Thursday, September 30, 2010

Barefoot Runners' Society Fall Buyers' Guide

Link is to PDF.  The Society's site is here.

Woodstock 50k Race Report

"A woman with a clipboard is waiting for me. 'Well, since you have so much energy, maybe you should've run a longer race.' Indeed, that's exactly what I'm thinking."

Great report.

Vitamin C and Immunity

We've all heard that vitamin C is a good thing when you've got the flu, or for preventing the flu.  I've never really given much thought to this, since I assumed that the large quantities of orange juice I used to drink would give me what I needed.

Paul Jaminet at the Perfect Health Diet has a fascinating post on the effects of C on the immune system when it's under stress, why supplementation seems to be a good idea, and what the downsides of supplementation are.

He posts this as a follow-up to the case of Alan Smith's remarkable recovery from swine flu, against the best efforts of his doctors to kill him.  I was quite skeptical of the story of how vitamin C helped Smith recover, but after reading Jaminet's follow-up, it makes quite a bit of sense that this would work.

Jaminet's two prior posts on Smith's case are at the link above.

UPDATE: Here's the direct link to the video of Alan Smith's case, at my wife's request. ;)

Wednesday, September 29, 2010

Sounds Like A Great Cause

Freedom’s Run for Kids: Free Shoes Provided by Terra Plana VivoBarefoot

"Take Off Your Shoes And Walk"

Take Off Your Shoes And Walk: Steps To Better Foot Health is the book all podiatrists ought to be reading.  Simon Wikler, DSC* was the rare doctor who wasn't willing to stick to the status quo when told by an older colleague:

"'Foot troubles are chronic conditions people have had for a long time,' he advised.  'You'll waste your time trying to find their cause and cure.  Be content just to give people all the relief you possibly can'"
Dr. Wikler noted during his practice and travels that barefooted people had none of the problems that plagued his shod patients.  Using this knowledge, he began to treat his patients by advising them to strengthen their feet.  He prescribed exercises, walking, properly fitted shoes, and, especially in the case of children, barefoot activity.  His cure for fallen arches in children was quite simple.  Take off their shoes.

His advice for children was a little more radical than his advice for adults, who could also have benefitted from going about in their bare feet.  In this, I suppose, he was a victim of his profession, which seems to believe that at some point we become unsuited for walking in our bare feet.  Or maybe he was just bowing to the practicalities of America in 1961.

The one criticism I do have is that he didn't seem to realize that bunions could be cured simply by going barefoot or at least wearing properly-fitted shoes.  My sister-in-law, who took her sister's advice for alleviating her back pain and bought a pair of VivoBarefoot shoes, reported to me the other day that her bunions had nearly healed since she'd been wearing her new shoes every day.

In a touching anecdote, he reports on his attempts to bring to market a non-deforming shoe for America's children.  He found a man with feet deformed from improper shoes who might help him manufacture these shoes.  The man told Wikler he was crazy.

Wikler was forced to abandon the enterprise as losses mounted, observing:
"The difficulty was, it seemed, that nine out of ten mothers were more interested in style and appearance than in the non-deforming character of their babies' shoes."
I can only hope that the customers of the modern minimalist shoe companies prove that our mothers have learned something since Wikler's day.

Wikler also notes that shoes made on the fabled Munson last, the only shoes made in the last 100 years which were designed to allow your foot to work naturally, were going out of style as "old man's shoes."

Take Off Your Shoes and Walk is unfortunately long out of print.  Amazon lists two used copies available, and that's where I got mine.  Luckily has made a good portion of this book available online.

Read the introduction, and the excellent history of foot problems, and, especially if you have kids, the sections on foot health.  It's well worth your time, and will probably save you quite a bit in podiatrist bills, especially if you're a runner.

Interestingly, the one ailment that Wikler never mentions is that favorite of the runner in sneakers: plantar fasciitis.  I guess folks didn't get it prior to the sneaker.  But we know what the solution is: Take Off Your Shoes and Walk!

*Doctor of Surgical Chiropody (Chiropody is now known as podiatry.)

Sorry, Granny's Going To Die

"So the medical officer called me and started asking pointed questions. 'Why did you do that test? You know that she's not been compliant. Are you sure you want to do that? I don't think that's a good idea.' In other words, this was not just a review of the case. This was an opportunity for the insurance company to intervene in the actual care of the patient.

"Then the kicker: 'Have you considered not doing anything and . . . just letting nature take its course?'

At first, I was stunned. 'You mean let the patient die?'

Welcome to the future.

Sean Butler Wins His Age Group

In a 5k, in huaraches.  Pretty cool!

Follow-up to "Driving While on Your Cell Phone Saves Lives!"

More data.  Still no sign that cell phones are a serious problem.

Original post.

"Barefoot Running Is Nothing Special"

Great post.

Tuesday, September 28, 2010

Steve Magness On Running Shoes and Form, Again

We don't know much, at the end of the day. 
This is a good, if highly dissatisfying, post.  Through no fault of Steve's. 
Although I do think that Steve is still stuck in the mindset that we need shoes, and they should be similar to what we've been using.  As he effectively makes clear, we really have very little idea of what a good shoe would look like, and in such a case, the scientific approach would be to start from a blank slate.  That's a bare foot, in this case. 

It's clear that we do need shoes for some things, but I don't think cushioning really adds anything, ever, to a shoe.

Read the whole thing, and be sure to read the comments.

We wound up having a lengthy follow up discussion at Barefoot Ted's group.

Nice Article Quoting Barefoot Ken Bob

See here.  Apparently his book is coming out in the spring.

And shockingly, the obligatory podiatrist quoted is "on the fence", not reflexively against barefoot running.  That's an improvement!

Toe Shoe Running Cartoons

Too cool!

Podcast: The Livin' La Vida Low-Carb Show with Jimmy Moore

As I intimated in this post, if you have any interest in healthy diets, you need to be listening to Jimmy Moore's podcast. 

I found his podcast after Stephen Guyenet was interviewed by Chris Kressler.  I decided to see if Stephan had done any other interviews, and discovered that he had been interviewed by Jimmy, but the interview wasn't to be released for some time.  I poked around in Jimmy's archive, and discovered that he'd interviewed, well, pretty much everyone concerned with paleo or primal diets, or Weston Price.  I also discovered that he's a wonderful interviewer.  He asks good questions and lets people answer them, and he knows enough about the topic he covers so that he's an expert himself.

As a follow-up to this post, I was happy to hear that he promptly lined up Denise Minger for an interview.  I've not yet listened to this one, but I have no doubt that it will be as excellent as the rest of his interviews.

Denise Minger Debunks the China Study (Episode 405)

My only caveat about Jimmy is that he could have been a game show host, or an evangelical preacher.  You may not be crazy about the style of the podcast, but his content is pure gold.  He's definitely doing God's work in spreading the word about healthy diets, and I really have to commend him for that.

UPDATE: I've listened to the episode, and it's excellent.  Denise is clearly committed to doing the right thing, and is quite passionate about it.  Good for her.  Jimmy has a summary of the episode on his blog.

Texas Governor Perry and Toe Shoes

So does this mean the next time Gov. Perry shoots a coyote on a run, he'll be doing it wearing Vibrams?

No, that's not Gov. Perry in the picture... ;)

Via Birthday Shoes.

Don't Take New Drugs

That's my take-away from this bit of news:

"The use of frequently prescribed diabetes drug Avandia will be severely restricted in the U.S., the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) announced Thursday. The European Medicines Agency announced the same day that it will remove the pharmaceutical from that region's market altogether. The new regulations will be set in place over the coming few months.

