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The Overachiever's Week Off: Why Bother With Paleo? A Quick Book Review, Food Reward, and More

Well, it finally happened: after almost six months of regular weekly updates, I found myself completely unable to complete another in-depth nutrition post for this Tuesday. Between traveling all week (last week’s post was written on planes), an inopportune redeye flight, and successfully fighting off the resulting sore throat with sleep and real food, I was simply caught short.

I apologize.

Meanwhile, if you’re curious about what all the recent to-do about “food reward” is about, and wondering just what “food reward” means in practical terms, this recent article will be instructive: Why Snack Food Is Addictive: The Grand Unified Theory of Snack Appeal.

And if you’re wondering why you might not want to start binging on carbs despite several recent articles in the paleosphere, my classic series beginning with Mechanisms of Sugar Addiction might be interesting to you.

However, as I am an overachiever, I do have several things to give you this week and an important question to ask, and the first is a reminder: diet and fitness are not an end in themselves. Yes, a healthy, strong, capable body will help us live longer—but why bother? What good is more life if we just spend it sitting in an office chair or on the couch? And what good is strength and endurance if all we do with it is push weights around a gym, or ride bicycles that go nowhere?

Here are a few pictures of my winter. Perhaps they will inspire you.

We skied from mountains to valleys…

Looking down the eastern slope

…and to lakes.

Skiing in a postcard

We skied under clouds and storms…

Going deep

…and under the sun.

Just like being in a movie, except without the helicopter to get us to the top

We skied steep chutes…

The Emerald Bay Chute

…and deep powder.

Yes, that's me. No, I can't see.

There were waterfalls…

Glen Alpine Falls

…and beaches…

Yes, that's a beach down there.

…and sunlight refracted through snow crystals.

Last of the light

These pictures are just echoes: triggers for memories of all the time I’ve spent in the mountains with my friends, skinning uphill for hours, soaking up the view from remote mountaintops, enduring both blizzards and searing sunlight in order to enjoy those perfect turns through virgin snow.

And what will you do with your newly-earned health?

(Thanks to Jeff G. and Brett P. for the photos with me in them.)

Reading For When You’re Stuck In Uncomfortable Seats: Melissa Joulwan’s “Rollergirl”

It turns out that paleo dieters don’t just write books about how they eat and exercise. You already know about my novel—and it turns out that Melissa “Melicious” Joulwan, most famous in the paleosphere for her oft-linked list of paleo recipes, wrote a greatly enjoyable memoir called “Rollergirl” about…the revival of roller derby as a DIY, athlete-controlled sport on flat track, and her own transformation from bookish, mildly obsessive Austin hipster to hard-hitting, butt-kicking athlete/bombshell.

I’ll point you to Amazon for the summary and a grip of positive reviews, to which I’ll add that it makes solid travel reading: breezy, upbeat, and inspiring. And as a man, I’m thrilled to read an account of female empowerment that doesn’t make me feel like I need to slap on some painfully astringent aftershave, grill a steak, fix my truck, and climb a mountain to stop myself from lactating. The world needs a lot less therapy, and a lot more Roller Derby. Well done.

“Rollergirl: Totally True Tales from the Track”, by Melissa “Melicious” Joulwan

(Government-mandated legalese: We traded each other for copies of our respective books.)

Tell Me: What Do You Want Me To Write About?

Don’t worry, I haven’t run out of topics: all that happened this week is that I ran out of time. But I get many of my ideas for articles from talking with my readers, especially my regular commenters, and I want to know what YOU want to know.

So: if you have a question that you’d like to see me answer, or a topic you’d like to see me address, leave me a comment below!

Live in freedom, live in beauty.

JS

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48 comments

Permalink: The Overachiever’s Week Off: Why Bother With Paleo? A Quick Book Review, Food Reward, and More
  • Elenor

    I’m a desperate wannabe paleo person who hates hates HATES veggies. I have hated them since I was a baby in a high chair when, no matter how my mom fixed them or which ones (and she was a good cook), if it contained veg, I spit it back at her. She finally mostly gave up, but not till after I had spent countless childhood hours sitting alone at the dining table, imprisoned until I “finished my veg!!” (And the damned dog under the table wouldn’t eat them either!)

