Fix chronic back pain without doctors or medicine.

I used to have fairly chronic lower back pain.

Do not underestimate the importance of core strength. A weak core leads to bad posture, and injuries, as we age. Posture has incredible downstream effects for the entire body. Ever lift something over your head to reach a high shelf, or bend down to get some medium sized object, just to tweak your back or stretch something the wrong way? That’s the result of weak core and bad posture. Trust me, you don’t want that.

A bad back can be crippling. It can really have an impact on your entire life. I know, I used to hurt my back a lot. Complaining about back pain was something I was prepared to do for the rest of my life. It happened so frequently, it was almost “normal”. Scary thought huh? Especially at my young age.

I used to be scared of deadlifts. Sometimes I would try them, and end up injuring myself again.

But, after some reading and re-motivation, I decided to try it again and make them a regular part of my lifting routine. Boy am I glad I did!

After lots of slow, careful progression and attention to good form, I was able to build my deadlift up to over 300 lbs. Mind you, this has taken me a couple years, and a few set backs. But the fruits of my labor have ripened.

The benefits of zero back pain, and the ability to lift almost ANYTHING I need to, without fear of injury, is priceless! My posture is great, and it shows in my outward appearance, the appearance of greater confidence!

I never have back pain, even after sitting for 8 hours a day at my desk job. This is incredibly important, especially for all you desk-jockies out there with chronic low back pain. Strength and posture is everything. Especially as you age. Deadlift. Do it!

Deadlifts are super important. They are one of the major lifts that promote muscle growth and strength throughout your entire body. They support the core, legs, shoulders, and even grip strength. Everyone’s goal should be to deadlift at least their own bodyweight. That, I would say, is a fair assessment of good health and strength. If you can at least lift your own bodyweight in the big lifts (bench, squat, deadlift, pullup) you’re golden. Go for it!

True, when I started lifting I would hurt my back doing deadlifts. But I also hurt my back in other lifts as well. Overhead press, squat, even bench. Why? Because my core was weak. I would strain my back to overcompensate for the fact that I was just lifting more than my core could properly support, and I would get hurt. I’d have to take a break from lifting to heal the injury, and inevitably end up right back where I started.

What was the problem? Poor form. Poor form because I was trying to lift too much weight. I wasn’t adapted to it yet. I didn’t allow myself to progress at the proper weight.

A lot of folks make this mistake. They go too big, too soon, and hurt themselves. Then they convince themselves that “this type of lift is just not for me”, or “I don’t really need it”.

The fix? Start light. This is way more effective for newcomers than just loading the bar to a dangerous weight. Start at a light enough weight so you can build neuromuscular adaptation, and then strength, to hold the proper form. If you try a deadlift, and you can’t keep your back straight, its too heavy. GO SLOW AND LIGHT. Form is everything here.

Slow progresstion, attention to proper form, and patience are key. Once you build up your core strength and the ability to lift heavy, say bye-bye to back pain!

 

Is rapid fat loss possible with very low fat/very high carb diet?

The biology says YES.

As long as it’s a nutrient dense whole foods diet that you are consuming, it’ll make it that much easier. (keeps you from being hungry. There’s hormones at play here too. A lot more going on than meets the eye)

But, here’s the kicker. Dietary fat MUST be extremely low, or ZERO.

Pancreatic beta cells require fat to produce the insulin necessary to regulate blood glucose. Loading up on glucose, with no or very little fat, and the fat to produce the insulin necessary to deal with the glucose is forced out of your fat cells.

Now you can do this the conventional wisdom way, and basically feel like you’re starving all the time, or you can do it the Paleo way, and avoid those feelings all together.

Check out the very detailed post at Hyperlipid. Tough to understand, but I got the gyst of it. If you feel like getting into the nitty-gritty details, I suggest you read that post a few times. (That’s about how long it took me, hahaah)

So. Eat only potatoes and no fat for a while to get that 6-pack?

Potatoes have a very low glycemic load, meaning they slowly release a gentle stream of glucose throughout the day as they digest. They’re also loaded with just the right amino acid profile to spare muscle mass. There’s a ton of other good micronutrients in there too. I mean, you can basically live off of potatoes alone….

Maybe worth a try once spring comes around…. Meh, we’ll see if I can work my courage up to go all out on that one. HAH!

My Progress

Was it all in my head?

This morning I did some things different, and noticed some things were different, and then I went and lifted like an animal at the gym.

And guess what, PROGRESS happened! Added weight and reps all over the board, which is especially great, because Wednesdays are chest and triceps days (with some ab work), which are usually my weakest days!

So here’s what I posted earlier about doing some things differently. Giving myself some seasonal variation.

I should probably take some pictures, which I have not done in quite some time if you look back at my older Progress Posts.

Overall things are looking good and feeling great, even considering that my linear progression has slowed as of late. But, there’s always a way! So, keep on truckin’, or liftin’. Yeah.

Here, take a look at the numbahs. I’ll scan in my workout logs later. It’ll give me an excuse to make another post. hoorah.

I busted out 10 reps to failure on decline barbell bench, with 175lbs. Not bad. It’s been slow progress.

After a couple sets there I moved on to incline dumbell bench, and busted out 10 reps to failure with 60lbs in each hand. Moved to one more set using 45’s x 10 reps.

Then the pec-dec for reps, 90lbs for 14 reps, then 75lbs for 10. Both to failure.

Cable push downs have been struggling, but today I busted through the plateau. Ripped out 10 reps to failure at 150lbs. Moved on to 110lbs x 12 to fail. Then 100lbs x 10 to fail. Not bad considering I’ve been stuck at 150 for about 9 reps to failure for the last handfull of weeks.

Finished up with some cable crunches. 185lbs x 12 reps to failure. Then bodyweight leg raises, knees straight, 32 reps. Not too shabby!

Breast Cancer Awareness Month

…Is a load of bullshit

Breast Cancer Awareness Month (BCAM) was created by drug company AstraZeneca. They make breast cancer treatment drugs. They don’t focus on finding out how to prevent breast cancer, they focus on YOU paying for THEIR research so THEY can make billions more when YOU and everyone else you know gets cancer, and is forced to pay for their treatments.

Where did the Breast Cancer Awareness Month pink ribbon come from?

In the early 1990s, 68-year-old Charlotte Haley began making peach colored ribbons by hand in her home. Her daughter, sister, and grandmother had breast cancer. She distributed thousands of ribbons at supermarkets with cards that read: “The National Cancer Institute annual budget is $1.8 billion, only 5 percent goes for cancer prevention. Help us wake up our legislators and America by wearing this ribbon.”

As the word spread, executives from Estée Lauder and Self magazine asked Haley for permission to use her ribbon. Haley refused, and Self magazine was startled by Haley’s answer. “She wanted nothing to do with us. Said we were too commercial.” But Self really wanted to have her ribbon. The magazine consulted its lawyers and was advised to come up with another color. It chose pink, a color that focus groups say is “soothing, comforting, and healing” — everything breast cancer is not. Soon Charlotte Haley’s grassroots peach ribbon was history, and the pink ribbon became the worldwide symbol for breast cancer.

