Wednesday, June 22, 2011

I Have to Apologize

One of my veggie garden beds
My blogosphere presence has been lacking lately.  I promise I am not going away just slowing down for a bit.  I can tell you that in the last month something drastic has happened that has changed my life and will last for the next several months at least.  What has changed you ask.....It's gotten warm out.

Although I don't live in the Artic, I can tell you there are times in Northeast Ohio when it just isn't fun to be outside.  Right now it is very fun to be outdoors.  If you live in a climate like mine, don't complain when it's hot because it will be cold again before you know it.  So I am spending less time looking at a computer screen and more time outside.  My kids are pretty involved in sports right at the moment so that keeps my schedule booked.  I also like to get out and swim or fish in the beautiful lakes in my area.

The rest of my time has been spent trying to figure out a way of replacing the grass in my yard with edible plants.  Slowly but surely I am getting there.  I can't think of a greater waste of time and money than grass.  Oh well, off that soap box.  I am going back outside to enjoy this weather.

So yes, I will be the guy outside barefoot gardening and testing the theory of sun exposure being the cause of skin cancer. 


Saturday, June 18, 2011

Staying Grounded

So I am going to get off the nutrition tangent for a bit.  By the way, this may become more common.  

How can one be grounded if their feet never touch the ground?  A lot of  people are only barefoot in the shower.  Although this is a British video ad, it is still very educational and dead on.  Protecting one's feet with bulky, supportive shoes does nothing but weaken them, cause bunions, and cause your toes to become misaligned.  Yes, for the last year and a half I have been the weird, barefoot guy.  I am fortunate to work in a place that let's me walk around the office in my socks.  I work in my yard and socialize in my neighborhood in my naked feet.  I wear slip ons to my gym and take them off while doing standing exercises.  I never have shoes on inside my house.  Flip flops are the "shoe du jour" when the weather cooperates.  I have yet to have an adverse event despite comments from many concerned onlookers.  My feet are resilient.  What I have noticed is now my feet hurt when I wear shoes for extended periods.  I haven't bought special shoes to mimic being barefoot.  Good thing I don't have to wear shoes all that often but there are times when shoes are the best option.


VIVOBAREFOOT kids - Barefoot is Best from VIVOBAREFOOT on Vimeo.

Thursday, June 16, 2011

Paleo + Crossfit = Confusion

The paleo diet can be great for many.  Crossfit can also be great for some people too.  Paleo and Crossfit being perceived as an all encompassing solution to health can be confusing for outsiders.  The Crossfit community has much to do with the increase in the popularity of the paleo diet.  Thank you for that Crossfit.  Crossfit gyms very often recommend a paleo diet to their members as part of a path to health and fitness.  It seems the paleo success stories I read online are usually (but not always) from someone who does Crossfit.  I feel an iteration of the paleo diet is healthy and accessible for just about anyone.  Crossfit and their gyms are much less accessible for our population.  

I got interested in Crossfit in 2006 when I stumbled upon their website.  The program of randomized, varied, and intense workouts where strength and coordination were emphasized appealed to me.  I never joined a Crossfit gym as there weren't any nearby at that time.  Now it seems like there are at least ten within 30 minutes of me.  Although I never did join a Crossfit box, I immersed myself in the techniques and theories.  I invested in a Concept 2 Rower, a couple kettlebells, and gymnastic rings (the most versatile piece of exercise equipment I've ever owned).  I created my own workouts while also following some of the workouts of the day from the main site.  I loved it for about 2 years but a job change made it very hard to continue these workouts at the gym where I was training (miss you Evolve).  I joined a Bally's near my office and my freedom of training was lost.  I can still do most of the exercises I did but just cannot monopolize multiple pieces of equipment needed for a Crossfit type workout.

I also have Crossfit to thank for introducing me to the paleo diet.  While reading the Cossfit message board I saw some people discussing this diet and was eventually led to  After reading that blog for several months I jumped into paleo with both feet in January of 2007.  It just made so much sense to me.  I was getting chubby and something had to change.  I never looked back although my paleo diet has evolved over the years.

The exercises and intensity of Crossfit sessions are not appropriate for many of our citizens.  Although workouts can be scaled in weight, duration, and intensity it still cannot fit the needs of many Americans.  So many are extremely detrained, decrepit, and out of shape that they cannot even dream of doing the most common Crossfit exercises.  Also, the cost of $100-$200/month for a membership makes this another reason it is not realistic for the masses.

