Wednesday, February 23, 2011

Living on Food One Has Evolved to Eat Has Healthy Results

Seems like a common sense statement right?  Turns out gorillas who are fed processed, high carb crap start to become just another overweight, unhealthy American.  Watch the short video below.  By the way, the before diet was pretty low fat to begin with.

Poor gorillas.  Why are they picking on them?  I bet weight problems and heart disease run in their family.  Before you start thinking humans should reproduce the diet read this.  Anyways, thanks to Hunter-Gatherer for making me aware of this little story.  Here is a link to the article about the Case Western Reserve University study.  In my opinion, the most impactful lines from the article are these:
"And, we're just recognizing that surviving on a diet and being healthy on a diet are different. We've raised our standards and are asking, are they in the best condition to not only survive but to thrive?"
It seems to me that we are also eating food that we are not adapted to eat.  You are not in captivity.  You control what you eat.  Will you thrive or just survive?  Survive is a word used to describe someone who lived through a train wreck.  To thrive is the way I want to live.  


Friday, February 18, 2011

Dr. Oz Advocating Paleo?

HMMMMM. I have typically been critical of Dr. Oz because he tends to vilify all fats and push toward a plant based diet.  He did give paleo a surprisingly good review.  Maybe he has been reading the research.  I have to disagree on one point. Paleo IS a sustainable way of eating. It can be a permanent diet for many people. Especially in more affluent countries, like the US, where we have many affordable food options.


Who Looks Healthier???

Answer this, who LOOKS healthier?  The dietitian recommending we eat grains or the people who avoid eating grains?  Sure, exercise helps with your appearance but diet is the only sustainable way to health and leanness.  


Saturday, February 12, 2011

"This is Crazy! This is Crazy! This is Crazy!"

Can anyone guess where the quote in the title came from? Please answer in comments.

I have decided to do this on February 26th.  It is the Portage Lakes Polar Bear Plunge.  Last year they raised over $40,000 at the event.  This year they hope to raise even more for the Akron-Canton Regional Food Bank.  I am hoping to be a decent contributor so I am asking for sponsors.  Please contact me at to make a contribution, I will take as little as $1 and can take donation via Paypal. Better yet, come freeze your ass off with me and raise your own money for a good cause.

Attention Facebookers, Tweeters, Myspacers, and even emailers feel free to make this post viral so I can get a lot of sponsors and be the #1 donor.


Thursday, February 10, 2011

Making Paleo Affordable

You've finally decided to make an investment in your health that doesn't involve a pill or gym membership. Congratulations!  Chances are previous investments have given you disappointing results. Proper nutrition will get you 80-90% of the way to good health and there is no way around that. I have read time and time again how people have pounded their head against the wall putting miles on the treadmill and eating the typically prescribed diet.  It just doesn't work.

Now that you've made the decision to make a radical change you may be wondering where to shop or how to acquire your food.  First I have to let you know why I said you are making an "investment in your health".  All food costs money but replacing government subsidized groceries with whole food, paleo groceries will cost more money at the check out counter.  As Ben Franklin said, "An ounce of prevention is worth a pound of cure".  The extra money you spend on food today is an investment in your health and your retirement.  What fun will those retirement years be if a) you don't live to retirement age, or b) you spend your retirement years fighting chronic diseases while spending thousands on healthcare costs.

So the major diet change and the increased food cost hasn't scared you away, great.  You are obviously dedicated to your well being and also your family's.  What I hope to help you with is minimizing the cost of buying nourishing food.  The good news is because these food options are more nutrient dense, you will find yourself consuming less volume of food.  So don't avoid good sources of fat because they are filling, a great source of fuel for the body, and fat soluble vitamins.  Proteins are also nutrient dense and are often in the same foods as fat.

The first and foremost way to save in this whole process is to cook meals yourself.  If you buy from restaurants or purchase pre-made meals, you are paying for much more than just the food and that will hit you in the pocketbook.  Cook large meals that can be eaten for days.  In the end, cooking will end up saving the most money while eating this way.  Now let's get to the actual purchasing of the food.  

Option #1 -  If you are very budget constrained but still want to do this, don't fret about buying organic, grass fed, all natural, or pasture raised.  Those are all worthy options but they come at a premium and aren't always as convenient.  So just buy paleo foods from a conventional grocery store.   You will still have great results by eating conventionally produced foods from a low cost grocer such as Walmart or Aldi.  Buying in bulk at Sam's Club or Costco is also another great option to save even more.  Always look for the cheaper meat cuts and produce on sale. 

