9 out of 10 Dentists Recommend the Paleo Diet

I am a huge fan of the Paleo Diet style of eating. It’s focus on fruits, vegetables and animal protein is in my opinion, the absolute best way for human beings to eat.

And based upon the explosion of Paleo cookbooks and websites over the past few years, I am not alone in that belief.

Luckily for us Paleo dieters, that explosion in popularity has led to a lot of amazing chefs turning their skills toward creating Paleo-friendly meals that would put a smile on the face of the snobbiest of food snobs.

Unfortunately….a lot of those recipes, while tasting amazing, are modifying the “original” Paleo guidelines to a point where some of the health benefits are being lost.

paleo brownies
Paleo Brownies

And it’s not just my opinion. It’s SCIENCE.

A new study, published in the Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences, shows us that a diet of starchy “100% Paleo” foods led to high rates of tooth decay in a group of our ancient hunter-gatherer ancestors.

Up until now, all of the archaeological/anthropological research indicated that it was the advent of farming that led to human dental disease. And it’s this transition from hunter-gatherer to farming that is central to the entire Paleo diet.

This new research “shows widespread tooth decay occurred in a hunter-gathering society in Morocco several thousand years before the dawn of agriculture.” And while these findings don’t cast doubt on the Paleo “farming causes problems” theory, it does show us that not all Paleo-approved foods are perfectly healthy.

The Science

During an archaeological dig in Taforalt, Morocco, researchers “analysed 52 sets of adult teeth from hunter-gatherer skeletons dated to be between 15,000 and 13,700 years of age.” Based on the archaeological findings, we know that:

  1. These early humans had not adapted to an agricultural lifestyle. They were hunter-gatherers…the original Paleo dieters.
  2. Their diet consisted of “the systematic harvesting and processing of wild foods, including sweet acorns, pine nuts and land snails.”
  3. This reliance on fermentable carbohydrates “is a key factor in the initiation and progression of dental disease.”

How bad were their teeth?

We’re not talking Austin Powers bad, but the researchers found evidence of decay in more than half of the surviving teeth with only three skeletons showing no sign of cavities.

Professor Nick Barton of the Institute of Archaeology at the University of Oxford, and a co-director of the excavations at Taforalt, said: ‘This study reveals for the first time that at both ends of the Mediterranean, hunter-gatherers had started to eat a variety of different foods and were becoming more settled long before the advent of farming.

Tooth decay in a young adult hunter gatherer
Photo Credit Isabelle de Groote

Dr Isabelle de Groote from the Natural History Museum said: ‘These people’s mouths were often affected by both cavities in the teeth and abscesses, and they would have suffered from frequent toothache.”

What’s wrong with sweet acorns, pine nuts and land snails?

If we’re talking about macronutrients, micronutrients, enzymes, phytochemicals, etc…. absolutely nothing. These are three very healthy, Paleo-friendly foods.

However, as lead researcher Dr Louise Humphrey said: “A reliance on edible acorns as a staple food could account for the high prevalence of cavities in the teeth found at Taforalt since eating fermentable carbohydrates is a key factor in the initiation and progression of this disease.

The acorns may have been boiled or ground to make flour; and cooking the acorns would have added to their stickiness. To make things even worse, abrasive particles from grindstones contributed to rapid tooth wear so that cavities started to form on the roots of the teeth.”

And since our Moroccan ancestors didn’t have access to a tooth brush or fluoride toothpaste, they started getting cavities, abscesses, toothaches and oral infections.

All because they learned how to make acorn flour crepes stuffed with sauteed pine nuts and escargot. mmmmmmmmm good

What does this mean to Paleo Dieters?

  • It means that ALL starchy, sticky foods can lead to disease…even if they are made with Paleo ingredients.
  • It means that eating Paleo isn’t just about ingredients. How you cook / process those ingredients is important…if you are eating Paleo to improve your health
  • It means that Paleo brownies, breads and muffins shouldn’t make up a regular part of your Paleo diet…especially if you aren’t diligent about the brushing and flossing.

What should you take away from this article?

  • The Paleo Diet is still the best thing you can do for your health & waistline (IMHO)
  • After eating starchy/sticky foods (Paleo or not), you need to floss & brush
  • Boiling, steaming, poaching, broiling, microwaving,  stir-frying and no-cooking are your healthiest cooking (and non-cooking) methods
  • Even if you eat sticky Paleo baked goods, 9 out of 10 dentists recommend the Paleo Diet…and we can bring that number up to 10 out of 10 if you cut back on the Paleo brownies and eat an apple instead.

Reference

4 Really, Really Good Reasons To Stop Eating Factory Farmed Meat and Start Buying Organic Meat

rocky boxing meat

Today’s post was sparked by a chat I had the other day with someone on Twitter.

I had just tweeted an infographic about all that yucky pink slime in America’s hamburgers. Normally, a tweet like this generates a pile of RTs from people who are viscerally grossed out by the existence of pink slime in their hamburgers.

pink slime
this isn’t the infographic we discussed…but it makes me laugh :)

However…on this day, I ran into someone who didn’t care about the existence of pink slime in her McDouble because (in her words) McDonalds burgers taste AMAZING.

After I grabbed my jaw off of the floor, I replied to her and suggested that someone needed to introduce her to a better hamburger joint…because McD burgers ain’t as tasty as she thinks they are…with or without the pink slime.

The conversation went on for a few more tweets, with no real conclusion…she thinks that the Big Mac is the pinnacle of hot beef sandwich…and I prefer a burger made from grass fed beef and a lack of industrial chemicals.

But even though I couldn’t convince her to abandon her love affair with her McBurgers, this little chat got me thinking about the meat processing industry in general and the quality of meat that most of us eat every day.

After about 30 minutes of daydreaming, I came up with what I think are… 4 Really, Really Good Reasons To Stop Eating Factory Farmed Meat and Start Buying Organic Meat.

1.   Your Health

Medical science has come a long way in the last century.

  • Infant mortality rates have dropped.
  • Anti-biotics and anti-virals have saved millions of lives
  • Trauma surgeons put us back together after horrendous accidents

Unfortunately, medical science is having a hard time keeping up with the damage we inflict upon ourselves with our modern diet.

  • Diabetes rates are exploding
  • Obesity rates are exploding
  • Cancers related to diet are exploding
  • Dementia / Alzheimers rates are exploding

All of these conditions are directly related to the food we eat…and unlike the type of medicine we are really good at, these conditions are slow to develop and modern medicine can’t do a thing to cure them.

Here are a few articles if you want to learn more:

2.   Your Kid’s Health

Same reasons as above…but instead of just making ourselves, now we’re talking about your precious little bundles of joy.

3.   Your Tastebuds

Back in the olden days, your great-great-great-great grandparents ate organic…and free-range…and local…and all that other good stuff that costs me extra every time I go grocery shopping

But unlike me, they didn’t call their food organic or free-range…they called it food.

Because that’s what food was.

  • Cows grazed on grass until it was time for the rancher to turn them into dinner for his neighbours and…
  • Farmers used manure from their livestock to grow better vegetable crops and…
  • Chickens pecked around in the dirt eating bugs and seeds and grass and worms and…
  • Crops were rotated and seeds were shared and our produce wasn’t covered in chemicals or grown from genetically modified seeds and…
  • Hunters went into the woods and hunted for game

And not only was their food healthier…it tasted better.

Ever since I switched to free-range, naturally fed meats, I can’t believe how much better they taste, look and smell. The beef I buy comes from a co-op of ranchers in PEI who finish their grass-fed cattle by adding potatoes to their feed…they swear that it makes the beef taste sweeter.

I chuckled when the butcher first told me this…but that night as I was chomping down on a mushroom cheeseburger, I couldn’t stop making noises about how good the beef tasted….seriously, it was like I had never had a burger before…Ahhh-mazing.

FYI – Earlier today I made a meat sauce of grass-fed beef, mushrooms and tomato sauce. Very simple, very basic…but the taste…OMG. Right now, I am baking a spaghetti squash in the oven. In 10 more minutes, I am going to pour the sauce over of the spag and have a serious post-workout dinner. Mmmmmmmmmm good.

Better ingredients = Better tasting meals

4.   You’re not cool with torturing animals

As a self-aware human being and life-long meat eater, I understand and accept the moral implications of killing animals for my dinner.

  • Because I eat meat, I am partially responsible for the death of other animals.

I can live with this…I may not think about it all the time, but when confronted by a rabid vegan in a nutrition forum, I am able to own up to my complicity and still sleep well at night. Nature is bloody and meat consumption is partially responsible for the state of human evolution and our big brains.

What I can’t accept is the cruelty we inflict on the animals trapped in our industrial meat factories.

It is seriously messed up.

For example…in this video expose of Walmart’s pork suppliers, we see…

  • Pregnant pigs confined to gestation crates so small they are unable to even turn around or lie down comfortably
  • Workers slamming conscious piglets headfirst into the ground and leaving them to suffer and slowly die
  • Workers ripping out the testicles and slicing off the tails of piglets without the use of any painkillers
  • Sick and injured pigs with severe, bleeding wounds or infections left to suffer without veterinary care

All so we can save 50 cents on a pound of Walmart’s breakfast sausage.

Like I said…seriously messed up…and it doesn’t have to be this way.

If mega-corporations like Walmart told their suppliers to stop torturing their livestock, it would happen. It might cost you an extra 50 cents per pound of breakfast sausage…but it would happen.

Note – If you live in the U.S. and would like to see Walmart stop sourcing meat from producers who torture their livestock, you can sign this online petition…it takes about fifteen seconds.

Conclusion

I’m sure that there are a lot more reasons for you to stop eating factory farmed meat and start buying organic meat, but since I only thought about it for 30 minutes and I’m not that bright to begin with, I only came up with four really, really good reasons.

Hopefully they are good enough to get you to re-think tonight’s dinner purchase.

5 Reasons You Should Go Gluten Free

gluten-free

health_habits_avatarHey everybody…today’s post is written by my personal go-to source for all things GLUTEN…Ms. Jaqui Karr - blogger, author, public speaker and expert on gluten and it’s impact on your auto-immune system.

A few weeks ago, I asked Jaqui if she would write me an article on gluten that would give my readers all the bullet-points that they need to know about why and how to go gluten free. I didn’t want her to go into all the intricate details…explaining and proving her points with research and quotes from PhDs. What I wanted was a list of simple – do this / don’t do this – instructions for those of us without an encyclopedic knowledge of gluten and how it may be screwing up our health.

And here are the results…enjoy

GlutenDemystified

1) Gluten is killing you slowly and retarding your brain function. We are all intolerant to gluten at varying levels and your DNA will determine the effects it has on you, but have no doubt gluten IS affecting you negatively and the biggest impact is on the brain. Depression, dementia, Alzheimer’s, Parkinson’s; there are studies showing even people with schizophrenia healed when they go gluten free and adopt a clean pure diet.

grain brain

2) There are over 300 symptoms and diseases medically and scientifically linked to gluten. As you read this you are experiencing several of them like headaches, stubborn weight, foggy brain, depression, mood swings, skin issues, dry scalp, insomnia, sexual malfunction, back pain, joint pain, muscle soreness, bone deterioration (did you know that most women diagnosed with osteoporosis unknowingly had Celiac Disease when tested later?)

3) Your body and brain function more efficiently when you go gluten free. Gluten causes chaos in your system; it is the ultimate cause & effect. Remove the cause (gluten) and you remove the effects

Gluten-Induced-Disease-Chart-

4) It’s easy to make switches and there’s no denying that a more pure diet will help you get to optimal health. It is impossible to say that when you replace over-processed bleached chemically treated fillers like wheat and barley with real pure foods you won’t feel better. There’s not even a question that it will improve your Quality of Life.

5) You want healthier kids. Gluten is medically linked to ADD, ADHD, Autism, stunted growth, muscle atrophy, and of course: weakened or completely malfunctioning auto-immune system. “Celiac Disease” (which 30% of the developed world has the genes for is exactly that: an exhaustion of the auto-immune system until it fails and starts misreading food).

Next PageThe 5 Best Steps to Going Gluten Free

Five Weight Loss Secrets the Experts Will Never Tell You

diet-books

The weight loss industry is a multi-billion dollar business. It’s a multi-billion dollar business which combines recycled weight-loss theories with new celebrities year after year. It’s a multi-billion dollar business which sells the promise of transformation…while secretly hoping that you never succeed.

Today, I thought I would let you in on a few of the secrets that they will never mention in their weight loss books.

diet-books

  • All Diets Work

Whether they have you counting calories, restricting food groups or modifying when you’re allowed to eat, almost everybody will lose weight at the beginning of a new weight loss program. Their program is not nearly as special as they want you to believe.

  • All Diets Fail

Most people already know the difference between diets that make you lean and diets that make you fat. The problem isn’t lack of knowledge…it’s lack of consistency. The world’s most perfect weight loss diet is 100% useless if you don’t follow the rules.

  • Following the Rules Can Be Extremely Uncomfortable

In addition to being affordable and almost-always available, a large percentage of us rely on junk food to modulate hormones and neuro-chemicals in an attempt to reduce stress levels and make raw nerves feel…less raw. It’s the same reason why other people drink, do drugs, beat their spouses, etc. When you take away your emotion-soothing foods, you may be able to rely on willpower for a while as you try to ignore your “stuff”, but eventually, your willpower won’t be strong enough…and the siren’s call of Ben & Jerry may just be too strong for even the most awesome of celebrity endorsed diets.

