Tuesday, August 31, 2010

The Army: Fat, Weak, and Can't Run

This is pretty depressing.

I was hoping the Army would help get us out of this dietary and exercise mess.  But it looks like they've been poisoned by "Politically Correct Nutrition and the Diet Dictocrats", to borrow Sally Fallon's phrase.  (I thought that phrase was a bit over the top when I first read it.  Now I don't.)

Here are a few choice excerpts from the Times piece linked to above:

"“What we were finding was that the soldiers we’re getting in today’s Army are not in as good shape as they used to be,” said Lt. Gen. Mark Hertling, who oversees basic training for the Army. “This is not just an Army issue. This is a national issue.”...

"Another study found that at one training center in 2002, 3 recruits suffered stress fractures of the pubic bone, but last year the number rose to 39. The reason, General Hertling said: not enough weight-bearing exercise and a diet heavy on sugared sodas and energy drinks but light in calcium and iron....

"There are fewer situps, different kinds of push-ups and fewer long runs, which Army officials say are good for building strength and endurance but often lead to injuries. They also do not necessarily prepare soldiers for carrying heavy packs or sprinting short distances.

"“We haven’t eliminated running,” General Hertling said. “But it’s trying to get away from that being the only thing we do.” (The new system does include plenty of sprinting.)...

"Under General Hertling, the new regimen will also include a makeover of the mess halls at its training bases. At Fort Jackson, there are more green leafy vegetables, less fried food, and milk instead of soda. The food line includes color-coded messages to encourage privates to eat low-fat entrees (marked in green)....

"The trick now will be to push the program into the rest of the Army, where evidence suggests many soldiers are becoming overweight, particularly during or soon after deployments....

"“We know kids today are less fit,” Mr. Palkoska said. “We have to adjust.”"
Read the whole thing, and try not to weep.

The Two-Hour Marathon

It would be interesting, I suppose.

Finally the Science of Sport guys have finished with kayaking.  I'm a kayaker, and even I don't care about the competitions. ;)

Bogus Studies and Margarine

This one's a classic, thanks to Dr. Briffa, who is a must-read.

What happens if you add omega-3 oils to margarine?

Let's find out.

Now Dr. Briffa asks the question:
"It’s a shame that this study used non-enriched margarine as a placebo. The authors of this study really missed a trick here because a better placebo would have been, in my view, no margarine at all. Even though this would not have a been a true placebo, it would nonetheless have been interesting to see how those who ate margarine fared compared to those who did not."
Well, this is a pretty good look at what happens to people who don't eat margarine, and make sure not to take care of themselves:
"Can this study get any better? Yes it can. The investigators broke down the data into two halves: the first ten years, and the second ten. In the first ten years, there was no significant association between margarine intake and heart attack incidence. In the second ten, the group eating the most margarine had 77% more heart attacks than the group eating none..."
Mmm.  Margarine.

I would also note that the Unilever study mentioned above is a pretty good indicator that adding omega-3 oils to your diet is not going to help if you eat too much omega-6 oils.

Waterskiing behind a Dog Sled

Too funny.

Via Sarah Palin.  Those folks up in Alaska sure know how to have fun. ;)

Monday, August 30, 2010

Ultra-Trail du Mont Blanc

I was really looking forward to this race.  I didn't get a chance to post anything about it, but some fine interviews were done by Bryon Powell.  Unfortunately, the race was cancelled due to weather, and then things got very confused.

I was hoping Goeff Roes was going to win, but he wound up not running whatever most of the rest of the runners ran.

He nevertheless has a great recap of a weekend in Chamonix, here.  I've always wanted to go to Chamonix in the summer; summer or winter it's a really special place.

Sunday, August 29, 2010

GoLite Amp Tested

Runblogger posts an initial review

This is a really interesting concept for a trail shoe: no heel, and the firm part of the shoe is against the foot, with the cushion underneath.  This allow the cushion to act like a suspension system, absorbing the roughness of the trail.

Only time will tell how it works in practice.

Saturday, August 28, 2010

"The Paleolithic Solution"

I'm looking forward to this book, actually. I'm hoping it will be a The Paleo Diet, 2nd Edition.

Alzheimers' is Type III Diabetes

The evidence keeps mounting:
"When the researchers compared varying levels of diabetes risk factors, such as fasting insulin, they found a linear association with the development of plaques. For example, fasting insulin was broken into three groups: low, medium and high. The low group didn't have an increased risk of plaques, while the medium group had more than twice the risk of brain plaques, and those in the high group had a six times higher risk of plaques than those in the low group.

"The researchers also performed a separate analysis to see if the presence of a gene long implicated in Alzheimer's disease (ApoE4) would have an effect on the association between diabetes risk factors and the development of plaques. It did: Those with the ApoE4 gene has the strongest association between high blood sugar levels, insulin resistance and fasting insulin levels and the development of plaques."
Fortunately Type II diabetes is controllable, and reversable, via diet if you catch it early or avoid it entirely.

Via Summer Tomato.

"The Grass-Fed Con?"

Caveat emptor.

Friday, August 27, 2010

Follow-up to "Vibram's Plans for World Domination"

Thanks to Pete at Runblogger:

"And now, the last piece of the plan: You want something a little more traditional? New Balance Minimus, with a Vibram sole, and Tony Krupicka's smiling face."
Mwuah-ha-ha-ha! (Twists pinkie ring and pets cat)


Follow-up to "Happy Feet"

So an update to the Happy Feet post: it's not so happy now. I drove home from work today, planning on a barefoot run (with the dog) when I got home. just thinking about it was enough to bring on that strange feeling.

Two runs ago I got some nasty blisters on my right foot, from my ankle injury causing it to land incorrectly. Last run polished the blisters off.  This run polished the skin off.  I've got a nice, dime-sized raw spot on my problem right foot.  The left foot is flawless, like it was pedicured. (From my wife's descriptions of pedicures, anyway...)

So I'm limping around now, and I have happy foot. :) Hopefully this'll learn that right foot to behave better, as they say down on the farm.

I posted this over at Barefoot Ted's group, and got some amusing responses.

The Legal Consequences of Failure to Vaccinate

In the eyes of the law, you're being negligent.

I have plenty of issues with "Western Medicine", but vaccination is medicine's biggest success by far.  If you don't vaccinate your kids, you're a fool.  Sorry, but there it is.

