Saturday, March 31, 2012

Headline Roundup

Pink Slime to be served in Washington D.C.

Pink What?
     Reeling from the recent controversy surrounding lean finely textured beef (pink slime), government officials are out to show its safety and ultimate necessity for the economy.  Legislators from around the Midwest gathered at Beef Products Inc. plant in Sioux City, Nebraska in order to tour the facility.  'This here is one fine operation' stated Anita Bath, the Regional Head of Sanitation and Cleanliness for 7 Midwestern states.  'I would absolutely feel comfortable feeding product from this plant to my family.'  
     Bath, along with other representatives from the area, are set to introduce legislation that would require all government offices, cafeterias, and even restaurants in the Washington D.C. area to use at least some of the pink slime in their daily menus.   'The proof will be in the pudding, so to speak' said Bath.
     When asked to comment on the idea, Hugh Jazz, a New York State Representative currently in D.C. said  'What?  I wouldn't touch that stuff with a 10 foot fork ... I though that s**t was suppose to go to the school lunch program'


The Academy of Nutrition and Dietetics to reverse course on recommendations

     The Academy of Nutrition and Dietetics (formerly the American Dietetic Association) announced today that it's making some radical changes to the basic tenets it recommends for healthy eating.  In a stunningly candid interview, Patricia Lackinfacts, the Academy's Associate Director of Relations, stated that the biggest step for the Academy was dropping entirely the grain category.  'Throughout the years our recommendations have directly resulted from where we get our funding, like most businesses.  This year we got screwed over by the Grain and Sugar industries so we're just returning the favor really.'  When asked how people will best be able to conceptualize the new healthy foods, Lackinfacts said that it's probably easiest for folks to 'just lop the top and bottom of the old food pyramid.'  Simple enough. 

Da Pyramid with a few parts missing
     Seeking further details, we noted to Lackinfacts that the new plan sure looked a lot like the Paleo or Primal way of eating.  'That's the beauty' she began, 'when we saw that report in US News earlier in the year that ranked this way of eating dead last we knew we had to make some changes.  We were always under the assumption that a low fat, calorie restricted diet had the worst results, making people the most miserable and keeping them coming back.  Apparently Paleo trumps that.  So in the interest of job security, in addition to eliminating grains, we also recommend people eat Red Meat ... and lots of it.'

New report shows 25% more funding for saving people from Red Meat

     On the heels of the Red Meat Consumption and Mortality study just released in the Archives of Internal Medicine (which found an increased risk of death from all causes with increased meat intake), we now have a new study also with Red Meat in the title.  Condemning Red Meat a Boon for Nutritional Science Funding is a new meta-analysis that compiles data from many different studies indicating that, as the title suggests, if Scientists ride the Red Meat will kill you bandwagon, they are far more likely to get funding.  According to Dr. Al Coholic, the main author of the study, his groups findings show a clear and easy way to get more funding for your studies.  'Just add some statistics at the end of your conclusions linking Red Meat consumption to increased death risk.  Whether that's what your findings revealed or not is irrelevant, we all know it's true anyways.  Even if your study had nothing to do with Red Meat, just throw in this little gem at the end and you're 25% more likely to get future funding'
Oh man.  Just messing with you.  You do know what day it is don't you?  Here in Aspen one of our two local papers devotes their enitre issue to fictitious stories on this day.  They twist fact based stories like I mostly did here ... it's really hilarious.  Anyway, enjoy your Day, and stay the heck away from Red Meat will ya.

Ronde van Vlaanderen

Quick programming note, de Ronde (the Tour of Flanders) is live on the NBC Sports Network tomorrow beginning at 8:30 am Eastern.  I think coverage should last about 2 hours, but it's live so you never know.

I'm not going to give updates as to when cycling coverage is or anything, I was just thinking that if I had to recommend only one race to watch on the tube all year this would be it.  I've been watching cycling a very long time and love it for how well it 'presents' on television with cameras from motorcycles and helicopters covering all angles, including outstanding views of the Countryside.  It's almost like getting a free tour of another Country ... and in this case the Flemish part of Belgium.
Koppenberg 1987

This particular race is also famous for its numerous short and steep Muur's (or wall in English).  Some of them are even made of cobblestones.  The most famous of these, the Koppenberg, is where, in 1987, the race director tried to drive around the current leader, Jesper Skibby, but instead ran over his wheels.