Paleo is realistic for the masses.  As I've said before, paleo can be very effective without being organic, all natural, and pasture raised.  This makes it affordable too.  Once people are educated on what to eat and what not to, they can make wise food choices that will have short term and long term benefits.

My problem is when the general population sees Crossfit and Paleo together so often they may assume they need to be doing these gruelling workouts to get those results.  It perpetuates the myth that you must exercise like a maniac to get positive health outcomes.  This can be misleading.  Achieving positive health changes is much more dependent on diet than on exercise.  Paleo is very effective in absence of exercise and independent of the exercise program used.  I think its wise that paleo diet experts have separated themselves from Crossfit or never attached themselves to it.  If the paleo diet is going to advance further, it cannot be only because of results Crossfit members achieve.  It must appeal to the masses for it to be attainable by them. 


Tuesday, June 14, 2011

Short But Sweet Article

Here is a great quote from a good article
"The case for good nutrition is clear. Nutrition cures and prevents while the side effects of today’s powerful medicines fill cemeteries. The nutritionists’ mistakes rarely result in anything more severe than a bellyache."
My grandma was rushed to the hospital recently because of an elevated heart rate.  She was quickly sent home after they couldn't find anything wrong.  She looked at the side effects of the 6 prescriptions she takes.  Every pill had "elevated heart rate" as a side effect.  I have no idea how they are gonna figure out which one did it.


Monday, June 13, 2011

In Defense of Fruit

Is an orange as bad as a Pepsi?
The main sugar in fruit is fructose.  Fructose has been shown to be a cause of many health problems.  In fact, it has been implicated as the cause of fatty liver disease which many now believe is the precursor to Type 2 diabetes.  I will not argue this as there is solid science to support it.

I will argue that fruit is a good source of fiber, vitamins, and minerals.  It satisfies a sweetness craving and has a net positive affect on health.  Quenching this sweetness craving with fruit is a far superior option than foods sweetened with cane sugar, beet sugar, high fructose corn syrup, and the myriad mad scientist, artificial sweeteners available today. 

Fructose is a problem because people consume it in super concentrated forms.  Fruit juices, sports drinks, and carbonated beverages are THE fructose problem in America not apples, oranges, and watermelon.  A good nutritional database site is .  I decided to find the fructose content of some fruits and drinks Americans commonly consume.  

  • Medium apple - 10,738 mg fructose
  • Large banana - 6,772 mg fructose
  • 1 cup watermelon - 5,174 mg fructose
  • 1 cup grapes - 12,776 mg fructose
  • 1 cup strawberry - 3,513 mg fructose
  • 8 oz. unsweetened fruit juice - 16,148 mg fructose
  • 20 oz. Cola - 37,415 mg fructose
  • 20 oz. Popular sports drink - 19,588 mg fructose

Most HFCS sweetened beverage drinkers I know drink at least 2 bottles per day (if not a lot more).  So two 20 oz. colas a day would be about 75,000 mg of fructose/day.  That would be two apples, 3 bananas, and 4 cups of strawberries.  That is way more fruit than anyone I know eats.  Fruit is a dense source of fiber, vitamins, and minerals that the drinks just do not have.

I know that the genetically modified fruits in grocery stores are breed to be much sweeter (containing more fructose) than what can be found in the wild.  Fruit was an occasional treat for our ancestors and for non-agricultural primitive tribes living today.  As you clean your diet of sweetened foods and beverages, a piece of fruit will start to seem very sweet to you.  You will find fruits to be satisfying as an occasional treat but not something you can sit down and eat mass quantities of.  The amount of fruit that is safe to eat will be dependent on an individual's health status.  Diabetics, people with gout, and people attempting to lose weight should be wary of how much fruit they eat.

In the end, I say enjoy some quality fruit as a treat.  There are plenty of redeeming qualities of fruit that make it a much better source of fructose than nutritionally void, fructose concentrated beverages.


Thursday, June 9, 2011

Another MMA Fighter Goes Paleo

Off Yearlong Vegan Diet Experiment, Frank Mir Feels Stronger for UFC 130

Guess which one is Frank Mir
Now on a Paleolithic, or "caveman," diet, Mir said he's bigger than he's been in several fights – but more importantly, he's leaner. 
"The dieting thing, I think you have to approach as intelligently as you can. First I started as a vegetarian. And for a whole year, I gave it a shot. And it kept my weight down. But honestly, my body fat wasn't as low – I got a little bit softer. I was getting injured a lot more. I felt a lack of 'umph.' But I was very determined to try and be a healthier person."  
Know anyone getting a little softer, injured more often, sick a little more than usual, or maybe they lack 'umph'?  Paleo may just work for them too.