I give my kids every vaccination I can get my hands on.  Go read a little history of the spread of infectious disease, and you will too.

Running and Rambling's Barefoot Running FAQ

"Hey, did someone steal your shoes? Of course not, but if it's any consolation, you're not the first person to ask. Actually, you're not even the 100th. This question seems to be the universal calling card for smart-alecks trying to be hilarious. Next question."
Pretty funny.  Check out Donald's site, he's always got good stuff.

We've Come For Your Hip

Best to avoid needing a replacement...

Inov-8 X-Talon 190 Shipping...

"They are very light-weight, feel very grippy, and the upper/lacing are extremely comfortable. I also like that there is no hard plastic heel counter, and of course the sole is extremely thin and flexes easily in all directions."

Sounds cool.

Thursday, August 26, 2010

Barefoot Ted's Leadville Race Report

Boy, I wish I could have been there

Maybe next year.

"Are E-Books Worth The Money?"

Great article.

"If you walk out of the cinema this week with a burning desire to read Elizabeth Gilbert's "Eat, Pray, Love," you can download it onto your Amazon Kindle electronic book reader–if you have one–for $12.99.

"Then again you could just walk into your local Borders bookstore with a coupon and get the paperback for $10."
Too funny.

I like paper books. Compared to digital media they're far superior. The format stays the same for thousands of years, the battery never runs out, and if you get a new book you don't have to worry about how you'll read your old books should you choose to do so. They'll even survive (mostly) getting wet.

Of course they do get eaten by silverfish, but nothing's perfect.

E-books are basically book rental, IMHO.

Follow up to "Arthritis, Moose, and Diet"

Mark Sisson's take.  Original here.

Happy Feet

So the other evening, I went out for a barefoot run. 

The next day my feet had this weird sort of intense, glowy feel to them.  Not the warm, "foot massage" feel that I associate with long trail runs in my Vibrams (although this feeling has faded as my feet have gotten acclimated).  It was very distinct, and very intense. 

The next couple of runs I did were at the treadmill in the gym, and were pretty unremarkable.  And then this morning I went out for another run.  As I walked toward the door, the feeling came back.  I looked down at my feet.

"Sorry guys."

I sat down and put my injinji socks and Speeds on.

No barefooting for you today.  I felt the same way I do when I tell my dog he's not going to be coming along on a run.

This is definitely one of the stranger experiences I've had in this long, strange trip of going minimalist.

Dogs and Yellow Jackets

My dog didn't even show up for the run today.

He was too busy eating the yellow jackets that were eating fallen peaches. Do all dogs like the taste of yellow jackets? And yes, they sting him as he's trying to eat them.  He jerks his head back, sometimes two or even three times as he's trying to choke them down.

Yellow jackets must be really, really tasty. 

He's been eating them for a few years now, and it's gotten to the point where if I see one on the ground, I'll call him over for a treat.

The State of the Barefoot-Style Running Movement

Must read post.

Clearly Jason's in-between Ultras... ;)

Wednesday, August 25, 2010

Review: "Empire of the Summer Moon"

Subtitled: "Quanah Parker and the Rise and Fall of the Comanches, the Most Powerful Indian Tribe in American History."*

I'll start off by saying that I'm not familiar enough with the history of the American Indians to judge this book by its relative merits.  It may well be the worst history of the Indians ever published.  Ignorance is bliss, sometimes.

Nevertheless, I quite liked it. 

I picked up this book in Denver International Airport.  One of the things I like about flying is picking books out of the airport book stores.  I'll confess, I'm pretty cloistered from popular culture.  I mostly ignore it, and the notion of following the NYT bestseller list to find things to read fills me with ennui.

But the book stores at airports present you with the creme de la creme of pop culture, as it were.  And there's always something really good.

The Comanche are an interesting intersection of the two primary topics of this blog: barefoot running, and the paleo diet.  Barefoot running because the Comanche rose to prominence by abandoning it, and adopting the horse wholesale, and mastering bareback riding.  The paleo diet because the Comanche lived on buffalo, and rioted when they finally were consigned to the reservation, and were unable to get enough buffalo to live on.  Maggoty white flour:  Ick.  Who can blame them? 

From page 48:

"Buffalo was the food the Comanches loved more than any other.  They ate steaks cooked over open fires or boiled in copper kettles.  They cut the meat thin, dried it, and stored it for the winter and took it on long trips.  They ate the kidneys and the paunch.  Children would rush up to a freshly killed animal, begging for its liver and gallbladder.  They would then squirt the salty bile from the gallbladder onto the liver and eat it on the spot, warm and dripping blood.  If a slain female was giving milk, Comanches would cut into the udder bag and drink the milk mixed with warm blood.  One of the greatest delicacies was the warm curdled milk from the stomach of a suckling calf.  If warriors were on the trail and short of water, they might drink the warm blood of the buffalo straight from its veins.  Entrails were sometimes eaten, stripped of their contents by using two fingers. (If fleeing pursuers, a Comanche would ride his horse till it dropped, cut it open, removed [sic] wrap them around his neck, and take off on a fresh horse, eating their contents later.)  In the absence of buffalo, Comanches would eat whatever was at hand: dry-land terrapins, thrown live into the fire, eaten from the shell with a horned spoon; all manner of small game, even horses if they hand to though they did not, like the Apaches, prefer them.  They did not eat fish or birds unless they were starving.  They never ate the heart of the buffalo."
Some paragraph, huh?  Welcome to the Stone Age.

This is an interesting story, since it puts the lie to one of the main paleo tales, that eating dairy is a product of the agricultural revolution.  Clearly it far predates that, since the Comanches had to be introduced to agriculture at the point of a gun.  One can pretty clearly understand how some bright Maasai finally figured out, "Hey, if we don't kill the cow, but milk it and bleed it, we can eat a lot more!"

The next pertinent bit (there was a lot of interest, actually) was on page 230:
"The agent of the betrayal was the Office of Indian Affairs, one of the most corrupt, venal, and incompetent government agencies in American history."
Wow.  That's some statement.  There's pretty tough competition.  The Office of Indian Affairs was so bad that the Feds finally decided to turn the Indians over to the Quakers, since they were at least honest.  No judge whined about "establishment of religion", since back then judges actually read the Constitution.  What one realizes on reading this is that the Feds haven't treated the white man any better than they've treated the red man.  But the white man has a bigger vote, so they hide their duplicity better.