Breast cancer has become the darling of corporate America. Companies use the pink ribbon to sell their products and boost their image with consumers as they boost their bottom line. Meanwhile, breast cancer rates continue to rise every year. Ending the breast cancer epidemic will take more than just pink ribbons and awareness. It will take lifestyle change from Americans.

Know where your money is going

If you donate, make sure you know what kind of research it’s going towards. Ask how much of the total proceeds are going to this research. If you are buying a product from a company that sends a portion of it’s proceeds to research, is the product you are buying actually a link to causing cancer?

This doesn’t mean you can’t do anything about research. Find an organization that promotes less toxic treatments, while doing research to find actual prevention, not just treatment, of cancer.

If you Google “where does all the money for breast cancer go?” you’ll find organizations who are asking these tough questions and actually doing something about it. When you read about them, know the difference between “finding a cure” and “finding prevention”. Those are two totally different avenues. More often than not, I’m certain digging deper, you’ll find that “finding a cure” = “making more drugs”. That’s free money to them. Each new drug comes with a high price tag for the consumer, and a long patent for the developer. Who do you want to give your money to??

Saturated fat: A necessary component for health.

Sally Fallon Morrell of the Weston A. Price Foundation shared the following in a speech in 2010: (source – http://www.westonaprice.org/mentalemotional-health/nutrition-and-mental-development)

Now, if we look at the fats in the brain, the two major fats are saturated fat and a fat called arachidonic acid.  But we’re not supposed to eat saturated fats, right?  Yet saturated fats like butter, meat fats, lard, and coconut oil are the kinds of fats your brain wants and needs.  And if you don’t eat those fats, your body says, “Well, give me that next best thing:  refined carbohydrates.”  Your body can make saturated fats out of refined carbohydrates.  And that’s how people get cravings for refined carbohydrates – especially pregnant women and growing children.  Unfortunately, eating refined carbohydrates robs the body of nutrients, while natural saturated animal fats provide some very important nutrients.

The other really interesting fat in the brain is arachidonic acid.  Arachidonic acid is an omega-6 fatty acid that is only in animal fats, such as in butter, egg yolks, organ meats, and meat fats.  Like saturated fats, arachidonic acid has been the victim of demonization.”

And what happens when the brain is deprived of its preferred fuel?  Ms. Morrell tell us in the same speech:
“Today the horrible condition called autism – along with other manifestation of brain starvation such as learning disorders, mental problems, inability to concentrate, behavior problems, violence, addiction and mental retardation threaten the fabric of our culture.

I’m not going to mince words here.  These problems are the direct result of the dietary guidelines coming out of the Department of Agriculture since the early 1980’s,…

You need ’em, so EAT ‘EM!

ANIMALS YUM!!!!

We were put on this earth to help other people

…That’s what I’ve been doing. The reason I’ve been writing less here, is because I’ve been focusing on helping friends “out there” in the real world.

Someone I know has some chronic joint problems, and recently problems with fluctuating bodyweight. The joint pain doesn’t make exercise easy. I threw together the following email to her. Lots of the intervention I recommend below could also apply to a plethora of health issues, but I still tried to tailor it to my friend’s needs.

My Letter:

“You’ll probably think I’m crazy, but I’m willing to bet money if you give this a try for a few weeks, you’ll notice immediate improvements in pain and body composition, among other things. I did this research with you in mind, so I hope you read it thoroughly. Plus if you don’t try it, I’ll kick your butt 😉
 
And I’m not just trying to prove a point. I actually care a great deal about this stuff, and wouldn’t go to all this trouble if I didn’t think it would help you. I care. A lot. It’s my weakness.
 
I fixed a ton of my health problems this way too, and put on a good amount of muscle in a short time as a bonus (even though I was working out hard for years prior with no results). Anyway, I’ve been doing this for 2 years roughly. It’s definitely sustainable, but a lifetime commitment also. Totally worth it in my opinion.
 
Basically it comes down to minimizing systemic inflammation, which is pretty much the cause of all your problems.
 
(Your doctor likely will shrug this shit off, because they know very little about actual biology, and a lot more about “we can manage this by prescribing you this drug”. (I mean, they still accept the “heart-health hypothesis” for fuck-sake, that blames cholesterol on heart disease. It’s actually not cholesterol that causes heart disease, but oxidized LDL particles (which are not cholesterol, they just are vehicles that carry it around) due to excessive polyunsaturated fats, causing an inflammatory response within the arterial wall, as cytokines attempt to contain the oxidized lipids.) Ask me more about this if you’re curious. Polys are extremely unstable and oxidize rapidly, due to the double bonds in the molecule. Saturated fat has no double bonds, and is therefore nearly impossible to oxidize. Anyway, I’m getting off topic…)
 

Ditch the grains, especially wheat, and sugar: Avoiding grains in all forms – and yes, that includes beer (sadly, even though I drink it often enough, eh whatevs) was the single best move I made toward improving my skin problems, IBS, upper GI issues, chronic tiredness, depression, and random aches and pains every day. Gluten intolerance is often connected to arthritis, and there’s tons of papers on possible connections between dietary lectins and arthritis (PDF). They focus on rheumatoid arthritis, but I don’t think osteoarthritis and RA are so different.

Avoid excess omega 6 fats: Higher circulating levels of interleukin-6 (IL-6), a pro-inflammatory cytokine , is highly significant predictors of osteoarthritis of the knee. Can you guess which type of polyunsaturated fatty acid leads to excessive levels of IL-6? Exactly. Skip the corn, soybean, canola, and vegetable oil and the resultant pro-inflammatory eicosanoids. No fried food, duh. Use animal fat, butter, olive oil, and coconut oil instead, and eat plenty of fatty fish or take fish oil.

Avoid potatoesOPTIONAL. They’re not the worst things in the world, but some people report joint pain after consuming potatoes. I sometimes get tinges of my old knee pain from a football injury if I eat potatoes on consecutive days, though the problem seems to worsen if I eat the skins, which is where most of the anti-nutrients are held. Most people don’t have a problem with potatoes or tomatoes, but as they are nightshades, they can trigger responses in those with autoimmune diseases like MS or Chron’s disease. This one’s more of a suggestion just in case. You may not have an issue with nightshades, but either way, food for thought. (HAHA see what I did there?) Go for safer sources if you want starches, like sweet potatoes, yams, and winter squash instead.

Get plenty of sun or supplement with vitamin D: According to several studies, low vitamin D status is linked to increased osteoarthritis. I know for a fact it makes me feel better. High vitamin D also makes you feel good because it releases dopamine, and also supercharges your immune system. POW!

Consider glucosamine supplements: Art Ayers had an interesting take on glucosamine. Rather than it providing the raw material for cartilage production as it’s commonly assumed, glucosamine actually binds to free transglutaminase 2 (TG2). TG2 is a well-known marker for osteoarthritis severity, and it often binds with gluten, resulting in the formation of pro-inflammatory antibodies. If glucosamine binds with TG2, less TG2 is available to bind with more inflammatory compounds. This gives your joints more of an opportunity to heal.