Option #2 - OK, so you may be willing to spend a few more dollars to get a naturally raised food product for you and your family.  The most inexpensive way to get the highest quality of food is to buy direct from the farmer.  All around this great country of ours there is an underground renaissance of traditional farmers.  They take pride in how they grow the food they sell to you.  To them, it isn't about quantity, it's all about quality.  Here are 3 resources you need to check out to find farmers in your area.

     Local Harvest - This is a great website that will help you find excellent sources of produce.    
     Two  options you should look at are the farmer's markets and the CSAs in your area.  
     The farmer's markets are getting very popular and that is good for driving down cost.    
     You will typically find in season produce from local farmers that is super fresh and  
     reasonably priced.  It's also a pretty fun experience as it is very different than shopping  
     at a conventional store.  CSA stands for community shared agriculture.  This is
     basically a membership based food service.  You pay a one time fee in early spring and get   
     fresh seasonal produce throughout the harvest season.  Typically, you go to the farm for a
     weekly or every other week pick up depending on what you want or can afford.     

     Eat Wild - The #1 resource for finding grass fed, pasture raised, all natural livestock, dairy,  
     and eggs.  Here you will find farmers who will sell chicken, turkey, lamb, beef, bison, goat,     
     pork, duck, eggs of all kind, and milk of all kind.  I personally have used this site to find 
     eggs, pork, and beef and have been extremely happy every time.  The farmers are very  
     willing to answer questions via email or phone.

     Pick Your Own - They say the most satisfying way to spend your money is on experiences
     rather than things and I agree wholeheartedly.  My wife, kids, and myself have, in the 
     past, gone to farms and picked blackberries, blueberries, apples, strawberries,  
     pumpkins, and Christmas trees (does that count as food?).   I can tell you, it was always less  
     expensive and WAY more enjoyable than buying anywhere else.  This site will steer you 
     to farms that specialize in the "pick your own" experience.

Option #3 - Hunt, gather, and grow food on your own.  This is by far the most natural and satisfying way to feed yourself and your family.  No food ever tastes better than something you've grown, caught, or hunted and then cooked yourself.  So start a small garden, it's inexpensive and easy.  I've been a life long fisherman so I've always had fresh fish stocked in the freezer.  I recently took up hunting and have gone through almost 15 pounds of venison (deer meat) with some still left for future meals.  You don't have to go crazy buying a bunch of equipment right off the bat.  Start off by borrowing from friends or family.  You can buy perfectly fine used equipment as you get more experienced.  An added benefit to acquiring food in this way is it is often a great source of some added exercise.

The paleolithic life was a tribal lifestyle where the members shared in the responsibility of hunting and gathering food for the whole tribe to enjoy.  This can also be done today amongst your friends and family. All these options can be made more affordable if the costs are shared with family and/or friends.  The half cow I bought last fall would have not been affordable at the time but I shared the cost with DJ and my brother in law.  The trek to pick up our beef became an experience in itself that you can not get by just going to Walmart.  I have hooked my neighbors on going to an egg farm to get several dozen eggs to save a trip for others.  I also have neighbors who we are splitting our CSA share with to lower our cost of produce but still get high quality food from a local farmer. 

Hopefully I've outlined some options to help out the veterans, the newbies, and the onlookers teetering on making the plunge.  At my house, we are cost conscious as well as health conscious.  We tend to blend Options 1, 2, and 3 while cooking our meals at home.  Here are some other great resources on this topic (I apologize if they rehash but I posted based on my experiences which may happen to be similar to others):

15 Tips for Eating Paleo on the Cheap

I feel that although Paleo eating can be a bit more expensive, it is definitely more affordable than the alternative.  I would love to see some comments on how you save on good food options.


Tuesday, February 8, 2011

Free Entertainment

It's cold outside and you have done everything possible to entertain yourself while being couped up.  Have you grown bored while waiting till the weather turns?  Here is some free entertainment that will educate and entertain at the same time.  The documentary, Fat Head, is an eye opening spoof on the movie Super Size Me.  It goes way beyond spoofing Super Size Me by challenging the whole low fat/cholesterol mantra that most of the healthcare industry of this country has subscribed to the last 30+ years.  It is done by a comedian who does a great job of mixing good science with his brand of humor.  Sit back and prepare to be blown away.