"Findings that the drug, also known as rosiglitazone, increased the risk of heart attack, stroke or other cardiovascular problems have been surfacing over the years. A 2007 meta-analysis published in The New England Journal of Medicine, found "significant increase in the risk of myocardial infarction" and of death from other heart-related issues. A government investigation into Avandia-maker GlaxoSmithKline's records showed that the pharmaceutical company had been trying to hide its evidence that the drug might be less safe than the competitor Actos. Based on these findings and other evidence, an FDA advisory panel recommended in July that Avandia be limited."

Since long-term testing is effectively not done on new drugs, that makes you the guinea pig. If your comfortable with that, that's OK, but be informed.

If you must use a drug, prefer one that's been on the market for a long time, if possible. That way you won't be subject to unpleasant surprises.

Ideally, don't take any drugs. But that's not always practical.

Monday, September 27, 2010

Omega-6 and Diabetes

Stephen Guyenet posted this little tidbit a while ago:

Just 10% of the diet as corn oil (roughly 20% of calories), with no added omega-3 [n-3], on top of an otherwise poor laboratory diet, caused:

  • Obesity
  • Osteoporosis
  • The replacement of bone marrow with fat cells
  • Diabetes
  • Insulin resistance
  • Generalized inflammation
  • Elevated liver weight (possibly indicating fatty liver)
Now, one of the active ingredients in corn oil is linoleic acid, an omega-6 (a.k.a. n-6) fatty acid.

Today, Robb Wolf posts an explanation of why this is true.

"Via some slick molecular biology and collaborative tests, the authors of the aforementioned paper show that n-3’s are critical in their interaction with GRP-120 not only for decreased inflammatory effects, but also for insulin sensitivity. It would appear that inadequate n-3’– decreased GRP-120 expression–increased inflammation+decreased insulin sensitivity. Net result? A ton of mierda."

Read the whole thing.

(I tried running Wolf's post through the surfer-dude to English translater, but had minimal success... I think I understood most of it, however. ;))

"America: A Big, Fat, Stupid Nation"

Must read.

"...What strange event happened in 1977? Elvis died; perhaps the aliens who took him started to replace his fellow Americans with clones of fat, singing, hamburger-addicts? The truth is no less remarkable.

"In 1977 America changed its health advice. In a nutshell (or, more likely, an ADA approved Mars bar): Eat more starchy foods, eat more carbohydrates, saturated fats are bad. If that sounds like pretty good advice to you, then you don't know enough about what you are putting into your mouth."

The standard left-wing finger pointing at corporations is entirely unnecessary here.  The corporations in this case were, and are, pretty clearly following the Progressives' lead on diet.  Other than that, spot on.

Via Hold the Toast.

"To Be Honest, I Was Initially Repulsed; It Was Loathing At First Sight."

Another FiveFingers fan.

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

A few interesting tidbits:

"On the strength of its quirky-looking FiveFingers product, the Italian brand has been a standout in a weak economy. In fact, sales have tripled every year since the style's debut in 2006 — and this year, the brand is on course to deliver 1.4 million pairs of the glovelike shoes, a fivefold increase over the prior year."


"...Post estimated that a third of the Vibram business worldwide is in FiveFingers product, with 90 percent of that done in North America. (The company derives the other two-thirds of its business from its components program.)..."


"Teva, Inov-8 and Vivo Barefoot have all unveiled barefoot performance product. And Vibram partnered with two major brands — New Balance and Merrell — to bow their own minimal lines for spring '11.

"'What's exciting about it is that it brings more ideas and innovation and creativity to the market,' Post said, adding that Vibram also gains further penetration in the category."

"'[The partnerships] allow us to exploit the opportunity a little bit more and share it, frankly, with our best customers,' Post said. 'And by listening to the consumer and paying close attention, we'll be able to leverage this concept to its full potential.'

That's remarkable.  From Woman's Wear Daily.

Original post.

How Paleo Are You?

Yes, bugs are totally paleo

I gathered a bunch of crickets when I was in the Boy Scouts, but never had the nerve to eat them.  Although I did learn that the appropriate response when a bug flew into my oatmeal was to stir it. ;) 

It was a feature, not a bug, so to speak.

Saturday, September 25, 2010

Morph Suits and Vibrams

What's a morph suit?  I'll stick to the Vibrams, I think.

Magnesium and Cramping

On a recent mountain biking adventure Psycho Dave, one of the better riders I know, started coming down with cramps.  Bad cramps, all over his body.  It was so bad he had to walk out of the park we were in, and it took quite a while before we were able to get him in a car (he couldn't drive himself) and get him home.  We were ready to dial 911...

What was the problem?  Dave had been chugging some wacky sports drink with a lot of magnesium.  Once he got his magnesium levels under control (I don't recall how) he was fine.  It took a few hours.

Dr. Davis has a bunch of really interesting posts on magnesium:

"Magnesium regulates muscle contraction. Leg cramps, or 'charlie-horses', painful vise-like cramps in calves, fingers, or other muscles, are a common symptom of magnesium deficiency."

Hmm... I've been prone to these.  Better lately, although I still occasionally get cramps in my fingers.  I recently had my magnesium levels tested, and they came back at 2.1 mg/dL, a level Dr. Davis considers to be on the low side of normal, although he notes:

"Blood magnesium levels are a poor barometer for true body (intracellular) magnesium.

"Only 1% of the body’s magnesium is in the blood, the remaining 99% stored in various body tissues, particularly bone and muscle. If blood magnesium is low, cellular magnesium levels are indeed low—very low.

"If blood magnesium is normal, cellular or tissue levels of magnesium may still be low. Unfortunately, tissue magnesium levels are not easy to obtain in living, breathing humans. In all practicality, a blood magnesium test only helps if it’s low, while normal levels don’t necessarily mean anything and may provide false reassurance

He also discusses heart arrhythmia and magnesium:

"In fact, in the hospital we give intravenous magnesium to quiet down abnormal rhythms."

I had a heart arrhythmia a few years ago, and my father and my grandmother both have atrial fibrilation, which Dr. Davis says are indicitive of magnesium problems. Wheat is also implicated, naturally:

"Do you suffer from fatigue or heart problems that might be caused by magnesium deficiency? Have you diligently consumed a 'smart' diet of whole grains, legumes, and low-fat dairy as per the recommendations of your dietician and doctor?"

All food for thought for the athelete suffering from frequent cramps.  But don't over-supplement, if you choose to supplement.

Here are some more interesting reasons to think about magnesium.

Friday, September 24, 2010

"Life Beyond A Hundred"

Unfortunately, this sounds about right:

"The future pattern is likely to be most people living to around 100 and then dying of multiple organ failure."
The human machine is too complicated, and we know too little about how it works, to make any meaningful improvement in human lifespan.  Improvements due to decreased infant mortality and antibiotics are the low-hanging fruit.  The next major improvement is proper nutrition; which is part of the purpose of this blog.  Beyond that, we would need to change the fact that planned obsolesence is part of our genome. 

That will not be easy.

Dr. Eades Fires Both Barrels

"The Pitiful State of Medical Ignorance"  Read the whole thing.

"Paleo Solution" Hits NYT Bestseller List.

Really cool.  I guess I'm going to have to read it. ;)

The Con Side Of A Plant-Based Diet

Harry posted started this this thread the other day.  Barefoot Ted's Huaraches group regularly veers onto topics other than the stated one, and diet is one of the most frequent tangents.

Harry got a bunch of pro-vegan/vegetarian info in the thread.  We've had a ton of paleo diet threads in the group lately, and, since it's all off-topic anyway, the vegetarians are certainly entitled to make their case. ;)  I didn't weigh in, because I didn't want to turn it into a vegetarian-bashing thread.  They should feel as welcome in the group as anyone else, IMHO.

I did send Harry an email off-thread, and I wanted to repost that here, since I thought it had some useful info:

It sounds like you've gotten a bunch of suggestions for the pro side from other folks.  I would add to that that you should study what the Jains eat, since, as I've mentioned, they're the only society to be vegetarian long-term.