    I’ve tried them on and off all my adult life — I’m 56 and way overweight — but I spent decades eating “heart-healthy” pasta (at least it was with lots of butter and cheese (good) and chopped up soy hotdogs (bad) or ground beef (good). Screwed up my metabolism AND my thyroid (which, the last at least, I’m finally semi-successfully treating!)

    So — how does one go truly paleo (I wanna be a Gnoll!) when one (still) gags at veg!? (They LOOK great — and taste HORRIBLE!) (I’m one of what Monel Lab calls “supertasters” — everything seems to be at least twice as strong-tasting to me as it does to ‘normal’ folks.)

    I am doing Doug McGuff workouts once a week, which is giving me some real success in muscle building, under the fat- YAY!
    And I do two (separated) hours of water aerobics (which is more like a long walk with friends — to which I add my own sprints — than actual serious exercise).

    The ‘primal/paleo diet… that’s my problem. I have learned to eat lettuce, a little (back at age 41!), with Thous Isl. dressing (which I’m not eating anymore… soy oil and sugar… yuck!). Do I just go all carnivore, all the time?

    Love your site, enjoyed your book.
    El

  • Brian Scott

    Elenor: As Nikoley would say “[Screw] the vegetables.” They’re not necessary if you’re eating a varied amount of meat and fat.

    I’m similar to you in that I think I’m a “super taster”, and things like lettuce, for example, will taste bitter to me if they’re plain. The way I fix this (because I like the feel of eating lettuce, even if not the taste) is putting stuff on it that does taste good: the place I go to for lunch has a salad that I put beef and lamb over, with a simple dressing made from olive oil and lemon juice. Delicious. Same thing with carrots: eat them in beef stew where it soaks up all the flavour of the broth. It’s so good.

    J.: Where was that you went to? It’s so beautiful. I was wondering where to go for vacation this year; perhaps I’ll go there?

  • Peggy The Primal Par

    Elenor,

    I don’t eat vegetables and I’ve been Paleo for years. It’s not that I don’t like them but I am sensitive to most of them. They give me head aches and countless other problems. I have been doing just fine without them for a long time. Instead eat organs, eggs, meats, seafoods, fats, and bone broth. Also, if you’re not totally insulin resistant, you could eat a little fruit. They are as packed with nutrients as veggies.

    Don’t despair, Paleo is a great place for people that don’t, can’t, or won’t eat veggies.

  • Timothy

    Elenor: I always hated vegetables too. But after switching from a carb-centered diet to a primal diet with huge amounts of meat and fat, I started to get vegetable cravings. Now I crave all sorts of foods that would have made me retch at any other point in my life: brussel sprouts; broccoli; sardines; adrenal glands and much more. Dunno if that would be the case for you, but don’t underestimate the ability of your palate to shift its preferences.

    J.: How about an article on human aesthetics, both regarding other humans and the natural environment? Aesthetics are a fascinating window into forgotten details of the environment in which we evolved, and to which we are instinctively drawn, often in spite of ourselves. Evolvify.com scratched the surface but there’s so much more to explore.

  • Dan

    Nice essay about ends, not means. And what spectacular photos!

    I’d like you to go deeper into the anthropological musings of the Gnoll Credo. What kind of relationships are we designed for? How do you balance the needs of individual vs. the tribe? How can one age gracefully and authentically in a society that worships youth? What other lessons can we take from our million years as hunter-gatherers that will help us thrive in (and perhaps counter-balance) today’s very different world?

  • Phocion Timon

    I don’t care on what subject you write. Your writing is done well and is entertaining. I will read whatever you put on the blog.

  • Melissa "Melici

    1. Those photos are breathtaking — and make the 95+ temps here in Austin seem all the more painful. What a lovely trip you must have had!

    2. Thank you for the kind words about my book. That was such a crazy-wonderful time for me… starting Flat-Track Roller Derby was a once-in-a-lifetime experience. And all of the Rollergirls are even cooler than you think they are!

