Tag Archive: paleo


The Paleo Answer

Are you sick of me bombarding you with amazing knowledge about food choices?  How grains kill you!  How conventional, ‘comfort’ food, make you feel good as it passes over your taste buds, while making you feel brutal as it destroys your digestive system?  Tough shit.  Here is more.

I have just read The Paleo Answer by Loren Cordain, Ph.D.  True, I covered most everything about Paleo in my previous posts about The Paleo Diet, Wheat Belly and The Primal Blueprint.  BUT, I found some more golden nuggets that you may not know about that will improve your life.

Here is a quick summary with more details below.

  1. Milk is not good for you.
  2. Beans are not good for you.
  3. Potatoes are not good for you.
  4. Grains (YES, EVEN SO-CALLED HEALTHY WHOLE GRAINS) are not good for you (I will not go further on this subject).

MILK:

Why do you drink milk?  Because your mom says so?  Because you always have?  Because the milk people say you have to?  Because cool, hot people like Kobe Bryant or Marisa Miller have milk moustaches?  Do not get sucked into this marketing scam or the conventional idea that it is good for you.




mmmm

Firstly, milk is not paleo.  Hunter-gatherers did not run around finding cows to milk.  There weren’t any.  Therefore, no milk was ingested.  Secondly, milk is a mix of protein, fat and a sugar called lactose.  Lactose must be broken down by an enzyme called lactase.  Over 65% of the world’s population has not adapted to consuming milk therefore cannot produce lastase.  After you consume any dairy, if you feel bloated, farty or have gut pain – stop consuming dairy.  Are you lactose intolerant?  YES.  Why continue to punish yourself?  Because someone who knows nothing about science says so?  Because milk looks so good because of its pure white colour?  No.  It is gross.  Admit it.

BEANS:

On our latest trip to Mexico, I started reading the section about beans and legumes (this includes peanuts).  You know what is in abundance at the buffet?  Refried bean spread, beans, lentils, beans and more beans.  It is Mexico and you can’t have food in Mexico without beans.  It is a staple of Mexican cuisine.  Well, I am here to educate you.  Oh, by the way, I did not have any beans.  I did have fries though.  Shhhhh.  Potato education later on…..

The main reason beans (and its family) are unhealthy, is because beans are full of antinutrients.  These antinutrients impair the human body’s ability to absorb and assimilate good nutrients from high quality food.  The list of antinutrients are large – lectins, saponins, phytate, polyphenols, protease inhibitors, raffinose oligosaccharides and cyanogenetic glycosides.  This is a mouthful.  Essentially, lectins are toxins to ward of predators (especially undercooked beans); saponins are antinutrients that temporarily impair your blood’s oxygen carrying capacity; phytate prevents full absorption of iron, zinc, calcium and magnesium; polyphenols also prevent normal absorption of nutrients, damage your intestines, causing a leaky gut which allows bacteria into your circulatory system which is tied to heart disease, cancer and other autoimmune diseases; protease inhibitors prevents our digestive system enzymes from degrading protein into amino acids; raffinose oligosaccharides causes farting (simple really.  You cannot breakdown the complex sugars in beans, thus the bacteria in your gut metabolizes them into hydrogen, carbon and methane); cyanogenetic glycosides is an antinutrient in lima beans and when undercooked, this turns into hydrogen cyanide.

I really apologize for the run on sentence there.  It had to be to give you a short science lesson.

PEANUTS:

They have proof that eating large quantities of peanuts and peanut oil causes atherosclerosis.  It may be tasty, but switch to almond butter.  Your heart and your family will thank you.

 gas2

POTATOES:

Potatoes maintain one of the highest glycemic index values of any food.  They cause our blood sugar levels to rise rapidly.  This is something that not many people know.  Consistent consumption of foods with high glycemic indices (such as potatoes, chocolate bars, bread) causes you to become insulin resistant.  This leads to metabolic syndrome diseases such as obesity, diabetes, cardiovascular disease, high blood pressure, and a multitude of cancers.

potato2

Potatoes have similar antinutrients similar to legumes – lectins, saponins and protease inhibitors.  To simplify this information to the diseases that consumption of potatoes can cause; here is a list.  Ulcerative colitis, Crohn’s and IBS.  Do you know someone who experiences any of these?  Ask them to stop eating this for a few weeks to a month – WHAT HAPPENS?

