Wednesday, March 31, 2010

Non-stick cooking with Deathlon

It has recently come to my attention that I'm amongst a vast minority of people unaware of the apparent dangers of Teflon. Even leaving an empty pan on the stove accidentally for a bit can release some pretty harmful stuff.

After all the trouble I went to of tracking down a good price on stainless steel reusable water bottles, it turns out I now need to replace my frying pans. Too bad they don't have some kind of substance you can add to stainless pans to make things fail to stick. It would be great if they came up with something you could just toss in there that would keep food from sticking, and maybe give you some extremely healthy, vital macro- and micronutrients.

That's all I got for you...

Sunday, March 28, 2010


I've been working hard to decrease my protein intake over the past few weeks. This means plenty of dairy for me, lots of sour cream and cream cheese and cream and other things with the word "cream" (but lacking the word "ice" as that stuff is full of sugar).

I have to say I've felt much better. Digestion has been ultra-problem free and I've felt good and strong, slept well, and had great results.

Last night, I went very protein heavy and a really hard workout today ended with some discomfort. Really strong evidence that Nora Gedgaudas has the whole "Low carb, moderate protein, enough fat to stay/feel full" thing down pat. I was also weighing in at 11th grade kinds of numbers throughout the week.

Here's one of the better articles extolling the facts about saturated fats and their unrighteous vilification. If you're not convinced of this by now, you probably wouldn't be reading my blog anyway, but this would be a perfect link to send to friends and family who may suspect you're nuts for eating butter and tallow instead of whole wheat pasta with sugar-laden tomato sauce.

Tuesday, March 23, 2010

Right out of my mouth

Mark Sisson, once again, has a post today that I could've written myself, were I a better writer with a greater knowledge base. Okay, a post I wish I had written myself then. Enjoy!

Sunday, March 21, 2010


Well, today I'm very excited about my most recent major purchase. I spent quite a bit of money I can't really afford to spare on 10'x10' worth of Jiu Jitsu mats for my apartment. Justifying the purchase to myself afterwards, I realized that there's an issue I haven't addressed on here that I should have (and that I've had requests to talk about).

A customer I used to bartend for told the story of a friend who had put a deposit on a piece of real estate, only to have the seller file for bankruptcy the very next day. The friend showed up and requested his money back, based on the fact that bankruptcy doesn't happen overnight, and the seller had taken his deposit in bad faith. The seller refused, until the friend put it into simple terms. He said "You're gonna pay back that $1,000. You can give it to me, or you can give it to your doctor."

Grass-fed, grass-finished beef is expensive. But not when you consider the costs of eating cheap, processed, commercially-produced food in its stead. Compare the costs of treating diabetes, heart disease, and cancer to the price of eating grass-fed filet mignon for 2 meals a day, and you'll see how affordable it really is.

But there's good news. It turns out the USRDA for protein (something like 45-55 grams or so. Not even sure the exact numbers. You know I don't count calories or calculate macronutrient ratios) is entirely sufficient and reasonable (and going much over it can even have detrimental effects similar to those of eating carbohydrates). So you don't need all that steak. You need a couple ounces of good-sourced protein and a sufficient supply of healthy, natural animal fats (some olive oil is okay, coconut oil is better than okay) to feel satisfied and never be hungry. Delicious eggs can be bought at local farms for next to nothing (these may not be USDA certified as organic, but if you talk to the farmer, you can find out exactly what goes into the chickens that produce them, which you can't do at the grocery store, regardless of what the label says).

And further good news. The law of diminishing returns applies to eating properly just like it applies to anything else. Which means even if you eat conventional beef (not grass-fed), discount blocks of cheese (American cheese is typically not a cheese at all, but a soybean or other oil based "cheesefood." Avoid it like the plague), bleachy-white, flavorless eggs, and ultra-pasteurized milk (I'm assuming no dairy intolerance), you'll get the majority of the benefits of eating properly. You can supplement your diet with a few vitals that you're missing (because you'll undoubtedly have a omega-6 to omega-3 ratio that's way out of proportion), and end up far better off than your average turkey-sandwich-on-whole-wheat "healthy" eaters.

I hope I haven't strayed too far. If you want to read about supplements and micronutrients and everything, get Mark Sisson's book, or Nora Gedgaudas's. It's not my area of expertise (in fact, I claim no particular area of expertise). That's it for now.

Wednesday, March 17, 2010

Amazing Testimonial

You know it's not from my blog, as I have what I refer to as triple-digit readership. Meaning it takes 3 digits to count my readers on (rim shot).

Anyway, check out this amazing story from (once again) Mark's Daily Apple.

And Kurt Harris has an interesting question today...

Got my first sledgehammer workout of the year in yesterday. Today's a nap, hopefully in the sun.

Still planning to spend lunchtime in the fresh air and direct sunlight.

