Wednesday, December 21, 2011

In Pursuit of Resilience

Resilience (noun):  an ability to recover from or adjust easily to misfortune or change

It's a very common word but not a word I had read, heard or spoken in a long time.  I realized when I read that word recently that this is exactly what I am chasing.  This is the perfect word to describe why I do what I do.  Stress will come and it will come in many forms.  This is inevitable but will I be prepared?

I believe we are always being bombarded with challenges that could cause us real health problems.  No matter where we live or how clean/careful we may be, there are challenges that will be unavoidable. It’s like living in a shooting range. Better to have good armor than to try to constantly dodge the bullets

I eat the way I do to minimize environmental challenges while also bolstering my own immune system.  Inflammation is an immune response.  I eat to avoid and reduce inflammation.  I also eat to help reduce oxidation and it's effects.  There are literally trillions of bacteria cells in our body, many being important for proper immune function.  Eating fermented foods adds to the good bacteria in my gut while keeping the bad bacteria in check.  This proper balance of bacteria is just now being recognized as important to health in many different ways.

I also exercise with resilience in mind.  I do as much exercise as possible standing up.  This builds full body strength, balance, and coordination.  I do as much as I am able to without shoes.  This will help keep my feet strong.  An injured foot can cause overcompensation throughout the body and possibly instigate further injuries.  My primary mode of exercise is weight training.  This helps me retain muscle and strength that is needed for vitality and injury avoidance later in life.  It is always better to be strong and old rather than weak and old.

My mental resilience has always been least in my opinion.  Psychological stress never really got to me.  I do believe that avoiding the highs and lows in energy that a high glucose diet can cause has helped me be even more even keel than ever.  Limiting stimulants and depressants helps in this respect too.  Avoiding prescription drugs that can have adverse psychological side effects will reduce the possibility of mood imbalances or loss of emotional control.

I have made a point in the last few years to consistently expose myself to cold temperatures.  I suspect being exposed to cold was more often the norm for my ancestors.  As a result of being outside in the cold a lot and taking cold showers almost daily, the cold weather does not make me nearly as uncomfortable as it used to.  I live in an area of the world where I better accept and endure the cold or submit to a funk of depression ever 7-8 months.  Despite the cold, I believe we still need to be outside for our health.

All this in preparation for future stress.  I don't want to live forever but I also don't want to suffer through the last years of my life.  The better I am able to handle stress the greater my quality of life.

So in 2012 I have a few more pursuits I am going to work on to hopefully increase my resilience.  I am going to ramp up my sprinting to increase my heart strength as I don't do aerobic activity.  I am also going to increase my consumption of fermented foods and homemade stocks.  What are you going to do in 2012 to become more resilient?


Friday, December 16, 2011

Alright....Let's Use Some Common Sense

Which is healthier for us to consume?

The first has been handmade by humans for thousands of years.

Or the second which is modern science's supposed path to heart health.


Wednesday, December 14, 2011

In Da Face!

Ok, so my friends and I were huge fans of the movie Coming to America.  It was quite possibly Eddie Murphy's greatest performance.  We watched it hundreds of times it seems we can recite most of the movie word for word.  One line we often mixed into our daily banter is "In Da Face!".  It was yelled by Eddie Murphy's character, Akim who is from Africa and doesn't quite understand New York dialect.  Rather than try to explain it, just watch.

You probably don't enjoy that as much as me.....oh well.  But this clip is appropriate in the case of our butter supply superiority over Norway.  We are very fortunate to have many options of this delicious and versatile food widely available to us.  Whereas Norway seems to be having a shortage. Enjoy the always entertaining Stephen Colbert as he illustrates our good fortunes in contrast to Norway.

So yes Norway, you may have a better selection of seafood than us but I just bought 8 pounds butter from grass fed cows because it's delicious, it was on sale, and because I COULD.....IN DA FACE!


Sunday, December 4, 2011

Reverse Diabetic Complications???

Watch A Life-Saving Diet? on PBS. See more from SCIENCE BYTES.

This is a great video I first saw on   It is not really that new of a story.  This breakthrough was reported back in April of this year.  It is nice to see a video piece done on this interesting study.  It seems intuitive to many that reducing carbs and increasing fats could help people with diabetes.  It's unfortunate to hear the scientists aren't recommending diet change but searching for a pill to fix everything.  My advice would be to change the diet to fix the problems rather than get sicker while waiting for another magic pill.


Monday, November 21, 2011

Who You Going to Believe?

There is always the low fat status quo who have done nothing but fail at making America healthy in the last 30-40 years.  You can read about that here, here and here.  Or there are the people who are looking to history to remind us how to be healthy.  Watch this video and do some analytical thinking about the subject of fat in your diet. (credit


Wednesday, November 16, 2011

When do the "Experts" Stop Being Recognized as Such?