  • Elenor:

    I'm with Brian and Peggy. Don't stress about it: “fill half your plate with veggies” is just another remnant of the low-fat “faileo diet” that can't let go of certain mainstream nutritional dogmas.  (For instance, there's no evidence that eating your “five a day” protects against cancer.)  What are the odds that Paleolithic humans were selected for dependence on foods that are a) only available seasonally and b) contain no significant calories?  An asparagus spear has four calories…it's barely even worth the effort to pick it.

    That being said, veggies can add color and flavor to many dishes.  Saute them until tender, and pour butter on them until they taste good.  Don't neglect fruit-based sauces: for instance, mango-peach salsa is delicious!  But at the end of the day, it's not a big deal: no amount of butter will cause me to enjoy broccoli or cauliflower, and not eating them won't be the death of you.  

    This woman is throwing the shot put at age 104.  Her secret?  “Don't eat vegetables, because I never eat vegetables. I know people that like diets that will scream at me, (but) don't eat vegetables. I never have,” she said.

    I'm glad you enjoyed The Gnoll Credo!  Isn't Gryka wonderful?  I still miss her.

    Brian:

    That's Lake Tahoe.  I live here, and the photos are culled from an entire long winter worth of ski weekends (and occasional weekdays).  Contact me if you want more information. 

    Peggy:

    Yes, organs and bones are fine sources of nutrients…and liver is basically a big vitamin pill.  I'm sure you'll be fine.

    Timothy:

    I too eat far more vegetables than before: I agree with you that starch definitely displaces them.  

    As I've said before, I don't stress about vegetable intake: I figure my body will start craving them when it needs something. 

    As far as an article on aesthetics, that's an interesting thought, and a very large subject.  I touch on why we enjoy “nature” and what we find “beautiful” in The Gnoll Credo, and in some essays I haven't published yet…perhaps I'll be able to carve part of it off and talk about it.  Thanks for the idea!

    Dan:

    Interpersonal relationships in hunter-forager societies are a big topic: I touched on their importance in The Civilized Savage And The Uncivilized Civilization, and I'm glad you're encouraging me to go into them more deeply.  Expect more in the future, though I can't promise a schedule.

    Phocion Timon:

    Glad to see you over here…and thanks so much for the support!

    Melicious:

    I live here in Tahoe, so it's not so much a “trip” as the Greatest Hits from the entire winter, which lasted from before Thanksgiving until…well, now.  It snowed several inches yesterday.  

    I'm glad to plug your book: I enjoyed reading it.  No matter how big and successful WFTDA gets, getting it started had to have been a special time.  And the camaraderie and joy really shone through.

    JS

  • Franco

    Totally agree about the veggies, even when I really enjoy small amounts.
    If I have cravings for them then it’s always tomatoes, peppers, onions or carrots. Green salads with tomatoes go only well with a huge steak (preferably with garlic butter).
    I have strong cravings for cheese (and I take in milk products like cream/mascarpone, a bit milk everyday) at least twice per week. Don’t know why is that. I gorged on milky stuff as long as I can remember.
    Oh, nice landscape and all but I’m not a winter sports person. I’ll take water skiing and beach volleyball on a hot day over mountain skiing on a cold winterday everytime. :)

  • eddie

    post workout nutrition would be something i'd be interested in, specifically different approaches for adding muscle mass, strength or fat loss.

    attaining fat loss difference for men and women, i've read a lot about this but most seem to still be enamoured with the idea that sat fats are bad or whole grains are good.

    i felt genuine sorrow when Gryka returned with the ritual scarring, was very well done.

    also question of Asclepius who i notice comments here, i am reading Taubes book and he mentions Asclepius having a good blog, googling does not turn up one (well it turns up lots but i cannot identify which one is the one referenced) so was wondering where to find it?!

    [EDIT by JS: TGC spoiler above. Select the text to see it.] 

  • Eddie:

    Good idea on the sports/workout nutrition.  I haven't jumped into it yet because it's a shark tank of people with very strong opinions who hold grudges forever, and I want to make sure I'm solid before making any pronouncements. But I'll talk about it someday.

    And thank you for the kind words about Gryka and TGC.  Re-reading that part still makes me choke up.

    Asclepius writes Natural Messiah, found at naturalmessiah.blogspot.com.