Tuesday, March 16, 2010

Rest of the week

If the weather is as good as it's predicted to be the rest of the week, I'm taking all/most of my 30 minute lunch  break outside with my sleeves rolled up and my hat off. Please, if you know me, call me on this pledge... Will let you know when the dome is properly tanned and the D3 flows like milk and honey. (raw and minus the honey for mine, please)

Fresh shave, homework

I have some outdoor work to do tomorrow in the early spring sunshine, so I gave my head a fresh shave and I plan to wear a tank top-style undershirt so I can get some vitamin D the easy way. This was, believe it or not, the main driving force behind my decision a little over a year ago to go free-scalping. For the record, all the follicles on my head still produce robust, thick, brown hair, but the old Mach 3 nips them promptly in the bud 2 or 3 times a week.

The homework assignment, should you choose to accept it, is to watch a 6 and a half minute video of people moving as they were designed. You'll notice that these people are strong and look as proper strong people should. They are lean and muscular, but not hypertrophic freaks of nature. And they move beautifully. If this doesn't get you excited about the upcoming warm seasons (if you live in a place that has upcoming warm seasons), then you're missing the point!

Monday, March 15, 2010


Getting very excited about being able to work out outside, despite the fact that I still have to pay for my gym membership when I don't use it. Here's the equipment I plan on using:

Monkey bars at the local State Park. I plan to do all variations of pull-ups, some form of inverted rows, brachiation-esque moving about, straight-bar dips, and muscle-ups.

Sledgehammer and tire: Hit 1 with the other.

Heavy, uneven object. A big sandbag or a partly-full keg. Something I can squat and deadlift and lift and drop.

Trail running in my Vibrams. Beach running barefoot. Swimming a bit. And Jiu Jitsu, of course.

Tomorrow's going to be sunny and warm here. The biggest problem will be choosing.

Saturday, March 13, 2010

Just for fun.

I recently came across an example of the conventional wisdom making people put blinders on to the evidence. It's a post called "Did Low-Fat Fail?"

I'll admit the logic seems good. But the data simply doesn't bear it out. This is the reason everyone should read Good Calories, Bad Calories (Taubes).

I'll just refute a few of the arguments and then proceed with my weekend, but I had to get this out there somewhere. Disclaimer of course that I'm not a doctor, not providing medical advice, not intending to treat or cure anyone or anything, go talk to a real MD, preferably one who knows anything about the continued failure of the diet-heart hypothesis to predict study results.

So, I'll let you read Brad's post on your own. Here's my comments:

First off, it should be noted that fat people actually tend to consume fewer calories than their normal-weight counterparts. This has been demonstrated repeatedly.

Secondly, the adipose tissue doesn't store excess calories. It stores fat. Would it make sense for your body to go into fat-storage mode when it's receiving a steady dietary supply, or when it's being denied that supply (and the plethora of fat-soluble nutrients that accompany it)? This logic may seem counterintuitive at first, but every well-documented study on the subject has always suggested (whether its authors recognized it in the summary or not) that appetite is driven by the fat cells. Specifically, a couple of hormones, primarily leptin and insulin. Without trying to get overly technical, I'll point out that insulin is produced in response to extra glucose in the blood, and that over-use leads to resistance, which probably causes all of the so-called diseases of civilization, including overweight. Excess glucose gets into your blood stream when you eat carbohydrates, not fat. Leptin is the master hormone, and regulates the secretion of other hormones. It's highly responsible for making you feel hungry, and it is primarily a fat-sensor. Meaning you feel full when you eat fat.

Back to my first point. The math of calories-in vs. calories out never matches the data. That's because your body isn't an internal combustion engine. Your body will make you feel energized, raise your body temperature, and take other steps to burn excess calories if it's fed a type it can feel free to use up. Your body will lower your energy levels and store fat if it's starved of the nutrients that accompany dietary fat. You will get fat and lose energy atthe same time because you deprive your body of natural, healthy, dietary fat. That bears repeating:

You will get fat and lose energy atthe same time because you deprive your body of natural, healthy, dietary fat.

Did low-fat fail? GCBC is basically a recounting of the history of the decades and centuries of science that Brad Pilon is either unaware of or outright denies that quite clearly demonstrate that low-fat (by definition high-carb) is a failure, for weight loss, diabetes and cancer prevention, and general well-being. Calorie-restriction fails. Low fat fails. Eating like your ancestors did, a diet with plenty of REAL fats (which part of the ear of corn does the oil even come from?!?), enough protein to allow your body to regenerate and repair cells, and little to no easily-digestible carbohydrates will not produce obesity. It may take time to cure it (google the term "broken metabolism"), but it basically cannot cause it.

Did low fat fail? Did Brad Pilon fail to do his research? I'm saying yes to both.

The upside of injuries, links, feedback

Last time I sustained a minor injury, I was unable both to train Brazilian Jiu Jitsu and to perform many upper body exercises I had come to enjoy. This time, I will be unable to train, and unable to perform a lot of lower-body exercises.

