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Archive for the ‘Paleo lifestyle’Category
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What follows is a natural extension of the work I’ve done on the last two archives. My primary aim in starting those archives was to provide to my readers with an overview of the vast wealth of research and work out there showing why an evolutionary perspective is important. If that list of blog posts doesn’t convince you to give paleo eating a shot, I don’t know what will.
But I also struggled, when compiling that list, with thoughts like: “yes, but…” For example: I wanted to present a clear picture of weight loss. But there isn’t a clear picture of weight loss! Even more controversial is CarbsGood versus CarbsBad, or InsulinOkay versus InsulinBad. There exist, also, different opinions on ketosis, dairy, macronutrients, hormone regulation, how bad wheat is for non-celiacs, whether or not it’s good to eat fruit, hell, even the metabolic advantage… The point is: there exists one consensus: Paying attention to evolution is a good idea. But what are the particulars? What are the nuances? Where is today’s cutting edge and insight? I’m really interested in these dialogues, and I know thousands of you are, too.
Here, I have compiled different positions on ‘controversial’ topics. Instead of trying to convince you to go paleo, here, I am hoping to open your mind and show you the vast intellectual debate, exploration, and integrity going on out there. It’s pretty amazing, and it is ridiculously difficult to keep up with, but I do my best. The advanced archive is, thus, as follows:
Table of Contents:
Weight management and body composition: calories in v calories out?
Raw v cooked
Gluten and grains toxicity
Weight management and body fat storage: calories in v calories out?
Leptin, Insulin, adipose tissue, and regulatory hormone
Raw vs cooked:
Gluten and grains toxicity
Macronutrients: how many? Is this even the right way to think about food?
The paleosphere is in a bit of an upheaval these days. Are carbs in, or are carbs out, or, fuck it, why are we thinking about food that way in the first place? Is gluten in, or is gluten out? What about wheat in general? Or fructose? There’s a lot of metabolic shit going on it, and yes, it really is very complicated. However, the majority of the science is starting to promote, these days, a method of eating that eliminates processed goods and is as Real as possible. That “Realness” is the subject of this post.
.I don’t eat fruit. Fruit is a a natural food, but I don’t like the way it makes me feel. It’s the first step for me on a long road towards addictive behavior. Sweet things have that effect on me, and I’m not sure that’s ever going to change. They also tend to make me fat. I don’t know if this is because I overeat them or not. I can’t be sure. Science says maybe. To be safe, I generally just stay clear.
Yet Richard just wrote a great piece highlighting results from a natural fruit vs. processed fructose study. The lesson? Fruit is not, in fact, the devil. This is good science, and I’m glad to read good results, even if they go against my “feelings.” Go read it. Richard is a great writer, and the information in that article is priceless. No one is arguing that high amounts of fructose aren’t poisoning. They are. It’s called Pepsi. But it seems as though the natural stuff (in moderation) isn’t harmful. I am reminded, thus, of the mantra of Paul Jaminet: the poison is in the dosage. Amen. With some things it’s a small dose, and with others it’s a moderate size dose, and with everything it is a matter of our internal environments. Science can tell us the level of toxicity of a given food, and then we need to integrate it into our diets as we see fit. Have an apple if you want an apple, for god’s sake. Don’t eat them if you don’t want to. Eat french fries, too! There, I said it. And I mean it. You are not going to die. Jesus.
A good diet can probably be boiled down to, Richard concludes, as consuming Real Foods. This lines up with common sense, in many ways, and it’s an idea that people the world over feel comfortable with. Billions of people might sign a petition if Richard started one. It’s nice to know, too, that science is lining up with that intuition. Huzzah for everybody! Eat the fruit of the planet! And all will be well.
Intuition is not always right. Richard would agree with me.* While Richard does in fact conclude that Real Foods are the answer, it’s important to bear in mind that the bulk of his post is concerned with the very detailed, thorough study conducted about a specific fructose issue. This post was based on science.