    I also see here, in the comments, a couple great blogs from the point of view of parents: Peggy writes The Primal Parent, at theprimalparent.com.  

    And I'm not seeing Katie in this particular thread, but she's a frequent commenter and writes Wellness Mama, which is full of excellent cooking tips (among other things).

    Timothy writes Urban Primalist, at urbanprimalist.com.

    Melissa, of course, writes The Clothes Make The Girl.

    Franco:

    I used to be really into cheese too, but since I've gone high-fat paleo my cheese intake has dropped nearly to zero.  Though I do occasionally enjoy some fresh mozzarella, especially on gluten-free bruschetta as a cheat.

    JS

  • Courtney

    Love your skiing pics!! :)

  • Franco

    JS,

    that’s interesting. For me, beeing a fativore myself, it doesn’t make a difference. And albeit I eat mozzarella and feta too, my cravings are specifically for yellow hard cheese – from dutch gouda over swiss cheese (tasty holes!) to parmigiano.

  • Emma

    I’d be interested in your take on the orthorexic tag that is getting thrown about the paleosphere. Robb Wolf tackled it on his podcast the other day with a big “f-you” to the person who asked if we sometimes go a little too far with our dietary choices and forget that part of the enjoyment of life is eating foods we enjoy. I see Richard Nikolay giving a big “f-you” to the other side of the equation and suggesting we live our lives in the best way we can and not take ouselves or our diets too seriously. What do you think?
    Another interesting topic, which I see you touched on with your link to your sugar addiction post, is the changing viewpoint that starchy foods and fruit should no longer be feared and instead should be consumed daily.
    Everytime I think I’ve got this WOL pinned down, the parameters change! First it was just meat, greens and fat. Now you can have dairy as long as it’s raw and from pastured animals. Now we are ok with some potatoes and white rice and, while we’re on the subject, pass the fruit bowl! What’s a girl to do? :D
    Your thoughts on these subjects would be greatly appreciated.

  • Courtney:

    You've probably seen some of them before…but they look so nice all put together.

    Emma:

    I'm glad you brought that up, and I'll most definitely be posting about it at some point.

    I don't have a problem with saying “I'm going to cheat sometimes because it's delicious and I like it.”  Where I part ways is with using shaky science to claim one has overturned the foundations of paleo, e.g. “saturated fat really is bad because of the melting point of something contained within a warm-blooded animal at constant temperature, even though it's part of a lipoprotein anyway so melting point doesn't even apply”, or “fructose isn't bad because calorie restricted people lost just as much weight eating it, even though they're most likely eating less of it than they were before the calorie restriction”.

    There's an important difference between claiming sometimes is “not all that bad” and claiming it's desirable, which I think is being lost in the excitement.

    JS

  • Alex

    Suggested topic: the lipophobic CW that paleo blogger Don Matesz, curiously, seems to have suddenly fully embraced.

  • Alex:

    Yes, I'll have to tackle that at some point.  His first theory, based on the melting point of fats, was so grievously wrong that he took it down and pretends it never existed. Now he's pushing a totally different theory, one which is also suspect science-wise…this suggests that he has some sort of ulterior motive for demonizing fat, because he's clearly casting about for reasons to be lipophobic.

    I'm disappointed, because he's written a lot of solid posts in the past.

    JS

  • js290

    re: Post workout meal

    Moderate protein intake as soon as possible after a workout. 1-2 hour window.

    How much muscle you’re able to grow is bound by your genetics.

  • Here's a topic I'd like to see more about – frying.

    I'm from the north of England and one of our food customs is deep frying in beef dripping. Our famous Fish & Chip shops should (if they're being traditional) use beef dripping – it gives a distinctive taste. More and more “chippies” are moving over to vegetable fats and transfats. Urgh! You can taste the difference and it's NOT good.

    I am new to the concept of paleo-cuisine but well versed in many of the principles having lived what I might describe as “paleo” for the large proportion of my diet.

    I am now fine-tuning.

