Sunday, September 29, 2013

Autumn - Changing of the season

Autumn has finally arrived here at altitude.  I'd say it's 4ish weeks later than usual.  Blame the rains.  All the moisture in Aug and Sept has pushed Mother Natures schedule back a bit.  But it came on all of a sudden this week ... no scrub oak turning first and all,  just BAM, golden colors and light snows in the high mountains (see the pic).  As an aside, we have a trail half marathon here every year the third weekend in Sept called the Golden Leaf.  This year it was unofficially dubbed the Green Leaf.  Enough said.
Yep, that's one big smile on my face

I've been road biking much more this year than I have the past couple of ones.  I had intentionally cut back a few years ago in an effort to curb my chronic cardio 'problem'.  I managed to do it quite well if I do say so myself.  Mostly I've gone for walks with occasional rides thrown in and I pretty much quit running altogether (not sprinting).  I told myself that if I ever felt the urge to run, then I would.  I've ended up running about once per summer.  That's not very much, especially compared to what I used to do.  But slowing down and listening to my body allowed me to make this adjustment with full confidence it was for my overall better health.  In particular, ditching the hard training and racing was a good thing.  I may have a talent for pushing myself harder than your average person, but it turns out this is probably a disadvantage in disguise.  At least when it comes to long rides and runs.

So, I'm riding more this year.  And I'm loving it.  I have always loved road riding.  I know it's probably not optimal health wise to over do it, but there are some changes coming my way and I have to soak all of this in now.  The ride up to the Maroon Bells is literally the closest ride from my front door (that's where I'm headed in the pic).  For most cyclists, this is the ride of a lifetime.  I've been nothing less than truly blessed to have called this place my home for the past 15 years.

Interestingly, the natural flow of riding a few times a week has seen me completely forgo my sprinting the past couple of months.  I know, blasphemy for Mr. Sprint right?  But you know what?  It's just what happened when I upped the cycling.  I listened to what my body was telling me.  Novel concept eh? 

Tuesday, September 24, 2013


I saw this cartoon today and came up with this title:

This is your brain on gluten!

On the plus side, we never would have been introduced to the Cookie Monster if he had started out eating almond flour cookies.

Tuesday, September 17, 2013


In my recent paleosphere meanderings I've come across some people's thoughts that it's unlikely the paleo/primal template of living and eating is going to become mainstream.  I agree with this.  A big chunk of people that end up here are very unwell to begin with or are at the opposite end of the spectrum and are athletes looking to push performance (let's put aside the whole crossfit - paleo connection for the moment).  You also have a small subset of people, like yours truly, who are information geeks and just totally resonate with this lifestyle.  As for mainstream people though, the ones who barely know the term 'paleo diet', this type of living is just too weird.  To different.  To much of a change, coupled with too many 'rules'.  At some subconscious level people are tired of being told not to eat fat, and cholesterol, and sugar, and salt, and blah blah blah.  They're thinking 'Oh, and now you're telling me not to eat gluten and veggie seed oils eh?  Sure. Okay - whatever'. 

I get that.  It makes sense.  If you don't have the time or inclination to do some information digging and self experimentation for yourself, then it's going to be confusing.  Experts from all areas are giving out conflicting information about diet as well as exercise.

Coconut Water
But let's think about this for a second.  Can  paleo/primal ever be where 'low fat, eat less and exercise more' is in our society today?  I don't think it can.  As evidence I present exhibit A (the pic over there to the right).  This is the side view of an aseptic of coconut water.  Look at the fourth bullet point.  In case you can't read it, it says 'no fat and no cholesterol (means big hearts and small butts)'.  Almost anybody reading that won't blink an eye because it tows the conventional wisdom line.  No fat = no butt.  No cholesterol = clean pipes.  There is literally no end to this type of stuff to be found including fat free labels on jelly beans and heart healthy stickers on cereal boxes.  It's all about selling products.  I should know, I work in a grocery store.  Want some more?  Take a look at the next pic.  Nutrition rich cookies.  Who did know?  Oh bother!  Or how about that calorie free peanut butter spread stuff I already posted about?

The state of  modern grocery stores in our country is nothing short of a disaster.  This includes supposed healthy ones like Whole Foods and Trader Joe's. Whatever happened to the times of buying your food fresh every day?   I digress.  Where was I?  Right, paleo/primal will never become mainstream.  Why?  Follow the money silly.  We are too far down the rabbit hole that is processed/convenience food.  There is no going back.  At least not for the majority of people.  I can't put it any simpler than that.  The truth hurts.  I hope more people make the majority of their diets whole foods.  And get more fresh air, sunshine, and plenty of sleep.  And reduce their stress and move their bodies.  I do have hope, otherwise I wouldn't bother having this blog.

But I think it is us who will always be the oddballs.  The weird ones who are crazy about what we eat and how we exercise.  And I'm okay with that.  It shouldn't drive us nuts that more people don't get this lifestyle and it's benefits.  We're all on our own journeys.  All we should do is live our lives in the way that makes sense to us.  And right now all that makes sense to me is to get some nutrition rich cookies and wash em down with no fat, no cholesterol coconut water. 

Monday, September 9, 2013

I must be missing something (Fiber)

Last week on Mark's Daily Apple Konstantin Monastyrsky, author of Fiber Menace, did a guest post about fiber.  A lot of people in the comment section didn't seem keen on the idea that vegetable fiber isn't all it's cracked up to be.  Oh, those beloved veggies.

Now, I do agree that Konstantins tone was too abrasive.  Just give me the facts please.  Anyway, today on MDA we had Mark himself weigh in with his take on fiber ... basically on vegetable fiber.

Here it is in a nutshell:
  • Soluble fiber can be fermented by bacteria in our colon with benefits to our immune system and short chain fatty acid production, along with some unwanted gas and gut discomfort.
  • Insoluble fiber cannot be broken down anywhere in our system and does not help with constipation.  
  • He's going to continue to eat his Big Ass Salad every day (which, along with some protein, appears to be very high in insoluble fiber)

WTF am I missing?  Is there a disconnect here or is it just me?  Why are green leaves so friggin sacred?  WHY?  A few here and there - fine.  But the Big Ass Salad is basically his lunch every day.

Alright, I don't want to come across as hating on Mark.  I just happen to disagree with him on the salad thing.  He is a super nice guy who genuinely is in this game to improve people's health and gives out oodles of free information to back that up.  He's da man.  However, it's all about soluble fiber kids.  And bacteria.  We should be eating some soluble fiber (but not an excessive amount) and taking care to also ingest a variety of bacteria.  Here is a link to one of the best articles I've found on the subject (by an expert in the field no less ... Dr. Art Ayers).

Leaves, stalks and grasses?  Let ruminants break those things down ... and then eat the meat of those ruminants  Okay,  I'm getting off my soap box now.