For the con side, I would suggest Lierre Kieth's The Vegetarian Myth.  She was vegan for 20 years.  There's a pretty good interview with her here:

Since all the vegetarians will suggest you read The China Study, I would agree that you should.  I did.  What was most interesting for me was seeing how he dealt with the known shortcomings of a vegan diet: the answer is, aside from B12, he doesn't mention them.

For a good overview of the nutritional shortcomings of a vegetarian diet, see Chris Masterjohn's article here:

Complete with a load of footnotes.

For an excellent review of the problems with the book The China Study, and a good review of what the data behind the book actually says, see here:

Link goes to the short version (!), but there's a link from there to the long version, which I don't have the time to go through.

Good luck!

Thursday, September 23, 2010

New Balance MT101 Pre-Release Review

I don't like the color.  But it sounds like the improvements are all for the good.  I'll probably go to my local New Balance store and try on a pair when they come in.

Since I've modified mine, and don't wear them all that much anyway, I doubt I'll spend the money.   I'd be more excited to try the Minimus.

Amazon has these now.

OK, after writing all this and scheduling the post, I called the local NB store.  They have them in stock!  I went and tried on a pair.  Now I own a pair.  Darnit.

I'll be dropping them off at the cobbler tomorrow to have the heel removed, but the reason I bought them is because the toe box is notably wider, especially on the outside of the foot.  It's a much more comfortable fit.

I also discovered that I really need a 10 now, although I have a 9.5 in the 100, my feet do seem to be getting bigger.

Goeff Roes On A Bad Day

He still wins.

"Preference for hybrid cars 'genetic', say scientists"


Unless they're saying it's linked to an inability to do mathematics, in which case they might have a point.

Wednesday, September 22, 2010

It's All About Control

"Sometimes I don’t know if I’m living in the United States or the old Soviet Union. 

"A new bill has been introduced in the Senate—S.3767. This bill makes it a crime, punishable by up to 10 years in prison, to “introduce misbranded food into interstate commerce.” The bill also appears to provide the same punishment for introducing “adulterated” food into interstate commerce.

"These terms are so vague and so broad that they could cover almost anything. Government agencies already consider raw milk to be “adulterated.” Any supplement or food could be labeled as “misbranded.”

"'Interstate Commerce' could cover anything and everything that is sold or even consumed in the United States of America."
Follow the link to let your Senator know what you think about this.  They'll vote for it anyway.

Follow-up to "Grass-Fed Taste Test"

You think you find something new, something innovative in the low-carb or paleo diet world.  Even if it's old news. 

You find out Jimmy Moore has already interviewed the guy

Oh well, at least the interview hadn't yet been posted.

Jimmy's like the Godfather of the low-carb world. ;)

Original post.

How The Government Protects The Food Supply

"While some state regulators took steps to clamp down on tainted eggs, the federal government was much slower to act, despite entreaties from state officials alarmed at the growing toll....

"And the federal government, at times under pressure from Congress and the industry to limit regulation, spent two decades debating national egg safety standards. New rules finally went into effect in July — too late to prevent the current round of illness....

"'The states were left on our own, with no federal oversight or guidance, to regulate this bug as best we could,' he said.

"'It has been one big 20-year experiment.'"

You're on your own, in other words. Caveat emptor.

Oh, wait. It's OK. DeCoster apologizes. Never mind.

Why didn't the Enron guys think of that?

Modified New Balance MT100s

In light of the Minimus and MT101 shoes coming out, I thought I'd post my experience with the MT100s from last fall.  This was originally posted Nov. 11, 2009. (Follow the link for the full discussion.)

I got back from the cobbler a little while ago with my modified sneakers in hand.

If you didn't know what they were supposed to look like, I don't think you could tell what had been done with them. Fortunately, we have another pair of unmodified MT100s around, so we're going to be posting some side-by-side comparisons later on.

I did try them on at the cobbler. Standing in a resting position, my heel just kisses the ground with the weight resting on the ball of the foot. Just like my Vivo Barefoot shoes or being actually barefoot. So I consider them to be a success in that regard.

Unfortunately I still have a broken pinkie toe, and I'm unable to run more than a short distance without pain. I'm going to try to go for a run in them later, as I'm hoping that the rock-guard plate will help support my forefoot enough to allow me to run. So if you're waiting for an in-depth review, I'm going to have to disappoint you. Also, this is an unseasonable warm November in the Northeast, so running in the snow (the whole reason I got these) is going to have to wait, for some snow.

A little later...

OK, here it is. This is a 9.5 mens compared to a 10.5 mens, keep in mind. Neither pair has been worn outside for running, yet. My friend (another Vibram victim I talked into this whole enterprise) bought the MT100s also for winter running when we went to the store. He also has no desire to run in them if it's warm enough for KSOs. He had a big shin splint issue until he learned to run barefoot-style.

The pictures are huge, btw. If it's an issue, let me know and I'll downsize and upload smaller pics.

Altered is on the right in all the pictures.

Here's the before and after, from far enough back so you can see what was removed. I propped up the heel of the altered shoe so that you get a good idea of what was removed.

MT 100 Compare
Here's the close up. The workmanship on the altered shoe is better than the original, I just noticed.

Compare (Near)

The soles: you can see in this shot where he cut a little low, and cut through the top of the dimples. This is entirely cosmetic, I don't know if the dimples even reduce weight much, as they're pretty shallow. The altered shoe is the smaller one. Those orange circles are the stone guard that you can see through the sole.

Compare Soles
Just so you can see what the workmanship looks like up close.

Closeup of the Heel
He wasn't able to peel the sole away, so wound up having to cut it down. I don't know that that makes any difference in practice, but if you have any ideas of your own, there you go.

David (the Cobbler & Cordwainer) mentioned to me that there was still a pretty built-up arch in the sneaker, and that we could cut away the insole to reduce that. I didn't listen in his shop, and spent the rest of the afternoon wondering what the heck that lump under my arches was, as I was wearing them without the insole. I put the insole back in, and it lessens the arch, but I think I'm going to follow his advice (and listen a little more closely next time he has a suggestion).

The toe spring is not really an issue, as the toe area is really soft, I can flex it down almost flat without a problem. Excessive toe spring is a problem if you cut the heels off, the toes can wind up pointing to the heavens, which is not comfortable.

Sneakers are really warm! Too warm. I've gotten used to having cool soles in the Vibrams and the Vivos. Hadn't realized it until I put these on. But since I want these for winter running, I guess that's a feature.

With the insoles in and the plate under the ball of the foot my busted foot feels much better. I think I'm going to try to run in them in the morning, and see how they do. And how I do.

These are a very different shoe from the Mizuno flats, they're a trail running racing flat. So they're heavier, and have a beefier sole with a more aggresive tread, and the stone guard. But with the kind of running I'll do in these, I think that's appropriate.

Ideally Inov-8 will make something that will make it unnecessary for me to go through this exercise again. The sneakers are $75, labor $50 = $125, or the same cost as the Vibram Treks.

A couple of updates: I was able to find another cobbler who did another pair (the unmodified pair in the pictures above) for $25. 

I ran in these pretty regularly in the winter, but found after a while that they gave me runner's knee.  Reverting to Vibrams cured the runner's knee immediately, going back to the 100s brought it back.   Even wearing the Russell mocs was better on my knee, despite the weight.  My colleague, owner of the unmodified pair above, had the same thing happen to him, and I'll note that Anton Krupicka, the athlete for which these were designed, has been battling a similar issue for quite some time.

I ran one race in these, despite the runner's knee, and they did OK, it was a 20k and I managed an 8:11 pace.  The knee hurt quite a lot, and I pretty much stopped running in them after getting my Russells.