    Those edamame beans are gone, but I do like a plate of chips every so often. Is should point out that I mean “fries” here – we do have our little trans-atlantic differences, don't we :)

    I have a deep fat fryer and it's full of vegetable oil. To my shame, I've no idea what oil :o Diesel, almost certainly. I want to move over to using beef dripping, but I don't know how it fares being stored longer term in a deep fat fryer. I don't know whether it re-solidifies. I don't know if it's a good idea to fill my deep fat fryer with it, but it seems a horrible waste to use it once and throw it away because you're not going to use it again for a couple of months. Maybe we could do more with a deep fat fryer filled with beef dripping.

    I'm sure a JS researched article on beef dripping and practical methods of storage and re-storage for use with a deep fat fryer would be great. I'm also pretty sure many of us would love an odd portion of fries cooked in beef dripping as a quiet “cheat” … of maybe have partners who are not wholly convinced by the paleo approach and like being fed with fries; let's fry more naturally for them.

    Here's a starting point: http://www.labint-online.com/featured-articles/bee…..index.html

    Again, I don't know if our common language divides us and folks Stateside might know it as something else, so here's a primer on dripping: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Dripping

  • js290:

    Yes, that's a start.  leangains.com is a good resource for those who want to build muscle.

    Paul:

    Potatoes fried in beef drippings (= tallow with some meat flavors) are absolutely paleo-compatible! The fish would be, too, if it weren't battered with wheat flour before frying.  And yes, tallow is solid at room temperature.  Lard is softer but still solid.  Coconut oil melts at about 75 F, if memory serves.

    It's great that places in the UK still fry in tallow: everyplace in America has switched to seed oils, usually partially hydrogenated, because of misguided propaganda from do-gooders like the CSPI (who have killed millions of people with their campaigns to remove tallow and coconut oil and replace them with rancid PUFA).

    I have a small deep fryer which I fill with tallow and fry up my own chips on occasion (American potato chips, i.e. the thin ones). Unfortunately my source for grass-fed tallow has dried up, and I'm not sure I'm willing to spring for the entire 5 gallon bucket from US Wellness Meats.

    As far as service life of fats, the more saturated the fat, the longer it will last and the more frying cycles it'll take.  In my experience, tallow fills up with burnt residual sugars from the potatoes more quickly than it oxidizes from actual frying: I change the oil once it gets dark enough to taste the burnt sugar.

    Note that you'll need to refrigerate it in between fry cycles or the oil will go rancid from sitting at room temperature. I use a very small fryer that I simply put in the refrigerator between uses.

    JS

  • Fantastic! That is exactly what I wanted clarifying (there's a fat joke in there somewhere) … I'll make the switch with full confidence about the longevity of the fat left in the fryer.

  • Okay … I’d still love an article on practical paleo frying.

    I have done a spot more reading and looked at some deep fat fryers this evening. I think the best I can do is a smaller fryer which has a removable inner skin where the dripping can be taken out of the main body of the fryer, or simple poured out into a smaller dish … left to cool and then put into the fridge. Space is at a premium in my fridge!

    Looking at the amounts I fry, a smaller fryer would suffice … until it comes to fish and here is where I can do just that in a larger fryer (with oil! Urgh!) and do the paleo thing.

    Traditionally, the fish was coated with a flour batter to protect the fish from the extreme heat of the frying fat without tainting it. Traditionally, the batter would then be cracked and the fish released; the batter discarded.

    I reckon I could cook the chips/fries in dripping in the smaller frier, while cooking a flour battered fish in oil or even in the dripping afterwards while the chips are drained and distributed … I can discard the batter, my wife might well eat it.

    Now … onto the other traditional accompaniment – mushy peas. That’s marrowfat peas. They are boiled and then cooked to a near pulp. Not paleo, but tolerable?

  • Fmgd

    I was thinking about taste and such, and it occured to me that it’s simple to understand why we’d like things our palate hasn’t evolved to, but it’s clear there is a good deal of people who are relatively averse to much of the food considered good that we historically had, which is curious.

    I think the reasons for that, and taste variability and change more generally are a pretty interesting topic.

    Somewhat realated is our seeming adaptation for cooked stuff. Of course there’s a lot of dispute about how early we started using fire for this mean (although it sounds very plausible to me it would be among the first uses of “domesticated” fire), so how likely is it we’ve dapted to this practice, and how much so?

