Thursday, June 24, 2010

Training Naked | Mark's Daily Apple

Training Naked | Mark's Daily Apple

I recommend this site, and I believe this article will make you want to read it on a regular basis! Although not totally "Paleo" in his persuasion (but hey- neither am I!) he makes some really good points.
I particularly like his stance on "barefoot running" and walking... I think Mark Sisson is really a Barbarian exerciser/eater, but just doesn't know it yet!


Monday, June 21, 2010

Paleo/Barbarian alcohol consumption_from Primal Fitness Mark Sisson!

Mark Sisson is a Paleo/Primal guru: here is his take on drinking alcohol...

He's quite a good writer, as well!


Although we can likely obtain the same vascular benefits from fish oil and a low carb, high antioxidant diet (and through supplementation), there’s nothing wrong (and perhaps something to be gained) with the occasional drink, provided you’re someone who tolerates alcohol well. Not everyone does, and there’s nothing wrong with that. With that said…

When it comes to alcohol itself, there’s no reason a low-carber can’t indulge. Alcohol isn’t metabolized as a carbohydrate product, and it doesn’t send your blood sugar shooting upward. (It might actually lower it.) The body sends alcohol to the liver where it becomes first in line as an active energy source rather than stored glycogen. As long as you aren’t looking to lose weight, a modest drink here or there shouldn’t make much of a difference. If you’re looking to lose weight, however, we’d suggest avoiding alcohol all together. Alcohol doesn’t offer anything you can’t gain from a healthy Primal Blueprint diet, and you won’t have extra calories standing in the way of fat burning.

At the heart of the alcohol question, however, is a principle we often invoke: wise selectivity. In other words, not all drinks are created equal. Number junkies can check out the USDA’s breakdown of alcoholic beverages and brands (PDF) or scan a quick snapshot poster (PDF) put together by the Consumer Federation of American some years ago. It highlights several of the highest selling varieties and gives both calories and carb counts.

For our part, however, we thought we’d serve up our own PB-inspired alcohol hierarchy to assist you in the art of Primal indulgence.
Top Shelf
Red Wine


We’re not talking specially colored labels or price tags here of course. We mean the biggest health benefit with the fewest carbs and additives. The pinnacle, not surprisingly, is red wine. Research has supported time and again the impressive polyphenol power of red wine.

Another bonus with red? Resveratrol – that super antioxidant, able to combat cancer and reduce signs of aging, among other feats.

Any red (other than port) offers high antioxidant power with somewhere around 3-5 grams of carbs, however differences exist even in this top tier of Primal imbibing. Research has demonstrated that organic red wine boasts higher antioxidant and resveratrol content as well as lower OTA mycotoxin contamination (a common red wine contaminant defined by the European Scientific Committee for Food as “having carcinogenic, nephrotoxic, teratogenic, immunotoxic, and probably neurotoxic effects.”).

The same research showed that basic table wine had less antioxidant power than Controlled Denomination of Origin brands. In terms of USDA ORAC value research (PDF), Cabernet trumped red table varieties (5034 versus 3873 units per 100 grams), but red in general trumped white. Go for richer, higher quality reds, and seek out organic if you can.
Respectable Middling Choices
Wood Aged Spirits (particularly Whiskey, Brandy, Scotch and Cognac)


An underappreciated class, we’d say. Unflavored distilled spirits in general are a low-carbers dream. What could be better than zero carbs? Well, how about zero carbs with a kick of antioxidants? Research has found impressive antioxidant activity in Bourbon whiskey, Armagnac brandy and cognac.

In fact, whiskey contains more ellagic acid, a free radical fighter, than red wine. Wood aging, researchers believe, confer the benefits of high phenol and furan concentration.

The research has been less clear about the health benefits of other wood aged spirits, including dark rum and 100% agave tequila. Although agave itself has been linked with cancer-fighting properties, it’s disputed whether these properties are fully present or potent in the tequila form. Furthermore, one small study found that a daily serving of tequila during a 30-day period decreased insulin sensitivity.

Berry Daiquiri (Primal Style)


Surprise! What do you get when you add alcohol to berries? Try a thirty percent hike in antioxidant activity! Researchers stumbled upon the finding while trying to find alternative means of preserving fruit. Note: they happened to use strawberries and blackberries. For a true Primal version, skip the sugar and syrup, and go easy on the lemon/lime juice. Add crushed ice to the pureed berries and liquor, and you’ve got yourself a respectably healthy dessert drink. (For an even bigger boost, make brandied berries.)

