Weekly Reading

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     My son and I were watching the History Channel last night.  They had an hour long show about the life of Gladiators.  We both found it interesting that they were not the buff, Spartacus type (to the disappointment of the pilot on Airplane), but rather they had a nice layer of fat around them.  They fattened up in order to provide some protection against the inevitable slashing wounds.  They fattened up on an exclusively vegetarian diet, mainly barley.  They didn't get to enjoy meat until the evening prior to their fight.

     I continually address the benefits of grass fed meat and wild game.  Cooking it can be problematic if you aren't vigilant.  I have been having great success with steaks by cooking it low and slow.  Basically:  I take the steak and put it on the grill.  Then I turn the grill on it's lowest setting.  I never let the grill get over 240 degrees and try to keep it around 200-220.  Every seven minutes I flip the steak.  For a 1 inch thick cut, it generally takes about 28 minutes.  Let the meat rest for 5 minutes or so before eating.  It is ridiculous how tender and juicy the meat comes out.  For other Paleo recipies check out Eat. Move. Thrive!

 For those of you who will never give up grains, here is a historical look at how to eat grains.

Here is another good take on cholesterol.  This is a three part series, so click on "newer posts" when done with this one.   Also on this site is another three part series on the traditional Eskimo lifestyle and diet.  Click here.

   

Darwin’s B-Day

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    In honor of the dude who drove the nuns nuts when I was in grade-school:
The medical profession may finally be catching on
Theory to Practice
Robb Wolf's take

    Finally, I mentioned last month about Omnivore's Dilemma.  For those of us who are still trying to figure out the alphabet and are mesmerized by the opposable thumb, I recently watched the "cliff notes" version of the book.  Go and check out King Corn.

Getting Caught Up

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I'm trying to get caught up on things that I have been meaning to post, so here they come.

A former teammate of mine, and a friend to some of us who have been around Coronado for awhile, succumbed to cancer recently.  He was a father, husband, and a pipehitter.  Right after I found out, a few different articles popped up regarding cancer and nutrition.  Interesting reads.

Robb Wolf » Cancer & Ketosis
Will The Blogosphere Cure Cancer?
Cancer's Sweet Tooth

On a brighter note, a couple of different items came up this week.  This morning the subject of working out in a fasted state was talked about.  Here is a good article on the subject.

Sprints suck but they work.   More 4 x 400 repeats?

It has been a month since holiday break.  That means you should be back into a eating and exercising routine.  Now is a good time to break out the scale and weigh your portions or read the labels.  If you want to cut weight, cut back on the carbohydrates.  They are hidden in a lot of foods or there are more in the food then you think.  One way to check yourself is to enter everything you eat for a day or two on FITDAY .

Finally, this article is killer.  The bottom line is to QUESTION EVERYTHING.

Play

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    I can't help but watch THIS VIDEO CLIP and subsequent INTERVIEW with a twinge of jealousy.  I want  this to be my gym.  This is what Crossfit was before there were such things as bumper plates, pullup bars, and Dynamax balls.  The movements are completely timeless and represent the ultimate in function and true fitness.  Watch the video.  It should get you thinking a bit.  As we go about our routines (WOD then work or vice versa, then head back home for what ever evening routine you follow), take a moment and see if you "play" enough.   I have the good fortune of living on a canyon lot in San Diego.  My son has spent countless hours goofing off in it.  The other day he was picking up rocks at the bottom of a steep incline and carrying them up to the yard for sh*ts and giggles.  He talked me into it after awhile.  It was a legitimate work-out.  So was climbing the trees and crawling through the underbrush that he had me doing.  After two hours I was gassed, but had way more fun then Friday's WOD.
     The take-away from all this is to make sure you inject play into your routines.  We live in San Diego, so there is no excuse for not getting outside and being active.  Do not be afraid to skip a day or two and hit a heavy NW swell, hike through Mission Gourge, or run barefoot down the beach in Coronado.  Climb a tree.  Swim across Glorietta Bay without a wetsuit.  Climb on the monkey bars after your kids at the park.  Shoot some hoops or go to the batting cage.  A perfectly executed snatch is an incredibly athletic movement.  Force yourself to translate that into something different in the outdoors.  The bottom line is that there is no point in busting your ass at the gym if it doesn't improve your life.  Nothing improves one's quality of life like having fun.

Stuff to read and Lori’s Cat

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     I have a bunch of different articles that I have been meaning to post, but I have been completely slacking.
     The first is an article about vegetable oil and weight gain.
    Here are a few from Robb Wolf's site.  The first one discusses T. Colin Campbell, author of the meat and fat damning book the China Study.  My neighbor gave it to me to read last summer when she found out my diet was mainly fat and protein.  The second one from Robb's site sums it up.
   Here are all the medical / scientific bullets that you could possibly need in case you are still unsure about a low carb diet.
    This slide show bugs the hell out of me.  When I looked at it, my first thought was that if I gave a crashing heroin addict some heroin, he would feel better and less stressed out than if I gave him a cup of decaf.
    We are slowly getting traction on the low carb diet from the medical community.
    This looks interesting and it will be interesting to see this project when it is complete.  In search of the perfect human diet.
    Finally, I think most of us now understand that a paleo / primal diet is our best bet for health, fitness, and  longevity.  The same holds true for your pets.  Here is the primal diet for Fido.   It works on cats as well.  Since Lori switched her cat's diet from Tuscan Classics to meat and fat it has become totally ripped and buff.  Fourteen pounds of fuzzy whoopass.  Crazy:  Feeding a carnivore meat is actually good for its health.