Another option is to drink bone broth on a regular basis and gnaw on the articular endpoints of animal bones. I love ribs, and I’ll cook you up some mean slow cooked bbq ribs any time you want! Fucking BOMB!

As a side note, complete proteins are absolutely necessary to repair damaged tissues. So, along with eating lots of animals, the high protein diet improves calcium absorption in the gut. That greater calcium utilization, along with the high levels of vitamin K in the animal products, will produce a double whammy for your bones and joints. Calcium does not function without proper amounts of vitamin K.

Lift heavy things: In order to support healthy cartilage, your joints must bear weight. I use a more traditional barbell approach. Just don’t think biking or swimming is enough; those may be useful for folks with no cartilage at all, but if you want your chondrocytes to do their job, you have to provide the right stimulus, and that means load-bearing exercises. It remains unclear whether cartilage can actually regrow thanks to proper exercise, but we do know that resistance training improves osteoarthritis outcomes. In your case with the joint issues, actually moving a heavy load may not be realistic. But there are other methods that are just as effective, if not more so. the Body By Science method relies on basically holding a contraction for a set period of time to muscle failure, instead of moving a weight for reps. You still work all the muscle fiber types, without having to worry about joint issues. Ask me more about this if you are interested.

Either sprint or move slowly: Chronic Cardio increases systemic inflammation from excess cortisol, and increases your desire for inflammatory, cheap carbs like grains. Try sprinting or hiking instead. You’d have to work up to this slowly, obviously, but the benefits are retarded cool. I sprint once a week. So much more efficient than running on a treadmill for hours, torturing yourself. poo-poo.

Basically it comes down to diet first. Lots of animals, eggs, vegetables, and some fruit. Nothing processed, nothing in a package. High fat, moderate protein, carbs don’t really matter as long as you’re not bingeing in fruit and potatoes every day. There’s a plethora of research and anecdotal reports of people solving every type of health issue imaginable with this basic dietary intervention. Call me a quack if you want, but I honestly don’t think you should knock it until you try it.

Show me any other dietary intervention that has been able to get diabetics off meds, cure obesity, depression, improve autism, improve cancer treatment effectiveness, and help old people stay strong and build muscle while staying lean and healthy. I bet you can’t!”

The most obvious reason veganism is not good for long term health

Just a little note about a very crucial, yet often overlooked or downplayed nutrient. Vitamin B12…

Vegans often have to supplement B12, a dead giveaway that veganism is not really the “ideal” or “natural” diet, in terms of being the healthiest human you can be. It’s more like a religion. So here’s an excerpt from Raw Food SOS I thought was worth digging up…

“…I’d like to think this would be pretty obvious by now, but there are some lingering vegan authorities who seem to underplay the B-12 issue or even deny it altogether. Even “The China Study” makes B12 seem like small potatoes, when T. Colin Campbell writes: “If you do not eat any animal products for three years or more, or are pregnant or breastfeeding, you should consider taking a small B12 supplement on occasion.” This is sort of scary, since virtually every study conducted on the subject shows that vegans experience much higher rates of B12 deficiency than omnivores or vegetarians and have elevated homocysteine as a result (which increases blood clotting and raises your risk of heart disease). In fact, low B12 and high homocysteine probably contributed to the early demise of prominent vegans like H. Jay Dinshah and T. C. Fry (PDF).

Especially if you’re avoiding processed vegan foods (which are often fortified with vitamin B12), you’ll need to find a supplement and take it consistently, since there are really no reliable dietary sources of B12 for vegans. (Algae like spirulina, often rumored to contain B12, only has B12 analogues that won’t actually improve your B12 status.)…”

It’s way more complicated than just “burning calories”…

…especially if you’re not working out the right way.

It’s frustrating to see people using those heart rate monitors and digital calorie counters in the gym. Are those things even accurate?? I think all they do is measure heart rate and make an estimate, which doesn’t even take into account what type of exercise you were doing, whether it was sprinting, cardio, or weight lifting, whether it was heavy and intense, etc. Lets get real. Stop trying to burn as many calories as possible in the gym. It’s a hopeless endeavor, even if calories burned even mattered…

It does not matter how many calories you burn while working out. That’s not how it works. If it were, once you ate a meal after your workout, you would have effectively undone all those grueling hours of useless boring cardio. Not only that, but hours of cardio has been shown to actually hinder long-term fat loss results, because it becomes a chronic stressor of the bad kind, increasing cortisol and inflammatory markers perpetually. Eventually you end up with that beer-gut or cortisol-gut as the inflammation catches up with you.

If we work out effectively, we will cause an adaptation. The correct type of exercise actually changes the way your body works. It normalizes your body fat regulating hormones, and makes better use of the nutrients you eat. You become more efficient, and along with the proper diet, become adapted to burning primarily fat for energy, instead of glucose. The best type of exercise actually raises your energy expenditure for days afterwards, increasing fat oxidation as well.

What type of exercise causes these beneficial changes? It’s the type of exercise that hits all the muscle fibers, not just the slow twitch type 1 muscles we use during endurance exercise.

mark post 2 pic 1 Copy

In order to cause the adaptation we are looking for, to increase post-workout energy expenditure and fat oxidation, we must exhaust all the muscle fibers, type one and type two.

First, high-intensity exercise training induces secretion of lipolytic [fat-burning] hormones including growth hormone and epinephrine, which may facilitate greater post-exercise energy expenditure and fat oxidation. Second, it has been reported that under equivalent levels of energy expenditure high-intensity exercise training favors a greater negative energy balance compared to low-intensity exercise training.”

B.A. Irving, University of Virginia

That’s right. High-intensity training, NOT cardio. Doing high intensity training enacts the same cardiovascular benefits as hours of cardio, in less time, and with better long-term results for health and weight management.

The development of type 2b muscle fibers leads to a reduction in accumulated white adipose tissue and improvements in metabolic parameters independent of physical activity or changes in the level of food intake. These effects occur independently of muscle oxidative capacity and are associated with increases in fatty acid metabolism in liver…The results from the current study indicate that modest increases in type 2b skeletal muscle mass can have a profound systemic effect on whole-body metabolism and adipose mass.

The metabolic improvement in this model cannot be entirely explained by a reduction in fat-pad mass, indicating that type II muscle counteracts the actions of excess adipose tissue on whole-body metabolism. These findings indicate that type II muscle has a previously unappreciated role in regulating whole-body metabolism through its ability to alter the metabolic properties of remote tissues.

They also noted that these muscle fibers improved insulin sensitivity and caused reductions in blood glucose, insulin, and leptin levels, and that, these effects occurred despite a reduction in total physical activity. Sounds to me like we should get the heck off the treadmill (unless you’re sprinting on it).