The 158 mile trek through the hills of Belgium has the makings to be a monster battle between the Swiss Time Machine Fabian (Spartacus) Cancellara and Belgian Superstar Tom Boonen.  Or will some young gun like Slovakian Peter Sagan or Aussie Matt Goss be the first to cross the line.  Should be fun to watch.

Another day at the Office
If you miss this one, Paris Roubaix is being contested, and again shown live on the NBC Sports Network, exactly one week later.  Although this race is a touch more famous, it's flatter and doesn't look as good on television.

Friday, March 30, 2012


Every time I went to the Front End of the store today at work, there was commotion about the record Lottery amount up for grabs.  Like a Bazillion dollars or something.  I've never personally bought a lottery ticket, but it seems a whole bunch of people sure do get excited about it.  I once heard a quote to the effect of:
The Lottery is a tax for people who don't know how to do Math
I think that's funny of course, but I don't hold it against folks when they spend their money this way ... it is their money after all. 

Actually, there can be some good to come out of the dreaming that sacks of money can prompt.  I mean beyond that huge McMansion, private jet, and Rolls Royce most of us would get first.  Where would you live?  Would you travel more?  Would you change your diet if money was no object?  How about getting a personal trainer?  If you could donate lots of money to charitable foundations, which ones would you choose and why?

It's then cool to see if making some of these things happen in your life right now is possible.  Could you indeed travel more, live somewhere else or change your diet in your current situation?  Maybe you couldn't with quite the pomp and circumstance if money was coming out of your ears, but you still might be able to do them nonetheless.  Or perhaps you could turn some of these dreams into reasonable goals for yourself. 

So maybe some introspective, selfish dreaming that playing the Lottery brings on isn't such a bad thing after all.  It's just too bad the the good old Government is going to take a major slice of the winnings and use it to buy pink slime to feed our kids with at school (touche).

Tuesday, March 27, 2012

Eating Healthy / Odds n Ends

A few Shorts today:

Natto boogers
Natto - My good friend from Burma (and our Sushi chef)  gave me a small package of Natto to try for lunch today.  Going in, I knew that Natto was fermented soybeans and that it's wicked high in micro nutrients, especially vitamin K.  But what I didn't realize was how slimy/stringy it is.  Like spider webs.  It was quite a mess to eat with the 'strings' getting everywhere - all over my hands, in my beard, in my sardines, you name it.  The taste was milder than I expected, just kind of 'soybeany' I suppose, but boy what a mess.  It was kind of like being a little kid again, I could've done with a bib and a bunch of wipes.

Eating Healthy -  Later in the afternoon our deli manager (the Sushi chef's husband) asked if I wanted to try a new product they had received - a 'hummus' made from edamame instead of chickpeas.  I declined, mostly because I usually don't eat beans and I'd already tried the Natto for lunch.  Anyway, a customer was within earshot, listening to this exchange.  She was grabbing something from the bulk bins and had a couple of 'nutritional bars' made mainly of sesame seeds and honey in her hands.  She asked if I had tasted them before because they were oh so good, and even raw!  I told her I had not and she responded by saying 'so you just work with the healthy food all day, you don't actually eat it' ... BIG smile runs across my face.  Of course you, being a reader of this blog, know what I was thinking.  I did pretty well by just saying 'I do eat healthy, I just don't eat bars'.  I left it at that, but I think she didn't quite get that one might not see prepackaged bars and soybean hummus as entirely healthy prospects.

I think I look older with a beard
Dr. Oz - remember my post Dr. Influence about the craziness that ensued when Dr. Oz talked up raspberry ketones?  Well, he's still out there pimping things on his show ( I had a rep tell me just today that one of their products was mentioned), but I haven't had a day repeated like that one.  And I have a theory as to why - it's when he mentions DIET products that people jump off their couches and rush to the stores.  I'm not judging here, I'm just calling it like I see it.  Kinda shows where we're at in our society though.