For example: a whole hell of a lot of people include “whole grains” in the Real Foods category of foods. Smart dieters, however, question that idea, based on science. Smart dieters do not accept current ideas just because they “nice” or “the USDA said so” or — worst of all — “they feel good in my body.” Smart dieters listen to a variety of sources, including society, science, and their bodies, and they then filter that information into an appropriate diet plan. Intuition is all well and good, but it is not the answer.
Science, flawed as it is, always wins. Check out this recent post by Dr Eades. The idea of “listening to your body,” above all other things, is the shittiest, most moronic, shit shit shit on the planet. Sadly, ashamedly, I often say it to avoid awkwardness or coming across as abrasive. “Try different diets and see how you feel!” I say. Fuck me. What I mean is: “experiment on yourself, and do what feels good, but make sure you’re not conflicting with sound science.” Dr Eades makes a great analogy. Should people who are trying to quit smoking “listen to their bodies?” Should recovering addicts or alcoholics “listen to their bodies?” Should people who need to lose weight but feel lethargic from being sedentary their whole lives “listen to their bodies?” Ack! No! Sometimes toxic substances and bad situations put our bodies at a disadvantage, and we are no longer capable of intuiting the proper decisions. Sometimes we are tempted with substances far beyond our natural abilities to handle. Sometimes we have to just fucking deal with the contemporary world, and buck up and face facts. Society is not always right. Your feelings are not always right. Your ideas are not always right.
So I stay on guard. I continually revise and edit my views and practices, based on a lot of different input. I have a lot of quotes taped to my wall, but in the center of them is one word: “listen.” Yeah. It’s the solution to a million problems, I think. Listen to Real Foodists. Really. And Do What Feels Right. And, hell, Listen To Pepper If You Don’t Think She’s Crazy. But make sure none of those things get in the way of optimizing your health and your life. If I could make a pyramid of the things I listen to, it would go like this:
The contemporary zeitgeist
Science (note how Science is not a Scientist)
My brain (principles, not rules: testing old ideas against new ones, reasoning)
I like this list, god damnit. My brain goes at the top simply because I have no other option (sup Kant), and I’m fine with that. I like my brain. Society and tradition and ideas of “Real Food” are pretty low on my priorities. And note even that my body beats out scientists. Just because someone performs experiments doesn’t mean he isn’t biased or is flawless or delivers or interprets information adequately. He might tell me he learned some important information– for example– that the China study showed animal-based diets lead to heart disease– and I should trust him why? Being an expert is awesome, but it isn’t the end all be all. Psychologists have, in fact, shown that expert opinion is so divisive that crowds choose the “proper” course of actions as often as experts do.
Then comes my body, which is super important. No one knows it better than I do, and no one has experienced how it reacts to certain foods the way I have experienced them. Fructose isn’t all that good for me. Neither are carbs in general. It just doesn’t work. I also find I am really sensitive to omega 3 and 6 imbalances. I eat more fish than normal people do. So shoot me.
But I do these things both because they feel good and they don’t conflict with science. I’m not saying that science is a god or a panacea, but an integration of our experiences with science is the closest damn thing we’re ever going to get.
So walk hand in hand with your feelings, and revel in the fruits of the earth, but keep your ear on the ground. We can predict, but we never do know what a good experiment will reveal next.
*an egregious presumptionTweet
How much is on the web? Too much?
When you’re looking for advice, or for specific information, sometimes it’s really hard to find what you’re looking for. That’s why I try–but it really is so hard–to be as comprehensive as possible with my posts and my pages. I want to support healthy thinking and disordered eaters as well as contribute to the Paleo Zeitgeist, and, perhaps most importantly, help my friends and family and other newcomers get going with new nutrition and new diets. This is a huge goal and a diverse set of desires, which is why it’s so impossible to be comprehensively awesome.