I highly recommend this book to anyone with an interest in the history of the United States.  It casts a gimlet eye on the Indians, the Feds, and pretty much everything else that passes before it.

Any romantic notions that you have about the paleo age will be pretty quickly dashed as well.  I might appreciate the nutritional value of the diet, but I can't imagine how I'd get my daughters to eat raw liver seasoned with bile.  The mind reels.

But at the end it's a profoundly sad book.  No one comes off well, not the Indians, the Americans, or the Mexicans.  We're a sad lot, we humans, and often unspeakably cruel to each other.  However you nevertheless wind up respecting all of them.  I'd not want to be captured by the Comanches, but I finished the book with a profound respect for them.

Making that clear, it's an excellent work of History.

My biggest complaint about the book was that the author either did not read 1491, or did not draw a number of obvious conclusions that would have enriched this book.  Clearly one of the reasons that the Comanche, who were an inconsequential tribe for most of their history, were able to rise to prominence was because the more advanced agricultural tribes were wiped out by European diseases.  Having read 1491, the point jumped out at me, but the author never mentioned it.

*S. C. Gwynne, Scribners, 2010.

How To Raise Your Cholesterol

Good suggestions.  (That's right, raise it...) 

Darya's a fan of grains, I'd suggest going light on those, even whole grains (especially wheat).  There are plenty of other ways to get fiber in your diet. And if you're eating paleo you're already getting plenty of niacin.

Our Nimble Government

"Another concern is whether the Pentagon, or government in general, has the nimbleness for such work. Mr. Lynn acknowledged that 'it takes the Pentagon 81 months to make a new computer system operational after it is first funded.' By contrast, he noted, “the iPhone was developed in 24 months.”
And the Pentagon is the effective part of the Federal Goverment. 

Hey, let's put them in charge of our food!

Follow-up to "Bare Your Sole? Just Shorten Your Stride."

From last week:  Runblogger posted that Amby Burfoot interviewed the author of the study about stride length:
[Q] There's a lot of advice out there for runners these days. Run barefoot. Run in minimalist shoes. Run on your forefeet. And now you're saying that running with a shorter stride achieves many of the same things. Are you prepared to say it's a better, smarter approach than the other alternatives?

[A] We had a section in our paper that made that argument. But we dropped it. Actually we had lots of other results and sections that didn't fit into this paper. We hope to publish them soon in other papers. We decided against pushing the shorter strides harder at this point because we don't have good injury results yet. We hear the stories from our Runners Clinics, and we have results coming in. But we're not quite there yet.

Do we think that a shorter stride is maybe a simpler approach than some other ways? Sure. It can reduce the forces a lot, it can change your running posture a little, it may reduce injuries. If you want to change your posture a little more, you could run in a shoe that's not as built-up at the heel as some other models. Running with a short stride could even be a good way to transition to barefoot running if that's what you want to do. It's a good first step. It will increase your cadence. It will change your landing posture. Then if you want to move on to barefoot running….
One other thought: Lieberman says the notion that barefoot runners have shorter strides is [baloney, to paraphrase]. (That thought's not published, and he would probably restate it in a formal forum... :)

I've sort of come to the conclusion that shortening up your stride is a beginner tactic, for those of us with weak feet. I think that as you get stronger, stride length should lenghthen, enabling you to go faster.

However, if you look at elite barefoot-style runners, you see that their stride length is longer, but their form stays the same; they're not really over-striding like a heel-striker, they're just spending more time in the air.

So if that's the case, then permanently shortening your stride as suggested above would permanently slow you down.

Here's Pete's take on it.

The Church of the Holy Plant-Based Diet

"I’ll start with the reason that’s the least valid scientifically, but frankly the only one that ultimately matters to me: my own experience. I was a vegetarian for several years (yes, I’m a fallen-away believer) yet somehow never experienced all the magic health benefits promised to me by your preachers. I did, however, experience arthritis, asthma, psoriasis, gastric reflux, restless legs, lower back pain, irritable bowel, fatigue, slow but consistent weight gain, listlessness, depression, frequent colds, canker sores, cavities, and receding gums that required grafts. None of those ailments were caused by sugar consumption, because I already knew sugar was a sin and didn’t indulge except on very rare occasions."
Great post.

Tuesday, August 24, 2010

Zola Budd Pieterse on Barefoot-Style Running

During the panel discussion, Budd told the audience going barefoot can lead to stronger feet. "It all starts with the foot; if the foot is strong, the body posture will be the same way."

When Budd finally did put on shoes to run on the roads growing up, they felt "so sluggish and uncomfortable. I had more injuries running with shoes than I ever did barefoot. I am so glad it (natural running) is being rediscovered."

And, with just a touch of pride, the modest Budd added: "It just shows I was right all along!"

Budd, 44, was wearing her Newtons on this run, as she does whenever she runs on the hard surfaces. She will also wear the shoes at the Oct. 3 Twin Cities Marathon, where she looks to improve on her best of 2 hours, 59 minutes.
One wonders why she doesn't go back to barefoot.

Newtons.  Better than Nikes, at least.

"Math Lessons for Locavores"

Makes sense.

But their are other reasons for wanting to support local, non-industrial production. 

I think there are some serious problems with our overly-centralized food production system.  Yes, it is more efficient.  But the quality of the product is declining.  Foods are becoming less nutritious (vitamin and mineral levels in vegetables are declining), when they're not becoming downright toxic (grain-finished meats and modern wheat strains).

This is a cause for great concern.

I'm beginning to think the French are correct in their efforts to preserve their culinary and agricultural traditions.  They may not be going about it in the best possible way, but the thought is correct.

"Lose Your Shoes; Free Your Feet" T-Shirts

See here, if he gets enough interest...

Visit to the Doctor Today

The pretext was my annual (or, in my case bi-annual) physical.  Two years ago Doc had told me that my cholesterol and fasting blood sugar were borderline problematic.  I promptly forgot the bit about the blood sugar, but he reminded me today, and mentioned that this was "like a lot of people". 


After I started this primal/paleo diet I rescheduled my next teeth-cleaning to give the diet enough time to have effect, and I scheduled today's physical to see if the diet was killing me. ;)

The visit to the dentist back in May went very well.  They were impressed with the condition of my teeth and gums, and complimented me on my tooth care.  Unfortunately my tooth care hadn't changed, but my diet had.