When we do high-force and short-duration exercise we don’t exclusively work our type 2b fibers, we work all of our less forceful fibers and our type 2b fibers. We try to lift something heavy, and our muscles try to generate enough force with our weakest type 1 fibers first. Those do not generate enough force, so our muscles also activate our more forceful type 2a fibers to help. If that’s still not enough, we keep the type 1 and type 2a fibers going, and add the stronger type 2x fibers. Keep going and don’t stop working the other three, and bring in our most powerful type 2b fibers, until finally we reach what’s referred to as positive failure.in which we have absolutely exhausted all muscle fiber types to the point of being unable to lift another repetition. Thanks to this cumulative activation of all of our muscle fibers (known as orderly recruitment), we have caused an acute stressor which will cause our body to adapt. Here is where the magic happens! In the 6 days (at least) of recovery, your energy expenditure goes up, as well as fat oxidation, your muscles heal, you start to get leaner, and you grow stronger!

This is why olympic sprinters are lean and muscular, and long distance runners are frail, sick, and emaciated. This is why those lean ripped dudes at the gym never have to step foot on an elliptical machine. This is why Michael Phelps can eat 20K calories a day and stay ripped. This is why you only see tortured tired looking people on the treadmill who never seem to lose weight. This is why people who do CrossFit and olympic weightlifting are lean, mean, Paleo-eating machines.

Don’t want to get huge, bulky muscles? Don’t worry about it. It won’t happen unless you do steroids. Here’s why.

Myostatin (GDF-8), a member of the transforming growth factor-beta (TGF-β) superfamily of secreted growth and differentiation factors, is a negative regulator of skeletal muscle growth. Loss of myostatin function is associated with an increase in muscle mass in mice, cows, and humans.

– M.N. Elkasrawy, Medical College of Georgia

That means that as you get more muscles, you naturally down-regulate your ability to gain more muscle, so that over time you get diminishing returns, until you eventually reach the physiological limit of your muscle-building capacity. For women, that’s pretty low. Same is true for a lot of guys too. Most of us just are not naturally able to build and maintain tons of muscle.

The base levels of myostatin and muscle in most women and most men make it impossible for them to naturally build bulky muscles. It does not matter how much resistance we use. The majority of us, especially women, do not have the genes to build bulky muscles via any form of exercise.

Those few people who are able to get big, they’re athletes, they naturally gravitate to sports, because their physiology allows them to build supernatural-ish capacity. If this was you, you’d know it. If you’re reading this, it’s pretty safe to say that you’re one of us normal folks.

What types of workouts do I do to stimulate all my muscle fibers?

Here’s an example of my most recent setup, scroll down the page in [this post].

Heavy weights, that cause positive failure. I use about 6-8 reps-to-failure on compound lifts, and about 8-12 reps-to-failure on isolation lifts. I work out 3 times a week, and I do the same exercises each monday, for example, to allow a full week of recovery for those muscle groups. I.e. Monday is squats, Wednesday is shoulders, Friday is back. Something like that. 

I do high intensity interval training about once a week. Windsprints on a bike or running. Doesn’t matter. This stuff is brilliantly better than any type of conventional cardio, and usually only takes about 15 or 20 minutes.

Lots of active recovery: walking, hiking, biking, etc. (Super low-level stuff has a lot of benefit too).

~ Dan

Related Posts:

It’s way more complicated than “counting calories”…

My Progress. Growing Triceps.

How does fat make you fat?

Trouble with Poo

I had a conversation with someone regarding their constipation and gut back-up issues.

They have no appendix. Makes the issue worse, since gut bacteria issues arise.

One, stop eating the grains for the fiber. It irritates the gut and makes things worse in the long run. A damaged, chronically inflamed gut isn’t helping matters. You’re just perpetuating the problem. (like DR Scholl’s and flat feet, Planet Fitness and free pizza, the US government diet recommendations and obesity, etc).

You want fiber? Get it from leafy greens and fibrous fruit. At least its soluble, so it doesn’t just add “bulk” and irritate your gut. Soluble fiber can be fermented in the colon via gut bacteria. If you have gut bacteria issues, get some probiotics.

Eating plenty of fat from whole food sources will help move things along more safely. It doesn’t irritate or inflame your gut. Butter, eggs, olive oil, and animals all have good fats for this. Usually fat makes up the bulk of my calories, and I’m a smooth-once-a-day-goer. Truly, this helps.

Some people should avoid dairy if they don’t tolerate it well. Cheese will especially slow things down in the gut. So definitely minimize the dairy.

Focus on fat. You need more fat. Get over your fat phobia. You’ll have the most regular bowels ever. Fat should comprise the bulk of your calories, bottom line.

How do you add more fat?

Add olive oil instead of dressing. Cook with olive oil or bacon fat, lard, ghee, coconut oil, or butter. Eat more fish, avocado, coconut, high omega-3 eggs, and possibly supplement with fish or cod liver oil for a quick help.

In an emergency? Try a stick of butter melted onto a plate of spinach. That’ll do ya.

And just ditch the grains all together. Stop messing around. Unless you like having those “bad stomach days”. I dunno…It’s up to you.

~ Dan

The cure for cancer

There’s a cure for everything. And I’m gonna tell you how to cure cancer too….

But first, I’m gonna tell you how to cure everything else.

Osteoperosis – Taking more calcium won’t help. And most osteo-meds actually cause more fractures in the long run! Calcium doesn’t even function unless you are getting enough vitamins to activate it and make sure it gets to where it needs to go. You need lots of vitamin K for that! The best kind comes from grass fed beef liver. It’s also found in cod liver and butter from grass fed cows. High protein diets rich in these animal products provides higher calcium absorption in the intestines, and the vitamin K is absolutely vital to it’s function. High protein diets have been found to reverse bone loss and tooth decay. Delicious!

Obesity – Eat Paleo. Don’t eat more than 3 meals per day. Don’t eat too much. Read this website. Obesity is is caused by overeating, inflammation, chronic stress, excessive food reward, and lack of movement, and all that stuff compounding to increase fat storage. Paleo fixes all that. Durrr.

Heart Disease – Taking statins and other cholesterol lowering drugs won’t help you, and they will actually hurt you in many ways. Cholesterol is good for you. What you need to avoid is inflammatory foods like high amounts of polyunsaturated fats, processed foods, anything hydrogenated, and sugar. Easy!

Diabetes – Both type 1 and type 2 diabetes have been successfully treated with low carbohydrate ketogenic diets. You can eventually get off the meds and not have to worry about losing limbs! Cool! Even better, you can prevent diabetes in the first place by avoiding highly processed foods, sugar, and tons of grains! Friggin easy!

Lyme Disease – Lyme disease is perpetuated by a weak immune system. The Paleo diet makes your immune system as strong as it can be, so that the lyme disease treatments actually work more effectively. Check out this success story!

Aids – Still workin’ on that one…(I asked Magic, he hasn’t gotten back to me yet)

Pink eye – Just wash your hands sometimes you filthy animal! Ok ok back to serious now.

Skin Problems – Eliminate wheat, industrial veggie oils, sugar, legumes, and dairy if you like. Most skin issues are inflammation related. Eliminate systemmic inflammation by avoiding those foods with antinutrients and damaging properties, and see what happens. I fixed eczema, acne, dandruff, and overall dry skin with Paleo. You can too.

Weakness – Lift weights. No, seriously. Lift some fucking heavy weights. Don’t be lazy.