  • Fmgd

    Also, whenever you try to convince someone we’ve been adapted by evolution to some kinds of food as they were avaiable to us millions of years ago, a few questions rise.

    Some people think it’s absolutely crazy to make such comparsions. We obviously couldn’t live that way, the little details show. Think about things like clipping nails and brushing teeth, which are indispensable and yet we wouldn’t have acces to, for exemple, they go.

    I’ve heard our teeth are actually worse since agriculture and would fault our activities and footwear for most nail related problems, but I’m not sure how complete is that view and how much evidence could there be. I find it interesting.

  • Paul:

    In America we have a cute and cheap little fryer called the Fry Daddy.  I don't see it on amazon.co.uk, but there are a number of 1-liter deep fryers that get good reviews and should work fine.

    There is also the approach of simply using a saucepan on the stove.  This would probably work OK if you could also find a thermometer to keep temperature in the right range.  One advantage of the dedicated fryers is that they're temperature-controlled, so you'll never burn the oil by accident.

    I'll consider an article about frying…the hardest part is finding good oil to fry in!  Coconut oil is extremely expensive, and it's nearly impossible to get beef tallow anymore.

    Fmgd:

    The impact of culture is an interesting topic: humans have been selected for extreme developmental plasticity so that our upbringing determines many of our habits throughout life.  The differences between chimps and humans are instructive here: perhaps I'll write an article on that.  Good call.

    As far as brushing teeth, I think that's actually the best argument that humans didn't historically eat a high-starch diet.  Mouth bacteria live on sugar.  The teeth of Paleolithic (and even Neolithic hunter-forager) remains are excellent, versus post-agricultural humans whose teeth are uniformly terrible — and we're pretty sure there was no such thing as Paleolithic toothpaste.  I'll probably use this fact in an article someday.

    JS

     

  • j glass

    Nice Pics ;-) Pretty incredible winter we had, thanks for being a great partner in crime…

  • Jeff:

    Always.  I hope to never end up in a backcountry 'situation'…but if I do, you're one of the few I'd trust to handle it.  Here's to many more winters of exploration and great lines.

    JS

  • Chris

    @Eddie:
    I’m with JS on the workout nutrition – it’s a complicated topic and a LOT of people have opinions about it. Some based on “broscience” (http://www.urbandictionary.com/define.php?term=broscience) others based on real science, some based on experimentation with clients. It’s a pretty crazy (and interesting) world. Especially since you’re attempting to manipulate the body for peak performance.

    That being said, I’m interested on hearing JS’ take on it.

  • Chris:

    I'm learning some interesting things, but I'm not yet ready to post on that particular subject.  There's a lot to learn!

    JS

  • Chris

    No doubt JS!

    I’ve been at it for years, and still feel like I barely know anything. If you have any questions though, feel free to ask. I may not have it – but may be able to point you in the right direction!

  • chris.george

    J. Stanton said:

    Chris:

    I'm learning some interesting things, but I'm not yet ready to post on that particular subject.  There's a lot to learn!

    JS


     

    Some food for thought, since I was thinking about this on my way to work.

     

    One of the things I went through was the struggle with understanding why so many body builders went on low-fat (literally < 20g of fat), super-high protein (> 250g), and moderate to high carb; but could get extremely lean to the point of < 4% bodyfat. So the point of contention always was – if humans were gearted towards eating and using fat for our metabolism how is it that body builders could live and get absurdly lean on such a minimal amount of it. Or rather, at some point it had to backfire and their body would want to start storing instead of eating it. At least, I always found (and sometimes still do) in a circular logic loop when thinking about it.

  • Chris:

    Bodybuilding isn't about health: your body really doesn't want to be at 4% bodyfat.  Fat is our energy reserve against hunger, and Paleolithic humans were selected for surviving without food far more often than they were selected for ripped abs.  Furthermore, bodybuilders train for bulk, not for real-world strength: you won't find any hunter-foragers who look like Jay Cutler.  

    So if you want to “get ripped”, you're going to have to do some unnatural things to your diet.