White Wines


Sure, red wines generally contain about five to ten times more phenols than white wines. And as for resveratrol? Nada. If you’re a diehard white wine lover, don’t sweat the occasional glass. You’ll still enjoy a healthful dose of antioxidants for around 3-5 grams of carbs.
Light Beers


Beer, like wine, offers polyphenol power. According to research, beer seems to hold its own with white wine in terms of antioxidant activity. As for carb content, light beers vary generally between 3-6 grams (although a few like Michelob are more than 11) and contain around 90-100 calories.
Bottom Shelf to Bottom of the Barrel
Other Spirits (Vodka, Gin, Clear Rum)


As mentioned, unflavored spirits don’t come with carbs, and the alcohol content itself can boost vascular health. Nonetheless, these varieties don’t offer much in the way of antioxidant benefit either.
Hard Cider


Hard cider offers an impressive and healthy antioxidant boost, but the carbs typically measure around 15 grams per glass. As good as hard cider is, we’d suggest skipping the Strongbow and eating a heftier salad.
Regular Beer


As mentioned, beer offers an antioxidant boost, but at 10-15 grams of carbs we think there are better choices to be had. (And, by the way, the basic Guinness variety falls into this category. The calorie and carb count for beer can often be deceiving. Darker and heavier doesn’t always equate to more calories and carbs, and vice versa. It might be worth looking up if you aren’t sure.)
Creamy/Dark/Stout or Rich Microbrew Beer


We know it’s tasty (especially a good microbrew), but those 15-25 grams of carbs just aren’t worth it.
Sugar Swill


All right – this is admittedly the fun one, but did anyone really expect us to promote the likes of Jello shots and mudslides? Let’s see what else we can add here: hard lemonade, packaged or otherwise sweetened hard liquor drinks like Smirnoff Ice, Fuzzy Navels, etc. (This is reading like a bad Spring Break story.) And then there are the cordials. And the liqueurs: Amaretto, Grand Marnier, Irish cream drinks, Kahlua (sorry Lebowski fans), Frangelico. You could be looking at at least 15 grams all the way up to a whopping 40-some grams of added sugar. (No wonder The Dude spent so much time in that wrap around robe.) Add to that American schnapps varieties. (The Germans, Czechs and others do true schnapps without added sugar.) Finally, keep your distance from any packaged mixers. The labels say it all: high fructose corn syrup, colorants and all manner of preservatives and stabilizers. (Now there’s a recipe for a hangover….)

A word about mixers…


You know to skip the 7Up, Coke, etc., but even much beloved tonic water sets you back nearly 90 calories. Keep it simple, and drink straight up. If you need water, go for a light tasting mineral water, seltzer or club soda.

However Primally compatible any beverage might be, we don’t intend this as an endorsement to drink on a regular basis. As mentioned, a good diet can offer the same nutritional benefits and then some. You aren’t missing out if you choose to abstain, and we’d recommend it, in fact, if you’re in weight loss mode. For an otherwise healthy individual, red wine or – more occasionally – other low carb drink choices can certainly fit into the Primal 80/20 principle. It’s ultimately about making an educated choice among the many options and then being perceptive to your body’s response. It’s that good old Primal lens at work. For all of you who have been looking for an excuse to enjoy, bottom’s up!

Monday, June 14, 2010

Love song to a new/old John Deere Tractor!

Mood altering drugs- just say NO!

We've reached the point where almost EVERYone, especially women (why women, I don't know, but it is the case!)- are taking mood altering drugs!

Depression is endemic, and DRUGS seem to be... the answer!

I heard Dean Edell this morning on the radio, and he made a good point:

Depression is there for a REASON:

If you are depressed, there is probably a REASON in your life to CHANGE!

Otherwise, you wouldn't BE depressed!

He went on to relate that, early on in his medical practice, HE was depressed...

and so, he went on to CHANGE his life, and eventually to become a radio Doctor, which he LOVES!!

My point is that, many people who are depressed, are that way because...


They need to change:

Their life's goals! (Not unusual- if you think MONEY is the answer to all problems, THIS MEANS YOU!!

Their DIET! This is a real problem in the modern, Western world- our diet is about as bad as it can be! Almost NO fruits, vegetables, lean meats and seafood, and TONS of:

Potatoes, processed foods, Omega 6 fats, almost NO green vegetables, LOTS of sugar, and it's TWIN- FLOUR!...

As a regular reader of Vintage Health you know the drill:

The Standard American Diet (S.A.D.) is horrible!!

Depression is the way our body tells us that... IT'S TIME TO CHANGE!!