Despite success stories racking up no doubt into the thousands, if not millions, many "experts" still poo poo the paleo diet.  It reminds me of a great quote:
"Those who say it can’t be done shouldn’t interrupt those doing it."
To me, results are much more credible than "expert" opinions.


Friday, October 28, 2011

Oz's "Prehistoric Diet Plan"

The Prehistoric Diet Plan

So, I went to check on the recording of Dr. Oz today where he experimented with the paleo diet and it wasn't on today's show.  I did some digging and found out that episode will be on next Friday, 11-4.  What I also found is that Dr. Oz is jumping onto the ancestral health freight train.  Too many people are talking about it for a media whore like Oz not to try to get in on the action.

Oz's site profiles his "Prehistoric Diet Plan".   It is a plant based diet with plenty of beans, tofu, soy milk, hemp, chia, and flax seeds.  This guy fails to recognize our ancestors have been eating animals for over 2 million years.  Sure even our most recent ancestors also ate a lot of plants....nobody is disputing that.  They also prized animal protein and fat.  Women were attracted to the best hunters not to men who would forage them up some organic soy milk.

I should stop giving this guy the time of day.  But I do think it needs to be pointed out how ridiculous this man can be and it is important to discredit him when appropriate.  He has WAY too much influence and if just one person stumbles upon this post and then thinks twice about listening to that man then I will have done my job..  Just over a month ago in a Time Magazine article he talked about how things such as eggs and coconuts may actually be healthy for us despite prior concerns with these foods.  Those would fit well in a prehistoric diet.  MUCH more so than tofu or soy milk.  Also in the same article he referenced how cavemen didn't live very long but now he says they may have the answer to how to eat healthy???  WTF?

Maybe our ancestors did eat primarily a plant based diet but you would have to go back over 2 million years to find ancestors that did not consume meat. After thousands of generations of thriving on plants AND animals, some "experts" decided it is a good idea to eliminate meat.  A plant only diet is a recent invention  It is not possible to subsist on without supplements to fill in the gaps.  People do get better going from a typical crap diet to a plant based diet.  After the honeymoon period, plant only eaters will start a downward decent in regard to their health.  It may take longer for some but it inevitably happens.  I have read too many stories and heard too many testimonials from people who have actually experienced it.  They have seen it in themselves and in friends around them.

So Dr. Oz is right to look to the past for clues toward a healthier way of eating.  I just think he should have looked toward our more recent ancestors who walked on two feet, lived on the ground, and hunted animals.  His diet is more appropriate for our ancestors who lived in trees.


Thursday, October 27, 2011

Oz Up to More Shenanigans (this post is for a mature audience)

Dr. Kim Mulvihill laid the ground work for a proper journalistic investigation of the paleo diet.  She actually tried the diet for 7 weeks while living her normal life.  The results were fantastic.  

Dr. Oz also ran a paleo experiment.  His expose will be aired tomorrow, 10-28-11.  Instead of following Dr. Kim's lead, the Oz circus show decided to lock 3 women in a cage and feed them a paleo diet.  What a CROCK OF SHIT!  It makes it seem more like a punishment than a healthy lifestyle option.  This is a warning for all you paleos.  You may want to watch this show and be prepared because many people you know will see it and have something to say.  I don't recommend anyone walk around picking fights but I do recommend you be prepared when someone starts one with you based on what they've seen this jackass say about your way of eating.


Tuesday, October 25, 2011

Lean, Mean, Fighting Machines

Seems like a lot of  Marines are turning to the paleo diet to optimize body composition and to help them be as strong as possible.  Maybe our government will recognize the effectiveness of this food and stop sending them crap to eat that ultimately gets discarded.  Here are some quotes from an article in the Marine Corps Times:
"Lt. Col. Sean Riordan used to consider himself chubby.  He just chalked up his less-than-desirable physique to genetics.  Today, Riordan has washboard abs and says he feels healthier than ever. His secret lies in a new fitness regimen — and a drastic dietary shift that calls for cutting out grains, legumes, sugar and dairy products, and eating more protein, fruit and greens. It’s called the caveman, or paleo, diet."
".... the Marines riffle through their field rations, keeping the most healthful items and dumping everything else. The majority of his platoon, Eberly said, eats a diet of tuna, chicken and vegetables. 

“They all take the chicken and tuna out of First Strike Rations and throw out the rest. Literally. They throw out every other item. We trade all the Pop-Tarts and Cokes with kids and shopkeepers [in the village] for homegrown vegetables.”
The guys below are Lt. Col. Riordan (right) and  Major Black.  Personally, I would rather these guys and their wacky diet out their defending my country.  Considering how fit they look and the skills I am sure they have, we are in good hands with them fighting for us.  I appreciate their sacrifice and the fact that they are spreading the word to help build a more capable soldier.