If you’re wondering about sweet potatoes – you’re okay.  Occasional consumption of yams are okay if you are exercising regularly.  These can replenish your glycogen stores and not destroy your intestines like potatoes do.

GRAINS:

Just don’t eat them….Even if it has a heart symbol on the package.  😉

As I have said countless times in the past – all you need to do is change for two or three weeks and see how you feel.  What is the big deal?  Bottom line – listen to your own body.  You eat something, you feel like shit.  Stop eating it.  You eat something, you stink up the room, maybe it doesn’t agree with you.

paleo

I just read The Primal Blueprint by Mark Sisson. This is a continuation of my journey to better my self, to better my health, to feel better, to live longer and to educate people about the evils (harsh? Yes, but true) of current eating lifestyles and types of foods that are causing many ailments and diseases.
Primal Blueprint
“The doctor of the future will give no medicine, but instead will interest his patients in the care of human frame, in diet, and in the cause and prevention of disease.”
– Thomas Edison

I love this quote. This post will be a smattering a excerpts from the book, as I find them to be glossed over at times and are key points that I would like you all to absorb.

Popular notion, conventional wisdom, the status quo…..is the default answer to why people do what they do. “Because it is what my parents do”…..”it is something we always eat because it is good for you” ….”it’ll put hair on your chest!” Seriously?

How about these? “It will give you cancer”….”It will make you hurt”…..”it will give you stomach pains, bloating and heart burn”.

Is this an extreme change to your thinking? It sure is. Do you think it is possible that Conventional Wisdom could be wrong? Do you think you could try it and see what happens?

Do you think you could give up that piece of shit, nutritionally vacant donut as a morning snack? Do you think you could give up that overly processed, overly chemically enhanced bag of cheetos as a late-night meal? Is it important to you to head into your 40s, 50, …… , 90s with full use of your joints, muscles and bowels? Is it important to you to feel alive and energetic when you wake up?

If you answered yes to any of these, keep absorbing this info. If you answered no, well, good luck to you and your family. You will feel like shit, look like shit, perform like shit and die of a preventable disease.
eatnoevil
The Primal Blueprint is a great book. It is about the Primal way of eating (and living) and is based around these primal blueprint laws:
1. Eat Plants and Animals
2. Avoid Poisonous Things
3. Move Frequently at a Slow Pace
4. Lift Heavy Things
5. Sprint Once in a While
6. Get Adequate Sleep
7. Play
8. Get Adequate Sunlight
9. Avoid Stupid Mistakes
10. Use Your Brain

Living a Paleo lifestyle, I will be focusing on the food aspect of the Primal Blueprint (specifically, laws #1 and #2). Being a CrossFit snob, I will not talk about the physical and activity based aspects in the book (laws #3, #4, #5 and rest and recovery / maintenance (#6 and #7) – as Mr. Sisson is on the mark when it comes to sprinting, lifting heavy and training. See my link from my blog about CrossFit here: https://glennstake.wordpress.com/2012/10/10/i-am-a-crossfit-snob/.

Many, many people think (incorrectly) that we have evolved past our ancestors of 10,000 years ago. Science and anthropological proof has shown that our genetic make-up has not changed and that we are quite similar to people who roamed the Earth 10 or 12,000 years ago. The development of agriculture, civilization, inferior and unhealthy diets, inadequate and wrong exercise and lifestyle behaviors have caused humans to become sicker, smaller, weaker and unhealthier.