Statins - I had dinner with the some friends the other night, including the woman whom I discussed in my post Conventional Wisdom, where I couldn't help pipe up about her going vegetarian in an effort to avoid the use of Statins.  The subject came up again, but this time I didn't chime in.  I didn't feel the need nor did I have the desire.  You can lead a horse to water, but you can't make it drink.  This plays to the larger picture of the Paleo/Primal lifestyle where you find most folks come looking for the idea (usually looking for something different than what is currently not working for them) and are ready for change.  But you can't just go out there trying to convince everyone of the benefits of Paleo.  Most people aren't receptive to ideas that fly in the face of standard advice - nutritional or otherwise.  I, and indeed many others in the Paleosphere, have discussed this very notion plenty, usually coming to the conclusion that we're more than happy to share and discuss our trials and tribulations - when asked.  There's a boat load of information out there in blogs and books for when people do come knocking.

Speaking of my Burmese friends, this pic was from November, 2010 when they got married in Texas.  I was the only Gringo there (I'm in the back row) but they made me feel like Family.  They and their culture are so incredibly hospitable.  We could learn a thing or two from Family oriented societies like theirs.

Saturday, March 24, 2012

Stop Look and Listen

The theme here in my blog seems to be 'Listen to your own body'.  It's oh so true and important, but why is it that I feel the need to say it so often?  To put it another way, why, when I look around, does it appear that so many people are not listening to their bodies?  Or at least, nowhere near enough.  Why are we so detached?  Are we just THAT busy?  Is this normal, or the new normal?

There's probably a plethora of reasons we can come up with as to why we're so rushed and out of touch with ourselves these days.  The pace of our lives itself seems to be ever increasing.  Some of it to our benefit, but some of it definitely to our determent.  Not only can our health become compromised, but our enjoyment of life itself can as well.

Of course, I'm not the only one to make this assessment, just bring to mind some very old and wise sayings:

Life is not a destination, it's a journey
Take time to stop and smell the Roses
Don't regret not spending enough time with your Family (Cat's in the Cradle)
Spring has sprung in the Rockies ... that's the Driving Range
Upending your whole life to do this, your whole way of thinking, moving, working, exercising, and interacting with others is not necessary.  I think just slowly incorporating aspects of a Paleo/Primal lifestyle may help a lot of people to enjoy their lives more. This is why I and so many others out there take the time to share our experiences and thoughts on this matter.

With this in mind, I came up with a little 'experiment' involving listening to your own body.  Since it's Springtime and so nice outside, I would encourage you to go outside, but really anywhere, anytime will work.  Now, here's what to do:
Use each of your five senses in a slow and deliberate manner in the next few days.
Easy right?  Here's some examples:

Sight - When you come across some eye candy (whether that be in Nature or whatever really) just gaze upon it.  Think about how light is hitting it and how you are 'viewing it'.  One of my favorite things to do is look straight up as I'm walking under a big tree.  It doesn't sound very neat, but noticing how all of the branches 'move' relative to you and one another as you keep walking is actually pretty cool.
Sound - Just close your eyes and listen.  Music, Nature, children screaming, ... you choose.  Just listen though.  Move your head from side to side and see how that effects what your hearing.  Try cupping your hands over your ears.
Touch - Slowly run your hand, fingers, toes, feet or any other body part over something.  Perhaps some nice Spring grass outside.  What does the texture feel like?  The temperature?  
 Smell - This one is really made for Spring.  Now that the ground is thawing, you can start to 'smell the outdoors' again.  Or just close your eyes and smell your food before you put it into your mouth.  I did this with every bite when I was at Au Pied du Cochon in Montreal this past summer and I'm sure I looked like a nutcase to the other patrons, but I could've cared less.  It was the best meal of my life and I was savoring it in every way possible.
Taste - Once you've taken a good whiff of what you're eating, taste it.  Chew it.  Move it around your mouth.  Eating is not a race, or at least it shouldn't be.  Do you need to chew every bite 50 times?  Not necessary (but knock yourself out if you have the time and jaw muscles).  Become better at discerning sweet, salt, bitter and sour in your foods.
We use our senses all of the time, but mostly I think they're on autopilot.  We don't need to slow everything down and savor every single moment of course.  We still have busy lives to lead I know.  All I'm saying is just try to take a moment now and then to listen to your body and to how you interact with the World through your senses.  Slow things down for the moment.  Use these moments as tools to learn about yourself.  And when you start to pay attention more, you can then use these feelings in your everyday lifestyle.  In things like eating only when you're hungry and going to sleep when you're tired.  Simple things really.