Friday, October 21, 2011

Food is a Form of Health Insurance

So, I just read about this guy's interesting life here.  The Yahoo Finance story is about a man who lives on an income of $11,000 per year.  I thought it was so cool that I absolutely had to share it with you.  Here are some key quotes by the subject of the article:
"I eat pretty well. I don't skimp on food. I eat a lot of grass-fed meats, fruits, and vegetables ... some people call it the caveman diet. I go to farms, farmers markets, and health food stores. I probably spend about $250 a month on food. I could spend a lot less if I didn't care about eating well."
"I don't go out much at all. I prefer the food I make to what I get in restaurants. More often than not, I'm disappointed. I'm pretty health-conscious and I want my food to be real food, so I'm content eating what I make."
When asked if he splurged on anything he answered:
"The food I eat. I don't feel like I'm skimping at all. It's a form of health insurance to me."
Food is a form of health insurance.....couldn't have said that better myself.

You can read more about this guy's interesting life journey here.


Saturday, October 15, 2011

A Doctor's N=1 Experiment with Paleo

Dr. Kim Mulvihill, M.D is a medical correspondent with the CBS affiliate in San Francisco.  She is a middle aged doctor with a focus on OB/GYN.  She appears to be a health conscious individual who actively competes in triathlons.  As a story for the news program, she decided to investigate the paleo diet and try it herself.  It appeared to be a pretty well controlled self experiment.  The clinical and weight loss results are nothing short of amazing.  Even more amazing when you consider she is a middle aged woman.  They tend to struggle the most with weight loss compared to say a man in his early 20's.  I am not sure what she was eating before the experiment but I would speculate that she was not a habitual junk food eater.

Sorry, I know I said I would show all 5 clips here but for some reason the code is acting wonky and I cannot figure it out.  Here are all the clips linked in order:

#1  #2  #3  #4  #5


Friday, October 14, 2011

Its the Simple Things....

In my opinion, it's not hard to make me happy.  Ask my wife and she may partially agree.  Well, she was great enough to make me a delicious breakfast today.  It was quite simple.  Sauteed spinach, the best eggs we can buy (also the cheapest), and homemade beef sausage patties.  It was as good as it looks.  It kept me satisfied till I ate again at 3 this afternoon.

Here is another thing that made me happy via laughter at the site of it:

I saw this van during my daily commute.  Although not the safest idea, I had to get a picture of it.  It made me laugh despite the lack of a dog in the front seat.  Enjoy your weekend.


Thursday, October 13, 2011

Attention Dr. Oz......

This is how you objectively investigate paleo or any diet for that matter.

This is what happens when an M.D. actually evaluates the paleo diet in a scientific manner.  The totallity of her investigation will be documented in 5 video segments.  The one I posted was #3.  Stay tuned for a post with all 5 videos.  Read more here and be sure to read comments at bottom of article.


Tuesday, October 11, 2011

Support a Friend, Support Real Food!

So there is this great blog I stumbled upon a while ago after I did a Google search on the place where I was buying half a grass fed cow.  Turns out this lady named Jan did a great post on the exact place where I went called Whitefeather Meats.  She is a paleo blogger who happens to live not too far from me.  There are not many of us in Northeast Ohio like there are in California for instance.  I thought that was pretty cool and have had an email dialogue with her ever since.  Jan seems like a great all around person with some strong but properly aligned ideals.

Let's talk a bit about her blog.  If you spend any time on it you will notice she has quite a flare for web design and photography.  On the surface it's beautiful.  It puts my blogger site to shame.    The content is what really makes her unique in my opinion.  In a world wide web of typical crap food recipes, she decided to go in the opposite direction.  Probably not as popular, but her ideals are not necessarily aligned with what will make her popular.  She only posts great tasting recipes (I have tried a few) that incorporate high quality, nourishing ingredients.  

Well, to her surprise she was recognized by Shape magazine as a top 20 healthy eating blog.  Getting the word out in mainstream forums like Shape is what will drive utilization of the paleo diet.  So in support of for Jan's Sushi Bar here.  Thank you.


Monday, October 3, 2011

Has Paleo Jumped the Shark?

No, I don't think so.  A music video is just a sign of it's increasing popularity.  I guess there are much worse things for young hipsters to get into than resistance training and clean eating.


Friday, September 30, 2011

Is Paleo Elitist?