If we just take DRUGS; why, we won't change- we'll just "keep on as usual" doing all the WRONG things LIFESTYLE-WISE, and let the DRUGS make us happy!!

What's the answer??

Examine your life. Are you depressed for a good reason?

Or, are you priorities SKEWED?? IF they are, maybe THAT'S why you're depressed!

Change might very well be in order! If so:

Change your DIET- lean meats, seafood, fruits and vegetables!!

Exercise: This is a must- it doesn't have to be drastic. 15 minutes per day, ala Transformetrics will do for a start. Concentrate on "flexing" ala Visualized resistance, and the "mobility" drill... Then, add pushups, situps and hindu squats.

You will be GOLDEN!! Anything additional is GRAVY!!

Quite frankly, "Everything we Need to Know We learned in Grade School" rings true...

Bodyweight exercises, lots of fruits and vegetables, God and Country first, and work hard!

THAT is the mantra for all time!!

Who would have guessed??

The Mayberry Mantra was RIGHT ON, DUDE!!

Lose the drugs. Face reality. Eat right. Exercise hard. WORK hard, but keep it in perspective. Realize that YOU aren't as important as:

God, Country, of Family!

We are only here to SERVE!

That's all you need to know.

Dr. Al Sears is a valued partner of Vintage Health and Fitness

This guy is awesome when it comes to nutrition and fitness!

His fitness program is the perfect, Spartan, bare-bones type of fitness program I like:

Applicable to ALL fitness levels, from "I can barely walk" to REALLY fit!!

Same principles, just different levels of the same program!!

His fitness ideals and practices are those you see espoused here on Vintage Health- AND, he has some additional "wrinkles" that are invaluable.

Are Your Lungs Dying?

If you do nothing about it the cells in your lungs are dying off faster than you replace them. By the time you’re fifty, 40% of your lung capacity will be gone! This will rob you of your energy and strength. And it makes you an easy target for chronic disease… 

I’m Dr. Al Sears and I’ve seen thousands of my own patients boost their lungpower and reverse disease. The technique I give them is so revolutionary; the US Patent Office recently trademarked it!

In just minutes a day you’ll get back the lungpower of a 20-year-old. And that extra power means:

• Never taking a sick day, or need an afternoon nap… 
• Bouncing up the stairs instead of waiting for the elevator… 
• Adding health-packed years to your life… 

All that, and you don’t have to change your diet or spend hours at the gym. It’s backed up by science and fully guaranteed! To find out how you can get the lungpower of a 20-year-old click here.

Friday, June 4, 2010

Potatoes? Just say NO!

Here is the latest info from the Paleo Diet website-
This is really scary stuff!

I mean, we all think "oh, potatoes- really healthy, in their natural state...

Read about potatoe (read: NIGHTSHADE- SKINS!!)

Nightshade is the common name for flowering plants belonging to the botanical family Solanaceae, which contain more than 75 genera and 2,000 species1. Some notorious non-edible nightshades include tobacco, petunias, jimson weed, mandrake, and deadly nightshade. The family comprises well known food plants such as potatoes, tomatoes, green peppers, chili peppers, eggplants and tomatillos. Note that chili peppers include all varieties of peppers from the genus Capsicum, including bell peppers, jalapeno, wax, cayenne, habanero, Anaheim, Thai, Tabasco, cherry, pepperoncini and Serrano among others. Chili peppers are commonly consumed as dried powders such as paprika, chili powder and cayenne, and are near universal ingredients in hot sauces, Tabasco sauces, and salsas. Some more obscure edible plants from the Solanaceae family are listed below in Table 1.

Table 1. Some obscure and infrequently consumed edible plant foods within the Solanaceae family (adapted from: United States Department of Agriculture, Agricultural Research Service, Beltsville Area, Germplasm Resources Information Network (GRIN).
Common name or names Scientific name
Tamarillo, Tree tomato, Terong belanda Cyphomandra betacea
Goji Berry, Wolfberry Lycium barbarum
Purple ground cherry, Chinese lantern Quincula lobata
Chinese lantern, Winter cherry, Bladder cherry, Strawberry cherry Physalis alkekengi
Cut leaf ground cherry Physalis angulata
Hairy ground-cherry, Dwarf cape gooseberry Physalis grisea
Cape gooseberries, Golden berry, Husk cherry, Peruvian ground cherry, Poha berry, Giallo grosso Physalis peruviana
Tomatillo, husk tomato Physalis philadelphica (formerly Physalis ixocarpa)
Husk tomato, Strawberry tomato, Ground cherry Physalis pubescens
Sticky gooseberry, Sticky Physalis Physalis viscose
Gilo, Kumpa, Scarlet eggplant Solanum aethiopicum
American nightshade, Black nightshade Solanum americanum
Tzimbalo Solanum caripense
Kangaroo apple Solanum laciniatum
Indian nightshade Solanum lasiocarpum
Garden huckleberry Solanum melanocerasum
Pepino melon Solanum muricatum
Lulo, Naranjilla Solanum quitoense
Cocona, Orinoco-apple, Peach-tomato Solanum sessiliflorum
Wonderberry, Sunberry Solanum retroflexum (formerly Solanum X burbankii)
Ashwagandha, Withania, Winter cherry, Indian winter cherry, Indian ginseng Withania somnifera