Wednesday, June 8, 2011

"Experts" Don't Like Paleo Diet

"Did You Here About That Dangerous Paleo Diet?"
US News and World Report recently ranked 20 diets.  They utilized 22 experts in nutrition to rank these diets.  Out of the 20 diets in the Best Overall Diet category, the paleo diet came in DEAD LAST.  It seems like we continually have to take one step backward before we can take two steps forward.

As I read the reviews, it became painfully obvious that the "experts" are still very entrenched in the theory that all dietary fat is bad and we need lots of carbs to sustain energy.  Their criteria for ranking was based on a lot of what our government recommends as a healthy diet.  They've either not read, dismissed, or ignored all the data that's been coming out recently showing that our government's dietary recommendations are causing the country's growing bellies and health care bills.  

As you see in the pictures, these are two very different cell phones.  Above is one of the first portable cellular phones put into use 30 years ago.  The one on the left is the latest cell phone available from Verizon.  The newest technology weighs probably 1/20th what the 30 year old version did.  The voice coverage of today allows users to roam freely around this great country with few dropped calls.  The older version allowed users to talk cord free in a very confined geography.  Today's technology also includes wireless internet access that is faster than what most businesses have today.  Wired internet was only used as point to point shared networks between very few large, public institutions 30 years ago.  To dream of internet on a wireless phone at that time would have been a fairy tale.  Also today's cell phones are WAY more powerful than a personal computer of 30 years ago.

The question I have for everyone is if you went to a cell phone store and someone tried to sell you the 30 year old phone for $200/month and they told you that all you could do was make calls while in few covered areas, what would you say to them?  I bet EVERYONE in America would laugh at that sales person.  To make a recommendation ignoring what has been discovered in the last 30 years is irresponsible and laughable in many cases.  

Although the physiology of the human body hasn't changed at all recently, our understanding of how food affects us has changed in the last 30 years.  Based on this, the standard recommendations need to change to make a real impact on the health of our country.  I strongly believe eliminating processed foods and replacing that with whole, fresh foods is the path to long term health.  I am going to keep screaming this from the mountain tops.  We need to be diligent in this effort to educate because although it seems at times we are making progress, it is obvious we still have a long way to go.

This post appeared on Real Food Wednesday


Tuesday, June 7, 2011

Dumbed Down Diet Advice

Recently our government felt the citizens of America were too stupid to comprehend the Food Pyramid so they made a drastic change from a Pyramid to a circle.  Shapes are so fun.  The complicated 3 sided shape obviously has been the cause of all our problems.  No one can understand it thus they don't know what to eat.  Their answer was MyPlate.  Here is the new illustration that is sure to cure our country's obesity and chronic disease problems.  

Well there is already a paleo answer to this.  Seems so simple a picture isn't needed but it is funny none the less.  By the way, the paleo "MyPlate" was created by the people and a T-Shirt can be bought here.  (I make no money off this but they deserve their props)

Funny but true.  The paleo version is so much more effective at improving health than the new government iteration.  The science keeps coming out in support of reducing processed crap and replacing it with nourishing, real food.  The question is, will the paleo plate ever become mainstream?  


Thursday, June 2, 2011

I'm A Cheater

Not Me
I live in Ohio and there has been a lot talk of cheating going on lately.  If you don't know what I am talking about just ask a sports fan in close proximity to you.  They will fill you in.  So I figured that before I get outed as a liar or a cheat, I would get in front of things and tell you I have been cheating for years.  I don't eat 100% paleo 100% of the time.

I occasionally eat ice cream.  I have tonic or ginger ale with my vodka.  Cheese cake is popular in circles I run in and I often indulge at family functions.  Peanut butter aint exactly paleo but I do eat a spoonful every now and then.  As far as strictness of calories consumed, I am probably 90% compliant.

Yes, I consume this stuff.  I don't go hog wild and jump back on the Standard American Diet.  I eat it, enjoy it, and don't stress about it.  I am not in a weight loss mode so I may be able to tolerate this stuff better than some.  I can tell you I have had 2 vacations recently where I had indulged more than usual and put on 5 pounds each time.  It virtually falls off me when I get back to routinely eating my normal food and I suspect the weight gain is due to fluid retention more than anything.

I don't believe in cheat days.  That is flying off the reservation for too long.  Indulging once in a while is OK for me.