Let me start off this post by saying I strongly believe in the many incarnations of the paleo/primal diet and have eaten this way for almost 5 years now.  I will continue to do so for the foreseeable future.  This post is going to be a collection of thoughts I have had lately.  My question is, is this way of living elitist?

I got to thinking about this thanx to a blog post from Penniless Parenting.  She did a thought provoking, although somewhat flawed assessment of the paleo diet.  One of the objections she raised was how expensive the food was.  Despite many posts around the blogosphere about how affordable paleo can be, bottom line is it is more expensive than a self cooked, grain based diet.  

I have argued that when you factor in the health care costs of relying on grains as the bulk of your calories, the net outcome is a grain based diet will cost more in the long run.  This still may be true but many people could care less about that.  They need to figure out how to feed their family today while also coming up with rent at the end of the week.  They are not concerned about if and when they may get sick.  Their life is the here and now reality of getting by on a shoestring budget.

I read many free paleo blogs and they are written by well-intentioned people.  Most of them don't know the world of struggling to feed themselves or their family.  They can afford to go to the farmers market to buy high quality, paleo friendly food AND go to Starbucks for a $4 coffee afterwards.  That is great and I commend them for feeding themselves well.  There is yet another level of paleo eaters who make sacrifices in their budget so they can afford the high quality food.  They cut out things like Starbucks, the new shoes, and dinners out to have a healthy future.  This is also great and commendable.  For my family...we probably fall into the latter group.

In thinking about things in a primal framework, there is something else I wonder about.  Very few of what I will call the thought leaders in the paleo world talk about hunting or fishing for their own meat.  I can't think of something that would bring us closer to our primal roots than actively supplying one's family with meat.  It is great exercise, it is relaxing, and the food is the highest quality available.  We are talking about the ultimate in free range, organic, wild caught, local.....everything paleo pundits advocate.  Yet they rarely talk about it and I wonder if any of them do it.  Sure living like a caveman is good for you but hunting is only something toothless rednecks do, right?  I don't know, is that what the prevailing thought is?  I took up hunting last year because it fits very well into the paleo ideals.  Why does it seem like I am more of a minority in this movement?  Am I a savage for killing an animal and then butchering it for my family to eat later?  I can guarantee that my not too distant ancestors would have considered people who didn't hunt as being the unusual minority.

As I said, hunting is a great form of exercise.  In my first hunt last year, I had to hike up a steep hill (several times per day) that was probably about an 800 yard trek.  Despite no recent hiking experience....I got up there with relative ease and left my mates in the dust.  Later that day, I helped 2 other guys haul a 120 pound doe from a ravine up a hill to the main trail.  I did the bulk of the work as the other 2 guys took frequent breaks.  These guys were my age.  I credit my stamina to diet and workouts at my $9/month gym.  I also do a lot of hauling firewood wood by hand from my back yard woods as a form of exercise.  I don't do the $150/month Crossfit gym membership.  I just can't afford it.  I do those style workouts occasionally on my own.  Crossfit is MEGA popular in the paleo world.  Crossfit has done a great job of promoting this diet.  The Crossfit membership is even less affordable than paleo eating.  Many outsiders may think these two ways of thinking go hand in hand.

Then there is the toe shoes that are so popular in paleo circles.  $100 for these shoes that mimic being barefoot.  These are great for running while not strapping huge, padded shoes to your feet and are much more natural.  There are many who cannot afford to buy regular shoes for themselves let alone toe shoes.  When they want to mimic being barefoot, they take their shoes off. 

Oh well, I am gonna to stop my ranting now and wrap this up.  In the end, I feel paleo is definitely the best choice for people who can afford it.  Many more people can afford it than actually do it.  I have been judgemental in the past.  Its time for me to be a bit more sensitive to the fact that paleo principles can be a bit elitist.  There are some people who just can't afford this way of living and I need to respect that rather than get on my high horse about being healthy.


Tuesday, September 20, 2011

Lets Put This Life Expectancy Crap To Rest

Ok, one of the most common criticisms of the paleo diet is that paleolithic man (of 15,000 years ago) lived to only 18 years of age.  This point is so ignorant that it requires a quick education.  What critics really mean is the average life expectancy was 18 years.  Let's be clear what "life expectancy" means.  What this statistic describes is the average length of life a baby would expect to have after they were born.  This average takes into account men who lived to 70, babies who died at birth, men who fell off cliffs at a young age, mothers who died during child birth and even young children who starved due running out of baby formula (there weren't as many Walmarts back then).  

Sure their average life expectancy was short relative to today.  Paleolithic man had an average life expectancy of about 18 years vs. about 78 years in the US today.   There is little forensic evidence showing they died from chronic diseases vs. what people mostly die of today.  As recent as 1786 the average life expectancy in the US was only 24 years.  In a matter of about 15,000 years life expectancy went up a mere 6 years.  Not so impressive.  Consider that the increase from 1786 to today has increased 54 years.....that is very impressive.