Conventional wisdom recommends many things that are not good for us. Just take a quick look at the Canada Food Guide. It recommends 6 to 8 servings of grains per day. Skipping to Law #2 – Avoiding Poisons. How can we trust this when it is wrong?
food guide 1
Excerpted from page 24, “…..A dietary “poison” [in the typical North American diet] is cultivated grain foods (wheat, rice, corn, pasta cereal and derivative products such as bread, chips, crackers, muffins, pancakes, tortillas, waffles, etc.); cooking grains such as barley, millet, rye and amaranth; and – to a slightly lesser extent – legumes (beans, lentils, peanuts, peas and soy products). These global dietary staples are generally inappropriate for human consumption because our digestive systems (and our genes) have not had ample time to adapt to both the unfamiliar protein structure of [modern] grains and the excessive carbohydrate load of all forms of cultivated grains and legumes. The advent of grains and civilization has eliminated the main thing that’s made humans healthy: selection pressure to reach reproductive age – and to care for ourselves, and others, beyond!”

As a quick aside here, there is another excerpt that I found interesting regarding civilization and the advent of the agricultural revolution. From page 165, “Culturally, the cultivation of grains is the key variable that allowed modern civilization to develop and thrive. Large populations could now live permanently in proximity, and labor could specialize, leading to continued exponential advancements in knowledge and modernization. However, as Dr. Loren Cordain (author of The Paleo Diet) elaborates, ‘[Grains] have allowed man’s culture to grow and evolve so that man has become earth’s dominant animal species, but this preeminence has not occurred without cost…. Agriculture is generally agreed to be responsible for many of humanity’s societal ills, including whole-scale warfare, starvation, tyranny, epidemic diseases and class divisions.’

Dr. Jared Diamond, evolutionary biologist, physiologist, and Pulitzer Prize-winning professor of geography at UCLA, and author of Guns, Germs and Steel, goes so far as to say that agriculture was ‘the worst mistake in the history of the human race’ and that ‘we’re still struggling with the mess into which agriculture has tumbled us and it’s unclear whether we can solve it.’

Very interesting. So, what is the solution? The solution is right in front of you.

Continuing the excerpt from page 24: “Ingesting grains (yep, even whole grains – [SEE MY PREVIOUS BLOG POST ABOUT WHEAT BELLY AND THE PALEO SOLUTION: https://glennstake.wordpress.com/2012/11/03/just-try-it-for-30-days/%5D, legumes and other processed carbohydrates causes blood glucose levels to spike (both simple and complex carbs get converted into glucose – at different rates – once they enter the body; we’ll use the accurate term blood glucose to convey what many call blood sugar). This spike is a shock to your primal genes, which are accustomed to natural, slower-burning foods. Your pancreas compensates for this excess of glucose in the bloodstream (a condition that is toxic and can quickly become life-threatening, as experienced by diabetics) by secreting excessive levels of insulin. While insulin is an important hormone that delivers nutrients to muscle, liver and fat cells for storage, excessive insulin released in the bloodstream causes glucose to be removed so rapidly and effectively that it can result in a ‘sugar crash’: mental and physical lethargy and (because the brain relies heavily on glucose to fuel it) a strong craving for quick replacement energy in the form of more high-carbohydrate food. This leads to a vicious cycle of another ill-advised meal, another excessive insulin response and another corresponding blood glucose decline.“

Law #1 – eat more plants and animals

Most nutrients you need you can get from plants and animals. Proteins, fats, carbohydrates, vitamins, minerals, antioxidants, fiber, water and other nutrients used to sustain life, increase brain size and function, improve physical fitness and support immune function you can get from veg and meat. You think you need that bowl of insulin producing, blood glucose increasing fibre1 or bran cereal in order to have a good shit? Nope. Proof is that I have not had a bowl of cereal in over 2 months or a slice of bread in over … I cannot remember … and my shits are fine.