  • Uncomfortable Doesn’t Mean Impossible

No matter how much you rely on junk food, there are psychological, neurological and nutritional approaches that can help reduce your dependence on food to modulate your emotions. And most of them are free or at least very reasonable. MP3s of guided meditations, brain wave entrainment and/or hypnosis require very little cash and almost zero effort from you…and can be very, very helpful. Supplements like Chill Pills cost less than $1 a day and can have a profound effect on your mood. Dr. Judith Beck lowers the cost of using Cognitive Behavior Therapy as a weight loss aid by laying out her techniques in her book – The Complete Beck Diet for Life.

  • You are Your Best Diet Guru

No weight loss expert will ever know what it’s like for YOU to lose weight. They won’t feel your cravings…or have to resist your urges to snack late at night…or have tell your friends that you will be eating a bowl of chicken vegetable soup instead of sharing their giant platter of Nachos Supreme!!! But then again, they can’t judge how your body responds to a week of Intermittent fasting or how peri-workout nutrition has helped you gain muscle and lose fat at the same time. They can’t make the very specific observations and adjustments that will help you overcome your weakness while maximizing your strengths and advantages.

What should you do with this info?

I have met and talked with a lot of weight loss gurus over the past decade…and most of them are pretty decent people with an honest desire to help overweight people lose weight and get fit. They realize that there is no perfect diet. They realize that what works for you might not work for me. They realize that weight loss can be a long, drawn-out, incredibly frustrating endeavor.

Unfortunately, if they wrote that in their book… NO ONE would buy it.

So…take what you read in a diet book with a giant grain of salt. Think about the theory behind the weight loss plan. Think about how easily you would be able to integrate that plan into your lifestyle. And if you decide to take the plunge, pay attention to how your body, mind and emotions respond. And be ready to make tweaks to customize a “one-size-fits-all” diet to make it fit your life.

And if you don’t want to spend any money at all, just download a FREE eBook copy of A Paleo Diet for the 21st Century.

A Healthy Diet WILL Lower Your Risk of Heart Attack, Stroke, Death

ahei---alternative-healthy-

According to a study published in the medical journal Circulation, eating a healthy diet significantly reduces your odds of…

  • Cardio-vascular death by 35%
  • Heart attack by 14%
  • Stroke by 19%

 The Study

The researchers looked at 31, 546 men and women aged 66.5±6.2 years of age with pre-existing conditions who were enrolled in one of two blood-pressure medication trials.

As part of these studies, the test subjects were required to complete detailed lifestyle questionnaires which included questions about:

  • age,
  • education,
  • ethnicity,
  • diet,
  • physical activity,
  • smoking (never, current, former),
  • daily alcohol intake (frequency of intake),

In addition to the questionnaire, numerous lab tests were conducted – fasting lipids & glucose, medications, physical activity, blood pressure, body mass index (BMI), waist circumference, and hip circumference were also recorded at baseline, at 2 years, and at study end.

After five years, the researchers found that the test subjects who ate a diet similar to the Alternative Healthy Eating Index (AHEI) approach were much healthier than those who ate the Standard American Diet.

Note – In their calculations, the researchers accounted for age, sex, location, pharmaceuticals, smoking and a whole bunch of other know confounders. This allowed them to “adjust for potential factors that could also influence heart disease risk. For example, healthier eaters may experience fewer heart problems because they also tend to smoke less or exercise more or take their medications more diligently. But even after they controlled for these behaviors, the study showed a strong link between healthy diet and heart health”.

A strong link indeed:

  • A 35% reduction in risk of cardio-vascular death
  • A 14% reduction in risk of heart attack
  • A 19% reduction in risk of stroke

All by eating your veggies.

Reference

Attn. PETA : Man Has Been Eating Meat For Over 1.5 Million Years

brontosaurus-burger

Today’s post is for the vegan lady at the gym who tried to convince me to stop eating animal protein.

According to researchers from the University of Colorado Denver…

  • Humans have been eating meat for at least 1.5 millions years…which is approximately 75,000 generations of humanity.
  • When our 1.5 million year old ancestors ran low on meat, it resulted in a nursing mother’s breast milk being negatively altered the nutritional content of her breast milk to the extent that her nursing child ultimately died from malnourishment.

Her baby died for lack of a Bronto-Burger.

We know this because…

  1. The U of C researchers found a skull fragment from that 2 year old anemic baby in the Olduvai Gorge in northern Tanzania
  2. The skull fragment showed signs of porotic hyperostosis associated with anemia.

According to these findings, the researchers were able to conclude that…

  • This anemic condition was likely caused by a diet suddenly lacking in meat.
  • The consumption of meat had become so essential to proper hominin functioning that its paucity or lack led to deleterious pathological conditions (porotic hyperostosis).
  • That we have only scratched the surface in our understanding of nutrition and health in ancestral populations of the deep past.

Conclusion

In addition to previous research which showed that “meat-eating was an important factor affecting early hominin brain expansion, social organization and geographic movement”, we now know that meat consumption was directly related to our ancestors’ physical health.

Sounds to me like a good reason to fire up the BBQ.

Reference

 

You eat Healthy, your spouse doesn’t…what do you do???

spices

I like to eat a Paleo style of diet…my wife doesn’t.

And this difference can be a real pain in the ass for a couple that….

  1. Enjoys eating dinner together
  2. Wants to avoid having screaming fights over the dinner menu

So….in an effort to save Paleo marriages around the globe, I present a two-part solution….

Solution #1.

The Paleo chef needs to upgrade his/her cooking skills…by stealing recipes from people who can actually cook.

Because if you think that platefuls of meat & steamed frozen veg is going to convert your pizza-eating spouse to the wonders of Paleo-eating…you are in for a rude surprise.

And if you think that your non-Paleo spouse is going to enjoy preparing Paleo meals…you are really in for a rude awakening.

Seriously….you NEED to embrace your inner Jamie Oliver and get cooking.

Get Ripped, Get Huge ASAP

andreas-munzer-ripped

The Holy Grail of Bodybuilding

  1. Get ripped…
  2. while packing on slabs of muscle…
  3. in a short time frame….
  4. without drugs.

And here’s how we’re going to do it.

NUTRITION

Calories

Between 10 – 12 calories per pound of Lean Body Mass (LBM)

  • LBM = your total weight – body-fat weight

Example

  • a 220 lb man with 20% BF has an LBM of 176 lbs
  • An LBM of 176 = a range of 1760 to 2112 calories per day

Peri-Workout Nutrition

Drink a serving of Gaspari Nutrition’s Size On Max Performance during the course of your workout.

  • Creatine + whey protein hydrosylate + leucine + carbohydrates + some other “stuff” = my favorite workout drink.  (180 calories)

Post-Workout Nutrition

  • Whey Isolate protein shake – water, 2 scoops of  protein, shake, chug – (200 – 260 calories of muscle re-building-ness)

[box type=”note”]If you’re finding that you’re not gaining or shudder…losing some muscle mass on this plan, I want you to add extra carbs to this shake – fruit, sweeteners, whatever Take the calories away from the carbs you eat during the rest of the day[/box]

Rest of the Day Nutrition

In addition to the workout supplements, I recommend 2 tbsps of fish oil to be taken each day. Personally, I take 1 tbsp in the morning and the second spoonful before I go to bed.

Next, we need to subtract the supplement calories from the daily allowance…

  • Fish Oil (240 cal)
  • Size On (180 cal)
  • Whey Protein shake (200 – 260 cal)
  • Total – 620-680 calories

This leaves our test subject with between 1080 and 1492 calories for the rest of the day

Here’s how he’s going to get those calories

  • 1/2 will come from carb-free Protein sources – eggs, beef, chicken, fish, etc…
  • 1/2 will come from the approved vegetable list

If you need to use fat to prepare your meals, subtract those calories from your protein sources

Approved Vegetable List

  • Leafy, green, salad-type vegetables – Amaranth, Arugula, Beet greens, Bok choy, Broccoli Rabe, Borage greens, Brussels sprout, Cabbage, Catsear, Celery, Celtuce, Ceylon spinach, Chaya, Chickweed, Chicory, Chinese Mallow, Chrysanthemum leaves, Collard greens, Corn salad, Cress, Dandelion, Endive, Fat hen, Fiddlehead, Fluted pumpkin, Garden Rocket, Kale, Komatsuna, Kuka, Lagos bologi, Lamb’s lettuce, Land cress, Lettuce, Lizard’s tail, Melokhia, Miner’s Lettuce, Mizuna greens, Mustard, Napa cabbage, New Zealand Spinach, Orache, Pak choy, Paracress, Poke, Radicchio, Sea beet, Sea kale, Sierra Leone bologi, Soko, Sorrel, Spinach, Summer purslane, Swiss chard, Tatsoi, Turnip greens, Watercress, Water spinach, Winter purslane and Yarrow
  • Flowers and flower buds – Artichoke, Broccoli, Caper, Cauliflower, Courgette flowers and Squash blossoms
  • Bulb and stem vegetables – Asparagus, Cardoon, Celeriac, Celery, Elephant Garlic, Florence fennel, Garlic, Kohlrabi, Leek, Kurrat, Lotus root, Nopal, Onion, Pearl onion, Prussian asparagus, Spring Onion/Scallion, Shallot, Welsh onion and Wild leek
  • Root and tuberous vegetables – Bamboo shoot, Beetroot, Burdock, Broadleaf arrowhead, Camas, Canna, Carrot, Cassava, Chinese artichoke, Daikon, Elephant Foot yam, Ensete, Ginger, Hamburg parsley, Horseradish, Jerusalem artichoke, Jícama, Mashua, Parsnip, Pignut, Prairie turnip, Radish, Rutabaga, Salsify, Scorzonera, Skirret, Swede, Sweet Potato or Kumara, Taro, Ti, Tigernut, Turnip, Ulluco, Water chestnut, Yacón and Yam
  • Sea vegetables – Aonori, Carola, Dabberlocks or badderlocks, Dulse or dillisk, Hijiki, Kombu, Laver, Mozuku, Nori, Ogonori, Sea grape, Sea kale, Sea lettuce and Wakame
  • Other Vegetables/ Fruits – Bell pepper, Bitter melon/Bitter gourd, Chayote, Courgette, Cucumber, Ivy Gourd, Eggplant/Aubergine/Brinjal, Luffa, Pumpkin, Squash, Sweet pepper (Capsicum), Tinda, Tomatillo, Tomato and Winter melon
Approved Supplementary Fats
  • Avocado oil, bacon fat, butter, coconut oil, ghee, lard, tallow, nut butters, walnut oil, macadamia oil, and olive oil (over salads & veg only – don’t cook with olive oil)

TRAINING

This series of workouts will pile on muscle mass faster than a big tub of steroids.

.Reference

Paleo Dessert Recipes Vol.5

paleo-lime-coconut-cupcakes

Paleo + Dessert = :)

 

Just Say No to Seitan

satan-loves-seitan web

Four months ago I started working with a new PT client.

  • The client is a 42 year old woman
  • Who has been a vegan / vegetarian for the past 18 years
  • Whose goals were to drop some stubborn baby weight and improve her overall health & fitness.

The first month involved setting up her program, training & teaching 3x per week, 3 cardio & joint mobility sessions per week….and a never-ending argument about her diet.

  • Because…as a modern vegetarian, 60-80 % of her calories were coming from grains and soy.
  • And as the local Paleo guru, my clients are all “encouraged” to ditch the grains and soy and embrace the Paleo Diet.

Fast forward to today….

I finally convinced her to ditch the grains & beans and go Paleo for the past three months. During that time, she has seen massive improvements in:

  • Fat loss
  • Stomach bloat
  • Face bloat
  • Back fat
  • Sinus allergy symptoms
  • Rosacea
  • Joint pain
  • Headaches
  • Afternoon sleepiness
  • Blue moods – no clinical diagnosis, she just “feels better”
  • And some lady issues that she didn’t elaborate on  :)

And she credits most of that improvement to her elimination of grains….especially wheat.

In the last month, she has played with re-introducing various “forbidden” foods. And the one that provoked the most noticeable “side effect” was wheat products – seitan, bread and wheat noodles. Almost instantly, she experienced stomach upset prompting a trip to the bathroom.

This prompted her to do a bunch of research on gluten intolerance. Part of that research involved contacting  my online friend Jaqui Karr. Jaqui is my go to source for gluten info.

Jaqui is as obsessed with gluten as a tween is with Justin Bieber.

[box type=”important”]If you want more info on gluten and the horrible stuff it’s doing to your body, check out Jaqui’s blog… or better yet, learn everything she knows about gluten via her Gluten Demystified program. Jaqui blends scientific research & common sense really, really well.[/box]

[box type=”note”]My client is such a big fan of Jaqui’s work that she has started promoting the Gluten Demystified program on her Facebook page and on a new Tumblog devoted to gluten intolerance[/box]

Reference

Make Insulin Your Friend… and Get Leaner, Stronger & Healthier

accu-chek-aviva-nano

Over the next few months I am going to be conducting an experiment about the interaction between nutrition, exercise, blood sugar, insulin, body composition and overall health.

Here’s the plan…

Using a blood glucose monitor (supplied free of charge by Roche Diagnostics), I am going to have one of my clients measure his blood sugar, blood pressure and body composition again and again and again…. and we’re going to see how it reacts to different types of diets and training modalities.

Starting next week, he will begin taking his measurements upon waking, pre-meal, post-meal, pre-workout, post-workout and before bed.

I will track all the data and (fingers crossed), we should generate some pretty interesting data.