Monday, February 7, 2011

Time to Rethink Breakfast

Throw out your preconceived notions about what you should eat for breakfast.  This meal is just like any other time of the day when you sit down to satisfy a hunger.  The classic American thoughts about what should be eaten for breakfast usually included grain based foods such as pancakes, waffles, cereals, doughnuts, toast, or bagels.  Often these nutritionally void foods are covered in a sweet, sugary substance.  What a crappy way to start the day.  No wonder road rage has become such common problem.  People are leaving home unrested and under nourished.  After their blood sugar spikes and then crashes, the result is a hungry person.  They are missing many nutrients from their morning meal also leading to hunger.  

Hopefully I have convinced you to reconsider what you eat in the morning.  Other classic choices for breakfast are eggs, bacon, sausage, and other such breakfast meats.  These are great options if you have time to get up and cook them.  What I am proposing to you is to open your morning food selections to anything you would normally eat during other meals of the day.  Left overs are a great option for breakfast.  If you are eating right and cooking large meals you will most likely have some great options available to you hot and ready to go in seconds.

Just last Thursday I had an interesting morning meal that would be deemed extremely weird by most accounts (maybe not in Korea).  On Sunday we made 2 large racks of pork spare ribs and I had some of those left over.  I also recently made a large batch of homemade kimchi .  So for breakfast that day, I took 1 minute and 48 seconds to whip up a satisfying and nourishing meal.   I was busy at work and never felt the urge to stop and get something to eat till way past noon.

On many other occasions I will make a smoothie that includes a little fruit, some liquid Vitamin D3, liquid cod liver oil (lemon flavored, no fishy taste), some vanilla whey protein powder, mixed up in some water.  Not the sugar bomb smoothies you will buy at take out places but it's not too bad and is packed with some good nutrients.  It isn't "real food" but it is a decent modern compromise.  There are other times when I am not hungry at all and will just not eat anything.  That's an interesting idea, not hungry = skip breakfast.

So when you are faced with the challenge of figuring out a good food option after you get out of the shower in the morning, think outside of both the Pyramid and the box.


Saturday, February 5, 2011

Big Sports Weekend for Paleo

Superbowl weekend is upon us.  I hate the Steelers but now I have even more reason to root for the Packers.  Take a look at this little tidbit from talking about the Packers' Aaron Rodgers and what he is packing for his trip to Dallas:
But back to the packing. He planned to bring a couple of books, including "The Paleo Diet."
Cool!  If you don't know about Aaron Rodgers, he is regarded as the most intelligent QB in the NFL (at least by me).  By the way, The Paleo Diet is a book by one of the pioneering researches on this subject, Loren Cordain. Here's to some quality foods helping Aaron lead his team to a championship.

The second paleo athlete in action is UFC fighter Forrest Griffin.  He is one of the top light heavyweight fighters in MMA and has a match up tomorrow night in UFC 126.  He did a review of Robb Wolf's Paleo Solution: The Original Human Diet.
"Robb Wolf and The Paleo Solution have changed the way I look at diet and nutrition. He's helped me understand just how critical diet and sleep can be to your overall health and life."
I've said many times that this nutritional philosophy is picking up steam.  Public figures jumping on this train will only help.


Friday, February 4, 2011

Everything in Moderation

If I hear that crap again, I am gonna punch the person who says it moderately hard right in the face.  The most recent individual I've heard blurt these words was the CEO of Pepsico, the owners of Pepsi Cola and Frito Lay.  Here are a few quotes from a Fox Business News interview of  Indra Nooyi, presumably an intelligent person who thinks most everyone else is stupid:
"Doritos are not bad for you,"  "Doritos are nothing more than corn mashed up, fried up in a little oil, and flavored in the most delectable way."  "Pepsi Cola was discovered in a pharmacy."  "These are not bad for you products."  
Ridiculous.  She blames obesity on a sedentary lifestyle.  Go take a look at the product portfolio of Pepsico.  Those cheap, processed foods are making people obese and unhealthy.  I recently read a book called Food Politics by a former nutritional policy advisor to the US Department of Health and Human Services.  The author's name is Marion Nestle.

The narrative  is a little dry but worth a read if you are interested in where our government's food recommendations come from.  I can tell you after reading the book that the USDA Dietary Guidelines are not formulated based on science.  They may talk like it is but don't be fooled.  The term, "Everything in Moderation", was spawned out of politics.  Our government is so influenced by lobbyists that it does not have the balls to stand up and say don't eat this or don't eat that.  