Actually, to go even deeper into my personal life, ever since starting this paleo journey, my farting is all but gone.

What about the thoughts about eating fatty meat will give you high cholesterol and heart disease or colon cancer? Want a hint? Try oxidation and inflammation caused my crappy food choices. This is where some heavy medical science is used and I will not bore you with it. However, there is no correlation between dietary cholesterol and blood cholesterol.

The key to eating is to make up the major amount of your diet from the following: animals –> meat, fish, fowl, eggs and plants –> vegetables, nuts, seeds, herbs, spices and fruits.

No Beans in Your Chili

Notice that legumes are not listed here? Alfalfa, beans, lentils, peanuts (!), peas and soy products are classified as legumes. Excerpted from page 174, “While legumes can serve as a decent source of protein, fiber, potassium and antioxidants, they also provide significant levels of carbohydrates and those pesky antinutrient lectins [lectins are natural plant toxins that inhibit healthy gastrointestinal function by damaging the delicate small intestine microvilli]…..As Paleo Diet author Dr. Loren Cordain explains, ‘Most legumes in their mature state and non-digestible and/or toxic to most mammals, when eaten in even moderate quantities.’ The fact that legumes need to be altered need to be altered for human consumption through cooking, soaking or fermenting should be our best clue to avoid or strictly minimize their consumption (all truly safe fruits and vegetables can be eaten either raw or cooked). To tiptoe into a sensitive subject, the beans that are consumed liberally by many world cultures (kidney, pinto, black beans, lentils) come with the annoying by-product of flatulence, caused by the fermentation of indigestible carbohydrates.”

Fructose Intolerance? – put that orange down!!

Have you heard about this? Primal’s approach, as is Paleo’s, is to limit your fruit intake because of the fructose content. Fructose is the carbohydrate form in fruit. Excerpt from page 135, “When fructose is consumed, it’s converted in the liver into not only usable carbohydrates in the form of glucose, but also into triglycerides (fat). For heavy exercisers who regularly deplete muscle glycogen, fruit is a great choice to efficiently reload their liver glycogen. On the other hand, if your glycogen stores are already full, as happens when you don’t engage in regular short bouts of intense exercise, that Sunday brunch strawberry could just as easily convert into fat in the liver and then get dumped into the bloodstream.
High blood triglycerides interfere with the function of the hormone leptin, causing you to want to overeat rather than rely on your stored body fat for energy. Possibly one-third of the population is fructose intolerant to some degree, evidenced by digestive symptoms such as flatulence, cramps, bloating, irritable bowel syndrome and diarrhea. Excessive fructose consumption is also linked to fatigue, insulin resistance, diabetes and high blood pressure.

Lactose intolerance? – Skim, 2%? How about none!

Under Primal, certain dairy is allowed and, in fact, tolerated by your body (ghee, butter, full cream, aged cheese). Paleo purists nix dairy altogether. The fact is, after the age of three or four, humans stop producing lactase (the enzyme that helps digest lactose (which is a carbohydrate in milk)) and thus have difficulty digesting milk. Do not be pressured into drinking a glass, because that’s what you grew up on. Well, that conventional wisdom is crap. Listen to (or smell) your body. If you examine your dietary habits, you may discover incidences of bloating, farting, cramping or diarrhea when having consumed a milk product. You are lactose intolerant – to some degree. It is ok. Let it go.

Listen, I do follow this way of eating for the most part. I still have popcorn and M&Ms. I am partial to salted snacks. I do my best and feel good about my choices. I hope this helps you.
walkingbread

I have just finished reading The Paleo Solution (by Robb Wolf) and Wheat Belly (by William Davis). I have been trying to avoid eating bread, sugar and dairy (mainly cheese) for a while now, yet my intention was really just to lose a few lbs. I never really knew the science behind my reasons for this lifestyle change, until I read these books and read some blogs and other references and am convinced that this is the way human beings should eat.