You may ask why there has been such a jump in life expectancy in roughly 200 years verse a very small change in the previous 15,000.  Two advances deserve much of the credit, proper sanitation and modern medicine.  We can now prevent many early childhood deaths, better prevent plagues, and treat infections.  

This is a simple concept to comprehend and seems like it should be common sense.  It's not for many.  So the next time you hear someone drop the life expectancy bomb on your food choices, throw a little knowledge back at them.  Then ask them why our kids are expected to have shorter lives than us despite all the "great" nutrition advice being doled out in popular magazines like Time and US News.


Saturday, September 17, 2011

Why Paleo Dieters Are More Healthy

Because, on the whole, they make healthier lifestyle choices.  They take the time to learn information about human physiology and nutrition.  They then apply their knowledge to themselves in pursuit of optimal health.  I have seen it time and time again in the comments of blogs.  We are a serious bunch of people when it comes to our food and our health.  The anti meat and the pro grain people frequently attempt to match wits and dispute the merits of this diet.  This may sound elitist but it quickly becomes obvious they have not taken the time to learn about nutrition like the paleo crew has.  It is also obvious that evolution and history are never considerations when proper nutrition is discussed. 

Let's face it, going paleo is a huge leap of faith.  It is very contradictory to conventional wisdom.  In that light, it even appears down right dangerous.  To make the leap, it takes a high level of confidence.  Some people can be confident because paleo was recommended to them by a loved one or a health care professional.  That isn't the typical case.  Paleo is usually a careful choice made after weeks or months of research and self education.  It sometimes is associated with a period of observing successful results of others.  

In the end, when it comes to nutrition, paleo practitioners are smarter than the average bear. If you want to match better know your stuff.  Please let me know your journey to going paleo or primal.  Was it a leap of faith or a careful and calculated transition?


Friday, September 16, 2011

What An Average American Eats in a Year

Something that was glaring to me is out of the 2,000 pounds of food eaten in a year, only 62 pounds of it is beef.  Seems like many people are barking up the wrong tree if they are targeting beef as a big problem in our diets. 

Draw your own conclusions.  I found this on  


Monday, September 12, 2011

Dr. Oz Softening Stance on Fat

I recently read an article in the 9-13-11 edition of Time Magazine.  It was the latest nutrition recommendations from Dr. Oz.  As some may know, I am not a big fan of his. He has a lot of influence over what people feel is a healthy way to eat.  That could be good or bad depending on what he has to say.  Typically his recommendations were in line with our government recommendations that has done nothing but correlated with our country getting sicker every year.  I believe, that unlike our government, Dr. Oz is starting to pay attention to the latest research coming out.                           

I don't actually have the article in front of me, so I am going to paraphrase.  Please tell me if I am inaccurate.  First he tells us that cholesterol in the food you eat does not raise cholesterol in the blood.  This has been know for a while but is now becoming more widely recogniozed.  Also, he goes on to tell us that eggs and whole milk aren't as bad as they've been made out to be and we should consume in moderation because they do have some health merits.  WHOA!  That kinda blew me away.  He also said the same thing about saturated fat filled coconut products.  
Although there was plenty more in the article I didn't agree with, I have a silver lining attitude today.  He is moving in the right direction.  Who knows, maybe next year he will be full blown paleo in his recommendations as he continues to pay attention to the latest nutrition info rather than perpetuating the ineffective status quo.


Wednesday, September 7, 2011

The Cancer Post

OK, so this post has been in the back of my mind for a while.  Cancer comes up too often.  It pops up in conversation, in the news, and afflicts loved ones way too often.  Millions if not billions have been spent trying to cure this disease yet it afflicts greater numbers of people every year.  The most recent case that saddens me is the husband of one of my wife's co-workers.  The man spent the better part of his life as a pastor.  He is a noble man with nothing but great intentions.  He recently retired.  Not too long after his retirement and the birth of his first grandchild he has been diagnosed with pancreatic and liver cancer.  It's just not fair.  Cancer has also recently afflicted one of my family members and the wife of one of my co-workers.  It's everywhere and it aint no fun for anyone involved.

The latest research being done is to prevent glucose hoarding by tumors.  This article discusses an experimental drug with promising results:

 ".....they showed that the new agent both stops glucose from entering cancer cells and suppresses the cells' ability to metabolize the sugar.