Arthritis – It’s now universally recognized as an inflammatory problem. Again, eliminating systemmic inflammation by avoiding food toxins, i.e. following a Paleo diet, will fix all that easy smeasy. Just do a search on my blog for “inflammation”, you’ll see.

Here’s the one you want. The one you all came to read. The cure for cancer? Here it is!

Cancer – While the results are mixed on the actual efficacy of modern cancer treatments to increase survival rates, they certainly cost a ton of $$$, and they might make you live like, a year longer. I dunno, is one more year of life worth putting your entire family in debt, just to delay the inevitable? If you’re gonna die from cancer, the ugly statistical truth is, you’re prolly gonna die from cancer. Hard to fathom, huh? Ok I know this is a bit harsh, but actually there’s lots of evidence to support low, or zero-carb diets during treatment. Since cancer cells reproduce on excess glucose, it’s in your best interest to keep dietary sugar low or non-existent. Fasting has also been shown to improve the efficacy of chemotherapy. If you want to prevent cancer, don’t smoke, don’t slather your skin in photo-reactive chemicals (sunscreen, products galore, moistureizers, blah), don’t eat a ton of processed crapoid-food-like-stuff your whole life, and just live a good clean healthy Paleo type lifestyle. There’s not really an end-all cure for all cancer, there’s only so much you can do, but living clean is the best way to prevent it.

Everything else – Ok I got lazy. Just follow Paleo. It fixes the world. Paleo fixes everything. Maybe even the government. Ok that’s a stretch, but Paleo is still pretty friggin awesome, right?

What has paleo cured for YOU?? Add to comments!

Wohoo!

~ Dan

Do high protein diets leach calcium from the bones?

Acidosis. Acid-base diets. Veg*an pseudo science. All garbage.

Pretty much all the evidence points to increased bone health with high protein diets.

Here’s where this mystery comes from.

First observed in 1920, HC Sherman found that people who eat high-protein diets tend to excrete more calcium in their urine. Since then, over 25 trials have been published showing that increasing dietary protein does increase urinary calcium. 

But, you ask, why do urinary levels of calcium increase on a high protein diet? Doesn’t that mean that the acid-producing diet from all that evil animal protein is leaching calcium from my boes? Shouldn’t I switch to a base-producing diet and ditch all the animal stuff? I’m soooo confusded!

Not so fast, buddy-boo. This doesn’t even begin to explain what’s going on.

So, if high protein diets increase bone loss, howcome all these hunter-gatherer societies with traditional high protein diets actually show no signs of bone loss, and often appear immune to tooth decay, even when they don’t clean their teeth?

Studies looking at the Inuit found nearly complete immunity to tooth decay so long as they were eating their native diet, but also a remarkable degree of muscular and skeletal perfection rarely seen among other peoples.  When they began eating modern refined foods, the Inuit suffered rapid development of tooth decay and general physical degeneration.

Are you even more confused now? Don’t worry, big Dan’s here to make it all nice ‘n’ easy for ya to comprehend!

There are a number of intervention studies that show that high protein diets result in the slowest bone loss and fracture rates over time. Very cool. Now we can start to understand the cause and effect relationships!

Intervention trials such as this one published by a group led by Bess Dawson-Hughes of Tufts University shows that protein intakes far beyond the minimal requirement actually improve bone health. After nine weeks, the group consuming extra protein had lower levels of bone turnover and higher bone mineral density.

This group of studies conducted by Jane Kerstetter’s group at the University of Connecticut showed that an even larger increase in dietary protein increased urinary calcium, but not by leaching it from bone.  Instead, they found that consuming more protein increased calcium absorption from the intestines.

This makes sense now! More calcium is being absorbed into circulation. It’s not coming out of your bones. They are still researching the mechanism that causes this, but the story remains the same. More calcium absorbed = more in circulation = more calcium that may, or may not be used by the body = more calcium in the urine.

But, a caveat to this. You need to also have an adequate intake of vitamins from animal sources to actually utilize that calcium. Enter, vitamin K. It’s the activator vitamin that makes sure calcium gets to your bones, teeth, and other good places. It also makes sure calcium stays out of the bad places, like your arteries.

A lack of vitamin K due to animal deficient diets has been shown to result in poor bone and teeth health, and cardiovascular problems with calcification of the arteries. Yikes.

Where do you get lots of bioavailable vitamin K? Grass fed butter and liver are like the best sources ever. Also cod liver or cod liver oil. The news gets better, wait wait hold on. It’s really getting good now. These foods also have tons of A and D and B and stuff! Woah like crazy man! Liver is a super food!

See, vitamin K is vitally important. Weston Price found that giving people with tooth decay cod liver oil and high vitamin butter oil from grass fed cows, actually reversed their tooth decay! Whaaaaat?!? Yah for realz! Google that shit!

One more thing! Don’t go yet! The increased utilization of calcium with high protein diets is also one more reason you don’t need to drink all that milk. Blech! As long as you get lots of vitamin and protein rich animal foods in ya, and plenty of calcium rich green veggies, you’ll be golden!

Frakking cool dude! Eat more meat. And butter. And yah, tons of it. Your bones, and your muscles, will thank you!

~ Dan

Self Experimentation. Beating dead horses.

I just can’t help myself. I love to beat a dead horse.

Well, apart from the obvious reasons [1, 2, 3, and 4] to avoid grains, here’s just one more nail in the coffin, just to demonstrate the far superior nature of whole foods and animal foods. (I kind of did this in a previous post about calories, but I honestly don’t give a crepe. hehe.)

(You can click the images for a better look)

Here’s the so called glorious benefits from a bunch of bread slices. The whole grain “good stuff”. Notice where the 100% bar is, where the arrow is pointing.

Now compare that to just some beef liver. A little tiny bit.

Or, we can look at some eggs, just for fun.

Or, how bout some spinach to round out the meal.

You see? No wonder the bread doesn’t  keep you from gettin’ hungry! But only a tiny tiny amount, a few ounces of beef liver, has tons more stuff in it! The best part? You can mix it in with ground beef if you don’t prefer the taste, and never even know it’s there!

Now, time for some self experimentation…

I want you non-believers. You bread-eaters. Who love it so damn much you just can’t bare to give it up. You keep making your excuses, I’ll keep staying healthy and strong. I want you to eat nothing but grains for a couple weeks.

I dare you.

Then tell me how healthy and strong you feel…

Right, and I’ll sit back and eat nothing but grass fed beef liver…

Who do you think will make it out alive? I’ll give you a guess!

Another thing I almost forgot to add…

That’s why it’s so damn difficult to be truly healthy on a vegetarian diet. You have to eat huge volumes of food just to keep up with us meat eaters! It’s hugely inconvenient, and most people don’t even know this. I mean, look at the nutrient profile for most plants, they still pale in comparison to most animal prducts! The average SAD-dieter-turned-veggie-eater will simply eat the same amounts they always have, but will slowly but surely start to become weaker, and more tired, and just less healthy. It’s true, lots of vegetarians have nutrient deficiencies, especially vitamin B!