Table 2 below shows the recent per capita consumption of commonly eaten nightshades. Potatoes come in first (126 lbs) followed by tomatoes (85.7 lbs, including both fresh and processed), peppers (15.5 lbs) and eggplant (0.8 lbs). These figures clearly show that nightshades are a staple food, universally consumed in the U.S. diet. This raises the question: Are there any health hazards associated with eating almost 230 pounds of nightshades on a yearly basis?

Table 2. U.S. per capita nightshade consumption. Data from USDA Economic Research Service2.
Item Pounds Year
Potatoes (total) 126.0 2007
Frozen 53.0 2007
Fresh 44.0 2007
Chips 16.0 2007
Dehydrated 13.0 2007
Fresh Tomatoes 18.5 2008
Processed Tomatoes (total) 67.2 2008
Tomato sauces 23.5 2008
Tomato paste 12.1 2008
Canned whole tomatoes 11.4 2008
Catsup 10.1 2008
Tomato juice 10.1 2008
Bell peppers 9.1 2008
Chili peppers 6.4 2008
Eggplant 0.8 2008
Total 228.0 2008


Let’s first examine potatoes. Potatoes generally maintain one of the highest glycemic index and load values of any food3-6. Regular consumption of high glycemic index carbohydrates may promote obesity and diseases of insulin resistance, including type 2 diabetes, cardiovascular disease, abnormal blood lipids, gout, acne, polycystic ovary syndrome, epithelial cell cancers (breast, colon and prostate), acanthosis nigricans (a skin disease), and male vertex balding7. Consequently in both of my books I do not recommend that potatoes be included as a regular component of Paleo Diets. Additionally, as you can see from Table 1, most of the potatoes consumed in the U.S. are highly processed in the form of french fries, mashed potatoes, dehydrated potato products, and potato chips. Processed potato foods typically are made with multiple additives (salt, vegetable oils, trans fats, refined sugars, dairy products, cereal grains, preservatives, and other food additives) that may adversely affect health in a variety of ways.

An additional nutritional property of potatoes that is rarely considered in regard to human health is their saponin content. Saponins derive their name from their ability to form "soap" like foams when mixed with water. Chemically, saponins are classified as either steroid glycosides or triterpenoid glycosides. A glycoside is any of a group of organic compounds occurring abundantly in plants that yield a sugar and one or more non-sugar substances upon hydrolysis (chemical decomposition in which a compound is split into other compounds by reacting with water). Steroid glycosides are commonly called glycoalkaloids.

Both categories of saponins are widely distributed throughout the plant kingdom including many cultivated crops. The primary function of saponins is to protect the plant from microbial and insect attack by dissolving cell membranes of these potential predators8. In mammals, including humans who consume saponin containing plants, these substances frequently create pores in the gut lining, thereby increasing intestinal permeability8-10. If they enter the bloodstream in sufficient concentrations, they cause hemolysis (destruction of the cell membrane) of red blood cells8-10.

Figure 1 shows how saponins disrupt cell membranes which may lead to a leaky gut. Saponins first bind cholesterol molecules in intestinal cell membranes due to the affinity of a saponin component (the aglycone moiety) for the membrane sterol (cholesterol)9. In the series of steps that follows, you can see how saponins cause portions of the cell membrane to buckle and eventually break free, forming a pore or a hole in the membrane.

Figure 1. The proposed mechanism by which dietary saponins may elicit pores in intestinal cells leading to a "leaky gut" (adapted from 9).