We will be testing how his body responds to:

  • a Standard American Diet (aka junk food)
  • a meat & potatoes diet
  • a vegetarian diet
  • a low fat diet
  • a high fat – Atkins style diet
  • a Paleo diet
  • a Mediterranean diet
  • Intermittent fasting
  • Cardio workouts
  • Health Habits workouts…. lots of HIRT
  • Heavy lifting – power bodybuilding style of workout
  • No workouts
If you have any suggestions, leave me a comment.

Just Say NO to Bread Back

SAY-NO-TO-BREAD-BACK

Bread Back is defined as “the loaf of back fat between a woman’s bra and her underwear”. (ref: 30 Rock)

http://cdn.hark.com/swfs/player.swf?pid=mwgwfylyvg
Older women have bread back

Your Anti Back Fat Prescription

Yummy + Healthy = Square Snacks

square-snacks
  • It’s 3:00 in the afternoon
  • Your tummy is grumbly
  • You’re “jonesing” for something sweet
  • But you’re trying to watch your waistline…
  • And you don’t want to eat crap food like the rest of the drones in your office.

You could go for one of those 100 cal packages of cookies/chips….

Or…you could go for something that tastes awesome and is actually good for you.

My experience with Square Snacks

A few weeks ago, some of my clients asked me what I thought about this new energy bar that their friends were raving about. They said that it tasted better than Lara  Bars, and had fewer calories. After taking a look at their website, I contacted the owner and asked them to send me a few samples to review.

  • Two days after receiving the samples… all of them had been inhaled by my wife and clients.
  • Three days later… I had to go to the store and buy some more to test myself.
  • Four days later… I agreed with my clients that the Square Snacks were a great mid-afternoon energy snack… even better than Lara Bars.

My reasoning…

  • Nutrient dense ingredients
  • Great taste
  • No chemicals, flavors, etc…just real food
  • With 1/2 the calories of a Skinny Vanilla Latte

Nutritional Info

It gets even better

Because I love you guys so darn much, I am going to hook one of you up with a 20 bar prize pack of Square Snacks

[box type=”important”]Unfortunately, this giveaway is open ONLY to Canadians. Square Snacks is a new company and aren’t selling outside of Canada yet.[/box]

a Rafflecopter giveaway

Fabulous Fruit Fights Fat

peaches-plums-nectarines

Researchers have found that bioactive compounds (phenolics) found in stone fruits, like peaches, plums and nectarines have the ability to fight-off obesity-related diabetes and cardiovascular disease.

The study (funded by the California Tree Fruit Agreement, The California Plum Board, the California Grape and Tree Fruit League and the Texas Department of Agriculture), “showed that the compounds in stone fruits could be a weapon against “metabolic syndrome,” in which obesity and inflammation lead to serious health issues.”

They found that:

  • Phenolic compounds present in these fruits have anti-obesity, anti-inflammatory and anti-diabetic properties in different cell lines and may also reduce the oxidation of bad cholesterol LDL which is associated to cardiovascular disease.
  • This mixture of the phenolic compounds work simultaneously within the different components of the disease.
  • Specifically,  the four major phenolic groups – anthocyanins, clorogenic acids, quercetin derivatives and catechins – work on different cells – fat cells, macrophages and vascular endothelial cells. They modulate different expressions of genes and proteins depending on the type of compound.
  • This means that all of them are working simultaneously in different fronts against the components of the disease, including obesity, inflammation, diabetes and cardiovascular disease.

Cisneros-Zevallos said this is believed to be the first time that “bioactive compounds of a fruit have been shown to potentially work in different fronts against a disease. Each of these stone fruits contain similar phenolic groups but in differing proportions so all of them are a good source of health promoting compounds and may complement each other.”

 Conclusions

  1. Plums, peaches, nectarines are loaded with lots of good stuff
  2. Plums, peaches, nectarines make up an important part of the Paleo Diet
  3. This research is funded by organizations that want you to buy more plums, peaches and nectarines
  4. Just because there is good stuff to be found in these stone fruits, be aware that they are to be enjoyed in moderation as they are also loaded with fructose (aka sugar).

Reference

Treat Your Fitness Like You Treat Your Business

money-muscle

My busiest clients are almost always my most dedicated and most successful clients.

Despite working 18 hour days, they still find the time to workout and prepare healthy Paleo meals. And it’s all because they approach their fitness routine in the same way they approach their business.

  • They schedule workouts just like they do business meetings.
  • They realize that a good trainer or nutritionist is an cost of doing business…just like an accountant or some other business consultant.
  • They plan time to shop for and prepare healthy meals.
  • They understand that a fitness plan is just as necessary as a business plan

Something to think about…the next time someone tells you that they don’t have time to exercise.

Paleo Dessert Recipes Vol.4

paleo-choco-coconut-donuts

Love to eat dessert but don’t want to eat crappy, non-Paleo ingredients?

Look no further….this is the 4th instalment of oeey-gooey Paleo recipes.

Next Page – more Paleo Dessert Recipes

Protein Power-Packed Paleo Pudding….bad name, great recipe

say-NO-to-Jello

Eating a Paleo diet will:

  • Make you healthy
  • Make you look great naked

Unfortunately, when your friends are eating a 2000 calorie Dairy Queen Blizzard loaded with fudge, caramel and cholesterol meds, it kinda sucks to always pull out an apple and pretend that your dessert is better than theirs.

That’s why I have been publishing some of my favorite paleo dessert recipes lately

  1. Paleo Dessert Recipes – Vol. 1
  2. Paleo Dessert Recipes Vol.2
  3. Paleo Dessert Recipes – Vol. 3

Awesome tasting recipes that are made with Paleo-friendly ingredients.

Unfortunately…even these amazing Paleo desserts aren’t perfect.

What might be perfect is the following recipe for Protein Power-Packed Paleo Pudding made by my buddy Matt Jones.

[box type=”info”]According to Chef Matt….This custard uses coconut oil which has MCT’s for fuel, and the recipe overall is low sugar, easy to make, paleo, and tastes great. The only thing I thought it was lacking is protein. I have some egg white protein from MRM that is also low sugar without a lot of extra ingredients or artificial sweeteners, so I tried the recipe with the protein powder in it and I think it works great.[/box]

And I agree.

We are both big fans of the original Chocolate banana coconut custard recipe that I posted in my second installment of Paleo Dessert Recipes. But with the extra protein, Matt has created a super snack.

[box type=”note”]In addition to the protein powder, Matt added some stevia to the recipe.. feel free to modify as your sweet-tooth dictates[/box]

The Recipe

Ingredients:

2 medium ripe bananas
5 Tbs almond butter
1/2 cup coconut oil, melted
Vanilla extract to taste
6 Tbs raw cacao or cocoa powder
3 packets of stevia
2 scoops protein powder of choice

 

Directions:

  • Mash banana with fork until creamy.
  • Add almond butter, stir until well incorporated.
  • Add melted coconut oil and vanilla extract; briskly mix with a mixer. You want this smooth without banana chunks.
  • Add cocoa/cacao powder and stevia, mix again until well mixed.
  • Add the protein powder, mix thoroughly.
  • Chill in refrigerator for at least 30 mins to allow coconut oil to set and thicken the mixture. IMHO this dessert gets better the longer it is in the refrigerator until it ends up almost like ice cream.

[box type=”info”]Matt : Here is the approximate nutritional breakdown of my version. I would call this “modern Paleo”, fairly low carb and low sugar (and most come from banana), some fiber, lots of good fat (MCT’s and some monounsaturated from almond butter), some protein, and a decent amount of calories:[/box]

  •  It should look like this after mixing:

  •  Approximately 4hrs after being refrigerated its already thickened up and starting to get that ice cream type texture:

  •  Enjoy!

Paleo Dessert Recipes – Vol. 3

paleo-DARK-CHOCOLATE-RASPBE

Believe it or not, I found even more amazing Paleo dessert recipes to share….Enjoy

paleo almond butter chocolate eggs

Next Page – More Paleo Recipes

The Top 10 Vitamin K Foods

5 Ways to Get Fit Faster

The Standard American Diet results in:

  • Inflammation,
  • Obesity,
  • Insulin resistance,
  • and Diabetes

Luckily for you, Vitamin K reduces

  • Inflammation,
  • Insulin resistance and…
  • the likelihood that people who a Western diet will become fat and diabetic.

And how do we find this elusive Vitamin K?

Glad you asked….

  1. Kale – 1 cup, boiled & drained – 1062 mcg / µg
  2. Spinach – 1 cup, frozen, boiled & drained – 1027 mcg / µg
  3. Turnip Greens – 1 cup, frozen, boiled & drained – 851 mcg / µg
  4. Collards – 1 cup, boiled & drained – 836 mcg / µg  ***
  5. Brussels sprouts – 1 cup, frozen, boiled & drained – 300 mcg / µg
  6. Broccoli – 1 cup, boiled & drained – 220 mcg / µg
  7. Cabbage – 1 cup, boiled & drained – 163 mcg / µg
  8. Asparagus – 1 cup, boiled & drained – 144 mcg / µg
  9. Lettuce, iceberg – 1 head – 130 mcg / µg
  10. Peas, green – 1 cup,  canned & drained – 63 mcg / µg
Notes
  • I don’t know why the USDA thinks everyone is eating frozen greens instead of fresh, but they do. We’re going to assume that fresh Brussels sprouts have just as much Vitamin K as frozen… if not more
  • *** Beet greens, Dandelion greens and Mustard greens could / should have been included in this list – they would have placed between #4 Collards and # 5 Brussels sprouts.  I omitted them due to availability. If you have them in your area, go ahead and eat ‘em up. They are Vit. K superstars.

Reference

Leming Ancestral Footwear – Barefoot / Minimalist Shoe Review

leming-footwear

There are two main type of barefoot / minimalist shoe wearers.

  1. There are the people who want the benefits of barefoot shoes without looking weird.
  2. And there are the people who thrive on people staring at their feet while they wiggle their Vibram-shod tootsies.

I fall firmly into the first camp.

While I am “unique” enough to be caught jogging outside in shorts during a snowy Canadian winter, I am not a fan of wearing minimalist shoes with street clothes.

They look weird.

Correction – they looked weird.

 

Leming Footwear are the first truly barefoot / minimalist shoe that looks like a conventional “sneaker”.

And boy are me and my wife happy…she was sick and tired of me wearing my barefoot booties out with her in public.

But enough about me and my sartorial quirks….Here’s the review.

Review Criteria

  • Protection – If you’re not going to develop thick natural calluses by actually running barefoot, you need to wear a shoe that will protect you from the occasional sharp stone or chunk of glass.

The Leming sole is different than other barefoot / minimalist shoes.

While the market is moving towards thinner / puncture-proof sole materials, Leming employs a thicker (6 mm) sole made a 6mm thick air infused rubber that is supposed to replicate the elasticity of human skin.

 

The result is a sole that provides unbelieveably good groundfeel, is super flexible, but may not be your best choice if you’re into trail running over rocky surfaces.

 

With that being said, I decided to take them trail running over rocky surfaces….with the end result being a great run with no punctures – shoe or foot.

  • Proprioception – A bare foot provides immediate feedback to the surface it rests upon. A thick spongy sole…not so much. This can be crucial when it comes to avoiding ankle sprains and wiping out while trail running.

As I mentioned above, Lemings offer amazing groundfeel.

But unlike the sockwa G2s, this barefoot feel is achieved not through the thinnest of soles, but through the consistency of the sole material. It’s completely different from anything else on the market.

  • Natural Foot Movement – Does the shoe allow or prevent your foot from flexing & spreading in order to distribute the load uniformly over the entire foot. This analysis will address shoe width (especially the toe box), arch support, shock absorption, etc…

Lemings allows your foot to move, spread, scrunch as nature intended.

They also offer a great explanation of what nature had in mind. Enjoy your foot education.

  • Weight of the Shoe – Who wants a heavy, clunky shoe?

Lemings weighs 6.3 ounces…. or about 1/3 of a pound. Heavier than the Sockwas, lighter than a pair of Nike Frees.

  • The Drop – Most conventional running shoes raise the heel 22-24mm off the ground while lifting the front of the shoe only 10-15mm off the ground. This difference creates a forward leaning slope which changes your posture and leads to a heel-toe gait which leads a bunch of problems. Long story short, a flat shoe is more natural.

Lemings have a 0mm drop.

  • Shape of the Sole – As your foot spreads, does the protective sole continue to protect your foot from physical damage?

Lemings are built with an wide toe box and sole. This allow for a proper foot spread without stretching the fabric of the upper or oozing out beyond the width of the rubber sole.

  • Comfort – Do they feel good on your feet?

Super comfortable, with a barefoot feel equal to the Sockwa and superior to the Reebok.

Unlike most barefoot shoes, Lemings are comfortable whether you wear them with or without socks.

As an aside, due to the wide toe box of the Lemings, I found myself wiggling and scrunching my toes while wearing these shoes. Not sure why. It was kinda weird. Just though I would share.

  • Ease of Use – Are they easy to put on?

Yep – Also, I chose to wear socks with them. Can’t do that with all minimalist shoes.

  • Appearance – Do you look like a freak wearing them? Do you care?

They look like normal “sneakers”. When I showed them off to people, I had to draw attention to the wide toebox.

  • Ventilation – Vibrams are notoriously stinky shoes…what about the Lemings?

So far so good. The Lemings combination of faux-suede and mesh let my sweaty feet breathe during runs & workouts.

  • Durability – Will they stand up to some pounding?

So far, so good. If they wear poorly, I will update this post

  • Price -

$89.99 USD – Same price as the Reeboks, $20 more than the Kigos, $40 more than the Sockwas and $25 less than the Lunas.