I have been blown away. Wheat, known as a staple in most everyone’s life and meals, causes or worsens the symptoms of so many ailments – from upset digestion and irritable bowel syndrome, to asthma, to sore joints, to eczema; to much more important and serious illnesses, like schizophrenia, diabetes and multiple sclerosis. Shocking. You may be thinking that this is bullshit. Well, my uninformed and mislead friend; it is not bullshit. Keep reading.

My interest in Paleo(lithic) eating habits just began recently with my research and interest in CrossFit. Many people swear by Paleo and I figured it sounded interesting – at least we could try it and see and feel what happens. After all, I have been pretty much eating this way for years. Meat (good!), veg (I like veg!), nuts and seeds (ok) and healthy fats (avocados…mmmm) – sounds good.

This blog post is about some insights and interesting tidbits I took from reading these books; and not a review. The books are excellent and I highly recommend reading them.

Wheat Belly explains how eliminating wheat from our diets can prevent fat storage, shrinks unsightly bulges and reverses many health problems. Yes, the term ‘wheat belly’ refers to the enormous layer of visceral fat from the waists of so many people. The book explains in great scientific detail the biology of what wheat gluten does to your digestive system – and how your body reacts to it hormonally and chemically. Initially, it didn’t make sense. What about the lack of activity nowadays? What about fast food? Pop? Sugar? Video games?

Another key point to Wheat Belly is that wheat is in everything. EVERYTHING! It is seemingly unavoidable. Once you start some research you will find that the switches are worth it – especially if you start feeling great, sleeping great, performing great and losing those dreaded moobs!

The Paleo Solution describes the Paleolithic, or hunter-gatherer, diet. Robb Wolf also gets deep into the history of the hunter-gatherer lifestyle and how the agricultural revolution has changed the way people eat and, subsequently, digest food. He talks about the benefits of the change and easy ways to implement this in your life. Recipes and food replacements are included and they are creative and appetizing.

Now for some biology 101. I am sure you have all heard about the glycemic index. The glycemic index (GI) measures the speed at which food is digested and converted to glucose – our body’s energy source. The faster the food breaks down, the higher the rating on the index. The index sets sugar (glucose) at 100 and scores all foods against that number. Foods that are made from wheat have very high Glycemic Index. Here are some examples:
• Table sugar is 59
• Mars bar is 68
• Snickers bar is 41
• Apple is 38
• A slice of whole wheat bread has a whopping GI of 72! Unbelievable right?!? Eating a piece of bread will raise your blood sugar more than a chocolate bar or a can of coke.

High blood sugar provokes high insulin production, which is released by the pancreas. The higher the blood sugar, the more insulin must be released to move the sugar into the body’s cells – such as those as muscles and the liver. When the pancreas’ inability to produce insulin in response to blood sugar occurs, diabetes develops. But you don’t have to be diabetic to experience high blood sugar and high insulin. The catch here is that foods made from wheat, convert to sugar so much easier. This constant high blood sugar, high insulin production cycle, will eventually cause the pancreas to stop producing insulin. In Wheat Belly, the author has cases of reversal of diabetes when all wheat is removed from the diet.

You may be thinking that this post will funnel towards gluten and Celiac disease. Well, yes and no. The Paleo Solution and Wheat Belly do talk in-depth about Celiac disease and how the damaged intestine lining is affected by wheat gluten which causes the sufferer with major stomach upset and hours, and potential days, of diarrhea, stomach pains and mental fuzziness. I am just noting that if you are looking to improve your diet, watch what goes into your body – ESPECIALLY if it says gluten-free on the package. A main point made in both books is that gluten-free foods, which do not have any wheat gluten (good, right?), are made with certain carbohydrates as ingredients – corn starch, tapioca starch, rice starch and potato starch. Interestingly, these carbohydrates have higher GI than wheat. You may think you are eating well, and you are because you are eliminating wheat from your diets, but your blood sugar is still rising and your pancreas is being affected adversely, which causes visceral fat deposition along your abdomen. Be aware.