Potatoes contain two glycoalkaloid saponins: α-chaconine and α-solanine which may adversely affect intestinal permeability and aggravate inflammatory bowel disease11, 12. Even in normal healthy adults, a meal of mashed potatoes results in the rapid appearance of both α-chaconine and α-solanine in the bloodstream13. The toxicity of these two glycoalkaloids is dose dependent – meaning that the greater the concentration in the bloodstream, the greater is their toxic effect. At least 12 separate cases of human poisoning from potato consumption, involving nearly 2000 people and 30 fatalities have been recorded10. Potato saponins can be lethally toxic once in the bloodstream in sufficient concentrations because these glycoalkaloids inhibit a key enzyme (acetyl cholinesterase) required for the synthesis of acetylcholine, a neurotransmitter required for nerve impulse conduction10. The concentration of both α-chaconine and α-solanine in a variety of potato foods are listed in Table 3. Note that the highest concentrations of these toxic glycoalkaloids appear in potato foods containing the skins.

Table 3. Concentrations (mg/kg) of total glycoalkaloids (α-chaconine + α-solanine) in a variety of potato foods (adapted from 10).
Food Item α-chaconine + α-solanine (mg/kg)
Fried skins 567-1450
Chips with skins 95 - 720
Chips (US potatoes) 23 - 180
Frozen baked potatoes 80 - 123
Frozen skins 65 - 121
Baked potato w/jacket 99 - 113
Dehydrated potato flour 65 - 75
Boiled peeled potato 27 - 42
Canned whole new potatoes 24 - 34
Frozen fried potato 4 - 31
Frozen French fries 2 - 29
Dehydrated potato flakes 15 - 23
French fries 0.4 - 8
Frozen mashed potatoes 2 - 5
Canned peeled potato 1 - 2

So the next logical question arises: Should we be eating a food that contains two known toxins which rapidly enter the bloodstream, increase intestinal permeability and potentially impair the nervous system?

In the opinion of these authors: ". . . if the potato were to be introduced today as a novel food it is likely that its use would not be approved because of the presence of these toxic compounds." 11

Other researchers state: "Available information suggest that the susceptibility of humans to glycoalkaloids poisoning is both high and very variable: oral doses in the range 1 - 5 mg/kg body weight are marginally to severely toxic to humans whereas 3 - 6 mg/kg body weight can be lethal. The narrow margin between toxicity and lethality is obviously of concern. Although serious glycoalkaloid poisoning of humans is rare, there is a widely held suspicion that mild poisoning is more prevalent than supposed." 10

The commonly accepted safe limit for total (α-chaconine + α-solanine) in potato foods is 200 mg/kg, a level proposed more than 70 years ago, whereas more recent evidence suggests this level should be lowered to 60 – 70 mg/kg10. If you take a look at Table 2 you can see that many potato food products exceed this recommendation.

I believe that far more troubling than the potential toxicity of potato glycoalkaloids is their potential to increase intestinal permeability over the course of a lifetime, most particularly in people with diseases of chronic inflammation (cancer, autoimmune disease, cardiovascular disease and diseases of insulin resistance). A leaky gut has been recently proposed to be a universal initiating trigger for autoimmune diseases14 – a conclusion that I agree with15, as well as promoting cardiovascular disease16, 17 and diseases of insulin resistance18. When the gut becomes "leaky" it is not a good thing, as the intestinal contents may then have access to the immune system which in turn becomes activated thereby causing a chronic low level systemic inflammation known as endotoxemia16 – 18. In particular a component of the cell walls of gut gram negative bacteria called lipopolysaccharide (LPS) is highly inflammatory. Any LPS which gets past the gut barrier is immediately engulfed by two types of immune system cells (macrophages and dendritic cells). Once engulfed by these immune cells, LPS binds to a receptor (toll-like receptor-4) on these cells causing a cascade of effects leading to increases in blood concentrations of pro-inflammatory cytokines (localized hormones) including interferon gamma (INF-γ),interleukin 1 (IL-1), IL-6, IL-8 and tumor necrosis factor alpha (TNF-α)16, 19. Two recent human studies have shown that high potato diets increase the blood inflammatory marker IL-620, 21. Without chronic low level systemic inflammation, it is unlikely that few of the classic diseases of civilization (cancer, cardiovascular disease, autoimmune diseases and diseases of insulin resistance) would have an opportunity to take hold and wreak their fatal effects.

A final note on potatoes – to add insult to injury, this commonly consumed food is a major source of dietary lectins. On average potatoes contain 65 mg of potato lectin per kilogram. As is the case with most lectins, they have been poorly studied in humans, so we really don’t have conclusive information how potato lectin may impact human health. However, preliminary tissue studies indicate that potato lectin resists degradation by gut enzymes, bypasses the cell wall barriers and can then bind various tissues22, 23. Potato lectins have been found to irritate the immune system and produce symptoms of food hypersensitivity in allergenic and non-allergenic patients24. Just say "no" to potatoes!!