I still use them occasionally as back up shoes, or casual shoes, and I'm going to crack them out again for a trail half-marathon that is coming up.  I broke or disocated the other pinkie toe two times in Treks, and I don't feel like doing it during a race, so I'm going to wear these.  I don't expect that the runner's knee will return from just one or two runs.

Runner's knee aside, with some warm wool socks they worked great in the snow.

UPDATE: Posted a comparison with the new, modified MT101s here, including the last modification I made to the 100s.  I ran a race in the 101s, also.

More On The New Balance Minimus

At Birthday Shoes.

Can "Metabolic Derangement" Heal?

This is one of my big unanswered questions about this whole diet issue.  I've heard a very little anecdotal evidence that it can; here is another piece, with some links to some doctors who report that it can.

Tuesday, September 21, 2010

Follow-up to "Barefoot Run in NYC"

This is a bummer.  Nevertheless, it should be fun.

They're now requiring registration, and a $35 entry fee.  Info is here.  I signed up today.  Good news: there will be a t-shirt! ;)

I hope this doesn't cut down on the turnout.

Terra Plana is also sponsoring the event, which seems to be a work-in-progress.
Original post.

The Runner and Toe Shoes

My friend The Runner read Born to Run just after I did.  He did switch from marshmallow shoes to racing flats, but he never really got the toe-shoe bug, let alone run barefoot.  Unlike me, however, he was and is a really good runner.  If it ain't broke, why fix it?

He seems to view my progression with some amusement.  I think he's a little reluctant to get Vibrams just because I'm so gung-ho about it.

So it is with great amusement that I've watched his boys become infatuated with toe shoes.  The other day he let me know that his older son has not only gotten a pair of Bikilas, but is joining the cross-country team, and will be running in his Bikilas.  The next day he shows up at my house, and his younger son is now sporting a pair of black Classics, with which he is riding his skateboard.  The Runner has his Bikila-clad son run for me, and he points out his good form, and how he's landing properly (not on his heel).

Bikila Boy (real names have been changed to protect the innocent) then informs us that he and my daughter have been "banished to the blacktop" by the security guard at school for wearing inappropriate footwear on the jungle gym.  My daughter was wearing Crocs...  The Runner decides he's got to take up the banner for his son's right to wear toe-shoes, and the following day I receive this email:

"[Bikila Boy] is now allowed to wear the Vibram’s on the jungle gym. I emailed [Nice Guy], the Vice-Principal explaining the situation and he called and said he needed to be educated regarding the toe shoes and was thankful that I did educate him.  [Bikila Boy] is more than welcome to wear them going forward and will not be “banished” to the “Vibram” penalty box.  My guess is the guard is a spy for Nike.  However, flip-flops are not allowed…  "

The vice-principal had never heard of Vibrams, but thanks to the miracle of Google, was informed while on the phone with The Runner, and to his credit, made the right call on the spot.

So the infiltration of toe shoes and the barefoot lifestyle continues...

Friends You Haven't Seen In A While

"Wow, you've lost a lot of weight!"

I ran the Reach the Beach Relay with a friend I've not seen in a few years.  Those were the first words out of his mouth.  I didn't think I was that overweight, but apparently it was pretty noticable.

Lengthy Excerpt from "The Paleo Solution"

Really interesting. 

Thanks to "chris threadkill" for drawing my attention to this.

Monday, September 20, 2010

Latest Barefoot Run

So after polishing my right foot down just shy of the muscle a few weeks ago, I decided to take some time off barefoot running.  Both to give my skin a chance to grow back, and so as not to blow up my race.

Having finished the race Saturday afternoon, and feeling in pretty good shape by Sunday afternoon, I decided to go out.

I will note that I had stepped on a thorn at the race finish at Hampton Beach, NH.  I immediately sat down and tried to get it out, but I immediately had a full-body cramp that left me lying on my back in the sand, with people running over to make sure I wasn't having a seizure, or a heart attack.

Oh well, so I guess my foot was too far away from my arms...  Sunday afternoon I reexamined the thorn, and got it out fairly easily.

So I ran for 3 miles at an easy (10 min/mile) pace, with a hole in my foot.  The hole wasn't an issue at all, and my form felt much improved from my last foray out.  (I did not put a band-aid or anything on the hole, btw.) 

I think I've finally figured out what was causing problems in my right ankle, and while it's not fixed, it's getting there.

I am definitely going to put a lot more effort into running barefoot going forward.

"Freeze! Zap! Bye-Bye, Fat"

An incredibly bad idea.

Dr. Davis Reviews "The Paleo Solution"

He's impressed.  The book's currently #1 in the Weight Loss category on Amazon.

The Runner

When I moved to CT, I met a friend I'll call "The Runner", and got roped into running with him; I had to adopt a running plan.

The Runner had proposed climbing Mt. Washington in NH in the winter when we met. I'd done this in high school, and, although I was obviously in much worse shape at that point than I had been in high school, signed up for it.

As The Runner and I discussed how to get me in shape, we agreed that the best and most efficient way was to start trail running. At that point I thought I had "bad" knees, and hated running on the road. But I like hiking, and running trails was something I'd always been interested in. So trail running seemed like a great idea.

I knew from my experience running in NYC that building up distance was not going to work for me. Lack of patience, lack of discipline, awareness of another method? I don't know. But I knew that working up to a distance wouldn't happen, as I would lose interest in the project. So I decided to do the reverse. Pick a distance, run it, and keep running it until I got my time down to something reasonable. This approach had worked well in hiking and roller-blading. Although painful, it offers a certain satisfaction.

I picked a 5.1 mile loop in a local park. (I didn't find out what the exact distance was for 8 years, btw.) The first "run" took 2.5 hours. I was pretty out of shape. I finally got it down to 49+ minutes. I had no problem going up Mt. Washington with The Runner.

So now I'm thinking about running longer distances. I've been trying to build up a bit, but am sort of running into the same issue. I think I really need to just pick a long loop, like 15 to 20 miles, and run it, and see how it goes. Once I get that under my belt, I'd like to pick it up to an even longer run...

How have other folks who've done ultra-distances approached this?

This was originally posted here, on June 28, 2010.  Follow the link to see the conversation.

Saturday, September 18, 2010

Einkorn Study

I've still not gotten around to testing the einkorn I bought: I received it, and it's very nicely wrapped, but there it sits.  I'm actually a bit nervous about trying it.

"This study does not support the hypothesis that wheat sensitive persons generally tolerate the ancient wheat einkorn better than modern wheat, but there seems to be a subgroup with better tolerance for einkorn than wheat."
Link to PDF.

"Herbal Supplements Face New Scrutiny"

Testing is good

Telling folks what they can and can't buy is not so good.  Hopefully it won't get to that point.

Caveat emptor, as always.  The Feds may test, but they'll never be able to answer every question, or test every situation.

Friday, September 17, 2010

"4000 IU Vitamin D Daily Cuts Preterm Birth Risk in Half"

Fascinating, and with no adverse reactions.  (Follow the link to the underlying article...)

What's scary about this story is the following (from the Vancouver Sun article):

"'The concern of giving too much vitamin D in the past was based on wrong studies,' says Gagnon, also director of maternal fetal medicine and obstetrics at McGill University and the McGill University Health Centre in Montreal.

"For decades, vitamin D was thought to be a teratogen — an agent that cause birth defects — after reports from the U.K. emerged in the 1960s of babies born with heart defects, mental disabilities and elf-like facial features. The babies were found to have high levels of calcium, which doctors attributed to too much vitamin D, since the vitamin helps the body absorb calcium.

"What they discovered years later — through genetic technology — was the children had Williams syndrome, a rare disorder caused by deleted genes that affects how babies metabolize vitamin D, leading to higher levels. The conditions weren't a symptom of too much vitamin D but rather a genetic syndrome.