  • Application – Is the shoe applicable for everyday use, running, sports, yoga, weight lifting, water sports, beach sports, etc?

Lemings are the most versatile barefoot / minimalist shoes that I have tested. Great for athletics & great for sitting on a patio watching the girls walk by.

Conclusion

Like all barefoot shoes, your decision to buy this shoe should come down to application.

  • Lemings are a true minimalist shoe
  • They are also the most fashion friendly minimalist shoe on the market
  • The price is reasonable

But what about you?

  • What kind of shoe are you looking for?
  • What is the application?
  • Do Lemings fit that application?..

Paleo Dessert Recipes – Vol. 2

paleo-fruit-tart

Two weeks ago I posted the first installment of Paleo Dessert Recipes.

If you have a sweet tooth anything like mine, you’re just about ready for Vol. 2.

Bon appetit

Paleo Molten Lava Chocolate Cake

Paleo Cherry Strawberry Ice Cream

Paleo Cranberry Ginger Cookies

Paleo Chocolate Banana Coconut Custard

Paleo Caramel Pecan Bars

Next Page – More Paleo Dessert Recipes

Paleo Dessert Recipes – Vol. 1

paleo-lemon-bars

Ever since I switched over to a Paleo style of eating, my big ole’ sweet tooth has shrunk in size.

But every now and then, I still get a wicked craving for something sweet.

And thanks to a growing legion of Paleo foodies, I can now indulge that sweet tooth with these amazing Paleo dessert recipes.

Next Page – More Paleo Dessert Recipes

How to Get Your Kids to Eat Paleo

eat-like-a-dinosaur
  • You want your kids to be healthy.
  • You want them to grow up strong and smart and self-confident.

And yet…most parents feed their children the type of foods…

  • Breakfast cereals & juice/fruit drink for breakfast
  • Processed grains (bread/pasta), cheese and processed meats for lunch
  • More of the same + uber-sugary dessert for dinner

….that lead to obesity, diabetes, high blood pressure, bullying, insecurity, and a whack of bad habits to pass on to your grandchildren.

Problem is…children come equipped under-developed palates that need to be developed in order for them to like “healthy” food.

And no parent wants meal time to be always be a battle where everyone ends up frustrated and the kids refuse to eat their broccoli and cauliflower.

Lucky for us, I have found two amazing books to help parents get their kids to eat Paleo…or at least eat gluten-free and infinitely more healthy than all their little classmates.

Paleo Pals

Paleo Pals is a children’s story book aimed at kids between 4 and 8 years old.

Written by Paleo-foodie Sarah Fragoso, it tells the tale of three under-age super-heroes named Piper, Phoenix, and Parker who travel the land helping other children learn about living the healthiest, most exciting, most super lives possible. They are known as The Paleo Pals, and this is a story about how they help out Jimmy, a little boy who is not sure if eating paleo food is even one tiny bit exciting or super.

And just like Jimmy, odds are your little munchkins will be too interested in the story and drawings to realize that they are being brainwashed into:

  1. Eating vegetables
  2. Preparing meals with their parents
  3. Spreading the “gospel” of Paleo just like Piper, Phoenix and Parker.

Eat Like a Dinosaur

I just finished beta-testing this book on some of my clients with little kids and it was another huge hit.

It’s a little less story-book and a little more recipe-book than Paleo Pals and the Moms that reviewed it for me said that the two books work really well together.

And on a personal note, the recipes in this book are definitely not little-kiddie recipes. For breakfast this morning, I had a slab of the Bacon, Kale and Black Olive Egg Pie (aka quiche) found on page. 75.

It’s just about the best beginner-Paleo recipe book that I have read – adults or kids.

The book is written by Matt and Stacy, the original Paleo Parents, and is designed to show you how to make the Paleo transformation in your family’s life. With positivity, practicality and an appreciation for the fact that even the healthiest children sometimes want cupcakes and chicken nuggets—this book simply provides healthier ways to give kids the foods they love.

Seriously…I can’t say enough for these two books. If you want your kids to be healthy, you have to get them to eat healthy. And these two books will definitely help.

The World's First Paleo Fast Food Restaurant

paleo-fast-food-restaurant

Danish super-chef Thomas Rode Andersen is opening the world’s first Paleo fast food restaurant – Palæo

Designed as a 24-hr take-out restaurant, Chef Andersen believes he has a duty to champion the diet because too many people walk around “feeling like hell”.

“It’s all about going back to something original, going back to what we are designed to eat and the way our bodies are designed to work, and nothing to do with what we have come up with in the interim 10,000-12,000 years.”

It makes me wish that I lived in Copenhagen.

  • Super healthy food,
  • designed by a Michelin starred chef,
  • served 24 hours a day,
  • for a low price and
  • served in a quick & convenient take-out style.

How can you beat that?

Palæo’s menu will include:

Meatza

Paleo Wrap Sandwiches

  • Paleo Hot Dogs,
  • Paleo Spaghetti,
  • Paleo Soup, and of course…
  • A whole bunch of Salads and fresh squeezed Juices.

Mmmmmmmmm Paleo.

 

Reference

Paleo Comfort Foods

paleo-comfort-foods---paleo

Whenever I try to convert my clients over to a Paleo Diet style of eating, there are always a few complaints/concerns:

  • What will I eat?
  • No pasta?
  • No bread?
  • Seriously, no bread?
  • What can I eat at restaurants?
  • I don’t have time to make every meal from scratch
  • Really…. no bread?
  • None of my cookbooks have Paleo-friendly recipes
  • Do you have Paleo recipes?

To help answer these questions, I have read just about every Paleo cookbook on the market over the past couple of years.

Unfortunately, most of them sucked.

  • They’re either full of haute Paleo recipes that look great but never get made from Monday to Friday, or
  • They’re way to simplistic and boring. or
  • The book design was poorly done and the book ended up in the trash

And then I found PALEO COMFORT FOODS

  • High quality book design
  • Meals that make you seriously hungry
  • Meals that seem familiar and make you think of Grandma’s Sunday Dinner
  • Meals that even non-Paleos will love to eat…again & again

Meals like:

  • Breakfast Egg Muffins
  • Biscuits & Gravy
  • Chicken with Mushroom Sauce
  • Enchiladas
  • Fried Chicken
  • Shrimp & Grits
  • Fish Tacos
  • Pulled Pork
  • Ribs
  • Pot Roast
  • Chocolate Cake
  • Chocolate Coconut Pudding
  • Sweet Potato Pie

All of them 100% PALEO.

NOTE - This link will take you to the authors’ Amazon page and will give them an extra percentage on the sale of every book. Show ‘em some love

The Rob Ford Weight Loss Program

rob-ford-toronto-mayor-don-

Toronto’s Mayor Rob Ford is a big man.

And not just in a political “big man around town” kind of way, but in a 300+ lbs of former football player turned politician kind of way.

And in keeping with his political promise to stop the excessive “gravy train” spending at City Hall, the Mayor may be extending that agenda to include his own personal Gravy Train.

In an interview with Newstalk 1010, the mayor’s big brother (Councillor Doug Ford) said that the mayor is considering making a New Year’s resolution to drop some of his excess girth.

“In the new year, there is a chance, we could be seeing a slimmer, trimmer version of Toronto’s Mayor. Going further, the Councillor suggested that it’d be a good idea, and even suggested that he himself would join in and try and lose a few extra pounds. To add to the challenge, he suggested that they could make it a fundraiser, or a competition with proceeds going to a charity”.

So, as a public service to my home town, I’m gonna help the Mayor out.

I’ve decided that my next series of Best Body Workouts will be designed for trainees who need to make significant transformations to their health & physique.

  • Weight Loss
  • Cardiac Function
  • Pain caused by Muscular Imbalances
  • Metabolic Syndrome
  • and generally feeling tired and crappy all the time

The program will include:

  • Daily Exercise Tips
  • 3 Custom Health Habits Workouts per week
  • Daily Nutrition / Diet Suggestions with links to recipes
  • Additional suggestions regarding motivation, supplements, physical therapies, etc…

And because I love my city so much, I will also have some suggestions of how a program such as this can and should be made available to all Torontonians

For now, I would like to suggest that the Mayor and his brother download my FREE eBook - A Paleo Diet for the 21st Century as well as take  a look at the Best Body workouts that I have been posting throughout 2011.

A Freaking Awesome Paleo Dessert Recipe

sauteed-apples-banana-raisi

One of the major benefits of eating Paleo is that I almost never have cravings for super-sweet desserts anymore.

Almost never.

Last night…..my sweet tooth came back with a vengeance.

But, instead of giving into my sugar demons and running out and grabbing a tub of Candy Cane Chocolate Fudge Crackle Ice Cream, I clung to my last vestige of self-control…dashed into the kitchen…and whipped up my favorite paleo dessert

image credit: my crappy blackberry camera

Sauteed Apples & Friends

The beauty of this recipe is that you don’t even need apples.

It works equally well with pears, pineapple, peaches, nectarines, cherries, strawberries, mango, papaya, guava, etc…

Personally, I like a mixture of hard & soft fruits.

In this case, I had apples, raisins and bananas in the kitchen….and they all went into the pan.

Ingredients

  • 2 apples – chopped into bite sized pieces (I used Honey Crisp)
  • 1 heaping tablespoon of raisins
  • 1/2 a banana – chopped into bite sized pieces
  • 1/4 tsp ground cinnamon (I love cinnamon – you may want a little less)
  • 2 tbsp butter (you can substitute coconut oil)
  • Honey to taste (the banana & raisins provide a lot of natural sweetness)
  • a splash of spiced rum (feel free to omit, but it tastes great – I used Sailor Jerry brand)

This served two people.

Give it a try and let me know what you think.

Quick & Easy Paleo Recipe #1 – Beef Stir-Fry

stir-fry

One of the biggest drawbacks to eating a Paleo Diet in the 21st Century is….TIME.

Cooking Paleo meals takes time.

  • Time to buy fresh Paleo ingredients,
  • Time to prepare those Paleo ingredients, and
  • Time to cook those Paleo ingredients

It’s not like you can call up your local pizza joint and order some sauteed chicken & vegetables.

So… to all of those people who either hate cooking or don’t know how to cook Paleo, I dedicate today’s Quick & Easy Paleo Recipe

.

Beef Stir-Fry

.

Take one wok or large frying pan

+

Heat up the frying pan and add some coconut oil or leftover animal fat (beef, pork,etc)

+

PROTEIN – beef, pork, chicken, seafood, fowl, etc….

+

Cut the protein into stir-fry strips

+

When the protein is almost done (1-2 minutes away), toss in the vegetables

+

Add some seasonings – Umami paste (yum), soy sauce, herbs, garlic, etc…

+

Stir it so it doesn’t burn and everything gets cooked

=

Lose Weight with PGX

oprahs-weight-loss-confession

A new study, published in the British Journal of Nutrition, says that if you consume 5 grams of PGX fibre at the start of a meal, you will lower the Glycemic Index of that meal by 30%.

And that’s good news, because if you lower the Glycemic Index of that meal by 30%, you’re also lowering the resultant insulin production.

And if you believe that fat storage is driven by insulin, that 30% reduction in GI score has also lowered your chances of becoming obese.

What Does This Mean To You?

It means that if you’re going to eat a meal loaded with high glycemic carbs (sugar, starch, etc), you can minimize fat storage by supplementing with some PGX  (or some other viscous polysaccharide) prior to chowing down.

Or you can skip the high glycemic meal altogether and embrace your paleo roots and grill a steak and some veggies on the bbq.

Reference

I Have a Bad Case of Bread Head :(

image credit:   offonmars

Last night was my wife’s birthday.

As part of the celebration, I agreed to make a decidedly non-Paleo meal consisting of the following:

  • Her favorite pasta recipe that I used to make for her in my pre-Paleo days.
  • Homemade garlic pan bread swimming in butter
  • Caesar salad
  • Wine
  • Caramel Crunch ice cream

Needless to say…I awoke this morning with a brutal case of “bread head”.

  • A thumping headache stretching across my forehead
  • Stuffed sinuses
  • Achy joints
  • Puffy eyes and face
  • And a craving for starchy carbs that you would not believe

.

Beware the BREAD HEAD!!!!!

.

Leptin Resistance and the Search for a Magic Fat Pill

LEPTIN

Leptin resistance is one of the hottest topics for scientists looking to develop an anti-obesity pill.

In a new study, a group from Australia have finally discovered how leptin resistance actually happens.

According to lead author, Tony Tiganis, “our bodies produce leptin in response to increasing fat deposits. Acting on a part of the brain called the hypothalamus, leptin instructs the body to increase energy expenditure and decrease food intake, and so helps us maintain a healthy body weight.”

 

Unfortunately, “the body’s response to leptin is diminished in overweight and obese individuals, giving rise to the concept of ‘leptin-resistance’. In this new study, we’ve discovered more about how ‘leptin-resistance’ develops, providing new directions for research into possible treatments.”

And it’s this possibility of a possible treatment that has the weight-loss world all a-twitter.

Two proteins are already known to inhibit leptin in the brain and Professor Tiganis’ team have discovered a third. In mice, this third protein becomes more abundant with weight-gain, exacerbating leptin-resistance and hastening progression to morbid obesity. The study showed that the three negative regulators of leptin take effect at different stages, shedding light on how obesity progresses.

“Drugs targeting one of the negative regulators are already in clinical trials for Type 2 Diabetes, however, our research shows that in terms of increasing leptin-sensitivity in obesity, targeting only one of these won’t be enough. All three regulators might need to be switched off,” said Professor Tiganis.