I added in Dr. Price's magic potion, and deleted veggie oils, wheat, and most other carbs.  I started eating a lot more fat.  I'll note I've not be a big consumer of sugar for 20 years, which avoided most of the cavities (all but one), but not the gingivitis.

Bleeding gums is no longer a part of my life.  Can't recall the last time it's happened.  And the occasional feeling of "loose teeth" which gave me regular nightmares, is also gone.

So today Doc took blood, and we went over a lot of things.  It was pretty interesting.  General health was good, the near-twenty-pound weight loss was noted, and the diverticulitis was discussed.

I should have the blood results back in a week or so.  He offered to sit down and go over them, an offer I plan to accept.

What To Do About Alcohol?

"It can almost be said beyond doubt that moderate alcohol consumption is healthier than complete abstinence. With this in mind, it's strange that the fitness and health community shun alcohol. This irrational attitude seems to be grounded in the beliefs that alcohol is fattening and will hamper muscle gains. So let's take a look at that."
Very interesting.

BTW, while I'm a fan of alcohol consumption, and not a fan of sugar consumption, I find all the studies that show various benefits of moderate alcohol consumption somewhat hard to believe.  It's possible that they're true, but I wouldn't start drinking if you don't just because of these studies.

The problem with these studies is the Mormons.  Mormons (assuming they're following their religion) don't smoke, don't drink, and, as a group, have a longer life expectancy than the Japanese.  If alcohol is so good for you, why isn't there some evidence of that in Mormon life-expectancy statistics?

So anytime a scientific study is in contradiction to real-world experience, I have to be skeptical of the study.

Wall Street Journal Article on Wheat

"Giving Up Gluten to Lose Weight? Not So Fast. Diet Regimen Effective in Treating Celiac Disease, Wheat Allergies, But Not for Shedding Pounds

This is the evidence that the author provides that ditching wheat won't help you to lose weight:
"The notion that a gluten-free diet can help people lose weight or avoid carbohydrates is a myth. 'Many packaged gluten-free products are even higher in carbs, sugar, fat and calories than their regular counterparts, and they tend to be lower in fiber, vitamins and iron,' says Shelley Case, a registered dietician on the medical advisory board of the Celiac Disease Foundation. 'Gluten-free does not mean nutritious,' she notes."
That's it.

Now I agree that if you eat the gluten-free stuff you'll not lose weight.  What I've seen of it is mostly rice flour, which is not nutritious.

But what if you replace wheat with fruits and vegetables?  Unfortunately there's no discussion of this in the article at all.

The last sentence of the article is really the prize, however:
"Also, for dieters, going back to gluten after avoiding it can lead to stomach cramps, bloating, diarrhea and other symptoms, at least temporarily."
Why on earth would you eat anything that caused those symptoms?   If I gave you an egg that caused "stomach cramps, bloating, and diarrhea", the FDA would call it food poisoning and issue a recall.  But to Miss Beck, the WSJ Health columnist, they're perfectly acceptable side effects of eating wheat.

Now that's nuts.

Infants in China Growing Breasts from Hormone-Enhanced Milk

Yikes.  I found this via John Robbins, who I'm not familiar with.  He claims this happened in Puerto Rico, and was traced back to hormones in milk.  Added hormones in milk.  The same cause is suspected in China.

Unfortunately he doesn't provide a link to support either of his claims.  I found the first one, although it comes from the China Daily via AFP via Yahoo, not the Chinese Daily as Mr. Robbins' post claims.

Monday, August 23, 2010

Leadville: Krupicka's Race Report

A tough outcome.  But he'll be back.

I'm just happy to hear his knee didn't fail.  Uncooperative stomachs are part and parcel of ultra-running.

Leadville Results

Congrats to the winners, and to everyone who takes this gargantuan task on.

What To Do About Sugar?

Read the whole thing.  Very informative, especially Dr. Laidler's explanation about the relative merits and demerits of high-fructose corn syrup and good ol' sugar.
"For people who are worried about their health or their children’s health — and who isn’t, these days — the data suggest that the best choice is to reduce intake of all sweeteners containing fructose. That includes not only the evil HFCS, but also natural cane sugar, molasses (which is just impure cane sugar), brown sugar (ditto) and honey. Even 'unsweetened' (no added sugar) fruit juices need to be considered when limiting your family’s fructose intake."
Right on.  But then he has to go write this:
"Finally, the best nutritional advice is to eat everything in moderation — and that includes sweets."
Not really.  You don't need "moderate" amounts of sweets in your diet.  Moderate amounts of fruit, fine.  But most sweets don't even have the minimal nutritional advantages of fruit. 

Sweets ought to be a treat, not a regular part of your diet.  This is even more the case if you are sensitive to carbohydrates.  As Dr. Laidler explains so well, a low-carbohydrate diet is a low-sugar diet.  You just don't need moderate amounts of sugar each day.  Advocating eating moderate amounts of sugar is no different than advocating moderate amounts of alcohol.  Worse, even.  I've never heard of any health benefits to eating sugar, it's all downside.

After nearly six months on a primal/paleo diet, I've gotten to the point where a dose of sugar, whether it's from rice or sugar, makes me feel lousy for an hour or two.  Why would I want a moderate amount of feeling lousy in my day?

Sunday, August 22, 2010

Pictures of the Upcoming Altra Minimalist Shoes

Over at Runblogger.  I'm really interesting in the Adam model, especially for trail running, as I hope it will protect the pinkie toe a bit better from my klutziness than the Vibrams do.  The others, especially their trail model, eh.

They will also be a really nice cold-weather option.

Saturday, August 21, 2010

First Barefoot Night-time Run

This was my usual 3-mile road loop.  I ran an 8:15 pace, compared to my 8:30 pace last time I ran this in my bare feet, prior to my Colorado vacation.

I wore my Black Diamond Sprinter headlamp, which did a fine job of illuminating the ground, assuming I was wearing shoes.

This was actually good.  It means you have to loosen up, relax, and trust your feet.  I think running in the dark in bare feet or Vibrams is something everyone should experience.  It really teaches you the basics, and cheating (looking at where you're landing) is not an option.