"'For 30-plus years it was dogma that (vitamin D in pregnancy) was dangerous, that you didn't need very much and what you did need you could get from just casual sunlight exposure,' Wagner said. 'What we know now, from a decade of very intensive research, is that that's not the case.'"
Whoops.  So that's saturated fat and vitamin D, both in one year, going from bad to good, or at least neutral.  How many more of these are there?

I Am So Tired Of This Shoe Fad

To paraphrase. :)  Great post by Barefoot Josh, read the whole thing.

Reach The Beach Relay Race

Right about now, the Rank and Vile team of which I'm a member should be starting off

I'll be wearing my Vibram Speeds for my 3 legs, with my cut-down New Balance MT100s as a fall back (primarily in case of cold weather).

It's a 200-mile relay race.  I've been wanting to run this race for 5 years, since my good friends (and better runners) started doing it.

1st year: laser eye surgery (discretionary).

2nd year: diverticulitis surgery.
3rd year (last year): kicked a suitcase and bruised my ankle bone. Was on the team and had to drop.
4th year (this year): BETTER NOT HAVE ANYTHING HAPPEN! ;)

It's a 12-person 11-person team (oops), and we each run three most of us will be running 3 legs.  I've got a 3-mile leg and 2 6-mile legs.

All I need to to is finish with an 8-handle on my time, and I've met expectations, so anything better than that is gravy. :)  God willing.

New Blog: Nell Stephenson

Nell's a world-class triathelete who follows a paleo diet.  More than "follows", in fact; she's Loren Cordain's co-author of The Paleo Diet Cookbook.
She's got an interesting article in what looks like a trialthalon magazine:

"After a few false starts, there’s no going back for me now: my times have improved tremendously (I’m heading to my fourth Kona and planning to break my PR with a 10:30), my recovery is phenomenal, my sleep fantastic, and I’m rarely sick or injured."

Thursday, September 16, 2010

Guyenet on Long Pork and Other Delicacies

Tongue firmly in cheek, btw.  Should be a fascinating presentation.

Diet vs. Exercise

In response to Scott's comment,  I went and found this article, which describes a study that:

"...compared African American women in metropolitan Chicago with women in rural Nigeria. On average, the Chicago women weighed 184 pounds and the Nigerian women weighed 127 pounds.

"Researchers had expected to find that the slimmer Nigerian women would be more physically active. To their surprise, they found no significant difference between the two groups in the amount of calories burned during physical activity.

"'Decreased physical activity may not be the primary driver of the obesity epidemic,' said Loyola nutritionist Amy Luke, a member of the study team.

This jives with my experience.  Fixing my diet caused me to start losing weight that exercise had been unable to take off over the course of years.  I intentionally scaled back my running volume when I eliminated veggie oils from my diet, just to make sure that wasn't the cause.

I don't have time to look into some more research, but exercise alone won't do the trick.  Neither will cutting back on calories.  From what I've read, it's what you eat, now how much you eat or exercise.

"Diet is a more likely explanation than physical activity expenditure for why Chicago women weigh more than Nigerian women, Luke said. She noted the Nigerian diet is high in fiber and carbohydrates and low in fat and animal protein. By contrast, the Chicago diet is 40 percent to 45 percent fat and high in processed foods."

Podcast: The Living Barefoot Show

This has become one of my favorites, and is the last podcast I ever thought I'd wind up subscribing to. 

Al and Tina do a wonderful job, the production values are top-notch, they have wonderful guests, and they ask interesting questions and let their guests answer them.

Their latest interview with Dr. Mark Cucuzzella is one of their best yet, but they've also interviewed Barefoot Ted, Chris McDougall, Cody Lundin, and more. 

If you have any interest in the characters of the barefoot-style running movement, this is the one for you.

iTunes link.

Are Whoopie Pies Paleo?

"You're adding Crisco and powdered sugar to Marshmallow Fluff?"

No.  Yeesh. 

Wednesday, September 15, 2010

Jimmy Moore Reviews "The Paleolithic Solution"

Sounds interesting.

Barefoot Run In NYC

October 10.  Should be fun.  Barefoot Jason will be there, as will Prof. Lieberman.  Hopefully Barefoot Ted and Chris McDougall.

Hopefully me, as well. ;)

Japanese Lifespan Not So Hot After All?

Whoops.  Government statistics seem to be generally dodgy, at best. 

Hong Kong, back in the day, didn't even collect economic statistics, for fear it would encourage the government to meddle.

GoLite Amp Lite Review

See here.  It would be nice if the GoLite Lite were light...  Sigh.

Internet Explorer 9 Beta

Downloaded and installed. 

A couple of crashes so far, but it's crazy fast.

Of course blogger only works properly in compatibility mode... Sigh.

Barefoot Paul at the Mountain Running World Championships

Very cool

I love my Treks for trail running.  Wore them a lot out in Colorado.  Sometimes they're a little "too much", but if you need some protection, they're great.

Tuesday, September 14, 2010

Who's Pheidippides?

Read the F.A.Q.  But I wouldn't dismiss the legend of a runner running from Marathon to Athens entirely.

James Watson on the Regulators

"Prior to receiving an Honorary Doctorate from University College Cork, Watson told journalists that he was in favour of less regulation for clinical trials as this could speed up the process of finding a cure for cancer: 'We're terribly held back on clinical tests by regulations which say that no one should die unnecessarily during trials; but they are going to die anyway unless we do something radical. I think the ethics committees are out of control and that it should be put back in the hands of the doctors. There is an extraordinary amount of red tape which is slowing us down. We could go five times faster without these committees.'"
It's not about protecting the patients, it's about protecting the bureaucrats...

Half of U.S.A. on Drugs

This clearly can't be a good thing.  How did we go from being the most healthy, robust nation in the history of the Earth to this? 

Here's a bunch of responses the author received, including this:

"Even the most obese in my patient population stubbornly insist they do not overeat and that they must have a glandular problem or some other explanation."

I find it pretty hard to believe that half the nation is overweight because of a lack of will.  Exercise and cutting calories doesn't work to lose weight (I've tried), and it's entirely likely that these are not at the root of the obesity problem.  Two of the most commonly consumed foods in our diet, wheat and industrial seed oils, seem to cause people to become obese and sick, yet these are recommended for our consumption by most of the medical establishment.

Monday, September 13, 2010

"Has the Medical Profession Been Corrupted?"

What a fascinating post. 

"Has the Medical Industry Become Parasitic Upon Its Patients?

"Somehow or other, we have developed a government-industry-medical complex that extracts tremendous amounts of money from taxpayers and patients, but damages health. Subsidies for wheat and soybeans and corn make toxic foods cheap; junk science like the “lipid hypothesis” promotes their consumption; elite doctors appointed supreme authorities by government bureaucrats declare biomarkers of wheat, corn, and soybean oil consumption to be diseases requiring drug treatment; the drug industry sells tens of billions of dollars of drugs to the afflicted persons.

"Qui bono? Elites do well – elite doctors on the review and funding panels, bureaucrats, politicians, and pharmaceutical companies. Public health suffers."

Read the whole thing.

New Blogs I'll Be Following

Peak Performance.  This is Amby Burfoot's blog.  Amby is the long-time editor of Runner's World, and the winner of the 1968 Boston Marathon.  His name means "Barefoot", and he's actually coming around on that topic.

Dr. Briffa's Blog. I'd thought I was following this, but they changed the feed without telling anyone.  So now I'm following it again.  Dr. Briffa was a cardiologist who got interested in nutrition, and now recommends a primal diet to his patients.  He's the guy who helped me figure out my younger daughter's digestive issues.

Fat Head.  This is the blog that promotes the movie Fat Head, which I just watched with my wife and daughter.  It's a great movie, really eye-opening and funny, and Tom Naughton's got some great insights on his blog.