Because I so desperately want to provide good information to my readers, I have begun compiling an archive of relevant posts. It’s almost impossible to google what you want to know about nutrition and find a good answer these days. Almost always Paleo Hacks comes up for the first ten results, and then some other advice forums. I’ve started automatically typing -”paleo hacks” into every search bar for this very reason. It helps, some. But still I am often stymied. This is because what I am really looking for is the Good Stuff. And what I hope I am giving to you, here, is exactly that. I should have done this sooner. I should have started years ago. But better late than never, I am certain.
I decided to finally get started on this because I want to open up my readers to the vast wealth of research going on out there. Yes, it’s about cutting grains. Yes, you should cut sugar. Yes, you should balance your omega 3 and omega 6 consumption. But why? How many different ways does that impact your health? How many different body functions and micronutrients does your nutrition impact? How many different opinions are there? Almost countless amounts. What I touch on in my blog is nothing. Nothing! It truly is. What I even touch on in this post is nothing. The tippiest, tippiest point of the iceberg. Stars of the paleo movement are day in day out out there on a rowboat next to the iceberg, chipping away at science, digging through academic journals and staying up to date on the latest research, and I want to help you find and navigate them. For a number of reasons, I am not one of these stars. Instead, I filter through their material and sometimes read the academic stuff, and do my best to live and eat and recommend eating habits accordingly. If you know me personally, you will not be surprised to learn that I have read each of these blogs in their entirety (along with the rest of the blogs in my blogroll on the right) at least once. I think they all deserve that deep of attention and analysis. It is unfortunate that I only have a handful of posts from each blogger on here. All the more reason, however, to follow the link and see what you can learn.
What follows is a collection of articles by various scientists, doctors, nutritionists, and paleo lifestyle-ers on a variety of health topics. This is so far away from comprehensive it’s ridiculous. However, I do not want to overwhelm my new readers. Instead, my hope is to provide what I think is both healthy blog diversity and perhaps the best investigation on each topic. Some topics I miss and some I know I don’t do justice to– such as intermittent fasting, and also, weight loss– but 120 is, I think, a good enough starting point. I have been working on this for many days, and it’s time for me to start going to school again.
So what’s out there that I think you should be reading, and why? What follows are some specific articles and also general recommendations.
What up, friends.
I got a phone call from my mom last night. “You should check out Tim’s blog!”
“Okay, cool! What’s it about?”
No. Not great. Get tf over yourself, Tim, no one cares.
The internet has opened up the world’s greatest opportunity for narcissism. We are invited to share ourselves, and this is great because we get to craft our images and convince people to like us and delight in the awesomeness of our own portrayals. Think of Facebook. How much time do you spend on your own profile, or looking at pictures of yourself? Yikes. If that doesn’t say something about the basic nature of humanity, I don’t know what does.
Even more intensely narcissistic is the blog. A blog is a place where we write things we think are important or cool enough for people to pay attention to. But we only ever write about ourselves. What do we think? What did we do today? Do we have anything intelligent to say about the ways of the world?
Some blogs are entertaining and that’s awesome. Other blogs are informative and that’s even cooler. To those bloggers I say: huzzah! I applaud your efforts and your contributions to society. I mean that with the greatest sincerity. If your aim is to help people or advance the well-being of the planet in any way, I think you are the bomb, and would you please be my friend?
Which brings me to the paleo sphere. I’m a member of a group of paleo bloggers which does a bit of networking and organizing and stuff. It’s really awesome. But I was struck by a recent conversation we had. The topic was: “how do I increase traffic to my blog?”