My Colorado foot-toughening made things easier than my last run, and while I did step on a couple of pebbles that I noticed, only one caused a bit of a reaction.

I brought Kipling the dog along, and as usual, he was also barefoot.  He seemed to have no problems.

I have a race scheduled for September.  After that my goal is to become a serious barefoot runner, but for now it's just a small part of the rotation.

How Scientists Lie About Fat

"Lie" is a strong word, indeed, and this scientist may not intend to tell an untruth.  But that is unfortunately the effect of it.

Absolutely brilliant post from Peter at Hyperlipid.
"Now, I was looking through Axen and Axen's 2010 paper on managing metabolic syndrome in rats. First you have to make them obese. Hmmmm, now how might you do that? Ah ha! A high fat diet. In fact just 60% of calories will do the trick. Wow. Lets look at Table 1, column 2, HF diet used to induce obesity in rats. There it is: 60% fat, 25% protein and a mystery 15% carbohydrate."
So fat makes you obese, huh?  Well, that depends on what you mean by "fat".  Follow the link, read the whole thing, and the next time a Paleo dieter explains they eat "healthy" fats, you'll understand exactly what they *don't* eat.  And neither should you.

Need some more encouragement to read the whole thing?
"They have been poisoning America with it for decades."
That means you.

Leadville Twitter Stream

Appears to be here.

Good Luck to the Leadville Competitors

Especially Barefoot Ted, who'll be running in his Luna sandals, and Barefoot Jason, who'll be running in Treks.

I'll me rooting for Tony Krupicka to get a course record (and win) as well, which would be pretty cool.

Here's an interview with Jason from Competitor.com, and here's an interview of Mr. Krupicka from New Balance.

Friday, August 20, 2010

Green Pastures

Just ordered more cod liver/butter oil blend.  Mmm, mmm, good!

Well, not really.  It's kind of an acquired taste, in fact, but when you start craving it each day you realize something is up.

Video Interview of Dr. Lieberman

Courtesy of Crossfit.

This video is a great example of the problems with video analysis. If you look at the runner at about 1:20 in the video (captioned "Fore-foot Striking") he doesn't look like he's fore-foot striking, he looks like he's heel striking.

When I run it looks pretty much the same. What is happening is that he's bringing his foot forward, flexed up (dorsiflexed) to keep his toes out of the way, and then when his forward movement ceases (under COG) he drops the fore-foot and lands (plantar flexes).

I've actually hit rocks with my heel or the ball of my foot when trail running, when I'm not busy hitting them with my pinkie toes, as my foot is dorsiflexed while moving back under my COG.

Keeping your ankles loose and flexible allow this to happen naturally, and allows your achilles tendon to load when you put your weight down on your foot.

This also allows you to decide you DON'T want to put your weight down, if you feel something sharp, for instance.

Then he intentionally heel-strikes, *and it' doesn't LOOK very different!*.

Thanks to Ken for posting.

Real Eggs versus Factory Eggs

Check out the video at the bottom of the Summer Tomato weekly roundup.

In light of the massive egg recall currently underway, it's a good time to think about better options.  I think pastured eggs qualify as a better option.  Pasteurized eggs will not be on my shopping list. 

Making a marginally nutritious food (as industrial foods are) less nutritious (as pasteurization does) is not the best idea, IMHO.

UPDATE: Wow, even more eggs recalled!  Also from Iowa, but a different producer.  Is this another FDA botched recall?

New Blog: The Barefoot Professor

No, not this one, this one.  Almost obligitory, really, although I haven't read his book yet.

"Running and Love"

One of the best essays on running I've ever read.
"I know this might sound like a lot of emotional, sappy, hippy bull shit but I would challenge anyone to give it a try and see what you find out. Throw away your training schedule, find a mountain and run up it. The next day find another mountain and run up it. Once you fall in love with doing that share this love with others. It can be that simple. At least it has been for me."
Goeff Roes has won, and broken the course record, of every race except for one since he wrote this essay.

He's arguably the best ultrarunner in the world, at the moment.

Remember that when you read this and worry about your training/racing schedule.

Thursday, August 19, 2010

"Meat-Based Diet Made Us Smarter"

A nice piece, to be filed under "duh".
"As we got more [meat], our guts shrank because we didn't need a giant vegetable processor any more. Our bodies could spend more energy on other things like building a bigger brain. Sorry, vegetarians, but eating meat apparently made our ancestors smarter — smart enough to make better tools, which in turn led to other changes, says Aiello."
This falls under the category of things which you would already know if you'd read Larry Niven.  It's a large category.

In one of his stories, discussing herbivorous intelligences, he asks the question, "How much intelligence does it take to sneak up on a blade of grass?"

Now anyone who's dealt with horses, for instance, knows they're not brainless, but it's a pretty good point.  Carnivores have a lot more pressure to evolve intelligence.

So the next time a vegetarian tells you we didn't evolve to eat meat, you'll know better.

"Federal Appeals Court Proclaims Memorial Crosses on Highways Unconstitional"

This is off topic, but the folks who often risk their lives, or in this case give them, in service to their country deserve our respect and honour.

Anything this moronic must involve either the Federal Gov't, or a judge.  This one has both.

Perhaps the judge will get around to shutting this place down next. It's on Federal property, and it's got crosses all over the place.

Amby Burfoot on Running Form

"At any rate, if your leg is perpendicular to the surface at footstrike (final illustration on right, at bottom panel), you're doing a lot of things right. You probably don't have to worry much about your stride."
Sounds right.  In line with the previous post, there seems to be a consensus emerging in the running world, a consensus driven by the minimalist movement. 

(He's got a nice shout-out to Pete Larson and Steve Magness.)

"Bare your sole? Just shorten your stride"

It's defininitely an improvement:

"Now, a forthcoming study from researchers at the University of Wisconsin suggests that many of the benefits promised by barefoot running, including a reduction of the forces acting on knees and hips, can be obtained simply by taking shorter, quicker steps.

"'We found very similar loading patterns,' says Bryan Heiderscheit, the senior author of the study, which will appear in a forthcoming issue of Medicine & Science in Sports & Exercise, 'and you don’t have to go all the way to the extreme of getting rid of your shoes.'"
However, there are plenty of other benefits to be gained from minimalist shoes or barefoot running.

Ultimately, however, the injury rate in running is likely primarily the result of poor form.  Sneakers encourage poor form by design, but you can certainly improve your form even while wearing sneakers.  You're fighting against yourself, but it's a partial solution.