Robb Wolf.  An interesting guy, full of information, but answers too many questions, occasionally incorrectly.  He's got a book coming out, The Paleo Solution.  He also has a podcast, which has a lot more info than his blog does currently.

The Perfect Health Diet.  They're from Harvard, heaven help us, but nevertheless they sound really interesting.  I've only seen a couple of posts, as I found out about this this morning thanks to The Healthy Skeptic, but I'm really excited about this.  They also have a book coming out.

Eat Your Veggies!

"Health officials have been trying to promote fruits and vegetables - especially leafy greens - as healthy alternatives to salty, fatty and sugary foods. The goal is to curb the nation's obesity problem and reduce diabetes, heart disease and other maladies tied to bad diets."

Eating veggies is definitely a good thing.  But the problem isn't salty or fatty foods.  (Too much sugar is a problem, but far from the worst one.)  The problem is that some of the foods the "health officials" are telling us to eat is quite bad for us.  They have no idea what they're doing, and never should have started telling us what to eat.  We're adults and we don't need the bad advice: we were far more healthy back when we were eating bacon and eggs for breakfast, and margarine hadn't been invented.

Sunday, September 12, 2010

10k PR Today

In training, again, which makes two for one week.  I'm pretty excited.  Today's run was at a 7:47 pace[*], on a hilly course.  My previous best was 8:22, I think, for the Nike 10k last year in Prospect Park, Brooklyn.  That was followed up by a 8:11 20k.

Various ding-bat injuries last winter kept me from following up on those times until this summer.

I'm following Gordon Pirie's advice, and combining long runs, interval speedwork, and then pushing those speeds out to my target distances.  I was able to establish a 5k PR and then a 10k PR in the following run.

I'm running in the Vibram Speeds, still which I still love.  Best shoe Vibram makes.  If you can get your hands on a pair, do so.

P.S.  Wow, my memory is horrible.  Turns out this 7:47 wasn't a PR, my PR was the Nike 10k, which was 7:40.  Although that course was flat, and the 7:47 was hilly, but still.  The 20k I mentioned was an 8:04 pace.

I'm no longer trying to follow Pirie's advice on pushing pace to distance, as it wasn't working very well.

Is Olive Oil Paleo?

I don't think so

I'll start by saying that Wikipedia isn't the most reliable source of info, but I'm going to posit that everything in the article linked to above is true, just to facilitate the discussion.

Clearly paleolithic hunter-gatherers weren't walking around with millstones and presses (as described in Wikipedia) to get the oil out of olives.  I suspect they'd eat olives like they'd eat any other fruit, as found, and seasonally. (I don't know what "olive season" is, but it really doesn't matter.  They'd eat them when they could.)

Olive oil's certainly more paleo than canola oil, however, in that it can at least be produced manually, and does not require industrial processes to extract.  Additionally, it's been consumed by reasonably healthy cultures for thousands of years.

So if you're trying to follow a paleo diet, should you eat olive oil?  Sure, why not?  It doesn't seem to be bad for you, assuming you're not chugging the stuff.  If you're going to fry, you need some oil, ideally; and tallow and lard (which are totally paleo) just don't go with everything.

I post this just to note that an absurd obsession with what is or isn't paleo can be self-defeating sometimes.

The notion of the Paleolithic Diet is one that should help in ferreting out foods that don't work for you and your family.  It shouldn't be doctrinaire.

The real question is, is frying paleo?  I think the answer to that is a pretty clear "No".  I can't imagine paleolithic hunters carrying around frying pans.  Even the Bronze Age was some time away.

So I'm really interested to see how many recipes include frying or sauteing in the forthcoming Paleo Diet Cookbook.

P.S.: Two updates from Barefoot Ted's Minimalist group:

Andy Southerland:
"I've eaten an olive from the tree before. DO NOT ATTEMPT. Paleo man did not eat olives without cooking and/or pickling them first because they are disgusting."

And the master of DIY, Gordo:

"Good point. I had forgotten. I made some green olives once when I was in college. There were incredible numbers of olive trees on University property, not campus proper, and I hated to see them go to waste. Processing consisted of soaking the olives in increasing concentrations of lye, followed by soaking in increasing concentrations of brine. Long-term storage was in brine. IIRC, it took several weeks to get an edible product. They were quite good, but I had to be attentive to not get botulism. Once you take them out of the brine and put them on the table, you throw away the leftovers. I made an incredible 3.5 gallons of them. I was tired of them by the time they were gone.

"My point is that you can't get an edible olive without containers. Pottery wasn't invented until after agriculture was established.

"Clearly not paleo. I eat them anyway. :)"

Saturday, September 11, 2010

Driving While on Your Cell Phone Saves Lives!

That's what the data shows...

"Meaning this hysteria about cell phone use while driving seems less about actual traffic safety than just the same cadre of nanny statists who want to outlaw that which annoys them."
Sounds about right.

"I Did What I Believe Anyone Would Have Done."

"'I didn't run through fire to save a buddy,' Giunta told Junger. 'I ran through fire to see what was going on with him and maybe we could hide behind the same rock and shoot together. I didn't run through fire to do anything heroic or brave. I did what I believe anyone would have done.'"
I can think of no better way to remember 9/11 than to honor the heros of that day and this.  Sgt. Giunta is the first living recipient of the Medal of Honor since the Vietman War.

If you'd like to read more about the goings on in the Korengal Valley in Afghanistan, I highly recommend Lone Survivor by Marcus Luttrell, or what is effectively its sequel, War by Sebastian Junger.  Both are excellent reads, although Lone Survivor, as Luttrell's first-hand report, is one of the most remarkable books I have ever read.

Luttrell is donating his profits from his book to the families of deceased soldiers.

Wheat Germ News

"Incorporation of N-acetylglucosamine-specific agglutinins from wheat germ (Triticum aestivum; WGA), thorn apple (Datura stramonium) or nettle (Urtica dioica) rhizomes in the diet at the level of 7 g/kg reduced the apparent digestibility and utilization of dietary proteins and the growth of rats, with WGA being the most damaging. As a result of their binding and endocytosis by the epithelial cells of the small intestine, all three lectins were growth factors for the gut and interfered with its metabolism and function to varying degrees. WGA was particularly effective; it induced extensive polyamine-dependent hyperplastic and hypertrophic growth of the small bowel by increasing its content of proteins, RNA and DNA. Furthermore, an appreciable portion of the endocytosed WGA was transported across the gut wall into the systemic circulation, where it was deposited in the walls of the blood and lymphatic vessels. WGA also induced the hypertrophic growth of the pancreas and caused thymus atrophy. Although the transfer of the gene of WGA into crop plants has been advocated to increase their insect resistance, as the presence of this lectin in the diet may harm higher animals at the concentrations required to be effective against most pests, its use in plants as natural insecticide is not without health risks for man."
So if WGA is spliced into other food sources, they can be toxic too.
"[Wheat germ agglutinin] is a toxic compound and an anti-nutritional factor, but recent works have shown that it may have potential as an anti-tumor drug and as a carrier for oral drugs.... Here we show that at nanomolar concentrations WGA is unexpectedly bioactive on immune cells.... These results shed new light onto the molecular mechanisms underlying the onset of gastrointestinal disorders observed in vivo upon dietary intake of wheat-based foods.
It messes up your gut, and you don't have to be celiac to enjoy the benefits.
 "Biologically intact wheat germ agglutinin was detected in ileostomy effluent and fecal collections from human subjects consuming a diet containing wheat germ. These studies demonstrate that wheat germ agglutinin can traverse the human small intestine intact. It is feasible that orally ingested wheat germ agglutinin and other plant lectins which interact with a wide variety of cell membranes may alter intestinal epithelial or bacterial cell function in the human bowel."
And it messes up your bowel, also.  This last one is from 1978, so I guess it's not "news"...