Not only do you have to eat a ton, especially children, but it’s nearly impossible to do intermittent fasting successfully! That means little or no autophagy! You know, that little neat process our cells use to clean and detoxify the body? Autophagy is really necessary for total health to an extent, but it does not happen if you’re eating all the time!

~ Dan

Grains. There’s more to it than just gluten – Part II.

Lectins are sugar-binding proteins (not to be confused with glycoproteins, which are proteins containing sugar chains or residues) that are highly specific for their sugar moieties. They play a role in biological recognition phenomena involving cells and proteins.

There are a number of different lectin types in foods. Not all are damaging to us. Some should be avoided, especially the ones in cereal grains and legumes. Plants use lectins as part of their natural defense systems. They help plants defend against attackers such as mold, fungus, and parasites.

Grain lectins are able to pass through the gut into general circulation, and cause numerous problems throughout the body, including systemmic inflammation, a leading cause of many diseases and obesity.

Lectins are not digested by stomach acid or enzymes. So still intact, lectins can then attach to, and attack, cell membranes. Recent research is beginning to reveal how the body’s response to these lectins is a major cause of many immune system imbalances. Based on this recent research, many symptoms once attributed to aging or “wear and tear” may need to be reclassified as immune reactions caused by lectins.

The problems with eating grains can be compounded further. As I mentioned in the first post in this series:

Combine a diet high in cereal grains, low in total fat, low in saturated fats, and possibly low in high quality animal proteins, and it’s obvious why an individual might start to run a deficiency in iron, calcium, magnesium, zinc, B-vitamins, etc.  Some people will argue that grains can be a good source of many nutrients… in the lab These same people need to understand the difference between ingestion and digestion.  Just because a food has a particular nutrient profile analysed in a lab setting, it does not mean it can be digested and absorbed by the body.  Grains in particular are spectacularly good and binding nutrients, minerals especially, and preventing them from being absorbed (grain intake might even see a higher turnover in the likes of vitamin D). 

So you’re not doing yourself any favors by trying to carb load on grains. Especially athletes. Where the goal is to minimize inflammation, grains have an incredibly pro-inflammatory tendency. You need to start using clean carb sources like sweet potatoes, potatoes, squash, and other starchy vegetables. You’ll be able to avoid the inflammation, gut stress and emegency sideline bathroom breaks, along with the bloating and discomfort. At the same time you’ll be getting many times more vitamins and minerals in your diet, a key for proper recovery and immune function.

So on top of the anti nutrients discussed in the previous post, lectins from grains and legumes compound the risk. Now it’s easy to see why obesity and disease rates are so high in industrialized countries like America. We rely so heavily on grains as a staple food source, it makes up the bulk of what most people are told to eat. Yet they are nothing but cheap sugar calories, void of any nutritional value, and they cause systemmic inflammation that catches up to you as you age.

Even before you are very old, systemmic inflammation from poor diet can rear its ugly head in the form of acne, depression, IBS, celiac, arthritis, and abdominal fat accumulation, just to name a few.

How do lectins cause these problems?

Lectins cause cells to “agglutinate”, or stick together. Your body’s immune system then sends out white blood cells to destroy the lectins, as well as the cells that have agglutinated. This can result in systemmic inflammation.

In the intestines, agglutination allows lectins to bind to the intestinal wall, particularly the villi, of the small intestine. This causes damage and impaired cellular repair potential, cellular death, and compromised intestinal villi, reducing the absorption of other nutrients, including vitamins, minerals and protein. Add to this altered gut flora, which can allow certain harmful bacterial strains like E. coli to run rampant. Since the body is now responding full-time to the needs of the injured gut lining, proteins and other resources are redirected from other basic growth and repair processes.

This process also causes leaky gut, allowing other toxins and partially digested food to enter circulation, leading to food allergies and autoimmune reactions, when your immune system attacks these particles, and the healthy cells they are attached to.  

That’s why lectins are linked with autoimmune disorders like IBS, Crohn’s. colitis, thyroid conditions, fibromyalgia, chronic fatigue syndrome, and arthritis. Specific lectins have been associated with particular ailments (like wheat with rheumatoid arthritis), but more research is needed to trace and confirm these connections. However, it is clear that potent autoimmune destruction can result when the intestinal lining experiences this level of damage. Lectins also cause discharge of histamine from gastric mast cells, which stimulate acid secretion. So the three main pathogenic factors for peptic ulcer – acid stimulation, failure of the mucous defense layer, and abnormal bacterial proliferation (helicobacter pylori) are all theoretically linked to lectins. The mucous stripping effect of lectins, also offers an explanation for the anecdotal finding of many allergists that a “stone age diet”, which eliminates most starchy foods and therefore most lectins, protects against upper respiratory viral infections.

One more thing to be aware of is how easily you can over eat these calorically dense, yet nutrient void grain based foods. Since grains (and sugar) give you nothing your body actually needs, your satiety mechanisms quickly make you hungry only a few hours after a meal. That’s your body telling you to eat. It’s looking for nutrients that it needs, yet getting none. This happens time, and time again. We over eat. We get fat. And all the systemmic inflammation makes us sick, weak, and prone to disease. Blasted!

There’s an easy way to mitigate all this. Stop eating grains and sugar and legumes. And eat lots of healthy natural fats (not the kind made in a factory).

If you have autoimmune issues, avoiding the following foods, as well as grains, should help releive your symptoms. You can experiment with adding foods back, and see which ones you are most affected by:

Beans, kidney, lentils, peanuts and soybeans. Seeds and nuts such as sunflower seeds, pumpkin seeds, almonds and walnuts. Oils made from corn, peanuts, soy, etc. Dairy foods, all milk products, cheese, cottage cheese, kefir andyogurt. Eggs and all products that contain them. Fruits such as cantaloupe and pomegranate. Vegetables in the nightshade family: potato, tomato, eggplant, cucumber and peppers. Processed foods containing added flavoring agents, thickeners, fillers and binders. GMO Foods, as lectins are spliced into modified varieties to enhance “natural” pest & fungal resistance.

Coming soon…

Fat doesn’t make you fat < Read on! Get Stoneage!

~ Dan

Exercise and health in the elderly

Do we automatically have to get weak, frail, and prone to injury as we get older? Do we have to succumb to the diseases and vulnerability of old age? Is it inevitable?

That’s what conventional wisdom will have you believe. The entire system is built around this idea. It has to be, because that’s where the money is. Managing old age and degenerative diseases is a multi-billion dollar industry. It’s in their best interest to keep you dumb, weak, and sick.

It’s in your best interest to do something about it. And it’s never too late.

You are never too old to start making changes in your health. Despite how difficult it might be for you already, it’s worth the effort. Yes, even the elderly are capable of building muscle and getting stronger. I’ve taken the liberty of finding a few clinica trials for you to peruse:

Jumping combined exercise programs reduce fall risk and improve balance and life quality of elderly people who live in a long-term care facility.

Basically they had old people jump around, you know, exercise. They improved balance and quality of life. I take that to mean they got stronger and were more able to move around. No way! For realz?! Yup.