Harry's "New" Nike Frees

Very nice looking.  He's basically recreated the Adizero PR that I've got, minus the (miniscule) heel lift of the PR.

They're a real nice option.

Great Post from Tracy in Africa

On BFT's Group:

"Can I just say as someone who actually lives in Africa now and has spent a lot of time in East Africa -- Africans do NOT wear shoes because they feel more comfortable in them. Not on your life. 99% of those wearing something on their feet here are wearing flip flops.

"Even rich people after work and on the weekends. They do not find shoes comfortable.

"Shoes are Western, shoes are 'rich', shoes are 'developed', shoes are everything their colonizers, their missionaries, their teachers, their TV tells them is cool, in, acceptable, necessary to get ahead.

"If you look at an empty plot any day after school you will see school kids of all ages playing football (soccer) in their bare feet -- with their shoes nicely placed on the sidelines with their books. I've asked many of them why (thinking they were preserving their shoes or something like that). Their answer? They can't play football in shoes, how are they going to feel the ball?

"I hate idiots who see other cultures aping us, after we've shoved our ideas and value system down their throat, and then come back and say 'see, it's natural 'cause the Africans do it'. Grrrr."

"Slow and Steady Loses the Race"

"U.S. runners are pokier than they were in 1979."

Whinging was a label I originally intended for my own whinging.

But this one deserves the label:
"The demise of the American runner was hastened by the success of the first running boom in the 1970s and the embrace of running as a "pastime" rather than a sport. As more people were encouraged to "just do it," racing (and training) were dumbed down for the masses. Runners were told they could do a perfectly respectable marathon on 30 miles a week, 5k road races popped up all around the country (replacing the more difficult 10k), and running culture celebrated (and elevated) the participant over the winner. Today, it is not unusual for most runners to neither know, nor care, who won the race in which they were running."
Sorry, but the rise of running as a popular sport doesn't explain why the elites can't compete.  We have lots of other popular sports where the elites are competitive at a world level.  Take golf, or skiing.

Over at Barefoot Ted's Minimalist Running message group we've had tons of discussions on this topic.  There are plenty of good explanations for this phenomenon.  Unfortunately none are mentioned in this editorial.

"Low-fibre Western Diets Deter 'Good Bacteria'"

So eat your fiber. 

"The stools of the African children contained almost three times as many short-chain fatty acids. SCFAs are generated by bugs associated with diets containing a very high proportion of vegetables and cereals... SCFAs kill harmful gut bacteria such as salmonella and help protect against inflammation. Allergies are often the result of an excessive inflammatory response to otherwise harmless agents."

Not only that, but it appears to be a vital nutrient for the bowel:

"It turns out, butyrate [a short-chain fatty acid] has been around in the mammalian gut for so long that the lining of our large intestine has evolved to use it as its primary source of energy. It does more than just feed the bowel, however. It also has potent anti-inflammatory and anti-cancer effects. So much so, that investigators are using oral butyrate supplements and butyrate enemas to treat inflammatory bowel diseases such as Crohn's and ulcerative colitis. Investigators are also suggesting that inflammatory bowel disorders may be caused or exacerbated by a deficiency of butyrate in the first place.

"Butyrate, and other short-chain fatty acids produced by gut bacteria**, has a remarkable effect on intestinal permeability. In tissue culture and live rats, short-chain fatty acids cause a large and rapid decrease in intestinal permeability. Butyrate, or dietary fiber, prevents the loss of intestinal premeability in rat models of ulcerative colitis. This shows that short-chain fatty acids, including butyrate, play an important role in the maintenance of gut barrier integrity. Impaired gut barrier integrity is associated with many diseases, including fatty liver, heart failure and autoimmune diseases..."
Given that the decline in eating fiber was matched by the rise in eating wheat flour, it sounds like a 1-2 punch to the intestinal tract.  Although my own experience was that even eating fiber doesn't do the trick if you're also eating wheat.

Wednesday, August 18, 2010

Arthritis, Moose, and Diet

What an unlikely title.
"What is more, the arthritic moose were often small, measured by the length of the metatarsal bone in the foot. Small metatarsals indicate poor early nutrition, and scientists determined that the arthritic moose were born during times when food was scarce, so their mothers could not produce enough milk.
"Dr. Peterson said if the arthritis were caused by excess wear and tear on the moose’s joints, that would have meant that times of food scarcity occurred when the moose were already grown, since the extra wear would have happened to moose walking farther to find edible plants. But the arthritic moose had had plentiful food as adults."
If in fact it's true that arthritis is caused by early nutrition, and is irreversible, that's pretty gloomy news.

(via Instapundit, and right after I make a snarky comment about the NY Times and useful information.)

Patrick Sweeney Wins Another Race

This time in Lunas.

Barefoot Ted's Luna Sandals...

Reviewed!  Gotta get a pair... It's on my to-do list.

New Blog I'll Be Following: Science-Based Medicine

They're here.  They seem to have some interesting content, but they immediately call themselves into question by statements like this:
"...both of whom are well known corporate shills, apologists for conservative politics, antienvironmentalists, and anthropogenic climate change 'skeptics.'"
Dr. Gorski forgot to add "heretics" to his list of sins above, but I guess it would be redundant.

Hmm.  That position as an "anthropogenic climate change 'skeptic'" is looking pretty savvy right about now.

This looks like an interesting site, but also a fine example of how ideology permeates the academy, even areas that ought to be ignoring it. 

(Apparently they really hate the Weston A. Price Foundation.)

P.S. OMG, how will I stand this place?
"All in all, now that Obama is in power I’m much less worried about the future of science and medicine – and the influence of Obama on Canada (though the lingering Bush effect here is worrying). Not only is Obama young enough to be on the engaged side of the digital divide (and is clearly a master of communication) but he doesn’t seem married to nostalgia-based/reactionary orthodoxies either – it bodes well."
That's just a commenter, of course.  Can you be Science-based, and gullible at the same time?  I guess so...

Defending State Champions Practice Barefoot

The activity is nothing new for the defending state champion Eagles. Eden Prairie coach Jeff Lindlief has been having the team occasionally run shoeless in grassy areas for the past couple of years. The goal is to focus on their form and strengthen muscles.
Huh.  Interesting.