On the pro side of the equation we have this:
"The purpose of this study was to determine if WGA enters the circulation of healthy subjects following ingestion of wheat germ.... According to the protocol utilized, WGA was not detected in venous plasma samples from any of the subjects following consumption of 50 g of wheat germ. Further research will be required to determine if WGA enters the bloodstream and binds formed elements such as erythrocytes, platelets, and leukocytes in addition to other tissues and organs."
Wheat seems to do enough damage to enough people anyway...

Friday, September 10, 2010

The China Study Takes More Hits

"Are raw plant foods giving people cancer? If you think that the answer is 'yes', think again. The variable that is strongly associated with colorectal cancer is plant protein consumption."
Unfortunately, plant protein is what T. Colin Campbell would like you to eat more of.

(Via the Healthy Skeptic on Facebook)

"Low-Carbohydrate Diets and All-Cause and Cause-Specific Mortality"

GaryK posted this study over at Barefoot Ted's Group the other day (see discussion at the link).  The finding of this survey is that a low-carb, animal-based diet is worse for you than a low-carb, vegetable-based diet.

As all I had available to me was the excerpt, and the excerpt of the editorial commenting on this survey, it was tough to know what to think, except to think that this didn't seem like it was what it purported to  be.

The message about this was getting out, though. ("Low-Carb Diet is Better When Rich in Veggies")

I had hoped that some folks who are better at this than I am would pitch in on it.

Sure enough...

"The Vegetable Group was nowhere near plant-based: They derived almost 30% of their daily calories from animal sources (animal fat and animal protein), versus about 45% for the Animal Group. If we compare the middle (fifth) decile, the Vegetable Group was eating a greater percent of total calories from animal foods than the Animal Group was. D’oh!"

Denise Minger eviscerates it.  The findings are pretty much bogus, but, the message is out.  Millions will see news articles about this study; hundreds, maybe thousands, will read Denise's explanation of why it's bogus.

Chris Masterjohn then goes through and explains exactly what they're doing:

"Logical fallacies cannot substitute for the scientific method just because the scientific method seems difficult or even infeasible. " 

Oh, and should you be worried about the low-carb aspect of the study?  I'll quote Denise again:

"You can bet the farm that neither was anything close to “low carb.”"

As a follow up to the "How Scientists Lie About Fat" post, I could have titled this, "How Scientists Lie About Diet"...

St. Peter's Sorgham Beer

This is great.  I can't wait to try it.  I've been drinking Anheuser-Busch's Redbridge, which is suprisingly good, but doesn't have that micro-brew zing.

Thursday, September 9, 2010

"Why Geeks Will Love Sergei Brin's Shoes"

Geeks already do.  I'd guess that pretty overwhelmingly the folks who've adopted Vibrams are geeks.

Is Honey Paleo?

In this interview Dr. Loren Cordain dings honey as being "not paleo." I'm curious to know how he knows when humans started consuming honey...  I vaguely recall seeing a documentary when I was a kid about how a primitive hunter-gatherer tribe collected honey. But it pretty surely wasn't a staple. ;)

In fact, two seconds of Googling reveal the Efe and the Mbuti:

"Gathering honey is an important subsistence activity for Efe men, second only to hunting. While the men spend an average of 11.1% of their time in the forest actively looking for hives, they are frequently seen looking up during other activities, such as hunting"

"One of the main foods that the Mbuti gather is honey. During the honey season, honey can account for up to 80% of their caloric intake (Hewlett and Walker 1990). Although honey is a valued food product, it is only available during a few certain months a year."

Both tribes are stone-age hunter-gatherers.  They both eat massive amounts of honey, in fact, it is a staple.  So why is honey not "paleo"?

Dr. Cordain has done great research, but stuff like this and his ridiculous (since corrected) advocacy of canola oil drive me batty.

That's why if I recommend a "paleo" diet book to people, I recommend The Primal Blueprint.  Sisson may lack a PhD, but his Google skills are excellent, and he has common sense.

Update: OK, so after typing this I opened up the pdf referenced in the "The Paleo Diet Cookbook" post.

"In most cases, a dose response exists between these novel foods and the emergence of disease.  For instance, occasional seasonal exposure to honey (a refined sugar) results in negligible dental caries rates in hunter-gatherers, whereas daily consumption of refined sucrose in Western diets almost universally causes a high incidence of caries and dental decay."
This is written by Dr. Cordain.  So I'm even more confused.  Why is honey not paleo?

P.S.  Mark Sisson covers honey, displaying his common sense:

"Can you eat it? Sure; you can do just about anything you want. Should you eat it? That depends. Are you active and in need of liver glycogen repletion like the guy who climbed the Congolese tree? Then raw honey might be a nice choice for a treat. It’s clearly superior to refined sugar, and the extent of the damage we normally see from sugar intake doesn’t seem to occur with honey."

"The Paleo Diet Cookbook"

Here's an interview with Dr. Cordain about the new book.  In it, he says:
"A couple of key points are different from my first book, The Paleo Diet, which was published in 2002. First, I no longer advocate the use of canola oil, for reasons explained in the book, and I have also taken a softer stand on saturated fats based upon my own article on the topic, published in 2006, and available as a free PDF download from my website."
Good for him.  Including canola oil and excluding saturated fat was pretty ridiculous in the first place, and I'm glad he's corrected it.  Now if only he'd do a revised version of The Paleo Diet.

(Via Nell Stephenson, a co-author of The Paleo Cookbook.)

Dr. Mark Cucuzzella Interview

Interesting stuff.  I'm not a fan of Newtons or the VivoBarefoot Evo myself, but they're both good minimalist options.

Moonbat No Longer?

Poor George Monbiot.  He's having a rough year.  First Global Warming is exposed as fraud, and now it appears he's realized the case for veganism isn't as strong as he thought it was.

This is the link that brought this to my attention, and this is the underlying link to Mr. Monbiot's review.
"This will not be an easy column to write. I am about to put down 1,200 words in support of a book that starts by attacking me and often returns to this sport. But it has persuaded me that I was wrong. More to the point, it has opened my eyes to some fascinating complexities in what seemed to be a black and white case."
Bravo to Monbiot.  It's not easy to have to make an admission like this.  (Just ask my wife about when I renounced wheat this spring.  Admitting you've been misled is no easy thing.)

Monbiat's review makes Meat, a Benign Extravagance sound like a very interesting book; although I can imagine some better titles.  Meat is no extravagance when you're dependent on it.

Thanks to Scott for the link.

Grass-Fed Beef Taste Test

This is from four years ago.  I never was a huge beef fan until discovering grass-fed.  I much preferred sushi.

Wednesday, September 8, 2010

"Daddy, You Screamed Like a Little Girl"

That's what my 8-year-old daughter told me after I stepped on a packing staple with my bare heel while walking across the garage.

I told her it was a manly yell, but you can see what I have to deal with. ;)

I pulled it out, inspected it (it was bent), and went and washed off my foot with soap and water and put on a band-aid.

I'm pretty sure I put a hole in my plantar fascia.  It was sore for a day or two, but didn't bother me in my run today at all.

3-Mile PR Today

In training.  According to my Garmin, I ran a 7:12 pace over a hilly course.  My prior PR was during the period I was trying to run away from a surgeon, and that was 7:29 in a 5k race.  (If you don't know, a 5k is 3.1 miles.)

I'm pretty excited, as I've been gunning for that PR for a long time, but I've not been as motivated as I was by the man with the knife.

I was wearing my Vibram Speeds, which I really love.

A Method For Madness

I've been waiting for this book to come out for most of my life.  The first book in the series came out 1983.  Every time I went to the book store I would check to see if the next book was out. When I finished book 4 of the "War Against the Chtorr", I started checking for the next book in the series.  Religiously.  For years and years, every time I went in to a book store, I would walk over to the sci-fi section and look.