Bone Density, Structure and Strength and Their Determinants in Aging Sprint Athletes.

The study looked at the bone density of old sprinters versus that of old active people. The results of this study suggest that regular sprint training has positive effects on bone strength and structure in middle- and older-aged athletes. So it’s in your best interest to sprint every once in a while, while you still can! It makes your bones and your muscles stronger for life!

Protein Supplementation Increases Muscle Mass Gain During Prolonged Resistance-Type Exercise Training in Frail Elderly People: A Randomized, Double-Blind, Placebo-Controlled Trial.

I’m not as interested in this one for the protein supplementation, as I am about the fact that after they got old folks to exercise, they gained strength. No crap!

Just for good measure, heres a few more [1, 2, 3].

The last one, number 3, is pretty nice, cus it shows even if you’re and old person, you can exercise AND decrease cardiovascular risk factors! Now that’s always good.

Now, this stuff only shows that it’s possible to get stronger and healthier if you’re already an old person. Well, if that’s true, then it’s definitely possible to MAINTAIN health and strength throughout your entire life through old age, which as I see it, is a MUCH better way to go about it.

It’s so much easier to establish and continue a healthy lifestyle when you are young, and never, EVER, stop what you are doing. I think the cost/benefit ratio weighs out here, don’t you?

And the only diet I see as being healthy and sustainable throughout your entire life is an ancestral type diet of real whole foods: animals, eggs, veggies, fruit, nuts. A nutrient dense Paleo diet that prevents over eating and promotes healthy strong bodies free of disease.

On top of that, lift heavy once in a while, and sprint too.

It’s super easy if you try, then once the habit is established, you’re good for life. Congratulations! You’ve set yourself up for a lifetime of success!

Otherwise, get ready to welcome the wheelchair, prescriptions, and diabetes. That sounds like fun…

~ Dan

Strong Equals Sexy

The trend is changing. For the better.

No longer do women want to be the victims of yo-yo dieting that leaves you skinny, weak, unhealthy, and incapable. I think we are starting to notice the change, especially with CrossFit producing such great results for people.

Heavy weight lifting, Ancestral type diet, life long results. It’s a powerful combination.

Just look at the top Google images for “strong is the new sexy” (click pic for larger image)

Because we all know where you end up years down the road, if you continue the conventional route of excess cardio and crap food dieting.

You go from this…

To this…

 

Help Wendy’s Find a Cure for Diabetes…

…while you contract the disease yourself!

The cure for diabetes is avoiding foods like this…

…It’s pretty simple people.

 

Homeless Paleo Guide. How to eat incredibly healthy, even when you’re broke!

I was inspired to write this as a result of one of my recent recipes. A nice, filling, nutrient dense egg dish made with minimal time or cost.

I’ve also been eating more eggs lately, and subsequently have been saving a ton of cash! Probably because I’ve also been eating less, ‘cus I’m less hungry. Nutrient density, hoorah!

There’s a stigma with Paleo about the apparent cost of food. With all the talk about grass-fed-this and free-range-that, organic blah blah blah, you can get caught up in how much more expensive that stuff is. Especially when you’re standing in Price Chopper looking at the big 6lb package of 80% ground beef. So cheap! So tasty! But not grass fed? Booo hooo.

But, the expensive cuts of meat aren’t necessary at all. If all you want to do is be full, happy, and healthy, you only need a few key things.

So what’s on my Homeless Paleo shopping list?

  1. Eggs (from free range pasture fed hens if possible. These are always cheap, either way, and they fill you up! (Just try to eat more than 4 in one sitting, I bet you can’t do it!) They can be eaten raw if free range. Crack egg, dump into mouth, choke down. You can live on eggs alone. Price ranges from $3 to $5)
  2. Liver (this is dirt cheap, but MUST. MUST be from free range fed animals, otherwise it’s loaded with toxins from all the crap they feed to factory-farmed animals. Liver is the most satiating food EVER. And it’s a loaded natural mulitvitamin! Can be eaten raw, probably very difficult to chew, but also easy to grill in foil packages over a dumpster fire. I get packages of liver that last me 2 weeks for about $3)
  3. Vegetables (these can be gathered for free from gardens, or grown in some secret place in the woods, and don’t necessarily have to be organic to be nutritious. Stick with the basics: spinach, tomatoes, broccoli, peppers, etc. Even better, restaurant leftovers as long as they’re fresh, can be harvested from most compost bins)
  4. Oil (for cooking when you have the means. Make it coconut, olive, or some sort of animal fat. If you opt istead to grill on a trash can fire, you don’t even need cooking oils!)
  5. Bone broth (Necessary for calcium and lots of good minerals ‘n’ stuff. Bones can be found literally anywhere! Look in the restaurant dumpster, or butcher shop has got them cheap! Best of all, your doggy pal can munch on a marrow bone and be just as happy and healthy as you! Get a big container that’s heat resistant, find some clean-ish water, and boil that bone next time you build a campfire or sumthin’.)
  6. Beef sticks (Jerky. This is an option, not a necessity. Can be a bit pricey, and not entirely Paleo, but they are calorie dense and have lots of protein and fat to keep you going when the going gets tough. They last forever too. Good in a pinch, or during long train rides…)
  7. Wild fruit (berries can be found when in season. Apples too. Other edible wild plants include dandelion, cattail root, and acorns. If you’re homeless in the city, sorry, you’re SOL)

So yes, no matter what you hear or read, it is possible to eat Paleo, get all the nutrients you need, be healthy and not hungry, all on a broke-ass-budget! Nutrient density is your friend, especially where your goal is to eat less and never be hungry. I know when I eat these things, I can go a whole day with only one decent sized meal, without hunger or fatigue. Plus, the less I spend on buying food and finding food, the more time I have for pan handling and drinkin’ bum wine! WIld Irish Rose FTW!!!

Not to mention, from all the dense fat and protein you’d be eating on a liver n eggs diet, you would be jacked and ripped, probably could enter a bodybuilding competition, win a ton of cash, and then you wouldn’t need to even follow the Homeless Paleo Guide! Genious!

~ Dan

Doing everything you can think of, and weight loss still stalling?

Not so fast, there may be one thing you forgot!

If you’ve made progress so far using the 8 steps I outlined here, that’s great.

If you are doing all these things, but you think you have since stalled, this post is for youYou have to remember that everything you do is a stressor.

Exercise, sprinting, dieting/fasting/cutting calories. Having a large caloric defict combined with a high activity level, lack of sleep, work stress, smoking, bills, overtraining, etc. Everything literally adds up to a big total amount of stressors. And if you’ve been working out and fasting for a long time, among other things, all that stress could be catching up with you.

It might be time to cut back a little on the stressors, as described here and here.

If you are doing intermittent fasting, try eating more or larger meals once or twice a week within your eating window, especially if you have been working out intensely, like I do when I lift big heavy things. The caloric excess within the eating window will help to make your body think you are living in a situation of abundance. It will trick your body to temporarily cut back on it’s survival response (if you are reading this and have stalled, you may be experiencing it right now), which is to store body fat for later use.