Wheat also has addictive properties. Like morphine, heroin or any opioid, once wheat enters your blood stream, it attaches itself to your opiate receptors – causing you to become addicted. You seem skeptical once again? Of course you are. You have been raised to think that you need wheat. You need grains. You need those all healthy, all powerful, healthy whole grains. Just eat something with wheat, wait two hours while your blood sugar comes down, and see how you want and need some more?

You want a better sleep? You want to be in a better mood once you are up? You want to lose that spare tire that you can’t seem to shake (or wait, it does shake….)? All I am saying is try it for 30 days.

Open your mind; let yourself think beyond the status quo; and that yes, you are a smart, informed consumer; and that yes, you want to know what goes into your body.

It is just 30 days.

I am a Crossfit snob

I am a Crossfit snob. I admit it and don’t hide my feelings about it. This is my explanation of Crossfit – the training, the community, the feeling of giving it your all (and then a little more).

I started going to Crossfit because my fiancée Shannon was going. I liked some aspects of it and used them during my ‘working out’. Yet, some of them seemed stupid and I wasn’t going to do them. However, I always say that I am open to new things.

The truth is that I am stubborn and somewhat set in my ways. I liked going to the gym when I wanted and not being told what to do or how much time I had to do something. After some prodding, I decided to go to a few classes.

What I discovered was that it was awesome. More than awesome, actually. The exhilaration of the feeling of finishing a wod. The feeling that is was not only you that found it goddamn hard which left you gasping for air and crumpled on the ground. And… the feeling that I am not too bad. However, I still had a lot of work to do on my cardio; a ton of work on my lifting technique and, I had to figure out what the hell a muscle-up, a kip and a double-under was.

The basis of Crossfit involves training with functional movements. Being able to lift a lot of weight while mixing in some cardio (often a shitload of cardio – read: hero wod). Aspects like Olympic weightlifting and gymnastics are the core of these exercises. But Crossfit is not only about training. Mix in recovery and repair from these intense workouts. Properly warming up and properly stretching and massage are key to keeping one’s body in top form. Nutrition is also key to feeling good. Knowledge about nutrition – what is good and what is bad as sustenance for a Crossfit athlete (as well as a normal, healthy, active person…….HEY! I told you I am a snob!) are crucial for growing muscle fibres and fueling up for the next day and the next wod. The last, and probably best aspect of Crossfit is the community of people involved. You want to go back – not to beat the next guy and girl (although there are those who have little inner competitions amongst each other – you know who you are! Ok, we all have them. Shhhhhhh!). This is not like a regular gym. You don’t go in, change, workout and leave. You drive up….you see who is there….uh oh….then you go in and say hey to everyone. They know you. You know them. You care about them. They care about you. You want to find out about recipes? Ask. You say, “dude, you hear that Froning PR’d his squat snatch?” And someone will know. They care about Crossfit. They are as crazy about Crossfit as you are. Crazy? Obsessed? No. It’s passion. It’s about improvement. It is about making yourself a better person. Clean, strong, healthy, passionate.

Unlike the GoodLife, Snap or ClubFit, the coaches are there daily and you get coaching daily. They make sure your squat is complete and done properly. You want to figure out how a kettlebell swing is supposed to look like – they tell you, show you and you get better. I appreciate their help and guidance. They appreciate us getting better, stronger, faster.

I do not have personal goals. I know I love the way I feel after a workout. I want to go every day. I want to get to the point where I get to the games average weights lifted (see the attached picture).

I know I need more practice doing double-unders, pull-ups, snatches, and generally every movement. I need to improve my cardio too. I am cramping far too much. Therefore, my general goal is to get stronger, faster and smoother. I hate leaking performance.

Do I see myself going to the games? I will do the open. Check back when I am 45. 🙂