The study showed that high fat diet-induced weight gain is largely prevented in genetically-modified mice when two of the negative regulators are deleted in the brain.

“We now have to determine what happens when all three negative regulators are neutralised. Do we prevent high fat diet-induced obesity?”

What Does This Mean To You?

If you’re waiting for a magic anti-fat pill…not a whole lot. It will be years before a pill is ready for the market…if ever.

However, if this research has piqued your interest about your own level of leptin resistance…read on my friend.

Short Term Fasting and Leptin

Keeping in mind that this research is in it’s infancy…..there are a couple of studies which show that short term fasting (when accompanied with reduced levels of glucose and insulin) causes serum leptin levels to drop regardless of body-fat changes.

They suggest that insulin, glucose, sugar, carbs, pizza & soda play a significant role in the regulation of leptin release….leptin resistance…. and ultimately obesity.

If future research confirms this, this means that short-term fasting diets combined with reduced carb consumption may turn out to be a pretty awesome way to fight obesity.

.

Reference

There Is No "Best Diet"

dietbooks2008
  • I love the Paleo Diet.
  • I love telling people about the Paleo Diet.
  • I love telling them how great it is for losing weight.
  • I love telling them how great it is for improving blood pressure and cholesterol and blood sugar…

And yet, when I talk online with a single mom who works two crappy jobs in order to keep a roof over her family’s head, I realize that the Paleo Diet is far from perfect. Availability and cost are a significant barrier for Paleo wannabes.

The same holds true for Atkins and the Zone and the Mediterranean Diets.

And if it isn’t cost or availability, another reason many diets aren’t “best” is that the recipes are too complicated for the general public.

We live in a world where kids are no longer learning how to cook. Take-out and re-heating crap in the microwave has replaced home-ec  and cooking from scratch. Some of today’s youth can’t even identify different varieties of fresh vegetables.

And what about time?

Back in the day, Mrs. Cleaver had all afternoon to whip up dinner for Ward and the boys. Who has that much time on their hands nowadays?

Not our single mom with two kids.

She emailed me last week asking for advice on how she could possibly manage to feed her family Paleo meals on a severely fixed income in a neighborhood without fresh produce. She wants to feed her kids healthy food, but her life is getting in the way.

There Is No Best Diet….not even Paleo

So, what did we do?

We came up with a relatively healthy Paleo-esque hybrid that made the best of her income, free time, cooking skills and food sources. I also put her in contact with some healthy food co-ops in her area and recommended some cooking manuals she could take out from her neighborhood library.

It’s not perfect, but it’s better.

It’s the best possible diet for her current circumstances. And as those circumstances change, so will her diet (I hope).

And that’s how we should be judging the effectiveness of the latest fad diet.

Not just by their amazing claims of rapid weight loss or miracle health improvements. But also by…

  • the TIME required to prepare meals
  • the COST of those meals
  • the AVAILABILITY of the ingredients
  • and the EASE OF PREPARATION

There Is No “Best Diet”…but there is a best diet for your life.

And since my eBook,  A Paleo Diet for the 21st Century is totally free, that should help with the cost element of eating Paleo :)

The Luna Equus Sandal – Barefoot / Minimalist Shoe Review

Luna Equus Sandal

The Luna Equus is different than any of the other barefoot “shoes” I have tested thus far.

For one thing, it’s a sandal, not a shoe.

Secondly, like a lot of my favorite people/stuff, the Equus started out as a giant pain in the butt, but with a little time and effort, I came to appreciate and love them.

Here’s why they annoyed me in the beginning:

  • Straight out of the box, this sandal is very stiff (thanks to the Cordovan leather)
  • The straps kept digging into my feet (especially between my toes)
  • They made a slapping noise as I ran in them (very annoying)
  • I got a wicked blister on my first run

In fact, I would have given up on them, except that I talked with a few people who had already gone through these growing pains. To a person, my new sandal buddies told me that as…

  1. the Equus begins to conform to your feet, and
  2. as your feet conform to wearing huarache sandals

… you will fall in love with these kicks and will never want to wear anything else.

And that’s what happened with me.

The sandals broke in, molded to my feet and my tender tootsies got used to the strap between my toes.

And I fell in love with my Luna Equus sandals.

Unfortunately, I live in Canada…and it’s starting to get cold…and I won’t be wearing sandals in the snow.

But as summer comes around next year, I will definitely be wearing these sandals as often as possible.

Here’s the review.

Review Criteria

  • Protection – If you’re not going to develop thick natural calluses by actually running barefoot, you need to wear a shoe that will protect you from the occasional sharp stone or chunk of glass.

The total thickness of the Luna Equus is about 4mm.

The thickness of the Equus leather varies slightly but it is usually right around 2mm. The Vibram sole is 2 mm thick also. And the last time I checked 2 mm + 2 mm =  4mm total thickness.

While the Equus sole is thicker than the Sockwa G2s, it still feels very “barefoot”. And yet, you can walk/run along rocky paths without feeling every stone jamming into the sole of your foot. It’s a nice compromise in thickness.

One drawback of the sandal is that the top of your foot is open to the elements. And while being topless feels great when you’re walking on the boardwalk on a hot summer’s day, it’s not so fun when a stick gets stuck between the footbed and your foot as you run through a wooded trail.

  • Proprioception – A bare foot provides immediate feedback to the surface it rests upon. A thick spongy sole…not so much. This can be crucial when it comes to avoiding ankle sprains and wiping out while trail running.

Until you “break in” your Equus sandals, there will be a distinct slapping noise as the stiffness of the sole hits the sidewalk. Over time, my pair of sandals has become much more flexible and that slapping noise has gone away.

Along with the reduction in noise, as the Equus became molded to my feet, I stopped noticing the separation between my feet and my footwear. The Equus became barefoot.

How will you be using your barefoot shoes?

  • Natural Foot Movement – Does the shoe allow or  prevent your foot from flexing & spreading in order to distribute the load uniformly over the entire foot. This analysis will address shoe width (especially the toe box), arch support, shock absorption, etc…

The Equus allows your foot to move, spread, scrunch as nature intended.

This adaptation becomes more natural as the shoe is broken in and becomes more flexible and molds to your foot.

  • Weight of the Shoe – Who wants a heavy, clunky shoe?

The Equus weighs 5 ounces. They’re heavier than the Sockwas, but still incredibly light. 

  • The Drop – Most conventional running shoes raise the heel 22-24mm off the ground while lifting the front of the shoe only 10-15mm off the ground. This difference creates a forward leaning slope which changes your posture and leads to a heel-toe gait which leads a bunch of problems. Long story short, a flat shoe is more natural.

The Equus has a 0 mm drop. perfect.

  • Shape of the Sole – As your foot spreads, does the protective sole continue to protect your foot from physical damage?

The Equus can be ordered custom fitted for no extra charge. This guarantees that the sole will fit your sole perfectly.

  • Comfort – Do they feel good on your feet?

At first, the Equus gave me blisters, killed the spot where the toe strap rubbed and felt really stiff.

After a few weeks of wear, they molded to my feet and felt like I wasn’t wearing anything.

You have to decide if you’re willing to put up with the break-in period.

  • Ease of Use – Are they easy to put on?

Getting the lacing “just right” was another issue with my new pair of Luna sandals. They come laced and ready to wear, but for a better fit, you will need to play with the laces. 

Personally, I like the top part of the lace tighter than the heel. When the heel lace was tight, it jammed my foot forward into the toe lace and caused a bunch of between my toes pain. 

However, after a few attempts, I got the lace tension just right. Since then, I haven’t had to adjust them once. 

Also, the laces stay in place and the sandal is super easy to take on and off.

  • Appearance – Do you look like a freak wearing them? Do you care?

Unlike barefoot shoes, the general public doesn’t react to huarache sandals with stares and finger pointing. Of course, if you have gnarly feet, you may want to consider getting a pedicure before striding out in your Equus’.

  • Ventilation – Vibrams are notoriously stinky shoes…what about the RealFLex?

Tons of ventilation. No stink. No sweat.

  • Durability – Will they stand up to some pounding?

So far, so good. It’s only been a few of months, but I have been running and walking them all over different surfaces – pavement, ashphalt, rock, gravel, dirt trails – and there is very little wear.

Barefoot Ted says that the Equus is made to be a long lasting sandal for everyday wearing and running. He estimates 1000 pavement miles of gentle pavement running for someone accustomed to the lightness of barefoot running. Street scuffing will wear the sole much more quickly.

  • Price -

The Cadillac of huarache sandals retails for $115 USD

Not cheap.

However, as with all Premium Model Luna Sandals, The Equus can be resoled and new laces can be added. This means that the Equus can be the last pair of sandals you ever buy.

  • Application – Is the shoe applicable for everyday use, running, sports, yoga, weight lifting, water sports, beach sports, etc?

The Equus is a great everyday shoe during the summer months. And while lots of other people use the Equus for running as well as everyday use, I prefer the protection of an enclosed shoe.

Conclusion

Like all barefoot shoes, your decision to buy this shoe should come down to application.

  • The Equus is a great sandal
  • And while the initial cost is pretty steep compared to other barefoot / minimalist shoes, the fact that I can re-sole the Equus should drive down the lifetime cost. 
  • However, while lots of other people wear the Equus when they hit the running trail, I prefer the protection of an enclosed shoe.
  • The same goes for my weightlifting workouts and sporting activities. I prefer a shoe to a sandal.

But what about you?

  • What kind of shoe are you looking for?
  • What is the application?
  • Does the Equus fit that application?
  • Do your feet look fugly in sandals?

..

Are Natural Trans Fats Good For You?

the american heart association loves red meat

According to this study, America’s health experts may be completely wrong about natural trans fats.

A review of the scientific literature has shown that trans fats from ruminant animals such as dairy and beef cattle may have significant positive health effects.

That’s right…natural trans fats may actually be good for you.

the american heart association loves red meat

The Science

During a review of the current epidemiological and clinical studies into the health effects of trans fats, researchers from Metabolic and Cardiovascular Diseases Laboratory at the University of Alberta found that naturally occurring trans fats have a different fatty acid profile than industrial vegetable based trans fats.

They concluded that this difference in fatty acid profile contributes to its different (ie healthier) physiological effects.

They found that while industrially produced trans fats do indeed show a strong link to coronary heart disease, the same can’t be said for natural trans fat consumption.

However….before all my Paleo and low-carb cousins get too excited, this is just the beginning of the research process.

Clinical studies investigating the cause and effect relationship between industrial and natural trans fats and their effect on our health are essentially non-existent. And who knows when they’ll get around to looking at the difference between factory-farm beef and old-school grass-fed beef.

Either way, the research is promising and gave me a warm feeling in my tummy as I ate my steak & egg breakfast this morning.

.


Reference

9 Ways to Make Your Workouts Super Awesome

skinny exercise weightlifter

superman-fat-ripped

1.  Reduce Rest between Sets

Reducing rest between sets will:

  • improve your anaerobic endurance,
  • allow you to do more work in a shorter period of time,
  • increase your EPOC
  • and force you to burn fat faster.

Unless you’re trying to get huge, cutting your rest periods to 30 seconds or less is a great thing to do.

skinny exercise weightlifter

2.  Start doing some Unilateral Training

Working one limb at a time is a great way to correct muscle imbalances, turn a bench press into a core exercise and get you stronger with less strain on your joints

See the 1 Arm Shoulder Press & 1 Leg Squat in this article

3.  Get Serious about Peri-Workout Nutrition

3 meals a day isn’t going to cut it if you want to get the best results from your workouts.

To maximize performance, recovery & fat loss, you need to get smart about what you eat and when you eat it.

This article goes into lots of detail about Peri-Workout Nutrition

4.  Improve your Joint Mobility

Most gym-goers barely find time to stretch their muscles.

Almost none of them try to mobilize tight or impinged joints.

And that’s too bad. Because I bet 9 out of 10 people at your gym have at least one bad joint that could be magically healed with a proper joint mobility program.

Kelly Starrett is my favorite guru when it comes to joint mobility

5.  Buy a Foam Roller

Seriously…buy a foam roller. Your muscles and your bank account will thank you

Lately, I have been using a Rumble Roller. It’s softer than my previous roller, but those knobs really do the trick on my IT bands and tight hip muscles.

rumble foam roller

As well, one of my clients used it on her tight trap muscles to help eliminate tension headaches.

Next PageTips 6 – 9…

A Solution for Skinny – Fat Runner Syndrome

skinny man woman runner cardio

In spite of two major knee reconstructions, I love running long distances.

Even though I am built like an hypermuscled Clydesdale, I still love throwing on a pair of shoes, hitting the trails and watching the world slow down as I ground out the miles. Aside from the numerous health & fitness benefits, I love how I “feel” when I run.

So, I can understand why a LOT of runners:

  • Focus exclusively on running
  • Ignore the other components of physical fitness
  • Allow muscle mass to waste away
  • And end up with a Skinny-Fat body

But…it doesn’t have to be that way.

It is possible for long distance runners to hold onto a decent amount of muscle mass and avoid looking like a anorexic Hollywood actress

Here’s how.