    (Yes, there are some people who are genetically gifted and look like an anatomy chart on any diet, just like there are some women who are natural E cups.)

    JS

  • chris.george

    Paul Halliday said:

    … I don't know how it fares being stored longer term in a deep fat fryer. I don't know whether it re-solidifies. I don't know if it's a good idea to fill my deep fat fryer with it, but it seems a horrible waste to use it once and throw it away because you're not going to use it again for a couple of months …


     

    Paul:

    I have a quite a lot of beef tallow – it goes a long, long way sometimes. But to answer your question about whether it resolidifies. It does. At room temperature it's solid (ever see fat from ground meat sit in a skillet? Same thing.) Once the frier heats up it'll be liquid goodness again. I love frying stuff sometimes. YUM. That reminds me, I should buy that mini frier JS pointed out….

  • chris.george

    J. Stanton said:

    Chris:

    Bodybuilding isn't about health: your body really doesn't want to be at 4% bodyfat.  Fat is our energy reserve against hunger, and Paleolithic humans were selected for surviving without food far more often than they were selected for ripped abs.  Furthermore, bodybuilders train for bulk, not for real-world strength: you won't find any hunter-foragers who look like Jay Cutler.  

    So if you want to “get ripped”, you're going to have to do some unnatural things to your diet.

    (Yes, there are some people who are genetically gifted and look like an anatomy chart on any diet, just like there are some women who are natural E cups.)

    JS


     

    JS:

    For sure – I was partly musing on a thought process that I went through during my trials (hell after doing it once my body refuses to do it again! Sort of.). It's not doubt unnatural. But that does beg to question. How low is unnatural? 6%? 8%? 10%? 15%? The “gold standard” 12%? I'd be curious to see what the results might be. Looking at “non Westernized” people, especially those who have had minimal contact with “us” – from their pictures I might estimate 10% or less for most of them. Perhaps. And then, while I'm musing a bit (stay with me), even though certain culture idealized the “big brawny” look and even iconicized it, like the Greeks, was there really the ability to big that strong, big, and bulky as Hecules, and others were described? (Ignoring the relativity of poorer classes, etc being rail thin). It's an interesting brain exercise – and I'm not even sure there's an answer to be honest.

     

    As always, your thoughts are welcome, and always provoke me to think on the next level!

  • Thanks Chris – to be abolsutely honest, I've not been interested in potatoes so I have not made chips yet. I have found a really neat small fryer which has a 1 litre capacity (so 500ml fat) to do small portions. I can pour out the fat while it is warm into a container to store in the fridge between use.

  • chris.george

    Paul Halliday said:

    Thanks Chris – to be abolsutely honest, I've not been interested in potatoes so I have not made chips yet. I have found a really neat small fryer which has a 1 litre capacity (so 500ml fat) to do small portions. I can pour out the fat while it is warm into a container to store in the fridge between use.


    No problem! You can also fry vegetables in it (try broccoli or some squash – though that's kind of starchy). Or anything that floats your fancy! Even chicken/turkey (with the skin on it's amazing how it comes out.)

  • Culturally, we like our animal fats here in northern England!

    Lucky for me, I can buy dripping at my local supermarket:

  • Paul:

    I'm jealous.  In the USA all you can get in a supermarket is terrible hydrogenated lard.  I have to mail-order my tallow.

    Chris:

    I'm sitting at 12-13%, which I think is about where a healthy male body getting adequate nutrition wants to be.  And many “primitive” people have to stay active whether they're eating well or not, so they'll often dip under that.

    Remember that “10% bodyfat” on the Intenet is more like 15%.  Under 10% qualifies as ripped for anyone but a BB going into a contest.  

    JS

  • TANSTAAFL

    Just FYI Gymnasticbodies.com is an excellent resource for nutrition and exercise information. Just check the forum and let the information engulf. It’s also very underrated and relatively unknown as of yet. The moderators know what they are talking about, and are extremely well versed.

  • Walter

    RE: Paul Halliday

    Yes, that’s what we should call seed oils. Diesel fuel. Perfect.

    “Thou shall not fry thy food in diesel oil, nor the food of any in thy house or that of your servants or any of your guests or customers.”