How do you increase traffic to your blog? Fuck if I know, and fuck if I care. Sure, I want nothing more than to reach as many people as possible with the paleo message and, even more important to me, support for disordered eating, but not for my own sake. I don’t need to be popular. I don’t need your readership. If you’re a member of the ‘paleo community’ and you don’t need or enjoy my posts, go do something else with your life. I don’t care about an audience, I care about change. I care about love and positivity and good science and moving forward towards a better future. That said, I commend and I love the paleo community immensely. I love what’s recently happened, with the exploding numbers. I love the debates. I love the exchange of information and the help and the conversations. This couldn’t have been possible without the internet. So my point is this:
Let’s not lose sight of our own personal goals. Let us remember always why we spend so much time doing what we do. I’m not out for vanity, for your love, for validation or popularity or what have you. I want to help people. And I know this is the case for just about every paleo blogger out there. Let’s just keep that in mind, and always help each other, and keep our eyes on spreading the word as best we can, not inter-community competition or any crazy shit like that. I’m perfectly happy constraining my narcissism to Facebook, and I would hope that all the other bloggers out there realize and do the same.
As a final note, this means that I only ever post now when I think I have something helpful and relevant to say. And I don’t read as much on the internet as I used to. And I no longer go check out other people’s blogs and post on them just because I”m supposed to. Instead, I do my best to maximize my time and help and share to the best of my ability, then move on and work on something else. I hear a lot of internet bemoaning in the paleo community. “It’s such a shame we spend so much time online!” Well, fuck. If you don’t want to, don’t. And if you do, rock on. Do it. Fuck! Do what makes you happy.
That said, I would like to leave you with these words, taped to the ceiling above my bed, from Chuck Palanhuik:
“If you are reading this, then this warning is for you. Every word you read of this useless fine print is another second off your life. Don’t you have other things to do? Is your life so empty that you honestly can’t think of a better way to spend these moments? Or are you so impressed with authority that you give respect and credence to all who claim it? I Do you read everything you’re supposed to read? Do you think everything you’re supposed to think? Buy what you’re told you should want? Get out of your apartment. Meet a member of the opposite sex. Stop the excessive shopping and masturbation. Quit your job. Start a fight. Prove you’re alive. If you don’t claim your humanity, you will become a statistic. You have been warned …Tweet
What does it mean to be radical?
I have a bit of a quandary with my blog. Last week, I noticed that one of the search terms that brought someone to the site was “Stefani Ruper.” Whoever that was, they weren’t interested in nutrition. They weren’t already invested in the paleo movement. They weren’t looking for vitrolic condemnations of contemporary society. Instead, they wanted to know about me. Curious. And you know what? I got scared.
I feel nervous when people I know come to my website. I fear their judgment, and I fear alienating them. (God, I hate myself) In reality, of course, my worry isn’t that big. I love who I am and what I do and what I think–I really, really, do–but I also know that unconventional passions are off-putting. So there’s a grain of uncertainty there. I can’t help it. No one likes a radical.
Fuck! I don’t like radicals! How can I begrudge them when I have the same exact feelings? Convictions generally piss me off. Who are you to say what’s best for me? Who are you to know what’s best for the world? What is it about your knowledge and your brain that makes you so special? Fuck! To convinced, committed human beings I often say: get off your horse. Be humble. Recognize the vastness of the complicated clusterfuck in which we live and calm the fuck down.
But it’s funny, because radicalism is defined by norms. It’s a relative scale. My favorite analogy for this phenomenon is climate change. I studied climate models for a couple semesters back at Dartmouth, and running regression after regression on the data prompted me to ask myself a very important question: when I got an outlier as a result, was it wrong necessarily because it was an outlier? Or was it the right answer, and every other data point hanging out in the middle of the pack just wasn’t ballsy enough to stick to the scientific data? Scientists struggle with this daily. One one hand, maybe we should dismiss Joe’s answers solely because he predicts catastrophe within fifty years. On the other hand, he may be just right, and we should all panic. Now.