Nutrition

  • The Paleo Diet should form the base of your eating plan. The high nutritient : calorie ratio makes it the best choice for repairing muscular damage brought on by your workouts.
  • Fish oil and a quality green food are two base supplements that I recommend to all clients – runners or not.
  • While Paleo is your best choice throughout the day, when it comes to your pre & peri-workout nutrition, Paleo carbs (except for fruit juice) aren’t going to work. Too much fiber, slow digestion, full belly. Not good when you’re running for miles & miles.
  • What you need is Sugar and BCAAs before, during & after each work – cardio & resistance.
  • Buying tip – My favorite BCCA supplements are Scivation XTEND and Biotest Surge Workout Fuel.
  • Supplement daily with Creatine. Improved ATP storage. Improved muscle cell hydration. Better looking muscles. What else do you want?
  • Buying tip – Choose a micronized creatine powder from a reputable brand

Training

Here’s where we stimulate muscle growth.

And we’re going to use either of these two programs to do that.

But, we’re going to make some modifications:

  1. You’re going to do a maximum of two weightlifting workouts per week. You pick which bodyparts you want to work on.
  2. You’re not going to do the leg workouts during your running season.

I have tried to have clients do both and it almost never works. Without a pile of performance enhancing drugs, your legs won’t recover from the combination of weight lifting & running.

Post Workout Recovery Techniques

  • Post-Workout Carb/Protein Shake
  • Hot/Cold Contrast Showers
  • Fish Oils
  • Meditation / Sleep
  • Epsom Salt Baths
  • Ice
  • Massage
  • TENS
  • Chiropractic / Acupuncture
  • Traumeel

Sleep

GET 8 HOURS SLEEP!!!!

And consider switching to a “barefoot” running technique

Ever since I switched to…

  1. running in barefoot / minimalist shoes and
  2. landing on my forefoot / midfoot instead of using the standard “heel-toe” running gait

…my knee pain & shin splints have disappeared.

Well, there you go.

A solution for Skinny-Fat Runner Syndrome.

Follow the plan and within no time, you’ll be a lean-muscular runner.

 

 

Sockwa G2 – Barefoot / Minimalist Shoe Review

Sockwa - G2 - Black-Amphibian-2011

Unlike the Reebok RealFlex, Sockwa shoes are most definitely not designed for the mainstream athletic shoe customer.

This is a true barefoot / minimalist shoe.

With a freakishly thin 1.2 mm TPU sole bonded to a 2.8 mm neoprene sock, this is as close to barefoot as you can get.

For my review, I tested the G2 model.

Note – Sockwa is going to be unveiling their latest product at the Outdoor Retailer show next month. Unlike the current method of “gluing” the sole to the upper, this new product will utilize over-mold technology. Overmolding is a process where one can join two different plastics during the molding process without the use of adhesives or primers. This process comes from the plastic injection molding industry and will serve to actually bond the upper & the sole together into one piece.  

The product will be fully machine washable, more durable, have fewer non-green materials, weigh even less and have a smaller footprint on society.  

Review Criteria

  • Protection – If you’re not going to develop thick natural calluses by actually running barefoot, you need to wear a shoe that will protect you from the occasional sharp stone or chunk of glass.

The Sockwa G2 doesn’t provide much cushioning for your feet. I found this out while sprinting a hill covered in very pointy stones. It truly felt barefoot.

However, the uber-thin TPU sole was up to the challenge of my 255 lbs pounding up and down that Hill of Pain. 

Conclusion – you will feel it when you run over stuff, but unless it’s a nail, the Sockwa sole will keep your human sole from being punctured.

  • Proprioception – A bare foot provides immediate feedback to the surface it rests upon. A thick spongy sole…not so much. This can be crucial when it comes to avoiding ankle sprains and wiping out while trail running.

Just like being barefoot…except you can’t grab stuff with your toes.

  • Natural Foot Movement – Does the shoe allow or  prevent your foot from flexing & spreading in order to distribute the load uniformly over the entire foot. This analysis will address shoe width (especially the toe box), arch support, shock absorption, etc…

Just like being barefoot. There was absolutely no restriction on the flexing & spreading of my Shrek-like feet.

  • Weight of the Shoe – Who wants a heavy, clunky shoe?

Light as a feather.

  • The Drop – Most conventional running shoes raise the heel 22-24mm off the ground while lifting the front of the shoe only 10-15mm off the ground. This difference creates a forward leaning slope which changes your posture and leads to a heel-toe gait which leads a bunch of problems. Long story short, a flat shoe is more natural.

No drop – 2.8 mm of neoprene cushion on the front and back of the shoe

  • Shape of the Sole – As your foot spreads, does the protective sole continue to protect your foot from physical damage?

Sockwa soles are shaped like a flat-footed, extra wide sock.

Unlike a normal shoe, the Sockwa sole wraps up and around the neoprene upper. This allows for the sole of your foot to remain protected by the TPU sole as your foot naturally spreads & flexes while you walk, run & jump.

  • Comfort – Do they feel good on your feet?

How do you enjoy walking or running with bare feet? 

With these shoes, you will experience essentially the same amount of impact. Less damage (temperature & impact) than bare feet, but the same impact force due to the relative lack of padding.

If you are used to exercising in a mainstream athletic shoe, the difference will be enormous. Like night & day.

However, after a little while, your soft little baby feet will begin to toughen up and your body mechanics will adapt to accommodate for the lack of foam, gel, springs, airbags, etc…

  • Ease of Use – Are they easy to put on?

Just like putting on a pair of your granny’s knitted slippers.

  • Appearance – Do you look like a freak wearing them? Do you care?

I overheard a few comments while wearing the Sockwas.

  • Check out that guy’s shoes
  • Is he wearing socks?
  • Why does he look like a hippo wearing ballet slippers?

The last comment made me wonder if all barefoot / minimalist shoes look better on smaller, less muscley owners. They look a little dainty on us “big guys”.

  • Ventilation – Vibrams are notoriously stinky shoes…what about the RealFLex?

So far so good. 

  • Durability – Will they stand up to some pounding?

So far, so good. It’s only been a couple of months, but I have been running them all over different surfaces – pavement, ashphalt, rock, gravel, dirt trails – and there is little to no wear.

My Sockwa G2s – sorry about the picture quality – trust me, there is almost zero noticeable wear
  • Price - Due to my Scottish background, cost is always a factor.

$49.99 USD –  $40 less than the Reebok RealFlex

  • Application – Is the shoe applicable for everyday use, running, sports, yoga, weight lifting, water sports, beach sports, etc?

I wore them in the lake, on the beach, walking on the boardwalk, walking on the sidewalk, running on the sidewalk, running in the woods, running on gravel & stones, while lifting weights, while stretch & doing yoga poses…and other than having to get used to the higher impact forces, I have absolutely no complaints.

True, I don’t see myself wearing them through a Canadian winter, but…

Conclusion

Like the Reebok RealFlex, your decision to buy this shoe should come down to application.

If you want a true barefoot feel, this is a great shoe.

But, if you don’t want to walk around in sock/shoes & have strangers make comments, then maybe you should opt for a hybrid minimalist shoe like the RealFlex or the Nike Free.

Or, maybe you wear your Sockwas in yoga class or at the beach or sprinting hills…..and then walk the streets in something more mainstream.

Reebok RealFlex – Barefoot / Minimalist Shoe Review

RealFlex shoes_Low res_men's

Reebok‘s RealFlex running shoe marks Reebok’s initial foray into barefoot / minimalist footwear.

Evolving out of an earlier concept for “collapsible shoes“, the RealFlex isn’t a pure barefoot shoe.

Reebok RealFlex Running Shoe

Designed for the mainstream market, the RealFlex is being promoted as being a better than barefoot shoe. Their Head of Advanced Innovation says that RealFlex combines the best aspects of barefoot/minimalist footwear with the protection of a modern running shoe.

They claim that you get all of that healthy foot movement & proprioception without all of those nasty impact forces caused by running on concrete sidewalks.

Sounds pretty convincing to me. Which is not surprising when you consider that they’re trying to sell you a pair.

How about an unbiased review?

Review Criteria

  • Protection – If you’re not going to develop thick natural calluses by actually running barefoot, you need to wear a shoe that will protect you from the occasional sharp stone or chunk of glass.

Compared to all of the other barefoot / minimalist shoes I have been beta-testing, these shoes offered the best protection against the stones, glass and small woodland creatures I encounter while trail running. This is thanks to the RealFlex’s thicker sole & foam padding.

  • Proprioception – A bare foot provides immediate feedback to the surface it rests upon. A thick spongy sole…not so much. This can be crucial when it comes to avoiding ankle sprains and wiping out while trail running.

Compared to every pair of Nike Frees that I ever owned, the RealFlex offers much improved proprioception. Compared to the average running shoe, there’s no comparison. The RealFlex lets you feel the ground better than any other big name athletic shoe that I have ever worn.

However, when we compare to every other barefoot / minimalist shoe that I have been testing, the RealFlex is like walking in Moon Boots. The relatively thick layer of foam padding creates a noticeable barrier between your feet & the ground.

And that’s the big trade-off – Protection for Proprioception

  • Natural Foot Movement – Does the shoe allow or  prevent your foot from flexing & spreading in order to distribute the load uniformly over the entire foot. This analysis will address shoe width (especially the toe box), arch support, shock absorption, etc…

The RealFlex offers no motion control technology. The minimalist upper lets the foot spread out against the fabric with minimal resistance. However, since it is shaped like a standard running shoe, us wide footed runners tend to spread our feet out and over the edge of the sole.

Not exactly like bare feet.

The toe box is average width. You don’t notice your toes being pinched, but compared to some barefoot shoes, there is less room to wiggle.

Regarding shock absorption, the RealFlex’s foam padding is designed to protect the runner from impact on man-made surfaces.

This is most noticeable with the RealFlex’s built up heel design. This is a major design difference between the RealFlex and other barefoot / minimalist shoe makers.

Instead of letting the runner alter their body position and center of gravity  to continue running on his mid-foot while going downhill, the RealFlex provides foam protection and a high-heel stance in order to promote a heel-toe gait. Big difference.

  • Weight of the Shoe – Who wants a heavy, clunky shoe?

The RealFlex is very light. Lighter than some barefoot / minimalist shoes…heavier than others. But, definitely, definitely lighter than just about every athletic shoe you will find on the wall of your neighborhood sporting goods store.

  • The Drop – Most conventional running shoes raise the heel 22-24mm off the ground while lifting the front of the shoe only 10-15mm off the ground. This difference creates a forward leaning slope which changes your posture and leads to a heel-toe gait which leads a bunch of problems. Long story short, a flat shoe is more natural.

As I mentioned above, the raised heel of the RealFlex is a significant difference between it and the other barefoot/minimalist shoes on the market. Barefoot runners adapt to running downhill by shifting their center of gravity and perhaps slowing down. The Reebok RealFlex wants you to shift your gait from a midfoot strike to a heel-toe running gait when you are bombing down hills.

Major difference in philosophy.

  • Shape of the Sole – As your foot spreads, does the protective sole continue to protect your foot from physical damage?

The RealFlex is shaped like a traditional running shoe. As such, runners with wide feet will find their feet spreading out and over the width of the sole

  • Comfort – Do they feel good on your feet?

They are super comfortable. My “normal” running shoes felt like big, clunky shoe-boxes on my feet after wearing the RealFlexes.

  • Ease of Use – Are they easy to put on?

The reduced material in the uppers means that you can’t just shove your feet in a pair of RealFlexes without untying them or using a shoe horn. Deal with it.

  • Appearance – Do you look like a freak wearing them? Do you care?

The RealFlex looks like an ordinary runner. Unlike almost all of the other test shoes, you won’t look weird wearing these shoes.

Major selling point if you want to market to the mainstream.

  • Ventilation – Vibrams are notoriously stinky shoes…what about the RealFLex?

So far so good. But then again, I don’t have stinky feet. My wife is a lucky woman.

  • Durability – Will they stand up to some pounding?

So far, so good. It’s only been a couple of months, but there is little to no wear.

  • Price - Due to my Scottish background, cost is always a factor.

At $90, the RealFlex is cheaper than some barefoot shoes, and more expensive than others. They’re also way cheaper than most pairs of high end “normal” running shoes.

  • Application – Is the shoe applicable for everyday use, running, sports, yoga, weight lifting, water sports, beach sports, etc?

The RealFlex is the most unique barefoot / minimalist shoe that I will be testing.

  • It doesn’t look like other barefoot shoes
  • It looks like a “normal” running shoe
  • It doesn’t work like other barefoot shoes….
  • But, it doesn’t work like a “normal” running shoe either

So, what is it?

What the Heck Is the Reebok RealFlex?

IMHO, the Reebok RealFlex is either:

  1. A transition shoe for runner who want to transition from heel-toe running to barefoot running.
  2. A hybrid shoe that provides the best aspects of barefoot / minimalist shoes with the best aspects of heel-toe running shoes.
  3. An attempt by Reebok to capture the buzz of barefoot / minimalist shoes without scaring away the mainstream buyer who would never buy a pair of shoes with toes.

Conclusion

I highly recommend the Reebok RealFlex to my clients.

I believe that a switch from heel-toe running to barefoot / midfoot running is a great thing to do for your body. However, the switch from a pair of New Balance running shoes to a pair of barefoot / minimalist slippers can be brutally painful.

The RealFlex makes that transition much, much easier.

Whether they transition from a RealFlex to a true barefoot shoe is another question altogether. Perhaps they use the RealFlex on rocky terrain or during a race. Perhaps they graduate from the RealFlex to a pure barefoot shoe. Perhaps they go all the way and ditch running shoes altogether.

Either way, the RealFlex is a good shoe. It’s not for the Barefoot / Minimalist purist. But then again, the purist is the customer Reebok is looking for. Reebok is looking for the millions who want to run without people staring at their feet.

 

Barefoot / Minimalist Shoe Review

barefoot running

About 5 years ago, I was introduced to barefoot / minimalist shoes while shopping for a pair of running shoes.