Stop, Look, and Listen.  That was the title of our 'reading' book in my kindergarten class (I have a long term memory like an Elephant).  Maybe it's time to go back to learning the basics.

Sunday, March 18, 2012

Health Care

I don't spend a lot of time thinking about our health care system in this country, but this evening I watched Fareed Zakaria's special about it on CNN called  Global Lessons – The GPS Road Map for Saving Heath Care.  Realistically, how in depth can you get in an hour long program with commercials?  But I did think the show was very good ... here he is talking about it (watch ), and it's airing again on CNN next Saturday.  I recommend checking it out if you have the time.

This pic has absolutely nothing to do with the article
After viewing the program and scoping around the Net a little I quickly came to this conclusion:  Diet and Nutrition have nothing on the divisiveness over how health care in the USA should be run.  Holy Jeepers. 

I don't know enough about the issue to make what I'd call anywhere near an informed opinion, but I was struck by a quote in this Lund Report article about Germans being confused over the U.S. Healthcare debate:

"For me as a German, what I cannot understand is that you make the question of health insurance an ideological question.  For me the question of a national health insurance is a humane question. I would like that every person, regardless of his or her age, income, pre-conditions or financial possibilities, be helped if they are sick.  Otherwise you have the famous phrase: Because you are poor, you have to die earlier. And I don’t want that” Zoeller said.

Notice, too, in the beginning of the article that the German public health care system reported a surplus of over 5 Billion (that's with a B) in 2011.  Impressive to say the least.

Not having enough thought in the matter to have a strong opinion, I do have to wonder though - why can't we make it a bit like our educational system?  Everybody gets to go on taxpayer dollars.  Everybody shares the burden of making sure our children are educated.  If you have the means and desire to send your children to private school then knock yourself out.  Similarly, everybody should have basic health care coverage as a humane issue alone.  And like education, if you have the means to better coverage, that should be your choice.

Okay, just sharing a few ideas on a topic that doesn't seem to have a 'best solution for everybody' scenario.  Like the rest of life, right?

Of course, as I watched Fareed's show and read up on the issue I couldn't help but think how the Paleo/Primal lifestyle has the potential to relieve us of a huge portion of our burgeoning health care costs through preventive measures.  Notice I said the potential to.  But think how unhappy 'the system' would be if their profits took a tumble because more and more people became healthier.  On the flip side, think how much happier and productive we would be as a society if we could, in large part, take control of our own health.  Yeah, I'm dreaming again, but check this out.  You know how I'm always saying just lead by example and people will notice?  Exactly that has happened at work ... again.  There's somebody who, within the past couple of days, says she 'wants the speech'.  To be clear, I haven't said boo to her about this lifestyle, she's just picked up on it from my eating habits and my healthy glow.  I do glow don't I?

So that's a nice, if not overdone, ending by me for tonight ... lead by example!

Thursday, March 15, 2012

How Much ?

I was having dinner at a restaurant this past Sunday with a group of friends for a birthday celebration.  There were two 8 year old twin girls there and they each had plain pasta with some Parmesan cheese sprinkled on top.  I was not too surprised as this is also the 'go to' meal for my Niece and Nephew.  But it got me to thinking. 

What percentage of calories do children in this country consume from grains?  Specifically, from wheat and flour.  I could probably sniff around the Net a little and find some figures, but as we saw from our recent little 'red meat scare', it's not so easy to accurately gather people's nutritional profiles.  At the very least, we learned that food frequency questionnaires result in notoriously lousy data.  I suppose taking a peek at what sells, at what people are actually buying at stores across the country, could give us some indication.  Probably our best indication actually.  And have you seen what passes for 'food' in stores these days?  I happen to work at a grocery store and I can tell you it's not a pretty scene.  Even the stuff labeled 'Natural' is mostly just garbage.