Last time, I was unable to perform many lower body exercises because they required my upper body support the weight. I am thinking/hoping this will be less of an issue this way around. I'll keep you posted on what I'm able to do despite the minor problems I'm having with my knee.

On the bright side, this gives me an opportunity to be analytical, to put the way my body works under my own scrutiny and see how one joint affects the way I use the rest. I will also be able to use a bit more energy for strength training in general, since Jiu Jitsu training is out for a while. And the final plus to an injury is that I'll finally get some much-needed mid- and long-term recovery time, which can be hard to come by when you work out nearly every day.

If you have the time, here's a couple really good reads for your weekend downtime:

Here's Mark Sisson on Culture (or the perversion of the term "healthy")

Nora G on the Benefits of Butter

I'm getting to the point where the people I started the blog for really seem to get it. They're all reaching goals that once seemed unachievable and setting their sights even higher. I'm delighted by this fact, but it sort of eliminates the Big 5's raison d'etre.

I'm willing to continue struggling to squeeze time for the blog into my hectic schedule, but only if someone actually is benefiting and utilizing the information I'm compiling. If you want the keep the Big 5 alive, drop me a line, call me, text me, leave feedback, or otherwise let me know that I'm not speaking to an entirely empty room.

Sunday, March 7, 2010


Today, a subject I rarely, if ever, see touched upon by the Paleo- and Primal Bloggers. Naps. For the past few years, I have become an increasingly large fan of napping. I've gone through a few periods where my work and workout schedules didn't permit the commonly endorsed 8-straight plan but left me a nice bit of time sometime in the 2-6 p.m. hours to get some shuteye. I found myself feeling more alert, energetic, with better digestion and emotional contentment when I made up for a missing a couple of hours overnight with 35-50 minutes in the afternoon. Several anthropological accounts I've read talk about so-called Stone-Age peoples napping a few times during the day while getting a very sub-8 hours of shuteye over night.

I'm certainly not condoning one of the extreme polyphasic sleep regimens that suggests you take a 20 minute nap 6 times a day and forgo all other sleep. I have heard both claims of success with those and hilarious stories of extreme failures, but nothing in our evolutionary history suggests this is ideal or optimal.

The bottom line, however, is that sleep is one of the most important and most overlooked factors of our health and well-being. Whether you feel better from sleeping all night and being awake for 15 or 16 hours straight, or prefer to supplement a shorter overnight-sleep with a few naps (which I do condone trying), neglecting your body's need for sleep results in what I believe to be a total state of disaster for your body. Studies show that lack of sleep leads to weight gain and impaired cognition, among other problems. Let me put it this way, you're way better off skipping a few hours at the gym than skipping a few hours of sleep.

On another topic, I've recently moved and have told many that I'm looking for a standing-height desk to work at (I think I remember Richard Nicolay posting about using an adjustable-height work bench) so I'm not sitting down any time I'm at the computer. Here comes the science.

One final note. Arteriosclerosis a/k/a atherosclerosis is almost always alleged as the work of saturated fat and cholesterol in the diet. As he so often does, Peter at Hyperlipid presents a theory that makes better sense of the data (and that I had to do a lot of dictionary work to understand, but I got the gist).

Hope that wasn't too wordy for you. I am trying to keep bringing up interesting topics, but I can always use more comments and suggestions to let me know how I'm doing and what else you'd like me to look into or discuss my experiences with.

Wednesday, March 3, 2010

What it's all about

The Big 5 is all about listening to your body's clues as to what it needs. I primarily focus on eating, but also touch on fitness and other aspects of wellness.

One phenomenon that has been occuring lately is that my body has been telling me often that it's satisfied with one meal a day. If I eat a big lunch, especially if it includes these, I feel satisfied all day and night. This is true even if I work out hard, and it's refreshing to have the free time I used to have to devote to constantly fueling surges and swells in my blood sugar.

While we're on food, I had a delicious Nachos-style meatza this past weekend. Talk about delicious and satisfying cravings for things I used to like to eat. (It's not the corn chips that I miss, so this hit on all cylinders). I'll let you do your own googling if you're interested in meatza.

One issue that has come up a lot lately is one I really have a hard time looking at with regards to myself, and that's overtraining. I don't mean to keep linking to Mark Sisson, but he keeps making it hard not to want to. He's been on the issue a lot lately, and I would recommend you read at least thisthis and this, as primers on the issue. Technically, the first link is about what he calls "chronic cardio," and the associated health detriments, but it really all speaks to the same issue.

I know I had more things in mind when I sat down to post, but I'm out of time for the moment and they've slipped my mind for the time being. I apologize for the length of time between posts. I really plan to try to make a little more time for resting (and specifically sleeping), reading, and posting and less time for pushing myself beyond what I can legitimately benefit from.