I've even corresponded with David Gerrold, the author, via email 10 or more years ago.

And now Amazon has sent me an email telling me it's going to be available soon.  I immediately pre-ordered.  If the editors are reading, I'll pre-order all of the books in the series the instant they become available in whatever format they're released.  Gold-plated hardcover?  Sold.  (I don't have the original paperback editions, and they've been out of print for, oh, ever.)

I really hope this isn't a mistake.

Update: Mr. Gerrold confirms on Facebook that the book should be available next Christmas, not next summer as Amazon has it.  Which means it's finished, and coming our way.  YEEHAW!

Congratulations on finishing it!

Mountain Biking in my New Shoes

My friends are nuts. ;)

New Version of the SoftStar RunAmoc

They sound nice.

Genetically Modified Salmon To Get FDA Approval?

"FDA nears approval as food of genetically altered salmon."

"FDA scientists gave a boost last week to the Massachusetts company that wants federal approval to market a genetically engineered salmon, declaring that the altered salmon is safe to eat and does not pose a threat to the environment....

"'Critical information about the whole process has been kept from the public and organizations that focus on these issues,' said Wenonah Hauter, executive director of Food and Water Watch, part of a coalition of 31 organizations and restaurant chefs that is demanding that the FDA deny approval of the altered fish. 'There's a transparency problem.'

"Siobhan DeLancey, an FDA spokeswoman, said the agency is following rules. 'We do have obligations under the regulations to protect company confidential information,' she said.
The "does not pose a threat to the environment" is clearly balogna, I think.  How have they tested that?  Oh, sorry, they won't test us.

We should just trust them.  Right.

An Introduction to Epigenetics

What on Earth is epigenetics?  Here you go.
"If we think of evolution or natural selection as being long term genetic adaptation to the environment, epigenetics provides for short term rapid adjustments to the environment.

"In essence, epigenetics is the tweaking of the system to fit the environment."
Now when I first started reading Mark Sisson's site and read him going on about 'reprogramming your genes', I thought it was a bit of hyperbole.  Clearly it's not.

And although it's not been shown yet, that I'm aware of, clearly if genes can be turned on to adapt to an environmental situation, they must be able to be turned back off.

I'd also like to note that Weston Price anticipated this process back in the 1930s:
"The general architecture of the body is apparently determined primarily by the health of the two germ cells at the time of their union. This architectural design may not be completely fulfilled due to interference with nutritive processes both before and after birth. In this large problem of the relationship between physical design of the body and resistance or susceptibility to disease, we may have determining factors operating at different periods in prenatal and postnatal growth. The accumulating evidence strongly emphasizes that disease susceptibility is a widely variable factor and associated with certain types of developmental disturbances."

Tuesday, September 7, 2010

Patrick Sweeney Finishes 2nd in Lunas

Post-race article; pre-race article.


Adam Gentile's New Haven, CT 20k Race Report

In his bare feet.  He beat his prior shod time.  Congratulations.

Runblogger on the Meaning of Life

Pete's got an interesting, personal post up, where he notes:

"The problem I have is that blog writing is not typically viewed as a worthwhile pursuit among academics."

I agree, although this is changing; some of the other professor-bloggers I follow have commented on this. One notes that his Dean takes the popularity and influence of his blog (Instapundit) into consideration. The other posts at the Volokh Conspiracy, another law-blog, and notes that even in the Supreme Court blogs are being taken more seriously as they provide timely, high-quality analysis.

I think Pete Larson offers a great deal as a self-experimenting anatomist given the current debate concerning running and the correct use of our anatomy. Hopefully he can make the two work together.

Health Correlator on Omega-X Oils

Well put.  The first thing that I did as part of my own dietary experiment was to cut out omega-6 oils.  The benefits were immediate.  If you don't do that, IMHO then from a health perspective you're wasting your money on grass-fed meats.  They're tastier, so enjoy, but I don't think you'll see the full benefit.

I also will note that now that my GI tract is healing up, I can detect even trace amounts of omega-6 veggie oils in the foods I eat.  Grain-finished meat elicits no reaction, although it doesn't taste as good.  So I think, if you're going off the wagon, that you're better eating some grain-finished meat than something rich in omega-6 oils.

Sunday, September 5, 2010

Minimalist Mountain Biking Shoe

Sometimes, you have to wear a shoe.  When I mountain bike, three pieces of safety equipment are mandatory: shoes, gloves, and helmet.

My first pair of mountain biking shoes were cross-country racing shoes, with a narrow, deep sole.  They may be great for cross-country racing, but for the rocky, gnarly trails I ride in Connecticut, they were a ticket to a sprained ankle.  I'm still trying to get over the last sprained ankle...

My most recent pair of mountain biking shoes were some platform-style free riding shoes, which did great, and were similar in shape to a Munson last.  But the sole delaminated after my last ride.

I wound up getting the Specialized Tahoe as a replacement shoe.  They also have a Munson-last shape (why is it mountain biking shoe companies get it?), and they have a reasonably wide footbed for stable landings.  I think I got last year's model, which has a velcro bit across the top of the laces.  They fit great, and didn't make me hate the fact that I was wearing shoes for a several-hour ride.  On a side note, the last two mountain biking shoes I got were 9s, these were a 10.  Part of that is that I want more room, part is that my feet are definitely bigger now.

I don't know if they're zero-drop or not, for a biking shoe it's not all that important, IMHO. If you're running up a hill, you don't notice the heel, and if you're running down a hill... You're mountain biking;  why are you running down a hill?

P.S. Here's a link to the new version of the Tahoe.

The link to the old version leads to one of the funniest 404 errors I've ever seen...

Arthritis and Your Diet

Mark Sisson at Mark's Daily Apple has lots of great posts.  This one is greater than usual:

Osteoarthritis Is Not Your Destiny

I think it's all great advice, and well worth following, even if it is true that early nutrition can cause irreversible arthritis later in life.

You'll probably never know with any certainty what has caused your arthritis, and doing nothing but moan clearly won't help. ;)  Take action!

Saturday, September 4, 2010

Driving Barefoot?

Yes.  I always have some shoes in the car, however.

A Useful Caution on Genetics

SPIEGEL: Why is it taking so long for the results of genome research to be applied in medicine?

Venter: Because we have, in truth, learned nothing from the genome other than probabilities. How does a 1 or 3 percent increased risk for something translate into the clinic? It is useless information.

SPIEGEL: Do you think there will be a time when you can extract all this information to yield real medical results?

Venter: For that to happen we need a lot more information: Information about your body’s chemistry, your physiology, your complete medical history, your brain and your entire life. We would need to do that a million times on different people and correlate that data with their genetic information.

SPIEGEL: Will that lead in the end to the kind of personalized medicine that genetic researchers have always touted? Each person would get his or her own personal treatment that is tailored precisely to that person’s genetic make-up?

Venter: That was another one of these silly na├»ve notions that was out there. It’s not, ‘Oh, we know your genome, we’re going to make this drug for you.’ That will never happen. It is more important that you use the information in the genome about your personal risks and reduce them through intelligent behavior.
So when someone tells you "it's genetic", or "it's in your genes", it's kind of a fatalistic cop-out.  Yes, it is, but that doesn't mean you're without power to influence your genes.

As the author of the post below states:
"Our access to genetic information currently exceeds our understanding of what that information actually means."
Read the whole thing at Science-Based Medicine.

Friday, September 3, 2010


Inspired by Dr. Davis, I've ordered some einkorn wheat, to see if it makes pancakes that will keep my daughters happy.

As suggested on the einkorn site, I'm going to try tasting the uncooked wheat first, to see if I have a reaction to it.

We've tried buckwheat pancakes, but I'm the biggest fan of the taste, and I don't eat pancakes often. ;)