The salesperson showed me a pair of Nike Frees and explained to me the concept behind this new/old technology.

Since then, I have been a big fan of minimalist shoes. And I’m not the only one. In the past few years, these weird anti-shoe shoes have nudged their way into the mainstream athletic shoe market.

And while the bulk of the market is dominated by Nike Frees and Vibram Five-Fingers, there are a ton of other manufacturers making a wide variety of different minimalist shoes. But since they don’t have big advertising budgets, you have probably never heard of any of them.

That stops now.

A few months back I contacted some of the most interesting manufacturers to see if they would be interested in having their minimalist shoes reviewed by yours truly. And most of them said yes.

Over the next few weeks, I will be posting the reviews.

For today’s post, I thought I should outline the criteria I will be using to review the shoes as well as a brief intro to the theories behind barefoot / minimalist shoes & running.

Why should you wear barefoot / minimalist shoes?

Our ancestors covered their feet to protect them from physical damage (puncture) and unpleasant temperatures (Canadian winter). Since that time, shoe manufacturers have “improved” upon our footwear to the point they have more technology in them than your iPad.

As a result of this shoe tech, humans have modified their jogging/running/sprinting gaits to look more like a natural walking – heel-toe – gait. Instead of using the natural shock-absorbers built into our feet, we rely on our shoes to absorb the shock of a longer heel-toe stride. And this has resulted in a whole bunch of aches, pains & injuries.

The makers of minimalist shoes are creating shoes that:

  1. Protect your feet from puncture & cold temperatures
  2. While still allowing your feet to function as originally intended
  3. And hopefully helping you correct all of the postural and impact related damage you have inflicted upon yourself by running in your cool Nike Shox.

Review Criteria

  • Protection – If you’re not going to develop thick natural calluses by actually running barefoot, you need to wear a shoe that will protect you from the occasional sharp stone or chunk of glass.
  • Proprioception – A bare foot provides immediate feedback to the surface it rests upon. A thick spongy sole…not so much. This can be crucial when it comes to avoiding ankle sprains and wiping out while trail running.
  • Natural Foot Movement – Does the shoe allow or  prevent your foot from flexing & spreading in order to distribute the load uniformly over the entire foot. This analysis will address shoe width (especially the toe box), arch support, shock absorption, etc…
  • Weight of the Shoe – Who wants a heavy, clunky shoe?
  • The Drop – Most running shoes raise the heel 22-24mm off the ground while lifting the front of the shoe only 10-15mm off the ground. This difference creates a forward leaning slope which changes your posture and leads to a heel-toe gait which leads a bunch of problems. Long story short, a flat shoe is more natural.
  • Shape of the Sole – As your foot spreads, does the protective sole continue to protect your foot from physical damage
  • Comfort – Do they feel good on your feet?
  • Ease of Use – Are they easy to put on?
  • Appearance – Do you look like a freak wearing them? Do you care?
  • Ventilation – Vibrams are notoriously stinky shoes…what about the others?
  • Durability – I only tested the shoes for a few weeks, so this test is pretty inconclusive.
  • Price - Due to my Scottish background, cost is always a factor.
  • Application – Is the shoe applicable for everyday use, running, sports, yoga, weight lifting, water sports, beach sports, etc?

Okay, that’s it for today. I should have the first review online this Friday.

.

Shoe Reviews

Eat Junk Food to Lose Weight

ice cream sundae

What do you do if you want to get stronger and faster?

  • You workout
  • You push yourself hard
  • You damage muscle fibers
  • You exhaust energy systems
  • You force your body to improve – to become more efficient – to become better

Without that intense stimulus, your body has no reason to change. And without a reason, it won’t.

The same theory applies to almost every area of self-improvement – education, business, relationships…even weight loss.

But if that’s true, why do we all know people who have been dieting for years & years and just can’t seem to lose those last 20 lbs? They’re cutting calories and eating vegetables and swallowing fat burners and even chopping out parts of their GI tract…all in an extreme effort to lose weight.

Why doesn’t it work anymore?

Isn’t starving yourself enough of a stimulus?

Not when you’ve been doing it for months or years. At a certain point, your “diet” becomes the “new” normal.

For example, when you first started dieting, your body was used to eating crap…and lots of it. So when you cut back on calories and started eating Paleo, you set off a whole series of hormonal and neurochemical reactions in their body with the end result being fat loss.

But after a while, your body got used to the smaller portions and the servings of Grilled Salmon with Curried Cauliflower Puree.

And the weight loss stopped.

So now what?

Our bodies require a reason to change – There is no reaction without a stimulus.

If you want the fat loss to start again, you need to apply a new stimulus. And not just dropping your calories even lower or eating even “cleaner”. That isn’t new. You need to mix things up.

Here are two powerful stimuli.

  1. Intermittent Fasting – Periodic abstinence from food can have a powerful hormonal and neurochemical effect on your metabolism. In my personal experience, I have found that an occasional 1 or 2 day water/tea fast to be the most effective.
  2. Cheat Meal / Cheat Day / Cheat Week - Eat whatever you want and eat a lot of it. I know this sounds completely insane, but we’re trying to force your body to make a big hormonal/neurochemical shift. Eating an extra portion of grass-fed beef isn’t going to cut it. In my experience, I have found that scheduled weekly cheat meals don’t work. They just become part of your regular diet & your body adjusts.

Here’s what I do with my clients when they start to plateau.

  1. During one or two days during the work week, we institute a water/tea/black coffee fast. I also have them start their morning with a big glass of Athletic Greens.
  2. During the remaining 5-6 days of the week, I have them pig out for one meal immediately following their workout.

After a week of this, they’re back to their healthy Paleo Diet.

If the weight loss starts again…GREAT!!!

If not, we plan another shock to the system..

Choose My Plate…The Paleo Version

choose my paleo plate - pale version of choose my plate usda obama

Bye bye Food Pyramid…..and hello Choose My Plate.

In an effort to encourage healthy eating, Michelle Obama and the USDA have tossed out the dreaded Food Pyramid and replaced it with a simple, clean graphic of a dinner plate.

According to the First Lady, all parents have to do now is “take a look at our kids’ plates. As long as they’re half full of fruits and vegetables, and paired with lean proteins, whole grains and low-fat dairy, we’re golden. That’s how easy it is.”

The symbol is part of a healthy eating initiative that will convey seven key messages from the government’s dietary guidelines, including:

  1. enjoy food but eat less;
  2. avoid oversized portions;
  3. make half your plate fruits and vegetables;
  4. drink water instead of sugary drinks;
  5. switch to fat-free or low-fat (1%) milk;
  6. compare sodium in foods;
  7. and make at least half your grains whole grains.

And for the most part, even cranky old Health Habits gives it a qualified “thumbs up”.

It’s much easier to understand and is a huge improvement over the old pyramid.

Too bad that it still favors the interests of industry over the health (and waistlines) of the nation.

If only Michelle had returned my phone calls. Americans could have had a food pyramid / plate like this:

BTW, please forgive my lack of graphic design skills. If I had USDA money, I could afford an actual copy of Photoshop.

Speaking of money, if you’re wondering what Paleo is, go ahead and download my free ebook – A Paleo Diet for the 21st Century

 

What is MGmin LDL Cholesterol & why does it want to kill you?

MGmin LDL cholesterol

What is MGmin LDL cholesterol?

  • MGmin LDL is a version of LDL that has been modified by methylglyoxal (MG)
  • MG is a potent arginine-directed glycating agent that is formed due to high blood sugar and related inflammation
  • As a result, the plasma concentration of MG is increased 2x to 5x in patients with diabetes

But you’re not diabetic…so this doesn’t matter to you.

Or does it?

  • According to this study, minimal modification of LDL by MG decreases the particle size of pre-existing LDL cholesterol (similar to that of sdLDL) and….
  • makes them stick together (increased aggregation) and….
  • makes them stick to the walls of your arteries.

And that ain’t good.

Because if you take a whole bunch of small, dense LDL particles, bunch them together and then glue them to the inner wall of a coronary artery, you end up with:

  • narrowed arteries
  • reduced blood flow
  • increased chance of rupture
  • increased chance of blood clots
  • increased chance of coronary heart disease (CHD)
  • increased chance of heart attack and
  • increased chance of death.

And that, most definitely, ain’t good.

So, where do we go from here?

  1. The researchers will continue researching in an attempt to discover treatments that could help neutralize MGmin LDLs harmful effects on patients’ arteries.
  2. You, however, are not a scientist. Your job is to cut back on the pizza & donuts and download my FREE Ebook – A Paleo Diet for the 21st Century.

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Reference

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Dr. Oz vs Childhood Obesity

dr oz childhood obesity

Yesterday Dr. Oz asked a very controversial question: Is Child Obesity a form of Child Abuse?

And for a big health & fitness geek like myself, it was must-see tv.

  • We had “experts” blaming the parents,
  • We had parents blaming society,
  • We had experts advocating that courts should remove obese kids from their parents’ care,
  • We had other experts arguing that this would mess the kids up even more.
  • They talked about penalizing “bad” parents by removing child tax credits.
  • They talked about the hypocrisy of overweight adults telling other overweight adults that they are bad parents because their kids are overweight.
  • We even had one mom who felt that she shouldn’t have to stop eating bags of M&Ms just because her kid was fat.

In short, Dr. Oz took an incredibly complex issue and compressed it neatly into one hour of self-help tv. Not exactly enough time for a thorough examination of the issue, but it was a start.

And luckily for some parents, Dr. Oz has found a solution for America’s overweight children – The Wellspring Academy

Where for $78,000 per year, your obese child can:

  • learn all about healthy nutrition,
  • get plenty of exercise
  • receive psychological & lifestyle counselling
  • and lose a ton of weight

Too bad about the $78,000 per year pricetag.

If only some smart guy like Doctor Oz could think of a way to lower the cost and make it more accessible for those Americans without gold plated health insurance or a spare $78,000.

How about this?

  • What if we start by taking one public school in each big city and turn it into a charter school focused on promoting a healthy lifestyle and reducing the obesity levels of their students?
  • What if we re-install P.E. class?  We used to have teachers who knew how to teach P.E.
  • What if we re-install Home Ec class? – focusing on the most effective diet for weight loss and improving health.  We used to have teachers who knew how to do that.
  • With those two bases covered, all we need to add is the psychological/lifestyle counselling component of the Wellspring program. Perhaps the good people at Wellspring would be willing to make a few hundred million dollars by rolling out this part of their concept in public schools all across the country.

We already have the infrastructure.

We already have (or used to have) the P.E. and Home Ec teachers.

We’re already paying for the medical costs associated with childhood and adult obesity.

Why not redirect some of that medical spending towards prevention?

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Let me know what you think

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If you’re interested, I have added links to the videos from Dr. Oz’s show.

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Is It Child Abuse to Have a Fat Child? Pt 1.

Is It Child Abuse to Have a Fat Child? Pt 2.

Is It Child Abuse to Have a Fat Child? Pt 3.

Is It Child Abuse to Have a Fat Child? Pt 4.

>Is It Child Abuse to Have a Fat Child? Pt 5.

Win the Fight Against Child Obesity, Pt 1.

Win the Fight Against Child Obesity, Pt 2.

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Attn John Stossel: Ayn Rand would have eaten Grass Fed Beef

Last week, Paleo guru Robb Wolf posted a scathing rebuttal to a Fox Business – John Stossel investigation into the relative merits of corn-fed and grass-fed beef. Today, I chip in my two cents.

In the Stossel report, Mr. Moustache came to the conclusion that grass-fed beef is an inferior product that:

  1. Doesn’t taste any better than corn-fed beef
  2. Is worse for the environment than corn-fed beef
  3. Costs more than corn-fed beef
  4. And is no more nutritious than corn-fed beef

Watch the latest video at <a href=”http://video.foxbusiness.com”>video.foxbusiness.com</a&gt;.

Stossel’s objectivist analysis of the beef industry has led him to believe that the corn-fed beef produced by America’s industrial agricultural companies is a superior product deserving of it’s large market share and that anyone who eats grass-fed beef is sacrificing their best interests in favor of some romantic ideal that olde-tyme farming is somehow better.

Too bad he’s wrong.

TASTE

Stossel’s in-house taste test led him to conclude that people can’t really taste the difference between corn-fed and grass-fed beef.

As taste preferences are subjective, I am willing to give Stossel this point.

However, I have to note that since most Americans never eat grass-fed beef, I found it surprising that they didn’t notice any difference in the taste. The first time I tried grass-fed beef, I thought it was strange. Strange because it was different than the corn-fed beef I was used to eating. Just like the first time I ate sushi or drank coffee or downed a wee dram of single malt scotch.

At first taste, different almost always tastes wrong.

We like what we’re used to eating. But, like I said, tasting is subjective.

ENVIRONMENT

Stossel’s science expert (Dr. Jude Capper) claims that corn-fed industrial beef is better for the environment than grass-fed beef.

Industrial cows grow faster (corn, growth hormones, et al) and as a result are ready for slaughter sooner (15 mos. vs 23 mos.). And since we kill them 8 months sooner, they have less time to expel methane gas into the environment.

However,  they neglect to mention the massive amounts of fossil fuels required to:

  • prepare the land for corn production,
  • create the chemical fertilizers & pesticides used in corn production
  • harvest, dry & store the corn
  • transport the bulk corn – rail, sea & road
  • process the corn – milling, mixing, extruding, pelletizing, etc
  • distribute the corn to individual farms

They also neglect to mention the local environmental damage caused by the huge pools of animal waste created at large scale industrial cow lots

COST

During his taste test, Stossel mentions that the grass-fed beef costs twice as much as the corn-fed beef. This difference in price is attributed to the higher efficiencies of the corn-fed beef operations.