Starved for fuel, the cancer cells begin consuming themselves, a process called autophagy -- self eating -- accompanied by other biochemical events that lead to the cells' death by a natural process called apoptosis."
It has long been known that cancer cells thrive on and hoard glucose from the bloodstream.  All dietary carbohydrates get metabolized down and end up as glucose in the blood.  It doesn't matter whether it is high fructose corn syrup, table sugar, whole wheat, or fructose from fruit.  It all ends up at varying levels as glucose in the blood.  Here is a lecture from one of the top cancer research centers on this topic (credit to Fathead for bringing this gem to my attention).  If you don't want to learn the science then skip to the 27 minute mark for the real meaty part.


Like I said, this concept of glucose feeding cancer is not new stuff to the medical world.  Yet not many people seem to know about it.  Many of the medical students in the video, after watching a very well done 27 minute lecture that they should have easily comprehended, still felt too much fat verses too much carbohydrate would increase cancer rate.  Bottom line of this lecture is don't eat so much carbohydrate that it allows cancer cells to proliferate into tumors.

Another cancer treatment being explored is anti angiogenesis or the prevention of the growth of blood vessels.  There is a drug being studied that will cut off blood supply to tumors.  
"New 'anti-angiogenic' medications that attack the blood vessels within tumours are showing promise in starving many types of cancers by reducing their blood supply."
I first heard of anti angiogenesis from a lecture by William Li.  He believes that starving cancer can be accomplished via the right foods in the diet.  Here is a list of foods he recommends to prevent vascular proliferation into tumors:


As you can see, many of these foods are paleo friendly and definitely should be part of a well rounded diet.  Some do contain carbohydrates but raise blood glucose much less than say whole wheat for instance.  If one had cancer, it may be a good idea to avoid the foods on the list that raised blood glucose the most.

In my opinion, cancer doesn't happen by chance.  We may not yet know exactly what causes cancer.  Based on what we do know, it seems wise to eat a diet rich in fresh fruits, vegetables, and spices but still keeps blood glucose levels low.  Fat is needed in order for us to be able to absorb many nutrients from plant based foods yet it also helps to keep blood glucose levels down.  The standard recommendations of avoiding nearly all fats and eating healthy whole grains seems very counter to a diet that today's cancer experts think may help prevent cancer.


Thursday, September 1, 2011

Times of Plenty

A Recent Haul From the Garden
It is pretty common knowledge that most animals fatten up in the fall in preparation for times with little food in the winter.  It just so happens that there is plenty for them to eat throughout the summer and into the fall.  Our human ancestors followed the same cycles before refrigeration, food storage, and food preservation became accessible.  They took advantage of the plentiful food around them when they could.  

Well, right now food is plentiful for myself and my family.  Our garden is bursting with tomatoes, tomatilloes, green beans, cabbage, kale, peppers, and collard greens.  The same is happening at farmers markets and even grocery stores.  There is an abundance of fresh produce available at very good prices.  

Between our garden and what can come inexpensively elsewhere, we have a lot of quality food to deal with.  I hate to waste anything so we have been spending time picking, cleaning, and preparing what we have available.  When I do this I constantly think that not too long ago this is just what people did on a daily basis to survive.  It isn't hard labor but it requires time on your feet and patience.  There is no fast way to wash and trim 30 collard or kale green leaves by hand.  Then comes the cooking and preserving for the winter.  Our freezer is filling up with prepared greens and sauces.  There is also the blueberries and strawberries we picked earlier in the summer.  Although not recently, I have caught and cleaned deer and fish to freeze for the future.  This also is a tedious task.

I take pride in the fact that I have food in my freezer that I am largely responsible for.  From growing, to harvest, to cooking.  I also now realize that life used to revolve around the pursuit of nourishing food.  This lead to a daily activity level that most people don't come close to today.  So my hobby of gardening and my passion for feeding myself and my family with quality food has turned into a form of exercise I would have never considered.


Wednesday, August 24, 2011

Time To Be a Better Role Model

As a parent, it is your responsibility to be a role model for your children.  Feed yourself well and feed your kids well.  Make sure your kids see you being active or they at least they know you are being active.  Your kids look up to you as an example of what they want to be.  It is funny to watch them imitate you as they get older.  Don't rely on others to steer your children in the right direction.  Especially don't let them read the book, Maggie Goes On a Diet.  Here is an interview of the author of this controversial children's book.

It is unfortunate but the author does not appear to be much of a role model himself.  I don't know, maybe he is already 100 pounds down in his weight loss journey.  How can he provide advice when it seems he has yet to find the solution?

It is quite sad but this book will probably sell because it is easier to provide a fictitious role model rather than be a real live model of health for kids.