New Year

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With January 1st inevitably comes a whole new set of goals we want to reach by year’s end.  I’m sure most of you have set goals regarding Crossfit:  Dropping your Fran time or doing it required, a heavier deadlift, snatch, and clean, and so on.  Even more important than that, is to set goals for yourselves regarding your diet and your family’s diet as well.
            Over the Xmas break; I picked up Omnivore’s Dilemma.  It is a book I had been meaning to read for a while now, but have been too preoccupied to get after it.  I was immediately engrossed by the content.  It is morbidly reminiscent of Upton Sinclair’s The Jungle. My timing in reading this was perfect in that it coincides with the start of the New Year, and it provides motivation for a few changes.
    First and foremost will be to replace all that feedlot beef with wild game and grass fed beef.   While I have attempted to eat those in the past, I never gave much thought to chowing down on a sirloin from Von’s or Costco.  After reading about the conditions on these factory farms and the mass, corn-fed operation going on in modern day beef and dairy production, I will make every attempt to avoid it from now on.  It is like eating a medium-rare slab of corn.

The benefits of eating grass-fed beef and dairy.

Another reliable source for meat.

    The second is to be more particular about my produce.  Everyday in San Diego there is a Farmer’s Market.  In fact, there is one every Tuesday from 2:30 – 6 PM at the Coronado Ferry Landing.  There is one Saturday morning in PB and another Sunday in La Jolla.  The fruit, vegetables, and eggs there are much fresher and far better tasting than anything at the supermarket.  And, you can actually talk to the person who grew the food.  There are plenty of real organic vendors there from farms around the county.

Local Farmer's Markets

    The bottom-line for the family and I is still to eat real food for 2009.  However, my definition of real food has changed a bit since reading Omnivore’s Dilemma.   I recommend everyone reading it.  It is a key piece of literature to help us all fine-tune our paleo / primal diets for the upcoming year. 

The (Really) Big “O”

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     This is just too good to pass up, however Oprah getting back to her old, gi-normous proportions is an eye opener.  This woman has more money than a Saudi Prince, can have the pick of the litter for a nutritionist and personal trainer, can have all her meals prepared for her, and purchase the highest quality ingredients.  In spite of all that, she finds it impossible to keep her weight within healthy parameters.  She has that quack Dr. Oz and Bob Greene, among others, to lay some of the blame on.  Eat this way, exercise that way, whatever.  Oprah and her gravy train fell victim to those who are trying to outsmart evolution.  It will be interesting to see how the fallout from this affects the millions of women who watch her show and take her advice as well as the advice of the various snake oil salesmen she has on.  Hey Oprah, if you want to lose weight, eat real food.  It's so easy, a caveman could do it.

Mark's on Oprah

Doc Mike's take

And the IF Life weighs in

Fat and Meat

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     It drives me nuts every time I hear a "nutrition expert" or doctor condemn fat and accuse it of being the root of all our health woes.  But, if we look at different traditional diets throughout history, many are extremely high in fat.  The Masai survive on the cow:  Blood, meat and milk.  The traditional diet of many Pacific Islanders had large amounts of saturated fat from coconut.  The traditional Inuit diet was devoid of carbohydrates and insanely high (by modern standards) in fat.

Here is a basic guide to the different types of fat.

This is a short but excellent piece on saturated fat.    Part 2 on saturated fat.

     It is relatively easy to get plenty of good fat into your diet.  But if you are trying to stick to a primal / paleo diet, it can be difficult and expensive getting descent grass-fed products. Mark's Daily Apple tackles this issue in a two-part post.   Part 1.   Part 2

    Everyone knows that eating red meat gives you colon cancer.  Apparently, Argentina never got that word.  Their traditional diet is incredibly high in meat, yet they have way less colon cancer than we do.  Pay particular attention to how their cattle are raised.  Might that have something to do with it?

Finally, what came first the bean or mammoth tartare.  This is a great rebuttal to the humans-evolved-as-vegetarians crowd.  If you don't eat meat on moral grounds, then more power to you.  But don't attempt to re-write biology and evolution to make yourself feel better and help you ignore the fact that you are jonesing for a big, juicy tenderloin.

Magic Pills

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     It seems to my simple mind, that most doctors in this day and age will prescribe anything outside of common sense and discipline to try and keep us healthy.  The front page of Monday's paper had an article about the latest and greatest study on statins (funded by the drug manufacturer of course).  These magic pills will keep you from having a heart attack and keep your arteries nice and clean.  A few months back, these same wonder drugs were recommended for kids as a preventative measure.  It truly is sad that we are attempting to out-think Mother Nature and two-plus million years of evolution.  By following a diet we are genetically pre-disposed to eat (last weeks readings), these drugs become a moot point.  Unfortunately, that would put the drug companies (and big-agra) out of business.  boo hoo.  Here are a few of the rebuttals to the headline:
Truth versus Hype
Statin Insanity
Cholesterol Hype

     This study on statins reiterates the point that you shouldn't blindly follow the conclusions drawn on any of these issues.  Educate yourself and make your own conclusion on which diet is optimal.
Dissonance
Taubes strikes back

     According to the government, all of us knucklehead crossfitters are doing way more work than we need to in order to be "fit"

Dumbest Headline Ever.

So, on that note:  Next time just say "NO" to Tri-by-Fran.