  • Walter:

    Absolutely!  It's even worse when you realize how seed oils are made.  

    I coined that phrase in Eat Like A Predator (“Eat food, not diesel fuel”…”If you can put it in a truck and the truck starts, it's not food”) and I hope it continues to spread.  Maybe we need to work on the Paleo Ten Commandments…?

    JS

  • NERGA! NERGA! NERGA! (Cackle)

    Paleo Commandments? Does paleo need a constitution? The Primal Blueprint and Archevore have their 10 or 12. You already got it down to 2:

    • Eating foods that best support the biochemistry of human animals with a multi-million year history of hunting and foraging, primarily on the African savanna.
    • Avoiding foods, such as grains, grain oils, and refined sweeteners, that actively disrupt the biochemistry of these human animals.

    A third one around activity is useful, so an “Holy Trinity” of Paleo?

    In fact, if you compressed the above two into one about (1) food and water, and made up a second one around (2) activity and rest, I think you'd have paleo lifestyle in a nutshell. Everyone can count to two.

  • Paul:

    Sure, it's nerga: but it would be purely for the humor value.  “Thou shalt have no other foods before meat.”

    As far as activity, I'll have to think about that.

    JS

  • Thou shalt not covet thy junk fed colleagues' liver

  • ettab

    Hi, what is the difference between a vegetable, seed & grain? In depth I mean. Are all grains seeds? Is corn ever a vegetable? Does paleo mean ringing the seeds off my red peppers? Lol nit picking I know. Thanks

  • ettab:

    A “grain” is a grass of the family Poaceae, cultivated for its seeds.  So all grains are seeds, but not all seeds are grains.

    “Vegetable” is a culinary term, not a precise botanical term.  That said, it's usually understood to refer to any edible part of a plant that isn't a fruit or a seed.

    Corn isn't a vegetable: it's a seed.

    And I see no problem with pepper seeds as a spice…I would have a hard time making chili without them!

    JS

  • Tyler

    I have really wanted to go paleo now for a while but a few things get in my way within the first week or even days, firstly, eating alot of vegetables and moderating fruit. I cannot stand and vegetables except cooked canned carrots and I love most fruits. Sencondly, I am on a very tight budget as I dont make very much and I support my wife and two children, whom by the way swear on junk food and on top of that junk food is always cheaper than healthy foods, ive attempted a couple time to message mark sisson from primal blueprint about my issues and never got a response, so I’d really appreciate any help on the matter to know what to eat that fits my life not only for sheer weight loss but for improved overall health! Thanks for any help.

  • Tyler:

    My apologies for missing your question: this is a very old article and I didn’t see it until now.

    Anyway, don’t stress about vegetable intake. If you hate them, don’t eat them! I suspect you’ll find, over time, that your appetite for them starts to come back once you’re not filling yourself up with bread and starch. And keep in mind that just about anything tastes delicious with homemade Caesar or Hollandaise dressing on it — even a salad.

    Whole fruit is fine in moderation, but stay away from fruit juice, dried fruit, and any processed fruit snacks.

    If you’re on a serious budget, you’ll probably need to shop supermarket meats vs. grass-fed. The key to buying meat is to watch for sales and buy a bunch for your freezer when a really good price comes up. Example: tri-tip is normally $7.50-8.00 per pound where I live, but occasionally it goes on sale for $4. Often stores will put out their shop trim as hamburger late in the day and price it very cheaply…sometimes 99c/pound! Chicken thighs are normally $2/pound but go on sale for $1 every so often. Ask the guy at your local meat counter what the best deals are…if you tell them you want to buy more meat but your family is on a tight budget, they’ll usually help out.

    Eggs are cheap, so no problem there. Potatoes are nearly free when bought in 10-20# bags, and 20# bags of rice are too. What’s expensive are processed grain-based foods like cereal, bread, cookies, chips and snacks…do the math for how much they cost per calorie, and you’ll be surprised to find that hamburger is cheaper! Same with soda…when you’re only drinking water, you’ll realize how much money you’re spending on soda, juices, and other junk.

    As far as “exactly what should I eat”, my advice remains the same: Eat Like A Predator.

    Hope this helps!

    JS

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