Friday, August 19, 2011

Get Yourself Together

It's coming people and I warned you.  Organizations cannot afford to support the unhealthy lifestyles of their employees.  So if you haven't done it already you better shape up or it's gonna cost you.  Here is another example of this trend from the City of Chicago:
“We cannot afford the standard we’re on. And we can’t afford to do pilots anymore. ... Six to 8 percent of the city’s employees drive almost two-thirds of the health care costs around five chronic illnesses that are all manageable. ... We are going to be the first city to ... implement a citywide wellness plan for our employees because health care costs are being driven [up] 10 ten percent a year and we’re not seeing revenue growing that way.”
If it hasn't already happened to you it will.  Businesses will increasingly see this as an acceptable opportunity for them to reduce costs.  On the other hand, you may be passed over in the hiring process if you are deemed a health insurance cost risk.  Get it together people because your health is going to start to become your responsibility again.


Friday, August 5, 2011

How Far Has Paleo Come?

I have been following the paleo/primal/stoneage/evolutionary/caveman/traditional/ancestral nutrition scene for almost 5 years now.  It has definitely grown.  But how big is it?  Is it mainstream?  If you surveyed 100 people off the street, how many would know what the paleo diet is?  Most everyone knows what the Atkins diet is.  Could they explain the difference between that and paleo?  Someone near a busy sidewalk, please do that survey.

How Much Bigger Will It Get?
The magic Google fairies send me an email whenever a new paleo article shows up on the World Wide Web.  Within the last 6 months or so, I have seen a big uptick in media articles done on the paleo diet.  I would say about half of the writers are open minded enough to realize the opposite of conventional wisdom may be what people need to be healthy.    I suspect the uptick in attention is because of a few successful paleo book releases recently and some celebrities espousing the merits of paleo.  Oh yeah, there was also a US News review of paleo that got a lot of attention.  Either way, the little snowball I saw as just a few flakes of snow 5 years ago is rolling faster and getting bigger everyday.  But I will ask again, how big is it?

Today begins the first ever Ancestral Health Symposium.  It is basically a gathering of Who's Who in the paleo world.  It would have been pretty cool to get together with this group of pioneers I have observed and gotten to know only through a computer screen.  Being the inaugural event, space was limited.  I hope this was just a dry run for future events that will be much bigger and draw a wider audience.  This first event is basically preaching to the choir.

Being that it is relatively small, it still got a lot of talk in the paleo sphere of influence.  What I am curious about is whether this event will get any media attention?  Sure it is not big but it is revolutionary.  So many people getting together to espouse a lot of ideas so counter to the mainstream.  Avoiding "healthy" whole grains, eating fat, standing up at work, not wearing shoes, not running miles on a treadmill, buying food direct from farmers, spending time in the sun, and not relying on medications.  All this seems so whacky to many that it is hard for them to believe that more than one person would live this way.  The media should be all over this freak show, right?  

Only time will tell.  I am curious to see what comes of this conference.  Will these experts toil in anonymity or will the rest of the world take notice and take them seriously?


Tuesday, August 2, 2011

"What Do You Have to Lose?"

The author from this video is cardiologist Dr. William Davis, MD and owner of .  I have been following his blog for years.  He has great patient outcomes with mostly over the counter supplements and diet change.  His diet recommendations are very much paleo.  Obviously he feels today's wheat is not good for us but in fact it's very bad.  Another reason I like him is he did his residency right up the road from me in Cleveland, OH.  Here is another interview of him regarding wheat. 

More on the topic of wheat.  Some participants of possibly the most grueling endurance event ever, The Tour de France, avoided wheat during the race.  They are Team Garmin and while drastically reducing their intake of bread and pasta, they won the team classification in the 2,132 mile event.  You mean it's possible to do an endurance event without relying on bread and pasta???  Blasphemy I say.  Is it a coincidence that the most successful athlete in 2011 also drastically reduced wheat in his diet?  Most intelligent people would agree when many start having the same results, it stops being a coincidence.


Wednesday, July 27, 2011

My 'Victory' Garden

My garden last week

My family and I are extremely happy with our garden this year.  Thus far, it has produced a ton of food for us.  The only produce we have been buying this summer has been fruit.  So far in order of abundance we've harvested greens (kale, broccoli, collards and radish), lettuces, radishes, cucumbers, zucchini, yellow squash, snap peas, and strawberries.  We haven't yet gotten to the point where our tomatoes and tomatilloes are ready but we will have a lot of those to pick soon.  We are utilizing the Square Foot Gardening Technique to maximize space and it has worked well.  This is the 3rd year we've done a garden and I feel we've learned a lot every year.

I have gotten more involved in the vegetable gardening this year and have done a lot of reading on the topic.  I stumbled on the past concept of a Victory Garden.  This concept was actually promoted by our government during WWI and WWII.  The crux of the campaign was to encourage the non-military citizens of the US to grow their own food.  A lot of the conventional food supplies needed to be reserved for our troops around the world.  Many of our US citizens felt it was their patriotic duty to start their own gardens both at home and at work.  Vegetable gardening became very commonplace where space was available.  

