piss-poor body composition for years. Granted, he CAN leg press 1000 lbs, but that’s just genetic luck on his part. He also seems to have some boredom issues with regards to getting into the gym and lifting. He’s also plagued by constant joint pain and various lifting related injuries that have held him back and caused regressions here and there. The injuries were obviously preventable, but it’s taken him a long time and he still has not fully recovered. This has definitely played a role.

Both friend A and friend B don’t have the same pumped up mentality they used to when we all started out “back in the day”. They do train to failure, and friend A even uses the same Musclehack routines that I do. Again, boredom comes to mind with regards to lack of gains or results in the gym, but I think it all comes down to one thing: they’ve lost their capacity to make further changes in body composition, and lost their capacity to recover.

So what’s holding them back?

Both friend A and friend B continue to eat grains and sugars and all that crap. And the lack of gains is making them lose interest and get bored.

Friend B has a “personal trainer” that no doubt whispers sweet nothings in his ear about “arterycloggingsaturatedfat” and “healthywholegrains”. He trains hard and does the classes and the spinning and all that, but it’s been about a year, and he’s still got that gut. Every time I talk to him about Paleo all he says is “I need my carbs”. Ok buddy, how’s that workin’ for ya? His injuries have also been slow to heal. My experience with this tells me that his “high-carb” attitude has him guzzling grains like a factory-farmed-cow. The immune response from all those lectins and inflammation is undoubtedly keeping his recovery slow, not to mention nutrient deficiency which is absolutely critical to recovery from injury and illness!

Friend A has a wife who loves to cook. Need I say more? Paleo seems like a pretty big life changer for their situation. It would take me a lot of convincing to get both of them to switch. Damn, marriage really does take a toll on your health!

So how do I help my friends? They’ve been stuck in a rut and brainwashed by “professionals”! Meanwhile I’m surpassing them. Huh funny how that works….

Speaking of surpassing

Here’s my latest log update. Keep in mind, most numbers in the spreadsheet are PER SIDE, and don’t include the bar.

Workout Log 1-20-12 to 2-7-12

My biggest lift pundage totals so far

Overhead Press 120 x 8

Smith Shrugs 250 x 10

Leg Press 690 x 8

Bench 175 x 7

Deadlift 245 x 9

Cable Curls 80 x 8

Tricep Pushdowns 145 x 7 (not sure if this is actual weight or what, its one of those cable machines so it could just be a “resistance” measurement)

So there you go! That’s why I never get bored. My body doesn’t plateau because it’s not busy fighting inflammation. [Eat good]. [Train hard]. [Do it right.]

How to lower your body fat setpoint

Leptin is the chief body fat setpoint regulating hormone. It acts on the hypothalamus region of the brain to control our metabolism, nutrient uptake from food, hunger and satiety signals.

Here is how your normal body regulates fat mass and caloric intake

In normal functioning humans, leptin increases as you begin to overeat, and as fat begins to accumulate. The rise in leptin signals the hypothalamus that enough nutrients have been taken in. The increase in leptin tells your body to slow down the hunger signals, speed up the metabolism, and reduce the absorbtion of nutrients.

Likewise, as you fast or fat mass decreases, leptin also decreases. The hypothalamus notices a lack of leptin, and signals the body to slow down metabolism, increase nutrient uptake, and increase hunger.

Here is how a malfunctioning body regulates fat mass and caloric intake

In poorly functioning humans, such as the obese, the leptin signal is muted, and the hypothalamus has difficulty “hearing” the signal. This causes the body to continue to uptake nutrients, slow metabolism, and increase hunger, until the leptin signal is amplified by a greater fat mass, to the point that the hypothalamus is finally able to “hear” the signal. This is how the malfunctioning body defends an incorrect higher-fat mass.

This is called leptin resistance, or a lack of leptin sensitivity.

What causes leptin resistance at the hypothalamus? Inflammation!

Lowering systemic inflammation in the body, by eating a functional Paleo diet and removing neolithic food toxins, as well as staying away from hyper-palatable high hedonic reward foods, is the best way to “deflame” your body, and bring leptin sensitivity back within a healthy range.

Once you have eliminated inflammation and your hypothalamus is able to accurately read leptin signals, your body will self-regulate to a lower body fat setpoint, making fat loss and body recomposition easier.

I ate the chicken, then I ate his egg

Here’s how I broke my fast today.

mother n baby

Here’s a song about eggs that I love, Egg Man, by The Beastie Boys. Enjoy!

 
“Egg Man”

I looked out the window and seen his bald head
I ran to the fridge and pulled out an egg
Scoped him with my scopes he had no hair
Launched that shot and he was caught out there
Saw the convertible driving by
Loaded up the slingshot and let one fly
He went for his to find he didn’t have one
Put him in check correct with my egg gun
The egg a symbol of life
Go inside your house and bust out your wife
Pulled out the jammy he thought it was a joke
The trigger I pulled his face the yoke
Reached in his pocket took all his cash
Left my man standing with an egg moustache
Suckers they come a dime a dozen
And when I say dozen you know what I’m talking about boyee

Yeh, that’s right, I’m the Egg Man
Driving Around, King of the town
Always got my windows rolled down
You know, I’m the Egg Man

Once upon a time
Humpty Dumpty was a big fat egg
He was playing the wall and then he broke his leg
Tossed it out the window three minutes hot
Hit the Rastaman he said bloodclot
Which came first the chicken or the egg
I egged the chicken then I ate his leg
Riding the trains in between cars
When I pull out the station you’re gonna get yours
Drive by eggings plaguing L.A.
Yo they just got my little cousin ese
Sometimes hard boiled sometimes runny
It comes from a chicken not a bunny dummy
People laugh it’s no joke
My name’s Yauch and I’m throwing the yoke
Now they got me in a cell but I don’t care
It was then that I caught catching people out there

Up on the roof, in my car
Up all night, I’m pulling through signs like Dolomite
The mack, I’m the Egg Man
Taxi Driver, I’m the Egg Man

We all dressed in black we snuck up around the back
We began to attack the eggs did crack on Haze’s back
Sam I am down with the program
Green eggs and ham Yosemite Sam
Come Halloween you know I come strapped
I throw it at a sucker K-pap
You made the mistake you judge a man by his race
You go through life with egg on your face
You woke up in the morning with a peculiar feeling
You looked up and saw egg dripping from the ceiling
Families puck rocks the businessman
I’ll dog anybody with an egg in my hand
Not like the crack that you put in a pipe
But crack on your forehead here’s a towel now wipe