And this may be at least partially true.

Common sense would tell you that a large industrial farm is going to have economies of scale that a family farmer can’t match. However, as Stossel said in the video, common sense isn’t always right. And in this case, a recent UN study into the effectiveness of agroecology concluded that ““today’s scientific evidence demonstrates that agroecological methods outperform the use of chemical fertilizers in boosting food production“.

In addition, neither Stossel nor Dr. Capper mention the massive government subsidies given to industrial farming operations that artificially lower the price of corn & other grain-based cattle feed.

And this is where Stossel’s hypocrisy really starts to eat into his Objectivist street cred.

I find it hard to believe that Ayn Rand’s classic version of laissez faire capitalism would allow for Big-Agri lobbyists and selective government subsidies.

NUTRITION

Dr. Capper says that the difference in nutrition between corn-fed and grass-fed beef is a very small difference in fatty acid profiles.

She neglects to mention:

  • the slight difference in fatty acids are really not that slight. We’re looking at an Omega 6 : Omega 3 fatty acid ratio of 3:1 in grass-fed beef and a 20:1 ratio in corn-fed beef
  • the high levels of e-coli found in industrial corn-fed beef cattle
  • the chemicals  – fertilizers, pesticides, herbicides, fungicides stored in that delicious beef fat
  • the high doses of antibiotics, steroids, and growth hormones given to all industrial corn-fed beef cattle
  • the fact that industrial corn-fed cattle are sick for much of their lives – feedlot bloat, acidosis, diarrhea, ulcers, liver disease and a general weakening of the immune system that leaves the animal vulnerable to everything from pneumonia to feedlot polio.  While this can’t be quantified in the nutritional profile of your filet mignon, which steak would you choose – one from a cow that was sick all the time or one that lived a “normal” life?

CONCLUSION

In this story, John Stossel uses America’s beef industry as an example of how Ayn Rand’s laissez faire economics allows the best amongst us to produce at their highest levels and create a better society for the rest of us.

Unfortunately for Stossel, not only do the facts fail to support his argument, he exposes his own hypocrisy by ignoring the very behaviors (mooching & looting) that Rand railed against in her masterpiece – Atlas Shrugged.

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Who is John Galt?

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He sure as heck doesn’t work for the industrial beef industry.

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Maybe he’s working on his small family farm producing America’s best grass-fed beef cattle?

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Reference


 

What advice do we give to the Paleo-Curious?

he-man-NEOLITHIC DIET-haters-club-bw

Earlier in the week, I received a comment about one of my Paleo articles that argued the point that following a Paleo Diet or Paleo Lifestyle is a strict black or white proposition.

In the commenter’s own words, “Don’t be a poser. Either live the life or shut the hell up, because those of us actually doing instead of talking are living healthier, more productive lives. If you are too, great! Congrats, how do you feel? If you aren’t? Get off the bandwagon”.

After I finished wiping up my giant puddle of tears, I started to think about how our tiny little Paleo community has changed & evolved over the past year or so.

Still clinging to it’s anthropological roots, Paleo (or Primal for the Sissonites amongst us) has ever so tentatively begun to shift towards the mainstream. And as more “normal” people begin to investigate the benefits of eating ala Paleo, some Paleo diehards are freaking out.

  • Maybe it’s out of concern that the strict Paleo menu of  meat, vegetables, nuts, seeds and fruit is going to be watered down and spoiled by the newbies.
  • Maybe it’s because they like being in an exclusive club and they don’t want to share with others.
  • Or, maybe they’re just assholes who think they’re better than everybody else.

Who knows?

But it got me thinking.

How do us Paleo eaters want the message of Paleo to be distributed to the rest of the world?

  • Currently, they are three big voices in the Paleo universe – Cordain, Wolf & Sisson. Do we crown one of them king and proceed to proselytize their version of Paleo?
  • Do we blend their messages into a hybrid Paleo?
  • Do we promote an ultra-orthodox version of Paleo that doesn’t allow for my morning Starbucks Venti Bold with a splash of cream?
  • Or do we adopt a more universal “coat of many colours” version of Paleo that leads people towards eating Paleo at most meals with occasional Neolithic baked delights?

Seeking some feedback, I posted a link to the above mentioned comment on my favorite Paleo facebook group - International Paleo Movement Group – to see what they had to say abot the comment and how they envisioned the evolution of the Paleo Diet.

The word zealot came up a few times.

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What’s your opinion?

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  • Should Paleo remain an exclusive club?
  • Should we welcome newcomers into the club?
  • If we do welcome newcomers, do we insist on 100% compliance to Paleo doctrine?
  • Or is 90% okay…or 80%…63%
  • Or are we happy when the people we care about eat fewer Pizza Pockets and more real/Paleo food?

As I said to the IPMG group, I realize that the vast majority of people are highly unlikely to ever give up grains, dairy, french fries, etc

What they may do, however, is to learn from us that Paleo eating is the healthiest way to fuel our bodies….and that while 100% adherence is unlikely, they may be able to be 90% or 80% or 60% Paleo…thereby…

  • improving their nutrition,
  • improving their health,
  • reducing the spread of lifestyle disease (diabetes, etc),
  • reducing the cost of healthcare around the globe,
  • improving economic health,
  • reducing taxes and
  • ultimately improving the quality & quantity of life for all us “modern” humans.

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Thus endeth the rant.

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Abdominal Obesity = Vascular Calcification = Congestive Heart Failure = Death

canada fat fit 3

Need some motivation to get up off the couch and hit the gym?

In a recent study published in the journal Obesity, researchers found that…

  • People with high levels of abdominal and visceral bodyfat were likely to suffer from thoracic aortic calcification.

And just in case you don’t know what thoracic aortic calcification is…

  1. Vascular calcification is the process  in which your blood vessels harden due to the build up of calcium.
  2. This leads to a stenosis or abnormal narrowing of your aorta
  3. Stenosis of your aorta leads to fainting, angina and congestive heart failure
  4. Congestive heart failure leads to death

Conclusion

If you don’t want your aortic valve to look like this…

and you don’t want to die  like this…

Then you need to…

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Reference

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Obese Teens and their Hidden Metabolic Abnormalities

NIKKI BLONSKY, HARVEY GUILLEN

In addition to all of the social, mental & emotional crap that goes along with being a fat teenager, researchers have found that even when obese teens ‘feel’ healthy, blood tests show that they are likely to have high levels of:

And it gets worse – high levels of inflammation, insulin resistance and homocysteine means that the process of developing heart disease has already begun to happen.

The Study

Researchers compared the diets and blood test results of 33 obese youths (ages 11 to 19) with 19 age-matched youths of normal weight.

Blood tests revealed that the obese teens had:

  • C-reactive protein levels almost ten times higher than controls, indicating more inflammation in the body.
  • Insulin resistance, a precursor to type 2 diabetes, with greater amounts of insulin needed to keep blood sugar levels normal.
  • Homocysteine levels 62 percent higher than controls. High levels of the amino acid homocysteine are related to greater heart disease risk.
  • Total glutathione levels 27.9 percent lower than controls, with oxidized glutathione levels 125 percent higher. A higher ratio of oxidized to non-oxidized glutathione indicates oxidative stress, an imbalance in the production of cell-damaging free radicals and the body’s ability to neutralize them. Oxidative stress leads to more inflammation and an increase in blood vessel damage and stiffening.

“Looking at the numbers you would think these children might feel sick, but they did not. They are apparently feeling well, but there is a lot going on beneath the surface.”

Conclusion

Don’t assume that your kid is going to grow out of his or her ‘baby fat’.

Obesity is a medical symptom telling you that their body is not working as well as it should be.

A diet that is high in calories and low in nutrition sets off a whole bunch of metabolic processes that often lead straight to obesity…and inflammation and insulin resistance and heart disease.

So, stop being their friend…and start being a parent.

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FYI – this is the diet your kids are supposed to be eating.

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Reference

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Working on the Paleo Diet Diet ebook

torso

Hey everyone.

For the past 6 months or so, I have been testing a Paleo Diet Diet on a bunch of willing clients/readers.

The diet follows the general get-healthy guidelines of regular Paleo eating. But in my “mad scientist” attempts to improve on the efficiency of Paleo, I have modified my plan in order to:

  1. Reduce body-fat quickly
  2. while maintaining/improving strength, power, fitness

And to say the diet has been successful would be an understatement.

From markers of health to athletic performance to physical appearance, the program has worked even better than I had hoped.

Originally, I was going to do a blog post on it, but as I wrote, the post kept getting longer and longer and longer.

So, we’re doing another ebook.

However, unlike my first ebook A Paleo Diet for the 21st Century, I am going to get all capitalist on you and actually trade knowledge for money.

But since I like you folks so darned much, the price for Health Habits readers will be under $5.

And just think, along with your new body, you can feel good knowing that your less than $5 purchase will go towards paying the mortgages on my many mansions that I own around the world. (sarcasm)

Anyway, the book should be ready to download in a couple of weeks.  It will be available here first for the lower price and then a couple of weeks later on Amazon & Apple.

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UN Says No to Factory Farming

UN - Agro-ecology and the right to food

The United Nations Special Rapporteur on the Right to Food recently presented his new report “Agro-ecology and the right to food” before the UN Human Rights Council.

Based on an extensive review of recent scientific literature, the report demonstrates that agroecology, if sufficiently supported, can double food production in entire regions within 10 years while mitigating climate change and alleviating rural poverty.

The report therefore calls for a fundamental shift towards agro-ecology as a way for countries to feed themselves while addressing climate and poverty challenges.

In a press release, Special Rapporteur Mr. De Schutter said “To feed 9 billion people in 2050, we urgently need to adopt the most efficient farming techniques available.”

And, if you were to ask the top execs of the world’s biggest agricultural corporations, they might tell you that their most efficient farming techniques rely on massive amounts of pesticides, herbicides, chemical fertilizers, antibiotics, genetically modified seeds, growth hormones, steroids, animal mistreatment, lakes of animal waste, pollution of ground water, etc.

Then again. They might not tell you that.

But, Mr. De Schutter will tell us that “today’s scientific evidence demonstrates that agroecological methods outperform the use of chemical fertilizers in boosting food production where the hungry live – especially in unfavorable environments.”

Agroecology applies ecological science to the design of agricultural systems that can help put an end to food crises and address climate-change and poverty challenges. It enhances soils productivity and protects the crops against pests by relying on the natural environment such as beneficial trees, plants, animals and insects.

“To date, agroecological projects have shown an average crop yield increase of 80% in 57 developing countries, with an average increase of 116% for all African projects,” De Schutter says. “Recent projects conducted in 20 African countries demonstrated a doubling of crop yields over a period of 3-10 years.”

“Conventional farming relies on expensive inputs, fuels climate change and is not resilient to climatic shocks. It simply is not the best choice anymore today,” De Schutter stresses. “A large segment of the scientific community now acknowledges the positive impacts of agroecology on food production, poverty alleviation and climate change mitigation — and this this is what is needed in a world of limited resources. Malawi, a country that launched a massive chemical fertilizer subsidy program a few years ago, is now implementing agroecology, benefiting more than 1.3 million of the poorest people, with maize yields increasing from 1 ton/ha to 2-3
tons/ha.”

The report also points out that projects in Indonesia, Vietnam and Bangladesh recorded up to 92 % reduction in insecticide use for rice, leading to important savings for poor farmers.

“Knowledge came to replace pesticides and fertilizers. This was a winning bet, and comparable results abound in other African, Asian and Latin American countries,” the independent expert notes.

“The approach is also gaining ground in developed countries such as United States, Germany or France,” he said. “However, despite its impressive potential in realizing the right to food for all, agroecology is still insufficiently backed by ambitious public policies and consequently hardly goes beyond the experimental stage.”

The report identifies a dozen of measures that States should implement to scale up agroecological practices.

“Agroecology is a knowledge-intensive approach. It requires public policies supporting agricultural research and participative extension services,” De Schutter says. “States and donors have a key role to play here. Private companies will not invest time and money in practices that cannot be rewarded by patents and which don’t open markets for chemical products or improved seeds.”

The Special Rapporteur on the right to food also urges States to support small-scale farmer’s organizations, which demonstrated a great ability to disseminate the best agroecological practices among their members.

Strengthening social organization proves to be as impactful as distributing fertilizers. Small-scale farmers and scientists can create innovative practices when they partner”, De Schutter explains.  “We won’t solve hunger and stop climate change with industrial farming on large plantations.  The solution lies in supporting small-scale farmers’ knowledge and experimentation, and in raising incomes of smallholders so as to contribute to rural development.”

“If key stakeholders support the measures identified in the report, we can see a doubling of food production within 5 to 10 years in some regions where the hungry live,” De Schutter says.  “Whether or not we will succeed this transition will depend on our ability to learn faster from recent innovations. We need to go fast if we want to avoid repeated food and climate disasters in the 21st century.”

So, what happens now?

What does the UN Human Rights Council do with this report?

  • Stick it on a shelf and ignore it?
  • Suggest it as required reading to President Barack Obama?
  • Or do they push hard to implement the report’s recommendations?

Unfortunately, we have to consider that up until very recently, the UN Human Right Council has counted Libyan strongman Muammar Gaddafi as one of their own. And any organization that thinks Gaddafi is a poster boy for human rights probably isn’t too worried about the quality of life for poor African farmers.

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Reference