Today as experts ponder how to feed the world in sustainable and natural ways there are millions of people taking matters into their owns hands.  They are converting some of their own space, whether it be their patio, balcony, or yard, into areas for growing food.  The astute gardeners know every little bit helps.  Big or small gardens...they both make a difference.  The gardeners know how their food was grown and know how healthy it is for them compared to veggies at the store.  It positively effects their health in many ways.  They get nutritious food.  They get sun and exercise.   Finally they also get the ego boost of accomplishing something. 

In passing conversations with my 87 year old grandma, she has mentioned how big their family garden was back in the day.  They even had mules come in to help turn the soil.  That is pretty cool.  Well over 2 thirds of their yard was dedicated to the garden.  Very different than the nearly useless grass based yards you see everywhere today.  I remember growing up, my other grandpa also having a very large garden occupying most of his open space.  Obviously I've talked about getting back to our roots several times on this blog.  I am proud to say I don't have to look too far back to find that my ancestors took their food more seriously than many people do today.  

As our garden knowledge and our garden space grows I have noticed something interesting.  We don't have as many food packages to throw away.  Also, we compost our food scraps so some the stuff we grew eventually ends up as compost back in the soil.  It is a relatively inexpensive hobby that has paid us back many times over.  Whenever I go to the store or farmers markets, I see the same stuff I harvest in my garden and know I don't have to buy it.  These are all Victories if I say so myself. 


My Grandpa in his garden August 1960

Monday, July 25, 2011

Do Something.....Anything

Stop being lazy.....stop feeling sorry for yourself.  Challenge yourself physically.  Set a goal and work toward it.


Tuesday, July 19, 2011

Self Sufficient Healthcare

This post may be boring to some, if not, most people.  Stop reading now because I couldn't care less about appealing to you as a reader.  For those still reading, there is an interesting trend going on in our country that is unrecognized by many.  I will use a series of statistical graphs (click on any to enlarge) to illustrate this trend and my points.  So get your analytical thinking helmet on and come for a ride.

What the above graph shows us is that people are spending much less of their own money on healthcare than they did 50 years ago.  In 2006, 64% of Americans ages 18-64 were insured by their employer.  

The above graph illustrates that despite out of pocket expenditures going way down, the overall national spend on healthcare has gone way up.  The average employer-paid family health insurance premium is $13,871 per year in our country.  That could really add up to a non trivial amount of money for any employer.  No wonder salary increases are stagnant and unemployment rates continue to be high.  This is a tremendous burden on business.  If they are spending all that money, we should be REALLY healthy right?  

So lets analyze the return on investment (click on graph to enlarge).  The above graph shows that the USA (all by itself way on the right) spends nearly twice as much on healthcare per person/per year than any other single country charted on the graph.  Yet, we are not living longer lives than people in many other countries.  Any investment advisor would tell you this is a terrible return on dollars invested. 

People have unknowingly offloaded the responsibility of their own health to their employer or the government.  It is no wonder the health of our country has deteriorated so much.  People don't care because their employer paid health insurance or Medicare/Medicaid has always been there to bail them out.  

Something has to give right?  Well it is and I've seen it at my company and companies elsewhere.  Employers are or will be shifting the burden of paying for healthcare back to the employee.  The graph above shows a projection of increased healthcare spending by families moving forward.  Part of this increase is the shift of responsibility to the employee.  Here are some intersting quotes from a 2010 Washington Post article:
"Most big employers plan to shift a larger share of health-care costs to their workers next year, according to a survey released Thursday.

Many say they may charge more to cover spouses, tighten eligibility standards for their health plans and dispense financial rewards or penalties based on the results of certain lab tests.  At some companies, overweight employees could be excluded from the most desirable plans.
Meanwhile, employees at many companies can expect significantly higher premiums, deductibles and co-payments...."
It's happening at big businesses and small businesses alike.  Companies refuse to continue to be financially responsible for the poor habits and unhealthy lifestyles of their employees.  The trend I am trying to reveal is the shift back to individuals being more financially responsible for their own healthcare.  Things start to get real for people when it hits them in the pocketbook.  So what is a person or family to do to prepare for this? 

The above graph shows that the US is spending much less of their income on food.  Food is an afterthought to most people and most families.  The philosophy of many is to fill their bellies in the cheapest way possible.  This in itself can cause a myriad of expensive health problems.  Quality food is the path to maintaining personal health.  I feel if we were to take our food a bit more seriously and spend a bit more money on it now, it will save us a lot of money in the future.