Anyway, think for a moment about some little people you know.  Now think how much of the food they consume, that you actually see, is from grains.  The good old 'Eye test'.  Here's what I see:  Cereal and granola bars for breakfast.  Sandwiches, french fries, breaded nuggets of meat/fish for lunch.  Goldfish, cookies or crackers for snacks.  Pasta, Pizza, Mac N Cheese for dinner.  And who hasn't seen that ubiquitous small 'cup' of cheerios that parents let their very young ones lug around and munch on all of the time.

I know kids are finicky eaters and don't like to 'eat their veggies'.  And I'm sure it would take extra effort to get them to consume more paleo type foods and less processed junk.  But that's not my point here.  My point is that just looking around, it seems almost scary the amount of grains and processed food our children are eating.  Scratch that, it is scary.  Very scary.  This is going to catch up with us ... even worse than it already has.  And if you're paying any kind of attention, you know it's pretty bad out there.  Obesity, diabetes, heart disease, cancer, ADHD, and on and on.  This stuff is compounding from generation to generation, and diseases and conditions we once only attributed to the elderly are creeping into younger and younger populations.

The good news is that our bodies are amazingly resilient.  Plenty of people grow up literally eating junk their whole childhood, turn things around for one reason or another, and are able to attain some remarkable levels of health and fitness.  This isn't a prescription to 'just do whatever' as youngsters because we'll be able to fix it later though.  No, many people are not so fortunate, permanently damaging their bodies from years of early abuse.  And with the quality of ingredients infiltrating our grocery stores and the willingness of parents to feed said products to their children in ever increasing amounts, I'm seriously worried about the direction we're headed.

The bad news is that the majority of parents feeding their children bread, pasta, crackers, cereal and the like, actually buy the governments line of 'hearthealywholegrains'.  What was at the base of the old pyramid thingy, like 6 servings of grains a day or something?  That's a lot of grains.  For anybody.  Sure most people would probably like it if their kids ate a little more protein and veggies, but they don't feel bad serving them all of these grains because they truly believe they're healthy.

In the end, I guess that's what it comes down to.  What do you truly believe is healthy?  I don't think grains are, and therefore I'm tuned into the extremely high rate at which we're feeding them to our children.  If a 'regular' person saw a Paleo parent giving their young ones meat, butter and whole milk, they would probably freak out just like I'm doing here.  So it's all in what color glasses you see the World through isn't it?  And you should see them through my Paleo/Primal lenses darn-it, cause I'm right!  Just kidding. 

I do write about this stuff because I care though.  I'm genuinely very concerned about our food choices and especially about our children's future health resulting from those choices.  The best way I know how to steer the boat in the direction of better health is to be a living example myself ... to lead my version of a healthy lifestyle and share my experiences like I discussed in the last blog post.  Now, I could be dead wrong about all of this stuff, and I'll be the first to admit it if the evidence comes in otherwise, but until then, this is the way the pieces of the puzzle seem to be fitting together so I'm sticking to it. 

Saturday, March 10, 2012


It's an unbelievable Spring day here.  And what do I want to do most with it?  Share it.  Sure, I'm going to enjoy it myself, I've already done sprints (for the first time this season without a jacket) and I'm going for a bike ride later, but sharing is my first urge.  How do you share a beautiful day?  Like you share anything else I suppose, you experience it with others.  Whether that be through physically being there with them or capturing the moment in words or pictures to reflect on from afar.  I do love the smells and sounds of Spring.  Life is reemerging after being tucked away for the Winter. 

I know, as usual, where am I going with this right?  Well, thinking about how much I want to share a day like this I connected the dots as to how much sharing is a part of our little (but growing) Paleosphere.  Sharing information, sharing ideas, sharing experiences, sharing setbacks and successes.  Whether it be through blogs, podcasts, books, lectures, or what have you, there is a lot of incredible content and good natured people out there willing to share things.  Very cool.

Undoubtedly, part of this has to do with the fact that this lifestyle works for so many folks.  And partly to the information superhighway we now have.  When you start to figure things out for yourself, it's only natural to want to share your success with others.  Added up, we now have a community full of vibrance and health that is spreading fast.  Sure, there are spats of contention here and there, and people with different goals tweaking and experimenting with things, but at our base we have a lot of common ground.  

New Kids.