An easy way to do this is to carb-load on the weekend, especially if you have been cutting carbs heavily during the week with your IF program. This plays a little trick with leptin signalling. Make sure to only eat Paleo approved carb sources like starchy tubers and veggies, and some more fruit. And always practice moderation.

Having this periodic feast will spike leptin. Be reasonable, there’s no reason to eat so much that you puke! I’m thinking keep carbs in the low 100 grams, and no more than 400g, depending on your goals. Your metabolism wil temporarily pick up, and fat will be mobilized for use from adipose tissue. Go for a long walk and use that newly mobilized fat! It’s also the perfect time to plan a sprint session!

You might even want to skip IF completely for a week or two. Start eating an earlier breakfast for that period, extending your eating window. See how that works for you.

Exercise is also a major source of stress, especailly for those of you who may be doing a bit too much chronic cardio. It causes systemmic inflammation after a while, leading to joint pain and lots of cortisol release. That can really harm fat loss in the long run, and be the one thing holding you back from leaning out that extra few %. Try eliminating cardio all together. Instead, do HIIT sprints once a week. Or even cut sprints to once every other week. Lately I’ve stopped them all together to see what happens. I’ve also been on a my 3 day lifting routine, so I have more rest days.

Obviously I’m not saying you should become totally sedentary. That’s just stupid. We evolved to be constantly active at very low activity levels: Lots and lots of walking and carrying. Plenty of heavy lifting. Very fast sprinting every now and then. You have to find a balance.

Get lots of sleep. If you’re not getting enough sleep you will be throwing your whole body out of whack. You will also slow down your recovery time. It will take much longer to heal from your workouts if you are lacking in sleep. Testosterone and HGH are correlated with REM sleep patterns. This is where most of our muscular growth and recovery happens. Melatonin, vitamin D, and magnesium can help.

Are you getting enough nature? Nature is a huge stress reliever. It’s also been shown that there are huge health promoting benefits to getting plenty of it. We are animals, after all! Nature separation, not enough sunlight, modern life. It really messes with you!

Make sure there isn’t something else going on in your life that might be causing undue stress. Sometimes you just can’t help it. Not everything is in your control. Sometimes you just have to roll with it. Most of the time, though, we can do ourselves a favor by chillin’ out and taking things easy. See what works best for you. Write things down, keep track. Minimize the negative external stressors, and don’t overuse the positive stressors like diet and exercise. As always, it depends on the individual. Some of us (mostly men) respond to high stressors in a more favorable manner than others. So pay attention to yourself. If you try something new, and it doesn’t work out as expected, don’t get disappointed. Instead, look at it as an opportunity to better understand what personally works, or doesn’t work, for you.

~Dan

The Wrong Way

Lot’s of folks still get it wrong. Which amazes me, because we have the interwebs, an immense, wonderful, easy-to-access plethora of information. It makes it amazingly easy to make sense of things.

Don’t worry, this entire post isn’t a rant, just the top half. At the end I’ll discuss “The Right Way”, and how to put it all together. Everything I’ve learned in a nice group of bullet points.

And it is easy. Just take a little time out of your busy day from watching television or stuffing your face, and read a few arguments, from both sides of the field, on whatever topic you think is controversial or just doesn’t make a whole lotta sense to you. Most people with a shred of common sense should have the ability to figure out the stronger argument, without getting caught up in the argumentum ad verecundiam.

I take it upon myself to be better than. I like to learn from my own mistakes, but I also learn a lot from everyone elses mistakes. To pay attention to certain things, tells you a lot about people.

Let me explain what I mean.

At my gym, Planet Fitness, (I know I know, why the hell do I go there? It’s cheap) there are lots of folks who, day after day, like (I use the word like lightly) to get up on the cardio torture devices and trudge away for hours, sweating and panting. Then after they go home and stuff themselves with carbs, or whatever. And they come back, dragging themselves into the gym, and do it all again. They’ve been told that they are doing it right, and despite the total lack of results (just look at most of ’em.) they keep telling themselves it’s right. But they’ll never touch a set of free-weights. And they’ll never change their crap diet. Why not? Are they scared that they’ll blow up and look like a body builder over night? Are they scared that they’ll look inexperienced? Look at the folks who are doing free weights, and clearly have been doing them for a while. There’s even some chicks doing heavy lifting in there, and they definitely have got it working for them, and they are not huge bulky body builders.

My biggest problem with those treadmill junkies is not that they’re out of shape or whatever. It’s that they haven’t asked themselves the difficult question: “WHY IS THIS NOT WORKING FOR ME?”

The answer, is simple: “YOU HAVE TO USE THE INTERWEBS!” See? Learning is fun!

Then hopefully you might come across this blog, or the blog of one my comrades. It might raise questions, and cause you to ask even more questions. And then, holy cow, we’re learning something new!

Then the other morning, driving to work, I see a woman power walking. She’s pregnant too, very pregnant. And in shape. I said to myself, “now there’s someone who’s getting it right.” Who clearly isn’t listening to conventional wisdom, sitting around, chugging gallons of chocolate and ice cream. But it made me think about the 20-something pregnant girl at my work. She is also very pregnant. She can barely walk, she actually waddles, can’t take the stairs, and complains about it, or actually celebrates it with her little group of girls, as if being fat and weak is a normal part of being pregnant? She even started waddling around after only a few months of pregnancy, which is even more odd. Is it all mental??

And she put on weight too, I mean extra. Used to be actually good-looking and in shape too. Always talking about how she’s “eating for two”. Yah, if you’re putting on lots of excess body fat, you’re eating too much. Period. And it’s all junk, chocolate candies, donuts, Fruity Pebbles!! WTF!!?? You aren’t eating for two full-grown adults! You should be eating for a fetus and one sedentary lazy weak girl who spends life at a desk! Do you honestly think “cravings” and actually being hungry are the same thing? Or is it just an excuse to poison yourself and your fetus, and get wicked out of shape? Good luck losing that “baby weight”, or I-binged-and-gorged-on-junk-food ‘cus I had “cravings” weight.

Perhaps you might want to think about how what you put into your body affects your body, and what is growing inside it?

Again, the answer to this conundrum is simple: “Use the interwebs” and ask the tough questions. Maybe you’ll come across Chris Kresser’s The Healthy Baby Code, and you (god forbid) might just learn something!

Science isn’t that scary, and it isn’t difficult to understand. We all had statistics in high school right? Its pretty easy to figure out if we’re looking at a study, whether or not the analysis makes sense. Even if stats isn’t your thing, from a common sense standpoint, the truth always floats to the surface, and some arguments just make more sense.

It’s also easy to figure out if what you are doing is actually working. How long have you been doing it? How do you feel? How do your clothes fit? Are you strong enough to lift your own body weight? Have you reached your goals or are you progressing consistently towards that goal? Has progress stalled or is it time to change something up? At a certain point, science isn’t all you need in order to successfully apply something to your life. Many times self experimentation and common sense, (with an idea of biology helps) will be your best friends.

The Right Way. Putting it all together.

Do you ask the tough questions? How has self-experimentation worked for you? Have you actually done everything you can? Discuss!