I wonder if the other teams will take note?  (You did note the "Defending" part, right?)

Landing on the Center of Gravity

Sigh.  Another great post by Pete.

When he starts talking about Steve Magness using "cues" to train his runners, I start thinking POSE. ;)

Which is not the worst thing in the world.

My own thoughts, as a runner who's in no danger of finishing in the top ten at Boston:  Sometimes you land under what feels like Center Of Gravity, sometimes you don't.

In trail running, my preferred mileu, you often need to reach out and land with your foot clearly ahead of your COG.

But you're landing on the ball of the foot, not the heel, so you still have the opportunity to absorb the impact using the mechanisms of the foot.  Can you also do the same thing at speed in a marathon?  Perhaps. 

Again, I think it comes back to footwear.  Measuring human variability after adding a variable like shoes really mucks up the equation.  Unfortunately we won't ever have a chance to perform and experiment like this in a competitive marathon without shoes, but we can speculate, right? :)

Tuesday, August 17, 2010

"Diverticulitis": My Story

In my twenties I got really sick; lying in bed for 5 days, bleeding from the lower part of my digestive tract: not pretty. I didn't see a doctor at the time because I had no health insurance, so I have no idea what the diagnosis might have been.

Delirious days later and ten pounds lighter and I was recovered, except for one problem: I had diarrhea for the subsequent 14 years. That's right, 14 years. When I got back into active sports it was a real problem, I had to bring a roll of toilet paper along everywhere, just in case.

And then two years ago I passed out on the toilet on a ski weekend.  The emergency room at Bennington Hospital told me it was a stomach flu.

Four weeks later I got cramps at work. I had to lie on the flloor until it passed. Then I drove to my doctor's office, and he told me that I had diverticulitis, and I had to go to the emergency room. I drove myself, and barely made it. I was in agony; I nearly passed out again while they were interviewing me to see if it was "serious".  (That's a good trick to get through triage quickly, by the way.)  A little while later I had a doctor screaming, "Morphine!" down the hall, I was in so much pain.

Turns out I had a perforated colon. That's right, a hole in my colon, with bubbles of air in my abdomen. I spent the next four days in the pre-operative ward, so if it got worse they could cut me open immediately. I lost 10 pounds. Then I started bleeding, and I realized these were all the same symptoms that I had had 14 years before. My blood pressure got so low that the automated blood-pressure machine wouldn't work, it thought I was dying, and would alarm immediately.

Diverticulitis is supposed to be age-related in industrial countries. (People in non-industrial countries don't get it.)  80% of of people have it by the time you reach 80, which is why all the old folks eat fiber. It usually starts occurring at 40; I had turned 40 a week earlier!  But the first attack in the 20s...  I mentioned to all three of the doctors I saw that I had had constant diarrhea for the last 14 years, since the first attack, and they shrugged. They told me to eat more fiber, and whole wheat, even though that was what I had been eating for the last 20 years. So I avoided surgery, started eating salad with salad dressing (containing industrial seed oils) and lots of whole wheat. And lots of running, since I'd read running helped diverticulitis. (Got my 5k PR at that point, still haven't beaten it. As I was telling people, I was running from a man with a knife!)

But the more salad and whole wheat I ate, the worse it got. I couldn't understand why. Finally had to have eight inches of my colon removed. The diarrhea continued, so obviously the cause remained.

So a few months ago, I stopped eating industrial seed oils (veggie oils). In two days the diarrhea stopped. Eat the oils, it started again. I no longer craved starch or sugar, so I didn't eat any wheat for a week, without meaning to. Then I had a sandwich, felt like crap, and had diarrhea the next morning. Hmm... but I didn't have a problem with wheat! I ate tons of it!  How could I have a problem with wheat?  Another week went by, and I had two slices of pizza. I thought I was having a heart attack. So now I could turn the symptoms of the last 16 years on or off, based on eating veggie oils or wheat. Wow!

Stephen Guyenet says that chronic intestinal issues are an excellent indicator of a wheat problem, and now I believe him.  I read Real Food one year before my surgery, and now I realize that if I'd just followed what that woman said, I could have avoided the whole thing, most likely.

Now I've learned that diverticulitis is one of the most common misdiagnoses of celiac, and erroneous bowel resections are common for people who are subsequently found to be celiac (some have died.)   And the 14 years of chronic diarrhea?  Chronic diarrhea of the sort I had (I'll spare you the details) are also typical of a wheat problem.

And none of my doctors ever mentioned any of this as a possibility.

Lots of people have serious problems with wheat, and come back negative on celiac tests. I think celiac is just one aspect of wheat poisoning (yeah, I know, a strong term) for people with a specific immune system profile. Apparently wheat causes leaky gut syndrome in almost everyone... I mean heck, it took them over 2000 years just to figure out that celiac was caused by wheat! Science and Medicine know very little about it.

Hopefully this story will help my readers out, but after going through all this, and then realizing not only I, but my wife and daughters, all have wheat problems, it's been quite an eye-opener. And the veggie oils are just plain toxic. Not fit for human consumption.

So that's just part of the introduction.  Next I'll go into more detail on how I figured out what was going on.

Tron: Legacy

Loved Tron.  Discs of Tron was my favorite video game.

I'm very excited.

"Waist Size Linked With Longevity"

More accurately, wheat belly will kill you.  Veggie oils help it out right quick.

Unfortunately they don't provide any useful information about how to actually shrink your tummy.  But it's the New York Times; we don't go to them for useful information...

Nike Free 1.0?

Could be.  It would be a good thing if they made it.

Word on Our Dietary Disaster Is Leaking Out...

Egg On Their Faces in the City Journal. 

(Via Instapundit, who titles it, appropriately, What the Government Tells You to Eat May be Killing You. Not "May", unfortunately.)