The German philosopher Friedrich Hegel proposed a method of history that has shaped western thought ever since. He said: suppose life is in condition X. Then event Y occurs, and now life is in condition Y. After a while, things equilibrate to a moderate position, condition X-Y. In this way, radical events happen all the time, and then sort of settle down to the middle. This means we almost never give the radical serious attention. For example, look at today’s paleo movement. For a while there it was: “no carbs no carbs no carbs!” and everyone swore by Gary Taubes’s work, Dr. Atkin’s results, and the benefits of a ketogenic diet. Today, ketogenic dieters are viewed as radical, are they not? And people are looking to Kitavan diets and the work of researchers such as Stephan Guyenet PhD and Dr. Kurt Harris, and eating bowl after bowl of rice krispies. Is the Paleo community going to swing somewhere more neutral re: carbohydrates in the diet some time soon? I think so. Absolutely I think so. Perhaps it’s there already. In any case: What does this mean for radical positions? It means that they effect change, but only as a “radical.” Rarely does the radical position hold. Rarely is it given serious weight. Rarely is it viewed as sustainable. It is sometimes a catalyst, always an outlier, and rarely more.
What does this mean for the paleo movement?
Well. First, I want to state right off the bat that eating a diet that eschews grains, legumes and dairy and looks to a couple of other markers of health that are supported by evolutionary anthropology is not radical. Or maybe it is radical, but absolutely it should be, and it’s Joe, the climate guy, and we should all be paying serious attention. Eating paleo is not crazy. I swear it. I try really fucking hard to be scientific and fair and objective in everything I do, and to never come down on the sides of practically any issue. But when it comes to this stuff, the evidence is just way too solid and the reasoning way too compelling. I mean this more than I’ve ever meant anything. I eschew radicalism and convictions like it’s my job, but I can’t help it in this case. Eating paleo is not crazy. What is crazy (imho) is putting something such as Saltines in a human body and expecting everything to proceed hunky dory.
In a world where nutritional science has been so mishandled and abused, talking about diet is like talking politics, complete with shame, discretion, resentment, and social pariahs. Diet comes up, and you shut your mouth. One of two things always happens: A) Everyone looks nervously around. No one makes eye contact. Someone might make an aborted hand gesture or two, appearing to have a violent tick. Or B, the more frequent reaction: Each person starts fucking talking at the same time. Everyone eats, and everyone’s got an opinion, and for some reason we’re all experts, whether we’re vocal or silent. This means that we, as human beings, have almost have no choice. How do we deal with the outliers in any conversation? Especially one’s that are so convinced of their truth? We call them crazy and walk away. It’s the reasonable, Hegelian, easy-existence sort of thing to do. This comes as naturally to us as breathing.
To that I say: fuck off! Who wants to be average? Who wants to be a republican or a democrat? Who wants to plod through life as easily and obsequiously as a mule? Evolutionary anthropology and biology are fucking important. A paleolithic perspective should not be dismissed just because it’s different. No viewpoint should be. Real life and real decisions and real changes aren’t easy, and it’s about time we own up to that fact. What is radical in any system? Why do we consider some things radical and others not? Are we compelled by fear? By ignorance? By stagnancy? Are we too in love with our boring routines to really give an ear to revolutionary viewpoints? Hell yes, we are. Clara Pinkola Estes once said: “Be brave. Be fierce. Be visionary.” Amen, sister. Yet we don’t even have to go that far. “Be thoughtful, be open, be positive,” would work just as well. What is radical? Who is radical? By whose standards? Fuck that shit, and live!
So am I radical about diet? I don’t know. You tell me. At the very least, I am radical about the pursuit of knowledge. I am radical about listening to unorthodox ideas, and about weighing facts, and then doing with my new knowledge as I see fit. I am radical about making positive change. I am radical about reaching out to people. I am radical about helping clients deal with eating disorders as best they can, about using every possible tool at our disposal, and about positive progress. I am radical about living naturally, about listening to our bodies, and about the freedom to think and act as we all see fit. I am radical about life. And I’ll be damned if I ever let fear of being labeled a radical bother me again. The things about which I am radical enable me to live a beautiful and informed life. Fuck, I love it. There is nothing more. There’s just me and fierce, fierce a desire to live.
Fortunately, Paleo is a part of that package.
I’m off my game. I haven’t ended a post with a lol cat in a while. Here goes: