Friday, May 25, 2012

Hiatus Over. It just is. I really liked using this vehicle to put my thoughts down for anyone who might be/become interested. And one of those New Year's Resolutions I made was not to sacrifice having a life and doing things I care about for the goal of "accomplishment." I've been living for some perceived, glorious future (as many of us do) and I will not continue.

The future matters. Humans are unique in our ability to prognosticate. This is an essential skill of the way humans hunt, separate from all the rest. Chimpanzees use tools. Dolphins use language. When a dog tracks a scent, he's not putting a story together, he's following a scent that he's currently able to smell.

What makes us different is that we view everything that happens in the world in the context of a story. Our lives are a story, and we sometimes make the mistake of never living in the moment. I've been sacrificing too much in order to fulfill a certain goal, and I'm no longer willing to give up the rest. That's all there is to say about that.

Now, the actual subject at hand today. I have made time to read and look at a lot of what's said out there in the world of Primal/Paleo/Whatever dieters. The one thing Adam's Big Five always stood for is not letting the perfect be the enemy of the good.

The concept of "cheating" has to go. What I advocate (I don't claim to speak for Mark Sisson, Kurt Harris, Robb Wolf, or any of my other sources of information and inspiration) has always been to understand the reality and truth behind what you're eating and to choose accordingly.

There's no such thing as eating 100% ________ (fill in the blank. Paleo. Primal. Archevore. Whatever). Unless you are eating grubs and worms from rotting trees grown in non-depleted soil between feasts of massive amounts of mastodon brains, you are "cheating" every time you eat, breathe, sleep on a bed, inhale the air, etc. It's not about perfect adherence to some set of standards. It's about choosing based on real information.

Some people love to delve into the minute details of biochemistry. Personally, I find it interesting to a point, then it gets unintelligible and generally boring. Do I know the difference between arachidonic acid and palmitic acid? Not really, but I know who does, and can readily look it up.

The concept here, the general rule of thumb, is to stay as close to that ideal as possible. What ideal? The EM2, basically. That's all you need to know to get started, and to be successful. That eating the foods most similar to those we had access to as we grew into our current form (which has changed very little in the past few hundred thousand years) will yield better health than foods which are novel.

So, I'm going to start making a list of novel foods. There's a few items I try really hard to never eat. I'm going to try to hit 1 "avoid" food per post and go through some of the various dangers so you can decide how often (if ever) to include it in your life.

1. Vegetable, nut, and seed oils. There's things we all recognize as unhealthy. Food colorings and blatant chemicals. But the worst thing most health-conscious people eat on a daily basis are these rancid polyunsaturated oils. If you cut just this one thing out of your diet completely, you'd be way ahead of most people. This includes Canola, soybean, cottonseed, linseed, safflower, sunflower, rapeseed, grapeseed, peanut, and many other oils.

It is beginning to be suspected that these play a role in all the "diseases of civilization." These include the cancers, diabesity (diabetes & obesity), metabolic syndrome, many of the autoimmune disorders, gout, non-alcoholic fatty liver disease, and heart disease.

Once again, Kurt Harris

Okay, twice

Seriously. I'm not going to point you to too much research. You can use google as well as I can. I'm trying to make this easy. So here it is, easy as pie:

The most dangerous food in modern diets is probably seed/nut/vegetable oils. They're everywhere. Get the diner to cook your eggs in real butter. Don't eat anything deep-fried unless you deep fry it yourself. If you're going to eat food that has nutrition labels, scan vigorously. Do all you're able and willing to do in order to avoid these harmful frankenfoods.