Playing Around with the Raw Diet

Richard Wrangham, Catching Fire: How Cooking Made Us Human. This book has received a fair amount of attention lately. It’s a great read, and makes its central thesis persuasively: the essential transformation in getting to human is not fire or meat-eating, important as those are — it is our evolutionary adaptation to something that follows on fire, cooking. We are adapted to eating cooked food. Well. Family away the last ten days, I decided to try a basically raw diet, a little bit as Wrangham describes in his opening chapters. Not completely — I ate fish and buffalo in quantities, plus some (extraordinarily delicious — I made them with garlic and fresh lime juice and lime zest) black beans and some cooked quinoa-amaranth mush. But I ate a head of lettuce a day, a couple of massive tomatoes, avocados, bell pepper, cucumber, green onion and other vegetables, a lot of blueberries, peaches, strawberries, raw nuts, etc. I didn’t lack for calories, certainly not protein, given the meat and fish, some cooked carbs, and also my customary intake of olive oil and liquid fish oil. (I’m a foodie in three things: coffee, chocolate, and, increasingly, olive oil — and California olive oils are getting exceptionally yummy.)

Results? I was not doing this out of any dietary purity thing; no, just curious and partly interested in seeing if it would lead to weight loss. I wasn’t on it long enough or consistently enough to test the weight loss part. But just as Wrangham said about raw foodists, I was constantly hungry, even though I was plowing through a lot of food and my stomach was full, and fell full, even over full. After 7 days I was starting to crave hot cooked food very specifically — not just calories, and not sweets, but something starchy, hot, cooked. The other thing, though, was that my stomach found it hard dealing with all the crude leaves and plant material. Possibly I would adjust over time. I don’t mean intestinal problems, diarrhea, etc. — I mean specifically my stomach wrestling with all this raw stuff. I deliberately didn’t shred things up small, but forced myself to chew — but it felt as though my stomach was unused to processing all this. I tried eating corn raw off the cob, without any heating, and that caused immediate indigestion — again, in my stomach. Wrangham talks about the physics of food and calorie extraction, and I have a much better idea of what he meant. I also have a much better idea about what he meant about how long it takes to chew leaves, even delicate baby spinach.

Sounds pretty interesting.  The rest of this gentleman's summer reading list is here.

Monday, August 16, 2010

Merrell Barefoot Collection 2011 at Birthday Shoes

I really want to try out a pair...

Two Week Vacation in Colorado

AKA, my first Primal Vacation.  I'll be posting some of the stuff that I did over the next few days. 

Internet access was very sketchy, and I discovered a hardware bug in my Blackberry that limited online time.

But it was great.


Unfortunately, I don't think it's a joke.

Vibram KSOs for Kids

More news.  A $60 price point isn't too bad... although I'm sure a lot of folks will compare it to water shoes and pass. 

(I tried to link to the underlying piece at Woman's Wear Daily, but it's subscription-only.)

Pastured Eggs in Colorado

Came across the The Egg Fridge by dumb luck.  The eggs were delicious.  The Egg Fridge, like a lot of these farmer-based distribution systems, works on the honor system. 

Amusingly, when you open the Egg Fridge, you are treated to the story of Kathryn Kananen, daughter of the egg farmer, who runs the Egg Fridge to fund her shooting trips.  That's right, she's a national-grade target shooter at 13.

So I guess this is the honor system, or else. :)  Makes you look around while you're putting your money in the slot.

Great story.

Tuesday, August 10, 2010

Lactose a Problem, but Milk is Not?

"Leichter (12) has concluded that on the average, the intensity of symptoms in lactose intolerant individuals was highest with an aqueous lactose solution, lower with skim milk, and lowest with whole milk."

This study also finds that the Masai, who subsist in large amount on milk, with no ill effects, are largely lactose intolerant (62%). 

"Despite this, the Masai drink large quantities of milk each day without symptoms [of lactose intolerance]."

So clearly it's not the lactose in milk that is the problem with those who are "lactose intolerant".  I'll note searching for the word "pasteur", as in Pasteurization, returns nothing in the linked PDF.  I highly doubt the Masai drink pasteurized milk.

Lactose malabsorption among Masai children

I also read and hear regularly in the Paleo community that diary is a no-no because only Europeans are evolved to digest it.  It turns out that tolerance for lactose is widespread in Africa, which puts the lie to the claim that the inclusion of dairy in the human diet is a recent phenomenon.

Thursday, August 5, 2010

Russell Moccasin's Minimalist Shoe Line

See here.  For my money, these and Vibrams are the best minimalist shoes out there, and I own most of the available options.

I really wanted to post the contents of an email I sent to Russell on these boots; fortunately they've made it public:

I called Russell with a bunch of ideas about making a minimalist shoe, but not a lot of practical experience in shoemaking. Fortunately for me, Russell has plenty, and I’ll take full credit for realizing that I should stop talking and let Russell make me some shoes. I learned more about this whole minimalist shoe movement from a short conversation with Ralph Fabricius than from almost anyone else. I figured I would need to make a sales pitch to convince Russell to make these shoes for me, but Ralph got the whole concept before I’d finished explaining it.
This is really what makes Russell's shoes different from all the other minimalist shoes: they've been shoemakers for a long time.  Ralph's probably forgotten more about making shoes than the other manufacturers have learned.

I'll do a post soon on the Munson Last and its significance, but I want to note here that I never would have learned of it If Ralph Fabricius hadn't told me about it.  It was nearly forgotten, but for him.

Harry at Outdoor Retailer in Salt Lake City: It's Just Not Fair

No, it's not.  But the minimalist movement couldn't have a better representative out there than Harry.

I'm looking forward to his full report.

Enough About the New Balance Minimus, Already...

But here's a petition to convince New Balance to offer a no-heel version.

Tuesday, August 3, 2010

Krupicka's 2nd CR at White River

Amazing.  Do you think it's a coincidence that both Krupicka and Roes seem to do better when they don't have a rigorous training schedule?  And neither has a coach...

(I'm not implying, btw, that they don't train a lot.  But they both seem to have unstructured training plans.)

NB Minimus

More info...

Barefoot-style Running and Altitude

When I started this little journey a year ago, one of the first thing I noticed was how easy it was to run uphill in my Vibrams.  Done right, it feels like you're just bouncing up the hill.

For the last two days, I've been running at altitude.  Yesterday's run was over 9000', and today's was probably a 700' gain at around 8000'.  I've had a couple of days to acclimate, but not much exercise before yesterday's run; just a two-mile walk on slightly-hilly ground.

So I'm quite pleased to report that running barefoot-style at altitude has been no more difficult than running at near-sea-level last week.  I'm a little bit slower, but don't feel light-headed at all. Carrying stuff up a flight of stairs still leaves me winded though. 

Isn't that odd?

Radio Silence...

Posting will be erratic, at best, for the next little bit...