This book was written in the late 90's and early 00's.  Low fat was still the widely but wrongly accepted way toward optimal health.  That opinion is not so widely accepted anymore.  As Marion wrote in her book, many on the USDA panel of advisers wanted to recommend drastic reductions in the consumption of red meats.  The lobbyists threw a fit when they heard this.  The result was a change in wording to recommend eating more lean meats.  

Recently the 2010 USDA Dietary Guidelines were released.  They were more of the same crap from the past just more stringent restrictions on cholesterol and saturated fats.  The recent research done on the mutliple health benefits of lowering carbohydrate consumption was dismissed completely.  

Should this be surprising to anyone?  The USDA is the same government organization that allocates tax payer funded subsidies to farmers of carb rich grains.  The people who are telling us what is safe to eat are also somewhat responsible for the production of that food.  Does it seem possible that organization would recommend eating less of something they have such a big financial stake in?  Pepsico is a $105 billion company.  You think they might find some creative ways to throw some of that money around with the intention of influencing what Americans eat?

The next time you hear anyone mutter the words "Everything in moderation", think twice about agreeing to that statement.  Think about how ridiculous the statement really is.  


Wednesday, February 2, 2011

Another Convert Throws Away the Rx Bottle

This is a great story of a young paleo nutrition believer who convinced his dad to give this wacky diet a try.   What I don't know is how long it took to finally convince his dad to actually do it.  But the dad dedicated himself to it and had great results.  That's what counts.  Here is just a little of the inspirational post:

Words can’t express how proud I am of him!
And just so you understand the extent of awesomeness this is, let me summarize. About 4 months of eating right…
  • cured the chronic fatigue syndrome he was suffering from for the past 20 years!
  • helped him give up diabetes medication which has been controlling his life for the last 6 years!
  • helped improve his lipid profile – Triglycerides dropped significantly, HDL increased and LDL dropped minimally (still in work in progress)
Now your turn – Are your parents diabetic or obese or have high blood pressure or have cardiovascular complications? Are they following the ridiculous grain dominant ‘diabetes diet’ provided by their doctors and dietitians? Are they popping pills everyday to just stay alive?
Don’t you think its time to put an end to the madness? Don’t you think its time you, as their son/daughter, step up and help extend their lives? If this is not a priority I don’t know what is. Do it before its too late!
Incredible!  If you've read this blog at all you will know I love a good success story.  This one is especially inspiring for me as I too have a dad who has health issues.  He has an incurable autoimmune disease that has ties to gluten intolerance.  He has more pharmaceutical drug bottles in his medicine cabinet than there are in some small town pharmacies.  I am sure some drugs he takes are only prescribed to offset the side effects of other drugs.  No one wants to be on that stuff but few are willing to do what it takes to get off them.  

Although I don't actually know if my prescribed diet change will actually help him, I am doing the best I can to gently push him toward making real changes to see what happens.  Is this way of eating hard to get used to?  Hell yeah it is.  When you have the possibility of extending your life and improving the quality of those years, isn't it worth a try???


Tuesday, February 1, 2011

A Picture is Worth a Lotta Words

I have to thank the Whole Health Source for introducing me to Wordle.  This a cool site that will create a picture with the most common words on your blog showing up as the largest.  Here is what our blog looks like after the Wordle magic is done:
Kinda eye opening really.  The weight problems that have ballooned in America the last 30+ years has been an easy target but not so obvious to the majority who see things through "low fat" glasses.  Personally, I think that argument has played out for everyone to see (when you actually look).  If people cannot recognize it then they can read our older posts or go elsewhere.  There is plenty of great info out there and it keeps on coming. When we started this thing, it was not intended to be a weight loss tutorial or discussion.  We wanted to focus more on health.  Moving forward, there will be more of a health and wellness spin than a weight and obesity spin. 

So I'll start with my renewed focus right now.  Here is a great example, from Free The Animal,  of someone making a diet adjustment that resulted in very positive health changes:
The change that has most affected me is the complete disappearance of my exercise and allergy induced asthma. This wasn't mild asthma either, this was dead serious emergency room stuff... I was, basically, looking forward to a future full of daily doses of oral inhaled steroids and immune repressants.
In order to put the magnitude of being asthma free into perspective, imagine a crippled person who dreams of climbing mountains suddenly being able to stand, walk, and then run. This kind of shift in ones physical abilities and opportunities is really impossible to explain in text form, so try to imagine the liberation one would feel. Asthma now has a cure, I'm proof.
This story sounds very similar to the story told by the mother of young Jake posted here on this site.  Bottom line is you are never too young and it is never too late to make lifestyle changes that drastically effect your health and help you to be less reliant on medications to survive.