In reading some of the success stories around the internetz I'm reminded of why sharing is not only cool, but so very important.  There are lots and lots of people out there that haven't yet heard this message and will ultimately benefit from trying it.  No, I'm not saying it's a panacea or that it will eventually reach everyone.  What I am saying is that there is someone today, right now, gazing their eyes upon some part of our Paleoshpere and the light bulb above their head is going off.  And through our collective effort to share ideas and information, through living our very lives and leading by example, someone out there just may have their health, and indeed their very life, changed for the better. 

Sharing - it's that powerful.  But you already knew that didn't you.

Saturday, March 3, 2012

Carb Up, Carb Down

If you've been at all following the Paleosphere lately you know there's a lot of back and forth about Carbs and Safe Starches.  Is low carb, medium carb, or high carb better?  Are there safe starches or are all carbs the same?  Should we individualize our needs for these things (duh) or make broad prescriptions since we're all humans?

I'm going to offer up my opinion, and considering my immense knowledge, my immense breadth and depth concerning the scope of the matter, this should settle things:

My opinion is ... REALLY?  Listen to your own body!

Okay, moving along.  Just a few odds and ends, and a riddle for you today.

There's a lot of talk right now about how bad sitting all day is for you, and thus the benefit of stand up work stations. I thought I would show you mine.  Nice, eh?  Who says it has to be complicated.  I do want to make clear though that I mainly use my computer after work for surfing the web.  In other words, I don't type a lot.  If I did, I would have to figure out a keyboard at a lower height.  Luckily for me, my day job doesn't involve sitting at a desk all day ... or any part of the day for that matter.


This is my Berkey water filter.  Nice little gravity filtration model that takes out most bacteria, chlorine, fluoride, and small particles.  I'm not overly worried about drinking tap water, but this is something I can afford, so, why not?  I consider it a luxury.  Actually, my biggest problem with tap water, and with adding fluoride to it specifically, has to to with consent.  If you want to add fluoride or any other substance to your diet, then it should be your choice and yours alone.

I got a sample of this Carrot Pickle awhile back and liked it so much that I ordered some in to sell at the store.  It has a very unique flavor.  The third ingredient in it is mustard oil.  I think that might be the secret ingredient.  Apparently mustard oil is used a lot in India, but not so much here.  Anyway, I mix it in with meat and veggies for my evening meal and it rocks.

And to end, I thought I'd toss out a riddle that has been with me for twenty years now.  It makes the carb debate mentioned above look like child's play.  I warn you now that if you continue reading, you may spend nights awake pondering this enigma and its ultimate significance in the Universe.

When I was at University oh so many years ago, I would go out for walks beyond our little studious sanctuary into the surrounding city.  A little for the exercise, but mainly just to see some 'real life' if you know what I mean.  I actually did this quite a bit, so I became familiar with some of the local neighborhoods.  As fate would have it, my roommate scored a VHS video camcorder for a few days one semester (think one of those giant shoulder mounted type deals).  We were just messing around with it having some fun when I had the brilliant idea to bring it to one of the neighborhood playgrounds I had come across.  This particular playground had some 8 foot basketball rims and we set off to film ourselves dunking the ball, doing our best Michael Jordan and Spud Webb impersonations (wouldn't that be one of the first things you did if you had a video camcorder back then?). While filming, a number of the local kids took an interest, egging us on and showing us some of their best moves as well.  I'd say they were 10 years old.  Maybe 11.  We had a blast, and then moved along to find something else ridiculous to put on tape.

Now for the riddle part.  A few days after our Dunkfest I was walking about, headed past the playground where we had filmed.   Some of the kids we had played with saw me and ran over, excitedly asking if I was there to film again.  I told them no, that I was just out for a walk.  I then asked ' where's that kid who is really good' (there was one little boy that had some serious skills and I didn't see him).  One of the them very enthusiastically piped up 'you mean Sam?'  I said 'yes, Sam, where is he?'  The young boy informed me that Sam wasn't around and then very, very proudly he stated 'you know, Sam is almost my cousin'

I believe the meaning of life may very well lie in that sentence. 'Almost my cousin' -  I have no idea what that means, but I find myself thinking about it on occasion, even twenty years after the fact.